One Against the Gun

If a button could keep a kid from being shot, would you put one on?

Sandy Hingston One Against The Gun Pins

Photograph By Claudia Gavin

It seemed like such a reasonable argument.

“The fact is,” the column on the back page of the December issue of Guns & Ammo magazine stated, “all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be. Freedom of speech is regulated. You cannot falsely and deliberately shout, ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater. Freedom of religion is regulated. A church cannot practice human sacrifice.”

But longtime G&A contributor Dick Metcalf went and touched the third rail:

“The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads, ‘A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’ Note carefully: Those last four words say ‘shall not be infringed.’ They do not say ‘shall not be regulated.’ ‘Well regulated’ is, in fact, the initial criterion of the amendment itself.” Metcalf then laid out an argument for responsible gun use, and for the United States to enact regulations requiring adequate training for those who own guns.

Within a week, in response to a torrent of social-media hatred from readers, Guns & Ammo editor Jim Bequette abjectly apologized for running the piece, saying, “I thought it would generate a healthy exchange of ideas on gun rights. I miscalculated, pure and simple. I was wrong, and I ask your forgiveness.” He then announced that he had fired Metcalf and that he himself had resigned, effective immediately.

December 14th was the first anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut—a tragedy in which a young man shot and killed his mother, then shot and killed 20 first-graders and six more adults before turning a gun on himself. It was a crime so unimaginable, so horrific, that afterward a lot of people, myself included, thought surely it would mark the beginning of the end for America’s gun madness.

It didn’t. It hasn’t, as the swift and severe repercussions of Metcalf’s audacious rationality showed. In Newtown’s wake, Congress failed to enact even the most modest of gun regulations—a bill with bipartisan support that would have required background checks for gun purchases made at gun shows and online. The bill’s failure meant back to business as usual for the National Rifle Association and its cronies, several of which promptly got to work planning to commemorate the first anniversary of Newtown by declaring December 14th “Guns Save Lives Day.”

Haven’t you had enough?

As “Guns Save Lives Day” approached, I called Shira Goodman, the executive director of the Center City-based anti-gun-violence group CeaseFirePA, to ask: Why the hell hadn’t the massacre of 20 innocent children been enough to get gun-control legislation passed? Goodman, a lawyer who started at CeaseFirePA just six weeks before Sandy Hook, talks really quickly, because when it comes to gun control, she’s got a lot to say. One of the things she said was that over the past few decades, the gun lobby “has created the perception that it’s monolithic and all-powerful.” Another thing she said was that anti-gun people tend to care about a lot of different issues: the environment, health care, gay rights. Gun people only care about guns, and as a result, “There’s a gap in intensity.”

There’s also fear among anti-gun people, because, well, the other side has guns. (Of course, there are many responsible gun owners, yadayadayada, disclaimer, whatever.) And gun control is one of those issues we don’t talk about. It’s like abortion—you just never know. Maybe Dustin from Accounting is packing. Maybe your barber has a .38 tucked in his belt. The fear, combined with that intensity, stifles discussion. Meantime, the pro-gun among us own a “staggering” number of guns apiece, according to Goodman, and nag their legislators all the time.

So I’ve been thinking: What if those of us who don’t want to live in an America where guns are a leading cause of death for kids, where 300 million guns are in circulation, and where the sum costs of gun violence top $174 billion per year could identify kindred spirits?

Those are “One Against the Gun” pins there in the opening photo. They actually exist. I had a bunch of them made (in four colors!). You can put one on your lapel, on your hat or on your bag. You can wear it on the bus, at work, at basketball games, at the grocery store. They’re free. I’ll give you one, if you ask.

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  • Sue

    Really? A pin? This is laughable — The pin tells the world I’m smart? I’m not a loser? I’m not an idiot? And proves to all that I’m a true American? Really? I think I need to stop reading your magazine.

    • Sandy Hingston

      It says right in the article, Sue–I don’t mind if you laugh at me.

  • Roland Olson

    I want a pin. It will be proudly displayed alongside my win with Wilkie button. There are a few truths in this piece, but just as many fabrications to indicate desperation….or positioning for a job with bloombergs machine.

    • missiledefender

      Bloomberg should disarm his 15 man protective unit. He wont do that though, right?

  • Roland Olson

    PS…well regulated meant ” well trained in the operation and handling of”… please check your work next time.

    • joe

      did you ask them? no you didnt. so your opinion is only as weighted as his

      • The_LaughingMan

        Actually the founding fathers did an awful lot of writing on the subject. If you look at corresponding documents such as the federalist papers you will indeed see the intent behind the words. The second amendment was created to ensure that the government didn’t have a monopoly on power. Additionally the founders made it quite clear that every peaceable citizen was to have the right to keep and bear arms, outside of any formal military/militia setting and without government control of the arms. Do your research and you will see the intent and the wording of the constitution and specifically the second amendment was to restrict the govenrment and empower the individual.

  • Liz Coughlin

    I’d like a pin and I’ll be proud to wear it. Perhaps if enough politicians saw enough of these over the course of their campaigning they’d think twice about their spineless behavior in the face of the NRA.

    • missiledefender

      What part of RIGHTS did you not get. Please move to North Korea where you may live in perfect Civilian Disarmament.

      • Liz Coughlin

        I have a right to get married, but I had to get a license and take some blood tests. I have a right to drive a car as long as I can register it, insure it, pass the exam, and “do no harm” with it. I have a right to go hunting and fishing as long as I get a license and follow the rules. Why should gun ownership be any different?

        • missiledefender

          You do NOT have a constitutionally secured right to get married or drive a car. We DO have a constitutionally secured right to own fire arms. No one tells you who you may marry, what kind of car that you may own, how many times that you can marry or how many kinds of cars that you can own. HOWEVER, people presume that you can tell me that I can own a fire arm, what caliber, type, how many or how many bullets it can have in the magazine.
          I never said anything about firearms ownership not being regulated by rules and there being a free for all.
          I am a Libertarian or a Jeffersonian Liberal, you may do what you want, just don’t interfere with my rights or hurt anyone.

          • Trl2222

            Hey missiledefender, there is no way you are former law enforcement or a soldier. And our rights as Americans do not come solely from the constitution. You mention that we can do what we want as long as we don’t interfere with your rights or hurt anyone. So can we inject you with drugs so you die slowly? It wouldn’t hurt.

          • missiledefender

            I am former Civ LEO and am current military, sorry to disapoint. Our RIGHTS do not come from the Constitution or any other document or form of government. As is says in the Declaration of Independence: “…. that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” GOD has given us rights, not man or any form of government.

            Yes, as a Libertarian, I believe that people have the right to do as they wish. AS LONG AS THEY DONT HURT ANYONE.

            So, injecting me with ANYTHING would be against my will and would hurt me.

            Thank you for demonstrating your grasp of the law, history and Libertarianism.

  • Margaret

    I also ordered a pin. It shows I understand that well regulated Militia now exist in the form of the military and police – which did not exist at the time the amendment was written. These eliminate the need for average citizens, untrained in the ways of weapons, to own them in defense of our nation. Unless you’re afraid the armed forces will turn against unarmed citizens. In which case, a .38 won’t do much good against a drone anyway.

    • ahorvath

      More nonsense. The Military and the police have never replaced the Militia, which still exists under Federal and State laws. Furthermore, the US Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms regardless of Militia affiliation. As to you comment about armed civilians being useless against an out of control military, you need to study your history. The last time the government sent out the military to confiscate people’s guns was on April 19, 1775. It turned out badly for the government. It got its a$$ kicked big time and was removed from power. The government officials and their supporters had to flee the Country. Those who would be stupid enough to repeat that mistake should keep in mind that fleeing may not be an option next time.

      • Rustyshackleford

        Your argument is that a war (wherein gun confiscation was NOT the main catalyst) over 200 years ago,against a force that didn’t know the region and used outdated tactics is the same as if todays military confiscated civilian guns? The military is far better equipped&trained. The only thing saving civilians in that instance would be the military’s desire to avoid innocent casualties-otherwise you’d lose quickly to aerial bombings and mechanized infantry.

        • missiledefender

          Tell that to the Revolutionary Soldier who was a farmer that armed themselves against the largest and best trained army in the world at the time. Tell that to the Viet Cong, Iraqi or Afgani Insurgents that they can not fight against a larger, better equipped or trained military. Drones or mechanized infantry will loose against a dedicated enemy.

    • jbird

      When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

      • missiledefender

        Order a pizza and dial 911, see who shows up FIRST.
        The Police have NO duty to protect individuals. We ARE on our own

  • Jen K

    I’m in! What was the militia is now the National Guard. Thousands of US civilians demonstrate daily that they cannot be trusted with firearms. Thousands more can be, but I’d rather be safe than sorry, and ALL the research shows that guns do NOT make us safe.

    • ahorvath

      You know ZERO about guns, the Constitution, the Militia or the National Guard.

      Title 10 Section 311 of the US Code (1903) defines the Militia as the Regulated Militia of the States, and the Unregulated Militia, all able bodied males over the age of 17. Furthermore, the Supreme Court (whose opinions count) has ruled that the Second Amendment protects a preexisting individual right to keep and bear arms, regardless of Militia affiliation. You are on the wrong side of history and the facts. Ignorance is no excuse.

      • Mike McGettigan

        Ah, so it’s a pre-existing condition and it’s not covered!

    • jbird

      Can you cite said “research”?

      • missiledefender

        There was no “Title 10” in Colonial America, nothing known as the National Guard/Naval Militia during that time period either. This is the current Title 10.

        10 U.S. Code § 311 – Militia: composition and classes

        (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

        (b) The classes of the militia are—

        (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

        (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.
        The 2nd Amendment:
        A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
        There are two entities listed here: the “militia” (Organized Militia) and “the PEOPLE”. That’s you and me. I have the right to be as properly armed as any Infantryman. That’s a pistol and a M4, select fire rifle if I so wish.
        The “assault rifle” of 1776 was a musket, today it is a M4 Rifle.
        I am a Soldier as well, I will and have fought to protect your and my rights.
        Including your right to disagree and your freedom of speech. All of the rights are interconnected. You cant have one without the others.
        If you don’t like guns, don’t own one. Don’t tell me I cant or define the type.
        We’re sending AK47s to terrorist groups in Syria but I cant own (not without serious paperwork and expense) the same gun (a full automatic AK) that we’re sending to the Syrian Terrorists fighting against Assad.
        Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, People.

        • maverickk714

          You know that when the Bill of Rights were written, a gun consisted of a musket. So I propose that all citizens have the right to carry a musket….

          • missiledefender

            The “musket” was the top of firearms development at the time. Actually, the Colonists had RIFLED barrels and the British Army had smooth bore muskets. Technically, the colonists were better armed then the Army so, I propose that I should be as well armed or better armed than a Infantryman.

    • missiledefender

      The National Guard is NOT the Militia. The Militia is UNREGULATED CIVILIANS, NOT TROOPS. Please read a history book

  • Sarah Sydney

    Thank you Ms. Hingston. You articulated exactly how I feel about this issue, and I signed up for my pin. It’s time to stop being silent about this. I hope we can turn “One” into “Many.” We owe it to the memory of all those who have been lost so senselessly and to all those we could possibly save in the future.

  • Tom Murin

    If only….Spare me. Gun violence is down significantly in the past 25 years. Of course, you’d never know it if you read the MSM, or puff pieces like this. Who wants “reasonable” gun control from the people that brought you Obamacare? Do you even know that the current laws are? I live in NJ and you must get an ID card for a rifle or shotgun (or BB gun) and a separate permit for each and every pistol. I don’t think any of the folks killing each other in Camden went through this process.

  • Pookiedook

    I grew up with gun nuts and I do feel that wearing a pin for gun control is like asking to be shot. I feel safer calling my representatives, emailing them, and twittering. Then some gun nut is going to have to do a lot more work to try and silence me than simply to see the pin, aim, and POP.

    • missiledefender

      I don’t want to silence you. You have your opinion, I have mine. If you don’t want to own a gun or carry one, fine. Please, don’t tell me that I cant, regulate the types that I can own etc. Gun owners are the LEAST violent group as well. No ones going to shoot you because of a pin that you’re wearing. Paranoia anyone?

      • Pookiedook

        You boss me around, tell me what I can and can’t say to you, what I can and can’t regulate, and call me paranoid. Sounds like bullying? Yet in the same post, say you don’t want to silence me and you’re not going to shoot me. Schitzophrenic anyone? Or just bi-polar? Either way, a quick and easy killing weapon might not be in the best of responsible hands of someone so self-contradicting.

        • missiledefender

          Uh, what part of “you have your opinion, I have mine” did you misunderstand?
          I said that if you didn’t want to own one, then don’t. You don’t have the right to regulate MY rights.
          That’s bullying, no. Hardly.
          You are the one that believes that a gun owner will shoot you because you wore that pin. I believe the paranoia is on your end, not mine.
          Please, explain how and where I was “self-contradicting”?

          • Pookiedook

            Who’s paranoid if they feel they need to be constantly able to take away someone else’s life just to be able to walk around, be in their home, live their life? Sorry, but I can’t make it any simpler…

          • missiledefender

            I carry a pistol every day, because I have to for my line of work and it’s my Mitzvah (religious duty) to defend myself, my family and my community. I don’t carry the gun out of paranoia, it’s because I’ve seen bad people do bad things. I will not be or allow others to be a victim.
            Are you saying all Soldiers and ALL Law Enforcement are paranoid? That’s a bold statement.

          • Pookiedook

            I respect your work if it is required or highly dangerous and the basis of your Mitzvah. I disagree that it’s necessary or even appropriate to go to the extreme of having the constant ability to take someone else’s life just to defend your family and community. Really, are you, your family and community under that extreme a threat to your lives just going about your everyday business? Really? I doubt it.
            Soldiers who go into battle specifically to kill, and law enforcement officers specifically, highly trained and constantly retrained in gun safety, marksmanship, to use it only as a last resort, and how to judge when the last resort has inarguably arrived, even under the most stressful and life-threatening of situations, are the only people safe enough to be vested with the enormous responsibility of carrying around the ability to constantly, quickly, and easily take someone else’s life in their daily comings and goings.
            Without such judgment training, situational training and repeated practice, it is tempting to feel more powerful with a gun than one would without one, as well as to unintentionally exaggerate a perceived threat to be more than it realistically is, and more than one would judge it to be if they were without a gun. And don’t even try to accuse me of having no experience with guns. I have it, I grew up with many gun enthusiasts, and I am very familiar with this feeling in myself and many others around me.
            These two psychological factors combined make for a higher risk to others’ lives than is safe, reasonable, or necessary. People without enough training to be able to admit and appropriately control their own feelings of inflated power, be vigilant of their own temptation to perceive an inflated risk while carrying, and be 100% trusted to make the best decision for all in the situation, 100% of the time, just aren’t well equipped enough to be able to handle all the responsibility that it takes to walk around with the ability to take human life at any moment.
            And that’s what it takes when you’re talking shooting with a gun. 100% clarity, judgment. Anything less is not OK because it means one human takes another human’s life! It is never an accident, it’s irresponsible, and a threat to all other innocent people who come within shooting range of the carrying person. I can’t believe it’s not illegal.
            Humans grow, change, evolve, and have changing emotions. It happens to even the best of us. Anyone who doesn’t have a healthy fear of guns in the hands of normal, changeable, emotional humans is either stupid or oblivious. Ok maybe guns don’t kill without people. Well people don’t kill nearly as easily without guns. But combine a gun together with a person, and you have a risk of being killed. It’s not paranoia, it’s simple undeniable fact.

          • missiledefender

            I am in the military and in law enforcement, yes it is necessary for me to carry a firearm daily. However, I would even if I wasn’t. I’ve seen it go bad for people here and in other countries because the bad guys are armed and have no compunction in committing violent acts against weaker, older or more peaceful people. There are animals (wolfs) out there that look at some of us as sheep to be devoured. I am a sheep dog, not a sheep.
            As a HRT Trained officer, I have been trained to make certain decisions. However, this training is available to the general public. Because a “civilian” is untrained, that does not negate the need for them to be armed and if needed, take the life of an attacker. Someone who has made the decision to be armed should know the law and when they may use their weapon. That additional training is on the person. If they don’t, that’s on them and they will get into trouble. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.
            Are there “cowboys” that go out “looking for trouble”? Sure, but not a preponderance of the lawfully armed civilians. I’m not going to go to Camden at three in the morning, swinging a gold fobbed watch, in a suit, hoping, wishing that someone comes out at me.
            Just because someone owns a gun, it doesn’t make them paranoid or a spaz that wants to shoot someone. That’s a big leap. Because you own a car doesn’t lead me to believe that you WANT to speed. It’s a bit of a stretch.
            I have been downtown in center city and had someone pull a switchblade on me and say, “Give me you f&*king wallet!”. I (luckily) had a .45 pistol, he had a knife. Guess who won that one? AND, luckily it was me and not a unarmed person. I didn’t take the shot, could have, maybe should have. But, I didn’t. He dropped the knife and ran. I got a nifty souvenir outta it.

          • missiledefender

            I don’t fear guns, I have a hefty respect for them. I’ve dropped “the hammer” on other human beings. I know what they will do.
            You are correct, it is the person and their intent. I just cant and wont blame a inanimate object like the gun. It is a tool. I don’t blame spoons for fat people of pencils for misspelled words. I blame people for their misdeeds. It’s simple, you hurt someone and your in the wrong, you get jail time or worse. Criminals fear a armed person, they aren’t victims. Criminals want victims. I love my community too much to allow it’s citizens to be victims. Not on my watch.

          • Pookiedook

            Surprisingly, now that we have maturely discussed a bit, we agree on a lot. You’ve had the kind of training I feel should be obtained by all those wishing to carry while not on military or law enforcement duty. Thank you for your service to this great country. My gratitude runs deep and sincere. I have an amazing amount of respect for you especially for your HRT training and duties. You, sir, are the LAST person I would ever want to be unarmed, even while off duty, as we would all be way worse off if you were.
            Thank you on behalf of the flock for being a sheep dog. I only wish everyone who also thinks they’re a sheep dog would have the guts to admit what’s true about the human psyche and take the kind of training you have. And then I wish that serious liability and consequences would fall on them for any misjudgments they make with their gun resulting in the death of an innocent. Too often the “cowboys” shoot first and ask questions later and get no consequences. Even the most sensible of us untrained humans can naturally and easily fear a higher threat than actually exists and make a grave, wrong decision. Even one innocent death this way is too many.
            We agree even about the fear of inanimate objects. Quite exactly what I said when I said one without the other is not much of a threat, but that the two combined is life-threatening: a human and a gun, especially an un- or under-trained/unpredictable human with a killing inanimate object. It’s that combination that I fear.
            We were talking about wearing a pin that identifies me as against-the-gun, though. When out alone or alone with my kids, if a guy with a gun and criminal intent sees a woman like me with a pin and another woman without one, which one do you think he’s going to go for? The pin identifies me as unarmed. Criminals fear an armed person and want victims. The pin makes him pick me.
            OK different scenario. Guy with a gun who thinks he’s a sheep dog too but unlike you, he’s more of a cowboy and hasn’t had training in fearful/stressful decision-making. What he does know is that the law is very lenient on shooters. Like some of my friends back home, he values his guns more than the lives of others, even his family, even his own life. How much do you think he values the life of a stranger? Now add a pin to this stranger that he perceives threatens to take away his gun that is more precious to him than life. He thinks about, wants to, and very easily could, shoot me, make it look like an accident, and get away with it with how lax the law is these days, plea bargaining, overcrowded prisons, and good lawyers.
            With the recent run-up on gun sales, there are many more guns out there now than two years ago. It’s hard enough to trust with my life all strangers I encounter who may be carrying when I’m out in public not to make me the next innocent random “accidental?” shooting victim of whom we see so many on the news. So I definitely don’t want to do something beyond, to TEMPT them to even think about wanting to remove the threat to their life/gun that they see me as.

          • missiledefender

            Honestly in my opinion, a “responsible firearm owner” seeks and continues to seek the best in training, continuously. Training in tactics and gaining the full understanding of the law and deadly force application is an essential aspect of firearm ownership and street carry. Luckily, I’ve had that training. I don’t expect “civilians” (hate using that term), lets say, NON LEO Personnel, to have the same level of training as me. It’s not realistic. My training cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
            Now, the lack of training doesn’t mean that a Non LEO cant or shouldn’t carry a pistol to defend themselves.
            We all didn’t have “drivers ed” before we first drove or owned a car. Maybe we could have, should have, but didn’t. That doesn’t mean that a person can act recklessly or use their car inappropriately, it doesn’t mean that they will either, just because they had this training either. I’ve worked with Soldiers and LEOs that have misused their firearm. These were “allegedly” trained, and professional Soldiers/Coppers and they still did silliness. We carry often and this constant exposure to weapons makes many Soldiers/LEOs complacent pertaining to the safety their firearms. Most Accidental Discharges that I’ve seen or people having guns pointed at them when they shouldn’t have pointed a weapon was committed by LEOs/Soldiers.
            I dunno about a criminal looking for a pin and you “jumping on the grenade” and “taking one for the team”. I’m not sure if it would work like that. I want to live in a world where criminals are afraid to do anything to anyone. In states that have Concealed Carry Laws, criminals think twice, you might be armed, you might have pepper spray, you might have a knife, never know. Or, you might live in NYC or somewhere, where it’s illegal to have those same items and the wolves run the streets. Armed Citizens have even aided Police. I have, I added two Deputy Sheriffs arrest a home invader, they LOVED that I had my pistol on the guy and was holding them for them just to “cuff up”.
            I can assure you, the law is not kind to those who “cowboy up” and do something silly. Remember how people went after Zimmerman? I’m not saying he was right or wrong

          • missiledefender

            Just remember how he was treated by the press, the Police and the Courts. He was treated far from kindly and even after being found (rightly or wrongly, I’m not gonna comment about the shooting) innocent of the charges. Again, even if your right and you shoot someone, you’re going to have to explain it in the courts (criminal and civil courts) but that’s after, you get arrested, processed, hire a lawyer and get run through the wringer.
            I’m sure the person that you are talking about holds his guns in a higher regard than his own family. If he does, that’s sad. It’s on him. Most gun owners don’t hold an object above their family.
            The upsurge in firearms sales and people carrying weapons actually proves my point. For a decade or so, people have bought more guns and are carrying them more, right? However, you don’t hear about all of the accidents and “road rage” shootings and all of the other bad things that politicians said that there would be. You can Google the FBI stats on it. So, working the percentages, were not seeing a uptick in “accidents” or “violent crime” even with the massive uptick in firearm ownership. Seriously, just Google it. Don’t take my word for it.
            Last thought: Someone who buys a gun at a gun shop, takes training, fills out their paperwork, gets a carry permit (concealed) or carries openly (yep it’s legal to carry openly in PA) is less likely to commit a crime. It’s scary if your uncomfortable around guns. We, have been told for decades that they’re bad, they’re not. It’s fun actually to go to a shooting range and shoot targets. Nothing gets the heart pumping like firing a full auto. Try it out. Go to the local gun shop and ask if you can get training or even rent a gun and try one out. If you don’t want to, that’s okay. I’m not gonna push it on you.
            SSG Sheep Dog Out

          • Pookiedook

            I agree about what a responsible firearm owner does. They are not the ones I’m worried about. Too many will not bother if not required to, especially since training costs money. So maybe they don’t need your extreme level of training, but some version of it that stresses the law and unquestionable determination of the need for deadly force, along with strict enforcement of the law, needs to be required, or too many won’t bother.

            Although I’m distraught at the fact that several with your training level made mistakes, misused their firearms, and did silliness, I’m prone to forgive them since they are as expert as any human can get. I can understand how complacency can happen when you carry so much of the time. At least they’ve done way more to be careful and respect the death guns can cause than the cowboys and self-appointed yet untrained sheep dogs. Not to disgrace the good intentions of these hero wannabe’s, it’s just they haven’t been educated enough to even realize or be able to admit all the psychological effects that guns have on people—that they cause people to feel and behave more aggressively than they would without one…

            I didn’t mean I would take one for the team and be the hero. I’m not nearly that honorable. :-( I meant my pin would make them attack me first and I don’t want that. But I agree on wanting to live in a world where criminals are afraid to do anything. I just don’t think more guns in general will accomplish that. Keep guns in the hands of the right people, and make it harder for the wrong people to get guns. How? Only a few new laws, not many. Mostly just stricter enforcement of current laws and perhaps a few stiffer penalties.

            I love your story of the home invader. Wish you were my neighbor when my home had its attempted burglary!

            About my friend who values his gun more than his family’s life, let alone his own, OMG, I have SEVERAL friends like that! Ask them who in their family would have to get killed by a gun in order for them to want something to be done about it, they all say “ME.” Not even the one guy’s baby son. Or the other guy’s grand-baby-daughter that he babysits every day. Cold dead fingers all the way, all of them.

            George Zimmerman case was blown out of proportion because of the race issue. Which I don’t think it was race because this guy is Hispanic anyway not white. I think he’s just a cowboy too anxious to be a hero and got overzealous from an exaggerated perception of danger. Again with the training in determining the time for deadly force—because the last resort of deadly force is usually not actually appropriate until way after you first think it’s time…

            But I AM hearing more lately about more gun incidents and accidents. Took your advice and Googled it, but the FBI stats aren’t arranged by weapon, so it’s not very telling. Did find a few sites though that said homicide by gun is up 1.1%. Must admit that’s not much. But I can’t be OK with ANY domestic gun deaths of innocents!

            The only reason I’m uncomfortable around guns is how little effort it takes to kill with them. Remember I said I grew up with gun nuts and have shot guns. I have shot targets, cans on stumps, pumpkins, beer bottles on rocks, and groundhogs in farmers’ fields. Shot old fashioned six-shooters with quite a kick, little “purse pistols” with much more power and less kick, a rifle that bruised my shoulder, a .22, and a shotgun that knocked me on my ass. I’ve felt that rush of power. I think it’s a dangerous feeling when combined with a weapon that can kill so quickly and easily. And that’s in even myself, and I have very high self-control. Someone else with not so good of self-control? Especially one who is reluctant to admit that they get that rush and it’s tempting? I don’t trust ’em with a ten foot pole, let alone my life.

            Must admit I would like to see what it’s like to shoot an AR-15 though. My State Trooper friend says it’s got less kick than a BB gun. To unload a 30 round clip with a fully automatic might just make me explode adrenaline. It’s like a drug and I’m afraid to get addicted as I see what it’s done to my friends who now value their guns more than their lives…

            OK SSG sheep dog/FBI HRT/Missile Defender, thank you for your kind interaction. It has been a learning pleasure. Again I give a full attention salute and a thank you to you for your service to this country. Words hardly seem adequate to express this. Peace out – Pookiedook

          • missiledefender

            The real problem is that the ones that youre worried about are the criminals. They don’t abide by the law so, they wont take the training. Seriously, most gun owners are very responsible. Most seek training, even if they aren’t required to. There are several civilian training academy’s, they teach the “civilians”. “Civilians” seek them out and spend big bucks. The gang banger isn’t gonna. They learn their firearm safety from movies and TV.

            For a concealed carry permit, there’s a level of training that you need. Just Google the PA Concealed Carry Requirements.

            Individuals who are 21 years of age or older and are NOT Pennsylvania residents may apply for a license by submitting a completed Application for a Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms to any Pennsylvania County Sheriff’s office along with the required fee. A Pennsylvania license cannot be issued to a resident of another state who does not possess a current license or permit or similar document to carry a firearm issued by their home state if a license is provided for by the laws of that state, as published annually in the Federal Register by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms of the Department of the Treasury.

            The sheriff has 45 days to conduct an investigation to determine an individual’s eligibility to be issued a license. Included in the investigation is a background check conducted on the individual through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) to determine if the records indicate the individual is prohibited by law. In accordance with 18 PA C.S. §6109, a sheriff may deny an individual the right to a License to Carry Firearms if there is reason to believe that the character and reputation of the individual are such that they would be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety.

            If the PICS check is approved and the subject is of good character, the sheriff may issue a License to Carry Firearms. The issuance of a License to Carry Firearms allows individuals to carry a firearm concealed on or about their person, or in a vehicle throughout this Commonwealth. The license is valid for a period of five (5) years unless sooner revoked.

            So, it’s not that easy just to carry concealed. It’s costly, there are background checks and you have to get “okaydoked” by the local Sheriff. If he/she doesn’t think that you have questionable character.
            Seriously, a mugger isn’t going to look for a pin and say, “OHHH, here’s one”.
            We can write more laws, the only ones that follow them are law abiding people. The drug laws are a good example. Drugs are illegal, you cant get them ANYWHERE, right? Two people will always have guns, cops and criminals.
            Well, I wish your neighbor or possibly you were armed, more GOOD people need to be armed and trained. Again, the cops cant be everywhere and I don’t want to live in a Police State. My fathers family escaped Germany. Two things went badly for them: no guns (Jews couldn’t own guns) and a Police State.
            I’m not happy about a 1.1% increase, but look at how many more guns have been LEGALLY purchased. Those homicides are criminal acts that no law could have prevented. I’d like to live in a crime and violence free world, it’s just not gonna happen. Again, it’s illegal to speed, spit on the sidewalk and do drugs, right? No one EVER does that.
            My rush is from the fun. It’s fun to shoot a gun. The “power thrill” is going to come from people with criminal intent. Again, we cant legislate crime or criminal intent.

          • missiledefender

            I understand your position. I just don’t want us (as a society) to blame anyone but the criminal for crime.
            When they commit crime and hurt people, lets lock em up for a looooong time.
            Be safe, keep your powder dry.
            Sheep Dog, out

  • Anne P.

    It would be nice to read an article on gun control that did not rely on name calling, fallacies and judgements. I used to believe intelligent debate and compromise regarding guns was possible. Irresponsible rags like this make me think otherwise.

  • jbird

    I’d like a pin. Will make nice target practice.

    • missiledefender

      Remember, Gun Control is using BOTH hands

  • jbird
  • a1sprinter

    This article is an example of poorly researched liberal intolerance. Ms. Hingston has employed several of Saul Alinsky’s “12 Rules for Radicals” in this piece and takes the approach that if you don’t think as she does then you are not as smart, patriotic, etc. as she is. At least the magazine has the sense to put it under the “Crankcase” banner so we know this is not intended to be taken as serious journalism. Had she conducted real research she might have read the Federalist Papers where the Founding Fathers discussed the purpose of the Second Amendment – to allow an armed citizenry as a counterbalance to government tyranny. Had she checked her facts she might had found out that gun ownership is in decline – only 34% of US households own a gun (NY Times). Or that the gun homicide rate is almost half of what it was 20 years ago – 3.6% per 100,000 (Pew). Pew also gives several explanations for this drop: aging of the baby boomers, higher incarceration rates, better access to abortions, and less exposure to lead. Not gun control. The CDC also states that the mortality rate due to falling is more than double gun deaths at 8.4% per 100,000. The CDC cites cars as the cause of over 33,000 deaths in 2011. But cars are “regulated” you say; so are guns. You can not buy a gun in PA without a background check. How many of the violent crimes are committed with a legally owned gun? Newtown would not have been prevented by more gun control – nor would any future similar incident. The shooter killed his mother and STOLE her guns. Possibly you might want to promote the inclusion of mental health data in the background check database but you would have to get around HIPAA first.
    Our country was founded on an idea – liberty. I have no problem if you wish to surrender your Constitutional rights but please allow me to enjoy mine. The Second Amendment is the final measure that protects the rest of the Constitution.
    By the way I am not a gun owner. Also I graduated summa cum laude, served my country (did you?), do not vote based on party or single issue, built and sold two businesses. I can count and know that you can use numbers to make any point (see above). So I am not an idiot or crazy or a racist but I am an old, white, overweight guy but then again you are an old (the kids are in college), white, overweight (unless your BMI is under 20) gal who obviously likes to label people. You might want to stick to writing about what you know best – your family.

  • Used to be undecided

    Thank you so much for this article. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through the trouble of buying a firearm and I truly wasn’t sure if I wanted to join the NRA. Yet when I read this arrogant tripe from this “progressive,” I was immediately convinced that arming myself and joining the NRA was the right thing to do. (By the by, I’m young, fit, and educated.) If someone wants to voluntarily keep themselves unprotected in an increasingly violent society, that’s your right. Thank Heaven my rights still include arming myself and keeping my family safe.

    • missiledefender

      Join Jews For the Preservation of Firearms too.
      Authoritarians prefer unarmed subjects.

  • mbd53

    This article is fabulous, Sandy, and I will wear one of your buttons. It’s time for people to start standing up to these wackos. I particularly liked your comment about how afraid we’ve become to stand up for what is right in this country. Maybe if some of these wackos had children at Sandy Hook, they’d feel differently. Or maybe we all need to carry guns to protect ourselves from the NRA! They are the people to be afraid of.

    • missiledefender

      OR, maybe if teachers were allowed to carry at Sandy Hook, more children would have been saved. The Theater Shooting? ANOTHER Victim Disarmament Zone. The theater didn’t want people to carry so, disarmed victims of armed criminals. Take the guns? Google: China mass stabbing. See what you’ll get. Lets ban knives while we’re at it. Please, move to North Korea

      • Mike McGettigan

        Oh, such a stupid comment. Even in wartime, most people do not use guns to good effect. Ditto for police–who are trained and around “action” much more than grade school teachers or the guys who sweep up at theaters. Cling to your fantasy that guns are useful.

        • missiledefender

          As a Soldier and former Law Enforcement Officer, quote your facts. Where are you getting this information? Have you not seen civilian police spraying down Times Square on YouTube? When did you hear about armed civilians doing that?
          Stop being racists, gun laws were developed to keep guns out of the hands of minorities and continues to be pushed in high crime predominately minority areas. Voting for gun control is voting for hurting minorities. Look up the facts before you spout junk that you quote from one of your Sociallist handlers.

  • Sanfranlin

    Great article. I am tired of the gun-nuts. We have 300 million guns in this country and that is why our rate of gun violence is higher than in any other civilized/developed country on this planet. Most of these nuts are paranoid little boys who are so terrified of their own shadow that they have to arm themselves to the teeth in order to feel safe.

    • missiledefender
      • missiledefender

        This will show that England with NO Civilian Ownership of Firearms, has the HIGHEST crime rate (Violent and Nonviolent) in the EU. That shoots your “our crime rate of gun violence is higher” theory. Oh, England has the highest GUN CRIME RATE too.
        The Police have no duty to protect YOU, individually. Only YOU have the duty to protect yourself. If you don’t like guns, don’t buy or carry one. Don’t depend on the government to protect you, they wont. Katrina, anyone remember that? The cops did NOTHING to protect people, they raided homes in order to take guns. Not just in the flooded areas too. They raided homes in the “safe” areas and took guns. Go to youtube and just put in: Katrina, police, gun confiscation.

  • missiledefender

    People kill people, we’ve been doing it for a few years even BEFORE there were firearms. England has the highest crime rate in the EU and there is no LEGAL firearms ownership.
    Guns SAVE lives.

    • melancholyman

      One is not necessarily related to with the other, Missledefender: car theft, prostitution, burglary, etc. are also crimes and do not usually involve firearms. The U.K.’s crime rate may be the highest in the EU (what is your source for that claim?), but gun violence is statistically insignificant because of stricter gun control laws. In every country that has enacted more stringent gun control laws (e.g. the U.K., Germany, Australia, Sweden, to name but a few) gun-related violence and crimes have dropped dramatically. The simple fact is that, compared to the rest of the free world, we Americans are a bloodthirsty lot. High time we grew up and realized this ain’t Dodge City anymore. And, please come up with something better than “Move to North Korea”. That’s a B.S. cop-out.

      • missiledefender
        • missiledefender

          A 2009 Telegraph article dubbed the U.K. The “violent crime capital of Europe,” noting the country had one of the highest reported violence rates in the world, a per capita rate worse than South Africa, Australia, and yes, even America.

          Yet, private possession of semi-automatic weapons and handguns is prohibited in the U.K. If firearm laws and gun prohibition stop crime, how can this be possible?

          Not only is the rate of rape in England and Wales per 100,000 people higher than in the U.S., but the U.S. rate has been dropping over the past seven years while the rape rates in the U.K. have risen each year for the last four. The U.K.’s Crime in England and Wales 2010/11 report recorded 45,326 serious sexual offenses, though the report notes these types of crimes are typically under-reported.

          Violent crime in the U.K. increased six percent during 2010/11, but the increase was not considered “statistically significant.” The U.K. Also reported 32,714 serious knife offenses in 2010/11, although knife crimes are not required to be reported there the same way gun crimes are, so that figure may not reflect the true number.

          Robberies at knifepoint have apparently become a common news item in the U.K. Just a few weeks ago, a pregnant woman was stabbed during a knifepoint car robbery when she attempted to get into a cab in East London. The following week, a man was stabbed for his headphones during a robbery in Gloucester skate park. Prior to Thanksgiving, a man was found stabbed to death in an East London petrol station, and another man was stabbed in the stomach during an attempted robbery of his cell phone as he walked through Victoria Park, Ashford that same month. These are just a few examples.

          If gun control — where law-abiding citizens are not allowed to own guns to protect themselves from criminals — automatically equaled less crime, shouldn’t England’s crime rates be much lower?

          In 2000, George Soros’ Open Society Institute released a report it dubbed “the first comprehensive state-by-state look at gun laws in the United States.” The institute compared every state’s gun laws systematically and gave states negative scores to indicate limited gun control laws or what the institute considered to be “undermining” federal law minimum standards. This report claimed that Massachusetts had the best gun control laws in the nation, while Maine had the absolute worst.

          Unless something has changed substantially in the last decade, the FBI’s latest crime statistics show that Maine actually had the fewest violent crimes and aggravated assaults of any state in the nation last year, while Massachusetts was 12th highest for aggravated assaults and 15th highest for violent crimes.

          Statistics also show that half of all firearm deaths in the U.S. are actually suicides. More guns are fired during suicides than during homicides in America.

          While Morgan and other anti-gun advocates throw out the single statistic of less gun crime in the U.K., the rest of the statistics cannot simply be ignored to manipulate an argument.

          No correlation between gun ownership and murder has been found, and data does not show that an assault weapons ban would magically stop — or even decrease — mass shootings. In fact, when the assault weapons ban was previously in place from 1994 to 2004, mass shootings actually showed a slight increase.

          Connecticut already has an assault weapons ban in place, and for a weapon to be considered “semi-automatic” simply means one bullet is fired each time the trigger is pulled; the majority of guns in use today are semi-automatic.

          Adam Lanza reportedly tried to buy a gun legally in the days prior to the Connecticut school massacre, but he was refused for failing to wait for the 14-day background check. The guns Lanza used in the shooting were allegedly stolen from his mother.

          Connecticut’s anti-gun laws did not stop the school shooting. All of these new gun control requirements Senator Feinstein plans to introduce requiring fingerprinting, photo identification, and enhanced background checks would not have stopped what happened at Sandy Hook that day.

          The majority of gun crimes are not committed by law-abiding gun owners. Criminals commit crimes. Laws punish criminals — they do not prevent crime. History shows these anti-gun laws, however, will punish law-abiding citizens as well.

          • missiledefender

            These are collected only every “X” amount of years. New numbers will come out this year

          • missiledefender

            How is the UK GOVERNMENTS actual statistics “biased”. Who runs that site that you quote from? I’ll put money on it, pro gun control groups. Look at their own numbers, gun ownership up, gun crimes down. I only use governments own numbers and nothing “baked” by pro or anti gun groups. Don’t go for “character assassinations” either, talk facts.
            That’s like me saying that youre a racist because you support a policy that hurts minorities because gun laws were first written to keep newly freed slaves unarmed and they continue to be pushed and enforced in high crime, urban areas mainly lived in by, minorities. Why are you such a racist?

          • melancholyman

            Sorry, Missiledefender, but I give about as much credence to Alex Jones as I do to Keith Olberman. Try a little less biased source:

  • Ellen

    I think one pf the points of the article is supported by the comments here. There are very few people who support unregulated gun purchasing but they are VERY vocal. I am happy that people have the right to purchase guns I just don’t see how background checks will be a detriment to legal gun ownership. Is it really so terrible to have to fill out some paperwork and wait a bit before you can get your hands on a gun?

  • Newtown_Twenty_6

    Sandy – You go girl! Send me a bunch. Next time perhaps you’ll write about divesting in gun manufacturers which is the group funding the NRA. All of you investors who’d like to know if your portfolios contain any of these stocks, go to If Vanguard is managing any of your money, you might be surprised to know Vanguard has 230 million dollars invested in gun/ammunition manufacturers.

  • PhillyTru

    Sure, you wear a pin that makes you feel good, and I’ll carry a compact .40 cal. We’ll see who survives an attempted murder…

  • Ramona Moreland

    I’ve sent for my pin, Sandy, after just having read your article. This past month, a retired, well-armed, highly trained police captain – a veritable poster child for responsible gun ownership – shot another theater patron for texting. OMG! The shooter took it upon himself to use deadly force to resolve a minor problem, an annoyance! I do not want to take away anyone’s guns, but it’s getting to the point where you don’t know if your actions are going to set someone off who may conclude that shooting you is the only answer.