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Guns are Not the REASONS For the Mass Shootings

Guns are Not the REASONS For the Mass Shootings

We should all be able to agree that the United States has a unique problem in terms of seemingly senseless mass shootings – defined as where four or more individuals are killed or wounded in a single event. It is a serious problem that needs to be addressed in a serious manner.

We should also be able to agree that the vast majority of reported mass shootings are not senseless.  We can know and understand the reasons – even as we deplore those reasons.  Many are related to gang warfare.  Others relate to domestic violence.  Some are based on workplace anger.  Some are terrorist related.  Others are expressions of hate toward racial or religious groups.

The mass shootings that are the most shocking – and get the most media attention – are those that are directed randomly at innocent people, especially children.  We call those senseless because we cannot comprehend why anyone would do such a thing.  At the same time, we know there are reasons.

Those on the left place great emphasis on THE GUN.  We all should be able to agree that the gun is never the REASON for the killing.  It is merely the instrument.  It takes the human brain to reason – to have a motive.  Guns do not have motives and they cannot reason – at least until they acquire Artificial Intelligence (AI).  Then, we may have to look at the gun as a perpetrator.  Until then, the emphasis needs to be on … the shooter.

There is nothing wrong with regulating the possession and use of weapons.  Automatic weapons – one trigger squeeze releases a constant flow of bullets – are currently illegal.  There is no operational difference between the semi-automatic (one bullet per squeeze) AR-15 and a basic hunting or target rifle.  How can you ban one without banning the other?  That is the conundrum legislators face.

But there are restrictions that can be placed on rifles (and pistols) generally.  In the past, I have supported outlawing bump stocks that essentially turn a semi-automatic rifle into an automatic rifle.  I think background checks are a good Idea – which means some sort of registration.  

There are two views as to whether a gun owner should be licensed or the owner AND the individual guns. I tend to favor the former since guns are traceable from the point of purchase – or at least should be.  That means guns would have to be legally transferred if privately sold or given away – even if inherited.  That would be similar to how we handle car ownership.  I need a driver’s license no matter how many cars I own, but the cars are licensed individually.

Age restrictions on the purchase of a gun is already a fact.  The issue is establishing the proper age.  The legal age of the majority is 18.  That seems reasonable.  Restriction on purchasing does not mean a restriction on usage.  Younger children traditionally engage in target shooting and hunting with family and friends.  Competitive shooting is a sport and an Olympic event in which participants start training at an earlier age.  Should there be a different usage age restriction?  Possibly.

There are features that do distinguish the AR-15 style riffles.  They are designed to carry clips with scores of bullets.  I can see no legitimate recreational or protective use of a gun that would necessitate many rounds being fired without changing the magazine.  I would limit the magazines to 10 or 12 bullets.  That is only a small reform since a lot of carnage and be committed with a dozen bullets – and changing magazines is a matter of seconds.  But any reduction in firepower is helpful on the margin.

I would also outlaw the bullets that do the most harm on impact.  There is no doubt that some mass shooting victims would have survived had it not been for the extreme injuries caused by the most lethal bullets.  Standard bullets should suffice for competitive shooting, hunting, and protection.

However, all the aforementioned proposed restrictions will have little impact on mass shootings because the gun is not the shooter.  They may make us feel good, but do not do a lot of good to mitigate the problem.  In many cases, the deadly use of a gun – mass killings or more limited murders – is committed with an illegal gun.  We are not doing nearly enough to get the illegally possessed guns off the streets and out of the homes.

So much for THE GUN.

We should all be able to agree that the gun is not the reason for the killings.  It is never the motive.  No gun has ever committed a crime.  The real problem is the shooter.

There are millions and millions of guns in the homes of millions and millions of people – and the vast majority are responsible citizens who pose no threat to others – with the possible exception of criminals.

I am not sure if we need more or harsher penalties for possessing and using an illegal gun – especially in conjunction with a crime.  We already have such laws.  Not only are we not doing enough to confiscate illegal guns, but we seem too timid in applying the law to the person.  WE may get a gun off the streets, but we leave the shooter at large.  It may be partly because of the woke prosecution we currently have in high crime cities.  Failure to enforce laws against illegal gun ownership pre-dates cultural wokeness.  It just made matters worse.  

The mind of the shooter

As long as those on the left keep myopically focusing on the gun, there will be no change.  Gun violence is not a single problem susceptible to a single solution.  We need to enhance enforcement and prosecution to address the gang-related shooting.  We need to look to family counseling to address domestic killings.  We need more aggressive intelligence and law enforcement to interdict terrorist attacks – domestic and foreign.

However, all that does not address the reasons why a small number of people see killing others as a viable option – and what makes them cross a restraint that most others have.

The solution to this uniquely American problem is in the mind of the shooter.  What is it in our contemporary culture that has people senselessly killing others? Any prosecutor will tell you that the hardest cases to convict are those in which the perpetrator of a crime appears to have no obvious motive.  

Keeping guns out of the hands of those with significant mental issues – red flag laws – is a good idea.  But red flag laws require a careful balance between identifying a potential killer and demonizing innocent people.  Under virtually all proposals and many state laws, Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman, would be prevented from owning a gun since he spent serious time hospitalized for mental illness.  How do you prevent red flag laws from being abused by angry spouses, friends, or fellow workers?

We are told that contributing issues for shooters are low self-esteem … lack of friends … loner … acting oddly … even threats.  However, that can describe millions of people who do not – and would not – ever commit such heinous crimes.  


So, how do you find and “flag” the one in a million who seeks to address personal issues by killing a bunch of helpless innocent children?  And what is it – besides the gun – that makes so many people in America see the solution to their “problems” in killing others?

If we are to find the means to mitigate the American habit of mass killings, it will not come by focusing on the gun.  It is only the instrument of a troubled mind.  We need to concentrate on what it is in the American culture that produces this tragic national characteristic.  The answer is in the minds of the shooters.  Everything else is a distraction.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Frank stetson

    Wow, old man, this is one of your best articles yet although I think you’re going to get some real blow back given the balls you have on the title. Push the rope I’m in, then you destroy them. Good luck with the gunnies.

    You and I mostly agree 100% on this perhaps with some different flavors. There’s a first.

    First, a point of order, there is no firm, universal definition for mass shootings. In the beginning, the FBI defined mass killings has four or more dead. Along came some liberals, and they created a database where entries could be made if you could double source them. These were for mass shootings as you have defined. Now this database has grown, many are doing similar things, and our definition is slowly changing. Although I believe the FBI still uses, Mass killings, as the definition they report on it. They also have active shooter incidents, but I have no idea of the exact definition there.

    I’ll agree with you that the gun is a tool and the human uses the tool. You also have to agree with the basic premise that with more guns comes more gun death. And then, if you add in the mythology index for any given weapon, a person can use, you can deduce that the gun has one of the highest vitality indexes, and therefore, with more gun, death comes more death.

    The proof of this is that if you magically erased all guns from America, I can guarantee that suicides go down. Why is that? Because of the lethality index and the fact that there is a lower recidivism rate for a failed suicide. Therefore, less lethality means more survival, and with a low recidivism, less suicide. Of course, that could never happen, and we must deal in the real world.

    My top choices for providing improvement here are:
    Universal background checks
    LCM limitation, you pick the number,
    Parental liability for child shooters

    On mental health, I called, is a red herring, because why it’s an obvious problem, there is no cure. If we expect to routinely, check to see that every gun owner saying, will drive them insane. If we expect the gun owner just raise his hand and say I’m feeling a little nutty today, I didn’t go to happen. It’s a great idea but hard to make actionable

    OK here’s my work idea, today he can take weeks or months to search ownership of a gun used in a crime. The database is held at each FFL, often on paper, often in cabinets. Example is the FBI has a gun and needs to trace it. They call the manufacture or email them with the registration number. The manufacturer context of the distributor who contacts the FFL who then go to the back of the store, opens up a little covered, pulls out the door, and look for the 3 x 5 card with the information written on. Perhaps the FFL will have a computer, but does not have to. When Katrina hit, hundreds of gun shops went out of business, and thousands of boxes of paper, came to the ATF and Washington, all moldy, bacteria ridden, and having to be photographed by the ATF in hazmat suits because they’re not allowed to database things. You have to imagine an Indiana Jones like warehouse. It’s a crazy premise brought on by the NRA lobbying.

    Likewise, the NRA has a officially lobbied the CDC from being able to provide any or very little primary research. Thus we all argue with each other on secondary sources, etc. etc. as to gun statistics.

    My whack ideas… I say, let’s fund the NRA to hold the gun registration database for all gun owners in America. That database can only be accessed by the NRA and court, under request to the NRA. The NRA can cut this database away from the network and keep it totally private and undoubtably create a doomsday scenario to torch, so database when needed. Now we can treat crime guns in minutes instead of weeks or months. FYI: there is a hierarchy here, so that if someone important gets killed, that can get straight quickly, but for most of us, it’s weeks.

    Secondly, I would recommend that we allow, militias, duly registered and monitored, to own many of the weapons we want to restrict. Hell, give them bazookas. Tanks. Second amendment talks about a well regulated armed militia. Let’s do it as long as they are adequately, registered, regulated, and monitored. Then we can all have some real fun. And if the big one comes, I’m sure these guys will have a doomsday scenario too. Should we be afraid that perhaps the guns will go off the reservation? I’m not sure we have any more risk than we have today. And perhaps that will take some of the pressure off from people having to keep massive firepower in their house. Let them have a AR15 with full auto, but keep them at the militia, duly registered, regulated, and monitored like the 2nd specifies.. .

    I think if we got the NRA involved in all of this, we not only would have instantaneous access to gun records when needed by the court, but also have gunners to truly enjoy some of these larger weapons.

    Bet ya didn’t see that one coming. Then again, you can’t see my guns 🙏

    Great tome Larry; I smell incoming….

    • spaceman spiff

      Will wonders never cease? Just when I thought there were no miracles anymore, you actually have come up with a VERY good idea. NRA to work WITH the government on gun registrations? Terrific idea. Maybe it’s an organization that both sides of the question can work with and may even be dependable to help get the bad guys when they do their dirtiest. Didn’t think you had it in you….

      • Frank stetson

        Not to worry: I messaged the NRA about the concept over five years ago…

        I really does seem to be pretty good given that we have no gun registration today, the process to trace a crime gun is the same as the process used in the 1960s. It’s telephones, and email.

        I also like the idea of well-regulated, registered, and monitored, malicious to allow for even bigger better weapons. Nothing more fun than firing a big gun.

        • Tom

          Actually I think firing a ballistic nuke would be more fun. It was a blast riding those ships!

          • Frank stetson

            One summer, I rode upon one of the liberty ships, the ships that ferried boys across. It had minimal guns, but it did have guns. During the voyage, we were straffed by German and Japanese planes coming out us from out of the sun just like the real thing..

            One thing I noted was that the planes seemed to be like Harley Davidson‘s of the sky. A giant engine strapped between your legs, as the pilot flew by, we were three stories about the water, so they were at about eyeball level. It was very personal.

            When they gunned it and went straight up, it was like watching a Harley going full-bore while popping a wheelie at 50. Instantly, I wanted one of those.

            Then I went for the guns, the first thing I noted was the sight. A little circle with a cross hair . I screamed, where’s the display? Where’s my joystick? It was very personal.

            Of course, we were firing blanks, but I just could not imagine how they did it.

            FYI: we were really lucky that at this time the ship was full of veterans, who had actually sailed them. We were regalled with stories, which were just incredible and beyond belief. Like the guy who sailed them twice, once to Europe and once to the Far East. He did not feel brave, and he certainly did not feel lucky. One note was that the boys would come on the ship, go below, and stow their stuff, and then come up on deck with pillow snd blanket and never leave it except to eat They were floating coffins, and did not have enough guns.

            Another note is if you ever take a journey like this, watch out when you land. It’s worse than Thursday night. All you can eat buffet at Denny’s in Florida. My feet were speared from the walkers as I got trampled by eager men with bad prostrates on the way out. I should have stayed at the back of the line.

            Fantastic experience though, too bad the B17’s were grounded due to storms.

            Sometimes people pick on me because I pick on them for being racist. These boys are the reason I am this way. My father was there and that is what he taught me. He was about as close to a friend as in quicker that you could possibly be. He never for gave the Germans in Japanese and the race schism both of these nations believed in. Because of these types of experiences, it is in my DNA and my children still. That’s the thing about war, it doesn’t end with a Generation For it.

            Gun tragedies have the same effect. It’s not the person who gets shot and killed, their part, in all of it is over. It is the living, that pay the price. And their children. So when we talk about the mass murders, how many people got shot by guns last year, how many people committed suicide by guns last year, frankly, they are not important. it is the times 10 factor of the survivors that are maimed for life. .

            One of the databases I found is a self reporting, although with primary and secondary sources, of gun, deaths of children, and by children. The numbers are staggering. The stories are unbelievable. And it is one of the reasons I really don’t even like to do this stuff anymore.

      • Joseph S. Bruder

        Do you really want an unelected, unaccountable, private, for-profit company having control over a major function of the government? That essentially makes the NRA a shadow government, accountable to nobody. And the NRA has already gotten major donations from the Russian government, who also had an operative working with them and guiding their operations, and even meeting with politicians. What could be more unconstitutional? Who are you defining as the bad guys? The government, who we control? Or the board room of the NRA, who we do not, and is certainly willing to take Russian money for influence and favors?

        • Frank stetson

          Joseph, it’s a plus. We currently don’t register guns today, and therefore tracing a crime grant is almost impossible. Be on the ownership issue if there even is one, we would have much faster access than today. And the ownership of the registration will be no different.

          • larry Horist

            Frank Stetson … We do have a form of registration in that guns carry serial numbers. Police have been “tracing” guns forever. That is why crooks scratch off the numbers … and that is the problem with so-called ghost guns.

  2. Frank stetson

    Shit: vitality index, mythology index —- i meant lethality index. Damned AI and poor eyes…😉

  3. Andy

    Curious. England does not allow much gun ownership, one mass shooting this year, so far. America encourages people to own as many guns as possible, thus 200 and counting for 2023.

    • larry Horist

      Andy … Ban the so-called assault rifle and you still have millions of folks with millions of guns. So, what are you reccommending? What is your solutiion?

      • Joseph S. Bruder

        From an article by thomhartmann on KOS:

        In 1934, Congress passed and President Roosevelt signed the National Firearms Act (NFA), which didn’t outlaw even one single gun. Instead, it put a tax on automatic weapons, sawed-off shotguns, and a variety of other weapons of war. Add semiautomatic weapons to the law.

        To be eligible to pay the tax, you must first acquire a Federal Firearms License.

        Step one is to fill out an application with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, which you can find here. You pay a fee that can range from $30 to $3000 (most are $200 for fully automatic weapons, a number that hasn’t changed since 1934), provide a photo, and submit your fingerprints.

        After you’ve been checked out, you’ll be called in for an in-person interview with an ATF Industry Operations Investigator, who will vet you for ownership of your very own fully automatic machine gun.

        There were no gun buy-back programs back in the 1930s, and nobody went door-to-door confiscating guns. But once everybody understood that it was illegal to sell or possess an automatic or sawed-off weapon of war without first getting a license and paying the tax, they simply started to disappear from the American scene (outside of licensed shooting ranges like today).

        My own comments:

        Semiautomatic weapons have one purpose – to kill lots of people, fast. As such, they should be reserved for the military only. Gun enthusiasts are not going into battle against hostile forces. We have an Army to protect the continental US, and I doubt the Russians are going to be invading Texas anytime soon. You can hunt with automatic weapons, but you won’t have anything left to eat, as they pretty much blow the bodies into pieces. And there won’t be an animals to hunt, given the pretty unfair advantage of those weapons.

        Where do you draw the line for what the average citizen should be able to carry or not? Should citizens own howitzers and 50mm cannons, or grenades, or RPGs? Their own person nuclear weapons? Why would they need this? Semiautomatic weapons fall into the category of “weapons of war”.

        As for Old Joe’s suggestion below “It is about defending one’s self from an oppressive government. The people should not be afraid of government, the founders of our country considered that government must be afraid of the people.” – that’s idiotic. We already have a way to defend against an oppressive government – the ballot box. Our country is set up as a nation of laws. The government has to follow the laws, or the leaders get kicked out in favor of someone who will more faithfully follow the laws. We elect representatives to change or create laws for the good of the country, and they get a term or two to get it right (as the people define it), or else they’re out.

        To say that people with guns can defend the Constitution by going to war against the government violates the entire meaning and purpose of the Constitution itself. Do they really think that A) they can go up against the military might of the US, or B) by overthrowing the government, that ANY of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution will remain? The best case for them is A) they will get killed or imprisoned, and their rights (and their guns) will be taken away forever, or B) the country will become a tyranny of the rich, who can hire and equip private armies, and create little enclaves that operate with no rules or laws whatsoever except that they get richer.

        “We the People” just kicked out a President who was authoritarian by nature and demonstrated by his own actions, and we are slowly recovering from the tyranny that he created. He tried to keep power by lying and promoting violence after being defeated at the ballot box, and was ultimately (and legally) rebuffed. And he was removed without (or despite) guns. Some members of Congress, entrenched by gerrymandering, are still trying to take away the rights of women, gay people, minorities, and the poor. And those members of Congress want their Little Hitler back, but it’s a race between the election and when LH ends up in prison for his various crimes. Meanwhile, the ultra-rich of the country, the 1% or .1% take advantage of the chaos caused by LH and his followers in Congress to get favorable treatment by the law and capture as much wealth as they can.

        If the US defaults on its debts (the very definition of self-inflicted chaos), who benefits? The rich will buy up defaulted mortgages and banks and deflated or bankrupted companies around the country. People will lose homes, even the middle class will lose much of their savings, and only the extremely wealthy will come out better off. Instead of owning 60% of the wealth of the country, they’ll own 90%. And they’ll bankroll politicians (and Supreme Court Justices like Thomas and Roberts) to get unlimited power.

        It will take several election cycles to purge our government of the authoritarian followers of Little Hitler, and a generation to undo the mess that they created, but little by little, the country progresses forward.

  4. Roy L Duncan III

    The easy availability of guns IS part of the problem. They’ve become so abundant and readily available that they are a large part of the problem. There are a host of other reasons for why we are where we are. The latest case involved a guy who discharge from the Army and deemed unfit to serve. The Army fell flat on its face by not reporting all this. The Air Force did the same thing in a similar case. Red Flag laws sound great, but they are meaningless unless something is done with the information. You can disagree with me all you like. I believe that there is no legitimate use for AR15-style weapons outside the military and law enforcement. Sure, there are responsible gun owners. The world is also full of nut jobs who use these weapons to hunt people. It’s time for a change of attitude by the responsible gun owners. The 2nd Amendment is not an absolute guarantee of unfettered gun ownership. The government has the right to regulate guns the same way it has a right to regulate many aspects of our lives. That has been upheld in many court decisions across the land. It’s time for the good guys to stand up and be constructive and quit yelling about their rights with no regard to the consequences.

    • Joe Gilbertson

      The Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms. This not about hunting, it is not even about individual self defense (although that certainly is a right as well). It is about defending one’s self from an oppressive government. The people should not be afraid of government, the founders of our country considered that government must be afraid of the people. An AR-15 falls into that category I would think.

      You argument is kind of like complaining about car accidents and proposing that we stop making cars.

      • Frank stetson

        That’s the same old stupid argument, Joe that’s been waived unsuccessfully for years.

        If you believe for one second that your P shooters are going to have any effect on the government whatsoever and you believe that red dawn is reality.

        It is indeed about individual gun rights as deemed by the Scotus. Otherwise, we would restrict the hell out of you much more than we are.

        Perhaps in the beginning you were right, but the NRA starting in the 60s changed all that and then I believe it was Hitler determined it was about the individual and self defense.

        The truth, though, on this one, I’d rather not discuss it with you, while I am an expert, it’s been 10 years and I have given up the fight.

        The left and the right have no sense of innovation or creativity here and neither is searching for the win-win.

        Till the end of time, the basic premise is true: if you have more guns, you will have more gun death. If you have more gun death, you will have more death.

        The statistical evaluation on the lethality index for all weapons proves that to be true over and over. Point-and-click is one of the easiest methods of death on the planet.

        But I don’t care anymore, I have my guns, I have my defense, in this day and age I just laugh when the children are shot, when the malls are shot up, it’s just fucking funny at this point. Isn’t it?

        My points above, that would help this are simple:

        Universal background checks for all gun transfers.

        Restrictions on LCM’s, you pick the size.

        NRA gun registration database funded by taxpayers and gun registration dollars with court ordered crime gun traces controlled by the nra for sevurity and privacy . .

        Red flag laws

        Parent liability for any child shooters

        Well, regulated, Registered and monitored militia with availability for much higher, powered weapons to be used according to regulations and never taken off premises.

        And like I said, this was my stance over a decade ago, and I see no reason to really talk about it now. I’m also sorry Larry brought it up, but I admire his stand.

        • Nancy Murphy

          Hey, Frankie, how did you ever become an expert on everything?

          • frank stetson

            I am not an expert on everything, not even close.

            But your answer would be: reading and research. I provide many sources so you can follow along if you so choose.

          • Tom

            You are correct Nancy, in that Frank has many expertises. He is a hard researching deep thinking guy! Very astute of you too see his excellence!!! Good show!

          • Frank stetson

            Joseph, it’s a plus. We currently don’t register guns today, and therefore tracing a crime grant is almost impossible. Be on the ownership issue if there even is one, we would have much faster access than today. And the ownership of the registration will be no different.

        • Frank stetson

          Not Hitler, but HELLER. Ai must have changed it. Almost fit.

      • Tom

        Another stupid comment from you Joe! He is not talking about not making guns, only talking about a particular style of gun, and only outside of military use. Your example is ridiculous!

        And back when our founding fathers made the second amendment, there was no standing well funded well trained army, and, most people had to bring their own gun and bullets to the battle! So your argument really does not hold much water. And yes, the founders did allow for and I am sure many agreed with a well armed population to defend against tyranny – but back then you only had cannons and guns. So it was possible to defeat a tyrannical government just having guns. Try your automatic rifle against a fighter jet and cruise missiles – which is exactly why the US is arming Ukraine! So the fighting a tyrannical or aggressive government argument holds little value as long as the government has jets and missiles!

        I think Roy has an excellent point when he says, ” It’s time for the good guys to stand up and be constructive and quit yelling about their rights with no regard to the consequences.” It is way past time that the good gun owners stop being obstructionists in solving this problem. You can have rights and low mass shootings if all the good people get together to solve the problem.

      • Joseph S. Bruder

        And yet we regulate cars, have age restrictions, license drivers, renew their licenses on a regular basis, take away the license for violating safety rules, and when they are a risk for being dangerous we retest them on a regular basis or take away thier licenses. People can be required to wear glasses, and people with certain illnesses (like the risk of siezures) can be denied a license. We don’t let just anyone take the biggest vehicles out on the highway without many hours of extra training and practice. And anyone involved in public safety (like driving buses) has to have a special category of license, and training, and scrutiny. Everyone who owns a car has to have liability insurance. Cars have regulations and laws to increase the safety of operation, which get better every year (collision avoidance to prevent hitting pedestrians, for example). And police patrol the streets and highways constantly looking for unsafe drivers.

        Most people would welcome that sort of regulation for guns and gun ownership.

        See the comment above about defending against an oppressive government. The constitution specifically gives Congress the right (duty) to “supress Insurrections”, which by definition negates the thinking that the second amendment is for somehow attacking the government to prevent tyranny. And owning an AK47 hardly qualifies as being part of a “well regulated Militia” – only the state and federal governments can create militias, and all are ultimately under the authority of Congress.

        One other thing – trying to use mental health to control gun deaths is ridiculous. Anyone who goes on a killing spree and randomly shoots multiple people is by definition crazy (let’s use that word as a short form of “suffering from severe mental illness”). Until they actually shoot people, they are generally not considered clinically crazy, so you can’t take their guns away. It’s a Catch-22 argument, and used by the most cynical of people defending gun rights. Never mind that a short-term crisis (their wife left them, or they are bullied in school) or being told by a public figure (like a wannabe dictator President or a loose-cannon member of Congress) that their lives or children are in danger because of a (peaceful) Muslim family, or a gay person, or a poor immigrant family in the neighborhood, or even a peacefule BLM protester, can convince someone with easy access to major firepower to take out their anger or frustration on a group of innocent bystanders. A person with a normal handgun or hunting rifle might injure or kill one or two people before being overpowered, but a person with a military weapon can pick off a dozen people before anyone even is aware of the shooting, and keep even trained police at bay. Even a minor hit with small arms might just be flesh wound, a minor hit with a military round can tear a whole body apart – they are designed that way.

        So don’t try to make the argument that guns are not the problem – as long as guns are freely available, people will use them – if guns designed for killing large amounts of people are available, that’s what you’re going to get. If everyone owns a half-dozen guns, has no training, no licensing restrictions, no accountability, that’s going to be the first thing they go to when they are somehow distressed. The proof is in the pudding – you can look at the number of gun deaths in a country like England where guns are restricted, or look at US statistics from previous years and see the correlation to number of guns owned and number of mass shootings.

        • Frank stetson

          Joseph, same old arguments same old story. Guns are right, cars are a privilege.

          While I agree that guns can be regulated, your argument will just get shut down based on the premise. Same old, same old.

          Like why is your argument on the AR and the terrible carnage he causes has nothing to do with the fact it’s an assault rifle. What matters are the features and capabilities, like caliber, and type of bullets. That’s what you regulate, not make and model, it’s just a red herring and a trap.

    • larry Horist

      Roy L Duncan III … I agree with what you said about the Army not flagging the latest shooter. The argument for banning the so-called assault weapons is that it is only a matter of style. They operate exactly like dad’s hunting rifle. Do you just outlaw the design … the looks? You can only reduce fire power by outlawing certain magazines, scopes, and add ons. The AR 15 may be the weapon of choice by many shooters — but by far not most shooters — they have other options essentially as dangerous and effective. The government has a LIMITED power to regulate guns — and we are already close to that limit. A few more things are possible, but not much of that will change the mental or cultural issues … and will not effectively change matters. If we do not concentrate on the shooter and the culture, we will continue to along the current path. All the blaming the guns is actually hindering finding a solution. To me, myopically focusing on the gun is like focusing on the get-away car in a bank robbery — the tool, not the criminal. Since only a fringe of nutcases believe in total confiscation of all guns — a very impossible and bad idea — we need to focus on those few who abuse that right of ownership in tragic ways.

      • mike f

        Larry, Once again you are showing your ignorance. An assault rifle is not like any other rifle, there is a lot more power, and if you would take the time to research before flapping your gums, you would learn that ER docs say that the AR-15 type rifle does much more damage to a body than other types of guns. It is a gun designed for the military, and the fact that we have civilians that feel they need such a gun to “go hunting” is ludicrous. The only hunting that is done with an assault rifle is people, if you use such a gun on something that you want to take home and eat, you will have nothing left. In your treatise above, you do indicate that you are in favor of a few minimal restrictions on gun ownership. I suggest that perhaps you need to start working on finding a new governor, since the crazy one you have believes that we will be safer with everyone having a gun in their pocket (the texass gov is equally crazy BTW….)

        • larry Horist

          Mikef … Good God, you are a moron. The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle like that old hunting rifle. They operate the same way. They just look different. The power of the rifle, as you put it — and the nature of the injuries to a human being — are a matter of THE BULLETS. The damage doctors talk about is from the BULLET, not the GUN. Try pulling the trigger without a bullet in the gun — even an AR-15 — and you will see how much power the GUN has. A’nd I addressed the issues of the bullets, scopes and magazines in the commentary. If you read my commentary at all, you are suffering serious reading comprehension issues. Learn something before you take up your evergreen contrarian responses to me and my opinions. You might not look so ignorant.

    • Tom

      I agree with you 100% Roy! Time for the good gun owners to stop being obstructionists. And there are gun owners in both parties. Even Nancy Pelosi hired people with guns to protect her! We all need to focus on stopping the shootings instead of denying gun rights.

      • Frank stetson

        For a decade, my lament has been at the Gunnies of the world refused to look, for the win win, and I said, keep their heads in the sand, awaiting their ultimate defeat. There is a win-win here as Larry and I have provided a number of recommendations that might get you closer to that. if you continue to wait, gun deaths will continue to rise in the crazies will continue to get crazier.

        Gunnies can scream the gun is a tool, it’s all about mental health, is a red herring. There is no actionable way to solve the mental health problem in America. There is no way to determine that a gunnie good guy will go bad due to a defective brain. You can’t pry it out of them, and they won’t volunteer it. It’s a red herring.

        A decade ago I went on a hunt to find good guys gone bad. That is, good guys who whipped it out and shot the wrong person. Good guys who use guns for the wrong purpose. it was an extremely rare occurrence. Cops shot more wrong innocent people the good guys with guns. Cops spray bullets all over the place, and good guys rarely missed. Those who follow my antics know that I can research a topic and I can promise you a decade ago. This is what I found and I really, really looked hard.

        As of the last three months, I’ve noted more and more that good guys with guns are using them to solve everyday problems. Neighbor comes over asks them to keep down the noise, they shoot the entire house. Auto incident, shoot the driver. There’s a change afoot and this change will not bode well for gunnies across the land. It’s time to settle this and look for the win-win.

        At some point, liberals and moderates of both parties are going to say enough and will override any of the obstructions in the way probably over restricting as the ultimate penalty. Like I said, it’s time to finish this. Enough. It is, and always has been, up to the gummy’s to make the decision. Hasn’t changed for decades.

  5. Darren

    The only reason we still have a right to have guns is because the government has been left out
    of the NRA.
    I am from the government and I am here to help ( remove your guns )

    • larry Horist

      Darren … Not only will gun confiscation never happen in the United States … and should not happen … anyone proposing it is strengthening support for gun rights by making the alternatives seem too radical. I think we can have moderate changes in gun laws … but even then, the problem will persist unless we focus on the shooters.

  6. Mike f

    Larry, Unlike most of your responders, I will say this is probably the most idiotic post you have ever written. Do you ever do research before you put pen to paper? Other countries do not have mass shootings No other country has the quantity of guns per person that we do in the US. It is impossible not to correlate the two. While I realize that getting rid of guns in this country (as they did in Australia a number of years ago-voila, virtually no mass shootings!) is probably a pipe dream (due to the preponderance of idiots that believe the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun-how about if the bad guy didn’t have a gun?), more gun control, background checks, banning assault weapons, automatic weapons and yes, strictly enforcing the gun laws out there is viable. The answer is definitely not what your ‘stars’ are doing championing laws that allow anyone to have permitless carry of their favorite gun. So take your head out of your ass and do some research before you bloviate with the absurdities in this blog….

    • larry Horist

      Mikef … Your response is so stupid that I do not know where to respond. So, I will leave at this. You apparently think confiscating the guns is the answer. That is useless nonsense. I think it is you who needs to do OBJECTIVE research. Most mass shootings are done with illegal guns. Virtually even criminal with a gun is thwarted or killed by a gun — police or private citizen. Millions of criminal acts are carried out with illegal guns. Taking away all guns may reduce gun crimes … but not crime itself. Crimes often surge where guns are banned. The issue is far to complex for you simple-minded Pollyanna solutions. You hate gun …. okay. But you do nothing to address the problems being discussed here.

      • mike f

        Larry, You start out with the same tired conservative nonsense that guns are not the problem, people are. The quantity of guns in the hands of the American populace is the problem. We are the only advanced country in the world with more than one gun per person-other advanced countries do not even come close. And, we are the only advanced country with a serious problem with guns-that is obvious to any thinking person. So, the argument that guns are not the problem is total BS. You also say that the AR type guns are not really different from other rifles. Again, that is BS. Even if they do not have magazines that allow them to shoot indiscriminately, the AR type rifle is far more powerful than other types of guns/rifles, injuries from those type of guns are far more likely to be lethal than with a standard pistol or rifle. I agree, that with the common conservative mindset of offering thoughts and prayers after every mass shooting, and then saying “it’s too early to discuss gun control legislation” we are unlikely to do anything about the problem. But, I am sure that at sometime in the future, people will grow tired of their friends, children and other loved ones being killed by weapons, guns will finally be outlawed here, or at least we will have some significant gun control enacted. A start would be to make gun manufacturers liable for their products, tobacco companies have had to face responsibility for their products for many years, and those products basically only inflict major harm on the actual consumer, not innocent bystanders. SO, yes, I do agree that we need to have some significant gun control, but as long as you have the NRA owned by the gun manufacturers and so many legislators owned by the NRA, that is unlikely to happen-because any significant gun control legislation will reduce gun ownership-if it doesn’t, then it hasn’t served it’s purpose. Not “polyanna” solutions as you so smartly stated, just common sense that is lacking in conservative circles….

      • Frank stetson

        Larry, are you so small that name calling is your lead?

        • larry Horist

          Frank Stetson …. Just stating a fact.

          • Frank stetson

            Nope. Name calling.

            BUSTED. For doubling down on the ad hominem attack.

          • Frank stetson

            Nope, it was an ad hominem attack and always will be.

  7. EMMA


    • mike f

      Dear Emma, I think you are the one who is senile. Red states have far more gun-related incidents than blue states. However the problem is nationwide, and was no better under the trump administration than it is currently. Locking up all the criminals will cost a great deal of money as well, are you willing to pay the taxes to support those activities? I didn’t think so….

  8. Fred Tran

    It’s not surprising that kids are shooting up their schools considering the garbage they are pumping into their heads. It’s child abuse telling half the kids they cannot succeed due to the color of their skin, and telling the other half of kids that they are guilty of oppression due to the color of their skin. This had to twist their heads around and causing them to hate everyone and themselves. I think this is responsible for the high suicide rate among kids these days they are all so depressed. and to top that off they are constantly being bombarded that the planet will die from global warming. It’s amazing that any of them can actually read or write.

    • Frank stetson

      Well, obviously, you are not going to live in Florida. Not with a name like that. I’m guessing you made that up for fun.

      I am guessing that you are a frustrated, disenfranchised, white guy, who feels the world, has not blessed him with what he deserves. A bitter, hateful man, your demons, drive you to find culprits for your dilemma seeking enemies to soothe your shame of abject failure. .

      The “world“ is pumping garbage in the kids heads, impressing, white kids, while falsely empowering black kids, and even the statistically proven warming of the planet, due to human interaction is just a conspiracy to you foisted by someone evil no doubt.

      Good luck with that line of thought, I hope it serves you well, but I doubt it will. I am sure there is a white supremacy extremist group just waiting for you to join up.

      • larry Horist

        Frank Stetson …. Another example of how you base your opinions on self fabrications. You insult a man for his name — which you suggest reveals his ancestry. (Asian? Vietnamese?) You gratuitously and erroneously insult Florida by suggesting that Asians (I assume) are not welcome. Totally wrong. And then you assume that the posting is fake. That is a lot a assumptions based on no evidence whatsoever. But that is what you do. It is your trademark. Your claim to be a man of research and facts is just as baseless and phony as your claims about Fred Tran.

        • Frank stetson

          Mr Horist, Pretty funny, you accuse my opinions of having false assumptions. As opinions, I guess I can happen, but not often Then you say I assume Tran is Asian when I didn’t, you did. Apparently you assume Tran is either Asian, or Vietnamese, which, by the way is Asian. I mentioned Florida in combination with Tran because Florida is a very unfriendly state to transgender‘s, which sometimes go by the word tran.

          Not sure you were trying to be humorous, but you were, but apparently don’t have a chance of recognizing humor when you see it. That’s the Florida joke. Course Florida is a joke, but that’s another story.

          You seem to be a very confused person, for this was a vane attempt at humor.

          For a guy who claims I am obsessed with him, he seem to go out of your way to find devious methods to attack me on a personal level. Pretty funny.

  9. Merrill L Rising

    I don’t remember having mass shootings and gender problems when we had state mental hospitals and not being led around by the nose by so called “EXPERTS”. I identify EXPERTS as “”EX” Is a has been and a “PERT” (spurt) as a drip under pressure.

  10. Darren

    I was joking Larry, I am all for the right to Bare Arms.
    I am still on the fence weather an 18 year older right out of high school, that
    is if we are lucky enough that he finished high school has the mental status to have a gun.

    The world has not crapped on him yet, and the first sign of it might cause him to melt down.

    Unless he joins the military, or law enforcement, the age should be 21 for a hand gun.
    My opinion.
    We were shooting riffles and hand guns at 14, but people were a bit different back then.
    No prescription drugs in the system.

    • larry Horist

      Darren … Sorry. My funny bone was not engaged at the moment.

  11. Tom

    Great topic to discuss Larry. I think one of the major sources of gun violence is drugs which is sometimes also the source of gang violence. I agree that the gun is just the instrument of delivery and since we cannot control the brain (GOP would object to this, left would be happy) we are left with one of two options: 1) Control the gun, 2) Control the ammunition since that is what actually does the killing.

    AI may someday cause mass shootings? That would mean a gun become a sentient being. Now who does not understand AI? Unless you are talking about my Star Trek M-5 example which I used in your earlier AI discussion, and you said that’s just the movies.

    Those of us with spiritual lives that read the scriptures understand spiritual warfare and that all things in this physical world have a spiritual root in the unseen world often called “the heavenlies”. Paul says in Eph 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. And this spiritual root often affects a person’s mind and the way they process thoughts because as Paul also says in 2 Corinthians 10, “The battle is for the mind.”. So we do not have senseless killings. Read the scriptures about Jesus and his encounter with the Gerasene demoniacs. Nothing has changed except instead of throwing rocks and bones at good people, now those possessed by evil use automatic rifles and bullets. Nothing new here, its been going on for a long long time! Luke 8: 26-39.

    I agree with you and the Democrats, we should be looking at the shooter! The problem is, GOP has cut funding for mental health, and as Paul says, the battle is for the mind! And every time the Dems want to increase funding for mental health, GOP says it is unsustainable. Yet the GOP is willing to sustain 200 mass shootings in the first 127 days of 2023. What is wrong with this picture???

    I think your suggestions on gun control and background checks are good but not sufficient. I also think Frank has a good idea partnering the NRA with the ATF. And Roy hits the nail on the head when he suggests it time to focus on ending mass shootings and good gun owners to step up and help create the solution rather than use the rights argument to obstruct it. I would propose in addition to your proposal that a psychological test needs to be taken online at least every other year. When I was a teacher, it was harder to get employed as a teacher than it was to buy a gun to kill the class! I had to take a Haberman Psychological Test to predict if I was suitable for the public classroom. If I did not pass the test, I could not be a teacher in many NC counties. Yet there is nothing to deny me buying a gun and ammo. A similar psychological test could be developed for predicting the likeliness of using a gun to resolve violence. Let the ATF expand their state licensed liquor outlets (In NC they are called ABC stores for the alcohol beverage control) and establish test criteria for who can buy ammunition and who cannot. Place their permit to buy ammunition right on the drivers license so if they are stopped the police will know immediately that they are dealing with someone who many have a gun and ammo in the car, or, if there is ammo and guns in the car and no indicator on the license, then an arrest occurs. And then sell the ammunition in state liquor stores as a separate function of the store. I firmly believe that many of these shooters have mental issues well in advance of their crime and would fail a properly constructed psychological test. Would the GOP support such a test???

    Red flag laws are fine with me, but as you say they will be abused. Divorce laws and child abuse laws are also abused in the same way in divorce cases but that does not stop us from litigating divorces. Child abuse accusations require a hearing within 10 days in NC, so red flag laws could require the same if the person being flagged contests the flag. Some guys like Fetterman may just have to go without guns or use rubber bullets to fend off criminals.

    The answer to your question “What is it that makes so many people in America see the solution to their “problems” in killing others? Simple. They are Godless. And an angry mind is like ice cream treats to evil. They cannot handle anger internally so they project it externally because it gives them a feeling of control. People get angry when their health care is repealed and not replaced, and they can’t afford it and have bills. They get angry at an institution they think is unfair. They get angry when they are discriminated against. They get angry when they are bullied and feel nobody will listen or help. They get angry when authors make unfounded accusations against readers and attempt to publicly shame them. Hell there are many more reasons people get angry. So will the GOP at least support mental health care as a form of ammunition licensing control??? Will the NRA be willing to partner with the ATF to create a solution proposition for legislators?? Will good gun owners step up?? Maybe we have come to a tipping point where hearts and minds are willing to say not just yes, but heck yes!!!