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Andrew Rothman, a leading gun-rights advocate, on why Minnesotans need guns

MinnPost photo by Mike Dvorak
The National Rifle Association has certified Andrew Rothman in Basic Pistol and Pistol First Steps, Home Firearm Safety, Personal Protection in the Home and as a range safety officer.

This article is part of an occasional series exploring various communities involved in gun issues, including gun-rights advocates, gun-control advocates, and others interested in gun-violence prevention. This coverage is made possible by a grant from the Joyce Foundation.

If one were to draw up a list of organizing principles that guide Andrew Rothman, defending life would be near the top.

The 44-year-old computer programmer plans to donate his 34th pint of blood, type A+, next month to the American Red Cross.

Among the ways he protects his wife and two young children, he says, is living in the same house for 14 years on a cul de sac in Chanhassen, roughly 20 miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis.

“I don’t have a particularly dangerous lifestyle and I work hard to keep it that way,” Rothman told me as we sat in a Burnsville Dairy Queen on a Saturday afternoon earlier this month. “If you want to have a safe life, being an upper-middle class guy in the suburbs is a good way to do it. My risk of violent attack is rather low.”

But just in case, Rothman carries a gun with him almost everywhere he goes “for general self-defense.” And he keeps several others at his house.

“It’s the same reason that people wear seat belts and have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers,” he said.

But Rothman has dedicated almost none of his personal time during the last decade to educating his fellow Minnesota residents about the uses, benefits and workings of seat belts, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

Instead, he’s taught people about guns — why, he says, the constitutional right to possess them is crucial, how to safely and properly shoot them, where it’s legal to carry them, when it’s appropriate to fire them, what their purpose in society is.

Another critical mission of Rothman’s: Defending Minnesotans’ right to possess and carry a gun. During the last decade, Rothman has become arguably the most influential gun-rights voice in the state. He has helped research and write gun-rights legislation. He has energized and mobilized a formerly latent pro-gun rights grassroots base. And he has expanded the Minnesota-based Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance five-fold since becoming one of its officers less than three years ago, said Joseph Olson, an alliance co-founder.

Supporters praise Rothman’s leadership, organizational and intellectual abilities for forging state gun-rights proponents into a cohesive whole. Opponents criticize Rothman’s tactics as heavy-handed and disingenuous, making it harder to achieve the shared goal of reducing injury and death caused by gunshots.

For Rothman, a gun is a tool that defends life. It does not exist solely to inflict harm or kill.

“That conclusion, that statement makes me absolutely insane because it is — that’s one of the tropes: Guns only exist to kill,” Rothman said, his voice growing in volume, his hands moving more quickly over a larger area. “If that’s the case, then 300 million guns in this country are doing a very poor job because 99.999 percent of them aren’t killing anybody.”

He listed examples of guns existing not to kill: Those carried by police officers, those used for sport, those used for hunting and those used for self-defense.

“Self-defense is preserving life,” Rothman said. “That’s as valid as saying taking life.”

Life and property

Leaning over his stove on a recent Wednesday morning cooking himself a ham-and-eggs breakfast while I sat at the kitchen counter, Rothman did not look like a gun enthusiast.

Bespectacled and bewhiskered with a black goatee and short-cropped dark hair, Rothman alternated between preparing his food and mixing up a diet cola using modified home beer-brewing equipment. Clad in a maroon T-shirt and cargo pants, Rothman carried his food to the counter and sat his 5-foot-8, 195-pound frame across from me.

While an undergrad at the University of Minnesota during the early ‘90s, “it struck me as wrong that property was much more likely to be protected than life,” Rothman said of the period between 1974 and 2003 when carrying a gun outside the home was illegal — unless a municipal police chief or county sheriff decreed a person showed “good cause” to possess one.

Andrew Rothman
MinnPost photo by Mike Dvorak
Andrew Rothman carries a gun with him almost everywhere he goes “for general self-defense.”

Before 1974, Minnesota didn’t have state statutes concerning carrying a pistol, although some municipalities had ordinances spelling out carry rules until 1985, when a new law was enacted prohibiting local governments from having stricter carry policies than the state. (There are 173,377 permit holders in Minnesota as of June 2014, according to the Minnesota Association of Defensive Firearm Instructors, which Rothman founded in 2005. He serves as its executive director.)

“Only security guards and business owners transporting money and valuables were granted permits, not someone working third-shift security in bad neighborhoods and feared for their safety,” Rothman said. “It seemed like something I should have the right to do.”

Source: NRA-ILA
Right-to-carry laws by state
Shall Issue
Discretionary/Reasonable Issue
No Permit Required
Rights Restricted-Very Limited Issue

In 2003, Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a law that gave Rothman and most Minnesota residents that right. Rothman had followed news reports detailing the legislation’s progress. By that time, he was interested enough that he completed a carry class and obtained his permit.

The right to bear arms in the Second Amendment fit what had become Rothman’s libertarian philosophy, which he define as, “People should be able to do whatever they want that doesn’t harm someone else.”

Rothman is reluctant to identify his gun-rights activities as a “passion.” But during the 2000s, his investment in the movement was strong enough that he began publicly criticizing the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, a Roseville-based nonprofit advocacy organization founded by two Minnesota lawyers in 1985.

“He thought we were stodgy, not pushing forward, that we weren’t fighting the battles that needed to be fought,” said David Gross, 65, who lives in unincorporated Rice County and remains on the alliance board.

“We were kind of tired after being in the battle for 25 years,” Gross said, referring to his co-founder Olson, 70, a Hamline University law professor and the alliance chairman.

“So, we told him it was time for him to put up or shut up,” Gross said. He and Olson told Rothman that if he thought he knew how to do things better, then he should volunteer to run it. “Andrew accepted the challenge. It’s the best thing (the alliance) ever did. Andrew brought intelligence and energy. He assembled his own crew.”

Olson said that Rothman and that crew brought skills that he and Gross didn’t have. Those included organizing and mobilizing people, creating the alliance website, using social media to broaden the alliance’s appeal and recruiting new members.

“He’s an absolutely incredible guy,” Olson said. “He’s got a very good mind and understands the issues and the politics behind them.”

Gross specifically praised Rothman for getting hundreds of gun-rights supporters to show up at the Capitol when lawmakers were considering firearms legislation.

Those advocates were hard to miss, wearing the signature maroon-and-gold T-shirts with a silhouette in the shape of the state of Minnesota and the alliance’s name inscribed across the front.

Their appearance often frustrates Heather Martens, executive director of Protect Minnesota, a St. Paul-based nonprofit organization that seeks to end gun violence — and not simply because her allies and Rothman’s are on opposite ends of the gun-issue spectrum. (Protect Minnesota and MinnPost receive funding from the Joyce Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit group that, in part, seeks to reduce the number of people injured and killed by gunshots.)

“These people would be fed a lot of misinformation, inconsistency and inaccuracies just to rile them up,” Martens said. “They’d repeatedly be told that something horrible would happen to them. Like the police were going to come and take away their guns. And that’s why they’d show up.”

Martens said that happened last year when she worked with state Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, to pass a bill that would have required background checks in almost all firearms sales.

“One man said he was there to testify because he was told the legislation would take away everyone’s guns,” Martens said. “I told him that wasn’t true, that the bill would just institute a background check for gun sales. He said, ‘Oh, of course there should be a background check.’ So even their supporters wanted the background check, but they were told they should be afraid of all these calamities. It’s not an honest tactic.”

A Martens ally during the background-check push last year, Vic Rosenthal, executive director of Jewish Community Action, said he witnessed the same phenomenon.

“But the fact of the matter is a lot of groups use exaggeration and fear to forward their political agendas,” said Rosenthal. The St. Paul-based organization he heads seeks to inspire people to work for social and economic justice in Minnesota. “The goal is when you work at the Capitol to convince legislators of your story, and they did a better job.”

Rosenthal said the less both sides whip up hysteria, the more quickly everyone can have a constructive conversation about the goal everyone shares: To have fewer people die by murder, suicide or accident due to gunshots.

Rothman objected to Martens and Rosenthal’s implication that he and alliance members used untruths to motivate his base.

“We don’t have to lie: that’s one of the advantages of having the facts on your side,” he said. “Our communication to our supporters is an open book — anyone can read them” at here and here.

Regarding the 2013 universal-background check legislation, Rothman said: “We have warned our members that gun registration doesn’t always lead to confiscation, but confiscation isn’t possible without registration. We’ve already seen that happen in New York and California.”

Gross and Rothman also accused gun-control activists of advertising falsehoods when lobbying for their viewpoints.

Training gun instructors

Rothman founded the Minnesota Association of Defensive Firearm Instructors and serves as its executive director. He has trained and certified more than 80 other instructors. He has conducted classes on carrying guns and gun safety since 2005. The National Rifle Association has certified Rothman in Basic Pistol and Pistol First Steps, Home Firearm Safety, Personal Protection in the Home and as a range safety officer. He became president of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance last year, after serving for two years as its vice president.

He says he’s troubled when people use the term “gun violence.”

“When people say we want to stop gun violence, are they saying it’s OK if it’s knife violence or fist violence and we’re not concerned about those?” Rothman asked.

But don’t guns inflict more harm? I asked him.

“No,” Rothman answered, “people inflict more harm with guns a lot and effectively.”

But don’t you think because of the force multiplier effect of that weapon, it makes sense to focus on the source that causes greater harm? I pressed.

“The source is the intent; the source is the person that’s doing it,” Rothman said.

Examining the mechanism, rather than the person wielding the mechanism, is misguided, according to Rothman.

“When you focus on the tool, you lose track of the actual source of the problem,” he said.

Throughout our conversations, Rothman told me several times that I asked “a good question, but it might not be the right question.”

So I asked him what the right question is. He said we needed to ask: What could we do about violence in this country?

“There might be several things we can do,” Rothman said. “One, might be an agreement by the media not to glamorize mass murderers, because we see over and over, mass murderers study and idolize the mass murderers who have come before.”

A Canadian news network announced earlier this week, after a gunman killed three police officers and critically injured two others in New Brunswick, that it would not identify the killer or show his photograph. “We will not help give this killer his blaze of glory,” the Sun News Network wrote in an editorial.

Another idea would be to put first-responders closer to places where these events happen, Rothman said: schools and movie theaters, public places where people gather.

“There’s no doubt in the evidence that what stops a mass shooter is a good guy with a gun,” Rothman said. “And the faster that happens, the lower the death toll is.”

A Federal Bureau of Investigation study released in January showed that more than half of the 104 mass-shooting incidents the FBI identified from 2000 to 2012 ended when someone else with a gun appeared on the scene.

He called it “ridiculous” that the principal, teachers and janitor at his children’s school are prohibited from carrying a firearm at school.

“That’s what’s going to stop it,” Rothman said. “It kills me to think of this elementary school principal in (Newtown), Connecticut, who was so heroic and so ill-equipped to do anything. She stood in front of that guy with an AR-15 (semiautomatic rifle) and said, no, you can’t come in, and so he killed her. She said no, but she had absolutely nothing to back it up with.”

Comments (108)

  1. Submitted by jody rooney on 06/17/2014 - 11:17 am.

    Welcome to beyond left field

    Misinformation and fear is what gun advocated rely on: they will take your guns away, you might have to defend your property, it’s the first step to government control. Get serious this is not an accurate assessment of risk, and a waste of energy that could be spent on more worth while things.

    Anyone who tries to make you afraid does not have your best interests at heart. If they have to lie to do it they are using you.

    What I really object to is that this kind of rhetoric robs people of their ability to act with true courage. You can only buy false courage with a hand gun. No wonder our country is such a mess with all these wimps around.

    • Submitted by David LaPorte on 06/17/2014 - 06:14 pm.

      What Andrew should really fear

      At 5-foot-8, weighing in at 195-pounds and eating ham and eggs for breakfast, Andrew has a lot more to fear from atherosclerosis than from gun-toting bad guys.

  2. Submitted by Tim Walker on 06/17/2014 - 11:54 am.

    “Gross and Rothman also accused gun-control activists of advertising falsehoods when lobbying for their viewpoints.”

    Gross and/or Rothman: Please back up this assertion with specific instances when this occurred.

    Thank you.

    • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/17/2014 - 12:39 pm.


      Here’s a few for you. “Gun crime is on the rise!” Pew Research and the Department of Justice report that gun homicide is down 39% and overall gun crime is down a whopping 69% over the past twenty years. Yet 80% of Americans think gun crime is the same or higher over the past twenty years.

      Here’s another one. “40% of guns sold aren’t subject to a background check.” This claim is based on a 1993 phone survey of a statistically insignificant 251 people BEFORE the implementation of the current NICS background check system.

      One more. “Background checks on gun purchases work. The law has stopped more than 2 million convicted felons, domestic abusers and individuals with serious mental illnesses from purchasing firearms.” The fact is 94% of those “stopped” sales are subsequently cleared for purchase. They were delay, not denials.

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 06/17/2014 - 01:58 pm.

        I really like the part where you explicitly ignore the request for specific instances and cites. Bang up job, Kevin.

        • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/17/2014 - 04:15 pm.

          Ignored the Request?

          Maybe you should read the request more carefully. “……accused gun-control activists of advertising falsehoods when lobbying for their viewpoints.” I cited three specific instances when they’ve done just that. I understand you don’t like the factual answer but it does address the question.

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 06/18/2014 - 11:14 am.

            Zero Context

            Yes, I think you have ignored it. I mean, these are obviously arguments you have heard somewhere, or found somewhere, but we don’t know where, you don’t provide any attribution or links to the related info, who is using the arguments, etc etc. There is zero context for your claims- that’s what I am talking about.

            • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/19/2014 - 10:59 am.

              You Don’t Read

              Evidently you don’t read before reacting. I cited both PEW Research and the Department of Justice. I’ll go on to cite the FBI UCR reports, and the CDC reports. The Pew Research Study:

              PewResearchCenter, May 7, 2013, Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware

              If you would take a minute, you can find the the FBI UCR Reports and the CDC reports readily available online. I’ve done my homework, you can do your own.

    • Submitted by Bryan Strawser on 06/17/2014 - 03:13 pm.

      You mean when Heather Martens and the Director of Protect Minnesota’s board argue that they never asked for gun bans, etc – yet that’s exactly what they both testified in favor of in front of the MN House Public Safety Committee in 2013?

      Marc Olivier does a far better job below in the comment string than I could in laying out the content of these bills – but that’s exactly what they called for – registration, bans, and confiscation – for a wide variety of firearms, including many commonly used hunting rifles.

  3. Submitted by Gary Fischbach on 06/17/2014 - 12:29 pm.


    Ms. Martens, you mean “misinformation” like this?

    Everytown for gun safety just claimed 74 school shooting since Newtown. Depending on who provided the further analysis, those 74 were really about a dozen or so. Just Google it.

    Maybe Everytown for Gun Safety needs a 10 day waiting period on their 1st Amendment rights when they publish bad statistics?

  4. Submitted by Arthur Horowitz on 06/17/2014 - 12:49 pm.


    Most people living in Mr. Rothman’s circumstances might prefer to pack a charged cell phone rather than a loaded handgun, though the gun might come in handy for road rage.

    • Submitted by Marc Olivier on 06/17/2014 - 01:44 pm.

      cell phone vs. loaded handgun

      I find your comment amusing, because just before I found and read the Facebook post which led to this article, I happened to be mowing my front lawn while carrying. I live on a street that has “No Parking” signs posted for about 4 or 5 miles along its length. This is why I noticed a small, light brown car parked by the road a few houses away, with the driver sitting inside, just watching me. Did I reach for my gun? No. I reached for my cell phone, with its digital camera, which was on the other hip. The driver sped off as he watched me remove the phone from my pocket, and nearly caused and accident. So, yeah, gun safety, car safety, cell phone safety. What a world, eh?

    • Submitted by Dennis Olson on 06/17/2014 - 03:51 pm.

      You’re Joking, Right?

      Cell phone instead of a gun?

      Perhaps a problematic choice.

      Here’s the reality–when seconds count, the police can be there in minutes.

      Keep that in mind.

      • Submitted by Todd Adler on 06/17/2014 - 04:04 pm.


        Please, no slogans. Otherwise you risk being turned into a caricature.

        “Slogans don’t promote safety; only YOU can prevent accidents.”

      • Submitted by jason myron on 06/17/2014 - 04:57 pm.


        if that clown in Little Falls had used a cell phone instead of executing those kids, he’d be at home right now instead of dying behind bars. Spare me the bumper sticker rhetoric.

        • Submitted by Dennis Olson on 06/17/2014 - 08:05 pm.

          Clown? LOL! Again With the Name-Calling

          If that gentleman had used his phone he’d be in the same boat as anyone who calls the police…….waiting too long and maybe being killed while waiting.

          Remember, when seconds count, the police can (maybe) be there in minutes.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/18/2014 - 12:07 am.

            To be precise

            Convicted double murderer would be more accurate.

          • Submitted by jody rooney on 06/18/2014 - 10:29 am.

            Wow you really can’t speak for your self can you

            How paranoid are you. Get a grip on reality before you hurt someone.

            Mr Olson you are just the kind of person I would rather not see with a permit to carry. I suspect that most of the women in the state have more courage than you do.

            Reaching for the phone was a great choice and really much more effective.

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 06/18/2014 - 11:11 am.

            There is no evidence that the two teenagers who broke into his home were violent offenders. Suggesting that he may have been killed by them is merely supposition, and considering that he WAS armed, he could have just pointed the gun at them and told them to leave.

            A jury found that he had indeed planned to kill them, in advance. Even when he first wounded them, he then finished them off, and stated that he thought of them as ‘vermin.’ This guy is probably NOT who you should be defending to advance your arguments.

  5. Submitted by Franz Kitzberger on 06/17/2014 - 01:04 pm.

    Sick man, sick coverage, sick society. Regulate these scofflaws with impunity! The 2nd Amendment does not, in any shape, form, intention, content, or context, say anything at all about an INDIVIDUAL’S “right to bear arms,” nor does this hastily written phrase, replete with a dangled, spangled modifier, preclude We the People’s RIGHT to regulate said individual possession of said arms. Please see the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, from which all else follows. The NRA is a hate-group and should be designated as such.

    • Submitted by Bryan Strawser on 06/17/2014 - 08:19 pm.

      Unfortunately for your point of view, the US Supreme Court and most 2nd Amendment scholars feel quite differently. The right to keep and bear arms – like the rest of the Bill of Rights – is an INDIVIDUAL right.

      Why is the NRA a hate group? Who is it that NRA members hate?

  6. Submitted by Marc Olivier on 06/17/2014 - 01:27 pm.

    Second Amendment, and Thoroughness and Accuracy in Reporting

    I agree entirely with what Mr. Rothman has to say in this article. I disagree with statements made by Ms. Martens, and am disappointed that Mr Cronin did not investigate her claims further. Ms. Martens, as it turns out, was the actual author of a series of gun control bills presented by Rep. Alice Hausman to the 2013 Minnesota House Judiciary and Finance Committee chaired by former Rep. Michael Paymar. House File 241, 242 and 243 included provisions that called for creation of state and local gun registries, and waived the 4th Amendment rights protecting against searches and seizures without a warrant, solely on the basis of gun ownership. The bills also called for collection of firearms upon death of the original owners by law enforcement agencies, with no recourse to surviving family members or the deceased’s estate to dispose of the firearms by other entirely lawful means. In other words, gun confiscation. So, contrary to Ms. Martens’ statements, yes, bills were presented to take our guns, and she was an integral part of this attempt. That neither she nor Mr. Cronin saw fit to report these facts is disappointing, but by no means surprising.

    As for Mr. Rothman’s comments which paraphrase the statement, “guns save lives”, I couldn’t agree with him more. Locally and nationally, there are many incidents where the mere presence of a lawfully carrying gun owner who made it known a gun was present, or even had to be used, has stopped crime from happening in the first place, or stopped a crime in progress. The fact of the matter is, locally and nationally, media outlets often choose not to report these incidents far too many times. The result of these systemic omissions in reporting is a public perception that only criminals carry guns, and only bad things happen when guns are around.

    There are many positive social events where guns play a part here in the Twin Cities, but again, media bias is skewed against reporting places and times of these events. The events are great for networking, family cohesiveness, as well as education concerning gun safety and skill-building. All of these factors are considered desirable, socially redeeming values, but anti-gun hysteria prevents many from taking advantage of these opportunities.

    A big “Thank You” to Mr. Rothman, Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance and other supporting groups like Twin Cities Gun Owners and Carry Forum for their hard work in trying to improve everyone’s lot by expanding education and awareness of rights and opportunities.

    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 06/17/2014 - 02:55 pm.

      That’s just foolish

      Marc, you want to provide ANY factual support for your “guns save lives” argument? Between homicides, accidents and suicides, your claim is just false.

      • Submitted by Dennis Olson on 06/17/2014 - 04:04 pm.

        No, It’s Quite True–Guns Save Lives

        Guns save lives.

        Such incidents are actually increasing.

        Check the facts.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 06/17/2014 - 04:41 pm.

          Biased links

          Yes, the NRA has no horse in this race at all…

      • Submitted by Marc Olivier on 06/17/2014 - 04:23 pm.

        Guns Save Lives

        So, you missed the Pioneer Press article from last week where the Ramsey County Attorney declined to file charges against a lawful carry gun owner who was the victim of an unprovoked stalking event by two men, which escalated to an attack, at an East Metro grocery store earlier this year? Yeah, the attacker was shot by the victim, who was minding his own business, with his mother and his child in tow. The attacker, on the other hand, had a prior criminal history.

        I guess you also missed the news story of two bartenders getting off work in St. Paul around University and Lexington who were confronted by an armed robber. The bartenders had guns too, and they lived to tell the tale. And, apparently you missed the news story in the West Metro, about a lawful carry person who stopped a vicious pistol-whipping assault on an unarmed woman. The assailant then tried to shoot the lawful carry person. He lived. The assailant didn’t.

        I’m not going to do your work for you. If you truly give a damn about life and self-defense, you’ll take the initiative to do an Internet search using the same skills you used to make your response to my initial comment. The information is out there, and not at all hard to find.

        • Submitted by Todd Adler on 06/17/2014 - 04:48 pm.

          Guns & Lives

          Marc, perhaps I’m talking out of turn here, but I think what Mr. Cage is looking for is statistical evidence, not anecdotal. One side can always find instances to support their position and the other can do the same. So what’s really needed to move the debate forward is not emotional rhetoric, but rather peer reviewed studies that use logic.

          Are we safer with guns in our pockets or are we safer without them? That’s something that requires a scientific approach rather than an emotional one.

          • Submitted by Marc Olivier on 06/17/2014 - 06:03 pm.

            Statistics vs. andecdotes, safer with vs. safer without.

            Todd, you should perhaps visit the Facebook pages of Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, Twin Cities Gun Owners and Carry Forum, or just formulate the question to the answer you’re seeking, and do an internet search. I was asked to provide an example, I provided three, which you promptly found grounds to disregard and dismiss. That speaks volumes to me as to what you really want – simple, blanket concession to the agenda of disarmament. You have attempted to actually invalidate aspects of my life, my personal experience, and the experiences of those I’ve come to know. This doesn’t endear me to you or what I perceive to be your position.

            The statistics you want have been obtained and reported on the pages I cited above, as well as elsewhere on the Internet. They were found by doing the internet searches I suggested. Results of new polls, studies and research are posted as they come to light. Perhaps you need assistance in formulating a query. Again, the pages I cited are a resource where you can find the assistance you need.

            I have what I need to give my full endorsement to the 2nd Amendment, and the Permit to Carry, which I happily possess. Your readiness to diminish and dismiss objective facts as mere anecdotes does nothing to motivate me to provide you with anything else. Your comment is very similar to that of others who post responses to what I say, that I dig up and provide information to them. But I don’t see their names, or yours, on the places where the information you claim to seek is shared openly and regularly. I don’t believe you’re looking to be convinced. You’re looking to wear me down.

            • Submitted by Todd Adler on 06/17/2014 - 11:20 pm.

              Mr. Oliver

              Marc, I think you’ve confused me with someone else who’s been posting on this forum as I haven’t dismissed anyone’s point of view.

              What I’m looking for is good hard data rather than people with slogans and anecdotes. Everyone can come up with someone who foiled a robbery or shot their granddaughter in the middle of the night. That does not impress me as the plural of anecdote is not data. Obviously emotions are running high, which is why I’m looking for something a little more reasoned and better researched than “my opponents are idiots because they don’t agree with me.”

              If you have unbiased data, then by all means share it. You obviously have sources readily at your fingertips and you wouldn’t be on this forum if you’re weren’t trying to convince people that your point of is just. I am your target market, if you’ll excuse the pun. I am someone who is on the fence and is collecting data. If you can’t convince me that your position is well reasoned, how in the world do you expect to convince someone who is fully opposed to your point of view?

              For the record, some of the gun restrictions I’ve seen proposed are reasonable and some strike me as completely idiotic. I’m a gun collector and have a couple of M1s and an M1903 sitting behind me at the moment, among other guns. I’d be pissed if someone tried to take them from me.

              On the other hand, restrictions on the ownership of guns could be a good way to go, assuming it’s handled properly. The issue really isn’t whether or not we have gun restrictions, but where those restrictions ultimately lay. After all, we already ban some guns. You can still own them, but they have to be demilled, which effectively renders them useless as a weapon.

              If you want to have a reasoned discussion and engage in education, then I’m your man. If you’re going to get all worked up though and look at every interaction with suspicion, then it’s best we end this conversation here.

            • Submitted by Tim Walker on 06/18/2014 - 09:38 am.

              Marc, your reply reveals that you continue to lack an understanding of the difference between anecdotal stories and sound statistical evidence.

            • Submitted by jody rooney on 06/18/2014 - 10:51 am.

              I went to the page and those are not statistics

              No wonder many of the gun advocates are so easily led.

              Statistics come from a data collection not story collection from news paper articles found and collected by web searches.

              Data is something that is collected systematically and routinely by unbiased sources. This is data.

              Try some place like this if you want data


          • Submitted by Marc Olivier on 06/18/2014 - 06:51 am.

            Peer review studies

            I cited in an earlier response to your post my reasons for not wanting to supply you with my search results. However, your request for “peer reviewed studies that use logic” held my attention. I did an internet search using the terms “failures of peer review studies” and “defensive gun use peer review studies”, which yielded some interesting results.

            The results include some that shed interesting light on the accusation that the NRA effectively prevented funding for CDC studies on violence involving guns, even during Democrat / liberal-controlled Administrations. It seems claims were made by various parties and organizations in the fields of science, medicine and academia, which resulted in strings-attached funding for gun studies, all geared to come up with support for preconceived notions of guns, gun ownership and gun usage. In other words, objectivity was sacrificed for prestige and political agendas.

            In fact, there seems to be considerable controversy over what, exactly, constitutes “peer review”, and how to objectively and effectively define it, and evaluate it. One key aspect some parties take issue with, although not often or easily found, is the vetting process of “peers” selected to participate, particularly issues concerning a “peer’s” financial, academic and professional history, current circumstances and aspirations.

            One persistent and unavoidable problem with peer review studies, in their quest for unassailable objectivity, is the question, how applicable would such a study be to each individual’s unique set of circumstances? I call attention to a famous, historical quote: “There are three kinds of lies. Lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

            • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 06/19/2014 - 06:44 am.


              The advantage of properly conducted peer-reviewed studies is transparency. Yes – as you’ve found out – not all peer-reviewed studies are conducted as well as they might be.

              But here’s the thing – when a cite is properly provided for a legitimate peer-reviewed study, it allows another interested party to cross-check not only the claimed information, but also the sources for that claimed information, how the study was conducted, by whom and so on. The exact things you’re criticizing in some peer review (“issues concerning a ‘peer’s’ financial, academic and professional history, current circumstances and aspirations) are precisely the kinds of things that are available for crosschecking precisely BECAUSE of the transparency of the peer review process. There is no way to cross-check the legitimacy of studies that do not contain this kind of transparency. Peer review may not be perfectly conducted 100% of the time, but it’s a time-tested process to confirm whether “good” information is truly good and provide a means to weed out questionable or poorly-supported information. Do you know of a better way?

              And no, the “better way” is not to automatically assign great value to “each individual’s unique set of circumstances”. Until and unless that individual’s experiences can be shown to happen again and again a large number of times, it may be no more than a one time or rare anomaly. It may significant to that person, but it does not – in and of itself – constitute a scientifically supportable trend. That’s where your much-reviled “statistics” come into play. Yes, they can be abused. But they can also be incredibly useful when properly applied. And always subject to cross-checking.

              And by the way – speaking of transparency – care to provide the cites for the sources you found that issued such blanket condemnations of the peer-review process? Given the recent history of the conservative tendency to reject anything with a scientific basis, I find myself wondering how truly objective the writers of the sources you found really are.

  7. Submitted by Jan Menke on 06/17/2014 - 02:45 pm.

    Rothmann’s Folly

    Mr. Rothmann should forget about giving so much blood. It must be affecting his thinking . . .

  8. Submitted by Richard O'Neil on 06/17/2014 - 03:15 pm.

    “anti-gun hysteria”?

    My reaction is anger when I hear of another report of another innocent person being killed by a gunman.
    My reaction is fear when I see anyone in public wearing a gun who is not in a law-officer uniform
    My reaction is sadness that we’ve gone another year after Sandy Hook without any progress in making our society safer – especially for our young students. In fact, it has gone the other way with significantly more guns in circulation.

  9. Submitted by Rick Ryan on 06/17/2014 - 03:16 pm.

    What is he (they) so afraid of?

    Mr. Rothman lives in Eden Prairie on a cul de sac, good for him. I have lived in Minneapolis for 48 years, nearly all of my adult life. I don’t live in fear, I have never had the desire.carry a pistol. I own guns, rifles and shotguns for hunting, I have owned handguns in the past. But I don’t see any reason to carry a gun for self-defense, self defense from what? from who?

    Situational awareness will keep you much safer than any handgun. What are you afraid of?

    If you need a gun to feel “safe” than you better figure out why you are so afraid.

    • Submitted by Dennis Olson on 06/17/2014 - 03:58 pm.

      Makes no difference WHY one chooses to carry a gun.

      It’s a personal choice in America.

      Your choice to NOT carry is fine.

      His choice to carry is also fine.

      To criticize the choice of another is simply unwarranted. It’s his business and none of yours.

      • Submitted by Rick Ryan on 06/18/2014 - 09:03 am.


        Living in fear causes irrational thinking. I won’t fly because I’m afraid the airplane may crash. I won’t wear my seat belt because I’m afraid I may be trapped in a burning car. I carry a gun because I’m afraid of something, someone, I don’t know what. We fear random events, that is why a small plane crash that kills two people gets more attentions than the hundreds killed every day in car accidents.

        What I do know is the firearms industry needs and uses fear to drive sales,

        Tools: Rothman stated firearms are tools. Hunting weapons, rifles, shotguns are tools, tools for killing animals. Handguns, multi- round magazine military style weapons are also tools, tools for killing people, they were designed specifically for that purpose.

        When a self-described upper middle-class person feels the need to carry a gun for “self defense reasons” is that decision not driven by fear? He had better look out, when the Southwest Line is completed the train goes both directions, “those” people will have easy access to Eden Prairie. Has he considered a moat and concertina wire?

  10. Submitted by Dennis Olson on 06/17/2014 - 03:27 pm.

    Well Done to Rothman and MinnPost

    A great story.

    It’s nice to see a well-written and positive story about a gun owner who’s just a normal guy who wants to protect himself and those he loves from harm.

    The gun control debate needs more such information.

  11. Submitted by Dean Knudson on 06/17/2014 - 03:28 pm.


    Randomly selecting April, 2014, and examining the city of Minneapolis, arguably the most dangerous place in Minnesota, there were 1607 crime incidents, spread among a population of 382,578, for a rate of 4.2 incidents per 1000 residents, and, of those, 302 were violent crimes, including robbery, aggravated assault and rape, yielding a violent crime rate, or an incident rate, of 0.78 per 1000 persons per month.

    If you carry a gun in Minneapolis, mind your own business, and don’t go looking for trouble, you will need to use it to protect yourself once every 1282 months, or once every 106 years, on average. If you live in a suburb, and spend less than 10 % of your nocturnal travel time in Minneapolis, you could expect to usefully deploy that gun every 212 years.

    The actual need for a gun, in an average lifetime of less than 100 years after age 18, is, to the first approximation, zero. Mr. Rothman would be much better off, statistically, wearing a helmet while routinely driving his car, if he wishes to enhance his safety.

    There is an opportunity cost to wearing a gun, in that one joins a select club, one chooses to self select as an outlier. This club includes those who spray paint their hair, obtain facial tattoos, pick their noses in public, and dress in mismatched plaid clothing. The opportunity costs are subtle and not so subtle, as other parents become reluctant to allow their children to play in your home, your boss becomes somewhat cold to your pleas for advancement, and young ladies become reluctant to escort you on dates.

    • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/17/2014 - 04:25 pm.

      No fire extinguishers

      Your argument means there is no need for a fire extinguisher in my home. I have one in my home in the highly unlikely but real event of a kitchen fire. People carry in the highly unlikely but real event someone commits an act of great bodily harm up to and including death. As for your “opportunity cost”, all choices in life have opportunity costs. There’s nothing unique in that statement.

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 06/17/2014 - 04:44 pm.

        Next time fire extinguishers kill 12,000 people in a 12 month period of time, let us know, and your argument might carry enough water to put out your kitchen fire (assuming it’s not a grease fire, of course).

        • Submitted by Dennis Olson on 06/17/2014 - 04:56 pm.

          Fire extinguishers don’t put out fires…….People WITH fire extinguishers put out fires.

          • Submitted by jason myron on 06/17/2014 - 05:29 pm.

            You don’t get out much do you?

            fire extinguishers put out fires in buildings all of the time without direct human interaction.

            • Submitted by Dennis Olson on 06/17/2014 - 08:02 pm.

              Not Direct…..

              But there’s human intervention behind every fire extinguisher.

              And that’s the point. Such devices as we are discussing always require a human factor.

              Guns alone have never killed anyone……always there’s a human behind it.

              • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 06/18/2014 - 11:07 am.

                Handguns have one express purpose: to kill or maim human beings at close range. Of course there is a human factor involved. Humans invented guns to kill one another. Humans have invented plenty of other ways to kill other humans, yet society deems many of them to be immoral. The POINT is that guns allow someone with nothing other than intent to dispatch someone incredibly quickly and easily. Obviously, the intent or will to kill others will never be fully removed from society, but why make that action any easier? There HAS to be a threshold that we do not cross in terms of what weapons we have access to.

                I would say, that if a crime of opportunity is ONLY such because the perp has a gun, then in that sense, guns HAVE killed plenty of people.

  12. Submitted by Dennis Olson on 06/17/2014 - 04:48 pm.

    All of Which Signifies Nothing If……

    All of which signifies nothing if you happen to be among the few who don’t have a gun when they need one.

    Many are those who have perished…….like that poor and courageous school principal Mr. Rothman mentioned.

    It could happen anywhere…….tomorrow.

    Far better to have one and not need it than not have one and need it.

    There’s your REAL “opportunity cost.”

  13. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 06/17/2014 - 04:56 pm.

    It’s a mistake

    Well-intended, and I’m quite aware of the historical antecedents, but the 2nd Amendment strikes me as one of the few genuine mistakes made by the Founding Fathers. No “maybe” about it, the 2nd Amendment made a good deal of sense to the public at the time (1791) it was adopted, and people who’d just fought a war of independence against a much more powerful state – and won, against the odds – were not going to be inclined to simply lay down their weapons. Moreover, in the 1790s, a huge proportion of the population were actively interacting with the outdoors on a daily basis. Most people lived in rural circumstances, generally farming. Farmers were hunters, as well, and most of the country still qualified as “frontier,” meaning there was little or no access to civil institutions for protection, and little inclination on the part of Americans to tax themselves in order to provide those institutions. A 100-mile journey was at least a week long trip by land. Average life expectancy was in the 40s, and the percussion cap had yet to be invented, so firearms were ALL flintlock, single-shot, muzzle-loaders, many of them “muskets” with unrifled barrels and little accuracy beyond 30 yards.

    We don’t live in that country.

    When Mr. Rothman says “…a gun is a tool that defends life. It does not exist solely to inflict harm or kill,” he is delusional.

    Firearms were invented solely and specifically to inflict harm or kill. They have been improved steadily down through the centuries from the first matchlocks up to the present day specifically to do that job of inflicting harm or killing more rapidly and/or more efficiently, but their primary purpose has remained the same.

    I own multiple firearms, small caliber and large, muzzle-loaders and semi-auto, long guns and pistols. I shoot regularly, and I’m a fair shot.

    Because the Founding Fathers’ mistake is built into the Constitution, I have no problem exercising my 2nd Amendment rights to shoot for recreation, or to own multiple firearms. No right, however, can be logically defended in the absolute. There are circumstances and places where I have no problem with the prohibition of guns. More importantly, of all the comments above, I’m most inclined to side with Rick Ryan. I have concealable handguns, but have not felt the need to carry one with me. My first question, when encountering someone who DOES feel that need, is much like Ryan’s: “Protection from what? From who?” Followed quickly by Ryan’s last sentence.

    We are very near the point in the U.S. where as many people will be killed by guns each year as are killed by automobile accident. To drive an automobile, I have to take a test and get a license, which can be revoked, yet nothing of the sort is required of gun owners. To put it plainly, that makes no sense. At the very least, background checks seem a good idea. I have no qualms about restricting the 2nd Amendment rights of convicted felons, for example.

    Those who argue that it’s the shooter, not the gun, that’s the problem, have a point, but in the face of our current carnage, it’s not much of a point. There’s no defense for Newtown. None. That includes, by the way, “Let’s have EVERYONE carry a gun!” We already have many millions of guns in the society. Ask your local police officer if he’d feel safer if everyone in the neighborhood was armed.

    Meanwhile, those who would ban firearms entirely are imposing on the Constitution a viewpoint not supported by either the language of the document or rulings of the Supreme Court.

    For the time being, what we’re having is an argument based on emotion, not a debate based on reason.

  14. Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/17/2014 - 05:45 pm.

    US Supreme Court Disagrees With You

    The US Supreme Court has recently upheld the individual right to bear arms in two landmark cases. District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 and McDonald v. Chicago in 2010. There have been, and continue to be, significant restrictions on firearm purchases and ownership. The NFA of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968 just to name two. So opportunities to interpret and regulate within the rights of the 2nd amendment have been ongoing since it was originally penned.

    Your anecdotal “historical storytelling” can be applied to the entire bill of rights. The 1st amendment was limited to speaking, parchment, and printing presses. No television, radio, or internet. Singling out the 2nd as singularly flawed and dated is disingenuous at best.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 06/18/2014 - 11:40 am.

      Wrong on the 1st Amendment

      The 1st amendment makes no reference to parchment or printing presses (it makes reference to THE press, meaning journalists). Therefore, it doesn’t specifically EXCLUDE new forms of communication like television, radio, or the internet.

      1st Amendment:
      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      Now, on the 2nd Amendment, as it is ratified by the states:
      “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.”

      this, as we all know, is the source of much debate- whether or not the right to bear arms is contingent upon the ‘well regulated militia.’ So, there is much more wiggle room as I read it (and I’m no lawyer) in the 2nd vs the 1st amendment.

      • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/18/2014 - 05:12 pm.

        US Supreme Court Disagrees With You

        As I stated, two landmark US Supreme Court decisions uphold the right of individuals to bear arms, District of Columbia v. Heller, 2008, and McDonald v. Heller, 2010. There is no debate. The right of individuals to bear arms has been confirmed by the highest court in our country.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 06/19/2014 - 10:03 am.

          There IS Debate

          I think It was McDonald v Chicago, not MacDonald V Heller, for the 2nd case you mentioned, but I digress:
          I recognize that the SCOTUS did make decisions in both of those cases, but it should not be lost on anyone that both of these decisions were 5-4 split rulings, the split coming down in idealogical lines, and from what is the most politicized SCOTUS in modern history.
          As to debate- I don’t debate THAT the decision was made, but I do debate the merits of it, which is perfectly allowable, and those decisions can also be appealed or overturned in other ways. SCOTUS rulings aren’t written in stone tablets and given from god. I mean, I agree with the Roe V. Wade decision, and consider myself a staunch supporter of a woman’s right to choose, but I recognize that there is opposition to that, and I also well recognize that the anti-choice lobby has been working hard to restrict access to safe, legal abortions on the statewide level across the country, and that they are withing their rights to hold that debate in to make whatever efforts they deem necessary within the bounds of the law. Debate is never dead, and SCOTUS decisions have been reversed by later courts, or by direct legislative action.

          • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/19/2014 - 11:31 am.

            Yes, McDonald v. Chicago. Sorry for the gaff. “The People” is cited in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 9th, and 10th amendments. Based on your argument, only groups of people have the freedom of speech, only militias can bear arms, only groups are protected from illegal searches, etc., not individuals.

      • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/18/2014 - 05:13 pm.

        And the 2nd amendment ….

        And the 2nd amendment makes no reference to muskets.

  15. Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 06/17/2014 - 06:02 pm.


    How very peculiar. I’m 65 years old and I’ve lived in big cities and in some of the more dangerous and unsettled parts of Africa, and I’ve never for a minute felt I had to carry a gun to be safe. Maybe paranoia somehow attracts the bad guys?

  16. Submitted by Mark Peterson on 06/17/2014 - 08:18 pm.

    Gun rights advocate

    The article’s title suggests that Mr. Rothman will tell us why Minnesotans need guns; he offers only one example of such need, that of a third-shift security guard working in a bad neighborhood. Mr. Rothman is neither a security guard, nor does he live in a bad neighborhood. So why does he need all those guns, again?

    • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/18/2014 - 09:17 am.

      No requirement to prove “need”

      There is no requirement to prove “need” of a firearm. It’s a red herring supposition. The 2nd amendment and subsequent US Supreme Court rulings uphold the right of individuals to bear arms.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 06/18/2014 - 10:37 am.

        Read it again

        Did you read the title of the article? The title of the article was “Andrew Rothman, a leading gun-rights advocate, on why Minnesotans need guns”. Mark’s comment was that very little of the article discussed “need” even though that was the stated purpose of the article.

        It’s not that complicated.

        • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/18/2014 - 11:16 am.

          I Did Read the Title of the Article

          If Mr. Cronin didn’t address it in the article, that’s his mistake. Mr. Cronin, I assume, knows the 2nd amendment and the US Supreme court decisions guaranteeing the right to bear arms. Need has nothing to do with it and to go down that rabbit hole is pointless. He took a misstep in titling the article.

  17. Submitted by David Frenkel on 06/17/2014 - 08:32 pm.


    So if guns make us safer is bigger better? How about an M-10 that has some real firepower and choice of munitions to shoot through brick walls. It was in high demand by US forces in Iraq when they first entered Baghdad and realized they had to fight an urban war and needed to shoot through walls. I heard a presentation by the former head of security of Washington, DC schools and even though teachers are not allowed to carry guns they do bring them to schools and the head of security said they found teachers guns all over the place and not being carried by the teachers.

  18. Submitted by John Wexler on 06/17/2014 - 08:34 pm.

    We don’t need guns. I have lived for two thirds of a century, served in the Marine Corp and find it quite ironic that we need guns. I have never owned a gun, never will and encourage other people to invest in their communities in a more positive way.

    • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/18/2014 - 09:21 am.

      False Premise

      There is no requirement to prove need. The 2nd amendment and subsequent US. Supreme Court decisions uphold the right to bear arms. Basing assertions on “need” is a red herring. You have the right not to own or carry a firearm. All law abiding citizens of the US do.

  19. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 06/17/2014 - 09:09 pm.

    Not meant to kill, Seiously?

    “He listed examples of guns existing not to kill: Those carried by police officers, those used for sport, those used for hunting and those used for self-defense.”

    You have got to be kidding me. This guy is their intellectual power house? This is friggin hilarious and typical of these gun freaks who never used a gun as god intended: to hunt. Those of us who grew up using them as a “tool” (They use the term all the time and have no clue what it means) learned they they were not to be worshiped, but they were to be respected. Never point at something you didn’t intend to kill, was driven into my brain from the time I could walk and talk. Why were we told that if the gun was not meant to kill.

    Maybe in his F’d up world a gun used for hunting is not meant to kill, but mine are. Its not pretty, everyone may not like it and I accept that.

    Maybe in his F’d up world a cops gun in not meant to kill, but they don’t teach them to shoot to wound at the police academy.

    And if you don’t intend to kill someone with your self defense weapon then maybe you shouldn’t be carrying it. If the one in 100 million situation ever comes up where its you or the bad guy, the bad guy knows he’s the bad guy so you better not hesitate, he won’t.

  20. Submitted by Doug Gray on 06/17/2014 - 09:30 pm.

    my handgun experience

    It was a State Department security officer who taught me about handguns when I was posted overseas. This is what I remember of his lessons, which I have taken to heart.

    A handgun is a tool for destroying human life at close range. It is useless for any other purpose. Merely having one means nothing and does nothing. Do not have one in your home or on your person unless you are fully prepared to use it to kill another human being who you are looking in the eyes. Do not buy one unless and until you are fully prepared to use it for that purpose and in that way. If you should have one in your home, store the gun in one place under lock and key; the magazine or cylinder, unloaded, in a second place under lock and key; and the ammunition in a third place under lock and key. It is extremely unlikely that you will ever need your handgun on short enough notice not to have time to unlock, assemble and load it and to prepare yourself to destroy another human life with it at close range. Handguns are far too dangerous to handle in any other way. Handled improperly, it is much more likely that they will kill or severely injure yourself or another innocent person, probably someone you love.

    Here is my belief: I am never defenseless as long as I can call for a professional law enforcement officer. I pay property taxes, and live where they are put to good use, largely for that purpose. If someone with a gun comes into our home, our plan is to flee. There is nothing there that is worth any of our lives.

    • Submitted by Dennis Olson on 06/18/2014 - 01:38 pm.


      I’ve hunted with a handgun for about 50 years. I assure you it can take game at long range and I’ve done so many times.

      There are literally thousands like me who have developed such skills.

      The statement that a handgun is just for “destroying human life at close range” is ludicrous and simply WRONG.

      Handguns have many uses.

      As for law enforcement…..hats off to them. They have a tough job. So tough, in fact, that they will rarely get to a really bad situation soon enough to do anything but call the coroner. Good luck with that.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 06/18/2014 - 03:32 pm.

        They arrive and diffuse

        bad situations all of the time without a coroner being called in. What’s it like to hunker down in your bunker and fear everything? It must be a terrible way to live….
        I’m going to pick up my son from basketball camp now…and I’ll be leaving my Glock at home as I’m not expecting a zombie attack or to be bum rushed by a horde of meth heads. Wish me luck…

  21. Submitted by Dean Knudson on 06/17/2014 - 09:31 pm.

    Statistics…and fire extinguishers…

    Again, statistics to the rescue:

    In 2012, there were 1,375,000 fires reported in the United States. These fires caused 2,855 civilian deaths, 16,500 civilian injuries, and $12.4 billion in property damage.

    480,500 were structure fires, causing 2,470 civilian deaths, 14,700 civilian injuries, and $9.8 billion in property damage.
    172,500 were vehicle fires, causing 300 civilian fire deaths, 800 civilian fire injuries, and $1.1 billion in property damage.
    692,000 were outside and other fires, causing 60 civilian fire deaths, 825 civilian fire injuries, and $813 million in property damage.

    The 2012 U.S. fire loss clock a fire department responded to a fire every 23 seconds. One structure fire was reported every 66 seconds.

    One home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds.
    One civilian fire injury was reported every 32 minutes.
    One civilian fire death occurred every 3 hours and 4 minutes.
    One outside fire was reported every 46 seconds.
    One vehicle fire was reported every 156 seconds.

    Now, having said all of this, it should be noted that, in many major cities, that structure fires have decreased by 90% (but fire department staffs have not, and that’s ANOTHER story). Building codes and smoke detectors work, and work well. When trying to decide whether to purchase a piece of safety gear, a good guide is your insurance company. If your insurance company suggests a piece of safety gear, and is willing to give you a discount in a premium for owning it, you can safely assume that it’s a good idea. In general, fire extinguishers, readily available and relatively inexpensive, are a good idea.

    But…let me make your argument for you…

    Your insurance company does not want you to own a swimming pool, and with good reason. A swimming pool on your property, as economist Steven Levitt is fond of repeatedly pointing out, is seven times more dangerous than having a gun in the home. The argument against handguns, per se, as a safety hazard, relative to other common risks in the environment, is not strong.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t own a handgun, and never will. Statistically it’s not all that dangerous, on average, relative to other risks, given a trained user and standard safety precautions, but it’s certainly not safe. There will be deaths, yearly, as a result of suicides, children playing with guns, and drunk/angry owners. Those deaths, however, compared to all cause deaths, are, honestly rare. Those deaths are preventable, but, fortunately, relatively rare. Although owning a handgun triples the relative risk of suicide for that owner, it does not increase, significantly, from a statistical standpoint national suicide deaths (more than 35,000 per year!), as the prevalence of suicide, per capita, is low.

    The best evidence base reason not to own a handgun, or carry a handgun, is that it is, statistically useless. . Statistically, you will never need it, and, if you carry one, the vast majority of your peers will consider you to be a nut.

  22. Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 06/17/2014 - 11:35 pm.

    Common Courtesy

    I usually enjoy reading the comments as they fill in missed areas and bring up things I had not thought of.
    I learned very little from the above comments.

    Boy can this crowd be insulting, though. Did we take a step back here?

  23. Submitted by Greg Price on 06/18/2014 - 06:11 am.

    Do not need your approval…but respect your right to express it

    I am a native of Wyoming…west river we look at guns as a tool… as a part of life…a necessary evil so to speak. My compliments to MinnPost for publishing this article. I have had a concealed carry permit for over thirty yrs. I have found it necessary to draw my pistol only once…however had I not had it…the situation would have probably turned out with myself in a very negative position.

    I am a veteran and I wore my uniform so that evryone here has the ability to speak their piece.
    I have lived in eight states and seen a great deal more of this country. Our diversity is one of the things that makes this country stronger.

    However censoring a point of view because you do not agree with it is detestable. We have a 1st amendment to protect free speech and a 2nd amendment to guarantee that it stays that way. During Colonial times every able bodied male was considered a potential member of the militia.
    Nuff said.

    I am happy that I live in a country where I do have the ability to vote and express my opinion. Many in the world do not have those rights. I really enjoy reading MinnPost and have enjoyed reading different perspectives. I may not agree with them all but I can respect their right to say it.

    Mr. Rothman is quite vocal about his views and has gone to a great deal of work to put himself in position to express them. Kudos to Mr. Cronin for writing the article.

    There are a great deal of NIMBY types out there…and there are quite a few “Sheeple” out there that never have an opinion or the courage to express it. Calling someone a nutcase because you disagree with their views quite simply paints you as a “nutcase” of the opposite stripe.

    I would give an “atta-boy” to every reader here who has the courage to express an opinion…whether I agree with it or not. And I will give another “atta-boy to MinnPost for having the courage to publish a thought provoking article that will hopefully make people think and have polite discourse whatever their position on the issue.

    Thank you

    Greg Price

  24. Submitted by Christine Hermanson on 06/18/2014 - 06:18 am.

    Rothman article

    Thank you for a balanced article about gun ownership and choice. I always enjoy reading the comments and find it interesting that the ‘enlightened’ commenters who are against gun ownership do much more name calling than the gun advocates who speak respectfully about choice and personal responsibility.

  25. Submitted by Cindy Oberg-Hauser on 06/18/2014 - 06:21 am.

    We shape the world around us

    Our attitudes and actions in our own little corners shape them. I would never, ever choose to carry a gun because this acknowledges that my world is a violent place full of untrustworthy people. That simply isn’t true.

    • Submitted by David Gross on 06/18/2014 - 11:07 am.

      Choice, Attitudes, and Actions

      Cindy, the really good news in your comment is that you recognize that different people are able to express themselves in their actions based upon their individual views and attitudes, as a matter of personal choice. One should never be forced to carry a gun for personal protection if s/he doesn’t want to; and no law forces that. I respect your choice not to carry, just as you apparently respect the choice of another with a slightly less rose-colored view of the world to do so. Not “full;” just in case, because it does happen all too often. The other side of the coin is that no one should be forced not to carry for personal protection based on another’s personal choices: “If I wouldn’t, you cannot.”
      The constitution and laws are about government’s obligation to preserve, to protect, and to defend the individual’s fundamental right to choose for herself/himself in such personal matters and as shaped by one’s world view, interpretation of, or (as you put it) acknowledgement of the facts. It IS about respect: self-respect, and respect for others.

  26. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/18/2014 - 09:23 am.

    Mr. Rothman and misinformation

    The problem we have with discussions like this is continuity. The ball never moves forward because every time we get an article like this gun “rights” debaters thrash over the material as if there have been no previous discussions. You see the same false claims, misinformation, unreliable references and citations, presented all over again time after time.

    As for Rothman, his unreliability as a source of information has already been established in a previous comment thread. If you go back look at his comment in Mr. Cronin’s previous article ( ). On June 9th you’ll find a comment by Mr. Rothman wherein he distorts the findings of a University of Pennsylvania monograph about gun violence in the United States. On June 10th under the heading: “Gun Lobby Misinformation” I expose Mr. Rothman’s distortions and possible dishonesty, and guns rights supporters spend the next several days trying and failing to discredit my observation.

    The point is that whenever these arguments emerge gun rights advocates invariably attempt to dominate the discussion with unreliable if not purely fabricated information and outright illogical propositions (such as propane tanks are just as “lethal” as assault rifles or that a drop in firearm suicides must mean that guns aren’t as dangerous as everyone supposes). The notion that we can’t make society safer with gun regulations until we address the “root” cause of violence is simply irrational but makes an appearance in almost every discussion. (It’s like saying there’s no point in equipping cars with brakes until people stop running into things with their cars)

    Of course the most transparent observation is that gun rights advocates have to distort the data because they have no solid data upon which to make their arguments. Indeed guns rights advocates have almost no data at all of their own, they don’t conduct any research. You’ll not that almost all of the “data” people like Mr. Rothman point to is derived from someone else’s research be it the CDC or various Universities and public health or epidemiology investigations. You’ll also not that their arguments frequently rely on either distorting that data or disputing it ala arguments very similar to those deployed against climate change researchers. When the gun lobby isn’t distorting research findings they’re accusing the researchers of being anti-gun lackeys.

    Just one example is the claim gun related homicides have been dropping for two decades. While there has been a drop, that trend lasted for 7-8 years, not two decades. And the data actually show that the firearm homicides have been on the rise since 2002. The trend actually raises distinct possibility that NRA and ALEC inspired policies such as conceal and carry and Stand Your Ground laws in addition to the expiration of the assault rifle ban, have actually reversed the downward trend. Furthermore, we know that the drop in gun related homicides is a reflection of the drop in homicides over-all, the actual percentage of homicides involving guns has remained stable at around 70%. The idea for instance that people defending themselves with guns has reduced the number of homicides with guns is pure fabrication because no decrease has actually been observed.

    In another thread we get this bizarre argument organized around the observation the use of guns for suicide has dropped somewhat in recent years. The problem is guns are still the most frequent choice for suicide accounting for more suicides than all other methods combined. Guns are used twice as much as the next most frequent suicide method (which is poisoning I think). No coherent point ever emerges from the gun lobby regarding this observation, and of course it’s a trend that can reverse itself at any time anyways.

    In general the gun lobby is the most unreliable source of information you can find about gun policies. Meanwhile we get stuck in these circular regurgitation’s of misinformation and defunct arguments every time someone tries to have a coherent discussion of gun safety and public policy. Not quite sure what to do about this, but let’s start by explicitly recognizing it. As long as we’re looking the “gun culture” let’s make note of this aspect of it.

    • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/18/2014 - 11:51 am.

      Please Cite Your Source

      Pew Research Center released a study on May 7, 2013 entitled Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware. It’s easily available online. While the pace of decline has slowed in the past decade, it is still declining. Please cite your source for your claim that firearm homicides are on the rise.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/18/2014 - 01:39 pm.



        Again, the number “gun” homicides in and of itself tells us nothing. The over all number of homicides dropped from 9.3 per 100,000 to 4.8 per 100,000 in 2010 (around 51%).

        During that time, the percentage of homicides committed with gun remained statistically stable at around 70%. Table 2, page three column 2.

        As for the increase in firearm homicides:

        “The majority of the decline in firearm-related homicides
        occurred between 1993 and 1998. Since 1999, the number of
        firearm homicides increased from 10,828 to 12,791 in 2006
        before declining to 11,101 in 2011.” page 1, figure 1

        So we’ve seen a five or so year decrease followed by a slight rise and another slight drop. This is a very different picture than the constant and repeated claims by the gun lobby that such homicides have been dropping for two decades. At best we can say gun homicides dropped for five years and now appear to have leveled off. And the initial decrease is most like associated with over-all decreases in violent crime over the same period. There is no evidence that those decreases have anything to do with policies that the gun lobby has been promoting.

        • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/18/2014 - 05:32 pm.

          NIce Try

          Your claim was that gun homicides have risen. You’re now admitting it continues to decline or, “has leveled off”. Taking “snapshots” of data and claiming a rise in firearm deaths is not representative of the 20 year trend. You also correlate the decline with “most likely” an overall decrease in crime with no supporting data. You can’t argue with facts. The facts are there for everyone to see in the Pew Research report, the DOJ report, and the FBI report. You can rationalize all you like. The data speaks for itself. You cannot support your claim of gun homicide rising unless you “snapshot” the data, as you have.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/18/2014 - 08:09 pm.

            More like a bullseye

            The fact that violent crime has decreased in the last few years is a well documented fact. If you can explain why violent crime would drop, but crimes involving guns would not drop along with them, be my guest. Your right, anyone can look at the graphs, and if they do they will NOT see a continuous 20 drop in homicides, they will see a 5 year drop followed by a slight rise and small drop otherwise known as “leveling” of a trend.

    • Submitted by David Gross on 06/18/2014 - 12:23 pm.

      Conflation and redefinition

      Paul, your focus is too narrow, missing the forest for the trees. “Gun safety” when coming from those who would severely restrict or ban them is a misleading canard, a distraction or deflection, especially when conjoined with “public policy,” as if they were a tautology. Yes, you believe it. And that’s OK; for yourself; as a matter of your personal choice, your beliefs, your article of faith and tautology, your “religion.”
      The Constitution is, however, vastly different concerning this debate involving, at a minimum, the First, Second, and Fourteenth Amendments: civil rights. And that IS the reason that that the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance (GOCRA) has “Civil Rights” as its middle name. It was founded to preserve, protect, and defend the civil rights of gun owners under the constitution from attack by such people as yourself, by using the government to turn us into second-class citizens and to extinguish our constitutional rights through the “tyranny of the majority,” or “mob rule,” if you prefer that term. Civil Rights were enshrined in the constitution precisely to prevent the tyranny of the majority.
      We used the First Amendment to expose the falsehoods and actions of the Executive Branch in abusing the enactments of the Legislative Branch and to convince the Legislature to change the laws in order to promote civil rights under the constitution and to rein in the Executive by defining precisely its duties to the people. That’s a matter of record, of a reaction to abuse and a refusal to suffer more/further such abuse(s).
      Your assault on my rights continues, using such canards, which I/we have every right to expose, whether in polite debate in these pages, or political/policy debate at the legislature where we demand, rightfully, a respectful deference and obedience to the constitution and our civil rights thereunder. That deference to the constitution includes the requirement that any proposed restriction of my civil rights be compellingly necessary, compellingly and overwhelmingly and factually/objectively demonstrated to be within the police power concerning public health and safety, and most narrowly focused to achieve only that result and not as a flank attack or excuse to deny the underlying right through overbreadth. So far, all you have been able to demonstrate and produce is your religion/belief system that guns are evil (like the Luddites and weaving machines), patently transparent canards involving misleading analyses of limited facts and alleged associations (not cause and effect), with the result that your credibility with the legislature has been blown. I urge you to keep it up: “‘Tis better to be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and to remove all doubt.” GOCRA tells the whole truth and nothing but the truth, even if it isn’t pretty.
      Meanwhile, we will continue to endure and to expose your assaults (Like the old joke punchline: “Sheep lie!”) with the facts and arguments addressed to a thinking, intelligent, analytical audience seeking to solve real problems, rather than to an emotional, frustrated, shortsighted one which won’t solve the one they see, as well as creating others.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/18/2014 - 01:14 pm.

        Myth is myth

        “Gun safety” when coming from those who would severely restrict or ban them is a misleading canard, ”

        No, the “canard” is that guns are perfectly safe technology, they are not. Guns are extremely dangerous, period. If you deny that guns are dangerous technology you are delusional. If you admit that guns are dangerous technology then it stands to reason that REAL safety measure are a legitimate policy objective. A thing cannot be a legitimate policy objective and a canard at the same time.

        I would say accepting safety advice from people who don’t recognize the dangerous nature of guns is simply foolish.

        In fact the gun lobby has been devoted to promoting the lie that guns are safe, and the obstruction of safety measures that would limit the deaths injuries cause by guns. From trigger locks to background checks the gun lobby has been opposed. The ONLY safety measure the gun lobby really supports is voluntary training.

        The “canard” is that someone somewhere in the United States is advocating a comprehensive “ban” on all guns. This is pure hysteria. The problem with the gun lobby’s notion of “severe” restrictions is that any restriction at all is considered “severe” by the gun lobby.

        And before someone pops up with the often made claim that their are hundreds of laws on the books already, I would point out that those laws are obviously not effective, and are chewing up all kinds of law enforcement resources while being ineffective. Note, those laws were written primarily by the gun lobby which brings me back to my observation that getting your safety advice from people who don’t think safety is an issue is doomed policy.

  27. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/18/2014 - 12:12 pm.

    Self defense myths

    Here’s what a peer reviewed research paper actually concludes from a detailed examination of multiple sources of data regarding guns and self defense:

    Firearm & Injury Center at Penn
    (Version 2011)

    Firearm Access

    A debate is ongoing about the consequences of ow
    ning firearms: Is access to a gun protective or
    an increased risk factor for the firearm owner to be killed?
    While some studies
    suggest that firearms can serve a protective
    function, the bulk of evidence suggests that gun
    availability increases the like
    lihood for individuals to be kill
    ed, or to kill another person:

    • A gun in the home is a risk factor for household members to be shot fatally in their home.

    • The risk of being killed appears particularly
    high among women, which reflects the increased
    likelihood for a woman to be killed by her spouse,
    partner or family member rather than a

    • People with a family member who has purchas
    ed a handgun are at increased risk of being
    shot and killed.

    • Owning a gun may moderately increase the lik
    elihood of fatally shooting another person.

    • On the whole, carrying a firearm does not
    guarantee protection and may increase injury

    While individual circumstances vary, persons
    should take this into account this when
    making decisions about firearm possession. Consider
    ing safety plans that
    provide alternatives
    to firearms may be in order for indivi
    duals with minimal firearms experience

    While instances of effectively deployed self defense do occur, statistically the actual profile of carrying a gun looks more like the recent incident in Texas where a 6 year old shot and killed his grandfather with an AK47 his father brought to a family picnic. Mr. Rothman is simply increasing the chances of someone getting shot in his home rather than increasing his odds of defending his home. And training is no inoculation; the majority of shootings take place with individuals who are supposed to have been well trained and familiar with guns. In fact, if anything training and familiarity can make a shooter more effective rather than less dangerous. From Oswald to Fort Bragg we have effective shooters who got their training in the military.

    On the other hand my guess is that people who obtain conceal and carry permits actually carry guns for a short period of time before they get tired of the hassle. Carrying a gun with a modicum of safety is not easy, and 99% of the people carrying a gun will never have to use it for self defense. How many years are YOU going go through the hassle of trying to carry a gun safely with narry an instance of assault or threat before you just decide to leave the thing home more often than not? I’m 51 years old and I’ve never needed a gun for self defense. What would be the point of me carrying a gun around for the last 30 years even if I could have?

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/18/2014 - 01:17 pm.

      The point is

      none of what you’ve said is relevant. The only thing that matters is that people have a choice. A constitutionally protected choice. Whether or not a person avails himself of that choice is up to him. That’s what happens in a free society.

      What offends people is when others try to take that choice away.

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 06/18/2014 - 01:39 pm.

        Says the guy who thinks women shouldn’t have been granted to right to vote…

  28. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/18/2014 - 01:32 pm.

    I just want to shoot

    As a gun owner, hunter and sport shooter, I just want to be able to go to my local sporting goods store and buy a few rounds when I need them. But no; the Rothmans of the world have hoarded billions of rounds of ammunition for the coming apocalypse they are preparing for, and for just a normal guy to go get a box of .22 LRs is nearing impossibility. It is crazy: individuals susceptible to paranoia in the first place are having their every fear amplified by the NRA and gun lobby. The result is record gun and ammunition sales. Which is certainly a higher priority on the NRAs and gun lobby’s priority list than defending the constitution, promoting gun safety, advocating hunting and sport shooting. It is all about the money and Rothman is Exhibit A for the ability of money to distort reality, which is: nobody’s coming to get your guns, and it’s safe to go to Target without a weapon.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 06/18/2014 - 03:21 pm.

      Well stated, Edward

      the only thing these people have managed to accomplish with their raging paranoia, besides keeping Wayne LaPierre in a sweet, high six figure salary, is pad the profits of gun and ammo manufacturers. I’m just now starting to see 9mm cartridges back on shelves, yet at still exorbitant prices.

  29. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/18/2014 - 01:50 pm.

    Dennis x 2?


    “The only thing that matters is that people have a choice. A constitutionally protected choice.”

    That may be the only thing that matters to you. I remind you again, you live in a democracy where your fellow citizens are free to establish public priorities. We may for instance decide that public safety trumps absolute rights. For instance we have restrictions speech, we can have restrictions on guns.


    “I am well-trained, sane, responsible and mature (very mature) so the scary statistics don’t scare me.”

    What scares you is irrelevant. Our entire legal system and constitution is based on the assumption that the damage done by dysfunctional people can be mitigated by establishing laws that apply to everyone. Maybe you think you can drive safely 150 MPH down HWY 7, but we still have speed limits that apply to everyone.

    • Submitted by Dennis Olson on 06/18/2014 - 02:31 pm.


      I’m sure you’ve been advised of this before, but just a refresher, just in case.

      Driving is not a Constitutional Right.

      Carrying a gun is a Constitutional Right.

      I don’t think 150 MPH is a reasonable speed, by the way.


      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/18/2014 - 03:10 pm.

        Thanks for the lesson, maybe you could expand upon:

        “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.”

        The NRA and the Rothman’s of the world carry around the second 14 words like they are written stone tablets in the Arc of the Covenant. If an individual expresses their open opposition to our well regulated government militia and believe in the destruction of the free state, are there any implications for the second 14 words? It’s all very convenient: pick the words you like and treat them like the word of god, take the ones you don’t like and treat them like a 30 day contract for a free membership at your local health club.

        • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/18/2014 - 03:58 pm.

          Here’s an idea

          Name another constitutional right that is intended for groups (i.e., militia, women, christians) and not individuals. The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to safeguard the constitutional rights of all individuals.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/18/2014 - 04:36 pm.


            Freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom of speech all apply to groups not just individuals. The Tenth Amendment applies to states NOT individuals. The Bill of Rights has several purposes, and by the way, it doesn’t contain all of the constitutionally guaranteed rights.

            • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/18/2014 - 05:33 pm.

              You’re wrong

              Freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom of speech all apply to individuals, not groups.

              The 10th Amendment – “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people applies to “the people” i.e., individual citizens.

              • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/18/2014 - 08:17 pm.

                I’m not wrong

                Dennis, you can’t have a religion of “one”, nor can a assembly be a single person. An individual cannot be a militia, or a State. The “people”, is a PLURAL reference to a group, not an individual. Look at the Preamble for the US Constitution:

                “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

                Common defense, general welfare, “our” posterity, “our” liberty. This was obviously a collective effort. Unless you think an individual can be a perfect union? Yes we have individual liberties, but they are meaningless outside the context of citizenship or group affiliation. This is a basic principle that libertarians just don’t get.

                • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/19/2014 - 11:19 am.

                  Constitutional Scholar, ‘eh?

                  “The People” is cited in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 9th, and 10th amendments. In all cases, they refer to individual rights. Based on your premise, only groups of people have a right to free speech, not individuals. Furthermore, the US Supreme Court in to recent decisions, District of Columbia v. Heller, 2008, and McDonald v. Chicago have upheld the individual right to bear arms. Once again, you’re talking through your hat.

            • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 06/18/2014 - 05:39 pm.

              “Freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom of speech all apply to groups not just individuals.”

              I speak freely, you speak freely. I own a handgun, you own a handgun…or not; your call.

          • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/19/2014 - 11:29 am.

            How about you

            Name another constitutional right that is accompanied by a reason: “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.” The “well regulated militia” is the National Guard. The Commander in Chief of the National Guard is the President. The Rothman’s of the world have a reputation for not exactly respecting the current Commander in Chief. Which invalidates the reason, which invalidates the right, which means maybe it is time to take Ted Nugent’s guns away from him.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/18/2014 - 04:44 pm.

        In addition to Mr. Ecklund’s observatoin

        The Second Amendment does not guarantee unfettered access to any type of firearm, and in fact does not mention firearms at all. However, even to the extent that the 2nd can be misconstrued to grant individual gun rights, none of our constitutional rights are completely free of restrictions. A variety of different types of speech can be prohibited and illegal, and even the current supreme court has ruled that limits can be constitutionally applied to individual gun ownership.

        I actually wrote a series of blog article about the 2nd Amendment that was featured here on the Blog Cabin. There long but very detailed examinations of the history and rulings:

  30. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/18/2014 - 01:54 pm.

    Edward raises another interesting point

    All you guys who think the gun lobby is about your rights… it’s about gun sales and the gun industry. You really think a few million NRA card carriers are behind this?

  31. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/18/2014 - 04:29 pm.


    I need to recant a previous statement, I have said referring to the homicide trends that dropped, and then went up again or stabilized:

    “The trend actually raises distinct possibility that NRA and ALEC inspired policies such as conceal and carry and Stand Your Ground laws in addition to the expiration of the assault rifle ban, have actually reversed the downward trend.”

    That doesn’t really make sense. The percentage of homicides involving guns has remained stable therefore we can’t attribute gun lobby policy with reversing the homicide trend anymore than we can credit them with causing the downward trend in the first place.

    • Submitted by Richard Schulze on 06/18/2014 - 10:44 pm.

      A prerequisite for progress on this issue is for the gun control crowd to abandon their fantasy stereotypes about American gun owners. The politicians know who the gun owners are and they know they vote. They respect gun owners. Only by changing the minds of those perfectly rational middle class gun owners will gun control ever progress legislatively. It won’t be easy, but start by treating them with respect.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 06/19/2014 - 06:48 am.


        I wouldn’t call it respect. Politicians *fear* gun owners – or more specifically, the well-heeled lobby funded by the NRA.

        It’s all about votes (and funding) for politicians these days. That’s not respect. It’s nothing more than self preservation of a political career and a lush gig.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/19/2014 - 09:44 am.

        Prerequisite for progress?

        The prerequisite for progress is that gun owners abandon their hysteria. You can clearly see that hysteria on display in these comments or any comment thread about guns. The United State is the most resilient democracy on the planet with a 200 year history of protecting and expanding individual rights. Yet every time we talk about some common sense restrictions on gun sales and possession hysterical gun owners come out of the woodwork with paranoid fantasies of someone coming into their homes and taking their guns, or leaving them with no means of self defense. This isn’t stereotype, this is repeatedly observed behavior. Every law we pass regulating guns is only acceptable to gun owners as long as there’s a way to get around it, and then they demand to know why we’re not enforcing the laws?

        Now, if you’re gun owner, like me, and you understand that guns are very dangerous technology, and that guns are inflicting serious damage on our nation and fellow citizens, then you understand our responsibility to do something to mitigate the death and destruction that guns are causing. That doesn’t mean outlawing gun ownership completely, it has nothing to with house to house searches for illegal guns, and it has nothing to do with disarming people who want to defend themselves. If you want to complain about your image as a gun owner than you need to step up and take responsibility for gun policy and make it clear that NRA drones with hysterical fantasies of communism emerging from common sense gun policy don’t speak for you. We need a responsible rifle association that will replace the NRA in the words of my best friend. Gun owners have allowed a small minority of NRA hysterics claim the voice of all gun owners for decades, so don’t complain about the stereotypes that flow out of that.

  32. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 06/18/2014 - 05:07 pm.

    Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.

    ~ Uncle Joe Stalin

  33. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 06/18/2014 - 09:50 pm.

    I am writing this from Japan,

    a country that has known REAL tyranny (as in, you could get arrested and executed for saying the wrong thing) and military occupation by a foreign power within living memory.

    Gun ownership by individuals is effectively banned. Organized criminals may have guns, but they traditionally do not bother civilians who avoid them and their businesses. They’re more likely to shoot one another than to go after ordinary people.

    I speak and read Japanese (I’m a translator by profession), and I detect no great longing for or fascination with guns, either in ordinary conversation or in the media.

    Here’s my theory about why guns and right-wing issues in general have such a powerful hold: People feel that no one in government understands them and that they are helpless in the face of the machinations of bureaucrats and corporate bigwigs. Getting all worked up about personal behavior issues and guns is a way of exerting control in at least some aspects of one’s life, even if your boss is making you work unpaid overtime and the local assessor raised your property taxes. The guy who carries everywhere FEELS powerful, and yet, deep-down, he’s a scaredy-cat. He externalizes his anxieties by imagining muggers lurking in every doorway and mass shooters popping up in every public place. When nothing bad happens, he tells himself it’s because he’s carrying.

    May I remind people that the most recent Oregon shooting spree was stopped by a student with pepper spray, and the one before (in Springfield, Oregon many years ago) was stopped when a school employee tackled the shooter from behind. Being caught up in a mass shooting would be bad enough. Being caught in a mass shooting with cowboy wannabes shooting every which way would be truly frightening.

  34. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/19/2014 - 10:30 am.


    According to the polls a majority of Americans, even Republicans and gun owners support proposed gun control measures, and increased gun control laws in general. The Question is why are we as a nation allowing a small but vocal minority block such measures?

    Just as small indicator of how extreme some NRA members can be, only 71% believed guns should NOT be sold to people on the Terrorist Watch List.

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