Background Checks

We had a very lively and healthy debate here at AVC a while back about gun safety. I am very much in the camp that we need to put a lot more restrictions on what guns should be on the market and how. But regardless of where you are on gun safety, the vast majority of Americas (between 70% and 90% depending on how and who you count) believe that background checks should be run on everyone who wants to buy a gun.

But getting background check legislation passed by the Senate is proving challenging. How is it that 70-90% of Americas support this idea and we can't get the Senate to pass the legislation? Well that is gun safety politics in America.

Tomorrow the Senate will bring the bill to the floor for a vote. It looks the Republican threat to fillibuster has passed. Smart move by the GOP. Fillibustering a bill that 70-90% of Americans support seems like a bad idea. But there is still the question of how the vote will go.

Over the past decade, my wife and I have been generous givers to Democrats running for Senate. I imagine that of the fifty-five Democrats in the Senate, we have donated to at least half of them. The data is online somewhere but I don't have the time to find the data and link to it.

In the coming days, we will get another data set. That being the list of Senators who voted against background checks. And I hope that data gets put online permanently like our giving history. Because that will be a list of Senators who are hostage to the NRA and do not need or deserve our support. We will get to see who they are in the coming days. I will be watching carefully. So should you.


Comments (Archived):

  1. fltron

    Political topics like this will further push the point that there is no democracy in the US. There are big gaps between the Republican and Democrat talking points, but the general outcome of key issues always comes down to the same thing: special interests with money.When has the majority of the US people got their way?Gun regulation? NopeObamacare? Sure, an improvement, but largely written by the insurance and medical industry.To big to fail – Can’t possibly charge people that brought down the US economyWars? – If people don’t support the war you want, just lie to them, and then tell them it was worth it anyway.What makes me hopeful is the next generation seems smarter to this, and hopefully when they’re old enough to make it higher up the political ranks they’ll make things right.I’m still hopeful that something will change no this issue, but not looking likely. At least the Democrats will put the vote on record.

    1. Cam MacRae

      Sure there is democracy in the US, it’s just a deeply flawed representative democracy as susceptible to the iron law of oligarchy as any other. I quite like stochocracy as a cure, although I concede congress will be composed of the same old unrepresentative swill, only randomly allocated.

  2. Dan Cornish

    I think that once background checks for guns is passed, there will need to be background checks for many other things which can cause death and chaos. Bloggers who can incite violence should be denied access to the internet where their poison can kill many people. The harm child pornographers cause is incalculable. The only way to stop this carnage this is for all bloggers to submit to background checks. Does this sound ridiculous? What if after a concerted campaign by a new president and a compliant media the majority of people are convinced that they should support background checks for bloggers? Then should a law be passed because a majority of people support it? The other argument is “it” (permission to blog thru background checks) could never happen here, we have freedom of speech. All I have to say is be very careful for what you wish. For all the geeks here remember “So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause.”

    1. fredwilson

      oh please. don’t be ridiculous.

      1. Cam MacRae

        wonder if he’ll lend me his straw man? the crows are getting to my cherries.

      2. kidmercury

        yeah, he is being ridiculous. i mean, government is obviously our friend and would never hurt us. tuskegee experiment, operation midnight climax, MK ULTRA… big deal, just ignore it. ignorance is strength! #1984


          We are one… With a common cause…


        When you talk about the gun control issue Fred, That’s exactly what we thing about you.

        1. kidmercury

          #ohsnap #upvoted

          1. fredwilson


          2. andyswan

            You state your case and you listen to the opposition and respectfully engage them in debate when you want to….who cares what people “think about you”?

          3. fredwilson

            I don’t really care. But the kid plays a slightly different game and I like to play it with him

          4. andyswan

            I know…that’s what makes this fun.


            Where are the rules I can’t quite get a full grip on this.

          6. fredwilson

            The kid has been commenting here for close to a decade. We made the rules together.

          7. kidmercury


          8. kidmercury

            hahahaha thank you! i do have great fun playing my game, always fun to have others play along! 🙂 sadly it is too rare of an occurrence


            We all enjoy it.


          Oops…”…think about you…”

        3. fredwilson

          Excellent. Think what you want. I am who I am and believe what I believe. And you can take it or leave it.


            It’s sounds like you want freedom to be who you are? Hmm… And what if your beliefs harm others?

          2. fredwilson

            What if your beliefs harm others? That’s life.


            So, it’s OK that people kill people because of their beliefs? It’s OK that genecide happens because of the beliefs of some?

      4. Guest

        He speaks the truth. This country needs less regulation, not more.

      5. PhilipSugar

        Last point on this one. Yes that is a ridiculous point however:You can use Twitter to incite a flash mob and cause chaos and injuryYou can post child porn on TumblrYou can rent your apartment to a pyscho that kills your neighbor with AirbnbYou can advertise all sorts of illegal stuff on CraigslistYou can get around TLC regulations with Hailo or UberYou can operate a gypsy cab with RideshareYou can get around copyright with YouTubeYou can make all sorts of bad stuff with a 3D printerEtcSo I agree that background checks for all is a good thing. But just like you chafe at watching some regulator that has no clue about any of the above, and think once they start getting the hooks into you it will never stop……..many feel the same. The question is who is responsible? The person that did the illegal act or the technology?We probably feel the same when one of the top posts here doesn’t understand the difference between a background check and a waiting period or understand that no you can’t “fiddle with a safety on a Glock” than when you are dealing with a regulator that has a secretary print emails.

    2. fltron

      Hey, Canadian here with a restricted gun license (don’t actually own any guns though!).I needed to take a 2 day course to get my restricted gun license. It took 2 months before I was approved for my gun license, and only after a 5 minute conversation with an officer on the phone.I can own all the guns you can, but the clips are limited to 6 bullets and only semi-automatics are allowed. To own restricted weapons I need to belong to a gun club, because otherwise why would I own them?This process doesn’t stop anyone from having weapons (unless they have a criminal past, are crazy, or happen to be abusing their spouse – and the spouse comes forward with that information).It does, however, stop random people that spontaneously want weapons from getting them because they won’t bother with the process. The type of people that are likely to be lazy about how they store their weapons, or what they do with them, are not likely to bother with all this just to have a gun.The system works.


        “It does, however, stop random people that spontaneously want weapons from getting them because they won’t bother with the process.”Umm… No it won’t, people buy guns illegaly everyday. There is no *safety process* for buying a gun illegaly.

        1. fltron

          Useless point. The only way to stop illegal weapon sales is by removing all most weapons from the planet.Fact is, the number one source of illegal weapons in Mexico is legally purchased US guns.Fact is, restricting legal purchases of guns won’t make homes any less safe, but it will make guns less available.The talking point of ‘won’t stop illegal purchases’ is one of those short-sighted comments people make with little relation to this topic.


            So, you’re saying that the current restrictions on guns are *all* being *completely* met in *every* case?Or there are still people buying guns illegaly. Because it appears you’re talking about a fantasy world where you pass a law and the problem completely disappears.OK, I pass the law that there it is no longer legal for starvation to exist. There done! No more hungry people. Come on!

          2. fltron

            What I’m saying is, restrictions on weapons does work. When passed today, it won’t work tomorrow. It probably won’t change much of anything in the next 5 years. It may not change overly much in 10 years (though it’ll certainly have a statistical impact in decreasing the amount of gun deaths by that point). It will make a difference over time.You need to start somewhere.


            We have. We help people. Then no matter how many guns or other weapons are made people don’t kill people anymore. Problem solved. Oh and as icing on the cake we have helped a whole bunch of people with their problems and they live better lives.

          4. fltron

            Your argument has deteriorated to the point of nonsense. I gather you are admitting that measures in controlling weapon sales will eventually save a lot of lives.


            The whole idea is nonsense. I’m admitting that we should help people. Do you like people?

    3. William Mougayar

      Freedom of speech and freedom to kill are miles apart

      1. kidmercury

        it’s not freedom to kill, it’s freedom to defend.

        1. fredwilson

          It is both. Which is why this is a tough issue. Like abortion. Both sides are right at the base level.


            It’s not a tough issue Fred. It’s simple, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. The stabbings show that people kill people with guns, knives, etc.You need to take you’re thinking to the next level. You’re sticking your finger in the dyke. Join me and think bigger and better. Help people forget inanimate objects.

          2. kidmercury

            yet somehow no one makes any fuss when government buys billions of rounds of ammo including hollow tip bullets. that’s cool, and apparently so is killing thousands of kids in iraq/afghanistan. but some guy shoots kids in a school in the US and all of sudden we should prevent citizens from having guns.

        2. William Mougayar

          Hmm, but in the incidents we keep hearing about, innocent people are being killed.


            Are you talking about people being ejected from the homes due to loss of their jobs and being late on their mortgage?

          2. kidmercury

            That Is more a function of media bias and public naivete than anything else

          3. pointsnfigures

            The media doesn’t report on the incidents where innocent people were saved because someone had a gun. Additionally, it’s impossible to quantify but there are different probabilities in play when there are less stringent gun laws and concealed carry laws. For example, in Chicago we just had a situation where 400 teens took over Michigan Avenue and robbed people of watches, phones etc. They did flash mobs in stores. That doesn’t happen in Dallas, TX.

        3. fltron

          Background checks don’t take away your freedom to defend.

          1. kidmercury

            yes they do. they make my right to own a gun a privilege subject to government approval. a dubious proposition when the reason for a gun is to defend oneself against government.


        What is your point?

    4. kidmercury

      #realtalk #truth


      Also, a background check before anyone can buy stocks. For example, everyone who wanted to buy FB should have had a background check. Just to make sure they were’nt wanting FB to succeed so they could use it to do harm.

      1. fredwilson

        I think people should be required to read the S1 and pass a simple multiple choice test on it before being allocated IPO stock.


          Uh oh…

        2. kidmercury

          lol omg……ok, but let’s see how much you like it when people use this type of “logic” to put all types of rules on your startups. kitchensurfing should be regulated to ensure they are selling clean food, etsy should be regulated to ensure their vendors are selling legitimate products, etcthat is the thing with what you call “regulation 2.0,” in reality it is an anarchist/libertarian argument though you embrace the ideology only when convenient.

          1. fredwilson

            i am a realist and a pragmatist. not an idealist. your beliefs are pure. mine are not.

          2. kidmercury

            that’s your method of rationalizing what i say. how fanboys of bitcoins can accuse others of being idealist is beyond me, seems like the pot calling the kettle black. moreover, in this particular instance regarding IPO investing regulations, you are the one dreaming of a utopia of new regulations managed by all-knowing and benevolent regulators, i am the one begrudgingly accepting the status quo.

          3. fredwilson

            i am a great rationalizer. you are very insightful. it is one of my favorite tactics.

  3. Matt Secoske

    I strongly suggest everyone watch this TED talk by Lawrence Lessig on the corruption in the US government, and ways to stop it. Very relevant.

    1. jason wright

      government is GOV and should be listed under that tag on the stock market just like every other publicly quoted corporation. Obama and his cohort are merely nominee directors, the shareholders are not ‘the people’, and Chapter 11 is long overdue.

  4. jason wright

    there should be a very low cap on the value of a donation by an individual or organization to a politician or political party, and a limit to the number of such donations by an individual or organization in one election cycle. Otherwise it’s ‘money puppets’ time.

  5. awaldstein

    This seems like no brainer. And important. I’m in to lend a hand and spread the word on this one.

  6. tsella

    I’d like to deviate a bit though, forward looking. I get the want for background checks for a person going into a gun shop to purchase a gun, I really do, I want it too, but… What about a person purchasing a MakerBot rig?Cody Wilson has figured out how to 3D print guns (…, and launched, an opensource weapon manufacturing Wiki.Take a step forward, from a weapon to a weapon of mass destruction (…, how long before one can print DNA for a disease at the comfort of one’s home using a MakerDNA?Fred, I believe you would argue that technology would always trump legislation in unforeseen advancement and speed of change – so why bother with background checks on an archaic notion of how weapons would be changing hands?

    1. fltron

      One thing at a time. I agree, 3D printing is a major disrupter to.. well.. pretty much everything.

    2. fredwilson

      we should make the 3D printing of guns illegal and make the penalties very stiff for doing that

      1. tsella

        I would argue that is archaic as well. A stiff penalty would make sense if party A is printing a gun for party B. Which would be the same as A just selling to B, disregarding background checks.But.. If one prints a gun (or a virus) for oneself with the intent of commiting a crime, I would think the penalties have already been considered and disregarded. Thus, stiff penalties would “safeguard” me from you, but I assume you won’t be gunning me down anytime soon, and thus are at best moot.An Adam Lanza type would not be stopped by an assertion of stiff penalty on something he’s doing at home without anyone knowing.

      2. btrautsc

        this will be the biggest reason 3D printing happens slower or becomes riddled with regulation

      3. kidmercury

        i agree, although as you know there is only one way to enforce that law and it is at the printer level by regulating the manufacture of printers. otherwise, it is a meaningless law easily circumvented — just like media piracy laws.

        1. tsella

          that’s not going to work. unless you want to enforce by law regulating the atomic parts making a 3D printer..

          1. kidmercury

            yes i do.

          2. fredwilson

            i saw. we should make that illegal or crazy stuff is going to happen. it might happen anyway.

          3. tsella

            …and it’s live @…I hate taking one from the NRA playbook, but here it is: by making it illegal, you’re only punishing the law-abiding.I personally do not ascribe to the NRA’s view that calls for everyone to arm themselves for “protection”, but I do think the above applies, on grounds of it just being silly.A person decided on harming another has already ratified breaking a greater social and lawful barrier. You are just instantly criminalizing a whole bunch of people on something you cannot, in any way, uphold in any reasonable way. It would either add up to grander charges against someone who has committed a crime, or worse, it would be used to bring up bullshit charges against someone in lack of other evidence.When this is proven useless, would you also want slipping further? Ban 3D printers? Ban blueprints for making 3D printers? Ban parts for making 3D printers? Ban the drones you like, as their servo motors can be repurposed into a 3D printer? Ban knoledge? Burn books? Sorry, books are old news. I have not checked, but I would be surprised if the blueprints were not already torrented the second they were posted (and possibly before…).Suggest you also checkout Vice TV ep 1: Killer Kids (…, to see how in the Phillipines guns are being hand-crafted in a week. Its illegal too, and yet there is a market for it. Guess who buys them? real criminals. The sellers are not conducting background checks (sic).

      4. ShanaC

        I still think home machines should have software banning the printing the way your printer’s firmware does for printing dollar bills

      5. Jim Ritchie

        It is generally legal to build your own gun as long as it is not an NFA weapon (26 U.S.C. ch. 53). This is another right you would be taking away without thinking through the entire issue.

  7. Tom Labus

    But Mayor Mike is proving that you can take on the NRA and beat them at their own game. The candidates he backed against them had a good winning %.

  8. Dave W Baldwin

    The former Editor of our local paper did a funny OpEd last year. Our town was going through the issue of deer population control. Joe said he was tired of hearing the usual contests of who was endorsed more by the NRA, laughing how most of ’em probably didn’t know how to load a gun. He proposed a deer hunting contest the Saturday before election.On the other side, I can understand your position Fred, but there is blame for problems caused by both extremes. We need to force a more level headed approach.

  9. William Mougayar

    I just read in Time that 90% of Americans, including 74% of the NRA members support background checks.…Q- Do background checks include looking at the mental state too?

    1. andyswan

      I absolutely love seeing a living example of someone pointing out the supposed popularity of a position that they don’t even know the major details of. Delicious!

      1. William Mougayar

        Are you assuming that people who carry/own a gun know more about its benefits than those who don’t?


      Pretty much all the states in the United States are becoming “mental states”. We had so much unemployment and desperation that the majority of the country is becoming mental.

    3. bryanstrawser

      The problem with this poll is how the questions were asked. When you ask a different set of questions, you get very different results. The NRA has released the results of their own polling of their members – and it’s *quite* different.

  10. kidmercury

    that’s right! you better believe it!!!! filibuster is only the first line of defense, wait till they try to implement this on a state by state level the gun owners are going to raise hell, lol i will be mild mannered and rational compared to a lot of folks out there.too bad for you guys this country was founded as a REPUBLIC, not a democracy. just because the crowd wants something doesn’t mean they should get it. we have our rights whether the majority like them or not.the idea that government can be trusted with background checks is completely and utterly laughable. but, we cannot have an honest conversation about the true purpose of the second amendment, and whether or not government can be trusted, since the passionate supporters of anti-2nd amendment legislation will never honestly talk about all the reasons to distrust government — the reason the 2nd amendment exists in the first place.

    1. andyswan

      Spot on. I do not think the rights outlined in the Constitution should be subject to a test administered by the very entity they were written to protect us from.

    2. raycote

      So the last resort POLITICAL-OS fix in America is down to gun battles with an oppressive government ?I see your point but surely there are more creative political-change solutions ?“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”—–> Mark TwainSTILL”Fools are easier to convince than conquer”—-> ??? can’t remember

      1. kidmercury

        as i have stated for 6+ years now, there is no saving USA. it is a lost cause. the real solution is to build a new government, and to buy as much time as possible in doing so. 2nd amendment vigilance, as well as all other forms of vigilance in preserving the US constitution, can help us buy time to create a new government.

  11. Seb Robin

    Hi Fred,Glad to hear that you’re an American supporting action for gun safety. In France, every other year, we watch in horror the school massacres; and we just don’t understand how Americans can continue to support an Amendment of your Constitution that was written in the 18th century! The world has changed!The problem with background checks is that the people performing them may get it wrong. What happens if someone is cleared and then goes on to kill 20 kids in a school? Another problem I can think of is: is it only one check at time of purchase, or are there periodic checks. Events in life can drive someone to the edge and do something stupid. So buy a gun today because you’re sane, but then lose your job, divorce wife, can’t see the kids, kill 20 kids in a school!The matter is so complex that the bill will miss important things. This won’t prevent massacres. The only way to is to forbid guns altogether! People don’t need guns. The US is a lawful nation; then no need for a wild wild west escalation. Soon, you’ll see people kill another for a cigarette or for shouting at another driver.Surely it is simpler for US politicians to change one amendment of the Consitution that’s clearly outdated than to pretend they care about gun safety?Seb

    1. kidmercury

      thank you for acknowledging that “gun safety” is anti-2nd amendment.


        Yes and it’s important to note that we should have background checks on the people who want background checks. Why? Well… We’re discussing public safety which means the effects of actions on groups of people. So, a gun in the hands of a really good shooter can be used to harm (or worse) a few dozen people. But, legislation can be used to harm (or worse) millions of people. Also, a shooting can usually be taken control of within a few hours. But legislation can take decades to change.The point is legislation can have a much more damaging and wide spread effect than a gun. So, we need to background check everyone wanting background checks first.Let’s look at the current economy and the latest issues caused by poor legislation. How many millions out of work? How many millions out of their homes? How many millions still being harmed? How many millions who will not recover? Legislation is nothing to be taken lightly. It is a very powerful weapon and we need background checks of everyone involved.

    2. JLM

      .”Forbid guns altogether”That’s the kind of middle ground that will draw everyone together.There is a reason why America is America and not France. We have a set of principles set forth in our Constitution and a way to amend it and it has been consistent and the law of the land for almost 300 years.In some ways its cumbersome nature is its saving grace.In Texas gun ownership is at an all time high. Murder rate is at an all time low.JLM.

      1. raycote

        To be fair he probably means hand guns ?All time low murder rate inTexas = 4.4 / 100,000 = 1,100 dead in 2011France = 1.1 / 100,000 = 682 dead in 2011United States = 4.8 / 100,000 = 14,748 dead in 2011Yes I know metrics don’t count in this debate !

    3. Dayna Gant

      Seb, With all due respect, people like me need a long rifle (or shotgun for deer) to protect one of my livelihood’s, raising horses, from the growing population of coyotes, and to hunt deer that destroy my Pick Your Own Apple Orchard that opens mainly for special needs kids. Please reply if you think my needs are outdated, or should I just shutdown the farm. No farms no food.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Don’t shut down the farm. Sounds like a great life, Dayna.Off topic, I know.

    4. pointsnfigures

      Listing on eBay: French rifle-only been dropped once. (this is a joke)

  12. btrautsc

    as a southerner, who are often credited with being the crazy 10% on the fringe of this argument – I have been amazed/ proud at the level of support this has (at least locally). The NRA/ GOP should stay as far away from this argument as possible… Being irrational does not prove you’re committed to a cause, it just makes you look like oblivious idiots.From personal experience, I purchased a pistol while in college living in an extremely cheap house in an area that had a ton of break-ins, stolen cars, etc. I had experience and gun safety, but had never owned my own firearm. I went to a big outdoors store in town, made my selection, & told the person in the gun dept. I walked out of that store with a pistol in less than 30 minutes. Total time in store *maybe* an hour. That is utterly ridiculous. No one (with good intentions) needs that type of turn around, Ever. No one going duck hunting rolls in to Cabelas at 4am and needs a shotgun by sunrise. Doesn’t happen. Slow the process down and make sure due diligence is performed.

    1. andyswan

      Complete nonsense. There are literally hundreds of scenarios where I might wish to, and have valid reason to, acquire a gun quickly in order to defend myself against a threat.

      1. Barry Nolan

        “Every reform movement has a lunatic fringe.”

        1. andyswan

          I wonder what names you would have called the authors of that pesky 2nd amendment… I can certainly see you wouldn’t have debated the merits of their position.

          1. kidmercury

            same as it ever was. the founders were unpopular, the black people who wanted to resist slavery were unpopular……only in hindsight are they appreciated. at least until they’re forgotten


          We all know you’re out there. You’re in hiding.

      2. raycote

        “Complete nonsense.”Straw-man nonsense !

      3. Matt A. Myers

        Shouldn’t you be going to the police – who you support giving money to to provide you with safety from others violence?What other instance would exist? Maybe if there’s an invasion by another country? Fuck – I imagine then the government would just be handing out weapons to everyone capable.

        1. andyswan

          I prefer to be the first responder when it comes to my home and family, rather than wait the 5-25 minutes it takes for police to show up and take pictures.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            So why give police money at all?

          2. andyswan

            Because they are valid 2nd responders and a key part of judicial system

    2. PhilipSugar

      Are you sure it is that way right now? And that is not what this really is about because the Federal Check is very quick, supposedly this bill is just about Federal background checks at gun show. (if you buy from a dealer they do a check) In your case the reason it was an hour was they did a check. You are talking about a cooling off period which is set by the states. BTW: right now in MD without legislation they are taking over 3 months to do state background checks which has effectively slowed the purchase of guns since you need wait a month after buying one to buying the second. Effectively without legislation they are making people wait until Oct1st when new laws go into effect.I would 100% agree with this if it would reaffirm my second amendment rights, if it reaffirms that this information is not stored (which it is not supposed to be), and if it mandated that this would be the only background check and that it would take a certain amount of time to be performed so state government employees could not try to make their own laws. I don’t really care about a state law mandating a “cooling off period” I’m an Eagle Scout and I believe in being prepared, which is exactly why I cherish my second amendment rights.

      1. kidmercury


    3. hypermark

      I’d really encourage everyone (on both sides of this debate) to check out the 60 Minutes segment from this past Sunday on the families of the Newtown Massacre.Their focus is on universal background checks for ALL gun purchases, and a new ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.Again, this seems to go to the bucket of focusing on outcomes, which as JLM has noted, is the best way to think about this equation.Here is the URL to the 60 Minutes segment:

  13. Richard

    this legislation should pass or fail based on one criteria, does the legislation prevent crime. If it does prevent crime how much crime? What type of crimes? What is the cost per crime prevented. And lastly are there any other measures that could have the same effect of this legislation without effecting liberty, such as education or other social support mechanisms.

    1. kidmercury

      legislation from a corrupt government doesn’t prevent crime — ironically it creates it. did the creation of the DEA stop illegal drug use? did welfare end poverty? is obamacare going to cure cancer?”the more corrupt a state, the more it legislates.” — tacitus

  14. @blainomd

    Hi Fred, thank you for your activity here! good ideas, and you support your beliefs. love it and keep it coming. cheers, blaine

  15. baba12

    The moral of this blog post is not about background checks or gun control but the power of lobbying.Mr.Wilson has given money to Senators who he believes supports his ideas and would be amenable to pass legislation to promote those ideas possibly.The fact that one can buy public policy in many ways proves that our democracy is really not truly working.Whether it is background checks, same sex marriages or climate change what the polling of the country’s peoples want as a public policy versus the way legislation has been passed over the course of the last 45yrs shall hopefully become a lesson in how not to be a bad democracy and have a population that has become stupid exponentially over the same course of time.Sometimes the term “open government” feels more like a oxymoron.Lets see if the people are willing to have non violent peaceful nation wide strike till such we get the legislation we want around background checks happens. My money is we wont get a critical mass. We like to be content with just responding to polls and writing checks.

    1. fredwilson

      Agreed. But I will play by the rules until they change them. And I will give lots of money to those who are willing to change them


        Fred, people are starving. You’re ignoring their plight to gain political affections.

        1. fredwilson

          What? Do you think I don’t give money to food banks and such?


            How would I know? My “investigation” into you’re deep mental preclusions hasn’t been completed as of this point in time. lolI’m just saying that you’re wasting money that could be better spend. And make no mistake it’s a waste. This is a money making topic at best. And one that will *never* will be resolved.BTW, a dozen+ people were stabbed in TX. Stabbed!

          2. $28312048

            Yes, stabbed. All of whom would be significantly more likely be on a slab in the morgue if the perpetrator had a gun.

          3. raycote

            Now that’s a naked straw-man if I ever saw one !


            I like women.


            Point being, people are the ones killing people.

          6. Adrian Bye

            go away


            Are you the one who’s been calling and hanging up?

          8. LE

            Absolutely amazing to me that people feel the need to make judgements about how others spend their money with the “people starving in Africa” theme.

        2. JamesHRH

          There are far more problems than any one person can address – even Bill Gates has a list of things he would like to throw money at but cannot.When someone is willing to put their considerable resources where their mouth is located, you are wasting your time arguing priorities with them.On top of which, you have chosen an even more intractable issue: starvation has never been solved at any time in the last 1000 years, while civilian-gun-based-massacres have been solved or closed to solved in other current societies.Starvation is a blight on mankind; gun massacres are a blight on the US culture.

      2. baba12

        Fair enough, though if you check the people you have funded have not necessarily been willing to change the rules. Unfortunately we are living in shades of grey which has been the way humans have lived probably over the centuries. Change has come slowly, be it something like the abolition of slavery or a woman’s right to vote or the civli rights act. Every one of these changes took enormous amounts of energy to be expended. If to do the right thing today still takes such huge amounts of energy then we as a society have not really evolved.We should not be debating and having a court take months to do the right thing with regards to say same sex marriages.If Mr.Wilson were to make investments in companies with the same expectations that he has for the politicians then I doubt USV would be healthy and well.I’d hope that your willing to give money to those willing to change things, comes with some metrics you use. With over 80% or more of elected legislators returning to office I don’t think the metrics Mr.Wilson maybe using may require some editing.

        1. raycote

          What do you do when fixing a critical social problems seem hopeless?To quote H.G.Wells”You carry on as if it weren’t so”Because that course of action is better than the alternative !

          1. baba12

            Well H.G.Wells lived in a time when information did not travel fast enough. If you look at the last 500 years, information of some important breakthrough in science took a year or more to get to the known world. Today it takes possibly a few seconds. If the energy expended or entropy in 1500’s to change public policy was “x” then today it seems like instead of being “0.01x” the entropy required for change is more like “10X”.We don’t have the luxury of just doing piecemeal work anymore. Significant change has to happen NOW not 25 years from now…

    2. Excel_Geek

      The power of lobbying, indeed. From my vantage point the power of the NRA is not so much the checks they write as it is the millions of voters they represent.


        The NRA is writing checks? I wonder if they’ll fund my software project?

    3. raycote

      “The moral of this blog post is not about background checks or gun control but the power of lobbying.”When the disconnect between the clear majority-will of the citizenry and the voting behaviour of their supposed democratic representatives becomes this skewed it transcends LOBBYING into straight up INFLUENCE-PEDDLING, chocolate with political rationalization though it might be !Language matters in public debate !

  16. Richard

    Fred , this seems to be single issue politics for you? With so much in the political space in need of change, how do you prioritize your issues?

    1. fredwilson

      I don’t prioritize this issue. You read this blog regularly. You know that.

      1. Richard

        I misunderstood Today’s post, the last sentence of today blog seemed to suggest that this vote be a litmus test.

        1. fredwilson

          Its a litmus test on sanity not on gun safety

  17. andyswan

    To the gun grabbers… I have a few questions for you:1. Do you believe that these background checks should be recorded so that the Federal Government has an archive of which individuals own guns, and what type of guns they own?2. Other than popular support, can you give us any statistics on how many deaths this legislation would have prevented in 2012? Note– to be accurate the shooting must be committed by someone who 1) acquired their gun through legal channels, 2) would have failed this background check and 3) would have not had the means or connections to obtain a gun illegally.3. Would this law be retroactive in order to convict administration members that intentionally dealt US guns to known Mexican drug cartels?4. Would you support the same background restrictions on persons who wish to collect welfare, collect food stamps, enroll in medicaid, buy knives….or vote?5. Are there any other portions of the Bill of Rights that you believe your fellow citizens should have to prove themselves eligible to exercise?Thanks in advance.

    1. kidmercury

      guarantee the gun grabbers don’t know or care about the enormous utah data center being created:…i’m sure it’s for an honest purpose. probably to protect us from terrorists.

      1. fltron

        I wish the NRA nuckleheads would focus on real issues like the data center, and actual eroding rights of citizens. If people paranoid about the government still think guns are the way to protect themselves from the government, they’re living in the 60s.

        1. andyswan

          Well I guess you opposed the arming of Lybian rebels….in the 2010’s?

          1. fltron

            You love making these irrelevant arguments. Good for you for trying. I mean, you’re only making yourself happy, but that’s fine.

        2. kidmercury

          people should study fourth generation warfare before dismissing guns as an effective form of self-defense against organized armies.

    2. fltron

      You really need to self-asses what you believe is a valid argument, because the same logic you are presenting can also be used to argue a bunch of other things that you might disagree with.For example, in point #2 you have the catch-all ‘would have not had the means or connections to obtain a gun illegally.’ Such an argument could be used to legalize all drugs, even heroin, because clearly there’s no sense in having laws if someone can obtain what they want illegally.Point #3 is really interesting, considering the US is the #1 importer of illegal weapons to Mexico. This is a huge problem that the US is making a ton of money on, and as the #1 importer of illegal weapons to Mexico (purchased somewhat legally in the US), I would think there were bigger issues then this controversial program that was started under Bush.#4 is an obvious ‘omg slippery slope I never took debate class in college so I don’t know it but all these things would be terrible!!!’#5 is frequently debated. Forget the fact that you think a document written hundreds of years ago should rule you today.. you probably also believe in the Bible. But whatever, there are clear debates as to the meaning of this amendment. Also, if you take it to the extreme, do you believe every citizen has the right to own nuclear weapons? Tanks? Cluster-bombs?Oh and hey, knowing who owns guns and what they are isn’t a bad idea. Just a thought.

      1. andyswan

        You’re correct that I oppose prohibition. Perhaps you’d like to answer #4Thank you for confirming that “gun safety” arguments are made by people who do not respect the U.S. Constitution. Also love the way you make snide, prejudiced assumptions about my religious views. Classy!

        1. fltron

          The same constitution that allowed slavery? Classy.The US Constitution is a brilliant brilliant document, especially for its era, but much like everything else (including religion) it is being warped by people like you. That’s why reasoned ideas based on facts need to win out over old documents.Much like the US has the most brilliant democracy in the world, but has had since created enough rules to make it utterly useless. At least in the old days you had to actually filibuster. Now you just need to say you will. That’s just lazy.I love how you attacked me without actually addressing the reasoned points of my argument. Classy!#4 is your slippery slope argument. Its irrelevant to this discussion. Again, you can use the same argument for everything. I could do the same thing: Guns should be registered, because cars are registered. Guns should be registered, because airplanes are registered. There should be a directory of gun owners, because there’s a directory of telephone owners. See how that works?

        2. fltron

          I mean, your belief in the US constitution is such a thin line.The US constitution supported slavery. Amendments were needed to allow women to vote. Clearly the original document was not perfect. It needed changes. And each time changes were made to the document, there was a lot of resistance.Clearly the document is capable of change. And your traditionalist viewpoints on the US constitution have been repeatedly challenged and defeated with these amendments.So to argue that something is protect for the sake of it being written down is a bit childish. Talk about the reasons why you need guns without background checks. Look at statistics and see what other countries are doing and whether people are safer or worse off (hint: They’re safer).I doubt you’ll change, but if you want to reason, reason with stats, logic and figures. Don’t make these juvenile slippery slope arguments. Thinks outside the talking points you keep reading. Think for yourself.

          1. andyswan

            Amending the constitution is perfectly valid. If an amendment passed which repealed the 2nd amendment, or restricted it in some way, I would be fully supportive of its Constitutionality.Why don’t you ask the citizens under Stalin or Hitler or Kim Jung how much safer they are without their guns?Why do you think that the first order of tyranny is to disarm the populace?I’d say 95% of the homes in my neighborhood contain legal guns. In Chicago, those guns would be illegal. Which neighborhood would you rather walk through at 1 am?

          2. fltron

            There you go again, making insanely irrelevant arguments.Let’s look at Canada. Strict background checks, and limits on clip-sizes. Do you think Canada is being led by tyrants?When you make apples to apples comparisons (democracies vs tyrannies) you’d see that someone in in the US far more likely to be killed by a gun then in any other country. Maybe you should examine what these other countries are doing right?I have a restricted gun license. In Canada. It took me 2 months to get. If I wanted just a non-restrictive weapon (like a shot-gun, or a hunting rifle), I could do so within days. They even did things like called my wife to make sure she was okay with me having a gun. I know, this must be absolutely insane to you, and yet Canada has a ton of guns, and is really safe compared to the US as far as gun violence go.

          3. kidmercury

            canada does not have the degree of liberty the US does (though the margin is closing thanks to tyrannical government in the US). greater liberty contributes greatly to greater economic productivity. a culture of liberty and self-defense is directly related to a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and prosperity.

          4. fltron

            That’s a lot of big talk. Have any numbers to back that up? The US is 10 times bigger population wise compared to Canada, and obviously has larger companies because of that.Did you know that Canada has less debt (per capita and compared to the GDP)? Did you know Canadians live longer? Did you know Canadian children score better? Did you know Canadian infant-mortality rate is better? Did you know Canada didn’t suffer a financial meltdown because it had greater regulations on banks (though don’t get me wrong, our economy did suffer some because we are very dependent on US production rates)?I mean, I could go on. Your US-centric view is charming and everything, but the middle class stats are far better in Canada. The wealthy, however, do much better in the US. Like the wealthy bankers that crashed the US economy and got to keep much of their personal money. Go liberty!

          5. kidmercury

            i don’t have a US centric view. if you knew me better you would know that, ask other commenters here. canada’s economy is currently stronger — as i noted the gap is closing. i put my money where my mouth is and i am routinly long the canadian dollar vs the us dollar.canada won’t reach the kind of economy the US had in the 1950s and 1960s, nor will it reach the kind of economy the US had in various decades of the 19th century. innovation was incredibly fast then because the US had a pretty sound economy and a free society.go liberty is absolutely right.

          6. fltron

            I’m not disagreeing with you on that point. The US economy has been able to achieve success by keeping restrictions at a minimum. The US has both the size and the liberty.But guns aren’t the key to the US success. Not even remotely close to that.

          7. JLM

            .I love Canada and wish it were part of the United States. We need to merge.JLM.

          8. ErikSchwartz

            You just want their oil. 🙂

          9. ShanaC

            we have plenty of natural gas

          10. ShanaC

            you make me want to move to canada (except for the cold part)

          11. pointsnfigures

            learn to skate

          12. LE

            Please correct me if I am wrong but Canada isn’t the world’s police force either. There is money that we spend on things that Canada (or pick from a list of other countries) doesn’t.Check out the list of aircraft carriers by country:


            “…culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and prosperity.”Now I remember why I stopped by here today.

          14. raycote

            Are we talkingthe freedom toORthe freedom fromboth are important and reasonable men can disagree on the optimal tipping point between the two !Frankly as a Canadian I prefer our cultural tipping point choice.But then again we all tend to like what we are use to !

          15. andyswan

            Perhaps we should look at the people who are committing a vast majority of these crimes, rather than their weapon of choice.I think you’d find very quickly that the US doesn’t have a gun violence problem (just as Canada and its “ton of guns), it has a gang violence problem. Once we find common ground on that argument, progress can be made. But I’m not going to become some sort of sacrificial lamb so that a bunch of urban leftists can get a warm fuzzy tackling the exact wrong problem.

          16. fltron

            So about 60% of gun violence is gang related. That’s being addressed by policing. 40% of gun violence is unrelated to gangs. That’s being addressed by laws like this.When a society makes guns freely available, gangs are far more likely to get those guns. Canada has a gang problem, but the restriction on weapons makes getting guns even illegally far more difficult.That’s not unlike the difference between getting pot in California and Idaho. Having lots of something legally makes it easier to get illegally.

          17. andyswan

            Wait I thought Canada had a ton of guns?OK, so the 40% of “gun violence” that is “unrelated to gangs”…. how much of that is committed by a person who 1) obtained the gun legally AND 2) would have failed a background check?

          18. Donna Brewington White

            How did the U.S. Constitution support slavery?

          19. fltron

            The three-fifth clause in the original text. It was a compromise between the north and the south. Distribution of seats in the house is based on population, and the north didn’t want to count slaves as people because it gave the south an advantage (in the north slavery was no longer profitable and the practice was coming to an end). The south wanted to count their slaves as part of their population numbers to have better representation in the house.They compromised on three-fifth compromise was made:”Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”So it doesn’t state slavery in the text, but the ‘three fifths of all other Persons’ refers to slaves.

        3. raycote

          So constitutional change is never valid ?To paraphrase Marshal McLuhanIf you push a process of framework far enough into a changing environment it will sooner or later become so mismatched as to flip from being a tool into being an impedimentYou seem to be arguing that the U.S. Constitution is an exception to such universal phenomena ?

          1. andyswan

            Absolutely not what I’m arguing…but it’s flattering that you finally brought some straw instead of simply accusing others of doing so.There is a very effective amendment process contained inside of it for specifically this purpose. I fully support all Constitutional amendments as being constitutional, which includes any repeal or revision of the 2nd amendment. Good luck.

    3. fredwilson

      I have a question for you? Do you support background checks and if not, why not?

      1. andyswan

        I do not. I do not think the rights outlined in the Constitution should be subject to a test administered by the very entity they were written to protect us from.

        1. fredwilson

          OK. We disagree on this one.

        2. Cam MacRae

          You made a cogent argument on non sequitur day, Andy. I call foul and restart play from the 25 yard line.

          1. andyswan

            I know….it was a risky move. It’s the only thing I should have said on this topic. Penalty accepted….

      2. PhilipSugar

        I 100% support it, but think they should put in text to reaffirm my second amendment rights, just like they did for the gay marriage referendum that passed in MD:Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.

      3. JLM

        .Most states — cannot find a single exception really — already have background checks for all gun sale transactions done at a Federally licensed gun shop. Already in place.Texas has a background investigation and a 5-day waiting period for all gun sales.What is being contemplated is background investigations for private transactions — what is called the GUNSHOW LOOPHOLE.There is no good reason why a purchaser of an identical gun from a gunshow seller should not be subjected to a background investigation.This is not, unfortunately, the extent of the proposed legislation. They want to catalog all gun owners who currently own guns.JLM.

      4. LE

        I may say this or that on this blog but the truth is I have a hard time taking a stand on something that I don’t have the time to fully consider all points of view and the pros and cons. When you make investment decisions you do a full vetting before releasing funds (I’m guessing). Most people who simply take a stand on an issue on either side really aren’t going to take the time to consider the issues (even getting beyond their biases).

    4. phoneranger

      Andy can’t you just chill a little bit? We all love you. Except when you’ve had too much bourbon and start fiddling with the safety on your Glock.

      1. andyswan

        Sorry I get too wordy when people try to trample on my rights. I’ll sit down and shut up so that you think I’m cool.p.s. I don’t own a glock, but I do appreciate your vivid imagination

      2. PhilipSugar

        You can’t “fiddle” with the safety on a Glock, or a Sig, or a S&W revolver. Want to know why? They don’t have one. The Glock does have an indent on the trigger so unless you have your finger directly on it, it won’t discharge.

        1. andyswan

          shhh you’ll scare the people that are scared of guns

          1. PhilipSugar

            It does always surprise me when people who want to tell me what to do, have absolutely no knowledge of the subject.

          2. LE

            Or the knowledge that they have is based upon reading a few articles in the paper or watching TV nightly news.

        2. ErikSchwartz

          It can still discharge. Any mechanical safety can fail.

    5. Kirsten Lambertsen

      I’d answer, respectfully, but I’m not a “gun grabber.”I respect your passion, but the hyperbole you use tells me you don’t respect mine. Therefore, I don’t feel we can have a productive discussion and start working the problem.

      1. andyswan

        If you’re not a gun grabber than I wasn’t addressing you in the first place Kirsten. I’m addressing unreasonable “gun safety” advocates that aren’t interested in my rights. That’s who I want those answers from. Your answers would be far too reasonable to be interesting.

    6. Aaron Fyke

      I can’t answer any of these questions, as I’m not a “gun grabber”. Although I do think that owning a firearm is a big responsibility – similar to getting a driver’s license in Germany. Getting a license in Germany is a big deal and in order to earn that privilege you have to prove that you are skilled and capable. I think that the same mentality should apply to gun-ownership. No, I can’t reconcile this with the 2nd amendment. I feel that, as it is worded, the 2nd amendment is incomplete (and, strictly speaking, grammatically wrong – once it can be shown that a well-regulated militia is not necessary for the security of a free State does that mean that the amendment is no longer in effect?)However, more to the point – one thing that has been particularly absent in this discussion is whethera) the gun community feels that there is a gun-violence problem at all, andb) if so, what would they propose as a solution?Right now all of the rhetoric from the gun community has been particularly self-serving – ie, focused solely on whether or not they would be impacted by gun legislation. I’ve never really heard the community’s (the NRA’s?) opinion of the two points that I mentioned (other than video games are bad…)

      1. andyswan

        No I do not think there is a “gun violence” problem. I reject the term. Violence is violence no matter what tool you use to kill me. There is a significant gang violence problem. There is also a smaller, but socially significant mass murder problem, especially in schools.None of these are “gun” problems, they are people problems. One is addressed via the repeal of prohibition on most recreational drugs, the other is tougher and gets into psychological, societal and prescription problems that I’m not really sure the solution to.

        1. Aaron Fyke

          See – that needs to be said more. I mean, it is said (guns don’t kill people, people kill people), but not in a way that seems serious about the issues. Personally, I think that people become violent when they have nothing to lose and the answer may lie in that direction.

    7. raycote

      Andy aren’t you running out of straw ?

      1. andyswan

        you’re boring today

  18. Scott Barnett

    Fred, thanks for saying this out loud. You’re already being criticized for your views, which is a shame.One argument I don’t hear enough is the comparison of guns and cars. The amount of money and innovation that has been put into automobile safety is large – all for the purpose of saving lives. You cannot get a permit until you reach a certain age. You must take a test to get a license. It’s very formal and process-driven. All in the spirit of creating a safe environment for yourself and other drivers. You can’t just “get a drivers license” really quick if you need to drive somewhere desperately. Think about how many people hate(d) to use seat belts. So the auto manufacturers made it harder and harder to drive without them. Then laws were passed to make them mandatory.So – why are people who are essentially asking for similar regulations considered “anti-gun”? Why can’t we be viewed as “pro-safety”? Whenever somebody dies in an auto accident, most people think about how to make cars safe enough so that it doesn’t happen again. I’d like us to do the same thing with guns.


      “You’re already being criticized for your views, which is a shame.”Actually to be fair. By posting Fred has criticized. So, it’s only right to give others the chance to respond.”Why can’t we be viewed as “pro-safety”?”Basically, I think it’s because you’re not being “pro-humans”. Every penny wasted on gun control issues could have been spent helping people. Every penny Fred donated for his view on gun control could have been spent to feed the starving!!! I’m gonna’ have to give that an extra few !!!! just to get people’s attention.

      1. fredwilson

        I agree with you on this. I am all for debate criticism and ridicule. It is better than silence.


          I’m with you. That’s why I don’t hold back when I come here.

      2. Scott Barnett

        I don’t agree. Fred stated his opinions on where he stands on the issue. I fully respect and defend your ability to do the same. Fred thinks that it would be foolish for Congressmen to vote against something that 70-90% of Americans support. Do you disagree? If so, I’d like to hear it.In terms of your second argument, you didn’t answer my question. We put millions of dollars into automobile safety – are you saying that all that money is wasted? Any penny not spent to feed starving people is wasted money? I agree that helping feed starving people is important, but I can’t figure out how that is related to gun safety. There are also a large number of people (myself included) that feel that safer guns and gun laws will result in less deaths by gun. And that is helping people too. Just like I think seat belts (while I’m not always a huge fan of them) help save lives.

    2. fredwilson

      Scott – I want the criticism. Because at its core it is debate. And debate is the act of an intelligent society.

      1. Scott Barnett

        Maybe I’m splitting hairs, but I would rather see debate vs. criticism. One of the reasons I think Congress can’t agree on much anymore is there is too much criticism and not enough discussion.


        I see the problem now Fred. You have fallen for the trick. Debate is the act of an intelligent group of people. The government doesn’t do wrong. The people holding positions in it do. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. A corporation isn’t corrupt. The people working there are.You’re disconnected from reality. You’ve gotten to used to labels and misdirection of responsibility.

        1. fredwilson

          i am disconnected from your reality. not mine.

    3. laurie kalmanson

      insurance required

      1. Scott Barnett

        another good one.

        1. laurie kalmanson

          makes sense, right? drive a car: get a license, get insurance, register for plates, have inspections.

          1. Jim Ritchie

            Makes absolutely no sense. Owning a car is a personal right and should not require insurance or registration or licensing just to own. However, driving same said car on a public road is a privilege and subject to the state’s whim to allow or not via licensing, requiring insurance, etc.The right to bare arms is an unalienable right as enumerated in the 2nd Amendment. You have no such unalienable right to drive a car on a public road so the analogy does not make sense. In addition, how would insurance ever prevent a murder committed using a firearm?

    4. bryanstrawser

      It’s a valid argument in some ways – but we have to remember that at it’s core we’re talking about a fundamental constitutional right that an individual has to own and possess a firearm in their home for self-defense under the 2nd amendment. There are only so many burdens that you can put in place that delays, or inhibits the exercise of that right.

  19. lbarlev

    Random thought and probably not the best analogy but isn’t (or wasn’t) it common that a woman needed to wait 24 hours to have an abortion? Regardless of your position on abortion, it seems ironic that if we make women wait for an abortion, we have little to no waiting period for getting a gun. I know it isn’t the case for everything but both have implications on life and the looser one has the (rare) potential for killing many, many people.I applaud the effort on background checks. I’d like to see that we also work toward improving services for people with mental health issues.As for lobbying….don’t get me started.

  20. brgardner

    I can respect your position, but I don’t agree with the threats. Sounds much like the same tactics that you advocate against.

  21. Dayna Gant

    Background checks are a great idea but imo won’t stop well planned massacres like Newtown or random acts of violence. MA does background checks, I’ve been through the process. To get a Class A (license to carry) permit ($100) you apply at your local police station and they decide what training you need. As a new farm owner back in 2000, they said I had to take the month long class (price I can’t recall but not free), training sessions at a gun club, pass a test, and then wait. In my case it took two months because I applied right before hunting season started. You receive your permit at your local police station so they know you have a permit and what kind. I purchased my first rifle because of a coyote problem right before Newtown happened. The process to purchase it was a lengthy questionnaire filled with laughable questions that I realized were only meant for enforcement post purchase, meaning you lied that you have any number of issues except two meaningful; if you are a convicted felon of anything or had any restraining order issued, no lawful gun purchase in MA. The shop owner ran my social security number and they have my thumb print so a background check was done. After Newtown, since I purchased the same caliber rifle, there was no way I could purchase any more ammunition since all of that caliber ammo was purchased in about 7 minutes. So we have in MA what I believe could occur on a national level, but imo it still won’t stop crazy people from killing, and the fears spread by people demanding highly restrictive gun control prevented me, a law abiding gun owner, from protecting my young livestock (horses). Regulations aren’t always the answer.

    1. bryanstrawser

      Of course, that’s *IF* your local police chief will even issue Class A permits. When I lived in MA, I had two chiefs that only issued them to friends, allies, and family. That’s why “may issue” laws are bogus.

      1. Dayna Gant

        Wow, I didn’t know that. I do remember having to tell them why. I agree the chief shouldn’t have control. I could have just gotten an FID card.No one will probably see this reply, but now, I call the police station (live in tiny town) to let them know when I’ll be firing the rifle in case the new neighbors in town get spooked. It is loud. The close in neighbors that have moved in, it’s one of the first things I tell them about living near a real farm. We make a lot of noise, and the critter problem is only getting worse.

  22. Steve

    I’ll wade in here. I am a gun owner and supporter of background checks. I don’t believe that the checks will stop all mass shootings – as previously noted, guns are purchased illegally all the time. However, a large percentage of Americans want the G to act on this issue, and that of course is the basis of democracy. There will always be a vocal minority, which is as it should be.I also don’t believe that an assault weapons ban is useful, for a number of reasons but mainly because most gun crimes are committed with handguns. Bottom line, most Americans want the G to take action and find a sensible middle ground on this issue. To me that means background checks for purchases w/o the dreaded national registry of gun owners.

    1. fredwilson

      Exactly. Government should act when society reaches consensus. It is doing that on gay marriage which nice to see.


        I’m sure we have consensus on many things. Like starvation, homelessness, corporate corruption, etc. That list is probably in the 100s. Gun control needs to wait.I’m still trying to get funding for HealthRMS!!!

        1. fredwilson

          It is not going to wait


            Not if people keep letting others starve while drawing attention to it.

      2. Steve

        which, like gun control, is second nature for most people under 30. The vocal minority is entitled to its opinion, but they have to realize that they are only losing “market share”

        1. andyswan

          So are people that don’t like autotune. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

      3. laurie kalmanson

        i have a theory on marriage equality: the hate from the right in the past decade has pushed people who otherwise would have lived quietly with their partners in the square states to tell their relatives that their roommates are more than that, and that the hate has to stop.


          Marriage laws need to be removed. Every couple should have to draw up a contract to govern *their* marriage the way *they* see fit.

          1. laurie kalmanson

            laws are contracts: benefits and other legal arrangements, from pensions to parenting. the churches, whatever.


            I mean people should have to draw up a contract like starting a business. Limit the marriage laws!

          3. laurie kalmanson

            i hear you. right now, marriage is the only way to share pension benefits, social security benefits, parental rights and other financial and contractual arrangements that are open only via marriage. marriage equality is the first step. sharing with anyone would be the next step; domestic partnerships are an inbetween step.


            Isn’t that something. You can’t do what you want with something you already *own*. More importantly you can’t better someone else by providing them something that belongs to you.

        2. ShanaC

          I find marriage highly problematic in that we’re legislating otherwise stable living family relationships. It would be much easier if I lived for a roommate for ten years to establish a joint household without having to be married.

          1. laurie kalmanson

            a former colleague won an oscar for a documentary on a nj police officer who lived with her partner for years; when the partner died, the survivor was refused the “widow/widower” pension. to the extent that marriage is a legal contract that governs finances, benefits, healthcare, pensions, etc., marriage equality is importantshould anyone be able to name anyone as a beneficiary? sure, why not … that would be the next step.tying healthcare to jobs/dependents vs. universal single payer would also remove the healthcare/dependents value of marriage

          2. ShanaC

            right – I think marriage is an important social function, but shouldn’t take pre-eminence over right to contract privately.

          3. laurie kalmanson

            agree. if you can privately assign pensions/benefits/parental rights/ to anyone, sure …


            This is what I say about drawing up a contract for marriage. They would have uncovered the pension issue earlier.


            If you were only older. Actually I’d rather me be younger.

          6. ShanaC

            i’m taken!



      4. JLM

        .Gay marriage was supported by voters in Maine and Maryland in the Nov 2012 elections. These were state ballot initiatives.These were the first such victories in a string of 30+ defeats in other states.This is the right forum for states to consider their own marriage laws. Whatever a state decides it is their business.This is not a Federal law and should not be thought of as a national issue.JLM.

        1. fredwilson

          we will see gay marriage become legal in all 50 states in our lifetime. because there are a lot of gay people in our society and we all know them and love them and want them to have what we have

    2. Scott Barnett

      Steve – can you explain what assault weapons are used for? I’m still confused about all the definitions of guns (I keep hearing conflicting definitions). Weren’t many of the guns used in Aurora, Newtown assault weapons?

      1. Steve

        This is one of the issues with an AW ban – defining them. Broadly, they are military style weapons designed for killing people, but many of them are similar to normal hunting rifles. The Bushmaster .223 (the most popular rifle in america, I believe) was indeed used in those two high profile events. However, I would guess that the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with handguns.

        1. Scott Barnett

          Just so I’m clear, are you against a ban of the military style weapons designed for killing people? Or just the ones similar to normal hunting rifles? I don’t know the actual statistics, but I would imagine that the majority of large scale gun crimes are committed with assault rifles… which are the ones that get all the news and kill the most people at once?

          1. Steve

            I’m not against it, I’m just saying that the admin should not use up lots of political cap going after it when handguns are by far the biggest problem. Additionally, the AW ban IS problematic bc they ARE so similar to regular many regular hunting rifles, on which there should never be a ban.

          2. andyswan

            Less than 2% of killings are done by “assault rifles”. A vast majority of killings are done by people using illegally owned handguns during participation in criminal activity.

          3. Scott Barnett

            ok, so how do we slow/stop the use of illegally owned handguns during participation in criminal activity?How many people are killed by assault rifles vs. handguns? It seems to me the reason this has become such a big issue is the large number of people that can be killed quickly in mass attacks. Shouldn’t the ability to do that be removed, regardless of what %?

          4. andyswan

            No, because “assault rifles” have practical uses, and they cannot be defined.You are correct that the reason this is a big issue is because the outlier events make headlines. More kids will be killed this year by bad shots during a drug deal than in any school.Hell, 3x as many kids will be killed by falling furniture than by violence at a school.The real problem is the criminalization of drugs and the resulting gang violence.

          5. ErikSchwartz

            The vast majority are legally owned handguns used in suicide and domestic violence (which to be pedantic are both crimes so there you are…).

          6. ShanaC

            would a background check help with legally bought guns that end in hands of the people they weren’t bought for by pinning the gun to a specific person. if it shot by someone else in a crime – original owner gets in trouble as much as the shooter

          7. andyswan

            Now you’re not talking merely about BG checks, you’re talking about a registry….which is far less popular and the reason why bills like this die.

          8. ErikSchwartz

            If you want to impact gun violence you should go after hand guns not long guns (of any sort). Most people in the US who get shot are shot with handguns.

          9. JLM

            .Handguns account for 97% of all armed violence including murders in the US.JLM.

          10. Scott Barnett

            and yet I don’t hear anybody (or at least most people) saying we should outlaw handguns.

          11. JLM

            .Huh? You can’t swing a cat on a ten foot leash without hitting someone who wants to confiscate all handguns in America.JLM.

          12. Scott Barnett

            That hasn’t been my experience – I think this is a convenient excuse for pro-gun advocates. There are a fringe that want to ban all handguns, just like there are a fringe that want no restrictions at all. The majority of people want to make guns available – legally and safely – to people that want them. We can always make guns more safe…. and we can always make them harder for criminals and “sick” people to obtain – and that may come at some convenience cost to honest and law-abiding gun owners. But should we really allow the fringe on both sides to dictate this argument? And why wouldn’t we want to make guns safer and harder for “bad” people to obtain? And why can’t somebody suggest this without being branded as an opponent of the 2nd amendment?

        2. JLM

          .Less than 3% of all gun related crime — not just murders — are committed with long rifles.Assault weapons (semi-automatic, magazine fed, bayonet mount, etc) are some smaller still subset of that 3%.One man’s assault weapon is another man’s marksmanship weapon.More people are killed using either knives or bludgeons. More people are KILLED.JLM.

      2. andyswan

        You can’t even define what an “assault weapon” is.

        1. kidmercury

          it’s almost like the gun grabbers have an aversion to’s a visual explanation of what an assault rifle is:http://thelibertyzone.files

          1. JLM

            .They forgot the bayonet mounting stud.JLM.

      3. Dayna Gant

        The Aurora, Newtown killers could have used shotguns and done as much or more violence. In MA semi-automatic weapons are used by hobbyists, many of whom served for the US armed forces.

        1. Scott Barnett

          But they didn’t. They used assault weapons. Shouldn’t we be dealing with what has actually happened, not what might or could? That leads to a never ending debate that is simply based on personal bias?

          1. Dayna Gant

            If we had no assault weapons period, they would have used shotguns.

          2. ErikSchwartz

            If I put an extended tube on my 870 I can hold 8 shells. It takes me about 20 seconds to reload (I might get a bit faster with practice). In 20 seconds most people can run out of the effective range of a shotgun.

    3. andyswan

      That’s pretty reasonable. I don’t think you’ll fit in here.

  23. ErikSchwartz

    Personally I think criminal background checks are a giant waste of time. The vast majority of the events that cause us to want to restrict guns are committed by people who have no felony convictions.I see two major issues:Crazy/paranoid/substance dependent people with guns and the fact that there is no training around gun safety is required to own a gun.In order to get a hunting license you need to take a class called Hunter safety. It is about 8 hours long and about 75% gun safety. It teaches you some basic stuff (like barrel control, how far various caliber bullets can go and not to try and chamber 20 gauge shells in a 12 gauge shotgun) not to mention the real basics like don’t put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot and only point the gun at things you are willing to kill. It is kind of appalling that this level or training is not required.But the larger issue is how to keep guns away from crazy people. The current rule is “involuntary commitment” prevents you from owning a gun. That bar is way too high. The Aurora shooter was never committed. Neither was the VT shooter. Neither were the Columbine shooters. All legally purchased the weapons they used. All were clearly koo koo for coco puffs.Finally substance dependence. If you have a CCW permit it should be a felony to drink alcohol while carrying (or use drugs). Zero tolerance.

    1. andyswan

      I like where you are headed I just wonder what statistic you have on CCW alcohol/drug related mistakes/shootings? I’ve never heard any stats on this, genuinely curious.

      1. ErikSchwartz

        I doubt it is cross referenced that way. But c’mon what part of armed, drunk people sounds like a good idea?

        1. andyswan

          none I was just curious

        2. bryanstrawser

          Depends on what “drunk” means.Under MN law, a BAC over 0.04% invalidates your carry permit when you’re carrying – misdemeanor on first offense, felony on second.We’ve never have an issue with this – 110,000+ folks w/ carry permits in MN. I’d rather take this approach than making it a felony to have a sip of beer while carrying.

    2. JLM

      .It is a felony in Texas.JLM.

      1. ErikSchwartz

        So no one sitting in a bar with a glass of beer in front of them in Texas is armed? If they are they are committing a felony (in which case they lose their CCW).

        1. JLM

          .You are mixing your metaphors.One can carry a weapon — handgun or rifle — in a bar in Texas.Remember in Texas you can carry an “unconcealed” weapon almost anywhere. It has to be in plain sight.You can also carry a “concealed” weapon in a bar if you have a CHP (concealed handgun permit).You are presuming that an individual in a bar or premises that otherwise serve liquor is, in fact, drinking. And that their judgment is somehow impaired by their simple presence in an establishment that serves liquor.If one were to use a weapon in the course of one’s presence in a bar, then that action would be subject to judicial review based upon the facts and circumstances.If it were a justified use of a weapon — robbery in progress as an example — then the facts would be determinant of the disposition of the incident.If it were an unjustified use of a weapon, then the facts would also be determinant of the disposition of the incident. The use of a weapon while inebriated would be a felony and one would certainly lose their CHP.Texas is pretty tough on the issuance of CHPs.The safest cross section of gun ownership in Texas and the US is the CHP crowd. They have to be registered, trained and investigated. They have to demonstrate marksmanship proficiency. They are screened for temperment.JLM.

          1. ErikSchwartz

            That’s why I included the caveat of the glass of beer in front of them, to imply they were in fact drinking.

    3. ShanaC

      I actually love the idea of a licensing class as well as forcing people to renew the licence. I think it would create more of a common gun culture and understanding about to use guns with those who have them.

    4. Dayna Gant

      It is a felony in MA too.

    5. LE

      Otoh we have cases where people are arrested in NY for informing that they have a gun in their luggage. Nuance never works when you have to put people in charge of making decisions.

  24. laurie kalmanson

    thank you. faster guns kill more people more quickly; i would like the freedom of going to work, taking my kid to school, buying groceries, taking a walk, etc., without people walking down the street carrying weapons suitable only for war.


      Just for clear thinking, guns are what have provided those freedoms you’re enjoying.

  25. Louis Hatzis

    People should not have access to guns, period. The right to bear arms was for different times. In the last 200 years many things have changed, including laws. Gun laws and policies should change completely.It use to be cool to smoke, but in the US. smoking has been practically outlawed. Since politicians are not willing to take the political or monetary risks , it should be 100,000 times harder to get guns and taxes should be enormous.When people get a driver’s license, every few years they need to renew it and have their eyes checked. The same should be true for guns, with initial background check and periodic checking once a year.

    1. JLM

      .The right to bear arms — like the right to free speech, assembly and a whole list of other niceties — is enshrined in the Constitution.The Constitution provides a clear mechanism to modify it and has, in fact, been modified by amendment.Modify the Constitution if you so believe that is the will of the people.JLM.

    2. Dayna Gant

      If you ever watched a hungry group of coyotes stalk two six month old foals, you’d think differently about long rifles. But I do agree that making it hard, like it is MA, is the right thing to do.In MA you have to renew your gun permit and a background check is done again.

      1. JLM

        .Hmmm, you may be on to something there, Dayna.In Texas, we do not “watch” coyotes stalk, we shoot them and in many counties you can get a $25 bounty otherwise you just hang them on a fence for the other coyotes to see.You have to pick sides.JLM.

        1. Dayna Gant

          Oh I shoot to kill, take a pic and then hang them. But I do have to get a guy to help with the hang part.

    3. pointsnfigures

      My owning a gun doesn’t do anything to you. You smoking doesn’t do anything to me-unless it’s in a public place and I am there. Owning a gun doesn’t make you less healthy-smoking does.

  26. jstylman

    “The only way we Republicans can protect our democracy is by preventing a vote.”…

    1. ShanaC

      this is truly a pity. It essentially means democracy has broken down.

      1. pointsnfigures

        I think this cuts both ways. Dems filibustered stuff too. I think the Republicans should have a vote on it. Let everyone go on the record and the chips fall. Joe Manchin, and southern Democratic Senators wouldn’t vote Yea on it.

        1. jstylman

          My comment was not intended to be partisan… just pointing to satire that highlights the absurdity of this situation.As it relates to democrats vs. republicans, my views are in-line with those of my favorite philosopher, Bill Hicks:

  27. awaldstein

    I love these posts on politically charged topics.First cause they shatter the view that everyone thinks like me sitting in NYC, liberal that I most certainly am. Super healthy for me.It’s great as well to listen to really smart people loosing complete control of themselves forgetting (or not caring) that this is a stage that tens of thousands are watching.Living theater on a global scale. This one is a really good show!


      Many are here for the fun.Did you pencil me in for those hundred years of FB discussion yet?

    2. fredwilson

      i am with you 100% Arnold. that is one of the primary reasons I write them

    3. Cam MacRae

      Yeah. I live in a very different democracy defined by a very different constitution so I find this kind of post both enlightening and instructive. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that my experiences (and I’d argue the same about those of our Canadian friends) are not directly applicable to the US.It’s fascinating to see how the other half lives.

  28. laurie kalmanson

    “The Second Amendment makes it very clear,” said Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming). “The right to bear arms shall not be infringed by a tiny minority’s desire not to be shot.”Read more:

  29. Kirsten Lambertsen

    This issue is too important for everyone to just stake their ground and refuse to budge (on both sides).We owe it to the people who die every day in this country from a bullet — not just the innocent children of Newtown, but the husbands, wives, girlfriends and boyfriends who lose their lives in the heat of a passionate conflict, or the bright but tortured people who suffer from depression and snuff out their own lives in a moment of darkness (my friend, Jody Sherman is one) — to put our ideologies aside and figure this thing out.We’re all data people here, aren’t we? Let’s get to work and stop name calling. These endless loop debates aren’t getting us anywhere.I’m a self-described flaming liberal, and I’m willing to acknowledge that it isn’t *just* the guns at issue here. But we can’t ignore the guns, either.I swear, we’re all going to hell if we can’t stop cackling at each other from our respective treetops and work on this together.

    1. Richard

      On the banning list, let start with “PUBLIC SMOKING”

      1. JLM

        .Including marijuana? Or not?JLM.

        1. Richard


    2. PhilipSugar

      I agree, but here is what bothers me. You bring up Jody Sherman. Why? Why not bring up Aaron Schwartz? Heath Ledger?? I’m fine with certain restrictions, including background checks for all (that is the law in my state) you are closing a few loopholes. Fine. Affirm my rights. But that gets ignored, and I think it is because that is really not what you want.No different than when some idiot says you can’t get pregnant from a legitimate rape, you know what he wants, its not talking about abortion in the case of rape, why wouldn’t you think I’d see the same thing on this.But why do people bring up examples, its inane. Yes I lost a classmate full Marine Colonel who was on the board of directors of the Toys for Tots… but a gun law is not going to bring him back or prevent it. Maybe worrying about the head trauma he had as the result of seven tours might.Citing gun deaths in Chicago or New York. No law will prevent that, none of those guns were transferred legally.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        It’s clear you don’t know what I want, even though you say you think you do. I don’t want to win this argument. I want to make things better where I live.I was just using Jody as an example of suicide by gun. He was a friend of mine. My point being that everyday domestic murder and suicide are the real epidemic in the U.S.Most of the deaths of people I *knew* took place in Wyoming – not New York or Chicago. So the whole urban vs rural thing is just B.S. Let’s put that one to rest.But fuck all that. My point was that we have a problem that we need to solve. And your answer is to pick a fight. This is *exactly* what I’m talking about.Let’s talk data. Let’s talk numbers. Let’s focus on the *outcome*. We can agree on the outcome, can’t we. Or do you genuinely feel there’s no problem?

        1. PhilipSugar

          I don’t think you can solve the problem by restricting my rights. If I made laws for a day my laws would be:1. Background Checks for all2. Waiting period to be exactly five days after applying3. Mandatory training and test4. Transfers only through FFL (Federal Firearm License)5. One gun per month (other than collectible)I would affirm that I have the right to:6. Own an handgun7. Own a semi-automatic rifle8. Not be traced so some future politician could try and round me up9. Have the right to get a concealed carry under strict rules (for instance carrying while intoxicated a felony)10. Department of Homeland Security has to sell all of their ammo.

  30. JLM

    .This post and the comments underscore the challenges with achieving real gun regulation reforms. Everybody is talking over each other and nobody is listening and very, very few people actually know WTF they are talking about.The left is talking about gun CONTROL. Taking guns from law abiding citizens.The reasonable NRA folks, like me, are talking about sensible gun REGULATION. Preventing guns from falling into the hands of folks who will kill others with them including crazy people and criminals.Two very different concepts.If the objective is truly to make society safer, then one has to focus on the outcomes rather than the administration of gun ownership. Do we all want better outcomes? This is where the distrust begins to breed.Less than 3% of all armed (gun) violence involves long rifles and yet the knee jerk reaction is always to ban “assault rifles”. More people are bludgeoned to death annually than are killed with all forms of long rifles — ban the Louisville Slugger anyone?The real low hanging fruit is a national database of “crazy” people. Look at the stats on the recent mass murders (which BTW are an incredibly small amount of all gun deaths in the US, incredibly small as to be insignificant) — common denominator?They all involved people who would have been identified in a very simple database of troubled folks. This is the first list that should be made. I want a list of crazy people not a list of law abiding citizens who happen to own guns.As to really impacting the stats — it is handguns, not long rifles. It is criminals, not law abiding citizens. It is crime not magazine size.Do you think that the Crips and the Bloods and the Zetas are going to follow any new laws given that they are not following any existing laws? Get real.As to background checks, the noise is all wrong. Background checks are currently required. In Texas you have at least a 5-day waiting period before being able to close a transaction to buy a handgun. Many times it is long. In that period, the DPS is conducting a background check. Duh!What is being contemplated in the impending Senate legislation is the insertion of background checks into private transactions — the GUN SHOW LOOPHOLE.If people would just calm down and know WTF they are talking about it would be easy to get this type of legislation passed. Hell, it is akin to doing an eBay transaction if done correctly. It is not a big deal.It is a big deal if it is wrapped in a gift paper that also bans my legal ownership of guns.As a card carrying member of the NRA and a gun owner for decades and someone who has been trained how to operate them for over 50 years, I AM IN FAVOR OF UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR GUN PURCHASERS BY USING THE “CRAZY LIST” AS A SCREEN.Hell, I’m even in favor of a 60 day waiting period though I cannot imagine how it is possible to approve my Visa transaction in seconds and it is not possible to identify crazy people in the same time period. Perhaps Visa should run a “crazy person” card promotion to help the situation, no?The Crazy List is the answer, not a list of legitimate law abiding gun owners who present no threat to society.JLM.

    1. andyswan

      Shit I’m on the crazy list after today.

      1. JLM

        .WTF are you talking about — you were always on the crazy list but that just means you get a visit from the local gendarmes before you get to buy a weapon.JLM.

        1. andyswan

          Let’s have a crazy list party in Austin

          1. JLM

            .Can we afford to invite that many people?Can we all bring guns?Red’s Indoor RangeJLM.

          2. andyswan

            Crazy list people tend to pay their own way.Yes.

          3. FlavioGomes

            Is there a sporting clays facility near by?

          4. JLM

            .Of course, this is Texas. We even allow hunting.JLM.

          5. FlavioGomes

            Well, then…lets do both! Swan u in?

          6. PhilipSugar

            I’ll show up to that one and I agree crazy list people not only pay their own way they are great tippers. I might just get to the Kentucky Colonel Oaks Party this year.

          7. pointsnfigures

            I am in.


      “The real low hanging fruit is a national database of “crazy” people.”But Fred would have to be put on that list. Although he’s already on some lists but that’s a whole other discussion. Because some would find it crazy to spend even one penny on gun control while homeless people are starving in the streets.

      1. JLM

        .Fred doesn’t want to own guns.Plus living in NYC — Sullivan Act of 1913 — he cannot legally own a gun anyway.I would personally trust Fred owning a bazooka. Maybe even an aircraft carrier with 250 jets. Fred is not the problem.We actually have plenty of laws. We need to enforce the existing ones.JLM.

        1. pointsnfigures

          If Fred owned an aircraft carrier, we might get a Libertarian Island finally.


            If Fred owned an aircraft carrier we would all have startups on it so that we could avoid taxation.

        2. LE

          I don’t agree that you know Fred well enough to say that.If you live with Fred over a long period of time and observe his behavior and if you are perceptive to changes in behavior that statement could be true and assumes you still live with him. There are multiple cases of where people who think they know someone are easily fooled. (Silda Spitzer, Madoff’s wife (a short list for Charlie “name 5”)).Not to mention the fact (in all fairness) that what Fred says on this blog is his public persona. What he says or does in private may be different. Or may be the same and 100% consistent. Which is not to say that Fred is phony because he appears to be exceedingly honest and have the right intentions. But he is a public person none the less and would suffer some kickback from voicing certain things that are only said in private.I have no intention of writing a book but if I wrote a book do you think I could really say exactly what was on my mind if I knew that my wife was reading it, my parents were reading it, my friends were reading it?

          1. JLM

            .I know Fred more than well enough to know he would be safe with a bazooka and an aircraft carrier.An ice pick? Hmmm.JLM.

          2. Richard

            Hell Yea. Don’t mess with air I breathe.


      Hey, come to think of it. If we can get the background checks happening quick and easy. People will soon be able to get guns quicker and easier. All right. Well, Fred, you’ve shot yourself in the foot.

    4. PhilipSugar

      Agree 100% “It is a big deal if it is wrapped in a gift paper that also bans my legal ownership of guns” This is what scares people. Why not simply reaffirm my rights to ownership and privacy? If you put that in there and it couldn’t get passed I agree with Fred 100%. If you can’t put that in there it makes me say hmmmm.

    5. Hershberg

      My concern with creating a database of “crazy” people is that there are undoubtedly politicians who would use it as an excuse to further profile and spy on people who are perceived as threats. I know people get much more emotional over the second amendment than they do the fourth, but I’d like to think it still has some value too.

      1. JLM

        .Pick your poison — a meaningless list of lawful gun owners who have not been committing any murders or a list of crazies (violently opposed by folks like the ACLU) who are dangerous.JLM.

        1. Hershberg

          I think it’s important to think about who could ultimately end up on that list of crazies and the means the government would use to identify people (regardless of whether they ultimately ended up on the list) it thinks could be considered “threats”. The Surveillance State is sprawling and unaccountable enough as it is. I don’t see how expanding it further is the answer to anything.

      2. JLM

        .Most of the politicians would be on the list. With the exception of Sarah Palin who actually knows how to handle a gun — and field dress a moose.JLM.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Should we require IQ testing then too?

          1. JLM

            .Well, if only of the electorate who sends those boobs to Washington, yes indeed.JLM.

          2. FlavioGomes

            Safety mechanism on the the only test required. Edit: I say that flippantly….Firearm safety should be mandatory with a minimum passing grade. ACTS PROVE…THE VITAL FOUR ACTS OF FIREARMS SAFETY Assume every firearm is loaded. Control the muzzle direction at all times. Trigger finger must be kept off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until ready to shoot. See that the firearm is unloaded – PROVE it safe.PROVE Point the firearm in the safest available direction. Remove all cartridges. Observe the chamber. Verify the feeding path. Examine the bore.We can’t prevent stupidity…but can do a better job on the criminally insane.

          3. Matt A. Myers

            Never heard it before but good and simple way to remember the process.

          4. Dave Pinsen

            Disparate impact would preclude that.

          5. Derek

            I grew up in the gun-crazy south and learned to shoot a gun when I was 10 years old. Before I could do that, my parents made me attend a gun safety course. My parents were enthusiastic Republicans who got Xmas cards from Reagan. Why is this such a big deal?

        2. JamesHRH

          Good reference for hunter.Not your best reference for crazy.

      3. FlavioGomes

        The database already exists in the hands of health professionals. Only those that apply for weapons of any sort would be reviewed. If they pass…there would be no mark on their record and no one would need to know.

    6. mikenolan99

      Well said… how about a program like (gulp) the TSA pre-check. I’m not sure how I made the “safe” list, but I fly through airport security.For gun buyers, those on the “crazy list” just need to go through additional security procedures.And, as I said in my post later in the comment thread – the NRA should be self regulating, and our government should codify their best practice recommendations.

    7. LE

      I would support the crazy list although unfortunately getting a definition of crazy would be nearly impossible (no blood test, have you ever read the DSM?). It’s to analog never going to fly never going to happen. A non starter. Remember what happend to Tom Eagleton?…A non blood relative of mine (who was crazy enough to have to be taken to a mental institution at some point before I knew them) had a very visceral reaction to my comments of the recent shooting being a “mental health issue” and not a gun issue. This is a person that I have known for maybe 4 years and had a really really good relationship with and always enjoyed their company. All it took was that one statement (which I thought was benign) and all the sudden they snapped and literally went verbally bizerk. It was really bizarre. I had been warned about their instability but now saw it first hand.

      1. JLM

        .A list of crazies would be as simple as pie —Anyone ever admitted to a mental institution;Anyone with a domestic violence or child abuse or sexual charge;Anyone on a certain regimen of drugs;Anyone with a felony conviction or Class C misdemeanor;Anyone with any kind of gun violation;Anyone with any kind of drug involvement, etc.You could have the list in less than an hour if you used the right law enforcement folks.The LIST does not mandate refusal, it just mandates a more thorough investigation. The investigation should be tough and conclusive. No chances.The last three tragedies would have all been caught with this methodology.JLM.

        1. LE

          List is simple.Now what are the implementation procedures?Do you ask people to “attest” on an application and simply take their word for it?Or is their an administrative cost to verifying all the above that you suggest? How much?Can you imagine the cost of developing and implementing a solution to these checks?How exactly do we determine whether someone “was ever admitted to a mental institution”? (Health records but I’m not sure how they are labeled or that you couldn’t be in a mental institution w/o a mental problem possibly or an institution that had a mental ward but was a regular hospital as well (see the granularity?).”Drug involvement”? Where’s the list of that kept?”Certain regimen of drugs?” Assumes people aren’t paying cash and that there is once again some central database that tracks that. Or that they aren’t getting the adhd or lexapro etc. drugs from their friends or on the street.DV, child abuse, sex charge. Assume you mean convicted. By the way what is the granularity of the “sex charge”. What if someone who is 17 had sex with their 15 year old girlfriend.Felony: Aren’t there some ridiculous federal laws (4000) that could result in felonies that are more or less non-violent etc?This type of thing would be tied up in committee until pigs could fly. It would be a nice red herring though. I don’t believe it’s practical or could ever happen. Maybe if you pair down the list though a bit.

          1. Derek

            On a relative basis, I will pay the taxes necessary to support this compared with the costs of the military and DHS.

    8. Justin Baker

      I have been reading 2-3x per week for thelast three years, but I haven’t commented until now.Thanks for publishing your thoughtful take on thematter. I don’t even own a gun, but I spent about 15 minutes researchingthe issue when this debate got started and I came to roughly the sameconclusion you did. Unfortunately there has not been a lot of honest factbased discussion in this debate.I wish media outlets, politicians and thepresident would be forthright about gun violence statistics, but sadly that isnot. I do feel a little better about the world when I encounter somebodylike you taking a thoughtful position on the matter even if that voice isdrowned out by 100 others that would rather recite a platitude than do 15minutes of research.If anybody wants to see the FBI stats where JLM got his numbers you can find them here:

      1. Richard

        I also dont spend much time on this issue. Interesting data. Second hand cigarette smoke kills more people than any single category on this list. Ban all smoking in public and outdoor places!!

        1. Derek

          Personally I like going to non-smoke-filled bars.

      2. ShanaC

        thanks, and welcome. The reason – most people aren’t really numerate.What is other in this chart?

    9. Dave Pinsen

      You have to admit that recasting gun control as “gun safety” was a brilliant rhetorical move on the part of the left.

      1. JLM

        .I agree. Of course, it is for people with a brain to see beyond this nonsense to understand what the legislation actually contains.JLM.

        1. Dave Pinsen


    10. Montgomery Kosma

      The real exciting opportunity I am starting to touch on is the out-of-the-box thinking that can happen when we step beyond the boundaries of regulatory policy and the minority interests that rule the Beltway.For example, I want a smartphone app that will sound off bells and alarms when someone disturbs a gun that’s supposedly sitting somewhere alone and untouched. For some that means they’ll know if their kids are messing with it, for others it means they can come charging home or call the police. Seems an easy way to prevent a few more accidental deaths, suicides, and thefts.Me and the kids went to the local electronics shop, bought an Aruduino and accelerometer, and are hacking this together. We want to show it off at the Maker Faire, and figure out how to package this up into a kit that costs $10 or $20. It would be awesome to put this in the hands of lots of kids who could both learn something about tech and feel like they’re doing something about the problem. Build the kit, give it to a gun owner you know, or to the local PD or Wal*Mart to distribute for free.And that’s just a start. Let’s be audacious. Together.

    11. Montgomery Kosma

      Another thought – we have all this tech that’s so good at putting ads in front of people based on what they’re searching for, and at optimizing those ads so that they’re more likely to click through and buy whatever crap one of us happens to be pushing.Adam Lanza reportedly spent a significant time googling mental health and behavioral issues in the weeks leading up to Sandy Hook.Stephen Colbert jokingly asked Siri a medical question on his show last week. I have a startup I’m advising, MedWhat, that launched that application into the iTunes store last week. Still prototype-level but within a year or so we’ll have it.It’s trivial in MedWhat’s AI engine, powered by Stanford Medical School’s syndicated ontology system, to identify a person who is asking questions that indicate depression or another mental disorder.How about we start building and A/B testing systems to optimize paths for online mental health intervention? People feel safe asking questions of their phones. It seems like it would be a huge win to get them to take the critical next step of asking for help.

  31. andyswan

    FYI, they are already conducting 32 background checks per minute:…The stores are empty of ammo, the guns are going fast. The stockpiling is unreal. It’s like bitcoins.

    1. ErikSchwartz

      It’s the greatest marketing ploy the gun industry ever had.I have friends who are selling AR lower receivers for insane amounts of money right now.

      1. andyswan

        I’m considering flipping a couple of mine. Holding the pappy though.


      I heard bitcoin being compared to tulip bulbs on Bloomberg today.

  32. mikenolan99

    Anyone else remember the late 60s, when the forces in congress were set to legislates against Radio and TV advertising of tobacco? The industry fought hard, because they were fearful of the slippery slope – reminiscent of the arguments presented against any form of gun control.Interestingly, it was the industry that eventually regulated itself. In a deal with congress for a two-three year moratorium on regulation, the industry voluntarily ceased advertising of tobacco. Many broadcast groups even stopped early. (My dad was a VP of Westinghouse Broadcasting and President of the Illinois Broadcasters Association at the time.)What is needed is for the NRA to step forward and address the concerns of all Americans. They could start by classifying weapons, and setting up guidelines for each class. They could then certify dealers with best practices. Then, and only then, would they ask Congress to codify the certification and best practices the NRA develops and maintains.Private industry regulating itself, with the USA supporting those decisions with the strength of constitutional law. Sounds like the American way to me.

    1. Aaron Fyke

      The problem here is that the NRA is not taking a leadership role in the argument. Spewing garbage about violence in video games and pointing the finger has reflected badly on them. They do have a good gun-safety message, but they need to be seen as driving the industry, not holding it back. This has left me to conclude that the NRA isn’t in this to find solutions, but to block solutions – which is ultimately their greatest PR blunder.

      1. Derek

        +100NRA stands for National Rifle Association. When I was a kid in the 70s a rifle meant 30 ought 6, or 7 millimeter. It didn’t mean AR15 or AK47.

  33. Elia Freedman

    Lawrence Lessig gave this pretty amazing talk at TED where he outlines how we “take back our Republic.” Interestingly, he doesn’t propose banning political money. He proposes democratizing it. It’s some brilliant thinking and jibes with the issues outlined by Fred here:

  34. Matt A. Myers

    Most people don’t connect individual actions with a party name – Republicans or other – they associate their feeling with what they do, and that feeling is fickle and based on the most recent news or “facts” they’ve heard. It’s only actions like you take, of keeping track and trying to make those who are put into control are held accountable. I feel there aren’t enough people doing this though, nor is there a good enough way (yet) to keep track of all of this for everyone – the data isn’t organized or presented or available in a useful way (yet). All in time I see this happening though. Keep up the good fight Fred.

  35. pointsnfigures

    I am against background checks for different reasons. The government is capricious. It’s not some pious angel.Because I am for limited government they put me on a list and I was unable to buy firearms or ammo for existing guns I own. That’s not right. When the political winds change-who can buy guns might change too. Don’t be naive. It would happen.Lawyers also twist and turn the meaning of words. The law as it is written today won’t be how it’s interpreted. There will be plenty of unintended consequences as each side pushes their agenda.There is a lot of outrage over AR-15 rifles. Has anyone that is outraged shot one and compared it to a Pump Winchester ranger shotgun? The reason a lot of people like them is they don’t kick. Women prefer them to use as a home defense weapon over a shotgun.Different states have different needs. Not everyone lives in an urban area. My brother in law lives in Alaska and owns over forty different guns. Alaska is far different than inner city Chicago and should have different laws. A blanket law by the Feds will only screw things up.In Illinois, they already make you apply for a Firearms Owner ID card (FOID). They can do their background check there. If you don’t have a card, you can’t buy anything.

    1. kidmercury

      that is always the part that amazes me, the implicit assumption that the regulators are some benevolent angels and only citizens need to guarded against. great point about alaska vs chicago.

    2. Derek

      Should you be allowed to purchase a nuclear weapon? It’s a continuum.

  36. William Wagner

    You don’t need a background check to fabricate a gun yourself 😉

  37. Will Luttrell

    AVC is a place where I come to read the thoughts of a luminary in the digital and venture space, where Fred (and the many in the community) are experts and offer valuable opinions.If I want to read misguided, ill-informed political statements, there are plenty of places I can go for that.

    1. fredwilson

      that is not a choice you get to make. you want me, you got me. if you don’t want me, you don’t have to stop by.



        1. fredwilson


  38. Guest

    Please shut up about gun control. We have the right to bear arms in this country. Making it more difficult to obtain a weapon legally will only provide greater incentive to black market trade (or folks just getting it from a relative).

    1. kidmercury

      lol this comment is harsh, even by my standards. i love it though and agree totally with your analysis. 🙂


        I think you mean to say his comment is passionate.

  39. bryanstrawser

    The issue around the background check law – for me – is how the concept of “transfer” gets defined. Under the bill that Senator Schumer had introduced and passed out of committee, transfer was defined exceptionally broadly – and would have easily made me into a felon for routine firearms instruction (as a NRA Instructor) – that’s completely unacceptable.Write a decent background check bill that really gets at the core of the issue and I suspect you would find much more support. Tack on all of this other stuff and it will fail.None of this, by the way, would have prevented the tragedy in Newtown – let’s be honest about that as well.

  40. Aaron Fyke

    Everybody is talking over each other and nobody is listening and very, very few people actually know WTF they are talking about. – JLMHear hear!

  41. JLM

    .In the final analysis, all we have to prevent violence against otherwise innocent people in America is reason, persuasion and violence.If evil comes to visit and decides you are the flavor of the month, you can use reason to persuade your assailant that his violent tendencies are not advisable. With whatever reasons you can come up with. Hopefully you were on the debate team in high school, no?Once you have exhausted your ability to reason and persuade and the assailant has rejected all of your perfectly logical arguments you are left at his mercy. You will get a beating or worse — you may get killed.In a civilized society, recognizing that not all folks are good, you are granted the right to bear arms and with those arms you may ransom your life from an assailant who will otherwise not fall prey to your siren song of reason and persuasion.You will even the score by being able to defend yourself with deadly force to be able to blunt the unlawful attack of your assailant.Why should my government be a willing participant in stripping me naked and defenseless in the face of a criminal assailant?Why shouldn’t my government help me safeguard my life and live to pay some more taxes?Well, a guy can wish, no?But as it turns out, they did. They even put it in the Constitution. I can bear arms to save myself.Stop legislating for the shitheads. Identify them and let’s get rid of them, not my lawful guns.JLM.

  42. LaVonne Reimer

    What a lively dialog. Only wish I had time to read each and every comment. Charlie has it right way down there that the Constitution is a framework. Every major amendment has been subjected to analysis of individual rights and needs vs community rights and needs. It has always been so. Frankly, the original authors tipped very heavily toward individual rights which makes perfect sense when you think of their context but that doesn’t mean community has to take a back sit. And when you’re talking about really lethal stuff, the circle of community has to broaden.My interest in use of technology to address this comes out of a dream that someday the citizens most affected on one side or the other would have a “clean” debate. I fear that isn’t happening for many reasons already stated but certainly not understanding what the 2nd amendment does or does not do is a biggie. Right behind it is the whole question of who owns the democracy. My good friend Elia posted a link to an important Lessig talk on that subject. Last and not least, there is nothing more scary to me than debating a passionate gun owner. I have a rule. Never argue with someone packing heat. Could we agree to leave guns and tears “at the door?”

    1. JLM

      .I am waiting for someone, so I am going to amuse myself just a bit.I take great issue with the manner in which you diminish the importance of the Constitution suggesting that it is just a “framework” as if in the use of that term it is not the document that has defined and nourished the longest surviving democracy on Earth and has provided the framework for the creation of the greatest nation and highest standard of living for our country.Or has provided the leadership and blood, tears, toil and sweat that has faced down evil — the Germans in WWII, Hitler, the Japanese, the Communists, the British Boy Band Invasion — on multiple occasions and is still the best hope of all of mankind.The Constitution is a document which was created by giants who had rebelled against and prevailed against the greatest economic, military, naval forces on the planet.They prevailed by one important element — the harnessing of the collective efforts of free men by providing them with the recognition that all of our rights flow from God and that it is in liberty — liberties and rights enumerated in the Constitution and guaranteed by our government which is the spawn of those same free men — that freely given contributions are multiplied to do those things that make free men good.There is not one word of the Constitution which is a “framework” — it is all carefully considered during four plus years of its drafting and ratification individually by each of the United States. During this pendency, the Federalist Papers discussed each and every word, comma and meaning in excruciating detail so much so that no educated American should even pretend to understand the raw meaning of the Constitution without having read the Federalist Papers.So, no, it is not a framework, it is the best work of our countrymen whose seed has blossomed for almost 300 years and whose brilliance in designing our system of checks, balances and governance has delivered unto the world the longest lasting democracy in history.Men have sworn allegiance to this document and freely given their lives to protect its meaning and nature.JLM.

      1. LaVonne Reimer

        I think I like a “well played” better! But seriously, the three most important courses I took in law school were Con Law, Crim Pro (lots of Constitutional Law) and Jurisprudence, the latter from a prof who was a thought leader at the time (yeah, long, long ago). Admittedly, just my calling them important shouldn’t give me credibility in this debate but it’s fun to talk about that part of my eclectic past. Constitution is framework as compared to statutes (more detailed) and administrative rules (truly detailed and often the byproduct of petty bureaucrats). They all have their place, at least until we can get Regulation 2.0 up and running. In a sense you make my point. The very fact that men (and a few women) pledged their allegiance to the document and fought to protect its meaning is fundamentally about acting beyond their individual self-interests. If not exactly communitarian in motivations, then at least with a sense that we are all in “this” together.Having said all that, I have very strong communitarian leanings. I’m not blase about individual rights. It’s just that I hold a worldview that causes me to advocate in virtually any debate for the needs, safety and interests of the community at large. I read the rulings that interpret the amendments in that manner as just another situation where arguably competing interests had to be weighed. That ability to balance competing interests with thought in care is the very essence of a great democracy!

        1. JLM

          .I have no idea as to what you are saying. I am sure it is my fault.The rights guaranteed by the Constitution are not subject to picking one’s favorites. The document stands on its own two feet. It is a brilliant document.JLM.

    2. Montgomery Kosma

      Larry sets up the problem really well, directly tracking my experience as a Beltway lawyer. I’m not sure whether the system is corrupt, or fundamentally broken. Unfortunately, its operation is almost automatic given public choice economics. it’s hard enough getting people aligned and moving the same direction in a business where you have measurable targets like growth and profits. Government policy is hyper-adversarial, and dominated by discrete and insular minorities whose interests typically have nothing to do with any truly public good.Now, I’m an audacious guy – after all, I build startups. So I believe that the power of technology and free markets can be brought to bear on difficult public policy problems in a way that will never happen via politics. There’s a group of us now working full time on this approach to the problem of gun violence in America. I’m excited that I’ll soon be able to share more…

  43. Chris Johnson

    The problem with this (at least one of them) is that in almost every case registration like the types that we are getting precedes confiscation. Yielding on this point is inane- the US government (our government) has killed more people that 100 sandy-hook columbines. And the arms that we can print make this legislation irrelevant. The future is upon us, man.



      1. Chris Johnson

        And they confiscated fish after the fishing license….

  44. pointsnfigures

    Tweet from @markknoller on 16 Jan 2013-One of Pres Obama’s 23 Executive Actions today clarifies that ObamaCare allows doctors to ask their patients about guns in their homes. —–>Another reason I am against background checks.

    1. JLM

      .This is truly one of the stupidest ideas ever. My doctor and I will spend the whole damn time talking about bird hunting and how much meat I get from an elk.JLM.

  45. ZekeV

    I am in favor of background checks. But I hope these senators vote on principle, rather than on your implied threat of withholding campaign donations.

  46. little ioda

    Fact: by essence, guns kill (as opposed to a guitar for instance, or a spoon, or a cell phone, etc..)Simple question: People get background checked when they get a new job, when they need a loan, when they want to do business with another party, when they apply for life insurance, etc…they even get checked without knowing or asking for it (credit score, Google, Facebook know everything about people’s life shared with their Facebook “friends”). Why is it such a big deal to get a background check before owning a widget that can kill?More generally, I don’t really understand many arguments in this debate:- embedded in the right to bear arms is a de facto material possibility to kill. In other words, with the right to buy a gun comes the huge power to take someone’s life. As a mortal, I would feel pretty happy if I knew that a thorough background check was performed before every bozzo buys a bazooka at Wall Mart.- conflicts of interest: To Fred Wilson’s point, I would like to know if an elected official has been sponsored by NRA when he/she (most likely he) talks about gun controls. if (s)/he has,then this official really has zero credibility. That’s called conflict of interest I think…Obviously, if the NRA receives a single dime from a company whose business is related to guns (how naughty of me to think it might be the case!), then there is a very remote possibility than an NRA rep is not 100% objective when talking about gun controls….- Don’t people have better things to do that playing with their guns like kids and loving it more than their spouse? watch TV or porn, do push ups, become a black belt, read comics or Kant, play chess, drive a monster truck, skydive, grow a vegetable garden, whatever. How can guns be a big part of someone’s life? I just don’t get it (by the way, I fiidled with guns quite a bit when I did my military service but I outgrew this hobby, although I still own a nice Winchester rifle)- In this country, quite a few people (kids, bad guys, good guys) die every day because they cross path with a bullet. Could pro-guns recognize it is a huge issue for the US. I would like to hear pro-guns propose intelligent solutions (other than the very compelling idea of arming teachers, who, unless they go through Navy Seals training, might end up killing their students instead of protecting them – cross fire it’s called I think; even professionals like Police forces have sometimes this issue…). Enough with the “arms don’t kill, bad guys do”, be pro-active and helpful please.Ioda

    1. kidmercury

      more people are murdered with bare hands than with firearms in the US:…do you want to ban having hands too? background checks at birth 🙂

  47. Yepi Yepi

    I wish media outlets, politicians and the president would be forthright about gun violence statistics, but sadly that is not.

  48. anon

    Unfortunately I think this hole debate has gone sideways. I think I can provide a different perspective on this situation. Why? Because I’m non-US citizen living in the US, which is also why I’m writing as anonymous.The debate, as I see it, isn’t really about minimizing crime or even controlling guns. It’s the officials ways to make people feel safe, warm and fuzzy inside so they can go on and do “more important” things. I think this one of the most important issues, perhaps after fixing the federal debt and economy.The thing is, the only way to minimize gun crimes is to minimize the number of guns. I know Americans don’t want to discuss this because it gets scarily close to changing their constitutional rights and so rights to defend themselves.But lets face the facts, the second amendment was written over 220 years ago, partly to support militias against corrupt governments. Today the government has tanks, airplanes, missiles, battleships, submarines and drones, just to name a few. It sounds very unlikely to turn over a government with handguns.When it comes to Personal Safety, there have been numerous tests and researches indicating that people put in a stressful (threat) situations are unable to defend themselves in time, and gun owners are more likely to get injured.The bottom line is that guns aren’t needed for protection if there aren’t malicious guns out there in the first place!So what do we need?- Proper gun and owner/dealer registryAll guns should be accounted for to minimize theft, companion purchases etc.- Stricter gun dealer regulationsApparently a huge number of guns are sold by sketchy dealers.- Background checksWidely agreed upon, but should also include anybody who has a relationship to crime, past “stolen” guns etc.- Waiting periodBackground checks are technically easy to perform. But the point of a waiting period is to limit crimes of passion, or immediate retaliation. This one’s for JLM.- Remove gunsI’ve already argued this one but with less guns on the streets, we don’t need guns for personal safety.- Required safety trainingHow to handle a gun safely, possibly by requiring people to join gun or hunting clubs.Safe storage. Guns should be kept in unbreakable, locked, gun cabinets to avoid self harm, use by children or theft.Arming more people, like teachers in schools, sounds like an arms race like governments used, it will only lead to more crime and injuries.I know a lot of these ideas are unconventional and unconstitutional. But, there is no silver bullet to solving this huge problem. People like to argue that criminals can get a hold of guns if they want. That’s why we have to be fierce about our rules and laws. If we leave holes in the law, people will find ways through or around them (like background checks).I might be wrong on some of these arguments and I would love to hear your responses, maybe I’m just a foreigner who doesn’t understand?

    1. Derek

      Actually, at the time of the Continental Congress the militia argument was not about defense against tyranny. It was about defense against indians. That battle has been “won” depending on your perspective.

  49. Steven Kane

    i’m deeply supportive of restricting access to guns. it should be far more difficult to get or operate or transfer a gun than, say, a car — where you have to have a license, and a registration, and insurance, and periodic inspections, etc etc.but…background checks? sorry, that brings out the paranoid orwellian in me. what background? who defines what is OK and not OK in my profile? how keeps the centralized database? who gets access to it? what is the definition of “mental health” or “healthy” or “normal” or “abnormal”? what level of criminal conviction becomes permanent record? speeding tickets? civil disobedience? how about political affiliation? is that part of my “background”?lets radically restrict the general population’s access to dangerous weaponry, and lets absolutely keep a centralized database of weapons, and who owns them, and when they and where they can be used etc– just as we do with automobiles.but can we please not start down the path of authorizing the government to review my “background” to determine my “mental health”?please…?

    1. Derek

      Background checks for mental health are a step into the past, not toward an Orwellian future. Reagan let a lot of seriously mentally ill people go free. One of those people shot him. While I support the libertarian ideal, in a practical sense I think a step backward is warranted.

  50. andyswan

    Well I’ll defend your right to Free Speech…even beyond a soapbox in the public square and printing press.

  51. andyswan

    1) Stalker2) Coyotes3) Forest Fire4) Civil unrest (looting, etc)5) Unwitting witness to gang crime6) Break-ins at office park7) Friend gets raped in neighborhood8) Kidnapping attempts in local bank parking lot9) Renter busted for dealing drugs, cash confiscated, out on bail10) Boss asks you to make delivery into KKK country

  52. kidmercury

    lol seriously…….all you people who favor government having a monopoly on violence should watch this video…

  53. andyswan

    The killer of 20 children wouldn’t have been stopped by this legislation…so what’s your point?

  54. kidmercury

    actually words have resulted in suicides so words can kill.

  55. PhilipSugar

    How about Mein Kampf????

  56. fredwilson

    There are more that are not there. Which is upsetting to me. I fill out the forms. They should get the data right.

  57. ShanaC

    that happend. the most right wing people moved on and have been agressive with the donations elsewhere

  58. kidmercury

    intent and skill of gun owner. we can go to infinite number of derivatives both ways.


    So again, it’s not the objects it’s the people.

  60. markslater

    thats absolutely hilarious. seriously.

  61. ShanaC

    1) Had two – gun wouldn’t have helped, as it was primarily stalking via phone2) Going to a gun store would not help me immediately, because the coyotes would still be there. And for the record, when wolves invade Northern manhattan (which happens regularly yo’d still be more likely to shoot a person in the process of missing the wolf.4) gun store would be looted too5) assumes I have space in my purse6) One guy with a gun couldn’t do very much considering the size of office parks7) someone I knew in college had a friend who was raped: her rapist was her roommate. Most rapes are by people the raped person knew beforehand and probably wouldn’t shoot8) My bank doesn’t have a parking lot9) the people I know who I know deal drugs tend to be pot smokers and don’t cary weapons. other kinds of drugs are going down in terms of selling10) I’d dye my hair. Probably easier.


    11) Homeless people looking for food.12) Mentally ill people with cats living in their shirts.13) VCs that don’t fund my projects.14) Fire trucks the drive by with their sirens blasting.15) Beer stores with high prices.16) Old people.17) People with bright colored hair.18) Children that won’t share their candy.19) Pogo sticks.20) Small creatures that can’t defend themselves.Oh the list can go on and on…

  63. JamesHRH

    Wow Andy.I have always enjoyed your posts and found your fervent defence of gun ownership worth the read.This list is not.Quick context:- my Dad practised criminal law for 50 years- I grew up in northern Saskatchewan, on the edge of civilisation (if you walked north from my home town and were looking for a city of 40,000 people, when you got there, they spoke Russian).- In short, I know more than the average bear about wild predators.1) background check can have this option: I am concerned about a violent stalker (if you are a 275 pound biker, this box will me a tough checkmark). happy to have that checkbox on the background check to expedite things.2) give me a break (when we lived in Calgary, cougars ended up in the NW suburbs every 3 or 4 years – hiding under somebody’s deck) Coytotes walked up out of a river valley in a major dog park that was 8 minutes from the downtown core: you want some cowboy running around with a firearm? Worst thing that happened? My aunt (who lived right on the park) had an outdoor cat disappear.3) ?4) If you are planning to gun down all comers during civil unrest, you can just stock up like all the other nuclear winter preppers5) happy to have that checkbox on the background check to expedite things6) Seriously? How about you take the obvious precaution of shortening your hours and doing some work at home (for 90 days tops).7) Stats show that women who introduce a firearm into an assault do not use it against their attacker; their attacker ends up using it against them (pepper spray women use though).8) This happens how often? Law & Order is not reflective of everyday crime patterns.9) Terminate lease.10) That happened just yesterday to me – give me a break.

  64. raycote

    The night of the walking-straw-men !If there are indeed 100’s of reasons to suddenly need a gun then maybe a rational person should plan ahead and acquire a gun in advance of such inevitable need ?

  65. kidmercury

    don’t forget to include a timeline of each instance a gun was used to defend someone. oh that’s right, that doesn’t get the media hype. well here’s the FBI numbers on violent crimes. note the trend.

  66. andyswan

    Please explain the legislation that you support that would have prevented those mass killings.Newtown: Gun owner passed BG checkVirginia Tech: Gun owner passed BG checkAurora: Gun owner had no criminal record, no archived mental illness prior to obtaining guns, would have passed any BG check.So…. how would you have stopped them?

  67. andyswan

    Each of these (except for #5 and #3) are a reasons that someone I know has bought a gun on short notice over the past 8 years.

  68. andyswan

    When you can’t argue the merits….laugh?


    Hmm… The trend is downward at a time when gun ownership is going up? Notice that I didn’t say legal gun ownership.

  70. markslater

    awesome where do i sign up….

  71. markslater

    why bother. all your issues are solved with a gun. yeee ha. your shooting a forest fire FFS.

  72. LE

    I’m guessing that the origins of that technique stem from early day “fool at the table ; convince the lemmings” strategy.Say back in the days of sitting around the fire with a problem to be solved in a small group.One group member of no particular status has an idea that another member of the group thought was ridiculous or maybe was the rival of.In order to convince other members of the group of this they could either use words and logic (difficult) or they could simply become claquiers and berade the person with the hope that the other lemming participants were brainwashed into believing that the point being made was absurd and they should reject it on it’s face. And if they spoke up they might also be laughed at and they wanted to avoid that outcome so they say nothing.The same is also done sometimes with brawn instead of brains. People with less developed brains tend to use size and intimidation to get what they want out of the world people who don’t have to use their head to get what they want.


    Well at least the issues are solved. We still have 25M+ people out of work in the US.

  74. andyswan

    If you seriously cannot think of a reason why you might need to defend yourself during evacuation from or threat of a forest fire or other natural disaster …. Just wow.Keep stereotyping and generalizing while avoiding the logic of the issues.

  75. JLM

    .Gun ownership in Texas is at an all time high. My theory is that all those Californians moving here are buying guns, who knows?Murder rate is at an time low. Hmmm.JLM.

  76. markslater

    again laughable in the extreme. sorry. i find that absolutely absurd that your response to a natural disaster is to arm yourself.

  77. andyswan

    1) It would help if it went beyond the phone2) They come back4) Late yes, early no.5) The women in my life make room6) He kept it in his desk because he worked late…he was afraid of break-in while he was working7) This one wasn’t and it scared people and they wanted to carry protection8) Mine does and there were 3 attempted kidnappings this year9) Criminal activity surrounding drugs is the #1 cause of homicide10) He couldn’t dye his skin…but that was funnyNice list ShanaC 🙂

  78. markslater

    lol – awesome.


    9) The would carry guns but they have to many munchies to carry.

  80. Guest

    you should be vigilant re: that wolve invasion…

  81. $28312048

    The only thing that stops a forest fire with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

  82. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I always marvel at this one. What kind of person would prioritize killing someone who’s trying to take their television when the dam has broken? Am I crazy to feel it’s NOT my right to shoot you to death if you’re stealing my TV?


    Hmm… No responses to the video. I guess real world experiences are hard to argue with.

  84. andyswan

    Perfect video. There will be no responses. It completely undermines their ability to get a warm fuzzy through pointless legislation that does nothing more than inconvenience their law abiding neighbors.

  85. Dayna Gant

    I’m with you kid on this one.And one thing I didn’t hear discussed in the comments is anyone ever having had the experience of actually aiming a gun and shooting another human being. If I was her, maybe I could have taken a shot, maybe not, but I better have the right to decide. I’ve only pulled the trigger on skunks and coyotes and it is hard to do. May my future be such that I never have to think about aiming at another human being.When I first moved to the farm alone, I wanted a pump action shotgun so that in case anyone did come in, just the pump action and a reasonable aim if necessary would have protected me. But in MA I found out you can’t shoot someone in the back, even if they were intruders. I got two German Shepards instead.

  86. LE

    Thanks was a great video. One of the best bits of rhetoric I have seen in a long time (mean that in a positive way.) Think she deprecated her point by using the example of the guy on the roof with the assault rifle though. I would have left that out she should have just stayed on the emotional points she was making and the cogent manner of presentation.Her “I left my gun in the car” reminded me of the scene in Hoffa (played by Nicholson) where his bodyguard (played by Danny Devito) goes for his gun and finds it isn’t where he expects it to be.…(About 3:40 into the scene approx.)

  87. markslater

    dear andy. this is your government speaking. While you’ve been running around chest bumping with your “gun”. I’ve taken 40% of your money and developed this……..It’s an insect spy drone for urban areas, already in production, funded by you!. It can be remotely controlled and is equipped with a camera and a microphone. It can land on you, and it may have the potential to take a DNA sample or leave RFID tracking nanotechnology on your skin. It can fly through an open window, or it can attach to your clothing until you take it in your home.thank you for keeping the plebs focused on guns…..its most appreciated…..see you at dawn!

  88. Guest

    Have to comment on “4) Late yes, early no.” (re ‘gun store looting’) – Haven’t you ever plotted your zombie apocalypse strategy? Firearms, long term food supplies, & survival gear are the first to go after, so while they may have more security than a typical grocery store – gun stores will absolutely be cleaned out… especially those big box types that stock MRE’s & outdoor gear… for the convenience of course.

  89. ShanaC

    for 1 one showed up at my door and wrote on my whiteboard about how he was stalking me in camp. That part was very scary, and between my age at the time (16) and the place (providence) probably carrying a gun would not have helped


    Andy, please slow down a bit with the logical thinking. It’s making people feel uneasy.

  91. LE

    More important point is what is an acceptable loss of life?Are we to pass legislation that has a great impact on many simply to prevent 1 life or 20 from being lost in a country of hundreds of millions of people? Why not take more of the money that I’ve earned to save the lives of others? I should not have bought my sports car or that extra computer since I could save lives with that money and that’s more important.Why not make people wear helmets when they drive cars? Why not make the passenger compartment in a car able to withstand a head on collision? Why not do a million other things that would save lives?It’s all a balance obviously. And it’s shitty if it happens to you or someone you love. But we can’t be having knee jerk reactions to things that are no more likely to have happened 10 years ago and since they have happened we now have to act as if they are more likely [1] to happen.[1] Actually they are by the copycat effect but that’s beside the point that I am making it still doesn’t change the odds that much.

  92. andyswan

    Dear Mark, you are participating in this conversation as well, albeit merely as a laughing observer rather than someone making cogent points. I oppose government surveillance. That’s not the topic on this blog today.

  93. andyswan

    That sucks. Sorry you went through that. I don’t propose that a gun is always a solution, I just want people to have the right to make that choice for themselves.


    Male stalkers can’t hold a candle to female stalkers. They are the worst.

  95. markslater

    the point of my comment was to try and illustrate to you that your “gun” is a false obolix of defence against a government that is so very further advanced – and that you touting your rights and linking it to guns is doing a diservice to a society that should be more concerned about how to evolve its freedoms in the face of a goverment that simply laughs at the notion that its citizenry still thinks that a “gun” is a suitable form of defence against it.A gun wont protect you against your government.

  96. ShanaC

    police and animal control are. Actually, NYC is enormously biodiverse (there are still old growth forest in the city limits)

  97. andyswan

    “A gun wont protect you against your government.” Well shit we agree, mostly. Time to wrap this up.

  98. kidmercury

    yes it will. look up fourth generation warfare. it is not the ONLY thing you need to protect yourself, as possession of one does not create an invincible force field of protection, but it absolutely will still help.

  99. markslater

    and for what its worth i respect your right to your opinion!

  100. ShanaC

    I’m fine. it probably was a douchy 16 year old kid. The point is that guns usually don’t always work, and delaying getting one won’t really affect the vast majority of situations where one would need a gun

  101. andyswan

    That’s fine. I can actually make the same argument that delaying getting one won’t really affect the vast majority of situations where a gun is used to kill someone illegally.

  102. ShanaC

    we don’t know, unfortunately. data on that is sparse.

  103. andyswan

    2) Tell that to the farmer in Patoka Indiana…. it’s scary stuff when you see a new pack of coyotes 50 feet your 3 year old on the swing set…now mom needs a gun4) lol5) Cool another checkbox. Let’s see how many we can get.6) Because you don’t want clients coming to your home?7) Then that’s their decision8) Happened 3 times in Louisville in 3 weeks this year.9) Lease was terminated, tenant came back “looking for his money”10) You obviously don’t live near Knox county, Indiana. It happened to a good friend of mine, and it freaked him the funk out. He packs now.


    “if you are a 275 pound biker”What the hell is that suppose to mean. BTW, do you still live in Saskatchewan?

  105. LE

    I think the point of the list is to simply say “there are reasons”. I’m sure if Andy was going to testify before Congress or appear on 60 Minutes [1] he would have thought out some of the issues and potential comebacks some more (more airtight) in order to prevent the reaction that has been somewhat short sighted by people opposing what he is saying and laughing at it.Separate issue about lists though that relates to selling or making your point. Say as little as possible. By mixing in things that people don’t understand or can attack you weaken the points that might actually stand. Don’t oversell. When you get what you want get your ass out of dodge.[1] I suspect that Andy doesn’t really give a shit nor should he since he is just making a comment on AVC and nothing really hinges on what he says here that will matter at all. So responding off the cuff is fine in this case same thing I do.

  106. JamesHRH

    it means that some people might try to use the option to skirt the rules.No. Visit annually though.


    It is your right to shoot someone to death if they’re stealing your TV. The important point is it’s you (a person) that makes the decission to shoot and not the gun. BTW, just because you have the right to shoot doesn’t mean it’s the right choice or that you must.

  108. andyswan

    No of course you don’t kill someone for trying to steal your TV. You kill someone for trying to kill or rape you, which is what happened A LOT in the aftermath of Katrina with no law enforcement to speak of.


    It sounds like we’re seeing good people having the ability to defend themselves lowers crime rates.

  110. markslater

    no it wont. but keep thinking so…..thats what they want you to be doing.

  111. LE

    If you are trying to “defeat” (for lack of a better way to put it) the other side you at least have to understand where they are coming from. Simply calling his points laughable is “parental” as in “so ridiculous on it’s face I don’t even have to consider what you are saying as having merit”.


    Why is everyone laughing at Mark? Although his remarks seems truncated he still has a right to comment.

  113. kidmercury

    keep ignoring trends in warfare and you’ll keep coming to the same conclusion.

  114. pointsnfigures

    If they’d relieve all the gun laws we could put them to work producing guns and ammo. The darned Homeland Security bureaucracy has bought up all the ammo.

  115. LE

    Nor would the mother of the killer of 20 children for that matter.

  116. Matt A. Myers

    Why would any of those Not require you to get a background check though?

  117. andyswan

    “There are reasons”. Most of those are real reasons from people I know. And you’re right, I don’t really give a shit, and if I was testifying before congress it would sound a lot more like the video kid posted. 🙂

  118. PhilipSugar

    Matt a Federal background check takes about two minutes, you literally call it in. The thing that bothers me is how this argument is running. The person at the top of the thread did get a background check. You are talking about a waiting period.

  119. andyswan

    Absolutely they should. Unfortunately, many won’t, and I do not want to deny law-abiding persons their right to defend themselves as soon as they change their mind.

  120. Matt A. Myers

    Sorry I’m confused ?

  121. kidmercury

    great, glad we agree your initial point is invalid.

  122. PhilipSugar

    That is because you never have bought a gun.Lets go through the process. The way you do this except a gun show is this:You go to a gun dealer, it could be a store, it could be a Walmart or Dicks sporting goods.You fill out a yellow form, it has lots of questions and you must provide government issued id.A person who is certified and has a FFL: Federal Firearms License, checks the forms and the id. They then call an FBI number and run your id. If it does not come up or you are on the list you get denied. That is about 2%. This form is supposed to be stored by the dealer and does NOT go to the government.If that comes up clean then state laws apply. So there can be a waiting period or not. That usually applies to what you are buying. In addition states like mine can apply additional laws. For instance in MD you have to have taken a gun safety class, and have to undergo a state police background check which is now running at about 10 weeks. In addition as we’ve seen by people publishing lists of gun owners in NY, this state information is very leaky.So all this bullshit smack talk comes from people that have no idea of what is going on.Now if you go to a gun show AND you are not in a state like mine where transfer can ONLY happen with a FFL, AND the penalty is something like 3 years in the slammer, then yes you can get around these rules.So logically, that is why so many people are in favor of this.HOWEVER, many people like me wonder why, that’s not stated. Its because we know that really its about control not checks.Still I wouldn’t vote against the bill after reading it, which I bet less than 1% of those here have.


    That’s because it’s a confusing issue. Just like offshoring at a startup. You kinda’ know it won’t do much good. But, you aren’t really sure unless someone else who has experienced tells you or you learn it yourself the hard way.

  124. ErikSchwartz

    The other way it happens is like this (at least in Maine).You are redoing your kitchen and list a used appliance on craigslist (in our case a stainless steel range top). Someone wants to buy it. They offer a Savage 24 .22/410 as trade. I accept. No one but me and the person I traded with knows anything about it.This is the true story of how I acquired my Savage 24.


    OK, but let’s look at the process followed by criminals.Patron: Hey Joe, give me a beer. Hey, you still know that guy who can get untraceable guns.Joe: Yep, I still know him.Patron: Where’s he been parking his store these days.Joe: In the alley. He’s out back now.Patron: Thanks.

  126. Kirsten Lambertsen…What really happened in New Orleans is still very cloudy. But we DO know that someone shot at a rescue helicopter.My point is just that I don’t think you make a great case with these “in the case of” scenarios. I think it would be much more useful to pull together your data that tells us why you believe stricter gun control would not lower the *daily* (not the occasional exceptional) gun violence in the U.S.


    “Haven’t you ever plotted your zombie apocalypse strategy?”Hey now you’re talkin’ !!!

  128. andyswan

    OK so what I’m hearing now is that psychologists need to submit people into a government database. That government database would then be cross-checked when someone attempts to buy a gun, and if someone in their family is on the list, they are denied.Does this “family check” include ex-husbands? Should an abused woman not be allowed to buy a gun to protect her from her “diagnosed” husband?Does it include siblings? Grown children or just those “kids” under the age of 26 still on their parents’ healthcare?How do we properly punish people who do not submit their children and family members for State psychiatric evaluation?What are the liabilities for psychologists and psychiatrists that miss someone who should have been on the crazy list? Are they financially responsible for the deaths of the classmates that their former client’s cousin kills?Is there perhaps some way we could tattoo something on the crazy people’s foreheads (and all of their family), so that teachers know to equip children in those classes with mandatory, State-issued bullet proof vests? I think you’re onto something. I’m just not sure where it stops.


    I imagine he’ll easily be able to find information that shows those guns are procured via illegal measures.

  130. andyswan

    Actually I think the burden of proof should be on those who wish to impose new legislation that infringes upon my rights as a law abiding citizen. Exactly how many of these “gun violence” crimes would have been prevented in 2012 had this particular piece of legislation been in effect?Why should I trust the same people that run gangland Chicago to keep me “safe”, rather than my own judgement?Let’s see the stats…. what exactly would this legislation have prevented? What successful self-defense actions would it have prevented? Until you have those numbers, let’s hold off on the amount we restrict our neighbors that might actually be able to think for themselves.


    Who in the world down voted my joke list?


    The gun store. That opportunity requres a background check. lol

  133. kidmercury

    we both agree guns and speech cause violence in their derivative order. you wish to legislate the derivative. intent, not technology, is what i favor as grounds for legislation.

  134. JLM

    .While we are at it, let’s make some nice doilies and coasters from the Constitution, eh?JLM.

  135. JLM

    .I don’t feel strongly about Andy having a few cluster bombs, just as long as he doesn’t have any aircraft.JLM.

  136. PhilipSugar

    Yup. And what this is about is saying that goes away, and ME now has to abide by the same transfer laws that govern states like MD. If I do that in MD both of us are committing a felony. Doesn’t affect me, I’m fine. But if that’s the case just say it, but you can see many people don’t really mean that, and there is confusion between a background check and a waiting period.In MD no waiting period for your Savage which I assume you are going to use to teach your kids about guns and gun safety, if its a handgun you might get it in two to three months as it sits and ages in the FFL’s gun safe.

  137. ErikSchwartz

    It is the world’s greatest gun for plinking around in the woods going after rabbits or squirrels or birds.

  138. PhilipSugar

    Yes, but the argument is that if he couldn’t go to a gun show or buy shitty Saturday night specials in private transactions you would reduce the supply. As we all know from drugs that is merely squeezing a balloon. Tighten up supply increase price and demand. But I wouldn’t mind it, literally this would not affect most people legally want to buy and sell a gun.

  139. PhilipSugar

    Yup and the best part is when you are teaching somebody you don’t have to worry what’s in the magazine. I think a Ruger 10/22 is the best plinking gun ever.

  140. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I’m getting from this that you don’t think there’s a problem to be solved here. Is that an accurate read? There is no problem so therefore it’s not your responsibility to help solve it. I think there’s a problem, so the “burden” is on me and others who do see a problem. Does that about sum it up?Just as feedback, when you say things like, “…might actually be able to think for themselves,” it does come across that you are saying I can’t think for myself. Which, if you’re interested in genuinely discussing the issue, isn’t helpful from where I’m sitting.

  141. andyswan

    I do not think there is a “gun violence” problem. There absolutely is a gang violence problem, and to a lesser but more painful extent a mass killing problem.I do not believe that gun purchase law is the solution to either problem, and have yet to see any evidence that I’m wrong.

  142. andyswan

    I absolutely think that you and all other law abiding citizens can think for themselves and weigh the risks and rewards of gun ownership. That’s the point

  143. JLM

    .”Constitution is a framework. Nothing limiting free speech undermines the Constitution.”Or habeus corpus? Or any other concept contained in its corpus?Right?The Constitution has provided a “framework” for the longest running democracy in the history of the world. We call that an immutable and unchangeable foundation.Interestingly enough, the Constitution itself provides a mechanism for its amendment and has been amended several times in its history.It is a self-healing document not a “framework”. If one does not like any provision of the Constitution — then simply amend it.Good luck. It was designed exactly that way for exactly that reason. If you can’t get the votes, you cannot amend it.JLM.

  144. ErikSchwartz

    You bring up an important point. It is hard to pull the trigger on a living being. In my experience it is harder to shoot a deer than pig, it is harder to shoot a pig than a squirrel. It changes you in ways you don’t understand until you do it. I cannot even imagine what it is like to shoot a human being. Most of the “tactical” crowd (as opposed to the “hunter” crowd) have never killed anything with a gun. They have never seen how these projectiles interact with living flesh.When I shoot at a range I shoot 5 spot competition targets, round concentric circles. Many other people at the range are shooting human silhouette targets. They sell a wide variety of “novelty” versions of the human silhouette target. I am creeped out by this. It all plays into a fantasy that I do not think will in the long term serve those who want to protect gun rights well.

  145. Kirsten Lambertsen

    This is definitely the starting point for the discussion, then. Clearly we need to understand if there is a gun violence problem and if so, what is the nature of it. I think it’s fair for you to question it, if you don’t see any plain evidence.

  146. PhilipSugar

    Completely disagree.

  147. Derek

    Amendments are incredibly undemocratic. Wyoming gets the same number of votes as New York, even though New York has 16 times as many citizens.

  148. Jim Ritchie

    Amending the 2nd Amendment would not take away our right to bare arms. This is a “god given” right that is above the laws of men. The Bill of Rights does not create rights, it simply enumerates them.

  149. Pete Griffiths

    “…the longest running democracy in the history of the world.” ????????? really ??????

  150. JLM

    .Jim, no man shall take away my rights to bare arms. Particularly in the summer time when it is hot.On the other hand what the Constitution says is that the rights of the people to bear arms shall not be “infringed” — this is a much higher standard than just bearing arms. It shall not be infringed.JLM.

  151. JLM

    .NY gets proportionately the same representation in the House as does Wyoming. It is based upon population.We are a representative republic.Wyoming & NY get the same representation in the Senate as the system was specifically designed.It is a damn good system.JLM.

  152. Derek

    For amendments, which require a 2/3 majority in the House and the Senate, or 2/3 of states, NY and other large states do not get anywhere near proportional representation. A Senate vote from Wyoming is worth an order of magnitude more than one from California.

  153. Pete Griffiths

    I am not sure it is such a damn great system. I find the fact that states get the same representation in the Senate problematic. It is a reality for historical reasons, – appeasing legitimate fears of the tyranny of the majority as the union grew and enjoined outliers states to join, but it now provides small states with undeserved power.

  154. JLM

    .I agree with your description but I don’t agree with your conclusion.The House — which is apportioned by population is perfectly proportionate.The Senate — which is not proportionate, by design, functions as it is supposed to as a bulwark against the largest states being able to dictate based on their size.This is the scheme that was contemplated by the Founding Fathers and what is codified by the Constitution, right?In this scheme, the House ensures the proportionality of any vote.JLM.

  155. fredwilson

    i am well aware of what happened and i have provided some of them financial support in the past. that will not happen again. and they may find me supporting their opponents who are not in the NRA’s pocket

  156. Montgomery Kosma

    “We Won’t Get Fooled Again” is a nice refrain, but I’m not terribly hopeful on that count. Public choice economics, like gravity, is hard to overcome. Over at FREE, Montana economist Jerry Johnson offers some cogent insights from Mancur Olson, and two lessons: (1) there’s no contest until a group emerges that’s as single-minded about gun control as the NRA is about rights, and (2) size doesn’t matter, so a highly targeted, strategic, and well-funded, approach might bear fruit.