Hickenlooper: Let’s Talk (Modest) Gun Control Reforms Next Year

UPDATE #4: From President Barack Obama’s emotional statement today:

The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.  They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.  Among the fallen were also teachers — men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.

So our hearts are broken today — for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.  Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.

As a country, we have been through this too many times.  Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago — these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children.  And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.


UPDATE #3: The first Colorado Republican to opine on the “is it too soon to talk about gun control?” question, quite predictably, is Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman.


UPDATE #2: A statement now available on the Connecticut shootings from Gov. Hickenlooper:

“The shooting in Connecticut is absolutely horrific and heartbreaking. We know too well what impact this kind of violence has on a community and our nation. Our thoughts and prayers are immediately with the families of those killed. We can offer comfort, but we all know the pain will stay forever.”

And from Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado:

“This tragic and senseless shooting is deeply troubling and saddening. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the victims and their families affected by this terrible tragedy. We in Colorado experienced a similar tragedy earlier this year. Just as we came together then to grieve and support one another, Colorado and our nation will again pull together to support our friends in Connecticut.”

Also Sen. Michael Bennet, a Wesleyan graduate:

“The terrible news out of Connecticut is staggering. Like all Colorado families, my family is grieving and our hearts are with the victims, their families, and all of the students and employees at the school. This is a parent’s worst nightmare. As Coloradans, we know how this type of tragedy can shake a community to its core. We are here for Connecticut as they work together to heal in the days ahead.”


UPDATE: Tragically apropos, CNN is reporting on yet another horrific mass shooting today, this time at a Connecticut elementary school.


As reported by the AP via Politico yesterday:

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Hickenlooper said that the legislative session in January would be an appropriate time to take up a debate on gun control in his state.

“I wanted to have at least a couple of months off after the shooting in Aurora to let people process and grieve and get a little space, but it is, I think, now is the time is right,” Hickenlooper said.

The comments also come after a mass shooting at an Oregon mall and a murder-suicide involving a professional football player this month touched off a national debate over gun laws…

“When you look at what happened in Aurora, a great deal of that damage was from the large magazine on the AR-15 (rifle). I think we need to have that discussion and say, ‘Where is this appropriate?'”

In the immediate aftermath of the shootings at an Aurora movie theater last summer, Gov. John Hickenlooper expressed skepticism about whether regulations on firearms might have stopped the killer from obtaining his arsenal of weapons, saying on CNN just as one example:

“This person, if there were no assault weapons available, if there were no this or no that, this guy’s going to find something. Right? He’s going to know how to create a bomb,” [Hickenlooper] said.

In Colorado, the slightest move to regulate guns is sure to be met with a furious reaction from our local and very vocal pro-gun lobby. Hickenlooper’s comments last summer were seized upon by pro-gun conservatives as evidence that not even an horrific act of violence could shake the public’s support for easy access to guns, and helped feed a narrative in the press that nothing was going to change after Aurora. Polling on the issue tends to rely on how the question is phrased, with some polls showing persistent support (for years now) for reforms such as universal background checks, but conservative pollsters like Rasmussen showing the opposite.

It’s into this delicate environment that Gov. Hickenlooper has just bravely stepped, and Democrats should give him some credit for doing so. Hickenlooper’s moderate image, often upsetting to the liberal Democratic base, could lend key legitimacy to a push for modest reforms like universal background checks for firearm sales, or limits on outsize ammunition magazines as he mentioned above. Hickenlooper’s apparent willingness to invest his hoarded political capital on this issue could honestly do a lot to relegate the “U.N. gun grab” and other unserious opposition from the gun lobby–and Republican legislators who regurgitate them–to the fringe.

120 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gray in Mountains says:

    As I wrote in a post soon after the Aurora shooting I think the magazine issue is one that can and needs to be addressed. I am absolutely sure that the NRA will call it gun control and use it as a fundraising opportunity, but there is NO legitimate civilian need for magazines that hold 30 and more rounds

  2. Gray in Mountains says:

    that is TWENTY SEVEN, killed at an elementary school in Connecticut

  3. lyjtrpcnf says:

    be any more successful than a war on drugs?

    Sure Hick may want to have “modest” gun control – but what makes him think that will reduce gun violence since violating a gun purchase law is much less a big deal than actually using a gun to go on a rampage?

    Just sayin’

  4. BlueCat says:

    criminals will always be able to get guns including any that may be banned by law.  But the mass shootings with high power weapons and huge clips are not being committed by career criminals with lots of street smarts and underworld connections.  They are being committed by seriously unbalanced amateurs without those connections who would have a hard time accumulating that level of firepower if it weren’t so easy.

    A reasonable level of gun control wouldn’t prevent the law abiding from arming themselves and a theater full of amateurs opening fire on bad guys with military style weapons would probably not do much to keep the mortality rate down, especially with an armored shooter.  Or should we all go to the movies and to school armed and armored?

  5. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    of the 25,000 gun-related homicides in this country every year.  Handguns are the real issue.   Note that about half of those 25,000 homicides are suicides, which count as homicides.   Suicide attempts are var more likely to succeed when guns are available.

      Possibly the high-profile mass killings will bring some piddling restrictions on assault-style weapons like the AR-15 and Kalashnakov knockoffs, which are usually semi-automatic.

      But the easily-concealed handgun will remain the real merchant of violent death in America.        

  6. Gorky PulviczekG Pulviczek says:

    And, if there is any justice in the world, the press will not sensationalize the shooter.  He or she needs to rest in an anonymous hell, not glorified with front page pictures and “bio of a killer” crap.

    I’m not holding my breath, of course.

  7. dmindgo says:

    I would propose that there be a federal tax on all gun and ammunition sales with all revenues going to the identification and treatment of mental illness.  I am sure that all of us who support the 2nd amendment right to gun ownership will enthusiastically join in a campaign to fully fund the needs in this area.

  8. Gray in Mountains says:

    that in the hours since this rampage, gun sales are up with all the paranoids afraid that their “rights” might get restricted. Right now gun stores are calling in extra help for the weekend hours.

    We are sick

  9. Gray in Mountains says:

    that is what President Obama says is required. I’ll be waiting and hoping

  10. PERA hopeful says:

    Of 61 mass killings in the last 20 years (not including today’s horror), the guns were obtained legally in 49 and perhaps 50.  The problem isn’t just that outlaws have guns; it’s also that not enough guns are outlawed.    http://www.motherjones.com/pol

    18 dead babies.  An entire (kindergarten?) class unaccounted for.  Jesus Christ.

  11. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Down one path we go the way of Iraq where deadly violence becomes an accepted everyday occurrence.

    Down the other we address the sickness our culture has around guns. Gun control is a part of that, but just a part.

    It will take a lot of work and a lot of political bravery, on an ongoing basis, to take the 2nd path. I sure hope we can get there.

  12. caroman says:

    Check out these GOP comments about Hickenlooper’s request to discuss gun laws in today’s Denver Post that I read this morning, just hours before the magnitude of today’s shootings became known:

    Dick Wadhams: “I hope he’s (Hickenlooper’s) not in too much pain from the case of ideological whiplash he’s suffering.”

    Sen. Bill Cadman: “The governor now appears to be succumbing to political pressure from extreme elements in his party, and this is disappointing.”

    Rep. Mark Waller: “I’m guessing he got some grief from the far left when he made those comments, and that has caused his shift.”

    Jon Caldara: “It’s a shame he decided to flip-flop on the issue, and it’s also too bad that he’s not using this to delve into the real issue, which is mental health.”

    Do you think they’d be moaning about the country’s “mental health problem” if their child had been shot?

  13. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Gun control conversation set aside for this comment, I place part of the blame for these tragedies on the shoulders of anyone and everyone who has criticized people who seek health care as wanting “gifts” or “entitlements,” in that derisive tone that suggests these people are “takers” sapping society’s resources for their own selfish needs.

    The stigma associated with seeking mental health care is weaker today than it’s ever been, with numerous beloved public figures talking openly about their struggles with mental illness. However, it’s gone from being a problem nobody can admit to having to a problem that you can talk about openly… if you’re independently wealthy. It’s become even more shameful to need mental health care and be unable to afford the exorbitant price of treatment, especially the residential treatment from which most people who are at risk to commit violent acts would benefit. If you can’t pay out of pocket (and as a low-income, mentally ill person and/or a teenager/20-something, you can’t) then seeking help, even for a serious mental health condition, is an “entitlement complex.”

    We need to radically revise our thinking and hold accountable anyone who reinforces this perception. People who recognize that they are at risk to harm themselves or others and voluntarily seek help are giving a gift to society, often at tremendous cost to themselves. They are not taking from society or expecting gifts from society. They are choosing to suffer through the very, very difficult process of treatment for a serious condition–which may mean relinquishing some of their freedoms permanently–to prevent themselves from doing harm. Anyone who recognizes their own mental illness is dangerous and attempts to access supports and services to get better deserves our respect and assistance.

    I’ve said it here before multiple times: If I ever get up enough funds to do it, my contribution to society will be walk-in, youth-friendly therapy centers based on the Planned Parenthood model of accessibility, openness, privacy, and destigmatization.

  14. GalapagoLarryGalapagoLarry says:

    If there’s to be a progressive/reactionary conversational and legal war about guns, it’s going to be long, drawn out, hand to hand combat.

    It seems to me, the most effective weapon for progressive change (borrowed from past reactionary — ok, “conservative” — victories) will be absolute intolerance toward attitudes and arguments that excuse mass gun ownership, unregulated access to guns, so-called “rights” to bear guns, weaselly transference of blame for gun atrocities and dangerous “what we need is more guns” gun solutions. One on one, person to person, excuse after excuse, time after time, we must no longer tolerate horse shit.

    A couple of examples where steadfast and vocal intolerance has had success: Even after the often-violent civil rights protests, after passage of the ’64 Civil Rights Act, after fair lending practices, fair work place treatment and fair housing access decrees became accepted, slurs and stereotyping continue, but open racial discrimination has abated considerably.

    Ditto, the relentless historical assault on gay people. The Stonewall rebellion, granting of employee partnership benefits, civil unions legislation, even presidential support, haven’t stopped open hospitality and discrimination, but homosexuals and bisexuals have gained substantial social and political standing.

    But as more and more people demonstrate thier intolerance for discrimination and bigotry and start saying a few simple things, the social climate, at least, will change for the better. It’s already changing.

    How do we show our intolerance?

    — “Dude, do you know how ignorant you sound?” or

    — “Hey, I love you, buddy, but as long as you’re around me, don’t use that word.”

    — “You know, you’re talking about my sis. If you knew anything about it you wouldn’t talk like that.”

    — “Do you guys know you’re offending all the tables around you?”

    Intimate social pressure works. Why do most people hold unacceptable anti-social views? Because they usually hear everyone close around them saying the same stuff over and over and over again. It’s circular re-enforcement. Swift and determined intolerance for their horseshit breaks the circle and, even if briefly, interjects questions into their group affirmation.

    — “George, you know as well as I do that this isn’t a hunting issue. Now get real.”

    — “Of course people kill people. But can’t you come up with a smarter answer than that?”

    — “I didn’t expect you, of all people, to start sounding like all those idiots on Fox.”

    — “Dad, I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, but Jack and I just don’t have your level of insecurity.”

    Long arguments and drawn out tits for tats, whether constitutional or Biblical or whatever, are useless. We just let them know, one on one, time after time, we don’t approve and show them the hand. “Whatever. At least you know where I stand.”

    Sure, sometimes it will take a hell of a lot more courage than walking into a kindergarten armed with 300 rounds. Or blasting a girlfriend outweighed by 50 pounds. Or bragging that if we’d been there in that theater with our AK Whatever, by God, we’d have… .

    Somehow we’ve got to make the current social acceptance and glorification of guns unacceptable. We must not tolerate the current social approval.

    Meanwhile, we keep the conversation alive for regulation, we work on our legislators and we support leaders like Hickenlooper who step up.

  15. parsingreality says:

    By every standard, the leaders and (many) members are engaging in terrrorist activities.  They are holding ordinary, peace loving citizens hostage to their ideology, based on an out of date constitutional amendment.  (Where are the militias?  Oh, turned into National Guards 100 years ago.)

    Like the fear that so many Americans have thinking about Ay-rabs and Muslims, politicians live in fear of the power of the NRA.

    I remember when they were about hunter safety and education.  I got one of those badges 50 years ago.  Now it’s about politics and terror.

  16. GalapagoLarryGalapagoLarry says:

    In Colorado, the slightest move to regulate guns is sure to be met with a furious reaction from our local and very vocal pro-gun lobby.

    But it’s our job–and it is our job–to overwhelm them just as furiously. We, not lobbyists, are the citizens.

    It’s time for snail mail, phone calls, e-mails, petitions and personal appearances. Our city, national and state legislators (D or R, makes no difference) need to hear from us. So do our mayors, governor and president. And so does the NRA.

    And don’t tolerate one more ignorant remark from friends or family members.

    Fuck the gun lobbyists. It’s up to us to make them pariahs in America.

  17. AristotleAristotle says:

    Check out what a teacher has to say about that”

    Kids steal anything that isn’t nailed down in my classroom. In this school year alone, I’ve “lost”: 2 staplers, 12 whiteboard markers, 1 globe, 1 map, 1 copy of The Color Purple, 3 boxes of staples, countless pens and pencils, an apple, my deskplate, and a years’ supply of tacks. If I yawned long enough, these kids would pluck the fillings right out of my mouth and this guy thinks I should have a GUN in the CLASSROOM? Where the fuck would I securely keep a gun? Because I’m sure as shit not packing one on my person. and even if teachers are allowed to carry guns, then what? We’re all supposed to take marksmanship classes to learn how to shoot the damn things? How is this anything but a cheap way of turning teachers into unsworn police officers?

    No. No. No. Teachers teach. Police officers police. And legislators are supposed to legislate. Maybe instead of trying to add to the burden of my jobs, legislators should take a crack at doing theirs.

  18. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    What really needs to change is the standard for being too mentally ill to own a firearm. Having a documented illness, and/or needing medication to control it will not keep a person from purchasing a weapon. Only involuntary commitment gets a person on “the do not sell to” blacklist. Sometime this terrifies me. My partner has a serious illness and has taken the concealed carry class to overcome a phobia about guns. Crack shot,too. She’s hospitalized herself in the past, but because she’s never been committed by a mental health professional she could legally buy a firearm. Usually, she has better sense, but I worry that in a serious depressive episode she could become suicidal and get her hands on a perfectly legally purchased weapon.I always wonder how many of these mass shooters have been treated but never involuntarily committed. Sometimes we know, as in the man who shot Rep. Giffords, but usually we don’t.                                                                      

  19. DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

    Whistling Past the Gun Lobby

    it was time for Democrats to stop running scared of the views of Southern whites – they weren’t going to get those votes anyway, and demographic change had proceeded to the point where they could win national elections without the South. Indeed, so it has come to pass: while Obama did win Virginia, he did it by appealing to the new Virginia of the DC suburbs, not the rural whites, and otherwise he had a totally non-Dixie victory.

    So Nate Cohn argues that this same logic applies to gun control: the voters who care passionately about their semi-automatic weapons are rural whites who ain’t gonna vote Democratic in any case – and the new Democratic coalition doesn’t need them. David Atkins takes it further, saying the awful truth: the pro-gun fanatics are basically the kind of people who think that Obama is a Kenyan socialist atheistic Islamist, and the urban hordes are coming for their property any day now. People, in other words, who already vote 100 percent Republican – and lose elections.

    Not so sure about that in Colorado, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc.

  20. Not Dame Edna says:

    Today, Tracy Kraft Tharpe posted this link in Facebook,


    If you have the time, it is a thought provoking insight into the rash of tragic shootings we have seen in recent years.

    I have a family member who could have written this article. And this gave me great pause.

    Yes, we need to do something about guns but that is not the lone piece to this puzzle. Our country has decimated our mental health safety net since the 80’s. it is time we have a serious conversation on restoring a modern mental health safety net for families struggling with mentally ill children. And stop passing the buck to law enforcement.

    Every approach that is needed, mental health and a serious effort at approaching gun control from a thoughtful point of view is needed here.

    This will not be cheap or easy but how many lives are we willing to sacrifice for the sacred 2nd amendment and because it will be expensive?

  21. The realistThe realist says:

    I don’t know the solution – although certainly there are some very clear ideas about limiting access to automatic weapons, and doing a much better job of keeping mentally ill individuals and criminals away from guns.  

    I do know that people (regardless of their affiliation with the NRA) want to be safe in their homes, safe in shopping centers and other public places, and above all children deserve to be safe in schools – and everywhere else.  It’s time for the too-quiet majority to speak up and demand change.  We don’t want to live in a country in which it has become commonplace for idiots with guns to create such tragedies.

  22. caroman says:

    But, yesterday was.  

    I just learned the extent of the CT shooting and am sick.  The Aurora gunman’s semi-automatic jammed, saving countless lives.  The Portland mall gunman’s semi-automatic gun also jammed, saving countless lives.  Apparently our “luck” ran out and the gun didn’t jam this time.

    Now is the time to do something beginning with limits on gun clips.

  23. Lurker19 says:

    Obama says we’ll talk policy later.  Just when I start having some respect for the man again, he refuses to address the gun lobby.

    18 of the 26 dead are children.

  24. PERA hopeful says:

    Apparently a(nother) parent of the shooter.

  25. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Bullshit on later. It’s always “later” and then later never happens. They need to take on the NRA which is the enabler of this violence that is directed at our own citizens and our own children.

  26. Gray in Mountains says:

    surely “American exceptionalism” can handle this task

    I hope and believe that with a western state’s governor pushing that President Obama will get behind this as well

  27. DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

    It’s your NRA talking points and the NRA-fed paranoia that more guns is the solution that have our nation swimming in our children’s blood.

  28. A gun permit license system (not licensing gun sales, just the ability to own one) isn’t invasive and would not go against the Constitution.

    Tracking certain dangerous mental health diagnoses, as well as protective orders and criminal convictions at a national level should also be considered.

    Limit sales of assault style weaponry and large-cap magazines in an easier-to-maintain way than the old assault rifle ban.

    Address the gun show loophole Federally.

    Increase penalties for violation of gun control laws; if selling guns without checking permits was akin to selling a pound of marijuana…

  29. The war on drugs is a failure because demand is high, and the results are increased violence and criminal activity. Demand is high because of addiction. If we want to continue prosecuting the war on drugs, we need to completely revisit it. Legalize drugs that are less harmful, expand treatment programs, reduce or eliminate prison terms for users. The cartels have power because of our tactics.

    If the “war on guns” were to continue into all arms in violation of Amdt. 2, then no it wouldn’t be successful. But there’s no reason a serious approach to limiting excessive gun violence couldn’t be successful in the long term. 100-round ammo clips aren’t like a hit of cocaine – you don’t go out and buy a new one every week.

  30. raymond1 says:

    With gun restrictions:

    * A criminal mastermind surely would find a black-market gun, yes.

    * But most of these school shooters are disturbed people who are quite low-functioning; these guys aren’t Lex Luthor.

    In short, with gun restrictions, some fraction of the low-functioning crazies who do shcool shootings will fail to procure guns. “Mission accomplished,” as a wise man once said.

    What’s your problem with this logic, please?

  31. ClubTwitty says:

    No one.  Typical knee-jerk conservative straw man blather.  

  32. BlueCat says:

    Any level of sensible gun control regulations constitutes a war on guns? I have yet to see you  argue a point without straw dogs and hyperbole.

    I come from a liberal Dem family of gun lovers. The last I time I was with my brother in this life we were out shooting. One of my favorite pics of my kid shows him at about 10 with a twenty two in one hand, his regulation ear protectors on and his paper plate target with a very nice pattern in the other. My vet husband was a sharp shooter. Heck I’ve even got a couple of  pictures of me, mom, getting into the act. My dad loved his guns. But all of us support sensible gun control measures that wouldn’t do a thing to “take our guns away”. What load of crap you push.

  33. Gray in Mountains says:

    is definitely NOT the issue. That simply means you have to pull the trigger once for each shot. Many semis, not just ARs, AKs and Kalshnikovs can utilize magazines which hold ammo far in excess of any needed for civilian purposes.

    But, I do agree that handguns are largely the issue. Many of those also have these super magazines as in the case of Loughner in AZ

  34. PERA hopeful says:

    I don’t know anything about guns so maybe the semi-automatic handguns are small and easily concealed, but out of 139 weapons used in mass shootings, 67 were semi-automatic handguns and 35 were assault weapons.  http://www.motherjones.com/pol

  35. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    But you make a good point here about mass shooters not being the type who would have connections for black market firearms already.

    To your other paragraph, I’ve seen suggestions (including from liberal friends) that school administrators and teachers with significant firearms training be permitted to carry on campus for the protection of students. The theory is that shooters would be aware that they would likely be killed before racking up a high “kill count” and achieving the infamy in death that they seek.

  36. lyjtrpcnf says:

    and trained on how to use the gun/not misplace it in a classroom.  

  37. Gray in Mountains says:

    PCG that is such bullshit. NRA loves it, more guns get sold and the problem is not addressed

    He said fondly

  38. GalapagoLarryGalapagoLarry says:

    Don’t swallow their “The way we do away with shooters is to have more shooters” bullshit. That’s the kind of stuff reactionary gun nuts bring up every time. It’s just goofy.

    I’ll take it that you’ve had a momentary slip. You’ve shown you’re smarter than that.

  39. lyjtrpcnf says:

    I don’t own a gun and I don’t belong to the NRA or a similar organization.

    I’m just pointing out DaftPunk that this “we can ban something people want” logic has been tried before.  And it has failed (or had significant unintended negative consequences) before as well.  

  40. dwyer says:

    You don’t understand Elliot.  If only one of those kindergarteners had had a concealed carry permit, none of this would have happened.

  41. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Was in 1927 when a school board member angry about property taxes blew up a classroom, killing 58.

    I’d hate for “going teacher” to replace “going postal.” Or for kids to be aware of armed “school marshals” prowling the halls. I’m very conflicted on this. I know if I were a teacher, I’d want to be armed if possible to protect my students. But I can think of a couple teachers I had in my school years who, training or no training, were just not the people I’d be comfortable with seeing with lethal weapons. Not to mention that at the high-school level, you often have gang-involved youth who might plan to ambush a teacher and steal their weapon for nefarious purposes.

  42. AristotleAristotle says:

    Pardon my language, but shit. Teachers aren’t police. Give them guns and MORE children will die.

    Life isn’t an action movie.

  43. DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

    I never thought of that.

    No go fuck yourself some more.

  44. Diogenesdemar says:

    several.  And, I for one am just about ready for, and almost looking forward to,  a UN “gun grab.”  I’m convinced that you, and idiots like you, and the NRA are going to continue to impede any kind of sensible and obviously necessary controls.  Our politicians won’t do it, so maybe it’s time for the world’s diplomats to fix our national foolishness.  

    Control =/= “ban”

    despite what you and all the other scare-mongering extremists would like to have us all believe.

    (And + another day’s fresh bunch of victims to Daftpunk’s suggestion to you . . .)

  45. Gray in Mountains says:

    usually when this is discussed at all after one of these events the discussion is about prevention.

    But, how many of the survivors will have enough mental health coverage on their insurance to meet the need? How many parents will be told that their child is entitled to one visit with someone who works in mental health?

  46. Arvadonian says:

    considers himself to be a strong Second Amendment supporter and generally opposes additional gun control, I wholeheartedly agree with you.

  47. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    I’m very conflicted about this.

    We arm air marshalls–why not protect schoolchildren as much as we do adults on planes? But on the other hand, the hypothetical armed teachers are endangered by carrying weapons and could be at risk of a breakdown themselves.

    The only effective deterrence for mass shootings WOULD be the assurance of IMMEDIATE death–before they could achieve the notoriety that seems to motivate most of these maniacs.  

  48. Diogenesdemar says:

    Air Marshall’s are armed, yes. But, they are also fairly well and continuously trained.

    Shall we add “teacher’s shooting proficiency” to our Colorado school assessments?

    I’m saying, “cripes . . . ”  (and, leaving it at just that, because of my usual high regard for most of your other opinions.)

  49. ClubTwitty says:

    It was not passenger hijackings or death that brought air marshals, it was the destruction of property on a large scale when planes were used as weapons.

  50. BlueCat says:

    Do you want to make being a Classroom Marshall a requirement for being a teacher? Do you think that will contribute to more or less quality people willing to go into teaching? You’re talking about entirely different professions.  

    No, PCG, the answer isn’t requiring teachers to also be highly trained marksmen. I have little patience with your inner conflict if that’s the best idea you can come up with as an alternative to making it harder for 20 year old kids to obtain everything they need legally to commit this kind of atrocity. Especially when such regulations would not in any way prevent law abiding citizens from having reasonable civilian weaponry.  

  51. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Having armed marshalls patrol school grounds–which would be frightening to students and not cost-effective, but would possibly ensure the IMMEDIATE response of an armed, trained law enforcement officer to any gun violence.

    This all really goes back to an insoluble problem of the human condition, the fact that we cannot prevent bad things from happening. TSA, random locker searches in high schools, War on Terror, etc., are never going to exterminate the concept of Very Bad Things. We are not entirely safe and never will be. We can reduce their frequency, to some extent, but we cannot eliminate them.

    Mental health would be my first concern here.  We need to recognize when someone is slipping down that slope, and treat them immediately. But if we have to address guns, I’m not convinced entirely that it’s right for teachers to be defenseless in these situations. We always hear about a heroic teacher saving lives in school shootings — should those heroes be without any means of protection?

  52. Diogenesdemar says:


    If more guns in the hands of more people were the solution to protection from gun violence, wouldn’t today’s America be the safest-from-gun-violence society in the history of this planet?  But, point of fact, it’s exactly the opposite, isn’t it?  We should, at the very least, be seeing less gun violence today than we did twenty, fifty, or a hundred years ago — how’s that working out?

    I know there’s a kind if logic to what your espousing, but it’s a kind of logic that has failed all applicable tests in practice.  IMHO, butter and bacon should be better for us . . .

    Sounds like you’ve begun your CCW classes . . .  

  53. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    I know that sounds bizarre, but think of it as a lot of mass media attention on an airplane crash that kills 200 people while ignoring 20,000 traffic fatalities involving one or two people each.  I am not keeping the body count, but I doubt that we have lost an average of 100 people a year in mass killings, vs. a steady 25,000 a year gun homicides, almost all with hamdguns.   As I said, those gun deaths include about 12,000 or so suicides, but they are still testimony to the lethal effects of our gun culture/  I have a good friend who is alive today because she tried to cut her wrists.  My uncle blew his head off with a shotgun.  Guns don’t give you a second chance.

     Gray is right for what it’s worth that restrictions on the super magazines are in order for anyone outside of law enforcement — and even any cop on the beat would doubtless settle for the 17-shot magazine in the standard Glock.   It’s just too ungainly to carry 100-round magazines.

       I’m not sure what GIM means by saying “semi-automatic” is not the issue.  It’s a definition.  for the purpose of mass murder, it’s a very minor inconvenience to have to pull the trigger each time, and it would probably save lives if you let the crazies fire full auto — after two or three shots the recoil raises the barrel and you’re shooting in the air.   The Marine m-16 offered the option of semi-=auto or three-shot bursts, a very good compromise for combat situations.

      The only redeeming feature of these mass killings is that they do focus attention on the problem of easy access to high firepower for the mentally ill.   It is a start to addressing the horrific problem of gun violence.

  54. Gray in Mountains says:

    of the “assault” weapons are semi-automatic. What is an “assault” weapon?

  55. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    We ought to treat these creeps as the Ayatollah wanted to do with the shah — dump their bodies in a public privy.

  56. ClubTwitty says:

    He seems unable to actually engage the topic and instead invents straw men to slay.

    The other day it was reducing all environmentalists to on eof only two kinds: those who like pretty views, and people who worship Gaia.  

  57. BlueCat says:

    according to reports though it doesn’t sound as though he was protected as extensively as the Aurora shooter.  Everything this 20 year old he used, he obtained legally.  

    Once again, I doubt that this kid had the kind of criminal connections that would have enabled him to obtain that kind of fire power and armor so easily if we had some regulations in place making it harder for just anyone to buy these things.  

    Yes you can use lesser guns, knives, rocks or bombs to kill people but I have no patience for those who use that as an excuse for rejecting all common sense regulations that would make it harder for this kind of kid to carry out this kind of crime so easily.  

    As for requiring teachers to train to defend their classrooms with firearms, good luck with that. Plenty of excellent potential teachers will want no part of that in their job description. Righties complain that most teachers aren’t much good as it is.  Try staffing our schools with quality teachers  who can only be drawn from a pool of those willing and able to also be soldiers/law officers, all for no extra pay. So now we eliminate quality teachers who aren’t good shots? Swell.

    By the way, the teacher who locked her kids in the closet saved all of them. Maybe not ideal but you think she would have saved all of them by blasting away at an armored shooter? Get real.  

  58. PERA hopeful says:

    Now they’re saying 20 dead children.

  59. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Also does not prevent violence, as China found out today when a man stabbed 22 schoolchildren.

    I just think it’s a damn fool who says he knows the answer and can rule out all other possibilities from consideration. If anyone had a provable, effective answer, we’d have applied it already. I don’t think anyone, even the NRA, wants kids to keep dying.

  60. Diogenesdemar says:

    can wipe out a lot of straw men with today’s average gun-nut arsenal of AKs and HC magazines . . . other than that, I don’t see a lot of actual (as opposed to hypothetical or imaginary) benefit.  

  61. lyjtrpcnf says:

    Great environment you have here.  Apparently dissent =/= stupidity for too many Colorado Pols posters.  Duly noted.  

  62. DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

    But the thornier issue is turning in people who show “signs” of mental illness (and taking away their 2nd amendment rights.)  How willing are we to use involuntary commitment and change our laws around that?  I doubt Loughner, Wright or today’s shooter would have possessed that sense of self-awareness, and indeed paranoia is a hallmark of mental illness

  63. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Obviously not every future mass murderer was EVER aware they needed help, but imagine if these young men who suffer devastating psychological breakdowns in their twenties and thirties had been able to seek effective counseling at 13 or 16 when they started to feel depression.

    I have personal reasons, which I don’t care to discuss in writing in a public forum but would be happy to explain in person if you come to a future Pols meetup, to believe that the signs of a potential mass murderer of the “has catastrophic breakdown in teens/twenties” variety are sometimes apparent at a VERY young age and that these people would self-identify at much higher rates if it were easy and destigmatized.

  64. BlueCat says:

    and red flags never shoot anybody which makes those red flags of little predictive value.  

  65. GalapagoLarryGalapagoLarry says:

    It is a start… .

  66. BlueCat says:

    7 adults and another adult at a different location The shooters teacher mother is among the dead.

  67. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    I said that I can see, to some degree, the logic of allowing willing teacher or school administrators to volunteer to carry a personal firearm concealed on their person during school hours. Obviously this sort of program could be designed to require volunteers to submit to similar ongoing psychiatric evaluation and skills testing, similar to how we handle ensuring that police remain skilled enough and healthy enough to continue carrying weapons throughout their law enforcement careers.

    You made a convincing argument for gun control. I see your point, respect it, and it has to some degree swayed my personal feelings, which already allowed for moderate gun control of weapons and magazines ideal for mass shooting scenarios, as opposed to the personal hunting and home defense weapons which are perfectly effective for their intended uses but ineffective for mass shootings. You don’t need to put words in my mouth or argue points I haven’t made.  

  68. BlueCat says:

    the school is K through 4th grade so they would mostly be under 10. Can you imagine the hiding places full of presents waiting for these kids? Can you even begin to imagine?  

  69. BlueCat says:

    Thank God.  Don’t know why anyone bothers to interview him anymore. He’s an irrelevant loser.  

  70. GalapagoLarryGalapagoLarry says:

    People do kill people. We have to change the people who enable the people who kill.

  71. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

    Somehow we’ve got to make the current social acceptance and glorification of guns unacceptable. We must not tolerate the current social approval.

    My heart is breaking…for all those families…

  72. ClubTwitty says:

    that is their sole purpose on earth.  Sell guns and help gun manufacturers make more money.

    I live in a rural part of the state.  Everyone has guns around here, people hunt, people use them.  I am not opposed to guns.  

    But we cannot just allow anyone to buy anything–100 round clips, armor piercing bullets, ballistic armor…  

    It’s insane.  20 dead elementary kids.  

    Last week some GOPer had a moment of courage and dared suggest that they will not grovel 27/7 at Grover’s hooves. Maybe the president and Congress will grow a spine and actually work to help find solutions to our nation’s woes?  Maybe Congress can earn the 6-figure salaries, free gym, Cadillac coverage, offices and staff we provide for them?

  73. PERA hopeful says:

    The headline on the story about the Chinese schoolchildren says “China stabbing spree hurts 22 schoolchildren.”  Injured children is bad, but 20 dead kids is a whole lot worse.

  74. BlueCat says:

    seems like an even less effective solution.  Sorry. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t find your opinions on this subject pretty  silly or that I have any sympathy for anyone being so damned conflicted about a little common sense regulation that makes a lot more sense than nonsense about equating teachers in classrooms with air Marshalls on planes, for God’s sake. If you think that’s putting words in your mouth so be it. I’m not feeling very charitable just now.

  75. BlueCat says:

    to obtain military level fire power and protection so damned quickly and easily.

  76. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    And I invite you to find any proof that I have.

    I do, however, oppose the theory that gun control is a magic, one size fits all solution that will prevent mass violence. On this SAME EXACT DAY, a man with a knife attacked 22 schoolchildren in a country where it is next to impossible to acquire a firearm for personal defense. The insanity of thinking that the only thing necessary to prevent this (or that it’s even possible to 100% prevent mass tragedy) is exactly the same just-world fallacy expressed by the people who think prayer in schools or a gun in every preschooler’s pocket would solve everything.

    A little, common-sense regulation is overdue and was likely to be addressed in the next legislature whether or not this incident happened, and would not have been addressed any earlier (due to their being out of session) whether or not this incident happened. We have had all the evidence we need to support a little, common-sense regulation for a long time, and we have been aware for months that it would likely be a priority if we elected Democratic majorities in Colorado.

    At the federal level, we’ve known since 2008 that Barack Obama supports a little, common-sense regulation, and we sent back a Tea Party dominated, obstructionist Congress in 2010 that made any regulation at all impossible, so it’s likewise no surprise that he’s only getting to it this term, if at all.

    I can’t relate to your confusion any more than you can related to my conflictedness. Seems to me it’s pretty clear that there’s already a compromise accepted by most reasonable people on all sides of the aisle, and it’s also pretty clear why it hasn’t been adopted yet and that it will be in this state in the next two years and federally in the next four.

  77. GalapagoLarryGalapagoLarry says:

    We’ve got a great Christmas special in sporting goods at the rear of the store on … .

  78. Diogenesdemar says:

    Post for god sakes . . . If it weren’t for easy pickins’ it’d be nothing but an American Furniture Warehouse circular.  

  79. Gorky PulviczekG Pulviczek says:

    Although it has the advantage that you might get the media to go along with it.  The media would never agree to self-censor the hype and sensationalism like I think they should.

  80. GalapagoLarryGalapagoLarry says:

    How horribly, horribly unimaginably sad. You’ve got me sobbing so hard I can barely see the screen. Oh god oh god oh god.

  81. caroman says:

    The other quotes are from the Senate and House Minority Leaders, for god sakes.  

    But, we can’t let other politicians off the hook, either.  I was so disappointed when Hickenlooper copped out after the Aurora killings.  I commended him yesterday for finally standing up.  But, let’s look at our other “leaders” today:

    Udall and Bennet: “We are here for Connecticut…” Sorry Mark and Michael, that’s bullshit unless you want to support meaningful action to prevent future killings as President Obama called for.

  82. GalapagoLarryGalapagoLarry says:

    Or by “harder” do you mean going to the line in the sporting goods department of WallMart and start breaking arms? I’m game if you are.

  83. DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

    No, just kidding.  Today I agree with you.  I posted the exact same thing on a gun-fellating doctor website.

  84. Diogenesdemar says:

    I gotta admit . . . I really love that comment.  

    What I don’t love is the sad and all to real  fact that the CCW arming of kindergartners is infinitely more likely to be supported by today’s NRA ilksters than any reasonable gun “controls” might be . . .

    Whatever the definition of madness is, this is it . . .  

  85. lyjtrpcnf says:

    You want to restrict access to thing (guns here, drugs there) to “save the children.”  Question is why you think it will be more effective here (guns) than there (drugs)?

  86. ClubTwitty says:

    High standards I guess for some.  Find me anyone who proposed a ‘war on guns.’  

  87. ClubTwitty says:

    Oh wait, you can’t bear that, huh?

    There are degrees in reality, if not in conservative-ideology land.  

  88. parsingreality says:

    It was a rampage, wasn’t it?


    All that happened was that all you idiots spent lots of money you didn’t have (thanks to Republican policies) on guns and ammo.  Now sitting in your drawers?  

  89. lyjtrpcnf says:

    Don’t you think your equating the NRA to a terrorist organization is a bit “extreme?” (channeling yesterday’s hit piece on Jason Worley and Wayne Laugesen)

  90. BlueCat says:

    shame us into not talking about gun control because its “too soon” to be “politicizing the tragedy”, we’ll never talk about it because these tragedies keep happening at least every few months. And lately they involve armor so the chances of some plucky teacher downing the shooter with a purse sized pistol are pretty slim.

    And you know what? We don’t have metal detectors at our theaters here in Colorado and we have plenty of people with concealed carry permits.  Some of the people in that Aurora theater might have had them and some were trained military. But nobody shot back at the fully armored shooter and it’s probably just as well.

    So much for the fantasy scenario of armed citizens saving the day in a blaze of return fire in these massacres. I’d like the adamant no regulation no way anything up to tanks should be perfectly fine crowd to show me an example of their favorite fantasy actually playing out. I think I’m going to have a long wait for that example.

    There is no reason on earth not to make it harder for wackos to slaughter children with less trouble than it takes to register a car. Professional criminals who, once again, will always be able to get any kind of gun they want don’t go to elementary schools to slaughter 5 to 10 year olds so I don’t want to hear  the whole “only criminals will have guns” crap.  Especially since we can have sensible regulations without citizens losing their guns.

  91. They’re not terrorists – that to me would involve some form of action with the purpose of creating terror. And I don’t think that over-the-top language serves “our” side any better than it serves “yours”.

    So I’ll put it in honest, open terms… The NRA lies and propagandizes for purposes that have nothing to do with gun ownership with the intent of creating fear and over-reaction on the part of its members and adherents to further those purposes. It has become more an arm of the GOP trying to scare people away from the Democratic Party than an advocate of responsible gun ownership.

  92. raymond1 says:

    An enabler of evil.

  93. BlueCat says:

    It was this statement that must have given me that impression:

    I’m generally not in favor of gun control

    Did I miss the part where you said “Generally I’m not in favor of overly strict or excessive gun control?  Did I miss any qualifier at all. ‘Cause it sure sounds like, you know, exactly what it says.

  94. BlueCat says:

    I’m just enraged and heart broken in equal measure.

  95. Diogenesdemar says:

    anyone who didn’t shed tears today, Larry.

    There’s rivers flowing from my heart . . .  

  96. BlueCat says:

    But those folks in line are mainly just buying pretty garden variety guns and ammo for recreation.  And guess what?  They’d all still be able to enjoy their guns even if we do get some reasonable regulations in place.  

  97. Diogenesdemar says:

    it were that easy . . .  

  98. BlueCat says:

    with some level of gun control. It’s the same old lunatic fringe leadership that’s made the GOP the certifiable party it is today that is the problem.  

  99. Like the GOP, the NRA membership is moving toward the extreme, and the leadership is way ahead of the membership in getting there…

    It’s good to know that a majority of NRA members still support some form of rational gun control.

  100. GalapagoLarryGalapagoLarry says:

    favor background checks for purchase. (Maddow, tonight)

  101. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    That a regular Polster reading that would be familiar enough with my past positions to know that I mean “prohibition of personal possession of firearms,” not “restrictions on the sale of magazine types tailor-made for mass murder.”

    I’ve made numerous statements here that I don’t see a home defense use for most assault weapons or these specialized magazines. I’m more in favor of the 2nd Amendment than of this:

    Gun control is any law, policy, practice, or proposal designed to restrict or limit the possession, production, importation, shipment, sale, and/or use of guns or other firearms by private citizens. Most commonly the guns in question are personal firearms, typically handguns and long guns.

    I must have missed where that comment had hover-over subtext that saying “when reading this, please interpret it to mean that ‘generally not in favor’ equals ‘absolutely opposed to anything that could even loosely be defined as, without compromise or logic’.”

    Being generally opposed to regulation limiting the possession of handguns and long guns by private citizens who may desire them for home defense and/or hunting does not equal staunch opposition to any and all regulation.  

  102. sxp151 says:

    but I don’t remember saying that after Aurora. You might be thinking of someone else (or perhaps I forgot something I wrote).

  103. parsingreality says:

    In May I was in an Academy store in the Houston area.  For those of you who don’t know, Academy is a huge regional chain of all kinds of sporting goods.  No problem there.

    So, I’m there with son in law and grandson buy fishing lures and simple stuff like that. We are standing by a counter as the very knowledgeable sale clerk is explaining how to catch bass, and on the other side of the counter are firearms.  Big. Fast. Expensive.

    Best as I recall, $1500-2000.  I was mesmerized with the thought that some yahoo could walk in, cash or credit card balance, and walk out with a weapon with having no earthly purpose other than fulfilling ego or making crime.

    We are fucked.  

  104. Diogenesdemar says:

    They Are All GOP Assholes — Has Been or Otherwise

    . . .It’s the Post, for god sakes.

  105. If we were to have a gun safety certification (i.e. a license) as a pre-requisite to owning a gun, would they pass?

    Would a psychological evaluation say they have the moral compass to help them point the gun in the right direction?

    We’ve had a couple of shootings now where the answer to that would have been “no”.

    Of course, today’s shooter apparently didn’t purchase his own guns – he used his mom’s and shot her with them. Which begs the next question: WTF weren’t those guns in a locker secured from him, since he apparently had mental issues?

  106. ’cause I’ve purchased enough oil and oil products to run a small army in the Middle East for a while, and likely enough US made goods produced by NRA supporting citizens to support their anti-gun control lobby for a year.

    If you really insist on making connections to terrorism, then the NRA might rate as the prayer caller at an Islamic mosque that has a radical Imam – i.e. a supplemental figure only.

  107. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    At the time I thought, give the families time to grieve first. But you were right, that time also allowed it to be forgotten.  

  108. The realistThe realist says:

    word and action that their guns are more important than our children.  Their “right” to unregulated access to lethality is more important than the child’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  We have allowed the propaganda of the gun worshipers to cloud our thinking to the point where we can’t even rationally look at the lack of balance in this.  But people may be waking up to the reality that it’s not always someone else’s children who must pay the price for this warped “freedom.”

  109. BlueCat says:

    mental health issues need to play a role in allowing people to have guns.  However, I doubt that any law requiring that people with no history pass a a mental evaluation in order to purchase a gun would have any chance of passing. Certain types of weapons and magazines simply should not be available to the general public as we’ll never be able to preemptively catch and prevent every every potentially threatening individual from making legal purchases. Without the easy availability, when someone who has slipped through the cracks does go on the attack the body count would be significantly reduced.

    The  NRA leadership will no doubt make a big deal out of 22 students injured in China by a guy with a knife but that proves that a guy with a knife can’t do anywhere near the same amount of damage. Just read that there was only one wounded survivor at Sandy Hook. So even though people kill people, not all tools for killing are equally efficient.

    I also don’t believe anyone with a knife in a school where the principal is said to have died rushing the shooter, a janitor ran through the halls alerting people to hide and other acts of bravery occurred that a guy with a knife wouldn’t have been stopped well short of 22 victims.

    Also don’t see why any civilian needs body armor.  Unless we all plan to wear it all the time it isn’t an option for our own protection.  It only protects the shooter.    

  110. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

    They are my extended family and friends. I spend considerable time in the south as a result. David Atkins is right, in my experience.

    Many of those rural yankees and mid-westerners are, I believe, just as racist as the rural southerners, from whence many of them originated.  

  111. Gray in Mountains says:

    about that very important component of this issue. I was just getting into mental health when most methods of committment began being dismantled. Reinstating something meaningful will involve the 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments But, it is important to remember that although they had many insane people when the Constitution was written there was literally no notion of treatment outside of “burring” (drilling holes in the skull) and chaining folks in dungeons. I don’t think the word “asylum” even existed  

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