Today’s Clawdie Award Goes To…

In today’s Globe, one Douglas Reichgott responded to a Tennessee gun lover with a factually stinging rebuke worthy of a Clawdie, The Lion’s rare award to civilians who write letters and such to newspaper editors and say clever things and suchlike.

Mr. Reichgott’s letter:

IN HIS June 19 letter “Uneasy grip on firearms views,” Dan Lutts of McDonald, Tenn., argues that rural areas have fewer problems with firearms because they are not treated as “forbidden objects” and “children learn . . . how to treat firearms safely.”

The only problem with this logic is the facts.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people in Tennessee are 14 times more likely to accidentally injure themselves with a gun and five times more likely to commit suicide with a gun than people in Massachusetts.

Seems like making guns “forbidden objects” turns out to be a good idea.

You go, Reichgott! And wear your Clawdie with pride.

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26 Responses

  1. But States with tight gun control laws have higher gun crime rates than the States with lax gun laws. And most gun crime is perpetrated against those who don’t have guns.

    America’s gun crime in my opinion has nothing to do with availability of guns, in the Middle East guns are freely available and they don’t have the gun crime problem that America does. In Sicily, we keep a Beretta Mini Cougar, Beretta Cougar and a Beretta Px4 Storm in the house for self-defence. If I was attacked, I at least know I have the skill to defend myself with all those weapons and I know Rob wouldn’t Rob would shoot to kill without hesitation. In the UK, handgun ownership is illegal, but there are just as many handguns on the street in London as there is in Palermo. I want the right to carry a concealed firearms at all times.

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  2. Steph –

    Lutts made a claim not supported by facts. Reichgott shot down his claim by providing evidence, and did it clearly and convincingly, with some style. Hence, a Clawdie. Note the comparison was limited to Massachusetts and Tennessee, and not extended to the entire nation, though that implication could be read into what was said.

    Can’t wait to hear from the National Republigun Association.

    Where did you find the information you cite in your first paragraph? I’m not a great or patient researcher… 🙂

    And do you own stock in Beretta? 🙂

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  3. Steph, while it’s TRUE that you “feel” safer and “know” that you can defend yourself if need be, the fact is that you are more likely to die from your own handgun than you are to be killed by an intruder. There are many factors to weigh out as we continue on our path towards a, hopefully, more enlightened society.

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  4. By the way – if you ever do kill someone with one of your guns, there is a greater chance that you will kill someone other than an intruder.

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  5. @ ric

    That info came from the NRA – I know, but it’s still true. 🙂

    We’ve got so many because I need have the min cougar, Rob has the Px4 Storm as a main weapon and the cougar as a back up. And we only buy Beretta because it’s what the Italian army and police use, they’re the main model available in Italy, they’re supposed to be the best make in the world and they’re Italian. 🙂

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  6. @ Evo

    I’m very familiar with my weapons and I practice down the range quite regualrly, so statistically that’s less likely.

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  7. Ah, well, I’m waiting for Beretta to come out with a Water Soaker for home defense. Bastards come into my house I’m gonna hit ’em with enough water to make their clothes shrink and choke them to death, just like a python. None of this fooling around with namby-pamby bullets, by golly!

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  8. Steph said: I’m very familiar with my weapons and I practice down the range quite regualrly, so statistically that’s less likely.

    I guess I should have said, “gun owners” instead of “you”!

    The point, as you know, is that we are never going to have laws geared to our most responsible and intelligent citizens. We have to create laws that work for Joe and Jane Everyman. And it’s that particular family represented in the statistics.

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  9. @ Evo

    It’s a good point, but gun crime in America can’t be explained by availbilty, high gun crime and availability don’t go hand in hand. I met a New York cop on holiday in Rome down the range — why would anyone go to the range on holiday in Rome? — his attitude to guns was very different from anyone else I met there. He was the only person who asked me what was the most powerful gun I ever fired. Most the people there are competition shooters firing 22″.

    My problem with banning handguns is I believe it is should be a basic civil right, the right to self-defence. But for the record – I don’t agree with Bush on gun onwnership – he agrees with me 🙂

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  10. I’m not necessarily interested in banning handguns. I’d certainly make them less accessible to people who don’t have your attitude and (I assume) background. I also think we should have the right to purchase transportation, but I want it highly regulated with registration, licenses, proof of knowledge and physical ability, punishment for misuse, etc.

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  11. This is taking the piss, right?

    I myself have a dozen anti-tank weapon things and a Smith and Wesson anti-aircraft emplacement, with limited thermo-nuclear capacity. You never know when a small army might decide to declare war on your kitchen. It makes me feel SOOOO safe.

    Of course, only people of my planet-stretching intellect and impeccable breeding should be allowed to have these, so in your face, the rest of you defenceless proles.

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  12. Heather –

    Where can I get one of those S&W thermonuclear thingies? It’s the tourist season here. Wal-Mart and K-Mart don’t carry them. Are there any discount coupons available? I’m kind of on a tight budget.

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  13. But States with tight gun control laws have higher gun crime rates than the States with lax gun laws.

    Interesting. It is also somewhat counter intuitative, so I would love to see some example figures. One intersting twist is the simple fact if guns are illegal, then possession is a crime – skewing the figures away from areas where guns are legal and used in violent offences.

    As an example, in the UK we have reasonably strong gun laws – is the rate of violent crimes involving a firearm higher or lower than places with more lax laws? Offences such as “possession of a firearm” really dont count.

    As a counter argument, how many accidental shootings (fatal or otherwise) are carried out by people who own firearms vs those who dont?

    And most gun crime is perpetrated against those who don’t have guns.

    Another interesting statement. It doesn’t really support the claim that everyone should carry guns though.

    America’s gun crime in my opinion has nothing to do with availability of guns, in the Middle East guns are freely available and they don’t have the gun crime problem that America does.

    However, they have a lot more shootings than most places I have been to in America. The gun crime figures may be a touch masked by the inordinate violence that is accepted as the norm in society, and the erratic collection of statistics. Even reasonably stable nations such as Saudi and Kuwait have a surprising incidence of armed robbery, banditry and the like. One difference is, in a robbery where everyone is armed lots of people die. Personally, I’d rather lose money than my life.

    If I was attacked, I at least know I have the skill to defend myself with all those weapons and I know Rob wouldn’t Rob would shoot to kill without hesitation.

    That is good to hear and, sadly, most people who have weapons are either not properly trained or not really commited to killing to protect their valuables.

    One downside of having your home armoury, though, is weapons cut both ways. Unless it is in your hands at the fatal moment the weapon is no use to you – and may even become of use to an attacker.

    Also, and this is not necessarily aimed at you, but in general most people are not sufficiently trained to react to high adrenaline, high threat situations that often occur while the person is drowsy. In this instance bringing a gun to the party is potentially fatal. No amount of range training can properly recreate a combat situation – the military find it hard enough to indoctrinate their soldiers. Being armed at home, where the wine flows freely, creates a very dangerous situation – and not just for the criminal.

    I want the right to carry a concealed firearms at all times.

    Why? Concealed and it has no deterrent effect. Concealed often means it will take you longer to draw. If I were to rob you and was pointing a gun at your chest, reaching for your spine holster would be a very bad move.

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  14. Ric
    Wow, you’re in luck. The threat level has just escalated dangerously here so I’ve been forced to upgrade to full nuclear-chemical-biological capacity on the ass of next-door’s dog. (Twilight barking) So you can have my cast-offs cut-price.

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  15. Update on the stats:

    http://www.statemaster.com/graph/cri_mur_wit_fir-death-rate-per-100-000 has some information on the figures, but I don’t know enough about which state has what laws.

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  16. @ Evo

    Limiting the people who have access to handguns in America is impractical but you have drivers ed. so why not gun ed. I think mandatory training and education before purchase. In Italy, there isn’t this need to have a big impractical gun, and that’s probably because of the tradition of .22 pistol shooting.

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  17. Steph – despite the notoriety of Americans and our guns, I know a lot of people who have never held one. Then there are many who may have had some small experience but then never again. I’d just as soon keep it that way if people have no interest. There’s no point in encouraging it, which I fear “gun ed” would do. Maybe mandatory gun ed if you choose to make your first purchase would be ok with me. Then again, none of my ideas for anything are ever enacted so you needn’t worry about my gun notions!

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  18. Evo,

    defintely gun ed would encourage gun ownership but I don’t see that as the problem – in the UK gun crime, including gun related homicides, have risen exponentially since the the prohibition on handguns. In the event that you can’t stop people owning handguns, mandatory gun ed before purchase for those who want them, seems a sensible way forward. It the same as sex ed and driver’s ed – you’re not going to stop people having sex or driving but you can educate them to be sensible about it. Whether they take any notice…

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  19. I think the 2nd Amendment should be repealed. Take away the notion that guns are a “right”. Once that’s done, then we can start educating and licensing, and whatnot. The way we do with cars.

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  20. in the UK gun crime, including gun related homicides, have risen exponentially since the the prohibition on handguns

    I beg to differ.

    Gun crime in the sense that people have been arrested following illegal possession is one thing and it hasn’t risen exponentially since the “prohibition on handguns. Firearms related homicides have increased in the last five years but that certainly is not coincident with any changes to the law.

    Interestingly, it is just as legal to own a handgun in the UK now as it was 35 years ago. Now, just as it was then, the weapon must be properly secured in a police inspected armoury and you need the Chief Constable to licence your possession (i.e. you have to justify why you want one). This is why gun clubs still exist over here and are going as strong as they ever had.

    I am not sure where you got your data to conclude they had risen in such a manner or that there was a change to handgun legislation but I suspect it is faulty.

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  21. According to the Home Office’s own figures, there has been an exponential rise in handguns in circulation since the ban. There has also been a dramatic rise in gun crime, including non fatal shootings and gun homicides, since the handgun ban. This is an objective and provable fact, which inescapably proves that the handgun ban in Britain has failed.

    Also, the only legal usable handguns permitted in the UK are Muzzle loaders and historic cartridge firing handguns, which need black powder to fire and have to be kept at designated sites. The only exemption to this are the security forces and licenced arms dealers.

    It has been also been well publicised that the British Olympic shooting team in the 50m pistol men and 25m pistol women Olympic events can only train in Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or Isle of Man.

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  22. According to the Home Office’s own figures, there has been an exponential rise in handguns in circulation since the ban.

    What ban? Handguns are no more banned in the UK than they were when I was born. In 1997 new checks were enforced – following a spree of shootings – but this simply ended the ability to buy a gun mail order. Now you have to buy a firearm face to face with your Firearms Certificate in your hands. This is not a “ban” in any meaningful sense, unless you are trying to imply that allowing mail order gun purchases by non-FAC holders reduced gun crime…

    Also, the only legal usable handguns permitted in the UK are Muzzle loaders and historic cartridge firing handguns, which need black powder to fire and have to be kept at designated sites.

    Erm, no. No in a big way. My closest friend owns and regularly shoots Sig Sauer P226s for example.

    It has been also been well publicised that the British Olympic shooting team in the 50m pistol men and 25m pistol women Olympic events can only train in Northern Ireland,

    Northern Ireland is part of the UK. There is no handgun ban in the UK. There are more shootings in NI than there are on the British mainland.

    The reason the Olympic Shooting teams practised in NI/Jersey/IOM was in no way related to difficulty getting hold of guns. It is, also, in no way linked to gun crime.

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  23. @ Troll

    Northern Ireland is part of the UK not Britain, and there has been a handgun ban in Britain since 1997.

    Relevant legisaltion:

    Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997
    Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997
    The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 (Commencement) (No.1) Order 1997
    The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 (Commencement) (No. 2) Order 1997
    The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 (Commencement) (No. 2) (Amendment) Order 1997
    The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 (Firearms of Historic Interest) Order 1997
    The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 (Transitional Provisions and Savings) Regulations 1997
    The Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 (Commencement) Order 1997

    The Olympic shooting team affected by legislation banning the ownership of a handgun in Britain.

    BTW stop stalking me.

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  24. Steph, don’t flatter yourself that I am stalking you. I am simply intrigued by some of the claims you make and, occasionally, like to get to the bottom of them. You make lots of claims relating to stats and figures, yet I haven’t seen anything to support this.

    Also, please spend more than a few seconds re-reading the posts you try to reply to. It will help matters.

    Northern Ireland is part of the UK not Britain, and there has been a handgun ban in Britain since 1997.

    This is a reply to my comment where I wrote:

    Northern Ireland is part of the UK. There is no handgun ban in the UK.

    As you can see, I said NI was part of the UK – repeating me isn’t going to get you very far. You are the one claiming that there was a handgun ban in the UK. You repeatedly conflate the UK with Great Britain. There is a huge difference as you can see with the applicability of the amendments to the 1997 act you mention (several times).

    It is nice that you can search the BBC for news items as well – that is good – however it suffers from the flaw of tertiary reporting sources.

    If we look at the 1997 firearm act it clearly states (chapter 5):

    If a chief officer of police is satisfied, on an application for the grant or renewal of a firearm certificate in respect of a small-calibre pistol, that the applicant’s only reason for having the pistol in his possession is to use it for target shooting, any certificate which may be granted to the applicant or, as the case may be, renewed shall be held subject to the following conditions (in addition to any other conditions),
    It goes on to list how the weapon can be legally owned. It also goes on (para 13) to detail how the weapon can seek permission from the police to move the weapon or take the weapon to shooting events.

    Chapter 5 part 2 explains how licensed pistol clubs must operate. Here is part of the problem UK law is supposed to have caused the UK Olympic team. As you can see from the schedule, the law requires all firers and pistol owners to hold a valid firearms certificate. These have never been easy to get hold of.

    In NI/IoM/Channel Islands the difference is the pistol clubs can allow non-FAC holders to fire their weapons under supervision. They still can’t remove them from their premises.

    Anyway, this is all irrelevant to your original claim that the 1997 legislation caused an increase in gun crime in the UK. How do you account for the equal increase in NI?

    While I have asked a question, I don’t really expect an answer.

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  25. Oops. Sorry – didn’t close the blockquote properly last time. The quoting should have ended after “(in addition to any other conditions),”

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  26. The 1997 “handgun ban” (so referred to in Hansard) – relevant legislation (available online here):

    Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997
    Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997
    The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 (Commencement) (No.1) Order 1997
    The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 (Commencement) (No. 2) Order 1997
    The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 (Commencement) (No. 2) (Amendment) Order 1997
    The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 (Firearms of Historic Interest) Order 1997
    The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 (Transitional Provisions and Savings) Regulations 1997
    The Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 (Commencement) Order 1997

    He hardly needs saying, but there is a handgun ban in Britain!!!

    The rise in gun crime since the 1997 ban (Home office figures), especially handgun crime, is proof that the handgun ban hasn’t worked!

    So really, fuck off and stop stalking me.

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