Khalil Spencer – What We Should Be Saying About Gun Violence.

Someone tell me how this (figure 1) would stop a mass shooter bursting into a church in a surprise attack using an AR, or taking aim at a crowd with a bump stock equipped rifle at 300 yards from the twenty something floor? The best one could hope for would be an armed person who took self defense seriously and trained for a close encounter of the wrong kind, available to exchange fire at relatively close range. And who had some warning rather than being caught flat footed.


Surprise attacks, such as those in Dallas, Sutherland, or Las Vegas, work. Recall that armed to the teeth as it was, we lost most of the Pacific Fleet and air force on 12-7-1941, as it was caught unawares. By the time what little was left of our military got its guns in the air, the Japanese lost 29 airplanes and a minisub in return. Like the recent Sutherland slaughter, this was not exactly a fair exchange.

So any semblance of rational discourse seems to be missing in action as Congress debates H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. I seriously doubt this bill, if passed, will significantly impact crime rates. Sure, if you convince more people to pack, some fraction will be idiots who will mishandle guns. Some guns will be stolen and diverted to crime, or once in a while used in error. But CHL holders per se are not the problem as they are not going to commit crimes; statistically, they are good bets to not do so. Crime is driven by motive and opportunity.

The major problem with firearms availability is that 300-plus million guns in the nation means some are available to disgruntled spouses, fired employees, meth heads, career criminals, and those left MIA by the American Dream who decide on do-it-yourself brain surgery. Last if not least, ARs that are freely available and owned by that occasional law abiding citizen inexplicably turned lunatic. So by convincing more of us that we need guns for self-defense, we ensure that more guns are available to fall into the wrong hands, either because the right hands become the wrong hands or because the right hands leave the little bangers laying around for wrong hands to pick up. As the police are saying in Albuquerque, criminal access to guns means that crime becomes more dangerous. Meanwhile, if that bill becomes law as written, anyone with the price of a pocket cannon and who can pass muster on their 4473 will be encouraged to slip the little banger into their coat pocket and take on God knows what with no training or idea what they are doing. As Charles Clymer says, this is not a good scenerio.

What the Gun Violence Prevention Community needs to do is convince people that society doesn’t need to be armed to the teeth; there has to be a better, more effective way to ensure domestic tranquility. By attacking all gun owners as statistical loose cannons, the GVP rhetoric pisses off gun people and digs that damn rhetorical moat deeper. Conversely, the NRA’s suggesting that strapping one on will make the world safer and more polite is equally devoid of facts. An armed society is…simply…an armed society. And with Dana Loesch acting as spokesperson, the NRA is certainly not creating a polite one. But as long as the thesis that being armed as a rational and effective response to the world is not challenged, some people will want to be armed. Especially after reading that cities like Albuquerque are breaking records in homicides and the police force is understaffed.

One has to convince people that an Edsel is an Edsel and not a Toyota. Or you have lost the argument. Everyone wants a Toyota. Only collectors want an Edsel.

6 thoughts on “Khalil Spencer – What We Should Be Saying About Gun Violence.

  1. “An armed society is…simply…an armed society.” My own impression from talking to a number of A-2 absolutists as well as watching Wayne LaPierre’s reactions to the rare incisive interviews he’d allowed is that an armed society is a paranoid society.

  2. H.R. 38 will not pass and should not pass. The devil is in the details. Rep. Richard Hudson, introduced the bill and stated “Your driver’s license works in every state, so why doesn’t your concealed carry the permit?” If it were only that simple.

    In my opinion, that is one of many problems with the bill. Look at the “Real ID Act:” are you ready for a national identification? If you like “Real I’d” then you’ll like H.R. 38. It is bad legislation.

    And now politicians are adding to the act which continues to destroy the intent. It is my opinion that the Federal Government should have limited role in relation to individuals.

    As typical Congress is now taking such a simple idea and making it extremely complex to follow and understand. What does this not surprise me?

    Then again this is what Congress does best.

  3. Unless Congress enacts Universal Background Checks this law is a disaster . Even then it s still bad. Reason being.. states are different . ..they have different populations , different cultures, different problems; that’s why states rights exist . If AR 15s were banned as well as many semiautomatic handguns it would be better ; but this is unlikey. Call your representatives demand a no vote on conceal /Carry reciprocity bad bill h r 38. You can do it!!!!!!

  4. Khal, I have never served on a panel where a member of the “gun violence prevention movement” said that all gun owners are loose cannons. In fact, most individuals and groups seem careful not to demonize gun owners and to say that they respect people’s 2nd Amendment rights. Maybe it’s different in different parts of the country but we have to be careful not to portray this issue as more polarized than it already is. Recent polls show that the majority of Americans want tighter gun laws and are very concerned about all the mass shootings. The gun lobby, of course, and their surrogates in Congress and state legislators could care less.

    • When people use results such as “more guns, more gun violence” it implies a simple statistical issue rather than one that actually can be focussed on problem areas and problem mentalities. That is what I was getting at. The issue is highly polarized but I got an email one day from Andrew Papachristos where he seemed amused that the NRA commended his work. We need more crosstalk, not more mass-statistics. Or mass shootings.

      There is, of course, a statistical issue, mainly around suicides. But much of the discussion is about gun crime, i.e., mass shootings, domestic violence, urban crime. We don’t worry as much about walking to our car from the restaurant and suddenly getting an urge to shoot ourselves.

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