Plain English with Derek Thompson - America’s Gun Problem Is Impossible


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Today’s episode is about America guns and the latest mass shooting at a school in Texas.


This massacre is the second deadliest school shooting in American history after Sandy Hook in Connecticut, and the similarities are absolutely Erie in that tragedy, the Sandy Hook tragedy, a young man shot, the woman.


He was living with his mother before carrying out the brutal murder of 20, children and six adults at the local elementary.

All before he died this week, 10 years later, another young man shot the woman.

He was living with his grandmother.


Before carrying out the brutal murder of 19, children and two adults at the local elementary school before he died mass shootings have become a kind of collective tragic.

Ritual in American society tragedy strikes.

We see the news we mourn we cry.


We express outrage, nothing is done.

Time passes tragedy strikes.

We see the news.

We mourn, we cry out.

We express outrage.

Nothing is done.

America’s gun, violence problem is impossible and I want to understand why My guest today is the New York Times /, man, Lopez.


He wrote this week’s times morning, newsletter about the Texas massacre and he’s been writing about America’s gun crisis for years.

In fact, when I went to find his old work at vaux, I noticed that most of the stuff he wrote, many years ago was, just updated over and over and over, and over and over every time a new mass shooting, made his old reporting newly relevant, but I want you to think about that for a second that this is a unique American crisis.


In that no event is unique.

The details just repeat themselves.

So frequently the journalists don’t even have to write new stories to tell.

People what happened.

We can simply repost what we’ve already written changing, the names dates, places and death count.

They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.


Well, America’s relationship with guns is insane.

I want to stress something in this episode.

I’m not a gun person.

There’s no point in your and me pretending otherwise, I’m just not that into guns.

But it’s also really, really important to me.


Really profoundly important to me that on this show.

I find a way to fairly represent perspectives that I don’t agree with.

I know that tens of millions of Americans have a relationship with guns that I will never have.

I know that it’s Akin.

I imagine to my relationship with a car or with whiskey a product.


I find useful or deeply enjoyable.

Even as I understand it’s negative implications.

So if you own guns, if you love guns, I still want you to listen to what we have to say here.

And if you disagree with our analysis, please write me at plain English at


Of course, that goes for everyone on. every point of the political Spectrum, I do think that America’s gun problem is basically impossible.

But if progress here is possible.

We have to find a way for people who don’t agree with each other to talk to each other.


I’m Derek Thompson.

This is planning a man Lopez.


Welcome to the podcast.


Thanks all for having me.

What I’d like to do.

Here is threefold first.

I want to establish how unique America’s gun violence problem is, then I want to talk about Solutions policies that could actually work to reduce gun violence in America.


And I want to distinguish the policies that work from the policies that we think won’t work.

And third, I want to talk a little bit about politics and why it’s been so hard to pass gun legislation, especially at the federal level.

So let’s start with part one.

Come on.

How exceptional is America when it comes to gun violence.


It’s A complete outlier in the developed world like no.

Other country comes close.

You really had to start comparing the US to third world countries.

Essentially to start getting anything close to, to what America faces on a daily basis really.


So some of the data out there is like varies on how you define school shooting and mass shooting, but generally, like I’ve asked actually just asked to research her about this and his name is Jason Silva.

He works at William Paterson University.

Varsity and he he’s been tracking school shootings since 1998.


And there have been essentially 16 of these things.

Students were at least four people died.

Besides the shooter in the us alone in all other developed countries.

If you add every other developed country, which is 35 of them.


There have been six.

So the us alone has Almost three times the amount of school Mass shooting since 1998, then all these other developed countries combined.


It’s just completely, it’s a whole nother category.

It’s a whole other category.

And which so interesting to me, when I look at the school, shooting number in particular, because we’re going to get to General gun violence.

Just a second, but I just looked this up from 1972 2017.


There had never been a year with more than 60.

Shootings recorded since 2018, there been more than 100, every single year, again, from 1972 2017.

There had never been more than 100 school, shooting victims in a year since 2018, more than 100, every single year, Herman, any theories about what’s going on here, because it obviously gun violence is a part of American history but school shootings at the frequency and violence that we’re seeing.


Them are a surprisingly modern.

Naaman on?

Why is this happening?

The closest thing to an explanation is cut.

Like, copycat essentially that this is some sort of it’s weird to call it a trend or a fad, but we know from like historically that like, assassins like people try to kill celebrities and important figures.


We know that like Mass Shooters in general.

They do look at what other Mass shooters were doing so one.

Thing, that could be happening.

Here is like since Sandy Hook since Columbine people have been looking at these and like somebody who is wired in a way that would make them likely to do this.


The saying, like, yeah, I can do this too.

And that might be part of it.

But I think I come back to to the issue of just like how many guns in the US again.

And again whenever I think about this because like I’m sure there are, I mean, there are people who are have serious mental health issues, who have these kinds of thoughts.


Thought all over the world.

It is just that in the u.s.

It is way easier to actually pick up a gun and do this.

So you I think even if there’s some other explanation it, but it fundamentally comes down to just how many guns there are in the country.


And the fact that we have more school shootings.


And the rest of the developed world combined is nestled within the fact that America’s civilian gun death rate is four times higher than Switzerland, five times higher than Canada, 35 times higher than the UK 53 times.

Higher than Japan.

We just have way more gun deaths and it’s impossible to explain the situation without beginning with the fact that we have way more guns.


And it’s not just that there’s just this Association that exists, sort of in a dumb and simple way.

There’s been lots of studies that you’ve written about that seem to indicate that for every percentage Point, increase in gun ownership between states.

The overall firearm homicide rate increases by about one percentage point for all other factors.



So you have this extraordinary correlation between gun prevalence and gun crime Herman.

I know that you’ve talked to some conservatives about this topic about this discovered and proven and we proven relationship between more guns and more deaths.


Does anyone really dispute this?

Does anyone really dispute this correlation between more guns and more deaths within the United States.

There are some people who do which is But they don’t really have fax for their dispute.


They just, I don’t, I don’t want to get into the, like, your facts versus feelings kind of debate.

But it, I mean, would you look at the data?

It’s really just impossible to ignore What’s Happening.

Here, There are some researchers, like John Locke, who try to put out studies.


Essentially, that that suggests that guns are not the underlying problem.

But like these are researchers who have like, frankly just really bad, wreck track.

Kurds there, the everyone else.

In the field says that you should not take them seriously.

But like, conservatives.


Those are the kinds of studies.

If they do bring this up, they latch onto.

I also think there is a sizable amount of like everyday people who acknowledge that.

Yeah, probably the abundance of guns in the u.s.

Does lead to more gun violence, but they think that’s just the price of freedom for like the ability to have a gun.


I have talked to conservatives before Summon in my extended family who are like that, who just say like, I like having a gun.

I like shooting a gun.

Like I just enjoy doing it and you know, if there are this many gun deaths in the u.s.

So be it like that.

That’s just the price of having Freedom.


So I think there are those two camps.

One is just seems like I did nihilist like in the same way.

You might see like a climate deniers America and the other people who admit that yes, this this might be a problem, but I think it’s worth the worth.

The cost worth the cost because of the Second Amendment and you and I are not going to do a whole exit.


Jeesus on the history of the Second Amendment here, but let’s just State for the record and stipulate the Second Amendment exists.

It’s not going to go anywhere.

The Bill of Rights is not going to be changed very likely In Our Lifetime and America is simply grown up over the last 200 plus years with a second amendment that inscribes into our law and into our culture and association with guns and frankly a love of guns.


I don’t share it but it exists a love of guns that does not exist in similarly Rich developed countries.

And that’s just a part of the, of the cultural sort of step, step, one that you have to deal with here.

I want to talk about, I want to move sharply here to Solutions because the facts are too depressing to marinate in for too long.


I feel like America has his grisly ritual.

Now around school shootings in particular where the massacre happens.

There’s this outpouring of shock and grief and then these expectations that we have to do something on the policy front because frankly it’s tragic and embarrassing too.

Suffered tragedy after tragedy and to do shit all about it.


So we’re going to get to Republicans in a second.

But the many of solutions from Democrats tends to be pretty consistent and I’m going to name for of those Solutions.

One background checks number to Banning assault weapons.

Number three, generous BuyBacks, for guns and ammo and number four, red flag laws.


So let’s talk about all four of these ideas starting with background checks.

The House Representatives has already passed bills to expand criminal background checks and expand the Waiting period for gun buyers who are flagged by the instant background check system, but those bills have language.


The Senate hasn’t moved on them because Republican opposition.

Let’s talk about background checks.

What are they?

And what is the research say about whether or not they work?


So the, the idea behind their called Universal or comprehensive background checks as look, everybody should have to pass a, some sort of check before they purchase a gun that that involves looking at, their criminal record mental health, may be some other things on my I come up as part of like looking into somebody’s background.


You know, this is the kind of thing that a lot of people go through.

If they get a new job, especially in like security or something along those lines that they’ll go through a background check.

So the idea is like, yes, you apply this to guns.

Make sure that essentially people who are criminals or have criminal records or have mental health issues, do not have access to guns.


The u.s.

Requires this for most guns already, but there are a bunch of loopholes in the law.

So the Famous one is like the Gun Show loophole and that’s kind of like a misnomer because, like really what the issue there is as private sale.

Like, if I’m one person who owns a gun and I want to sell to another person.


I do not technically, have to do a background check in Most states and like, that, that can happen in that gun show, but it can also happen in between family members between friends.

Like, it happens all the time, the u.s.

So, that’s pretty huge loophole.

If you don’t have to do a background check and you can imagine since there are more guns than people, In the u.s.


It is not particularly hard for like people to actually, you know, sell guns to their friends or family.

So, result and do they work.

What does the research say about whether or not they actually reduce gun violence in the areas?

Where the states that passed them?


So this is where it gets a little more complicated because it, there’s, there’s like a good report from Rand from a free few years ago, that looked at a whole bunch of gun laws.


And generally.

Yes, if places have more stricter, background checks in place.

They do have fewer gun deaths.

The, we’re gets a little complicated, so that there are also some studies that suggest that comprehensive background checks alone.

Meaning when you go from that bar of just having background checks to making them universe or comprehensive.


Like it’s actually not clear how big of an effect that has if it has an effect at all.

And I think the reason for that might be that like even in those kinds of situations, a lot of people are still going to buy guns, illegally essentially like And you know, how do you enforce a check background?


Check law for like a dad selling a gun to his son?


Like are the police really going to be going like, checking on every single one of those sales?

If it even is a sale, right?

It could be a gift which would technically require background, check on the results.

Like how are they going to enforce that?


It’s just an extremely difficult thing to enforce, but I would say that generally like the idea is it adds some friction to exchanging guns and that probably Has some effect.

It can just be really hard to pick up in some of these studies.

Yeah, that makes sense.


There’s there’s so many different ways that people can can buy guns and there are so many guns that are available more than 380 million at last count or 390 million.

That’s more guns than Americans.

So, of course, it might would be easy to potentially buy these on a black market.


Buy them in a private sale, find a way to access the guns that already exists rather than go through the comprehensive background.

Check to buy a new a gun that’s being brought onto the market.


Yeah, I think this is an interesting case where I think we’re going to see this in a couple of the different policies that are going to talk about.


It has an effect.

It just doesn’t necessarily have the kind of dramatic effect that we would wish, which isn’t a reason as they say, they do not do it, you know, with thousands and thousands of gun deaths.

If you reduce gun deaths by 1%, you’re still talking about maybe thousands of lives saved, especially over a decade, but the effectiveness isn’t necessarily that large.


Let’s talk about banning.

Assault weapons.

Tell me a little bit about what this would look like.

And for people’s understanding, this would make it illegal to buy the kind of weapons that were used in Texas that were used at Sandy Hook that reused in Buffalo, and it’s just, it seemed obvious.


I think to a reasonable person that banning the sale of the sort of weapons that we see over and over and over again, being used in mass shootings would make at least a little bit of a difference to me.

Mass shootings.

So what are the pluses and limitations of this policy?


So the plus is, as you said, like look, these are extremely powerful guns.

Like they are used often in these matters and there are used for a reason.

They have their longer-range.

The velocity is faster.

The there are some articles out there.


I think that the Atlantic has run that like Speak to what these bullets going for coming from these constitute a body.

It’s horrific.

So if you try to limit those then yeah, you can have an effect like at the very least you’re talking about a situation where maybe a mass shooting is less deadly because if somebody’s using a handgun like they might not be able to get out as many bullets in might not do as much damage.


The injuries might be more treatable just to stop you there because you mentioned the Atlantic article and the Atlantic does have this article that was called what I saw treating the victims from Parkland, should change the debate on guns by Heather.

Sure, Heather.

Sure is a, she is a doctor.


She’s a radiologist and she has this passage in the article.

I’m going to read it really quickly and then spin it, right back out to you, quote.

I have seen a handful of AR-15 injuries in my career years ago.

I saw one from a man shot in the back by a SWAT team, the injury along the path of the bullet.


From an AR-15 is vastly different from a low-velocity handgun injury, the bullet from an AR-15.

In passes through the body, like, a cigarette boat traveling at maximum speed through a tiny Canal, the tissue next to the bullet is elastic moving away from the bullet, like waves of water displaced by a boat, and then returns and settles back.


The process is called cavitation.

It leaves.

The displaced tissue damaged or killed the high-velocity bullet causes a swath of tissue damage that extends, several inches from its path Exit Wounds can be the size of an orange.

This is not A small pistol.


This is a small missile traveling through people’s organs, that essentially explode, their organs.

Even if only one bullet makes it in the body.

It is a to call this and a pistol, a gun not going to do a whole semantic thing here, but it is an entirely different category of weapon.


So back to you on the effective of assault weapon, bans.

Yeah, the biggest problem is how do you define an assault weapon?

And this is something that the old From the 90s ran into is like, there were still a lot of assault weapons circulating in the US because how you actually Define it.


Like, is it the barrel?

Is it the grip like you have to start defining very specific parts of these guns to try to say like this is an assault weapon.

And look, this is like one of the most boring debate, anybody can have it on Twitter, like you can literally just go on Twitter and just start trying to argue with people about this and you’ll quickly realize how semantics and boring this has.


But it is a genuine problem with the law like and creating a law, all along these lines that I would say, like that’s one of the bigger limitations of these measures and depending on how it’s written.

A lot of assault weapons, could sneak through the the other issue with it is.


I mean, even if you ban assault weapons, like we are talking.

Like there are plenty of other guns available and handguns are definitely not as they don’t cause as much damage as that article shows, but they still cause damage.

And if we’re talking about Shotguns.

Those can cause a lot of damage or I mean we’re focusing on this shooting in Texas, right?


Like this happened in one classroom.

The unfortunate reality is somebody can do a lot of damage with the shotgun in one classroom.

Like it’s really it gets really Grizzly talking about this in a way that makes me uncomfortable, but like it like when you’re comparing like in the Las Vegas shooting where this guy was parked at the top of building shooting down into a crowd.


Yeah, a handgun.

Or a shotgun is not going to do much and like the real problem.

There was a salt run weapons.

But like if we’re talking about like a school shooting, it’s a very different situation and there is some, I think there’s some valid criticism but like look, these shooters were just use another kind of firearm, right?


I guess my response to that and I understand that you’re representing an argument from critics of this law, that, that you’ve reported from.

My response to it is, is that, you know, these weapons assault weapons.

They were used in Texas in Buffalo and Our Orlando Parkland, Vegas Aurora, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, the list goes on and on Tree of Life synagogue.


These are all massacres with assault weapons, which facilitated the massacre by virtue of the fact that they could fire a lot of rounds very, very quickly.

Each of which were basically small missiles with the power to explode in Oregon.

So, while Banning assault, weapons wouldn’t eliminate gun violence?


Wouldn’t reduce it.

Even by 3020 even 10%, It would still make these kind of horrific incidents has less.

Likely, right?

And I mean, it’s important to point out.

There’s a reason that all these shooters, you mentioned went to an assault weapon.


Like they’re kind of telling you that they do believe that this is a deadlier weapon that it is the what they’re going to be most effective with in these kinds of situations.



So like that’s that’s important to know like these shooters themselves.

Seem to believe that these weapons are deadlier and more dangerous.

Maybe you should like take that.


I would say though that like it is, it is important to emphasize though that this is Are we focus on mass shootings?


Because most gun deaths in America actually do involve handguns.

They the, the vast majority but because most, I think by virtue of most guns out there being handguns.

That’s just how it works out.

And it’s something like it.


Totally depends on the number, but some fewer than 10% like, less than ten percent of gun deaths, overall in the u.s.

Actually involved like these long guns that were talking about a statistic that there that I read less than 10%, right?

Yeah, but they’re disproportionately.

Proportionally represented for sure in these mass shootings, which is obviously worth taking seriously on its own.


I wouldn’t move on to number 3 here which is red flag laws.

What a red flag laws, and how would they work?

So, red flag laws are essentially, you know, we with these mass shootings.

I’m almost sure we’ll start hearing stories about.

I think we’re already seeing stories about how there were red flags before about this.


This person to person who carried out the shooting, the idea is like the authorities.

Family members whomever like they someone should be able to report that and then the authority should be able to confiscate that person’s guns, if whatever that red flag is turns out to be a serious.


So, obviously, just, by the way, I’m describing that all that sounds really vague, and that’s intentional because a lot of these red flag lost, they have different designs.

They take different shapes some, in some places.

The family is more involved.

In terms of like, actually reporting to the authorities in other cases.


Has the police do most of the heavy lifting, what classifies as a red flag can vary from state-to-state because different states, have different red flag laws, but in general, the idea is like, look, if somebody has a troubling past, they are doing something troubling there.

Even if it’s just a simple as like they’re posting, some really scary stuff on social media.


Someone should be able to step in and make sure this person doesn’t have guns and just to be clear when that person steps in and says, you know, this person is doing spooky stuff on social media or the show.

Act weird at their job, at the Wendy’s, who do they call?

Who do they contact?


And what is the chain of decisions made to then take away from that individual the right to access guns?


This is a very important point because it’s make sure that people’s due process rights are essentially protected here, right?

Do you can’t just report anyone for anything.


So, yeah, usually would contact the police.

The police would then go to the courts and then the courts would effectively Approve, the confiscation of this person’s firearms and it doesn’t have to be permanent.

It can be temporary table like especially if you’re dealing with somebody in a mental health crisis, maybe after they get treatment they can get their firearms back like after they’ve essentially taken care of those issues.


And yeah, that so the idea is and this is usually what trips up these bills in terms of like Congress or more.

Conservative legislators is, how do you protect people’s due process clause?

Because for republicans, in particular, the CERN is that like these laws would be used to mass confiscate?


What they call law-abiding, citizens fire.


It’s the mental exercise that I sometimes do because, you know, I don’t want to get too ideological, but I’m personally not a gun guy.

Sometimes, what I do is try to replace the word gun in a sentence with car, right?

So, how would I feel if someone thought that I was starting to act a little bit weird and I heard from law enforcement that I couldn’t drive my car.


Like, I would probably probably very upset.

I can imagine that I could start to Lobby people to get upset on my behalf.

How dare people take my right to drive a car away from me.

Just because they had an opinion that I was acting strange.


It was an acting strange.

I was whatever.

I had a terrible week.

I was suffering from a bout of depression.

My girlfriend had just broken up with me and I’m sorry that I was rude to people, but I was just really, really upset.

You can see how one can imagine how red flag laws, whose?



I totally agree with could run a foul of all sorts of due process problems because we do have a different conception of guns in this country than we do in other countries.

We have the Second Amendment, right?


So a red, a red flag laws.

Have they had been tried of the been proven effective and and legally upheld in various places.


So the flip side of what we were just talking about is sometimes things will slip through, right, because people have due process, Process protections.


The laws aren’t enforced perfectly as a result.

Like, police might be skeptical pursuing.

So, you actually saw that in the Buffalo shooting, like New York is now talking about making its red flag law, strengthening it.

Because they believe that like this guy should have been copy for their warning signs before and he just slipped through.


So that’s that’s one limitation in terms of the research.

So the one of the interesting things about these studies is that they as the best studies we have on red flag, lost suggest they do work but Primarily for suicides, which that’s important on its own.


The suicides are most gun deaths in the u.s., But I mean, it kind of makes sense because if somebody’s having a mental health crisis like that is that is probably when family members are going to call the police and then the police will get involved.


And then they’ll be able to take away that person’s guns.

The the in terms of like other kinds of shootings.

I don’t think we know I think there just aren’t that.

That many good studies out there about this yet.

But at least a suicide data is pretty, like, I think it’s really persuasive.


So, red flag laws.

Clearly effective.

At reducing gun involved suicides not is clearly effective at reducing gun involved.


Let’s move on to the fourth topic here.

That was the idea of generous BuyBacks for band Guns & Ammo this policy.


I think would probably be modeled off of Australia’s experience, which is Leslie famous in the u.s.

In part because of its sheer impossibility here, but tell me a little bit about what Australia did and whether something remotely like this could work in the US.



So in Australia, what they did they had a horrible mass shooting in 1996.

They essentially at that point made the their gun laws, much stricter band, some kinds of guns and the guns that were banned.

They then said, you have to turn them into the government.


Pay you back for the price but you have to turn them in and that’s the key is you have to it was mandatory.

It’s basically called Mass confiscation.

Like there’s really no way about it.

And, you know, in the US this has been tried in some models, but they’re always voluntary BuyBacks and that is very different.


Because you’re basically asking people like to turn in their guns, voluntary.

These aren’t guns that are banned with very few exceptions.

If somebody has an automatic weapon.

Those are General legally, banned in the Less than like and they turned those in.

I’m not sure how that would work out and involuntary by because I think police would have questions as to why this person has this weapon, but generally, the idea is like, if you have a gun, you don’t want to use it anymore, you can turn it in, and that’s usually how it’s worked out of the u.s., Very, very different from the Australian model, where the government essentially said, you have to turn these firearms in like we are just no longer going to have these out and civilian ownership and you at this article for Vox that tie together a lot of these policies.


The Checks ban on assault weapons.

Red flag, laws potentially generous BuyBacks, you made the point that and you can rephrase if I misrepresenting you, but you made the point that all these things individually, don’t empirically do so much.


They are all mildly effective, moderately effective at reducing gun deaths in in some places, but they don’t really, really impact the picture as much as we would hope what we really need is something.

There we need the equivalent of a of a green New Deal or a Manhattan project for thinking about gun ownership and gun use in America.


Taking the ideas.

We’ve already talked about, what else would you put into that package of a comprehensive policy to reduce gun violence in America?

I think the, the one I always gravitate to because it seems like the most It’s the easiest to explain to people.

It’s just requiring a license to own a gun.


This is something that basically, every other developed country does, like, it Canada, and Switzerland, probably are, unlike the looser end of gun laws in turn when you compare among developed countries, besides the u.s.

Obviously and even they require license licenses, so that that’s really simple.


Like, you know, you get a license to drive a car, you get a license to own a gun and the Us that there are some states that actually do this.

Like Massachusetts has really strict gun laws.

And one of the things is it’s like a months.

Long process to get a gun license.

Once you get a license, it’s pretty easy to get a fire because they assume like, look, you went through this thorough, check that took months.


You should be able to buy firearms.

That’s one thing I would add to their.

I think in general though.

I one of the issues that I think conceptually the u.s.

Struggles with is where we’re very reactive to the event, that’s making the news right now.

So you think about like mass shootings.

And we focus on assault weapons, right away because those are the weapons that are happening.


But like that’s a very narrow view.

If you’re talking about gun deaths since assault weapons are very rarely used in all forms of gun violence overall.

So I think if we were like talking about like a bigger project, a green New Deal, it would have we would have to make the goal clear and the goal.


Frankly, just ask to be there, have to be fewer guns around and the ones that do remain there.

Just has to be less access to them.

You’re thinking from first principles here.

You’re saying, look, the first principle of gun violence in America is that there?

Is this Stark correlation between gun, prevalence and gun violence.


So, the goal of our policy should be to reduce gun prevalence.

That’s all we should be talking about.

How do we find a way to reduce gun prevalence.

And one way to do it is to ban the sale of certain types of guns, like assault weapons.

And other way to is two Bandits.

Make it more difficult for people to acquire guns quickly with background checks, and licenses and other way might be to Ooh, voluntary BuyBacks.


Another way might be to take guns away to take access away from some people who are plausibly flagged for the state with red flag laws.

If we put all of these things together, we can possibly have this kind of green New Deal for Manhattan project for pick your famous policy X for reducing gun violence in America.


I think we have to turn the page here and talk a little bit about Republicans because Republicans have a completely different attitude toward guns.

Then the way you and I just been talking.

I want to set you up with a comment that Ted Cruz made yesterday.


He said, quote, we know from past experience that the most effective tool for keeping Kids.

Safe is armed law, enforcement on campus and quote.

I want to point to this for two reasons.

Number one, the first principle reason you and I have just said that our goal should be to reduce gun prevalence in America.


Ted Cruz is saying the goal should be to increase gun prevalence in America.

We have militarized American citizens.

Let’s make our kids safe by militarizing American schools.

The second point that has to be made here is that there were armed officers in Parkland, and there was an armed guard at the Buffalo supermarket.


And there was reportedly an armed guard at the Texas school yesterday.

Paper published in J.

Am a Jama Journal of American Medical Association found that quote controlling for location in school characteristics.

The rate of deaths was two point eight, three times higher in schools with an armed guard present.


So even when it comes to armed guards, the first principle thesis of this podcast still holds more gun prevalence, more gun violence.


What do you make of this idea that this This fixation, which is on the right that we have to respond to the militarization of American citizens with yet more gun prevalence, including its schools.


Well, you see this in in a smaller scale in American households because a lot of people buy guns, like when you ask them, why did you buy a gun?

One of the top reasons is self-defense.

And when you actually look at the statistics, these households that have guns are not more protected from firearm violence.


In fact, they are actually at much higher risk, particularly of suicide, but also other kinds of gun violence, like domestic violence incidents.

If a gun is present in the house, much more likely to be deathly because someone whether it’s a person protecting themselves or the person like, like, carrying out the violence, they will pick up.


Be able to pick up a gun and shoot the other person that is just the reality.

It is, I mean, this is like really simplifying things, but the Basic argument here is if there are no guns in the world, there, there cannot be gun violence.



Just, I mean, it’s literally impossible.

And on the flip side.

It’s like so if there are more guns, there are, there’s more use of these guns.

And I think if you just replace guns in that sentence, with just about anything else, it would be boring common, right?


If there are more cars around, people will be able to drive more like, of course, that’s true.

Like we see that in all sorts of countries.

It says, but I think it’s a good point with a reason.

The car example is really important is because the same way that it’s obvious to lots of gun hating, liberals that cars are useful.


It’s obvious to lots of gun-loving.


That guns are fun.

That guns are a part of their identity, a part of their lives.

They enjoy these tools, these toys, they enjoy the social activity, the feeling they get from holding the metal.


They just, they just love these.


And their love of this product is protected by the Constitution.

That is the shear just unmovable fact that we keep slamming our heads up again.

So I want to ask a question was actually written into the show by a listener Lieb, which I thought was was, was really good.


And, you know, I really think it’s important for us to do to try to do a good faith.

Be to the other side here.

Liebe writes quote.

I want to understand the Republican side of the gun law debate.

Why don’t Republican?

Iseman and Senators, put their support behind an attempt to pass laws, to prevent the sale of lethal Firearms.


Create more background checks and otherwise stop mass shootings and quote.

I believe the Republicans conservatives don’t want mass shootings of.

I don’t they don’t want mass shootings have children.

And yet, they do seem to be against the kind of policies that are most likely to, at the margins reduce, make these kind of events, less.



Why do you think that’s the case?

What’s the best best faith?

Need of the Republican side of this debate.

I think that, you know, there are lots of talks about the gun lobby, the NRA, and all that, and I would say it’s it’s not that in a far nefarious, not that malicious.


It is like much more self-interested.

It’s it’s their voters.

Their voters, do not want them to do stuff about this.

Like, you know, you take a policy that pulls extremely well like Universal background checks, and some polls are polls 90 percent support, right?

In Maine when it went up for a vote in 2016 like was literally on the ballot it lost like this is a policy that pulls at 90 plus percent in a state that Hillary Clinton won it lost.


And it’s because Americans say that they want stricter gun laws to some degree.

But once the debate actually starves, I think a lot of people especially those who are like most passionate about this issue.

Start getting really worried that like It’s you give them an inch.


They’ll take a whole mile.

Like they’ll start going further little start putting you in a red National Database for guns.

Like this is a big talking point for not just the NRA, but really gun owners in general.

They’re worried that like, they’ll have to register in a National Database and all sorts of privacy violations.


Will happen as a result.

They’re worried that like eventually some it’ll start.

And once they have that database, they know where to go to actually confiscate your guns.

Yada yada yada.

I think a lot of Arrogance, genuinely believe this.

And at the very least, Americans are going to vote on this issue.


You special thing about the like a Republican primary.

There are very few issues can trigger like a very passionate minority, like God’s brightest and specially in Republican primaries.

I think that’s the biggest issue is is 44.

They have to watch out for their voters.


So, you know, there’s all sorts of explanations for that.

I think the NRA does play a role in that has like essentially.

Recharacterized America’s gun culture or the past few decades and there’s like lots of good articles and books about that.

I think the way that the Second Amendment, I mean the u.s.


Is one of the very very very few countries with like an actual right to gun ownership and its Constitution, it like that.

And in this laws in particular in general, and I think that has warped our culture in a way that has translated to how people vote.


And what they believe in.

I’m glad that we ended here with voters because even though this takes us to a somewhat depressing place.

It’s still really, really important.

Like I can imagine for reasons for an elected representative or American citizen to not want to pass new gun restrictions.


Number one is cynical love of money, you just in the pocket of the NRA.

For example, number two is cynical of of power.

You just want to stay in office and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to stay in office.

Number three is Sincere love of or sincere support for gun ownership and fear of government overreach.


Because I think that people that are paranoid about it, come about government.

Overreach often have the Second Amendment looming rather large in their imagination.

And then finally you have sincere love of guns.

And the truth is that there are just a lot of people that are a part of gun culture, who love these things and are against any rule or almost every rule that is going to restrict their access to them.


And right now, what you have is this relationship, I think between cynical politicians and sincere voters, who are a part of gun culture and is created.

This immovable block is very, very hard to pass gun regulation over at the federal level.

So hermana, what do you think are the prospects for federal legislation on gun regulation?


But hits Joe Biden’s desk in the next few months.

I think it’s basically zero, unfortunately, you know, You look at there’s a sweet that surfaces every time, there’s a mass shooting that in retrospect.

Sandy Hook was the end of the gun control debate in the u.s.


Because once it became tolerable for children to die, like, if that’s tolerable.

Nothing else will move these lawmakers, God.

That’s so depressing.

If it’s, it’s true because it’s such a contrast definitely did not feel that way at the time.

It generally felt.


I remember in around that time, after the Sandy Hook shooting.

That’s Congress was fine.

We’re going to do something, not enough by a lot of people standards, but something and in retrospect, the fact they didn’t, I mean, you look like, sometimes I will look through like the pictures of these kids, who died at Sandy Hook.


And it is just like, if those faces did not Inspire these lawmakers to act.

I just don’t know what will.

It’s actually heartbreaking and you know, Graham would Atlanta Kreider just published this essay on our website.

I just want to read is conclusion because It ends in a very similar place that we end.


He says, quote.

I cannot kill anyone with my laptop, but I can certainly do harm with it.

And if someone suggested that it should be taken away because the social negatives outweigh the positives, I would be outraged from my cold dead hands.

You may have checked this comparison on any number of reasonable grounds.


But if it baffles you completely, you probably have no clue how deeply guns and gun culture are embedded in America.

And to change a culture is infinitely harder than to change laws.

I’m not sure where that leaves us or rather.


I am all too sure.

And quote.

It’s g wood from the Atlantic.

And the truth is that this is where I land to and I am sorry to be a bummer about it.

Because, like I said, I am really optimistic about so, so many things about this country, but I’m not optimistic about our capacity to solve this problem.


A, my Lopez.

Thank you very.

Very much for educating us on this and we will talk to you again sometime soon.


Thanks for having me.

Thank you very much for listening.


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