published Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Guns exact a high toll

Gunfire in some Chattanooga neighborhoods is so commonplace that residents rightly fear for their lives. Those fears are not unfounded. Twenty-one of the 23 homicides recorded in the city so far this year have been gun-related. The latest occurred Sunday night, when a gunman, still unidentified at this writing, opened fire in an East Chattanooga neighborhood. The toll was grisly. One dead and four wounded, including a two-year-old toddler.

The death toll from gunplay in the city is only part of the havoc wreaked by those quick to use guns. There have been, according to reports, an 48 additional shootings with injuries in the city so far this year. Sadly, the frequency of gunplay and its outcome here isn’t really surprising. It’s part of a frightening and growing statewide phenomenon.

Tennesseans are more likely to be victims of a violent gun crime than residents of any other state, according to an analysis of FBI statistics by The Tennessean, the Nashville newspaper. Only Washington, D.C., had a higher rate of gun violence in the period examined. Nothing positive can or should be said about either the state’s ranking or Chattanooga’s contribution to the gun-related violence.

Even those familiar with crime are hard-put to explain the rash of gun-related violence. Don Green, with the University of Tennessee’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center, provides a trio of possibilities. The first is that better reporting by law enforcement agencies has pushed up the total. That might be true, but it’s hard to believe that the only reason for the increase in gun violence.

A second and stronger possibility is that gang- and drug-related crime where guns are frequently employed is on the increase. There’s considerable truth to that likelihood. Chattanooga police officials, for example, say that many shootings in the city are related to gang activity and that one shooting often prompts retaliatory action. That might be true, but none of the victims of Sunday’s shooting, according to court records, had a violent criminal history.

The third possibility — Tennessee’s extraordinarily high rate of gun ownership — is the most plausible. Second Amendment proponents don’t want to hear it, of course, but there is growing aevidence that communities and states with high rates of gun ownership have high rates of gun-related crimes.

The ready availability of guns, then, is a common denominator in crime here. Given the seemingly random nature of the shootings here, one way to reduce the possibility, indeed the increasing likelihood, of random gun violence is to make guns more difficult to obtain, especially at loosely regulated gun shows. Despite the fervent pleas other law enforcement officials here and elsewhere, legislators in almost every state and in Washington are loath to pursue such a course of action.

The result of that politically self-serving refusal to reduce the availability of guns means that those who willfully ignore the law and who have no compulsion about opening fire anywhere, anytime and at anyone have ready access to weapons. The result is increasingly self-evident — and horrific. It is measured in the number of the dead and wounded on Walker Street, elsewhere in Tennessee and in every state in the union.

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Walden said...

You know, your argument would make some sense if gun owners in Ooltewah, Signal Mountain, Lookout Mountain, East Brainerd, etc., were gunning eachother down with abandon. But the truth of the matter is, in the neighborhoods in which these crimes are occuring, these shootings would continue with or without tighter restrictions on obtaining guns. Remember, if a criminal wants a gun, he is going to get it one way or another. It is highly unlikely that these gang thugs are going to Sportsman's Warehouse (or even gun shows) to buy these guns.

October 26, 2011 at 10:56 a.m.
RShultz210 said...

Walden is correct when says your arguement makes no sense. Legal gun owners are not shooting each other. If you want to get the guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them you're going to have to do three things. 1. Conduct mass searches of all gang members or gang affiliated homes and confiscate every gun you find. 2. Conduct mass stop and frisk searches on all gang members you observe in public. And don't start whining about their civil rights. Terry vs.Ohio allows stop and frisk if it is the officer's belief and he can articulate it to a judge that the subject of the search is planning to commit, or may already have committed a crime. 3. And most important of all, even though I am an avid 2nd amendment supporter, we need to give every private citizen free access to the computerized instant background check system even if it means buying extra servers and hiring additional IT personnel, and REQUIRE everyone who sells a privately owned weapon to run a background check even if he has to go a public library to get access to a computer. If the buyer fails and the citizen sells him the weapon, it should made a felony with a very stiff penalty, and if whoever he sells the gun to commits a crime with it then the citizen who sold the weapon should be held equally responsible for the crime commmitted by the person he sold it to. Also every gun show should be required to have someone with a computer to do background checks on everybody who attempts to buy a gun. This will greatly reduce the number of guns in the hands of people who should not have them without the neccessity of gun registration which I am totally against. Lastly, and I include this because I believe firmly in the right to self defense, the current requirement for law abiding citizens to spend $115 to purchase a permit to excercise what should be their right to carry a gun should be abolished completely. I have no argument with each person being required to take the gun safety course but that should be enough. They should simply be issued a permit as soon as they pass the course. Not everyone can afford $115 to excercise what should be a right instead of a privelidge they must pay for.

October 26, 2011 at 11:57 a.m.
01centare said...

Walden said... You know, your argument would make some sense if gun owners in Ooltewah, Signal Mountain, Lookout Mountain, East Brainerd, etc., were gunning eachother down with abandon

It usually happens in those areas when mom or pop takes away little johnnie or suzie's privileges as punishment. As long as johnnie and suzie are allowed to use drugs as much as they want, drink, drive, run up the credit card bill and party non-stop like it's 1999 those areas aren't likely to have those issues.

RShultz210 said... Walden is correct when says your arguement makes no sense. Legal gun owners are not shooting each other

Yes, they are. They're just more like than not to use them in cases of murder-suicide, parental-cide, dome stic violence and mass killings.

October 26, 2011 at 2:15 p.m.
dao1980 said...

Yeah, no joke they exact a toll..... from my wallet!

That last Glock that I bought was down right expensive!

It sure is a nice addition to my collection though ;)

October 26, 2011 at 2:26 p.m.
RShultz210 said...

Just one question dao1980. Why did you pay so much money for an ugly, foreign made piece of plastic with a crappy grip, a crappy trigger and a loosely machined unsupported chamber that will cause the gun to blow up in your face the first time you have a case head separation? Not to mention that Gaston Glock is an arrogant ***hole who thinks his guns are perfect when in fact they're far from it. You couldn't have spent at least a third less and gotten a Ruger or a Colt or some other really good AMERICAN MADE gun?

October 26, 2011 at 3:37 p.m.
dao1980 said...

Hi there RShultz, I can appreciate your pride in one brand over another.

The ugly part I would have to disagree with completely.

Talk about expensive, how about a Kimber? Do you approve of those?

I personally like the Glock for nostalgic reasons, as well as perfomance reasons.

A model 23 was the first handgun I actually purchased way back when I was living in the mountains above Albuquerque, and realized my little S&W 38 was only likely to irritate any bears or mtn lions that thought I would be a tasty lunch.

Most everything else that I had at the time was given to me by my grandfather who was a gunsmith in Tellico Plains after he retired from the county police department.

I had since sold my original 23 to raise funds in order to buy an early style 73 bronco, and am glad to say that the empty place in my collection has been "re-gunned" with the same model that I enjoyed shooting so very much.

I have too many hobbies as it is, including but not limmited to: 4wheeling/dirtbikes, backpacking, golf, carpentry, hunting, rc planes and cars, sharing obnoxious opinions on the tfp page ;) etc. and decline to get so involved in the wonderful world of firearms that I would come accross as being... "moto" if you know what I mean.

Also, since I have never met Mr. Gaston Glock, and he has never had the chance to be an ***hole to me personally... I like my little 23.

Just to appease, I will add that I also like my Ruger, my Luger, my Marlin, Winchester, and my newly acquired Mosin-Nagant.

Man, buying things can be soooo dang addictive, you should see what's in my golf bag!

October 26, 2011 at 4:12 p.m.
rolando said...

Ping throughout, dao, or is that dating myself too badly? I haven't played since my knee went out...but I do have a few guns. Had a .45 ACP made by Singer Manu Co as an issue weapon. didn't know what I had. :)

The Kimber -- a ProCarry II Crimson -- is pricey today but I bought it for about half today's price [before the continuing highest demand for handguns in our history].

October 26, 2011 at 5:02 p.m.
dao1980 said...

Not at all rolando, ping has some of the best stuff out right now with the G20 line.

My golfn' buddy just traded all his old (G5 I think?) ping stuff in for a brand spankin' new set of the G20's, and that driver is awesome to say the very least.

Sorry to hear about a knee acting up, hope it gets more cooperative in time.

Wow, I had no idea how few and how rare the 1911's made by Singer were till I just looked it up. Heck, I didn't even know that Singer had made them. Thanks for the history tip, I love a good lead into something I hadn't previously investigated.

And that Kimber is nice! I hope to add something on that level to my collection some day.

October 26, 2011 at 5:41 p.m.
rolando said...

Only 500 made, dao. I used to tell guys it turned out 10 dresses a week. :) Last time I checked it was about $30k.

Lots of war stories...in '64 I almost bought one of 35 matched serial German-made P08s for $65 in Greece at the Rod&Gun Club. Bought an early-war Mauser [I think} P-38 instead -- $24. I couldn't afford the P-08! Sigh. I love that P-38. People don't recognize it on the firing range.

My left knee just couldn't stand up to the twisting...still can't. Gave away my clubs -- all but the $40 [at the time] Ping putter...it has a lovely 30-yr old patina. Couldn't give it up. It is sitting in the corner next to the AK-47. [Don't know which one I would save first.] :). I read somewhere Ping gives away a complete set to each returning, seriously wounded vet going into physical therapy rehab in Texas or somewhere. They do not advertise it.

Well enough fun stuff. Take care and be safe out there.

October 26, 2011 at 6:28 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

One more + on the Glocks for pure simplistic utilitarianism.

I've been carrying my Gen1 G22 for years. I've fired 10s of thousands of rounds through it, I've dropped it on concrete and asphalt multiple times, I've dunked it in the soup and filled it with mud while dirt biking and four wheeling countless times, I've drenched it with gallons of sweat, I've maintained with it with an indifference bordering on irresponsible(I clean and lube it once every 6 months whether it needs it or not) and, though it looks and occasionally smells funky, it still functions perfectly.

Point+squeeze=BANG, every time.

On a funny note, I once launched the old style non-captured type mainspring clear across the garage(25'+) during reassembly. Had to order a replacement online (the captured type this time) as I didn't find the flight article until years later.

October 27, 2011 at 12:29 a.m.
Walden said...

Try the Springfield Armory XD. Nice little gun. About a third less than the Glock, and every bit as good a performer.

October 27, 2011 at 9:11 a.m.
RShultz210 said...

dao1980 said... Hi there RShultz, I can appreciate your pride in one brand over another. The ugly part I would have to disagree with completely.

dao I just want to say that I appreciate your response as being more graceful and intelligent than I have seen in quite some time. I suppose my dislike for Glocks tends to have quite a bit more to do with quality and safety or the lack thereof so far as Glocks go. I would have to admit that ALL guns are pretty ugly if you're looking at them from the wrong end. :=( My main concerns with Glocks have to do with what Glock does to the weapon to ensure the high rate of reliablity for which they are famous. I just don't care for an usupported loosely machined chamber, to achieve what little advantage they have over American guns in misfeeds and things of that nature. And I absolutely refuse to use a weapon that lacks a manually engagable separate safety. I want know at all times that the safety is engaged and the weapon is unfireable when it is. And the multistage integrated with the trigger type safety just doesn't do it for me. I can't live with the idea that the gun will fire no matter what if it's loaded and there's a round chambered, and that there's no way to stop that from happening short of buying the specially made Glocks with the key lock safety built into them. Kimbers are decent weapons but like so many others are overpriced. My own favorite handgun, and the one I carry for self defense is the Fabrique National Herstal 5.7mm. It is light and eligently made,has almost no recoil but is the most powerful handgun in it's particular caliber available. It has a very high capacity magazine,(20) and the highest muzzle velocity (1750 ft/sec)that I ever heard of in a handgun, and excellent reliability. Of course it has it's faults also. It's overpriced ($1,000 +)and the ammo is expensive as well but I guess it comes down in the end to the same question for everyone, which is "What is my life worth to me?"

October 27, 2011 at 3:23 p.m.
Rocky_Top said...

Why does TN have so much gun violance? Drugs, Gangs and poverty. All the more reason for me to have a gun.

I have a glock. The safty on a glock does not scare me. People that walk around with a round chambered scare me.

October 27, 2011 at 8:05 p.m.
Rocky_Top said...

We could get rid of all the guns and knives. But if we did more people would die of rock and club violance.

My favorite Arche Bunker quote: Sally Struthers says "Did you know that over 20,000 people around the world are killed with guns every year?" Achy relies, " Would you prefer that they were pushed out of windows?" I am sure that if you take the guns away from the gangs they will find another way to kill each other.

Do you know how many people are killed every year in prisons with sharpened tooth brushes?

October 27, 2011 at 9:25 p.m.
RShultz210 said...

Rocky_Top said... Why does TN have so much gun violance? Drugs, Gangs and poverty. All the more reason for me to have a gun.

I have a glock. The safty on a glock does not scare me. People that walk around with a round chambered scare me.

No offense intended Rocky_Top, but people who walk around WITHOUT a round in the chamber are simply asking to get killed. While you're trying to rack a round into an empty chamber, "Bandana Boy" on the other end of the of the confrontation has already gotten off about 3 rounds at you because you're carrying a useless hunk of metal. No round chambered = fatal disadvantage. That being said, you are probably right in that people will simply find some other way to kill other even we succeed in taking away as many illegal guns as we possibly can. But I still feel it's a step in the right direction. And I also feel that making it easier for law-abiding people to carry a gun will reduce gun crime. Forcing people to pay to excercise what should be a right is just wrong and it should be abolished. There are many people who could probably scrape up the money to take a good gun safety course who can't afford the exorbitant $115 price tag on what should be their right instead of a privelidge they have to pay that high a price for.

October 28, 2011 at 1:19 p.m.
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