Self-deprecation is worth its weight in smoldering phoenix-ashes and baby unicorn tears.

I heard this story earlier today on the radio show I listen to, and was absolutely disgusted by it. I can't believe that people still think that we should loosen our gun laws.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Three men, including a small-town police chief, were indicted Thursday on involuntary manslaughter counts in the gun-fair death of an 8-year-old who accidentally shot himself in the head with an Uzi that a prosecutor said he never should have been allowed to handle.

The club where the fair was held also was charged. The fair had promised shooters would have certified instructors in an advertisement, but District Attorney William Bennett said the child, Christopher Bizilj, was supervised by an uncertified 15-year-old boy.

Bizilj, of Connecticut, lost control of the 9mm micro submachine gun as it recoiled while he was firing at a pumpkin Oct. 26 at a Firearms Expo in Massachusetts.[...]

Fleury and the club also were indicted on four counts each of furnishing a machine gun to a minor. A conviction on each count is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines and the loss of a firearms license for at least 10 years.

Bennett said prosecutors know of at least four children, including Bizilj, who fired automatic weapons at the fair. He added that Fleury had wrongly assured Guiffre and Spano that it was legal for children to use the Uzi under Massachusetts law.

"A Micro Uzi is made by and for the Israeli Armed Forces and is intended to meet the operational needs of Israeli Special Forces," Bennett said, noting the weapon has a rate of fire of 1,700 rounds per minute. "It is not a hunting weapon."[...]

The machine gun shoot drew hundreds of people to the sporting club's 375-acre compound. An advertisement said it would include machine gun demonstrations and rentals and free handgun lessons.

The ad also said children under 16 would be admitted free, and both adults and children were offered free .22-caliber pistol and rifle shooting.

Christopher's father was 10 feet behind him and reaching for his camera when the child fired the weapon.
I can't believe that people (that anyone) thought it was okay to put a machine gun in the hands of an eight-year-old child. I can't believe that anyone thought it was okay to put a fifteen-year-old child in charge of the machine guns. I can't believe that anyone thinks it's necessary for an average citizen needs a machine gun.
Can you imagine how that poor father feels? According to the story, he let his child use the Uzi because he had been 'assured it was safe' by the workers at the gun show, being told that it would be safer because of its diminutive size. And there he was, getting out his camera (no doubt to snap a picture of his young boy 'shootin' the gun') and instead witnessed the horror of watching his own child take a bullet in the head.
Our gun laws are an embarrassment. That we still hold these gun shows (or that we allow assault rifles and automatic weaponry to be sold at all) sickens me. We need, as a country, to seriously re-evaluate our gun laws and act accordingly. Hightened restrictions, longer waiting periods, age requirements - these are only a start to what needs to be done. Surely (just as the right to free speech or religion) our right to bear arms must contain some caveats and restrictions.

Comments (Page 1)
on Dec 05, 2008

First let me say I agree with your feeling of outrage.  I also agree that the organizers and executors of this type of fair should be held accountable...and punished.  But the thing that rankles me most is that we already have so many stupid weapons oriented laws on the books, please explain how adding to the list will fix stupid?  You cannot outlaw stupid, you cannot keep guns out of the hands of stupid, and when you make it harder for reasonable people to own guns, you increase the danger of stupid things happening.  I agree that fairs and "gun shows" need better policing, but not more laws.  There are more than enough gun laws on the books to prevent this kind of thing.  There are so many laws about guns that not even the law enforcement people know them all.  We have a simple system nationwide of licensing and regulating commercial truck drivers...seems to me that a very thin, simple, comprehensive code book could be developed to regulate the ownership, transfer of ownership, transport and use of firearms...without infringing on the rights of law abiding citizens who want to own weapons.

But stupid will always be in the mix.  Stupid let his kid shoot a submachine gun.  Stupid let HIS kid operate a machine gun range.  Stupid no doubt issued whatever permit or license that was required for the fair without insuring public safety.  Stupid did not have adequate safety monitoring to insure public safety.  I will bet ya that a search of local, state and federal codes will find laws or regulations requiring all the above.

on Dec 05, 2008

I am not a big gun fan and I won't have one in my house.  I know there are families out there who teach and live proper gun safety with their children (Tova comes to mind), and I can't say I think that's wrong.  I just know that for my own family, guns are not an option. 

I think generally, people AREN'T safe about weapon storage and use in the home.  Obviously, based on the news story you posted, "professionals" aren't much better.

on Dec 05, 2008

I am a propenent of owning weapons, but anyone that would put any kind of deadly weapon in the hands of an eight year old should be..... well..... SHOT!!!

on Dec 05, 2008

SC you're going on emotion here.  Yes, if we go by emotion we should outlaw the guns because these types of things do happen on occasion.  We don't want even one kid hurt or killed. 

But there is something much more sinister here to think about.  Giving up our guns or making it harder for the average Joe to obtain them is not a good thing especially as our world gets more and more messed up.   It is our right to protect ourselves.  You take the guns away and we become very very vulnerable.  Freedoms usually do cost us something.  Freedom is seldom free. 

As already stated, stupid people do stupid stuff.  In this case this dad made an awful choice that resulted in an awful tragic ending.  Making a law is not going to stop that from happening.  We know that kids die in cars because parents don't buckle them up.  We know kids under the drinking age drink and drive. Kids smoke pot and do drugs.  All illegal.  We hear about kids burning down houses.  Should we outlaw matches?  Why are we always going after guns?  I'd dare to guess that drugs and alcohol are killing kids at a faster rate than the guns are. 

Think about this:

In 1929, the  Soviet Union  established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

In 1911,  Turkey  established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Many, many people were rounded up and exterminated because of gun control over the years. 

We need to learn from history.  We need to hang onto our guns.  We most likely are going to need them one day. 



 

 

 

on Dec 05, 2008

I can't believe that people (that anyone) thought it was okay to put a machine gun in the hands of an eight-year-old child. I can't believe that anyone thought it was okay to put a fifteen-year-old child in charge of the machine guns.

I am with you on this. Just goes to show just how idiotic some people really are.

I can't believe that anyone thinks it's necessary for an average citizen needs a machine gun.

But if you are to take away peoples rights to weapons because a few of them are irresponsible and stupid when it comes to children and guns, then maybe we should take the children away from people as well. I mean yes guns have been part of many situations where children were innocently killed (drive-bys, no gun locks and accesible to children, teaching children to use guns at a young age, etc), but then children die at the hands of adults with or without guns in the mix (reckless driving, child abuse, accidental falls, reckless endangerment, forgetting or ignoring about the child). It's extreme to take 1 example to complete elimite that which is considered a right to all Americans that qualify to own a gun.

 

on Dec 05, 2008

Gun laws don't have much to do with this.  This was simply an act of stupidity on the adults part.  Stricter gun laws don't prevent stupid people from doing stupid things, just in the same way they don't stop criminals from obtaining or using guns.

 

on Dec 05, 2008

Gun laws don't have much to do with this.  This was simply an act of stupidity on the adults part.  Stricter gun laws don't prevent stupid people from doing stupid things, just in the same way they don't stop criminals from obtaining or using guns.

By way of negation of these comments, strict gun laws completely remove the chance of this incident happening.

For reals.

Australia doesn't even have gun shows, so it is impossible for a child to handle an automatic or semi-automatic weapon at a gun show.

on Dec 05, 2008

Australia doesn't even have gun shows, so it is impossible for a child to handle an automatic or semi-automatic weapon at a gun show.

I'm glad you brought up Australia. 

In Australia the citizens were forced by new laws to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. 

The first year results of this show that Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent.  Assaults are up 8.6 percent.  Armed robberies are up 44 percent.  In the state of  Victoria  alone,  homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent.   It's interesting to note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not.

Guns in the hands of honest law abiding citizens saves lives and property.  History backs this up. 

I've heard it said:

With Guns we are citizens

Without Guns we are subjects. 

I tend to agree even though I've never owned a gun.  I appreciate those who do and will fight for them to keep their right to arm themselves and me if necessary. 


on Dec 05, 2008

I have to agree with Big Fat Daddy.

While it's easy to say we need a law and assume that will take care of the problem, it is also naive.

All the gun laws on the books, even 'strict' laws (whatever that means ... I think for the most part gun laws are strict. You generally don't get off easy for a gun violation) don't do squat if:

(1) those laws are not enforced adequately, and

(2) stupidity continues to exist, which you can't legislate out of existence.

 

It is also naive to think that all people, including criminals, will voluntarily give up their guns to authorities upon request. In addition to the example given by KFC, there are other stories with similar results.

For the criminals who do not give up their guns, it's a Blue Light Special for quite some time in the crime business.

on Dec 05, 2008

The first year results of this show that Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent.  Assaults are up 8.6 percent.

I assume you're referring to the gun law reforms following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, where 35 innocent people were killed and 21 wounded by a single gunman? Using the logic of the War on Terror, the fact that there has not been a similar massacre since proves that the gun laws have been a rousing success.

Using more conventional logic, and looking at figures a little newer than 1997 (11 years ago!), we can see that:

In 2005-06, there were 283 incidents of homicide, resulting in 301 victims and committed by 336 offenders. Since 2001-02, there has been a downward trend in the incidence of homicide, however during the current year, it has increased by 14% compared to 2004-05. This represents an increase of 34 homicide incidents. The overall trend in the incidence of homicide has remained stable over the 17-year period since the Australian Institute of Criminology began monitoring in 1989. Source: aic.gov.au

On another note, KFC said that that homicides were up 3.2%. My response: so? In 2005-06, there were 301 homicide-related deaths - an increase of 14% on the previous year. A 3 per cent rise is about 9 people, which is hardly statistically significant. As a point of comparison, California had 2,503 in the same period but has twice as many people.*

It is also naive to think that all people, including criminals, will voluntarily give up their guns to authorities upon request. In addition to the example given by KFC, there are other stories with similar results.

For the criminals who do not give up their guns, it's a Blue Light Special for quite some time in the crime business.

Criminals aren't so much the problem. Organised crime doesn't gun down shopping malls, because they understand that organisation is important. It's the nutters and the casual criminal who get targeted by gun laws. Restrict supply, you restrict usage. Restrict usage, restrict abuse. Restrict abuse, restrict collateral damage. You can cause a lot less damage with a knife than you can a gun.

*California's gun control is a joke compared to what an island state with effective border controls and a national policy can achieve, so I doubt it's statistically significant. If the US has a state or set of states more comparable to Australia in size (20 million) and composition (predominately urban/suburban) I'd appreciate seeing what equivalent figures are. I'm guessing LA heavily affects California's, but I couldn't think of another so close in general make-up and psychology to Australia.

on Dec 05, 2008

Stricter gun laws don't prevent stupid people from doing stupid things, just in the same way they don't stop criminals from obtaining or using guns.

So true. Every jail there is has at least one bullet hole in it where some idiot cop accidently discharged his firearm while playing with -the jail I work at included. There will ALWAYS be stupid people!

on Dec 06, 2008

The OP favors tightened gun control.  Some of the pro-gun dissenters say we can't legislate against stupidity, and therefore suggest we don't try.  But we legislate against stupidity all the time.  The high taxes we place on cigarettes is one example.  The argument that there will always be stupid people is a weak argument.  There will always be crime, so we should not legislate against it?  The pro-gun dissenters do better arguing the "more guns, less crime" and "government is the real thing to fear" arguments. 

To KFC's point the OP is "going on emotion here," so are you, KFC.  It's just that your emotion is fear and the OP's emotion is disgust.

The OP is frustrated with gun shows in particular.  How did the kids obtain their weapons for the massacre at Columbine?  A gun show.  I am a moderate on the gun control issue, and I think there is common ground to be found.  The area I focus on is gun shows because that is where gun-control is basically a joke.  Proponents of the 2nd Amendment need to get on-board with tightening control of gun shows otherwise they may find public opinion swinging against them.  I think often the gun advocates think the problem is a bad apple (stupid person) instead of seeing the problem is a bad barrel (gun shows).

on Dec 06, 2008

Guns should at least be as hard to obtain as crack cocaine. Hmm....maybe I better re-think that.  

on Dec 06, 2008

Some of the pro-gun dissenters say we can't legislate against stupidity, and therefore suggest we don't try.

 

I don't think it's a question of not trying, but more that you can't legislate stupidity out of existence.

You can pass laws which will make it more difficult for stupid people to do stupid things, but the more effective way to stop or lessen stupid choices, decisions, or actions is through education about proper choices along with better enforcement of existing laws. I believe that is the current method espoused by many as the proper way to deal with teen pregnancy, for example. As many consider it futile to try to prevent teens from having sex, education is believed to be the best way to prevent stupid choices, decisions, or actions.

As far as 'tightening' vs. 'enforcing' gun laws, is this two ways of saying the same thing? Does tightening mean enforcing? Or does it mean adding new laws?

While the meaning of 'enforcing' existing laws is apparent, 'tightening' gun laws is so vague as to make one wonder if the use of the term is deliberate so as to obfuscate the agenda of those proposing it as a solution.

Exactly how do you 'tighten' a law? That term might suggest loose laws, as in loopholes perhaps. If there are exemptions for gun laws at particular venues or for particular people (aside from law enforcment, obviously), that's something that should be looked at; if those exemptions or 'loopholes' put people at risks that wouldn't be normally possible in the absence of the exemption.

The problem I believe some people have with the term 'tighten' is that it seems to suggest adding more laws without any consideration to proper enforcement of existing laws.

 

on Dec 06, 2008

I hear you, Pictoratus.  I'm not thinking we can legislate stupidity out of existence, but what I'm talking about is a systems approach.  We make changes to the system so it is less likely for an uzi to end up in the hands of an eight year-old.  So often after something like this people focus on punishing the individuals.  Believe me, I support punishing them, but that is only the start.  If we want to decrease the frequency with which this occurs, we need to change the system.  That's why I advocate increased gun control at gun shows.

Let’s say a young child is hit crossing the street to school.  We should punish the driver, but then prevent future tragedies at the same location by establishing a crossing zone, assigning a crossing guard before and after school, and setting up warning signage/lights.  That’s the difference between a punitive approach and a systems approach.

As to the 'tightening' vs 'enforcing existing' gun laws angle, you are right.  To a large degree they are saying the same thing.  The difference is 'tightening' is a term which would include new legislation whereas the 'enforcing existing' clause precludes new legislation. 

You are right that some people use the term "tighten' without any consideration to proper enforcement of existing laws.  I am not such a person however.  I would like to see both increased regulation (more laws) about gun shows in particular as well as increased enforcement of existing laws.

 

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