Black Guns After the Sandy Hook Shooting

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

guns (Getty Images/Getty)

Michael Moss, New York Times reporter, talks about the use of firearms in Newtown, Connecticut, and how resistant the area has been to gun control.

Constitutional law professor at UCLA and author of: Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America (W. W. Norton & Company, 2011)

Adam Winkler, Constitutional law professor at UCLA and author of:  Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America, explains what we know about the weapons allegedly used by the shooter Adam Lanza, what black rifles are and why they are so popular.



Michael Moss

Comments [62]

Jim from Williamsburg

WNYC (who I listen to 5 hours a day): You head a story on "Black Guns", which is a dumb term used to describe the black plasticy guns like an AR-15, by depicting an absolutely stunning brace of beautifully engraved, double barreled,side-by-side SPORTING shotguns that bring to mind Coggy old British bird shooters in tweeds, Wellies and Jodphurs. Quite serene-- AND AS USUAL ABSOLUTELT IGNORANT OF ANY TRUE REFERENCE.
It is just endlessly tiring how ignorant WNYC is on this subject--and the likes of Brian Lehrer (et al) ignorantly droning on and on about in the most predjudicial manner possible..........
Why don't law abiding sportsman and sportswomen who are as stunned, hurt and shocked by the CT shootings as anyone else, and even more so, want ignorant people legislating firearms? The past week is a fine example. At least study your "enemy". Shame on you all.

Dec. 21 2012 06:25 PM
Jim from Williamsburg

Francis Mead from NYC: Your "facts" are incorrect.
I went to University in London. Daytime beat cops do not carry weapons. After nightfall you will find carloads (literally) of Bobbys armed with H&K Sub machine guns and 9MM pistols: That is a fact.
I was a bouncer in London for 4 years and I can tell you for a fact that the British are an extremely violent bunch whose pastime is beating each other to red bloody bits after last call is announced.
It is extremely hard for even the stoggyish black crow (Rook) hunter to get a sporting shotgun permit. And furthermore, any self respecting gang in Britain has full access to illegal rifles, sawed-off shotguns, handguns-(and worse), stolen / smuggled FULLY AUTOMATIC military REAL assault rifles (not the semi-auto wannabe "assault rifles" we have here).
These are absolute facts I have witnessed and researched, as I was studying law and criminal justice in the UK. In fact,I had this very discussion with the highest and most respected legal figure in England, The Right Honorable Lord Denning. Lord Denning told me he was absolutely dismayed at the level of violence then in Britain.
Sorry, but this ongoing "story" about how serene Britain is because they have outlawed guns is an absolute fallacy.

Dec. 21 2012 06:14 PM

I'm certain that the pharmaceutical companies have a hand in diverting the media's attention away from prescription drugs and toward guns every time these mass shootings occur.

Dec. 19 2012 01:38 AM

This sums up what some of you have been saying quite nicely..

Dec. 19 2012 12:30 AM
Ben from Long Island

When you delegate your right to self-defense to the state (ie, the police, the military), you've ultimately given it up. The only thing the police will guarantee is that they'll take a nice high resolution photo of your body at location of the crime scene.

Dec. 18 2012 10:41 PM
Julie G. from Los Angeles

Why not mandate the gun and ammunition industry to be a part of the solution? Just as alcohol and automobiles don't mix, or manufacturing companies need to meet (or face fines) EPA guidelines, the gun industry can no longer consider these acts or the acts that occur every day in our inner cities, the cost of doing business. Responsible and reasonable gun ownership is only part of the problem, and gun owners and the industry as a whole need to face penalties each time one of their "products" is "used" improperly.

Dec. 18 2012 08:51 PM

Isn't it the "rumor" that progressive WNYC listeners (and show producers) are all about the facts?؟

Gun-related violent crimes drop as sales soar in Va.
© 2012 Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012 11:20 pm | Updated: 9:43 am, Sun Nov 25, 2012.


Dec. 18 2012 07:57 PM

George is absolutely right! For a society that doesn't make the slightest noise over the murder of children in Yemen or Pakistan by drone strike on a regular basis, you really have some nerve criticizing peaceful and responsible gun owners.

Dec. 18 2012 06:56 PM
Kelly from NYC

@Donald_S: But it would be disadvantageous for us to go after a leftist institution like Hollywood. If they stopped producing movies that promote gun violence, they'll soon go bankrupt. Whatever will we do if celebrities stopped bankrolling our campaigns?

Dec. 18 2012 06:39 PM

Another reason, I believe, that people want military style assault weapons is due to product placement in the movies.

Dec. 18 2012 06:04 PM

Pretty sure hjs11211 was cheering when FBI and ATF burned 26 children to death at Waco, or when our drones kill children in sovereign countries.

Dec. 18 2012 05:47 PM

This has been insightful..

Dec. 18 2012 05:31 PM

George your link to teabagger garabage was a waste of my time. 3 minutes i'll never get back.
boo on you!!

Dec. 18 2012 04:01 PM

George who was i defending?
if anything i'm blaming us all!

Dec. 18 2012 03:49 PM

It's people like you that defend these monsters that need help..

Dec. 18 2012 01:26 PM

@ RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey:

Spare me your obfuscation. A Bushmaster 223 can easily be converted to fully automatic. In fact, there's a youtube video showing anyone how to do it.

Who are you kidding.

Dec. 18 2012 12:59 PM
Leslie Reed Shields from Oyster Bay NY

To shed some larger light on the violence in Newtown Ct., I think it would be helpful to have Judith Butler on your show. She is a Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the UC Berkeley and wrote a book entitled Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence, after post-9-11; assessing the US policies to wage perpetual war and calls for a deeper understanding of how mourning and violence might instead inspire solidarity and a quest for global justice. What happened in Newtown and our response which appears now to be to arm oneself rather than to understand our vulnerability,rawness and grief in the moment, needs a community response of care, compassion and thoughtful engagement with each other and nationally. Please consider her perspective that 'without the capacity to mourn we lose that keener sense of life we need in order to oppose violence."

Dec. 18 2012 12:34 PM

@Sarah -

What about swords? As a trained fencer, I could easily kill as many as I could catch...It's not the weapon but the will to use it wrongly.

This whole event is beginning to feel too much like karma...

(and I am not proud that I am beginning to feel this way)

Dec. 18 2012 12:14 PM

please get help soon!

Dec. 18 2012 11:49 AM
edguardo from nyc

The second amendment was not meant for home intruders or hunting. It was meant to keep govt in check. People are still under the impression that the gov't is the people. Try getting a FOIA request on Obama's kill list. He already has the blood of a 16yr old American citizen on his hands. Habeas corpus has already been done away with. Now they're coming for the guns owned by civilians.

Dec. 18 2012 11:44 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I'm glad Brian & 1 of the guests discussed how many more people are killed one by one with guns in the U.S. than in mass killings. Pres. Obama asked if shootings like the ones in Newtown & Aurora were going to become routine, but single shootings already are routine. In a way, it's kind of like how people are afraid to fly even though they're much more likely to be killed in a car crash than in a plane crash. More people die in a single incident, but many more die overall in multiple smaller incidents, & those are somehow more acceptable.

Dec. 18 2012 11:41 AM
Thomas from Bburg

What about media's responsibility for creating a spectacle out of this tragic event. Children are very influenced by such sensationalism.

Dec. 18 2012 11:32 AM
Roberrt from NYC

Check out Democracy Now show today and listen to the woman from Australia discuss the laws that were passed there where there is a strong hunting/gun culture. The law was put in place after a mass murder that took place in 1996. It's an excellent law and covers lots of what a recent caller brought up about going after background checks on mental health and other concerns. It's not one of the "sissy" laws like the Feinstein bill will be.

Dec. 18 2012 11:32 AM

Ugh... you guys should be banned from talking about guns.

Take what you traditionally know as a hunting rifle. Replace the wood with modern materials. That's an AR-15. It's just as deadly. One trigger pull, one shot. No difference. They're very popular because they're modern, look cool (if you're a gun person), are customizable and they're more comfortable for some people to shoot.

Once you understand a few facts around guns (differences between semi-auto and auto, wood guns and black guns, what a magazine is and what a clip is, what the AWB did, etc) all of these policy decisions based on guns look laughable.

Background checks, making it (a little) tougher to get guns, more training, these are things everyone (even the NRA) can agree on.

Dec. 18 2012 11:32 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

The last caller is right - there are probably hundreds of working class, black, and brown kids that get killed with illegal handguns - for every one child in the suburbs that's killed in a mass shooting, with a so-called assault rifle.

Dec. 18 2012 11:31 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

You want people to get sick of and turned off by the M-16? Draft them into the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) and make the go on reserve duty one month for every year on the Gaza border till age 43 and they'll lose their fascination with M-16s and all other assault weapons. The people who are fascinated by military weapons are the ones who DON'T carry them into real war zones very frequently. They just play soldier in suburbs and in videogames. If they were required to carry them all the time into dangerous areas, they might actually lose interest in them when back in civilian life.

Dec. 18 2012 11:31 AM

Coastal elites? #meme

Dec. 18 2012 11:30 AM
Leo from queens

Hi Brian, that is the point!. The NRA is promoting this narrative that the government is tyrannical and that they are coming for your guns and they are building this self fulfilling prophecy that the government is going to take away your weapons

Dec. 18 2012 11:30 AM
Francis Mead from NYC

In response to Ina Brennan - can comment on the UK currently. About 20 years ago the UK had a similar massacre to the Newtown incident, the government then simply banned all hand guns. (You can have guns at sports places I think). In addition, the vast majority police officers are not armed - and it's important to note that the police do not want to be armed - since they know that this will start and arms race and escalate violence. There are special armed units that can be brought in - and anti-terrorist police are armed and so on. And as I posted just earlier the rate of gun homicide in the US is currently 90 times higher per population than the UK.

Dec. 18 2012 11:29 AM
john from office

People have a right to bear arms, as americans. But the society has a right and duty to regulate that ownership. There have to be limits, should you be able to have a tank, a howitzer ?? no it would be ridiculous, same goes for an AR 15.

Dec. 18 2012 11:28 AM

This guy sounds like a complete idiot. Dumb people should never attempt analogizing: cars, rotary phone, etc. Where does he live that riots & mobs would pop up? Maybe he's readying himself for the coming zombieapocalypse. With his logic he'd feel justified spraying a flash mob...of dances of course.

Thank you Brian for trying to reign in the conversation back to a rational point yet again; however that was willfully ignorant and aggressively stupid. So now gun wackos are are asserting elitist aka Bloomberg want to take away your high powered guns b/c of class?!! If listening to stupid people could make you dumber, I will be eating my salad with a gun.

Dec. 18 2012 11:28 AM
Nick from UWS

When a crime like this occurs, gun enthusiasts always talk about the details of the weapons used, but never about what was done with them. They are completely emotionally disconnected from these issues.

Dec. 18 2012 11:27 AM
emjayay from Brooklyn

AR-15 owner Tuvia from the Rockaways just called in and talked for some minutes. His claim was that people should have semi-automatic weapons because they like them and because they are modern technology. We don't use typrwriters and dial phones anymore. (Maybe we would if laptops and cell phones could put 11 bullets in a little kid in a half a minute). And of course you might just need them to defend yourself against a riot in the street. (Because when you come across all those riots in the streets you will be carrying an AR-15?) Very slight pushback from Brian Lehrer.

Whew, now an ex military AR-15 owner is explaining that people (not him - he just wants to keep up his military skills) have them because it's fun and you can pretend to be Rambo and they are not needed for anything.

Dec. 18 2012 11:27 AM
Janet from Westchester

Let's face it guys - guns are pecker extenders! Males always feel they need
more firepower. Erectile disfunction is rampant in this country - they even
sell testosterone to put under your arms like deodorant. Jeez!

Dec. 18 2012 11:25 AM
steve from queens

Brian: it is very obvious why they want to own these: little penis syndrome. They need something to compensate for their shallow masculinity. Some people do it with big knives, trucks with big wheels, or a lot of gold chains around there neck. it is all part of the same classification: little penis syndrome and the need to compensate.

Dec. 18 2012 11:25 AM
Nick from UWS

Nobody talks about the roles that sheer stupidity, fetishism, and psychosexual or "manhood" problems play in the gun problem in this country.

Dec. 18 2012 11:25 AM
Karen from NYC

A middle-aged, middle-class women in a Westchester suburb told me last evening that she opposed automatic weapons bans and was teaching her teenage daughter to shoot a gun. Clearly (although I didn't ask), she has guns in the house.

I asked, "Why do you need a gun? To defend yourself against the revolution?" "Maybe," she answered, with what I think she believed was "knowing" look.

My take-away is that even seemingly normal people are paranoid. Westchester? The revolution? Arming yourself against invaders from Rockland County?

We need to override these attitudes and establish a sane gun control policy.

Dec. 18 2012 11:25 AM

yes brian most of these gun enthusiasts* are crazy

*not real hunters (who eat the meat) or hand gun owners

guys who compare weapons of war to typewriters are CRAZY!
guys who shoot kids for loud radio playing are CRAZY!
moms who teach violent children to play with guns are CRAZY!

Dec. 18 2012 11:25 AM
Bobby G from East Village

The self defense argument is false. If you have a gun you have to be prepared to shoot first or you are dead.

When I was held up at gunpoint I gave up my belongings, and it took 15 seconds. Had I had a gun it would have become a bloody, deathly horror.

Dec. 18 2012 11:24 AM

On the Second Amendment perhaps we should embrace the originalist approach. A Revolutionary War era musket could fire three aimed rounds per minute. I am all for musket rights. But if the shooter at Sandy Hook only had a musket available to him, I think it is evident that we would have a lot fewer parents of six and seven year olds in mourning this week.

Dec. 18 2012 11:24 AM
RJ from prospect hts

What's interesting in this discussion is that people talk praisingly about how lovely and safe Newtown has been. "Safe" always comes up. And now we find that a lot of people in this safe town have bought assault and other gun weapons. Why is it that so many people in the U.S. seem to feel this fear when (sometimes questionable, admittedly) crime statistics show massive drops in crime? FDR had said "The only thing to fear is fear itself." I think fear has been instilled deeply in the current American culture--the apocalyptic political ads, the conspiracy theorists, the NRA (and other) organizations that emphasize widespread, illusory dangers, the fears presented by TV shows like 24, the CSIs, Criminal Minds ... I enjoy a good mystery, but these are suggestions of conspiracy or serial episodes which, I believe, are highly unusual--much more so than actually occrs.

Dec. 18 2012 11:23 AM

I think the caller who defends gun ownership because of "flash mobs" is wrong on almost everything.

But his point about wealthy, privileged New Yorkers being granted rights to carry concealed weapons is correct. NYPD greet _peaceful_ protesters raising concerns about Wall Street crimes with riot gear and automatic weapons. Bloomberg is accompanied everywhere by numerous heavily armed guards. Famously, Felix Rohatyn (or some similar figure) was granted a right to carry a concealed weapon while Larry Flynt — who was indeed the victim of a murder attempt that left him paralyzed — was denied a right to carry a concealed gun. Nat Hentoff or Tom Robbins ran a story on the NYPD's double-standard several years ago.

Dec. 18 2012 11:23 AM

Anyone notice how silent the NRA has been?
The silence is deafening.

Dec. 18 2012 11:22 AM
Leo from Queens

Please dial this NRA number and decide whether this is a Second Amendment rights organization or a political organization of whether this is a hate group set on instilling fear of the government and promoting a world view in which we are inevitably going to have to defend ourselves against a tyrannical government 1-(800) 672-3888

Everyone on this thread should dial the following number from the NRA and when prompted press 1, 2, or 3. While you wait to speak to a live person you will hear a vitriolic hateful message about how OBAMA (not the president) is working to take away ALL that we take as our freedoms and how he is allowing the drug cartels (Never mind that the NRA is enabling the trafficking of guns and ammunition to Mexico in order to expand the profits of the gun lobby).

It is very clear that the NRA is not an organization promoting gun safety or hunting or protecting Second Amendment rights. This is an organization set on promoting violence and irrational distrust of the government in order to promote the sales of military and war weapons.

THe NRA is a terrorist/criminal organization

Dec. 18 2012 11:20 AM
JMD from Westchester

I can't believe I am living among these people!

Dec. 18 2012 11:18 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Is the AR15 a hunting gun? Or the hunter is wanting ground Deer meat.

Dec. 18 2012 11:18 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

There is no legitimate reason for a person to have an AR-15 in their home, period.

Dec. 18 2012 11:17 AM
resident alien from Williamsburg

Since when do kids & moms need assault rifles for target practice?
Whatever happened to BB guns?
Maybe, we need better BB guns?

Shooting guns can be fun. It's the clean up afterwards that's a bitch.

Dec. 18 2012 11:17 AM

everyone has one? where is mine?
men and their toys....

Dec. 18 2012 11:15 AM
Francis Mead from NYC

Just a correction on one of the country figures. Looking at the latest figures from the WHO for the UK and OAS figures for the US - the US figure for gun homicides is not 25 times the rate in the UK it's actually 90 times the rate. Homicide rate for gun homicides in the US: 3.7. For the UK: 0.4.

Dec. 18 2012 11:14 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Mike Bloomberg talks night day about gun control. I have yet to hear him on the issue of mental health in this country and the lack of funding that and might help those who may be dangerous without medical help.
Mike is a hypocrite.

Dec. 18 2012 11:10 AM
Eli Friedmann from astoria

brian all i have to say is those comparative stats you just reeled off are simply mind blowing, even tho i more or less knew them already. shocking and sad stuff. we have a lot of work to do as a country.

Dec. 18 2012 11:10 AM

cerberus capital is rushing to sell its bushmaster brand (while sales are high?)
the moral path, would be to discontinue the brand not just $elling it to a new owner.
isn't cerberus just cashing in, and making profit off the deaths in CT?

Dec. 18 2012 11:04 AM
Mike from LIC

Any argument made by the pro gun, NRA folks is undercut by the fate of Adam Lanza's mother. A law abiding citizen who owned a gun for own protection and was killed in her own home, by her own gun, by her own son. And to the congressman who,"wished to God that that principal had a M4". Why not wish to God that Miss Lanza had not had a unsecured arsenal in home.

Dec. 18 2012 10:59 AM

Check out- "In 2011, NRA Shot Down CT Law To Limit 30-Shot Magazines" and "Bush Signed 2005 Law Protecting Gun Makers From Being Sued"
They are above the law.

Dec. 18 2012 10:49 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Any chance of America implementing 'manufacture on demand'? A new gun is produced ONLY when a valid buyer has declared their intent to purchase. Would that just flood the domestic market with imports? Could the same restriction be put on imports? What is the ratio between legal and 'illegal', that is unregistered, guns here in America.

Dec. 18 2012 10:47 AM

re Joe:

I agree we should regulate guns, but...

As Joseph Stalin famously quipped: "Ideas are more powerful than guns". Listen to Right Wing talk radio for a few mornings instead of Brian and tell me again that guns are much more dangerous than the speech of some people.

Dec. 18 2012 10:42 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

@Joe from nearby

"Second Amendment- we don't regulate GUNS even though they are much more DANGEROUS than speech."

Drop the hyperbole. There are dozens of laws restricting the use and ownership of firearms. Tried to by a fully automatic weapon lately?

The NRA (or its adherents) are going to be a part of solution that will BEGIN to get these weapons off our streets.

Dec. 18 2012 10:36 AM

I get such a kick out of all the righty wingnuts who despise the "dirty unions"...

.........unless that union happens to be the NRA.

Dec. 18 2012 10:31 AM
Joe from nearby

First Amenedment- we regulate SPEECH through criminal laws like Harassment & Threats laws.

Second Amendment- we don't regulate GUNS even though they are much more DANGEROUS than speech.

What is wrong with this picture, folks?
It is high time for a big change.

Dec. 18 2012 10:21 AM
Ina Brennan from Astoria, NY

Gun control issues set me thinking of its history. Why was the right to bear arms included in the Bill of Rights. At that time I would have thought almost all people had guns to provide food, aganst Indian attacks. After all, the coutry had frontiers. It wasn't unusual to have a rifle. Perhaps it springs from our European ancestry. Were people allowed guns in England and Europe at that time? Was it unusual in Europe for someone to have a gun. I'm asking if anyone knows the origin of including it in the Bill of Rights and what was the situation in Europe at that time. Or even what is it now in European countries.

Dec. 18 2012 10:17 AM
Vinny from White Plains

Time to name names. Cut n Paste in to as many blogs and F.B. pages as you can. These are the ones who deserve shame!
List of CEO's of Major American Gun Makers:

Smith & Wesson
P. James Debney (CEO), Jeffrey D. Buchanan (CFO), Leland A. Nichols (COO)


Michael O Fifer - CEO
Stephen L Sanetti - Vice Chairman
President, General Counsel

Freedom Group (Maker of Bushmaster rifle, owner of Remington. Marlin firearms)

Robert Nardelli
Stephen P. Jackson


Ted Torbeck, Pres./CEO
Stephen P. Jackson Jr., CFO


Owners: Zilkha & Co. owned by Donald Zilkha

Dec. 18 2012 09:42 AM

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