MO’s regular Wednesday contributor’s columns are intended as an alternative to our usual straight motorcycle reviews and discussions. There is always a motorcycle connection to them, however tenuous, but they are first and foremost intended to be free-range editorial space. Last week we presented John Burns’ take on a current hot-button issue, and his “Guns And Moto” column touched off a blaze of controversy resulting in more than 130 reader comments. It also struck columnist Chris Kallfelz, who claims he tried to put Burns’ piece out of his head but wrote this column anyway. He expresses a different view of the gun issue. 

I feel it is important to note that John, Chris and myself are all patriotic citizens, gun owners, and U.S. Army veterans. Our opinions may differ from issue to issue, but our loyalty is always with our fellow citizens and motorcyclists.

—Sean Alexander, Editorial Director, multiple firearm owner, patriot, veteran, MOron

When I was growing up motorcycles were regarded as dangerous, and firearms were regarded as a rite of passage for a young man. This would explain why I grew up hunting squirrels rather than doing berm shots on an XR75. Make no mistake, I wanted an XR75 or an RM80 in the worst sort of way, but due to the judgment of the adult charged with seeing that I made it to early adulthood without harming myself or others, I got a .22 and a 20-gauge instead. I am not complaining, it worked out for the best in my estimation.

This was normal, well, insofar as being raised by a Korean War-era Marine Corps staff sergeant could be considered normal. Today, not so much maybe, but back then it was. We were surrounded by former this and former that, all guys who’d served in Korea or WWII; they were our fathers, our school administrators, and our scout masters – they were the people in charge. This was not out of the ordinary. First you got a pocket knife and a BB rifle, and hopefully demonstrated you were not a complete halfwit, and then you progressed on to rifles, shotguns, and what not.

You had to show you were responsible enough to keep the weapon clean, use it properly, and generally act as though you were the product of 50,000 years of evolution with a brain in your head – rules that work pretty well for a bike, by the way. Violating any of these rules was subject to the harshest of punishments up to and including said firearm vaporizing before your very eyes for the duration of your natural life. Some of us progressed on to main battle tanks and race bikes. This was an odd world by today’s standards: Kids were less regulated back then, firearms were less regulated back then, and anybody improperly using a weapon was unusual and quickly corrected. The bikes would come in time.

Evil assault weapon punching holes in evil assault target. Note other implements of destruction nearby. These people should be caged or stuffed in an M1 turret.

Evil assault weapon punching holes in evil assault target. Note other implements of destruction nearby. These people should be caged or stuffed in an M1 turret.

I have been paid by others to sell two things in my life. The first was firearms, the second was motorcycles. I am not a natural salesman; I don’t think my personality really lends itself to sales. I am however one heck of an enthusiast, I have no problem sharing that enthusiasm with others of a like mind and trying to help them find something that best suits them. And for as long as I can remember, I have been surrounded by guns and bikes. I was pretty good at selling both of them. Selling firearms and fishing gear helped pay for my first streetbike. Selling bikes later on helped pay for college.

In a way, to my twisted way of thinking anyway, the appreciation of a fine weapon and a well prepared bike is much the same. Fabrique Nationale (FN) and Yoshimura-Suzuki turn out works of art in my opinion. I have an FN bolt action in my gun safe, I had two FN M240 machine guns on my tank, I have a Yoshimura AMA SuperSport-spec bike in my basement. Weird, eh? All are purpose-built pieces of machinery, all require a healthy respect in handling and operating, all exhibit a high attention to detail and craftsmanship and are uncompromising in their quality standards. They are, in short, mechanically satisfying. To my eyes they are art. They work like it too.

A fine lever-action or a single-action sidearm is as beautiful as a well prepped race bike to my eye.

A fine lever-action or a single-action sidearm is as beautiful as a well prepped race bike to my eye.

I’m firmly convinced John Browning and Soichiro Honda were geniuses. I have over the years shot some really good weapons, and ridden and raced really good bikes. I love the smell of two-stroke premix, race fuel, and cordite. I get offended when anyone uses a weapon or a motorcycle badly, I get offended at the stereotypes bandied about. I think they are undeserved. The “biker” stereotype, or the “squid” stereotype, or the “gun nut” stereotype. Inevitably, I find us – and by “us” I mean the vast majority of us who use firearms or motorcycles both legally and wisely – lumped in with these one-dimensional portrayals in a way that is neither fair nor accurate.

The people propounding these stereotypes inevitably call for something to be done about these, “squids,” or, “bikers,” or, “gun nuts.” They demand more restrictions, they want to legislate for the lowest common denominator, this despite the fact that previous efforts have produced negligible or nonexistent positive outcomes. They want more rules. More rules serve as a disincentive to anyone who wants to partake in the activity in question. That is kind of their point. They demand something be done without giving any thought to what the problem is. I suspect they will get more rules, and we will all be still left wondering why they are ineffective, and what is to be done about this. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Stereotype Buster: My peace-loving Quaker middle-school teaching wife (then my girlfriend) putting lead on target.

Stereotype Buster: My peace-loving Quaker middle-school teaching wife (then my girlfriend) putting lead on target.

That said, I just want to be clear for all those that have always followed the rules. I am not going to take ownership or feel in any way culpable for a society that misuses cars, motorcycles, firearms, or any other nonsense. I have been around firearms my entire life, I have been trained in their use and I have trained others. I am as comfortable around them as I am a cordless drill. I also know my constitutional law – I went to school for it. That does not make me a constitutional scholar, but it does make me less than dumb.

Guns and moto go together at the Texas Tornado Boot Camp, starring Colin Edwards and a (Tannerite-filled?) barrel that goes boom after being shot with a rifle. Video by John Burns.

I secure weapons; I have a gun safe for these sorts of things. I use firearms wisely, I use a chainsaw wisely, I use anything that can kill or maim me or others wisely. It was how I was taught from the earliest age. If others do not, that is not on me. I open doors for old ladies, I like dogs and little kids, I have no interest in harming anyone. And I will go out of my way to avoid conflict, though I hate bullies. If you have a social issue with problem children and firearms, or religious zealots, or the politically inclined that want to act out, then police it up. I did not create this problem. I was paid bi-weekly to carry weapons, to sleep with weapons, and I bear no guilt, and I won’t suffer any of these stereotypes.

I will treat anyone with the respect they treat others and myself. Everyone wants to get to the same place. We all want to keep people alive. Maybe it is time to ask how we got here in the first place rather than just pile more rules on the old ones.

Please have a happy and safe holiday season. Ride safe and be safe. Peace.

  • Old MOron

    Is this supposed to be John Burns? How long ago? He wore a neckerchief even back then? http://motorcycle.com.vsassets.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/121615-headshake-guns-motorcycles-f-633×388.jpg

    • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

      I think that was when he was trying-out to be a motor officer for the Georgia State Troopers.

      • Old MOron

        And they prolly rejected him because of the neckerchief!

        • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

          …they don’t serve his kind ’round those parts.

          • john burns

            actually pretty easy to get whatever you want when you’ve got a BAR.

          • Old MOron

            So how does Chris come up with all these “throwback Thursday” photos of you? Are you guys related or something. Just curious.

          • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

            They dated each other in a past life.

          • pennswoodsed

            NOW it’s on !

          • pennswoodsed

            Ps.Chris, what semi auto rifles with >30 round clip “hunting” rifles do you own ?

          • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

            I don’t think you meant clip. Clip and magazine are not synonyms. http://www.everydaynodaysoff.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/30-Round-Clip.jpg

          • throwedoff

            Hmmm, A BAR with a BFA. John with a neckerCHIEF and belted thirty ought six ammo over his shoulder. Kind of Hunter S. Thompsonish if you ask me.

        • john burns

          what’s your beef with neckerchiefs sister?

          • Old MOron

            I think it was T-rod who first teased you about being “neckerchief editor”. http://www.motorcycle.com/shoot-outs/2014-super-naked-street-brawl-video

            And it’s just something that I latched on to. I mean, what am I going to tease you about? You’re thick hair? You’re motojourno celebrity? You’re nice garage floor?

            No, that neckerchief is about all I’ve got.

          • john burns

            feel free to tease Billy about his also.

  • mooner

    Thank you Chris.

  • JerryMander

    idgaf. What is this gun shit doing here?

    • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

      Relax Francis, it’s an editorial not a feature story. P.S. Love your screen name!

      • JerryMander

        Yeah a pro gun editorial.

        • Fawkesdiplomacy

          so you’re qualified to make judgements about the autor based on…?

          His article indicated a strong sense of responsibility for both guns and motorcycles. What’s wrong with taking responsibility for your actions?

        • Campisi

          It’s more a plea for gun control as phrased to get past the ammosexuals.

      • John B.

        Hey Sean, Is this the first article MO has ever published with a preparatory statement? Why did you feel it was necessary to include one? Especially the part about being gun owners and patriots? Just curious.

        • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

          John, that was simply intended to clarify that last week’s article was not “anti-gun” and that our editorials are not coming from an uninformed POV. There were seeds of discontent in last week’s feedback that gave me the impression some of our readers might have read too much into the column, thus the gun owning patriot veterans comment. I believe all of our staff to be “Issues” voters and not stuck to party lines, we aren’t all tree-hugging hippie freaks, nor are we all war mongering conservative Christian Crusaders. (I suspect you knew that about us already, but others apparently mis-read our intent.) P.S. this comment was from my hip, and not an “official” policy statement of Motorcycle.com or VerticalScope, Inc.

          • John B.

            Thank you Sean.

  • spiff

    “They demand more restrictions, they want to legislate for the lowest common denominator, this despite the fact that previous efforts have produced negligible or nonexistent positive outcomes.”

    This is running rampant in all aspects of our society. A truly dangerous mantra/belief that needs to be addressed.

    • john burns

      my pal Chris is also opposed to helmet laws. And all the statistics prove conclusively that wearing a helmet on your motorcycle, and helmet laws, greatly reduce your chances of serious injury or death.

      • spiff

        You speak of natural selection. As costly as that can be for society, it is not the same as playing to the lowest common denominator.

        I wear a Corsair regardless if “they” tell me to or not.

        • throwedoff

          Spiff, in Texas we have the right to choose whether we wear a helmet or not. We have had that choice for several decades now. I have always chose to wear. I also chose to wear my seat belts before there were mandatory seat belt laws. I believe natural selection should be allowed to run its course in human beings. The politicians are dumbing us down at an alarming rate!

          • spiff

            I’m with you on this one.

      • John B.

        I trust Chris opposes helmet laws, but does not oppose wearing a helmet. There’s a continuum from complete freedom to onerous government imposed regulation. Reasonable people feel comfortable at various points on that continuum. I do not think personal freedom should include the right to impose unnecessarily on society. As such, I don’t oppose helmet or seatbelt laws.

        • Hammerli

          “I do not think personal freedom should include the right to impose unnecessarily on society. As such, I don’t oppose helmet or seatbelt laws.”
          That’s a good point and one that could easily be extended to the harm done, and the cost to society, of gun violence!

          • John B.

            I can’t go through this again, but you need to better understand why the Second Amendment exists. Each right in the bill of rights was procured and protected with firearms. Some regulation is fine.

          • Hammerli

            Nobody understands the 2nd amendment. The 2nd amendment is a cryptic anachronism.

    • Fawkesdiplomacy

      in the last 45 years, I’ve noticed that the party of higher taxes and more laws that get into our personal lives is the one responsible for that. Republicans have taken control of our personal lives to a new low.

      • spiff

        I really don’t want to debate, but don’t mind sharing points of view (Yup, a slippery slop. Let’s beware of our footing. :) )

        There are very few in the political system that have found success by helping society evolve in a good way. The system does not support those who are idealistic, it supports those who play the game of special interests and making money (which turns into power). Bastards out number the “good guy”. I know this is a simplistic view, but it is also accurate. It is not just Republicans, they all are taking rights, and assets from society for personal gain. This has been happening since forever.

        The middle class is now less than 50% of our economy. This dangerous trend has been fostered by all that have been in power for over the last 40 to 50 years, not just Republicans.

  • JMDonald

    Fear is a great motivator. A lot of people are afraid of guns. A lot of people are afraid of motorcycles. They project that fear. It makes it easier to see their weakness in others and allows them to rationalize their fear. To alleviate the fear they must control and manipulate what they cannot or will not understand.They cannot conquer it in themselves. They fear the ones that can. The ones who ride motorcycles and shoot guns. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

    • Hammerli

      JMDonald, you are a pompous narcissist.

      • JMDonald

        Hammerli, I see your inability to maintain even a modicum of coherence has manifested itself into name calling. Your behavior is typical of a low IQ individual that find superior intellects such as mine threatening to your limited and weak psyche. Maybe it is your irrational fear of being discovered to be the idiot that you are that makes you continually run it up the flagpole for all of us to see. It is hard to say for sure. Disfuntion like yours has to be genetic. Any normal person couldn’t have developed your level of intellectual disability without having been short changed in the gene pool of life. If possible try not to hurt yourself going forward and remember to breath every now and then. If you can.

        • Hammerli

          Sorry JM, let me rephrase that, you are a pompous, hypocritical narcissist with a tendency towards verbosity.
          May be you do not remember writing “Tu es morionem.” a couple of days ago?

          • JMDonald

            OK OK I get it.You’re an idiot. No need to resurrect that dead horse. We all get it.

          • throwedoff

            Hammerli, in your sentence “May be you do not remember writing…..” there should be no space between may and be. Maybe is one word.

          • Hammerli

            Thank you throwedoff, I have corrected my error. Wouldn’t want my otherwise perfect comeback to be tainted in any way.

  • john burns

    y’know, harrumph, this reads to me like a plea for gun control, Chris darling, even though I understand it’s supposed to be the opposite. “First you got a pocket knife and a BB rifle, and hopefully demonstrated you were not a complete halfwit, and then you progressed on to rifles, shotguns, and what not.

    You had to show you were responsible enough to keep the weapon clean, use it properly, and generally act as though you were the product of 50,000 years of evolution with a brain in your head – rules that work pretty well for a bike, by the way. Violating any of these rules was subject to the harshest of punishments up to and including said firearm vaporizing before your very eyes for the duration of your natural life.”

    Luckily for you (and lots of guys our age), you were brought up by an ex Marine and learned about gun responsibility from an early age. A lot of people in the modern world don’t have that background. Lots of them don’t have fathers at all. Wouldn’t it be a valid argument to say it might not be a bad idea for the state to attempt to step in and fill that lack of training gap somehow? Should the state just throw up its hands and say ‘o well, having guns is their 2nd Amendment right even though they have no clue.’? I mean, we insist people pass a test to drive a car.

    • mooner

      JB, I am sure that you realize that driving a car is not a constitutionally protected right.

    • John B.

      You don’t need to pass a test to drive a car. You have to pass a test to get a driver’s license. Nevertheless, every day millions of people drive without licenses or insurance.

      I took the motorcycle safety course twice and the Concealed Handgun License course (to obtain and renew a CHL) three times. Honestly, the gun safety course was scarey. The instructors did not understand the law, and several students did not know how to safely handle the gun they intended to carry.

      I heard and saw crazy things in the motorcycle safety class as well. One guy had been riding a large Harley every day for three months before he took the class. He said the salesman told him not use the front brake until he got used to the bike. The guy dropped a bike during the braking in a turn drill. I don’t know how he survived 3 months commuting before the class. Two young students said they were going to buy liter bikes as soon as they got their motorcycle license.

      Education is great, but it’s no panacea.

      • Campisi

        What you’re describing sounds less like an indictment of education’s universal benefit and more like recognition of a chronic and institutionalised *lack* of education. A lack of education perpetuates itself, here through unaware CHL instructors and Harley salesman through their prodigies until it presumably fell flat at the feet of your relative knowledge. Education works, America just tends to be bad at it.

        • John B.

          America has the greatest colleges in the world and people from all over the world clamor to come here for a college education. Classes that perpetuate misinformation are dangerous. There’s a discussion to be had about whether good and bad and other dichotomies are illusions, but that must wait for another day.

          • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

            America also has Liberty University, Bob Jones University, Grand Canyon University, etc. Yes we have some great schools, but hell we’re America, so we have everything, including the aforementioned indoctrination centers.

          • John B.

            I don’t know much about Liberty U. et al., but surmise enrollees are “indoctrinated” before they arrive. My wife, kids, and I attended liberal colleges/univs, and there’s plenty of (attempted) “indoctrination” at those institutions as well. Moreover, Liberty, Bob Jones, etc., exist because we have freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Those schools don’t appeal to me, but a free society necessitates tolerance since my rights end where your rights begin.

            America doesn’t have “some” great colleges and universities, we have most of the great ones, and if you’re looking for big-time college sports U.S. colleges are your only choice. In this light, colleges and universities abroad do not offer the collegiate experience one finds at U of Arizona, UCLA, or U of Texas.

            My concern with respect to motorcycle safety and concealed carry courses is people successfully complete these courses and obtain licenses even though they lack the essential skills and knowledge necessary for the task.

            Politicians dictate licensing requirements and very often the law reflects the wishes of those with access to politicians. My guess (I don’t know for certain) is firearm and motorcycle manufacturers, among others with political power, don’t favor stricter licensing requirements for motorcycle/concealed carry licenses.

      • pennswoodsed

        It’s not a perfect world. Comparing chain saws and supersports to firearms is fallacious at best.

      • throwedoff

        John, I learned how to shoot from my dad who is a Navy veteran. However, he didn’t learn to shoot in the Navy. He learned to shoot as part of his daily life in rural Oklahoma where being able to hit small game animals as well as deer determined if you had meat on the table. My dad also taught me how to drive, and I don’t just mean how to operate a car. He taught me the driving laws, and he taught me how to handle the car in an emergency situation. The most important thing my dad taught me about vehicles and weapons though was to respect and understand the damage potential both have if misused.

        • John B.

          Yes, absolutely!!! When I first obtained a CHL I immediately realized what a major responsibility it is to carry a concealed handgun, and how serious it would be to use it or to have it stolen. Similarly, when I decided to become a motorcyclist, I realized I had an obligation to my family and friends (and myself) to whatever I could to ride safely. I have no use for people who are glib about gun safety and those who ride crazy. Nevertheless, it’s a free country and free people sometimes do stupid things.

          I live in North Texas, but visit Oklahoma regularly (boating on Lake Texoma and poker). Oklahoma people are fantastic!

      • Ian Parkes

        “Education is great but it’s no panacea.” Why would you even say that? Are you saying if something’s not perfect, don’t bother? Let’s outlaw something we don’t approve of, like murder. Murder still happens. Right, let’s police the law. Murder still happens… Laws and police are all very well, but they are no panacea.

        • John B.

          I guess I did not communicate very clearly Ian. At the end of my concealed carry classes (3 of them) and my motorcycle safety courses (two), everyone passed the test and obtained a license to ride/carry a concealed weapon. In each case, there were people put in danger because they were deemed to have learned things they didn’t really learn/understand. I guess I would say good education is great, and defective education is dangerous.

          • Ian Parkes

            Gotcha. Thanks.

    • Fawkesdiplomacy

      driving a car is not constitutionally guaranteed as is gun ownership.

      Yes, gun training classes should be mandatory. I live in Utah (a state that issues more licenses to out of state people than to in-state people)

      To get a license here, you must be able to pass the background check, have $100 for the license and required gun safety course. NO proficiency in handling a gun is required. Our Legislators are gun-weenies to the highest degree. Having a gun is more important to them than knowing how to use it…safely.

  • Ian Parkes

    I’ll save others the trouble and label myself a pinko commie what-have-you because I’m in favour of gun control but it sounds like you sir qualify to have a gun. Maybe even a few. Rabbit gun, shotgun. A 33 or suchlike if you are go deer hunting. And you keep them in a safe. Great news. Machine gun? Automatic pistol? What would they be for? That’s where I see motorcycles and guns as being really quite different. Can’t think of any motorcycles purposefully designed to kill people – or why you’d want people to buy them if they were.

    • Ser Samsquamsh

      Selling liter bikes to teenagers is pretty irresponsible. Granted, not as irresponsible as selling AK-47 clones to mentally unwell people.

      • Ian Parkes

        Yes. Apparently there are countries with overbearing legislatures that make new riders get some experience first.

        • Ser Samsquamsh

          Unthinkable!

  • Hammerli

    iN HIS ARTICLE

  • Sayyed Bashir

    Guns and motorcycles are not the same thing, as someone else pointed out below. Guns are weapons designed to kill. Motorcycles are vehicles designed to take you places. People want to regulate guns to reduce violence in society. Disputes resolved by beating each other up are resolved by killing each other instead. People with grudges can easily get hold of automatic weapons and kill dozens of people. This is not the case with motorcycles. Motorcycles are dangerous mostly to the one who is riding them. There are no maniacs out there trying to kill dozens of people with their motorcycles. This whole discussion correlating guns with motorcycles is pointless.

    • Ser Samsquamsh

      Most gun fatalities are self inflicted as are most motorcycle fatalities.

      Both require extensive training to use safely.

      Both are mechanically fascinating.

      Both made non-enthusiasts uncomfortable.

      So, minus the potential for massacre there are similarities as the article points out.

      • Ian Parkes

        Very nice Ser….”the potential for massacre”. A small point, but quite an important one.

        • Ser Samsquamsh

          Thank you. Maybe I should be totally clear I do not support people committing massacres with any implement: machine guns, explosive jackets, rolling pins or attack helicopters for instance.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        You are making up stuff. “Most gun fatalities are self inflicted”. Why are the newspapers not filled with self-inflicted gun fatalities? The only thing they are filled with is people killing other people. The only reason you need “extensive training” to use a gun is to kill someone or some other living thing. “Mechanically fascinating”. So are airplanes and cars. But they are not used for killing people. Guns “make non-enthusiasts uncomfortable”. You would be uncomfortable too if you knew some nut was carrying around a gun, ready to kill you if you offended him in some way, or unintentionally cut him off on the freeway. Motorcycles don’t “make non-enthusiasts uncomfortable”. Noise, yes. But people are not afraid for their life, as they are with guns. And then there is the small point of “the potential for massacre”. How do you sleep with yourself?

        • Ser Samsquamsh

          Simmer Down.

          Suicide is a much larger killer than random massacres. In the United States especially, precisely because guns are so available, attempted suicide is almost 100% successful unlike taking sleeping pills or something. Each story is a tragedy but its not in the news because it’s not sensational. However around 20000 people shot themselves last year. Look it up on Wikipedia.

          Keep in mind the “news” is completely editorialized to sell advertising space.

          Over 30000 people a year are killed in the US in auto accidents. So Yes I am most certainly afraid of people and their shitty driving, wandering around the freeway talking selfies while eating their lunch or crossing the median while drunk and wiping out families.

          Airplanes have primarily been developed by the military. For killing people or allowing armies to more effectively kill people.

          You need extensive training to avoid accidentally shooting yourself or someone standing next to you. Hunting accidents and kids accidentally killing themselves also kills a lot of people.

          I didn’t say I like or even approve of people walking around with guns . Putting words in people’s mouths is a bad habit.

          Also

        • Ser Samsquamsh

          Simmer Down.

          Suicide is a much larger killer than random massacres. In the United States especially, precisely because guns are so available, attempted suicide is almost 100% successful unlike taking sleeping pills or something. Each story is a tragedy but its not in the news because it’s not sensational. However around 20000 people shot themselves last year. Look it up on Wikipedia.

          Keep in mind the “news” is completely editorialized to sell advertising space.

          Over 30000 people a year are killed in the US in auto accidents. So Yes I am most certainly afraid of people and their shitty driving, wandering around the freeway talking selfies while eating their lunch or crossing the median while drunk and wiping out families.

          Airplanes have primarily been developed by the military. For killing people or allowing armies to more effectively kill people.

          You need extensive training to avoid accidentally shooting yourself or someone standing next to you. Hunting accidents and kids accidentally killing themselves also kills a lot of people.

          I didn’t say I like or even approve of people walking around with guns . Putting words in people’s mouths is a bad habit.

          Also

  • DickRuble

    This could turn easily into one of those toddler quizzes: “How is a motorcycle like a gun?” and “How is a motorcycle different from a gun?”. I tried to find the number of mass killings by motorcycle since the beginning of the year and couldn’t come up with anything. No unemployed executive chose to run over his entire family with his Harley. So far, this year, there were 353 mass shootings in the USA. That’s more than one a day. Of course, if the kids had packed some heat, they could’ve easily thwarted their depressive father while he put his gun to their heads in the middle of the night.

    http://www.shootingtracker.com/wiki/Mass_Shootings_in_2015

    • Ser Samsquamsh

      That’s pretty grim reading.

      Not trying to be smart but Americans are very competitive by nature. People get angry and try to go out in a blaze of glory and ‘get a better score’. Sure you can’t do that on a Harley but how many road rage fatalities in a year? People rarely need a machine gun but neither do they really need a jacked up F-350 with spiked wheel lugs.

      • DickRuble

        That’s a different game: “How’s a gun like a truck?”

    • mooner

      Dick, the method by which mass shootings are calculated in your source are enormously flawed – but hey, who cares. It fits your agenda.

      Under their method, a gang dispute with 4+ wounded thugs = mass shooting. If you were to include only incidents that resulted in four fatalities we are looking at 4 this year – a number that statistically has been quite constant. Too many to be sure, but you loose vast amounts of credibility by citing questionable data.

      • DickRuble

        Give them a call and tell them. They’re at Stanford University, CA

        • mooner

          Imagine that. A liberal university in California with an agenda. I imagine most half wits with no ability to form their own cogent thought will believe everything they say. I think that it might be better to consider the motivation of said brilliant scholar.

          • Hammerli

            Well, if believing what comes out of Stanford makes you a half wit, what does believing everything that comes out of the NRA make ya?

          • DickRuble

            Is there an NRA ranking of the best US universities?

          • mooner

            Dick and Hammerli – I hesitate to even respond and feed the continued nonsense.

            Please note that it was Dick (and Hammerli after the fact) that made the defense that if it comes out of Stanford, it must be true This argument (and the NRA reference) is the equivalent of “I know you are but what am I”, which leads me to wonder how your age and intellectual age differ. At no point did I reference anything about the NRA. If you would like to know where I got my info, please go to this group’s own definition page at the bottom here: http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/methodology

            Before you start on about the websites not being connected go here at the bottom of the page: http://www.shootingtracker.com/wiki/Main_Page

            I understand that getting through to your type is futile. I just want to point out that repeating lies over and over does not make them true. This is apparently where the anti-gun left feels it needs to go.

          • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

            A liberal University that houses the Hoover institution, by the way, but hey, who cares. It fits your agenda.

          • mooner

            It appears that this study is not related to Stanford at all. Gun Violence Archive appears to operate out of Washington D.C. Stanford does indeed have a Mass Shooting study that is available for download here: http://library.stanford.edu/projects/mass-shootings-america

            The number they come up with is not anywhere near 353.

            The point that I believe I have now made, is that blindly citing ANY study is foolish without first understanding where it comes from….Even if it fits your agenda….

          • DickRuble

            Thanks! Now the study no longer bears the liberal stigma of Stanford. More trustworthy therefore…

        • throwedoff

          DickRuble, why is it there have been more “mass shooting” since President Obama has taken office than any other time in history?

          • Hammerli

            Because there are more guns out there than at any other time in history.

          • DickRuble

            Don’t know that’s the case. Haven’t seen detailed reports for other years. It seems plausible though. President Obama’s terms coincide with the highest purchase of guns by the US population in history too. That may be the cause. Do you have a hypothesis?

    • John B.

      Compare Deaths Per Annum: Tobacco: 480,000; Obesity/Overweight: 320,00-430,000; Poisoning (Mostly Drug Overdose): 38,000. Combined that’s more than 80 years of gun violence. Shall we outlaw tobacco and foods that cause obesity? Surely not. Wear your seatbelt, don’t smoke, put down that Twinkie, and say NO to drugs. That’s would save a million lives a year and many billions in healthcare costs.

      The people who negotiated and wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights were highly intelligent. The purpose of these documents is to preserve freedom and individual liberty, not to maximize people’s life expectancy. As is the case with Tobacco use, freedom, i.e., the right to choose, is sometimes fatal. Live free and die! New people every 100 years.

      • john burns

        LONE MARLBORO MAN TAKES OVER CLASSROOM FORCES KIDS TO SMOKE AND EAT TWINKIES

        • John B.

          You know the power of corporate marketing. Or, do you think people get fat and take up smoking entirely of their own volition? Guys with your skillset are great at selling products. Right? You have clean hands?

          • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

            Yeah John, take some responsibility, starting with Waco.

          • John B.

            You and presumably Burns want me to take responsibility for Waco? I have a story for you both. The next time you’re sipping sake at a product launch reception, consider this:

            As a young lawyer, I had involvement in product liability cases related to a defective consumer product. In one case a 19 year old kid died, and in the others men in their early 20s suffered catastrophic paralysis. All three victims are dead today. One died shortly after a crash, another choked on his own vomit, and the third died from a seizure.

            The defective product in question (not a motorcycle) caused an estimated 880 deaths and over 300,000 injuries mostly to children under age 16. The product manufacturers knew these deaths and injuries would occur. Nevertheless, they took no voluntary remedial actions. Even worse, they implemented “scorched earth” litigation tactics against the victims and their families, and opposed CPSC rulemaking efforts intended to make the product safe.

            In response to damning epidemiology reports from respected third-party experts, manufacturers paid large sums to “hired gun” experts to concoct indefensible expert opinions based on junk science. Industry journalists mostly remained silent, as did those who wrote misleading product brochures, manuals, and other product literature.

            In company documents, pleadings, depositions, and written discovery responses, product engineers and company management revealed their profound racism and nationalism, and utter contempt for American parenting, culture, and values. According to upper-level management, these tragic crashes did not occur due to a dangerous product. Rather, they occurred, among other reasons, because American Mothers are not sufficiently attentive, and American children are misbehaved. I was naive in those days, and the manufacturer’s brazen depravity and explicit corporate malice shocked me. So did the breadth of persons willing to countenance it for pecuniary gain.

            In a compromise negotiated between the Manufacturer’s, on the one hand, and the CPSC and Justice Department on the other, the offending product was BANNED. Lawsuits were settled subject to “Confidentiality Agreements,” but we know eagles don’t hunt flies. The CPSC did not require manufacturers to repurchase units sold to consumers, which assured more deaths and catastrophic injuries would occur. This was widely viewed as an outrage, except among those whose derive their livelihoods from manufacturer revenue.

            The manufacturers figured out it would cost a billion dollars to repurchase outstanding units from consumers, and something much less to settle lawsuits related to wrongful death and permanent paralysis. That kind of bean counting makes careers at some companies.

            Shall we inventory all the persons and entities responsible for, or complicit in, these tragic deaths and catastrophic injuries? Probably not in this forum.

            There’s evil in the world Gabe, and sometimes we’re more complicit in it than we care to admit. Pursue your vocation with vigor and zeal, but never forget where your bacon comes from, and spare us the sanctimony. Oh, and never let a loved one come between a manufacturer’s wallet and a defective product.

    • Fawkesdiplomacy

      “So far, this year, there were 353 mass shootings in the USA. That’s more than one a day.”

      Pssst, there are 365 days in a year, not less than 353. ;>)

      • Campisi

        The year’s not over yet, dude. We’re on track to crack 400 before the year’s out.

      • DickRuble

        Which part of “so far this year” is giving you trouble?

    • BushyAR15

      You really need to see how they arrived at those numbers. Its biased of course to make a dramatic impact… Don’t be a sheep and accept everything you read, do a little research first…

  • John B.

    Great article Chris. Thank you Sean (and Duke?) for publishing it.

    A moto journalist (if not you, who?) needs to write an article on issues related to concealed carry while riding a motorcycle (“Concealed Carry Shootout!”). Millions of motorcyclists want to ride and carry safely, effectively, and lawfully, and that’s much more complicated than people realize.

    While motorcycle clothing and gear provides many great options to store a firearm, it’s very difficult to draw and fire a firearm while wearing all of the gear all of the time (especially insulated gloves), and to retrieve quickly a firearm from a locked case. If you store your firearm on your bike, you risk having it stolen while at a restaurant, gas station, or rest stop. If you remove a firearm from a tank bag or other storage location, and put it in your pocket when leaving your bike unattended, you likely violate the law because during the transition the firearm is not concealed. People who think everyone who owns a gun is nuts WILL call the police if they see your gun, which will slow your journey. I imagine concealed carry is easier on some motorcycles than on others, but don’t know for sure.

    The law related to concealed (and open) carry varies from state to state even among states that have reciprocity. Most CHL holders don’t understand this critical distinction. For example, Texas and Oklahoma have reciprocity for concealed carry, but Oklahoma has more stringent eligibility requirements. Thus, a Texas CHL holder who is not eligible to carry in Oklahoma cannot lawfully carry in Oklahoma despite reciprocity between the states. Moreover, each state has different laws with respect to where CHL holders can lawfully carry. In Texas, for example, we cannot carry at sports events or in bars among other places. In addition, many resorts and other businesses prohibit concealed carry, and it’s a felony to carry in a prohibited area. (What does one do if he/she arrives at a resort that prohibits firearms?). Many national and state parks have firearms restrictions. I face these and other issues on every multi-state motorcycle trip.

    Perhaps most important, the law related to use of deadly force varies greatly from state to state. In Texas, for example, we may use deadly force against someone committing criminal mischief at night. That’s right, if some kid is soaping your motorcycle’s windscreen at night or writing graffiti on your garage door, you may lawfully blast him into the afterlife. Also, the law related to defense of others and self defense varies from state to state, and some state have so-called stand your ground statutes while others do not.

    I hope you do a “Concealed Carry Shootout” soon. In Texas and elsewhere in “flyover country,” a greater percentage of motorcyclists carry firearms than will ever ride a literbike on a track. Judging by the response to John’s recent article and this one, motorcyclists are very interested in guns and/or gun issues.

    • Hammerli

      Yeah, an article on concealed carrying for motorcyclists (millions of them at that) is just what we need. If Valentino had been carrying at Sepang he could have dealt with Marquez once and for all.

      • John B.

        Gun and motorcycles exist, as do riders who carry. Does it not make sense to publish articles to help those who choose to ride and carry to do so lawfully, safely, and effectively? In Malaysia, where Rossi-Marquez incident occurred journalists are intimidated into self-censoring, and people have freedom of assembly SUBJECT TO POLICE APPROVAL. The Constitution establishes Islam as the official religion and dictates teachings in mosques. All for the common good. Lovely!

        • Hammerli

          “Does it not make sense to publish articles to help those who choose to
          ride and carry to do so lawfully, safely, and effectively?”

          I would say not. I don’t know where I would get the data to support this, but I hope you represent a small minority. An article in a magazine is not going to make you safe. I do not want to be around you if you are carrying a gun. The fact that you willingly chose to carry around a pound or two of useless metal (when I can’t be bothered to carry a cell phone) on the off chance that it might come in handy once in your lifetime, makes me not trust you.

          • John B.

            Small minority? Are you kidding? At any Texas motorcycle event, you can get a single-volley 21-gun salute with any seven riders chosen at random! LOL!!!

          • Hammerli

            Are we talking, like, a Sturgis thing here? That might be worth looking into. Is there a difference in attitudes between Custom/Cruiser/Harley types and the rest?

          • John B.

            In Texas, regular families have 20, 30, 40, 100 guns. People inherit guns from relatives, and buy guns for their wives and kids. Grandmothers shoot, kids shoot, everyone shoots. Guns are woven into the culture’s fabric.

            In Texas, it doesn’t matter what kind of motorcycle a person rides, you must assume he/she has a gun; likely more than one gun, and several magazines.

            My wife’s family has a 1200 acre ranch a couple hours away. When we go as a family I take a couple .22 rifles and at least 1,000 rounds of ammunition. People love to shoot a .22, and sometimes I have to buy more ammo before the weekend is over. (We laughed when a CNN reporter solemnly reported the SB terrorists had over 4,000 rounds of ammo…. we were like, who doesn’t?) We’re regular people; law abiding, productive members of society.

            We live in a wonderfully diverse culture. Texas – It’s a whole other country.

          • throwedoff

            John B, Hammerli just soiled his pants!

          • Hammerli

            Not really. I shoot and have no problem with others shooting. I don’t even subscribe to the view that a measure is worthwhile if it “saves just one life.” but 10, 20 or 30 thousand is a different matter.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I lived in Texas for 14 years, in the late 70’s-80’s. I can’t believe what has happened to the state. I wouldn’t like to live there now. CA is much better, despite all its “faults” (pun intended!).

    • throwedoff

      John B, you may want to recheck that on criminal mischief at night in Texas. You go ahead and blast some kid away that is “soaping your motorcycle’s windscreen at night or writing graffiti on your garage door”. If you cannot prove that you life or safety were in imminent danger, you will be charged with murder and more than likely convicted.

      • John B.

        Done! This proves my point about people not understanding deadly force law. Respectfully Sir, you are mistaken.

        In Texas, a person is “justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property… when and to the degree necessary he reasonably believes deadly force is immediately necessary… to prevent the other’s imminent commission of… CRIMINAL MISCHIEF DURING THE NIGHTTIME. (Texas Penal Code Section 9.41 and 9.42.)

        You just made up the other part.

        For the record, I do not intend (lawyer hedge word alert!) to shoot anyone who commits criminal mischief. In fact, I might not use deadly force to protect a third person I don’t know because it’s too easy to make a mistake. The statute above exists to protect homeowners who see someone prowling around their house at night, then panic, and blast the guy. Also, Texas judges and juries give homeowners the benefit of the doubt in these situations.

        • Hammerli

          “The statute above exists to protect homeowners who see someone prowling around their house at night, then panic, and blast the guy.”
          And you’re saying the “panic” wouldn’t have to be the kind you’d experience if you feared for your life?

          • John B.

            Are you jacking with me? Lol! Panic has nothing to do with it. Just read the statute!

          • Hammerli

            No. I’m not jacking with you, I’m quoting you. Just read you’re own posting!

          • John B.

            Checkmate! YOU win.

  • Chris

    Yeh, gun rights are just that: a right. Training makes all the sense in the world and it absolutely should be done. Problem is, mandating it involves the govt. in the issue that much more. Yech. And even those that do train, are still woefully unprepared. Also, guns are for much more than just killing. They are now a sport, hobby, skill, etc. worth billions of dollars to the econom. And, finally, and a good kicker, is it not our responsibility and obligation to help those we can help? You know, personal responsibility, considering others more important than ourselves, making the world a better place, standing for what’s good and right…all that stuff? Love and peace is great, but that is not how everybody works. Better be prepared for those that don’t. It’s a reality, and getting more and more violent. The truly bad times are coming. Just hold that thought…We could go on and on forever. I can right you up a good anti-gun report, as well. It’s not difficult. To me, it’s a matter of freedom and responsibility. My choice was made long ago (and way before a full career in law enforcement, including the last 15 years as a Use of Force/Deadly Force, Defensive Tactics, and Firearms Instructor). Love guns and shooting, love bikes and riding. Enjoy your freedoms and also use ’em for good.

  • Fawkesdiplomacy

    this was a well written article that is unusual in today’ environment.

    A lot of people are infused by FEAR and have to run out and buy a gun whenever something happens somewhere in the country. Many of those people aren’t qualified to handle a Swiss Army Knife, much less a hand gun or AR-15. Those people scare me. No training necessary.

    Then on the other side of the issue are “gun weenies.” Those are the folks who believe guns are the most important thing in their lives and are looking to be involved in a shootout with ISIS supporters, and save the day.

    Another aspect is the auntie-gun people that believe the site of a gun or knowing that someone has one will result in a Sandy Hook or San Bernadino massacre.

    Fortunately, most of us fit into the mold of the author of this piece.

    When I started riding motorcycles in 1970 (Honda CB 100) to get me to college cheaply, there were about 200 million people in the country and the speed limit was 55 mph. Today there are 320 million, or more than a 50% increase and speed limits are 65-85 mph. And…anyone can buy a bike that is capable of 160 mph.

    Though I usually disagree with creating more laws that get into our personal lives, I believe MSF training courses should be required for anyone that has not been licensed before or that has more than a 5 year gap since their were last licensed..

    Helmets and training can save lives.

    • throwedoff

      The 55 mph national speed limit didn’t happen until after the Arab oil embargo not 1970.

  • Bob Reichenberg

    Kudos for publishing both pieces, Burns and Kallfelz are a treat. Head Shake is what keeps me coming back to Motorcycle.com.

    I too grew up in a time and place where motorcycles were dangerous as hell, and guns an everyday part of life. Every kid I knew was well-versed in basic gun safety, whether they owned a gun or not. The term “dangerous” was reserved for truly malevolent creations like cow ponies, hay balers and Jeep pickups.

    If I read the FBI’s statistics correctly, violent crime in the U.S. has been dropping steadily for years. What has steadily ratcheted upwards is the media/political gamesmanship and fact-bending hyperbole.

    I’ll keep my guns, thanks. They’re a lot less dangerous than our current crop of
    politicians or the pathetic creatures that pass themselves off as news
    reporters these days.

  • blansky

    I always see red flags go up and tend to cringe when someone refers to themselves or someone else as a “patriot”. I always go, “here we go…. this is gonna be embarrassing”. I grew up in Canada and lived there for 35 years and not once did I ever hear the word patriotism uttered. Why would we, we were all Canadians, in this boat together, and needed to act together for the common good.

    I’ve lived in the US for 40 years and whenever the P word is slide into the sentence it immediately says, some of us are, and some of you aren’t. Because the person who spouts it really means “I am but you, well if you agree with me, you may be, then again you may not be.”

    But something I’ve learned in this country is that it is so divided on a number of issues that they can never be resolved, and one of the root causes hiding in the woodpile is racism. It masks itself in numerous ways,and hides in plain sight in others.

    So any attempt to sort out the gun issues will always fall short because some people want them, need them, gotta have them, and are very fearful without them from those other people, the government, the commies/muslims/liberals whomever, that they can never let them go. Or even be regulated to a thoughtful level.

    So argue away, it will solve nothing. Because sadly our primal urges will always over ride our intellectual ones.

    • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

      Blansky, as the utterer of the word “patriot” in the original story, I actually share your natural aversion to those who throw it around. I now use it to reclaim it’s original meaning and in direct opposition to those who typically wrap themselves in the flag and beat the war drums writing checks for others to cash. In this instance I am trying to send the message to the far-right commentators that those of us with moderate or even liberal views can also be patriots.

      • Hammerli

        “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”, someone once said. I doubt they meant that you should be disloyal to your country, but more as a counter to, “my country, right or wrong”.
        It’s galling when conservatives imply that their type made the US great and that others are unpatriotic. Self reliance and the ability to kick butt played there part and continue to do so, but as someone growing up outside the US in the late 60’s and early 70′

      • Ian Parkes

        Good on you for trying to find common ground with the far right but I’m more in tune with Blansky’s perception. I tend to think the use of word is intended to be tribal and divisive. It’s the verbal equivalent of running your colors up the pole. I don’t see any merit in the concept and if someone trots that word out I generally find I’m going to have little in common with them, apart from being compatriots.

  • Douglas

    Well I’m keepin’ the last 4 guns and the last 4 bikes I have now. Should be all I need…..

  • Sayyed Bashir

    It seems any time someone is trying to justify gun ownership, they go back to their forefathers, that they taught their children how to use guns from a young age. It was a necessity during early American history because of the battles with native Americans and later during the Civil War, and due to the need to hunt your own game, since there were no supermarkets or McDonalds, and to protect yourself from wild animals. All these reasons have gone away. Now guns are mostly used for hunting as a sport, and for self protection. If you are in the military or police, you have to use a gun. Automatic weapons are not required for hunting or self protection. Carrying a gun while going grocery shopping or to a restaurant or the movies or work doesn’t make sense. There should be some common sense in this debate.

  • Ian Parkes

    Just returned to this to catch up because it’s been huge, if anachronistic, fun. Guns are so last century. Wait, century before that, and uh and the one before that. Apparently the constitution needs another amendment, according to this story “www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/wanna-fight-isis-weaponize-your-laptop/ar-BBnM5tC”

  • John B.

    Yes Sir! Only two more days until open carry permitted in Texas! I prefer game theory optimal strategies, and haven’t thought of a good reason to open carry in a big city. My guess is shootings will go down, not up. We shall see…. Happy New Year!

    http://tinyurl.com/HellYeaTx

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Yes, Texas is the only state going backward in time. It will be like the OK Corral all over. Say one wrong thing and everyone’s guns come out. Cut in line at the movie theater and bang: you’re dead. What’s the purpose of wearing a gun everywhere all the time?

      • John B.

        Only concealed carry permit holders (background check, fingerprints to the FBI, no substance abuse history, no criminal history) can open carry. There are approximately 978,000 CHL holders in Texas and as a group they rarely commit crimes other than traffic offenses. As such, I doubt there will be a spike in violence caused by CHL holders getting out of line. Texans wanted open carry and the legislature and governor gave it to them. That’s democracy in action.