Commentary: Guns and common sense

By John Krull 

INDIANAPOLIS – The National Rifle Association and its foot soldiers don’t let a little thing like a mass outpouring of grief cloud their vision or divert them from their mission.

That’s why, just hours after the gun-related carnage in Las Vegas, Nevada, in which at least 59 people died and another 527 were injured, Indiana Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour – the NRA’s main mouthpiece in the Hoosier state – argued that no possible change in gun laws could have prevented the slaughter out west.

John Krull, publisher,

His reasoning?

He said the shooter had passed a background check. Therefore, he reasoned, no gun law would have worked.

Keep in mind that Lucas and his cronies in the gun lobby have done everything they can to gut background checks.

That alone makes his assertion that background checks are proof gun laws can’t work as credible as a vandal’s complaint that an automobile’s design is flawed because the car won’t start after he’s drained the gas tank and stolen the sparkplugs.

Even if that weren’t true, Lucas’s rush to suppress any discussion of sensible gun laws is as predictable as sunrise and as inevitable as sunset.

His response is right out of the NRA playbook. Rather than consider ways law-abiding gun owners’ rights might be protected and lives might be saved through common-sense regulations, they refuse to consider the question from the outset.

Lucas’s technique is a prime example.

He refuses to answer all questions about guns that cause concern among Americans.

Why are citizens of the United States 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun than citizens of other developed countries?

Why do we have so many mass shootings?

Why can every other developed nation but us solve this problem?

Instead, Lucas asks a question  when he has no interest in hearing the answer, much less exploring it. He’s said, repeatedly, that there is no gun law he ever would consider.

He says this is because armed self-defense is both a natural right and a bulwark against government tyranny.

By that reasoning, because most governments have nuclear and biological weapons, individuals should be allowed to own them, too.

That certainly would make America’s streets safer, now wouldn’t it?

Furthermore, if armed self-defense is a natural right for all humans, then we Americans really shouldn’t be so concerned about North Korea or any other rogue state developing nuclear missiles or any other weapons of mass destruction. In doing so, they, after all, just are exercising their natural rights.

Again, permitting an unstable and delusional dictator the means to destroy people by the millions doubtless will make the world a much safer place, too.

So, if we don’t buy Lucas’s NRA-approved (and, doubtless, NRA-generated) argument that everyone, regardless of how demented or malevolent, is entitled to have all the deadly weapons he or she wants, then answering the man’s question about laws that might make a difference isn’t that tough.

For instance, we could start by asking whether it’s a good idea to allow anyone – such as the 64-year-old accountant who opened fire in Vegas – to stockpile dozens of weapons, including many, many automatic weapons.

The kinds of guns that murderer used aren’t for hunting or even self-defense. Those kinds of weapons are designed simply to kill many, many human beings in a hurry. Anyone who owns one of those guns – much less more than a dozen of them – plans no good.

We regulate the sale of cold medications and maintain databases of the people who buy them.

Why not weapons of mass slaughter?

If we had such a database, at the very least we’d know if someone was building an arsenal and take appropriate precautions.

But that’s a common-sense way we might be able to save human lives without curtailing the rights of gun owners who mean their neighbors and fellow citizens no harm.

But that assumes saving lives is the priority.

In the NRA-driven fantasy world Lucas and his friends occupy, people aren’t the priority.

Guns are.

That’s why the man says he won’t consider any gun restriction whatsoever, regardless of how sensible, regardless of how many lives might be saved.

Jim Lucas says that’s because guns don’t kill.

People do.

He forgets that guns also don’t die.

People do.

John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism, host of “No Limits” WFYI 90.1 Indianapolis and publisher of, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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6 Responses to Commentary: Guns and common sense

  1. Speaking of predictable, here is John Krull with yet again another “we have to take away people’s guns and make them defenseless because someone that does not obey gun laws murdered innocent people who were obeying gun laws in a gun free zone” rant.
    He even went so far as to bring nuclear weapons into the discussion. Wow!
    I’ve become accustomed to being singled out by Mr. Krull, but since he has no rational argument on this issue, he must have a scapegoat. As Socrates once said, “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”
    And his assertion that I rush to suppress any discussion is laughable. I WANT to discuss this issue, and I work tirelessly to do so to counter the misinformation and intentional twisting of the facts, most notably from people like Mr. Krull, who has a platform to spread misinformation, either through ignorance or intention.
    Yes, there was another instance where a person, that passed every gun law Mr. Krull demands, murdered innocent people.
    Yes, this was a horrible tragedy, committed by a man that was seemingly normal in every way, had no significant prior issues and whose family was totally shocked by his actions.
    Yes, we have a multitude of state and federal laws criminalizing these actions, the most severe of which is murder and is punishable by death. All of which were ineffective and ignored.
    Yes, the NRA is being blamed for something that none of its members had anything to do with, which is like blaming AAA for the 10,000+ DUI deaths each year.
    When the debate is lost …
    Mr. Krull mentioned background checks. Okay, let’s talk about them. Passing a background check means you have done nothing in your past to indicate that you have done bad things and are deemed safe. What background checks DO NOT DO is predict one’s future actions. This is where reason and logic come into play, as there simply is no possible way to predict what someone is going to do. Knowing this makes disarming innocent people incomprehensible to me.
    The facts on background checks are that the overwhelming majority of mass shooters have passed them. Las Vegas, Orlando, San Bernadino, Aurora theater, Umpqua College, Vester Flanagan, Ft. Hood (twice), Washington Naval Yard, Aurora theater, Virginia Tech, etc. all passed background checks and all were in gun free zones.
    Gun free zones are where people that don’t obey gun laws go to kill people that obey gun laws and who are made easy victims by gun laws.
    These gun laws obviously aren’t working.
    Mr. Krull made the statement about the shooter having automatic weapons. This is false. Automatic weapons require a special license to have, are extremely expensive and a person must pass extensive background checks to own. What the shooter had was a device that the Obama administration approved of and can easily be replicated, using something as simple as a stick. If murdering people is illegal, who reasonably assumes outlawing these devices will stop someone intent on murdering innocent men, women and children?
    What I do find reprehensible and extremely offensive from Mr. Krull is his blatant accusation that “In the NRA-driven fantasy world Lucas and his friends occupy, people aren’t the priority. Guns are.”
    Who rights this sort of stuff and then expects to have a “reasonable discussion” about our gun rights?
    I care deeply about people. Therefore, I fight tirelessly to protect the rights of innocent people to be able to defend themselves against people that ignore the laws that Mr. Krull so adamantly demands. This very article was prompted by an act committed by a man that disregarded every known law on the books and murdered innocent men, women and children. To insist on making innocent people defenseless in the face of such evil is again, incomprehensible to me.
    We don’t have a gun problem, we have a “people that have no regard for life or law” problem, and making innocent people defenseless in the face of such known evil is evil to me.
    Jim Lucas
    State Representative
    District 69

    • Mr. Krull never said he wanted to disarm anyone. He specifically said “But that’s a common-sense way we might be able to save human lives without curtailing the rights of gun owners who mean their neighbors and fellow citizens no harm.” You are perpetuating the NRA generated myth that “the left” wants to take away your guns. Mr. Krull wants stricter background checks, and limits on the number and type of weapons that someone can “stockpile”. Why did this shooter need 43 guns, some semi automatic, 12 of which were modified to perform as automatic weapons? Mr. Krull also indicated that he would like a database to track such a person, who is purchasing huge numbers of guns in short periods of time. Perhaps if someone had known he was purchasing mass numbers of weapons, he could have been watched, questioned, even apprehended prior to committing this act, thereby saving 58 lives. And yes, people should be able to legally arm and protect themselves. But, a citizen with a gun in that crowd could not have stopped this shooter in his lair 32 stories above the crowd. Indeed, your words and actions indicate that guns and the right of people to own unchecked numbers and types of weapons, are more important to you and your ilk than the lives of these individuals senselessly lost in mass shootings.

  2. Me. Krull,

    There are so many half-truths and blatant lies in the article that I don’t even know where to begin were I interested in dismantling it. You, sir, have completely astonished me which is quite difficult to do.

  3. “Why are citizens of the United States 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun than citizens of other developed countries?”

    This is a very simple question to answer. People in the United States are more likely to be killed by a gun because we have the most guns per capita, by far, than any other nation. By this same logic, people are more likely to die by boomerang in Australia than any other nation.

    Mr Krull again spews the logical fallacy of the Left, that curtailing gun ownership will solve the problem of violent crime. If this were true – that guns cause crime – then the United States should have the highest murder rate in the world. Instead, we rank #92 in the world for Intentional Homicide.

    Can you say with any seriousness, Mr Krull, that if the weapons used by the Las Vegas shooter had been made illegal, that he would not have carried out his crime? Oh wait, many of them were already illegal. Why didn’t those gun laws solve the problem? If gun laws are the answer, why did this happen?

    I have the answer: Because gun laws only affect law-abiding citizens. Does any criminal say, “Oh darn, my gun is illegal now. I guess I’ll go home and play Xbox instead”? What legislation would you write, Mr Krull, that would have prevented this tragedy? What law would you draft that will work on people who have no respect for the law?

    The next line I usually hear is, “Why have any laws then?” A basic code of law is good. It makes sense to have a law against murder, with the severest punishment possible. But to add a law banning the weapon is a waste of time. A criminal facing capital punishment for murder is not going to be fazed by an additional fine because he had an illegal weapon. That’s like tacking on an additional 90 days for breaking and entering to a life sentence. It is a complete waste of lawmakers’ time.

    To continue to talk about the tool used is to ignore the real causes of crime. The Left keeps bringing up the same tired arguments, but they hold no logical water.

    Guns may not die, Mr Krull, but truth and reason do when Liberals start debating guns.

  4. It’s fantastic that Jimbo can’t block this article like he blocks the constituents who disagree with him on scial media.