Podcast - Adam Savage Project

Let’s Talk About It – Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – 2/28/18

Adam, Norm, and Will talk about the role of firearms (fictional and real) in the propmaking and cosplay community, and our thoughts on the recent activism in the wake of school shootings.

Comments (52)

52 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About It – Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – 2/28/18

  1. From a banning guns perspective, I feel like it’s going to be really hard to have an impact on mass shootings without completely banning and confiscating all semi-automatic weapons. And it’s going to be really, really hard to ban and confiscate all semi-automatic weapons.

    From a societal perspective, I feel like we fetishize retribution in this country. We are one of the only western countries that still executes people. State governments execute prisoners at the rate of 1 every other week. Lots of people joke about how prisoners deserved to get raped in prison. Look at the comments section for most major crime stories and you’ll see plenty of comments advocating for violence against perpetrators.

  2. Good podcast. That didn’t look like an easy thing for you guys to discuss.

    From an outside perspective, and this is my own opninion, America appears to be a country that thrives on fear. Fear of foreigners, fear of your neighbour, fear of the police, fear of your government. Every day your have news stories that encourage you to stay scared. No wonder so many people want a gun as a personal security blanket. It’s too deeply embedded in your culture now tho, and I expect it’ll never be resolved.

    Personally, I can think of two solutions to this. Firstly, ignore guns themselves and start regulation of ammunition. I don’t believe bullets were mentioned in the second amendment.

    Secondly, make everyone that wants a gun sign up to be part of a well regulated militia. Follow the amendment to the letter.

    Again, these are my personal opinions from the other side of the Atlantic. I hope any ensuing debate will be civilised (which is why I posted here, and not on youtube 😉

  3. A portion of this problem is indeed cultural. In the US we have both demonized and fetishized firearms to the point that there is a significant portion of the population that only knows what they can do from the mass media. This has resulted in them being viewed as some kind of magic talisman that that in the hands of some individuals is the root of everything that is evil, and in the hands of others is the thing that will save everyone. When in reality, they are mechanical devices of varying complexities that require knowledge and training of when to employ it and when not to employ it. Having a healthy firearms culture is essential for distributing that knowledge, which what the NRA was supposed to be for, but they are no longer the education focused organization they once were. And frankly, there are other organizations that do a better job at representing firearms owners than the NRA.

    When it comes to firearms ownership and “collecting”, there is far more to the shooting sports than just hunting. Responsible hunting has its place, but its not the only thing out there. There are other parts of the country that have USPSA, IPSC, 3-Gun, 2-Gun, High-Power and many other types of matches that employ different types of firearms that challenge different skill bases, both mentally and physically.

    As a point to the desire to digitize the mountain of transfer forms the BAFTE has, as someone who has had my entire life history lost by the US Government on several occasions, its a database that just shouldn’t exist. As if it did, it would be abused by people for illegal purposes (just think back to all the cases where Public Servants have abused driver’s license databases or individuals at the NSA spying on ex-girlfriends and ex-spouses). And that’s not even considering the amount of harm it would do when (not if, when) the entire database gets stolen by a criminal organization.

    Lastly, the “gunshow loophole” is something that really doesn’t exist. Most sellers of firearms at gunshows are licensed firearms dealers and are required to fill out a 4473 form and run the NICS background check before completing the transfer, same as if you walked into a regular gun shop. The exception is that some states allow an individuals concealed carry permit to stand in for the NICS check, because they regularly run their permit holders against NICS. As for a private individual not selling as a business, its a matter of local state laws of what is or isn’t required for a “Face to Face” transaction, which can occur anywhere, not just at a gunshow.

    Right now we don’t need new knee-jerk legislation enacted, we need the existing laws to be enforced and the agencies tasked with the enforcement of them properly funded (and yes, funding research into why violence occurs). And then when something does happen, the individuals responsible need to be held accountable for their actions and not just go after the objects used, whether it be a firearm, knife, truck, chemical or any thing else that can be used to cause harm by a determined enough individual.

  4. Firstly, I’m from New Zealand.

    Here, anyone can have a gun. However, you have to have a gun licence. I’m not going to go into the details of the different types of licences.

    I’m not saying we don’t have gun violence here, but when it happens, it is massive news and a shock every time.

    I am so sorry for the many people of America that are forced to live in fear of the few. It is not something I can understand with my life experience. Get well soon America.

    Also, Jim Jefferies is awesome.

  5. I live in Wisconsin, USA. I recently heard someone from New York explain how in order to legally own a pistol, he had to take a class, get fingerprinted, purchase the pistol (not to take home, just pay the store and show the receipt showing he intends to own it.) had a back ground check, a waiting period of a few weeks, A training course on gun safety, and a bullet had to be fired from the gun into a water tank and stored along with the serial number for later identification. I honestly believe i may be missing or toning down a few steps.

    Last year I was a first time pistol buyer in Wisconsin. I walked into Cabela’s, handed some one my driver’s license, spent five minutes entering info on a web site for a background check, waited about an hour for the confirmation to come back and walked out with a newly purchased pistol. The whole thing took maybe 2 hours one morning.

    Honestly, I don’t like either of those scenarios. Hopefully most states can come up with a medium ground that is reasonable and useful.

  6. I had a long reasoned reply to how this topic was handled by the hosts, but think I will just consider Will’s last comment….Like and Unsubscribe

  7. i also see the whole debate from across the atlantic, and share your observation re fear in US culture. fear and adversarity (is that even a word?) permeates seemingly everything. everyone is constantly under attack, and direct opposition as the only response is therefore a constantly felt state. no wonder debates like this one boil even hotter than ones just over things we really like.

    regarding guns and how to deal with them in society: i’m from germany. we do have gun culture (hunting and sports, some collecting), but we make a big distinction between owning guns (heavily regulated and regularly controlled) and carrying guns. a permit for the latter is nearly impossible to get, for issues not unrelated to a commonly heard US justification. to get a carrying permit in germany, you have to prove you are at an above average risk of being attacked, AND that carrying a gun will mitigate that risk. the second condition rules out most cases – carrying guns being an empirically shown ineffective means of self-defense.

  8. For the folks who insist that America is filled and motivated by “fear” – I would suggest you not confuse the hyperventilating of the mainstream media with actual American people, culture, or opinions. In fact, one can argue that the media has, for some time now, intentionally gone out of its way to create fear and discord over every possible event. If you want to see the opposite reaction, consider that Canada also recently had a fatal school shooting as recently as 2016 – did you see the same level of hysteria in the news media? Were you even aware of it? Probably not, because Canada has actual laws preventing news hounds from exploiting tragedies to make money.

    Fear = business = money for the media in America. Whether it’s ginning folks up on social media to click and comment and argue back and forth (clicks and views = money) or whether its ratings or visits to news websites.

    Putting it into context, consider how much more likely a child is to die in a car accident on the way to school than to die in a school shooting? I’m not saying that either is preferable, or that one is not more preventable than the other – but given the actual math, the actual statistics, the actual numbers involved – shouldn’t we focus more of our energy and hysteria on vehicle automation to prevent car accidents vice attempts at gun regulation? Wouldn’t that make sense? But there’s no money to be made there because there’s no “fear” to stoke.

    Also, if anyone is looking for a very useful takedown of the insanity that poses as American News, I recommend the No Agenda Podcast. Very entertaining and informative, especially for those of you who may be looking at things from an “outside” perspective.

    And as far as guns and America go – it’s part of our culture – it’s who we are. It’s not going away. Nothing short of an actual Constitutional Amendment could change that, and even then it would be a literal fight every step of the way. Pretty much ever single state has actually RELAXED its gun ownership requirements over the last 30 years or so – even the liberal states. If someone really has a problem with that, I suggest (without any sarcasm or malice) looking into some of the other Western countries for residency requirements. Canada, Germany, England . . .etc. There are plenty of places to go that have much tighter gun control regulations. If anyone is waiting for America to “change” – it’s going to be a very, very, very multiple decades long wait, and even then it’s not a guarantee. Right or wrong, it’s reality. You’ll convince Americans to give up their cars and become vegetarians before you’ll convince them to give up their guns.

  9. Canadian gun owner here. The issue is not the guns per se. There are many countries that allow semi-auto guns that can do as much damage as an AR-15 (including Canada), and yet you don’t see anywhere near the mass shootings as in the US. The issue is the gun obsessed culture, which allows almost anyone (including bad and metnally ill people) to easily get guns, gives huge power to the NRA, and the lack of anyone being able to do anything about it. And yes, fear is a big part of it. Americans are ‘fraidy cats, sorry to say, and I include many of my American friends who say that owning a gun makes them feel safe. For those who say ban guns, or assault weapons (whatever the hell that means), that will not solve the issue. Fix the culture.

  10. You want to compare the numbers being spent on vehicle safety versus gun safety? I’m not sure they support the argument that the former isn’t receiving a more-than-proportionate monetary effort towards reducing the relative death-toll.

    Google has spent more than a billion dollars in the past five years on self-driving cars, but that is less than it costs to put a single car model on the road. Most of that money is spent making cars safer, to meet government regulations.

    FWIW, cars are an excellent case study for why research into deaths, followed by recommended laws and regulations, work. Fatal accidents have gone down 80% in the past fifty years due to regulations enacted as a direct result of accident investigations of the type now expressly prohibited by law.

  11. I made an account just to comment on this podcast. I just finished it.

    Wow. I am currently a registered Democrat — but was raised in a Conservative Christian home. I am an Electrical Engineering Student who, due to some academic needs, could not see Grant this past week during Engineers Week (Go Cyclones!)

    I have been trying to catch up on podcasts over the past month and I was scared to listen to this one. I had to take a break during and directly after the election, because some of the frustrated comments hurt me a lot ( I know they weren’t intended to, I just was saddened that my nation was hurting so much.)

    Thank you guys. An absolutely articulate conversation. Thank you.

    I don’t know where to stand right now. I could mention Israel and its armed teachers, but you know what the USA hasn’t had its existence threatened quite like Israel’s. I am concerned that we cannot have a logical unemotional conversation about this subject because we as a community of citizens of these United States have lost our connection to one another. We don’t commonly disagree and love at the same time. We enjoy ridiculing and laughing at how stupid those who disagree with us appear to be.

    Until that is fixed, there will be no change. Until we as a community take back our nation, neighborhood by neighborhood, like Boy Scouts did for Halloween, we will not heal families and will not solve our problems.

  12. It should be noted that the NRA spent about $7M on lobbying in 2016. On the other hand, the Pharmaceutical Industry spent at least $247M during the same year. I’m going to hazard a guess on who has more political influence (and maybe that’s why we never hear about any connection to shooting incidents and certain drugs).

    Also, it’s important to note that the NRA has already endorsed bills adding mental illness data to the existing background check system.

  13. I like many am not certain what the right balance is. I grew up in Michigan and fire arms were a normal part of my childhood. I learned archery at 5 years old and took hunters safety before getting my first shotgun at 12 years old; it was in some sense a right of passage.

    When I was a bit older I helped teach a children’s archery league for many years, something I am still very proud of. It instilled a sense of accomplishment at the hard work it took kids to master. It also taught responsibility and respect for handling firearms and safety. The responsibility for safety and respect for guns I feel is one of the most important elements.

    I still own guns but I agree with that the NRA does a poor job of representing ALL gun owners. I don’t know the answers but I think that an important step is repealing the Dickey amendment preventing the CDC from studying guns.

    Specifically to , cars are heavily regulated and we have HUGE amounts of data on nearly every car accident to determine exactly what the cause was. This information allows us to identify large safety concerns and address them using data analysis. It is also a matter of scale. There are far more people that die each year crossing the street each year than in skydiving accidents but that doesn’t mean that skydiving is safer. Kids are are in cars many times per day every single day. They are not in contact with firearms nearly as often. Another argument that we should certainly not arm all teachers.

    Thank you everyone for your comments; I really like the community that Tested has developed and posted here because I feel it is always a safer place than the rest of the internet to voice opinions.

  14. I thought the hosts made reasoned and thoughtful comments on the most difficult subject of our time. if the NRA can stop gun owner records from being digitized WHICH PEOPEL in CONGRESS VOTED TO ALLOW THIS – LETS start by getting these fools out of the government

  15. Australian here, and Jim Jefferies had it pretty spot on.

    The old Meme for Australia is that everything here will kill you, you know what wont kill you in Australia? An Assault Rifle.

    I just can’t understand why you guys haven’t fixed it yet.

    You hold your second amendment so tight your strangling your country. Maybe if you pass a “No killing children” amendment then maybe you will get your act together.

    Also, I don’t agree with the guys opinion that they aren’t qualified to talk about it.
    Everyone is qualified because everyone can be impacted by it.
    Adams kids are in college, Wills kid is going to start school soon, and Norm I’m sure visits public spaces sometimes.

    If you leave it to the “qualified” people, it’s going to be politicians and the NRA, and look where that has gotten you so far.

    At least these kids are starting a movement, and their “qualifications” is being shot at… that’s a qualification NO ONE should have.

  16. I understand that in today’s environment, politics pervades nearly every corner of our culture, and that public figures (e.g. the hosts) feel they are obligated and empowered to use their platform to share their opinion and participate in the debate. Of course they have the right to do so. I for one, however, would appreciate civic and cultural spheres less besieged by day-to-day politics. The intrusion of politics has a deleterious effect on our cultural institutions (including this podcast lately). The gun debate is everywhere one looks and listens right now, and it is often poorly informed and overrun with outrage. When I tune into Still Untitled, I want to hear about tech, arts, pop culture, and making things, and get a little mental separation from the fires burning elsewhere on the internet. I appreciate relevance of the discussion of guns in making (I just watched Adam customize a Nerf sniper rifle the other day, making it look much more like a real weapon). Beyond that, the gun control debate is irrelevant to the show and, as stated, there is no special expertise about gun control amongst the hosts, and they didn’t bring any outside expert or even differing viewpoint on for the discussion- so how does this conversation provide value to the show? Just one customer’s vote for more tech, less politics.

  17. Love, love, love loved this episode. For a variety of reasons…I believe I’m on the same page as you all. Have a great week!

  18. Okay, I’m going to weigh in on this thread because I was referenced in this podcast.

    I’m the individual who posted to Adam on Twitter this past week with regard to Mythbuster’s role over the past decade to (at least in part) inform our current ‘gun culture’. I believed the word I used in my tweet was ‘fetishize’.

    Adam responded to my tweet with a defense stating that Mythbuster’s (repeated and ongoing) use of (fully automatic and semi automatic) guns did not preclude, infringe upon, or limit his ability to weigh in on current gun issues.

    1. Of course not Adam. Nobody assumes that your voice should be silenced, nor did I state that should be the case in any way, shape or form in my tweet. Please re-read my original tweet for content and clarity.

    2. My point remains that Mythbusters served as both entertainment AND social Influence to a viewing demographic that I would presume skewed heavily male and heavily under the age of 45, with a strong showing amongst males 21 years of age or younger. I was a media planner in San Francisco right about the same time you were working at ILM, and while I don’t have the data in front of me, I’d wager that I’m not too far off in my guess on viewership demographics. Though I know you drew eyeballs across a wide audience mix. Your gun episodes were a cause of concern for me throughout the duration of the show, whether intended as entertainment or not. Images are powerful and enduring, especially with younger viewers. I question the effect shows like these gun-centric episodes had on impressionable viewership. It may all amount to nothing, but I am left wondering how the many gleeful slo-mo, hi-def. shots of cast members firing automatic and semi-automatic weapons were perceived by impressionable youth. Yes, I know…”do not try this at home kids” was not only a Twitter moniker, but also an omnipresent warning (and assuredly tittilating to the younger viewers). Maybe this all amounts to nothing. I watched The Lone Ranger as a kid, and it never made me want to shoot a pistol, so there’s a likelihood that it all means nothing in the final analysis.

    But I wonder, and worry, all the same.

  19. Nice to see a thoughtful discussion going on about a very heated topic. Someone said recently something along the lines of we say to never discuss religion or politics and now we are ill-equipped to discuss either.

    Some of my thoughts after listening to the podcast & reading the comments:

    There are some people (and will always be) screaming to ban all guns and some of those people are tenured politicians. This has set the table, I believe, for a lot of the pro-gun crowd’s pushback. Let’s say semi-auto rifles are banned and magically disappeared from existence upon banning. What weapon will the next shooter use to attack a school/concert/etc? Is it not likely that calls will be made to ban that weapon as well? This has long been the stance of the NRA on guns as well as hunters on game seasons (I remember a vote to eliminate dove season in Michigan 5 years ago… what an uproar, not because dove’s are necessarily a great hunt but because it’s the first step towards eliminating more seasons… again IMHO).

    Related to that, the gun registry issue is a hot topic because if the government knows where the guns are they can come and seize them. Realistic or not, it’s one of the pro-gun crowd’s concerns and there a few instances of seizure in history. Such is this concern that people often joke (truth in jest?) of reporting guns “lost”.

    Dick’s Sporting Goods just announced new rules for selling guns, one of which is they will no longer sell guns to people under 21. I question the age issue on the grounds that you can enlist/be drafted to the military at 18 but they won’t sell you a gun?

    I wonder what the effect has been of being a relatively young country with a western frontier. I’ve seen reference to Turner’s Frontier Thesis but haven’t read it or much else regarding it but I intend to.

  20. Great episode, I love that you’re getting political ! Just one thing though, about the Marco Rubio CNN Townhall, I don’t think he misread the crowd at all, I think him participating in the townhall was a very calculated political move that resulted in him getting exactly what he wanted: showing that “liberals” (aka school shooting victims in that case) want to take everybody’s guns away.

    The crowd cheered after he mentioned banning all semi-automatic rifles, which includes a lot more than just AR-15 and other modern assault rifles, and if the crowd didn’t care about or notice the distinction at the time, I’m pretty sure the gun rights people did, and heard it loud and clear as “liberals want to take all our guns away”.

    I think that little sentence, “you would literally have to ban every single semi-automatic rifle” wasn’t a blunder but actually a planned thing that got exactly the result needed to activate his hardcore gun rights base.

    I think his appearance at the townhall got him a lot of good press about how “brave” he was to stand in front of his constituents and answer their questions, and probably changed very few minds on gun control.

    Polling shows that common sense gun control legislation has huge bipartisan support even among gun owners, with waaay higher level of support than other issues like healthcare or immigration.

    I believe that the point of the townhall for Rubio, the GOP and the NRA was to activate and enrage the very small but extremely vocal and committed minority of people that oppose any regulations on guns by telling them: “See? Liberals say they want common sense measures on assault weapons, but what they really want is to take all of your guns away”, therefore making sure that those people will be there to oppose any legislative effort and support him and his republican colleages in Congress when they block any attempt at mitigating gun violence in the US.

    This townhall might not have been a victory for Rubio, but it was not a defeat for his party and the gun lobby. Now, that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t thouroughly enjoyable to watch Rubio getting yelled at by those awesome students from Parkland and being exposed for how morally corrupt (and also plain old corrupt) him and the GOP have become. I think that as people who want to see actual gun control reforms passed we should see the cold calculations at play here, because assuming good faith on the part of republican leaders has rarely turned out great for progressives in America.

    Anyways, I’ve rambled on for long enough, if you’ve read this far tell me what you think (except if you think that children being slaughtered every other week is the price to pay for freedom).

  21. I think you’re being a touch disingenuous regarding my comment. I was really focused on how the media sensationalizes things in order to promote / stir up fear in response to the comment that Americans are driven by fear. Honestly, the fear meme is silly. What’s the line? “We don’t fight what we hate but save what we love?” I presume folks here use antivirus software. Is it because we’re all living in fear? I presume we have locks on our doors and cars (in San Fran I sure hope so) – is it because we live a life motivated by fear? Nonsense.

    If you do want to stick with cars, though, I think the comparison still holds. For one, last year alone there were around 40,000 auto fatalities in the USA. From Colombine through Parkland, the grand total of fatalities from school shootings is around 122. That’s 1 year = 40,000 versus 20 years = 122. Even if you assume a lowball estimate that only a quarter of the auto fatalities were kids, the odds are greater by orders of magnitude that a child will be killed in a car accident vice a school shooting.

    Saying that regulation has solved the problem is to ignore that we STILL have around 40,000 deaths a year AFTER all the regulation. It actually proves that regulation DOESN’T solve the problem. There’s all this talk that “no child should ever feel endangered” and “every child has a right to be protected” – but if the far greater threat is the car then why aren’t we arguing about raising the age requirement for getting a driver’s license, or restricting driving at night, or restricting access to cars, or mandating, by law, automation in cars? . . . .etc. To say that Google is investing money in automation is a non sequitur – they’re not doing it to save lives or because of regulation – they’re doing it because, like Dyson, Tesla, Uber, and everyone else – they know there’s a TON of money to be made if they’re the first to crack the automation code. And I don’t fault them for that – that’s how capitalism works.

    And if anyone really wanted a fool proof solution to end school shootings they’d lobby for mandatory home schooling. That would be the only way to guarantee that problem would end. It might cause other problems . . .

    At any rate, getting rid of the NRA won’t solve the problem. Banning so-called “assault rifles” won’t solve the problem (don’t forget, the Virginia Tech wacko killed 32 with just handguns). And in America, we’re not going to give up our guns anytime soon. We’re just not. And like others here have already commented, many of us have grown up in a culture where guns were readily available, and the vast, vast, vast majority of us have never assaulted, murdered, or even plotted to murder anyone with a gun. Like us or hate us, understand it or not, it’s part of who we are.

  22. Assault rifles is a problem in defining them, since they change each time an issue with a mass shooting pops up. What makes me, as a gun owner, pissed is that every week in high crime cities (which I won’t name here, but we all know which ones) we lose more people (kids and adults) then we do in these mass shooting, but the political parties will hardly if ever discuss that. Why is it only when a mass shooting takes place does the topic of gun violence become a thing? Shouldn’t we all be discussing this issue more?

    It’s funny (not HA HA, but rather hum?) that the topic of armed teachers came up. Up here in Washington State we have some school districts that do have this as a policy. The administration staff that is armed, and aren’t known by anyone other then other school officials and I think Law Enforcement. It seems to work quite well, from what they said on the news about it. In the mean time our Governor is going off about how teachers should never be armed.

    This is the problem with the gun debate, it isn’t the NRA, gun nuts, anti-constitutionals, or so-called “snowflakes”. It’s the political bias that we’ve all built around it, and it’s no different than any other issue. We’ve become a society that is anti-social for the most part. look at the Olympics that just ended. Those games are for us to look at the worlds finest, and applaud their champions of sport. Instead we got more then a few bad press points about so-and-so doing bad things. Even one of the greatest moments when both North and South Korea worked as One Korea (perhaps the greatest story of these Olympics), we had to end the broadcast on a sour note of “will this co-operation last”.

    Ok enough of that. I’m glad that you talked about it and tried not to hide from this issue. It’s a touchy topic of civil rights, and public trust. I should be allowed to have whatever I want, but in the same token you should trust that I won’t do you any harm with what I have, and vise versa.

    Sorry for that rant.

    Now that that’s out of the way, I have a culinary arts degree, and will say that it’s true. Giving a cook (professional or otherwise) their worst meal ever is a rare and special thing. It makes them think of what went wrong and how can it be done better, but the memory can never be taken away. A great meal on the other hand goes away as soon as the next great meals pops up. Kind of like a tool that breaks before it’s time. The mind goes crazy looking at it, pondering it’s deficiencies, plotting how it could be made better. The great tool that works every time without fault only achieve construction of what you grabbed it for, and doesn’t drive innovation.

    So kudos for sparking the imaginations of good cooks everywhere.

  23. I think part of what irks those who oppose the “gun control” measures bandied about all the time is that they are so vague and ill defined. I mean, there are already some 20,000 gun laws on the books (federal, state, municipal, county, city) – what laws are missing that would “fix” the problem? Banning “assault rifles” means what, exactly? What is an assault rifle? Can someone give a specific definition? Are folks aware that the AR-15 has the same firing system as lots of deer hunting rifles? Is it the pistol grip? Do folks really think that getting rid of pistol grips on rifles will change anything? Do folks realize that the casualties would probably be much, much higher if the wacko went into a classroom with an old fashioned pump shotgun loaded with double-aught buckshot?

    And I’ll agree with you – whether Rubio planned it or not (I tend to not think he’s smart enough to plan something this clever), his statement revealed the real nature of the anti-gun position. There really are a lot of very vocal folks who just want to ban everything because they think that will solve the problem (it won’t) – but, hey, it’s an easy solution that doesn’t make us think hard or do anything to change the way we live our comfortable lives. However, I’ve found that most folks on that side really, truly know very little about actual firearms. Adam Savage probably being the perfect exception to that rule as I think he’s fired more rounds and a greater variety of firearms than the average special forces commando. And it doesn’t seem to have done him any long term damage!

    I’d also suggest that the folks who are against the “gun control” measure aren’t just a vocal minority. If you look at the trend in state laws from 1986 to the present, there has been an overwhelming movement to make gun ownership less restricted, not more restricted. And that’s even counting states most folks would consider liberal.

  24. As engineer bob said, “Well said, fellas, thank you.”

    Adam, I guess I am of the camp that thinks “Mythbusters”, though I love the show, did push the fetishization of guns. I have no doubt you did so innocently (maybe naively).

    By no means do I hold anyone from Mythbusters responsible for the mass shootings that have sadly become a part of our culture. I wish though guns in general were less a part of our culture.

    I’ll tell you a story. When I was young, I spent a lot of time drawing, creating art. I was a fan of Jean Giraud, “AXA”, “Heavy Metal” magazine style art…. Post-Apocalyptic Cheesecake.

    One day, I’m taking a drawing to a local ma-and-pa run copy shop (before Kinko’s chains, this was common back then) to have a copy made on their Xerox. The guy that owns the store reads me the riot act regarding my art.

    Well, not the riot act really, he was a little more restrained than I make it sound. It seems he was devoutly Christian and wanted to know why I used my talents to portray death and destruction. (The piece was a half-naked woman with a spear, waist-deep in a flooded cityscape of destroyed skyscrapers.)

    He suggested I should try to create art with a positive message.

    Well, 19-year-old me thought this guy was a nutcase. I mean, what did he want me to draw, doves rising up to greet the sunrise?

    And as far as I was concerned the piece was optimistic anyway — it showed humanity’s tenacity to survive. It was all about rising out of the ashes.

    Flash forward a few decades and I have a family, kids. Am I a devout Christian now painting Bob Ross landscapes? Absolutely not.

    But you know what? I kinda see where the guy was coming from. I do see that indeed there is enough pain and misery in the world that I don’t need to add to it — even if only artistically.

    I understood, think I understood, that the drawing I did back then was not devoid of hope — was not depressingly cynical. But maybe, if I were to do the piece again today, I might make that clearer to the viewer. Maybe tuck the stem of a flower in her bikini bottom? 🙂

  25. Full credit to Adam, Will, Norm and the rest of the tested community for how this discussion has run thus far.

    I’m going to start on a slightly different tack. My life is influenced by all kinds of pop culture references, whether its the Glamdring (Gandalf sword) hanging on my wall or the Lightsaber hilt in my IKEA Billy display cabinets (an idea borrowed from Adams shop.) I don’t have a DL-44 or E-11 but maybe one day I will. These are all “weapons” but my interest in them is from an aesthetic standpoint, an artefact synonymous with an individual not due to a love of weaponry.

    When it comes to guns I’m probably just a step or two up from a novice, having had some experience with .22 and 5.56 rifles over several years up until about a decade ago but only for target shooting on a controlled military range. There’s certainly fun to be had and I can absolutely support the use of gun ownership for sport and hunting.

    What I don’t understand is a need for automatic or even semi automatic weapons ownership by private individuals. I’m also unconvinced anyone will be able to provide me with a satisfactory reason but that’s my inherent bias.

    Interested to read the comparison vis-a-vis automobile safety. I’m sure in many car accidents its not the fault of the car, more likely the driver a comparison which probably rings true with guns and aircraft. The difference is the majority of those mistakes made by drivers and pilots are accidental an overestimation of their abilities or limitations, accidents. Gun deaths can be caused by accident, without statistics its difficult to know the ratio, my money would be more are deliberate.

    Apparently I had more to say on the subject than I thought.

  26. And I think you are being a touch disingenuous using the number of deaths in school shootings, when that is only one (albeit a highly visible) symptom of America’s gun problem. 11000 firearm homicides (not counting the suicides or accidents) last year on record should suggest a quarter of the investment that cars are getting with their 44k. The real number is not in the same ballpark, city, or planet.

    Google’s investment might not be prompted by making cars safer, but it would certainly be cheaper to get to the point of automation if there weren’t regulations to adhere to on their way there. As for all the other automakers, they invest in safety because they have to, and to a lesser degree, because the free market rewards them by tolerating a premium on safer vehicles.

    As for the fear-culture, I agree with you that it is overblown. As an outsider that has lived in America, I know people in the US generally aren’t scared to leave their homes, certainly not because of guns. I’d be a lot more likely to get shot or face someone with a weapon when I lived there than I am now, but it did not influence my thought processes to any meaningful degree.

    I am all for gun ownership, I used to be a competitive shooter, as a teenager no less. But there are some flat out absurd things on the books over there that need to be addressed.

  27.   and for the record, I really appreciate you always making effort to make well argued contributions to the Tested comments, even when you are repeatedly the lone voice of dissent in a sea of liberals. We need these types of discussions. 🙂

  28. As a Brit who has spent a lot of time in the US I just can’t get my head around why anyone needs a gun of any description unless it’s work related (Cop, farmer etc). The only reason i can think of is the ironic answer that people want a gun as they are scared of people with guns. That and it’s seen a “cool” thing to have in US culture, which is really odd.

  29. I’ll agree, the more apt statistic would be to compare auto deaths with all gun deaths, but gun death statistics as a whole are difficult to parse. Even after one removes suicides it’s difficult to figure out (at least with most of the data sets I’ve seen) how many deaths were the result of accident, malice, or legitimate self defense. And what about folks who were wounded but not killed. At this point, the comparison falls apart, which is why I tried to focus on just the school shootings. So much of the conversation today is about “protecting the children” I thought it not too far from being pertinent.

    And I’m happy to have an opportunity to contribute to the discussion. I come to Tested not just because I enjoy the podcasts and articles, but specifically because it features people with very different viewpoints from my own. Usually I just watch and listen, but if a topic comes up that I might have something worthwhile to contribute I try to return the favor. I think we all need to take active steps to avoid echo chambers which tends to be the default position for most folks now-a-days (Thanks, Facebook!). And it’s important to always remember that there are decent, reasonable human beings on both sides of the issues. We can disagree without hating or demonizing each other. With only a few exceptions, most of the folks who comment here at Tested are respectful. It’s refreshing compared to the Mad Max world of most of the Internet.

  30. For the record, it’s already illegal for the average person to buy or sell a fully automatic weapon. Only folks like the guys who helped supply firearms to Mythbusters, true experts, get their hands on them and only after much more extensive background checks.

    Regarding semi-automatic weapons – what do you consider a semi-automatic weapon? My guess is, unless you were using a bolt action or lever action rifle, you probably fired a semi-automatic when you were using the rifles. Everything from a non-revolver handgun to the vast majority of hunting rifles are semi-automatic. It’s an ill understood term.

  31.   fun fact, one was the Lee Enfield Number 8 target rifle and the other was the L98-A1 neither of which are automatic or semi-automatic.

  32. I stand corrected! Regardless, in many peoples’ minds, semi-automatic = machine gun when that’s simply not true. There are lots of .22 semi-automatic target rifles used in youth marksmanship clubs. I’d hazard a guess that the majority of guns for sale today are semi-automatic. It’s a loaded, inaccurate term that is often misunderstood and abused.

  33. On a completely unreleated subject, have you guys seen episode 7 of the new X Files series? Could be an interesting topic of discussion for Still Untitled…The episode was about AI learning from humans and without going into spoilers. it was quite funny and topical. I’m enjoying this new series of X Files better that the last one as it’s made up of more random episodes like some of the older X Files.

  34. Just got through listening to the podcast. Thanks for talking about the elephant in the room. Politics are one thing, kids lives are another. Well done fellas. Keep up the good work. And thanks for speaking from a position of knowledge, and not the knee jerk reactuons we see from one side or the other….

  35. As a gun owner I would really feel a lot better about the whole debate if the people participating in the debate on a national level were informed and intelligent people who were clear and honest about their agendas. Unfortunately that is neither good for ratings nor politics. On both sides of the issue the people who get cameras pointed at them are almost without fail “the most talkative person in the trailer park”. If someone says “I need my gun to protect my goats from the Muslims!” That person probably shouldn’t be allowed at the discussion. Similarly, if you have people who are offended by pictures of movie props, they probably shouldn’t be allowed in the room either. We have a society that has been raised to believe that just because you might have feelings about something regardless if you are informed or not, that somehow your feelings are valid. The opinions of a parent who’s entire knowledge base on vaccines came from watching Oprah are given the exact same weight as the opinions of medical professionals. The opinions of people who have only ever seen guns in pictures and videos are given the same exact weight as law enforcement specialists. If I could look at anyone involved in this and be confident that they actually know what they are talking about and have the best interest of the american people in mind I would be overjoyed, but as of now everyone is either talking about their feelings or trying to jockey for political power.

  36. If you are not willing to get stopped and frisked to get guns out of the hands of the people most likely to use them for violence, should you be allowed to be involved in this discussion?

  37. There are two bits of nonsense that need to be dispensed

    1 “We need to ban assault rifles”: The AR15 is no more inherently dangerous than
    any other semi-automatic rifle. It just
    happens to be the rifle of choice of virtually all psychopaths, I guess because
    it resembles a combat weapon. It also happens
    to be the rifle of choice of literally millions of law abiding citizens. Singling out the AR15 is like banning black
    cars because they are overwhelmingly chosen by bank robbers for getaway

    2 “We need common sense gun control”: Every one of the thousands of gun control
    laws now on the books was considered “common sense” when it was written and
    passed. The “common sense” rallying cry
    is nothing more than gimmick to dismiss the ineffectiveness of gun regulation
    and support more and more and more and more laws in opposition to the 2nd
    amendment. I would have to ask the gun
    control proponent, what would it look like to go too far and actually “infringe”
    on the rights of the people to own and bear arms? If that line were actually drawn I think we’d
    find that it was crossed a long time ago.

  38. I live in an area far from either coast of the USA… In one of the flyover states. I live in an area that the police response time measured in 10’s of minutes as fast…more commonly it’s within an hour or two. I work closely with our local educators. I have lost a friend to a random gunman. This is not going to be a pro or anti-gun rant. My biggest fear is that folks from places that have much better police protection will decide that their fear of the anomalous gun welder is more important than my rights. This is my fear. I’m trying to follow Adam’s instructions and stay away from the straw-man. We as a country will never see eye to eye on firearms. This is not a bad thing. What we must learn to do is be tolerant of one an other and not take comments or criticisms as personal attacks. This also means that we need to try better at not over reacting to things. What do I mean by over reacting? We as a nation have lost many young folks over the last few months. Some to shooter, some to their own hands (look into the teen suicide problems in N.E. Ohio!). Should we be upset with that lose? YES!!, should we look at ways to help those kids before it turns violent? YES!! Get active in your community. Volunteer , join a political group that shares your views. Go to a local church/mosque/Synagogue/place of worship and work with their children’s outreach programs. Make a positive impact on those around you. Does this mean reaching out via social media and assaulting someone because they have posted photo’s of a toy/prop that they have made because of it being “Gun shaped” no!. It also means paying attention to what you post online, some folks can be hurt just as bad by your words as a gunman’s bullet…. Yes, I mean some will choose to end it all because of what you say!! We also need to do a better job teaching folks that their self worth is not tied to a like, a share, a re-tweet. This is what I normally find when I come to TESTED. A place where the folks that run it are not afraid to share their triumphs, and their failures. It is only through failure that we truly learn (I’m sure that’s a quote from someone but who escapes me right now). I feel that some of that message was in this podcast… but it was muddied with things that are very politically dividing right now. A for effort boys.

    With that said, I’m not going anywhere. We can agree to disagree and still be friends.


    (Backwoods, Educated, Redneck)

    I Accept your Politics and substitute my own.

  39. I would like to add another perspective to the conversation, and it has to do with drugs and drug violence. One of the reasons drug cartels have gotten so powerful and violent has to do with how easy it is to buy guns and ammo in the US and then send them down the border to drug lords and gang members. So maybe if that aspect was also included in the conversation about gun control it could be easier to pass some reasonable laws because then it wouldn’t be all about the second amendment.

  40. First off, let me say to anyone who want advice about how to talk to their kids on this subject, I recommend you listen to Penn Jillette’s Sunday School Podcast from this week (2/25 ep 372 https://pennsundayschool.com/episodes/). Penn covers this subject far better than I can.

    Next let me say as a gun owner, firearms instructor, and NRA member, I have no objection to having a dialog about guns and violence. But I want to point out that you have engaged in the vary behavior you asked your commenters not to. Arguing that the NRA is some sort of evil empire that represents only a tiny minority is in fact a Strawman argument. As is arguing that that all the NRA does is to impede the implementation of gun control. I would ask that you keep in mind there are a lot of different points of view on both side of the gun debate.

    Finally I want to say that speak for no one but myself on this subject. I want to clarify that the reasons individuals want to own guns in the US is as varied as the individuals who own them. Making generalizations about gun owners based on stereotypes and prejudices is exactly the same as making such generalizations about people of a different nationality, race, gender, or political affiliation. Please remember that there are a very large number of legally owned firearms in the US and 99.9997% of them have never been used in violence and it is unlikely they ever will.

  41. I do struggle to understand the American debate over guns and the push back over sensible regulation. For context I’m a Brit, I was trained and am a trainer in firearms for the military and shoot at civilian clubs and centers. While I would say some restrictions in the UK on firearms type are a little too extreme, in general it’s pretty sensible.

    Here: Shotguns are a right, you can only be denied one with good reason i.e. the presumption is you can always have one. Rifles and anything larger requires a license, you don’t have a right to it, but you can have due process to appeal it if they don’t give it to you. The requirements are that you have someplace to store your firearms safely, the police come and check it, you get an interview and so does anyone else living in your home that would have access, a doctor signs a note to say you are mentally and physically competent and you need to have a reason for having it i.e. sport, competition, gameskeeping etc. and have evidence of it i.e. you are a member of a club and have passed basic firearms safety training.

    It’s not overly onerous, it’s pretty easy, and not that expensive(less than what I know many Americans spend on far inferior processes). The only annoyance I find is there isn’t really a good higher tier for pistols and semi-automatics for civilians that want to compete in that area and there isn’t enough wiggle in the regulations to let clubs easily hold those types of guns. But honestly for all practical purposes those are luxury not a necessity.

    What I would say though is the biggest difference in the UK and even Canada and places like New Zealand, are that the attitudes to firearms are different. They are tools for sport, hunting and working the land, it is expressly illegal to use them for anything else i.e. you can’t use them to defend your property and only in the most extreme situations your life. In the US people talk about them as protection, which frankly is a poor attitude and the result of a lot of the problems seen today. I think if legislation passed restricting how people could legally use firearms i.e. introducing proportionality of force laws universally there would be a reduction in shooting and general crime. Add in a single streamlined registration, background check and mandatory training system across the whole country it would catch a lot of these mentally ill or just plain bad people that are slipping through the current cracks. You wouldn’t even really need to ban pistols or semi-automatic weapons, that’s not really the problem, it’s the systems around the people that are the problem.

  42. I agree with most of your points and would like to preface what I say with I do not live in the United States either. The problem with putting regulations on ammunition is that the semi automatic weapons that are used in most shootings use the exact same ammunition as some very reasonable hunting rifles. If you were to regulate .223 ammunition for example you would almost have to discontinue sales of all .223 bolt action rifles (which could also be an option) but that is where the debate would start. It would make sense to regulate handgun ammunition because it would only effect handgun owners. There are a few rifles that use handgun ammunition but I do not believe they are widely purchased and the market could stand to lose them or just place them in the handgun category. That could be a decent jumping off point and then discuss from there.

  43. I am Canadian as well and I feel that there are some points in your argument that are not incorrect but could use some clarification. There are a very few assault style weapons available in Canada that can be owned with a regular firearm licence and a few more that can be owned with a restricted firearm licence. You are not allowed to have a restricted firearm on your person unless you are going to or from the range and if caught with one the penalties can be very severe. It is also illegal to have a magazine for a high powered rifle that exceeds 5 shots in Canada which is not the case in the states. We also have a very in depth initial testing and screening process that you have to go through in order to qualify for a firearms licence. You can not purchase a restricted firearm without a membership to a shooting range and so on and so on. It is not that we are so much better than them, the main difference is regulation and a population that is a fraction of the size.

  44. As a gun owner, I’m aware of all of that, and your points are all technically correct. My point is that if someone wants to do as much damage as US mass shooters do, it would not be difficult in Canada, despite restrictions. For example, the 5 round limit on magazines is easily overcome with basic tools. Non-restricted semi-auto rifles with powerful rounds are easily available, even if they aren’t AR-15s, legally or illegally. And it is actually easier to illegally acquire a gun here than most people think; my buddy was able to buy a restricted handgun just out of high school with no PAL, and got a non-restricted rifle even easier. The issue is really culture. Even if guns were just as easily acquired here as in the US, I still believe we wouldn’t see the same (proportionately smaller) number of mass shootings.

  45. Longshot: I’m not sure a letter that spends its first several sentences talking down to the kids it supposedly was written to reach, making a cheap joke by suggesting they are so stupid and/or oblivious to the world around them that they don’t know what a letter is, and then proceeds to lecture them on empathy is going to have the intended effect. It seems ill adviced, if that is truly the goal, to open your argument by suggesting that kids by virtue of being kids are unable to focus (except on their “stupid phone”, which happens to be where most of their friendships and interests are maintained) and base the argument on the flawed premise that kids don’t make a conscious effort to care about their classmates already.

    Not sure that suggesting X, Y and Z are signs to watch out for to identify potential shooters is going to have the intended effect for those kids who don’t fit in either. “Why are you sitting in the corner, Timmy, are you planning to murder us?”

    FWIW, most 16 year olds I come in contact with today are perfectly aware of letters, and they sure as hell write more than I ever did at that age, turns out that is a positive side effect of spending your life with a keyboard in your pocket. They also manage to juggle school, sports or other social hobbies (video games for example) with a degree of skill and focus I wish I had in my own work/life balance, and they are a lot more socially aware than I was in junior high.

    Not saying all the bad shit of bullying and leaving people out isn’t still there, in fact the hyperconnected world must amplify its effects, but suggesting these kids just need to look up from their screens and talk to the person next to them offers a solution that is a lot more simplistic than the strawman presented in the letter that gun control is suggested to magically “solve” violence from the marginalized and frustrated.

  46. Late to this thread but can I just say how pleased I am to see people with different viewpoints talking about something so emotive in a respectful manner & trusting others’ views are sincerely held.

    As a Brit who used to shoot regularly, it seems the gun debate is difficult not just because of the emotion but because it involves multiple related but distinct problems. Mass shootings are appalling common relative to other nations but a small minority of gun deaths. Accidental shooting, unpremeditated homicide & suicide are all big issues relating to guns too.

    In order of importance, a few contrasts between the UK & US that I think are relevant.

    Firstly, it takes more time and effort to acquire & own guns in the UK. warriorscot did a good job explaining the regulatory regime here. There are .50 cal shooters here and that’s fine because they’ve proven themselves over time as competent & responsible to the local police forces that authorize each firearm type they own. There are no, for lack of a better term, casual gun owners in the UK.

    Secondly, people for the most part just don’t feel a need to own or carry a weapon of any kind to feel safe. This means people don’t have a problem being required to store their arms unloaded and in a gun safe. Id argue that makes a heck of a difference to impulsive events like suicide & marital/familial homicide which dwarf mass shootings. Worth remembering that of people who tried to kill themselves & survived 1/4 reported going from decision to action in under 5mins. 3/4 in less than 1hr. And the “success” rate of gun suicide is around 85%, pills is around 2% so making the gun option just a little more of a hassle might make a difference. (Stat source) https://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/healthcare-triage-firearms-and-suicide-guns-and-public-health-part-3/

    Finally, because guns aren’t owned primarily as weapons, people see no place for short semi-automatic rifles with large external magazines in the UK. I loved shooting the L98A2 on the range & I think who owns a gun is way way more important than the kind of gun that’s owned. But I find it hard to argue that a bolt action rifle or a pistol could reasonably do as much damage as quickly as my L98A2(which is semi-auto) at short to medium ranges you commonly see in active shooter events. The latter is just better suited to CQB.

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