Commentary: Time to push past NRA rhetoric and have real conversation about guns


By John Krull

John Krull, publisher,

John Krull, publisher,

INDIANAPOLIS – The shootings in Indiana’s own Elkhart gave Americans and Hoosiers a look at the National Rifle Association’s solution to the problem of gun violence in action.

A disturbed young man who had an apparent fascination with serial killers went in to a grocery store and killed a store employee and a customer. While the killer held his gun on the store manager, police quickly and bravely shot him dead.

The NRA and its flacks would say that outcome demonstrates that their solution works.

Good guys with guns came and shot a bad guy with a gun. The two people who died before the good guys could get there presumably are acceptable losses in the service of keeping the flow of guns in this country free and undiminished.

The family and friends of the victims might disagree.

And the dead, of course, no longer can speak for themselves.

Every time I – or anyone else – writes or talks about guns and puts the words “sensible,” “gun” and “laws” within 10 paragraphs of each other, the flacks for the gun lobby and their true-believing followers start yelling like 2-year-olds who have been deprived of sleep. They claim that anyone who is concerned about the tragic levels of gun violence in our country and who doesn’t believe exactly what the NRA and other gun groups tell them to believe is irrational, unreasonable and unthinking.

One of the loudest is Indiana Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, who recently authored a bill that would allow students, faculty and community members to bring firearms to school and keep them locked up in their cars. (It’s interesting to note that, at a time, when most parents want to see guns kept as far away from school as possible, Lucas is going the other direction and trying to bring them closer).

Every time I write about guns, Lucas responds with a howl that I’m bullying the poor, beleaguered NRA, which only has a multi-million dollar budget and a small army of lobbyists and message consultants with which to defend the organization’s interests.

In his last agitated response, Lucas said that I hadn’t proposed any solutions to the problem of gun violence.

While he wasn’t entirely accurate – in the past, I’ve given a qualified endorsement to the solution the NRA first endorsed (background checks) and then reneged on – Lucas had a glimmer of an insight. I deliberately haven’t proposed any solutions. In fact, I’ve acknowledged that gun laws might not solve the problem – or might create problems worse than those we currently encounter.

Lucas and the gun lovers, though, never think to ask why I took this tack. That perhaps is not surprising; they’re not big on asking questions that would force them to challenge their assumptions.

The reason is that I wanted the NRA true believers such as Lucas to demonstrate just how determined and unreasonable they will be. I wanted them to make my case for me.

And they have obliged.

Every time someone suggests that guns should be part of a national conversation about the epidemic of gun violence, they shriek like gut-shot hyenas.

The NRA and its fellow travelers propose as solutions to the problem that include placing armed guards in schools and other public places, regulating violent media and drafting new stop-and-search policies.

All I’m saying is that if we’re going to put the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution on the table, then the Second Amendment and guns should be part of the discussion, too.

The tragic events in Elkhart gave us two more reasons to discuss ways that we can make our communities, our states and our country safer. It is time for people of good faith to gather and search for solutions. Even if we cannot find answers, we owe it to ourselves and those we care about to try.

The NRA and its foot soldiers in Congress and our state legislature will do everything they can to stop us from having that discussion if it includes guns.

And the dead no longer can speak for themselves.

So it is up to the rest of us to do our duty and force the conversation.

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.


    • The nice thing about web sites is that you don’t “accidentally” read things, Brad. It might sneak up on you on TV, but don’t read it if you don’t want to.

  1. This is agenda-driven commentary that adds nothing to what’s already been tread and retread 1000 times. You’re right I don’t have to read it, but I did because I was looking for some glimmer of a balanced, nuanced, original perspective. I didn’t get that. What I got were predictable assertions that anyone not sharing Mr Krull’s view that, presumably, all gun should be banned and the Second Amendment “put on the table” and repealed, are NRA “flacks”.

    This guy doesn’t want a “conversation”. He wants to prosthelytize his anti-Second Amendment sentiments.

  2. “While the killer held his gun on the store manager, police quickly and bravely shot him dead.”

    So what did they shot him dead with, rubber bands?

    And are the police the only good guys? There are many many incidents of armed citizens stopping a bad guy before the police could respond.

    In fact, when only the police has weapons it is most likely a police state controlled by bad guys.

    Yet none of that matters. We have a constitutional right to bear arms, as militias and as individuals. If you don’t agree with that right, then please let responsible gun owners know and we will gladly protect your right to become a victim.

    • Considering around 500 innocent people are shot or beaten to death annually in the US, i would sooner support a full ban on all but a select few heavily trained cops carrying firearms than I would support one more hurdle for a law abiding citizen.

      If the left would like a REAL conversation about diminishing gun deaths, lets start with those that should be preventable – those perpetrated by authorities.

  3. Reagan was surrounded by “good guys with guns” when he was shot…. just saying. I own guns and an across the board gun ban is absurd, but a few common sense laws wouldn’t hurt. The founding fathers who the right wing routinely lie about could have never imagined the 100 round death hoses we have today. Imagine if we flat out said we’d never change any law for all eternity. We’d still be stoning people to death for having sex out of wedlock. The party of no needs to be dragged kicking and screaming every once in a while.

    • At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what the founding fathers could or could not imagine. The principle, the reason behind the Second Amendment, which is clearly stated in the Amendment itself, is the same.

        • Yes, and if you’re armed, so are you.

          In the State of Indiana, every able-bodied man is able to be called upon by the Governor in times of insurrection. It’s in the State Constitution.

          We ARE the militia.

        • Besides, the Second Amendment doesn’t say you have to be in a militia to exercise your right to keep and bear arms WITHOUT ABRIDGEMENT…. Read it again. A militia is mentioned because it is one reason the framers recognized the necessity of codifying this right on a national level. The right is not contingent upon one’s involvement in a militia. This is borne out by the recent SCOTUS case saying that, indeed, the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right.

          The States may offer other reasons in their Constitutions, per the Tenth Amendment.

          • It also mentioned it because being in a militia was mandatory for able bodied men from age 17 to 50.

            When reading history you will find that men referred to a Colonel so and so, or Captain so and so, were often officers of the local militia, positions usually granted to men of stature in the community.

            One liberal “so called” journalist with an agenda and a forum from which to spew his propaganda is more dangerous than a whole company of well armed local militia.

            Krull gets far too much print and daily fills the heads of his Franklin College Journalism students, who no doubt hang on his every word, with the Cass Sunstein world view.


          • Press, I agree on the student brainwashing. What are these kids paying for if not the privilege of being indoctrinated by someone with a clear cut personal axe to grind?

            To be fair, the same couldne said of every Ivy League professor in the Western Hemisphere.

    • Most “gun’ people I know do not call firearms guns and they know that 100 round “death hoses” are impressive but impractical. Of course I am not surprised that you draw the line at the firearms you own.

      Never the less, have your sensible gun ban and you will be facing down a bad guy wielding a 100 round death hose with your 10 round rubber band gun. You lose.

      • Ok Al Pacino. Weapon or piece then. You have an overinflated cowboy ego.

      • Dawned on me last night to ask you about “Guns and Ammo” magazine there John Wayne.

  4. Yawn! Not more of this garbage. The great gun debate is over. You lost. Get over it!


      • No, because Obamacare is a law. It can be repealed. Natural rights cannot be repealed. The right to defend one’s family, castle, and curtilege with force, if necessary, has a tradition that goes back to at least the Magna Carta.

        The left likes to focus on habeas corpus, as do I, but they flippantly ignore this castle doctrine principle.

        • Brad, I’m all for home defense. I’m opposed to legally being able to buy an AR w 100 round magazine with no background check.

          • Lucky for you then, there already are background checks in the laws of every State of the Union.

            Tell me something… Do you believe that laws making pot possession illegal has stopped people from possessing pot? Do you believe that laws against murder have stopped murders from occurring? Laws are only effective as putative measures, not preventive. They are particularly powerless in preventing the criminally insane from engaging in criminally insane activities.

            Someone who plots a shoot-em-up/suicide rampage isn’t consulting the Indiana Code or SCOTUS precedent prior to carrying out their sick crimes. The only thing gun laws do is prevent the law-abiding from exercising what is their natural right to self defense against such thugs and psychopaths.

          • Gun shows, no background checks. I’ve seen it in the flesh. And by your arguments we should have no laws because they can be broken. Should we make murder legal because we can’t stop them from happening?

          • Now you’re being a fool. I didn’t say we shouldn’t make murder illegal. Clearly, its already f—ing illegal. That’s my point. Anyone shooting up a school is there to break the law by murdering people. How much of a SG– do you think they give if they have to buy their magazines from a gun show or via another profiteering criminal?

          • By the way, I’ve bought and traded at gun shows too… I’ve also bought, sold and traded other lawfully-owned items at trade shows.

            If you’re making the argument that ARs are too dangerous to own, then make the argument. Don’t dilly dally and be a puss about how it’s obtained, as if that matters a lick.

          • Right now, the dealer is not a profiteering criminal. These profiteering criminals get them through legitimate means. Yes Brad, I do not think any civilian needs a 100 round magazine. Try the decaf tomorrow.

          • If you fear a future wherein an authoritarian government could dessimate your rights and steal your property, where yhey would spy on you and search you without warrants, throw you in prison without any ptospect of ever seeing the inside of a courtroom before a jury or your peers, you don’t buy into your premise about 100-round magazines. But that’s a straw man and a tangent. You were talking about gun shows, and why the rights of people to exercise in the free exchange of firearms is a bad idea. I’m all ears.

    • Thanks Brent!

      Your disgusting, callous, cold-blooded, and heartless views of the gun boosters are on display for all the world to see. We win you lose. How pathetic. Like economic externalities the consequences of 300M guns in the US are pushed onto to other families like some stone age blood thirsty lottery right out of Shirley Jackson’s novel.

      No the victims and families of gun violence lost and contine to lose and we have the stacks of corpses to prove it.

      Gun homocide/ capita

      United States 3.60
      Greece 0.59
      Switzerland 0.52
      Candada 0.50
      Portgual 0.48
      Italy 0.36
      Denmark 0.30
      Belgium 0.29
      Finland 0.26
      New Zealand 0.26
      France 0.22
      Germany 0.20
      Netherlands 0.20
      Sweden 0.19
      Spain 0.15
      Australia 0.13
      Norway 0.04
      United Kingdom 0.04

      So no gun control doesn’t work, except everywhere it has been tried and enforced.

      • Mexico: 23.7 absolute gun control laws in place.

        Somebody did some cherry picking to suit their message.

        What if Chicago was a country? Gun Control in place.

        • A) Mexico is not part of the developed first world and corrupt abounds

          B) Chicago is full of guns that come straight from Indiana/surrounding suburbs per the gangs themselves.

          Fine “Law abiding gun owners” go to Indiana Cicero etc and buy guns to be sold right out the back of a van or or car trunk and the FBI/ATF can’t do a damn thing about becuase we don’t have gun registration in the US.

          Mentioning Chicago and gun laws is one of the finest examples of the fallacy of affirming the consequent ever. Look I did a snow dance last nigh and it worked!! GENIUS!!

          • The figures above are per 100,000 population, instead of “per capita”.
            That being said, it is horrifying. When you add in the fact that 51% of all suicides are done with a conveniently located gun, and all of the “gun accidents”, it is really, really bad.
            I have no problem with mentally stable people who do not have a violent criminal history owning guns, and keeping them at home. If they carry them into public places, they should have to have the weapon and their license to carry it in full view.
            If they fail to take personal responsibility for securing their weapons and someone is hurt with their gun, then they should face serious criminal penalties.
            There will be all sorts of howling from the gunners who want to take their little buddy with them everywhere they go, hidden safely away. If they feel the need for a gun to tote around with them, other people should know that they have it.

          • This just shows you’ve never actually carried a gun. You want wimple to both be redponsible for securing their weapons AND want them kept in full view by law. You obviously haven’t thought this through, just like 99% of the imbecile lefties who enter into this debate with no knowledge.

          • Comment out of order: @ Brad Linzy

            Actually, Brad you’re making a wrong assumption. I have owned and carried guns. It is a great relief to me that none of my children nor I were ever shot as a result of ill-advised behavior on my part. I got older and wiser.

      • Bogus. This statistics do not account for the law of large numbers. In larger populations the likely hood of having an offender greatly increases.

        Further more, statistics do not trump the constitution.

          • If there is a one in a thousand chance of something, then chances are that something will more likely happen where there are 10,000 than where there are 1,000. You will likely have more people act out in a small population than a large one. What you need to consider is that where there are “sensible” guns laws, new crimes like home invasion arise.

        • The Constitution does NOT say you have the right to carry concealed, and Scalia knows and recognizes that fact.
          Your right to drag a hidden gun around with you does not trump my right to not be around people who are carrying guns. Don’t suggest that I just stay home, because I have a right to assembly, etc., just like you do.
          No, I am not “afraid” of guns, or most of the people who own them, so don’t start that drivel, either.

          • You’re right. *i* say I have the right to carry concealed. I claim it’s a natural right. I will not sit at the back of a bus either.

            Your move.

          • Again, out of order due to lack of reply button:

            I’m pretty sure the day will come when SCOTUS disagrees with you, and then you’ll have a choice to make. If guns are so wonderful, why won’t you carry openly? Concealed carry reeks of “laying in wait.”

          • No, but if I moved here I would own one for my home.

            The reasons to carry concealed are manifold. The biggest reasons are so people like you don’t whine when you see someone carrying and create a scene. Another major reason is, if ever you’re in a situation where someone is a threat, they won’t know who is armed and who isn’t. It creates an atmosphere where anyone could be armed. The crim won’t be able to disarm you or neutralize you immediately.

            You may have carried in the past, but you must not have spent much time thinking through scenarios.

      • You can’t just look at gun deaths in isolation. That’s only half the story. Try looking at violent crimes altogether.

        Raw data concerning “gun deaths” usually does not distinguish whether the homicide was justifiable, whether it was perpetrated by a cop pursuant to a legitimate function of his job, etc. it’s this kind of surface analysis that leads 2A proponents like me to scoff at counter arguments.

  5. I would like to take the opposite tack and state that it is also legal to not own a gun. And I am not asking for sympathy or babying. I stand for the right to not be manipulated by the NRA or any other group who spends millions because they have millions to spend. And where do they get the money? You figure it out. They make a pot load and that is one of the reasons they drag up this “debate” time and time again. When this happens, they get more money and people buy more guns from dealers who also make pot of money. I would not own a gun but particularly would not own a gun to support these jerks.

  6. I sure did like the hunting trips,as kid. I feel, my Father his friends,fellas at the gun clubs,and other Relatives always trained us for proper firearms use,always large on bearing the huge responsibility to show us youngers proper,legal,and safe use of a firearm.

    We all did,and still do,It really wasn’t a rare event for some of the high school boys to go on a quick trip afield after school,before shooting time. We had shotguns and small game rifles in the vehicles with the field coat and boots,some of the guys even had their pooches out there,as well. Wasn’t a big deal,heck the coach and some teachers or parents sometimes skipped practice or work and went with us. Good stuff,the game dinners were pretty darn nice get togethers also. Times past,I suppose.

    No one ever thought of danger from it then, we all stayed safe followed the rules afield. Man, times sure change though,even with my children they had the training and excelled at it,however the hardware stayed locked in the gun safe until before the hunt.
    The home atmosphere having “insured firearms safety” for those children of mine,AND their guests,and friends,of their guests”.
    Mine was set up with keyed and combination access,kinda like a missile silo,took a “joint command structure” to open the thing…….

    Key point to move forward on. Some positive actions that our social economic engines of fickle fate process can induce in reference to some damn useless federal or state firearms laws.

    Having had the unfortunate experience of actual military combat,and seen what really does happen when a societies freedoms are questioned,assaulted,and taken.
    I’m think’in the actual focus goes to the present laws now in place.
    Creating and administration of new ones, more or less just sets another objective to the crimes beginnings to achieve what ever the goal in its purpose might be perceived to be in the first place. Commit a crime, to achieve the goal,to commit another. dot…splotch!wump,fail.

    More background checks are not going to reign in the problems. Period.
    It will however drive up the cost of a crapped out economy through more structured requirements and added combined resources.

    And Brad,the only purchase or trades I’ve ever completed,were through licensed dealers.

    Only because of the assurance the businessman who has qualified for the Federal system behind him,most likely won’t contribute to the growing problem of illegal sales to and from illegal sources. [“NRA foot shot central there”]
    If firearms had to become “insurable,” then, I’m thinking the problem would incrementally melt away,anyhow.So.

    Isn’t that the elected brain childrens solution to the so called scooter problems,as well.
    Yup,waste of time,just like all the former worthless debates over firearms bills.
    Violence,death,warfare,grievous injuries,pillage,handicapping,terrorism,drugs,sexism,and total chaos. get waxed! No biggie, its all fun, start over,learn more socially unusable functions and skills,while you waste away your limited FREE time on the planet. Geez,what market!

    Free access “you,and this army” the commercials right,you need more barbarians……..”or maybe actual duck hunters.”

    “perfection of means,and confusion of aims,seems to be our main problem.”(Albert Einstein)

    • “perfection of means,and confusion of aims,seems to be our main problem.”

      That bullet goes in my federally sanctioned ten round magazine for sure.

  7. I believe the best solution is add an icon, like a little gun to identification like a drivers license that indicates one is of age, mental health, and character to own a firearm. If one does not have that tag the same can not own, be around, or deal in firearms. My idea ends background checks, fees on a constitutional rights, straw-man sales, and possession of firearms by those who can not purchase one.

    Oh, we should out law murder also, take spoons from obese, and pencils from poor spellers. I’m sure going to miss my pencils.

    • Mental health is a very tenuous thing, sometimes. Just because someone is mentally healthy today doesn’t mean they will be tomorrow.
      Don’t tell me, let me guess! You’ll volunteer to judge character to decide who is and is not fit to own a gun.

      • Then when they are no longer mentally sound, the person no longer qualifies to own a firearm.

        We have judges and juries to decide ones character. I don’t mean personality or likability by character, I mean law abiding.

        • And, when a person becomes mentally ill, I suppose they will automatically turn in their license and gun. That’s how it usually works, right?

  8. John Krull, the voice of Indiana’s ACLU coven. At least the CCO doesn’t try to put camo on it’s leanings like the C&P does.

      • Hey Ghost, right wingers call us liberal but left wingers call us conservative. That may just put us in a sweet spot that could actually get things done if the politics were neutered.

        • I think this guy doesn’t realize you’re not necessarily liberal for posting a Krull article. Even fox has their whipping boys like Alan Combs.

  9. Wow,E, little icons, you mean like a say aaaaah, “pilots license”,indicating one is type rated too, and therefore qualified operate specific aircraft types because of the Advanced Training,fees and background checks,mental health evaluations,and such…..

    That helps,”kinda x splains it”,stimulated the economy didn’t it? “World Trade centers”.

    “Icons”for control measures,sure buddie that crap worked out real good didn’t it? Sorry man,no buy in from me into that nonsense either.
    Ouch! damn it. I sat on my pencil,no one should be able to leave their pencil on their chair…….!!!
    Pencils! Dang things should be designed so they automatically roll off chairs… “or is that chairs should roll off,the pencils”.. 🙂

    “Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land,than passing laws that cannot be enforced.”
    “Sometimes one pays the most for something one gets for nothing.'(Albert Einstein)

    • Lil difference with my merit badge, you would have to qualify for being disqualified.

      Thanks for the point on the pencil, but one of us is using it the wrong way. I’ll try sitting on one to see if it sharpens my spelling.

  10. Brad Linzy says:

    January 21, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    This just shows you’ve never actually carried a gun. You want wimple to both be responsible for securing their weapons AND want them kept in full view by law. You obviously haven’t thought this through, just like 99% of the imbecile lefties who enter into this debate with no knowledge.

    Hey Brad my Great Uncle was a Naval gunning instructor. My eldest Uncle was a pistol instructor for the FBI at Quantico base. One of the best marksmen in all of the FBI and has pictures of him and President Ford and FBI director Hoover.

    My father earned 3 day weekend passes to see my mother by being the best M 1 rifle marksman in his company.

    My father has a huge gun collection and reloading equipment. Quail load 1- 1/4oz powder 7-1/2-8 shot.

    I’ve shot .22 rifles and pistols .38’s .357 magnums.
    22-250 rifles and more shotguns than you can imagine, the whole nine yards. I learned to shoot from them I’ll take you on at the skeet range ANY TIME PAL. BTW the Browning over and under has a special safety feature that prevents a second firing if there is no recoil.

    I read your pathetic cockamamee article on HuffPO.

    Now you know what you can do with your comment.

    • @ Brad Linzy:

      “This just shows you’ve never actually carried a gun. You want wimple to both be responsible for securing their weapons AND want them kept in full view by law. You obviously haven’t thought this through, just like 99% of the imbecile lefties who enter into this debate with no knowledge.”

      As I already pointed out, this “imbecile” HAS carried a gun, and it is fortunate that nobody ever took it away from me and shot me with it.
      I have fully thought through the idea of requiring all carrying of arms to be open carry. It puts the onus on the gun-toting “scairdy cat”, where it belongs. If you’re not comfortable with you ability to keep the gun secure on your person, you might think twice before parading around with one.
      Btw, I’ve also had the experience of having a crazy person hold a loaded 9mm to my temple, have had a switchblade pointed at my throat, and have been seriously assaulted. In none of those cases would me having a gun have saved me. It would have likely gotten me, or someone else, killed.

      • “your ability to keep the gun secure….” Did not use an Iphone, not enough coffee is my excuse.

      • Btw, I’ve also had the experience of having a crazy person hold a loaded 9mm to my temple, have had a switchblade pointed at my throat, and have been seriously assaulted.”

        That’s what happens you join OWS occupations. 🙂

        With being the victim of three serious acts of aggression to your credit you need to learn something about how not to become a victim. Sounds to me like you have a chip on your shoulder.

        Most firearms will never have to even be displayed in aggression more less fired. I had to turn back a person invading my property, and the reason it was able to do so was because I was able to catch him off guard. That is why carrying concealed is the only intelligent way to carry.

    • Oh My, you learned firearm principles from these fine patriots and then went off to college and got educated/brainwashed right ? I will pray for your recovery. Good Luck !

    • @Brains : And all the ego building stats/info you present, real or imagined, prove nothing and do nothing to bolster whatever argument you have on gun control. Typical BS of throwing useless information out to cover one’s inadequacies in backing an argument.

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