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Gun control - again
Posted: 03 May 2013 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Someone sent me this story:
She walked up, and tied her old mule to the hitch rail.  As she stood there, brushing some of the dust from her face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other. 

The young gunslinger looked at the old woman and laughed, asking, “Hey, old woman, have you ever danced?” 

The old woman looked up at the gunslinger and said, “No, I never did dance…  never really wanted to.” 

A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said, “Well, you old bag, you’re gonna dance now,” and started shooting at the old woman’s feet.  The old woman prospector - not wanting to get her toe blown off, started hopping around.  Everybody was laughing.  When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon. 

The old woman turned to her pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun, and cocked both hammers.  The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air.  The crowd stopped laughing immediately.

The young gunslinger heard the sounds too, and he turned around very slowly.  The silence was almost deafening.  The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old woman and the large gaping holes of those twin gun barrels.  The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old woman’s hands, as she quietly said, “Son, have you ever licked a mule’s butt?” 

The gunslinger swallowed hard and said,  “No m’am…  but… I’ve always wanted to.”

There are a few lessons for us all here: 
1 - never be arrogant. 
2 - don’t waste ammunition. especially when a single shot is all that’s needed. 
3 - whiskey and testosterone makes you think you’re smarter than you are. 
4 - Always, always make sure you know who has the power. 
5 - don’t mess with old women; they didn’t get old by being stupid. 

Occam

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Posted: 17 May 2013 08:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 09 April 2013 05:46 PM

I’m a gun owner and a target shooter and I have a perfectly valid proposition to make to all teapartiers and strict constructionist gun owners out there. Conservatives constantly refer to the US Constitution as a document to be literally interpreted as our “Founding Fathers” did in 1787.

Would have to disagree here. That is not strict constructionist interpretation as I understand it. By that standard, the Commerce Clause would only apply to the commerce of the time, and the phrase “the people” would mean only the people alive at the time. And where the Constitution gives the Congress the power to raise an army and a navy would only mean an army and navy using the weapons and ships of the time. And free speech would only apply to things like quills and paper. What conservatives tend to be against is the idea that you “read into” the Constitution and find things that are not there, and disregard those aspects of the Constitution that you don’t like. That is dangerous. The Left have a problem with doing this regarding aspects of the Constitution that they don’t like, but then railing about when they perceive aspects of it they do like being infringed upon (ex. the Bush administration and things like waterboarding, Guantanomo Bay, etc…).

Also, they did have repeating guns back then, just they were rarer.

Thevillageatheist - 11 April 2013 08:46 AM

Good job Lois! Impressive research and very applicable today especially if you’re a teaparty constitutional unionist (new group BTW at least on facebook) and I’m not kidding about the proposition. If they want to live by the “book” so to speak then they should own the same weapons. Likewise conservative fundamentalists should stone me to death for apostasy, it’s in the book, the inerrant word of god as is the constitution, god inspired and therefore sacred and unchanging, although James Madison added a few amendments!

The notion that the Constitution is supposed to be unchanging is a misunderstanding many have. It is very much meant to change. That is one of the very flexible aspects about it that the Founders built into it. But the change is done via the amendment process. It is not supposed to be changeable where you just claim that you can let the government do this or that because you want it to (as some seem to think).

A textbook example of this misunderstanding was during the 2008 presidential election, when John McCain was on the show “The View” and said he’d like to appoint strict constructionist justices. Whoopie Goldberg responded (paraphrasing as I may be forgetting her exact quote): “Well…then do I need to worry about becoming a slave?” The crowd applauded and McCain showed his own ignorance of the subject by trying to comfort her on it. What he should have pointed out is that that would be impossible with strict constructionists on the Court, because via the 13th Amendment, read in its literal meaning, slavery is illegal. It’s in plain English:

Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

I think some have the impression that strict constructionism means interpreting the Constitution as it was originally written and ignoring all the amendments. But by that standard, the First and Second Amendments would have to be ignored then as well!

Thevillageatheist - 16 April 2013 10:16 AM

Exactly Mac, background checks, eliminating multiple round clips, registering firearms, mandatory gun safety classes for new owners, better safety measures for storing weapons, e.g. Gun locks, improved health care for mental patients, neighborhood watch organizations with parameters (watching and reporting, not gun toting), prevention of felons from ever legally owning a firearm, and better control over addictive drugs (an epidemic here as most gun crimes are due to illegal drug sales), will greatly reduce the incidence of gun crimes IMO.

A registry infringes on the entire concept of arms as a human right. Also, historically registries have always been used for confiscation purposes and we have seen confiscation happen in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and also people like Dianne Feinstein and Governor Cuomo have talked about it. In addition, we have seen just now with the IRS and the Justice Department how government officials are prone to abusing their power. Universal background checks are fine in principle, but in practice they require the creation of a federal gun registry. Some say that this would not be possible due to the laws in place that make such a registry illegal, but those laws have been hard-fought for by gun rights people and could be repealed in the future at some point.

By “multiple round clips,” I am assuming you mean what are called “detachable box magazines.” Eliminating detachable box magazines would infringe severely on a person’s right to self-defense. Regarding limiting magazine size, there is a reason police like standard-capacity magazines in their guns. The hit ratio in shootouts is about 30% and it can take multiple shots to down a person, especially if they are high on a drug of some type, enraged, some combination of both, etc…when shot, the only thing that will stop a person is significant enough blood loss or a significant drop in blood pressure to affect the oxygen going to the brain. Otherwise, the body is usually fully capable of operating long enough for the attacker to kill someone. Police have been killed for this reason.

Limiting the magazine size only affects the person protecting themselves, not the shooter. The Virginia Tech shooting was conducted with handguns, one that held ten round magazines and the other fifteen round magazines. The person affected is the person who has their home broken into and then has to make due with the magazine that they have in the gun. They don’t have to time to be strapping on a belt with magazine pouches with extra magazines or anything like that. Gun locks are already a common feature included with the purchase of many guns.

As a frightening anecdote, a mother whose child attends the first grade with my granddaughter posted on Facebook that she bought her seven year old son an assault rifle for his birthday so that he can take it with him on his four wheeler. Gun owners here are buying them up as fast as dealers are putting them on the shelves and hundreds of rounds of ammunition as well, fearing that the “government” will pass laws preventing sales.

She was wrong. Actual assault rifles are rare and their manufacture for civilians has been outlawed since 1986. What she probably meant was a weapon that just has a scary “assault rifle” appearance is all. How the gun appears is meaningless though. To be an assault rifle, it must have automatic fire capability (i.e. a machine gun). Guns manufactured for the civilian market are all semiautomatic (in layman’s terms, one shot for each pull of the trigger) and per regulations of the ATF, must also be made where one cannot easily convert them to be capable of automatic fire.

[ Edited: 17 May 2013 10:29 PM by LogicMan ]
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Posted: 17 May 2013 09:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Jeciron - 10 April 2013 06:56 AM

I’ve never read much about it, but it has always struck me that the 2nd amendment is confusing and opaque.  It’s seems pretty clear that the group who wrote the constitution could, when they chose, be extremely precise and lucid and I’ve always wondered if the language of the amendment is intentionally vague.  Perhaps it was a way to address and yet not address the issue.  Early in U.S. history the ruling class was intensely concerned about the possibility of rebellion.  Shay’s rebellion had just occurred in 1787, yet I was taught the success Revolutionary war was made much more possible due to the citizenry owning fire arms, and that fire arms were nearly essential on the frontier, (for good and bad reasons), Certainly there must have been some conflicting opinions among the signers.  Did the founding fathers palm off the issue onto future generations?

I would argue that the language of the Second Amendment is actually very clear, the problem is just a lack of knowledge on its wording by many these days. The Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

The first part that tends to confuse people is the phrase “well-regulated.” It did not possess the meaning that the word regulate possesses in modern times. At the time, it meant “well-trained,” or “in good working order.” A modern usage could be for example, a “well-regulated engine.” The word “militia” refers to the general body of citizens. Alexander Hamilton talks about this in Federalist Paper #29, “The Regulation of the Militia,” where he talks about how it would be nearly impossible for the militia to be trained up to have the “character of a well-regulated militia:”

By a curious refinement upon the spirit of republican jealousy, we are even taught to apprehend danger from the militia itself, in the hands of the federal government. It is observed that select corps may be formed, composed of the young and ardent, who may be rendered subservient to the views of arbitrary power. What plan for the regulation of the militia may be pursued by the national government, is impossible to be foreseen. But so far from viewing the matter in the same light with those who object to select corps as dangerous, were the Constitution ratified, and were I to deliver my sentiments to a member of the federal legislature from this State on the subject of a militia establishment, I should hold to him, in substance, the following discourse:

“The project of disciplining all the militia of the United States is as futile as it would be injurious, if it were capable of being carried into execution. A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss. It would form an annual deduction from the productive labor of the country, to an amount which, calculating upon the present numbers of the people, would not fall far short of the whole expense of the civil establishments of all the States. To attempt a thing which would abridge the mass of labor and industry to so considerable an extent, would be unwise: and the experiment, if made, could not succeed, because it would not long be endured. Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year.

In addition, The Random House College Dictionary (1980) and the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition, 1989 gives this as one of the definitions. On the meaning of the word “militia” itself, we can also look to the other areas of the Constitution where the word is used:

Article I, Section 8, Clauses 15 and 16 read as follows:

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

And the 5th Amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Note how the militia is spoken of as a pre-existing entity.

The phrase “the people” is in reference to an individual right, as the phrase “the people” is used in reference to individual rights everywhere else it is used in the Constitution. It wouldn’t have made much sense to randomly use it in reference to a collective right in one area of the Constitution, and also to use it in the second amendment of a list of ten amendments. When the Constitution refers to states rights, it says so explicitly.

Regarding the word “arms,” essentially that meant the weapons in common usage amongst the citizens that would be used for self-defense and militia duty. Remember, they did have the concept of biological weapons back then, as the practice of tossing plague-infested bodies and so forth over the walls of castles and cities is an ancient practice. But the Founders did not mean one has a right to keep plague in their home (so the Second Amendment does not mean one has a right to a biological, nuclear, or chemical weapon, or a battle tank, grenades, bombs, etc…indiscriminate weapons).

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Posted: 17 May 2013 09:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Lois - 10 April 2013 08:12 PM
mid atlantic - 09 April 2013 09:00 PM

It was an X-acto knife, though. It’s not a good killing weapon. If he had used most any other knife, there would have been at least a few deaths.

Ok, and how many deaths if he’d had a fully loaded automatic weapon?

Actual automatic fire weapons are extremely rare. They have been regulated since 1934 and the manufacture of them for the civilian market was ended in 1986. You can own ones made pre-1986, but to do so requires a very extensive background check, multiple fingerprintings, plus there’s about a six month waiting period, and it will cost you a lot more since such weapons are rarer.

Lois - 10 April 2013 08:53 PM

The Constitution was ratified by people haggling over every phrase and making changes every step of the way get the votes they needed. Many probably said “Take this out,” “Take that out,” “Put this in’” “Put that in,” “Change this” “Change that,” or we won’t vote for it.  It’s amazing that the Constitution is as coherent as it is.  The state representatives meant something by putting in the phrase about the militia.  It probably wasn’t what we think it was—certainly not what the NRA thinks it was. We will never know exactly what they meant to say.

The meaning of the phrase “militia” is pretty clear now, as there has been a large amount of scholarship conducted on the issue since the 1970s. Also see my posts above. The NRA’s position is pretty spot-on I would say.

I doubt they were palming anything off to future generations. The sighners knew what it meant, even if we don’t. But we’re stuck with it. I doubt they would have written it the way they did if they could have imagined how it would be interpreted today and what kinds of weapons would be available to citizens and that citizens with no connection at all to a militia would be able to arm themselves as if they were small independent armies.  I’m sure the would never have written the 2nd amendment  as they did if they had a clue  about the gun related crimes  we would  have in the 20th and 21st centuries,including mass killings.  They couldn’t have imagined it in their wildest nightmares or they would have written restrictions into it, as any intelligent body would have.

The types of weapons available today had been around for quite awhile long before mass shootings started occurring. Widespread use of repeating arms goes all the way back to the 1840s, and by the late 19th century, revolver handguns and lever-action and bolt-action rifles were in wide use (bolt-actions still are). Semiautomatic rifles were invented in the late 1800s, and semiautomatic rifles with detachable box magazines became available to civilians in the first decade of the 20th century. Semiautomatic handguns have been around since the late 19th century as well. 12 gauge pump-action shotguns were invented in 1898. Automatic fire pistols (machine pistols/sub-machine guns) were widely available in the 1920s via the infamous General Thompson sub-machine gun, aka the “Tommy Gun.” You could actually buy these in a regular hardware store throughout the 1920s. But mass shootings were extremely rare.

Due to the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, automatic fire weapons came under heavily regulation in the early 1930s, but even that massacre was of gang members and was all due to the bootlegging wars. Had alcohol never been outlawed in the first place, then the bootlegging wars, and thus that massacre, likely never would have happened. The vast majority of shootings happen with hand guns. The increase in mass shootings today some theorize to be due to a breakdown in the mental health system due to the process of deinstitutionalization that began in the 1960s, as the vast majority of these shootings involve someone who is clearly mentally ill.

Lois - 16 April 2013 11:11 AM

Right, so why do we have car registration, driver’s licenses and traffic laws?  Why not just throw up our hands and say “No amount restrictions on automobile ownership and driving rules will stop mentally disturbed individuals from slaughtering people with their cars? So let’s just have a free for all. Anybody can own a car and anybody can drive it as recklessly as he pleases.

Cars are not a Constitutionally protected human right that many are very bent on outlawing completely. They are also necessary for society to function. Some would probably like to outlaw them from the masses if they were not required for the function of society. For example, the calls to ban SUVs, or to tax them and/or gasoline to force more people to purchase smaller vehicles.

Also, if guns were treated like cars, there would be no background check and a license to operate would be good in all fifty states. 

Should we have the same attitude toward bombs, too? why not? No amoint of bomb control is going to stop mentally disturbed individuals from obtaining bombs or making them and slaughtering people with them.

Bombs are not arms. Banning them does not infringe on anyone’s rights.

[ Edited: 17 May 2013 10:25 PM by LogicMan ]
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Posted: 17 May 2013 10:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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FPaNV - 16 April 2013 09:52 AM

That being said, I think gun advocates generally get the 2nd wrong. The foundational bedrock of individual gun ownership really isn’t the 2nd amendment. It clearly spoke about firearms in relationship to the militia, which can be federalized and commanded at anytime by those that are supposedly held in check buy it. The 2nd is not a “rebel for free card” to be wielded by individuals. It is a balanced approach to share the power of the sword between state and federal sovereignty.

It wasn’t about the states. The militia, being the general population, can be called up by the Congress to repel invasions, suppress insurrections, and so forth. I agree that it isn’t a “rebel for free card” though. It doesn’t mean one can just take up arms and go overthrow the government because of say something like President Obama’s healthcare law. It’s more for if the government turns into something equivalent to the Assad regime.

the English common law common weapons and firearms are perfectly legitimate extensions of the fundamental right of self-defense.

I still believe in an individual right to gun ownership, but the real legal justification for individual ownership is to be found in the common law, and thus is part of criminal code, not Constitutional law. Locke and others in the canon of English common law have long argued that common weapons and firearms are legitimate extensions of the right to self defense in the face of lethal threat. English common law is often very practical. In the case of self defense, it is necessary to be protected in both the right to self defense as well as the practical capacity or ability to protect yourself. Otherwise, self defense is merely a war of might makes right and individuals are at the mercy of whoever is physically dominating over them- or in other words- a tyranny of the brutes. If young, old, weak, women, etc are to have a functioning right to self defense and not just a theoretical one- they may need to have common weapons at their disposal to balance their relationship to the “brutes.” Of course what is a common weapon requires government regulation and scrutiny- or it too can become a tyranny of the “most heavily armed.”

I agree about Locke. Also Sir William Blackstone in his Commentaries. But remember, the Constitution was influenced by people like Locke and the common law.

This interpretation of gun rights held sway in American courts all the way until the Heller decision, when by a bare majority of 5-4 changed 200 hundred years of interpretation. Heller (Scalia’s opinion) held that the 2nd did cover individual right to guns outside of militia service. The dissents railed against this new construction. I think the dissent is correct. 2nd protects and regulates collective need and militia service, common law protects and regulates private use.

They did not overturn 200 years of interpretation. The Courts never really had addressed the issue until DC v Heller. Also, the Court was 9-0 on whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right. The 5-4 split was just over whether the DC gun law should remain upheld. One could say that the four dissenting justices engaged in a form of judicial activism there. 

Either way, at least Scalia held that like other rights, it can be regulated even under the 2nd. In my opinion Heller has really empowered something I think will be seen as blatant politicizing of the SCOTUS in future generations. The discussion of individual gun rights properly belongs to common law, not constitutional law, and that decision muddled the legal framework for political agendas- pure and simple.

Would have to disagree here. Scalia was adhering to the scholarship regarding the history and meaning of the Second Amendment.

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Posted: 17 May 2013 10:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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macgyver - 16 April 2013 12:13 PM

We don’t need to make that assumption to come to the conclusion that gun control would be a useful tool. All we need to assume is that some people who would commit mayhem with a gun might choose not to if forced to use another method or additionally that some people who would use an automatic weapon to kill lots of people may be somewhat less efficient if forced to choose a different weapon. Any improvement at all means that gun control has some utility and therefor may have a useful role in controlling violence. I think those are reasonable assumptions and since there is little to lose by trying it does not seem logical to oppose reasonable limitations without good reason.

As pointed out in my above posts, automatic weapons are already very controlled and their manufacture since 1986 has been outlawed.

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Posted: 19 May 2013 01:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Yes. but it doesn’t take a lot of talent to turn a semi-automatic into an automatic..

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Posted: 19 May 2013 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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LogicMan - 17 May 2013 10:30 PM
macgyver - 16 April 2013 12:13 PM

We don’t need to make that assumption to come to the conclusion that gun control would be a useful tool. All we need to assume is that some people who would commit mayhem with a gun might choose not to if forced to use another method or additionally that some people who would use an automatic weapon to kill lots of people may be somewhat less efficient if forced to choose a different weapon. Any improvement at all means that gun control has some utility and therefor may have a useful role in controlling violence. I think those are reasonable assumptions and since there is little to lose by trying it does not seem logical to oppose reasonable limitations without good reason.

As pointed out in my above posts, automatic weapons are already very controlled and their manufacture since 1986 has been outlawed.

Why do we have so many automatic weapon mass killings in the US if automatic weapons are outlawed and rare? Why does it seldom happen in countries with strict gun control, including thorough background checks?

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Posted: 20 May 2013 02:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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asanta - 19 May 2013 01:08 AM

Yes. but it doesn’t take a lot of talent to turn a semi-automatic into an automatic..

My understanding is that it does. All weapons made for sale to civilians in the United States have to be manufactured where they cannot easily be converted into being automatic fire weapons. This is per regulations of the ATF. Any weapon that is easily convertible to being capable of automatic fire is considered under the law as an automatic fire weapon. Otherwise, it takes some serious skill to be able to convert a weapon to automatic fire capability. If not done properly, one can end up with a weapon that will blow up on them.

Remember, the cartridges (casing with bullet, propellant (powder), and primer (chemical mixture that upon impact produces heat to ignite the powder)). When the cartridge is in the firing chamber, when the primer is struck and the gun powder ignites, the projectile (bullet) is fired. However, if you ignite the gun powder without the cartridge in the chamber or properly in the chamber, you essentially have a little miniature bomb, and the gun could blow up on you. So converting a gun made to be difficult to convert to automatic fire requires some specialized machining skills and equipment.

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Posted: 20 May 2013 02:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Lois - 19 May 2013 09:14 AM

Why do we have so many automatic weapon mass killings in the US if automatic weapons are outlawed and rare? Why does it seldom happen in countries with strict gun control, including thorough background checks?

We don’t have many automatic weapon mass killings in the U.S. Sometimes the shooter uses a weapon that people think is automatic fire because of how it looks. Regarding other countries, well remember that one of the worst mass killings in history happened in Norway in 2011 when Anders Breivik shot and killed 77 people and injured 319. Norway has pretty strict gun control. So does Germany, which has had some very bad mass shootings as well. Also remember that as I pointed out earlier, back when gun laws were far more lenient, the U.S. did not have mass shootings of civilians. What prompted the first gun control laws in which automatic fire weapons came under regulation was a mass shooting of gangsters, and that itself was due to the bootlegging wars due to alcohol having been outlawed. What we have seen in recent times is a serious curtailing of the mental health system in America.

Regarding other countries, well there are various things to consider. For example, culture-wise, when you look at countries like the Scandinavian countries, they tend to be very small population-wise, very culturally homogenous, and so forth. The United States, by contrast, has a much larger population with a whole lot of different cultures, ethnicities, religions, languages, etc…all jumbled together, so the U.S. society is far more complex. Japan is also very homogenous. Europe’s gun laws are just as strict as Japan’s, but the Japanese have less gun violence than the European nations. But note how the Japanese behaved in the wake of the earthquake. No rioting or anything, because the country is very culturally and ethnically homogenous. With no rioting in the wake of a breakdown of society, it isn’t surprising that they have very little gun violence. However, they do have one of the highest suicide rates of any civilized country: http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide_rates/en/ So we see that in a country with very stringent gun control laws and very little gun violence due to its culture, it nonetheless has a pretty high suicide rate (so connecting guns with suicide as some due is not accurate either).

You can also look at things such as for example, what causes the gun violence in cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C.? Some say that the criminals go outside of the cities to areas where the gun laws are more lenient to obtain their guns, but if the gun laws are more lenient outside of those cities, why isn’t there significantly more violence outside of those cities? Why don’t other cities with more lenient gun control laws (for example Dallas and Houston Texas) have more severe gun violence levels? The problem of the violence itself is separate from the guns. Something is causing the violence in those cities. 

With the mass shootings, it is the same. Something has been causing them to increase as of late. As said, some believe it is due to the breakdown of the mental health system over the last three or so decades. I am not sure what the solution is there. I think it is like a mental health variant of the “better 100 guilty people go free than one innocent person be locked up” but applied to mental health. The problem thus is that a whole lot of very mentally ill people are out walking the streets who should be receiving treatment. But how to get them treatment against their will without accidentally locking up a sane person here and there because enough people wrongly thought they were crazy?

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Posted: 20 May 2013 09:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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To this point, the NRA is in charge of what will happen with attempts at legislatively controlling guns in any way.  So I wonder what they will be motivated to do about the emerging ability of individuals to produce their own guns, i.e., with 3D copy technology.  IOW, is the NRA powerful constituency more the individual gun owners or are they more answerable to those who market in guns? If the latter, then, I think we will likely see 3D gun copying controlled through legislation.

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Posted: 21 May 2013 05:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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LogicMan - 20 May 2013 02:22 PM
Lois - 19 May 2013 09:14 AM

Why do we have so many automatic weapon mass killings in the US if automatic weapons are outlawed and rare? Why does it seldom happen in countries with strict gun control, including thorough background checks?

We don’t have many automatic weapon mass killings in the U.S. Sometimes the shooter uses a weapon that people think is automatic fire because of how it looks. Regarding other countries, well remember that one of the worst mass killings in history happened in Norway in 2011 when Anders Breivik shot and killed 77 people and injured 319. Norway has pretty strict gun control. So does Germany, which has had some very bad mass shootings as well. Also remember that as I pointed out earlier, back when gun laws were far more lenient, the U.S. did not have mass shootings of civilians. What prompted the first gun control laws in which automatic fire weapons came under regulation was a mass shooting of gangsters, and that itself was due to the bootlegging wars due to alcohol having been outlawed. What we have seen in recent times is a serious curtailing of the mental health system in America.

Regarding other countries, well there are various things to consider. For example, culture-wise, when you look at countries like the Scandinavian countries, they tend to be very small population-wise, very culturally homogenous, and so forth. The United States, by contrast, has a much larger population with a whole lot of different cultures, ethnicities, religions, languages, etc…all jumbled together, so the U.S. society is far more complex. Japan is also very homogenous. Europe’s gun laws are just as strict as Japan’s, but the Japanese have less gun violence than the European nations. But note how the Japanese behaved in the wake of the earthquake. No rioting or anything, because the country is very culturally and ethnically homogenous. With no rioting in the wake of a breakdown of society, it isn’t surprising that they have very little gun violence. However, they do have one of the highest suicide rates of any civilized country: http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide_rates/en/ So we see that in a country with very stringent gun control laws and very little gun violence due to its culture, it nonetheless has a pretty high suicide rate (so connecting guns with suicide as some due is not accurate either).

You can also look at things such as for example, what causes the gun violence in cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C.? Some say that the criminals go outside of the cities to areas where the gun laws are more lenient to obtain their guns, but if the gun laws are more lenient outside of those cities, why isn’t there significantly more violence outside of those cities? Why don’t other cities with more lenient gun control laws (for example Dallas and Houston Texas) have more severe gun violence levels? The problem of the violence itself is separate from the guns. Something is causing the violence in those cities. 

With the mass shootings, it is the same. Something has been causing them to increase as of late. As said, some believe it is due to the breakdown of the mental health system over the last three or so decades. I am not sure what the solution is there. I think it is like a mental health variant of the “better 100 guilty people go free than one innocent person be locked up” but applied to mental health. The problem thus is that a whole lot of very mentally ill people are out walking the streets who should be receiving treatment. But how to get them treatment against their will without accidentally locking up a sane person here and there because enough people wrongly thought they were crazy?

So the answer is to do nothiing about the proliferation of guns even among the mentally unstable?

One incident in Norway means nothing when compared to the many incidents in the US.

You’re right that “something” is causing violence in the cities you name. So let’s just be sure that there are plenty of guns available for the people to express their violent tendencies with. Sounds like a great idea. No matter how you cut it, countries with strict gun control laws have far fewer gun deaths and injuries, including countries without the cultural factors you cite. The population in Great Britain and Canada is very much like the population in the US, yet the gun violence in thise places is far lower than in the US.  Gun control works.

Lois

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Posted: 21 May 2013 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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LogicMan - 17 May 2013 08:57 PM

A registry infringes on the entire concept of arms as a human right.

I have no idea what you think a “human right” may be, but to the extent it is incorporated in the Constitution, which is the only pertinent consideration when it comes to what can or cannot be done legally in the U.S., it is quite clear that Constitutional rights are limited, not absolute, and are subject to restrictions; they have been for quite some time, in fact.  So, e.g., First Amendment rights are subject to time, place and manner restrictions, not to mention restriction in the form of laws applicable in the case of defamation.  The legal status of the right to bear arms is no greater than that of any other rights given constitutional protection—it is not the “super right” certain of its adherents apparently believe it to be.  It is subject to reasonable regulation just as First Amendment rights are, and the sole question should be what are reasonable regulations in the context of a constitutional right, which though given protection is not absolute.

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Posted: 21 May 2013 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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The interesting thing is that if we were talking about some other hobby besides guns no one would react this way. If remote control airplanes were killing even a few hundred people per year instead of the tens of thousands of people a year killed by guns they would be outlawed with very little fanfare. There is a near fanatical devotion to guns in this country which is based entirely on paranoia and fear. Paranoia of the government and fear that they are going to be attacked in their homes. Neither of which has any basis in reality if you look at history and the statistics.

A militia of individuals armed against the government is more likely to cause harm to the majority of the population than it is to save us from tyranny. These individuals are not elected to their position of gun ownership by the citizens and as such they represent a very skewed segment of the population. Do we as a country really want THEM to decide when its time to initiate a violent revolt and overthrow the government? Gun supporters might argue that if everyone had a gun the decision would be very democratic since we would all have a say but this would only hasten the path to violence since we all would have the power to solve things with force and wouldnt be forced to limit ourselves to negotiation. Using an armed populace to keep the government in line has been a flawed argument for a very long time since private individuals and militias will never have anything close to the firepower that the government has unless we start allowing individuals to own RPG’s, tanks, and F22’s. Is that what we want?

The idea of protecting one’s self in his or her own home is slightly more practical but only barely. The vast majority of us will never face that situation and only a small number of those who do will successfully gain access to their weapon and use it in such a way as to alter the outcome in their favor. On the flip side the price we pay for this “security blanket” is hundreds of accidental deaths every year, many people killed in domestic disputes, and lots of criminals who have guns that were stolen during burglaries because so many homes have a gun in them.

The whole gun dispute is a clear example of humans not being able to accurately assess risk. If anything close to a rational assessment of risk were used in this debate guns would quickly be outlawed and there would be no controversy.

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Posted: 21 May 2013 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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macgyver - 21 May 2013 09:47 AM

The interesting thing is that if we were talking about some other hobby besides guns no one would react this way. If remote control airplanes were killing even a few hundred people per year instead of the tens of thousands of people a year killed by guns they would be outlawed with very little fanfare. There is a near fanatical devotion to guns in this country which is based entirely on paranoia and fear. Paranoia of the government and fear that they are going to be attacked in their homes. Neither of which has any basis in reality if you look at history and the statistics.

A militia of individuals armed against the government is more likely to cause harm to the majority of the population than it is to save us from tyranny. These individuals are not elected to their position of gun ownership by the citizens and as such they represent a very skewed segment of the population. Do we as a country really want THEM to decide when its time to initiate a violent revolt and overthrow the government? Gun supporters might argue that if everyone had a gun the decision would be very democratic since we would all have a say but this would only hasten the path to violence since we all would have the power to solve things with force and wouldnt be forced to limit ourselves to negotiation. Using an armed populace to keep the government in line has been a flawed argument for a very long time since private individuals and militias will never have anything close to the firepower that the government has unless we start allowing individuals to own RPG’s, tanks, and F22’s. Is that what we want?

The idea of protecting one’s self in his or her own home is slightly more practical but only barely. The vast majority of us will never face that situation and only a small number of those who do will successfully gain access to their weapon and use it in such a way as to alter the outcome in their favor. On the flip side the price we pay for this “security blanket” is hundreds of accidental deaths every year, many people killed in domestic disputes, and lots of criminals who have guns that were stolen during burglaries because so many homes have a gun in them.

The whole gun dispute is a clear example of humans not being able to accurately assess risk. If anything close to a rational assessment of risk were used in this debate guns would quickly be outlawed and there would be no controversy.


Agree.  Did you know that gun hysteria hsa even worked its way into product liability?  No one can sue a gun manufacturer for dangerous defects in the manufacture of guns as one can, for example, sue a ladder manufacturer for dangerous defects in its ladders. it would be interesting to know how this enormous loophole was inserted into product liability law.

Lois

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