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January 31, 2011 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Gun show undercover - how dangerous people get guns.
posted by Artw (76 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bloomberg for President
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:29 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]




I'm a member of a large group that regularly murders, rapes, tortures, and kills other members of that group. Can I have a Glock?
posted by swift at 1:37 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Conversely in NYC.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:38 PM on January 31, 2011


I wish I could say this is something new, but I can remember back a decade ago, going to shows and had I wanted it, I could have bought any number of guns right there on the spot. As a gun guy, it's incredibly frustrating to see such a total abdication of any effort to make sure the buyer doesn't have a criminal background.

This is an area where people who like guns and support gun-rights could make some reasonable concessions and make the country legitimately safer place, but no. There is no discussion, because any compromise is seen as the spear point of the thin edge of the slippery slope and all rational conversation instantly gets shut down.

And increasingly, gun shows and shops have turned into fringy right wing water coolers, where people just stand around talking about how much better the country used to be, etc. I finally got sick of it and just stopped going.

Basically, the culture is so flawed at this point, I don't even want to participate in my lifelong hobby anymore.
posted by quin at 1:57 PM on January 31, 2011 [36 favorites]


The site encourages "help spread the word about how easy it is for felons, drug abusers, and other dangerous people to get guns".

Hey Felon! You should think about getting a gun, it's really easy!

Just doing my part.
posted by ChrisHartley at 1:58 PM on January 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Having seen a Serbian Zastava M92 shipped to the UK labelled as "motorcycle parts" at some point in the mid-1990s I have to say that folks who want guns will get guns. I mean, it's not like we've plugged the holes that drugs come in through. If you can sneak a trawler into the UK with several tons of cannabis or coke on board than chucking a dozen handguns or automatic weapons is no biggy* (other than the increased sentence obviously).

With the huge number of weapons already in circulation you'd have to pull off some amazing magic trick to track every single purchase made at gunshows etc. I've been on plenty of firearms forums recently where users refuse to show pictures of their collections so that "the man" doesn't make notes of every weapon for that day when the 'pocalypse comes and they take not just your jurb but yor guhn too.

I do not mean to disparage firearm owners at all (I'd almost certainly be one were it legal in the UK) but paranoia does kind of seep into this conversation fairly easily. This video will just up the paranoia and make the deals happen even further under the table. If that actually makes any sort of sense.

Most illegal firearms in the UK are legally obtained and illegally converted blank-firers however. This certainly holds true of the MAC-10 and MAC-11 knock offs used in London criminal activities. I have also seen an un-deactivated WWII German MG-42 that's capable of firing 1200rpm cyclic that'll use live ammo (should you be able to locate some old 7.92mm ammo belts at any rate). My Great Grandma had an old Webley .38 No2 Mark 1 until my mum found it and handed it in to the cops. Just as well since it was rusty as balls I might add. The ammo had been sat in it for about 50 odd years as well.
posted by longbaugh at 2:01 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Truth in advertising.
posted by TheCoug at 2:03 PM on January 31, 2011


Myth of the Hero Gunslinger

See also the comments: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and tons more.
posted by Eideteker at 2:04 PM on January 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


Let me put on my "Devil's Advocate" hat for this*:

Telling someone behind a gun show counter that "I probably couldn't pass a background check" is not something that usually happens at these shows, I'm guessing? It's possible they could have filtered it out as crowd noise, or joking? Not trying to excuse this, just trying to demonstrate how someone whose soul isn't a gaping pit of evil could make this kind of mistake.

if they're going to have gun shows, then there probably should be some kind of automated background check processing system right there at the show, or else abandon the idea of direct sales at those shows entirely.

*IT BURNS MY SCALP
posted by JHarris at 2:13 PM on January 31, 2011


There is no discussion, because any compromise is seen as the spear point of the thin edge of the slippery slope and all rational conversation instantly gets shut down.

Yep, because the NRA is really basically just an industry association masquerading as a civil rights outfit. Or maybe a better analogy is to a street team for the gun industry--the fans on the street team don't realize their mostly working their hearts out for the benefit of the record label.
Despite its image as a membership organization subsisting entirely on $35 membership dues, the NRA actually collects much of its money in large donations from upper-middle-class and even wealthy supporters. Big contributors, bequests, fundraising dinners, and backing from the gun industry have combined to provide the NRA with a substantial block of funds. The NRA uses that money for direct-mail solicitations, in effect converting large contributions into many smaller ones, which it then channels into political campaigns.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:18 PM on January 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is an area where people who like guns and support gun-rights could make some reasonable concessions and make the country legitimately safer place, but no. There is no discussion, because any compromise is seen as the spear point of the thin edge of the slippery slope and all rational conversation instantly gets shut down.

There is also a propaganda spreading effort about how the BATF will shut you down anyway if you engage in legal sales with background checks, because they'll keep auditing your paperwork until they find a misplaced comma then revoke your FFL and/or fine and jail you. I'm not going to say the BATF wouldn't do that, but I don't think it's a good excuse for engaging in illegal gun show sales.

As for gun culture, the NRA supported both the Brady bill and HR 2640. They actually want instant background checks. Unfortunately, there are some extremists out there who think that the 2nd amendment brooks absolutely no exceptions.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:24 PM on January 31, 2011


JHarris writes "Telling someone behind a gun show counter that 'I probably couldn't pass a background check' is not something that usually happens at these shows, I'm guessing? It's possible they could have filtered it out as crowd noise, or joking? Not trying to excuse this, just trying to demonstrate how someone whose soul isn't a gaping pit of evil could make this kind of mistake. "

Is passing a background check required to legally transfer weapons at one of these shows? If not then I'm guessing the vendor just doesn't care. The vendor might not even be able to pass a background check so why should our hypothetical vendor care?
posted by Mitheral at 2:27 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]




It's frightening how easy dangerous people can get a gun. There definitely needs to be laws in place to screen individuals before they are allowed to buy.
posted by Ricachica at 2:32 PM on January 31, 2011


Is passing a background check required to legally transfer weapons at one of these shows?

The idea of the "Gun Show Loophole" (itself a contentious idea, apparently) is that private transactions between private individuals cannot be regulated because they are between two private parties.

I guess the difference is buying from a pawn shop requires that you walk into a place of business, but at a gun show it's all private persons set up flea-market style? No corporations or LLCs or whatever doing business there? No business cards for gun shops back home?

(I've never been to a gun show, so those are real questions.)
posted by hippybear at 2:37 PM on January 31, 2011


The reason that I don't think the Tuscon shooter would be able to get a gun at a gun show is because he was denined ammo at a Wal Mart for being generally creepy. In a retail, corporate setting "the customer is always right" so the fact that he was denied there really says something.

I can't view the video at work, but I'm guessing the guy buying the weapon wasn't giving off the same vibe as the Tuscon shooter. This doesn't acquit gun shows, but there is a real person to person element that goes on. You're face to face with the sellers. No, background checks aren't required, but a lot of sellers run them anyway. A regular TV reporter doesn't set off any alarms, the Tuscon shooter might.

Although I personally think background checks should be at gun shows anyway, seeing as how major sellers (the ones selling AK's and redonkulous rifles with grenade launcher attachments) ask for background checks anyway.
posted by hellojed at 2:44 PM on January 31, 2011


> The reason that I don't think the Tuscon shooter would be able to get a gun at a gun show is because he was denined ammo at a Wal Mart for being generally creepy.

I read that he simply walked out of one WalMart before the ammo was rung up. He wasn't denied, but perhaps he got spooked for some reason. I've bought ammunition at WalMart and the person who unlocked the cabinet didn't give me a second look so I think unless someone is mumbling about shooting up a parking lot they probably don't spend much time screening buyers.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:46 PM on January 31, 2011


...and a partridge in a pear treeeeee
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:48 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I read that he simply walked out of one WalMart before the ammo was rung up. He wasn't denied, but perhaps he got spooked for some reason.

I may be wrong, but I got that info from wikipedia here.

"News reports indicate that the clerk at the first Wal-Mart where Loughner attempted to buy the ammunition may have refused to sell it to him based on his appearance and demeanor.[95][96] Wal-Mart declined requests to confirm or deny the incident.[97]"

So I might be wrong, but that's the jist of it.
posted by hellojed at 2:51 PM on January 31, 2011


It's frightening how easy dangerous people can get a gun. There definitely needs to be laws in place to screen individuals before they are allowed to buy.

And I'd like to see jail time and removal from the job when people in ANY kind of government office use cause any other government official to not examine into a complaint or cause others to use 'extra-special looking into powers'.

I believe on some hot button topics a poster called for Extra-Special IRS audits for the involved parties. (Oh and that was a favored comment.)
posted by rough ashlar at 3:07 PM on January 31, 2011


the NRA is really basically just an industry association masquerading as a civil rights outfit.

And there is nothing better for increasing the demand for defensive guns than selling guns to violent criminals. Of course, the ultimate pro-gun event would be if any concealed-gunholder were to actually stop a Tucson Incident, but it's one of those things that only happens in movies.

I've declared here multiple times that the ONLY time I would EVER buy a gun would be if I intended to murder somebody (because that's what they're best for, and nobody has ever convinced me that they're good enough for any other purpose). And of course, nobody will ever use these statements to deny me a gun.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:14 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


The reports at that time actually indicated that Loughner left because that particular Wal-Mart because that store didn't sell ammunition until 7:00 am.. This was all over the news at the time. Trusting a source like Wikipedia that is open to anyone to edit when weasel words like "indicated" and "may have" are employed is pretty naive. Of course Wal-Mart refuses to comment about whether this happened. Had this been true, it exposes them to liability about the eventual purchase. Anything they say is just corporate damage control. The facts about this would be easy enough to check, I suppose, but it's irrelevant. Because, in the end, all that some psycho bent on mass murder needs to do if refused at one venue is to then go somewhere else.

The simple fact remains that in much of America, anyone can get any kind of lethal weapon, alomg with all the 30-shot extended clips they want, as long as they have the cash. That's it. That is the only metric. That's the real beauty of an American's freedom to choose. Free enterprise works. The market decided which location made the profit from that sale. That department manager probably will get a bonus for having the foresight to recognize that people needing human-killing devices in the wee hours of the morning shouldn't be denied that right.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:27 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


as long as they have the cash. That's it. That is the only metric. That's the real beauty of an American's freedom to choose. Free enterprise works.

Yup. See Citizens United VS your "voice".

Face it, the only vote you have is where you spend your money.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:31 PM on January 31, 2011


and nobody has ever convinced me that they're good enough for any other purpose

Pity, because the joys of appreciating the brilliant engineering challenges that have been overcome over the last century and a half by studying the workings of a modern firearm is a very real and fulfilling experience. As is going to a range and, through a careful combination of practice, breathing, balance, and patience, taking a small piece of metal, and expertly placing it in a piece of paper several hundred feet away.

Guns can certainly be used to do bad things. They are demonstrably competent in this regard, but I can assure you that there is a lot of simple joy to be found in the non-violent use of firearms.

Of course, the bitter part of me would then follow this up with, "it's also a pity that you can't go anywhere to experience this anymore without encountering any number of paranoid assholes who are convinced that the only way to be safe is constantly to be carrying concealed, and that your better off just getting into archery..."
posted by quin at 3:33 PM on January 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell: "Bloomberg for President"

Over my dead body.
posted by Splunge at 3:50 PM on January 31, 2011


Of course, the ultimate pro-gun event would be if any concealed-gunholder were to actually stop a Tucson Incident, but it's one of those things that only happens in movies.

No, actually, it isn't. A 2007 church shooting in Colorado was stopped by a a volunteer security guard with a concealed-carry handgun. There's also this shooting, in which a concealed-carry holder shot and killed a man who was firing into a crowd of 300 at a bar in Nevada. And this one, in which a woman with a bow and a (fake, but realistic) handgun shot someone at her father's workplace, and was in turn shot by two employees with concealed-carry permits.

Shootings are rare, and people who stop them by shooting are rarer, but both do occur outside of the movies.
posted by vorfeed at 4:07 PM on January 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


Shootings are rare, and people who stop them by shooting are rarer, but both do occur outside of the movies.

Additionally, very few people report using a gun to prevent a crime unless someone ends up getting shot. If I rack my mossberg to get the attention of the person breaking into my beloved subaru and they run off, I'm not as likely to call the police as if they successfully broke in. So stats can be misleading.

I'm not coming out in favor of more lenient gun laws (I, personally, support a universal handgun ban) but it's difficult to quantify the exact relationship private gun ownership has on crime prevention.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 4:31 PM on January 31, 2011


I think the main problem with gun control is the one size fits all model.

You live in rural Montana where the nearest LE is half an hour away and you have actual Dangerous Animals around? OK you can have some guns.

You live in NYC? No, no you don't get to have a gun, ever. Period. You Don't Need One.
posted by digitalprimate at 4:31 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


You live in NYC? No, no you don't get to have a gun, ever. Period. You Don't Need One.

Maybe YOU don't, but plenty of us do.
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:47 PM on January 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


The facts: In both the Virginia Tech shootings and the Tuscon shooting the perp bought his gun through legitimate channels requiring a background check. Both men were certified bat shit crazy but were given a pass by the FBI's NICS database. The reason: The data that would have prevented the sale was not entered into the database. In case you think this is gun nut ravings check MOVE-ON, they've started a campaign to correct the problem.
posted by shnarg at 5:02 PM on January 31, 2011


Quinn. Many of the a-holes you are referring to are a bunch of Walter Mittys.
They live in a fantasy world where they are heroes defending the rest of us from evil doers. If they are ever asked to step to the plate they will be the first to bolt.
posted by notreally at 5:19 PM on January 31, 2011


It always strikes me as pertinent, when discussing passing laws to change the behaviour of some people who break existing laws, is that the people you're trying to get to obey the law already do not obey they law -- by definition.
posted by mikelieman at 5:22 PM on January 31, 2011


I'm not coming out in favor of more lenient gun laws (I, personally, support a universal handgun ban) but it's difficult to quantify the exact relationship private gun ownership has on crime prevention.

Not a coincidence: Arizona Shooting N.R.A. Stymies Firearms Research, Scientists Say via NYTimes.
posted by artificialard at 5:42 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]




From one of the links provided by vorfeed ...

"Investigators say a feud between two local families is behind the early-morning shooting inside the bar.

Local police, the Sheriff's Office and the Nevada Highway Patrol are preparing for retaliation from one or both of the families, and rumors are already circulating in the small town of Winnemucca. There is a sense of sadness for losing three local men".

In point of fact, this story highlights the idiocy of the general availability of lethal weapons in the hands of the general public. What is actually illustrated is how the casual carrying of lethal weapons begets violence, and then this kind of unthinking, drunken, 3 am violence then becomes the norm, and not highly aberrant, as it everywhere else in the developed world.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:35 PM on January 31, 2011


Since there was some actual questions looking for information up above I will try to explain gun shows, and how such transactions can occur. BTW I am a gun owner, hunter and believe that guns are neither good nor evil but simply are, bans won't work, laws don't stop crazy violent people from being crazy violent people and if some crazy, violent person really wants to kill some people firearms, and especially handguns, are not the most effective tools. Timothy McVeigh (crazy, violent person) managed with diesel and fertilizer to really do a number. 19 terrorists managed with box cutters to really rack up a number, and its not the weapon, its the will.

Ok, Gunshows are just a gathering of people that get together to engage in commerce, not unlike any other flea market in concept. However there are very strict and well enforced laws concerning how one can legally engage in the business (the actual verbiage used in the legislation) of buying and selling firearms (it doesn't apply to ammunition or gun accessories), and only applies to the part of the firearm called the receiver (this is another long discussion, Wikipedia actually does a good job of explaining how a firearm is defined here.)

IF you are a dealer and at a gun show you still have to obey all the firearm laws, there is no gun-show loophole. This law requires a dealer to apply for and receive a Type I Federal Firearms License. This is not an easy thing to do. Then the dealer is required to keep a form. The BATF is extremely picky about this form and requires every word to be spelled out, all yes/no answers to be spelled out and no mistakes. If a mistake or abbreviation is used they then tend to revoke the FFL and deprive an otherwise law abiding business owner to lose his livelihood. This is bad as it makes good law abiding dealers that supply firearms to honest citizens go out of business and makes it more desirable to deal with the private sellers (some of whom are illegal dealers). In some cases it also allows BATF to shut down bad dealers easily. As usual for BATF they usually choose the heavy handed approach and use the most strict interpretation to enforce regardless of any other evidence about what kind of dealer that person is.

There exists in the 1968 gun control act (which sets up the FFL thing) a provision that says a private individual may dispose of any gun through private commerce (IE selling). This can be done anywhere it is legal to do this business, such as garage sales, or most commonly newspaper classified. Most of this business has moved on the internet now. Most of the private sellers at a gun show are one time sellers that are getting rid of guns after the death of spouse and/or friend and to make room for more guns in the gun safe. I have personally seen a great number of these private sellers refuse to do business with shady people or if anyone says anything like "I probably wouldn't pass a background check". It is actually illegal to knowingly sell a firearm to anyone that is not able to legally possess one, such as a felon, minor, and some other categories like illegal alien, anyone under a restraining order or arrested for domestic violence (arrested, not convicted). In fact it is illegal to even attempt to buy a gun if you are a prohibited person. The above laws do not stop anyone intent on buying a gun anymore than speed limit signs stop people intent on speeding.

A note on the above internet sales. There are several places online that handle gun transactions much like Ebay handles non gun transactions. Anyone can buy a gun online, however if you live in a different state you can not take possession of the gun except through a licensed dealer (UPS enforces this one pretty good) If you live in the same state you can take possession of the gun just like any other private sell, however the vast majority of sellers on these websites are licensed dealers it is pretty hard to score a gun this way. I have gone on much to long, if anyone wants more information the above Wikipedia links are pretty good, accurate descriptions of the laws involved. And I can't get the damn bold to turn off, sorry.
posted by bartonlong at 7:36 PM on January 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Needs more time-cube.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:57 PM on January 31, 2011


I'm convinced the real motive for the constant, full-on, absolute fever-pitched intensity of the modern NRA's opposition to any discussion of gun regulations, and its complete unwillingness to entertain even the most measured and reasonable proposals on opposing sides of the issue is that there's just too much money coming in from the industry (directly and indirectly) and tighter regulations--even if they fully respected the spirit of the right to responsible gun ownership--would make it harder to keep from the public consciousness just how much of that money currently comes from the sale of guns to unsavory markets, like the Mexican cartels. It's all about creating so much chaos around the issue that nothing significant ever gets done and any regulatory systems that already existed atrophy over time. Exploiting confusion for personal benefit is SOP for sociopaths, and as has been noted before, there is very little force of law to protect us from certain corporations behaving essentially as legally-enabled sociopaths.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:01 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


And by "tighter regulations," I don't mean "more burdensome regulations"; I mean regulations that are less abuse prone and more effective.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:04 PM on January 31, 2011


And I was raised around guns and am perfectly aware that guns are just guns, as someone put it up-thread.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:06 PM on January 31, 2011


A constant, full-on, absolute fever-pitched intensity of gun control regulations are proposed regularly in Washington. GovTrack and US Senate are but two searchable databases.

The border frenzy of firearms is due to drugs, drugs, and more drugs. Whatever that mess is will not be resolved with little, major, or anything to do with gun control on the part of the US. Close the US border source of firearms, and it will all switch to a different import point and export nation origin. Figure out the endless drug issue and the firearm issue will lessen greatly.

Perhaps it is horrible comedy; but most states spend between $15-20 annually per citizen on 'home'land defense. There exist people that would rather have that $15-20 as a box of ammo so as to better protect themselves. In their homes.

Making simplicity of gun control sounds great, right up there with 'flat tax'. Not a hater of either concept; but people exist that will forever argue if "six" or "half-dozen" is the right way.
posted by buzzman at 8:42 PM on January 31, 2011


I do not mean to disparage firearm owners at all (I'd almost certainly be one were it legal in the UK)

Only handguns are illegal to own in the UK though, a lot of people I know have shotguns (which can be owned from 16) and some have rifles (from 17).
posted by atrazine at 8:44 PM on January 31, 2011


Criminals, law abiding citizens, Japanese, Australians, British, Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, NYC, DC, LA, ... Any gun issue quickly becomes almost a random variable that can't be defined. Not unlike religion, romance, or even sexual preference; legislating a change is not going to sit well with the group to be changed.
posted by buzzman at 9:11 PM on January 31, 2011


A constant, full-on, absolute fever-pitched intensity of gun control regulations are proposed regularly in Washington.

Yeah, and potentially good regulations are easily bent into impractical absurdities by politicians fueled by industry patronage. Especially in a senate where any individual member can put an indefinite, secret hold on a rule to force proponents to compromise in ridiculous ways.

You ever hear of the good cop, bad cop routine?
posted by saulgoodman at 9:44 PM on January 31, 2011


Bullet Control. ( NSFW)
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:44 PM on January 31, 2011


"Investigators say a feud between two local families is behind the early-morning shooting inside the bar.

Local police, the Sheriff's Office and the Nevada Highway Patrol are preparing for retaliation from one or both of the families, and rumors are already circulating in the small town of Winnemucca. There is a sense of sadness for losing three local men".

In point of fact, this story highlights the idiocy of the general availability of lethal weapons in the hands of the general public. What is actually illustrated is how the casual carrying of lethal weapons begets violence, and then this kind of unthinking, drunken, 3 am violence then becomes the norm, and not highly aberrant, as it everywhere else in the developed world.


Right, because there were never lethal feuds between two families before people invented guns (or knives, for that matter). Just as I'm sure there are no lethal feuds between families in countries which ban guns.

The real mystery here is: how could the guy with the concealed carry permit possibly have managed to restrain the unthinking, drunken, 3 am violence which his casual carrying of lethal weapons begat, right up until the very moment someone else ran into the bar and shot somebody?

That's gotta be the best-timed example of begatting ever.
posted by vorfeed at 9:49 PM on January 31, 2011


Yeah these disgusting spectacles are entirely the fault of those wimpy pacifists who refuse to carry concealed automatic weapons. If only that foolish Christina Green had had the sense to get some tactical combat training and some Second Chance body armor she'd still be alive today. Better yet, she should have gone to the event in an armored personnel carrier. Because if armored personnel carriers are outlawed, then only outlaws will have armored personnel carriers.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:08 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


bartonlong: "There exists in the 1968 gun control act (which sets up the FFL thing) a provision that says a private individual may dispose of any gun through private commerce (IE selling). This can be done anywhere it is legal to do this business, such as garage sales, or most commonly newspaper classified.

In California the sale still has to go through an FFL, and in the greater L.A. area I've only found one place that facilitates this.

A note on the above internet sales. There are several places online that handle gun transactions much like Ebay handles non gun transactions. Anyone can buy a gun online, however if you live in a different state you can not take possession of the gun except through a licensed dealer.

But you can't ship a handgun via USPS anymore, and UPS & FedEx require you ship via overnight delivery. This means that it will cost someone ~$65 in shipping if they want to buy my gun and will affect the price my gun would bring at auction. All this leaves me without an economically practical means to sell the handgun I'm physically unable to use anymore. I'm not saying the laws should be relaxed (I believe the opposite, in fact) but it sucks that I'm stuck with a $400 doorstop.

hippybear: "I guess the difference is buying from a pawn shop requires that you walk into a place of business, but at a gun show it's all private persons set up flea-market style? No corporations or LLCs or whatever doing business there? No business cards for gun shops back home?"

FWIW, I knew someone who sold his (legally purchased, but by then illegal) stockpile of high-cap clips by going to a few gun shows and basically doing the old "Psst...wanna buy a watch?" routine, but I'm not sure how common this is.


It seems like many gun discussions in general are centered on crime/protection and hunting issues. I just wanted to remind people that some of us just like shooting things at paper targets, which is actually considered a sport.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:10 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oops, sorry quin, I didn't see your comment. But you left out the part about being able to do all that with the target facing backwards. And yes, I have the targets to prove it. :D
posted by Room 641-A at 10:18 PM on January 31, 2011


Yeah these disgusting spectacles are entirely the fault of those wimpy pacifists who refuse to carry concealed automatic weapons. If only that foolish Christina Green had had the sense to get some tactical combat training and some Second Chance body armor she'd still be alive today. Better yet, she should have gone to the event in an armored personnel carrier. Because if armored personnel carriers are outlawed, then only outlaws will have armored personnel carriers.

You're the one making outlandish claims about who and what "these disgusting spectacles" are "entirely the fault" of. Please, feel free to point out where I (or anyone else on mefi, for that matter) have suggested anything resembling the above.
posted by vorfeed at 10:21 PM on January 31, 2011


digitalprimate writes "You live in NYC? No, no you don't get to have a gun, ever. Period. You Don't Need One."

Unlike the multitude of things you don't need that people consume like fresh fruit in the winter and goretex which could be banned on a whim the right to own a gun is enshrined in the constitution of the country NYC is in. That seems like a pretty hard nut to crack.

saulgoodman writes "I'm convinced the real motive for the constant, full-on, absolute fever-pitched intensity of the modern NRA's opposition to any discussion of gun regulations, and its complete unwillingness to entertain even the most measured and reasonable proposals on opposing sides of the issue is that there's just too much money coming in from the industry (directly and indirectly) and tighter regulations"

It's just as much that the firearms lobby considers the control lobby to be versions of a book burners (see above) and everyone knows you don't negotiate with book burners.
posted by Mitheral at 10:46 PM on January 31, 2011


I am surprised that anybody with a credit card can order ammo on line. And they even make exploding bullets for most calibers.
On the other hand; in a rural enviroment; who wants to make an hour trip to teh wally mart to buy some rounds?
posted by buzzman at 8:57 AM on February 1, 2011


I am surprised that anybody with a credit card can order ammo on line. And they even make exploding bullets for most calibers.
On the other hand; in a rural enviroment; who wants to make an hour trip to teh wally mart to buy some rounds?


All ammo is not created equal, either. Stores (especially Wal-Mart and the like) often have one or two brands in each of the popular calibers, and that's all. They don't always have things like less-common calibers, match-grade ammo, lead-free ammo, good self-defense ammo, the particular brand that shoots best with your gun, the bullet weight (grain) you want for what you're hunting, surplus ammo for your 1940s Soviet rifle, blah blah etc.

Scratch the surface just a little, and this stuff gets super-nerdy -- it's a bit like beer or wine snobbery, which is equally dependent on the internet in many places.
posted by vorfeed at 10:57 AM on February 1, 2011


Sort of related, but how does the LIBERALS GONNA TAKE AWAY YOUR GUNS mantra even work, when gun fucking one has yet to be taken away?
posted by Legomancer at 11:14 AM on February 1, 2011


> Sort of related, but how does the LIBERALS GONNA TAKE AWAY YOUR GUNS mantra even work, when gun fucking one has yet to be taken away?

This is about as close as it got to taking guns away, or rather making it harder to buy new assault weapons. I suppose the mantra works because they think if they don't vociferously oppose any and all regulation, even very moderate regulation that still allows for semiautomatic handgun and rifle ownership, is seen as the first step on the way to complete gun bans.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:19 AM on February 1, 2011


"They think if they don't vociferously oppose any and all regulation, even very moderate regulation"

Oh yes indeed. To even begin a sentence with "Some people should not be allowed to own weapons", or "The problem with the 2nd amendment...", or even a "maybe some weapons/people should have to be registered/vetted better..."... yikes, instant looks of h8 doom gloom and ouster. Headshakingly bizarre to see otherwise amiable folk become so polar over a singular subject.
posted by buzzman at 12:02 PM on February 1, 2011


Few people here react well to "some people should not be allowed to publish..." or "The problem with the 1st amendment..." or even "maybe some opinions/people should have to be registered/vetted better...", either. This thread is a good example of people reacting in much the same way to the idea of (further) weakening the Fourth Amendment, for instance, and for good reason. Or how about a woman's right to choose? Is it still "headshakingly bizarre to see otherwise amiable folk become so polar over a singular subject"?

Personally, I'd love it if we enforced the gun laws we already have. In a perfect world, I'd even be fine with adding some more, assuming they were reasonable. However, it's not reassuring when stuff like "You live in NYC? No, no you don't get to have a gun, ever. Period. You Don't Need One." is close to the party line. You can talk all you like about how stupid the LIBERALS GONNA TAKE AWAY YOUR GUNS mantra is, but seeing as how that is actually the stated goal of many gun-control advocates, I'm not at all convinced that I'm well-served by supporting tougher laws. And I am pretty liberal.

You yourself pointed out that this is more-or-less the same issue as the War on Drugs... and just as with the WoD, I don't consider the legislative approach to be effective. Period. The fact is that the vast majority of gun owners and sellers are responsible with their weapons, even with very little oversight or regulation. The few that aren't will have little problem flying further under the radar than they already do, especially if prohibition-driven scarcity drives up profits. This is precisely what happened with the assault gun ban: prices went way up for the few guns which were grandfathered-in, and suddenly it became worth it to hide, hoard, and traffic weapons which could be sold and used openly the year before. This is what'll happen with extended-mag bans, semi-auto handgun bans, or whatever else you care to name, too. This stuff won't go away; it'll simply become more expensive and (slightly) more trouble to obtain.

The same goes for waiting periods and background checks. I can see this working to prevent spur-of-the-moment suicides and maybe even some impulsive homicides, but it's not going to do a damn thing to stop someone who actually wants to kill, like Loughner did. There's the black/grey market, or stealing, or borrowing, or having a friend buy for you, or any number of other ways to get weapons. And if that fails, there's always gasoline and fertilizer.

So we're back to the War on Drugs: a program which criminalizes a wide swath of the American public, yet fails to address the actual dangers it's ostensibly aimed at.

Great, the prison lobby could use more of that.
posted by vorfeed at 12:53 PM on February 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Guns are a rabbit hole. Take away the gun, the 20lb ammonia nitrate diesel fuel backpack will enter the scenario of the psychotic. That; we don't need, anywhere.
posted by buzzman at 1:03 PM on February 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


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.

"Regulated" is the third word there. The culture of violence embraced by gun nuts is directly responsible for huge levels of unnecessary suffering. The U.S. enjoys a murder rate four times as high as Canada; and Japan, which strictly regulates firearms, has a murder rate 8 times lower. In pure number terms, more crimes are committed in America than in any other nation. The same goes for burglaries, car thefts, rapes and assault.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 2:33 PM on February 1, 2011


The culture of violence embraced by gun nuts is directly responsible for huge levels of unnecessary suffering.

This sentence doesn't make sense. As I pointed out above, the vast, vast majority of "gun nuts" are not violent, nor do they "embrace violence", whatever that even means. There are 222 million guns in this country, of which 80+ million are handguns, belonging to roughly 40% of American households. And there are only about 1.3 million violent crimes per year in the entire country, a nation of well over 300 million people. Clearly, the overwhelming majority of gun-owning (or otherwise) Americans are not robbing, raping, stealing, murdering, and/or assaulting, nor are they somehow responsible for such.

It is entirely ridiculous to assert that 40% of American households are "directly responsible" for violence (or a "culture of violence") most of them will never encounter. And while you're digging for things which make America unique among first-world nations, you might want to investigate the culture of poverty, incarceration, and mistrust you are embracing when you champion yet another War On Something...
posted by vorfeed at 3:19 PM on February 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


I just want to say that I went to a gun show in Florida that was right across a narrow street from the prison. I know that, logically, that wasn't necessarily unsafe - having guns 1000ft away isn't going to make prisoners magically more likely to escape - but it gave us some pretty great mental images at the time.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:10 PM on February 1, 2011


40% or American households have handguns? So what? Why the do you think your murder rate is so high? The argument that not every single weapon owner doesn't slaughter his neighbors weekly is ridiculous. Using something's popularity amongst Americans is hardly an argument for the value of anything, regardless. These are the same pinheads who voted for Bush, twice. 58% of Americans pray weekly, as though ritualistic mumbling has any real effect on anything. Hell, MacDonalds sells more hamburgers than anyone else. That a bunch of overfed superstitious xenophobes foolishly believes that weapons somehow make life safe when the facts prove otherwise merely demonstrates how appallingly misguided Americans are about this.

Automatic handguns are simply evil; their only purpose is to murder human beings.Baldly claiming that this fetishistic idolization of otherwise useless death-dealing devices doesn't then create a culture of violence is just willful ignorance. If the restriction of hand-guns leads to crime, why is it that the countries that do this have much lower crime rates? The U.S. has a murder rate eight time the murder rate of Japan. EIGHT times. Insisting that automatic handguns be freely available is demonstrably asinine, and the numbers prove it

Weapons apologists insist that they need their fully-automatic weapons for "self-defense", since admitting that they are insecure wankers with a violence fetish isn't ever on the agenda. When shown that this simply isn't true, and that this argument is an outright lie, they then fall back on the "vast majority of responsible owners" defense. Well, the vast majority of nuclear weapons owners have pretty much been very responsible so far. Using this same logic then, the world would therefore be a safer place if everyone had nuclear weapons. So go sell them to the Iranians.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:54 PM on February 1, 2011


Automatic handguns are simply evil; their only purpose is to murder human beings. Baldly claiming that this fetishistic idolization of otherwise useless death-dealing devices doesn't then create a culture of violence is just willful ignorance.

You have no idea what you're talking about, and it's blatantly obvious that you don't. First of all, "automatic handguns" are extremely rare, and are not "freely available" at any rate. You probably mean semi-auto handguns. Second, you already claimed that "The argument that not every single weapon owner doesn't slaughter his neighbors weekly is ridiculous" (even though it was merely meant to refute your own completely unsupportable claims of widespread harm), yet now you want to claim that the only purpose of these same weapons is to kill murder beings? You can have one or the other, but not both. As the numbers clearly show, a vanishingly small percentage of semi-auto handguns are ever used to hurt anyone, much less to murder... if that's their "only purpose", why are so few of them used that way?

The purpose of most handguns, semi-auto or otherwise, is target practice and/or self-defense (and by the latter, I mean that the gun sits in a nightstand, glove compartment, or a gun case/safe). If you had even the slightest familiarity with actual gun culture in America, you'd be aware of this. But no, you've got "overfed superstitious xenophobes" you're afraid of, who greatly resemble the black-helicopter socialist terrorists they're afraid of -- both are an excuse to polarize and emotionalize rather than confront the numbers and think rationally about what is actually going on in this country.

If the restriction of hand-guns leads to crime, why is it that the countries that do this have much lower crime rates?

Because a) I never actually claimed that the restriction of handguns "leads to crime" (as opposed to criminalization) and b) crime rates in the real world involve much more than exactly two variables.

Besides, there are actually nations which combine strict handgun control with high rates of violent crime, up to and including per-capita rates higher than ours.
posted by vorfeed at 7:52 PM on February 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


South Dakota gun purchase requirement (swiped offa boing boing).
posted by buzzman at 7:59 PM on February 1, 2011


"Regulated" is the third word there.

I'm not an American, frankly don't give a shit about the American Constitution, and come from a country where firearms are highly regulated. Nonetheless I do know that this doesn't mean what you think it means. Arguing the wording of the second amendment to the US constitution is completely pointless because lawyers have been doing that for a century. The current situation is more or less what it means according to the US Supreme Court, so further argument is pointless.

Whether it is a good thing is totally separate from its constitutional status. Just as freedom of expression is a universal good whose value doesn't depend (even in the US) on the First Amendment, the legal right to own guns (as enshrined in American con. law) is totally separate from whether that is a good idea.

If Americans want to radically change their gun laws, they will have to amend their constitution. Clearly most Americans do not want this, so what? I say let them deal with the consequences, I don't see what the point is of endless international hand-wringing about the domestic policies of the USA.
posted by atrazine at 11:39 PM on February 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


As I pointed out above, the vast, vast majority of "gun nuts" are not violent

I don't think you're fairly characterizing or maybe understanding what the term "gun nut" means, vorfeed. Most people, IMO, don't use it to mean normal people who really like guns; they use it to mean people fixated on guns and violent gun-related imagery to an unhealthy degree. It's like "religious nut"; it doesn't include normal church-going people, or even people who are extremely devout in the usual ways. It's reserved for the people who represent the problem cases, so no, the vast majority of "gun nuts" are violent--at least in the sense that they're unhealthily oriented toward violence--because that's what it means to call someone a gun nut. Normal gun enthusiasts aren't included in the category by definition.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:04 AM on February 2, 2011


"Regulated" is the third word there.

In the context of the meaning of the word when the amendment was written, this means 'well trained, supplied and equiped', not its current meaning of extensive oversight. The meaning of the militia at the time was more in line with citizen soldiers ready to serve, not a professional army, which at the time was more in line with our current reserve/national guard system than how the current professional army is organized.

another frequent straw man argument put up by people without any understanding of the purpose or meaning of the amendment or gun culture is extending the meaning of arms to include things like artillery, tanks and nuclear weapons. The term arms generally refer to the weapons the individual soldier would be expected to carry as a normal part of their equipment when reporting for duty. This includes sidearms (pistols), long arms (rifles, carbines, shotguns), sufficient ammunition for each arm(between 50 and 300 rounds depending on the particulars of the weapon), bayonet (this has become the modern combat knife) and enough food and equipment to keep a person in reasonable health without resupply for two days. If you read the militia act that referenced above it pretty much lays out the definition of 'arms'. Any kind of ordinance, like artillery, machine guns, grenades, bazooka, etc is issued to the soldier by the army (whatever form that is) as needed and do not constitute the meaning of arms within the second amendment.
posted by bartonlong at 9:45 AM on February 2, 2011


It's reserved for the people who represent the problem cases, so no, the vast majority of "gun nuts" are violent--at least in the sense that they're unhealthily oriented toward violence--because that's what it means to call someone a gun nut. Normal gun enthusiasts aren't included in the category by definition.

The problem here is that many of these people are also not violent. Being "unhealthily oriented toward violence" or even "fixated on guns and violent gun-related imagery to an unhealthy degree" does not necessarily equal physical violence, much less murdering people or committing violent crimes. This stuff never gets beyond the level of fantasy for most, and it's worth pointing out that it's often a defensive fantasy; weapons are an old, old power-totem, so it's hardly surprising that they get fetishized and objectified. I'm not convinced that social posturing like this (as opposed to actual, serious pressures people are living under) is what's causing widespread violence and crime -- again, if it were, we'd expect to see much more violence and crime than we do.

In short: it seems to me that Gun Nut Culture is a symptom, not a disease. It's what happens when people do not feel secure in their lives, and latch on to totems of control to make up for it. Security and stability are the obvious variables to address, here, not the guns; threatening to take away people's totems without first addressing the reason why they feel they need protective-magic will make these people more likely to lose it, not less.
posted by vorfeed at 11:27 AM on February 2, 2011


Note that this is also why gun sales/gun-nut rhetoric/etc goes absolutely bananas every time there's a Democratic president and/or anyone discusses gun control, yet violent crime rises and falls as it always does. This is a clear and obvious sign that this stuff is based on fear and protection, not aggression and violence.
posted by vorfeed at 11:31 AM on February 2, 2011


The problem here is that many of these people are also not violent. Being "unhealthily oriented toward violence" or even "fixated on guns and violent gun-related imagery to an unhealthy degree" does not necessarily equal physical violence, much less murdering people or committing violent crimes.

Violence doesn't only consist in physically harming people. Intimidating people through overt shows of physical aggression, brandishing weapons in a threatening way, making remarks suggesting the casual use of violence against others are all forms of social violence that don't require actual physical harm to constitute harassment and violence toward others. Even when such behavior's nominally within the bounds of the law, it can still be violent and antisocial. It's the violent anti-social types of gun owners that people mean when they talk about gun nuts. Otherwise, why do you think we'd care?
posted by saulgoodman at 11:42 AM on February 2, 2011


In short: it seems to me that Gun Nut Culture is a symptom, not a disease. It's what happens when people do not feel secure in their lives, and latch on to totems of control to make up for it.

So they cling their guns and religion, do they? Hmm, where have I heard that before.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:43 AM on February 2, 2011


Violence doesn't only consist in physically harming people.

This is pretty much where we part ways, I'm afraid. If someone is breaking the laws against harassing/threatening people and/or "brandishing weapons", feel free to have them arrested; if not, feel free to call them out as the cowardly blowhards they are. Otherwise, I don't care how "antisocial" you think their rhetoric is -- it's free speech, and as such it should be protected.

I find your us-against-them rhetoric to be pretty damned antisocial, myself. This sort of language is simply the flip-side of the same issue -- something used to belittle and marginalize people who don't think as you do. Meeting your definition of "social" is not required for citizenship, any more than meeting their definition of "patriotism" is.
posted by vorfeed at 12:50 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm afraid. If someone is breaking the laws against harassing/threatening people and/or "brandishing weapons", feel free to have them arrested; if not, feel free to call them out as the cowardly blowhards they are. Otherwise, I don't care how "antisocial" you think their rhetoric is -- it's free speech, and as such it should be protected.

Specific threats of physical violence, free speech or not, are against the law; as are some categories of general hate speech--but you must know that. There's even a category of crime called "verbal assault."

So it's not just where you and I part ways, it's where you and the law part ways.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:06 PM on February 2, 2011


Now you'll point out the first part of your comment specifically mentions criminal threats. That's fair.

Something doesn't have to be criminal to be wrong, though, and not every form of violence is illegal. We'll have to agree to disagree on where that line is. But FWIW, anytime you ever see me use the term "gun nuts" (which I almost never do anyway), I'll have only the ones who do cross what I consider that line to be in mind.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:12 PM on February 2, 2011




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