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Gun-show loophole -- Fact or Fiction?
January 14, 2013 6:42 AM   Subscribe

Ever step into a gun rights discussion and feel bombarded by rhetoric about exactly what the "gun-show loophole" is and how it works (not to mention furious diatribes against the term "assault weapon?) This article from the Nashville City Paper explains it, and illustrates how 'private sale loophole' might be a better term.
posted by jfwlucy (257 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Related : Wyoming ignores supremacy clause
posted by jeffburdges at 6:52 AM on January 14, 2013


Some sellers screen films like Rambo or Dirty Harry on their laptops.

I always wonder, when they mention Rambo, whether they're talking about First Blood or Rambo: First Blood II. The latter film is the archetypal One Man Army film where the badass lone-wolf type goes in and kick's everyone's ass and saves the day. The former film is about how a ravages of war have destroyed a man's psyche. Vietnam made John Rambo completely unable to fit in with society, and he "resorts" (I mean, it's a case study in PTSD in action-thriller form, so agency is a little hinky) to violence in situations where violence is completely counterproductive. I can't imagine anyone would want to associate themselves with it any more than they would with D-FENS from Falling Down.
posted by griphus at 6:57 AM on January 14, 2013 [88 favorites]


griphus, you put the meta in MetaFilter. Thanks for that.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:00 AM on January 14, 2013


“It’s their ‘private collection,’ ” he said, “[but] their private collection changes every week, and every week or every gun show they’re out there with a different table of guns, buying, selling, trading. I’m sorry, to me that person is an unlicensed dealer.”

The "private collection" defense never worked for someone caught with narcotics. Turnover, not intent, makes you a dealer.
posted by three blind mice at 7:00 AM on January 14, 2013 [22 favorites]


jeffburdges: "Related : Wyoming ignores supremacy clause"

They like supremacy in Wyoming, as long as it's white supremacy.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:01 AM on January 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


FTFY: Wyoming Republicans ignore supremacy clause.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:04 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't imagine anyone would want to associate themselves with it any more than they would with D-FENS from Falling Down.

I think you're giving too much credit to the average audience member's analysis of the semiotics of right-wing gun porn.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:06 AM on January 14, 2013 [11 favorites]


The government should sidestep this one and make a law requiring no fault gun insurance on certain weapons and let the private sector do its thing. The right wing should have no moral objection to privatizing the monitoring of guns, since they back the concept for prisons and waging war.
posted by Brian B. at 7:07 AM on January 14, 2013 [16 favorites]


I can't imagine anyone would want to associate themselves with it any more than they would with D-FENS from Falling Down.

You wouldn't believe how many people I've known who think Michael Douglas is playing a triumphant, heroic figure in that movie.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:11 AM on January 14, 2013 [33 favorites]


The government should sidestep this one and make a law requiring no fault gun insurance on certain weapons and let the private sector do its thing.

Opening up gun manufacturers and sellers to liability lawsuits would be a nice step, too.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:11 AM on January 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, just pass laws that will effectively ban guns, I'm sure that will just go through unnoticed with no opposition.
posted by smackfu at 7:13 AM on January 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


The government should sidestep this one and make a law requiring no fault gun insurance on certain weapons and let the private sector do its thing.

Massachusetts might soon do just that. A state representative has announced he will file legislation requiring gun-owners to carry liability insurance for their weapons.
"You need liability insurance to drive a car in Massachusetts in case you get into an accident," Linsky said. "Well maybe you need liability insurance if that gun gets used and causes damage to somebody."
Seems sensible, though I'm sure the gun lobby is going to go nuts.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:16 AM on January 14, 2013 [28 favorites]


There's going to be opposition, of course. The trick is to find the sweet spot, where the general public of the non-gun-nut variety won't care, or better yet, be on board with it as a sensible and fair measure, and work on presenting that, and using it as a club against pro-gun politicians with moderate constituencies. I doubt anything will be passed by this congress on gun violence, and so those who stood in its way must be made to pay for it at the polls in 2 years.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:17 AM on January 14, 2013


If it weren't for the seemingly-every-weekend gun-show at my county fairgrounds exhibition barn, said fairgrounds would probably have been sold to some condo developer ages ago. I swear it's the only event at that place that brings in any crowds.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:17 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I always wonder, when they mention Rambo, whether they're talking about First Blood or Rambo: First Blood II.

Both. The hard-core preppers believe that they will face a Ruby Ridge (First Blood) type situation, facing down government gone mad, where they will have to become a one-man army a la First Blood II.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:19 AM on January 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I always wonder, when they mention Rambo, whether they're talking about First Blood or Rambo: First Blood II.

At this point, it's probably more the pop-culture concept of Rambo, rather than any actual movie they're fapping to. Or, maybe just the movie posters.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:26 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I always wonder, when they mention Rambo, whether they're talking about First Blood or Rambo: First Blood II. The latter film is the archetypal One Man Army film where the badass lone-wolf type goes in and kick's everyone's ass and saves the day. The former film is about how a ravages of war have destroyed a man's psyche.

I have always loved how one character dies in the R-rated First Blood (and that, through misadventure) while twenty years later, the PG-13 comedy Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle can rack up a body count in the dozens and no one seems to be weeping, wailing, or gnashing teeth.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:28 AM on January 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Both. The hard-core preppers believe that they will face a Ruby Ridge (First Blood) type situation, facing down government gone mad, where they will have to become a one-man army a la First Blood II.

It's like these people don't remember Waco or something. Those people had M16s, AK-47s, AR-15s out the wazoo and they didn't help shit. The final death count? 4 on the USG, 82 on the Branch Davidians.
posted by Talez at 7:30 AM on January 14, 2013 [11 favorites]


I think by the time you've genuinely devoted your life to surviving through whatever invasion/apocalypse/enthroning scenario these people are preparing themselves for, Waco simply becomes an object lesson in not being prepared enough.
posted by griphus at 7:39 AM on January 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


Those people had M16s, AK-47s, AR-15s out the wazoo and they didn't help shit

Last week I read what I am reasonably certain was not a troll comment, the thrust of which was that arming everybody with assault rifles will enable groups of disgruntled 'murrcans to storm Army bases and take the government's tanks.

I'm not sure what happens after that other than dying in a tank.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:39 AM on January 14, 2013 [11 favorites]


It's like these people don't remember Waco or something. Those people had M16s, AK-47s, AR-15s out the wazoo and they didn't help shit. The final death count? 4 on the USG, 82 on the Branch Davidians.

The David Koresh-led/Waco Branch Davidians also set fire to their own compound as an act of mass suicide (or at least that was the official story). I don't know how many were directly killed by the US government, but the fact that they were armed when they burned themselves (and their children) to death leaves open the question of whether they could have shot their way out of it ... although I suppose it does answer the question of whether David Koresh BELIEVED they could shoot their way out of it (answer: he thought they could not).
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 7:39 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


The David Koresh-led/Waco Branch Davidians also set fire to their own compound as an act of mass suicide (or at least that was the official story). I don't know how many were directly killed by the US government, but the fact that they were armed when they burned themselves (and their children) to death leaves open the question of whether they could have shot their way out of it ... although I suppose it does answer the question of whether David Koresh BELIEVED they could shoot their way out of it (answer: he thought they could not).

The problem is that David Koresh set the fire deliberately is not the accepted version of events in the community for whom Waco should be an object lesson. That the government set the fire is the orthodox view for basically everyone who cares about Waco anymore. That both the Branch Davidians and the Weavers were armed doesn't really matter; the point is that when the government comes for you(and they will), you go down fighting.

Survival is one goal, but survival is less important than fighting. If all they wanted to do was survive than they'd just become Muslim socialists and Obama would leave them alone.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:46 AM on January 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


You wouldn't believe how many people I've known who think Michael Douglas is playing a triumphant, heroic figure in that movie.

Do they just turn it off before it gets to the part where he says 'I'm the bad guy?' or what?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:47 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think survival was Koresh's goal, he wanted to bring about the rapture or something like that.
posted by thelonius at 7:48 AM on January 14, 2013


Do they just turn it off before it gets to the part where he says 'I'm the bad guy?' or what?

They're obviously just 11:30 breakfast enthusiasts.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:48 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


To them it is probably the maniac's version of an attractive person coquettishly asking if these jeans make their butt look big.
posted by elizardbits at 7:49 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, yeah, let's argue about what the loophole is called rather than plugging the damn thing...
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:50 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think "gun-show loophole" is a perfectly illustrative term for the way many of these gun sales take place, and the article doesn't make a strong case at all for using the term "private-sale loophole." First of all, these are "private sales" in name only; the guys at these shows with table after table of guns are dealers, and they should have to follow dealers' regulations. And this article shows at least one really good reason why: The guys selling guns at these shows need to have something better to go on than "a bad feeling" about someone when making the decision of whether to sell to him or her.
posted by limeonaire at 7:50 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Last week I read what I am reasonably certain was not a troll comment, the thrust of which was that arming everybody with assault rifles will enable groups of disgruntled 'murrcans to storm Army bases and take the government's tanks.

I'm not sure what happens after that other than dying in a tank.


Yes, because the U.S.A. has won every war since WWII amirite? If post WWII military history can tell us anything it illustrates that a bunch of guys with ak47s and rpg7s can prevent a 4g military from effectively controlling territory. IED's also help.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:57 AM on January 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


So, the tl; dr of "Gun-show loophole - Fact or Fiction?" is "semantic quibble"?
posted by Artw at 7:58 AM on January 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


With gun running as national as it has become, the strictest state/county/city law is only as strong as the weakest state/federal law (hence why VA for purchases is so popular and is the #1 source now that handgun quantity restrictions have been lifted). Just about every gun starts its life off legally from the manufacturer to first dealer, yet there is currently no federal law to address the act of private sales beyond that. The only law really needed at the federal level to close the straw buyer gap (including those at gun shows) is to make the last "legal" owner liable for guns used in crimes. Right now there is nothing on a national level that prevents someone from passing background checks and buying a firearm one day, to turn around and resell it privately the next...to anyone (eg. felons). If those private sales also required a transfer of title/registration (thus needing a background check) like a car/house/boat/etc, it would ensure that legal guns are treated more as an owned legal asset. Now how that affects flow of guns into the black market is fairly simple. If someone is using their name to legally buy a gun and pass background checks, they will have a tougher time taking the risk or reselling off the radar as they now can become liable after sale. "Do I really trust the buyer of this gun?"

Being identified as a "straw buyer" then shows up on a background check, preventing or restricting the sale of future firearms. Of course there has to be something to address "reported stolen" guns and the rate at which that happens before causing suspicion.

The other half of the gun control equation is mental health. A good start would be re-instating the federal mental health hospitals and programs that were dismantled during Regan's term. These health solutions need to focus on treatment primarily, but also can be there to act as a reporting pipeline for high-risk and unstable patients. Auditing will need to be performed to ensure all branches are adhering to the most current and effective practices we know of to date. In other words, instead of focusing all of our attention on foreign terrorists, we need to look inward and prevent domestic threats before they manifest. We need something in place that can make it easier for the Melissa Brown's of the country to find accessible/affordable help for their troubled sons.
posted by samsara at 8:01 AM on January 14, 2013 [17 favorites]


I always wonder, when they mention Rambo, whether they're talking about First Blood or Rambo: First Blood II.

Somewhere around 2002-2003 I found myself at a family gathering where for some reason all the males were watching Rambo III on DVD. Since I didn't have anything better to do, I watched it too. Somewhere towards the end when Rambo was slaughtering the Russians for Afghanistan, I couldn't contain my cynicism and blurted out "Look! It's Rambo's best friend, Osama!" MST3k-style and I ended up getting the meanest, nastiest look from my survivalist wannabe great uncle.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:01 AM on January 14, 2013 [18 favorites]


The government should sidestep this one and make a law requiring no fault gun insurance on certain weapons and let the private sector do its thing. The right wing should have no moral objection to privatizing the monitoring of guns, since they back the concept for prisons and waging war.

No they shouldn't. I'm neither right-wing or in favor of private prisons and I think the militarization of our police force is a great reason to have the same weapons as the militarized police force. Ever hear of tyranny? Its alive and well, even in America.

Living in your "condition white" world as long as you have doesn't remove the threat of tyranny. If anything, the "conditionn white" world you live in has given tyranny time to mask itself as things you embrace like privatized utilities and healthcare.

You can just let businesses create all the laws. That way, if you don't play nice business, you can be a criminal too. That way, those private prisons can still make money from you, even when you don't want to participate in business.
posted by brando_calrissian at 8:02 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


...a bunch of guys with ak47s and rpg7s can prevent a 4g military from effectively controlling territory.

Yeah, but when a few shmucks with little more than backwoods militia training hop into a tank and realize that you don't just turn the keys and drive it around like a pickup truck on treads, they're done. Like, they've just put themselves in a big metal box and unless they understand how to make the big metal box move around and shoot shit, they may as well be sitting in a well-armored outhouse.

And it's not just tanks. This extends to really any part of the whole "take over a military base" plan. Unless they're all former military, a lifetime of Tom Clancy novels and alt.conspiracy.black-helicopters archives isn't going to magically bestow upon them the ability to do anything with the equipment once they get their hands on it, if they manage to get that far.
posted by griphus at 8:03 AM on January 14, 2013 [4 favorites]



The problem is that David Koresh set the fire deliberately is not the accepted version of events in the community for whom Waco should be an object lesson. That the government set the fire is the orthodox view for basically everyone who cares about Waco anymore. That both the Branch Davidians and the Weavers were armed doesn't really matter; the point is that when the government comes for you(and they will), you go down fighting.


Kent state is a better example of a government wildly exceeding it's lethal authority against a rebellion - after all, those kids weren't really breaking any laws, especially in comparison to both Weaver and Koresh.

But then, that leaves the gun nuts defending liberal hippie tree-huggers. Can't have that.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:05 AM on January 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


If post WWII military history can tell us anything it illustrates that a bunch of guys with ak47s and rpg7s can prevent a 4g military from effectively controlling territory.

No, it tells us that a bunch of guys in completely different geographic locations with completely different cultures and religions can prevent a military with extraordinarily long supply lines and poor intelligence from effectively controlling territory.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:06 AM on January 14, 2013 [36 favorites]


I also assume that the u.s. government will also follow suit with its domestic policy of gun control and outlaw the sale of assault rifles by us manufacturers to third world/developing countries. I mean its really the height of hypocrisy when the largest gun dealer in the world is trying to take guns away from its citizens.

griphus, you are correct, but if you want to hypothesize fantastical situations that's fine. I don't see anyone really serious about resisting any government acting in the way you a have described. A smart move would be to disable or render inoperable said tanks. A much easier task.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:06 AM on January 14, 2013


No, it tells us that a bunch of guys in completely different geographic locations with completely different cultures and religions can prevent a military with extraordinarily long supply lines and poor intelligence from effectively controlling territory.

Apparently you missed it when Israel tried to invade Lebanon recently or the current conflict in Syria.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:07 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Everything not specifically prohibited is a "loophole". Is that where we are today?
posted by codswallop at 8:07 AM on January 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yeah, but when a few shmucks with little more than backwoods militia training hop into a tank and realize that you don't just turn the keys and drive it around like a pickup truck on treads, they're done. Like, they've just put themselves in a big metal box and unless they understand how to make the big metal box move around and shoot shit, they may as well be sitting in a well-armored outhouse.

You know what the next best thing to having a tank is? Making sure the other guy doesn't.

And it's not just tanks. This extends to really any part of the whole "take over a military base" plan. Unless they're all former military, a lifetime of Tom Clancy novels and alt.conspiracy.black-helicopters archives isn't going to magically bestow upon them the ability to do anything with the equipment once they get their hands on it, if they manage to get that far.

You might be surprised at how many of these people are former military. And you'd likely be appalled at how many of these people are current military.
posted by Etrigan at 8:08 AM on January 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Massachusetts might soon do just that. A state representative has announced he will file legislation requiring gun-owners to carry liability insurance for their weapons.

So, basically funneling more money to the NRA?

I'm sure that Ducks Unlimited and the many other hunting advocacy groups will expand their programs, but let's be honest, the NRA is almost certainly going to have the best rates.

I mean, they already subsidize shooting range insurance (Just become an NRA member. It's easy!) to such a degree that a lot of ranges require NRA membership. I can't imagine they wouldn't jump on the opportunity to enroll a captive audience in Massachusetts.
posted by madajb at 8:10 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


The "we need to be armed against a tyrannical government" argument is just wacky. I mean, I understand it, but it just falls apart under scrutiny. I'm not sure the Founding Fathers meant it this way; they had just designed a government with a myriad of legal ways to depose government.

And now the big thing is to point out despots who "took away the guns". Like that proves anything. Of course, Hitler is the most-used case; the argument being that the Jews could have avoided their fate if they had only been armed. I'm sure millions of armed Russians would disagree.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:10 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well I am going on the fact that "take the government's tanks" is distinct from "blow up the government's tanks" which is, yes, considerably easier.
posted by griphus at 8:10 AM on January 14, 2013


And now the big thing is to point out despots who "took away the guns". Like that proves anything. Of course, Hitler is the most-used case; the argument being that the Jews could have avoided their fate if they had only been armed. I'm sure millions of armed Russians would disagree.

Sure, the Russian army lost seven or eight million soldiers to the Wehrmacht, but I'm sure half a million people armed with pistols and shotguns could've put a stop to it. :eyeroll:
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:13 AM on January 14, 2013 [12 favorites]


Apparently you missed it when Israel tried to invade Lebanon recently or the current conflict in Syria.

Ah yes, the vaunted next-gen Syrian and Lebanese military forces. People were just swooping in and driving stealth fighters right off the lot!
posted by zombieflanders at 8:14 AM on January 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


You might be surprised at how many of these people are former military. And you'd likely be appalled at how many of these people are current military.

See also: Oath Keepers
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:16 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


The US military would start playing by entirely different rules if it were the tool of a fascist state, which would change the game, and not in the favor of any would-be freedom fighters. And the intelligence infrastructure of the US, turned into a tool of a dictatorship, would make the Stasi look like chumps. There's no comparison to Afghanistan or Syria or whatever.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:17 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


People were just swooping in and driving stealth fighters right off the lot!

To be fair if the Syrian authorities are going to set up wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men in their bases they need to be ready for the consequences.
posted by Talez at 8:18 AM on January 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


The "we need to be armed against a tyrannical government" argument is just wacky. I mean, I understand it, but it just falls apart under scrutiny. I'm not sure the Founding Fathers meant it this way;

Well, to be fair, they had just overthrown a (tyrannical) government.

And at Concord, at least, British troops _were_ on their way to seize weapons.
posted by madajb at 8:19 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


You know what the next best thing to having a tank is? Making sure the other guy doesn't.

Every morning I look over my neighbor's fence and go "Yep. No tank." It's almost as good as having my own tank!
posted by bondcliff at 8:22 AM on January 14, 2013 [24 favorites]


Ah yes, the vaunted next-gen Syrian and Lebanese military forces. People were just swooping in and driving stealth fighters right off the lot!

I don't think you understand what you are talking about. Syria has a 3 gen military and israel has a 4g military. Both were/are unable to control territory populated by a bunch of guys with assault rifles and grenades.

The US military would start playing by entirely different rules if it were the tool of a fascist state, which would change the game, and not in the favor of any would-be freedom fighters. And the intelligence infrastructure of the US, turned into a tool of a dictatorship, would make the Stasi look like chumps. There's no comparison to Afghanistan or Syria or whatever.

You mean like Israel has done in the Palestinian territories?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:23 AM on January 14, 2013


Well, to be fair, they had just overthrown a (tyrannical) government.

And at Concord, at least, British troops _were_ on their way to seize weapons.


Granted. But the circumstances were unique, to say the least. The distance between the US and England being the primary factor.

That said, I'm quite sure the Founding Fathers wanted the people armed. But for the defense of the country, not for the overthrow of the government. As I noted, the people had already been given legal means by which to throw off bad government.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:23 AM on January 14, 2013


That said, I'm quite sure the Founding Fathers wanted the people armed. But for the defense of the country, not for the overthrow of the government. As I noted, the people had already been given legal means by which to throw off bad government.

Use google. You will quickly find out that you are in fact greatly mistaken.

"... God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.... And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334 (C.J. Boyd, Ed., 1950)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:26 AM on January 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Thomas Jefferson was a bit of an outlier. He was a great supporter of rebellion in general. He was a HUGE proponent of the French Revolution and also supported the Whiskey Rebellion.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:28 AM on January 14, 2013


This is our country and our government. Wanting to keep them from the hands of tyrants is patriotism.

And when the laws are being written and paid for by corporations that keep us so busy paying off our debts that we can not be informed of truth and justice, we remain quiet, lethargic. Public liberty is dead.

Give up you arms. The state will take care of you....
posted by brando_calrissian at 8:33 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thomas Jefferson was a bit of an outlier.

Not really. You have read the Declaration of Independence, right? The one that most of the founding fathers signed. The one where they lay out a logical argument for the right of the people to violently rebel against governments destructive of their liberties.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:34 AM on January 14, 2013


Related : Wyoming ignores supremacy clause

More correctly, someone in Wyoming is trying to get the state to attempt to ignore the supremacy clause. It might pass. It will be shot down in flames the moment it reaches a federal court, which it will the moment it becomes a conflict between state and federal regulation.

Turnover, not intent, makes you a dealer.

Actually, no. In most cases with illegal drugs, the amount you posses, not intent, makes you a dealer in the eyes of the law.
posted by eriko at 8:37 AM on January 14, 2013


Not really. You have read the Declaration of Independence, right? The one that most of the founding fathers signed. The one where they lay out a logical argument for the right of the people to violently rebel against governments destructive of their liberties.

True enough. But the whole goal after revolution was to design a society that worked. Where law held sway, and man's natural rights were respected. So that armed insurrection wouldn't be necessary here.

(And Jefferson's attitudes regarding rebellion were not particularly well-regarded by his contemporaries.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:40 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, because the U.S.A. has won every war since WWII amirite? If post WWII military history can tell us anything it illustrates that a bunch of guys with ak47s and rpg7s can prevent a 4g military from effectively controlling territory. IED's also help.

Sure. When the battleground is not the native territory of the occupying army, dedicated guerrilla insurgencies have long been known to be nearly impossible to defeat on their home turf.

But hell, that's old news, dating back a lot further than America's recent military adventures. Read War and Peace. It's one of the main themes of the book.

The catch is this: Sure, it's relatively easy for a local insurgency to repel an invading army indefinitely from its home turf. But a big part of why that is is because being an occupying force requires maintaining long, insecure supply lines into unfamiliar territory.

In the case of some fantasy stand-off between dedicated insurgents with small arms fighting the US military on its own soil, though, the picture is completely different, and not nearly as pretty for the small-arm bearing guerrillas.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:41 AM on January 14, 2013 [12 favorites]


The government should sidestep this one and make a law requiring no fault gun insurance on certain weapons and let the private sector do its thing.

If there's any organization tougher and meaner than the NRA, it's an insurance company, Alien vs. Predator-stylee.

The one where they lay out a logical argument for the right of the people to violently rebel against governments destructive of their liberties.

I must say I'm kind of delighted to see the guy who mourned the death of Osama Bin Laden defend the right to violently rebel against the US government.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:43 AM on January 14, 2013


Like, they've just put themselves in a big metal box and unless they understand how to make the big metal box move around and shoot shit, they may as well be sitting in a well-armored outhouse.

The big surprise will be when they first manage to fire that big gun, and don't realize what those yellow lines on the floor of the turret mean.
posted by eriko at 8:46 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


The revolutionary war is a bad comparison.

A better example of what happens when the government makes a certain kind of property illegal to own occurred in 1860.

Does anyone remember who won ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:50 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


[If we're gonna have yet another thread about gun stuff, it'd be great to have it be more or less on the topic of the link and not sprawl into contentious tangents. Please make an effort or go do something else.]
posted by cortex at 8:51 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I always wonder, when they mention Rambo, whether they're talking about First Blood or Rambo: First Blood II.

The movies were:

First Blood (1982)
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
Rambo III (1988)
Rambo (2008)

But they should rightfully be called:

First Blood
Rambo: First Blood Part II
Rambo II: First Blood Part III
Rambo: Rambo Part III: First Blood Part IV
posted by The Deej at 8:52 AM on January 14, 2013 [21 favorites]


You mean like Israel has done in the Palestinian territories?

No, because Israel is not an unhinged fascist state. They've done some awful things there, but haven't just said "fuck it, wipe them all out" in the way that a rogue government beholden to nobody could. If the US somehow went bad enough to justify armed rebellion, the military and intelligence services and all the technology they have would be a lot less "hold this territory" and a lot more "flatten the town from the air if the people don't give up the rebels".

Not to mention, any fascist movement in the US would likely make it easy for themselves and co-opt the most organized among the freedom-fightin' survivalist crowd over a period of years and use and then discard them like brownshirts to get the ball rolling. The average German in 1920 wasn't planning on backing a bunch of horrors in a decade or so, and indeed you'd probably find them horrified at the idea - but fascism is subtle and pervasive, and owning a gun with the best intentions of protecting your country doesn’t make you any more immune than the next guy.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:53 AM on January 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well I am going on the fact that "take the government's tanks" is distinct from "blow up the government's tanks" which is, yes, considerably easier

Well, the latter is much easier if you have the former.

I do worry a tiny bit about what would happen if a trained crew took over a tank. They could do a great deal of damage until they run out of fuel. Even just driving one around a city can (and has) caused a great deal of damage.

Thankfully, this doesn't seem to happen much.

Both were/are unable to control territory populated by a bunch of guys with assault rifles and grenades.

That's because both are still playing by the "you really don't just wipe out a civilian population" and "dead kids are bad press" rules. There are better ways to beat an insurgency than the peace of the unburied dead, but it does work. Note how many Iraqi insurgencies there were against Saddam Hussein's regime, and what happened to them. Compare that to Iraqi insurgencies where the opponent wasn't willing to wipe out villages with chemical weapons.

The civil way to beat such is to make sure that the civilians can clearly see that their life improves by supporting the government. Then, they don't support the insurgents, who then lose supply.

When the civilian population think the government isn't going to help, they become insurgents.

The one factor that I think controls this in the US is, by and large, most people realize the government does in fact help them, quite a bit, and when that help disappears, they'll be in substantially worse shape.
posted by eriko at 8:55 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't think you understand what you are talking about. Syria has a 3 gen military and israel has a 4g military.

No, I'm pretty sure you're the one behind the ball here, especially considering that the difference between generation of military tech are actually, y'know, generations. There's a huge difference between a bunch of second- and third-hand or shitty Chinese knock-off versions of a military infrastructure and an up-to-date one.

Both were/are unable to control territory populated by a bunch of guys with assault rifles and grenades.

I don't know about that. The rebels haven't taken over Syria despite being in the fight for two years running, and Israel certainly seems to be holding on to their own territory just fine.

Use google. You will quickly find out that you are in fact greatly mistaken.

The quote of one guy whose views on this were not particulary well-recievid amongst his contemproraries and that led to the worst conflict in America does not support your assertions.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:58 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The City Paper was not witness to any transactions at the gun show in Williamson County, or while strolling the aisles of the Internet, that were verifiably illegal. But given the statistics on the number of attempted purchases denied in stores — as well as estimates that up to 40 percent of all gun sales occur in the under-regulated secondary markets — it seems possible that a number of them might have been transactions involving prohibited individuals.

The FPP is a semi-interesting writeup for people unfamiliar with gun shows and the supposed loophole, but this is just shoddy journalism. "We sat in the lobby at Google, Inc. for forty-five minutes and watched people come and go. We didn't see anybody commit any crimes, but statistically it seems possible that several of them might have been rapists."
posted by cribcage at 9:04 AM on January 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


There's a huge difference between a bunch of second- and third-hand or shitty Chinese knock-off versions of a military infrastructure and an up-to-date one.

True, but I'm not sure how that applies to the American market. Sure, if we were talking about the gun trade in the Congo it would be more relevant, but in the US what's selling like hotcakes are American made, light-weight, composite stocked, mil-spec rifles, as opposed to shitty Chinese knock-offs.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:08 AM on January 14, 2013


This is a particularly poignant thread for me. My 72 year old father with untreated PTSD and a long history of mental illness just bought himself a .40 cal hand cannon and is applying for a carry permit that, given his state of residence, he's nearly certain to get. Then there's the possible early symptoms of dementia and that for his entire adult life post Vietnam he has had a - literally - visceral hatred of firearms....

No matter what one's stance on gun control there are many people (not just felons) who absolutely should not have a gun. The problem is deciding who gets one and who doesn't, and unfortunately our various state and federal agencies aren't up to the task, even if we allow the insane and dangerous privacy violations such a process would necessitate. Short of some sensible and sweeping change in gun laws, I just don't see the US doing an even acceptable job handling who gets a gun and who doesn't.

Also, my father is a war strategist. He ghostwrote several generals through the War College when he was in the Guard. His idea - and probably the idea of most of these nuts - is that the state Guard units will join in any rebellion, and that people just have to be armed enough to help them establish geographical superiority a la Afghanistan and resist any Federal troops in their State. After the Guard joins the rebellion, the theory goes, the rebellion will have enough heavy weapons and sigint ability to at least fight the Feds to a standstill.

While in theory that might work in his home state, it would be unthinkable on, say, the Great Plains. It is of course crazy-talk of the worst kind. And frankly I think it's starting to get to be more than a little dangerous in the old self-fulfilling prophecy way.

Anyway, I'm not bringing my kids anywhere near his house unless I first go in and verify he's not carrying (yes, I'll frisk my old man) and that the weapons is in its safe with the ammo in a different one.

On the other hand, my mother has a carry and owns many handguns, and my brother and sister and I never think twice about bringing our kids there because we trust that she's got everything locked away and can, in general, handle herself with weapons.

Apologies for the rant, but hopefully it's one more bit of useful anecdata. I was kind of hoping to go most of my life being pro-gun control without having to actually control my own father's guns.
posted by digitalprimate at 9:16 AM on January 14, 2013 [20 favorites]


All esoteric arguments aside, what will decide this looming pissing contest will be political muscle. I think it is interesting that the NRA is being characterized as something of a paper tiger these days. Less than 1% of the money they targeted in the last election resulted in a win. That even makes Rove look good in comparison. But I'm not sure if Congress is more afraid of NRA money or NRA members. If their membership of around 4 million marches in lockstep to the polls when LaPierre raises his pinkie, getting anything substantive passed could be difficult. Conversely, any erosion of the NRA stranglehold on the topic might in itself be seen as a win. Let the games begin...
posted by jim in austin at 9:21 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


How about required liability insurance for all families with children? That way families can be held responsible for the things their mentally ill family members do? That should be incentive enough to get proper treatment for their family member in need.

If the parents won't control their children, fine them or jail them. If they can do it with truancy, why not with all other criminal behavior?
posted by brando_calrissian at 9:33 AM on January 14, 2013


jeffburdges: Related : Wyoming ignores supremacy clause

The real WTF in that article was this line:

It is unclear whether Republican Gov. Matt Mead would sign the legislation. He is prohibited by state law from publicly threatening to veto legislation.



Why do we keep voting lawmakers into power that spend time passing laws that are so mundane (prohibit a gov from publicly giving a veto threat)?
posted by zombieApoc at 9:35 AM on January 14, 2013


He is prohibited by state law from publicly threatening to veto legislation.

Wow. Complete violation of the First Amendment.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:49 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why do we keep voting lawmakers into power that spend time passing laws that are so mundane (prohibit a gov from publicly giving a veto threat)?

It's Wyoming. The legislature probably meets for two months a year while the cattle ain't birthin', which is more than enough time to pass a year's worth of laws to govern fewer people than live on the upper half of Manhattan. Time spent passing dumb legislation isn't really the issue.
posted by Etrigan at 9:53 AM on January 14, 2013


The section that really leapt out at me was this one:
...The shows are, essentially, gun-free zones.

The policy prohibits loaded guns, loaded magazines and loose ammo, requires that showgoers check guns at the door. And that occasionally raises eyebrows with the typically armed crowd. But Rex Kehrli, owner of R.K. Shows, which put on a recent gun show in Franklin, told The City Paper there’s a good reason for the rule.

“I’m a big believer in concealed carry. But there’s one area that I’m not a big believer in concealed carry and that is at a gun show. We get people coming in there that want to check out a holster for their handgun, that want to maybe show their handgun to a friend, or maybe even trade their handgun. And we simply can’t take the chance on public safety that everybody is going to handle that firearm correctly.”
...what? If he doesn't think that his customers are sufficiently responsible to carry a weapon at one of his events, what makes him think that they're responsible enough to carry them in public? Why is it that a situation deemed too risky for his event is not just acceptable but actually desirable out in the wider world?

If the problem is that having lots of people in the same place playing with their dangerous toys increases the risk of accidents, then it's incredibly self-serving. Those people are going to go home and play with their new toys anyway, and the resulting accidents are going to happen anyway, and, frankly, I'd rather they do it among themselves than e.g. in the back yard next to mine.

If the problem is either that he thinks gun shows attendees are unusually stupid or that he thinks there's something about the atmosphere of gun shows that makes people act stupidly -- i.e. that there's something about the gun show itself that makes accidents more likely than amongst gun carriers in the real world -- then why the hell does he think that gun shows are a good idea?
posted by metaBugs at 9:59 AM on January 14, 2013 [34 favorites]


What is with all this founding fathers shit? They weren't gods, nor infallible. And even if they were infallible at the time, shit happens, things change.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:01 AM on January 14, 2013 [14 favorites]


“I’m a big believer in concealed carry. But there’s one area that I’m not a big believer in concealed carry and that is at a gun show. We get people coming in there that want to check out a holster for their handgun, that want to maybe show their handgun to a friend, or maybe even trade their handgun. And we simply can’t take the chance on public safety that everybody is going to handle that firearm correctly.”

Good lord, that is stupid. Especially since it would be just as easy to make an inventory-control argument: If people are allowed to carry inside, then they could steal one and walk right out with it. See? You're increasing accountability.
posted by Etrigan at 10:03 AM on January 14, 2013


...why the hell does he think that gun shows are a good idea?

I$ that a rhetorical que$tion?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:05 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just to be clear, in this context (gun laws, and especially the AR-15 platform) the term "MIL-SPEC" does not mean that a firearm is better, more powerful, or more deadly than a firearm that is not "MIL-SPEC." It means that the firearm is widely compatible with other accessories.

In simple terms the AR-15 platform is like a LEGO set. It is a type of rifle manufactured by many different companies, and those companies also manufacture lots of different accessories for it: sights, sling attachments, flashlight mounts, you name it. Some of these companies keep their designs proprietary, so if you own their AR-15 then you have to buy their accessories, too. By contrast, other companies manufacture their rifle to "military specification," or "military standard," and then you can try out a dozen different manufacturers' flashlight mounts to see which you like best. You can use one brand of sling attachment and a different brand of bipod. Et cetera.

Basically, the term "MIL-SPEC" is synonymous with the word "standardized." You can easily spend more money on an AR-15 that isn't standardized versus one that is, and then invest even more in fancy proprietary accessories. There are myriad discussions in gun magazines and forums about how the term "MIL-SPEC" should mean something more, and then myriad fights within those discussions about what more it means, but none of that is worth delving into.

Why do we keep voting lawmakers into power that spend time passing laws that are so mundane

I agree, but the other half of that Wyoming article is a bigger pet peeve for me. I cannot stand when state legislators propose, or even grandstand about, passing state laws that are obviously unconstitutional. At best, they look incompetent. (If you don't know basic principles about law, then you shouldn't be in a job where you pass laws.) More realistically, it reveals them to be selfish individuals motivated solely by transient public perception, who are shoving-off the costs and responsibility of cleaning up their little messes onto other people. Courts have a lot to do, and they don't need their time wasted having to invalidate foolish statutes.

And this happens in every state. It isn't particular to Wyoming, nor is it necessary to denigrate Wyoming to criticize the practice.
posted by cribcage at 10:05 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Opening up gun manufacturers and sellers to liability lawsuits would be a nice step, too.

Their products kill people and so pretty much work as advertised.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:08 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not really. You have read the Declaration of Independence, right? The one that most of the founding fathers signed. The one where they lay out a logical argument for the right of the people to violently rebel against governments destructive of their liberties.

Just because they all signed it doesn't mean that they all would have written the same declaration or wholeheartedly endorsed the language.
posted by VTX at 10:17 AM on January 14, 2013


the guys at these shows with table after table of guns are dealers, and they should have to follow dealers' regulations

That begs the question. The BATF (or ATF or whatever they're calling it today) has a pretty strict definition of what constitutes a "dealer" and requires a Federal Firearms License, and I can tell you from secondhand experience they actually do go to gun shows as well as keep an eye on the Penny Saver-type buy/sell/trade papers (at least they did up in Maine when I lived there, and would periodically bust some woodchuck for running a de facto gun store out of their living room).

Most of the complaints about gun shows seem to be less about the "loophole" per se than about a disagreement with the BATF over what constitutes being an unlicensed dealer. If that's really the issue — and it seems to be — then the solution is to make the definition of dealer more strict so that it encompasses someone who goes to a gun show every week.

There are a lot of laws already on the books that we could and should enforce, or tweak slightly, rather than going and creating a bunch of new laws or going off in a wholly new direction that's going to have unanticipated consequences.

Codifying exactly what constitutes acting as an unlicensed dealer would probably be something that everyone could agree on, since a lot of gun owners don't like the current state of affairs at all: the BATF doesn't tell you how many guns or in what span of time will suddenly get you arrested for acting as an unlicensed dealer. There's presumably a number, but they keep it secret, and every once in a while someone gets arrested (typically for something pretty egregious but not always). Since the cases are nearly always pled out and don't go to trial, there's not much in the way of precedent on what's allowable.

My proposal would be to make the limit clear; say 3 guns per month to non-family members (keeping in mind that the biggest use of private sales is actually intra-family transfers, e.g. dad transferring his guns to his kids / spouse / whatever) or something, with a procedure for obtaining special dispensation to exceed that limit for the purposes of liquidating a pre-existing collection. That would give gun owners and collectors more transparency into the process and remove the feeling of arbitrariness on the part of the BATF, while also eliminating the spectre of unlicensed dealers abusing the gun show circuit by operating without an FFL.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:27 AM on January 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


The David Koresh-led/Waco Branch Davidians also set fire to their own compound as an act of mass suicide (or at least that was the official story). I don't know how many were directly killed by the US government, but the fact that they were armed when they burned themselves (and their children) to death leaves open the question of whether they could have shot their way out of it ... although I suppose it does answer the question of whether David Koresh BELIEVED they could shoot their way out of it (answer: he thought they could not).

Here's the unofficial story:

Waco: Rules of Engagement
Waco: A New Revelation
The FLIR Project (Part 1 of 4)

I don't think that the government's willingness and ability to slaughter a community is much of an argument for relinquishing our 2nd Amendment rights.

It's true that armed Jew civilians were far out of their depth when confronted with the Nazi military. Still, I suspect the armed members of the Jewish Combat Organization were grateful for what they had.
posted by BigSky at 10:31 AM on January 14, 2013


Semantic quibbles EXACTLY like this one are the first refuge of gun rights fanatics scoundrels.

Which is why I made this post.
posted by jfwlucy at 10:36 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think that the government's willingness and ability to slaughter a community is much of an argument for relinquishing our 2nd Amendment rights.

I'd basically agree with that. But I have yet to see anybody propose a ban on 2nd Amendment rights. The question is whether there is a sensible area between "no guns" and "have anything you want". Every other civil right we enjoy has limitations. Isn't the test "your rights end where my rights begin", more or less?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:39 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


This: "The only law really needed at the federal level to close the straw buyer gap (including those at gun shows) is to make the last "legal" owner liable for guns used in crimes" is an amazing idea. It strikes a great balance between eradication and freedom of ownership. You can have as many as you want as long as you register them and are ready to take responsibility if someone uses it to blow away some kids. Nice!
posted by NiteMayr at 10:42 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


If the parents won't control their children, fine them or jail them. If they can do it with truancy, why not with all other criminal behavior?
posted by brando_calrissian

We all ready jail substantial numbers of mentally ill people.
posted by Dreidl at 10:48 AM on January 14, 2013


I came across another link today, The Hitler Gun Control Lie. Summary: the Nazis loosened gun control measures for the general public (which had been put in place by the earlier Weimar Republic) but they took away the right for Jewish people to own guns (along with a lot of other rights). The article itself is okay overview, but there's a link to a paper by University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt about halfway down that's more in-depth and really interesting.
posted by colfax at 10:48 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd basically agree with that. But I have yet to see anybody propose a ban on 2nd Amendment rights. The question is whether there is a sensible area between "no guns" and "have anything you want". Every other civil right we enjoy has limitations.

I'm not sure why you're phrasing it this way. Do you really believe that there are no limitations on the ownership of firearms and that a citizen can have anything they want? For reals?
posted by BigSky at 10:50 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


You can have as many as you want as long as you register them (snip)
posted by NiteMayr at 1:42 PM on January 14 [+] [!]
Ah, but see, in the minds of the paranoid, registration is the first/only/necessary step to be able to round up all the weapons people have and take them away.

Thus, anything about registration is an immediate no-deal to NRA followers.

"OK, so no registration, just require insurance" -- well having a policy is equivalent to admitting ownership, so ...
posted by k5.user at 10:52 AM on January 14, 2013


I'm curious if we generally see spikes in politically-fueled gun sales followed by spikes in private sales, say, 3-4 years later.

It seems that as fear (of a ban or "tyranny") subsides and stockpiles seem pointless, the original buyers would be looking to unload chunks of their acquired "collection" to whoever's got cash.
posted by pokermonk at 10:54 AM on January 14, 2013


Do you really believe that there are no limitations on the ownership of firearms and that a citizen can have anything they want? For reals?

No, I don't believe that. And I didn't say that. Does the fact that there are already limitations automatically preclude additional limitations, or the discussions thereof?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:06 AM on January 14, 2013


My 72 year old father with untreated PTSD and a long history of mental illness just bought himself a .40 cal hand cannon and is applying for a carry permit that, given his state of residence, he's nearly certain to get.

I don't think even most NRA members want a man with PTSD and dementia to walk around with a concealed .40 cal.

But they're unwilling to compromise because their problem is, to them, similar to what pro-choice advocates face when trying to compromise with pro-lifers: Many of the people on the side arguing for stricter limits, do, in fact, want quite severe restrictions, of the sort of limits found in say, Japan, or Great Britain. That group doesn't want to compromise on some mutually-agreed to middle ground. Whatever ground the NRA gives can never be enough. They'll continue arguing for more restrictions until all private ownership of guns is effectively banned. So, even if the NRA wants guns out of the hands of mentally ill, they fell that they can't yield an inch without hurting their long-term goals.
posted by tyllwin at 11:08 AM on January 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't really care about guns, but I think it is fascinating that it is legal in many states to buy an AR-15 (from a "private citizen"), then just as legally buy a "handy" 90 round snail drum (300$ - "get it before it is banned!") or maybe the more expensive option of a belt feed conversion (3300$). Of course with that many rounds available, you would have to go for full-auto, which can be done ("legally!") with a 300$ slide stock.

The above hardware would let you shoot like this, or for a combination of the belt feed and the slide stock. Judging by the amount of precision that the wielders of these guns show it is obvious that it should be legal for teens to carry these guns everywhere they go, including cinemas and schools (I'm sure every single NRA member will agree with this).

For this post I've replaced the sorely lacking "sarcasm" tag with italics.
posted by Baron Humbert von Gikkingen at 11:09 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


My god its full of strawmen
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:11 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think even most NRA members want a man with PTSD and dementia to walk around with a concealed .40 cal.

Most NRA members think he should be sat at the entrance of a public school. He's too old to be forced to walk the halls.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:19 AM on January 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


For this post I've replaced the sorely lacking "sarcasm" tag with italics.

It actually is possible to express your ideas by stating them directly
posted by thelonius at 11:21 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Most NRA members think he should be sat at the entrance of a public school. He's too old to be forced to walk the halls.

Caricature of the opposition always helps to drum up the base. But is the base enough to get the action you want?
posted by tyllwin at 11:22 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: It actually is possible to express your ideas by stating them directly
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:23 AM on January 14, 2013


Please don't compare the NRA fighting to line the gun lobby's pockets with more money to those of us fighting for a woman's right to control her own body, tyllwin.
posted by lydhre at 11:35 AM on January 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


tyllwin: " Caricature of the opposition always helps to drum up the base. But is the base enough to get the action you want?"

If it's a caricature, it is just barely so. Wayne LaPierre said in his post-Newtown speech that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" before proposing a program to place armed guards at schools. It's not a leap of logic to think that a program that large might not attract the most balanced individuals in every case.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:35 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Most NRA members think he should be sat at the entrance of a public school. He's too old to be forced to walk the halls."

Most NRA members actually support more restrictions on gun ownership and sales than we have now. However, most NRA members aren't single-issue voters, and most NRA members don't vote against politicians that oppose all new gun restrictions.
posted by klangklangston at 11:35 AM on January 14, 2013


klangklangston: "Most NRA members actually support more restrictions on gun ownership and sales than we have now."

The polling shows that this statement is correct on certain marginal changes when asked generic questions like "should all gun sales require a background check", but if a majority of those members allow the current maximalist NRA leadership to continue pursuing an agenda that goes against their preferences, they're not exactly supporting those preferences with action.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:41 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Please don't compare the NRA fighting to line the gun lobby's pockets with more money to those of us fighting for a woman's right to control her own body, tyllwin.

Let me be clear that I don't mean a moral equivalence. Merely a similarity in the tactics of their opposition.
posted by tyllwin at 11:42 AM on January 14, 2013


if a majority of those members allow the current maximalist NRA leadership to continue pursuing an agenda that goes against their preferences, they're not exactly supporting those preferences with action.

True. But I might venture to suggest that pointing out to NRA members that they may be ill-served by their "maximalist" leadership may be more productive than lampooning all of them together.
posted by tyllwin at 11:45 AM on January 14, 2013


Suppose I'm a sane gun owner and I'm appalled by the "let's arm people in schools" idea. I think that the courts are capable of reading the Constitution, so I'm not woried Obama's going to come and personally steal my guns. Why am I a member of the NRA? What do they do that's actually useful to me? I know they print targets, so perhaps they organize some shooting competitions. IIRC they do some gun safety stuff, too. But why am I giving them money if I'm not really interested in their political agenda?
posted by hoyland at 11:45 AM on January 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


They run shooting ranges.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:48 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


tyllwin: " True. But I might venture to suggest that pointing out to NRA members that they may be ill-served by their "maximalist" leadership may be more productive than lampooning all of them together."

Like I said, there's only a small amount of daylight between what the Executive Director of the organization itself said and the statement that is supposedly a caricature or somehow lampooning members of that organization. If he doesn't speak for them, they sure haven't made a big show out of it.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:48 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


you would have to go for full-auto, which can be done ("legally!") with a 300$ slide stock.

There is at least one currently legal slide fire stock, the SSAR-15, which was submitted to the ATF for approval and gained such. It indeed, for all intents, turns the weapon into an auto fire weapon. It is however illegal in many states -- California, in particular, bans any "multiround burst trigger activation device" and slide stocks qualify, and how.

Basically, it's a cleaned up version of bump firing, where you keep the trigger finger from moving with the weapon. The recoil pushes the trigger away from the finger (which allows the action to reset) and then the counter recoil from the shooter moves the weapon forward into the trigger finger, firing it again.

It also seriously screws up the accuracy, given that the receiver and barrel are moving all the time -- but a slide stock is better than bump firing, where you hold the firing grip with the non-trigger hand.
posted by eriko at 11:52 AM on January 14, 2013


Suppose I'm a sane gun owner

If you trust the courts to remain steadfast, and continue to reject gun restrictions, unswayed by the prevailing political winds, then you don't have much reason to support the NRA, no. If you think that continual hammering from the "more restrictive" side will move the discourse and eventually the court readings of the constitution, then you may care about the setting the bounds of that discourse. Since I've been asked to avoid directly comparing it to the constant political chipping away at Rowe v. Wade, let's instead ask why, if I trust the courts to read the bill of rights, I might give money to some free speech organization.

BTW, I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist party. I mean NRA. Well, neither, actually.
posted by tyllwin at 11:55 AM on January 14, 2013


Most NRA members actually support more restrictions on gun ownership and sales than we have now.

The NRA's post-tragedy actions speak for themselves, be it mouth-frothing diatribes about subjects unrelated to the real sources of gun violence, long lines at gun stores for more guns and more ammunition, clever ideas that put even more guns into elementary schools, and so on.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:57 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Please don't compare Planned Parenthood fighting to line the abortion lobby's pockets with more money to those who are fighting for an American's right to defend herself, lydhre.

See how easy it is to cast yourself as the hero and everyone else as the villain? How's that working out for the national discourse so far?

Like it or not, people on the other side of the gun-control debate believe they're standing on the moral high ground too. Acting like your position, or even that your cause, is so above the fray that anyone who disagrees with you even tangentially must have sold out won't convince anyone of anything useful.
posted by Etrigan at 12:00 PM on January 14, 2013 [7 favorites]



The NRA's post-tragedy actions speak for themselves

Indeed. If there are NRA members supporting more restrictions, where are they? Right now, they're not saying a thing while the leadership is screaming for even less and less restrictions.

Silence=Consent.
posted by eriko at 12:00 PM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


BTW, I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist party.

Where does the NRA stand on compulsory firearm training? The USSR, along with conscription, also had mandatory firearm safety and training classes in high schools, in the same way we have mandatory Phys. Ed. in the USA. At least according to my mother, boys and girls alike were required to take marksmanship at some point. Is the NRA actually bothering to fight for anything like that?
posted by griphus at 12:01 PM on January 14, 2013


But there’s one area that I’m not a big believer in concealed carry and that is at a gun show. We get people coming in there that want to check out a holster for their handgun, that want to maybe show their handgun to a friend, or maybe even trade their handgun. And we simply can’t take the chance on public safety that everybody is going to handle that firearm correctly.

So...
Carrying guns at a gun show = Bad.
Carrying guns in a high school = Good.

Got it.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:02 PM on January 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Why am I a member of the NRA? What do they do that's actually useful to me?

If you are a (sane) gun owner who just enjoys shooting a target pistol at paper targets, and you have no intention of ever carrying a firearm or even learning to shoot anything beyond your simple little target pistol, you may still be required to join the NRA in order to use a local firing range.

This depends on where you live. Some ranges are open to the public, and other private ranges do not require NRA membership in order to join and use their facilities. But some do. And if the only firing range within a hundred miles of your house is a private club that requires NRA membership, then you just chalk up that membership as part of the cost of your hobby.
posted by cribcage at 12:03 PM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


What does a background check actually check? If it's just convicted felons, would any of the recent mass shootings have been prevented? I don't think the Newtown, Aurora, Brookfield or Oak Creek shooters had any prior felonies.

I'm not saying that background checks aren't still a good idea, but it seems a little weird to be focused on that particular aspect of the gun control issue now after Newtown, given that it wouldn't have had any effect (Lanza didn't even own any of he guns he used).
posted by desjardins at 12:05 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Background checks fall into the low-hanging fruit category. You're not trying to stop any one high-profile mass murder, you're trying to put downward pressure on the number of gun murders by keeping guns out of the hands of people who've shown they ought not possess them.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:08 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ok, I feel weird about this, but ...

Even if I believed in concealed carry 100%, I see his point about gun shows. The thing is, when you wander around armed, you normally don't (well, shouldn't be unless you have a death wish) be drawing, or otherwise taking out, your weapon. The change of accidental discharge, while out in public, is extremely low. In the context of a gun show, when the weapons are routinely being taken out/drawn (possibly even testing for speed of draw, etc), the change of accident discharge is much much higher. Within that context, it makes sense. However, what it does highlight is that there are contexts in which it isn't a good idea to have live weapons. If you accept that context, why can't there be others?
posted by Bovine Love at 12:10 PM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


What does a background check actually check?

This just came in on my news feed. Basically, federal and state info on convictions and mental health records. Felons are mainly prohibited, along with domestic abusers, and in some states the list of crimes that affect the check is longer.
posted by timfinnie at 12:12 PM on January 14, 2013


Background checks fall into the low-hanging fruit category.

But, given that background checks, and closing the "gun show loophole," would have had no impact on any of the recent tragedies, surely you can see why people on the other side of the fence feel that immediately bringing these things up in response shows that the gun control advocates are simply using the latest incidents to garner support for a prior agenda...
posted by tyllwin at 12:13 PM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the mistake the "we have to arm ourselves against tyranny" crowd make is not that lightly armed guerrillas can't overcome the armor, air power, and artillery of the U.S. Army, q.v. The Battle for Hunger Hill: The 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment at the Joint Readiness Training Center by Daniel P. Bolger. Rather I think they vastly underestimate the level of training, discipline, and most of all sacrifice required to successfully execute a guerrilla war. Hell, I don't think many of the people who think this way that I know have read either of the seminal works on guerrilla warfare, viz. On Guerrilla Warfare by Mao Tse-tung and Guerrilla Warfare by Che Guevara, because they were both written by 'commies'.

As far as the 'gun show loophole', I don't have a good answer. It seems to me the easiest solution is to require firearms to have a title document much like a car title. This would preserve the ability to make one or two private sales without getting the government involved, but still have some sort of record of the chain of ownership when necessary. However, that probably is too close to universal registration, and thus would raise objections. I note that in Georgia county and municipal governments are prohibited by law from requiring registration of firearms, even as part of the licensing process.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:14 PM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I heard an interview with a high-muckety-muck from the NRA recently (not LaPierre, not someone I had heard of, but he had some important-sounding title). He was adamant that the answer was to concentrate on keeping guns out of the hands of insane people. At the same time, he was adamant against laws to check to see if people were insane. His means of resolving these two things which seem to me to be mutually conflicting was that in one of the gun shops where the Aurora shooter tried to purchase guns, the owner looked at the guy and thought he seemed weird, so didn't sell him a gun.

So the answer is, apparently, having gun store owners give potential customers a good look in the eyes to ascertain whether they're crazy or not. Presumably we could also have gun store owners sternly tell their customers not to go on any shooting sprees.
posted by Flunkie at 12:14 PM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's not just gun shows, it's gun clubs.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:16 PM on January 14, 2013


tyllwin: "surely you can see why people on the other side of the fence feel that immediately bringing these things up in response shows that the gun control advocates are simply using the latest incidents to garner support for a prior agenda"

Sure, and I have no problem admitting that. It's infuriating that the only time people are moved to action is when tragic events happen, but that's the system we have, and it's not like the gun rights crowd hasn't used tragedies like Ruby Ridge and Waco for political gain.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:16 PM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Flunkie: "So the answer is, apparently, having gun store owners give potential customers a good look in the eyes to ascertain whether they're crazy or not. Presumably we could also have gun store owners sternly tell their customers not to go on any shooting sprees."

And there's just no way these junior psychologists would use race or religion in their evaluation of whether the buyer is too "crazy" to own a gun.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:21 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


... training, discipline, and most of all sacrifice required to successfully execute a guerrilla war.

Guerilla wars are to hector the invader until she gives up and goes home. Not sure how this would work in a rebellion against ones own government. Vietnam is not a good model, because the only government was a puppet regime backed by the US and when it went home, there was nothing left to defend itself. Here it would be a minority with small arms against a giant military machine with the at least tacit support of the majority. Tough row to hoe. The rebels could be a real nuisance for a long time, though, hiding out in the hills of Idaho, West Viginia and other states.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:25 PM on January 14, 2013


Waco: Rules of Engagement

It won an Emmy and an Oscar nomination, but it's worth pointing out that Waco is at least as tendentious as, say, Bowling For Columbine. Whether it also contains an even higher percentage of woo and silage is up to the viewer, I guess. One of the writers of Waco, William Gazecki, went on to work on Lessons in Technical Remote Viewing, Crop Circles: Quest for Truth, and Energy From the Vacuum, among others. Michael McNulty, a co-writer, presently runs a blog devoted to Waco and to the "Operation Fast And Furious." McNulty was also responsible for Waco: A New Revelation and The F.L.I.R. Project. The latter, according to World Net Daily
"used infra-red techniques to analyze flashes of heat emanating from outside the church buildings during the destruction of the compound by the FBI. It found that there was a high probability these flashes were caused by automatic gunfire from FBI positions."
All three movies—and indeed the Waco episode itself—remain popular with survivalist types where Waco is an iconic example of the monstrous power of the state, endlessly referenced in forums and on blogs.

Me, I don't think they give the 1985 MOVE bombings nearly enough love.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:29 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is at least one currently legal slide fire stock, the SSAR-15, which was submitted to the ATF for approval and gained such.

Besides killing people, what purpose on earth does this have?
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:31 PM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mental Wimp: Here it would be a minority with small arms against a giant military machine with the at least tacit support of the majority. Tough row to hoe.
I don't disagree, but I will note that the two books I cited are both by men that were leaders of guerrilla wars of revolution in their home countries.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:32 PM on January 14, 2013


Why am I a member of the NRA? What do they do that's actually useful to me? I know they print targets, so perhaps they organize some shooting competitions. IIRC they do some gun safety stuff, too. But why am I giving them money if I'm not really interested in their political agenda?

As was pointed out above, many gun ranges (in fact, all but one near me) require NRA membership as a condition of participation. This is generally due to the insurance coverage offered to rifle ranges by the NRA, without which they'd probably go out of business.
Along the same lines, the NRA has defended previously existing gun ranges against lawsuits brought by new development in the area.
They offer the Eddie Eagle program for kids (Stop, don't touch, tell an adult).
Hunter advocacy, gun-smithing courses, women's shooting programs.

Basically, all the things the NRA used to stand for before the crazies took over in the 80s.
posted by madajb at 12:38 PM on January 14, 2013


I heard an interview with a high-muckety-muck from the NRA recently (not LaPierre, not someone I had heard of, but he had some important-sounding title). He was adamant that the answer was to concentrate on keeping guns out of the hands of insane people.

Really, an NRA higher-up said that? I'm surprized considering who's on their board.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:53 PM on January 14, 2013


Survival is one goal, but survival is less important than fighting. If all they wanted to do was survive than they'd just become Muslim socialists and Obama would leave them alone.

Yep. People who want to survive don't say things like "from my cold dead hands" and "I'd die for my gun".

Idiots.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:54 PM on January 14, 2013


what purpose on earth does this have?

It goes "boom" over and over, very quickly. That is its primary purpose, i.e. the reason why most of them are sold. It is frankly not very useful for killing people.

(In fact, without a substantial amount of training, automatic weapons in general are not especially effective except as a way to waste ammunition. This is why the military moved away from FA on the M16A2 and opted instead of 3-rd burst, despite it being more mechanically complex. Targeted rifle fire is far more lethal than spraying bullets, regardless of whether you are using time or ammunition as the denominator.)

The fact that you jump immediately to "it must be for killing people" honestly makes me suspect that you really don't understand gun culture or gun people very well. I think stuff like that is dumb, but it's mostly sold to basically harmless rednecks who want to impress their buddies. It comes from the same place as nitrous oxide kits on cheap imported cars: 10% functional and 90% as a dick-length enhancement for the person showing it off in the parking lot.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:04 PM on January 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Also I think it's worth pointing out that there's a fair amount of gun stuff which has a certain cachet directly as a result of it being right on the very edge of legality, or because of a belief that it won't be legal in the future. Bump-fire devices, big snail-drum magazines, black "tacticool" shit, etc., all suffer from this to a large extent.

"Not legal in California/New York/New Jersey/Massachusetts" is the "Banned in Boston" of the firearms world; to a certain type of buyer it indicates that whatever's being sold must be awesome.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:16 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


"10% functional and 90% as a dick-length enhancement for the person showing it off in the parking lot."

So goes for explosives and chemical weapons...

The question remains; how does one regulate and make safe the use of these?

With cars we have ownership and insurance and we penalize those who don't do these legally. Why not for guns? Is it because they are easier to hide?
posted by NiteMayr at 1:19 PM on January 14, 2013


See also "Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics"
posted by tonycpsu at 1:19 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


This thread has a lot of weighty concepts but I just wanted to add this snark:

Gun-show loopholes are what I call my tank-tops.
posted by wcfields at 1:39 PM on January 14, 2013 [15 favorites]


And there's just no way these junior psychologists would use race or religion in their evaluation of whether the buyer is too "crazy" to own a gun.

Or politics
posted by TedW at 1:47 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tyllwin: But, given that background checks, and closing the "gun show loophole," would have had no impact on any of the recent tragedies...

Well wait a second, we're talking about two kinds of issues actually (criminal black market guns, and perfectly legal guns in the hands of potentially dangerous individuals) And by recent tragedies, keep in mind that not all tragedies make it to national news levels, and not all are mass murders. Slate.com has been keeping tally of gun related deaths since Newtown (spoiler alert: it's probably more than you think...and the data is inaccurate as it only has *reported* deaths). If we tracked all those guns to their source, I'm sure we could find that many of those murders could have been made harder to accomplish.

I really feel when you have a multiplicity like this, it is really a common breakdown point in the ongoing gun control discussion as it has to be constantly re-framed that "not one solution by itself will solve all gun related problems." But I also don't think this has to be a complex discussion. To me, there really seems to only be TWO primary issues orbiting the gun debate right now. The first being black market guns in relation to criminal/gang violence. The second issue being perfectly legal guns in the hands of those or are mentally unstable or unable to process empathy. With the first, slowing the flow of guns to the black market by no longer half-assing "ownership" on a national level can have an immediate positive impact (straw buyers will no longer want to implicate themselves with felony charges from different states as being the last "legal" owner, and the street price of black market guns go up as the supply diminishes as more are confiscated from crimes over the course of following years / decades). This absolutely requires federal level legislation to regulate ownership laws all the way from the manufacturer, to dealers, to private sales. Private sales can still certainly occur, but they should involve proper change of title/registration to the gun. If the buyer passes a background check, the transaction goes smoothly, freedoms to shoot paper targets and protect one's home kept intact. The law can be simple and straightforward on ownership...and the states can tack on their own additions to their hearts desire.

We currently have a myriad of gun laws from state to state...even gun bans in some. Currently, all these laws are only as good as the weakest laws of neighboring states. And not having a federal means to prosecute straw buyers is currently our largest gap to fill (aka unregulated private/2nd hand sales or the "gun show loophole"). Not addressing this is simply not addressing how guns made in the U.S. are primarily getting into criminal hands. (I think theft is somewhere around 8% nationally compared to straw buying)

The second issue requiring a uniquely different approach is a mental health issue/crisis/whathaveyou in a country that does not put much effort into funding mental health treatment. Regardless of the 2nd amendment, we won't be able to deter every aspiring murderer. Not every mother will feel compelled to seek help for their troubled children. Schools, employers, and other institutions may still let people that normally cause concern slip through the cracks....but I feel a sizable dent could be made by making mental healthcare as easy (if not easier) to obtain than an AR-15 semi-automatic. Our priorities need to be clear. I think programs that focus on "treatment" first can make a huge difference for many types of aggressive behaviors and how they affect their surrounding society. Our culture surrounding mental health has to change...not just our gun culture and the laws pertaining to it.
posted by samsara at 2:00 PM on January 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


GOP Rep. Threatens Impeachment If Obama Uses Executive Order On Guns, Evan McMorris-Santoro, Talking Points Memo, 14 January 2013
[Rep. Steve] Stockman [(R-TX)] joined those ranks Monday, issuing his impeachment threat with the image of flag from the Texas revolution favored by gun rights supporters for its image of a cannon and the words “come and take it.” Like many in the doomsday prepper end of the gun rights community, Stockman sees the possession of firearms as the only protection against a rogue government. He called the talk of executive order “an existential threat to this nation.”
P.S. I found this Wikipedia article on the history of the "Come and Take It" slogan; cf. "Molon Labe."
posted by ob1quixote at 2:23 PM on January 14, 2013


Indeed. If there are NRA members supporting more restrictions, where are they? Right now, they're not saying a thing while the leadership is screaming for even less and less restrictions.

Silence=Consent.


Too bad we don't apply the same logic to our murderous military.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:07 PM on January 14, 2013


or rather our citizens who do nothing while our military does what it was designed to do.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:11 PM on January 14, 2013


[Folks maybe don't use this thread to hobbyhorse your own not-this-topic topics?]
posted by jessamyn at 3:18 PM on January 14, 2013


We currently have a myriad of gun laws from state to state...even gun bans in some. Currently, all these laws are only as good as the weakest laws of neighboring states. And not having a federal means to prosecute straw buyers is currently our largest gap to fill (aka unregulated private/2nd hand sales or the "gun show loophole"). Not addressing this is simply not addressing how guns made in the U.S. are primarily getting into criminal hands. (I think theft is somewhere around 8% nationally compared to straw buying)

Background checks fall into the low-hanging fruit category. You're not trying to stop any one high-profile mass murder, you're trying to put downward pressure on the number of gun murders by keeping guns out of the hands of people who've shown they ought not possess them.


I couldn't find it but also wanted to include the previous quote saying what would gun owners support? here is my first thoughts on it, and I am sure they need refinement. and yes I am a gun owner and have commented LOTS about guns, technical details, and philosophy around civilian gun ownership (including 'assault' weapons). My idea is predicated on what several people who are in favor of something like an assault weapons ban have stated-they are not in favor of disarmament or denying law abiding citizens guns but rather just want to stop crazy people from shooting up schools/malls/movie theaters/etc. It will not satisfy people who want to reduce the number of guns.

Don't license the gun. The gun is an inanimate object no more capable of killing you than a shovel is without human action.

1. License the person-maybe even a graduated licensing system, but in general my opinion is a gun is a gun and you and you can either trust a person or you can't. Whether they can kill 6 people at a time or 20 without reloading isn't really material. The license should include some kind of training (like drivers ed-as long as it is fairly cheap and readily available). Something about like current training requirements for concealed carry. This training would further act as screen for crazy people as it would include some time with reasonable people who actual care about the responsibilities of gun ownership. Far more time than sizing up someone during a typical commercial transaction. This should be renewed every 4(?) years or so and include a thorough background check but no further screening beyond that, with the current restrictions in place (no felons, committed crazy people, etc).

2. once a person is licensed, they can own whatever they want in whatever quantity they want-at least in the current range of guns available for civilian ownership. I would like to see noise suppressors readily available without all the paperwork they currently require as they are more a safety device to protect hearing than helping commit any crimes but not a hill I am willing to die on for the purposes of this scheme.

3. They can transport and use the gun(s) for any lawful purpose. I still would keep in place the current licensed concealed carry restrictions required for keeping a gun ready to use on your person but otherwise that license grants you the right to transport/keep a gun with you.

4. The individual weapons are not registered any more than they currently are. It is redundant but I am ok with additional background checks done at the time of purchase from a licensed dealer and all the other 1968 GCA dealer requirements.

5. and here is the big part of this-if you, as a private person sell a gun to someone (or fail to report it as stolen) without this license you are as guilty of the crime they may commit with the gun as that person is. Currently, as a private citizen who owns guns and might want to sell one or two on occasion or buy from a friend or pass them on to my heirs I have no way to check to see if that person is legal to own them. The license solves that.

To get any traction with gun rights group the following should also be part of the law:

Written into the law would be an explicit statement that the licensing would not be used for confiscation or further restricting the rights of law abiding gun owners.

This would preserve at least some anonymity in the matter of just what you own should the government come knocking to consficate them (in spite of the legislative mandate above), it will protect the private property rights of people, it protects the right to keep and bear arms, it at least makes some effort toward promoting responsible gun ownership.

In short, make it fairly similar to the DMV and licenses to drive on the public roads.
posted by bartonlong at 3:30 PM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


It does seem like it'd be a rather fair proposition, on the face of it, to have "was registered legal owner of a fire arm used to harm life or property" have the automatic status of "pretty much all the preponderance of evidence you'd need to assign civil liability for some kind of negligence", and at least personally I'd see it as "about 70% of the way there on that road that leads out beyond the realm of a reasonable doubt", but I could easily accept a "whoa, there!" on that last point.

To close the obvious loophole and avoid mandatory registration it seems reasonable to have the same policy for the most-recent de facto owner, but with treble damages, and if need be work back through such chain of custody as may be established for as far back as necessary, within the bounds of any relevant statute of limitations. This provides a strong incentive to register one's firearms, but it doesn't force anyone to, and the truly responsible owner would have nothing to worry about, as they say.

If you scoff at this suggestion, perhaps you should think again: you acquired possession of a dangerous implement, and failed to properly secure it in a way that sufficed to protect the community against its use in bringing harm upon them; the fact that it was used in such a manner shows that you, demonstrably, took inadequate measures to secure your dangerous implement -- an implement which, let us recall, you came into possession of by your own free will, and the security was no-one's responsibility, save yours!

At least if I had my druthers in the event when something like this happened I'd want to see the owner forced to prove that all reasonable security measures had been taken -- after all, this is a matter in which irresponsibility easily leads to death and dismemberment, so surely any responsible owner would have taken numerous, redundant measures to secure these implements! -- and, ideally, show that in this particularly case not only were all reasonable measures taken, only unreasonable measures could possibly have prevented having lost control of that gun.

I don't present it in the spirit of preventing any recent tragedy or whatnot, it's merely something born of likely futile wish to see the liability regime for firearm owners who choose to exercise their rights under the second amendment brought more in-line with the liability profile their choices impose upon the rest of us. If your first thought at hearing proposals like these is to flinch at the prospect of facing civil liability if the neighbor's no-good nephew were to steal your firearm and shoot up a 7-11 clerk, you might reflect a bit on both your own priorities and how someone else might respond your implicit, self-assessed confidence in your own security measures.
posted by hoople at 3:45 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


No they shouldn't. I'm neither right-wing or in favor of private prisons and I think the militarization of our police force is a great reason to have the same weapons as the militarized police force. Ever hear of tyranny? Its alive and well, even in America.

Living in your "condition white" world as long as you have doesn't remove the threat of tyranny. If anything, the "conditionn white" world you live in has given tyranny time to mask itself as things you embrace like privatized utilities and healthcare.

You can just let businesses create all the laws. That way, if you don't play nice business, you can be a criminal too. That way, those private prisons can still make money from you, even when you don't want to participate in business.


No. Crime is local tyranny, and militias are the state tyranny in waiting. But if you imagine some perfect world where tyranny is ever properly identified before it's far too late, then we should wonder why tyranny exists at all. It usually the case that common people ignorantly support dictators and cultural purges out of a sense of insecurity, paranoia and fear, and they choose the liars because of it. If someone can't see the tradeoffs in rational gun laws, they are absolutely tyrannical, because they secretly need those guns to impose their brand of cultural and religious lunacy someday.
posted by Brian B. at 4:03 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't license the gun. The gun is an inanimate object no more capable of killing you than a shovel is without human action.

With all due respect, people aren't taking shovels into public spaces and murdering dozens of innocent bystanders within the span of just a few minutes. You sound like a very reasonable person who wants to help fix this problem. We may not see eye-to-eye on everything, but I would very much appreciate it if you could just acknowledge that guns are not shovels and need to be treated like something that isn't a shovel.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:49 PM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


With all due respect, people aren't taking shovels into public spaces and murdering dozens of innocent bystanders within the span of just a few minutes. You sound like a very reasonable person who wants to help fix this problem. We may not see eye-to-eye on everything, but I would very much appreciate it if you could just acknowledge that guns are not shovels and need to be treated like something that isn't a shovel.

Well yes and no. they are very different tools, and guns are weapons and weapons were/are invented and used to do damage to living things. But the point I am trying to make is that they are inanimate objects that have no agency. A gun (outside of unlikely mechanical failures) setting on a shelf is no more dangerous than a shovel setting on a shelf. If the wrong person picks up the gun, they are probably (highly probably) going to be able to harm more people with it than that same person with a shovel (and I just had a flashback to horrible super hero movie-the shoveler was awesome). But it is the person who does that, not the object, regardless of the efficiency of the tool for that person, just like a shovel on a shelf isn't going to dig a hole without a human operating it. I will admit that both tools make the human much more effective if used for their intended purpose.

And I am treating the object as something different than a shovel, I just laid out a detailed plan that requires extensive documentation and training to own and use that object. Noone is saying you need a license for shovel.

It seems to me that a lot of people who want to ban guns seem to give the guns agency, as if the mere possession or existence of a weapon makes people want to kill, and some features of the kill make people want to kill more. It is the reverse of this that is actually true and my proposal is an attempt at placing the blame/responsibility on the person who actually can exercise judgement, and empowering those people who are most likely to exercise that judgement wisely in service to society, not in an effort to harm it. People being willing to do violence in the service of society is really what the ultimate meaning of the second amendment, and self defense, are all about.
posted by bartonlong at 5:10 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


A gun (outside of unlikely mechanical failures) setting on a shelf is no more dangerous than a shovel setting on a shelf.

This is disingenuous. Let's make nuclear missiles available and just try to keep the bad guys from doing bad things. That'd totally work.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:19 PM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


bartonlong: "It seems to me that a lot of people who want to ban guns seem to give the guns agency, as if the mere possession or existence of a weapon makes people want to kill, and some features of the kill make people want to kill more. It is the reverse of this that is actually true [...]"

The possession and existence of guns (you said "a weapon", I'll say "guns" since we're not talking about trebuchets or sarin gas) makes people want to kill less? Is this just a rephrasing of "an armed society is a polite society?" If so, tell that to Wyatt Earp, who forced everyone entering Dodge City and Tombstone to hand in their guns when they came in and get them back when they left. Even in the old West, it was understood that a society where everyone is packing is a society where the slightest false move can escalate into an all-out gunfight.

Knowing you have the potential to end someone's life with a small muscle movement, and knowing that everyone else has the potential to do the same is not a recipe for a relaxed, casual atmosphere. Or, put more eloquently:
A favorite gun rights saying is “an armed society is a polite society.” If we allow ever more people to be armed, at any time, in any place, this will provide a powerful deterrent to potential criminals. Or if more citizens were armed — like principals and teachers in the classroom, for example — they could halt senseless shootings ahead of time, or at least early on, and save society a lot of heartache and bloodshed.

As ever more people are armed in public, however — even brandishing weapons on the street — this is no longer recognizable as a civil society. Freedom is vanished at that point.

And yet, gun rights advocates famously maintain that individual gun ownership, even of high caliber weapons, is the defining mark of our freedom as such, and the ultimate guarantee of our enduring liberty. Deeper reflection on their argument exposes basic fallacies.

In her book “The Human Condition,” the philosopher Hannah Arendt states that “violence is mute.” According to Arendt, speech dominates and distinguishes the polis, the highest form of human association, which is devoted to the freedom and equality of its component members. Violence — and the threat of it — is a pre-political manner of communication and control, characteristic of undemocratic organizations and hierarchical relationships. For the ancient Athenians who practiced an incipient, albeit limited form of democracy (one that we surely aim to surpass), violence was characteristic of the master-slave relationship, not that of free citizens.

Arendt offers two points that are salient to our thinking about guns: for one, they insert a hierarchy of some kind, but fundamental nonetheless, and thereby undermine equality. But furthermore, guns pose a monumental challenge to freedom, and particular, the liberty that is the hallmark of any democracy worthy of the name — that is, freedom of speech. Guns do communicate, after all, but in a way that is contrary to free speech aspirations: for, guns chasten speech.

This becomes clear if only you pry a little more deeply into the N.R.A.’s logic behind an armed society. An armed society is polite, by their thinking, precisely because guns would compel everyone to tamp down eccentric behavior, and refrain from actions that might seem threatening. The suggestion is that guns liberally interspersed throughout society would cause us all to walk gingerly — not make any sudden, unexpected moves — and watch what we say, how we act, whom we might offend.

As our Constitution provides, however, liberty entails precisely the freedom to be reckless, within limits, also the freedom to insult and offend as the case may be.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld our right to experiment in offensive language and ideas, and in some cases, offensive action and speech. Such experimentation is inherent to our freedom as such. But guns by their nature do not mix with this experiment — they don’t mix with taking offense. They are combustible ingredients in assembly and speech.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:28 PM on January 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


If you'd like to have to pucker your sphincter a little, have a look at this impostor Dianne Feinstein Facebook timeline. Compare with Feinstein's official Facebook page. She has been quoted as saying, "Women are not capable of defending themselves with 'death machines' we call guns. Women were designed to produce life, not take it away." Other than RWNJ pages, I can find no evidence of this sentence being uttered by Feinstein or anyone else.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:45 PM on January 14, 2013


I didn't mean to say that the existence of weapons makes people more or less violent. The desire to do violence is there already and the weapon was invented as a tool to make that violence easier, just as shovels were invented to make digging easier (cause sometimes you need a hole). Sorry if I gave that impression.

I don't want to live in an armed camp either, and that is not what I am advocating. I am trying to lay out a case for a system that will better keep guns away from those who would do harm with them and allow those who are at worst no danger to society to keep them.

I do believe that an armed citizenry is a good idea and a defining attribute of the kind of nation I want to live in and the kind of citizen I view myself as. I have explained those points here and here, and more one that and the nuclear weapon thing here.

Defending the nation from tyranny is what the second amendment is about but not in the red dawn kind of scenario some wing nuts on the right believe and the left makes fun of. It is more about being a type of country in which tyranny can't take hold. This is why the first amendment is first and the second second.
posted by bartonlong at 5:53 PM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I saw your other posts, and I agree with others who've said you seem like a reasonable member of the pro-gun side of the debate. However, I think there are a few inconsistencies in your ideology.

Your position on guns vs. artillery vs. cruise missiles sounds logical enough at first glance, but if you're going to base your argument on "arms readily available and supplied by the individual soldier in a militia during callout", I don't see how you do so without acknowledging that state-based militia units have had access to artillery for nearly four centuries, well before there was a standing army (or even a union) to supply them with their weapons.

What's more bothersome to me is this selective invocation of the militia by gun advocates based on what is being argued. The Supreme Court said in the 1930s that gun rights were linked to membership in or association with militia activity, so gun advocates pushed for the declaration of an individual right to bear arms unconnected with the militia, something they got several years ago in DC v. Heller. But now the argument for delineating what weapons are associated with that individual right vs. which ones it's okay for the government to regulate are grounded in this idea that the founders were talking about early militias that didn't have access to artillery. If the founders were talking about bearing arms for participation in the militia, then it wasn't intended as an individual right. Given that we don't have anything resembling the militias that existed in 1789, and given that they were carrying around muzzle loaders and not semi-automatic rifles with 100-round magazines attached to them, I really can't find a coherent argument in any of this militia talk.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:31 PM on January 14, 2013


Don't license the gun. The gun is an inanimate object no more capable of killing you than a shovel is without human action.

Seriously? That line of horseshit?

Other people are clearly on this, but could you at least sit and think for a moment about why what you are saying there is idiotic and offensive.
posted by Artw at 6:41 PM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


So, even if the NRA wants guns out of the hands of mentally ill, they fell that they can't yield an inch without hurting their long-term goals.

Yes, but if I may say so, not yielding an inch on matters like this is also hurting their long-term goals, just from a different direction.

The fact is we could probably find a decent middle ground which would cut indiscriminate gun ownership enough to make a decent dent in the amount of violent crime, suicides by gun, and the like but which would also preserve considerable freedom for individuals to own and use firearms.

But when certain organizations prevent us from reaching what could be a reasonable compromise, the backlash against those organizations and their views is bound to grow substantially over time until they ultimately lose.
posted by flug at 6:43 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


bartonlong's is a proposal along the lines I could live with reasonably happily, but it's still a bit loose around the edges (...and may, be impossible to tighten without making it unpalatable).

If you did tighten up the licensing requirements along those lines I'd think the general rule of thumb would have to be: Are you a licensed owner? Did you shoot someone? If it wasn't in self defense then you have no defense, so to speak, (except for a bunch of foreseeable corner cases not worth going into here)...and, similarly, own whatever you want, but if if any of what you owned is used "for evil" you're also on the hook (the actual evildoer is on the hook as well, but so are you). And that because, barring the usual foreseeable corner cases, losing control of your weaponry is pretty much adequate proof to show that either the licensing board was wrong about your judgment and responsibility, or you somehow misrepresented those traits during the licensure process.

So, own what you like, as much of it as you care to, but a responsible owner wouldn't buy more than said owner can control, and so you wouldn't either, would you?

I think that's an acceptable common ground at least in principle, if perhaps too draconian to ever go over ok in practice.
posted by hoople at 6:49 PM on January 14, 2013


Americans Specifically Reject the Right's "Amateur Rambo" Fantasies
There's also majority support for a proposal that comes from the pro-gun right: putting more armed security guards and police officers in schools:

But notice which idea is rejected, 57%-40%? The notion of arming more teachers and other school officials.

[...]

But the public isn't buying it. Americans want guns in schools, but they want those guns carried by people whose job it is to provide security. They don't want a nation in which anyone might turn cop or soldier at a moment's notice.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:30 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's funny how all the pro gun people think all the anti gun people want to take away all their guns and throw them(the people) into concentration camps. It's also funny how all the anti gun people think all of the pro gun people want to be able to own a tactical nuclear weapon without a background check.

The fact of the matter is that it IS my right to own a gun. As long as the folks commenting here don't want to prohibit me from exercising my right to own a gun then we don't really have any disagreement. I agree that we should have a sensible gun policy that protects the rights and safety of all citizens.

what you are saying there is idiotic and offensive.

The stereotypes some people have of gun owners is what's "idiotic and offensive".

I must say I'm kind of delighted to see the guy who mourned the death of Osama Bin Laden defend the right to violently rebel against the US government.

Does one preclude the other? Either way, bad form...I guess you just like to score cheap points instead of making substantive points. To be fair I wasn't defending anything I was merely reciting a history of which some here have demonstrated a rank ignorance. I guess instead I should have just linked to the federalist papers or the debates on the constitution so that you can all read for yourselves what the founding fathers actual opinions were rather than tailoring them to fit your current ideological needs.

I must say that I am flattered you are paying such close attention to me though.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:43 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


My apologies if the shovel line was actually a ruse - that would make me happier to since it is such a very stupid line of reasoning.
posted by Artw at 8:00 PM on January 14, 2013


Speaking of gun-related loopholes, here's an iPhone app that lets four-year-olds and up go shootin' and a six-guns-blazin'. So much for NRA assholes blaming violent video games for being the problem!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:26 PM on January 14, 2013


Ah, but see, in the minds of the paranoid, registration is the first/only/necessary step to be able to round up all the weapons people have and take them away.

Red Dawn is the classic example of this. Col. Bella orders his subordinate to pull the gun registration forms to find the gun owners.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:08 PM on January 14, 2013


To be honest, I don't get why the shovel/gun comparison is idiotic. I am not saying guns are shovels. I am saying both are tools and comparing something with strong emotions (guns) attached to them to something that most people are familiar with and don't have strong emotions about (shovels). I have stated up thread that they are very different tools used for different purposes(i did make a couple of jokes upthread about a bad 90's superhero movie(i can't remember the title) and another but not with any offense in mind and if so I apologize. I am actaully attempting to have that conservation about guns so many people say they want, when in reality what they seem to want is a conservation about how they are going to take away my (and others) legally owned and used property without any actual guilt on my (or the vast majority of owners) part. My point, as stated, was saying tools (of any type) don't have any agency and blaming them is a mistake. The fault is in the man, not the type of tool that is used to carry out the evil.

And as far as it goes, blunt objects such as shovels, bats, etc have killed more people last year than rifles (not guns, RIFLES) of all types, not just the type listed in the assault weapons ban. This is from FBI crime stats. Its late and I don't want to look it up, but its there if you care to actually look. and here is link to a slideshow that is a very good presentation of the origin of the whole assault weapons thing (from a pro gun rights POV). and how it IS a stepping stone for further gun confiscation (as stated by the people who actually wrote the 94 one).

as to people actually wanting to have resonable discussion of my proposal and how it might help things:

Are you a licensed owner? Did you shoot someone? If it wasn't in self defense then you have no defense, so to speak

I have no problem with this. Murder/homicide is already illegal. Killing someone in non self defense is murder. As to what constituents self defense I am pretty ok with castle doctrine, not so comfortable with whatever the defense in florida was/is around the trayvon martin case, but that discussion is probably better for another time.

and, similarly, own whatever you want, but if if any of what you owned is used "for evil" you're also on the hook (the actual evildoer is on the hook as well, but so are you)

again no problem with this, with the exception if they are stolen (and come on, if someone steals your car and runs someone over are you guilty of the crime because you didn't lock the car doors ?) or you sold them to someone who was also licensed but then they were misused. Clearly there is some need for tracking here. Maybe some similair to the 'bound book' requirement for type 3 FFL holders? LIke i said, I was sure it needed refinement, first drafts always do.
posted by bartonlong at 10:38 PM on January 14, 2013


To be honest, I don't get why the shovel/gun comparison is idiotic. I am not saying guns are shovels. I am saying both are tools and comparing something with strong emotions (guns) attached to them to something that most people are familiar with and don't have strong emotions about (shovels).

I hi-lighted the keyword above. A shovel is a tool, of which its primary purpose and design is to dig. A gun is a tool, of which its primary purpose and design is to kill. Sure you can kill with the most unconventional of things. Our ancestors likely started off with rocks in the early arms race. I wouldn't say the comparison is idiotic either though...it's just distracting. A killer who is intent on mass murder will go for the lowest hanging fruits that produce the best results. Currently an assault rifle is the tool of choice as it has range, power, and high frequency. Accomplishing the same with a shovel would take a long time, lots of martial arts training, and good shovel throwing skills. It becomes silly. On the other hand, if assault rifles are not longer the lowest hanging fruit, what takes its place? Conventional guns? Homemade bombs? Shovels? This is why focusing on mental health is equally important...but it's not the only topic worth looking at.
posted by samsara at 5:47 AM on January 15, 2013


One obvious difference is that if my daughter stumbles across my shovel, nobody is accidentally ending up dead.
posted by bitterpants at 5:58 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


if someone steals your car and runs someone over are you guilty of the crime because you didn't lock the car doors

There is such a thing as negligence. If you fail to secure your gun, perhaps you would be negligent.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:22 AM on January 15, 2013


The ar-15 is a civillian version of an assault rifle. It has the same "range, power, and frequency as these guns which would presumably not be covered under any "assault weapons" ban.

No. Assault weapons as defined under the ban do not typically have the range or power of hunting rifles (notable exception: the .223 has very good range, but lacks the "knockdown" power of a hunting rifle). They also are typically shorter and lighter than those and have higher capacity magazines. Semi-automatic action is not the single defining feature of an "assault weapon" under the law.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:49 AM on January 15, 2013


bitterpants: "One obvious difference is that if my daughter stumbles across my shovel, nobody is accidentally ending up dead."

Also, if it turns out that if the manufacturer made errors in the design of or production of said shovel that led to someone dying, its manufacturer could be held liable in a civil court action. Guns, on the other hand, get special treatment that exempts their manufacturers from such lawsuits, because freedom.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:21 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


[Make your comments without calling people assholes. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:29 AM on January 15, 2013


The term "assault weapon" is something of a buzzword. Like the term "MIL-SPEC" (discussed above) there's a lot of debate about what it means, what types of firearms it includes, what features it refers to, etc. In my experience, serious professionals do not use the term. One instructor quips, "When people ask about buying an assault weapon, I show them a pen and tell them it costs fifty-nine cents."

Unrelated, the standard range of an AR-15 is 300 yards with iron sights, and 600+ yards with an optic. Obviously there are all kinds of factors that can affect this, but those numbers put you in the ballpark for conversation's sake. The basic AR-15 design has been used in every major conflict from Vietnam to the present.

Lastly. Second Amendment jurisprudence is (somewhat unfortunately) complicated and not especially clear. Several generations' worth of legal minds have debated it back and forth, and it has confounded some brilliant and expert people. It's difficult to take seriously anyone who insists that the amendment's interpretation is simple or obvious, especially if that sentiment is followed up with, "By the way, I don't do this for a living. I work in IT."
posted by cribcage at 7:37 AM on January 15, 2013


So what is it? Do we want to ban all semi automatic rifles or not? What about handguns?

Since I was being quoted there, I just wanted to make sure you know that I wasn't speaking of bans and agree in that don't believe outright bans are solution of any kind as they do not address the underlying issues already at play...I was simply pointing out that perception and accessibility alone are enough to make civilian high capacity rifles the current weapon of choice for mass murders (to me, the name "assault rifle" is just distracting on semantics, like Pluto not being a planet...of course it's not, and that makes me sad inside....let's agree to call these "high capacity civilian rifles" instead of "assault rifles" from this point forward if that helps clear the road ahead for further discussion...but also let's not ignore that they are indeed being used for "assaulting" more frequently as of late)

Ultimately, we need to clean up the current legislation before we start building more onto it (much like sanding down furniture before re-staining) As I stated up thread, making serious efforts to keep tabs on ownership/registration while prosecuting straw buyers for being accessories to crime on a federal level...and improving on the accessibility of our mental health care substantially are probably the two most valuable ways to "curb" our current brand of "guns being in the wrong hands" without infringing greatly on the spirit of the 2nd amendment for lawful and good nature'd citizens. If bans are seriously on the table however, then it has to be on a federal level and only through a popular nationwide vote (or even the oxymoron known as "act of congress"), as any city/state ban is only as good as the lack of a neighboring state ban. But exactly like you said...good luck with that. We have a hard enough time recognizing the obvious and less dramatic approaches.
posted by samsara at 7:39 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, if it turns out that if the manufacturer made errors in the design of or production of said shovel that led to someone dying, its manufacturer could be held liable in a civil court action. Guns, on the other hand, get special treatment that exempts their manufacturers from such lawsuits, because freedom.

How many people were lining up to sue firearm manufacturers because of errors in the design or production? As you and others have pointed out in this thread, firearms are (mostly) designed to kill people. The legal protections were to keep people from suing manufacturers for making them correctly.
posted by Etrigan at 7:42 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


The fact of the matter is that it IS my right to own a gun.

The fact of the matter is that it is the right of the people to keep and bear arms. This is not the same thing as your perceived individual right to own a gun.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:50 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


The term "assault weapon" is something of a buzzword.

That is why the legislation defined the term.

the standard range of an AR-15 is 300 yards with iron sights, and 600+ yards with an optic.

A standard issue AK-47 from the 1950's came with sights that marked up to 1000 meters, but that is not a realistic standard. That said, the .223 is the exception on range, not the rule. I'm quite certain that a (banned under the AWB) 9mm Mack-10 would not have that sort of range.

The fact of the matter is that it is the right of the people to keep and bear arms...

...in order to form a well regulated militia.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:56 AM on January 15, 2013


There is such a thing as negligence. If you fail to secure your gun, perhaps you would be negligent.

And negligence exists with firearms as well. Nobody is suggesting that we get rid of that. Most of the hypothetical scenarios that people are throwing around would probably fall under negligence, if they turned out to be as cut and dried in the real world as suggested.

That is why the legislation defined the term ["assault weapon"].

Only barely; it was (in the 1994 AWB and in some state bans that mirrored it) defined in reference to a bunch of cosmetic features which don't make any difference to the lethality of the gun. It's pretty clear that they were working backwards from appearance rather than forward from some rational, functional basis. As it turns out, regulating guns like pornography — "I'll know it when I see it!" — isn't the greatest way to do things. It's no surprise that the '94 AWB was a complete failure in every measurable way, except perhaps at giving some of its proponents the free time to do something besides politics after the 1996 election.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:09 AM on January 15, 2013


The fact of the matter is that it is the right of the people to keep and bear arms. This is not the same thing as your perceived individual right to own a gun.

Currently applicable judicial precedent recognizes an individual right. Arguing over what the 2nd Amendment "really means" is pointless -- even professional judges are hopelessly locked into their own personal opinions.
posted by Etrigan at 9:25 AM on January 15, 2013


Currently applicable judicial precedent recognizes an individual right.

Created out of whole cloth.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:29 AM on January 15, 2013


Currently applicable judicial precedent recognizes an individual right.

Created out of whole cloth.


Well, yeah, but there's a lot of whole-cloth creations when you're using a document that hasn't been updated at all in 20 years and not substantively in 150.
posted by Etrigan at 9:33 AM on January 15, 2013


Only barely; it was (in the 1994 AWB and in some state bans that mirrored it) defined in reference to a bunch of cosmetic features which don't make any difference to the lethality of the gun.

Magazine capacity certainly has an impact on the lethality (for that matter so does a bayonette), but the definition was actually fairly descriptive of a class of guns. The problem with the AWB's effectiveness wasn't in the class, it was the loopholes. Sell an SKS with a <8 round magazine and the foregrip and bayonette removed and its now just a "rifle". It doesn't matter that the same vendor at the same gun show conveniently sells hi-capacity magazines, foregrips, and bayonettes that just happen to fit your new SKS just as long as the initial purchase didn't cross the line.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:47 AM on January 15, 2013


Well, yeah, but there's a lot of whole-cloth creations when you're using a document that hasn't been updated at all in 20 years and not substantively in 150.

Given that it's a radical reinterpretation of what had been consistently interpreted as a collective right, 220 years after the amendment was passed, I think the outrage is justified.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:48 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Given that it's a radical reinterpretation of what had been consistently interpreted as a collective right, 220 years after the amendment was passed, I think the outrage is justified.

Outrage is fine. But don't pretend that the pro-gun-control side is factually correct. The closest thing we get to "factually correct" when it comes to the Constitution is what the Supreme Court currently says, and by current precedent, "The fact of the matter is that it IS [AElfwine Evenstar's] right to own a gun."
posted by Etrigan at 10:00 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


The fact of the matter is that it is the right of the people to keep and bear arms. This is not the same thing as your perceived individual right to own a gun.

You are mistaken. See District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago.

District of Columbia v. Heller was a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual's right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home and within federal enclaves.

McDonald v. Chicago is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States that determined whether the Second Amendment applies to the individual states. The Court held that the right of an individual to "keep and bear arms" protected by the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to the states. The decision cleared up the uncertainty left in the wake of District of Columbia v. Heller as to the scope of gun rights in regard to the states.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:02 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Etrigan: "The legal protections were to keep people from suing manufacturers for making them correctly."

Incorrect. See the bill immunizing them, particularly the section entitled "(5) QUALIFIED CIVIL LIABILITY ACTION", which includes:
an action for death, physical injuries or property damage resulting directly from a defect in design or manufacture of the product, when used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner, except that where the discharge of the product was caused by a volitional act that constituted a criminal offense, then such act shall be considered the sole proximate cause of any resulting death, personal injuries or property damage; or
as well as the section that says:
(a) In General- A qualified civil liability action may not be brought in any Federal or State court.

(b) Dismissal of Pending Actions- A qualified civil liability action that is pending on the date of enactment of this Act shall be immediately dismissed by the court in which the action was brought or is currently pending.
Unless your legalese-to-English translator is working differently than mine, I'm seeing blanket immunity for anything connected to marketing, breach of warranty contract, and, yes, manufacture and design defects, even when the gun maker knowingly violated the law.

You can tut-tut about the idea of suing manufacturers, but there is legal precedent, with an estimated fifteen such cases at the time the immunity bill was signed into law. This was transactional politics, pure and simple.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:18 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


The whole concept of an "assault weapon" is at best nebulous and at worst entirely cosmetic. Some noted this after the last ban sunset in 2004.

Although the AWB was intended to remove dangerous weapons from the streets, the law did little to achieve this goal. It failed to prohibit particularly dangerous weapons, because the firearms encompassed in the statute’s definition of assault weapons were not uniquely lethal compared to weapons that remained legal under the ban. Furthermore, concessions during the legislative process made the AWB unsuccessful in achieving its second purpose—removing these weapons from the public. Ultimately, the questionable evidence associating assault weapons with crime, coupled with the continuing availability of assault weapons after the ban, raise doubts as to whether the AWB addressed the underlying crime problem.(source, pg. 475)

So unless we are prepared to ban and remove all semi automatic rifles from circulation (good luck with that) I fail to see how reinstating the ban will in any way prevent another Sandy Hook. Here in the same paper Russ Feingold is quoted as saying:

Although I voted for the ban on certain kinds of semiautomatic weapons in 1994, I have come to believe that it is a largely arbitrary and symbolic measure. Citizens see it as a first step towards confiscating their firearms. I will, therefore, vote against its reauthorization.(pg. 482)

*all emphasis is mine
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:26 AM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


"The fact of the matter is that it IS [AElfwine Evenstar's] right to own a gun."

In the same way that Jim Crow laws weren't a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, yes. You really think Rosa Parks didn't have her rights, as guaranteed by the Constitution, violated?

You are mistaken.

No, for reasons we've already discussed. The idea that you've got an invented right temporarily codified doesn't make it your natural right under the Constitution, and Scalia's uneducated novel interpretation of the Second Amendment doesn't change that.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:41 AM on January 15, 2013


See the bill immunizing them, particularly the section entitled "(5) QUALIFIED CIVIL LIABILITY ACTION", which includes:
an action for death, physical injuries or property damage resulting directly from a defect in design or manufacture of the product, when used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner, except that where the discharge of the product was caused by a volitional act that constituted a criminal offense, then such act shall be considered the sole proximate cause of any resulting death, personal injuries or property damage; or


You missed the part that says "but shall not include--".
posted by Etrigan at 10:42 AM on January 15, 2013


"The fact of the matter is that it IS [AElfwine Evenstar's] right to own a gun."

In the same way that Jim Crow laws weren't a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, yes. You really think Rosa Parks didn't have her rights, as guaranteed by the Constitution, violated?


Well, no. She didn't. I believe that she had her civil rights and her human rights violated. But not her Constitutional rights, no. Because here's the thing -- you and I can disagree on whether individual firearm ownership is a civil or human or natural right. But we cannot disagree on whether it is a Constitutional right, because the people whose job is to say whether it is come down on the side of "Yes." I realize that you think that it should not be, but under the current precedent in force in our society, it is.
posted by Etrigan at 10:48 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lots of people think Griswold and Roe created new rights out of whole cloth too; doesn't make them any less the law of the land.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:49 AM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Etrigan: " You missed the part that says "but shall not include--"."

So I did. But those exceptions are limited to firearms "used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner," with the shooting not being a "volitional act that constituted a criminal offense." This leaves a lot of leeway to throw out cases where, say, a child gains access to a gun, but the safety mechanisms fail due to some design defect.

I withdraw my point that the law grants blanket immunity, but it was still a gift to the gun industry that helped them dismiss many cases that would have otherwise gone forward.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:08 AM on January 15, 2013


I realize that you think that it should not be, but under the current precedent in force in our society, it is.

The fact that Plessy stuck around for sixty years doesn't mean that people discriminated against under it weren't having their Constitutional rights violated.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:09 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


The fact that Plessy stuck around for sixty years doesn't mean that people discriminated against under it weren't having their Constitutional rights violated.

In essence, yes, it does. Again: their civil rights or human rights or natural rights were being violated, but not their Constitutional rights. Not until Brown.

Try this somewhat less emotionally charged example: When you were 19 years old, did you have a Constitutional right to vote? Not if you were born in 1950, you didn't. But if you were born in 1953, then you did have a Constitutional right to vote when you were 19. Did you have a natural right to vote at the age of 19 in 1969? We can disagree. But you absolutely, without a doubt, did not have a Constitutional right to vote, because the Supreme Court, in Oregon v. Mitchell, said that you didn't.

And now, in 2013, you have a Constitutional individual right to keep and bear arms. In 2003, you didn't. In 2023, you might not again. But at the moment, you do, regardless of whether you believe that to be morally correct.
posted by Etrigan at 11:20 AM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


In essence, yes, it does.

No. This leads you to the absurd and incorrect conclusion that nobody's rights are being violated if they don't sue. That doesn't mean they're entitled to retroactive relief.

When you were 19 years old, did you have a Constitutional right to vote? Not if you were born in 1950, you didn't. But if you were born in 1953, then you did have a Constitutional right to vote when you were 19.

That's due entirely to an amendment. The part of the Constitution we're talking about last changed in 1791.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:32 AM on January 15, 2013


Magazine capacity certainly has an impact on the lethality

Only if you are an incompetent and can't change mags. See columbine which happened during the period when the '94 ban was still in place. Instead of bringing 3 or 4 high capacity magazines they brought 15 or 16 low capacity mags. The loss in rpm from changing mags is not really going to matter much when you are in a gun free zone going on a rampage. Now in a firefight against other people with similar armament then yes one would probably want the high capacity mag.

The problem with the AWB's effectiveness wasn't in the class, it was the loopholes.

That and the millions still in circulation. Also, again see Columbine, which seems to illustrate just the opposite of what you are trying to claim here.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:36 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I withdraw my point that the law grants blanket immunity, but it was still a gift to the gun industry that helped them dismiss many cases that would have otherwise gone forward.

This is true, but those lawsuits were not about how the guns had a design defect or a malfunction, they were specifically designed and brought to the court to drive gun manufacturers out of business as a back door gun control measure. Now, you may or may not be in favor of gun control but trying to shut down a legal business by abusing the court system is NOT good for the system nor it is good for the political process. These kind of tactics from the gun control groups are the reason pro gun people and groups are not really willing to enter into an honest debate-the other side plays dirty (actually this is pretty true about the feelings on both sides).
posted by bartonlong at 12:45 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Only if you are an incompetent and can't change mags.

Wow, so easy! Just like in a video game!

The comparison was between weapons with a detachable magazine, like an assault rifle, and one with an internal box magazine, like a semi-automatic hunting rifle. So yes, the changeable magazine significantly improves cycle time.

Of course, that said, the cycle time (in other words time without a working weapon) between 120 rounds from 4 30-round mags and 15 8-round mags is going to be very different no matter if you are Chuck Norris.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:46 PM on January 15, 2013


bartonlong: "they were specifically designed and brought to the court to drive gun manufacturers out of business as a back door gun control measure"

Please to be citing.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:52 PM on January 15, 2013


> Does one preclude the other?

Well, obviously not. It isn't unimaginable, just remarkable. But I remember how distraught you said you were by the shooting of a single, despicable man, how you begged us to consider what Gandalf would make of our violent ways, and how you lamented that America was too hopelessly in love with violence to even survive. So, yes, it's a little funny to see you defending so doggedly the necessity to shoot people and the means with which to do so.

As long as the folks commenting here don't want to prohibit me from exercising my right to own a gun then we don't really have any disagreement.

And as long as you don't think that "the right to own a gun" means the right to own any kind of firearm you want and do whatever you wish with it, then we probably don't have much of a disagreement.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:54 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Only if you are an incompetent and can't change mags.....Instead of bringing 3 or 4 high capacity magazines they brought 15 or 16 low capacity mags.

This does make me uncomfortable rationalizing, but imagine how much more efficient they could have been if they brought 15 or 16 high capacity mags, regardless of being in a gun free zone or in a firefight? I mean there were survivors at Columbine right? Could they have been potential targets in the time it took to reload a small capacity mag? If so would that not be in fact an impact on overall lethality?
posted by samsara at 12:57 PM on January 15, 2013


A lot of the arguments put forth by the NRA and its supporters are disingenuous. None of them seriously argue that they have a right to possess any and all armaments, so we're just haggling over where the line should be drawn. There are lots of hunters and target shooters and they do not need high-capacity magazines or pistol grips and what-not for their sports. Likewise, to protect ones home or business does not require such weapons. What we have are folks who like to pretend to be mercenaries or revolutionaries and want weapons that look like something those types would use, and they and the businesses that supply them are lobbying like hell to keep them available. Unfortunately, it seems those that would slaughter many other human beings in one go also favor these types of weapons and they are effective at that task, so the question boils down to whether fun and profit are legitimate reasons to keep these toys available to the wannabes, and consequently the killers, or whether these toys fall into the realm of armaments that can be forbidden to the hobbyist. Tied up with this wannabe crowd is the paranoid fantasy that if they dislike the president enough, these weapons can be used in an insurrection. That's why they tend to collect so many of them and why they need to look like Real Military Weapons™. This is the most disingenuous part of the argument. Out of one side of their mouths they argue that you can't distinguish "assault weapons" from ordinary guns, but on the other they insist that these wannabe guns be made available for their fantasies. For my part, I don't think the availability of wannabe assault rifles is worth the toll we take from their use by non-wannabes.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:44 PM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


This does make me uncomfortable rationalizing, but imagine how much more efficient they could have been if they brought 15 or 16 high capacity mags, regardless of being in a gun free zone or in a firefight? I mean there were survivors at Columbine right? Could they have been potential targets in the time it took to reload a small capacity mag? If so would that not be in fact an impact on overall lethality?

From the reports I have read most of the magazines at both sandy hook and columbine still had a number of rounds in them, to the point that about 10 rounds was the average used per magazine in them all (and I think I have read something similar about Virginia tech but that was longer ago). And it doesn't appear that time constraints were all that serious in either of those two cases and in the Clackamas mall shooting it appears that the magazines used were not reliable and caused the weapon to jam (these reports are hard to come by and the news media gets soooo much wrong when attempting to report technical gun details that I am not sure how much weight to give this information)
posted by bartonlong at 1:48 PM on January 15, 2013


The main thing that kept the body count down at Columbine was that their plan wasn't to shoot the place up, but to blow it up, and the bombs didn't go off.
posted by smackfu at 4:01 PM on January 15, 2013


The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery
posted by Artw at 5:54 PM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


New York passes major gun control law -- first since Newtown massacre
posted by tonycpsu at 6:05 PM on January 15, 2013


So, yes, it's a little funny to see you defending so doggedly the necessity to shoot people and the means with which to do so.

What's funny[read cringeworthy] is you making equivalencies with a right enshrined in the constitution and state sanctioned murder. I have only recited history and stated the obvious fact that according to the supreme court of the United States I do have the right to own a firearm. That currently includes semi automatic "assault weapons". I currently own three firearms none of which are assault rifles. You can read into this all the bad intentions you want, but that's you projecting your fears and ignorance onto me and I don't think that's fair. I have already stated, twice I think, that I am all for a sensible gun policy. I am dubious any of the token measures proposed here will actually do any good. In fact the opposite argument can be made given the rate at which "assault weapons" are currently flying off the shelves.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:42 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


bartonlong: " And it doesn't appear that time constraints were all that serious in either of those two cases and in the Clackamas mall shooting "

Funny how you skipped right over Aurora. 12 dead and 58 injured in 45 seconds or so seems to have something to do with magazine capacity. Even if this was the only case ever in recorded history where a larger magazine capacity meant more fatalities, I would respectfully suggest their lives are worth more than the sum total of time and energy spent by law-abiding gun owners changing magazines. If your view is different, please clarify.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:39 PM on January 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery

Goes a long way to explaining why American gun owners are so passionate about it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:49 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


“The watchword for gun owners is stay ready,” said Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association. “We have had some successes, but we know that the first chance Obama gets, he will pounce on us.”... That Mr. Obama signed legislation allowing guns in national parks and on Amtrak trains should not be seen as respect for the Second Amendment, Mr. LaPierre said. (Published: February 23, 2010)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:01 PM on January 15, 2013


The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery

Goes a long way to explaining why American gun owners are so passionate about it.


So we are lumping all American gun owners in with Slave owners now are we?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:46 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Let's just say that when a black president is signing laws that make guns and ammo more widely available and yet gun owners are still stockpiling guns and ammo because of a black president, it's safe to say there's a non-zero element of racism to Americans owning guns and ammo, yes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:17 AM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


it's safe to say there's a non-zero element of racism to Americans owning guns and ammo

I have no doubt that you are correct, but to smear all gun owners with this brush seems a little uncharitable.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:33 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


NRA TV Ad: Obama ‘Elitist Hypocrite’ Because His Daughters Have Armed Guards
posted by homunculus at 1:29 AM on January 16, 2013


Let's just say that when a black president is signing laws that make guns and ammo more widely available and yet gun owners are still stockpiling guns and ammo because of a black president, it's safe to say there's a non-zero element of racism to Americans owning guns and ammo, yes.

If you're going to attribute every opposition to Obama as a reflection on his race, then yes, everyone who opposes him must be a racist, by tautology. But speaking as a person who actually knows gun owners and users, the opposition is that he's a Democrat. Believe me, Biden is getting just as much of the credit for "wanting to take our guns!" these days.
posted by Etrigan at 4:30 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Debate on Armed Police in Schools: Needed For Kid Safety or Part of the Student-to-Prison Pipeline?
posted by homunculus at 9:56 AM on January 16, 2013


Republicans Accuse Obama of Using Position As President to Lead Country, Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker, 15 January 2013

Obama’s 23 Planned Executive Actions On Guns, David Taintor, Talking Points Memo, 16 January 2013

Obama Signs Executive Actions On Guns, Igor Bobic, Talking Points Memo, 16 January 2013
posted by ob1quixote at 10:00 AM on January 16, 2013


Also, I thought I'd share with y'all the photo my RWNJ friends are sharing today. In light of what the President actually has done, it makes these people look very foolish.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:07 AM on January 16, 2013


If Obama is signing this order to protect us from bears with AK-47s, I'm behind him all the way.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:10 AM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I, too, want to be protected from armed bears.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:34 AM on January 16, 2013


If you're going to attribute every opposition to Obama as a reflection on his race

I'm going to attribute paranoid behavior by gun owners over the past five years to a response to Obama on the basis of his skin color. That much seems obvious, when he has been perhaps the best friend a gun owner could have, up until this most recent slaughter has prompted non-gun-owners to ask him to do something as the country's leader.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:44 AM on January 16, 2013


So, over the last month since it was stated we(the nation) needed to have a discussion on gun control and I have tried to engage and bring a reasonable, logical, thought out and researched position to the 'discussion'. As a result of this I have been called a racist, told I have blood on my hands and am responsible for the actions of someone else, been told my ideas were asinine and ludicrous (with no real basis or rebuttal just that statement) and have negative assertions made about my manhood. I have even been told that bringing technical knowledge of details about guns was stupid when discussing a gun ban BASED on those technical details. All because I choose to exercise a constitutionally enumerated and protected right. I didn't expect my views to be widely shared here and was expecting criticism, but I was hoping for an actual fair hearing and discussion of the idea of civilian gun ownership and its role in our society. Such responses do not help in having a productive discussion and only serve to further divide the country. This has not happened all in this thread but in the several that have been done since the latest round of massacres have happened. I am pretty sure I have never once said I am ok with anyone being murdered, I am not ok with what happened in any of the shooting and DO think their should be some measure of regulation around gun ownership.

As to the racism, are you actually aware that one reason, as written in the discussion, of the dred scott decision about not counting slaves as citizens and/or human was that it would mean they would then have a right to arms? And the racism in Cruikshank (another landmark supreme court decision on the second amendment) is just as blatant. The gun control act in 1968 didn't get any traction at all until white folks starting see black panthers exercising their right to be armed. If anything the history of gun control in this nation is pretty much built on keeping guns out of the hands of black people (because Mao was right-political power DOES grow out of the barrel of a gun). But i mean come on, gun owners are evil and evil people are racist right?

But it seems, as I have said before, the definition of discussion here on this topic is discussing how to confiscate property and limit the exercise of rights by law abiding citizens all in the name of safety. I feel (and your feelings of safety and what I should be allowed to own seem to be very pertinent) like I am being asked how slowly I wish to be eaten as if that is a good thing for me. We have been down this road before in the recent past, the outcome was the patriot act and the TSA in our (the nations) rush to judgement and TO DO SOMETHING TO SAVE JUST ONE LIFE. How is that working out for us?

I have read through the executive actions the president has signed and think most of them are good ideas and at worst a few might have the potential to be abused (a couple of the ones relating to mental health)but the potential to actually prevent another massacre is their so I am willing to say lets see how it goes. My reply to a few of them is why haven't you been doing this all along since it is the executive branches job to actually enforce the law, but better late than never.

And it is hypocritical for a politician to do one thing and then deny that same opportunity to law abiding citizens. Our country is not supposed to work that way. I don't begrudge Obama, or any politician facing the threats he does, the right to have armed guards protecting him or his children. In fact that is probably a good thing for the stability of our nation and continuity of government and rule of law. I do find it telling just what that same government things of me when denying me that same opportunity and tools to defend myself. Diane Fienstein has a concealed carry permit, and Josh Sugarman (head of the Brady campaign) has an FFL (really, look it up, it is matter of public record) but those same individual have said that I shouldn't have guns at all (and yes, they are both on record as saying if they could they would completely disarm the population and only law enforcement and the armed forces should have guns).

The final outcome of all this is not going to be any meaningful reduction in crime or increased safety of citizen. By definition laws only affect the law abiding. What it is going to do is push moderate republicans (and there are a LOT of them out there) away from being ok with democrats and back toward the wackiness of the modern republican party. Just like the 94 assault weapons ban did. Anyone else remember the effect that had on the 96 election? Newt? Anyone? And just when some real strides were being made about gay rights, health care and some real discussions were being made about republican voices needing to become more inclusive.

As to the NRA's stance on arming school teachers/admins-it crazy to expect someone who doesn't want that responsibility to have it thrust on them and dangerous as well, and several more good arguments against it can be made. That was ill thought out and a mistake, although i do believe the NRA wants the massacres to stop also, they are human beings and men of good conscious. Armed guards might be effective but Public schools are already unpleasant enough without turning them even more into prisons and armed camps.

And you know, it IS possible to have a difference of opinion with a black (or even half black) man without being a racist, right? I mean the man does have some political views and policy decisions he has made that someone could disagree with him about right? And, as someone who is actually a member of the 'gun culture', the discussion around him prior to this latest 'discussion' was an uneasy comfort in general that he hadn't made any moves on gun control, wasn't anything he campaigned on and in general had actually been pretty good about making reasonable expansion for concealed carry holders on federal property. There was a round of panic buying in 2008 but had pretty much calmed down by 2010 and barely a blip on the panic buying when he was re-elected until the Sandy Hook shooting started this talk of a 'discussion'. Don't believe the media spin on this any more than you would on anything else. They thrive off taking edge views in a community and presenting them as mainstream in order to scare you so you will watch more news, they have 24 hours to fill after all.
posted by bartonlong at 10:54 AM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm going to attribute paranoid behavior by gun owners over the past five years to a response to Obama on the basis of his skin color.

Good to know that you've made up your mind regardless of what I'm going to say here about my personal experiences with the people you've decided to universally call racists.

That much seems obvious, when he has been perhaps the best friend a gun owner could have up until this most recent slaughter has prompted non-gun-owners to ask him to do something as the country's leader.

Yeah, what every gun owner has always wanted is to take his gun on a train. That was the very pinnacle of the NRA's tireless work.

Again, they couldn't possibly have thought that, since he's a Democrat, he didn't really like guns and would therefore seize an opportunity to take them away. No, the 23 executive orders he just signed must have been the result of his obvious gun-loving-ness getting burned away, like Saul on the road to Damascus, by the Newtown shootings, and all the "paranoia" that he would do something like he just did* was totally unjustifiable racism.

* -- Yes, I know he didn't just round up all guns and sentence their owners to concentration camps. But you know how the pro-choice side is worried about thin ends of wedges sliding into the abortion debate so eventually there are zero providers in several states? Well, the pro-gun side is worried about similar tiny assaults chipping away what they see as their rights.**

** -- No, I'm not drawing moral equivalence between the two.
posted by Etrigan at 11:05 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone else remember the effect that had on the 96 election? Newt?

The Republicans lost seats in the House in 1996. Not surprising, given that more Americans voted for Democrats in the House elections.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:15 AM on January 16, 2013


Good to know that you've made up your mind regardless of what I'm going to say here about my personal experiences

Oh, don't worry. I have family who are stalwart NRA members and proud gun owners, who also think Obama is a sekrit Muslim. I've made up my mind based on their behavior, as much as on the behavior of gun owners stockpiling weapons and ammo over the last five years in response to Obama's election and re-election, and on the words and deeds of NRA leadership over that same time period. The racist sickness that underlies this stuff is so obvious at this point.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:16 AM on January 16, 2013


I have family who are stalwart NRA members and proud gun owners, who also think Obama is a sekrit Muslim. I've made up my mind based on their behavior, as much as on the behavior of gun owners stockpiling weapons and ammo over the last five years in response to Obama's election and re-election, and on the words and deeds of NRA leadership over that same time period. The racist sickness that underlies this stuff is so obvious at this point.

You have 30 million people in your family? Reunions must be a bitch.

It's funny how you counter "I know gun owners who are not racists, therefore not all of them are" with "I know gun owners who are racists, therefore all of them are."

I'm not denying that some, possibly even a lot, of the opposition to Obama is racist at its heart. I've seen plenty of it myself. But writing off everyone on the other side of this issue as racists is at best foolhardy, because it lets you just dismiss them as not worthy of engaging. That is not a good way to make policy.
posted by Etrigan at 11:21 AM on January 16, 2013


Anyone else remember the effect that had on the 96 election? Newt?

The Republicans lost seats in the House in 1996. Not surprising, given that more Americans voted for Democrats in the House elections.


I stand corrected, it was the 94 elections, the contract with america and the 104th congress. Which ushered in a republican majority that held until 2006 I believe.
posted by bartonlong at 11:43 AM on January 16, 2013


The Republicans lost seats in 1998 and 2000 as well.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:51 AM on January 16, 2013


The Republicans lost seats in 1998 and 2000 as well.

Making 1994, the election immediately after the AWB and the one in which they did very, very well, the outlier. Hummm.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:54 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Making 1994, the election immediately after the AWB and the one in which they did very, very well, the outlier. Hummm.

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc. Hmmmm.

Besides, the economic brinkmanship the Republicans are currently engaging in is doing a good job of torpedoing their popularity.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:03 PM on January 16, 2013


"Post hoc, ergo propter hoc" doesn't actively counter the idea that one thing may be related to another, you know.
posted by Etrigan at 12:11 PM on January 16, 2013


But when that idea that those two things are related is supported only by such a claim, it does a decent job.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:13 PM on January 16, 2013


It may be the AWB helped the GOP in '94. ACA certainly helped them in 2010. That doesn't mean that a gun control fight will have the same impact on the 2014 midterms. The electorate is different, for one thing. In fact, I wonder if it could have the opposite effect. The Dems have a big problem with voter turnout in midterm elections. The activated gun culture, tea party culture, economic obstructionism, and the realization of the damage that 2010 has done and is doing to the President and the country might actually activate the Democratic base this time around. I hope so, but 2014 is a long ways away. I doubt this fight will help the GOP diversify, which is something they need to do badly. Maybe there is the added benefit of causing a major rift within the GOP itself.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:46 PM on January 16, 2013


Other than RWNJ pages, I can find no evidence of this sentence being uttered by Feinstein or anyone else.

Speaking of which, in threads on other sites I've seen these two quotes pop up from the gun-huggers repeatedly:
“The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good” – George Washington

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government” – Thomas Jefferson
The problem is that they are both bogus.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:25 PM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm of the opinion that, rather than looking to political folk who will try to define what they think of as "dangerous weapons" out of the picture, we ought to be looking to technologists and architects, and teachers and administrators, to keep kids safe in schools.

Why aren't all American schools equipped with benign foam fire suppressant systems (that can half fill an aircraft hanger with breathable foam/water mix in less than 2 minutes)? Why aren't all American primary schools further equipped with auto-locking steel security entry doors, fire escape doors to the outside, and fire alarms that go off under administrator control? Why aren't American kids taught to drop and crawl to the outside escape doors in every classroom, whenever the foam starts, for whatever reason?

There isn't, at root, a better response to a loose madman with guns, than there is to fire. Soak the source, while you alert, camouflage and disperse the kids and staff...
posted by paulsc at 5:34 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why aren't all American schools equipped with benign foam fire suppressant systems (that can half fill an aircraft hanger with breathable foam/water mix in less than 2 minutes)?

In a building full of people between the ages of 4 and 12, what could possibly go wrong?!?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:35 AM on January 17, 2013


Wouldn't it be simpler just to issue full body armor to every child?
posted by octobersurprise at 6:45 AM on January 17, 2013


Maybe we should just keep our kids in lexan boxes? It would definitely cut down on the note passing.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:49 AM on January 17, 2013


Making 1994, the election immediately after the AWB and the one in which they did very, very well, the outlier. Hummm.

Everyone then knew it was the assault weapons ban that energized the sweep of Newt Gingrich in congress, in case we were debating it. Obviously times have changed since then, but nearly a hundred brave members of Congress lost their job over a temporary law set to expire in ten years. Anyway, it underscores the ineffectiveness of supply-side gun laws, which only antagonize the gun owner and empower the government, falling into a narrative trap. It would be easier to tax bullets to pay for the billions in medical costs footed by the government each year, and mandate insurance for the guns that lets anyone having a bad day mow down a crowd from a distance. Having a sound reason in the debate is always a good idea, and nobody will be wanting to collect assault weapons for the investment value.
posted by Brian B. at 7:31 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Today's New York Times has an article that does a pretty good job of addressing the term "assault weapon."
posted by cribcage at 8:17 AM on January 17, 2013


Today's New York Times has an article that does a pretty good job of addressing the term "assault weapon."

From the article: The term, they argue, should be used only for firearms capable of full automatic fire, like those employed by law enforcement and the military.

To that I respond, please search for the term "bump fire" on YouTube. (Relatedly)
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:47 AM on January 17, 2013


Gun Murders vs. Terrorism by the Numbers
posted by homunculus at 10:39 AM on January 17, 2013


To that I respond, please search for the term "bump fire" on YouTube.

There's also bump stocks which operate on similar principles and allow one to actually shoulder the weapon.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:23 PM on January 17, 2013


Here's a more in depth exploration of bump stocks and a little bit about their history.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:46 PM on January 17, 2013


ending war on drugs may be the most effective gun control measure we can take.
posted by bartonlong at 1:57 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


NRA Fights Legislation That Would Ban Gun Sales To Those Currently On Killing Sprees
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:23 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


2 hurt in accidental shooting at NC gun show (the "Dixie" Gun and Knife Show, no less)
posted by Golden Eternity at 2:02 PM on January 19, 2013


There was a (smallish) pro-gun rally in My-ville today. Now you'd think, that if you were out there rallying for guns, then you'd want to look as reasonable as possible. Very Ducks Unlimited, right? Peaceful people who enjoy the sport of hunting and shooting? No, these dudes were out there waving Confederate flags, Gadsen flags, No! To Tyranny signs, the whole bit.

Yeah. Flying the flag of treason in defense of slavery: not a real good way to say "We're only simple hunters!"
posted by octobersurprise at 4:03 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bill Clinton to Democrats: Don’t trivialize gun culture

“A lot of these people live in a world very different from the world lived in by the people proposing these things,” Clinton said. “I know because I come from this world."

posted by Golden Eternity at 4:04 PM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, there's gun culture and there's gun culture, Bill. Somehow, I don't think you came from a world where your neighbors were stockpiling semiautomatic rifles with 100-round drums and threatening to kill anyone who came to take them away from you.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:21 AM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, there's gun culture and there's gun culture, Bill. Somehow, I don't think you came from a world where your neighbors were stockpiling semiautomatic rifles with 100-round drums and threatening to kill anyone who came to take them away from you.

Have you ever been to Arkansas? I can guarantee you that at least a quarter of the people in Bill Clinton's high school yearbook own more than three firearms.
posted by Etrigan at 10:27 AM on January 21, 2013


Gun culture? Like those people who observe Firearms Appreciation Day? It was Saturday, and some celebrants went for the total experience:
5 accidentally shot at gun shows in North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:44 PM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Doesn't totally surprise me; the most recent gun show I went to was a total zoo, I think the building was at fire-code capacity. There were clearly a lot of people who'd come out of the woodwork to buy or sell who didn't really know what they were doing, and I'd be willing to bet hadn't been to a range in a long while. I finally left because prices were ridiculous; there was a sort of auction-house / tulip mania / Crazy Eddie everything-must-go-go!-GO! atmosphere.

No, these dudes were out there waving Confederate flags, Gadsen flags, No! To Tyranny signs, the whole bit.

Those guys are to the firearms crowd what the Rastafarian wannabes are to any lefty rally. They always show up, nobody really wants them there, they create a bad impression, but they're also hard to get rid of if you claim to be a big-tent / single-issue organization. My suspicion is that the rally organizers weren't that experienced at it (since there hasn't really been a reason to have a pro-firearms-rights rally in a decade or so), and concentrated on maximizing turnout without a lot of thought towards who was going to turn out or what they were going to wear, what flags they were going to bring, etc. Arguably a bit of an amateur mistake but probably because it really was run by amateurs. If you look at photos of an actual NRA-run rally, it looks mostly like a flannel shirt enthusiasts meetup.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:22 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Objection - those pictures were taken in Dover, which I have long suspected is secretly controlled by a species of sapient alien flannel.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:48 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


As it turns out, both Joe Biden and the NRA are merely pawns on the giant stripey chessboard of Big Flannel.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:21 PM on January 22, 2013


4 in Hospital After Shooting at Houston College Campus
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:17 PM on January 22, 2013


"Nevada Assemblyman Arrested With Loaded Gun After Threatening Speaker"
posted by octobersurprise at 7:30 AM on January 23, 2013


it looks mostly like a flannel shirt enthusiasts meetup.

Yep, it looks like a sanitized version of the gun-nut crowd, although a few undergarments did manage to poke through here and here
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:37 AM on January 23, 2013


5 accidentally shot at gun shows in North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana

A couple of recent incidents:

Crazy murderous guy in Minnesota is allowed to create an arsenal.

Wisconsin antes up its gun-hugger wannabe.

It's really hard to understand why so many so vociferously oppose better regulating the use and availability of lethal firearms. It is a culture I really do not understand, except in a nerd-fantasy-roleplaying context.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:44 AM on January 23, 2013


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