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New Assault Weapons Legislation
January 24, 2013 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Dianne Feinstein (D, California) introduced new legislation today to ban assault weapons, and high-capacity magazines. This is the list of 157 specific firearms and firearm types that will be banned if this legislation becomes law.
posted by wormwood23 (395 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
"All AK types, including the following:...
All AR types, including the following:...
All Thompson rifles, including the following:..."

In unrelated news, the firearms industry has unveiled the AL, AS and Timpson rifle lines.
posted by Etrigan at 12:42 PM on January 24, 2013 [31 favorites]


I'm not expert, but the way I see it the true purpose of this isn't to expect it'll go through (though that would be nice), but as strategy.

In the wake of multiple shootings, including Newtown, popular support for gun control is very high right now, but there is a large portion of the American public that is adamantly opposed to it, and the Republicans cater to them slavishly.

That puts Republicans in a bind when gun control legislation actually does come up; they can't satisfy both groups, and the congressional Republican apparatus will be there to try to enforce party unity as they always do. Republicans who don't jump ship will lose support, those who do will become party pariahs.
posted by JHarris at 12:46 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is completely ignorable in and of itself. If it is allowed to reach the Senate floor for a vote and somehow passes, the House of Representatives will shoot it down mercilessly. When I say "shoot it down" I mean some of them will actually put it on a target and shoot it with bullets and then maybe club the remains with their rifle butts.

Actual gun control legislation, if it is to come at all, will be much like childbirth labor: agonizingly slowly with lots of pain and screaming involved, and what comes out may not look very much like what was anticipated.
posted by delfin at 12:48 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ms. Feinstein’s bill — which, unlike the 1994 assault weapons ban, of which she was a chief sponsor, would not expire after being enacted — would also ban certain characteristics of guns that make them more lethal and would require that grandfathered weapons be registered.

I suspect the banning certain characteristics part to partially negate the renaming problem. I'm waiting to see what those "certain characteristics" are before commenting on whether this law is a good idea or not. The perfect is the enemy of the good, but sometimes the knee-jerk is the even worse enemy.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:49 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The next two arguments your gun enthusiast friends will make on Facebook:

1) Functionally, the weapons targeted in this bill are no different than any other guns.
2) The guns targeted by this bill are indispensable and gun enthusiasts should not be asked to do without them.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:49 PM on January 24, 2013 [24 favorites]


This is beyond stupid. It will create no new safety what-so-ever. And it wastes precious political capital that could be better spent on measures that would actually create safety.

The CDC says the old assault weapons ban had no effect. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5214a2.htm

The National Research Council is skeptical.
http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10881&page=96

The DOJ doesn't seem too optimistic either.
https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/204431.pdf

Plus, by attempting to ban the sale of very popular merchandise, Feinstein guarantees that the gun industry will be willing to put tons of money into fighting the ban.

It always comes back to money. If the ban was off the table, and instead, Democrats were pursuing legislation that would mandate things like a stricter licensing regime for more deadly weapons, would the gun industry see anywhere near as much potential loss in profit? Would they be less motivated for a knock down, drag out fight?

There is so much idiocy in this bill, it's hard to keep a critique concise. But before I stop, note that most of the ban is about cosmetic features that have nothing to do with lethality. Magazine capacity and concealablility (folding stocks) arguably make guns more deadly, but no other banned feature does. Hell, Feinstein even wants to ban REPLICA grenade launchers that only launch flares and smoke signals, and which can only launch them about 1/4 of the distance of the grenade launchers that are currently restricted under a law written in 1934.

Stupid fucking democrats.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 12:50 PM on January 24, 2013 [35 favorites]


I'm waiting to see what those "certain characteristics" are before commenting on whether this law is a good idea or not.

I haven't been able to find the text of the bill online yet, but according to this summary:

The details of what would be banned from sale, transfer, importation or manufacturing:

• 158 specifically named military-style, semi-automatic assault weapons.
• 2,200 specifically named hunting and sporting firearms would be exempted from the ban. (In '93, that number was 375.)
• Other semi-automatic rifles and shotguns with one characteristic of military assault rifles (such as pistol grips and telescoping or folding stocks) and detachable magazines. (The earlier ban required a firearm to have at least two such features to be proscribed.)
• Magazines that can contain more than 10 rounds
• "Slide stops" that can transform a semi-automatic AR-15 and its clones into a rifle that fires rounds almost at the speed of an automatic
• Firearms with fixed magazines containing more than 10 rounds
• Firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons.” (These features were added by manufacturers to get around the 1994 ban.)

posted by cjelli at 12:53 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


As much as I'd like to see assault rifles banned, I don't see this legislation as viable, as Meanwhile points out.

Why not focus on the process - making them expensive to own and license, and only available to people who present some kind of real 'need' for them - like permits for certain vehicles and machinery that most people wouldn't think of owning? A $3000 per year heavy weapons permit or something and heavy taxation of ammo or something, I don't know. Just spitballing.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:54 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Couldn't read the NYTimes link - paywalled - google search got me this from CBS which states "The bill would reinstate the 1994 assault weapons ban that lapsed in 2004, though with some tweaks: The 1994 ban, for example, defined an assault weapon as a gun that had two or more features or cosmetic accessories such as a pistol grip. The 2013 ban will limit those features to one, which Feinstein said would make it harder for assault weapons manufacturers to get around the law. The new bill would also not expire, as the 1994 bill did after 10 years."

The 1994 ban was relatively pointless and so would this be. The list of features includes things that boil down to "looks scary" - I mean, come on, bayonet mounts? Has it been a major problem that people have been bayoneting one another?

There are plenty of ways that access to guns could and should be limited. We could start by addressing issues related to the background check system that's currently in place, in order to expand and improve it, for one thing. Orrrrrrr we could make a bunch of noise about things that aren't actually all that important or useful for the stated goal of cutting down on gun crime, thus accomplishing very little of actual GOOD, but making a lot of media fuss and raising the hackles of those who are already convinced "thur gonna take ur guns".
posted by titus n. owl at 12:55 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


A friend of mine has a Colt AR-15 type rifle, including a fancy red-dot sight, of which I have fired a few rounds from at a target range last summer. I was there when he bought it at a gun show (for $5000 some dollars)

I remember thinking what an incredible machine it was, but generally impractical given that what you can legally do with it is really limited to it's "true" purpose.

Sort of like using a stealth bomber for local sight-seeing.

I also remember him going over how semi-easy it was to convert to full auto, it required a drill press and some other modifications, things he didn't want to do because 1) it was illegal and 2) doing such risky mods on a $5000 rifle, which could break it entirely.

Lastly: At this same firing range, the gun I was the best at aiming with had the smallest caliber, I attributed this to having more "control" over where my shots went, rather than the vague "stopping power" of a 9mm.

I guess there's no point to Assault Rifle ownership, it would be nice if instead hobbyists could just get an advanced Assault Rifle license, one that's hard to get but less so than the Class 3 ballistics license needed to own a full-auto weapon, but with the same sort of restrictions.
posted by hellojed at 12:55 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Going after makes and models is stupid invitation to play "whack-a-mole." Tighten it up to features only - any firearm that accepts magazines with a capacity greater than 7 rounds. (This would have the effect of making sure no-one will purchase or make magazines with greater than 7 rounds, as they will put the firearm on the prohibited list.)

This way, the gun nuts can have their G.I. Joe replica rifle - but be denied ready access to the equipment to turn it into a tool of mass murder.

Sure, some master machinists can get around the law - but I'm not worried about master machinists as a category of mass murderer.

Not a promising start.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:56 PM on January 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Why not focus on the process - making them expensive to own and license, and only available to people who present some kind of real 'need' for them - like permits for certain vehicles and machinery that most people wouldn't think of owning?

Because I don't want the Republicans to be able to claim they are populists for opposing restrictions on gun ownership that are essentially based on wealth and class?
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:57 PM on January 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


The next two arguments your gun enthusiast friends will make on Facebook:

1) Functionally, the weapons targeted in this bill are no different than any other guns.
2) The guns targeted by this bill are indispensable and gun enthusiasts should not be asked to do without them.


Ooh, don't forget:
1) These weapons, being semi-automatic, aren't even any good for mass shootings.
2) Converter kits to make these weapons full-auto are cheaply and easily obtained, so banning full-auto weapons is pointless.

and the never-quite-recognized corollary, "Full-auto is useless for anything that isn't suppression, and the US military trains people to shoot semi-auto and is ordering weapons specifically without full-auto for exactly that reason."
posted by kafziel at 1:01 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Tighten it up to features only - any firearm that accepts magazines with a capacity greater than 7 rounds.

How about a functional definition? Any firearm whose effective rate of fire exceeds a certain threshold. That way you future proof the law against some oddity like a gun that automatically changes magazines.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:01 PM on January 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Less in the news today: Dianne Feinstein opposed passing filibuster reform that would have made this legislation slightly more likely to pass.
posted by mightygodking at 1:02 PM on January 24, 2013 [11 favorites]


CNN: Bill details
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:03 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The problem with any assault weapons ban is that the criteria to make something an "assault weapon" are always, "looks like a military gun". It's like trying to stop street racing by banning cars with only two doors that are pointy in the front. It's still just as easy to race a four-door car.

If they want to give a ban like this teeth, it needs to be a ban on semi-automatic weapons.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 1:04 PM on January 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


The reason that your gun enthusiast friends make those arguments is because they are fundamentally correct arguments.
posted by ellF at 1:05 PM on January 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


[Folks maybe don't make arguments here that no one is actually making here? The "let's fight this straw man" approach isn't going to help this thread go better.]
posted by jessamyn at 1:05 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I see from the CNN link that the bayonet lug thing has been removed from this iteration of the bill, and therefore retract that portion of my earlier comment, although I continue to believe that this is a terribly unuseful bill and that gun control legislation should focus more on actually controlling who gets guns and how than on making lists of specific types of guns that are More Naughty Than Others.
posted by titus n. owl at 1:06 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think Biden's comments today were pretty interesting and add some nuance to the discussion that might (but probably won't) satiate the gun lobby. I'm not sure what I think about it yet but I thought it might prompt some discussion.
posted by HostBryan at 1:08 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]



Because I don't want the Republicans to be able to claim they are populists for opposing restrictions on gun ownership that are essentially based on wealth and class?

While that is a fair point, there is nothing stopping the NRA or your local gun club from sponsoring or otherwise assisting potential licensees.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:08 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


More like "what are the common legal uses for guns" and then "what is the least amount of kinetic energy needed to fulfill each of those categories of needs" and then "each category has a licensing and identification requirement and a yearly fee that increases exponentially with kinetic energy delivered per second" but of course that's just CRAZY because it makes sense.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:09 PM on January 24, 2013


Great quote from the bill's opposition in the article:
“I don’t think you should have restrictions on clips,” said Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who has said he welcomes a Senate debate on guns. “The Second Amendment wasn’t written so you can go hunting, it was to create a force to balance a tyrannical force here.”
He doesn't realize how right he is.

The Second Amendment is not about hunting. In fact, it's not even really about guns. It's about keeping the tools of revolution in the hands of the people—at least, that seems to be how its staunchest defenders wish to interpret it.

Thing is, in the modern world, firearms are no longer the tools of revolution. Networking technology, strong encryption, education, access to information—these are the instruments of revolution in the 21st century.

To ensure such tools remain in the hands of the people, we as a nation would be much better served by intellectual property law reform than splitting hairs over whether the authors of the bill of rights gave a shit about pistol grips on carbines.

But of course, intellectual property and telecommunications legislation are one area where Democrats and Republicans seem to be able to agree that fucking over the American citizenry is the WAY 2 GO.
posted by Sokka shot first at 1:10 PM on January 24, 2013 [95 favorites]


Detachable stock? Check.
8 round magazine? Check.
Military inspired? Check.


Guess I'd better stock up.
posted by madajb at 1:11 PM on January 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


The reason that your gun enthusiast friends make those arguments is because they are fundamentally correct arguments.

How can two mutually contradictory arguments both be "fundamentally correct"?
posted by yoink at 1:12 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Assault weapons used by military, law enforcement, and retired law enforcement; "

Nice sweetener for the cop vote.
posted by madajb at 1:12 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


The legislation addresses the millions of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines currently in existence by:
Requiring a background check on all sales or transfers of a grandfathered assault weapon.
This background check can be run through the FBI or, if a state chooses, initiated with a state agency, as with the existing background check system.
Prohibiting the sale or transfer of large-capacity ammunition feeding devices lawfully possessed on the date of enactment of the bill.
Allowing states and localities to use federal Byrne JAG grant funds to conduct a voluntary buy-back program for grandfathered assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices.
Imposing a safe storage requirement for grandfathered firearms, to keep them away from prohibited persons.
Requiring that assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices manufactured after the date of the bill's enactment be engraved with the serial number and date of manufacture of the weapon
Hmm.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:14 PM on January 24, 2013


Can someone compare/contrast this bill with the Australian assault weapons ban? My understanding is that the bill there was very successful in reducing mass shootings and had some marked effects on gun violence in general.

Googling this mostly leads to articles asserting said ban worked or arguing it wouldn't work here. I'd like to see some particulars, to compare with Feinstein's bill.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:15 PM on January 24, 2013


More like "what are the common legal uses for guns" and then "what is the least amount of kinetic energy needed to fulfill each of those categories of needs" and then "each category has a licensing and identification requirement and a yearly fee that increases exponentially with kinetic energy delivered per second" but of course that's just CRAZY because it makes sense.

Well, we'd get into specifics, but to humanely hunt big game at distance requires a lot more kinetic energy than it does to shoot people. So you'd be going after hunters more than psychopaths. I'm also not as fond of the tax guns away scenario because it impacts legitimate and law abiding users, but people who steal guns to commit crimes are only impacted when guns are so scarce they can't be stolen.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:15 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Plus, by attempting to ban the sale of very popular merchandise, Feinstein guarantees that the gun industry will be willing to put tons of money into fighting the ban.

The gun industry has been pouring money into politics for decades, regardless of whether or not any specific gun control proposals were on the table. Heck, look how active the NRA was throughout the first Obama term, when not a single measly gun control measure of any kind was ever so much as under discussion.

The gun nut whack-jobs are going to be in full mouthfroth mode regardless; the real question is what will and won't get support from the broad center of US opinion. That remains to be seen.
posted by yoink at 1:16 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The reason that your gun enthusiast friends make those arguments is because they are fundamentally correct arguments.

How can two mutually contradictory arguments both be "fundamentally correct"?


Because they're arguments against control, and thus their fundamental ideological basis is correct, in the mind of the gun nut. Being mutually contradictory is just quibbling over semantics - the point is, hands off my murder tools.
posted by kafziel at 1:17 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thing is, in the modern world, firearms are no longer the tools of revolution.

You would think people so obsessed with fetishizing the tools of the military would realize they can never outgun them in an actual revolution.

If you look around the world today, the way to win a revolution is to have the military say 'no' when they're ordered to start shooting citizens.

But obviously that ruins the fantasy.
posted by bradbane at 1:19 PM on January 24, 2013 [15 favorites]


Questions:

Does it ban handguns?

Are handguns the weapon used in most homicides?

Are most of the people killed by handguns black?
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:21 PM on January 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


My favorite part of this sort of discussion is the way opposing any specific piece of gun control legislation for any reason automatically gets you lumped in with/labelled as a gun-fetishizing wackjob
posted by titus n. owl at 1:21 PM on January 24, 2013 [15 favorites]


I've always supported stronger gun control legislation, but the shooting in Newtown and the NRA's insane response to it have pushed me firmly into the "just take away their goddamned guns already" camp.

I very much appreciate the tight controls this legislation places on existing assault weapons, and I really hope Democrats are serious about passing it.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 1:23 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Maybe knock off all the gun nut/whacko/fetishization characterizations in this thread in the interests of having a good faith discussion with people who may disagree about things? It's getting embarassing.]
posted by jessamyn at 1:26 PM on January 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'd like to add that the motivation for pushing this bill is racist on it's face.

White people make up a minority of American murder victims.

Thousands and thousands of black and brown boys and young men are killed every year in cities.
The majority of are killed by handguns. The majority of those handguns are illegally possessed.

This has been true for decades.

Suddenly, we get a bunch of white people killed in suburban mass shootings, with semi-auto rifles. Mass shootings are still less than 1% of murders. White people are still a minority of murder victims even though they're the majority of the country.

But what is the reaction? Everybody who's been sitting idly by in the face of a non-white murder epidemic goes apeshit, and wants to ban the weapons used to kill a few dozen suburban white people.

This is astoundingly fucked up.

See also this insightful analysis by Susie Cagle of Grist.org.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 1:26 PM on January 24, 2013 [56 favorites]


Its weird for us in the civilised world - we lack references between american "guns are cool" and our european "guns are banned". Other than Australia, which seems beset with a huge cultural difference - is there any other developed state that has anything like US gun control laws?

It is just insane to me that the idea of banning handguns is apparently verboten to even conceive of within the overton window of US politics for example.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 1:27 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


You would think people so obsessed with fetishizing the tools of the military would realize they can never outgun them in an actual revolution.

If you look around the world today, the way to win a revolution is to have the military say 'no' when they're ordered to start shooting citizens.

But obviously that ruins the fantasy.


People always make this counter-argument which would be correct if the military was a unified block of myrmidons who all reacted the same. In history it seems there was rarely a coup or civil conflict where there wasn't a schism in the military. In the sense of tipping the balance, even weak force could have an impact. That said, I generally think non-violent resistance is way more effective.

Of course, the belief in the historic intent of the second amendment is only important in as much as it informs the decisions of SCOTUS, which at the time of the Heller and McDonald decisions seemed to believe in carte blanche individual rights regardless of intended use.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:29 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Australia's former leader explains to the NY Times how he passed strong gun control legislation.

Criminals still have guns, but they mostly use them to shoot each other. It's very Sons of Anarchy, but very few people shot are totally uninvolved with organized crime.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:29 PM on January 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Thanks, Charlemagne.

It's maddening that the Australian ban isn't the central point of discussion. All of this talk about whether or not an assault weapons ban can even work and someone has already succeeded at this and we can just ask them.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:31 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd like to add that the motivation for pushing this bill is racist on it's face.

You're confusing the "motivation" for pushing this bill with the "reason why the bill's sponsors think there might be a chance of getting it through this time." Yeah, there's a heaping helping of "oh noes, white children are being shot" in the public reaction that seems to make the possibility of getting gun control legislation through not look utterly hopeless. But if you look at the people (like Feinstein) who are behind the legislation and have been fighting the good fight on this issue for a very long time, they are fully aware that the real toll of gun violence in the US is not among suburban white children, and they are under no illusions that the principle effect of this legislation will be to make those children substantially safer.
posted by yoink at 1:34 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Woah. "If you ban guns only criminals will get shot with guns" ?? Quite the switch.
posted by telstar at 1:37 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The good news is, the M1A I was saving up for isn't on the list, so the insane price hike on used ones will be over shortly.

Why, after a possible Feinstein ban, will I still be able to get an accurate, durable, reliable semi-auto .308 that can shoot through body armor and car doors from hundreds of yards away?

Apparently, the rifle style grip means I can't kill people with it.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 1:37 PM on January 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


NRA and others collapse a week long outdoors trade show by boycotting the 'no AR15's allowed' rule.
posted by buzzman at 1:38 PM on January 24, 2013


I don't get why you would ban specific models, when you should be talking about weapon characteristics, and not scary things like bayonet points or flash suppressors

Don't ban ar-15, bushmaster, etc, but specify that weapons that fire 5.56 mm ammunition at over 3000 ft/s with detachable magazines that contain more than x rounds...

The problem with "assault riffles" is that they are fairly low recoil for the speed of the round and fairly easy to shot. At close range a somewhat inexperienced shooter can put a high number of rounds generally where they want them to go without destroying their shoulder.

Not that I think a ban would pass. It will be a miracle if universal background checks pass.
posted by benk at 1:39 PM on January 24, 2013


New rule: All bullets cost $500 each.

Next problem?
posted by odinsdream at 1:42 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's maddening that the Australian ban isn't the central point of discussion. All of this talk about whether or not an assault weapons ban can even work and someone has already succeeded at this and we can just ask them.

There are functional differences between Australia and the US, starting with the 2nd amendment, and continuing with the fact that the program bought back 631,000 firearms at an approximate cost of $600 million.

America has around 270 million firearms.

I'm not going to contend that a gun ban wouldn't work, especially one following on the repeal of the second amendment. I am going to state that it would take generations to get the same effects as Australia got. Which doesn't mean it's not worth pursuing, just that the comparison between Australia and the US is not exact.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:44 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


So what would be the impact on the guns that are already out there under the ban?

I get that they can't be sold or legally transferred, but they would still be in private hands until the death of the owner. Then what?

I'm truly curious as to how this would play out.
posted by teleri025 at 1:44 PM on January 24, 2013


Hm. This makes me curious - I know someone who has a (semi-auto) assault rifle...I think it's an AR-15? At any rate, it's one of those AR/AK guns that are auto-capable with a little fiddling. If this ban were to go through in some hypothetical world, what happens then? Do people who own them have to go down to the local police precinct and hand them in? Are there gun bonfires? Do you have an option to get grandfathered in?
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 1:45 PM on January 24, 2013


New rule: All bullets cost $500 each.

Next problem?


Buying back unregistered reloading presses.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:45 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


From the outside looking in it seems like what would really limit gun violence in the US is reducing the amount of despair and increasing people's investment in their society. I.e. implement universal healthcare, a social safety net, a less fucked-up political system, increased social and economical mobility etc.

Regulating magazine sizes and pistol grips seems like a totally futile exercise.
posted by Harald74 at 1:46 PM on January 24, 2013 [31 favorites]


The legislation addresses the millions of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines currently in existence by:
Requiring a background check on all sales or transfers of a grandfathered assault weapon.
This background check can be run through the FBI or, if a state chooses, initiated with a state agency, as with the existing background check system.

posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:46 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


There are functional differences between Australia and the US, starting with the 2nd amendment, and continuing with the fact that the program bought back 631,000 firearms at an approximate cost of $600 million.

America has around 270 million firearms.

I'm not going to contend that a gun ban wouldn't work, especially one following on the repeal of the second amendment. I am going to state that it would take generations to get the same effects as Australia got. Which doesn't mean it's not worth pursuing, just that the comparison between Australia and the US is not exact.


These are good points.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:46 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


"New rule: All bullets cost $500 each."

Great idea. In an era of horrendous and worsening class divides, make sure only the rich people can shoot other people.

Plus, if you make legal bullets cost $500, you immediately create underground ammunition factories selling illegal bullets at $100 each, costing less than $1 each to produce.

I hope you're kidding. Chris Rock was when he came up with that joke. Or if he wasn't, it's 'cause if we implemented that policy, Chris Rock could still afford bullets.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 1:47 PM on January 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


NRA and others collapse a week long outdoors trade show by boycotting the 'no AR15's allowed' rule.

More background here. Local paper reports an estimated lost revenue potential at $44 million.
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:48 PM on January 24, 2013


Do you have an option to get grandfathered in?

Last time they were grandfathered in (and perfectly legal to resell). I can't imagine it being done differently this time, if the bill were to pass (which won't happen in any case). If you tried to send policemen around the country repossessing guns then things would get very, very ugly very fast. Lots of people would happily seize the chance to martyr themselves while watering the tree of liberty with their blood.
posted by yoink at 1:48 PM on January 24, 2013


It's weird to me that most liberals I know seem to have no desire for the people to maintain the ability to resist the government with force if necessary. It's weird to me because one of the reasons I gravitated toward liberalism was that it seemed to me to the position on the political spectrum that most valued the rights of individuals. But liberals of my acquaintance not only seem uninterested in maintaining the power of the people in this respect, they seem almost gleefully fatalistic about what they (falsely) believe to be our helplessness before the power of the military.

It's also weird to me that zero conservatives of my acquaintance are concerned about America's gigantic armed forces. These folks seem to agree that the people should retain the ability to resist the government if necessary...but they seem happy with a kind of arms race between the people and the armed forces. A grotesquely bloated military means that, to effectively resist it, the people need more and better guns...and the more the military grows, the more firepower is required on the part of the people.

Stuck, bewildered, in the middle, I'd like to see the military shrunk down to reasonable proportions--not eviscerated...but reduced to something resembling a reasonable size, a size proportionate to threats we might actually face. This would mean that it would be easier for the people to resist the government with force if necessary. And thus that the people would have the power to resist government oppression even if less well-armed.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 1:57 PM on January 24, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'm still trying to unpack the Australia thing. Thanks to Charlemagne and BrotherCaine for their info so far.

A few other things I found:
--WaPo: Strong evidence for a drop in suicides after Aussie gun control enacted, weaker (but still extant) evidence for a drop in homicides
--Snopes: Oft-cited increases in non-firearm crime in Australia largely the result of cherry-picking, misuse of raw numbers instead of percentages, etc.
--WikiPedia: Only 5.2% of Australians can legally own guns after gun control restrictions enacted

Okay. So now I am getting a clearer picture: the Australians didn't just ban assault weapons, they heavily curtailed gun ownership in general, which they could do because gun ownership isn't a protected right there, and the smaller number of guns made a buyback more feasible. The benefits were real, but perhaps not as unequivocally focused on the areas in which Americans are looking for improvement.

Damn. I was hoping for a bill that would be more translatable to our situation in the US.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:59 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


It always comes back to money. If the ban was off the table, and instead, Democrats were pursuing legislation that would mandate things like a stricter licensing regime for more deadly weapons, would the gun industry see anywhere near as much potential loss in profit? Would they be less motivated for a knock down, drag out fight?

No, because it isn't and has never been a question of motivation. Industry-backed groups like the NRA have repeatedly made it clear that they will vehemently oppose any restrictions placed on the ownership or sale of guns. Taking a ban off the table only results in a ban being taken off the table.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 2:02 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fists O'Fury: It's weird to me that most liberals I know seem to have no desire for the people to maintain the ability to resist the government with force if necessary.

I'd refer you to Sokka shot first's comment, basically pointing out that in the information age, guns aren't really the best tools for revolution anymore anyway.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:02 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


I bet it would be more effective to properly fund existing gun control legislation, but that isn't as exciting as coming up with new(ish) rules.
posted by dgran at 2:06 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


And... why doesn't someone have the guts to amend the 2nd amendment into language that is clear an unambiguous?
posted by dgran at 2:07 PM on January 24, 2013


It's weird to me that most liberals I know seem to have no desire for the people to maintain the ability to resist the government with force if necessary.

It may be because the people most interested in "resisting the government" with their 2nd Amendment Rights are right-wingers who generally limit their resistance to when a Democrat is President.
posted by jonp72 at 2:07 PM on January 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


- You may purchase and own any firearm if you are of legal age.
- It may be of any caliber, power or capacity.
- You may purchase and own any accessories for said weapons.
- You may purchase as much ammunition and of any type as you desire.
- You are not required to register these weapons or yourself with the federal government.
- All such sales or resales, whether from licensed dealers or individuals, whether for weapons, accessories or ammunition, are subject to a 100% federal excise tax.
- This tax is above and beyond any other taxes collected by any other agency.
- Failure to collect and remit this tax is a federal felony and punishable by imprisonment.
- All collected monies go to a common fund to compensate the victims, families and survivors of gun violence in the United States and to promote gun safety and the responsible ownership of firearms.

The firearm industry has barricaded themselves behind the 2nd Amendment and the gun nuts in the NRA. Do an end-run and go straight for sales and profits leaving the rest untouched and without a valid argument...
posted by jim in austin at 2:10 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Taking a ban off the table only results in a ban being taken off the table."

I totally disagree. Universal background checks, ballistics databases, closing gun show loopholes... basically everything that doesn't involve a ban is currently polling well over 60%, sometimes as high as 80%, and even among NRA members there's over 50% support for some of this.

A ban, on the other hand, is vehemently opposed by many and only supported by a bare majority of citizens. It's the weak link in the Democrat's strategy, because it will bring the most gun owners out to protest.

I mean, the AR-15 is among the most popular guns in America. That means it's ownership base alone is a force to be reckoned with.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 2:10 PM on January 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's weird to me that most liberals I know seem to have no desire for the people to maintain the ability to resist the government with force if necessary.

Most liberals I know recognize that the government, quite properly, has a monopoly on force. We recognize that the way to defend the country from tyranny is by political action--ensuring strong civilian control over the armed forces, for example, or supporting all measures to increase the accountability of the police to the citizenry. That is where the "battle" between democracy and tyranny is fought--in an informed citizenry ensuring that its government is responsive to its demands.

The fantasy that so many American champions of this (historically inaccurate) reading of the 2nd Amendment have is always a kind of bizarre Rip Van Winkle one, where we suddenly wake up, with no prior warning, and find ourselves under a tyrannical or totalitarian regime and have to "fight back." But what does this mean? How did this supposedly happen? Where is there the remotest historical precedent in anything like a modern democratic state for anything remotely like this?

If a tyrannical, totalitarian dictatorship is running American in 50 years time, or 100 years time or 150 years time it won't be overthrown by a small band of resolute citizens armed with legally available guns. If it's a totalitarian government it will have achieved power because it has the support of the citizenry and the armed citizenry alone will massively outnumber the plucky band of rebels--setting aside the military forces.

There's a reason that the gun nuts have to invent all those stories about tyrannical governments passing laws to confiscate guns before imposing their tyranny on the populace--and it's because that's not how tyrants get into power. It's a fantasy version of politics that really shouldn't seem remotely plausible to anyone past about the age of 14.

Tl,dr: the 'right to bear arms' has absolutely no practical connection whatsoever with whether or not we will find ourselves living under a tyranny in the future.
posted by yoink at 2:16 PM on January 24, 2013 [28 favorites]


Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory: It is just insane to me that the idea of banning handguns is apparently verboten to even conceive of within the overton window of US politics for example.

I refer you to the prophet Hicks.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:16 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am surprised the FN 5.7 did not make the list.
posted by buzzman at 2:17 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


American liberals are pretty good at trying to do a balancing act on rights to find reasonable positions. Libertarians scream about the CRA and the right of a businessman to refuse service based on race, but liberals are more concerned with African Americans having the ability to travel freely on the public roads they paid for. Being denied gas, and dinner, and a bed along the way really messed with that.

So on guns, the ability to resist government agents with violence (kill police officers) is not particularly something worth valuing when it is ineffective as a balance against our military and competing with concerns about our first graders being massacred, drug/gang related murders plaguing our cities, and gun related accidents and suicides happening all the damn time. I just think those are more pressing and realistic concerns than that there will be a scenario where we are going to have to start executing our own police officers and soldiers.

That said, I don't think this particular bill is worth expending much political capital on. It doesn't really look like it will accomplish anything to me. It's infuriating at times to watch Democrats chase political winds rather than seek solutions, though I am sympathetic to the "nothing good will pass the House" reality.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:18 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Limiting the amount and types of firearms will have no effects on the mass killings and have little or no effect on everyday shootings. The solutions need to be elsewhere, as noted above, improvements in the areas that lead to violence. Insane people that have convinced themselves they need to kill will do it guns or no guns. Just look at the school stabbings in China.
An immediate solution needs to be more radical like life in prison for anyone committing a crime using a gun. No exceptions no latitude given to judges and juries. Too many areas of this country juries won't convict on gun charges. Within a few years a large percentage of the gun violence community will be off the streets. It would also require doing something radical like not putting non violent offenders in prison to make room for these people. I think people would think twice before using a gun to do something illegal. This also takes the wind out of the gun rights group and maybe we could actually begin to solve real problems.
posted by mss at 2:19 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


A ban, on the other hand, is vehemently opposed by many and only supported by a bare majority of citizens. It's the weak link in the Democrat's strategy, because it will bring the most gun owners out to protest.

The argument has been made by inside baseball types that any ban is meant to fail, and in the process provide necessary political cover for enough Republicans to get them on board for the laundry list of other things most people support but that could get a politician primaried by more conservative constituencies if not contrasted with something they'd consider to be a much worse alternative.
posted by mph at 2:19 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the portion of the bill related to banning on a single military-style feature (which improves on the last ban, which required two such features) is not entirely dissimilar to hotels and bike sharing groups only deploying ugly, stodgy bikes with step-through frames. That is, by eliminating the impressive stylistic properties of the object, it makes them less desirable to people who would otherwise steal them (and/or, in the case of weapons, be purchased by irresponsible gun owners attempting to show off despite having little or no training.)

I vaguely remember something similar at some point, someone trying to pass a bill that simply said all handguns must be pink, in order to discourage their use by making them painfully uncool, but I couldn't find a link.
posted by davejay at 2:20 PM on January 24, 2013


"Assault weapon" as a term is nebulous enough to be useless.

Can someone compare/contrast this bill with the Australian assault weapons ban?

Apart from magazine size, this bill legislates cosmetic features and scary names. The Australian law legislates functionality.

This bill does not deal with handguns, the most common weapon type used in gun violence. The Australian law specifically did.

The Australian law included a comprehensive program of gun buybacks.

In fact they are almost completely different. Calling the complete reform of Australian firearms legislation an "assault weapons ban" is quite wrong as well.
posted by Authorized User at 2:20 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


And... why doesn't someone have the guts to amend the 2nd amendment into language that is clear an unambiguous?

I've been giving that a lot, lot, lot of thought lately, and still can't quite wrap my head around it, but I think it's a combination of things.

Firstly, the bill of rights is not a very specific document. It's very abstract and high-level to the point where I believe the ambiguity is there by design. As a person who thinks like an engineer or lawyer that kind of ambiguity somewhat offends my sensibilities, but I suspect if we were to go back in time to the era when it was drafted and examine the political process we'd see that the ambiguity was a feature as far as getting it ratified quickly and getting a consensus about which rights would be enumerated (remembering that un-enumerated rights are still rights). So to use specific and functional non-abstract language would leave us with an amendment that doesn't seem to fit with the rest, and possibly leave us with the problem of less power to apply that amendment to changing legal and technological conditions (wait, we forgot to include references to particle beam weapons). Remember this isn't a document that's easy to change (this is definitely by design).

Secondly, most politicians know that it would take extraordinary circumstances to amend the constitution. Especially with polling numbers the way they are on the issue of gun ownership as an individual right in the US. So stating an intent to re-frame it a specific way gives ammunition to your critics, without giving you much credit with your constituency since you haven't actually succeeded in making the changes.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:22 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mss, that is alarmingly unfeasible. Our prisons are too crowded as it is. And incarceration is a sad solution to most of society's ills.
posted by agregoli at 2:22 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


mss: Limiting the amount and types of firearms will have no effects on the mass killings and have little or no effect on everyday shootings.... Insane people that have convinced themselves they need to kill will do it guns or no guns. Just look at the school stabbings in China.


None of those kids died. In the Newtown shootings, there were a similar number of kids attacked, pretty much all of whom died. If you need a clearer example of why some weapons are inherently more dangerous than others, I cannot imagine what that would be.

An immediate solution needs to be more radical like life in prison for anyone committing a crime using a gun. No exceptions no latitude given to judges and juries... Within a few years a large percentage of the gun violence community will be off the streets. ... I think people would think twice before using a gun to do something illegal.

It'll be like when we instituted harsh sentences for drug crimes and people stopped selling drugs, right?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:25 PM on January 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


agregoli, Thus the need to quit locking up all the non violent people that we do now. I think it's llike 70% of our prisons are filled with non violent offenders most a result of the war on drugs and 30 years of the 3 strike and you are done laws. Putting gun guys in jail makes more sense than any of those misguided laws. So I agree incarceration is a sad solution except in this case where there is no solution simply because our constitution says we can have guns, which I actually am fine with.
posted by mss at 2:29 PM on January 24, 2013


Limiting the amount and types of firearms will have no effects on the mass killings and have little or no effect on everyday shootings.

But countries with far less gun violence than the US have strict limits on types of firearms and access, if any access is allowed.

An immediate solution needs to be more radical like life in prison for anyone committing a crime using a gun

We have a bigger prison population per capita and in sheer numbers than any country on earth. Our prisons do not rehabilitate violent criminals, but we keep paying out the nose for it. The prison industry is a powerful political force these days, since so much of it is privatized.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:29 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


It'll be like when we instituted harsh sentences for drug crimes and people stopped selling drugs, right?

I'll trade you drugs for guns.
posted by mss at 2:30 PM on January 24, 2013


mss, I would also point out that mass shootings--the phenomenon causing the spikes of support for gun control--are almost entirely committed by perpetrators who intend to die during the attack, thus the fear of a life sentence isn't going to make one iota of difference to them.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:33 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Putting gun guys in jail makes more sense than any of those misguided laws.

What do other countries do with such criminals? Do they incarcerate them for life? As far as I'm aware, that is a very unusual punishment across most of the advanced world. Why not look at what works elsewhere, instead of trying out theories that put people in prison forever?
posted by krinklyfig at 2:33 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sounds like the perfect time to strike a deal. I'll trade you some of my 2nd Amendment rights if you give me some of my 4th and 5th back.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:36 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


The legislation addresses the millions of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines currently in existence by:
Requiring a background check on all sales or transfers of a grandfathered assault weapon.



So what would be the impact on the guns that are already out there under the ban?
I get that they can't be sold or legally transferred, but they would still be in private hands until the death of the owner. Then what?


See, That's where this gets really funny. By federal law, there is no database matching weapon serial numbers to their original owners. So, there is nothing but law preventing transfers of the millions of grandfathered weapons. No one can prove that you didn't own it before Feinstein; making grandfathered non-NFA weapons transfers morally and legally equivalent to marijuana sales. How are we doing on stopping marijuana sales, btw?
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 2:38 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes shrink the prison population. Take management of these out of private industry hands. Stop putting people in prison. All need to be done and as far as I'm concerned done quickly for all the reasons given. The problem with getting guns under control is the constitutional issue and even a great victory there will still leave very powerful killing machines in the hands of people that might want to kill.
As to mass shooter expecting to die thus prison is no deterrent , I think i said that. You will never stop that person.
I'll trade you some of my 2nd Amendment rights if you give me some of my 4th and 5th back.
Don't have any to give and that's why we are having this conversation is because no one will give any of the 2nd.
posted by mss at 2:39 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think that if 'the gun' were removed from society; the exploding backpack/car/IED would make an appearance if only out of the need for the truely wacked ( i.e. many of these mass killings do involve a plan and gathering of weapons and ammo, and training in the use of ) to learn new ways to act on their outrages.
posted by buzzman at 2:42 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Fair enough, buzzman, but assuming we cannot stop mass killers, can't we at least try to make their paths to large death tolls more complicated, with more ways to get tripped up and caught?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:45 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think that if 'the gun' were removed from society; the exploding backpack/car/IED would make an appearance if only out of the need for the truely wacked ( i.e. many of these mass killings do involve a plan and gathering of weapons and ammo, and training in the use of ) to learn new ways to act on their outrages.

That seems unlikely. What seems to appeal in the mass-shooting is the enacting of a specific scenario--the playing out of a certain cinematic scene of the assertion of individual power. I would be very doubtful that someone who failed to secure the guns for such an assault would then set about trying to plant explosives. The point is clearly not to kill these particular people (it's not like the Newtown guy had a grudge against those particular kids)--the point is to kill them in a particular way.
posted by yoink at 2:47 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's weird to me that most liberals I know seem to have no desire for the people to maintain the ability to resist the government with force if necessary.

this has been completely impossible for many decades
posted by p3on at 2:48 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I am going to state that it would take generations to get the same effects as Australia got.

But, as you say, playing the long game is very worthwhile.

I took us a long time to get into the situation we're in, and it will take a long time to get out.

But if we don't start, we'll never get out. But we do have to temper expectations.
posted by flug at 2:48 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that if 'the gun' were removed from society; the exploding backpack/car/IED would make an appearance

Has it made an appearance in the UK? Germany? France? Australia? South Korea? Japan?
posted by flug at 2:50 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


We can reduce the prison population and the homicide rate pretty handily by legalizing drugs. It'll save a hell of a lot more innocent lives than the 400 or so people murdered each year by people using shotguns and rifles.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:52 PM on January 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


no one will give any of the 2nd

You know, there's really nothing problematic about you guys keeping the whole of the 2nd amendment. The problem is that you've recently completely redefined and expanded its meaning in a way which would have been unrecognizable for almost two centuries of American history.

If you'd just accept the 2nd amendment for what it is (you know--actually read the part about the "well regulated militia" and figure out why those words are in there) then we could all be cool. Then we could be just like good ol' Dodge City in the Wild West days--you know, when visitors to the city would encounter a great big sign as they rode into town saying "The Carrying of Firearms Strictly Prohibited" and have to check their firearms with the local sheriff.
posted by yoink at 2:55 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


DirtyOldTown; fertilizer and ammonia are now regulated more after Tim McVeigh used it to blow up the Murrah Federal building, so yeah, anything to make it more difficult would be good.

Flug; there was some stuff in the tubes a few years ago in the UK, and Spain has had backpack bombs in rail cars, and the US had a backpack IED during the '96 Summer olympics and ...
posted by buzzman at 2:58 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sunburnt That would go a long way to making room in prisons as well as getting rid of the misguided 3 strikes laws. We have had 30-40 years of these misguided laws and as a result our prisons are overflowing. Of course the private prison industry loves them. One just bought the state legislature here in Michigan to let them open a prison that had been shut a few years ago for poor management. Also annual gun deaths are more like 8500 in the us not including accidents and suicide. The Bill that is being debated here addresses only about a half a percent or less of those.
posted by mss at 3:00 PM on January 24, 2013


So I agree incarceration is a sad solution except in this case where there is no solution simply because our constitution says we can have guns, which I actually am fine with.

The Bill of Rights also permits us to have ideas. How do you propose we prosecute thought-crime?

Instead of the slapdash, ineffective and doomed to fail legislation we need to:
Close the background check loopholes, curtail straw purchases and trafficking guns from jurisdictions with relaxed purchase requirements, properly fund the ATF and enforce the laws currently on the books.

All I see right now is the usual dog and pony shows from the usual cast of self-serving shit spinners.
Their wastage of the political capital currently available to implement meaningful and effective changes is reprehensible.
posted by Pudhoho at 3:01 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I hope people aren't suggesting that the militia clause in the 2nd Amendment precludes the notion of personal self-defense.

Yoink, plenty of places already display that sign prohibiting the carry of firearms. New Orleans, New York City, all of Illinois and California, for example. That's presumably why gun crime is so low in those places.

davejay: An FFL-possessing friend of mine bought his niece her first AR-15 not long ago, and painted it in a nice pastel palette, mostly pink, but with some blue as well. That girl's going to have some serious feminine protection when her 18th birthday rolls around. If all guns are pink, and even if they aren't, there's no shame in having a pink gun. (There may be some shame in being shot by one.) To any other issues with pink guns, I refer you to the gun club founded by and for responsible GBLT gun owners, the Pink Pistols.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:16 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I disapprove of it / So does Jon
posted by crazy_yeti at 3:21 PM on January 24, 2013


(um, that's the AR (Armalite) rifle we're disapproving of, not the Feinstein legislation!)
posted by crazy_yeti at 3:22 PM on January 24, 2013


Yoink, plenty of places already display that sign prohibiting the carry of firearms. New Orleans, New York City, all of Illinois and California, for example. That's presumably why gun crime is so low in those places.

Gun control is difficult when different areas of the same country have different laws, and when the number of guns outnumbers the number of people in the country. The fact is, when gun control is strict and enforced well in a society which allows guns, such as in Canada and Switzerland, gun violence is not nearly as much of a problem.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:24 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's weird to me that most liberals I know seem to have no desire for the people to maintain the ability to resist the government with force if necessary....It's also weird to me that zero conservatives of my acquaintance are concerned about America's gigantic armed forces.

I see how this seems odd in theory, but in reality, there is no Goldilocks "just right" size army that would be useful for warfare and vulnerable to internal armed revolt. I think that most liberals are not concerned about resisting the government by force because it really is impossible, and for some other reasons mentioned above, like a tyranny being the result of much incremental change that was supported by most people.

I can't really speak for the conservative viewpoint you suggest. I would imagine, though, that most conservatives also understand that citizens with small arms are not realistically going to have any chance of defeating a modern army.
posted by snofoam at 3:24 PM on January 24, 2013


Fists O'Fury: It's weird to me that most liberals I know seem to have no desire for the people to maintain the ability to resist the government with force if necessary.

yoink: Most liberals I know recognize that the government, quite properly, has a monopoly on force. We recognize that the way to defend the country from tyranny is by political action--ensuring strong civilian control over the armed forces...

I've lived in Canada for 56 years, and it seems to work here. Yes, we have people who think the 2nd Amendment applies here, but on the whole I think we're with yoink on this one. We don't have unusually restrictive gun laws (in my view), we don't have a huge problem with handgun murders, and we have a gun homicide rate that's significantly lower than the US's, in spite of the world's longest unprotected border etc.

What's wrong with this model again?
posted by sneebler at 3:24 PM on January 24, 2013


It's weird to me that most liberals I know seem to have no desire for the people to maintain the ability to resist the government with force if necessary.
The government has helicopters, jets, drones, submarines and nuclear missiles (just for starters). You really think a few guns are going to be able to resist that?
posted by crazy_yeti at 3:25 PM on January 24, 2013


I hope people aren't suggesting that the militia clause in the 2nd Amendment precludes the notion of personal self-defense.

Heller--waaaaaaay back in 2008--is the first ruling by any Supreme Court to define a personal, individual right to possess and use firearms based on the 2nd amendment. Talk about "judicial activism."

Yoink, plenty of places already display that sign prohibiting the carry of firearms. New Orleans, New York City, all of Illinois and California, for example. That's presumably why gun crime is so low in those places.

Kansas has more tornado shelters than California does--obviously tornado shelters cause tornadoes. Also, Kansas has more tornado-deaths than California does; obviously tornado shelters are useless against tornadoes and should be done away with immediately.
posted by yoink at 3:26 PM on January 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


If they want to give a ban like this teeth, it needs to be a ban on semi-automatic weapons.

All semi-automatic means is that you don't have to reload for the next shot. So a 100 year old revolver that spins the cylinder to the next chamber is a semi-automatic. Even a double barreled shotgun could sort of apply. It's never going to happen.
posted by gjc at 3:29 PM on January 24, 2013


All semi-automatic means is that you don't have to reload for the next shot. So a 100 year old revolver that spins the cylinder to the next chamber is a semi-automatic. Even a double barreled shotgun could sort of apply. It's never going to happen.

Don't be pedantic. We can write the law to allow revolvers or double barreled shotguns if we feel the need.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:34 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's weird to me that most liberals I know seem to have no desire for the people to maintain the ability to resist the government with force if necessary.

The government has helicopters, jets, drones, submarines and nuclear missiles (just for starters). You really think a few guns are going to be able to resist that?


"The Government" isn't just the folks who have the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines on call. It's also Ray, Bob, and Ray's 4 brothers, who constitute 75% of the local constabulary. For a lot of people, THAT'S the government they wish would think twice about attacking a "regular" civilian, and being armed accomplishes that.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:36 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have given up any hope whatsoever that there will be any serious gun legislation in this country. I will note though in passing that way back when, there was so great a fear of a standing army, that the notion of militias was preferable to permanent armies, and thus the idea that citizens should have the right to own arms in order to have militias if needed. That notion of course has morphed into the right to own just about any sort of weapon to stop bad guys in your yard, killers loose on school grounds, and our govt attacking us. My son, a notary at a bank branch he manages, tells me he is being inundated by women who need papers stamped in order to purchase assault rifles--and this in Connecticut. I told him that a woman would be advised to get a shotgun if she felt the need to be safe in her home. But shotguns I imagine are passe for the current lovers of the latest thing.
posted by Postroad at 3:36 PM on January 24, 2013


And what's up with exempting "retired law enforcement?" I'm sure not all of them practice firing assault weapons weekly.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:37 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


If there is any place where being pedantic is necessary, it is in talking about laws. Semi-automatic sounds scary, but it has been rendered nearly meaningless by the march of technology. There aren't many non semi-automatic weapons available, and those that are are cheap. Meaning they are more likely to be used in crimes.
posted by gjc at 3:40 PM on January 24, 2013


All semi-automatic means is that you don't have to reload for the next shot.

This is not what semi-automatic means. A semi-automatic firearm uses the energy from the round fired (either through recoil, blowback, or extracting the expanding gases, et al.) to step through the cycle of operations: unlock, extract, eject, cock, feed, chamber, lock - then the operator has to pull the trigger to fire again.

Revolvers use the actuation of the hammer or the trigger pull to rotate the cylinder (yes, there are autorevolvers).
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:40 PM on January 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


America's government is has a special potential for horrific violence. It exceeds in so many ways what modern European governments and the Canadian government are capable of.

Consider Feinstein. She voted for the Iraq War. She has more blood on her hands, therefore, than Adam Lanza, James Holmes, Jared Lee Loughner, Klebold & Harris, and every other American mass shooter combined, going all the way back to Charles Whitman.

American Civilians have murdered about 900,000 people since 1968 (earliest readily available data point). How many civilians has the US Government killed in the same time frame? I bet it's more, but I can't prove it, because the Government doesn't keep track of how many civilians it kills. How convenient.

For that matter, the Australian, Canadian, and western European governments haven't treated their civilians like this or this in recent memory, have they?

There are a lot more reasons for urban leftists to want to own an assault rifle to deter government aggression. Ever see a Tea Party rally attacked by riot cops? Me neither.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 3:41 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's weird to me that most liberals I know seem to have no desire for the people to maintain the ability to resist the government with force if necessary.

Oh, one more thing there, the 2nd says we need the militias to protect the state, not to overthrow it. They built a political system that could be changed with Democratic power, right down to the fundamental document.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:41 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


IME, one of the many, many places that the far right and the far left meet up is in opposing gun control.

A friend in Tennessee says the only way he can tell the difference between the radical leftists and radical right without a long discussion is by how many kids they have (the right wingers being more into multiplying fruitfully.)
posted by small_ruminant at 3:44 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Heller--waaaaaaay back in 2008--is the first ruling by any Supreme Court to define a personal, individual right to possess and use firearms based on the 2nd amendment. Talk about "judicial activism."

But I think that's the first time they had to answer the specific question, and certainly the first time since the Supreme Court has begun recognizing that the Bill of Rights are rights that citizens have, rather than the more narrowly construed restrictions on the Federal government. It isn't activist to answer a question that hadn't yet been asked. I have the right to breathe air, whether the Supreme Court has make a ruling on it or not.

And what's up with exempting "retired law enforcement?" I'm sure not all of them practice firing assault weapons weekly.

They have a greater right to self-defense than the rest of us plebes. Duh.
posted by gjc at 3:46 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


"the 2nd says we need the militias to protect the state, not to overthrow it"

Fundamentally untrue. The 2nd amendment language is ambiguous, but the language supporting the individual right to bear arms in state constitutions written in the same era is unambiguous. So to is the language of the drafters of these constitutions in their debates and discussions in letters to each other.

The people who wrote the 2nd amendment intended it as an individual right. They had also fought off an occupying army within living memory. It should be obvious that they meant to hedge against tyranny. Look at the 3rd amendment and 4th amendment. 1, 2, 3, and 4, taken together, are all clearly meant to hedge against state oppression.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 3:47 PM on January 24, 2013


Fundamentally untrue.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed


I'm not commenting on the right being individual or collective, just pointing out what they said the militia is for. The security of the state.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:50 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


There are a lot more reasons for urban leftists to want to own an assault rifle to deter government aggression. Ever see a Tea Party rally attacked by riot cops? Me neither.

So, you believe an armed leftist political rally would engender a respectful distance by the authorities?
posted by krinklyfig at 3:50 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are a lot more reasons for urban leftists to want to own an assault rifle to deter government aggression.

There's another side to this, and that's the presence of agents provocateur and undercover agents in activist circles. If I were a leftist political activist, and a fellow activist started talking to me about the importance of weapons in an effort to deter government aggression, the first thing that would come to mind is I'm talking to an undercover cop who's trying to set me up on a conspiracy charge.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:57 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed

I'm not commenting on the right being individual or collective, just pointing out what they said the militia is for. The security of the state.


The security of a free state. Not the state. I can't articulate the difference, but there is one. "The state" implies external threats. "A free state" includes any threat to freedom, internal or external. Or something like that.
posted by gjc at 3:57 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


a free state

the state

People can see those two phrases as referring to different entities, I think.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:58 PM on January 24, 2013


Dinky: The contemporary english lay language translation is "The government always needs guns to keep the state secure, the people get to have guns too."

I include the comma in the same context as the old language. It really should be a period, but that's not how they felt like doing it. Thus it's awkward in my translation too.

Krinklyfig: I think a disciplined, non-violent, armed leftist political rally wouldn't get arbitrarily beaten, yes.

I think it would be dealt with by negotiation. And if a right or left wing group tried to take over property while armed, I think they'd both potentially end up getting shot at.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 3:59 PM on January 24, 2013


Hellojed:
If you know someone who paid $5K for a Colt AR last summer, they either paid for some very rare, collector model (which most wouldn't shoot) or they paid $3.5-4K too much...unless it had $4K of accessories on it--which is possible, since some scopes can go from $1K to $3K, and other stuff can cost (stocks, night-vision, lasers, etc.).

Last summer, a great Colt 6920 was about $950-$1050 at most places. More ammo than he and you could carry would only be another $500 or so.
posted by whatgorilla at 4:00 PM on January 24, 2013


Krinklyfig: I think a disciplined, non-violent, armed leftist political rally wouldn't get arbitrarily beaten, yes.

I'm not sure about that specific problem, but I can't see it ending well. I can only guess you've never participated in any left-oriented rallies.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:01 PM on January 24, 2013


The security of a free state. Not the state. I can't articulate the difference, but there is one. "The state" implies external threats. "A free state" includes any threat to freedom, internal or external. Or something like that

You are the Emperor of Gun Pedantics. Yes, all threats internal and external that threatened the security of the free state they just formed. One of the first things that happened under the constitution was the militias were called up to suppress armed rebellion. The elites of the day did not want their (terrible tyrannical slave owning) society and laws overthrown by angry armed masses that didn't think their taxes were fair.

Dinky: The contemporary english lay language translation is "The government always needs guns to keep the state secure, the people get to have guns too."

I don't know how I can be more clear that my point has nothing to do with this. I am telling you what the militia is for according to the second, not arguing if it implies individual or collective rights.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:09 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


yoink and DirtyOldTown:

The error is to think that the allegedly best way to resist tyranny is the only method we need or have a right to.

Several here write as if advocates of maintaining the people's right to use force think that that's the only way to prevent tyranny. Of course that's a straw man. No one thinks that force is to be used unless political efforts have failed, as in the case of a genuinely tyrannical government.

It simply isn't legitimate to grant to the government an absolute monopoly on the use of force. We all retain the right to self-defense (and defense of the innocent generally). And, of course, no one can seriously deny that we have the right to use force against a tyrannical government.

One might disagree about which means the peope can retain to do so--but there can be no serious disagreement that they retain the right to do so.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 4:18 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


FWIW, the scuttlebutt in DC seems to be that this AWB is (somewhat rightfully so) a sacrificial lamb mainly aimed at red state Democrats. They go on the record opposing it, but get to say "on the other hand..." when it comes to stuff that 90% of actual gun owners support such as universal background checks, CDC research that the GOP refused to allow for the last two decades, closing various sales loopholes, etc.

In other words, it's meant to rile up the NRA and the diehard crazies so that when the actual legislation is proposed, the vast majority of Americans will say "well, you got the ban blocked, but now you're just being assholes" and they're left hanging in the wind.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:34 PM on January 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

Real movement: Joe Manchin, NRA darling, comes out for universal background checks
QUESTION: Do you think there should be universal background checks on anybody who wants to buy a gun? Right now it’s done only through federally licensed firearms dealers.

MANCHIN: I’m working on a bill right now with other Senators — Democrats and Reupblicans — we’re trying to get it, and looking at a background check that basically says that if you’re going to be a gun owner, you should be able to pass a background check, to be able to get that. With exceptions. The exceptions are: Families, immediate family members, some sporting events that you’re going to — that if you’re just going to be using them at the sporting events. So we’re looking and talking to people with expertise. I’m working with the NRA, to be honest with you, and talking to them. [...]

QUESTION: So you think that if you go to a gun show … and there’s a private dealer there, not a federally licensed firearms dealer, but a private dealer, and you buy a gun from that private dealer, that you should have to undergo a background check?

MANCHIN: I think that’s common sense. Why would a legitimate gun retail shop have to go through that, but then the unfair advantage for someone at a gun show doesn’t?
This is a significant step forward. For one thing, Manchin explicitly endorsed new legislative action to achieve background checks on pretty much anyone who wants to get a gun, with narrow exceptions. He also endorsed closing the gun show loophole. Given Manchin’s “gun rights” credibility, this should give cover to all of the other red states Democrats who are skittish about embracing this common sense step. It’s hard to see why they’d hold out against supporting this, now that Manchin has made it politically safer.

Manchin’s claim that he is discussing this with the NRA is also interesting. It dovetails with recent comments by Dem Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a staunch gun control advocate, who said private talks with the NRA had indicated an openness to give ground on background checks, with exceptions similar to those described by Manchin. Coming from Manchin, of course, this is far more significant.
To repeat this one more time, commentators and news orgs are prematurely writing the obituary for Obama’s gun package based solely on the fact that the assault weapons ban faces an uphill struggle in Congress. It undoubtedly does. But the assault ban is not the centerpiece of Obama’s proposal; improving the background check system is. If Obama gets just the latter and some other provisions — minus the assault ban — it is still a major achievement.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:40 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Me:
It's weird to me that most liberals I know seem to have no desire for the people to maintain the ability to resist the government with force if necessary.

crazy_yeti:
The government has helicopters, jets, drones, submarines and nuclear missiles (just for starters). You really think a few guns are going to be able to resist that?

1.
The Afghans and Iraqis did fine, and they can't even shoot worth a damn.

2.
A citizenry with AR-15s has a lot better chance against an army with those things than does a citizenry without AR-15s.

3.
Erm, submarines are going to be relevant how?

4.
The populace radically outnumbers the armed forces. Unless the armed forces nuke their own country, they would eventually lose in a confrontation with the populace.
[In fact, just the deer hunters of just Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia outnumber the U.S. Army.]

The anti-firearm argument had better not be "they have tanks so we don't need guns." That is a godawful argument, in part for the reasons articulated above.

There are much better arguments on the anti-firearm side than that, even though, IMHO, the anti-anti-firearm side is a little more likely to be right than the anti-firearm side.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 4:49 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Afghans and Iraqis did fine, and they can't even shoot worth a damn.

Internal rebellion is a very different beast from temporary occupation, especially in armed countries. You don't just have to defeat the US Military, but the rest of the armed citizens who are loyal to the government.

But damn am I sick of doing Tom Clancy sci-fi wankery on the course of potential future war instead of dealing with our gun problems in the here and now so I'm not going to go deeper here.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:58 PM on January 24, 2013


Consider Feinstein. She voted for the Iraq War. She has more blood on her hands, therefore, than Adam Lanza, James Holmes, Jared Lee Loughner, Klebold & Harris, and every other American mass shooter combined, going all the way back to Charles Whitman.

not only that, but she has a concealed carry license. In state that is fairly hard to get one. So she clearly feels that her rights are more important than her rights. I don't mind her having one-I just resent her providing for her protection with a gun while she is trying to deny that right to other, law abiding and upright citizens.

I own guns, even a couple of 'assault' weapons (aren't all weapons capable of being used in assualt? I mean...they're weapons right?) and having pedantic (when you are discussing legislation based on sometimes trivial differences in firearms is it possible to have any other kind with people who are not familiar with the actual technical features?) discussion of who gets to own what based on relatively minor differences in function is just crazy.

I would get behind legislation require background checks at gun shows (although less than 2% of guns used in crimes can be traced to this source specifically) cause well if you are selling guns at a gunshow you are a dealer and we have (good) rules and laws about being a gun dealer. I would support universal checks but think it is completely unenforceable and therefore pointless.

I can at least understand (although disagree with) the thought on limits on magazine size.

As for the biden clip about shotguns, that is asinine. Shotguns (especially double barreled ones) have really crappy sights and if you have EVER shot clays with a shotgun you know you do indeed have to aim them. The sights on most weapons listed in this legislation are actually quite good and very easy to use, much easier to aim with. A PUMP (or semi auto) shotgun is much more functional that a double barreled one for self defense use, but you DO have to aim it, especially using the kind of ammunition that is desirable for self defense use.

But thats great, the democrats are going to through away a chance at useful legislation, drive people into supporting the craziness that is the (current) republican party and lose any ground on some other things like, oh say, reproductive rights, immigration reform and a sane foreign policy (that doesn't resemble something dreamed up by Yosemite Sam). All over a 'scary' looking gun that used in homicides (which includes suicides, justified, murders, accident, etc) in such small numbers that it isn't broken out from rifles off all types. Chances are if a 'assault' weapon was used in crime it was so unusual that you are going to hear about it on the news.

As to converting them to automatic, here is my answer, in short, not easily done on semiautomatics and if you have one that is you are felon and the ATF would like few words with you (it is known as constructive possession)

And I believe Biden said something about how they administration can't be bothered to prosecute prohibited persons who attempt to buy firearms through legal means (and thusly fail a background check).
posted by bartonlong at 4:58 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can only guess you've never participated in any left-oriented rallies.

Actually, I've been in the middle of every clusterfuck in Oakland, CA since the first Oscar Grant riot in 2009. One reason I value my 2nd amendment rights is that I live in an extraordinarily volatile place.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 4:59 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch: "I'd like to add that the motivation for pushing this bill is racist on it's face. White people make up a minority of American murder victims. Thousands and thousands of black and brown boys and young men are killed every year in cities. The majority of are killed by handguns. The majority of those handguns are illegally possessed. This has been true for decades.

MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch fucking nails it. I've been staying out of the gun control debate (not because I lack an opinion but because I'd like to keep my friends, thanks) but this comment fucking speaks to me and I can't hold my peace any longer.

Assault weapons are not the problem. Handguns are the problem. Handguns have been killing thousands of people a year in this country (mostly black and brown people) for decades, yet nobody has proposed a ban on handguns. A few dozen white people get murdered by someone with an assault rifle and suddenly we're all up in arms about assault rifles. Still no word about handguns, mind you.

Look, personally I'd be fine with banning assault rifles. I'd be fine with banning most guns, if it came to that. I'd even prefer a complete UK-style gun ban rather than our current situation. I don't want to get into a fight about it, but that's where I'm at.

Goddamnit though if there wasn't a double shooting on my block last week (yes really, it even got like a whole three sentences on the local TV news's website) and it sure as shit wasn't done with AR-15s and it sure as shit wasn't white people who got shot. I'm fine, thanks; something like that happens pretty much every week in my neighborhood, and has done for the last twenty or thirty years. This is the first time it's happened so close by, but I've only lived in this neighborhood for a few months.

The vast majority of gun violence in this country is done with illegally-owned pistols, not legally-owned assault rifles, and the vast majority of the victims are non-white people. If we as a nation are serious about reducing gun violence against our citizens, handguns are where we need to look, but because the victims of handgun crime are mostly non-white it will probably never even come up.

Assault rifles are a racist red herring and this whole debate is a bunch of fucking bread and circus sensationalist bullshit that cannot possibly translate into meaningful change unless we are willing to look ourselves in the eye as a country and attack the real problem. The *real* problem in gun violence is handguns, and more than that it's based in systemic racism, ingrained poverty, institutionalized violence, and a culture that is totally willing to turn a blind eye to a multi-decade murder epidemic as long as it's not white people getting killed.
posted by Scientist at 5:02 PM on January 24, 2013 [23 favorites]


Not much is going to happen on this until they take the same weapons away from law enforcement. Cuz it's not the Russkies the owners are worried about. And there's some precedent here and there (usual links omitted) that suggests that's not an empty point.
posted by Twang at 5:04 PM on January 24, 2013


But thats great, the democrats are going to through away a chance at useful legislation

See my post and link above for why this is the exact opposite of the tactic you think is being used.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:09 PM on January 24, 2013


Actually, I've been in the middle of every clusterfuck in Oakland, CA since the first Oscar Grant riot in 2009. One reason I value my 2nd amendment rights is that I live in an extraordinarily volatile place.

Well, all I can say is your predictions of how a scenario between riot police an armed leftist protesters would play out seem highly optimistic, especially the part about internal discipline. At the very least, I think the US government would treat them as armed insurrectionists and charge them as terrorists under the Patriot Act. This already happens to right-oriented groups who weapon-up and discuss armed revolution.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:11 PM on January 24, 2013


krinklyfig,

I wasn't talking about armed revolution or anything of the sort. All I'm saying is that I've seen completely disciplined and peaceful leftist protesters brutally attacked for absolutely no reason, and that if they'd been that disciplined and peaceful and bearing arms legally, that wouldn't have happened.

Part of the reason right wing groups can conduct protests while baring arms and manage to maintain order and not have violent confrontations: the right wing has a disciplined gun culture that is extraordinarily safety conscious. They're crazy and stupid about a lot of things, but out of decades of pure necessity, in groups, they bear arms safely and responsibly.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 5:39 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man, I've got a lot to say on this, to both sides, but I'm all riled up now and damned if listening to gun control opponents' arguments isn't like listening to the guy at the head shop tell you about all of his tobacco products.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:43 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]



Woah. "If you ban guns only criminals will get shot with guns" ?? Quite the switch.


Well, yes. Look, I'm not trying to be callous. I realize that criminality has a series of social factors behind it, and I don't support the death penalty (very few Australians do). But when I read about a shooting in my local paper, it's almost never a random shooting. The story always starts with "a man was shot in his driveway yesterday" but then goes on to detail his ties to criminal organizations, his convictions for assault, and the fact that 'the police already know the motive for the murder'.

So gun violence in Australia, by and large, does not effect random people or even petty criminals. Its between gangs who have the money and the connections to get these hard to find items. So yes, 'if you outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns'. And it turns out they'll use them on other outlaws.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:47 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wasn't talking about armed revolution or anything of the sort. All I'm saying is that I've seen completely disciplined and peaceful leftist protesters brutally attacked for absolutely no reason, and that if they'd been that disciplined and peaceful and bearing arms legally, that wouldn't have happened.

Yeah, I disagree with that premise.

What are the protesters going to do to the cops if they get kettled? Shoot their way out?

Part of the reason right wing groups can conduct protests while baring arms and manage to maintain order and not have violent confrontations: the right wing has a disciplined gun culture that is extraordinarily safety conscious.

Honestly, I think it has more to do with the fact that police culture is far more right-wing than otherwise. The dichotomy of the lefties vs. the cops goes way, way back, at least to the early labor protests.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:53 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


The funny thing is is that the NRA was FOR gun control when it was the Black Panthers who were exercising their 2nd amendment rights
posted by Renoroc at 5:57 PM on January 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


Here you have the cray cray Utah Sheriffs' (with only one exception!) letter to Obama.

We, like you, swore a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and we are prepared to trade our lives for the preservation of its traditional interpretation."

Which I'm guessing is Heller. A fine tradition since 2008. They're not pledging to not enforce any sort of gun regulation, they're pledging to go on an armed insurrection if they don't get their way.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 6:03 PM on January 24, 2013


krinklyfig-

An armed, disciplined group of protesters who weren't breaking any local laws would not be kettled in the first place.

I'm not talking about committing acts of civil disobedience while armed. Armed right wing protesters don't do that. That's a really really dumb idea. Right wing protesters do, however, organize legal rallies, follow the law, bring guns, and don't have problems. Left wing protesters routinely do exactly the same, minus the guns, and get subject to police abuse.

Do I think there are more than a few dozen armed leftists in America with the necessary discipline to pull it off? Nope. The American far left is tragically disorganized and cannibalistic.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 6:04 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


So gun violence in Australia, by and large, does not effect random people or even petty criminals. Its between gangs who have the money and the connections to get these hard to find items. So yes, 'if you outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns'. And it turns out they'll use them on other outlaws.

Actually, this is true for the vast majority of gun crime in the US also. Assault weapons (meaning magazine fed semiautomatic rifles) are just not used in crime, and when they are it usually makes the news, sometimes internationally. I kinda do have a problem with labeling gun crime as something special though-I mean is someone any deader if shot than stabbed (and yes a gun can kill a person easier than a knife in most circumstances) but either way you just as dead. Just like if someone robs you with a knife is your wallet any more stolen than if they use a gun? If a person uses force to impose their will on another that is a CRIME and banning a certain (especially extremely rarely used) tool is not going to make that person any less likely to commit that crime.

Banning a certain kind of weapon is not going to make people more peaceful. But I have made this argument before.

Less gun violence, does not mean less Violence. Lots of countries with basically no access to legal firearms have way more violence (and the criminals always seem to get the guns anyway).
posted by bartonlong at 6:09 PM on January 24, 2013


Heller read an individual right into the 2nd Amendment and said thus that absolute bans are unconstitutional, then devoted a lot of it's considerable length to explaining what gun control measures would be constitutional. And this wasn't activism - the amendment had never been interpreted by SCOTUS before, and there was no general agreement on what exactly it meant.

That said, the people grabbing their guns to "defend" this part of the constitution aren't likely to know that stuff either, so it's kind of a wash in the debate overall.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:10 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


The entire NRA converts to Islam!

http://www.duhprogressive.com/index.php/310-administrations-hopes-to-curb-gun-rights-shot-as-entire-nra-converts-to-islam

Obama sics DEATH BEAGLES on US gun owners-

http://www.ginandtacos.com/2013/01/17/for-want-of-a-nail/

Sorry, the whole thing is getting me down. Kudos to those here on all sides who have bothered to learn something rather than regurgitate talking points. This is as civilized as I've seen this discussion get lately...
posted by bert2368 at 6:16 PM on January 24, 2013


It's weird to me that most liberals I know seem to have no desire for the people to maintain the ability to resist the government with force if necessary.

It's not possible for the people to resist the government with force, and hasn't been in living memory. Really.

But liberals of my acquaintance not only seem uninterested in maintaining the power of the people in this respect, they seem almost gleefully fatalistic about what they (falsely) believe to be our helplessness before the power of the military.

It's not a false belief.

The Afghans and Iraqis did fine, and they can't even shoot worth a damn.

Our supply lines to Iraq and Afghanistan are 6000+ miles. Now trade that out for a supply line of zero.

A citizenry with AR-15s has a lot better chance against an army with those things than does a citizenry without AR-15s.

The difference between "practically zero" and "actually zero" is so small as not to merit discussion.

The populace radically outnumbers the armed forces. Unless the armed forces nuke their own country, they would eventually lose in a confrontation with the populace.

You assume that the population will simultaneously rise up and, acting as one, smite the tyrannical government. It's rather likely that a lot of the populace will support the government.

Face it. Even if the founders had intended the right to bear arms as an individual right, the government isn't going to lose a shooting war.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:16 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Less gun violence, does not mean less Violence. Lots of countries with basically no access to legal firearms have way more violence (and the criminals always seem to get the guns anyway).

That's just the thing. If the war on drugs and prohibition had somehow worked, then I'd believe the argument that gun bans would work. But prohibition doesn't work. I don't know of anything for which it has.
posted by gjc at 6:18 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Look, all I'm saying is I've seen cops act in ways which make no sense otherwise. When I first moved to the SF Bay in 2000, I was hanging out at this sports bar near the baseball stadium in SF, smoking a cigarette outside. Not even 20 feet away, I watched a bike cop clothesline a bicyclist with his billy club right in the neck, out of the blue, no warning or nothing. The poor guy collapsed in the gutter and scrambled to get out of the street. I yelled at the cop, who ignored me and moved on. There was a caravan of cars coming down the street several blocks away. Turns out the president was in town.

At the time, the police were in high tension mode regarding the Critical Mass protests and had been accused of over-the-top responses and abuses, although much of the public was behind the cops because the protests annoyed them even more than the traffic. It seemed like anyone riding a bicycle was a target to certain cops, especially if they were in the way of Official Business.

I don't think arming protesters would make the cops respect them more, if they don't already respect them. In the case of most leftist protesters who have suffered violence at the hands of authority, I'm almost positive arming those people would escalate the potential for lethal violence, no matter how disciplined the protesters tried to be. I can imagine a common scenario when the protesters are cornered and forced to surrender their arms, after which they are handcuffed and beaten. A lot of the beating takes place after handcuffs are employed already, so the only impediment to making this happen in your scenario is the protesters' guns. If they are truly disciplined or simply not suicidal, they won't use them against the police if forced to surrender them. So, what is the point of arming the protesters, except for empty symbolism with the potential to get seriously out of control?
posted by krinklyfig at 6:21 PM on January 24, 2013


Anyone who says a group of guerrilla fighters with small arms has no chance against a modern army simply has not been paying attention the past 20 or so years.
posted by autobahn at 6:26 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone who says a group of guerrilla fighters with small arms has no chance against a modern army simply has not been paying attention the past 20 or so years.

Fair enough, but is this a big problem in countries with advanced economies and strict gun control? If not, are we willing to trade millions of our own lives in the meantime?

Of note is the fact that the better armed governments have not been easy to topple, and that these nations only come to this point after tyranny has been firmly established.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:32 PM on January 24, 2013


I don't know which aspect amuses me more: the people who are experts on what the Founding Fathers really meant, or the people who are experts on how an American civil war in the 21st Century would really go.

Oh, no, wait, I got it. It's the ones who want to base policy on any of that crap.
posted by Etrigan at 6:34 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


But prohibition doesn't work. I don't know of anything for which it has.

I believe we only have to look at the countries with strict gun control to see how well this works. Apparently, it works well enough that gun violence is far less prevalent anywhere else similar to the US, e.g., advanced, egalitarian economies. If we want to reduce gun violence, it's worth looking at what has already proven to work.

Prohibition doesn't "work," in the sense that jailing people with addiction issues fails to address the source of the problem and by itself fails to reduce the demand for drugs. Addiction is a health issue. The demand for highly addictive drugs is driven by addiction. Gun control is also about public health. But what drives the demand for guns is not itself a health issue, nor do gun owners need to be treated for health problems individually to solve the problem. Eliminating easy access to guns does in fact work, and solves the associated health problems. The black market would still exist, but strict control and confiscation does quite a lot on its own to drastically reduce the demand.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:49 PM on January 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Prohibition doesn't "work," in the sense that jailing people with addiction issues fails to address the source of the problem and by itself fails to reduce the demand for drugs. Addiction is a health issue. The demand for highly addictive drugs is driven by addiction. Gun control is also about public health. But what drives the demand for guns is not itself a health issue, nor do gun owners need to be treated for health problems individually to solve the problem. Eliminating easy access to guns does in fact work, and solves the associated health problems. The black market would still exist, but strict control and confiscation does quite a lot on its own to drastically reduce the demand.

Yeah, exactly. And the arguments for why people NEED guns make barely any sense. If its just for hunting, fine -only let licened hunters carry them. If its just for target practice, make sure you need to be registered with a range to use them.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:01 PM on January 24, 2013


If the vast majority of gun deaths are from handguns, is it any surprise that hunters see limitations on rifles as inane and pointless?
posted by smackfu at 7:28 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


The black market would still exist, but strict control and confiscation does quite a lot on its own to drastically reduce the demand.

It hasn't worked yet. The rich and powerful get whatever they want/need, the money flows to the dealers and the poor get screwed. That's how it plays out, and I see no reason why it wouldn't play out the same way for guns. I admit, addiction is a major confusing factor, but the vast majority of people alive today, and probably all addicts, were born after drugs were made illegal. If prohibition worked, they'd never have found a way to get addicted.

As for the need for guns, fortunately or unfortunately, the constitution renders that a moot argument. It give citizens the right, and that means arguing about the necessity is a waste of time. US citizens have the right to bear arms just as much as we have the right to free speech and so on. Any infringements of that right must be rare and unquestionably in the public good. (Shouting fire in a crowded theater and the like.)

Sane gun control is about mitigating risk. And the truth about gun deaths is that they are far more likely to be perpetrated by someone who illegally possesses a weapon. Look at all the gun homicides in Chicago- the vast, vast majority are with handguns, and handguns are not legal to buy, sell or carry in Chicago. So how did they get the guns? Follow that money, close those loopholes, and you'll save hundreds of lives that an assault weapons ban would never save. Without bothering any law abiding citizens.

Assault weapons are responsible for some low single digit percentage of homicides. I've heard anywhere from below one percent to maybe 5. So even if assault weapons were somehow eliminated from existence, 90-something percent of gun murders would still happen. So any talk of assault weapon bans are just lip service to people who want to feel like they have done something without bothering with the hard work of having a measurable effect.

If its just for target practice, make sure you need to be registered with a range to use them.

This is anecdotal, but I heard someone familiar with the issue say that there is (or was) a law like this in New York State. What happened? 24 hour ranges sprung up. If a gun owner is pulled over carrying his weapon, he can show his membership card and claim he was on his way to or from the range. Result? Hassle for people who follow the law, and no change at all for people carrying illegally. Now you ban 24 hour ranges. Same thing: more hassle for people who follow the rules, no change at all for people who already don't care.
posted by gjc at 7:37 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]



This is anecdotal, but I heard someone familiar with the issue say that there is (or was) a law like this in New York State. What happened? 24 hour ranges sprung up. If a gun owner is pulled over carrying his weapon, he can show his membership card and claim he was on his way to or from the range. Result? Hassle for people who follow the law, and no change at all for people carrying illegally. Now you ban 24 hour ranges. Same thing: more hassle for people who follow the rules, no change at all for people who already don't care.


That isn't really a problem here, since who wants to carry a gun 24/7?

It is a bit of a slippery slope, since even pepper spray and tasers are banned.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:53 PM on January 24, 2013


It is a bit of a slippery slope, since even pepper spray and tasers are banned.

So what do people there do? Is every 90 pound woman supposed to be a karate expert? Or is she just supposed to stay in "safe" areas? What am I missing?
posted by small_ruminant at 8:05 PM on January 24, 2013


The police protect her. Duh. Stop clinging to your guns.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 8:10 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The police protect her. Duh. Stop clinging to your guns.

Is this sarcasm? I can't tell.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:12 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The police protect her. Duh. Stop clinging to your guns.

Is this sarcasm? I can't tell.


I don't even know anymore. I hate to bring up Jill Meagher, but I tried making the same point in the Australian Politics thread in Something Awful, and people mocked me for 10 pages calling me a scared little American and buying me an avatar of pepper spray, then bringing it up like the idea of using pepper spray was the funniest thing in the world. They think if you need a self-defence device you're an utter paranoid wimp. Its a complete 180 from American attitudes.

'Course, I support strong gun laws and by American standards that means I'm an authoritarian facist. I feel safe because people can't carry guns, but people still do get bashed.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:15 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, it was sarcasm, but it probably can't be considered constructive.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 8:17 PM on January 24, 2013


The Australian women I know say that Australia has a bit of a rape problem. Was the forum you were in heavily male, perhaps?

I just found this chart via google, so I haven't looked into how it got its numbers, but it's interesting. Of course, rape is a hard one to know the real numbers on, because reporting it is so fraught with peril.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:23 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


“If they want to give a ban like this teeth, it needs to be a ban on semi-automatic weapons.”

I’m so tired of the semi-automatic thing. There are plenty of semi-automatic hunting weapons. Particularly for small game. One of the reasons being, you can lose your target picture reloading with a bolt action.
But the magazine you use, that’s a different story. Magazine and action are related, but separate.
The Ruger 10/22 has a 10 round detachable mag and is decent for hunting small game. Is it “high capacity”? Mossberg makes a bolt action .223 that takes an AR mag. Theoretically you could have a 1,000 round belt-fed BOLT ACTION (and a tired arm and bleeding thumb), so capacity and action are related. So high capacity is somewhat arbitrary a term for a technical specification (how many is “high capacity”? More than 6? 8? 10? 12?)

Generally speaking though, magazines don’t really matter one way or the other. That is, practically speaking if you really want a high cap magazine you can get one. Banning them is a wash. So ban them or don’t. Someone who really wants one can make or get one.
What the law is seems to be driving at technically is restricting the firing rate for a neophyte shooter. I don’t know how to do that and adequately cover self-defense for a newb.

I suspect it’s possible to craft such a law. Not without being arbitrary, but that goes both ways – how small a magazine do you need to impede someone from killing people?
(And indeed- given more people are killed by handguns instead of rifles, what’s to prevent multiple handguns for the same purpose?) But then – how many bullets do you need to defend yourself?

Perhaps you need a lot. Most high capacity semi-automatic guns are made for suppressive fire. Not that this is how they always get used, but in the military, in war, in general rifle battle, you’re using suppressive fire to keep them from shooting at you. That’s defensive shooting. They also shoot many rounds but typically they're on three round burst or shooting pretty fast so while they might be trying to kill you, putting a lot of bullets downrange is just spraying and praying.

The real killers carry the bolt actions.

But a well trained shooter can kill many unarmed targets no matter how large his magazine (detachable magazines’ major advantages are uniformity and sustained fire which are critical in suppressive fire, but not necessary against unarmed people – grisly but true). Charles Whitman for example. Bolt action.

By the same token a well trained shooter can take out a home invader without the need for a drum full of ammunition. So, the case could be made either way.
From experience, for both points, it’s more efficient to focus on the person and train them rather than focus on the technical elements of the weapon.

“Fair enough, but is this a big problem in countries with advanced economies and strict gun control?”
Advanced economies, not so much. Strict gun control? Different story.

“I believe we only have to look at the countries with strict gun control to see how well this works.”

Like Mexico.

“You would think people so obsessed with fetishizing the tools of the military would realize they can never outgun them in an actual revolution.”

Because the military would be completely unified against the revolution and there would be absolutely no political fractiousness, no influence and no chaos and instability creating popular sympathy for the revolutionaries and widespread disbelief in the government’s ability to maintain order?

Because then, yeah, it would fail. Otherwise, guns can be handy in civilian hands during a revolt.

Here’s the thing: your local milita – given they’re not the crazy idiots who want ten child-brides or hate jews or any other flavor that currently exists but an actual milita that bands together for mutual aid in a time of unrest – they’re not going to be fighting the entire military or even coherent parts.
What those guys generally do in other parts of the world is go after the local leaders of shit-stormers. Sometimes the shit-stormers are in power. Sometimes they’re not. It doesn’t much matter because they always have influence of some type backing them.

And what they do is try to stop the shit-stormers from kicking over everyone else’s tea wagon.

I’ll give you a f’rinstance (I just wrote Miko on this, so sorry it’s not fresh) the Terry Schiavo thing. You had two different groups fighting from two different areas of law and using different law enforcement agencies and there was a conflict.
Now nothing happened in terms of violence but let’s be clear here, that was the United States Congress inserting itself into people’s personal lives, ignoring the courts and the local police department.
In some less well developed countries that could start a major engagement between the agents of the conflicting parties. Fortunately our system is far more open and redundant with oversight and checks – THAT is what saves us from revolution, not the threat of the gun and not taking them away. That willingness to work things out within the law.
But that event, again, was not initiated by some goofballs camping out in the woods. That was the United States Congress. Granted, many senators opposed what was happening, but the die had been cast.

That is the basic form anything like a revolt against a police state will take in the U.S.

Hell, if it were my wife in there suffering agonizing pain, there would sure as shit have been a major engagement and they would sure as hell have needed the national guard.
Now, I say that, and it makes me feel good, and maybe it’s true. But that is what we need resistance to. What if Michael Schiavo had some brothers who were Marines? What if they were just home on leave? Now what? Schiavo ups the ante. And maybe Congress doesn’t like that and sends the guard and now it’s a small group of Marines (they called some friends). Schiavo goes and kills his wife with a gun and a guardsman or cop or florida federale thinks it’s shooting so they open up.

Now what?

The point is, these things don’t start from a nice set point. The people that attack when things are going just fine are terrorists. No, once it becomes unclear who the law is, where the law is, and when authorities clash over who is the “real” authority, you most definitely better have a weapon of your own to shut down the tin badge that comes over the hill telling you that you work for him now.
At least until the shit stormers are locked down by the militia and whomever the “real” authority is shows up and levels things out.
Odds are they’ll be riding in slicks covered by jets.
Most people think you fight those guys. Nope. They’re your back up. Welcome to the neighborhood.

The scary truth of this thing is though – people DON’T WANT TO STOP THE VIOLENCE. Oh, they’ll try to get rid of some scary looking guns. But actually stopping the violence? No.

Remember William Bratton? He’s the cop from New York no one wants to hire because he turned crime around there starting in the ‘90’s and started a twenty year long drop in crime.
Like me, he thinks funding the ATF for licensing and background checks would be the most successful method. Also, he says, congress should appoint a permanent director to the BATF since we haven’t had one since 2006.

The legislation going forward is going to do nothing about the millions of firearms already out there, plus millions of extended clips already in circulation.
What would work Bratton says, and I agree, is stricter gun-crime sentences.
When Bratton was commissioner crime fell. Police stopped overlooking petty crimes and crime fell more. When people would jump a subway turnstyle, 1 out of 7 he had a warrant out for his arrest. 1 on 25 he had a gun.

But he took the Terry Stop seriously. And that just pissed everyone right off. You can’t just talk to someone as a cop then question them, then pat them down!? Madness!
And yet – less crime. Less murders. Less Handguns On The Streets.
Mighty public outrage. BULLY THUG COPS!

Why should I have to worry about being frisked?
- Well, are ya pro-gun control? Cause this is how we do it.
No Way! This is a crazy law, an invasion of my privacy! I don't have a gun. Find people who have guns and take 'em.
- Well, we're doing that. We're looking for criminals with guns.
Not me! Why not get rid of all the guns. Then you can le

I suspect it’s so much easier to go after the gun companies wallets and the makers and the people who legally own guns because it’s so much harder to put the burden on the police and the person encountered by the police.

But that would be more practically effective in lowering the homicide rate if that’s the goal.
That and stiffer sentencing for using a gun in a crime or carrying a gun during a crime or illegally possessing a gun. That and universal registration and licensing and they're too hot for anyone but someone who is NOT up to no good to touch.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:24 PM on January 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


cjelli writes "Other semi-automatic rifles and shotguns with one characteristic of military assault rifles (such as pistol grips and telescoping or folding stocks) and detachable magazines. (The earlier ban required a firearm to have at least two such features to be proscribed.)"

So is any rifle with a detachable magazine now considered to be an assault rifle? 'Cause that is going to be most rifles.

seanmpuckett writes "More like "what are the common legal uses for guns" and then "what is the least amount of kinetic energy needed to fulfill each of those categories of needs" and then "each category has a licensing and identification requirement and a yearly fee that increases exponentially with kinetic energy delivered per second" but of course that's just CRAZY because it makes sense."

It would be basically useless. A common legal use for firearms is deer hunting and any rifle that will take down a deer will take down a human. Basically anything more powerful than a 22LR is going to be goos for deer.

odinsdream writes "New rule: All bullets cost $500 each. Next problem?"

When a commodity that costs $1 or less to make retails for $500 the government has no choice but to start regulating precursors like lead and brass to attempt to combat the massive black market the rises up over night. Meaning you need a special permit to buy more than 4 wheel weights in a twelve month period or more than 6 square inches of shim stock.

gjc writes "Now you ban 24 hour ranges."

Count down to trios of ranges being open strategically for non-overlapping 8 hour periods. I bet they'd even offer 3-range discounts when you buy an annual pass to all three ranges.
posted by Mitheral at 8:30 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Funny you should mention Bratton, because Oakland is looking at hiring him so he's in the news all over the place. Here's the article I read today.
Last year, The New York Times published an interview with a young black man living in New York who said that police stopped him at least sixty times before he turned eighteen. And each time he was stopped, he was not arrested. He was entirely innocent, but was nonetheless stopped repeatedly because he is black.
and
But there is basic flaw in that argument: There’s no concrete evidence that stop and frisk actually works. Although violent crime dropped in New York by 29 percent from 2001 to 2010 after Mayor Michael Bloomberg ramped up stop and frisk in his city, other large cities that did not rely on stop and frisk experienced even larger drops in violent crime during the same time period, the ACLU has noted. Violent crime declined by 37 percent in Baltimore and 49 percent in Dallas, for example.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:36 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Bratton catches a lot of flak. There are some cameras now I understand that can look through your cloths (without imaging you on the screen) and see a gun.
Where's that fall on the civil liberties meter? I dunno.
But there's always resistance to those types of things, enforcement, sentencing, etc. but not this legislative circus crap.

“It's not possible for the people to resist the government with force, and hasn't been in living memory. Really.’

Are you 11 years old?

Or 18 perhaps?
Or 61?
Or 67?

“You assume that the population will simultaneously rise up and, acting as one, smite the tyrannical government.”

Yeah, that never happens. (from that link:)

"During the uprising the capital city of Cairo was described as "a war zone"[25] and the port city of Suez saw frequent violent clashes. The protesters defied the government imposed curfew and the police and military did not enforce it. The presence of Egypt's Central Security Forces police, loyal to Mubarak, was gradually replaced by large restrained military troops. In the absence of police, there was looting by gangs that opposition sources said were instigated by plainclothes police officers. In response, watch groups were organised by civilians to protect neighbourhoods."

Exactly what I'm talking about. Watch groups, militias, whatever, organize and protect their neighborhoods because they're fighting elements of their own police force.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:54 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


The problem with a legal ban on firearms is that it will create an immediate black market. Australia doesn't have two long, porous, smuggler friendly borders. We do.
Look how the trade in drugs and even human beings has gone.
I'd love to see a total ban frankly, but it's unrealistic.
I can tell you no fearful person will take their gun to some buy-back.
No amount of money would be worth it.
Fire-arms are as American as apple pie. :(.
Again, I am speaking as a person who really doesn't care for firearms. If I were in the market for one, I'd go for something low capacity. I'm not even an effective shot with something like an Armalite. I am a left-handed shooter, due to vision defects. I am a good shot with the right weapon. I know this because the first real bonding experience with my step-dad was him teaching me to shoot. He taught me to respect the power of that weapon and to realize it's not a toy.
If more people were taught like I was, this would be a less violent country.
I feel really sad that almost no measure against firearms is going to work.
Meanwhile is right on another thing, the insane level of Black on Black violence with pistols, same situation in the Hispanic community. It's horrible and disgusting the regular slaughter of young people over basically nothing.
None of these bills will really help.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:05 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's just the thing. If the war on drugs and prohibition had somehow worked, then I'd believe the argument that gun bans would work. But prohibition doesn't work. I don't know of anything for which it has.

Guns. It works for guns. Look around you at some other countries.

Machine guns in the US are functionally banned and not used in massacres any more.

The problem with the war on drugs is trying to punish away addiction and using over the top police state tactics to stamp out the black market. You can do a prohibition that is designed to work over a century rather than to go door to door taking guns and turning the police against people.

I’m so tired of the semi-automatic thing. There are plenty of semi-automatic hunting weapons. Particularly for small game. One of the reasons being, you can lose your target picture reloading with a bolt action.


Tough shit? If the deer is too smart for you without semi-auto, maybe you are just meant to go to McDonald's that day.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:11 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


This back and forth about the viability of civilians using arms to resist state oppression misses something very important. Deterrence.

In incidents where armed Americans defend their homes from criminal intruders, the most common outcome is that the armed resident brandishes a weapon, and the intruder flees. Most people don't want lethal conflict.

The same thing would be a major factor if a future US government ordered military suppression of our armed population.

It is one thing to be a soldier with a gun and be ordered to detain, evict, or otherwise violate the rights of someone you know to be unarmed. There's a low likelihood of needing to use lethal force and a relatively low likelihood of even needing to beat up your fellow citizen in order to get them to comply with injustice.

But if soldiers are ordered to take oppressive steps against fellow citizens that might shoot back, you're looking at a whole new level of personal risk, and a whole new level of force necessary to implement that oppression.

How many soldiers or cops would be willing to kill to enforce some new regime or law that was viewed as tyrannical by enough Americans that a substantial portion proved willing to shoot back in order to resist? I think very few.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 9:15 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm all for this tyranny and oppression thing but not if I might get hurt.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:22 PM on January 24, 2013


Jeffrey Sachs: Gun Control After Newtown
There can be little doubt that some societies are more steeped in violence than others, even controlling for obvious factors like income levels and education.
[...]
The US homicide rate is roughly four times that of comparable societies in Western Europe, and Latin America’s homicide rates are even higher than in the US
[...]
American violence is rooted in history. The US and Latin American countries are all “conquest” societies, in which Europeans ruled over multi-racial societies. In many of these countries, including the US, the European conquerors and their descendants nearly wiped out the indigenous populations, partly through disease, but also through war, starvation, death marches, and forced labor.
previously, The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery
As Dr. Carl T. Bogus wrote for the University of California Law Review in 1998, "The Georgia statutes required patrols, under the direction of commissioned militia officers, to examine every plantation each month and authorized them to search 'all Negro Houses for offensive Weapons and Ammunition' and to apprehend and give twenty lashes to any slave found outside plantation grounds."
[...]
By the time the Constitution was ratified, hundreds of substantial slave uprisings had occurred across the South. Blacks outnumbered whites in large areas, and the state militias were used to both prevent and to put down slave uprisings. As Dr. Bogus points out, slavery can only exist in the context of a police state, and the enforcement of that police state was the explicit job of the militias.
[...]
Patrick Henry:
"If the country be invaded, a state may go to war, but cannot suppress [slave] insurrections [under this new Constitution]. If there should happen an insurrection of slaves, the country cannot be said to be invaded. They cannot, therefore, suppress it without the interposition of Congress . . . . Congress, and Congress only [under this new Constitution], can call forth the militia."
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:39 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


If the deer is too smart for you without semi-auto, maybe you are just meant to go to McDonald's that day it's just meant to spend a week dying painfully because you couldn't get a second shot off before it leapt away.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:06 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


We get along fine without them here in PA, you can too.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:11 PM on January 24, 2013


So what do people there do? Is every 90 pound woman supposed to be a karate expert?

They educate the bad people not to do bad things.
posted by Ardiril at 10:31 PM on January 24, 2013


Damn. Why didn't my town think of that?
posted by small_ruminant at 11:00 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


It hasn't worked yet.

After a while, these sorts of assertions sound very similar to me to those against universal health care - it "doesn't work." A person could only come to this conclusion if they ignored a long list of countries with strict gun control which are not the US, where it has worked and is working.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:35 AM on January 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Nation: (Carl T. Bogus)
Notwithstanding the militia's dismal performance, some politicians--particularly Southern slaveholders like Madison who relied on the militia for slave control--continued to cling to the notion that the virtuous citizen militia was superior to a professional army. One Southerner who would have found these views laughable if they were not so dangerous was George Washington. "America has almost been amused out of her Liberties" by pro-militia rhetoric, he said: "I solemnly declare I never was witness to a single instance, that can countenance an opinion of Militia or raw Troops being fit for the real business of fighting."
University of California at Davis Law Review: THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT (Carl T Bogus)
"Slavery was not only an economic and industrial system," one scholar noted, "but more than that, it was a gigantic police system."[123] Over time the South had developed an elaborate system of slave control. The basic instrument of control was the slave patrol, armed groups of white men who made regular rounds.
[...]
By the mid-eighteenth century, the patrols had become the responsibility of the militia.
[...]
After the war, the militia remained the principal means of protecting the social order and preserving white control over an enormous black population. Anything that might weaken this system presented the gravest of threats.
[...]
The Federalists did their best to respond to the suggestions that the federal government would, in one way or another, render the militia impotent as a slave control device.
[...]
The evidence that the Second Amendment was written to assure the South that the federal government would not disarm its militia is, I suggest, considerable. However, the evidence is almost entirely circumstantial.
[...]
Mason and Henry fanned the flames of Southern paranoia to manipulate the ratifying Convention, and Madison later became a fire fighter to protect both the Constitution and his own political career. These were games of masquerade and innuendo. No one's purpose was served by laying cards upon the table. The history of the Second Amendment was hidden by design.
Wow, this is fascinating to me. He also talks about how the second amendment received very little attention until the late nineties when the gun lobby and the NRA funded a large effort to promote their interpretation, including the "paranoic, anarchistic, and anti-democratic," and not very historical, insurrection theory.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:47 AM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Every other civilised nation has had sensible gun control for ages now, and haven't succumbed to tyrannical governments or had a wave of bomb or knife violence to replace the gun violence, or any of the other laughable hypotheticals put forward here and elsewhere.

The evidence proves that gun control reduces gun deaths, especially accidental and massacre types. No-one has yet produced any counter-claims that have held up to even the weakest scrutiny. And no, hypothetical scenarios are not evidence no matter how detailed you make them.

Public opinion is strongly in favour of gun control. Six year olds killed at school was the last straw for many, many people who have been uncomfortable with the current situation for a long time. The tide has turned.

So now gun owners now have the choice of being involved in crafting sensible laws or being viewed as freaked-out crazies who are more concerned with their own selfish desires than for the safety of little children. Ignoring the evidence that gun control is a) workable and b) successful at greatly reducing gun deaths just marks you out as an obstruction in the way of making America a better place to live. Not just safer, actually better, because little kids won't need bullet-proof backpacks, and people can go to the movies or the shops without worrying some nutter is going to mow you down. And all the nitpicking in the world won't change this central choice: help make good gun control laws, or be on the wrong side of history.
posted by harriet vane at 1:00 AM on January 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


While the assault weapons ban is merely being discussed, prices of high capacity magazines have gone up 50-200%. Prices of new and used AR-15s and other potentially banned firearms have gone up even more in some cases.

The day a ban was enacted, those prices would go up even further. And it seems like the ban being discussed might prohibit legal transfer of banned weapons, so what you'd get on day 1 of the ban would be a black market filled with millions of very valuable guns.

Keep that in place for years, and because transfer is illegal, the only people who will be buying and selling these guns are people willing to break the law to make money. And every illegal sale will mean a weapon that once might have been traceable will not be.

A much safer solution is retroactively registering every firearm in America over a period of a few years. But of course, neither the NRA crazies nor the Brady crazies would tolerate that. As in many cases, American politics is dominated by two opposing positions, both of them stupid.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 1:35 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


The American Conservative: Garry Wills Is Wrong About Guns, and So Is the Constitution
I’m grateful to Scott Galupo for reviving Gary Wills’s provocative interpretation of the Second Amendment. As one might expect from encounters with Wills’s other work, this interpretation is learned, brilliant…and wrong. ... The inadequacy of these arguments is irrelevant to the legal authority of the 2nd Amendment. Until it is altered by the people and the representatives, I see no alternative to the conclusion that the Constitution protects an individual right to bear arms. But consideration of the theoretical and historical background to the 2nd Amendment provides a useful reminder that our Constitution is the work of a specific place and era, rather than the pure expression of timeless wisdom. We owe it respect and should not change it lightly. Reverence, however, is more appropriate to the works of God than of men.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:36 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


We discussed the black market aspect in an earlier thread which I think is still open. Apparently (I didn't check the data closely, but it didn't seem wrong on the face of it) in Australia the black market for guns increased a lot after our improved gun control laws were put in place. And my only reaction to this is: So?

- Accidental gun deaths were greatly reduced.
- There hasn't been a single massacre since 1996 (before that we were on par with the rest of the world on a per capita basis).
- Even suicides dropped, because guns are the deadliest method compared to knives, poision, jumping, etc.

People still have accidents, try to kill people, try to kill themselves. But they survive. There are fewer tragic deaths. That's the whole point of gun control, and a black market can't outweigh that.

Police can deal with black markets, and do so quite capably everywhere else in the developed world. Do you think gun control proponents are going to care if the black market is more lucrative if it means their kids aren't going to die at school that day? Do you think the cops would rather be on the news discussing the latest cinema massacre, or their latest successful black market gun bust? The black market just isn't relevant to the issue.
posted by harriet vane at 2:35 AM on January 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


According to Senator Feinstein's press conference today, since 2004 there have been around 350 deaths from assault weapons. That is around 44 per year, out of 30,000 gun deaths. But yeah, dead white kids so "Something Must Be Done!" This is not the sensible gun control you are looking for.

Today's press conference was probably the biggest fundraiser the NRA has had in quite a while and gun owners across the country were writing their representatives before it was even finished.

The NY Times article says that more proposals are expected in the next couple weeks, I hope their better thought-out than this one.
posted by the_artificer at 2:38 AM on January 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


re: the Second Amendment... It certainly gives the right to bear arms. But it doesn't say that you can bear arms cheaply, irresponsibly, free of regulation, or just for shits and giggles. I'm a long way from being a constitutional scholar, but it seems like a distraction held up by the NRA to derail efforts to find real solutions.
posted by harriet vane at 2:43 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


The NY Times article says that more proposals are expected in the next couple weeks, I hope their better thought-out than this one.

As I've said multiple times already, the AWB is a rabbit for the NRA and the to chase and bark and howl at. The real legislation regarding universal background checks and a host of other effective solutions and loophole closings--which already has support from most gun owners, including some of the most gun-friendly red state Democrats in Congress--is in the pipeline.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:15 AM on January 25, 2013


Australia doesn't have two long, porous, smuggler friendly borders. We do.

Guess which way the guns actually flow across those borders.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:27 AM on January 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


As I've said multiple times already, the AWB is a rabbit for the NRA and the to chase and bark and howl at.

Seems like the type of games that the Democrats have a long history of fucking up.
posted by smackfu at 6:11 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Gun Debate Is Just Another Part Of The Culture War
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:13 AM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


re: the Second Amendment... It certainly gives the right to bear arms. But it doesn't say that you can bear arms cheaply, irresponsibly, free of regulation, or just for shits and giggles. I'm a long way from being a constitutional scholar, but it seems like a distraction held up by the NRA to derail efforts to find real solutions.

I agree completely. At least almost completely. Regulation, like background checks, waiting periods and whatnot are fine. Where I disagree is the discussion of "need". When discussing enumerated rights, questioning the need for that right strays into dangerous territory. There are ways to tackle the gun issue without needing to question need.

The more barriers you place in front of law abiding citizens, the more opportunity you create for black markets and ensnaring people who intend to follow the law but make some kind of mistake. The harder it is to follow the law, the more criminals you make. Without affecting people who have already decided to become criminals.

And I am arguing from the standpoint of someone who doesn't like the gun culture at all. The idea that there are people walking around carrying weapons creeps me out. I don't own any guns, and my license to possess guns is currently expired. What concerns me is the ease with which people would restrict the rights of people they don't approve of. Maybe the 2nd Amendment is an anachronism and not good policy. If that's true, then fix it the right way with an amendment. Not by eroding the strict foundation of the primacy of the constitution. We have already had many rights eroded in the face of terrorism, and going further along that path is a bad idea.
posted by gjc at 6:14 AM on January 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Every other civilised nation has had sensible gun control for ages now, and haven't succumbed to tyrannical governments or had a wave of bomb or knife violence to replace the gun violence, or any of the other laughable hypotheticals put forward here and elsewhere.

The US has plenty of gun control. If the gun murders were being committed with weapons that were legally possessed and registered, then I would agree that what is being done isn't enough. But they aren't. I don't know what the stats are, but I know the percentages are high. As I mentioned above, Chicago's handgun ban has done nothing to stem handgun crime. Making something that's already illegal even more double-secret illegal isn't going to deter people who have already crossed the line.

As for civilized nations with gun control, I'd leave the example of Ireland and the UK during the troubles. Lots of violence and mayhem, guns not legal. People who are intent upon destruction and killing aren't going to let laws get in their way.

And I'm not saying we should throw up our hands and say "meh, it's a right and there's nothing we can do." Absolutely not. Mandatory registration? Sure. Serial numbers on bullets? Fine. Close the private party loophole? Absolutely. Make gun owners responsible for crimes committed with guns that were in their care? Of course. None of these things would materially affect people's ability to exercise their rights, and while the NRA would scream bloody murder, they would be wrong. Arguing to restrict the rights of people minding their own business gives the opponent ammunition for their fight. The NRA has power because they are right about some things. Change the discussion to eliminate the areas where they are right, and all you have left is them being wrong.

There are 300,000,000 guns in this country, nearly 1:1 for every person. The vast, vast majority of those are not causing any problems. Proof that almost all gun owners are responsible (or lucky) enough to handle them. The laws should be targeted at plugging the holes in current law from which violence flows.

Analogy time: you don't get unlicensed drivers off the road by making it harder to get a driver's license.
posted by gjc at 6:47 AM on January 25, 2013


Chicago's handgun ban has done nothing to stem handgun crime.

Chicago hasn't had a handgun ban in over two years.

Mandatory registration? Sure. Serial numbers on bullets? Fine. Close the private party loophole? Absolutely. Make gun owners responsible for crimes committed with guns that were in their care? Of course.

If we're going to go there, why should any of these be constitutional (or, as the more snarky people on my FB wall say, "what part of 'shall not be infringed' don't you get")? I don't have to register with the government to post on Metafilter. I don't have to get a background check to have a conversation with my cousin Ed. I could be charged with a crime if my words incited someone to violence, but only in a very narrowly-defined context.

That's not to say I'm against gun control. I'm far closer to the pro-control side than not, but I don't see a post-Heller, post-Citizen United Supreme Court ruling any gun regulation constitutional (I'm aware of Scalia's text in Heller, I just don't think he or the other conservative activists will rule that way when a case comes to them).

I do think the AWB was a collosal blunder on the part of congressional Democrats. It's a) unable to pass congress, b) unconstitutional, and c) unpopular. I wouldn't mind a) or b) as an opening move, but its unpopularity will drive otherwise sane people into an increasingly radical Republican party. Combine that with state Republicans' shenanigans with the electoral college, I think we've seen the end of a Democratically-controlled congress or Presidency for the rest of our lives. It's certainly ended any hope of any gun control at all passing congress.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:36 AM on January 25, 2013


Police can deal with black markets, and do so quite capably everywhere else in the developed world. Do you think gun control proponents are going to care if the black market is more lucrative if it means their kids aren't going to die at school that day?

On black markets:

Um. I live in West Oakland, California. I have seen ample evidence that police can't deal with black markets for sex, for heroin, and for assault weapons. Oh and for prescription cough syrup, for weed, and for stolen recyclable metals.

On kids dying at school:

School is the safest place in America for kids to be. More kids die at home.

There hasn't been a single massacre since 1996 (before that we were on par with the rest of the world on a per capita basis).

Actually, that's true. Australians haven't use assault weapons to kill children since 1996. Or rather, Australians haven't used assault weapons to kill Australian children since 1996. The world is much safer for kids when the only people in western democracies with assault weapons are only available to military professionals.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 8:04 AM on January 25, 2013


Chicago hasn't had a handgun ban in over two years.

Handguns are only legal if kept inside one's own home in Chicago. And the sale of all firearms is still illegal in the city. Not much has changed. I'd be surprised if any of the murders were committed by legal gun owners with legally registered weapons.
In the years following its ban, Washington did not generate a decline in gun murders. In fact, the number of killings rose by 156 percent — at a time when murders nationally increased by just 32 percent. For a while, the city vied regularly for the title of murder capital of America.

Chicago followed a similar course. In the decade after it outlawed handguns, murders jumped by 41 percent, compared with an 18 percent rise in the entire United States
.
There is no correlation between gun bans and reduced violence. Crime happens without regard to laws, that's what makes it crime.
posted by gjc at 8:06 AM on January 25, 2013


Just because it doesn't seem to fit in any other discussion: Scat Pants Fever
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:12 AM on January 25, 2013


I do think the AWB was a collosal blunder on the part of congressional Democrats. It's a) unable to pass congress, b) unconstitutional, and c) unpopular.

It's clear that a) was intentional, b) has already been decided not to be the case in Heller (by Scalia, even), and c) is just not true.

I wouldn't mind a) or b) as an opening move, but its unpopularity will drive otherwise sane people into an increasingly radical Republican party.

Except that it's not unpopular amongst Americans at large, just the loudest ones and the ones in Congress. But as I've mentioned--several times, with proof--it's meant to be an opening move that makes the NRA and crazies look, well, crazy if they pitch a fit when the other reforms that has support of a majority of gun owners already in the pipeline comes up. And it's possible that even that won't happen, since Joe "My campaign ad included me shooting a copy of Obamacare" Manchin, who has an A rating with the NRA, has already said that they're working on a bill that includes universal background checks and closes sales loopholes that looks like it might even have bipartisan sponsorship.

Combine that with state Republicans' shenanigans with the electoral college, I think we've seen the end of a Democratically-controlled congress or Presidency for the rest of our lives.

Hyperbole much? They've already dropped the redistricting plan in FL, it's unlikely to pass in VA, and it's questionable in the other three.

It's certainly ended any hope of any gun control at all passing congress.

Again, this is likely to not be the endgame.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:27 AM on January 25, 2013


More proof:

Multiple polls on a variety of issues showing support for the AWB amongst Americans over 50%.

and

Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) are collaborating on legislation to expand requirements on background checks to purchase firearms.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:35 AM on January 25, 2013


since 2004 there have been around 350 deaths from assault weapons.

What, is that all? Seriously? All this noise and kerfuffle over 44 people dying per year? That's nothing. An absolute non-problem.

MORE PEOPLE ARE KILLED BY LIGHTNING STRIKES EVERY YEAR.
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:01 AM on January 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


We get along fine without them here in PA, you can too.

What's good for PA is good for the nation, eh? Maybe we should move the capital back to Philly.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:10 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was unaware that lightning was also a man-made invention designed expressly for killing and operated by humans.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:11 AM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lightning also doesn't participate in Olympic sports, such as biathlon, which we all know is a competition involving cross-country skiing and killing.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:17 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lightning also doesn't participate in Olympic sports, such as biathlon, which we all know is a competition involving cross-country skiing and killing.

Ever seen a biathlon rifle? It's pretty far from an "assault weapon."
posted by Etrigan at 9:27 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe that's why lightning doesn't use one.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:29 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ever seen a biathlon rifle? It's pretty far from an "assault weapon."

It comes in black and it has a lot of bits stuck to it, that's practically an assault weapon by the way they define it.
posted by smackfu at 9:34 AM on January 25, 2013 [8 favorites]



I'll take a little time here to deflate the "armed populace is a free populace" argument.

1) "We might need to slaughter our fellow Americans for political purposes" is not really a good reason to keep assault rifles legal.

2) Armed rebellion has a greater than even chance of installing a totalitarian dystopia - especially in the past 100 years. Non-violent social change has had a much better track record for positive change, including replacing regimes. Violent insurrection is an obsolete method of social change that has an extremely high probability of resulting in a negative outcome - IF you win against government forces, the odds are overwhelming that your new leader will be a dictatorial fucknozzle.

3) Those who claim they need assault weapons to run an insurrection are not being serious, or they are so completely out of touch with guerrilla tactics and strategy that they are as good as hamburger before they're even done putting on the camo overalls.

a) Shotguns are so much more effective for irregular forces fighting in urban areas it's not even funny - more than triple the hit rate of rifles of all descriptions, even those in trained hands (the British study on the topic involved Gurkhas, and the Joint Chiefs study dealt with Marines)

b) If you're not fighting in urban areas, you are stupid and will be exterminated.

The guerrillas MUST choose their own battlefields to be successful. The battlefield must offer the most cover, the most protected approaches, and the most lines of retreat. Unpredictable and fluid. If you can't pick where and when to hit, retreat and make them follow, or hide and make them move into a more favorable position looking for you. In short, you need to be right in the faces of the enemy to win, and you will need a shotgun to kill more of them than they of you.

A shotgun is not anywhere near as effective for a lone lunatic bent on killing a large number of unarmed people, but in actual combat with a number of comrades with shotguns, it does much better than other firearms in most circumstances favorable to those fighting in an insurrection (or defending a home.) Rifles should be reserved for snipers and counter-snipers, and assault rifles are not an ideal fit for this, yet common hunting rifles are.

c) Assault rifles are only useful for trained regular forces who plan to engage the enemy at a distance in open terrain with air or heavy weapons support. If you're fighting a regular army under those conditions with untrained rebels, you won't last long no matter what you shoot. No, target practice at the range does not count as military training.

d) If they pitch a fit over the right to buy and own a Bushmaster AR-15, but make not a peep over keeping the right to buy and own rocket propelled grenades or remote-controlled detonators and hi-ex, they are not being serious about a militia that keeps the government in check. You are not going to win any kind of battle without heavy weapons. The only reason why any mechanized army has infantry is to cover heavy weapons like SAWs, APCs, armored HumVees, etc, which should be doing the bulk of the damage. The only way to counter these is with inexpensive and effective anti-armor and anti-personnel weapons like the Russian Vampir. The same RPG-29 system also takes thermobaric warheads for anti-personnel applications. The great equalizer in recent wars has been the modern IED - not the AK-47. If our merry band of freedom fighters have $5000 M16 clones and no answer to heavy weapons, they are chipped beef on toast the first time they raise their weapons in anger.

e) If they're concerned about an armed confrontation with Sheriff Roscoe P. Coletrain and Deputy Enos rather than the National Guard, it will likely be in close quarters defensive action or in an ambush. Shotguns win again in home defense, IED's are better for an ambush.

4) In conclusion, if there's no serious sporting reason to own an assault rifle, and no serious military reason to own an assault rife… what is lost by outlawing the manufacture and sale of assault rifles other than the right to buy a toy? If any other toy on the market could kill 20 first graders with one example of misuse, the CPSC would yank it off the market faster than you could say "Lawn Darts."
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:50 AM on January 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Sam Wang: Did the federal ban on assault weapons matter?
Since the expiration of the gun ban in 2004, the number of shootings per year has doubled, and the number of victims per year has nearly tripled. Three of the bloodiest four years shown here occurred since the expiration.
What, is that all? Seriously? All this noise and kerfuffle over 44 people dying per year? That's nothing. An absolute non-problem.

MORE PEOPLE ARE KILLED BY LIGHTNING STRIKES EVERY YEAR.


Yet we take precautions to prevent lightning strikes from killing more people. Why shouldn't we do something about the alarming increase in number of mass shootings in the US? Obviously, the grieving parents parents in Newtown would not agree that Sandy Hook was "nothing" (nor would anyone who has been effected by a lightning strike consider precautions against lightning to be unnecessary).

How many people would need to be killed in mass shootings every year for the problem to be considered significant?
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:02 AM on January 25, 2013


c) Assault rifles are only useful for trained regular forces who plan to engage the enemy at a distance in open terrain with air or heavy weapons support. If you're fighting a regular army under those conditions with untrained rebels, you won't last long no matter what you shoot. No, target practice at the range does not count as military training.

Hmm, I'm not buying this one. You only need to ask the Soviets and the Pentagon how this theory has worked out for them in Afghanistan.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:09 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


You only need to ask the Soviets and the Pentagon how this theory has worked out for them in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is the home turf of which one of those, now?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:17 AM on January 25, 2013


You only need to ask the Soviets and the Pentagon how this theory has worked out for them in Afghanistan.

Open terrain, at a distance, with RPG's and IEDs to support.

The US is not Afghanistan. You are not going to dislodge the Evil Empire from Denver or D.C. with arms and tactics that work in the mountains of Afghanistan.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:17 AM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Actually, we mostly take precautions against lightning strikes damaging property. We give advice to people for avoiding lightning strikes, just as we do give people advice for not getting killed by gunfire. It doesn't stop the lightning or the bullets. We forgive the lightning, which doesn't have moral agency, but we don't forgive the gun, which also doesn't have moral agency.

Slap*Happy: you didn't actually give a reason why there's no serious sporting reason to own an assault rifle, and by the way, assault rifle, unlike assault weapon, is an actual term with established meaning, and by the way refers to weapons that aren't legal to purchase already. They were banned in 1934 by the National Firearms Act, which was decades before they began to exist.

Additional, that something is less effective doesn't make it useless to the point of banning it; if it did, everyone would carry AR rifles instead of handguns because AR rifles are more effective in self defense. Also, it's definitely not desirable to have people using rifles with hunting loads in self-defense. People can often survive getting hit by .223. Less so with .306.

Golden Eternity: "How many people would need to be killed in mass shootings every year for the problem to be considered significant?"
Tell it to the 10,000 people who were killed by people with guns who weren't in mass shootings, or the other 20,000 people who were killed by people using other means. Maybe we should address our violence problem instead.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:18 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hmm, I'm not buying this one. You only need to ask the Soviets and the Pentagon how this theory has worked out for them in Afghanistan.

You mean the ones taught by Pakistan's military and intelligence organizations?

We forgive the lightning, which doesn't have moral agency, but we don't forgive the gun, which also doesn't have moral agency.

The lightning has no sentient determinant behind it, the gun does.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:24 AM on January 25, 2013


Ever seen a biathlon rifle? It's pretty far from an "assault weapon."

They have a pistol-grip, so under the Feinstein bill it would be banned as an assault weapon...except that may are on the approved list.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:25 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Afghanistan is the home turf of which one of those, now?

That would be the untrained rebels using assault rifles without the benefit of heavy arms nor air support fighting off the two largest superpowers the earth has known maybe?

RPG's and IEDs to support

Those are not heavy arms. IEDs, being "Improvised" are easily manufactured by guerrilla fighters, and have been used to great effect in Vietnam, Central America, Africa and other guerrilla wars where rebel fighters were outgunned and fighting a better trained regular army.

The US is not Afghanistan. You are not going to dislodge the Evil Empire from Denver or D.C. with arms and tactics that work in the mountains of Afghanistan.

No, but large swaths of the American west are quite similar, and with the benefit of large numbers of potential traitors in the US military already, you get the heavy weaponry you're lacking. Regardless, assault weapons are made for assault, which is adapted to terrain and applicable to anywhere, particularly by irregulars.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:27 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


How many people would need to be killed in mass shootings every year for the problem to be considered significant?

How many legitimate law abiding owners of these types of guns does it take to make them common and accepted? Cause that number is way, way, way higher than ANY illegal use of them. While a significant personal tragedy and something that shouldn't ever happen again basing a sweeping law that affects the legally owned property of MILLIONS of law abiding citizens based on an extremely rare and heinous act is bad law, especially as that act was ALREADY illegal (murder being already illegal and carrying a gun into the school being illegal) didn't stop the person (for lack of a better term).

As to guerrilla warfare scenarios, and lets hope it never, ever comes to that, if the army is being used against the american populace we have already lost and the noble experiment of the united states has failed. And yea, an irregular force against the weight of the us military is going to lose, as they have in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (really, they lost badly although the Army did at least know it had been in a fight). However the modern US military will never go against the populace, the changes necessary for that to happen would be so severe as to destroy the social contract that constitution is based on. Against the kind of army that can be turned against its own people, an irregular force CAN win (see Syria right now-pretty much the only reason Assad is holding on is because the very limited access to weapons-mostly guns and ammo-the opposition has). The people having recourse to force if necessary is a GOOD thing, it does make the people in charge think about how effective strong arm tactics are and what could happen if push comes to shove, deterrence works-on the personal self defense scale AND on the national don't go to far scale. It is not the ideal solution but humans are so rarely ideal.

And we DO make attempts at limiting the danger of bad people with guns. Something like 70-90k people FAIL the background check every year, and a large fraction of those are committing a felony by attempting to buy a firearm. Why can't the administration go after THOSE criminals? Biden said they couldn't be bothered to enforce existing law. Of course not, when they score political points by taking away the property of law abiding citizens and take away those scary looking guns.
posted by bartonlong at 10:27 AM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


They have a pistol-grip, so under the Feinstein bill it would be banned as an assault weapon...except that may are on the approved list.

They are bolt action with small magazines.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:28 AM on January 25, 2013


Tell it to the 10,000 people who were killed by people with guns who weren't in mass shootings, or the other 20,000 people who were killed by people using other means. Maybe we should address our violence problem instead.

So because 20k people are killed by other means we should ignore mass-shootings? Why is it an either/or proposition? We can't both address our other violence problems and try to do something to mitigate "psychopathic" mass-shooters?
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:28 AM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Since the expiration of the gun ban in 2004, the number of shootings per year has doubled, and the number of victims per year has nearly tripled. Three of the bloodiest four years shown here occurred since the expiration.

This is a great example of using correlation to try to argue a point badly. The mass shootings he is referring to didn't even use the assault weapons that were no longer banned. Most of them involved handguns. Is the premise that the ban expiring caused more mentally ill people to start shooting people with unrelated guns?
posted by smackfu at 10:31 AM on January 25, 2013


That would be the untrained rebels using assault rifles without the benefit of heavy arms nor air support

So is that the Americans or the Soviets you're describing?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:43 AM on January 25, 2013


Slap*Happy: you didn't actually give a reason why there's no serious sporting reason to own an assault rifle

They're less accurate and less weildy than ordinary rifles, such as automatics with internal magazines or bolt-action weapons. They typically have rounds considered ineffectual or even inhumane by most hunters. No one has yet demonstrated why they need to fire off 10 rounds at anything while hunting.

They were banned in 1934 by the National Firearms Act, which was decades before they began to exist.

Ummmm... no? The weapon class listed was the short barrel rifle (SBR) - a sawed-off Browning BAR or WWI surplus rifle was likely what they had in mind, as they were popular gangster weapons.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:43 AM on January 25, 2013


And we DO make attempts at limiting the danger of bad people with guns. Something like 70-90k people FAIL the background check every year, and a large fraction of those are committing a felony by attempting to buy a firearm. Why can't the administration go after THOSE criminals?

It's almost as if you deliberately ignored the actual words Obama spoke and the executive actions he signed, including the following:
Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
Biden said they couldn't be bothered to enforce existing law.

Really? Your go-to quote is an unverified report on a far-right website that is quoting an NRA official? For Biden's actual words, which point this out as a lie--from the NRA PR team? Shocking!--let's go to the videotape (emphasis mine):

Biden Pushes Gun Control Proposals in ‘Fireside Hangout’
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. took his campaign for gun control to the Internet on Thursday in an online video chat in which he was pressed on whether the proposals he and President Obama have advanced would actually do much to stop gun violence.

In a “fireside hangout” using a Google video chat service, Mr. Biden acknowledged that many shootings would not be stopped by the package of legislation and executive actions unveiled at the White House last week. But he said they were worth it even if they saved just one of the 20 children killed last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

“Because it doesn’t solve the whole problem you shouldn’t do it – I don’t buy the logic of that,” Mr. Biden said.


Among the plans endorsed by the White House are a reinstated and strengthened ban on new assault weapons and new high-capacity magazines; expanded criminal background checks for nearly any gun purchase outside the family; and a crackdown on straw purchasers. While waiting for Congress to consider those measures, Mr. Obama went ahead and acted on his own to improve the background check databank with more information.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:43 AM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


They are bolt action with small magazines.

Magazine size is irrelevant to the criteria of the AWB. And that numerous biathlon rifles are explicitly excluded from the ban suggests that some of them might otherwise be banned by the other criteria.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:45 AM on January 25, 2013


No one has yet demonstrated why they need to fire off 10 rounds at anything while hunting.

I sure as hell would. I'm a terrible shot on a moving target.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:52 AM on January 25, 2013


And that numerous biathlon rifles are explicitly excluded from the ban suggests that some of them might otherwise be banned by the other criteria.

You haven't actually read the law, have you? It's actually fairly clear and free of legaleese, and goes a long way to correct some of the omissions and oversights of the earlier ban that expired. Bolt action or Fortner action firearms aren't on the list.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:53 AM on January 25, 2013


I sure as hell would. I'm a terrible shot on a moving target.

Then perhaps you're not exactly qualified to be handling deadly machinery intended for deadly use.

Incidentally, this is why I think anyone who wants to own a firearm be required to go through many, many hours of intensive training and acquire a license that requires regular renewal and register their weapon. This is what we do for cars, and those weren't specifically invented for deadly use.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:09 AM on January 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Then perhaps you're not exactly qualified to be handling deadly machinery intended for deadly use."

The machine has intent? That's an interesting legal theory.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:12 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


It would be, if that was the definition of "intended."

HINT: It is not.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:19 AM on January 25, 2013


No one has yet demonstrated why they need to fire off 10 rounds at anything while hunting.

Is that the logic we're using now? Whether someone "needs" something, rather than whether it would actually stop shootings?
posted by smackfu at 11:38 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bolt action or Fortner action firearms aren't on the list.

Why do we care about specific mechanisms again? I suspect it is because we can imagine John Wayne 'defending his homestead' with a revolver and bolt-action rifle, whereas 'semi-automatic' conjures images of balaclava-clad terrorists.
posted by Pyry at 11:41 AM on January 25, 2013


Magazine size is irrelevant to the criteria of the AWB. And that numerous biathlon rifles are explicitly excluded from the ban suggests that some of them might otherwise be banned by the other criteria.

Except for the provision limiting magazines to 10 rounds. Note: in the same section, biathalon rifles tend to be rimfired .22LRs they would be excluded under the old AWB even if they did have high capacity magazines.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:00 PM on January 25, 2013


Why do we care about specific mechanisms again?

Bolt action rifles are generally hunting rifles, whereas semi-automatics with high capacity removable magazines are anti-personnel weapons. That's why we care.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:02 PM on January 25, 2013


Most sniper rifles are bolt action.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 12:04 PM on January 25, 2013


Most sniper rifles are bolt action.

Yep. They are built for range and accuracy. Hunting with a rifle is sniping, just with game animals rather than the most dangerous game, man. Until the modern era of firearms, most sniper rifles were hunting rifles.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:08 PM on January 25, 2013


Bolt action rifles are generally hunting rifles, whereas semi-automatics with high capacity removable magazines are anti-personnel weapons. That's why we care.

Yeah, but if you want to ban semi-auto rifles, you just ban semi-auto rifles. You don't ban the nebulous concept of "assault weapons."
posted by smackfu at 12:08 PM on January 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is that the logic we're using now? Whether someone "needs" something, rather than whether it would actually stop shootings?

We are weighing criteria... the same one that limits ownership of certain items, like big rigs, to those who need them. "Does anyone need an Australian Land Train?" is a legitimate question the Department of Transportation needs to answer before permitting their import ands sale.

Likewise, does limiting the sale and manufacture of man-toys like the AR-15 impact the second amendment? Can you put together an effective militia without one? I've demonstrated that militias are better off without them.

So, now you need to demonstrate that you need to be able to rip off ten rounds for purposes that do not involve crowded movie theaters before I'm convinced manufacturers be allowed to make and sell a firearm that can do that.

Why do we care about specific mechanisms again?

Because autoloaders can rip off 30 rounds as quick as you can pull the trigger, and bolt-actions slow the shooter down and limit the size of the magazine. I thought the pro-gun people were supposed to be all technical experts? They certainly make enough technical arguments. Could it be they didn't expect to be called on it?
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:10 PM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but if you want to ban semi-auto rifles, you just ban semi-auto rifles. You don't ban the nebulous concept of "assault weapons."

What is nebulous about them? They are anti-personnel rifles. There's nothing nebulous about that. Semi-automatic hunting rifles and shotguns exist for use on game, these are not those guns.

Incidentally, the term "assault rifle" was a military term that was good enough to describe these types of guns until the AWB and the NRA's attempt to shoot holes in it.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:10 PM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but if you want to ban semi-auto rifles, you just ban semi-auto rifles. You don't ban the nebulous concept of "assault weapons."

There's nothing nebulous about it to military historians. What confuses you about the term?
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:13 PM on January 25, 2013


Well, fuck it. I suppose, in the end, what it all comes down to, is that I'm pro-killing. I'm just terribly terribly bad at it, since all these years of gun ownership and all I've managed to kill is some paychecks, 1 squirrel, a few snakes, and a fuckton of paper chads. Since all guns only exist to kill humans I have been doing it so, so wrong. An informative, eye-opening thread. Keep the great comments comming!
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 12:23 PM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


They are anti-personnel rifles. There's nothing nebulous about that.

Nebulous because the actual part of the gun that shoots people is exactly the same between an assault weapon and a semi-automatic hunting rifle.
posted by smackfu at 12:23 PM on January 25, 2013


But maybe I'm missing something here... I might come around if someone could explain what exactly is the point of banning the things that are classified as assault weapons?
posted by smackfu at 12:27 PM on January 25, 2013


Biden Pushes Gun Control Proposals in ‘Fireside Hangout’
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. took his campaign for gun control to the Internet on Thursday in an online video chat in which he was pressed on whether the proposals he and President Obama have advanced would actually do much to stop gun violence.

In a “fireside hangout” using a Google video chat service, Mr. Biden acknowledged that many shootings would not be stopped by the package of legislation and executive actions unveiled at the White House last week. But he said they were worth it even if they saved just one of the 20 children killed last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

“Because it doesn’t solve the whole problem you shouldn’t do it – I don’t buy the logic of that,” Mr. Biden said.

Among the plans endorsed by the White House are a reinstated and strengthened ban on new assault weapons and new high-capacity magazines; expanded criminal background checks for nearly any gun purchase outside the family; and a crackdown on straw purchasers. While waiting for Congress to consider those measures, Mr. Obama went ahead and acted on his own to improve the background check databank with more information.


nowhere in any of this does he state anything about his response to enforcing existing laws, and the one I am speaking about in particular (the straw buyer thing is a part of it, but not nearly all of it). I have no problem with most of the executive orders and agree it is within the executive power to make the ones he did. And those bills haven't been introduced yet, but they sure didn't waste anytime on trying to ban ownership of property that has incidental uses in crime.

Enforcing a law that is already on the books and prosecuting known criminals when they commit a crime seems to be well within his authority also and would find widespread support among EVERYONE. Why go after legally owned property that is not being used in any crimes. You really think a ban on certain guns is going to stop these whack jobs? Even if they can't get guns they can get gas and matches. How many people die in arson every year? I am not sure but I bet it is somewhat close if not more than the number that are killed by people using assault weapons. These guys needed their gun. These guys seem to think an AR pattern rifle is useful for defending children. And even these guys recommend one as useful.

The whackjob at sandy hook had 5 minutes before authorities arrived to stop him. You really think he couldn't have done it with a lever action and two revolvers (3 guns-the same number of guns he used)? Time to reload wasn't really an issue for him.
posted by bartonlong at 12:50 PM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nebulous because the actual part of the gun that shoots people is exactly the same between an assault weapon and a semi-automatic hunting rifle.

Lanza fired 200 rounds in a few minutes. With a non-assault rifle, he'd have to fire 7 rounds, reload the internal magazine by feeding cartridges in through a loading port one at a time, or swap out a small box magazine that requires you to put the rifle in a non-ready position.

Well, fuck it. I suppose, in the end, what it all comes down to, is that I'm pro-killing. I'm just terribly terribly bad at it,

Well, we don't care about you. Not a whit. We care about those who are good at killing people or bad about gun safety. You will just have to find new toys to play with, don't blame the legislation, blame the murderers.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:52 PM on January 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


With a non-assault rifle, he'd have to fire 7 rounds, reload the internal magazine by feeding cartridges in through a loading port one at a time, or swap out a small box magazine that requires you to put the rifle in a non-ready position.

Ok, so your definition of assault rifle is just semi-auto with detachable magazine. That's certainly much more defensible than the AWB definition. But you can see why I say the definition is nebulous, I would hope.
posted by smackfu at 1:05 PM on January 25, 2013


So much of gun violence is committed by ex-offenders, with guns they aren't legally permitted to possess.

We'd create a lot more safety by imposing specialized parole on people who commit crimes with guns. Parole searches are already common practice. Police may search parolees without cause or even reasonable suspicion. If we extended the period where parole searches are allowed, we'd likely see a rapid decline in illegally armed ex-offenders, and with that a decline in gun crime.

Basically, after someone has done their time for any crime involving the use of a gun, cops should be able to search them at will for 5-10 years. Let all the other provisions of parole subset on the normal timeline. And event for people who get suspended sentences or probation for criminal use of a gun, make the search period mandatory.

I doubt the NRA would object to that. And I can't see lefty civil rights groups getting a lot of traction if they complain that this is a cruel and unusual policy.

PS: I don't want an assault rifle. I want a battle rifle. There's difference. Oddly, even in California, I can have a battle rifle, but not an assault rifle. And yes, there are very valid reasons for wanting to be able to hit people from far away if the shit hits the fan.

If you can get the scores of heavily armed people with criminal records who live near me to disarm, and if you can get my city to stop teetering on the brink of unrest, I'll consider giving up my 2nd amendment rights.

And progressives: you're as culpable as the GOP for the failed state of New Orleans, St. Louis, Camden and Oakland. Fix your mess before you take my guns.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 1:09 PM on January 25, 2013


As I mentioned above, Chicago's handgun ban has done nothing to stem handgun crime.

You have to be willfully dense not to see the difference between a city policy and a national policy. City bans are dumb, if guns are legal to buy right outside the city there is no way under our current national laws to prevent them from flowing to the black market right into the city.

On another topic, I'm curious if the pro-gun side here thinks the laws that have made machine guns/fully autos functionally banned are constitutional or not?
posted by Drinky Die at 1:18 PM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

A St. Paul man has been charged with terroristic threats for pointing an AK-47 rifle at his daughter during an argument over the fact that she got two B's instead of straight A's in school.

According to the charges, 52-year-old Kirill Bartashevitch recently purchased the AK-47 due to fears that such weapons would be banned under President Obama's push for gun control legislation.

Children living in terror is a small price to pay so that we may have this man on our side in our hypothetical future war against the neo-fascist oppressors and their robot dinosaurs. (Yes. I'm annoyed they don't know the difference between an AK-47 and a semi-auto AK lookalike too)
posted by Drinky Die at 1:31 PM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Gun Debate Is Just Another Part Of The Culture War

Pretty much. To quote Ainsley Hayes from The West Wing:

Your gun control position doesn't have anything to do with public safety, and it's certainly not about personal freedom. It's about you don't like people who do like guns. You don't like the people. Think about that, the next time you make a joke about the South.

That show, as ridiculous a Democratic fairy-tale as it was, at least got the assault weapons ban absurdity right. It was talking about the cosmetic absurdity of the definition of "assault weapons" decades ago.

Sounds like the perfect time to strike a deal. I'll trade you some of my 2nd Amendment rights if you give me some of my 4th and 5th back.

Hahaha.. That's good. You see what happened over the past few weeks is the White House whipped the left into a frenzy, very similar to the right's PATRIOT ACT and Iraq War frenzy a decade ago.

And now we have:
Experts: Proposed NY gun law might hinder therapy.
Critics: Mentally Ill Patients' Confidentiality Compromised In New York's Gun Law

The result of this entire process is going to be some cosmetic gun control legislation dealing with scary-to-white-people weapons, and some horrific changes in HIPAA eroding our privacy rights. And ironically resulting in fewer individuals seeking the help they need.

While waiting for Congress to consider those measures, Mr. Obama went ahead and acted on his own to improve the background check databank with more information.

I'd just like to discuss this, because hardly anyone is talking about this, anywhere.

It appears the DOJ is asking Health and Human Services (HHS) to weaken privacy rules and let them use mental health records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

That goes beyond just gun background checks. I realize a consolidated system is easier to manage, but this will ensnare millions more.

Giving the DOJ entirely new powers and information on individuals on the same week that we lost Aaron Swartz seems absurd. The fact that so many on this site realize the abuse in that case, but can't link it to this is also absurd:

“The thing that galls me is that I told (the prosecutor) the kid was a suicide risk.” . . . He said, ‘Fine, we’ll lock him up.’"

I'm looking forward to the increased detention of normal citizens due to "risk of harm to himself or others", like we saw in Bradley Manning's treatment.
posted by formless at 1:36 PM on January 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


On another topic, I'm curious if the pro-gun side here thinks the laws that have made machine guns/fully autos functionally banned are constitutional or not?

I am a pro-gun person. This does not mean that I have the exact same thoughts and beliefs as every other person who is pro-gun. My personal disagreements with the attempts we have seen at gun control so far have nothing to do with their supposed constitutionality or lack thereof; I disagree with them because I do not think the specific measures we have seen proposed - specifically the "assault weapons" ban which was the founding subject for this post - are sensible nor are they, in my opinion, likely to be effective. Therefore your question is meaningless to me and does not address my concerns in any way.

Once again, disputing specific measures is not the same as thinking that there should never be any restrictions whatsoever, and I am seeing an awful lot of people - not just here, but in the debate in general - who seem to think that it IS the same; that any opposition on any grounds is identifying oneself as part of a monolithic entity of PRO GUNS UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES FOREVER-type opinion.
posted by titus n. owl at 1:42 PM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


formless, I think Toby has it better than Ainsley:

"If you combine the populations of Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Australia, you'll get a population roughly the size of the United States. We had 32,000 gun deaths last year. They had 112. Do you think it's because Americans are more homicidal by nature? Or do you think it's because those guys have gun control laws?"


I don't hate that guy I just posted about, I hate seeing terrorized children.

Therefore your question is meaningless to me and does not address my concerns in any way.

I'm not asking the question to start the "Well do you think NUKES should be legal?" conversation. I'm asking because I think the machine gun laws are good models for how other guns might be controlled, if we decide they should be.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:47 PM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


"If you combine the populations of Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Australia, you'll get a population roughly the size of the United States. We had 32,000 gun deaths last year. They had 112. Do you think it's because Americans are more homicidal by nature? Or do you think it's because those guys have gun control laws?"

Or because they have socialized medicine and therefore more resources to treat mental illness? Or maybe because the US has the biggest gap between the rich and the poor of any of those countries? Or maybe because schooling here is the most underfunded? There are a lot of differences between the US and all of those countries and comparing us and them is comparing apples and ducks.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:52 PM on January 25, 2013


And liberals don't hate people who like guns, but you don't get too much nuance when you argue dueling fictional characters.

On a side note, it's irritating how whenever someone points out the differences, they are usually made up of other things conservative folks also oppose fixing.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:56 PM on January 25, 2013


Do you think it's because Americans are more homicidal by nature?

No, it's because I think Americans are more homicidal by culture.

And removing guns won't remove that. We need more mental health resources, more focus on poverty, and other root causes of the cycle of violence.

Go ahead, remove guns. It won't help, but maybe after we see that we can really fix the issue.

I'm an old school Michigan Democrat. I grew up shooting .22s with my grandfather and dad. But I'm not a gun rights nut. I just recognize the huge shift the Democrats have gone through on this issue, and I recognize it's just as cultural.
posted by formless at 1:57 PM on January 25, 2013


No, it's because I think Americans are more homicidal by culture.

And removing guns won't remove that.


It will make any such violence significantly less deadly. It's what I mentioned way up the thread with how suicide in Japan might be much worse if they had a gun culture. Guns act as multipliers on whatever problems you otherwise have.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:59 PM on January 25, 2013


Dad angry at daughter for not getting an A has a much better chance of killing his daughter during that argument when he has that rifle on hand than if he doesn't.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:02 PM on January 25, 2013


Trayvon Martin sprayed with pepper spray or hit with a taser has a much better chance of being here today.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:05 PM on January 25, 2013


Except those are explicitly designed as non-lethal weapons. A person denied one lethal weapon will probably choose another lethal one, like a knife or a big metal club.
posted by smackfu at 2:08 PM on January 25, 2013


Still less lethal.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:09 PM on January 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


And liberals don't hate people who like guns...

You'd have a hard time proving that to a regular of MetaFilter. Not all liberals hate people who like guns, but this thread alone provides examples of, at the very least, liberal contempt.
posted by Etrigan at 2:11 PM on January 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Okay, some liberals do hate people for liking guns. To be more clear, that hate is not the cause of the calls for gun control, it is anger at a road block in front of it. Public safety is the main concern, counter to what Ainsley suggests. The two of them are shouting across a cultural divide.

SAM
[getting steadily more emotional] But for a brilliant surgical team and two centimeters
of a miracle, this guy's dead right now. From bullets fired from a gun bought legally.
They bought guns, they loaded them, they drove from Wheeling to Rosslyn, and until they
pulled the trigger they had yet to commit a crime. I am so off-the-charts tired of the
gun lobby tossing around words like 'personal freedom' and no one calling 'em on it.
[Josh moves away uncomfortably.] It's not about personal freedom, and it certainly has
nothing to do with public safety. It's just that some people like guns.

AINSLEY
Yes, they do. But you know what's more insidious than that? Your gun control position
doesn't have anything to do with public safety, and it's certainly not about personal
freedom. It's about you don't like people who do like guns. You don't like the people.
Think about that, the next time you make a joke about the South.


You aren't exactly supposed to think she (or he) is right. In the context of the episode, the two of them are accusing each other of having bad faith behind their positions and both are wrong. Sam doesn't hate people who like guns, he is angry because the President he loves and works for was just shot and almost killed.

Ainsley, of course, has a higher opinion of them by the end of the episode.

AINSLEY
The people that I have met have been extraordinarily qualified, their intent is good.
Their commitment is true, they are righteous, and they are patriots.
[after a moment, with tears in her eyes] And I'm their lawyer.

posted by Drinky Die at 2:25 PM on January 25, 2013


A St. Paul man has been charged with terroristic threats for pointing an AK-47 rifle at his daughter during an argument over the fact that she got two B's instead of straight A's in school.

According to the charges, 52-year-old Kirill Bartashevitch recently purchased the AK-47 due to fears that such weapons would be banned under President Obama's push for gun control legislation.

Children living in terror is a small price to pay so that we may have this man on our side in our hypothetical future war against the neo-fascist oppressors and their robot dinosaurs. (Yes. I'm annoyed they don't know the difference between an AK-47 and a semi-auto AK lookalike too)


so your contention is that banning a certain type of gun is going to mean guns aren't used terrorize people? or it will end child abuse? (I am actually serious here, I am not sure what point you are making). I don't want kids terrorized either. Pretty sure the type of gun used to point and threaten a child with is immaterial to the actual threat. I fail to see any rational link to this incident and an assault weapons ban. Pretty sure the kid would have been just as threatened with the biden endorsed double barreled shotgun.
posted by bartonlong at 3:04 PM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


"If you combine the populations of Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Australia, you'll get a population roughly the size of the United States. We had 32,000 gun deaths last year. They had 112. Do you think it's because Americans are more homicidal by nature? Or do you think it's because those guys have gun control laws?"

once again less murders with a gun is not the same as less murders nor does it say anything about trends in the murder rate or the violent crime rate, both of which are VERY important to this debate. Probably actually THE point of the debate. I feel pretty safe in making the assertion we ALL want less murders, and are willing to give up some personal liberty to live in a safer more harmonious society for the greater good of all(I mean we already DO that so...). But shouldn't those reductions on our personal liberty be based on some actual benefit to society not just on restricted something you find scary or denying someone you don't like some hobby?

The number of Guns of all types in private hands (and a high number of them being 'assault' weapons) has doubled in the past 20 years that the nation has seen a decrease in violent crime and especially homicide. These numbers are not in dispute, at all. They are facts, they are not based on assertions or theoreticals or philosophy. Doesn't this make it a hard thing to argue about that more guns = more murder and especially more assault weapons = more murder?
posted by bartonlong at 3:13 PM on January 25, 2013


zombieflanders: "As I've said multiple times already, the AWB is a rabbit for the NRA and the to chase and bark and howl at."

And I think that was maybe a bad idea. It reaffirms the idea that "Democrats are out to take your guns" and bolsters support for the NRA and conservative politicians to oppose any gun control legislation. Democrats have become experts at snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.
posted by the_artificer at 3:24 PM on January 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


so your contention is that banning a certain type of gun is going to mean guns aren't used terrorize people? or it will end child abuse? (I am actually serious here, I am not sure what point you are making). I don't want kids terrorized either. Pretty sure the type of gun used to point and threaten a child with is immaterial to the actual threat. I fail to see any rational link to this incident and an assault weapons ban. Pretty sure the kid would have been just as threatened with the biden endorsed double barreled shotgun.

Some folks are really defensively going off against points I'm not making and I don't feel it's really constructive to the conversation.

If I ask a question about the constitutionality of the machine gun ban, it's not secret code for any other implications. If I say the text of the second amendment states the purpose of the militia as defense of the state, I'm not secretly saying anything about collective or individual rights to own guns as defined by the constitution. When I point out an incident of guns unnecessarily terrorizing a child, it doesn't mean I'm secretly pushing an agenda on the AWB and was not honest in stating earlier that I don't think it will accomplish anything or is worth political effort.

My point of view, stated several times, is that guns multiply the dangers of violent or potentially violent situations and make them more lethal. Crime, suicide, accidents, emotional arguments with family and friends or neighbors...all of these things get more problematic with guns around. All of those things have other root causes that in some cases can be addressed, but there is a role guns play that I personally feel means they should be regulated.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:00 PM on January 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


If I ask a question about the constitutionality of the machine gun ban, it's not secret code for any other implications. If I say the text of the second amendment states the purpose of the militia as defense of the state, I'm not secretly saying anything about collective or individual rights to own guns as defined by the constitution. When I point out an incident of guns unnecessarily terrorizing a child, it doesn't mean I'm secretly pushing an agenda on the AWB and was not honest in stating earlier that I don't think it will accomplish anything or is worth political effort.

My point of view, stated several times, is that guns multiply the dangers of violent or potentially violent situations and make them more lethal. Crime, suicide, accidents, emotional arguments with family and friends or neighbors...all of these things get more problematic with guns around. All of those things have other root causes that in some cases can be addressed, but there is a role guns play that I personally feel means they should be regulated.


I am not sure about the constitutionality of a machine gun ban. I am generally ok with how they are treated with regard to the 1934 NFA. I think that suppressors being lumped in with them is a tragedy but not unconstitutional. I think the 1986 Lautenberg amendment that DID ban them is probably unconstitutional, but will admit its a grey area. I do think certain types of machine guns really are substantially more dangerous than any semiautomatic guns-namely crew served belt fed such as a M2 (Ma Duece) or MG43 and submachineguns. Both are very easy to control on full auto and allow a very small number of people or an individual the ability to do a lot of damage, with limited advantages for defensive uses. This is also wrapped up in my views on the applicability of what arms means in the context of the second amendment.

Guns do make it easier for an evil person to be evil, or even a person lacking judgement to do evil. However they also make it possible for the weak to defend themselves against the strong and resist someone imposing their will on them. So in that regard I think they are neutral. I am also damn glad that we live in a nation governed by the rule of law and not the gun and think that is fine tradition to continue and realize that keeps me way safer than my gun does. Doesn't mean my gun (and other private citizens guns) doesn't play a rule in maintaining that rule of law however.
posted by bartonlong at 5:16 PM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Doesn't this make it a hard thing to argue about that more guns = more murder and especially more assault weapons = more murder?

Perhaps there is a saturation point which we reached years ago. There is no question that far stricter gun control and restricted access (at the national level, not a city-wide ban) at levels found in other western democracies does result in significant reductions in gun-related fatalities. Otherwise, we'd see many examples to the contrary, countries with strict gun control and greater gun-related fatalities, but there is not even one, not by a long shot.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:17 PM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I agree with the general point that less guns = less gun deaths, and I suspect it means less murders overall (even bearing in mind that the US has a higher per capita non-firearm homicide rate than many of those countries), but the countries who have the wherewithal to effectively enforce gun regulations have other advantages over non-OECD countries with extensive police corruption and/or porous borders.

I'm pretty much an all or nothing guy on gun control. Either repeal the second or stop wasting political effort. It's a long term problem and there isn't going to be a smoking gun in terms of US statistics as long as we keep banning and un-banning every few years. I'll change my mind on this if scotus does, or the CDC has the chance to prove the effectiveness of policy change.

I see this as the liberal political strategy equivalent of a land war in Asia.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:39 PM on January 25, 2013


If you combine the populations of Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Australia, you'll get a population roughly the size of the United States. We had 32,000 gun deaths last year. They had 112. Do you think it's because Americans are more homicidal by nature? Or do you think it's because those guys have gun control laws?
once again less murders with a gun is not the same as less murders


The U.S. has an intentional homicide rate at least four times that of any of the countries named above.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:41 PM on January 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


The U.S. has an intentional homicide rate at least four times that of any of the countries named above.

This is true, and always has been. And that murder rate is concentrated in poor inner city areas and seem to be a result of neglect, racism and the drug war creating a black market worth killing people over (if you have no other options economically or at least believe you do). None of these factors have anything at all to do with an AWB or really gun control in general.

I also think the effect gun control measures in both australia and great britain had on the violent crime rate before and after it was implemented are very telling also. Looking at THAT number is probably a far better gauge of whether or not banning a certain type of weapon makes people more peaceful.
posted by bartonlong at 7:26 PM on January 25, 2013


None of these factors have anything at all to do with an AWB or really gun control in general.

Except that guns being less prevalent makes gun murders less likely. And we were talking about gun murders. But feel free to let us know if the goalposts are going to stay in the same place for more than an hour.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:24 PM on January 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


You'd have a hard time proving that to a regular of MetaFilter. Not all liberals hate people who like guns, but this thread alone provides examples of, at the very least, liberal contempt.

OK. Here's where I get ticked off. I catch gun enthusiasts lying their ass off about the technical and tactical points all the time, and now I'm the bad-guy for pointing out they're fibbing and snickering at us for buying it? No.

There is a level of discourse "for us" and "for them" - "for us" we're honest and open, "for them" - which is to say anyone who isn't balls deep in gun culture - it's little white lies and nonsense technobabble. WE get to talk about the history and efficacy of different firearms - THEY get to accept we are their betters.

Screw that. I swapped sides. Deal with it. Your Chewbacca defense is no longer effective.

And boy howdy, I do hate, and I mean hate, me some assault rifles. For one, they're indicative of the stupid and virulent Nazi-worship that infected Allied governments post-war. Project Paperclip wankery of the worst sort. (Yes, they had jets... so did we. We decided to build heavy bombers instead. How'd that work out? Yes, they had heavy and super heavy tanks. We had The Jug. How'd that work out? Don't get me started on Russian submachine guns - the Germans issued more PPSh-41's than StG's.)

For another, unless it's in a very specific circumstance, it will be bettered by a battle rifle or shotgun in actual combat. When we're talking between "us" about the M16, the Gauger always comes up - the 12ga combat shotguns issued in 'Nam. "Charlie laughs at McNamara's Mistake, but they fear the Gauger" - a quote from any SoF article on the topic since ever. Not meant for lib/prog ears, I know, but there it is.

Worse, "we" know, with dead certainty, how lethal certain weapons are in certain circumstances. Walk into any gun shop in the nation, and ask for the best kind of gun for defending your house.

If you have any shred of honesty as a firearms enthusiast, you already know the answer... and it ain't a semiauto rifle with a pistol grip and high capacity removable magazine, and it ain't any kind of handgun.

OK, so where does the assault rifle fit in? Regular, trained troops, in open terrain, with heavy weapons support. If you want to play soldier, and look like you're carrying the real thing.

Where else?

Killing as many unarmed opponents as possible in as short an amount of time. Six-year olds, say, or movie goers in a crowded theater.

OK, I like shotguns - what about the Clackamass shooting? Open Carry is legal in Oregon - I am now of the firm belief that carrying an unsecured firearm in public should result in shoot-first police or private security response. Only nuts open carry long arms or side-arms in plainclothes, and we all know it.

The absolutism - "all guns or no guns" - is infuriating. It's dishonest. It's killing people. I'm sorry if that makes you feel bad.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:26 PM on January 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


I also think the effect gun control measures in both australia and great britain had on the violent crime rate before and after it was implemented are very telling also. Looking at THAT number is probably a far better gauge of whether or not banning a certain type of weapon makes people more peaceful.

Multipliers. Rob someone with a knife, or rob them with a gun. The gun makes a death more likely. I would rather have the same amount of less deadly crime.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:38 PM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, you believe an armed leftist political rally would engender a respectful distance by the authorities?

Yes.

Thanks to an army of new recruits inspired to join up when they heard about Newton’s bravado, groups of armed Panthers would drive around following police cars. When the police stopped a black person, the Panthers would stand off to the side and shout out legal advice. (from an article in The Atlantic posted in one of the previous threads)

Yeah, a different time. Now I'm sure they'd be shot.

I am not a gun nut. I don't own a gun. I probably never will. I always find it awkward arguing for them. But I'm not really arguing for guns. I'm saying that this fight is about more than guns. Just like the abortion debate is really about a women's right to choose and control over her own body, in this case the laws we are putting in place are deeply undemocratic and invasive of privacy and civil liberties. And again they aren't targeted at the causes.

"Assault weapons used by military, law enforcement, and retired law enforcement; "

That's how you know the real target of this legislation isn't violence:

Studies over the past two decades have found the rate of DV among police families to be somewhere between 22 percent and 41 percent, 2-4 times that of the general population (trigger warnings in early sections).

Again, I don't think guns are the only thing standing between us and a police state. I'm not hoping for some fantasy-land mass rebellion or overthrow of of the government. As bartonlong said, if it ever comes to that, we have already lost. As a country and a community.

And domestic violence rates are down in part due to the majority of police officers who don't abuse their partners. Without enforcement and the justice system, it would be very difficult to handle that important issue.

But this toss-out to retired officers makes no sense if we're trying to reduce the real violence.
posted by formless at 9:11 PM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


krinklyfig writes "There is no question that far stricter gun control and restricted access (at the national level, not a city-wide ban) at levels found in other western democracies does result in significant reductions in gun-related fatalities. Otherwise, we'd see many examples to the contrary, countries with strict gun control and greater gun-related fatalities, but there is not even one, not by a long shot."

Just off the top of my head there is Mexico with very restrictive gun control; though a very different flavour than most (they allow small calibre hand guns and heavily restrict large calibre weapons and rifles). They have a serious firearm violence problem. And interestingly they also have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
posted by Mitheral at 11:04 AM on January 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Brazil also has a well codified set of gun control laws, and an above average rate of homicide by firearm. In 2005 tighter restrictions, when put to a vote, were not adopted by the Brazilian people.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 11:10 AM on January 26, 2013


You'd have a hard time proving that to a regular of MetaFilter. Not all liberals hate people who like guns, but this thread alone provides examples of, at the very least, liberal contempt.

OK. Here's where I get ticked off. I catch gun enthusiasts lying their ass off about the technical and tactical points all the time, and now I'm the bad-guy for pointing out they're fibbing and snickering at us for buying it? No.


And apparently, you're so smart that you managed to pull "Especially slap*happy" out of my heavily encoded message. Tell me again how gun nuts are the paranoid ones.
posted by Etrigan at 11:41 AM on January 26, 2013


"Tough shit? If the deer is too smart for you without semi-auto, maybe you are just meant to go to McDonald's that day."

Drinky Die, your excuse is that your ignorance of how a firearm operates somehow better qualifies you to judge its capabilities?

Semi autos are permitted for small game in PA ,Drinky Die. Did I mention small game? Pretty sure somewhere I said small game. Ah well, it's better if you don't read stuff. Wouldn't want to upset your ignorant bliss.

But I know older hunters who have arthritis but still have a good eye who prefer a semi-auto action. Plenty of people hunt Turkey with Benellis too. Not my thing, but why should I agree to deprive them of their firearm just because my stuff will go untouched?

Now, do they need 50 round banana magazines, no. But an arthritic hunter with 4 rounds so he can require quickly doesn't become a massacre threat simply because he's using a semi-auto.

Slap*Happy I agree with some of that But your use of "assault rifle" is vague
(do you mean semi-automatic rifles or actual assault rifles that have selective fire? - apparently your "technical corrections" are not pulled from technical definitions. Want to say "assault rifle" is a general term, fine, but don't then pull this "technical" card b.s.)
- you don't address local breakdowns of authority which is very common in some parts of the world,
- shotguns are excellent in urban areas - given your opponents aren't wearing body armor, they're just fine for lone shooters too plenty of CQB evidence on this (and the Cumbria shootings for example).

"Assault rifles are only useful for trained regular forces who plan to engage the enemy at a distance in open terrain with air or heavy weapons support."

Completely wrong. Assault rifles are lighter and use lighter rounds and have relatively short range (400 meters or so, depending) and they're more controllable when fired full auto. They're versatile, light and easily replaced. That's why they're so common.
Perhaps you're thinking of a battle rifle like the FN-FAL or Galil, which are chambered for longer range. I like these more. Big, heavy, hard hitting, generally reliable. But you can use them in the desert or the forest too. They're less useful than assault rifles because it's harder to lug them and ammo around.

"If our merry band of freedom fighters have $5000 M16 clones and no answer to heavy weapons, they are chipped beef on toast the first time they raise their weapons in anger."
Yeah, the government using heavy weapons on its citizenry gets so much popular support with no backlash.
Seriously, has anyone here even seen a revolution? It's not all about the guns. But why deny that they are an essential component for certain stages?

"If any other toy on the market could kill 20 first graders with one example of misuse,
the CPSC would yank it off the market faster than you could say "Lawn Darts."


Just like home swimming pools are outlawed. Oh, wait.

"I was unaware that lightning was also a man-made invention designed expressly for killing and operated by humans."


Yes, it's so much better when one's child has their guts spread out all over the road by a McDonald's burger eating, fat assed, texting while driving moron in a man-made vehicle NOT expressly designed for killing.

The cognitive dissonance here is astounding.

Y'all have somehow imbued the inanimate object with intent, while absolving the user of the object of responsibility.
What's this "we take precautions" garbage? Really? We mechanically limit the speed automobiles can drive on our roads? We can. Is there some reason not to do so?

Is there some reason people need a huge SUV or a superfast sports car? Given the #1 killer of young people is road accidents, why does this logic apply to firearms but not to automobiles? Given more kids are killed by swimming pools than guns, why not focus on safety rather than these vague prognostications about styles or functions of firearms?

I can't think of any proposed regulation I oppose offhand. I have issues with some of the laws in the legislation being proposed though. And that's why. Seems vs. functions.


"Afghanistan is the home turf of which one of those, now?"
Pakistan. Unless India nukes them.


"They're less accurate and less weildy than ordinary rifles, such as automatics with internal magazines or bolt-action weapons."
Lol. What? Maybe in the '70s that was true. The .22 Ruger is very nimble and accurate enough to hit squirrels.

"No one has yet demonstrated why they need to fire off 10 rounds at anything while hunting."
Right, because again, the ACTION is exactly the same thing as the MAGAZINE.

"You have to be willfully dense not to see the difference between a city policy and a national policy. City bans are dumb, if guns are legal to buy right outside the city there is no way under our current national laws to prevent them from flowing to the black market right into the city"

Actually it exposes the idiocy of passing half assed laws to please hand wringing ignoramuses. City bans would work well if the law was enforced and there were enough police on it and prosecution behind it.
Couple gun sentencing with already criminal action and you have a win-win situation that doesn't target otherwise law abiding gun owners.

"On another topic, I'm curious if the pro-gun side here thinks the laws that have made machine guns/fully autos functionally banned are constitutional or not?"

That's regulated, not banned. You can get a license for them. I've got a buddy who's an armorer and does work for law enforcement and military. He's got plenty of machine guns. Silencers. Loads of nasty stuff.


"Sounds like the perfect time to strike a deal. I'll trade you some of my 2nd Amendment rights if you give me some of my 4th and 5th back."

It's part of the same confidence scam.


"Guns act as multipliers on whatever problems you otherwise have."

Just like alcohol. Let's ban that. I don't drink. Why should you? People who drive drunk scare me.
Best way to stop that is to cut off the flow of liquor, right? I'm only being partly facetious.
I actually would like to see alcohol far harder to come by. But I don't pretend the issue is as simple as banning it or play games with 80 proof being worse than 40 proof because it gets you drunker faster and more likely to drive drunk and kill kids and what do you need whiskey for anyway when you have beer, etc. etc.

Plenty of people in law enforcement have said, and been saying for years, how to make the streets safer from gun violence. People didn't listen then. They won't listen now. And when the legislation being proposed fails to curb the violence people will say that was just because it didn't go far enough. (Ban everything intoxicating!)
Silly.
Why tougher penalties, regulation and more enforcement are at all controversial with people who want gun control I don't know.
I suspect it's just fear and ignorance of something they have no experience with. Understandable. What bugs me is politicians know a lot of this and have no qualms in benefiting from it.

But hell, as was said above, there are other Constitutional rights under assault and those were met with some resistance from some places but uproarious applause from other quarters. Why should this issue be any different in American politics?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:45 PM on January 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just off the top of my head there is Mexico with very restrictive gun control

Brazil also has a well codified set of gun control laws, and an above average rate of homicide by firearm.


Throughout the thread I made clear that similarly advanced economies with restrictive gun access have far less gun violence than the US.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:04 PM on January 26, 2013


Brazil has one of the largest economies in the world and is a functioning democracy. If my attempt to head you off at the pass has failed, then I would like to know in more detail what you mean by 'similarly advanced.'
posted by TheTingTangTong at 3:30 PM on January 26, 2013


I would like to know in more detail what you mean by 'similarly advanced.'

You know, like Scotland's.
posted by Etrigan at 4:36 PM on January 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Brazil has not exactly had a stable government throughout the 20th century. Until Lula was elected a decade ago, they didn't really have an egalitarian economy, and income inequality was severe. It was only in the 1990s that Brazil established a stable economy. Before the 1980s, Brazil was mostly ruled by dictators and/or military. They are a very large but only recently stable economy, with universal education and basic social and labor reforms in their immediate history.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:53 PM on January 26, 2013


Look, isn't it all angels dancing on the head of a pin? You can cherry pick examples from developing economies, but you can't ignore the fact that we have a far worse problem with gun violence than Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, Japan, Canada ... All are similarly advanced, stable, egalitarian economies. Where does the rubber meet the road and we acknowledge the reality that many other nations have solved this problem of gun violence far better than we have?

It has already been mentioned in this thread, but all this political circus around the 2nd Amendment is very recent. In the past the popularity of the militia had more to do with keeping slaves in line rather than any defense of the country against tyranny or invasion. I see nothing wrong with Canada's approach. I see a lot wrong with ideologically driven policy which puts the individual right to own a gun over the right to public safety. We've been sacrificing tens of thousands of lives annually to protect this ideology for far too long. I'm not even that old, and I remember when the political conversations about guns were about reasonable limits on access instead of placating the NRA and the pro-gun lobby. Of course, I also remember when raising taxes was not considered a mortal sin by a Republican politician, so...
posted by krinklyfig at 9:16 PM on January 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


The thing here is that gun control has been appropriated as part of the culture war thing the Right is using to try to wrench as much political control out of the country as it can. One of a long line of bugaboos it can trot out to signify the END OF THE WORRRRLD AS WE Know IT. A person might have just one thing on their list of things that they're absolutely against, but god dammit, they'll make that thing seem like it's absolutely critical to the functioning of America as it should be, planes flying over head, apple pies soaring through the air, baseball and NASCAR and amber waves of purple mountain's shining sea rockets' red majesty, amen. They figure that, if they can merge the sets of people who are against abortion, gay marriage, gun control, higher taxes and secular society, they'll end up with a controlling majority, regardless of the many hundreds of other things that make them terrible or actually corrupt.
posted by JHarris at 9:27 PM on January 26, 2013


"Tough shit? If the deer is too smart for you without semi-auto, maybe you are just meant to go to McDonald's that day."

Drinky Die, your excuse is that your ignorance of how a firearm operates somehow better qualifies you to judge its capabilities?


Ahh, what was it I said earlier?

Some folks are really defensively going off against points I'm not making and I don't feel it's really constructive to the conversation.


Semi autos are permitted for small game in PA ,Drinky Die. Did I mention small game? Pretty sure somewhere I said small game. Ah well, it's better if you don't read stuff. Wouldn't want to upset your ignorant bliss.

Hey, Mr. Non-Ignorant Reads Stuff, try reading this:

§ 2308. Unlawful devices and methods.
(a) General rule.--Except as otherwise provided in this
title, it is unlawful for any person to hunt or aid, abet,
assist or conspire to hunt any game or wildlife through the use
of:
(1) An automatic firearm or similar device.
(2) A semiautomatic rifle or pistol.

posted by Drinky Die at 9:59 PM on January 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


"On another topic, I'm curious if the pro-gun side here thinks the laws that have made machine guns/fully autos functionally banned are constitutional or not?"

That's regulated, not banned. You can get a license for them. I've got a buddy who's an armorer and does work for law enforcement and military. He's got plenty of machine guns. Silencers. Loads of nasty stuff.


Mr. Reads Stuff, read where I said "functionally" banned. You can get one, but they are priced out of the range of the average psycho and are mostly collectors items because no new ones are sold. They aren't used in crimes.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:22 PM on January 26, 2013


"Guns act as multipliers on whatever problems you otherwise have."
Just like alcohol. Let's ban that. I don't drink. Why should you? People who drive drunk scare me.


We tried it and it didn't work, as previously discussed in earlier comments a man like you surely must have read, there are differences between regulating addictive substances and regulating tools.

We can look at plenty of countries that have strict gun controls without turning into prohibition era America.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:26 PM on January 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Cut it with the sarcasmo personal insults and discuss like adults, please; if you want to get into a big one-on-one, take it to email.]
posted by taz at 5:12 AM on January 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Interesting article in today's Richmond, VA paper: Gun-related homicides and injuries down as firearm sales soar.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 10:41 AM on January 27, 2013 [2 favorites]



Chart of the Day: Gun Ownership is on a 30-Year Decline


When comparing gun violence to gun ownership, I think percentage of households owning guns, rather than total guns owned or guns in circulation may be the better statistic.

Nate Silver on gun control:

“It’s a tricky problem, statistically. The issue is that while gun ownership rates could plausibly be a cause of fatal crimes and accidents, it can also be a reaction to it, i.e. people purchase guns because they feel unsafe. I’m not saying that the issue is intrinsically inscrutable. But it’s something that more requires a PhD-thesis-level treatment than a blog post to really add much insight, I think.”

It would be nice to have some in-depth studies of gun control effectiveness. Unfortunately, the NRA has blocked this from happening for some reason.

FiveThirtyEight (Micah Cohen): Electoral College Changes Would Pose Danger for Democrats

posted by Golden Eternity at 1:05 PM on January 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


“It’s a tricky problem, statistically. The issue is that while gun ownership rates could plausibly be a cause of fatal crimes and accidents, it can also be a reaction to it, i.e. people purchase guns because they feel unsafe. I’m not saying that the issue is intrinsically inscrutable. But it’s something that more requires a PhD-thesis-level treatment than a blog post to really add much insight, I think.”

It would be nice to have some in-depth studies of gun control effectiveness. Unfortunately, the NRA has blocked this from happening for some reason.


The CDC did a study about gun control's effectiveness and came to the conclusion that the result was pretty much neutral at best. And for the case of assault weapons that the numbers actually used (assault weapons) made it impossible to tell whether or not banning them was effective.

Here is a link compared civilian gun ownership/legal availability of guns and crime rates across all kinds of countries. I posted it above also.

And the mother jones article (a publication that seems to be pretty pro gun control in general)admits it is hard to correlate the rate of gun ownership with the number of guns sold. I think a likely situation is people are getting increasingly paranoid about guns becoming illegal/confiscation and increasingly distrustful of government and therefore lying to pollsters about owning guns. Just speculation on my part, but i don't think its implausible.

And another wrinkle in the real purpose of the assault weapons ban Fienstein introduced is that ALL government officials are exempt from the ban. So she made sure her and her kind can still get the objects she would deny law abiding citizens.
posted by bartonlong at 1:35 PM on January 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The CDC did a study about gun control's effectiveness and came to the conclusion that the result was pretty much neutral at best.

This is not true at all. First of all, for several decades, the CDC has been prevented from doing any research that concludes that gun control is effective, thanks to NRA-bought members of Congress. And second, the actual wording of the conclusion was this:
"Note that insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness should not be interpreted as evidence of ineffectiveness.
Which is unsurprising, of course, because they're not allowed to gather that evidence in the first place.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:52 PM on January 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


And another wrinkle in the real purpose of the assault weapons ban Fienstein introduced

I don't get this. What is the real purpose of the assault weapons ban?
posted by Golden Eternity at 2:03 PM on January 27, 2013


The thing here is that gun control has been appropriated as part of the culture war thing the Right is using to try to wrench as much political control out of the country as it can. One of a long line of bugaboos it can trot out to signify the END OF THE WORRRRLD AS WE Know IT.

I don't think there's any difference anymore between Culture War issues and more substantial issues, as far as how the Republican Party approaches them. They have dug in and become entrenched on all positions at the most right-wing end of the spectrum, so they've painted themselves into a corner and no longer have anywhere to go. They treat every issue as if it were the End of the World. I think Boehner's finally coming around, but they have only a few real voices of sanity left after all their primary challenges which ousted most of the moderates and policy wonks.

All that's left are the ideologues, who see any compromise as a blow to their integrity, and who are willing to hold up even emergency funds after a devastating hurricane, because they complained the costs weren't being offset. Emergency funds for disaster relief never was a culture war issue. It's what you call a no-brainer, as in you don't even need a brain to know it's a good idea to vote for emergency disaster relief for your own citizens.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:57 PM on January 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Personally, as a gun owner (though I should say that assault rifles really don't interest me very much at all, though handguns do. . . ), I would like to see as much energy as is currently being directed at this powerful inanimate object, and people who hunt, be instead directed at organizations like the NRA. For thirty of forty years (ever since it was the taken over by the fringe right in an organizational coup) this lobbying body has 1) made itself the poster child for the rights of hunters, sportsmen, and crazy militia types all at once 2) made itself huge amounts of money and then availed itself of said cash to push its own rigid agenda 3) made the discussion about gun control a zero sum game (which is why you can't talk about sensible measures without being shouted down by people who admire Chuck Norris as a martial artist).

In a country with 200,000,000 guns and a long constitutional history, you just aren't, in my opinion going to get much traction without first tackling the real problem: the way special interest groups with deep deep pockets can direct a national dialogue.

This is, in my opinion, a serious problem which I have not yet really seen addressed.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 7:11 PM on January 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


bartonlong, that link you keep linking doesn't have any info on the number of fatalities involved in those murders, rapes, assaults and robberies. The purpose of gun control is to reduce fatalities, not to reduce crime. As you've pointed out before, if you want to reduce crime, you've got to look at income equality and opportunity, racism, and other sociopolitical policies. But if you want to reduce accidental deaths and intentional murders, and I believe all MeFites do, then you need to have better gun control. Don't conflate the issues: both are serious and important, but problems with one don't override problems with the other.
posted by harriet vane at 8:02 PM on January 27, 2013


krinklyfig, I desperately hope when those guys come up for reelection their opponents have the wit to bring up the fact they opposed emergency Hurricane relief.
posted by JHarris at 8:24 PM on January 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


With all due respect to hunters who don't like the NRA, it's not our job to shut them down, it's your job if you are the silent majority you claim to be.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:28 PM on January 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


But if you want to reduce accidental deaths and intentional murders, and I believe all MeFites do, then you need to have better gun control.

Where do we come down on the question of justifiable homicide, and does that affect the statistics?
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:31 PM on January 27, 2013


In spite of the insults back and forth, and disagreements about many things, I believe that every MeFite can agree that it'd be wonderful to have fewer gun deaths in America. I have some questions for anti-gun-control people in this thread...

Look at the other countries which beat the USA when it comes to having high firearm-related death rates. Are they countries you want to copy? Would you want to live in any of them? Do you want laws that bring you closer to or further away from their rates?

Guns in the home are 22 times more likely to cause accidental death than to prevent a crime. Is this the safety you are hoping for in your home?

Other dangerous weapons, tools, devices, etc. We require insurance, regulation, safety features, and so on. Why are guns different from other potentially-lethal-but-often-useful items?

Other countries which increased their gun control did not see a corresponding increase in other crimes. Same amount of crime, fewer deaths. Isn't that worth trying for?

And yes, gun owners and American citizens have the right to own a gun. But if you have a gun and you oppose gun control, just stop and imagine for a moment - what if a few extra restrictions on you would actually help America be a safer place to live than Nicaragua, or Zimbabwe? (just to pick a couple at random, but refer back to the wiki link for plenty more examples). Wouldn't that be worth contributing to?

US politicians are going to make gun-control laws with or without you. The tide has turned on the last few decades of increasing access to guns - the majority have said that they've had enough of gun deaths and want to start preventing them. Do you want to try to help make them good laws, or would you rather let them mess it up and leave you complaining for the next few decades?
posted by harriet vane at 8:41 PM on January 27, 2013


BrotherCaine, I doubt MeFites would agree on the issue of justifiable homicide enough for there to be a majority opinion. It's complex and applied differently around the world.

Personally, I think justifiable homicide is much rarer than defending lawyers would have us believe, and that it should mitigate but not exempt someone from punishment. But I'm an Aussie who thinks the benefits of guns for personal defence aren't worth the cost it imposes on society, so that colours my opinion. And don't even get me started on police shootings, war, etc as it'd be the derail to end all derails :)

As far as statistics go, I believe that would depend on who was gathering the statistics. The NRA aren't clear on their methodology but I assume they wouldn't include justifiable homicide cases; whereas I believe any death by firearm should be included in statistics regardless of it's reason, and then broken down into groups.
posted by harriet vane at 8:58 PM on January 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ugh. Even with an edit window I still can't typing.
posted by harriet vane at 9:02 PM on January 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


“Do you want to try to help make them good laws, or would you rather let them mess it up and leave you complaining for the next few decades?”

harriet vane I think a lot of people (of whatever politics) don’t want straightforward, practical help or advice. Most people have an axe to grind.
That said, I think the Obama administration has greatly outclassed any other administration’s handling of this issue. Unfortunately, bills are generated in the Senate and there’s rabid fanaticism on both sides.
As it sits, we don’t fund the anti-gun laws we have now. We don’t currently – for example – have a confirmed head of the ATF. Does that make much sense to you? The Senate just hasn’t gotten around to it. Plenty of time to be on T.V. after Newtown though.
It just seems hypocritical and much like the PATRIOT act and TSA security theater political hoopla. Many highly professional and well experienced people had plenty to say about security and counterterrorism and other issues through all that. Didn’t much work.
A lot of people hold the ATF responsible for some scandals. I don’t. It’s next to impossible to enforce the law without funding and oversight and gun manufacturers, literally, got away with murder because the import rules were/are so messed up.
And there were plenty of agents yelling for help, sending up flares, banging on garbage can lids and they were beached by congress until the SHTF. Then, of course, oh yeah every politician wants their pound of flesh.
I see so much bitching about the CDC not being allowed to do research, yeah. Crying shame. Meanwhile the ATF couldn’t get hard information out to other agencies to enforce the law because they couldn’t publish import licensing and crime scene weapon trace data. Not a word on that from the public when it was passed.
So there’s this duality between what people apparently want to see and what is actually a practical tool for enforcement. Guns can be an epidemic of murder and mayhem or the greatest form of self-protection since the p38 can opener but unless the agency tasked to police them can find ones they *know* to be used illegally, policy debate pro or con doesn’t enter into it.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:01 PM on January 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


“Hey, Mr. Non-Ignorant Reads Stuff, try reading this:”
Yeah:
“A semiautomatic shotgun or magazine shotgun for hunting or taking small game, furbearers, turkey or unprotected birds *unless* the shotgun is plugged to a two- shell capacity in the magazine.”

So – semiauto can be used for hunting. For birds. Small game.

And, apparently, special regulations for semiauto deer hunting: As long as you use buckshot.

As far as deer being too tough, I understand PA drivers slam into more deer than anywhere else in the country.

Sounds like your state’s hunting laws are working out just great for the auto & body shops.
But most of my info comes from camp talk, brochures, etc. not lawbooks.

And anyway, your point was if you can’t hunt deer without a semi-auto rifle, you shouldn’t hunt deer. My point was that semi-auto has uses in hunting small game. Regardless of what’s legal. Now you’re pretending your point was about what’s legal and what isn’t and my point is invalid because IANAL in PA.

No. Have YOU read the law? Even a cursory look at it shows how stupid it is. No hunting on Sunday? Yeah, that makes sense. Why should someone with a job be able to hunt on their time off? Hooray for blue laws, no? You can put a 240 grain medium game .44 round through a coyote with a bolt action, but with a .22 mag that won’t go through it and blow the carcass apart? No way that’d be crazy.

If someone is a poor hunter with a semi-auto, they’re going to be a poor hunter with a bolt action rifle or pump shotgun. I can’t say enough, it’s the technique and the person, not the weapon. The gun doesn’t determine how skilled a shooter you are.

I think you’re ignorant of the practical realities of how firearms work and how hunting is done. I stand by that statement. There’s nothing wrong with being ignorant. Plenty of things in the world I don’t know a damn thing about. I use it pejoratively only because you refuse to accept the realities and make extensions – otherwise logical, I’m not attacking your thought process – that are incorrect.

Semi-autos are used by hunters. Whether that be shotgun or for small game or in some (fewer) cases, larger game, there are people who use it. I think I’ve well separated magazine capacity from that issue. Two rapid shots from a four capacity magazine are an entirely different thing than multiple shots from a 30 round mag. But what was at issue there is the type of action used for hunting.
You want to narrow the discussion down to deer hunting, Sundays, under a blanket, with a green flashlight, whatever, I can't give you a straight answer unless I know that's what you mean.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:04 PM on January 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


“They aren't used in crimes.”

Drinky Die, so then what’s your point?
Mine was there is a difference between banned and regulated. Even “functionally” banned. You can demonstrate enough responsibility to purchase one. You can’t do that for, say, a cruise missile or WMDs. So there’s no real constitutional issue in “functionally banned” machine guns vs. regulated machine guns, IMHO.
You asked for a “pro-gun side” answer. I'm pretty pro-gun, so I answered.
Also IMHO, the law itself is stupid on this. Too convoluted (google May 19, 1986), but I don’t know about unconstitutional. Plenty of confounding, self-contradictory and plain stupid laws have been upheld as constitutional. But I know the difference between “never under any circumstances” and “with a license.”

I don’t know how unclear my points are. I’m not a writer. So sorry if I’m not perfectly clear. But I’m certainly having to work to understand where you’re coming from. Sounds to me like you just want to argue and are doing the storefront Karate instructor “no, no, you attacked me wrong, attack me like this” song and dance when you get a reasonable answer you can’t tee off on. But I’m just not that angry about this issue.

But it does irk me when the goalposts are moved around. I’m genuinely trying to contribute, not win an argument. For me, there isn’t an argument. Guns work a certain way and that’s it.
In terms of the “should”s we disagree, but I doubt anyone is going to change anyone elses’ mind that much here. I'm pretty open to expansion of regulation. Probably more than many pro-gun guys. And I know I'm for far harsher sentencing than most for crimes in which firearms are used. That places the emphasis on plea bargaining to the lesser charge (armed robbery say) and giving up the source of the gun. But I'm not a prosecutor, it's 2nd hand.

“there are differences between regulating addictive substances and regulating tools.”

But dissimilarity between bans and regulation. And I was augmenting the “bans don’t work” end of that.
It’s ironic that prohibition era America had so many problems with firearms given the laws and capability of enforcement they had then, isn’t it?

The FBI basically gunned Dillinger down in the street. Collateral damage was next to meaningless. There were no Miranda laws. Far fewer fetters than now. And similarly – most of our gun violence comes from trade on banned substances in the drug war. School shootings, as spectacularly horrific as they are, are not the most common form of gun violence.

If we had less “Ban” type laws, if we, for example, regulated controlled substances, narcotics, etc., we would have far less gun crime to begin with.


“And another wrinkle in the real purpose of the assault weapons ban Fienstein introduced is that ALL government officials are exempt from the ban. So she made sure her and her kind can still get the objects she would deny law abiding citizens.”


Yeah, this is what gets me. I’m fine with some pretty draconian penalties for gun crimes, but where this goes off the rails is that politically it’s more about WHO gets to own guns and their socio-economic status.
The pro-gun side has been guilty of this as well of course. But the general idea itself is the enemy here.
What never comes up in these debates are the status of private security and the right to bear arms. So, I hire a bodyguard or my homeowners association contracts some rent-a-cops and suddenly those guys are trustworthy and can carry firearms but the exact same guy who isn’t protecting a mansion can’t have a pistol when he goes home to protect his own place.

“…be instead directed at organizations like the NRA.”

As I’ve said before, they love to pretend to be on our side. I’ve gotten mailers from them telling me I should or shouldn’t vote for people who otherwise have held perfectly reasonable positions on firearms. Typically it’s for other reasons. Abortion. Religion. Whatever. The way these guys make money is to tell their paymasters they can deliver “x” amount of votes. They’re just like any other big lobbying firm.

“it's not our job to shut them down, it's your job if you are the silent majority you claim to be.”

A rabid dog in the neighborhood is everyone’s problem. But, as typical, the problem gets laid off on Atticus Finch.

"We're the safest folks in the world," said Miss Maudie. "We're so rarely called on to be Christians, but when we are, we've got men like Atticus to go for us."
Jem grinned ruefully. "Wish the rest of the county thought that."

"You'd be surprised how many of us do."

"Who?" Jem's voice rose. "Who in this town did one thing to help Tom Robinson, just who?"
"His colored friends for one thing, and people like us. People like Judge Taylor. People like Mr. Heck Tate. Stop eating and start thinking, Jem. Did it ever strike you that Judge Taylor naming Atticus to defend that boy was no accident? That Judge Taylor might have had his reasons for naming him?"

This was a thought. Court-appointed defenses were usually given to Maxwell Green, Maycomb's latest addition to the bar, who needed the experience. Maxwell Green should have had Tom Robinson's case.

"You think about that"

posted by Smedleyman at 1:11 PM on January 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


As far as deer being too tough, I understand PA drivers slam into more deer than anywhere else in the country.

The cynic in me suspects that it's because you only get one deer tag a season, but can get one more if you "accidentally" hit a deer with your car.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:29 PM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Folks, just take stuff to MeMail don't talk about how you can't talk about it.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:44 PM on January 28, 2013


Father of Newtown victim heckled at hearing
The sometimes boisterous public hearing -- after nearly four hours of testimony from State Police, parents of slain Newtown first-graders and city mayors -- seemed dominated by gun owners, who railed at more than 90 proposed bills.

"The Second Amendment!" was shouted a couple of times by as many as a dozen gun enthusiasts in the meeting room as Neil Heslin, holding a photo of his slain 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, asked why Bushmaster assault-style weapons are allowed to be sold in the state.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:11 AM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


BrotherCaine writes "The cynic in me suspects that it's because you only get one deer tag a season, but can get one more if you "accidentally" hit a deer with your car."

Hitting a deer with your car generally does way more damage than the deer is worth. Sure I imagine there are some guys out there with winch bumpers on their beat up pickups who might try and hit a deer on purpose but the vast majority of hits are going to be accidental.
posted by Mitheral at 6:21 AM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


How the NRA Undermined Congress’ Last Push for Gun Control
posted by zombieflanders at 9:26 AM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sure I imagine there are some guys out there with winch bumpers on their beat up pickups who might try and hit a deer on purpose but the vast majority of hits are going to be accidental.

In the West Point area of slightly-upstate New York a few years back, a couple of bubbas had the bright idea to go out and shoot a couple of extra deer and then "hit" them with their trucks. The first one, they just ran over. That produced an unacceptable amount of destruction to the carcass, so one of these geniuses held the other one up while the other one slammed into it doing about 35. The driver aimed for the head, but the physics of the thing threw the other one into a tree hard enough to break at least one limb.

They didn't get to keep the deer.
posted by Etrigan at 10:30 AM on January 29, 2013


Now the NRA's against background checks (except for the mentally ill).
posted by dirigibleman at 3:06 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


harriet vane I think a lot of people (of whatever politics) don’t want straightforward, practical help or advice. Most people have an axe to grind.

Hah, too true! But there's a lot of gain to be made in the middle ground, and I think it's worth comparing the goals and values of gun ownership with the practical reality, to see where changes could be made or different paths discovered.

The ATF stuff you mention has been news to me, and I think it's on par with the CDC problem. I didn't even know about the CDC stuff until the previous gun thread, so maybe other people aren't aware of the ATF situation either.

or the greatest form of self-protection since the p38 can opener

I'll take issue with that. 22 times more likely to be used in household accident, suicide or domestic violence than to deter a crime, remember, so it's not *that* great.

unless the agency tasked to police them can find ones they *know* to be used illegally, policy debate pro or con doesn’t enter into it.

Why do they have to find ones that have been used illegally? Why not ones being used "legally" but dangerously, or kept illegally without having proof that they've been used? Or have I misunderstood your meaning?

And policy debate isn't merely pro or con - you can be pro-gun-control but anti-a-specific-piece-of-legislation, for example. The devil is in the details, and if moderate pro-gun people don't get involved then the details will be wrong because most gun-control advocates have no idea about the differences and possibilities, and will rely on info filtered to them by the bloody NRA. Funding also being an important detail that politicians like to gloss over, but will tackle if forced to do so by the electorate.
posted by harriet vane at 9:21 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"The cynic in me suspects that it's because you only get one deer tag a season, but can get one more if you "accidentally" hit a deer with your car."

I'm generally a damn cynical person, but I won't attribute purposefully hitting deer with your car to hunters.

It's scary as hell hitting a deer and the damage they can do to your car is immense. Even though I care about animal rights, I'm guessing (and hoping) those deer-crossing signs in Michigan aren't primarily for the benefit of the deer, they're for the 1,464 people injured by deer crashes every year.

That's an insane number.

I hope your comment wasn't a hidden bias on hunters and their ideology showing through. I understand it's an off-putting sport if you grew up in an urban area. I never really took part in it myself. But it's a large part of the culture of rural and semi-rural areas. And most of the people in that area were Democrats not that long ago.
posted by formless at 12:15 AM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


From dirigibleman's link:

LaPierre once again plans to tout the NRA's call for armed guards in every school as well as the group's call for loosen privacy laws the group says keep mental health records from being included in the extisting background check system.

From zombieflander's link:

Millions of records identifying seriously mentally ill people and drug abusers as prohibited purchasers are missing from the federal background check database because of lax reporting by state agencies," the report said.

I've been the only voice in this and the last gun thread pleading the members of this site to consider the horrible implications for privacy and mental health access if this latest batch of gun-control reform is passed.

The quote above is even more worrying. Right now, if you are convicted of any drug crime, including simple possession, you are ineligible for financial aid. We all know the disproportionate impact this has on minorities and the poor.

The currently regulatory and enforcement structure around this is a check-box on a financial aid form. And separate state and federal criminal record information systems.

Requiring doctors to submit alcohol and drug abuse records to a federal database is scary as hell given the above.

We're in the middle of a moral panic. I hope people start realizing that before it's too late.
posted by formless at 1:02 AM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Drug users don't have access to financial aid...they are unable to have successful and productive lives without access to education.

Drug users don't have access to firearms...people fucked up on hallucinogens and other mind altering substances aren't wielding deadly weapons.

I'm okay with one of these!
posted by Drinky Die at 1:11 AM on January 30, 2013


Right now, if you are convicted of any drug crime, including simple possession, you are ineligible for financial aid.

For someone worried about "moral panics," you seem awfully willing to exaggerate or selectively apply panic yourself. First of all, this applies to federal financial aid, not scholarships or other forms of financial aid. Second of all, the penalties are staggered both by crime (i.e. possession vs sale) and number of offenses, can be overturned through completion of rehab programs, and only become indefinite through multiple convictions. Third, it does not apply to any conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student's record; it also doesn't cover convictions of minors unless processed as an adult. In a lot of colleges, it only applies to convictions while you are a student.

Requiring doctors to submit alcohol and drug abuse records to a federal database is scary as hell given the above.

It's really not, especially once you consider that it's not as black-and-white as you made it out to be.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:47 AM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


We're always in moral panics. It's the background radiation of the United States. If it's not drugs it's immigrants or rock music or Dungeons & Dragons or drinking alcohol.

Moral panics give ordinary people something easy to do to let them think they're helping. Actually doing what's right for the nation takes time and energy, just to figure out what that is. That's why people participating in those panics are so easy to mislead, they don't know which of the many people telling them what's best for the world is right, so they go for the voice they consider to be most respectable, which is frequently not a good measure of insight or altruism.
posted by JHarris at 4:11 AM on January 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


I hope your comment wasn't a hidden bias on hunters and their ideology showing through.

I'd guess I have mixed feelings. I've got a hunter's safety training certificate from PA that has inked on it Not valid until [BrotherCaine's Twelfth Birthday] because I took the course when I was eleven and you couldn't get a hunting license at that age. I actually have a lot of respect for people who hunt humanely and eat what they kill, and at the same time a lot of disdain for the kind of people who exclusively trophy hunt or hunt primarily out of sadistic or machismo urges. I've never really gotten into hunting myself partly because I moved out to CA right around my twelfth birthday. I was under the impression for a long time because of people's reactions to the subject that no one hunted in this state, but then I started fostering GSPs and holy hell did all the hunters come out of the woodwork to comment on those dogs.

I've also personally had my car hit by a deer (he was going a lot faster than I was). So while I know both that no sane person would use their car to hunt and accidents are to be expected in deer country at twilight, I do think there are isolated instances of people doing it intentionally. Mostly the comment was because I thought I was picking up a jokey subtext in that hunter's safety course when they were talking about deer tags, or maybe a warning not to try it because it was so stupid. They had a lot of cautionary tales of idiocy, ignorance, and un-thinking behavior in that course, but it was thirty some years ago, so my memory is slightly hazy. They did a pretty good job, because I've been very wary of and careful handling guns ever since.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:46 AM on January 30, 2013


15-year-old girl who performed at Obama’s inauguration festivities shot dead amid Chicago’s most deadly January in a decade

Gabrielle Giffords at gun violence hearing: "Too many children are dying"
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:57 AM on January 30, 2013


15-year-old girl who performed at Obama’s inauguration festivities shot dead amid Chicago’s most deadly January in a decade

Durbin mentions shooting death of inaugural marcher
“The confiscation of guns per capita in Chicago is six times the number in New York City,” Durbin said. “We have guns everywhere and some believe the solution to this is more guns. I disagree. When you take a look at where these guns come from, 45 percent plus are sold in the surrounding towns around Chicago, not in the city.”
posted by zombieflanders at 9:32 AM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


NRA’s LaPierre: Universal Background Checks A Waste Of Time (Jan 31, 2013)
"When it comes to the issue of background checks, let’s be honest – background checks will never be 'universal' – because criminals will never submit to them," LaPierre's testimony reads.
Testimony of Wayne R. LaPierre, Executive Vice-President, National Rifle Association, before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime (May 27, 1999)
We think it 's reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere for anyone.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:37 AM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Midland City shooting: ATF on site day after bus driver killed; 6-year-old hostage is autistic (emphasis mine)
Sources tell Al.com the suspect, identified as 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, is a Vietnam veteran looking to gain attention to “air his grievances.” The Southern Poverty Law Center said today that Dale County Sheriff’s Investigator Tim Byrd told SPLC’s “Hatewatch” that Dykes has “anti-America” views. They described him as a “survivalist” with ties to the antigovernment movement
[...]
It was not immediately clear what prompted Dykes to storm the bus, but his motives appear to be related to a menacing charge in December. That month, Dykes pointed a gun at his neighbor, James Edward Davis, who told the Dothan Eagle that Dykes accused him of driving on his yard. Dykes was scheduled to have a bench trial today on the charge, and an unidentified girl who Dykes released from the bus told reporters that Dykes was referring to his upcoming case.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:40 AM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, look at this, a conservative lawmaker--the group where the mantra is to slash government budgets to nothing--says that we shouldn't have gun control because we won't have enough cops thanks to government budgets being slashed to nothing.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:32 AM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


BTW, we're now up to three shootings occurring since the gun control hearings started this morning. Even worse, Senators Flake of Arizona and Sessions of Alabama were arguing against gun control while incidents from their states were ongoing.

Also: Gabrielle Giffords’ husband smacks down Wayne LaPierre
During the hearing, LaPierre repeatedly voiced the talking point that there’s no need to expand the background check system because criminals don’t cooperate with background checks. Kelly responded:
The Tuscon shooter was an admitted drug user. He was rejected from the U.S. Army because of his drug use. He was clearly mentally ill. And when he purchased that gun in November, his plan was to assassinate my wife and commit mass murder at that Safeway in Tucson. He was a criminal. Because of his drug use, and because of what he was planning on doing. But because of these gaps in the mental health system, in this case, those 121,000 records, I admit did not include a record on him. But it could have.
And if it did, he would have failed that background check. he would have likely gone to a gun show, or a private seller, and avoided that background check. But if we close that gun show loophole, if we require private sellers to complete a background check, and we get those 121,000 records and others into the systems, we will prevent gun crime. That is an absolute truth. It would have happened in Tucson. My wife would not have been sitting here today if we had stronger background checks.
There are two policy conundrums here. One is this: How do you ensure that people like the Tucson shooter are represented in the national database designed to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from getting guns? There are significant gaps in this database for a variety of reasons, including the failure of states to share info with the feds. Some of Obama’s proposals are designed to fix these problems, by encouraging states to share data, reviewing data collection procedures, and so on. The second question is: How do you expand the background check system so it screens more gun sales than it currently does? The Obama proposal would do this by closing the loophole that allows guns to be sold without background checks at gun shows and by private sellers. As Kelly notes, the likelihood is that someone like the Tucson shooter — even if he were denied guns by the currently functional part of the background check system — would then try to get guns via a private seller. Closing the loophole could block that.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:10 AM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


“The ATF stuff you mention has been news to me, and I think it's on par with the CDC problem. I didn't even know about the CDC stuff until the previous gun thread, so maybe other people aren't aware of the ATF situation either.”

They’re probably not aware of this either: Most Shooters In Chicago Don't Face Charges.
“If only 6 percent of people involved in nonlethal shootings are charged, it clearly doesn’t set much of a deterrent,” said former Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis, a former FBI supervisor. “What it says is you have pretty good odds that you won’t wind up in court or wind up in jail. That’s something that needs to be examined to find out why this is happening.”
I'd like to see some studies on that myself. What is preventing prosecution under existing laws?

“I'll take issue with that. 22 times more likely to be used in household accident, suicide or domestic violence than to deter a crime, remember, so it's not *that* great.”


Well, it was sort of hyperbole. The p38 is a can opener. And the “22 times” point can be contested (circumstances, substance abuse factors, crime rate, actuarial, etc. etc.) but it’s my point that regardless of any contest at all over policy, the situation as it stands, police/agents can’t deal with the firearms they KNOW to be illegal, used in the commission of a crime.
I’m saying, before we even discuss that issue either way - there’s the fact the existing law is already being suborned.
I find laws against shooting people pretty uncontroversial. And yet, a lot of people get away with it.

“And policy debate isn't merely pro or con - you can be pro-gun-control but anti-a-specific-piece-of-legislation,”
I couldn’t agree more.

"The cynic in me suspects that it's because you only get one deer tag a season, but can get one more if you "accidentally" hit a deer with your car."

If someone is willing to risk 200lbs of buck meat, bone and antler coming through their windshield at 60 mph to pick up a trophy, yeah they’re more than a little crazy.

Not the least of which is the pain and suffering of the deer. I defend the use of semi-automatics but personally I greatly prefer one shot kills and typically I won’t shoot unless I’m certain. And if I look like a fool in the eyes of other hunters back at camp so be it. But I don’t lug heavy firearms over rough terrain for fun but so I don’t leave an animal wounded and in pain (speaking of which – if something is not an “assault" rifle it’s a “high powered” rifle)
But it’s such a problem to speak reasonably on these issues if the language is imprecise.

For example – my criticism of the AR-15s and AK knock offs would be that they have weaker cartridges which can necessitate another shot. But those aren’t all semi-automatics and blanketing the issue with that is inefficient.

Without limitations on scope and coherence of goals you get mission creep and the potential for serious harm to otherwise innocent civilians and enforcement personnel as well. And that goes both ways of course.

“Testimony of Wayne R. LaPierre…”

Zombieflanders, that shows the extent to which the NRA has shifted from at least marginal effort in defending firearm owners’ interests to complete lobbyist whores.
The hypocrisy of opposing hiring more police officers aside, the interesting thing about Graham’s comments (from what I read on Raw Story, surprisingly not blocked out here) is:
“You could find yourself in this country in a lawless environment from a natural disaster or a riot,” he said.

What happened in Mogadishu (et.al) for example there were major problems sorting out combatants from civilians who were just trying to defend themselves during the chaos and civil strife. So what then is the proper force response of the government in this situation?
(huge damn problem, trust me. The helpful, friendly neighborhood sniper is more of a gigantic pain in the ass if he's trying to be your buddy without coordinating with you)

Graham, and others, seem to want it both ways.
On the one hand the government has beached you and you must stand alone like Marshal Will Kane, on the other you're supposedly defending law and order from assless chap wearing Mad Max marauders who will become ubiquitous the moment the lights go out.

What universal registration would do (in theory, but I find no other solution palatable) is give government a list of law-abiding firearm owners who might be able to form militias to combat the lawless environment. That is, given the scenario.

But civilian-government partnership works wonders in all kinds of situations like that - from counterterrorism/counterinsurgency to basic community policing - because most people want order. They have shit to do instead of wearing grass and debris and laying in a field all day. The kids aren't going to sit for it. Gramma needs meds. All that.

There’s the argument that a fascist outfit can get their hands on the list, but if that’s the case, you’re already going to be in the field given you’re the type to go fight.
If not, you’re probably going to be too worried about food, fuel, medical treatment, etc. etc.

I defend the position that small arms can be used in a minor way to fight government oppression, civil unrest, etc. A lot of people read that as “FIGHT” rather than “MINOR.” It’s perfectly possible. But in all cases cooperation is absolutely critical. So that means, yes, perhaps having a firearm can help, but no, you can’t defend the neighborhood alone because of your hardware.
And you shouldn’t.
In a lawless environment, decent people MAKE law, aid their neighbors, share what they have and protect each other. If they don't, then they suffer predation.
Firearms can help that, they can, and demonstrably have, aided in small scale engagements with encroaching forces with bad intent, but like I say, it’s not the weapon it’s the person.

I don’t think Graham is one, whatever he’s packing.

But of course bad guys won't submit to background checks. That's why they're bad guys. Kicking in to the system has always required some individual sacrifice. What we should keep in mind is precisely that. The law abiding gun owner is not the enemy.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:59 AM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


harriet vane - also what hasn't come up (politically) is addressing handguns. So it all seems a bit specious. I mean, during the hearings how many times did "ATF" come up?

Why do they have to find ones that have been used illegally? Why not ones being used "legally" but dangerously, or kept illegally without having proof that they've been used? Or have I misunderstood your meaning?

Sorta. Obviously they have to find the ones used illegally. They're enforcing the law.
I mean, I approach it from a force perspective, we don't have the best tools to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, fanatics, terrorists, etc.
But there's a quote from Harold Pollack (he's been quoted in a lot of media recently, bloomberg, npr, etc.) the gist is we don't know much about how someone gets a firearm that leads to the commission of a crime or a homicide. That's straw purchases or stockpiled or social problem or the illegal narcotics - whatever.
We don't know. If we knew, we could better enforce the laws we have now, we could provide social services, we could do training to have people store and use them properly, etc. etc. Just basic policing strategy and efficient administration (like having a modern, searchable computer database).

This is regardless of the CDC stuff which I consider a given for any apolitical study and regardless of any debate over future policy change.
If you don't know where you are in the first place, it doesn't make much sense to set out in any direction on the premise that you're making progress because you're moving.

Social violence interruption is big in Chicago (with people who are actually trying to fix the problem, not politicians with agendas)
Pollack is with the U of C Chicago crime lab that started a sports program that cut down on violent crime arrests (I've said for years sports, but martial arts in particular, helps anger management. Like firearms training, it seems counterintuitive that it would cut down on violence. But it does.)

Their letter to Biden is well worth a read. Really. Anyone left in the thread, I'd strongly advise checking it out.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:29 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Poll shows strong Pa. support for new gun controls: On the major gun control measures President Barack Obama advocated earlier this month, the survey showed 95 percent of the respondents support background checks for all gun buyers. Such checks are already required in Pennsylvania.

Respondents favored outlawing the sale of assault weapons, 60 percent to 37 percent, and banning magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, 59 percent to 39 percent.


Good for you, PA. This state has a very deep and vibrant hunting culture but still manages to stay sensible enough to be willing to talk about regulations.

On other subjects, 47 percent said they generally support same-sex marriage and 43 percent were opposed.

Now that's a rights issue worth making noise about.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:10 PM on January 30, 2013


But of course bad guys won't submit to background checks. That's why they're bad guys.

They're bad guys because they're the spawn of the Devil, black pitch runs through their veins and the smell of sulfur follows them around. But truthfully, a lot of "bad guys" aren't in any way bad until they shoot someone. It is a label that's always applied after the fact.

I hope the American public takes note on how the gun lobby is unable to do anything but doubling-down when it comes to their challenging of gun control legislation. It would be nice if they were to actually suffer a crushing defeat -- especially as far as they've raised the stakes.
posted by JHarris at 5:14 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


The whole point of background checks, Mr LaPierre, is that the bad guys won't submit to them and will therefore find it more difficult to get guns. Of course, buying a gun legally isn't the only way to get one, but I don't see any problem with making it more difficult than just wandering down to their local gun show. If a criminal is too lazy or fearful of the consequences to jump through a few hoops before committing a crime, well, that's great! He can just stay home instead of killing someone today.

Law-abiding gun owners are definitely not the enemy, Smedley. But just like law-abiding car owners, it's not a bad thing to make sure they're registered and have insurance to deal with injury/damage relating to that ownership; to make sure they're properly trained instead of just hoping that the training will happen; and to hold them liable for the consequences of misusing or losing their tools.

And as far as the 22 times goes - feel free to provide data showing why it's wrong, but until then I'm not budging just for a handwavey "oh it can be challenged" :) This is why the NRA tries to suppress research, because without it we can just make up whatever suits our feelings. People who bring guns into their homes for self-defence would be horrified to learn that they're actually making their lives more dangerous, not less, but the gun manufacturers don't want anyone to know that.

I like what you say about the sports program, though. It backs up what I've heard about other solutions to multi-generational poverty, where giving kids interesting goals and then (the important part) showing them *how* to achieve them through planning and effort can make a huge difference in their lives. If a kid's parents can't show them how, because no-one showed them how, then someone else in the community has got to step up to the plate.
posted by harriet vane at 1:10 AM on January 31, 2013


Gayle Trotter Opposed Law To Protect Women Before Testifying On Guns For Moms
Gayle Trotter, the conservative activist who became the breakout star of Wednesday’s gun violence hearing in the Senate with her adamant cry that women need assault rifles to defend themselves, wrote last year that she opposed the Violence Against Women Act.

The reason, she said at the time, was the law would create the prospect of “false accusers” stealing taxpayer money by using shelters and legal aid.

On Wednesday, Trotter used the fear of violence against women to support gun laws that allow access to large capacity magazines and assault weapons in her testimony.

“An assault weapon in the hands of a young woman defending her babies in her home becomes a defense weapon,” she said.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:41 AM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


At Hill hearing, Wayne LaPierre tries to manhandle facts and logic
Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association’s chief executive, arrived for his hearing on Capitol Hill in the organization’s trademark fashion: violently.

When he and his colleagues stepped off the elevator in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Wednesday morning and found TV cameras waiting in the hallway, LaPierre’s bodyguards swung into action. One of them, in blatant violation of congressional rules, bumped and body-checked journalists out of the way so they couldn’t film LaPierre or question him as he walked
[...]
Usually, LaPierre comes out the victor in these tangles, and on Wednesday he was so confident of another win that he boldly declared that the NRA would oppose the most innocuous of proposals to reduce gun violence: criminal background checks.

Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) reminded LaPierre that the NRA once supported checks with “no loopholes anywhere, for anyone.” So does the NRA favor closing the “gun-show loophole” that allows people to avoid background checks?

“We do not,” LaPierre replied.

His reasoning, as always, is that existing gun laws aren’t being enforced — but he seems to have pulled the evidence out of his gun barrel. “Out of more than 76,000 firearms purchases supposedly denied by the federal instant check system, only 62 were referred for prosecution,” LaPierre declared in his opening statement.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) looked up the actual statistic. “In 2012 more than 11,700 defendants were charged with federal gun crimes,” Whitehouse said, “a lot more than 62.”

LaPierre had been caught. “So those — the 62, senator, statistic, was for Chicago alone,” he clarified, a salient fact omitted from his original testimony.

His logic failed him as badly as his facts. “My problem with background checks is you’re never going to get criminals to go through universal background checks,” he argued, unwilling to admit that deterring criminals from buying guns is a good thing, even if some eventually get theirs on the black market.
[...]
But LaPierre’s job is to stir up the active minority who are frightened and resentful. “If you’re in the elite, you get bodyguards,” he told the senators. “You get high-cap mags with semiautomatics protecting this whole Capitol. The titans of industry get the bodyguards.” He said it’s only “the hardworking, law-abiding, taxpaying American that we’re going to make the least capable of defending themselves.”

Minutes after that denunciation of the well-protected elites, LaPierre rejoined his bodyguards, who were waiting in a back room.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:00 AM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


since we are just posting links to articles now:

Just when fast and furious is off the headlines, ATF does it again

As to how often guns are used by law abiding citizens, NRA keeps track of that
(and if you can post stuff from the Brady campaign as legitimate, I can use NRA links)

more on how Diane Fienstein wants special rules to apply to her but not her political opponents

a great visual presentation about how insane this assault weapons ban really is. Those are literally the same gun, each and every one.

As to the 'guns are 22 times' or whatever more likely to be used on a family member or whatever, there are lots of legitimate problems with that study.

and the same people who edited the Trayvon Martin Murder case 911 tapes to make him sound like a racist also did some creative editing on the conneticut hearings about gun violence.

There is a LOT of disinformation about guns and gun owners out there, like the 40% of guns are sold without a background check. And a very good, articulate argument why universal background checks are useless and unenforceable in this country.

And I did get something wrong myself above, it was not a CDC study about gun control effectiveness but a Justice Department. Factcheck.org has a really really good write up on the murkiness of the issue. If you are getting tired of the links, here is one more that is a quick bullet point summary, turns out guns are used WAY, WAY more in self defense by law abiding gun owners than are used to commit murder. Lots of very revealing and interesting facts in there.
posted by bartonlong at 6:07 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't have the time or energy to track down every one of bartonlong's links, so I picked one arbitrarily, the "articulate argument."

If you're presenting that smarmy page as articulate, a page that unironically uses the phrase "that’s right, Einstein," you aren't helping your cause as much as you think you are.
posted by JHarris at 6:57 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


With all due respect to hunters who don't like the NRA, it's not our job to shut them down, it's your job if you are the silent majority you claim to be.

I think many of the people in this thread who are arguing for a critical look at any resulting legislation don't agree or like the NRA's politics.

So we don't support them. I have never given a penny to them and never will. Their attack on science by blocking research on firearms injuries and deaths is especially appalling, and it's good to see Obama's initiative addressing this issue.

It's on par with the ONDCP's legal requirement to oppose any research or legalization of a schedule I substance. Both are horribly anti-science and prevent us from truly addressing the issue.

Other than:
  1. Not supporting them financially
  2. Calling them out on their harmful actions
  3. Supporting organizations that promote science and scholarship like the AAAS
  4. Supporting organizations like the ACLU. Which is no friend to the NRA due to:
    1. A core philosophical difference on interpretation of the second amendment
    2. Opposition against the NRA support of weakening of mental health privacy laws and more cops and guns in schools.
I don't know what I'm supposed to do. I can't throw my complete support behind any legislation to come out of this conversation just because it will take guns out of circulation. That may be a good thing. But there are other concerns. I think we'll just have to disagree on the calculus here, and that's fine.

Regardless, I hope we all come out healthier, friendlier and with fewer needless deaths at the end.
posted by formless at 8:55 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just when fast and furious is off the headlines, ATF does it again

Ouch. That organization and the justice department and the FBI (all played their roles in F&F) really needed some reform in the wake of the previous mistakes. This kind of bizarre bungling is not acceptable for federal law enforcement.

Of course, no chance of any of that happening since Republicans in charge of oversight turned it into an executive witch hunt and Democrats would rather not admit anything bad happened.

As for the rest of your links, Washington Times type stuff? Come on. That's a sad reaction. I don't entirely agree the Brady campaign is a bad source but it's lame to react to use of a bad source by going all out with dumb, bad sources in reply. I don't know if you are conservative or not, but I see that as a frequent flaw in conservative reaction. You don't think Wikipedia is fair and balanced? Okay, let's make Conservapedia, a total den of stupidity for balance! You can find better sources than the Washington Times to make a very good case for your views.

I don't know what I'm supposed to do.


Convince fellow hunters to go along with you. I can't do it. If I, as a non-hunter totally okay with banning guns, tries I am instantly non-credible and don't understand the facts (even if I demonstrate a better understanding of the law) and am irrationally terrified of guns regardless of anything I say or do. The change has to come from within.

Like with those PA poll numbers I posted, that is way out of line with NRA rhetoric, but I'm sure NRA membership is extremely prevalent among gun owners here. Gotta cut out that cancer, the left can never do it.

As the post I was replying to with that comment said: I would like to see as much energy as is currently being directed at this powerful inanimate object, and people who hunt, be instead directed at organizations like the NRA.

I don't think the reasonable voices on either side will be heard until they gang up and shut down the roadblock to the process.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:08 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


As to how often guns are used by law abiding citizens, NRA keeps track of that

Odd that they failed to cover the driveway shooting incident, or the workplace shooting that happened while the NRA was testifying, or, y'know, all the times law-abiding citizens suddenly weren't law-abiding anymore. Or stories like the hostage situation in AL by a guy currently wanted for threatening people with guns, where they're no longer law-abiding yet still manage to keep their guns because of weak laws.

(and if you can post stuff from the Brady campaign as legitimate, I can use NRA links

"Neener, neener, neener" is not a particularly convincing style of debate.

more on how Diane Fienstein wants special rules to apply to her but not her political opponents

An op-ed from an extremely conservative paper? Source harder.

a great visual presentation about how insane this assault weapons ban really is. Those are literally the same gun, each and every one.

The only reason AWBs are "cosmetic" is because they're watered down by gun lobbyists. It's like that person who goes into a burger joint, orders a burger with no meat and no patties, and complains when they're brought a tomato and piece of lettuce.

As to the 'guns are 22 times' or whatever more likely to be used on a family member or whatever, there are lots of legitimate problems with that study.

There is a LOT of disinformation about guns and gun owners out there, like the 40% of guns are sold without a background check.


It's almost as if the institute responsible for conducting regular, intensive studies of the use of guns has had members of Congress who get a lot of money from a lobbying group revoke their funding to conduct said studies. Huh.

and the same people who edited the Trayvon Martin Murder case 911 tapes to make him sound like a racist also did some creative editing on the conneticut hearings about gun violence.

When you bring up Zimmerman's tapes out of nowhere, that's strike one. When you source a website that was started by Michelle Malkin to deliberatly slant the news, that's strike two (what's next, a screed against the Obamaphone?). When said article defines down "heckling" as "not actually interrupting but yelling 'Second Amendment' at the father of a child killed by gun violence," well, you know where this going.

And a very good, articulate argument why universal background checks are useless and unenforceable in this country.

This is a blog post that isn't particularly articulate, and comes to a completely inarticulate conclusion. By this guy's rationale, why try to enforce any law? Y'know, Josh Marshall addresses this fairly well:
So if we’re not prosecuting everyone who tries to purchase a gun we should stop preventing them from purchasing the gun. That’s completely crazy. Not to mention wildly disingenuous.

Secondly, in no other part of criminal law or public health do we dismiss effective policies because they’re not 100% effective. Do we not advocate condom use because not everyone will practice safe sex? Do we not vaccinate because vaccination is not 100% effective or because not everyone gets vaccinated? Do we not ban narcotics sales because “the criminals” won’t follow the laws?

The dishonesty and inanity of these arguments is mind-boggling.
If you are getting tired of the links, here is one more that is a quick bullet point summary, turns out guns are used WAY, WAY more in self defense by law abiding gun owners than are used to commit murder. Lots of very revealing and interesting facts in there.

Half of their data is from self-reported surveys with no verification at all, which they actually mention at the very beginning.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:53 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Which of the following have you done in the last week (choose as many as applicable):

1. Used your gun in self-defense.
2. Used your gun to murder a friend or loved one.
3. Used your gun to murder an acquaintance or coworker.
4. Used your gun to murder a stranger.
5. Used your gun for hunting.
6. Used your gun to open a beverage container.
7. Used your gun to crack nuts.
8. Used your gun for another purpose (please list below).
9. Have not used my gun in the last week.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:45 AM on February 1, 2013


Oh, and one more thing: 94% of Americans, including 85% of gun owners, think that universal background checks are a good idea. Are you really saying 85% of gun owners are completely clueless, and that we should enforce the tyranny of the tiny minority on the general population?
posted by zombieflanders at 5:45 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are you really saying 85% of gun owners are completely clueless, and that we should enforce the tyranny of the tiny minority on the general population?

One of the things I find most insane about the gun debate is how willing people are to completely flip their general philosophical leanings on it. zombieflanders, would you cite poll results as a reason to allow or disallow marriage equality, or abortion, or interracial marriage a generation ago, or women's suffrage a century ago?

"The tyranny of the tiny minority on the general population" is the exact same argument that has been used against every civil rights issue ever. I'm not saying that it automatically invalidates everything it's used against, but take a step back and think about your tactic for a minute.
posted by Etrigan at 6:10 AM on February 1, 2013


would you cite poll results as a reason to allow or disallow...

Yes, election results often are used in democracies to determine the passage of laws.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:19 AM on February 1, 2013


would you cite poll results as a reason to allow or disallow marriage equality, or abortion, or interracial marriage a generation ago, or women's suffrage a century ago?

Did 85% of gays, women, or interracial couples and 94% of all Americans oppose those things over a several years? That's the difference. If 85% of women were against being given the right to vote or have abortions, or 85% of gays didn't think they should have the right to marry, then maybe you'd have a point.

"The tyranny of the tiny minority on the general population" is the exact same argument that has been used against every civil rights issue ever.

First of all, if those arguments were being made, there was no polling supporting them. And second, all of those were in response to loosening regulation, not strengthening it. And third, the point I was trying to make was that the overwhelming majority of the members of that culture support it. It's one thing when people use the argument against those they oppose, it's completely different when even the advocates do.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:33 AM on February 1, 2013


Yes, election results often are used in democracies to determine the passage of laws.

And yet, we have courts that often tell us that election results and the passage of laws are invalid because they violate certain enumerated and non-enumerated rights. Complaining about "the tyranny of a tiny minority" is practically the mating cry of the anti-ACLU crowd.

First of all, if those arguments were being made, there was no polling supporting them.

Seriously? You haven't seen any of the polling about marriage equality over the last two decades?

And second, all of those were in response to loosening regulation, not strengthening it.

The abortion debate in this country has been largely about strengthening regulation for the last forty years.

And third, the point I was trying to make was that the overwhelming majority of the members of that culture support it.

Which is an interesting point, to be sure, but it differs from "let's put up civil rights to a vote" more in degree than in type.
posted by Etrigan at 6:42 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seriously? You haven't seen any of the polling about marriage equality over the last two decades?

I have, and unless I'm missing something, I haven't seen 85% of GLBT voters opposing it.

The abortion debate in this country has been largely about strengthening regulation for the last forty years.

Not unless they've been calling for strengthening support for Roe v Wade.

Which is an interesting point, to be sure, but it differs from "let's put up civil rights to a vote" more in degree than in type.

Or, to look at it another way, the degree is so large and approved by so many directly affected that it is another type.

Also, just to remind you: It's not just polling. The NRA and Wayne LaPierre were saying universal background checks were a good idea--one of the only viable ones, in fact--less than 15 years ago. I doubt you'll find much evidence (if any) of NARAL or GLAAD or the NAACP saying that, y'know what, forget what we said in front of Congress a decade or so ago, let's overturn Roe v Wade, strike down marriage equality, and reinstate miscegenation law.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:48 AM on February 1, 2013


And yet, we have courts that often tell us that election results and the passage of laws are invalid because they violate certain enumerated and non-enumerated rights.

Yes, courts appointed by elected officials upholding rights enumerated by representative government of elected officials. So while indirect, still the result of polling data.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:07 AM on February 1, 2013


A civil rights issue is felons losing their right to vote, not their right to buy a gun without a background check. Not every policy overwhelmingly supported by the majority is tyranny of the majority. A background check is a reasonable, sensible, undamaging, agreeable policy in a country where there are very, very few areas of agreement across the political spectrum.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:22 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, just to remind you: It's not just polling. The NRA and Wayne LaPierre were saying universal background checks were a good idea--one of the only viable ones, in fact--less than 15 years ago.

And just to remind you, I didn't object to your pointing that out. My objection is solely to this idea that any sort of "85 percent support this!" discussion as a means toward determining whether an actual right is being violated is a dangerous line to cross.

Yes, courts appointed by elected officials upholding rights enumerated by representative government of elected officials. So while indirect, still the result of polling data.

That's like saying that a sausage is the same thing as a cow. Indirectly, yes, but there is a distinct difference, not least to the cow.

A civil rights issue is felons losing their right to vote, not their right to buy a gun without a background check.

Fifty years ago, very few people thought marriage equality was a civil rights issue. Dismissing what other people think of as a civil right is not conducive to discussion.

Not every policy overwhelmingly supported by the majority is tyranny of the majority.

No, but not every policy that isn't is "tyranny of a tiny minority," either.

A background check is a reasonable, sensible, undamaging, agreeable policy in a country where there are very, very few areas of agreement across the political spectrum.

What's your threshold on "agreeable"? Obviously, it's under 85 percent. If only 79 percent of people agreed on it, would you call it "agreeable"? 65 percent? 51 percent? Again, degree is not type.

You really don't see that there are a lot of people out there for whom the Second Amendment is as important as the First, do you. And to them, registration and background checks are a tiny but important encroachment on the freedom they believe is promised by that amendment, in the same way that you would (presumably) be against freedom of the press being contingent on official press certification by the government.

As I always end up doing in these threads, I'll point out that I am not actually advocating that there should be no background checks, or even that ownership of firearms is a civil right. I'm just saying that there are people who think this way, and hammering them with "94 percent!" is just about as likely to change their minds as would be citing the polls that are against marriage equality or abortion or one of dozens of other issues that you believe are civil rights and should not be up for a purely democratic vote.
posted by Etrigan at 8:24 AM on February 1, 2013


Fifty years ago, very few people thought marriage equality was a civil rights issue. Dismissing what other people think of as a civil right is not conducive to discussion.

I'm not dismissing that point of view, it's just wrong.

I'm not concerned with changing the minds of 5% of the country. Why the heck would I need to be? We have had the conversation, it's over. They lost this one.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:30 AM on February 1, 2013


I'm not dismissing that point of view, it's just wrong.

Thanks. I'd been looking for a new working definition of irony.
posted by Etrigan at 8:40 AM on February 1, 2013


Disagreeing != Dismissing
posted by Drinky Die at 8:41 AM on February 1, 2013


That's like saying that a sausage is the same thing as a cow. Indirectly, yes, but there is a distinct difference, not least to the cow.

More like saying sausage is made up of cow, which it is. Your legal rights are defined by legislation, a creation of legislature. The courts, while seperate entities, are (Federally) appointed by the executive and base their decisions on the law, that previously mentioned creation of the legislature. Both the legislative and executive branches in the US are elected. So, while the decisions of the courts and legislatures are independent of elections, much like how a sausage is not A cow, they are entirely subject to elections for their make-up, much like how a beef sausage is (theoretically) made up of cow.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:44 AM on February 1, 2013


And just to remind you, I didn't object to your pointing that out. My objection is solely to this idea that any sort of "85 percent support this!" discussion as a means toward determining whether an actual right is being violated is a dangerous line to cross.

As I always end up doing in these threads, I'll point out that I am not actually advocating that there should be no background checks, or even that ownership of firearms is a civil right. I'm just saying that there are people who think this way, and hammering them with "94 percent!" is just about as likely to change their minds as would be citing the polls that are against marriage equality or abortion or one of dozens of other issues that you believe are civil rights and should not be up for a purely democratic vote.


At the risk of repeating myself, the point is that the 85% is in this case the feelings of those who support the rights under question.

You really don't see that there are a lot of people out there for whom the Second Amendment is as important as the First, do you. And to them, registration and background checks are a tiny but important encroachment on the freedom they believe is promised by that amendment, in the same way that you would (presumably) be against freedom of the press being contingent on official press certification by the government.

Again, only 15% of those who are Second Amendment supporters feel that background checks are an encroachment on their freedoms. And that specific encroachment is not enumerated in the Second Amendment nor supported by current law and Supreme Court decisions. In fact, Heller specifically calls it out as not covered when it says "The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on...laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms." And that's worded by a strict Constitutional Originalist.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:44 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Disagreeing != Dismissing

"it's just wrong" = Dismissing
posted by Etrigan at 8:56 AM on February 1, 2013


No, it equals disagreeing. I am fully aware of the 5 percenter view on this issue and have thought about it and evaluated it as simply wrong. There has been a decades long conversation on the topic and virtually everyone agrees with me.

One of the reasons your offensive comparison to gay rights is wrong is that we have evolved towards this view on background checks after the conversation without dismissal while you are pointing to the starting point of the conversation for marriage equality. Were we at that point, your hand wringing about "dismissal" of a very unpopular extremist view on gun rights might be valid.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:06 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am fully aware of the 5 percenter view on this issue and have thought about it and evaluated it as simply wrong.

"Wrong" isn't a particularly useful distinction to be making here ("just" and "simply" wrong are even less so). "Universal background checks are a good idea" is not dismissive. "Universal background checks would be a good policy" is not dismissive. Hell, I'd even say that "Universal background checks would save lives" is not dismissive, even though it requires a slight leap of faith.

But "wrong" is dismissive, because you're reducing a policy debate to "Two plus two is four, and my opponents are saying it's three."
posted by Etrigan at 9:20 AM on February 1, 2013


But "wrong" is dismissive, because you're reducing a policy debate to "Two plus two is four, and my opponents are saying it's three."

Stop being dismissive, unless you specifically point out I could be right about this you are being dismissive.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:32 AM on February 1, 2013


"Is this a civil right or not?" is a yes or no question. The right either exists or it doesn't. The right of convicted felons to arm themselves with guns without a background check is not a civil right in this country, even if it is allowed in places. 2+2 does in fact equal four.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:36 AM on February 1, 2013


"Is this a civil right or not?" is a yes or no question. The right either exists or it doesn't. The right of convicted felons to arm themselves with guns without a background check is not a civil right in this country, even if it is allowed in places.

Is abortion a civil right? Is the right to marry whomever you want a civil right? Please show me the Official List of Civil Rights.
posted by Etrigan at 9:55 AM on February 1, 2013


Please show me the Official List of Civil Rights.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:25 AM on February 1, 2013


Is abortion a civil right? Is the right to marry whomever you want a civil right? Please show me the Official List of Civil Rights.

Please show me the official list of what is or is not dismissive. You can't say I'm dismissive for stating felons don't have a civil right to guns without background checks if it isn't on the official list of "What things are dismissive".

Civil Rights are about defending people in protected classes from unfair unequal treatment and discrimination. It is not unfair or unreasonable treatment of a protected class to check everyone for legal restrictions that prevent gun ownership. You might as well suggest checking ID at a bar is a friggin civil rights violation.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:37 AM on February 1, 2013


Civil Rights are about defending people in protected classes from unfair unequal treatment and discrimination.

Speech is only a civil right for people in protected classes? That's an interesting idea. You're saying that white Protestant land-owning men have no civil rights.

The 10th Regiment of Foot, if you're saying that the law determines civil rights, then marriage equality isn't a civil right for the majority of Americans. For that matter, the current state of firearm regulation precisely defines our civil rights and cannot be changed. It's a tautological argument.
posted by Etrigan at 10:42 AM on February 1, 2013


You don't seem to know what civil rights are, which may explain why you are having so much difficulty getting on the same page here maybe.

Here:

It is important to note the difference between "civil rights" and "civil liberties." The legal area known as "civil rights" has traditionally revolved around the basic right to be free from unequal treatment based on certain protected characteristics (race, gender, disability, etc.) in settings such as employment and housing. "Civil liberties" concern basic rights and freedoms that are guaranteed -- either explicitly identified in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, or interpreted through the years by courts and lawmakers.

posted by Drinky Die at 10:51 AM on February 1, 2013


A right is not a right until the law establishes it as such, until then it is an argument and a proposed right. In the example of marriage, however, one can argue that the law provides for the right to equal protection for all and thus all classes are subject to the same law. Therefore removing a person or a class of persons' ability to marry while allowing another class is permitted to marry would be a violation of their right to equal protection and is an arbitrary application of law.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:54 AM on February 1, 2013


You're right, Drinky Die. We were speaking across each other. So I'll rephrase my initial point:

"The tyranny of the tiny minority on the general population" is the exact same argument that has been used against every civil liberties issue ever. I'm not saying that it automatically invalidates everything it's used against, but take a step back and think about that tactic for a minute.
posted by Etrigan at 11:22 AM on February 1, 2013


"The tyranny of the tiny minority on the general population" is the exact same argument that has been used against every civil liberties issue ever.

Only in instances where a majority (let alone an overwhelming one) of the affected didn't support the initiatives, which as I've pointed out isn't the case here.

Anyway, moving on: Oklahoma woman who fought off intruder, a gun rights symbol, favors background checks
But Ms. McKinley said she supports the idea of expanding the background check system, telling me: “Anybody should be willing to get a background check that wants to take a gun.”

“I completely agree with background checks,” she said. “If I want a gun I have no problem getting one. I don’t see why anybody would have a problem getting a background check if they have nothing to hide.”

Ms. McKinley herself didn’t get a background check to procure her shotgun. But she said she inherited it from her late husband — which means she likely would have been exempted from the background check system under the current proposal, which would exempt family members. And at any rate, given her willingness to undergo one herself, she’d presumably pass and be able to buy the sort of gun she’d used to defend herself
[...]
As I’ve been saying, the expanded background check is the most important proposal on the table right now — it’s arguably more important than the assault ban. The fact that Ms. McKinley supports it — even though she is widely cited by gun rights advocates as a poster woman for their cause, and even as she does not support the assault ban — alone shows what a no-brainer this proposal really is. Having fought off a home invasion herself with a gun, she does not appear to see expanded background checks as a barrier to acquiring weapons for legitimate self defense — or as an infringement on people’s rights.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:27 AM on February 1, 2013


I'm sorry not to get your point, zombieflanders, but I guess I'm just not getting your point that 85 percent of gun owners is your point. Do you think you could possibly repeat what your point is six or seven more times, because that would clearly be enough to sway me to understanding your point?
posted by Etrigan at 11:32 AM on February 1, 2013


There is no civil liberty that would protect felons from facing background checks to buy guns either. You might as well suggest checking ID at a bar is a civil liberties violation.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:45 AM on February 1, 2013


There is no civil liberty that would protect felons from facing background checks to buy guns either.

To apply background checks to felons, one must by necessity apply background checks to everyone. So the question is really whether there is a civil liberty that protects everyone from facing background checks to buy guns. Is there a civil liberty that protects newspapers from having to get a license from the government, or is freedom of the press understood to cover that? (yes, I know that this comparison isn't 100 percent exactly the very samest thing ever, but neither is your comparison of bars and guns, so let's just agree that we're using metaphors here and not take them as balloons that can be punctured by the merest pin)

So we can ask the same question about firearm ownership -- should the government have the power to check every sale before allowing someone to exercise their civil liberty -- and AGAIN I am not saying that I don't think my answer to that question is different from yours, I'm just saying that some people's is, and saying that their answer is wrong is dismissive, as we covered above.

You clearly don't believe that you're being dismissive. Practically no one does, because they always have very good reasons for it.
posted by Etrigan at 11:59 AM on February 1, 2013


A right is not a right until the law establishes it as such

And I think right here, we are getting at the heart of the matter-a fundamentally different view of government, rights and where those rights come from. The founding idea of this nation (USA) was that the only just way a government has power is from the consent of the governed and that rights are not given to them from the government but rather endowed upon them as human beings, Such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Heller decision actually established the right to bear arms as a fundamental right that pre existed the constitution and the wording and tenses pretty much imply that, not just in the second but most of the bill of rights. They almost all say something like the government shall not subborn this right, whatever it may be. The constitution and our country is founded on the ideal of a limited government that does not permit things-it only limits or forbids them for good reason and that must be codeified in law and pass constitutional muster.

For the record, I think background checks are a good thing and we NEED to do somethings to at least try to keep guns out of the hands of those that have PROVEN themselves irresponsible through their actions and due process of law, such as felons and the certifiably mentally ill. As stated above, the idea of universal background checks is a good idea, but I think totally unenforceable and therefore a bad idea cause passing unenforceable laws just erodes the whole idea of law, but there are lots of ways to increase the effectiveness of background checks and making them in effect at things like gun shows is a pretty good idea and very enforceable, so should be done and I think that is what 85 or 95% of the people agreeing to background checks being expanded mean. I think if you asked a more detailed question like do you think a granddad passing his hunting rifle down to his grandson should have to have a background check would find considerably lower support (but universal background checks mean just that). I actually disagree with Joe Huffman about that issue, but I still think he presents the other side of the argument well. As stated above, shouting neener, neener, my side is bigger is not a justification of an argument. Background checks have prevent several 10s of thousands of prohibited persons obtaining guns legally over the past decade IS a valid argument (and true and the reason I support background checks).

And how is saying a source is right wing to invalidate it not shouting neener neeener at something? LIke I said there have been lots of links to brady campaign propaganda, and several other unabashedly pro gun control sites in this thread and no one has called them invalid based on that criteria alone, i offer an opposing viewpoint to your viewpoint.

Odd that they failed to cover the driveway shooting incident, or the workplace shooting that happened while the NRA was testifying, or, y'know, all the times law-abiding citizens suddenly weren't law-abiding anymore. Or stories like the hostage situation in AL by a guy currently wanted for threatening people with guns, where they're no longer law-abiding yet still manage to keep their guns because of weak laws.

those are NOT self defense cases. The AL case is a real tragedy, that man was NOT law abiding and should have been locked up on animal cruelty charges if nothing else prior to this. That is very much a failure of law enforcement. The work place phoenix shooting is something that happens all too often in this country but not the kind of thing any kind of the gun control measures talked about in this thread will actually stop or even curtail. That blog list NRA maintains is JUST for law abiding self defense cases, doesn't mean every shooting is in that category but to ignore legitimate self defense or somehow put that on a moral equivalent to, you know...actual murder is just wrong.

As for the heckling, the crowd was respectfully silent during his tale and how much he misses his daughter. Outside of the nutcases calling it a hoax I have not heard anyone say what happened in Connecticut was ok, or we shouldn't take measures to stop it happening again. But when the conversation moved on and he asked what reason should people own this kind of gun a legitimate answer is the second amendment. If you go to a public hearing and propose a question about curtailing other peoples rights than those people have a right to answer. It is HOW OUR SYSTEM WORKS and you don't get a pass on not being opposed because you have a tragedy in your past. You do get the right to say your piece, we all do, that is also part of the constitution. So what if michelle malkin brought it up? sure she has a point of view, as do you, as does that father, as do the people in the crowd as do the participants in polls. Doesn't mean what is in the article isn't true, it includes transcripts and i believe video footage. And bringing up the Trayvon Martin case as showing a history of bias in how these things are reported so as to manipulate your emotions somehow invalidates anything? I would think you would be kinda pissed off about being so blatantly lied to. I said nothing about the merits of that case but was bringing up the media coverage and how manipulative and emotional they make it. So many people on the left really hated it when GWB did that to justify the Iraq war, but since they are doing it for something the left agrees with it is ok (pretty much the same response for not allowing props in the capital for the pro gun side by Diane Fienstein).

It's almost as if the institute responsible for conducting regular, intensive studies of the use of guns has had members of Congress who get a lot of money from a lobbying group revoke their funding to conduct said studies. Huh.

Yep, more hard data is needed. However I think the studies should be done from the department of justice, not the CDC. Guns are not a disease. You don't stop gun violence or more importantly VIOLENCE by the same method you use to stop polio. Treating guns as a disease to be cured is to ignore the other side of the argument.

I admit I don't use my guns very much and have never needed one to defend my life. I haven't had to stop my house from burning down with a fire extinguisher either, but I have those too. I have used it to feed me and my family and have spent many an enjoyable hour with friends and family using, working on and being around guns. But mostly they just slowly turn money into rust for me and most gun owners in this country. I am actually happy about that. I also think the government not having a total monopoly on the use of force or the enforcement of law and civil order is a good thing. My actual thougts on the total rework of gun control in this country is here.

as to the point of my being a conservative or liberal, why the hell does that matter? the answer is neither because I hate being wrong about half the stuff all the time. Why should my feelings on gun control have anything to do with my position on banking regulations, abortion, immigration, voting rights, equal pay for women or anything else? and the argument should speak for itself regardless of the political bent of the arguer. Kinda like the validity of an argument (or a person in general) doesn't depend on the persons plumbing or melanin content. All the links I posted had soruces listed, footnotes or where factual reporting. Just saying I dislike something doesn't mean it isn't true and, unlike your response, I actually took the time to find some counterarguments based on actual reasoning and facts, not popular opinion or the viewpoint of a grief stricken father to settle matters of law that affect MILLIONS of law abiding people that a stroke of pen would turn into felons.
posted by bartonlong at 12:07 PM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


So we can ask the same question about firearm ownership -- should the government have the power to check every sale before allowing someone to exercise their civil liberty --

And after decades of conversation 95% of us including the vast, vast majority of gun owners and a broad spectrum of Judges have decided that the government does in fact have that power. Even the prominent opponents such as the present day NRA are phrasing opposition in terms of lack of effectiveness, not on terms of legality of the measure which is a debate that has been long put to rest.

5% of the country is nobody. It is beyond fringe opinion. There are more birthers and more truthers. It is not dismissive to state that they are wrong, it is just that the debate is clearly settled and over. It is a complete and total waste of time and energy to have the conversation. It is not that the topic is unworthy of consideration, it is that it has already been considered.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:23 PM on February 1, 2013


Conservatives are wrong way more than half the time and their media is not as good at being factual as mainstream sources. They are often much better on gun issues than explicitly liberal sites when it comes to hard facts but it colors how trustworthy the linked source is going to be considered when they have a bad track record. I've seen enough trash from the Washington Times that I'm not going to trust them. You can find better sources.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:28 PM on February 1, 2013


I think if you asked a more detailed question like do you think a granddad passing his hunting rifle down to his grandson should have to have a background check would find considerably lower support (but universal background checks mean just that)

Not in the current proposed legislation, which has an exemption for family members.

those are NOT self defense cases.

An elderly Georgia missionary claims he shot a young man approaching his house this weekend because he feared a home invasion, but the victim's friends say he was looking to pick up a pal to go skating and his GPS device took him to the wrong driveway.

The AL case is a real tragedy, that man was NOT law abiding and should have been locked up on animal cruelty charges if nothing else prior to this.

Dykes’ motives remain unclear. Al.com reported that Dykes was charged with menacing in December, after pointing a gun at a neighbor.

Sounds like he probably shouldn't have had a gun after that, no?

That is very much a failure of law enforcement. The work place phoenix shooting is something that happens all too often in this country but not the kind of thing any kind of the gun control measures talked about in this thread will actually stop or even curtail.

Again, here's a list of the 23 executive actions Obama signed:
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.

11. Nominate an ATF director.

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

17. Release a letter to health-care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law-enforcement authorities.

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

19. Develop model emergency-response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental-health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.

22. Commit to finalizing mental-health-parity regulations.

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
And from the article in the OP:
More legislation is expected to arise over the next week or two, and some of it will have bipartisan support. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, and Senator Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois, have agreed to work together on gun trafficking legislation that would seek to crack down on illegal guns. Currently, federal law does not define gun trafficking as a crime.

Mr. Kirk is also working on a background check proposal with Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, who is considered somewhat of a bellwether among Democrats with strong gun-rights records.

Mr. Leahy’s bill would give law enforcement officials more tools to investigate so-called straw purchasing of guns, in which people buy a firearm for others who are prohibited from obtaining one on their own.
But when the conversation moved on and he asked what reason should people own this kind of gun a legitimate answer is the second amendment.

The "Second Amendment" is not a legitimate answer to why they should need that specific type of gun. It's a reason why they can own the gun. Thus: heckling.

If you go to a public hearing and propose a question about curtailing other peoples rights than those people have a right to answer. It is HOW OUR SYSTEM WORKS and you don't get a pass on not being opposed because you have a tragedy in your past.

Actually, no. They can have their time at the mic, but otherwise they're being a disruption and can be ejected (which the officiating members state in the video).

Yep, more hard data is needed. However I think the studies should be done from the department of justice, not the CDC. Guns are not a disease. You don't stop gun violence or more importantly VIOLENCE by the same method you use to stop polio. Treating guns as a disease to be cured is to ignore the other side of the argument.

The CDC's mission is to investigate the causes of injuries and deaths from all causes. They are required by law to contribute towards the "prevention of disease, injury and disability" and are designated as the government organization responsible for collecting research from the other Federal Departments and independent agencies. From the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Mission Statement:
Injuries have been a leading cause of death and disability throughout history; consequently, many people and agencies have undertaken prevention efforts. In 1985, the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recognized the need for a coordinated effort to prevent injuries in the United States. They identified CDC as the federal agency best suited to lead injury research. CDC had a strong history of interdisciplinary research, data collection and analysis, information sharing, and relationships with states—elements the council and IOM deemed important. And unlike other federal agencies involved in injury prevention, CDC had no regulatory or enforcement role.

In 1997, IOM’s Committee on Injury Prevention and Control recommended that no one agency could effectively serve as the sole leader for injury. Rather, it recommended that agencies should collaborate on injury prevention and control activities, with each agency leading in its area of expertise.

CDC’s Injury Center now functions as the focal point for the public health approach to preventing violence and injuries and their consequences, by moving from science into action.
Also, the very same people cutting off funding to the CDC have been doing it to DOJ:
The U.S. Justice Department, for instance, has stopped funding studies on firearms trafficking patterns. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) used to be a “world leader” in research on gun ownership and trafficking. No longer.

And it’s not just academic studies. Data is also sparse. The CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System has never been fully funded by Congress. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is barred from keeping electronic records. Lawmakers have placed restrictions on how cities can share information about crime guns. That all directly impinges on research.
All the links I posted had soruces listed, footnotes or where factual reporting.

Not really. In particular, the op-ed and the "articulate argument" were essentially source-free and biased, and you listed a survey as factual rather than self-reported for another link.

I actually took the time to find some counterarguments based on actual reasoning and facts, not popular opinion or the viewpoint of a grief stricken father to settle matters of law that affect MILLIONS of law abiding people that a stroke of pen would turn into felons.

Oh, the irony of claiming one is using counterarguments based on logic, and then conflating the issue of background checks and the AWB flat-out falsifying the consequences of the latter in order to make an emotional appeal.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:54 PM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


“But truthfully, a lot of "bad guys" aren't in any way bad until they shoot someone”
…? I may be missing your point here. But generally speaking I’m pretty sure most people involved in shootings whether getting shot or doing the shooting have priors. I’d have to check. But I know people with prior felony convictions are much more likely to commit violent crimes than non-felons. Although I think they’re equally likely to carry a gun – that is, first time violent offenders vs. people with prior violent offenses.
I don’t know if firearms prohibitions for high-risk individuals is at all at issue. But it’s indicative of the same cart-before-the-horse thing at work.

Typically police come to a house on a domestic call about 7 times on average before the wife beater finally kills someone, gun or not. So take the gun away from that guy, sure, but address his domestic violence maybe? I mean, the gun isn’t making him harm anyone prior to that unless the argument is they’re imbued with malevolent energy that creates bloodlust. Facilitation isn’t the same as augmentation. I can go with you if it's part and parcel of the same package. But in this case, given the current form of the assault weapons legislation, it's not.

“But just like law-abiding car owners, it's not a bad thing to make sure they're registered…
Is it not clear I’m on board with registration? I don’t know if anyone reads what I write at all. I have some conservative views and that seems to be pretty much all anyone wants to pick up. I think I’m further to the left of most of the pro-control people.
Hell, I’m the one talking social programs and more government funding and I see some people (PCE - present company excepted) engaging in moral condemnation and demanding more restrictive laws. Weird.

“And as far as the 22 times goes - feel free to provide data showing why it's wrong, but until then I'm not budging just for a handwavey "oh it can be challenged" “

It can and has. I assume, given you say “22 times” you’re citing the Kellerman and Reay study. There’s plenty of noise over the issue and it’s easily googled (there’s also guncite.com which deconstructs it – essentially, using the same figures and data you can show in homes without a firearm you’re 99 times times more likely to have a non-firearm related killing than you are to kill an intruder without a firearm. If we include suicides, well sure, taking methods to kill oneself away from someone with suicidal intent is a good idea, but it’s not the only thing that needs to be done. And too, the focus on fatality eliminates a successful defense/non-lethal outcome – if, for example, an aggressor runs after seeing the gun or after a warning shot or being shot at and missed or shot and survived)

And there’s data from the National Safety Council and insurance actuaries that show firearms in the home aren’t as dangerous as falls, suffocation, poisoning, etc.

But my point is exactly that. There’s a lot of noise. I’m not handwaving. I'm not even really championing the opposing position. Or at least -
A. I don't want to.
B. the point that you’re more likely to get shot when a gun is around is as self-evident as someone who owns a car being more likely to be involved in a car accident and
C. I am pointing out that it’s a moot issue because regardless of veracity either way, the issue stands that guns that are already acknowledged as illegal aren’t policed properly in the first place.

I’ll argue that if the assertion is to challenge the safety of firearms as a general home safety tradeoff, swimming pools are more deadly and provide no home safety at all.
I own pretty much an arsenal, but I won’t buy my kids a trampoline. I have no problem letting them walk to school by themselves, despite the apparent infestation of our bushes by pedophiles waiting to abduct them. I’m completely lax there.In parking lots though I watch them like a hawk and bark orders like a drill sergeant. One of the rare moments I’ve actually yelled at my kids has been in a parking lot.

It’s perception of risk vs. actual risk.

Lot of people who talk hunting talk guns. But the best hunters I talk to talk gutting, jointing and cooking. There are guys who don’t use the feet, for example. I use it to make aspic jelly. The guys that taught me that can smoke intestines, take salt and vitamins from blood and make pemmican from kidney fat and live for months in extreme conditions without seeing another human. That to me is the serious dope. But the firearms get all the play. As it is, we’re in a firearms thread. But when I talk hunting with guys who hunt, it’s mostly cooking, preserving, avoiding parasites, determining disease, staying clean while gutting, etc.
I’m far more likely to die of eating/doing something nasty from hunting than I am anything involving firearms.
And too, there have been discussions on mefi on martial arts. MMA is huge now. 30 years ago if you said “jujutsu” it would have gotten the same reaction that “aikido” gets now. Or the distain for storefront karate (or to borrow a term from Tkchrist, Traditional Asian Martial arts).
But the upshot there was that you’re much more likely to die of heart disease in the first place, regardless of the efficacy of self-defense of any given study, than being involved in fighting for your life.

This is similar to what I’m saying here. That’s why the can opener analogy popped into my head.
There’s a vast difference between the perception of threat and the actual threat.

There have been discussions of the pedophile registration laws, the various “man in the bushes” laws, etc. and time and again people point out that someone known is far more likely to molest/rape a child than a stranger. (Generally speaking to your point, it stands to reason that people are statistically more likely to kill someone they know.)
And yet there is more legislative time and concurrent media attention on going after the man in the bushes, demonizing, pushing laws that don’t work because they’re focused on the rare, albeit spectacular events, than there are social programs and mental health services focused on prevention, regulation, support.
This current debate, in the U.S., seems essentially the same to me.

Handguns account for the majority of firearm related homicides (FBI stat I think is 70-odd percent). And then mostly 9mm and smaller concealable handguns (to be clear that’s “smaller” to me, not objectively small. I don’t know too many people that whip out a .454 Casull to stick up a liquor store).

And yet, what we have here is a massive push behind legislation to ban “assault” rifles, et.al. without regard to funding study, criminology, or fixing the ATF and sliding them a few bucks. Just this show and debate over how great or lousy guns themselves are.

Well, I oppose that. If that puts me on the “gun nut” side of the equation in people’s mind, so be it.
Stigmatization is part of the problem that drives people into fanaticism and I want no part of it. Same wanna-be hard sanctimonious crap with “we don’t negotiate with terrorists.” Exactly the same pattern. Except it’s from the left. Same emphasis on the victims. Same rush to legislation. Same American politics we all love to criticize except when it’s what we’re paranoid about.

“This is why the NRA tries to suppress research, because without it we can just make up whatever suits our feelings.”

I agree. But I support apolitical study and, again, whatever the cause, there is already a wealth of objective data there from arrests, police reports, inventories, etc. etc. that government agencies can’t administrate properly in the first place. Regardless of any findings, without the ability to coordinate actual data, no policy is going to work.

Does it not make sense to avoid potential expansion of the black market and just make it harder for any gun to be sold on the black market in the first place? Washington D.C. police started (or re-started, whatever) a gun recovery unit that seized illegal firearms. It was doing pretty well last I read thanks to the kind of locally aggressive, but federally supported policy I’m talking about.

The gun ban there, not so much. Some of the strictest gun laws in the U.S., still plenty o’guns. And ok, the counter-argument is that they’re purchased outside the city. Well how far does that have to go to eventually work? Push the ban out to the country? Blanket the world?

Well, under the ban you had the D.C. cops not getting arrest reports on firearms out to the ATF for about a week, so… maybe focus on that first? And community ties, so you get better intelligence? Choke off the existing black market, pursue illegal purchases, trace those weapons, etc. and focus on accountability so guns don’t get diverted to criminals in the first place.

So, in the same spirit you're proposing to make things safer and offer a constructive solution - instead of new ban laws, why not better laws that reinforce the ones we have now? Better enforcement to deter illegal trafficking, higher penalties, more prosecution, regulation for sales and permits would lessen straw purchases but not heap grief on the individual, law abiding gun owner.

“Of course, no chance of any of that happening since Republicans in charge of oversight turned it into an executive witch hunt and Democrats would rather not admit anything bad happened.”

Exactly. And the ATF keeps looking worse and worse.
But there’s not a lot you can do if you don’t have the resources to do it though. Of course you’re going to lose guns. The method the law demands you use to track them is archaic. It’s like saying the fire department is a mess when the regs say they have to use horses and hand-pumps for hoses.

Now obviously the GOP loves to pile on the pain and the lobbyists have been pushing to mess with the ATF’s take home for years. There’s no question that has to stop. But – this is more to harriet vane’s point - without administrative change, regulation powers, etc. no bill, law, policy, is going to have a chance to work regardless of how wonderful guns work at self-defense or how abominably self-destructive they are in and of themselves.

“Which of the following have you done in the last week
“1. Used your gun in self-defense.”
Check. And the day ain’t over yet, so…
“8. Used your gun for another purpose (please list below).” Check. Training.

I think the thing is, either you believe we should live in a country where someone can make the decision for themselves in terms of having a firearm or not regardless of demonstration of need.
Beyond that it's a matter of degrees.

Some of the discussion has broached the degrees and there's wrangling there which is fine.

We need to engage. That’s the solution both for security and alienation. If we don’t trust someone proven to be trustworthy to own firearms why then would we think someone would trust the government not to take them away?
Reciprocity is impossible to develop and maintain if one side believes itself to be superior or the only side worthy of being in control. Without cooperation and an understanding of interdependence as well as tolerance for independence there’s no way to form a basis for legitimate power or respect for, or even recognition of legitimate power when it genuinely exists.

Negative reciprocity cycles, yeah, that’s when you get stuff like Waco or Nord ost siege or the stuff in Domodedovo, Ankara, and Hangu just recently.
It’s a lot harder to fight than people going about their illegal narcotics business and having bullets or not having them doesn't settle that either way.
You have to address the crazy. The fanaticsm. The root cause.

This legislation no more does that than the TSA at the airport protects you by defending against the last effort at terrorism. Just my humble opinion, but then I have shot someone this week. Didn't change the world one way or the other.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:08 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yep, more hard data is needed. However I think the studies should be done from the department of justice, not the CDC. Guns are not a disease. You don't stop gun violence or more importantly VIOLENCE by the same method you use to stop polio. Treating guns as a disease to be cured is to ignore the other side of the argument

I have to disagree with you here, even though it sounds like we both agree this current crop of legislation will cause more harm than good.

The DOJ is a law enforcement agency. Studies they undertake are going to be approached from that direction, the questions they ask will be from a criminal justice perspective. And if you're especially cynical, the studies they promote will be those that most closely align with their mandate. You can see this reflected on their current gun-violence research page.

The CDC is a health and safety organization. Their primary focus is on health and, very useful in this case, the spread of disease and epidemiology.

And as we've seen in the past month, extreme events like mass shootings appear to happen in clusters, possibly because of copycat behavior influenced by mass media. The CDC will be well-positioned to investigate the spread of violence through communities and information networks.

Searching the CDC site for firearm comes up with few results due to the NRA sponsored ban on research, but one of the top results was Violence-Related Firearm Deaths Among Residents of Metropolitan Areas and Cities --- United States, 2006--2007. The language difference between the CDC's report and the DOJ's is stark. From the CDC:

Gun violence historically has been a problem in cities, and youths have been affected disproportionately.

Among the solutions?

These strategies include programs that 1) enhance youth skills and motivation to behave nonviolently and resolve conflicts peacefully, 2) promote positive relationships between youth and adults (e.g., parenting and mentoring programs), and 3) influence the social, environmental, and economic characteristics of schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods in ways that can reduce the likelihood of youth violence (e.g., encouraging social connectedness and facilitating economic opportunities)

The DOJ on the other hand, heavily favors criminal justice approaches like random stops (directed police patrols) and more arrests (focused deterrence).

I'm especially wary of the DOJ after the recent Aaron Swartz case, and the other case that was brought to light because of that: the bogus Caswell Motel asset forfeiture attempt. In that case, a DOJ agent "testified under oath that his job was to look for high-dollar property with no mortgage to be forfeited. The agent explained clearly how he checked the Registry of Deeds "to find out who owns the property and how much equity is on the property." Then, the DEA would contact local police to see how many drug arrests or other serious crimes been committed on the property."
posted by formless at 7:56 PM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the CDC are more likely to ask questions that will get results they aren't expecting. Whereas the DOJ is more likely to only ask questions that will get the result they want. At least that's my assumption of what different skills and preconceptions lawyers and scientists bring to the table. Which is not to say a collaboration might not be useful.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:24 PM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


…? I may be missing your point here. But generally speaking I’m pretty sure most people involved in shootings whether getting shot or doing the shooting have priors.

My point probably could be elaborated upon a bit. I have been trying to shorten my comments lately in these highly argumentative posts, so as to avoid making them as much a dreadful slog to get through, which makes it harder for others both to keep up with and contribute.

Separating people into good and bad guys is subtly flawed. This one-data-bit morality system discards a tremendous range of moral acceptance and responsibility. The statement I was responding to implied that because someone shot somebody else, of course they wouldn't be worried about where they got the gun, but that is not as obvious as it seems.

This is true for a variety of reasons, but here's the primary train of thought: many uses of a gun are not premeditated, in unusual circumstances a lot of things seem sensible that wouldn't ordinarily including shooting at people, and in a large and complex world unusual circumstances are a lot more common than one would think.

As for prior convictions, well, if someone becomes a "bad guy" the moment they commit any crime we might as well dig up Draco* and put him in charge.

* NOT Malfoy
posted by JHarris at 1:37 PM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


WFAA: Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL who became known as the deadliest U.S. sniper, was one of two men murdered on Saturday afternoon at a gun range in Erath County.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:22 PM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Obama releases image to confirm he does skeet shooting. I'm pretty sure they mentioned it before releasing the picture just so the right wingers would have a conspiracy fit about the lack of a picture so they could release this and not seem like it was a photo-op.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:43 PM on February 2, 2013


All the links I posted had soruces listed, footnotes or where factual reporting.

Listing sources and footnotes doesn't matter if the sources listed are biased or incomplete, which yours were. Sources aren't a shibboleth that gun-control advocated like to see regardless of quality; they're insisted on as a way of finding out the truth based on evidence rather than emotion.

Regardless of any findings, without the ability to coordinate actual data, no policy is going to work.

So we shouldn't write any, or engage in the political process, because a different aspect is going to fail? Gun control is a multi-faceted problem and won't be resolved with a magic piece of congressional paper, but it's never been resolved successfully *without* policy changes either. Policy and legislation is the topic of this thread, I'm sure there'll be other opportunities to discuss other aspects, especially since the rate of gun deaths in the US is still the highest in the developed world and something else will get posted to MeFi eventually.

Does it not make sense to avoid potential expansion of the black market and just make it harder for any gun to be sold on the black market in the first place?

It does make sense to reduce the black market. But it's secondary to the goal of reducing gun deaths, which has historically only been successfully achieved through tighter restrictions on legal ownership of guns. Reduction of the black market doesn't have as much of an impact on accidental and tragic death as you hope it will - as has been pointed out repeatedly in this thread and previous ones, a vast number of gun deaths are caused by people with legally owned guns because in the US it's ridiculously easy to get a gun legally.

Just my humble opinion, but then I have shot someone this week. Didn't change the world one way or the other.

Are you just saying this for the shock value, or to provoke the gun-control advocates in this thread? Because it's clearly ridiculous on the face of it. It certainly changed the world for the person you shot. Depending on the circumstances, it also changed the world for his/her children. You don't have any idea whether it's changed the world or not, because you're not psychic. But if it wasn't going to change anything about the situation, you wouldn't have even bothered firing on them in the first place.

Or did you mean that it didn't change the whole world? Because yeah, kids are still starving in Africa and all that. But kids are still dying in the US because gun owners keep finding reasons not to implement quite reasonable restrictions on tools that can be used to kill, so try not to be so dismissive of people's attempts to fix that if you want to look like anything except a concern troll.
posted by harriet vane at 3:32 AM on February 3, 2013


Obama releases image to confirm he does skeet shooting.

And Wapo's "fact-checker" is still calling him a liar because he only released one picture. Expect this to be called their Lie of the Year.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:59 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oops. I guess that article was from before they released the picture. The WaPo "fact-checker" has (very) reluctantly declared that the president told the truth.

(And now I've spent more time and electrons on this than anyone ever should.)
posted by dirigibleman at 10:49 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many gun grabbers have actually shot a firearm? I wonder how many of them come from families that have a tradition associated with hunting, skeet-shooting, gun-collecting, or even service to our country as a member of the military? I wonder what their perceptions would be if they actually had any experience with firearms other than the abstract, or the surrogate. I wonder.

Back to your regularly scheduled program, favorite patronizing/opportunistic news source, TV crime drama, or violent movie/videogame.
posted by HyperBlue at 9:32 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


A+ satire of a gun nut making a bunch of patronizing and ignorant points right there.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:37 PM on February 3, 2013


Have a drink on me Drinky Die!
posted by HyperBlue at 9:53 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't have to ask me twice!
posted by Drinky Die at 9:59 PM on February 3, 2013


(The previous two comments make me want to spontaneously compose a My Little Pony/Maakies mash-up, probably involving Uncle Twilight and Cap'n Mac. But then I spot an interesting shiny object and I forget all about it, probably for the best.)
posted by JHarris at 12:01 AM on February 4, 2013


Obama releases image to confirm he does skeet shooting.

I wonder if he actually does skeet shooting or trap shooting.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:33 AM on February 4, 2013


The Totally Serious Guide to Obama Skeet Shooting Photo Conspiracy Theories
posted by zombieflanders at 8:02 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Totally Serious Guide to Obama Skeet Shooting Photo Conspiracy Theories

Interesting, the fake picture shows a skeet tower, but the angle on the "real" picture suggests trap (and shows no towers). The nay-sayers miss the mark however by implying that the angle is "too low". They state that the POTUS would have to be really awesome to shoot like that, however if he sucked and followed the target down as it fell his angle would also be low. That said, if it is trap, which most people call skeet, then the angle is fine.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:24 AM on February 4, 2013


If only there was some way to take multiple photos in a sequence that showed the whole thing.
posted by smackfu at 9:28 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


And stop the conspiracy whackos from publicly making further idiots out of themselves?
posted by zombieflanders at 9:41 AM on February 4, 2013


That is impossible.
posted by JHarris at 2:25 PM on February 4, 2013


TPM: The people behind The Citadel project, who are hoping to build a walled prepper community in Idaho, touted a milestone last week: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has given them the green light to start manufacturing firearms.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:55 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The photo proves nothing. You aren't showing the bona fides on gun ownership until you "accidentally" shoot one of your friends in the face.
posted by XMLicious at 8:51 AM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


“So we shouldn't write any, or engage in the political process, because a different aspect is going to fail?”
Um, no? Pretty much the opposite of what I said.

“Policy and legislation is the topic of this thread”
Feel free to check me on this, but I thought it was “New Assault Weapons Legislation.” Which is the context in which I’m operating. I don’t know who you normally chat with about this but I assure you I’m familiar with basic civics.

“a vast number of gun deaths are caused by people with legally owned guns”

So the fact that the vast majority of gun crime occurs with illegal guns is irrelevant because so many people commit suicide with guns?
Again, increasing security and community contact with police which has the twofold benefit of reducing gun crime in general and reducing the need for a gun in someone’s house.
Introducing law that attempts to reduce accidental deaths without coupling it to security concerns places greater burdens on an already underfunded, understaffed law enforcement infrastructure.
One way is efficient, the other is not. That has nothing to do with ideology or how easy it is to get guns. If people don’t feel they need them, they’re not going to have them.

“Are you just saying this for the shock value, or to provoke the gun-control advocates in this thread?”
I was answering the question posted above.

“You don't have any idea whether it's changed the world or not, because you're not psychic…Or did you mean that it didn't change the whole world?”


Looks like it did some short term good now that we’re looking at it further on. But no, didn’t change the world. It’s not going to get any more or less violent for having one less violent person. What seems to necessitate violence, IMHO, is the failure of law/society to engage and address people or groups of people who feel alienated. I think any piece of legislation that looks to deal with firearms has to deal with why people feel they need firearms in the first place. Otherwise, as I said, it will wind up being theater and get nothing done. And more carnage could result. Of course, no one will take responsibility for it and three years after the fact no one will be interested in the facts that shake out or feedback from law enforcement or any issues the courts might be having, they’ll be back to playing the blame game and whatever the next big thing is. Maybe terrorism again. It’s pretty much a crap shoot.

so try not to be so dismissive of people's attempts to fix that if you want to look like anything except a concern troll.

Yeah, that’s about enough for me too.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:06 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


A BBC report on guns in Switzerland. Switzerland is often brought up in the US gun control debate.
posted by Harald74 at 3:26 AM on February 11, 2013


Ted Nugent’s SOTU Invite Is The Best News Gun Control Advocates Have Heard All Week
Nugent’s role as a political bomb thrower and an especially incendiary critic of President Obama gives him a strong gravitational pull for TV cameras covering the SOTU. And that means more coverage for Obama’s gun violence plan, according to gun control advocates.

“It definitely adds more coverage. And it’s going to play terribly for them,” Ladd Everitt, spokesperson for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence told TPM.

Gun control advocates have lobbied their allies in Congress to invite survivors of gun violence and their relatives to sit in the SOTU audience. USA Today reported about 20 will be in attendance. Michelle Obama is also hosting relatives of Hadiya Pendleton, a Chicago teen who was gunned down days after returning from the President’s inauguration, at the speech.

A spokesperson for Stockman’s office told DCist the congressman invited Nugent “because he is a supporter of the Second Amendment and American values.”

“We thought he would be a good representative,” spokesperson Donny Ferguson said.

But the juxtaposition between the group of survivors and a hardcore gun activist like Nugent during the SOTU is exactly what gun control advocates want.

“You’re going to have a guy who recently threatened the life of the President opposite over 20 survivors from some of our nation’s most gruesome episodes of gun violence,” Everitt said. “It’s heartless, and emblematic of just how radical the Republican Party has become on this issue.”
The problem runs a lot deeper than Ted Nugent
[I]f I were the GOP leadership, the prospect of further comments from Nugent after the speech would have me a bit worried. After all, there’s little doubt that reporters will seek him out, and there’s really no telling what Nugent will say. The GOP leadership has not commented on the news.

But really, this episode is significant for reasons that go well beyond Nugent. The key actor here who matters is Steve Stockman. The problem lies in all the over-the-top stuff GOP lawmakers say regularly that isn’t quite crazy enough to earn widespread condemnation, as Nugent’s quotes have, but are still whacked out enough to encourage an atmosphere that helps keep millions of GOP base voters sealed off from reality. The problem is the perpetual winking and nodding to The Crazy that is deemed marginally acceptable – the hints about creeping socialism, the claim that modest Obama executive actions amount to tyranny, the suggestions that Obama’s values are vaguely un-American and that Obama is transforming the country and the economy into something no longer recognizably American, and so on — more so than the glaringly awful stuff that gets the media refs to throw their flags.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:27 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Obama isn't gonna go right after Nugent like he did Trump at the Corespondent's Dinner (just very different events here), but reading between the lines he is going to make a fool of him and his views and by extension the entire Republican party that made this situation possible.

I have severe differences with Obama on policy, but boy do I respect him as a politician. When you have someone that good, why set up a tee like this?

I bet you he hits Rubio (GOP Response) and Paul (Tea Response) on VAWA too.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:05 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


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