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September 29, 2013 5:49 AM   Subscribe

Bearing Arms: [New York Times] Articles in this series examine the gun industry’s influence and the wide availability of firearms in America.
Children and Guns: The Hidden Toll, Children shot accidentally — usually by other children — are collateral casualties of the accessibility of guns in America, their deaths at once heart-rending and eminently preventable.
Gun Makers Saw No Role in Curbing Improper Sales, Manufacturers have been largely silent in the gun violence debate, but their voices emerge in old lawsuit depositions, which show industry leaders minimizing their responsibility to monitor problematic gun dealers.
Seeking Gun or Selling One, Web Is a Land of Few Rules, A Times examination into the world of Internet gun sales found Web sites functioning as unregulated bazaars, allowing unlicensed sellers to advertise scores of weapons and people legally barred from gun ownership to buy them.
In Some States, Gun Rights Trump Orders of Protection, The N.R.A. and its allies have fought legislative efforts in various states to mandate that people served with domestic violence protection orders surrender their firearms.
Charity Takes Gun Lobby Closer to Its Quarry, The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation allows its donors to mix with lawmakers and press issues important mainly to the firearms industry.
Selling a New Generation on Guns. Long-term declining participation in shooting sports has prompted gun makers and sellers to pour millions into a campaign to get firearms into the hands of children.
posted by Fizz (242 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite

 
Best FPP title. Evar.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:57 AM on September 29, 2013 [16 favorites]


I gotta start giving money to the NYT....
posted by AwkwardPause at 6:10 AM on September 29, 2013


From the first link:

Lucas’s father, Joshua Heagren, had tried to teach the 3-year-old to respect firearms. The boy had gotten a .22 rifle for Christmas, and his father showed him how to fire it.

I just can't even...
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:14 AM on September 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


I am not a big fan of this formulation: "In statehouses across the country, though, the N.R.A. and other gun-rights groups have beaten back legislation mandating the surrender of firearms in domestic violence situations."

The NRA is a problem, yes, but they don't vote on the legislation. A better public service would be to name exactly which legislators endangered people's lives. List them, interview them, find out why they think victims of domestic violence don't deserve this basic protection...then make sure that information is distributed to the voters.
posted by mittens at 6:44 AM on September 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


As a marketing arm of the gun industry, the NRA is brilliant. They swim in money from the gun manufacturers, and get individuals to pay dues to support them. Then they fire up their membership with the whole "they are attacking our constitutional rights!!!". They've positioned themselves in a place of power where the politicians are afraid of crossing them because of their rabid followers.

I have an acquaintance who is generally a very intelligent person, and has made some great choices in his life considering his background, but is completely irrational when it comes to guns. Any gun law is an attack on his constitutional right. But, that's the only constitutional right that concerns him. None of the whole erosion of our other constitutional rights over the years concerns him one bit. When society fails, he'll protect himself and his family with his guns.
posted by Eekacat at 6:46 AM on September 29, 2013 [19 favorites]


mittens, the NRA is one of the top lobbyist groups in the country. While they may not vote on legislation, they certainly control it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:46 AM on September 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


And frequently write it.
posted by Naberius at 6:50 AM on September 29, 2013 [14 favorites]


Well, yeah, but they are also essentially anonymous other than LaPierre, who provides an amusing and utterly useless target for criticism. It makes more sense to target congresspeople, who can be removed and replaced.
posted by mittens at 6:54 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks to the NRA gun permits in Iowa "must be" issued to anyone that qualifies regardless of the opinions of those doing the issuing. This includes the blind.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:56 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


A discordant note was sounded by one executive — Ugo Gussalli Beretta, a scion of the family of Italian firearms makers. His testimony indicated that he did not understand how easy it was to buy multiple guns in the United States, compared with his home country. Questioned by a lawyer for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, he said he believed — incorrectly — that Beretta U.S.A. had a policy requiring its dealers to first determine if there was “a legitimate need” for someone to buy so many guns.

As a non-American I also find this strange. What is a legitimate reason for a civilian to own more than one gun? I get - though don't personally agree with - the argument that having a gun protects you. So why do you need more than one? Do you need one for each place you'll be, or can you carry one with you?

The other point from that article was the refusal of the gun industry to admit that their products were ever involved in any criminal activity, and no interest in finding out otherwise. Basically they all work within an industry where they lie to themselves and us that they're simply selling another piece of household security equipment, rather than something that is designed to kill someone, and that may well be used for that very purpose.
posted by billiebee at 6:59 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why not make the gun industry pay for health insurance to cover anyone injured by firearms?
posted by Devonian at 7:02 AM on September 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't understand gun fans in America. They have, beyond any doubt, won. There is no serious challenge to the broadest possible interpretation of gun rights anymore. After Newtown, the only debate we had was how many rounds you should be able to fire into a child before having to stop and reload. We even had a member of Congress get shot and that didn't stir any action, even though that august body usually acts once they figure out that something might affect them.

There is no debate. No one is proposing the draconian gun control measures that the NSA warns of. How do they keep convincing people that their guns are about to be taken away when there is no evidence of this happening in the past, present, or future?
posted by Legomancer at 7:05 AM on September 29, 2013 [53 favorites]


Look, if people with a history of firearms offences or mental health issues can have battlefield assault weapons, then your gun policies are broken beyond repair. NRA are a bunch of crypto-fascist money grubbing wankers selling Joe Dumbass on some 'you have to have these cool guns like you saw in Call Of Duty because the British are coming!' or some such fucking nonsense and this crap about the Constitution is laughable. they're all for the Constitution when it suits them.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 7:06 AM on September 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


The article about children and guns makes me so sad....
posted by Pendragon at 7:20 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The gun lobbyists and their representatives in government have rather successfully managed to position gun ownership as a human right rather than a civil one, and that's where the problem lies. Throughout US history, the 2nd Amendment has been a non-universal allowance for arming one's self. But now it's apparently a directive obligating for arming one's self for going about their business and demanding that others respect that.

Just look at the the guns in Starbucks conversation we had a couple weeks back. They actually demand that unarmed people trust them and their guns while simultaneously stating that they carry because they can't trust anyone. They state we have nothing to worry about because we should just assume armed people know how to avoid accidents or collateral damage, yet they refuse to allow always-visible identification of either training or ownership. And it doesn't stop there: there are municipalities that have tried requiring gun ownership. When do these "symbolic" gestures end up becoming de facto ordinances?
posted by zombieflanders at 7:21 AM on September 29, 2013 [28 favorites]


It makes more sense to target congresspeople, who can be removed and replaced.

Except the NRA has been fully successful in redefining the gun debate to be about constitutional rights and freedom - with absolutely no shades of gray - so people will support their congresspeople who stand up to even the weakest proposal of any sort of gun law. Because in their minds something like background checks = tyranny. Because that's how the NRA wants it.

Also, it's become such a polarizing issue at this point that I think a lot of people tend to side with the tribe, regardless of what is being proposed about gun regulations. Kind of like Obamacare - when you ask people about the separate provisions, there is overwhelming support. But if you apply the label "Obamacare", people fall in line with what their "side" thinks about it.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:27 AM on September 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Less facetiously, I'm unaware of any other nation on earth where there is a constitutional right to carry guns, nor where there's any remotely plausible pressure group trying to make it so. (Yes, Switzerland; yes, many places with wilderness where things may try and eat you or your livestock; these are guns for a particular and well-definable purpose, not a generic right.)

I have seen people argue that the lack of personal firearms in the UK and Australia mean we suffer twice the number of assaults - but, alas, never with a pointer to the stats. Does anyone know where this comes from, and whether there are groups using these arguments actually in the UK or Australia?
posted by Devonian at 7:29 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


They actually demand that unarmed people trust them and their guns while simultaneously stating that they carry because they can't trust anyone.

Not exactly. Here's where the right's social darwinism/survivalism (and white supremacism) comes into play. If you're unarmed, well...that's you're fault, isn't it? Is it my fault that you are some arugula-eating liberal pussy pacifist? Or that you're too poor to buy guns and ammo? Bootstraps, people.
posted by goethean at 7:34 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't understand gun fans in America.

Joe Bageant, R.I.P.:
To me, even the school shootings and the attending meaningless discussions about gun ownership are a distraction from the real problem. And that problem is a complex one having to do with such things as the decay of our social support network and families, the unacknowledged fear permeating this collapsing empire, the exploitation of the citizenry by telling them there is danger at every turn -- Muslims, crime, etc., and the vast unarticulated rage and insecurity that lies just beneath the surface if everyday life here. It's hard to see it if you are a visitor, but even harder to endure if you happen to be a citizen of a country that holds a quarter of the world's prison population, yet represents only six percent of the world's population -- a system that teaches us to value punishment and revenge over keeping our common society in good repair.

Consequently, a great many people own guns out of pure fear of a worst case scenario which varies according to the person's anxieties.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:34 AM on September 29, 2013 [47 favorites]


As a non-American I also find this strange. What is a legitimate reason for a civilian to own more than one gun?

I'm not an American either, and I fully support the UK's pretty much total ban on firearm ownership, but I totally get this. Guns are fetish items. If I could have them, I'd also want loads of them of all different types, from vintage Mausers to modern Glocks.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:35 AM on September 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


The proliferation of guns in your society is a symptom, not the actual problem. The actual problem is the ease with which you are all convinced that The Other is a clear and present danger to you. White people need guns to defend themselves from black people. Black people need guns to protect themselves from brown people. You need Homeland Security and the NSA to protect you from terrorist people. You need marriage laws to defend yourselves from gay people. You need to outlaw abortion & contraception to protect yourselves from female people. You need to eliminate food stamps to protect yourselves from poor people. You need to support for-profit insurance companies to protect yourselves from sick and unlucky people.

You slice and dice your society into smaller and smaller groups, Us against The Other, until there is nothing left but Me & Mine against the rest of the world. You use preachers, lawyers, guns and money to divide yourselves against yourselves, and you call it freedom. You are a very puzzling people.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 7:39 AM on September 29, 2013 [137 favorites]


Guns are the only consumer product designed to kill when used according to the directions.
posted by tommasz at 7:55 AM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Except the NRA has been fully successful in redefining the gun debate to be about constitutional rights and freedom - with absolutely no shades of gray - so people will support their congresspeople who stand up to even the weakest proposal of any sort of gun law. Because in their minds something like background checks = tyranny. Because that's how the NRA wants it.

The NRA is very good at 1) raising money and 2) creating single-issue voters who will cast ballots for candidates that otherwise don't represent their interests. This is why our current debate on guns is so poisoned. For them, it's not about the guns anymore so much as it is about getting people (Republicans) into office, and with each electoral success the NRA has to draw deeper and deeper into the barrel of gun-related issues to find an excuse for rallying the base. This is why we're now at the point where giving gun permits to blind people in Iowa and arming teachers are issues. It's because they've already used up their A-material about a two decades ago and are only left with the crazy.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:02 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is no debate. ... How do they keep convincing people that their guns are about to be taken away when there is no evidence of this happening in the past, present, or future?

That's not really accurate. Take Chicago/Illinois, for example. The city has a crime problem, and legislators have decided to address it by, in part, addressing firearms. One approach was to impose a training requirement for obtaining a firearm license, and then banning all firing ranges inside the city. Another, slightly less "draconian" approach, was to ban all carrying of firearms unless unloaded and secured: you could "bear" a handgun around your kitchen, but nowhere else.

Whether or not you or I agree with those laws, they do represent extreme positions in the debate. It's not accurate to say one side has radical voices and the other is composed entirely of quiet, modest proposals.
posted by cribcage at 8:06 AM on September 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Why not make the gun industry pay for health insurance to cover anyone injured by firearms?

Oddly enough, NRA membership does give its members insurance.

I have no problem with regulation and want more (but smarter) regulation in place. I do have a problem with making ownership illegal. Then again, I believe in making all drugs legal and regulating + taxing the crap out of them. I mean, hey, look at the previous thread on Colorado and marijuana.

Many of the existing laws don't solve the underlying problem. Much like the NRA and others who oppose any legislation curtailing what they perceive is a constitutional right, those who do write gun control laws tend to do so without really identifying what needs to be regulated. So the issue is polarized and nothing is resolved.

But then you do have some laws that make sense. California has one of the strictest gun laws in the book, and one is that a gun in the house must be kept unloaded, and if minors are present firearms must in addition be locked away. This renders it useless in the home invasion scenario the NRA likes to use to scare people, and willfully disobeying this simple piece of legislation pretty much seems to be the main cause for many child victims of gun violence. Even crazier, in-place gun control locks are permanently defeated, with folks filing away the safety lever and other such stupidity.

When did gun safety mean taking away constitutional rights? When did regulating the sale of firearms and providing the ATF with sufficient means to track weapon sales mean taking away your liberty?

Meanwhile, there is absolutely no reason for a civilian to own a fully automatic weapon or weapons that can use a .50 caliber Browning MG round. But the term "assault weapon" has become so twisted and convoluted in its text that the laws often make no sense.

Guns are fetish items.
They can be, sure. But so can many things in life. The gun carries an additional mystique to it mostly because of the way it is regarded in society. It is to many people in the States a tool or sporting equipment they actually use. Target shooters, cowboy action shooters, hunters, folks who live and/or work in areas where a firearm is a personal defense tool. Many of these folks are familiar and careful with their firearms.

The problem lies with the many who are not and the ease in obtaining it. Figuring out how to control firearms legally and responsibly is one half of the issue, the other is figuring out how to educate the population on proper handling and use. We can't even have this discourse because of the current volatility of the issue.

Guns are the only consumer product designed to kill when used according to the directions.
To kill what? A hunting rifle is designed to kill game. So is a bow and arrow. A kitchen knife, when used according to directions, can also kill. I am not sure what you mean by this except that to hold a provocative position on the opposite end of the NRA's one note PR marketing engine, which is pretty much why no one can have an intelligent conversation about the subject.
posted by linux at 8:08 AM on September 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


As a non-American I also find this strange. What is a legitimate reason for a civilian to own more than one gun?

I am an American and I find it strange. Personally, I am an American who spent some of my wild youth shooting a lot of really interesting guns and I can't think of a single reason why any of us have either the need nor the right to own even a single gun.

In fact, I support complete repeal of the 2nd Amendment (because the context of a nation too new and small to protect its citizens from the hostile nations we were occupying and the recent revolution are so alien to the circumstance in which we currently live and because current interpretation is tortured to fit modern circumstance outside of the idea that we've always had this right) and the outlawing firearm ownership and possession in the U.S.

I know that making firearm ownership and possession illegal won't make the existing guns disappear; I know that it won't stop people owning, possession and using firearms (either immediately or within a quick timeframe, however "quick" is defined); I know that if guns were outlawed in the U.S. tomorrow, it would take several generations to significantly reduce intentional and accidental firearm violence. I am okay with that, but it has got to start somewhere and it has got to start now.

Because licensing and regulating and permitting firearm ownership and carry is not stopping people from shooting one another accidentally, on purpose, on on weird moral justifications of a superior right to determine what is safe.

Given the two options:

1) some people who commit mass shootings–or even just a single shooting–lawfully acquired and carried (some or all of) the weapons they used to murder people

and

2) every person who commits a mass shooting–or even a single shooting, fatal or not–does so with an illegally acquired and illegally carried weapon

I’ll take option #2 every single goddamn time.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:12 AM on September 29, 2013 [14 favorites]


“My child living is more important to me than somebody stealing my flat screen,” she said.
posted by Ickster at 8:15 AM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


"A kitchen knife, when used according to directions, can also kill."

C'mon. That makes about as much sense as saying "A bowling ball, when used according to directions, can also kill". Every direction I've seen involving kitchen
knives, when such exist, seem to strongly encourage NOT endangering life and limb.
posted by Chitownfats at 8:18 AM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


A kitchen knife, when used according to directions, can also kill

I'm trying to remember in which cookbook I read "take the butcher knife and stab repeatedly into roast, make sure to stab deep..."
posted by Max Power at 8:25 AM on September 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


More people die of pulmonary complications of smoking than are shot, but nobody wants to make cigarettes illegal. In fact, we are about to legalize marijuana on a national level so even more people will die of emphysema/cancer/COPD, etc.

More people die in car accidents than in shootings, but nobody would seriously entertain limiting automobile ownership.

More people are stabbed than are shot, but nobody would seriously entertain limiting knife ownership.

Criticize guns all you want, I'd hate to see gun ownership in America limited to just the cops and the army, especially when there are more deadly things out there, like cars and knives.
posted by Renoroc at 8:27 AM on September 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


Yes, I'm sure that in countries with stricter gun laws than the US determined criminals can still obtain firearms. But if there weren't .89 guns for every person in the US (2007 stat cited here) it seems an indisputable fact there would be far, far fewer accidental deaths and impulsive suicides. Fewer guns laying around means fewer sudden tragedies resulting from those guns. That has nothing to do with good people vs. bad people and everything to do with simple availability.
posted by Bromius at 8:28 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


The "more people die of x" argument is so stupid. Eating food in moderation will help you not have cardiac problems. You are not allowed to buy cigarettes until you are 18. The entire purpose of a gun is to shoot and kill someone.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:29 AM on September 29, 2013 [15 favorites]


I shoot regularly and compete in ISSF-style pistol events with a weapon that is only useful for one purpose: precision shooting. Precision shooting requires focus, discipline, and lots of focused, disciplined repetition. A match is a test of will and requires all the strength and endurance your neuromuscular system can summon.

At my local indoor range, in a mid-sized southern city, I have yet to meet another ISSF or precision shooter. The range is full of people who rent the equivalent of a handheld cannon (or worse, bring their own arsenal from home), and proceed to blast away at gigantic human-silhouette or hostage targets at a distance of about 3 meters. Shots spray everywhere. There's even a gentleman who shows up with his Smith & Wesson .500 but they always put him on the rifle line where he can cause less of a disturbance. Last week, a cease-fire was called when one of his stray bullets caused 'major damage' to the range.

Shooting can be a beautiful sport but whatever's going on at my local range isn't anything close to that. It seems to be a place where intruder-shooting fantasies are played out, without any understanding whatsoever that shooting is a skill to be developed or that an uneducated shooter with a large-caliber handgun puts everyone in the vicinity at risk.
posted by grounded at 8:36 AM on September 29, 2013 [31 favorites]


The NRA was basically a hunting and gun safety organization sponsored by US gun manufacturers until the 1960's. Industry sales were flagging, so a few clever marketers got to thinking, and soon enough the NRA started pushing for legislation to allow foreign gun parts to be assembled in America and sold cheaply to fill a growing demand in the inner cities, where groups of angry and scared people fired with revolutionary rhetoric couldn't afford more expensive domestic handguns. Cheap guns in desperate hands inevitably unleashed a crime wave that, though almost entirely contained within city limits, scared unaffected suburbanites into snapping up more expensive all-American handguns to protect their homes from this newly manufactured and highly publicized threat.

Why would the lobbying arm of the American gun cartel push for their own state-supported monopoly to be undercut by cheap foreign competition? Well, it worked, didn't it? The gun manufacturers supplied insecurity on one end and security on the other, making money from both, and the role of the gun lobby expanded from helping people hunt safely to protecting homes and eventually guaranteeing ill-understood freedoms. The NRA played the long game with human lives, and it worked beyond their wildest dreams.

I don't know what can be done about it, but that's where they're coming from. I'm not a strong believer in a taxonomy of good and evil, but the way the NRA went about creating and filling the need for home security and then shrouding it all in constitutional guarantees is the pits.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:39 AM on September 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


I find much of the framing in this thread really interesting because it helps illustrate the fundamental problem in US politics today - people make arguments that claim to rest on principles but are incredibly selective about applying them (in other words, they don't actually have principles, they have talking points).

Two examples.

In statehouses across the country, though, the N.R.A. and other gun-rights groups have beaten back legislation mandating the surrender of firearms in domestic violence situations

Replace "gun rights" with "anti-gay marriage." Replace "gun rights" with "anti-ACA." In the shutdown thread right now there is plenty of howling about how the republicans are somehow bad losers for trying to find other schemes to override the voted preferences of the people and how wrong this is and how weird their tenacity is on this topic despite the outcome of court decisions and elections. Gun control has recently lost both elections and court decisions. How is this different?

Thanks to the NRA gun permits in Iowa "must be" issued to anyone that qualifies regardless of the opinions of those doing the issuing.

Previous threads on pharmacists wanting to withhold birth control pills because of their opinions have met with howls of rage (that I agree with).

And so on.
posted by rr at 8:39 AM on September 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


nobody wants to make cigarettes illegal

That's certainly not right, by the way.
posted by escabeche at 8:39 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


To be fair, the NRA's lobbying isn't what scares elected officials, when you look at their individual campaign contributions to candidates it's rather paltry.

But piss off their membership and you are going to have a tough election.

As for the 'guns are a fetish' type comments. Perhaps. For some. I own a rifle, a shotgun and two pistols of different calibers. They each have a completely different function at the range - shooting a 9mm pistol is an entirely different experience than hitting a target with a .22 rifle at 200 yards.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 8:40 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Whether or not you or I agree with those laws, they do represent extreme positions in the debate. It's not accurate to say one side has radical voices and the other is composed entirely of quiet, modest proposals.

This is a perspective that is essentially unique to American contrarians, of course. And it's hard to argue that the radicals on one side dominate and get their way.

More people die of pulmonary complications of smoking than are shot, but nobody wants to make cigarettes illegal. In fact, we are about to legalize marijuana on a national level so even more people will die of emphysema/cancer/COPD, etc.

More people die in car accidents than in shootings, but nobody would seriously entertain limiting automobile ownership.


Um, yeah, we do limit both of those things. I'm all for requiring gun owners to be licensed, register their weapons (besides, the NRA's already doing it for them), have their gun privileges limited or revoked for repeated or gross accidents and misuse, and have strict regulations on their use.

More people are stabbed than are shot, but nobody would seriously entertain limiting knife ownership.

Huh? This isn't even remotely close to being true. On average, there's about 4-5 times as many murders committed with guns than knives.

Criticize guns all you want, I'd hate to see gun ownership in America limited to just the cops and the army

You are aware that this is the position of most Americans and nearly all gun control advocates, right? Because otherwise you're just making stuff up.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:41 AM on September 29, 2013 [14 favorites]


Consequently, a great many people own guns out of pure fear of a worst case scenario...

it's not a "pure" fear, it's a very specific fear of very specific scenarios...

NRA = Golden Dawn
in 1977... the NRA was taken over by far-right fanatics led by a convicted murderer and onetime US Border Guards chief named Harlon Carter — whose previous claim to fame was when he led a massive crackdown on Mexican immigrant laborers called "Operation Wetback." That’s not a typo by the way.

Two decades before Harlon Carter led "Operation Wetback" he was convicted of murdering a 15-year-old Mexican American boy, sentenced to a three-year prison term (Harlon was under-age himself), before being inexplicably acquitted of all charges and allowed to walk free as if it had never happened. It probably didn’t hurt that Harlon Carter’s daddy was himself a ranking Border Guards official, and that his fate was in the hands of the Texas "justice" system.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:44 AM on September 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Criticize guns all you want, I'd hate to see gun ownership in America limited to just the cops and the army

You are aware that this is the position of most Americans and nearly all gun control advocates, right? Because otherwise you're just making stuff up


What part is he making up? Because I hear it all the time (and having Diane Feinstein as my rep does not help your case).
posted by small_ruminant at 8:45 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


What is a legitimate reason for a civilian to own more than one gun?

Please do not read this as an endorsement of NRA-type advocacy, but for those among us who hunt there are legitimate reasons to own more than one gun. For instance, a person here in northern Minnesota might go with a .270 rifle for deer hunting, a 20 or 12 gauge shotgun for fowl, and a .22 pistol for shooting porcupines that are gnawing on the end of one's cabin porch and other such vermin. Parents who hunt tend to desire to pass on these practices to their children, and might teach with -- having passed the air rifle phase, during which one is taught to carry and use a firearm safely, if they're smart -- some lighter arms, such as a .410 shotgun and a .243 deer rifle. Larger-gauge shotguns have quite a recoil, and smaller people (such as children) require a lighter rifle that they can fire offhand, if they intend to hunt well.

For those who include home defense among their rationale for firearm owning, that same 12 or 20 gauge shotgun is just the thing -- it's devastatingly powerful while requiring relatively little finesse, and is not likely to put rounds through one's neighbor's walls.
posted by mr. digits at 8:45 AM on September 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


More people are stabbed than are shot, but nobody would seriously entertain limiting knife ownership.

Can you own and carry an automatic opening knife where you live? Most of the online dealers limit sales to people in law enforcement or the military. How about a balisong?

Even in the USA, there aren't many states where these weapons are legal to own and carry -- which always struck me as peculiar, given how hard it is to control guns.

When did someone last do a mass killing with a flick knife or a butterfly knife?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:48 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Replace "gun rights" with "anti-gay marriage." Replace "gun rights" with "anti-ACA." In the shutdown thread right now there is plenty of howling about how the republicans are somehow bad losers for trying to find other schemes to override the voted preferences of the people and how wrong this is and how weird their tenacity is on this topic despite the outcome of court decisions and elections. Gun control has recently lost both elections and court decisions. How is this different?

It's funny that you chose gay marriage and the ACA, because those are two issues that the Republicans are defying the stated wishes of the majority because they're not beholden to a representative portion of the voters at large.

Just like gun control.

Previous threads on pharmacists wanting to withhold birth control pills because of their opinions have met with howls of rage (that I agree with).

One applies to the health of a human being, the other is related to the health and safety of those around another with no requirement.

What part is he making up? Because I hear it all the time (and having Diane Feinstein as my rep does not help your case).

You're welcome to present statistics rather than anecdata for this.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:48 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


smaller people (such as children) require a lighter rifle

See, that's where I become aware that gun ownership is just too alien a concept for me. No matter how responsible the attitude, my mind just cannot compute a child requiring any type of rifle.
posted by billiebee at 8:50 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


If they're going to hunt deer they shall require a firearm. One may acquire a tag at the age of twelve. I believe archery licenses become available at the age of ten.
posted by mr. digits at 8:51 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Consequently, a great many people own guns out of pure fear of a worst case scenario which varies according to the person's anxieties.

And I think unfortunately also a pure fantasy... Some people like the idea of being a lone ranger cowboy hero who defends himself or his own against the "bad guys" instead of just another joe who's part of some dumb productive society. There is a major strain of romanticism in the American psyche that laps up the idea of powerful weapons, evil enemies, violence, danger, and impossible missions. It's much more exciting than talking, thinking, creatively solving problems together and making the world better for the next generation, apparently. And it's just not the same without guns...
posted by mdn at 8:51 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's 2013. Nobody needs to hunt. Especially a child.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:52 AM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


More people die of pulmonary complications of smoking than are shot, but nobody wants to make cigarettes illegal. In fact, we are about to legalize marijuana on a national level so even more people will die of emphysema/cancer/COPD, etc.

But we do regulate the sale and consumption of tobacco products, up to and including a prohibition on smoking in public places.

More people die in car accidents than in shootings, but nobody would seriously entertain limiting automobile ownership.

We do require car owners to undergo training and have insurance before they can drive on public roads.

More people are stabbed than are shot, but nobody would seriously entertain limiting knife ownership.

We, in fact, do have laws regarding the transport, ownership, and use of bladed weapons. I was amused to find that Texas actually has relatively strict laws against the transport of bladed weapons (you can open carry a loaded AR-15, but not a sword).
posted by dirigibleman at 8:53 AM on September 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


It's 2013. Nobody needs to hunt. Especially a child.

Perhaps that's why they're so excited to prevent poor kids from having access to nutritious meals.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:54 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's 2013. Nobody needs to hunt. Especially a child.

See, this seems nuts to me. Nobody NEEDS to do a lot of things. It doesn't mean make them illegal.

Neither does your faith in the good faith of police (This is 2013- did you watch Oakland's Occupy crackdown? Those were police. Have you read, perhaps in other, similar threads, about the courts' decisions stating that the police don't have a legal obligation to come when you call, even if your life is in danger? Have you ever lived someplace without police?) or your repugnance towards someone having the ability to kill themselves, which I, at least, don't share.

However, I will bow out of this thread because we have them so regularly and, like abortion, there is no convincing one side of the other's validity.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:58 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


> It's 2013. Nobody needs to hunt. Especially a child.

Meh, there are plenty of legitimate hunting options out there (feral hogs, deer overpopulation, etc) that are aligned with conservation and resource management. I don't see how it being 2013 has a lick to do with anything.

I don't hunt, but those blanket kneejerk statements do nothing for discourse here.
posted by planetesimal at 8:58 AM on September 29, 2013 [24 favorites]


We only need to require gun insurance and gun hoarders will find it difficult to keep more than a few working guns. Background checks will all be privatized, and lawsuits will be between injured parties and irresponsible sellers and owners. Then gun lobbyists can demand a public option.
posted by Brian B. at 9:00 AM on September 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Guns are the only consumer product designed to kill when used according to the directions.

Sure, if you've never heard of target shooting. Or cigarettes. But yeah, keep thinking that guns are uniquely inherently evil. That'll help.
posted by Etrigan at 9:00 AM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's the bullets we should be controlling.
posted by Teakettle at 9:08 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's the bullets we should be controlling.
Sure, but the upcoming law in California where you need an annually renewed background check license to purchase ammunition sounds more like a revenue stream than actual controlling. Current law already logs your purchase, so not sure what this would do, particular since background checks are already broken.
posted by linux at 9:13 AM on September 29, 2013


According to Slate, since the Newtown massacre on December 14, 2012, approximately 8,803 shooting deaths have been reported in the media, but an estimated 25,779 shooting deaths have actually occurred. The difference in the two figures is mainly attributable to the fact that suicides by gun aren't usually reported in the media. To make this situation even more terrifying to contemplate, realize that these figures don't include the many people who have been shot but survived the incident. Shooting accidents, murders, suicides by gun, and periodic massacres are the price we pay for a strong, liberally interpreted Second Amendment. Apparently, for enough Americans, it's worth the cost, and the death toll will continue into the foreseeable future.
posted by Daddy-O at 9:29 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's the bullets we should be controlling.

Nobody with even the slightest familiarity with how people shoot can give me an explanation as to how this is supposed to work. An avid target shooter can easily fire several hundred rounds per week. Given that it's impossible for a seller or regulator to tell if the billets he sold last week have been used or not, the only reasonable courses of action are to ban target shooting, or allow up to several hundred rounds per week to be purchased by an individual, which is enough to perpetuate any of the mass shootings that have happened in this country.

You can say, "well fine, then we effectively ban target shooting sports" but you've moved yourself well beyond "it's the bullets we should be controlling" at that point.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:29 AM on September 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Nobody with even the slightest familiarity with how people shoot can give me an explanation as to how this is supposed to work.

Taxes:
The key thing here is that the use of handguns in gang conflicts is at least in part an equilibrium problem. If two rival organizations are conducting disputes with guns rather than knives and fists, that's worse for both gangs and for the city at large. The legal risks are higher, the risk of death is higher, and up-arming yourself gives you no systematic advantage over rivals. But whole cities get stuck in the bad high-fatality equilibrium because nobody wants to be the guy who brings the knife to a gunfight. Yet at the same time, these gangs are at least in part economic institutions that should be sensitive to the price of production inputs. If bullets get more expensive, you need to start conserving them. And if your rivals have the same problem, then perhaps the citywide basis of competition can ratchet down to a less-deadly dynamic of melee rather than drive-by.

Maybe it wouldn't work. But given that we are going to have to raise some taxes of some sort and this would raise revenue, it seems worth a try. As an added bonus, a higher price of ammunition shouldn't be a serious obstacle to anyone hoping to use a firearm for home defense. The costs would be borne by habitual gun users rather than people trying to prepare for rare contingencies.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:35 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's 2013. Nobody needs to hunt.

I disagree. I grew up in the west (Montana) and lots of people get the kind of meat from hunting (deer and elk mostly) that they could never afford to buy in a grocery store. The same is true in many other rural areas in other parts of the country.

But, nobody hunts with a pistol or an AK-47. And there's a huge difference between a guy walking through a field with a 30-06 and a guy walking into a shopping mall with an automatic. The problem is not all guns, it's that all guns are treated equally. We don't do that with drugs, we don't do that with vehicles, and it doesn't make sense.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:35 AM on September 29, 2013 [24 favorites]


Nobody with even the slightest familiarity with how people shoot can give me an explanation as to how this is supposed to work.

The mechanism would be unconstitutional, according to the courts, but perfectly workable in practical terms. Bullets for weapons other than standard hunting rifles and shotguns are legally available only at the range in discrete and tracked quantities, shots are counted, and you hand over your weapon for inspection when you leave. Bullets not fired count as credit for your next visit; bullets not fired or found in the gun are presumed to be hidden on your person.

But at that point, you may as well simply require guns to be kept in locked compartments at particular, authorized places. As I understand it, that's often how licit gun ownership works in heavily regulated countries.
posted by kewb at 9:38 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's the bullets we should be controlling.

I didn't realise that was a genuine gun control argument. I thought it was just a reference to this.
posted by billiebee at 9:41 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I disagree. I grew up in the west (Montana) and lots of people get the kind of meat from hunting (deer and elk mostly) that they could never afford to buy in a grocery store.

Really? Bullets, guns and the appropriate equipment are all free?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:53 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't realise that was a genuine gun control argument.

It's not sound if you limit the supply. It will make a black market for bullets, and cause billions worth of hoarding in the short term. Taxing them more is a good strategy though, to politically focus on the costs of injuries, which mostly fall to the federal and state government.
posted by Brian B. at 9:56 AM on September 29, 2013



> I disagree. I grew up in the west (Montana) and lots of people get the kind of meat from hunting (deer and elk mostly) that they could never afford to buy in a grocery store.

Really? Bullets, guns and the appropriate equipment are all free?


No, but it's more economical to hunt it yourself. The statement was about non-farm-raised meat.
posted by linux at 9:58 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


goethean : Not exactly. Here's where the right's social darwinism/survivalism (and white supremacism) comes into play. If you're unarmed, well...that's you're fault, isn't it? Is it my fault that you are some arugula-eating liberal pussy pacifist? Or that you're too poor to buy guns and ammo? Bootstraps, people.

That, uh, kinda doesn't even make sense. You've not only set up a straw man to attack, you've set it up as itself attacking another straw-man in turn. Recursive straw turtles all the way down, man!


zombieflanders : As an added bonus, a higher price of ammunition shouldn't be a serious obstacle to anyone hoping to use a firearm for home defense. The costs would be borne by habitual gun users rather than people trying to prepare for rare contingencies.

While technically true, you probably don't want people just buying a random pistol to keep near the bed and then not mastering the use of it because ammo costs too much. Regardless of your personal or political feelings about guns in general, I doubt you can argue against the fact that range-time makes everyone safer.

Oh, and making bullets cost more would simply cause the number of people doing their own loading skyrocket - Even the short-term shortages caused by fear of the government somehow limiting access to firearms and ammo, which has effectively sent prices through the roof, has drastically increased the number of people reloading - To the point where even reloading supplies have started to become scarce.


CheeseDigestsAll : But, nobody hunts with a pistol or an AK-47.

This "fact" gets debunked every time we have one of these threads.

For "assault-style" rifles, they function exactly like standard hunting rifles but tend to weigh less. No, you don't use select fire on Bambi; Yes, skipping 5lbs of useless gear makes a day of hiking through the woods far less tiring.

As for pistols - Most states not only limit what guns and how much ammo you can use while hunting, they outright require that you carry certain accessories on you. In particular, a sidearm, to dispatch a wounded deer. Have you ever fired a .30-06 into meat at point blank range? Can you say "fine red mist"? Whether or not you legally need a pistol, you want one with you when hunting.
posted by pla at 10:01 AM on September 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


The hunting angle is legitimate, but I think it's also illustrative of some of the worst of the NRA's impact. I grew up in a part of the country where hunting and fishing is big and I actually went hunting once or twice as a kid, although I realized pretty quickly that it wasn't for me. I don't have any issue with owning a rifle for hunting, but I do have an issue with so-called hunting rifles that are high-capacity and rapid-fire. Neither of these attributes are necessary for hunting but we can't really have a discussion about how we could limit the impact of these unsporting and more-dangerous-than-usual firearms because the NRA immediately floors the accelerator right into "from my cold dead hands" rhetoric.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:03 AM on September 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


"In 1993, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published an article by Arthur Kellerman and colleagues, “Gun ownership as a risk factor for homicide in the home,” which presented the results of research funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study found that keeping a gun in the home was strongly and independently associated with an increased risk of homicide. The article concluded that rather than confer protection, guns kept in the home are associated with an increase in the risk of homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance. Kellerman was affiliated at the time with the department of internal medicine at the University of Tennessee. He went on to positions at Emory University, and he currently holds the Paul O’Neill Alcoa Chair in Policy Analysis at the RAND Corporation.

The 1993 NEJM article received considerable media attention, and the National Rifle Association (NRA) responded by campaigning for the elimination of the center that had funded the study, the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention. The center itself survived, but Congress included language in the 1996 Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Bill (PDF, 2.4MB) for Fiscal Year 1997 that “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”  Referred to as the Dickey amendment after its author, former U.S. House Representative Jay Dickey (R-AR), this language did not explicitly ban research on gun violence. However, Congress also took $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget — the amount the CDC had invested in firearm injury research the previous year — and earmarked the funds for prevention of traumatic brain injury. Dr. Kellerman stated in a December 2012 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Precisely what was or was not permitted under the clause was unclear. But no federal employee was willing to risk his or her career or the agency's funding to find out. Extramural support for firearm injury prevention research quickly dried up.”" - cite

Just this past January, Obama signed an executive order "directing the Centers on Disease Control to start studying "the causes of gun violence" once again."

A list of basic questions
that researchers may now be able to investigate. Unless, of course, the NRA gets Congress to restrict the funds in some other way.
posted by rtha at 10:06 AM on September 29, 2013 [26 favorites]


The proliferation of guns in your society is a symptom, not the actual problem. The actual problem is the ease with which you are all convinced that The Other is a clear and present danger to you. White people need guns to defend themselves from black people. Black people need guns to protect themselves from brown people. You need Homeland Security and the NSA to protect you from terrorist people. You need marriage laws to defend yourselves from gay people. You need to outlaw abortion & contraception to protect yourselves from female people. You need to eliminate food stamps to protect yourselves from poor people. You need to support for-profit insurance companies to protect yourselves from sick and unlucky people.

You slice and dice your society into smaller and smaller groups, Us against The Other, until there is nothing left but Me & Mine against the rest of the world. You use preachers, lawyers, guns and money to divide yourselves against yourselves, and you call it freedom. You are a very puzzling people.


I am an American. I do not own or enjoy guns, and I'm not exactly a really big fan of all the other shitty things you described as being part and parcel of what an American is. Please don't look at the sickest parts of our society and decide that that's what we're all like.
posted by palomar at 10:08 AM on September 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hunting is an unhelpful derail; there are plenty of developed countries where folks still hunt for the table, for reasons ranging from Slow Food to necessity. What we have here in the US is a special, toxic gun culture that other countries do not have.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 10:09 AM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


That, uh, kinda doesn't even make sense. You've not only set up a straw man to attack, you've set it up as itself attacking another straw-man in turn. Recursive straw turtles all the way down, man!

The NRA fantasy results in 30,000 American deaths per year. Happy hunting.
posted by goethean at 10:13 AM on September 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


I am an American. I do not own or enjoy guns, and I'm not exactly a really big fan of all the other shitty things you described as being part and parcel of what an American is. Please don't look at the sickest parts of our society and decide that that's what we're all like.

I think everyone understands it's not what *all* Americans are like, but as a country these are aspects which distinguish the USA from other essentially all other developed countries on earth. The impression you're objecting to is one held by quite a lot of people around the world. Maybe we ought to focus on trying to make a better society than policing the (accurate) perceptions people have about the society we have.
posted by crayz at 10:16 AM on September 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


I think Mary Ellen Carter is on to something. I don't interpret her remarks as necessarily being about me or anyone specifically, so much as about discernible, discussable patterns in American life, politics, andsoforth. I have more ire at the state of things here than I do at someone identifying as a non-US citizen making observations about same.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 10:17 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I doubt you can argue against the fact that range-time makes everyone safer.

I already did. From that comment:
Saavedra and Giannamore, both qualified range masters and experienced firearms instructors, were on duty and wearing bullet-proof vests at the time of the shooting.

Saavedra was shot with Giannamore's personal rifle, Archambo said.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:17 AM on September 29, 2013


It's 2013. Nobody needs to hunt. Especially a child.

I wish gun control advocates wouldn't so commonly shift smoothly and quickly into attacking the lifestyles of people who also happen to own guns instead of just arguing for good regulation of firearms.

Either people need to hunt, or we need to reintroduce wolves and panthers to just about all of the suburban and rural US, or we need to get used to deer being much more of a pest than they already are. Or, I guess, we could just exterminate the deer too.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:22 AM on September 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Thanks to the NRA gun permits in Iowa "must be" issued to anyone that qualifies regardless of the opinions of those doing the issuing. This includes the blind.
The blind have just as much of a right as anyone else to accidentally shoot their child, by God.
posted by Flunkie at 10:24 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The actual problem is the ease with which you are all convinced that The Other is a clear and present danger to you.

America never experienced a time when a dictator took all the guns, or had a government that prevented them from being common in the first place. So it's not necessarily a complex argument, because the act of removing guns, and all other supply-side approaches, just makes most people more suspicious and want them more. The idea that gangs use guns also feeds into a simple narrative, because it is widely believed they are killing each other off, and so people imagine they are pragmatists by resisting gun laws. Also, rural populations in America have much more say due to the electoral college, which rewards small states with enormous federal power. and they usually don't see a threat from guns, only self-reliant blessings.
posted by Brian B. at 10:25 AM on September 29, 2013


Please don't look at the sickest parts of our society and decide that that's what we're all like.

I don't think the comment was aimed at us as individual Americans (of which I am one). It sure rang a bell for me at a cultural level, though. There's a lot of fearmongering about Scary Others, and a lot of talk about needing to protect yourself/family in the event of the inevitable societal breakdown that happens when a disaster hits. But many scared people seem happy to ignore what *actually* happens in the aftermath of a Superstorm Sandy, '89 earthquake, Katrina, Andrew, historic Colorado floods, annual gigantic wildfires, etc., which is:

- people get together with their neighbors to use someone's gas grill to cook the food they can't keep refrigerated, and feed anyone who needs feeding;

- they hang electric cords out their windows so that people without power can charge their phones

- they go around in tiny boats and canoes to see which neighbors need rescuing or supplies

- they use social media to organize strangers who want to help other strangers clear out flooded homes, rescue stranded pets, etc.

- they offer space at their stables and farms to random people who need to evacuate their livestock from floods and fires

- they get ladders from nearby and climb into unstable collapsed freeway structures to rescue strangers

My recollection of things like the aftermath of Katrina was that the vast majority of people who got shot and killed were shot and killed a) for the hell of it by cops and b) by paranoid people "protecting" their towns from....people who were trying to not drown. Rampaging violent looters never seem to outnumber people who are trying their best to help.
posted by rtha at 10:25 AM on September 29, 2013 [28 favorites]


While technically true, you probably don't want people just buying a random pistol to keep near the bed and then not mastering the use of it because ammo costs too much. Regardless of your personal or political feelings about guns in general, I doubt you can argue against the fact that range-time makes everyone safer.

Regardless of the veracity of that last statement, I have no problem in making someone pay extra for the privilege of engaging in an activity that no amount of unbiased international research has shown anything other than either no effect or a negative one. If you want to engage in home defense fantasies despite the fact that no one's been able to prove efficacy but has shown that it leads to higher incidences of accidents and suicides, be my guest. But you're helping pay for the physical and emotional damage that it has been proven to cause.

Oh, and making bullets cost more would simply cause the number of people doing their own loading skyrocket - Even the short-term shortages caused by fear of the government somehow limiting access to firearms and ammo, which has effectively sent prices through the roof, has drastically increased the number of people reloading - To the point where even reloading supplies have started to become scarce.

Gee, it's almost as if they were scared into doing so for literally no reason at all by organizations that claim to represent them but are 100% beholden to the manufacturers of these items aimed mainly at an audience that doesn't need them. It's just the free market speaking, bro.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:27 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's even a gentleman who shows up with his Smith & Wesson .500

Ah, yes: the gun sold because you apparently need a .500 to deal with wild pigs, and not at all because it is a grotesque pornographic parody of the revolver.

I don't think that guns are inherently evil, but I do think that Americans, collectively, have shown that they can't be trusted with them. Normally, the "this is why we can't have nice things" rule would apply, but instead, the nice thing we can't have is the ability to trust that the local Responsible Gun Owner™ isn't going to have a momentary case of the irresponsibles within a one-mile radius.
posted by holgate at 10:30 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


But yeah, keep thinking that guns are uniquely inherently evil.

Whether or not guns are inherently evil isn't really the issue. It's that guns are inherently dangerous. Even among responsible gun owners, there is always talk about teaching "respect" for firearms, in the same way we all talk about the responsibility of safely driving a car. In both cases, it is because we all recognize that owning and operating guns and cars come with an inherent danger. Irresponsible behavior with either of these can, and frequently do, cause accidental maiming or death. Even 100% responsible behavior when operating a gun or a car isn't a bulletproof situation; someone else's irresponsible behavior can harm you.

We all know what responsible car ownership and operation looks like. Hell, we get ticketed when we don't operate cars responsibly. Get ticketed enough, and you can lose your license. Many have proven themselves to be irresponsible drivers and have lost their license before they even accidentally maimed or killed someone with a car.

How do we know that someone is not a responsible gun owner before someone is maimed or killed by a gun? Is there any mechanism (like with cars) we can put in place to minimize the potential harm of irresponsible gun ownership? Hell, what does responsible gun ownership even look like? Is there some kind of objective criteria we can measure (for example: no operating a car with a BAC above .08)? Where are the statistics that show something like: "gun owners who keep their guns locked away are X% less likely to have their guns used accidentally to harm them or other family members", or "the type of gun that is accidentally discharged the most is X"?

tldr; define responsible gun ownership and how do we enforce it?
posted by Groundhog Week at 10:33 AM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


More people die of pulmonary complications of smoking than are shot, but nobody wants to make cigarettes illegal. In fact, we are about to legalize marijuana on a national level so even more people will die of emphysema/cancer/COPD, etc.

Can I ask this, like, seriously? Because I am asking seriously. I want to be clear on that. Did you just write this because you felt like you wanted to say.... something?

There is no way you don't already know the response to this. Putting aside your flat-on-its-face incorrect hyperbole of (insert any single statement beginning with "noone says/thinks ____" here), regarding the "but what about (insert any other bad thing that is bad for people here)" argument- in this case, cigarettes- you cannot simply, in 2013, not know that cigarettes are, in fact, regulated. They can't be sold to people under 18. There are medical studies (not legislatively blocked by lobbying groups, by the by) proving the medical hazards of using the product. There are heavy taxes and mandatory warnings on the product. You absolutely know this, because it is literally impossible for you to be an adult, integrated in public media such as this site, and also not know this.

Statements like this aren't even an issue of arguing any more for me. I'm just puzzled that they exist. There is no rational, intelligent person who does not already know the lack of logic of arguments like this before they already say them. So in all seriousness, why? Why is this still an argument? Who, yourself included, are you trying to convince with it? I truly and honestly have no clue.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:39 AM on September 29, 2013 [22 favorites]


Statements like this aren't even an issue of arguing any more for me. I'm just puzzled that they exist. There is no rational, intelligent person who does not already know the lack of logic of arguments like this before they already say them. So in all seriousness, why? Why is this still an argument? Who, yourself included, are you trying to convince with it? I truly and honestly have no clue.

I have enjoyed hunting, and I do love shooting. But unfortunately, in the ears of the anti-gunregs crowd, "regulation" = "sweeping ban" of firearms. So instead of talking about what kinds of regulations could increase gun safety and reduce death, we get a lot of hyperbolic screaming about guns being BANNED or taken away or "you know that this will only make it harder for law-abiding folks etc" (itself a funny argument, as if guns in the hands of criminals come from totally different sources than guns owned by whatever "law-abiding people" is supposed to mean), and so the conversation ends up becoming about the pros and cons of their paranoid gun-snatching fantasies rather than the more practical and realistic discussion about regulation: who can own a gun, what kinds, and under what conditions. Sane, rational adults should be talking seriously about better ways of reducing gun deaths. Instead, it almost always ends up being a pointless conversation about the Fed's nefarious plans to disarm Joe America.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:47 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


cribcage: Whether or not you or I agree with those laws, they do represent extreme positions in the debate.

Yes, to non-americans, they are both extremely pro-gun. Only in america would the idea that a carried firearm must be unloaded and secured be considered extreme. In any other western country, it would be considered that to be allowed to own a pistol at all, let along carrying it in any state, to be the utmost limit of what should be allowed.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:53 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Since regulating guns in the U.S. to the same extent that cigarettes and cars are regulated in the U.S. would be a distant dream of blessed sanity, I can only assume there was some kind of meta-irony or something going on with that comment.
posted by kyrademon at 10:54 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


So instead of talking about what kinds of regulations could increase gun safety and reduce death, we get a lot of hyperbolic screaming about guns being BANNED or taken away or "you know that this will only make it harder for law-abiding folks etc" (itself a funny argument, as if guns in the hands of criminals come from totally different sources than guns owned by whatever "law-abiding people" is supposed to mean), and so the conversation ends up becoming the about the pros and cons of their paranoid gun-snatching fantasies rather than the more practical and realistic discussion about regulation: who can own a gun, what kinds, and under what conditions.

But what I'm saying is that, even if you, for the sake of this argument, conceded the idea that, okay, yes, "we" would like to ban/restrict/limit/control guns, etc... to whatever irrational degree you argue that might happen... the comparative argument still falls on its face.

My point is that in almost any argument about better regulation of guns, the argument asking about why something else isn't regulated invokes a thing that is already regulated- and knowingly so.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:54 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


[A few comments deleted. Please don't do that thing where you say something you think is obviously stupid in a hyperbolic way; people can't tell what point you're making and it leads to confusing derails.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:03 AM on September 29, 2013


My point is that in almost any argument about better regulation of guns, the argument asking about why something else isn't regulated invokes a thing that is already regulated- and knowingly so.

Hell I'm surprised nobody bit on the marijuana nonsense. First of all, it's not a given that marijuana use leads to cancer or COPD. Even smoked marijuana. Show me the research. All I know is that when I got my medical card recently, I found myself suddenly consuming it in edible form and vaporizing concentrates just as often as I smoke it. THC testing labs are finding a market demand for standardized and clean products.

Suddenly I have access to various safer easy ways to consume it that were far too tedious and messy to perform in a clandestine capacity.

So first we have the flawed assumption that "legal marijuana = more death and more harm" and from that this score-keeping notion like "well you can't go legalizing the marijuana which hurts people if you're going to cut back on guns." Like there's this balancing teeter-totter between marijuana and liberals vs. guns and conservatives and we all have to strike the appropriate balance. Of course there are plenty of liberals who love guns and conservatives who love pot, I just got this comical image of a childlike expectation that it's supposed to balance out somehow, and otherwise it's not fair.

Not only was it a completely vapid argument because of course tobacco is regulated and taxed (hello bureau of motherfucking ATF) but additionally, marijuana can be consumed more safely when it's legal because people can perform large economies-of-scale production of concentrates, edibles, etc, there's ACTUAL regulation rather than just "it's illegal, go to jail," and then there's the whole notion of eliminating the black market of marijuana which one would expect to coincide with a drop of violence. "But marijuana is just peddled by fun-loving hippies anyway!" No, hardcore cartels are involved in the larger scale commercial stuff, and yes, it's just something they have to carry in their product line alongside more lucrative-per-gram drugs like cocaine and heroin, but by necessity their overhead (number of thugs, guns, trucks, etc) is higher and the attendant violence is higher so long as they continue to traffic the rather bulky, highly-in-demand drug, largely to folks who can't afford the better, locally sourced stuff.

I don't wish to perpetuate a derail any further, but it's just another example of destructive black and white thinking being crushed by the reality of, uhh, reality.
posted by lordaych at 11:10 AM on September 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


The proliferation of guns in your society is a symptom, not the actual problem. The actual problem is the ease with which you are all convinced that The Other is a clear and present danger to you.

Well-said. I've been speaking with quite a few friends from different European counties about diversity versus homogeny of populations within countries. When looking at peaceful, prosperous counties like Norway or Switzerland, there is also the case that there is a fair amount of xenophobia in those counties. I doubt it's wilful, rather a product of small, tightly-knit societies.

Thus perhaps one of the US' greatest strengths is also a substantial weakness. That the American identity is attached to a set of behaviours, rather than personal heritage, means it is very inclusive. We speak about first-generation Americans. Third-generation Americans. Immigrants become Americans when they adopt the values that American people hold.

In a small tightly-knit country, The Other is very obvious, for the Us is well-established.

In America, who is the Us and who is The Other? It can be constructed upon racial lines. Geographic lines. Income lines. Genetic lines. Gender lines. Political lines. Career lines.

That the country is so large, and so diverse means there can be so many The Others. In homogenous countries, Us dominates The Other by far in terms of population, political influence, wealth, and everything else. In addition to be known, Us is inherently safe and secure. The American The Other can be one of so many facets. One of the side effects of encouraging personal aspiration and differentiation is that there is no dominant Us, but a rather fragmented Us. Yet given the size of the country, each fragment of Us can be of considerable size and political influence.

Throughout my own life in the US, I knew very few people that were in the NRA (in the beach communities of Los Angeles). Yet they exact considerable influence on my daily life in terms of living daily with gun violence all around me.

When combined with two other factors maybe unique to America, it is very apparent that the country not only has a gun problem, but that gun problem is rooted in structural governance problems.

The first is the intersection of high levels of income, low costs of industrial production, and a deep distrust of regulation and government. Those things combine mean that high-powered weapons are within the means of a lot of the citizenry, and there is limited knowledge of who is armed. I have met people who posses 15-20 weapons and have stores of ammunition. It is not unimaginable that there are far more guns in the US than there are people. And as mentioned, there is very limited visibility as to where those guns are.

That provides ample fodder for the second point, which is the growing level of income inequality and disenfranchisement of the citizenry. That in general American incomes have decreased over the past five years whilst incomes in Washington DC, San Francisco and New York have exploded is a harbinger that is being presented to the country, yet little action is being taken.

In the Us versus The Other argument, one distinction is starting to clearly dominate the others – that of income and wealth. Have and Have Nots. The former group is contracting and narrowing, whilst the latter group is expanding. Beyond race, sex, gender, class, education, etc., the income divide is creating a group of The Others that are easy targets for Us.

Looking at societal violence from a personal risk standpoint, there are high levels of violence where there are few other options. Happy, well-adjusted people on career tracks typically do not enact personal violence on other people – because they have too much to lose by doing that. As the group of people with nothing to lose grows, it would make sense that the level of violence in society grows. If people are pushed to the edge of desperation, what do they have to lose by enacting violence on other people?

When rage meets cheap weaponry, the result is probably going to be unfortunate for both parties. Gun crime destroys the lives of all involved. There is the victim, but often the perpetrator is a victim of something else. In our legal tradition, we separate those actions – and that is important – but we cannot deny that there is a connection between growing social issues like poverty, despair, rage, strife, and increased levels of violence.

It's not as simple as saying "guns don't kill people, people kill people". Desperation kills people people. Poverty kills people. Greed kills people. Social policies kill people. Tax policies kill people.

There's no easy answer, and I cannot begin to even make a cogent suggestion as what should be done, but back to the original point, gun violence is definitely a symptom of a problem, and not the actual problem itself. If people want to kill other people, that can be done with a stone or a brick. We're not going to eradicate the ability of people to kill other people.

What a society filled with guns and obsessed with guns does do, however, is allows individuals to showcase their despair rather readily. It's very easy for them to kill people – indeed, it's easy for them to kill lots of people. And as the number of people who actually DO kill lots of people increases, it's just to simple to talk about abstract concepts of rights and point at a three-hundred year old document and say "that says it's cool". WHY are people killing other people en masse? WHAT is driving people to kill other people en masse?

Until the country really starts looking at the structural drivers, the arguments about gun control are going to be two sides talking at each other, and not actually engaging in a constructive dialogue toward solutions. In the end, guns may have very little to do with it at all...
posted by nickrussell at 11:15 AM on September 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's funny that you chose gay marriage and the ACA, because those are two issues that the Republicans are defying the stated wishes of the majority because they're not beholden to a representative portion of the voters at large.

Just like gun control.


No, it's not funny, that was exactly the point. Both sides lie about their motives and misrepresent their positions as being less fanatical than they actually are. Both sides happily try to undermine the voted position of the people on an unending, continuous basis, completely in bad faith, whining endlessly about the evil other side ignoring what voters and the courts say for the things they care about, and then doing exactly that for their own pet issues. "BUT XXX IS DIFFERENT!" - no, it isn't.

It's the bullets we should be controlling

For example, here's someone suggesting we try to end-run around the legality of guns.
posted by rr at 11:17 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's just the free market speaking, bro.

This is brilliant and reminds me of the same tirades you get from tobacco smokers about freedom and "personal choice" any time smoking is banned in a certain setting. I CHOSE TO SMOKE CAMELS, IT IS MY RIGHT TO ENJOY MY CHOICE EVERYWHERE BRO

First, there's this central conceit that they emerged into adulthood as fully rational creatures, evaluated the entire spectrum of things to experience, and chose to start embarking on the stupidest, most self-destructive-with-so-little-reward habit on Earth. "Betel nut...no...coca leaves, nah...kratom...nah, I think I'll start smoking cigarettes." It seems many smokers are proud that they started before they had a fully formed prefrontal cortex; people brag about starting at an age when they have no sense, and then when they get older they rationalize the idiocy.

Secondly, there's the implication that you simply have the right to make choices and exercise that right with no regard to how it directly or indirectly affects other people. Like cigarette smokers made an adult educated decision to smoke, and it's their right to do it anywhere, and if you happen to use your first amendment right to bitch and complain at the disgusting, toxic cloud, you're the Hitler.
posted by lordaych at 11:18 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Children and Guns is heartbreaking. I can all too easily imagine the pain the parents must experience every moment of their lives. In the case of children killing other children, it's magnified by the child who grows up knowing they killed someone. And the parent, grandparent, neighbor who left a gun accessible to a child must suffer a burden of guilt.

The gun lobby/NRA have done nothing to make gun ownership safer and more responsible. Training is not enough. I have arthritis, and my meds come in child-resistant containers, but nobody gets prosecuted when a gun owner is negligent with a weapon.
posted by theora55 at 11:20 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have enjoyed hunting, and I do love shooting. But unfortunately, in the ears of the anti-gunregs crowd, "regulation" = "sweeping ban" of firearms.

If the gun regulation crowd actually, believably wanted to stop at regulation, I'd be OK with it. But that is no more true than the claims by pro-life people that they want to stop at banning third trimester abortions, for example, so basically it's hard to even consider giving an inch (because despite their protestations, their real goal in both cases is a complete ban).
posted by rr at 11:22 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


but nobody gets prosecuted when a gun owner is negligent with a weapon

This is false.
posted by rr at 11:23 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


If the gun regulation crowd actually, believably wanted to stop at regulation, I'd be OK with it. But that is no more true than the claims by pro-life people that they want to stop at banning third trimester abortions, for example, so basically it's hard to even consider giving an inch (because despite their protestations, their real goal in both cases is a complete ban).

Do you think you could give some statistics or evidence of this assertion? I consider myself part of the "gun regulation crowd" but have no desire to ban firearms. I see a lot of anti-gun-control people making this argument, but no evidence their fears are founded outside quoting errant commenters on message boards.
posted by schroedinger at 11:26 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


If the gun regulation crowd actually, believably wanted to stop at regulation, I'd be OK with it.

What makes you think they don't? Facts, or just a hunch that they have a "real" unstated aim? Isn't it better to work with what's on the table rather being afraid of what might be under it?
posted by billiebee at 11:26 AM on September 29, 2013


rr may be lost in the fact that "things can be different." Like the right to own a killing machine with as little regulation as possible may not actually be as fundamental and important as the right to marry anyone you want to.

And then with the tactics already! We've seen a willingness to damage the economy and the nation's credit rating, shutdown the government, and use the supreme court to stop a state from counting its own votes in a presidential election. What has the left been up to that is any way equivalent? OWS? Protesting? False equivalence overload
posted by lordaych at 11:27 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do you think you could give some statistics or evidence of this assertion? I consider myself part of the "gun regulation crowd" but have no desire to ban firearms.

What makes you think they don't? Facts, or just a hunch that they have a "real" unstated aim? Isn't it better to work with what's on the table rather being afraid of what might be under it?

Are you reading the same thread I am? Do you honestly believe this not to be true?
posted by rr at 11:27 AM on September 29, 2013


No, it's not funny, that was exactly the point. Both sides lie about their motives and misrepresent their positions as being less fanatical than they actually are. Both sides happily try to undermine the voted position of the people on an unending, continuous basis, completely in bad faith, whining endlessly about the evil other side ignoring what voters and the courts say for the things they care about, and then doing exactly that for their own pet issues. "BUT XXX IS DIFFERENT!" - no, it isn't.

Tell me how exactly people who want tighter gun regulation are undermining the voted positions of the people when the people want tighter gun regulation.

If the gun regulation crowd actually, believably wanted to stop at regulation, I'd be OK with it. But that is no more true than the claims by pro-life people that they want to stop at banning third trimester abortions, for example, so basically it's hard to even consider giving an inch (because despite their protestations, their real goal in both cases is a complete ban).

This is complete bullshit. The majority of people want to regulate guns just want tighter regulations. They don't want to eliminate firearms and I've yet to see a single poll that says otherwise.

For example, here's someone suggesting we try to end-run around the legality of guns.

Congratulations, you've found one person on one website that is a tiny fraction of the Internet which is itself a fraction of the population. How that equals "everybody in the gun regulation crowd wants to ban all firearms forever" is beyond me.

Again, if you're going to make outrageous claims, you'd better have the evidence to back that up.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:29 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


(because despite their protestations, their real goal in both cases is a complete ban)

And what's the real goal of the pro-gun crowd? I want to know what the real aim is (nudge nudge wink wink), since you're so good at rooting out the hidden and nefarious agenda of entire groups of people.
posted by FJT at 11:32 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Congratulations, you've found one person on one website that is a tiny fraction of the Internet which is itself a fraction of the population. How that equals "everybody in the gun regulation crowd wants to ban all firearms forever" is beyond me.

That's because you are taking a willfully denialist position on the topic. Let me help you understand that this is not an idea that was created by some 'clever' mefite but is instead an actual approach that has been considered as an end run around settled US law.
posted by rr at 11:32 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the "willfully denialist" position is your repeated assertion that you have divined the REAL aim of those who support gun regulation, with nothing to back it up with but "have you even read this thread?"
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:35 AM on September 29, 2013


[A couple comments deleted. Abortion and "what MetaFilter is like" are both not helpful derails here.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:38 AM on September 29, 2013


Are you reading the same thread I am? Do you honestly believe this not to be true?

Do I honestly believe your statement that "the gun regulation crowd" did not "actually, believably wanted to stop at regulation" to be not true? Yes. For instance, here's a poll showing that exactly 1% of Americans want no right to guns. Unless you believe 2% or less of Americans support tighter gun regulations, your statement is still bullshit.

That's because you are taking a willfully denialist position on the topic. Let me help you understand that this is not an idea that was created by some 'clever' mefite but is instead an actual approach that has been considered as an end run around settled US law.

Taxing =/= making illegal or any type of ban. Try again.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:40 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The abortion discussion is an attempt to get the pro-gun-control crowd to see how their gun control position is directly analogous to the way in which the pro-life crowd attempts to subvert political outcomes that they do not approve of without regard for how the people feel, and to try and convey the level of dishonesty that is perceived by the other side.

Metafilter leans left. Abortion is a perfect parallel because the level of distrust of the groups that are involved is a perfect mirror of the level of distrust in the gun control sphere. While it is true that reasonable people exist on both sides, it is also true that completely unreasonable people, who portray their beliefs as more moderate than they are, exist and dominate the highly polarized nature of the politics.
posted by rr at 11:42 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Taxing =/= making illegal or any type of ban

This perfectly illustrates my point about the fundamental dishonesty of the gun control crowd.
posted by rr at 11:42 AM on September 29, 2013


That link to a Google search did not actually explain how taxing ammo would lead to a complete ban on firearms.

As to this whole discussion, well this is politics: people draw hard lines and think that compromise is a slippery slope. Negotiation and rational argument are two separate beasts. But within the context of rational argument, the abortion derail is basically a concession of defeat, of not having a leg to stand on. It's too bad that rational argument only gets you so far in politics.
posted by leopard at 11:42 AM on September 29, 2013


If the gun regulation crowd actually, believably wanted to stop at regulation, I'd be OK with it. But that is no more true than the claims by pro-life people that they want to stop at banning third trimester abortions, for example, so basically it's hard to even consider giving an inch (because despite their protestations, their real goal in both cases is a complete ban).

I guess I don't really see this as a good enough excuse for responsible gun owners to oppose any and all regulation. If you are someone who likes to own guns for hunting, or home protection, or even collecting/fetishizing, it is possible to want to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill or people with criminal histories and still protect the ability of law abiding gun owners to safely procure and store firearms.

It's the piece of this that I honestly don't get: where are all the reasonable gun owners for whom the NRA doesn't speak? Why isn't the biggest outcry against the NRA coming from gun owners themselves? The NRA is painting you all out to be unreasonable, out of touch wackos and if the rest of the country is equating "NRA" with "all gun owners" and lining up against you, why can't you see you're just shooting yourself in the foot?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:44 AM on September 29, 2013


This perfectly illustrates my point about the fundamental dishonesty of the gun control crowd.

How? We tax cigarettes and alcohol. We tax purchasing cars and purchasing gas. If taxing guns and ammo is tantamount to banning them, then we must be banning smokes and booze and driving.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:45 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


That link to a Google search did not actually explain how taxing ammo would lead to a complete ban on firearms

Let's suppose we decided to put a very high tax on abortion. No one here is so stupid as to be unable to make arguments as to why this would be fundamentally wrong and essentially equivalent to a de facto ban on abortion.
posted by rr at 11:45 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


How?

Because the intent is to put such an extreme tax on them as to destroy the market and amount to an effective ban.
posted by rr at 11:45 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can you own and carry an automatic opening knife where you live? Most of the online dealers limit sales to people in law enforcement or the military. How about a balisong?

Even in the USA, there aren't many states where these weapons are legal to own and carry -- which always struck me as peculiar, given how hard it is to control guns.

When did someone last do a mass killing with a flick knife or a butterfly knife?


It's interesting how this kind of mirrors the gun control debate. Switchblades and butterfly knives were made illegal at the federal level, but it's unclear that they were actually much of a threat. While they still are highly regulated in the US, they've been largely rendered obsolete. It's now easy to buy an inexpensive, well made pocketknife that is functionally the same as a switchblade, but perfectly legal in all but a few local jurisdictions due to not falling under the letter of the law description of switchblade. Such knives have been quite popular for at least fifteen years, but have yet to usher in a wave of violence.

Oddly enough, the proliferation of guns in the US seems to correspond with an overall drop in gun violence, and violence across the board. It would be hard to make any useful correlation, as some of the cities with most rigid gun regulations seem to have led the trend in dropping violence. Last time I looked, rates of gun ownership have fallen, although overall numbers of firearms have risen. I would guess that current gun owners are buying more and more, though the numbers of gun owners are dropping as a percentage of overall population. You can make of that what you will.

The politics of guns no doubt almost instantly transform into the politics of stupidity. Metafilter isn't immune, sadly.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:45 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are 300 million guns floating around the U.S.

As someone waaaay upthread suggested, insurance is the answer. This Would limit genuine gun lovers from owning too many guns (as well as youngsters) and ALSO limit straw purchasers from say, buying a fuck ton of guns and moving them to "unlawful" gun owners.

I use unlawful in quotes because our straw purchasing friends are also unlawful, just not really recognized as such.

300 MILLION GUNS. Somalia aint got nothing on us.
posted by Max Power at 11:47 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"'I have to act crazy and pretend that everyone is out to get me, otherwise the crazies on the other side will get the upper hand and put me in a death camp" is not a rational defense of paranoia, it IS paranoia.

(By the way I have very left-wing positions on abortion, none of which are based on pure opposition to the right wing; they stand on their own.)
posted by leopard at 11:50 AM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Because the intent is to put such an extreme tax on them as to destroy the market and amount to an effective ban.

It's almost as if you didn't even bother reading the topmost link in your cutesy Google search:
His solution: Increase the tax on bullets. He wouldn’t raise the tax on ammunition typically used for target shooting or hunting. But he proposed exorbitant taxes on hollow-tipped bullets designed to penetrate armor and cause devastating damage.
Or the second link, which is talking about the idea of extreme taxation on bullets isn't feasible while never linking to anybody that has said that. Or the rest of the links which is 2nd Amendment WHARRRRRGARBL about how the first link is about taking everybody's guns away.

Last time I looked, rates of gun ownership have fallen, although overall numbers of firearms have risen. I would guess that current gun owners are buying more and more, though the numbers of gun owners are dropping as a percentage of overall population. You can make of that what you will.

That less people owning guns has contributed to a drop in crime regardless of the number of actual guns?
posted by zombieflanders at 11:52 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


As I am pro-gun-control, I am not sure why you think that calling me paranoid is supposed to impact me. Once again, the bulk of my point was the observation of how bizarre it was to note that MeFi on some topics completely applies different standards than on others (contrast this thread with the shutdown thread).

Anyone pretending that the ammunition tax is not an attempt to de-facto ban guns is basically not worth engaging with. It is not paranoid to call that the entire point of the taxation proposals.
posted by rr at 11:54 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


His solution: Increase the tax on bullets. He wouldn’t raise the tax on ammunition typically used for target shooting or hunting. But he proposed exorbitant taxes on hollow-tipped bullets designed to penetrate armor and cause devastating damage.

This is a perfect example of my point. The voters, and the supreme court, have determined that ownership should be and is legal. So here we have someone proposing an end-run around that. Why would you take someone who believes this is acceptable and then believe his claims that this will be limited to "armor penetrating" rounds?
posted by rr at 11:56 AM on September 29, 2013


[As always, metacommentary about how topics are treated on MeFi does not belong on the blue. If you think someone is "not worth engaging with", feel free not to.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:59 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't understand how this is a big gotcha. We tax the crap out of cigarettes. This is not a de facto ban on tobacco, it's just a strong economic disincentive.
posted by leopard at 11:59 AM on September 29, 2013


I don't understand how this is a big gotcha. We tax the crap out of cigarettes. This is not a de facto ban on tobacco, it's just a strong economic disincentive

“Ten thousand percent,” Mr. Moynihan said.
posted by rr at 12:00 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone pretending that the ammunition tax is not an attempt to de-facto ban guns is basically not worth engaging with. It is not paranoid to call that the entire point of the taxation proposals.

Yes it is. Anything more than a cursory Google search points to it being used to reduce gun violence, not ban guns. The NYT article you link to says that, as does the Slate article I posted upthread.

This is a perfect example of my point. The voters, and the supreme court, have determined that ownership should be and is legal.

But not unlimited. From the Heller decision that I assume you're going off of: "[T]he Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."

So here we have someone proposing an end-run around that.

Not at all.

Why would you take someone who believes this is acceptable and then believe his claims that this will be limited to "armor penetrating" rounds?

Because he's following what SCOTUS said? If you have any proof that the late Mr. Moynihan in fact meant it to take away all guns forever, then provide it. Otherwise, you are the one engaging in a bad faith argument here.

“Ten thousand percent,” Mr. Moynihan said.

...about one type of bullet intended for law enforcement, while simultaneously not applying it to all others.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:02 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


..about one type of bullet intended for law enforcement, while simultaneously not applying it to all others

I'm just going it leave it at this. You have missed the point. The point is that the same standards are not applied to levels of political believability. Since I am blocked from drawing the obvious parallel in an attempt to make it clear how stark the difference is between other topics and this one, there's almost nothing worth saying.
posted by rr at 12:07 PM on September 29, 2013


Oddly enough, the proliferation of guns in the US seems to correspond with an overall drop in gun violence, and violence across the board.

This is not something we can actually prove, though. Back in the early 90s the NRA tried to shut down the CDC because they released a study on gun violence, and since then there has been basically no funding put towards attempts to track incidents of gun crimes on a wide scale. The articles in the original post address the difficulties of tracking gun violence given this lack of funding and the disparate, inconsistent ways in which gun crimes are classified, even within the same counties. The gun lobby has made it tremendously difficult to draw any conclusions about the long-term effects of gun proliferation by eliminating the ability of scientists to conduct these studies.

My question to the pro-gun crowd is why they think restricting scientific thought is a good thing when supposedly their pro-gun arguments are all based around freedom.
posted by schroedinger at 12:12 PM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


The NRA is a problem, yes, but they don't vote on the legislation. A better public service would be to name exactly which legislators endangered people's lives. List them, interview them, find out why they think victims of domestic violence don't deserve this basic protection...then make sure that information is distributed to the voters.

Their answer is to arm the victim of domestic violence. Usually the first argument you hear when people bring up waiting periods to purchase a gun is what happens to the battered wife when she wants to buy a gun to protect herself against her abuser.
posted by NoMich at 12:16 PM on September 29, 2013


Usually the first argument you hear when people bring up waiting periods to purchase a gun is what happens to the battered wife when she wants to buy a gun to protect herself against her abuser.

She gets convicted of aggravated assault and faces 20 years in jail, apparently. Don't hear the NRA up in arms about that.
posted by lydhre at 12:45 PM on September 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


> But he proposed exorbitant taxes on hollow-tipped bullets designed to penetrate armor and cause devastating damage.

For people who are pro-gun, the armor-piercing is a feature, not a bug.

Remember, these are people who are expecting to "protect themselves" against comparably or even superiorly armed opponents, perhaps government employees.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:49 PM on September 29, 2013


> where are all the reasonable gun owners for whom the NRA doesn't speak?

They're like the casual weekend heroin users. They certainly exist - indeed, at any given time, most users of heroin are in that category - but there's a steady tendency to either give it up cold turkey, or get deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:51 PM on September 29, 2013


lydhre:

You'll be glad to know that Marissa Alexander is getting a new trial. Still a massive miscarriage of justice though...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:12 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is a perfect example of my point. The voters, and the supreme court, have determined that ownership should be and is legal. So here we have someone proposing an end-run around that. Why would you take someone who believes this is acceptable and then believe his claims that this will be limited to "armor penetrating" rounds?

Because that's part of the legislation he is proposing?

Don't forget that if there is another proposed change to the legislation, you'll hear about it while they are voting on it, the same way you do now. That's how this democracy stuff works.

Also, I wish I could say I was shocked that someone was arguing that their right to own hollow-tipped armor piercing bullets and assault rifles was more important than the right of Americans to avoid suffering from the trauma of one million firearm deaths (and millions more injuries and tragedies) since 1980.

I wish I could say that.
posted by deanklear at 1:25 PM on September 29, 2013


pla: skipping 5lbs of useless gear makes a day of hiking through the woods far less tiring.
So that outweighs the additional death toll caused by making assault weapons available to every paranoid loser in America? I think you should schlepp the 5 pounds and let more humans attain their natural lifespan.
posted by homerica at 1:25 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's the piece of this that I honestly don't get: where are all the reasonable gun owners for whom the NRA doesn't speak? Why isn't the biggest outcry against the NRA coming from gun owners themselves? The NRA is painting you all out to be unreasonable, out of touch wackos and if the rest of the country is equating "NRA" with "all gun owners" and lining up against you, why can't you see you're just shooting yourself in the foot?

Because the "reasonable gun owners" aren't actually being affected. They likely don't have any of the scary-looking guns that are disallowed by the Brady Bill and similar laws, and even if they do have them, those laws are all about making and selling them, so they still aren't affected. And the industry just changes the next year's models to satisfy the new laws without being functionally different anyway, so they can buy something that's 95 percent the same as what they just missed out on.

And they're not affected by gun violence. They're safe. They keep their few firearms locked up, and they live in safe areas that don't have drive-bys, and the odds are piddling that they'll be shot by someone else, and they know that no one in their home will kill themselves. Honestly, the chance of a particular person being negatively affected by the presence of firearms is pretty low -- an American is more likely to die from AIDS than be shot and killed by someone else these days, and when was the last time the average person thought about HIV?

Nor are they really affected by the NRA making them look bad. Reasonable gun owners don't parade around with them, so it's not like their neighbors point and whisper in the supermarket. They don't want to take them into Starbucks, so they don't care if the CEO asks them not to.

And then there's that tiny niggling doubt at the back of their minds that maybe the other side really does hate guns, and this latest round of so-called reasonable restrictions really is the crack in the door that will eventually be booted open by jackbooted thugs who really will take their guns. It's not much of a chance, but look at the opposite situation with abortion, where that exact playbook is being run to a T by the pro-life side.

So they let the NRA do its thing, and they cluck their tongue disapprovingly when some idiot in a high position in the NRA says something stupid, but they don't feel the need to get all up in arms (so to speak) about it. That's just how people are about basically everything else, too -- why should guns be any different?
posted by Etrigan at 1:25 PM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


lupus_yonderboy:

The only reasonable resolution is for the prosecution to drop that shit so fast Florida experiences its first mild earthquake.
posted by lydhre at 1:26 PM on September 29, 2013


devonian asked way upthread: I have seen people argue that the lack of personal firearms in the UK and Australia mean we suffer twice the number of assaults - but, alas, never with a pointer to the stats. Does anyone know where this comes from, and whether there are groups using these arguments actually in the UK or Australia?

So, this apparently floated around social media a while back, and is totally false. The differences in the ways that crime stats are collected between the countries makes a true comparison hard.
Politifact says it's pretty much impossible to make a comparison, but I think the closest comparison one can make is between the British Crime Survey in the UK and the National Crime Victimization Survey in the US.
Both capture reported and unreported crime; the Brits seem to collect stats on a wider range of behavior than we do, and yet they still have much lower numbers.
The 2010/11 UK rate is 490 victimizations per 10,000 persons (Table 2.02, page 40 or so) or, 4.9 per 1,000 for ages 16 and up.
The 2011 rate from the US is 22.5 per 1,000 persons for ages 12 and up.
The Aussies don't report theirs as a rate, at least in what I could find easily, and I'm too lazy at the moment to do the math for real, but I'm pretty sure it would end up being lower than the US rate.
posted by TallPoppy at 1:37 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The 2010/11 UK rate is 490 victimizations per 10,000 persons (Table 2.02, page 40 or so) or, 4.9 per 1,000 for ages 16 and up.

Wouldn't that be 49 per 1,000, or twice the U.S. rate?
posted by Etrigan at 1:39 PM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah--I just realized that. I can't do math this afternoon. So, the UK rate is higher--but they do consider a way wider variety of behavior "criminal." They consider one a victim even if there's been no injury--basically, as long as you felt alarm, it counts. Essentially, ignore me and look at the Politifact article.
posted by TallPoppy at 1:45 PM on September 29, 2013


Etrigan, TallPoppy, make sure you are comparing the same stats. The United States only gives stats for directly reported crimes, while the UK performs a survey to determine what actually happened by asking people about assaults, robberies, etc. There is surprising amount of information because the UK seem to be more concerned with the welfare of their citizens, while the US doesn't even provide a comprehensive list of who their policeman have shot.

But here's a more important statistic: The United Kingdom has unarmed police force and gun fatality rate 40 times lower than in U.S.

So, gun control works, and it works well, in pretty much every state that has the capacity to enforce the law. At this point the only argument left is that you think it's more important to allow unregulated gun sales than it is to protect human life.
posted by deanklear at 2:56 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The United States only gives stats for directly reported crimes, while the UK performs a survey to determine what actually happened by asking people about assaults, robberies, etc.

As TallPoppy pointed out in that comment, "I think the closest comparison one can make is between the British Crime Survey in the UK and the National Crime Victimization Survey in the US.
Both capture reported and unreported crime..."

And in the Politifact article linked:
This difference shows up in comparisons of FBI crime data, which consists of crimes reported to police, and the far higher rates of crime victimization found in a survey of Americans by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. The survey counts all crimes that respondents say they have experienced, not just those they reported to police.
But here's a more important statistic:

Funny how everyone thinks that the statistic that proves their personal point of view is the most important one.

At this point the only argument left is that you think it's more important to allow unregulated gun sales than it is to protect human life.

No, I fucking don't. Stop accusing anyone who raises any objection to any facet of any pro-gun-control argument of being a wild-eyed lunatic. Just. Fucking. Stop it.
posted by Etrigan at 3:05 PM on September 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


No, I fucking don't. Stop accusing anyone who raises any objection to any facet of any pro-gun-control argument of being a wild-eyed lunatic. Just. Fucking. Stop it.

According to every available statistic, gun control has reduced the number of mass shootings and reduced the homicide and suicide rate in the UK, Australia, Canada, and in a number of other countries that aren't culturally similar to the United States.

Let's hypothetically propose that facts exist and that what I just stated is a collection of them. If a person denied that, what would you call them?

I don't think you are a lunatic. I think you are in denial, but that doesn't change the facts.
posted by deanklear at 3:11 PM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


And I suppose I'll have to mention that all of the hunters in Canada and Australia have not had to give up all of their weapons, and as far as I can tell, those governments have remained democracies.
posted by deanklear at 3:12 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Let's hypothetically propose that facts exist and that what I just stated is a collection of them. If a person denied that, what would you call them?

I don't think you are a lunatic. I think you are in denial, but that doesn't change the facts.


What fact have I denied? That 490 out of 10,000 is 4.9 out of 1,000? That's not a fact.
posted by Etrigan at 3:14 PM on September 29, 2013


When someone says they have guns for hunting and sport shooting, ask them if they would be okay with requiring their guns to be stored at a range or club. You will quickly learn that this discussion has nothing to do with hunting or sport shooting.
posted by JackFlash at 3:19 PM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Okay, let me try it this way. Here's my hypothesis: The United States' lack of gun control has contributed to more than one million deaths since 1980, and nations such as Australia, the UK, and Canada have demonstrated that reasonable gun control leads to lower homicide rates, lower suicide rates, and fewer injuries in gun related violence. According to almost all parties in those states, you can still obtain and use a weapon to hunt and to defend your home if you go through the reasonably rigorous process of providing evidence that you can be a responsible gun owner (with the exception of handguns).

If those are facts, is it your position that your right to have easy access to weaponry is more important than my right not to be shot dead by a criminal or other irresponsible party?
posted by deanklear at 3:23 PM on September 29, 2013


If those are facts, is it your position that your right to have easy access to weaponry is more important than my right not to be shot dead by a criminal or other irresponsible party?

It is my position that I haven't said word fucking one about my opinion on gun control in this thread, and yet you seized on my correction of someone's math to state that I "think it's more important to allow unregulated gun sales than it is to protect human life."

I find that objectionable. I hope you understand why.
posted by Etrigan at 3:28 PM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


According to almost all parties in those states, you can still obtain and use a weapon to hunt and to defend your home if you go through the reasonably rigorous process of providing evidence that you can be a responsible gun owner (with the exception of handguns).

You cannot get a gun to defend your home in the UK.
posted by Thing at 3:31 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is not something we can actually prove, though. Back in the early 90s the NRA tried to shut down the CDC because they released a study on gun violence, and since then there has been basically no funding put towards attempts to track incidents of gun crimes on a wide scale. The articles in the original post address the difficulties of tracking gun violence given this lack of funding and the disparate, inconsistent ways in which gun crimes are classified, even within the same counties. The gun lobby has made it tremendously difficult to draw any conclusions about the long-term effects of gun proliferation by eliminating the ability of scientists to conduct these studies.

So it turns out the CDC just did another gun study...

and some advice on arguing these things-if you are going to argue a technical subject with a techncial fix, learn what you are talking about.

> But he proposed exorbitant taxes on hollow-tipped bullets designed to penetrate armor and cause devastating damage.

Hollow point bullets (don't know what hollow tipped are) are NOT armor piercing. They are hollow point for two reasons-Hollow point rifle rounds are that way due to a manufacturing process that makes them more accurate but requires a hollow spot in the copper jacket at the nose to work and pistol rounds that are made that way to ensure they don't over-penetrate and go into whatever is behind the person that is being shot and to maximize the effectiveness of pistol rounds which are not generally all that deadly. Every police force in the USA REQUIRES the use of hollow points in their sidearms for this reason. Armor piercing rounds that can be fired in a pistol are ILLEGAL in the USA due to the 1968 Gun Control Act.

According to every available statistic, gun control has reduced the number of mass shootings and reduced the homicide and suicide rate in the UK, Australia, Canada, and in a number of other countries that aren't culturally similar to the United States.


The way to tell if gun control works is to compare the before and after rates once gun control is enacted in the SAME COUNTRY, not try to compare countries that are fairly different in numerous ways including gun control.

Here are actual facts on this stuff that are mostly accepting as being the best data we have.

And some more stories about how some of the recent shootings don't fit the narrative, and assault weapons aren't what you think they are.
posted by bartonlong at 3:32 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have seen people argue that the lack of personal firearms in the UK and Australia mean we suffer twice the number of assaults - but, alas, never with a pointer to the stats

Here's a Snopes page on similar claims.

The Australian Institute of Criminology is a government corporation that is "Australia's national research and knowledge centre on crime and justice." Here's a link to a relevant section of their report on Australian crime. [front page with link to PDF] Here's a link to the USA Census 2012 Statistical Abstract
with somewhat comparable information, particularly in Crimes and Crime Rates by Type of Offense [PDF]. It's hard to compare the data directly because of differences between the definitions they use, but the data says that Australia's murder rate of "assault" was around 1.5 per 1,000 people in 2010 (293 people in a population of around 20 million) while the USA's was 5.0. I think it's reasonable that the other data would be similar if you could iron out the differences between "assault" and "aggravated assault", "sexual assault" and "forcible rape", and so forth.

Anyway, there's the data. The big thing which nobody understands is why violent crime is going down both in the USA and in Australia. There are lots of theories, but no real understanding.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:36 PM on September 29, 2013


More people die of pulmonary complications of smoking than are shot, but nobody wants to make cigarettes illegal. ... More people die in car accidents than in shootings, but nobody would seriously entertain limiting automobile ownership. ... More people are stabbed than are shot, but nobody would seriously entertain limiting knife ownership.

Read the first link, and you'll see that it's about kids getting accidentally shot. No kid has been killed by accidentally smoking a cigarette. Or accidentally stabbed.

I'll give you cars, though. Plenty of kids have been accidentally run over by a car.
And I think that's a good comparison. Noone is seriously advocating getting rid of cars so that we can save a few thousand lives every year. Why is that? It's because we, as a society, have a tacit understanding that a few thousand traffic-related deaths each year is a worthy prize to pay for our mobility. It's consensus.

By contrast, while some (vocal) citizens believe that a few thousand deaths a small prize to pay for the freedom to go duck hunting or whatever they do with their guns, many people believe that duck hunting is way overrated and is not worth all the mass shootings. As for the argument that you have a right to bear arms to protect yourself, a look at some other countries reveals that while the number of death from people who cannot defend themselves because they don't have a gun would go up by a few dozen, that number would pale in comparison to the number of accidental gun deaths as described in the first article. So, as a society, the US could say, a few dozen additional violent deaths due to abolishing guns is a worthy prize to pay for thousands of lives saved by cutting down on gun-related accidents and the like. But that won't happen anytime soon.
posted by sour cream at 3:41 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's because we, as a society, have a tacit understanding that a few thousand traffic-related deaths each year is a worthy prize to pay for our mobility.

On the other hand, the idea of having proper driver education across the US -- and by proper I mean to German standards, not the weird shit where driving privileges are tied to school grades -- is equally contentious, because in the bigger, wider parts of the country, driving is considered a right, and driving like an idiot a corollary of that right. So yeah, it fits, but in the same vein, there is never the sense that there's a collective complicity for the consequences.
posted by holgate at 3:55 PM on September 29, 2013


You cannot get a gun to defend your home in the UK.
To get a shotgun licence, the onus is on the police to provide a good reason why the applicant shouldn’t have one. But, when it comes to a firearms licence, which is required for any type of rifle, the applicant has to provide a good reason why he should have one (namely, that he uses a gun regularly for sport or, in the case of farmers, pest control) and that he can be trusted with it “without danger to the public safety or to the peace”. You also have to prove your identity, give two referees of verifiable good character who have known you for at least two years, and you have to have your application approved by your family doctor. A thorough background and criminal record check of the applicant is then made by Special Branch (any person who has been sentenced to three years or more in prison is automatically banned for life from obtaining a firearms licence). Finally, your home, and the secure cabinet where you store your guns, has to be inspected by the police and a face-to-face interview is arranged with a Firearms Liaison Officer (FLO), known as “looking in the eye”. It is the licence-holder’s duty to ensure that nobody else has access to their gun cabinet.
Can anyone clarify the reality here? As far as I can tell, only handguns and semi-automatic weapons are completely banned.
posted by deanklear at 4:02 PM on September 29, 2013


I'll give you cars, though. Plenty of kids have been accidentally run over by a car.
And I think that's a good comparison. Noone is seriously advocating getting rid of cars ...

By contrast, while some (vocal) citizens believe that a few thousand deaths a small prize to pay ...many people believe that duck hunting is way overrated


But even cars are more regulated than guns. You have to have insurance. You have to take driver's ed, pass a test in the state you're in, have your name on the registration of the vehicle you buy, and be held responsible for accidents and deaths that occur because of your vehicle. There are speed limits and traffic laws anywhere you go with your vehicle, and you will be stopped if you're using it dangerously. There are requirements that manufacturers have to meet like clean air minimums, and requirements users have to meet, like seat belt laws.

Cars are regulated in a way that is pretty much what most gun control people would like to see in the gun industry. At least gun owners should have to have insurance for any accident or death that occurs with a firearm they own.
posted by mdn at 4:07 PM on September 29, 2013


Kirth Gerson : Saavedra and Giannamore, both qualified range masters and experienced firearms instructors, were on duty and wearing bullet-proof vests at the time of the shooting.

Do you know how many people a year die in car accidents on their way to driver's ed classes? How many choke on supper immediately before going to after work CPR training? How many drown learning to scuba dive or plummet to their death learning to skydive?

Bad things can happen at the range. Bad things can happen on the way to the range. Bad things can happen at home thinking about going to the range. Bad things can happen in Walmart buying range rounds for tomorrow. I sincerely hope you understand why none of those have the least bearing on this discussion.


schroedinger : Do you think you could give some statistics or evidence of this assertion?

You either believe your own arguments or you don't. If you sincerely, legitimately believe that even responsible ownership of firearms leads to more homicides and accidental deaths to the point that it outweighs any benefits related to self defense, recreation, or hunting (which, believe it or not Mr. Citydweller, far, far more people than you would ever imagine do for subsistence) - Then merely pushing for nothing more than ammo limits and background checks, rather than a total ban, makes you a complete hypocrite.


goethean : The NRA fantasy results in 30,000 American deaths per year. Happy hunting.

You tossed out some random crap about white supremacy and "arugula-eating liberal pussy pacifists". You don't get to just defend that with a one-liner about "30,000 American deaths per year", Mr. Romney. And "9/11!" works better, for future reference.
posted by pla at 4:21 PM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


You can't get a gun for self-defense where I live (Victoria, Australia) either. Here's what I wrote about it last time the subject came up:

I live in Victoria and you can find my state's gun regulations and other info here. Basically, you need to be licensed for each category of firearm, and you need a "genuine" reason to get a license. These reasons are: Note that "self defense" is not a reason. The license form requires that, e.g., if you are a target shooter you provide evidence of belonging to a target shooting club; if you want to hunt then you own land large enough to hunt upon, or belong to a hunting club. It's not just a matter of ticking boxes.

Each firearm must also individually licensed; it takes 28 days (by law) to get your first license, and then 10-15 days to receive any further licenses. The firearms and ammunition have strict storage requirements: the firearms themselves must be kept in a locked cupboard or safe bolted to the wall (and if you're a security guard this must be at your employer's premises, not your own); the ammunition must be in a separate locked container outside this cupboard or safe; and the key must either be on the license-holder's possession person or stored in a different room to the cupboard/safe. (N.B., this is a bit oversimplified)

posted by Joe in Australia at 4:25 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


You can't get a gun for self-defense where I live (Victoria, Australia) either.

Or anywhere in Australia, as I understand it.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:05 PM on September 29, 2013


If I made a general statement like that someone would probably say "Oh, but a person standing on the Cocos Keeling Islands with one leg in the water is allowed to purchase guns for the purpose of shooting invading Japanese submarines" and I'd have an awful time proving them wrong. So I try to limit the import of my statements because This. Is. MetaFilter.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:32 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


So it turns out the CDC just did another gun study...

Did you read the study, or just the article on "Guns.com"? Because if you read the study, you would realize it is not, in fact, a collection of new data, but a review of the old data available. And the authors assert repeatedly, over and over, that any conclusions they make are severely hindered by the lack of coherent, widespread, consistent data sets to draw on. Said data sets do not exist because of the de-funding of any studies that attempt to collect data on firearms violence. The "study" is a review of the currently available data, and the overwhelming conclusion was that they cannot make any solid statements because there wasn't any reliable data sets on which to build said statements.

For example, say the decrease in accidental firearm-related violence. You can't draw conclusions about incidents of firearm-related violence when there is no consistent system for classifying it--when various counties nationwide will inconsistently deem different gun deaths as accidental or as homicide (as addressed in the first NYT article about children and guns) or when injuries via firearm are not even recorded in a systematic way (as is the case with the vast majority of states in the US).

Furthermore, your last article, from the NSSF on "Five Things Everyone Should Know about the Firearms Industry" makes hilariously unsupported statements. Listing a bunch of laws that were passed about guns does not address whether those laws are effective or wide-ranging enough to produce impact. For example, the fact that most of the most recent mass shootings have involved mentally ill people who used legally obtained weaponry would indicate that perhaps the laws put in place to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill are not working that great. The presence of a safety lock doesn't mean anybody is actually going to use it. And the bit about the necessity of background checks is pretty rich as well, given the number of gun shows where they're unnecessary and the very active trade of firearms you can find on numerous websites (again, read the NYT articles above).

You seem to think being in favor of gun control means the person is an automatic idiot who knows nothing about the purchasing and use of guns. It's that kind of patronizing attitude, coupled with eschewing critical analysis of data in favor of pulling proof from not-so-unbiased sources like Guns.com or the NSSF website that make gun control detractors look like kooks.
posted by schroedinger at 5:34 PM on September 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


These reasons are: I find it amusing that they have both "Hunting" and "Professional hunting," but what's "Primary production"?
posted by Etrigan at 5:35 PM on September 29, 2013


I think "hunting" means "going out to kill an animal for food or whatever" while "professional hunting" means "being employed to kill wild pigs or other pests". Primary production means things like mining, or in this instance presumably farming.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:04 PM on September 29, 2013


According to every available statistic, gun control has reduced the number of mass shootings and reduced the homicide and suicide rate in the UK, Australia, Canada, and in a number of other countries that aren't culturally similar to the United States.

As noted before, to show that you'd have to do a number of time serial studies or some sort of TSCS organized around the introduction of major legislation.

It also doesn't seem to break down terribly well even in cross section -- the UK has about the same murder rate as Vermont, even though Vermont has notoriously loose gun control laws.

While I'd prefer to see substantially stricter gun regulation myself, and the availability of firearms can't help things, I'd argue (and here I am arguing it) that something has gone horribly wrong with American society, and that we have far more people who turn to violence and firearms because they're deeply broken. And that we'll probably continue to kill each other at terrifying rates until we stop breaking people so thoroughly and commonly.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:22 PM on September 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I just bought a new truck. First thing to go on it was my NRA membership sticker.
Also, every time one of these threads pops up on Metafilter, I donate some amount of money per comment. Metafilter has managed to fund several life memberships to the NRA.
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:55 PM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


I find it amusing that they have both "Hunting" and "Professional hunting," but what's "Primary production"?

Primary production includes farming. Farmers use guns to kill pests and predators like rabbits and foxes.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:55 PM on September 29, 2013


Also, every time one of these threads pops up on Metafilter, I donate some amount of money per comment. Metafilter has managed to fund several life memberships to the NRA.

I don't really care about the NRA one way or the other, obviously, but I'm interested in why you do this and especially what reaction you're trying to get. Do you think people will say "Oh gosh, I had better bite my tongue so that blaneyphoto doesn't make another donation"? Or "wow, the NRA gets a lot of support from angry people"?
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:05 PM on September 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


Also, every time one of these threads pops up on Metafilter, I donate some amount of money per comment. Metafilter has managed to fund several life memberships to the NRA.

How much per comment?
posted by Brian B. at 8:37 PM on September 29, 2013


Also, every time one of these threads pops up on Metafilter, I donate some amount of money per comment. Metafilter has managed to fund several life memberships to the NRA.

Imagine how many children in your community you could have fed with that much money.
posted by Etrigan at 8:45 PM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Primary production means things like mining, or in this instance presumably farming.

Is that a commonly used term in Australia? I don't think I've ever heard it before, but it makes perfect sense.
posted by Etrigan at 8:47 PM on September 29, 2013


Yup, it's pretty much an everyday term used to refer to mining/farming.

p.s. this is my "let's help bankrupt blaneyphoto" comment…
posted by Pinback at 8:54 PM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is that a commonly used term in Australia? I don't think I've ever heard it before, but it makes perfect sense.

It is a legal term here (used mainly in taxation legislation and a few other things, apparently including gun regulation). It is consistent with the accepted characterisation of sectors of the economy.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:54 PM on September 29, 2013


I'd argue (and here I am arguing it) that something has gone horribly wrong with American society, and that we have far more people who turn to violence and firearms because they're deeply broken. And that we'll probably continue to kill each other at terrifying rates until we stop breaking people so thoroughly and commonly.

I just bought a new truck. First thing to go on it was my NRA membership sticker.

the juxtaposition of these two comments pretty much sums up my sadness and anger about the entire situation.

seeing solo gun-related stickers on cars in my (very liberal) city freaks me out deeply - if there's no other information there, like for hunting or environmental support, it's very difficult for me to read it much differently than the first thing this person wants everyone to know is that they strongly distrust society.

I took a gun safety and shooting course over the summer. It was fun and awesome and interesting, and the very-self-defense-themed displays in the sport shop seen upon entering and exiting were kind of horrifying in their casualness. The course teachers were extremely knowledgeable and approachable, knew their stuff but clearly weren't blind to the controversy- the course was not only about gun safety and operation but about different types of gun licenses and how to obtain one and what you can and can't do with various types. The main instructor when going over laws would often ask a 'trick question' about a specific instance for the class to guess the answer, and the common theme was 'it's not specified' or 'the law doesn't say' - the instructors didn't quite let on to their personal beliefs, but the take away was basically 'there are tons of loopholes here, i am not saying they are good or bad, but look, there is lots of undefined stuff!'
posted by ghostbikes at 9:03 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just bought a new truck. First thing to go on it was my NRA membership sticker.
Also, every time one of these threads pops up on Metafilter, I donate some amount of money per comment. Metafilter has managed to fund several life memberships to the NRA.

Most of us have hobbies of one sort or another. Certain hobbies are, for some reason, culturally privileged and some of their practitioners really buy into that. Sports fans get macho cred and some even convince themselves that it's some high level intellectual activity. It's entertainment and gambling, people.

And that's also the case with "gun culture." That isn't actually a real thing. It's a stupid phrase. No your gun is not going to allow you to defend yourself or defend your family. No your love for guns doesn't make you special and immune from criticism. No there's nothing special and manly about hunting. The hunters I knew all brought a case of beer with them to keep them company in their early morning tree stands.

Despite the fact that no one is actually going to take away all of their guns, gun owners are weirdly sensitive that someone might disapprove of their little hobby. As someone who grew up with mostly nerd hobbies it's pretty funny to me. I never had culturally sanctioned hobbies and they didn't involve killing machines.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:55 PM on September 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Seems to me that the the term 'hunting' when used by people who normally obtain their meat at the supermarket really means killing animals for the fun of it.
posted by islander at 11:38 PM on September 29, 2013


I used to work with an engineer who went duck hunting. He was a vegetarian. I never did understand that.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:31 AM on September 30, 2013


The NRA fantasy results in 30,000 American deaths per year. Happy hunting.

Generic Gun Massacre Cartoon

There seems little point in fighting this issue. A negligent gun owner can kill his child and the authorities will still debate against taking away his capability to own guns. That's how plugged in the NRA is, how much they control our legal system. Children and others will get killed for no reason and that's just how it is.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:44 AM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Didn't the latest CDC report on guns say something like that guns were used defensively as much as they were used in crimes? Or am I misremembering?
posted by I-baLL at 3:33 AM on September 30, 2013


Oh, here we go, I don't have much time to google as I have to run to work right now but I think I read it here.

Number 7.
posted by I-baLL at 3:35 AM on September 30, 2013


Blazecock Pileon : A negligent gun owner can kill his child and the authorities will still debate against taking away his capability to own guns. That's how plugged in the NRA is, how much they control our legal system. Children and others will get killed for no reason and that's just how it is.

I remember in the third(? maybe 2nd) grade, one of my friends' fathers backed his truck over his baby sister in the driveway, killing her. Damn how plugged in AAA is, they didn't even take away the father's truck or even license!

Snark aside, rational people recognize accidents as such. Having one doesn't mean we instantly and automatically deprive you of your rights (at least not in this country).


I-baLL : Didn't the latest CDC report on guns say something like that guns were used defensively as much as they were used in crimes? Or am I misremembering?

As a matter of fact, they did!
FTA: "the study also looked at the effect of having firearms available for self-defense, and found that firearms are much more likely to be used in a defensive manner rather than for criminal or violent activity."

More interesting than that, though, the study found that gun violence spreads not from mere ownership or accessibility (which anyone who grew up in rural America could have told you - Oh, wait, we have, over and over and over), but as a sort of "cultural contagion" that very nicely follows the same patterns as any other epidemic. You want to eliminate (gun) violence, you'd do best to ignore the red herring of guns and eradicate/assimilate those cultures that glorify it.
posted by pla at 3:43 AM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am so damned sick of the cars argument when it comes to gun control. No matter how many times it gets rebutted, no matter how many times someone points out that cars, unlike guns, are designed for travel and have a purpose outside of maiming and killing, no matter how often it's mentioned that cars have legal regulations like requiring a license, training in their use and a legal requirement to both utilise safety features and not operate while under the influence, still gun advocates can't stop bringing them up every fucking time. It's a stupid argument and it's provably wrong in every single instance, and yet it's still trotted out as some kind of insane gotcha.

Next time someone tries to draw the equivalence between guns and cars, I say we condemn them to having to get around using only their guns as transport. See them try and go five miles with only two pistols tied to their feet. It's unlikely to teach them a damned thing about false equivalences, but it would at least be more satisfying.
posted by gadge emeritus at 3:52 AM on September 30, 2013 [10 favorites]


His car argument doesn't even make sense. AAA is not a government entity. Vehicular homicide pretty much always leads to a suspended driver's license by government entities. Cars aren't designed or driven to kill people. People have to get trained, licensed and insured to operate a vehicle. And so on.

Whereas, kill your kid with a gun — a device designed solely to kill people — and you probably won't get your toys taken away by the authorities. No training, licensing or financial bond required to own and operate the gun in the first place, either.

The car stuff doesn't make any sense, but then none of this makes sense.

Whatever, the NRA and its stooges own the discussion. That children get murdered is just the price the rest of us pay when people who should not own guns have practically unfettered access to guns.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:10 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


gadge emeritus : I am so damned sick of the cars argument when it comes to gun control.

Inconvenient analogy is inconvenient. Yup.



no matter how many times someone points out that cars, unlike guns, are designed for travel and have a purpose outside of maiming and killing [...] It's a stupid argument and it's provably wrong in every single instance, and yet it's still trotted out as some kind of insane gotcha.

The problem here comes from your belief that guns have no redeeming qualities to offset their intended purpose. Those opposing you point out that their intended purpose gives them a redeeming quality. You would rather die cowering in a closet, praying the police show up in time; I would rather die defending myself and family. You would rather die in a hospital bed; I would rather die when I decide to end the pain. Really, simple as that. Trot out all the "but guns are special" arguments you want, but it comes down to nothing plainer than that - Self determination.

The important difference here? In the complete absence of guns in the world, you would still die cowering in the closet. And I would still die defending myself and family, albeit less effectively.

And BTW, argument by (negative) assertion does not validate.



Blazecock Pileon : His car argument doesn't even make sense. AAA is not a government entity.

Remind me which branch of the government the NRA - Which you brought up and my response to you merely mocked through parallel construction - belongs to?
posted by pla at 4:22 AM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, every time one of these threads pops up on Metafilter, I donate some amount of money per comment. Metafilter has managed to fund several life memberships to the NRA.

Imagine how many children's funerals you could have funded with that much money.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:32 AM on September 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


Those opposing you point out that their intended purpose gives them a redeeming quality. You would rather die cowering in a closet, praying the police show up in time; I would rather die defending myself and family.

If you were to stop mind reading your opponents and projecting beliefs onto them, that would be great.

It would be also nice if you didn't call someone who disagreed with you a coward while making yourself out to be a hero. Because all it does is fill me with contempt towards you.
posted by gadge emeritus at 4:36 AM on September 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


You would rather die cowering in a closet, praying the police show up in time ...

A while ago someone here asked how many MeFites knew someone who had been shot. I think almost everyone from the USA said they had. I don't. In fact, I haven't seen any firearm other than a police or security officer handgun in ... thirty years?(*) So you've got a false dichotomy there: I would rather live in a society free of guns, which would mean that nobody needs to cower in a closet.

If it makes you happier, think of gun control as vaccination: herd immunity means that a rational individual wouldn't get vaccinated. What's the point? Who could he catch a disease from? But if everyone thinks that way then herd immunity disappears and everyone gets sick, even some vaccinated people - because vaccination isn't 100% effective and epidemics are intrinsically dangerous. Gun control works the same way: if you get rid of (almost all) guns then everyone is safer, despite the fact that some individuals might be safer owning a gun. But once people start owning guns then the safe society disappears and everyone is at risk despite the fact that they own a gun.

(*) A few security officers carry guns too. The only ones I recall seeing worked for the companies that transfer money between banks, but there are probably others. Still, I disapprove.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:39 AM on September 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


> "Inconvenient analogy is inconvenient. Yup."

I'm honestly confused ... by "inconvenient" do you mean "completely and utterly undercuts the point it purports to make after only seconds of thought"?

Because you didn't seem to address the point, made multiple times by many posters here, that many gun-control advocates, myself included, would be utterly thrilled if guns were regulated in the U.S to pretty much exactly the same extent that cars are regulated in the U.S.
posted by kyrademon at 5:25 AM on September 30, 2013


I mean, just imagine it:

- You would only be granted a gun license after sufficient training, and passing practical, written, and physical tests to demonstrate your knowledge and capability of safe gun usage. Gun licenses would only be issued to those above a certain age. Being armed without having a gun license would be illegal. Your license would have to be periodically renewed.

- Each gun manufactured would come with a specific tracking serial number. You would need to have this information in order to sell or re-sell a gun. Each sale or re-sale would be entered into a government database.

- Each gun you own would also be required to have a short, unique, trackable number that must be prominently displayed at all times whenever you are armed. Failing to have this number, failing to display it, or obscuring it in any way would be illegal. Police would have access to a database of all such numbers.

- You would have to purchase gun insurance to cover any damage or injury that might be caused by your gun. Using an uninsured gun would be illegal.

- Guns would be legally required to come with a number of safety features including but not limited to a separate key that must be placed in the gun in order for the gun to work.

- Guns would have meet certain standards and specifications, and it would be illegal to sell guns that violate these standards. Guns and bullets that are deemed too unsafe would be banned.

- Guns would have a maximum safe "speed" (firing rate). Going above this limit would be illegal.

- Being armed while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs would be illegal.

- Whenever you are armed, any law enforcement official who believes you are behaving suspiciously could demand to see your license, your insurance, or your gun's registration information. They could also test you for alcohol or drugs.

- By law, your guns would have to be periodically tested for safety. It would be illegal to make certain alterations to your guns in order to bypass safety regulations.

- Your gun license would be revoked if you are found to have been using your guns in an unsafe manner.

As I said before, sounds like a distant dream of sanity.
posted by kyrademon at 6:04 AM on September 30, 2013 [15 favorites]


How about we reset to the OP here?

- Every other day, more or less, a child either shoots him/herself or another child in the US. Sometimes the unlucky recipient of that bullet dies.

- If the parents of that child are white, church-going residents of America's Heartland™ then those incidents are usually quickly filed away by the authorities in a large cabinet labelled 'Terrible Accidents'. If the parents don't fit that demographic, they may end up charged with something. Either way, nothing changes, because the myth of the Responsible Gun Owner persists.

- Lots of people think that's all a price worth paying. They may yammer about gun safety as a distant abstract conjecture, like the second coming of Jesus, but their actions show that they don't really give a shit about it.
posted by holgate at 7:12 AM on September 30, 2013


Remind me which branch of the government the NRA - Which you brought up and my response to you merely mocked through parallel construction - belongs to?

Now class, this is an example of what we'll refer to as a "low underhand pitch directly across the center of the plate."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:29 AM on September 30, 2013


pla: "As a matter of fact, they did!
FTA: "the study also looked at the effect of having firearms available for self-defense, and found that firearms are much more likely to be used in a defensive manner rather than for criminal or violent activity."
"

The CDC study you're referring to didn't actually study anything about defensive gun use, it merely summarized four prior studies that attempted to extrapolate the number of DGUs from very sparse data. The methodological problems with these studies have been discussed in previous gun threads, with the tl;dr version being that the studies for the most part relied on people to self-report their DGU in surveys, and because DGU is such a low-frequency event, any appreciable amount of false positives leads to wildly overestimating the frequency of that event.

Of course, since it's illegal for the CDC or NIH to do any study that could possibly lead to gun control (yes, that's actually written into our laws) any current or future studies to get better estimates will have the NRA's thumb on the scales.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:31 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon : A negligent gun owner can kill his child and the authorities will still debate against taking away his capability to own guns. That's how plugged in the NRA is, how much they control our legal system. Children and others will get killed for no reason and that's just how it is.

I remember in the third(? maybe 2nd) grade, one of my friends' fathers backed his truck over his baby sister in the driveway, killing her. Damn how plugged in AAA is, they didn't even take away the father's truck or even license!


To validate this analogy, you would have to be suggesting that like the NRA, AAA is now somehow, for the sake of this incident, a political lobbying group that directly intervenes following incidents like this to ensure that laws are not changed in a way that would address someone's access to a motor vehicle. This obviously did not happen, because duh.

As I already noted above, why do people like you do this? There is no way you didn't know this analogy of yours was nonsense as you were typing it, and given by your own admission of it being "snark," you seem to already be aware you just wanted to say something to feel like you Won At Internet™ or something. Why do this? Seriously, why? People honestly just need to keep asking this until they get a straight answer.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:44 AM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


You would rather die cowering in a closet, praying the police show up in time; I would rather die defending myself and family.

Cowards. Also coward. More cowards.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:54 AM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


This ain't about hunting, it's about straw purchases in states like Virginia flooding the streets of cities like Philadelphia with illegal guns. It's about sane limits on purchases. Like, dude, do you really need to buy 10 9mm autos at this gun show today? And would we really be violating your 2nd amendment rights by running your ID against a national registry, where we would discover you bought 15 handguns last month?

Also it is ridiculously easy to get a concealed carry permit in some states, maybe we should look into that as well. You know, if we weren't COMPLETELY FUCKING INSANE about gun control.
posted by Mister_A at 8:03 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


And would we really be violating your 2nd amendment rights by running your ID against a national registry, where we would discover you bought 15 handguns last month?

Apparently not, according to, well, everybody.

Everyone- gun owners, NRA members, and now even gun store owners- supports background checks. Everyone.

The only entity that does not is the NRA leadership and their lobbyists, and I guess that's a shame because they're going to keep fighting it now using blaneyphoto's money that he just donated because I wrote this comment.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:31 AM on September 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


A while ago someone here asked how many MeFites knew someone who had been shot. I think almost everyone from the USA said they had.

You might be thinking of (but if not, it's a good and depressing post and link) this fpp. It's a series of portraits of people holding a chalkboard with the number of people they know who have been shot.
posted by rtha at 8:40 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Everyone- gun owners, NRA members, and now even gun store owners- supports background checks. Everyone.

The only entity that does not is the NRA leadership and their lobbyists, and I guess that's a shame because they're going to keep fighting it now using blaneyphoto's money that he just donated because I wrote this comment.


Gun manufacturers (who the NRA is really working for these days) don't like the idea -- gun store owners* have at least a modicum of understanding that their personal neighborhoods (or at least the ones their stores are in) are potentially affected even by straw purchases, but the manufacturers are well away from the havoc caused by the holes in the background check regime.

* -- Which are mostly small businesses; I don't know what Walmart's attitude is on it, but I suspect that the Waltons are more oncerned with selling more product than the effects of that product on the communities that they'll never visit.
posted by Etrigan at 8:46 AM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just bought a new truck. First thing to go on it was my NRA membership sticker.
Also, every time one of these threads pops up on Metafilter, I donate some amount of money per comment. Metafilter has managed to fund several life memberships to the NRA.

...

You would rather die cowering in a closet, praying the police show up in time; I would rather die defending myself and family.


I'm a gun owner, and this kind of ugly bullshit makes me want to get a photo of me handing it over to a government employee.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:16 AM on September 30, 2013 [13 favorites]


I am a gun owner and have a small child. I actually keep a pistol "readily accessible" in case I need it in the middle of the night. By "readily accessible" I mean "locked unloaded but next to a loaded magazine in a pushbutton combination safe" and by "need it in the middle of the night" I mean "in case I awake at 3AM to the horrible screeching sound that comes from a chicken being killed by a raccoon or other predator" which has happened before. My chicken coop is behind my house and backs up to a mountain in the forest where nobody else lives. I also own a shotgun I bought for shooting sporting clays. It is also locked up in a different safe, unloaded.

I find this dialogue perpetually tiring because it seems that either everyone who agrees with me is unwilling to speak up, or nobody agrees with me. Instead I hear either:

1) I should be able to buy military machine guns if I want to! Freedom! America! NOBAMA!

or:

2) Jesus Christ why do you need a shotgun? Do you really *need* to shoot clay targets? Is it worth your children DYING so you can do that? You're murdering your daughter by owning those things!

It's like, damned if you do, damned if you don't. I'm not hardline enough on either side.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:39 AM on September 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


[sorry this got so long. I reckon if ghostbikes is donating by the comment, I figured I'd make it a good one.]

I used to live in the country. We had guns. We had guns for shooting rattlesnakes, and varmints who didn't pay attention to fences. And poachers. I mean, we never shot a poacher, but the threat was pretty implicit that they could get off the land or they could suffer a bottom full of rocksalt. The ducks and deer were and manatee were free to hang out by the river unmolested.

When I was doing a lot of work escorting women to and from abortion clinics during the years of firebombs and death threats, the police recommended that I get a concealed carry license, when my name and address made it on to one of the "wanted" posters.

I carried that gun for a few days. Got attacked one of those days by an asshole with a fetus in a jar in one hand and stick in the other. Because I had the gun, I responded significantly more aggressively than I would normally have done...I punched him right square in the face, then stood there and dared him to get up. I felt invincible. Which is stupid. And dangerous. Especially when dealing with lunatics. (I never pulled the gun, for the record.)

At the range, one of the workers asked why I used target shaped targets, rather than human shaped targets, and I realized it was because I don't like thinking about shooting a person. I know what a bullet does to meat. And with that realization, I returned the gun to the cop from whom I'd purchased it, because me carrying a weapon I probably couldn't use just means that I'm providing a method for someone to kill me easily.

Don't get me wrong, I have guns. I have my grandfather's Winchester repeater .22, and I have a double barrel shotgun. Both have trigger locks, both are stored away from ammunition. I come from a long line of people with lots of guns, I qualified marksman before I was old enough to drive. But we're not living in the wild wild west. We're none of us going to stop a stagecoach robbery with our handy dandy rifle. The odds of most of us needing a gun to stop a house invader is miniscule. There is no reason for regular folks to have a 50 caliber gun. Nobody needs anything that can shoot down a plane. Nobody needs dozens and dozens of handguns and assault rifles to go hunt deer or elk or bear or whatever.

Guns are tools. Guns are tools for killing things. That some people use them only for target practice may be true, but it does not negate the fact that the Purpose Of The Thing is to kill stuff.

Do we want to live in this dystopian vision of a culture where you're only safe if you're ready to kill other people? The NRA certainly does. And their supporters certainly do. And while, at one point, I supported the NRA because it used to have a large education arm that taught safety and moderation; they lost my support when they said that members should be armed to protect themselves from the "jack booted thugs of the government". At that point, it became a radical, some might say, revolutionary organization determined to sell as much product as possible to the least rational of it's members. Fear the government? Buy our guns! Fear the blacks? Buy our guns! Fear the immigrants? Buy more guns! Guns for everyone. Well, all the white folks. Not so much for the Native Americans. Can't trust them. Might want their country back. Afraid of the Indians? Buy more guns!


But the fact is, that people like ghostbikes, and his pledge to the NRA anytime anyone speaks out about gun culture, are what is going to keep the dysptopia going. More mass murders will happen. More children will die. The NRA will start marketing guns to younger and younger kids. More people will get hyper aggressive about their guns, demanding that we "respect" their guns when they carry them on their waist, the barrels pointed towards baby carriages. Mothers will continue to mourn the loss of their children to stray bullets. Fathers will bury the cold corpses of their family. Communities will continue to be rocked by gun violence, and the streets will run red with innocent blood.

But hey, as long as the NRA is meeting its target numbers, and the gun manufacturers are swimming in profits in the crimson tide of twenty murdered elementary school kids, what's thirty thousand dead people a year between friends, am I right?

I don't know where it ends. I guess with everyone dead. Some will just get there faster than others.
posted by dejah420 at 12:24 PM on September 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm a gun owning liberal who favors stronger regulations (though I believe addressing mental health issues would have a much, much greater effect in reducing violent crime; didn't anyone watch 60 Minutes before switching the channel to Breaking Bad last night?). I live in California, which has more regulations than most, if not all, other states, but it was still extremely easy to purchase both a shotgun and a handgun. A written test that I can't believe anyone even misses a single question on and a few minutes long background check was all it took before a short waiting period began.

Pro-regulation folks do our side no favors when they parade their ignorance of firearms, though. We've had folks in this thread claim that hollow point bullets are armor piercing, that people can legally buy fully automatic AK47s in the U.S., and that guns are only designed for killing people and have no other legitimate uses. All of those things are just as ridiculous as fantasies about armed citizens being able to take on the U.S. military should the Tree of Liberty ever need watering.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 2:14 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thoughtcrime: "though I believe addressing mental health issues would have a much, much greater effect in reducing violent crime; didn't anyone watch 60 Minutes before switching the channel to Breaking Bad last night?"

Yeah, I watched it, but it only demonstrated that the current approach to mental health is shit, not that improved mental health care would have any appreciable effect on violent crime. It certainly could have helped in some specific mass shooting incidents where there were warning signs (Va. Tech, Aurora, Newtown), but I'm unconvinced that it would significantly reduce the instances of drug gangs from shooting each other. With mass shooting incidents representing a small (albeit growing) percentage of all gun homicides, I frankly find calls to focus more on mental health a distraction. (I realize you personally favor more gun regulation in addition to focusing more on mental health, so I'd exempt you from that criticism, but there certainly is a lot of this going on -- Wayne LaPierre couldn't blame mental health factors fast enough after Newtown.)

Thoughtcrime: "Pro-regulation folks do our side no favors when they parade their ignorance of firearms, though. We've had folks in this thread claim that hollow point bullets are armor piercing, that people can legally buy fully automatic AK47s in the U.S., and that guns are only designed for killing people and have no other legitimate uses."

This came up in other gun threads, and with all due respect, I think it's about 99% bullshit. Yes, people should make an effort to educate themselves on the aspects of firearms that are directly relevant to their favored legislative remedy, but far too often, this kind of criticism (and I'm not saying this is what you're doing) is meant to shut down debate, and to provide an excuse for doing nothing. It's kind of a cousin of the "tone argument", where if you don't use the exact vernacular, or approach the discussion in an exact kind of way, the other side dismisses anything you have to say, even if the mistake you make is irrelevant to the issue being discussed.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:39 PM on September 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


I find this dialogue perpetually tiring because it seems that either everyone who agrees with me is unwilling to speak up, or nobody agrees with me.

Not to get too MeTa but to answer this point, there's a limited value to these discussions because a lot of people want to use them to argue with the NRA. We don't have a lot of NRA types to argue with here on MetaFilter, but people use these threads as an outlet for that anyway, so it mostly ends up with people talking past each other. This is satisfactory for people who just wanted a venue to rail against Charlton Heston and Wayne LaPierre, but not for people who wanted to converse. So the latter pipe down and yeah, the thread ends up looking exactly as you described.

I live in California, which has more regulations than most, if not all, other states, but it was still extremely easy to purchase both a shotgun and a handgun. A written test that I can't believe anyone even misses a single question on and a few minutes long background check was all it took before a short waiting period began.

I live in Massachusetts, the other state with (in)famous gun control, and here it's not much different. We have an education requirement, but it isn't uniform: some classes are longer than others, some classes include live fire and others don't, but all of those classes satisfy the requirement. We do a more thorough job of limiting what firearms can be purchased here, but we are embarrassingly bad at making clear which firearms those are. We have an additional safeguard for carry permits, leaving them to police chiefs' discretion, but that opens tremendous potential for abuse.

Firearms law is a mess from top to bottom. It's just an absolute mess. That's the one thing every expert agrees on. Whether it should be more restrictive or less, that gets debatable, but everybody agrees it's a nightmare in present form.
posted by cribcage at 4:30 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's kind of a cousin of the "tone argument", where if you don't use the exact vernacular, or approach the discussion in an exact kind of way, the other side dismisses anything you have to say, even if the mistake you make is irrelevant to the issue being discussed.

At the same time, if you are someone who has been target shooting or hunting or dealing with porcupines eating your porch or whatever since you were a little kid, when someone says "Guns are for killing people and nothing else! There's no need to hunt!" it can really put you off so far as to shut the conversation down. It's the same as a guy who says "I'm donating to the NRA for every comment on here, take that you freedom-haters!"
posted by schroedinger at 4:34 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I believe addressing mental health issues would have a much, much greater effect in reducing violent crime

Doesn't really stop kids from shooting other kids or themselves.

And the relationship (or lack thereof) between guns and mental health has been discussed here previously, although not the way that the NRA's obsession with making it a mental-health issue increasingly resembles something in the DSM-V.
posted by holgate at 5:08 PM on September 30, 2013


cribcage: "Not to get too MeTa but to answer this point, there's a limited value to these discussions because a lot of people want to use them to argue with the NRA. We don't have a lot of NRA types to argue with here on MetaFilter, but people use these threads as an outlet for that anyway, so it mostly ends up with people talking past each other."

How are you defining "NRA type" here? I ask because I've seen nearly every viewpoint of the NRA expressed in comments from some of the pro-gun regulars on the blue. Now, I don't know if they're NRA members, and maybe they're not a spiteful or arrogant as Wayne LaPierre, but I've seen opposition to background checks, opposition to magazine length restrictions, and vehement opposition to any new gun regulation at all. I don't think you have to be a dues-paying NRA member to be expressing NRA viewpoints, and I do in fact see a lot of those viewpoints expressed here.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:14 PM on September 30, 2013


My opinion? The U.S. has a lot more gun crime than other countries because we're the biggest market for drugs in the world. We also have weird drug laws. Morphine and cocaine are more legal than marijuana. That's weird to me. Anyways, this makes drug dealing extremely profitable. So gangs deal in drugs and shoot it out with each other. I think that's why we have more gun crime than other countries with the same rates of gun ownership and/or looser gun laws. I think the Czech Republic has looser gun laws than the U.S. but you don't hear about it often.

I think the fear of gun control is similar to the fear of birth control regulation. People think that the smallest law will balloon into some big ban on everything. In both cases I think that fear is warranted. Read pro-gun control websites and see what their goal is and a lot of them say (whether directly or in interviews with the media) that they just want to ban guns outright. Hell, read stuff like the Assault Weapons Ban and stuff. When politicians claim that they're banning assault rifles (which civilians can't easily own without huge background checks by the federal government) while actually banning cosmetic features of guns then you start getting suspicious. Why are they banning guns by how they look as opposed to how they function?

I think that sooner or later guns might be outright banned in the U.S. Then the drug cartels, which before dealt mostly with drugs, will start to produce weapons for sale. Guns are really easy to make. I used to have a picture book of improvised firearms that were confiscated by the cops in the 50s and 60s. It'll become a huge black market and then politicians will probably start banning other stuff. Not sure what.

Uhm, so yeah, I guess my point is that the drug war and the lack of mental health care in this country is what causes most of the gun crime. The biggest school massacre in the U.S. was done with explosives in the 1920s (though a gun was used to set off the explosives.) In China, which also has a large amount of school massacres, the biggest death toll happened when a guy used a knife to threaten a classroom, locked them in, and set the place on fire. That's not a sane person's actions.

So if you're pro-gun control then seriously sit down and think if it will work and how. Educate yourself about what guns are and stuff like that. And develop your gun-control ideas from there. And don't deny that an unknown amount of pro-gun control people want to ban guns outright. All that stuff needs to be addressed. It's not an us/them argument.
posted by I-baLL at 6:43 PM on September 30, 2013


[Ok, several comments deleted, let's start that bit over with a less toxic approach?]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:09 PM on September 30, 2013


Fine, let's start over.

Why exactly should the onus be on non-gun-owners, or even gun owners who are not gun hobbyists or gun anthropologists, to educate themselves in the minutiae of firearms technology and firearms culture before they are deemed worthy participants in the debate? Who dictates the level of proficiency?

As I said in a previous thread, 'the state of existence whereby one does not have to worry about momentary lapses of judgement from local gun owners' may be more abstract than possessing the lingo of calibres and actions, but it is a no less valid starting point for education and developing one's ideas.
posted by holgate at 9:28 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think the fear of gun control is similar to the fear of birth control regulation.

There were 43 laws passed in this country restricting abortion rights or access to contraception. In the single year of 2012 alone. Congress most recently passed another bill attempting to restrict contraception access twelve hours ago.

I'm getting really sick of the "gun laws are like abortion laws" arguments. There's sort of a huge difference in "fearing" one or the other in that one is, you know, repeatedly actually happening and not just paranoia.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:39 PM on September 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, XQUZYPHYR, but don't forget about all the horrible gun legislation that President Jackboot Hussein McBlackHelicopter signed, like that slippery slope bill that made it legal to carry guns in national parks.

Sure, at first glance that looks like less gun control, but now he's closing the national parks. I bet he's got hundreds of law-abiding citizens locked up in Carlsbad Caverns right now!
posted by tonycpsu at 9:44 PM on September 30, 2013


Why exactly should the onus be on non-gun-owners, or even gun owners who are not gun hobbyists or gun anthropologists, to educate themselves in the minutiae of firearms technology and firearms culture before they are deemed worthy participants in the debate?

Well, it depends what you define as "the debate." (Setting aside for simplicity's sake what you mean by "minutiae.") If you just mean town-square chatter, then of course there shouldn't be any onus. Everybody can participate. Having guns in our society affects you whether you know anything about them or not, so of course you're entitled to a voice, and eventually to a vote.

On the other hand, if you mean a substantive "debate" in the sense of discussion toward solution, then of course particpants should be educated. That's what intelligent conversation is. I suppose there could be an argument otherwise if one available option were to completely zero-out firearms, but that's moot. What's on the table is regulation, and if you are going to regulate something, then you ought to be knowledgeable about it. If people refuse to educate themselves, that's their prerogative, but we can't let it handcuff us from elevating our conversation to a more productive level.
posted by cribcage at 10:48 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


if you are going to regulate something, then you ought to be knowledgeable about it.

Well, yeah. But like I said, it's about who has the right to dictate the level of proficiency, and in what specific fields. Because god forbid you ever use the word 'clip' casually instead of 'magazine'.

Demanding terminological compliance in this way is not simply about knowledge or even pedantic oneupmanship; it is done to draw boundaries and assert veto power. Like tonycpsu says upthread, this is a variant of the tone argument, and I reject its premise.
posted by holgate at 11:26 PM on September 30, 2013


This gets back to what I said earlier. I don't see where anyone has talked about clips versus magazines. You're arguing with an NRA boogeyman. Now, that may indeed be a person who exists, and it may even be someone you've encountered, and if it suits your purpose to argue with him here in this thread, then so be it; it's your five bucks. But that's a different wavelength, and the result is that it may not be fruitful to converse.
posted by cribcage at 11:47 PM on September 30, 2013


I don't see where anyone has talked about clips versus magazines. You're arguing with an NRA boogeyman.

I've read exactly what's being spoken of here on this very website. The description is precise. You ain't read it, you ain't read it, but it's nothing to do with boogiemen.
posted by Wolof at 4:07 AM on October 1, 2013


I'm getting really sick of the "gun laws are like abortion laws" arguments. There's sort of a huge difference in "fearing" one or the other in that one is, you know, repeatedly actually happening and not just paranoia.

If you don't think that there are people who legitimately want to ban essentially all private firearms in the United States, then you haven't been paying attention in this thread, much less in the wider debate.

Similarly, I remember hearing "We're only one Supreme Court Justice away from Roe v. Wade being overturned!" when Reagan was president. Six Republican-appointed Justices have been appointed since then (and only four Democrat-appointed), and yet, every election cycle, I still hear "We're only one Supreme Court Justice away from Roe v. Wade being overturned!" It's been a rallying cry for at least three-quarters of the time since the case was decided.

Just because one side's representatives are better at protecting their interests doesn't mean that they're fighting ghosts. There is plenty of "repeatedly actually happening" and "just paranoia" on both sides.

The sadly necessary disclaimer: I am pro-choice and to the left of the NRA on personal firearm possession. I am presenting a meta-argument, not a moral one on either issue.
posted by Etrigan at 4:14 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


> "Six Republican-appointed Justices have been appointed since then (and only four Democrat-appointed) ..."

... I kind of feel it has to be pointed out that Republican appointee Souter was pretty much a lucky break for the pro-choice side that effectively made the number five vs. five for that particular issue (among others).

So if you thought it was one Supreme Court Justice away then and you think it's one Supreme Court Justice away now, you've been completely consistent and there's absolutely no smoking gun proving you wrong.
posted by kyrademon at 5:56 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you don't think that there are people who legitimately want to ban essentially all private firearms in the United States, then you haven't been paying attention in this thread, much less in the wider debate.

Instant strawman/distraction bolded. Nowhere did I say that no people want gun bans. I said it was paranoia and based on your own criteria of that being defined as "legitimately banning essentially all private firearms" you appear to agree with me and just want to argue.

Saying that people want A and people want B does not make concerns about A and B an equal comparison when A is a hypothetical and B is a thing that actually happens several dozen times a year. No one is, or ever will be, banning all firearms, let along coming to take them away. The prospect of that happening has never existed in our lifetimes. Ever. Meanwhile, in the non-"meta-argument" world, Texas just passed "safety regulations" that happen to close all but two abortion clinics in the entire state. Oh, but I guess since liberals were wrong about there being an actual Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade, we're on equal footing with the black helicopter crowd, because that makes sense completely.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:42 AM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


More evidence that there is still a large contingent out there who think the problem in our country is not enough guns, rather than too many:

Meeting addresses questions about guns in Gainesville schools:
Police propose allowing rifles for school resource officers

posted by TedW at 6:46 AM on October 1, 2013


Why exactly should the onus be on non-gun-owners, or even gun owners who are not gun hobbyists or gun anthropologists, to educate themselves in the minutiae of firearms technology and firearms culture before they are deemed worthy participants in the debate? Who dictates the level of proficiency?

Politically, I don't think technology terms matter, but rather the legal inability to localize gun control, in part because rural folks can't fathom the absurdity of gun-based home defense when a gang-member lives there, while opinionated urban dwellers may wonder why rural people don't sell off their livestock and hide in shame. Hunting, predator and varmint control are still baseline investments for most guns, and a rancher in Wyoming is not afraid of urbanites stealing his horse and trailer because there are plenty of local thieves in the middle of nowhere, and cops are often hours away. Add this to the reality that rural states have two senators each and guns are often the mode of investment for some people. The solution is obviously to avoid all discussions of confiscating guns and find an economic way to demand more efficiency from them, with least civic cost and human waste. Besides taxes, only insurance can do this.
posted by Brian B. at 7:12 AM on October 1, 2013


Etrigan: " If you don't think that there are people who legitimately want to ban essentially all private firearms in the United States, then you haven't been paying attention in this thread, much less in the wider debate."

Please to be citing instances of where anyone in this thread expressed this opinion. I've read none of it here, unless you interpret someone who opposes hunting as support for a ban on all guns, which is quite a leap of logic. I have seen that opinion represented in other gun threads, but it is a very small minority -- I'd hazard a guess of around 1 in 20 people on the side that favors gun control.

To assess the state of the "wider debate", opinion polling is probably the place to look, and on page 2 of this Gallup page, you'll see that a total ban on handguns (except for law enforcement) only gets 24%, which is down in "I have personally been abducted by aliens" territory as opinion polling goes. Also, note the trend line on that question -- it's at an all-time low, from a high of 60% when the question was first asked, down into the 40s throughout the late 20th century, into the 30s throughout the early 2000s, and consistently down even further throughout the Obama presidency. So, not only is a total gun ban barely on the radar of anyone on MeFi, it's barely on the radar of the public.

Meanwhile, nearly everything I've seen on MetaFilter from the side that favors gun control has been about incremental changes to gun laws -- universal background checks, magazine restrictions, things like that. I know that it's convenient to focus on the handful of people who've expressed support for a total ban as a means of limiting debate and questioning the good faith of others, but that simply isn't borne out by the actual content of this thread or any other that I've seen.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:40 AM on October 1, 2013


Etrigan: If you don't think that there are people who legitimately want to ban essentially all private firearms in the United States, then you haven't been paying attention in this thread, much less in the wider debate."

tonycpsu: Please to be citing instances of where anyone in this thread expressed this opinion.

crush-onastick: In fact, I support complete repeal of the 2nd Amendment (because the context of a nation too new and small to protect its citizens from the hostile nations we were occupying and the recent revolution are so alien to the circumstance in which we currently live and because current interpretation is tortured to fit modern circumstance outside of the idea that we've always had this right) and the outlawing firearm ownership and possession in the U.S.

==========

I'll show myself out because I try not to get involved in these threads anymore but I will stop in for a second to give credit where credit is due, both via the citations above (which I think is pretty straightforward, at least as far as these things go when you're citing other people's questions/statements) as well as to say that, for what it's worth, I think the argument for a repeal of the 2nd Amendment as a solution to the various problems at hand is actually a cognizant viewpoint for folks to stand upon.

I don't personally agree* but, to me at least, it's logically consistent unlike some other viewpoints that are really nothing but legal tricks and halfmeasures that just seek to neuter rights/numbers/proliferation/education without really saying as much.

But I guess I don't like it when either side of any discussion resorts/has to resort to legal tricks and half measures instead of just saying what it wants. Welcome to any (American?) political discussion ever I suppose.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:19 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fair enough -- I came to the thread late and missed that when I tried to catch up initially. I did acknowledge that this opinion exists, but I still contend it's a very small minority within the pro gun reform camp, and one that is routinely blown out of proportion as an excuse for engaging on the substance of much smaller reforms.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:25 AM on October 1, 2013


And, to clarify, I think the gun lobby/NRA is just as guilty of obfuscating things and using dirty tricks/tactics as anyone else on the opposing side of the fence, more so in some/many cases, just in case I wasn't clear about that. I like to think that the only way to reasonable results is reasonable discourse. Since that's not likely to prove to be the case anytime soon I don't have high hopes for anything good/functional appearing. /cynical
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:25 AM on October 1, 2013


RolandOfEld: "I like to think that the only way to reasonable results is reasonable discourse Since that's not likely to prove to be the case anytime soon I don't have high hopes for anything good/functional appearing."

Before you complete the process of showing yourself out, can we at least agree that it's not helpful when the pro-gun side overstates the number of people who support the "take all the guns" viewpoint by orders of magnitude? I don't see nearly that level of distortion coming from my side in this, and I acknowledge that's a convenient position for me to hold, but I truly do believe it -- all of the incremental reforms we talk about really are opposed by a large portion of the pro-gun contingent, often with the usual "slippery slope" justification. I can't be the only person who sees this, can I?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:29 AM on October 1, 2013


Before you complete the process of showing yourself out, can we at least agree that it's not helpful when the pro-gun side overstates the number of people who support the "take all the guns" viewpoint by orders of magnitude? I don't see nearly that level of distortion coming from my side in this, and I acknowledge that's a convenient position for me to hold, but I truly do believe it -- all of the incremental reforms we talk about really are opposed by a large portion of the pro-gun contingent, often with the usual "slippery slope" justification.

People are linking to polls in this very thread showing that a large portion of gun owners and gun sellers are in favor of incremental reforms. Tossing those aside while dismissing the people in this same thread who have said they want a gun ban is only a slight variation of the No True Scotsman fallacy.
posted by Etrigan at 8:40 AM on October 1, 2013


I came to the thread late and missed that when I tried to catch up initially.

Right, and I wasn't trying to be all "GOTCHA!", just replying. Like I said, personally I think the viewpoint I cited is consistent and I respect anyone coming from that place. I disagree but respect it.

I still contend it's a very small minority within the pro gun reform camp, and one that is routinely blown out of proportion as an excuse for engaging on the substance of much smaller reforms.

Right, I like to think/contend that the same thing happens when nutjobs who freak out about the slightest law/thing are put out there as reasons why all guns should be abolished. Because, like you, I contend they are a small minority of gun owners/users who are impacted by the discussion. And it's a complex discussion and all that.

On preview:

can we at least agree that it's not helpful when the pro-gun side overstates the number of people who support the "take all the guns" viewpoint by orders of magnitude?

Maybe I just addressed what you're asking clarification for? Because I don't think it's helpful at all. Nor do I think the number of people who implicitly rank gun owners as potential murderers* are really being all that helpful either. I think alot of the problem stems from the poisoning of the discourse (from both sides) insofar as that the political/media system is designed to reward those who come to the table only from an extreme viewpoint or event. Instead of just looking at problems and trying to intelligently design a solution that works from as many angles as possible.

*I can cite that from another thread if you'd like but via memail as I don't want to muddy the waters, or really continue on here all that much anyway.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:40 AM on October 1, 2013


At my local indoor range, in a mid-sized southern city, I have yet to meet another ISSF or precision shooter.

To be fair, aren't indoor ranges not the ideal place to practice competition shooting? Particularly with rifles?
posted by corb at 8:52 AM on October 1, 2013


Etrigan: " People are linking to polls in this very thread showing that a large portion of gun owners and gun sellers are in favor of incremental reforms. Tossing those aside while dismissing the people in this same thread who have said they want a gun ban is only a slight variation of the No True Scotsman fallacy."

I'm not tossing anyone aside or dismissing anyone. As I pointed out, I did not see the one person cited who called for a total ban, but that's one person out of many. Meanwhile, I've seen many commenters here endorsing a "no compromises" approach to gun rights, either by endorsing the NRA explicitly, or by tossing out the usual "slippery slope" argument where they say they would support certain reforms, if it weren't for all of those dastardly forces that will stop at nothing until guns are eliminated (again, a position endorsed by exactly one person in this thread.)
posted by tonycpsu at 8:55 AM on October 1, 2013


It's funny that you chose gay marriage and the ACA, because those are two issues that the Republicans are defying the stated wishes of the majority because they're not beholden to a representative portion of the voters at large.

Just like gun control.


Alright, this seems like a thing where everyone's hot and not listening to each other. I think that everyone would agree that in the past, and perhaps in the present, there are at least a few issues where the majority is wrong, and the minority is striving to change their minds because of good and just and true values. We may all disagree on what those things are, but I find it hard to believe that the idea of the minority being right, the majority being wrong, and their defiance being necessary is really that controversial.
posted by corb at 9:05 AM on October 1, 2013


Re-read that comment in context of the comment about the shutdown that I was responding to.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:15 AM on October 1, 2013


z: yeah, I don't think you're the one who started that, sorry for lazily clipping it to make it seem like it was just you, that was not my intent.

I don't really care about the NRA one way or the other, obviously, but I'm interested in why you do this and especially what reaction you're trying to get. Do you think people will say "Oh gosh, I had better bite my tongue so that blaneyphoto doesn't make another donation"? Or "wow, the NRA gets a lot of support from angry people"?

I don't know blaneyphoto, but I've considered similar things, and it can actually be less of a dick move than it might appear on the surface. If you are reading a thread and find comments enraging - which, personally, I sometimes do - mentally promising to donate a quarter for each obnoxious comment satisfies yourself that you're doing something without requiring vitriolic argument. You could theoretically then come back to the discourse calmed down, making things better for everyone.
posted by corb at 9:59 AM on October 1, 2013


(again, a position endorsed by exactly one person in this thread.)

Three:

I'm not an American either, and I fully support the UK's pretty much total ban on firearm ownership, but I totally get this.

I don't think that guns are inherently evil, but I do think that Americans, collectively, have shown that they can't be trusted with them.

Which I don't point out as a Gotcha!, but to show that these people do exist.

But take a step back and look again at what I was actually talking about: The comparison to reproductive rights is perfect, just not in the way that XQUZYPHYR intended. There's a huge overlap in the Venn diagram of "rabidly anti-abortion" and "rabidly pro-gun," and the latter people have seen exactly how you get from "reasonable restriction" to "effective ban," because their fellow travelers on the Right have run that playbook like Bill Belichick over the last forty years. The anti-abortion lobby has been chipping away at Roe ever since it came down with a variety of tactics: graphic pictures of dead fetuses; seizing the narrative and forcing their own terms into the lexicon (remember how less than a year ago Planned Parenthood started moving away from "pro-choice," and it's their term?); citing any statistic they can seize (I still see cars with "Abortion causes breast cancer" bumper stickers despite it having been disproved twenty years ago); making it economically unviable... The result is so close to what the anti-abortion forces want that they might as well take a knee at this point, and none of those tactics is outside the capability of the anti-gun movement. Most of them are being used or suggested in this thread.

You think that's impossible to turn the same way for personal firearm ownership? Not unlikely, not difficult-in-the-present-political-climate, but impossible? If you do genuinely think that, then you pretty much have to admit that the NRA is the reason you think it, and that's why people still give them money.
posted by Etrigan at 10:04 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Etrigan: " Which I don't point out as a Gotcha!, but to show that these people do exist."

Rather disingenuous to count a UK resident who says he'd like to own many guns if he were allowed to own one as supportive of a total ban in the US, don't you think? Likewise, someone saying Americans can't be trusted with them doesn't equate to support for taking all of them away from everyone -- I, for instance, don't think most civilians can be trusted with them, but I would not advocate a nationwide ban, now or in the future.

On the abortion comparison, you leave out one important point, which is that right wingers are far better and far more consistent maximalists than lefties. This has been proven on issue after issue -- abortion, tax policy, the size of the social safety net, etc. Look at the current government shutdown, where the House GOP won't take "yes" for an answer -- discretionary spending in the Senate continuing resolution is within two percent of the amount proposed in Paul Ryan's budget. Two percent! But no, that's not good enough.

Or look at the fact that the best the left could do with control of the White House and both houses of congress is the watered-down Obamacare plan that's just a remix of Romneycare, which was a remix of a conservative alternative to Democratic plans from the 1990s that weren't very ambitious to begin with.

I mean, dude, show me a time when the left in this country has ever tried to use the tactics the religious right did on abortion, much less used them successfully. I've spent a few minutes trying to think of any, and I've got nothing. Electoral success for the Democrats in the last several decades has come by running to the center -- when did they ever stake a claim to the far left on any issue and stick with it?

The idea that gun control supporters, made up of a coalition from the left to the center-right, would ever be capable of using the tactics of the pro-life movement is absurd on its face.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:43 AM on October 1, 2013


The idea that gun control supporters, made up of a coalition from the left to the center-right, would ever be capable of using the tactics of the pro-life movement is absurd on its face.

Relying on one's opponents remaining incapable is rarely the best strategy.
posted by Etrigan at 10:50 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Etrigan: " Relying on one's opponents remaining incapable is rarely the best strategy."

If there were no cost to doing nothing, then I could see your point, but the cost of opposing background checks and magazine size restrictions is human life.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:55 AM on October 1, 2013


to show that these people do exist.

Perhaps I need to parse out the line of mine you quoted.

I don't think it's unfair to say that Americans, collectively, have proved themselves to be really shit at guns, in the same way that they are really shit about indicating when driving. The top story in the local paper today is about a dispute between neighbours over a trashcan ended up with two people shot dead. That is really fucking stupid and awful and illustrates how guns are a magical ingredient that turn stupid things into awful things.

Imagine a town where everyone has a dog, and there is no animal cruelty law or enforcement capability: while some of those dogs are well-treated pets, other people's dogs are abused, used in dogfighting, or left to roam around in packs; three or four children a week are mauled by a dog. You might then suggest that the residents of Vicktown can't be trusted with dogs.

My attitude is basically that of Atrios: if I were your benevolent dictator, I would take away all your guns, but I am not your benevolent dictator, and nobody is coming for all your guns. That doesn't mean that I trust you not to be a shit gun owner. I would like to hear an admission that Americans are shit at guns, instead of demands to school myself in the lingo of gun fandom.
posted by holgate at 11:04 AM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


" Relying on one's opponents remaining incapable is rarely the best strategy."

If there were no cost to doing nothing, then I could see your point, but the cost of opposing background checks and magazine size restrictions is human life.


Well, yes. I don't think you and I disagree on that. And yet, the viewpoint of many people on the pro-gun side of the argument is that "doing nothing" will lead to a loss of what they see as a fundamental human right, in much the same way that accepting "reasonable restrictions" has led to the effective loss of reproductive freedom for a wide swath of American women.

Here, I won't make it small this time:
The sadly necessary disclaimer: I am pro-choice and to the left of the NRA on personal firearm possession. I am presenting a meta-argument, not a moral one on either issue.

To restate, this is what other people think. I am not presenting it as my stance, or even a valid one. My own personal opinion is only that, given that these tactics have worked on the issue of abortion and reproductive rights generally, it is not outside the realm of possibility that -- from the viewpoint of the rabidly pro-gun side -- they could work on the issue of firearm possession. Saying that they can't possibly work because the anti-gun people are too loosely organized is like saying "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance" while standing next to the best sniper on your side immediately after he'd killed the other side's general.
posted by Etrigan at 11:14 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Etrigan: " Here, I won't make it small this time:"

I expressed this to you in another recent thread, but I'll say it again -- if you're going to make nuanced arguments that don't necessarily echo your personal feelings on an issue, you need to deal with the fact that you're going to get responses that seem aimed at you, but are actually responding to other people (be they your hypothetical people or others in the thread) that do feel that way. I can't find it right now, but I recently saw one of the mods weigh in asking someone to cut out the "I don't necessarily believe this, but I'm speaking on behalf of others who do" kind of thing, because it leads to this exact kind of confusion. I get that you aren't a rabid gun nut, and I know you're just trying to explain how you see them operating, so why do you insist on thinking I'm aiming my responses directly at you?
posted by tonycpsu at 11:24 AM on October 1, 2013


In other words, what's the point of telling us all what the rabid gun owners think of you're not going to let us respond to the rabid gun owners you're channeling?
posted by tonycpsu at 11:26 AM on October 1, 2013


I can't find it right now, but I recently saw one of the mods weigh in asking someone to cut out the "I don't necessarily believe this, but I'm speaking on behalf of others who do" kind of thing, because it leads to this exact kind of confusion.

In this thread, it was expressed as "Please don't do that thing where you say something you think is obviously stupid in a hyperbolic way; people can't tell what point you're making and it leads to confusing derails." (emphasis added)

In other words, what's the point of telling us all what the rabid gun owners think of you're not going to let us respond to the rabid gun owners you're channeling?

You called it my point, and then tossed forth the emotional "the cost is human lives" response. Forgive me for taking that a little personally.
posted by Etrigan at 11:42 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


In other words, I've said "Here's what other people think," and you've said, "But they're wrong," and I've said, "Yeah, but it's what they think," and you've said, "But they're wrong." What's the point of that?
posted by Etrigan at 11:44 AM on October 1, 2013


I personally appreciate Etrigan doing it - it lets me calm a bit to know that someone understands my perspective at least a bit, even if they don't agree. And I think that someone like Etrigan doing it really helps keep the tone of the conversation even.

Someone talking about how people feel does not need to be met every single time by "You are bad and should feel bad." Especially if we are at least nominally trying to get to understanding.
posted by corb at 11:51 AM on October 1, 2013


Etrigan: " In this thread, it was expressed as "Please don't do that thing where you say something you think is obviously stupid in a hyperbolic way; people can't tell what point you're making and it leads to confusing derails." (emphasis added)"

I wasn't talking about LM's mod-voice commentary up-thread, I was talking about this, from MeTa:
I've found that these situations can get bogged down because we have a group that is speaking about their personal-to-them experiences and then we have some people who are speaking in generalities without adding any personal information and they don't seem to understand how these two approaches are dissimilar enough to lead to problems.
Now, I'm not familiar with the history of the poster that jessamyn was correcting, and no two situations are identical, so perhaps I'm misreading her intent with that post -- but I interpreted it as a suggestion that people be very clear as to whether they're arguing from their own point of view, or just arguing for the sake of argument, and that problems can occur with the latter approach. In my mind, if you feel the need to be a proxy for some other point of view, you ought to tone down the indignation when someone objects to the points you raised, even if those aren't points you agree with.

Etrigan: " You called it my point, and then tossed forth the emotional "the cost is human lives" response. Forgive me for taking that a little personally."

It's a point you made, so I called it your point. I appreciate the fact that you're making it on behalf of others, but if you were game to channel other viewpoints for the sake of argument, I don't see why you take offense if people engage with that argument.

Etrigan: "In other words, I've said "Here's what other people think," and you've said, "But they're wrong," and I've said, "Yeah, but it's what they think," and you've said, "But they're wrong." What's the point of that?"

Uh, because this is a discussion thread, and you've raised a point worth discussing? Do you need me to direct every response I make to points you chose to raise on behalf of others to the hypothetical people you're channeling?
posted by tonycpsu at 12:26 PM on October 1, 2013


I interpreted it as a suggestion that people be very clear as to whether they're arguing from their own point of view, or just arguing for the sake of argument, and that problems can occur with the latter approach.

My disclaimer was on my first comment in this particular sub-discussion.

You called it my point, and then tossed forth the emotional "the cost is human lives" response. Forgive me for taking that a little personally.

It's a point you made, so I called it your point. I appreciate the fact that you're making it on behalf of others, but if you were game to channel other viewpoints for the sake of argument, I don't see why you take offense if people engage with that argument.


There's a difference between engaging with the argument and engaging with me. Hence my taking issue with you using the second person and throwing in an emotional response.

In other words, I've said "Here's what other people think," and you've said, "But they're wrong," and I've said, "Yeah, but it's what they think," and you've said, "But they're wrong." What's the point of that?

Uh, because this is a discussion thread, and you've raised a point worth discussing? Do you need me to direct every response I make to points you chose to raise on behalf of others to the hypothetical people you're channeling?


Imagine if we were discussing the state of the Nittany Lions' football team this year (note: I have no idea whether any of the football analysis herein is remotely accurate; it's just a hypothetical):
Me: "A lot of pundits are concerned about the state of the running game, since they have two freshman running backs. Disclaimer: I think the offensive line is experienced enough to handle it."
You: "If we didn't have a good passing game, I could see your point, and the mighty Penn State will rise above adversity with aplomb."
Me: "Yeah, I don't disagree with that. I'm just saying that some commentators are saying that."
You: "Do you need me to direct every response I make to points you chose to raise on behalf of others to the hypothetical people you're channeling?"
posted by Etrigan at 12:54 PM on October 1, 2013


I'd prefer to argue this on the substance of what happened, and not through your clumsy analogy, which is a very poor translation of what actually occurred in this thread.

Yes, you did put in your disclaimer in your first post, but you also mixed in your own feelings on the issue ("Just because one side's representatives are better at protecting their interests doesn't mean that they're fighting ghosts. There is plenty of 'repeatedly actually happening' and 'just paranoia' on both sides.") In your attempted Penn State analogy, you do a much better job of segregating the opinions you're channeling and your own opinions. In this thread, it's hard to follow where Etrigan ends and "Other Unnamed Gun Owners" begins.

You also skipped the part where you took offense a point that was not meant to be personal toward you, or unnecessarily emotional. Guns end many lives -- this is a factual statement, intended to show that human life is a variable that needs to be balanced against your theoretical Rise of the Mighty Left Wing Gun-Grabbing Regime.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:08 PM on October 1, 2013


No wonder you can't have civil disagreement - you can't even have civil agreement! Etrigan is on your side, he doesn't deserve to be mocked with "Rise of the Mighty Left Wing Gun-Grabbing Regime".

Tonycpsu, you are - almost exactly- mimicking the worst of the pro-life bunch here, with your "You need to balance BABIES against rights, random person talking totally neutrally about pros and cons of abortion guns!"

So what do you even want in this conversation? A whipping boy? Etrigan is not your whipping boy. Nor does he really need me to defend him, but you're way out of line.
posted by corb at 1:54 PM on October 1, 2013


corb: "No wonder you can't have civil disagreement - you can't even have civil agreement! Etrigan is on your side, he doesn't deserve to be mocked with "Rise of the Mighty Left Wing Gun-Grabbing Regime". "

I'm not mocking Etrigan the man -- I'm mocking the argument that pro-gun control forces, last seen licking their wounds from failure to pass the watered-down Manchin-Toomey bill in the wake of arguably the most horrific mass shooting in our nation's history, are in a position where they need to be opposed tooth-and-nail, even by people who favor small reforms. That argument -- which I understand is not his own argument! -- is worthy of mockery.

Could I make my point without mocking this bad argument? Sure -- I get that rough-and-tumble isn't everyone's cup of tea. But I didn't feel the need to walk on eggshells, considering he mocked someone else's argument up-thread:
("Sure, if you've never heard of target shooting. Or cigarettes. But yeah, keep thinking that guns are uniquely inherently evil. That'll help.")
And, again, since this isn't Etrigan's own argument, why would I think he'd be offended by me mocking it?

corb: " Tonycpsu, you are - almost exactly- mimicking the worst of the pro-life bunch here, with your "You need to balance BABIES against rights, random person talking totally neutrally about pros and cons of abortion guns!" "

I don't blame the anti-choicers who truly believe life begins at (conception, implantation, fertilization, whatever) -- they're right to bring up their objection to ending what they feel is a human life. We, as pro choicers, are then right to point out that science tells them they're wrong, and that, oh, by the way, there's a human life called the mother that matters, too.

So, unless I missed the scientific controversy over whether people killed by gun violence in their 10th, 20th, or 30th trimesters were ever truly living human beings, your comparison is without merit. I understand that discussing the problem of gun violence without acknowledging that people die from gun violence might work better for you, but unless you can articulate a reason why that's false, you're basically making a tone argument.

corb: " So what do you even want in this conversation? A whipping boy? Etrigan is not your whipping boy. Nor does he really need me to defend him, but you're way out of line."

You don't need to defend him because I'm not attacking him. I'm attacking the people he's channeling. If you can show me where I made ad hominem attack toward him, I will happily retract that attack with my sincerest apology. But I won't stop mocking bad arguments just because the person who brought them to the table doesn't endorse them.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:03 PM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, yes. I don't think you and I disagree on that. And yet, the viewpoint of many people on the pro-gun side of the argument is that "doing nothing" will lead to a loss of what they see as a fundamental human right, in much the same way that accepting "reasonable restrictions" has led to the effective loss of reproductive freedom for a wide swath of American women.

Why are you pretending that these two things are related? A woman isn't sold a vagina that she can easily kill people with.

The only thing those two issues have in common is that some of the same religious nutcases that continue to push for "guns for anyone who can lay their hands on $200" are the same ones who push for abstinence instead of education, which is one of the reasons the United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world. If you'll read above, you'll discover that the United States has the highest gun violence rate in the developed world. This is yet another situation where scientists and other professionals can tell you point blank that imposed ignorance and demonstratively ineffective education policies lead to more abortions. And then the argument moves to how I should respect religious convictions, and even beyond that, respect the idea that gun regulation is wrong.

That argument is empty. I don't have to respect an opinion that is literally untrue. Lack of gun control leads to more dead people -- even inside of the United States. If you're really interested in talking about what rules there should be for the "well regulated" militia as described in the Second Amendment, let's have that conversation and start with the facts and study other nations that have already implemented those laws.

Are any of those nations currently undergoing a coup? Nope.

Has gun violence decreased? Yes.

Have there been fewer mass shootings? Yes.

Have gun enthusiasts had to give up some AR-15s and other ridiculously dangerous weaponry? Well, yes.

Do gun enthusiasts have to fill our more paperwork? Yes, for the same reason you have to get a permit to serve food because it could potentially kill someone. Why the hell should the bar be lower for a thing that is designed to kill people?

A few thousand rounds and an AR-15 are not going to stop the US military on their home turf. That rationale is pure fantasy, and if you're concerned about a gun registry, the NSA already knows everything that you buy and reads your e-mail. There are bigger fish to fry if you're primarily concerned with government overreach.
posted by deanklear at 12:04 AM on October 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


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