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January 2, 2014 2:19 PM   Subscribe

The Liberal Gun Club, memorably described in a recent San Francisco Chronicle profile as "the NPR of gun clubs", is an alternative to the National Rifle Association (NRA) for people who don't share the NRA's politics.
posted by scrump (327 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
How about the Socialist Worker of gun clubs?
posted by anemone of the state at 2:24 PM on January 2 [7 favorites]


Rad:

Instead of "window-dressing 'solutions' like so-called 'assault weapons' bans and magazine capacity restrictions," the group argued, government should back "mitigation for violence prevention: stronger mental health care, addressing poverty, homelessness and unemployment."

I hope this catches on among gun owners, I really do! There's no reason liberals should have to cede every serious gun owner to the conservatives.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:26 PM on January 2 [16 favorites]


OK, but what is their position on gun control? On, for example, the ready availability of aftermarket mods for AR-15s?

I'm not really that concerned about a gun group's position on homelessness, just like I don't particularly care about AARP's position on guns; that's not where they're going to be spending their marketing dollars.

Big Picture: Does this group make it easier or harder for people to get shot in America?
posted by leotrotsky at 2:30 PM on January 2 [13 favorites]


Ehh... Reads like they're less overtly racist and pro-murder than the NRA but still basically deadicated to the lie that putting a gun in the hands of anyone that wants one is a good idea.
posted by Artw at 2:30 PM on January 2 [15 favorites]


Disappointing. We could still use an NRA-type organization where responsible gun owners who do advocate strict gun laws could be heard.
posted by Miko at 2:36 PM on January 2 [12 favorites]


alternative to the National Rifle Association (NRA) for people who don't share the NRA's politics.

Except the part where:

Instead of "window-dressing 'solutions' like so-called 'assault weapons' bans and magazine capacity restrictions,"


They exactly share the NRA's politics. I don't think the NRA is clever enough to create a front "liberal" gun lobby to broaden their support, but the end result seems to be exactly the same.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:39 PM on January 2 [17 favorites]


Disappointing. We could still use an NRA-type organization where responsible gun owners who do advocate strict gun laws could be heard.

So the Ducks Unlimited model.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:41 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


On, for example, the ready availability of aftermarket mods for AR-15s?

If it's not "outside of a few minority subsistence hunting populations, no US civilian needs one ever" then yeah, whatever.
posted by elizardbits at 2:42 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


They share the NRA's gun politics, anyway. Interesting idea about a front...
posted by Miko at 2:43 PM on January 2


I seriously doubt it's a front. I mean, it isn't as if purchasing a gun automatically makes you a Republican.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:46 PM on January 2 [6 favorites]


Disappointing. We could still use an NRA-type organization where responsible gun owners who do advocate strict gun laws could be heard.

Indeed. I am a gun owner and I hunting and shooting.

I don't really understand the whole gun fetish thing that is going on lately. Seems weird - like getting all het up over my socket set.

Frankly, I think shit like this should be at least loss of a CCW and a fine, but... nobody argues for that. Oh well, at least this guy only accidentally shot a can of beans.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:46 PM on January 2 [4 favorites]


They exactly share the NRA's politics.

I wouldn't say exactly, but there is definitely significant overlap:
Gun-control advocates, she said, show "the same kind of faith-driven disconnect" as antiabortion activists. "It's an incremental chipping away of rights that has a lot in common with the antichoice movement," she said, "the argument that 'we're just trying to protect the children.' "

Even background checks go too far for most members of the Liberal Gun Club.

Wooten says requiring lawful gun owners who have already passed background checks to go through the process again for additional purchases is burdensome and unnecessary - "kind of like having to take a driver's test every time you change cars."
Well, you could have crossed some thresholds since last purchasing your prior gun(s), or regulations could have changed. Guns are pretty limited in their capacity (shooting things, for fun, food, or protection), whereas cars can serve multiple purposes (transporting you to your job, to health services, obtaining food for you and your family, getting you access to exercise and entertainment, etc.).
posted by filthy light thief at 2:47 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


I just read a thread about converting "antis" by taking them to the shooting range where they discover shooting is fun. While shooting is totally fun, I think that fear of/lack of knowledge of guns is a completely different issue than how guns should be managed in society, and conflating the two things does no one any good. I'm a liberal person who enjoys guns but favors really strict gun control. It's not because I fear or don't understand guns. In fact, it's precisely because I do. Offering people a safely managed introductory experience with firearms is a good thing for a gun club to do, but that shouldn't be confused with switching their position from supporting to opposing gun control. Those are two separate projects.

It's also a little funny that so many people think fear of guns is the single and central reason people might support stricter gun control.
posted by Miko at 2:47 PM on January 2 [54 favorites]


Best thing written on the 2nd Amendment:
The National Guard, created in the late nineteenth century, is the historically well-established heir of the Constitutional militia.[1]
posted by goethean at 2:50 PM on January 2 [5 favorites]


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: I don't really understand the whole gun fetish thing that is going on lately. Seems weird - like getting all het up over my socket set.

I don't think it's "lately," and the difference that I see between you and "gun nuts" is that they have Rights that are being taken away by just about any regulations on the guns themselves. Your socket set serves a purpose, and doesn't include the capacity for unnecessary violence/force. It's kind of like people demanding that their socket set MUST INCLUDE the option to have a series of large blades and maybe a flamethrower attached. Because, you see, sometimes you really need to stab something while using your socket set, or just set things on fire. Why are you trying to hold me back, man? Why do you hate my freedoms? My freedoms to stab things and set them on fire? I mean, while I'm using my socket set.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:52 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


I'm not really that concerned about a gun group's position on homelessness, just like I don't particularly care about AARP's position on guns; that's not where they're going to be spending their marketing dollars.

Big Picture: Does this group make it easier or harder for people to get shot in America?


Seriously, what the F is this? That's like the NRA coming out and saying "hey...we're pro-trans rights".

So the F what, you're still holding an instrument of death in your hands and making it easy for everyone to get some.

Actually, it IS that. The NRA is prolly all excellenting like mr. burns and going "oh my god, why didn't we think of that?. Quick, lets get a few teachers to say that they're pro-guns as well. Oh, lets get some native americans, black people, and recent immigrants too."
posted by hal_c_on at 2:58 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


There are more than a few of places in the world where people own more than a couple of guns, and do so for historical/cultural reasons, and the murder rate by guns in these places are not through the roof like they are in the USA.

As such, I don't think that "it IS that" - guns are excellent instruments of death. They are not *inevitable* instruments of death. I have a rifle that has been in my family for three generations. It has never been used in violence against another living thing, human or not. Not once.

It has, however, destroyed many beer bottles.
posted by jammy at 3:06 PM on January 2 [6 favorites]


I don't really understand the whole gun fetish thing that is going on lately.

The NRA is a bought-and-paid-for lobbying group for the gun manufacturers, and they know that after years of FUD, the NRA is able to stand up at any moment and say, "THEY WANT TO TAKE YOUR GUNS (or at the very least, they want to criminalize the sale of this particular attractive and useful model Q37-R96 rifle, available for purchase at this link, which means that you might not be able to buy it [at this link] next month, and speaking of sales, hey, it's 20 percent off)."

And presto, they sell them all right out. Just in time for the Q37-R97 model to hit the shelves.
posted by Etrigan at 3:07 PM on January 2 [20 favorites]


whereas cars can serve multiple purposes (transporting you to your job, to health services, obtaining food for you and your family, getting you access to exercise and entertainment, etc.).

I have to get my car inspected every year to make sure it's still safe to drive on public roads and every few years I renew my drivers license--a process that includes an eye exam--which determines whether I'm still fit to drive a vehicle. I also renew my car's registration every few years which establishes that I a) still own it and b) carry the necessary insurance to operate it.

I see no reason why gun owners shouldn't have to do the same thing. Every so often they should have to document what they own, how it's stored, and submit to whatever background checks are necessary to ensure they're fit to own them.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:10 PM on January 2 [26 favorites]


There aren't a whole lot of litmus tests for gaining entry into the liberal/progressive/Democratic tents, but a belief that government can make everyone's lives better by regulating dangerous products and practices is just about as non-negotiable as it gets. If you can't even get behind universal background checks, then I'm inclined to question exactly what is liberal about your ideology.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:12 PM on January 2 [15 favorites]


There are more than a few of places in the world where people own more than a couple of guns, and do so for historical/cultural reasons, and the murder rate by guns in these places are not through the roof like they are in the USA.

I know people who eat 5000 calories of carbs and bicycle 100 miles a day, and they're not fat. Therefore having proven food consumption is unrelated to obesity I'm going to continue to scarf down bags of Doritos while I play Xbox.
posted by crayz at 3:19 PM on January 2 [5 favorites]


Try harder. Seriously, you sound like someone with no connection to reality.

Eh? Are you saying the NRA aren;t racist or that these guys aren't useless on gun control?
posted by Artw at 3:22 PM on January 2


I thought there was something wrong here, that this had the feel of some kind of sucker bait. After all just including the word "liberal" in the title turns it into a kind of right-wing joke. But, the SFGate article says there are 1,000 members nationwide. So, this is a relatively tiny group of individuals it makes a kind of sense like that.
posted by lordrunningclam at 3:22 PM on January 2


They really screwed up naming it that, apparently wanting to tip their hand for the fifiteen minutes they plan on being around. I would propose the North American Firearms Association because the NRA is concentrated in the South, and they would include Canada by implication.
posted by Brian B. at 3:23 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


I would propose the North American Firearms Association

To put it mildly, Canada and Mexico face different problems with respect to firearms regulations.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:27 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


I know people who eat 5000 calories of carbs and bicycle 100 miles a day, and they're not fat. Therefore having proven food consumption is unrelated to obesity I'm going to continue to scarf down bags of Doritos while I play Xbox.

Why do people respond this way? Do you really talk to people this way? Do you imagine other people applauding you or something?

What I'm pointing out is that there are countries with significant populations of gun owners who do not have the insanely high gun-related crimes/fatalities as the USA (such as Canada).

As such, gun violence in the USA might have something to do with factors *other* than just gun ownership by itself.

Have fun with your Doritos and Xbox games.
posted by jammy at 3:28 PM on January 2 [16 favorites]


I was an early member but gave up on it after all of their forums turned into the same crap you see on NRA-style forums: demanding zero regulation of firearms, making up silly names equating California with totalitarian communists states, shouting down all dissent or discussion with which they did not agree. I got tired and bowed out. I could never figure out why most of those people called themselves "liberals".
posted by Seamus at 3:28 PM on January 2 [13 favorites]


As such, gun violence in the USA might have something to do with factors *other* than just gun ownership by itself.

Yes of course, the world is a complex place. If gun owners wanted to actually get serious about making the US a civilized social democracy like Canada or Switzerland, myself and a lot of progressives might be willing to change our minds about how much gun control is needed here. In lieu of that, you have fun defending gun rights as if your society exists at a vacuum when it's coming at a cost of 30,000 or so lives a year.
posted by crayz at 3:37 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


you have fun defending gun rights

It's not like it's hard; gun rights opponents are about as impotent a political force as there is.
posted by jpe at 3:40 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


>The NRA is a bought-and-paid-for lobbying group for the gun manufacturers

This is true, but it takes two to tango. Without a direct threat to the 2nd amendment from "liberals" I have a hard time believing that the NRA would gain half as much traction as it recently did. From my perspective the Obama administration and its allies in Congress were the best salespeople the gun manufacturers could have ever hoped for. All they accomplished with their push for more gun control was to inject large quantities of assault weapons and ammunition into general circulation.

>Eh? Are you saying the NRA aren;t racist or that these guys aren't useless on gun control?

It's totally fine if you want to paint every member of the NRA as a racist, but I wonder what your sample size is? Pretty much everyone in Congress is useless on gun control.

Look at the numbers and do the math. For example, in 2012 rilfes accounted for approximately 3.6% of all gun related homicides, while handguns accounted for about 71.9% of gun related homicides. Until I hear people advocating for a handgun ban and/or other control measures relating to handguns I have a hard time taking them seriously as advocates for gun control.

So when the Liberal gun club maintains that they don't support "window-dressing 'solutions' like so-called 'assault weapons' bans and magazine capacity restrictions" they would seem to be much more acquainted with reality than say someone who would support the above propositions as avenues to meaningfully reduce gun homicides. They also seem to be fairly on track as far as addressing the societal causes of gun violence. I don't see what your problem is with them other than that they don't have a knee jerk reaction when the term "assault weapon" is bandied about.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:40 PM on January 2 [8 favorites]


And then there is the National Association for Gun Rights, for people who think the NRA is too liberal.
It has real influence: it outspent the NRA on lobbying in the first quarter of 2013 by nearly three-fold.
posted by notme at 3:48 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


AElfwine Evenstar: "Until I hear people advocating for a handgun ban and/or other control measures relating to handguns"

It's a bit rich to say that you can't take gun control proponents seriously because they're not advocating for the thing that the Supreme Court struck down when it created an individual right to bear arms. A lot of municipalities would gladly pass handgun bans if they weren't made unconstitutional a few years back. You go to war against the Supreme Court you have, not the one you might wish to have.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:48 PM on January 2 [6 favorites]


Yes of course, the world is a complex place. If gun owners wanted to actually get serious about making the US a civilized social democracy like Canada or Switzerland, myself and a lot of progressives might be willing to change our minds about how much gun control is needed here. In lieu of that, you have fun defending gun rights as if your society exists at a vacuum when it's coming at a cost of 30,000 or so lives a year.

But this group claims that they do want to address mental health issues and other societal factors that influence gun violence. Changing the focus from useless measures like magazine capacity limits or banning "assault" rifles (which look scary but are less of a threat than handguns or even shotguns) to actually trying to make our society more like Canada or Switzerland seems like a good thing.

I can't figure out why anyone would be opposed to stronger background checks, though. The current ones take about five minutes and no psych eval or any sort of screening for mental illness is performed.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 3:50 PM on January 2


Here's the thing: nobody is coming for your guns. As much as the paranoids would like it to be true, the black UN helicopters are not going to land and take away your personal arsenal any time soon. (And a good thing, how will Sturm Ruger & Co. have yet another stellar year if the demand isn't there?)

Though given the number of accidental and intentional gun deaths, one would think that gun owners have definitively proven that they're not ready for the responsibility. (Seriously, the number of folks with shitty trigger discipline showing off their new guns on Twitter this year was depressing as hell.)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 3:50 PM on January 2 [4 favorites]


It's totally fine if you want to paint every member of the NRA as a racist, but I wonder what your sample size is?

My sample size is one, because there is only one NRA in existence and it is a blatantly racist organization. You can argue against that but you're seriously going to strain your "you don't live in reality" point on account of all the racist things the NRA says, does and supports.
posted by Artw at 3:51 PM on January 2 [7 favorites]


Count me as someone who is politically liberal and also a gun owner. I was an NRA member for a year once (it came free with something, maybe a rifle or a range membership, I don't recall) and oh my goodness the mail they send out is fruitcake central. So no, I don't feel particularly represented there. This group at least sounds less overtly john birchish, but with only 1000 members I'm not predicting any great impact.

Maybe another way to say it is that the NRA already ensures that I can buy any gun I want. If gun ownership came under any serious threat I'd see about joining this or another group, but that's vanishingly unlikely and so I don't see value in a redundant gun rights group.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:52 PM on January 2


and pro-murder

And honestly, if you really want to go down that route we can talk about Obama supporters as being "pro-murder" as well...you know drone war and assassination squads and all that jazz. Of course I don't really believe that as I know that most folks support Obama because of other reasons like women's rights, gay marriage, ect.

Much like most NRA members probably support the NRA not because they are "pro-murder," but rather because they believe that they have a right under the constitution to own a firearm....which they do. Now we can talk about how good or bad a vehicle the NRA is to meet these ends, but to paint all members as racist and pro murder is not only not helpful it is fairly bigoted in and of itself.

It's a bit rich to say that you can't take gun control proponents seriously because they're not advocating for the thing that the Supreme Court struck down when it created an individual right to bear arms.

What is rich is folks who think that magazine capacities and "assault weapon" bans will make any meaningful impact on gun homicides. It is quite simply an idea disconnected from reality.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:53 PM on January 2 [5 favorites]


Without a direct threat to the 2nd amendment from "liberals" I have a hard time believing that the NRA would gain half as much traction as it recently did.

I'm sorry, but I don't closely follow gun news: who are the "liberals" you're talking about, and what direct threats did they make to the 2nd Amendment?
posted by box at 3:53 PM on January 2


AElfwine Evenstar: " What is rich is folks who think that magazine capacities and "assault weapon" bans will make any meaningful impact on gun homicides. It is quite simply an idea disconnected from reality."

Tell that to the parents of the 15th or 20th victim of a mass shooting. Just because most shootings aren't mass shootings doesn't mean we shouldn't take action to reduce the body count in mass shootings in ways that don't have any appreciable impact on the proverbial law-abiding citizens.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:56 PM on January 2 [8 favorites]


I could never figure out why most of those people called themselves "liberals"

Because liberal isn't synonymous with "freethinker" or "socialist" or "nice person".

We in the US have come to equate the word with a particular sort of social/cultural/political outlook, and attached all sorts of other signifiers to it, but it really just means someone who is in favor of things like democracy, individual rights, private property, and the like.
posted by Sara C. at 3:57 PM on January 2


AElfwine Evenstar, the "murder" the NRA is being accused of supporting is more likely an interpretation of self-defense that includes shooting an unarmed person in the back who is fleeing your property after they broke a window or tried to steal a radio or whatever.

Which if not an official NRA position, it's certainly the stance taken by the majority of their members.
posted by jsturgill at 3:58 PM on January 2


it is a blatantly racist organization.

How so? I mean I won't be surprised if you are able to dig up some stupid racist shit said by some members, but can you really point to its platform as racist? Institutions are not homogeneous entities, and that you seem to think they are is kind of worrying. I will gladly accept correction on this if I am wrong, which I may be.

it's certainly the stance taken by the majority of their members.

I'll await a citation which backs up that claim.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:00 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


What is rich is folks who think that magazine capacities and "assault weapon" bans will make any meaningful impact on gun homicides.

No, but it might have a meaningful impact on the number of assault weapon homocides. But that's a nice straw man you've constructed.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:02 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


It's funny that you mention the "take them out to the gun range and show them how much fun it is" scenario, because that's what happened with me. But I am now less likely to buy or own a gun.

I had my Token Free-State Gun Enthusiast Friend take me to the range after a previous boyfriend encouraged me to come along on his pre-deer season sight-in. In both cases, I was tickled to discover that I was a better shot than lifelong sportsmen, at least with a .22 semiautomatic rifle, a similar bolt-action rifle and a pistol. I took photos of the targets to prove it, and I kind of love them.

It really was fun, and I really did have a good time. Both guys were incredibly careful and respectful around guns, as they should be. My mantra continues to be "the only thing worse than me having a gun is me having a gun and being intimidated by it." I am the kind of person who flubs things up easily, and it's good to know how things work.

But I never, ever, ever, EVER want to kill or harm any living thing or person. I'd love to go shoot some clays, but that's about it. And I recognize that just about any gun is capable of doing that. That's the WHOLE POINT. That's why you never point a loaded gun at anything you're not willing to kill.

I've been thinking about going out to Gander Mountain and taking some more range classes, becoming more comfortable with guns for fun, all that. But the liberal cynic in me -- the intolerant one pleading for tolerance -- says that the kinds of people I'd meet there would not be there for the same reasons. I know that my good friend the gun enthusiast is one of the best and kindest people I know, but he grew up in the kind of culture of fear that tells him he needs to protect himself from the world. He's a 6'5" white sheriff's deputy who keeps a knife in his shower. (I would simply let the tiger eat me.) He's perilously close to the George Zimmermans of the world. I don't know how anything I do could balance that out.

When Newtown happened, I didn't really know what to think, except that "playing" with guns didn't really feel all that playful anymore, and maybe it wasn't worth the hassle.

There's no reason it should have affected me any more or less than any other gun massacre, but something in it made me realize that more people would want to carry guns. And that's not the solution. I don't want to protect myself from other people's "protection" -- that's not the kind of world I want to live in. My friend would probably think that I'm setting myself up to get hurt. Well, at least it would be on my terms.
posted by Madamina at 4:04 PM on January 2 [22 favorites]


The NRA officially supports stand-your-ground legislation. Those are laws that remove your duty to consider retreating from danger in a public place. If you believe people have an ethical duty to retreat from violence if it is reasonable to do so, then you believe these laws sanction unnecessary self defense. Which, if lethal, could be considered murder. Since, you know, unnecessary self defense isn't self defense. To some people.

Here is one news article that states, "In nearly a third of the cases the Times analyzed, defendants initiated the fight, shot an unarmed person or pursued their victim — and still went free."

It is a biting and incisive criticism to call this stance supporting murder. But it's not wrong or unsupported.

I will admit that it's unlikely I will find a citation for the scenario described in my original comment. I'm happy to concede that paticular scenario/claim is not a supportable fact and shouldn't be considered a compelling argument.

Perhaps the claims in this comment will prove more interesting.
posted by jsturgill at 4:12 PM on January 2 [9 favorites]


Gun owner here, liberal as hell, desirous of stricter gun laws, including but not limited to decreased magazine sizes, closing the gun show loophole, and some sort of mental screening for gun ownership. Not just for new purchases but going back for EVERY current gun owner. A digitized federal gun ownership database, of the type that Congress specifically prohibited the ATF from developing/deploying. And many other things that don't spring to mind immediately but I would like to see enacted. I don't care if the horse has left the stable, at least let's get this do-nothing, NRA-sucking Congress to respond to the will of the people, 52% of who wanted stricter gun control laws.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 4:15 PM on January 2 [15 favorites]


I suppose I should further clarify that the basis of my imaginary comment was the Joe Horn incident, in which a Texas man stepped outside of his house to shoot in the back two fleeing, unarmed thieves who had broken into a neighbor's house, after having been repeatedly told by the police to leave it alone.

Unfortunately I was unnable to locate an official NRA statement on the subject. Still, I believe (albeit without proof) that were you to talley comments regarding the situation on an NRA forum, you would find most comments to be supportive of the man, glad the two men were killed, and happy that he was cleared by the grand jury.

If that belief doesn't seem correct to you, I respect that.
posted by jsturgill at 4:20 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Dip Flash: "the mail they send out is fruitcake central. "

As the owner of a house who's previous owner was apparently an NRA supporter I can agree with this claim. Crazy "the UN is stockpiling bodybags in Arkansas" stuff pretty frequently shows up.
posted by Big_B at 4:23 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


How so? I mean I won't be surprised if you are able to dig up some stupid racist shit said by some members, but can you really point to its platform as racist? Institutions are not homogeneous entities, and that you seem to think they are is kind of worrying. I will gladly accept correction on this if I am wrong, which I may be.

Their president has portrayed minorities as looters based on stereotypes. The most outspoken member of their board of directors routinely spouts blatantly racist rhetoric. They have an "enemies list" that includes several well-known minority organizations including the NAACP, the Congress of National Black Churches, National Council of La Raza, and National Urban League. In 2007, they released a brochure portraying minorities as gangsters, thugs, and "illegals."

The NRA may not be explicitly racist, but they embrace racists within their ranks and management, and they sure as shit don't complain when racism furthers their screeds.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:24 PM on January 2 [16 favorites]


I'm with Madamina on this-- except I grew up in that pro-gun household. I'm a wicked good shot with an AK-47, but the fact that my stepfather is allowed to own one completely boggles my mind. I won't have a gun in my house, because I know I'd wind up hurting myself, and I've been around firearms since the second grade.

(Also, shitty trigger discipline drives me absolutely insane. This makes watching action movies kinda hard.)
posted by dogheart at 4:27 PM on January 2 [5 favorites]


Another left-wing gun owner here. I would be HAPPY to live in a world where I was required to register my guns, carry insurance, and prove that I know how to shoot safely -- you know, just like I'm required to do regarding my car and my ability to drive.

It will never happen, of course, because the NRA has bought and paid for this country, but I at least take some small comfort in watching my right-wing friends and relatives go crosseyed trying to parse the existence of a pro-gun-control gun owner in their midst.
posted by scody at 4:28 PM on January 2 [21 favorites]


In lieu of that, you have fun defending gun rights as if your society exists at a vacuum when it's coming at a cost of 30,000 or so lives a year.

And again with the self-righteousness. Do you really think this effective as a persuasive technique? Or are you once again trying to score internet points?

Congratulations, crayz! You certainly schooled me! You won!

p.s. 34,000+ motor death fatalities in 2012. 88,000 deaths attributable to excessive alcohol use each year. Does your society exist in a vacuum?
posted by jammy at 4:31 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


No, but it might have a meaningful impact on the number of assault weapon homocides.

Of the five mass shootings you linked to, three did not involve any use of assault weapons whatsoever. The Columbine shooters used handguns, shotguns, and a 9mm carbine. Cho in Virginia Tech used two handguns. Lochner in Tucson used a handgun.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:39 PM on January 2 [7 favorites]


You're right. I was considering semi-automatic weapons with large clips to be assault weapons, but I guess the definition is narrower than that.

I still want to see each and every one of those weapons severely restricted.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:52 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Well, I do realize that MeFi is not the best place to discuss certain issues...and I realize that the firearms issue is one of those...

However, this Liberal Gun Club does seem to be a step in the right direction. Most of the gun owners I know won't have anything to do with the NRA, and many people who *do* join the NRA could be picked off really easily by a saner organization. I was very happy to find out about the American Hunters and Shooters Association, but it was already very obviously dying fast by the time I discovered it.

On another points, and as others have noted, one needn't be enthusiastically pro-gun control to be a liberal. I happen to be in favor of stricter gun control legislation, but that's neither here nor there. I consider myself mostly a liberal, in part because, when my political allegiances were forming, liberals were the people who were passionately in favor of more individual rights. Currently, I fear that there's some question about whether that's still so. Of course this is an issue in which individual rights often come into conflict with the collective good...and those conflicts aren't easy to solve. But I do worry that what passes for liberalism may simply be less concerned with individual rights than it used to be. The assumption (e.g. here) that liberals simply must be enthusiastic proponents of more gun control is the kind of thing that makes me wonder whether liberalism is morphing into something different than it used to be.

On another unrelated note, with respect to magazine size (and let me say that I own a couple of really capacious magazines for a couple of different firearms): I don't see how anyone can say that larger magazines don't make mass shootings easier. It takes time to change mags, and a shooter changing mags would be the absolute best time to try to take him down. There's a lot of difference between (i) firing ten rounds, changing magazines, firing another ten, changing mags, and firing ten more, and (ii) just firing off 30 rounds from a single magazine. I'm not speaking to whether such magazines should be banned...but I don't think it's plausible to claim that a 30-round magazine is no more deadly than 3 10-round magazines...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 4:58 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


Yes of course, the world is a complex place. If gun owners wanted to actually get serious about making the US a civilized social democracy like Canada or Switzerland, myself and a lot of progressives might be willing to change our minds about how much gun control is needed here. In lieu of that, you have fun defending gun rights as if your society exists at a vacuum when it's coming at a cost of 30,000 or so lives a year.

A politically-- and increasingly ethnically-- sharply divided society in which the emerging majority is barely armed, and the former majority which regards itself as embattled is heavily armed, is a recipe for either a military coup or a bloody (albeit short) civil war.

The left/center needs to be well enough armed to inspire a conviction in whatever remains of the rational right that armed takeover is not an option.
posted by jamjam at 4:59 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


p.s. 34,000+ motor death fatalities in 2012.

Have fun with that statistic while you can - in a year or two it will become both flat incorrect along with the 'always silly' thing it's been dealing with since it first started getting bandied about.
posted by FatherDagon at 5:04 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


So ... basically ... they take the position on guns that the ACLU won't?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:05 PM on January 2


I'm always a bit stunned that people think that "cars kill as many people per year as guns do" is an argument against tighter regulation of guns. I mean:

- 92% of the US population lives in a household with access to a car (PDF), as compared with less than 50% of the population living in a household with a gun (link). Given this discrepancy, it's amazing that guns cause anywhere near as many fatalities as cars do.

- Cars are a heck of a lot more useful than guns. Many many people rely on cars to transport themselves to the places where they work to earn money to feed themselves. The large majority of people will never use a gun to prolong their lives by hunting or in self-defense. Taking this factor alone, we should be more reluctant to regulate cars than guns, since cars are widely needed while guns are not.

- Cars are regulated like crazy. True, they still cause a lot of deaths, which is why Congress and NHTSA periodically tighten the regulations. And those regulations have worked to reduce the number of deaths caused by automobiles.

Exactly how is this an argument that tighter regulation of guns is a bad idea?
posted by burden at 5:09 PM on January 2 [22 favorites]


i'm sure someone's already said this, but shouldn't it be called the conservative gun club? The NRA is the radical faction, here.
posted by es_de_bah at 5:11 PM on January 2


Interestingly, jammy, there are many of us who would both like to see much stricter drivers licensing standards as well as stricter gun control laws. Go figure.

I in no way would like to eliminate gun ownership entirely. I do think that people who unintentionally or otherwise unlawfully shoot themselves or others should be treated like people who unintentionally crash their car into something: If there was any level of negligence involved, their ability to use the thing should be temporarily suspended and in cases of people who repeatedly show themselves unable to behave responsibly with their deadly weapon, they should no longer be allowed to use it.

Seems pretty fucking simple to me, but somehow that's nazis coming for your guns.

Gun owners who whinge about the current gun control regime remind me of the time I went to go take the road test portion of my driving exam. In the office, there was a girl who had just been informed that she had failed the written exam and would have to wait a month before retaking it. She whined to her mother that she had already taken the test five times, so why didn't they just let her take the road test?

So anyway, yeah, please, let's subject people's ability to use firearms to standards similar to those already in place for driving a car in the US. It's still a ridiculously poor standard, but it's a damn sight better than what we've got and anyone arguing against it is a clear fucking nutter because we let basically anyone who hasn't intentionally killed people with their car on multiple separate occasions drive.
posted by wierdo at 5:12 PM on January 2 [7 favorites]


This is true, but it takes two to tango. Without a direct threat to the 2nd amendment from "liberals" I have a hard time believing that the NRA would gain half as much traction as it recently did. From my perspective the Obama administration and its allies in Congress were the best salespeople the gun manufacturers could have ever hoped for. All they accomplished with their push for more gun control was to inject large quantities of assault weapons and ammunition into general circulation.

The NRA -- much like conservative Christians -- finds strength in pretending like it's bravely standing up for a persecuted minority. It's win-win for them. If they see anything they don't like, they scream "they're coming to take our guns!" And if not, well, they're already happy.


p.s. $34,000+ motor death fatalities in 2012

Assuming the dollar signs there were unintentional or perhaps ironic...

Okay, cars vs. guns.

Have you ever noticed how many more cars there are in the US than guns? How much more they're used? Let's fill our cities with people shooting guns at rush hour every day and see how the numbers turn out.

Motor vehicle operation has an incredible number of rules and regulations. In order to drive, you have to have a license, you have to have insurance, and your car must be registered. Your driver license must be renewed every few years, and though details vary by state, tests are required. A drivers' license is one of the hardest forms of ID we have.

Cars are a necessary for nearly every adult in the US, unless they happen to live in a city with good, reliable public transit. For those whom a car isn't strictly necessary, it's still useful on occasion.

Guns are necessary to... almost nobody in the US, statistically speaking, who is not active duty military or law enforcement. (And if there weren't so many guns already, law enforcement could go 90% nonlethal.) Maybe different in the wildest places with the poorest people. But tell me how an Ozark man helping to provide food for his family needs a fully automatic weapon, or even a handgun. And for the typical law-abiding citizen, any gun at all is a piece of hobby equipment.


And finally, while automakers absolutely are in bed with government, they actually WANT their products to be safer. They might not always want to increase fuel efficiency or reduce emissions without a fight, but still. In 1986, when the center brake light was required of all new vehicles, there wasn't an outcry of "they're coming to take away our cars!"
posted by Foosnark at 5:12 PM on January 2 [10 favorites]


"cars kill as many people per year as guns do" is an argument against tighter regulation of guns.

Wasn't making that argument...

Maybe someone else was?
posted by jammy at 5:13 PM on January 2


Well this is very interesting. When I was a kid, I got top NRA certification of marksmanship. There was nothing else to do at summer camp. Apparently I was a crack shot because I was farsighted. I wanted to join the Olympic rifle team, actually, I wanted to do the Biathlon. When I went to college, I joined the shooting team, which was the path to Olympic quals. But the team was run by the ROTC. As a pacifist, I lasted about 1 hour on that team. I refused to refer to a rifle as a weapon. I told the team leader about one of the US Olympic team members, who said she kept her rifle under her bed, but if someone broke into her home, she wouldn't even think to shoot him with it, she'd probably use it as a club. This did not endear me to the ROTCs.

Anyway, if you want a nice machine to poke holes in distant sheets of paper, the US Government will sell you a surplus M1 Garand cheap under the Civilian Marksmanship Program. It is big and heavy and would make a nice club too. I have heard stories of purchasers sending a check with a note asking "please find me a good one" and getting a well calibrated, brand new M1 for $295.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:14 PM on January 2 [4 favorites]


Seems pretty fucking simple to me, but somehow that's nazis coming for your guns.

ok, bye.
posted by jammy at 5:14 PM on January 2


A politically-- and increasingly ethnically-- sharply divided society in which the emerging majority is barely armed, and the former majority which regards itself as embattled is heavily armed, is a recipe for either a military coup or a bloody (albeit short) civil war.

Whoa whoa whoa, is this the liberal equivalent of the usual conservative/NRA/republican fantasy that their personal gun ownership is the only thing between them and various brown/black/yellow hordes breaking into their gated communities and having their way with their wimminz and diluting their sacred white blood stock? Because that's not right, either way, conservative or liberal. This is a (relatively) civilized society, and productive change will not occur at the end of a barrel of a gun. That is a fantasy actively promoted by the NRA and various other kook organizations and I would hate like hell for this to suddenly be co-opted by the liberal side as a reason for gun ownership. That would be a really, really bad thing. Really.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 5:15 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


The assumption (e.g. here) that liberals simply must be enthusiastic proponents of more gun control is the kind of thing that makes me wonder whether liberalism is morphing into something different than it used to be.

This is missing the point. As pointed out above, the problem isn't that liberals must be enthusiastic about gun control, it's that these people seem to be asking for either minimal or zero regulation, which is a fairly illiberal stance in American politics. The people in the article who conflate gun control positions with antichoice ones are a pretty good example, seeing as how virtually no one in this country advocates for complete gun bans, yet there is a significant percentage of people who would like to make abortion illegal, and of those a large portion would happily do so even in cases of rape or incest or threats to a woman's health.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:17 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Schweddy Ballistics.
Sometimes you want to pack some heat when you hang out with Roscoe.
And with Schweddy Ballistics, you can always have your pocket heater handy.

There are regular Schweddy Ballistics lead ammunition which are the softer balls, and then there are hard balls which you can reload, perhaps into a very tight magazine holder.
You can fill yourself up with up to 7 Scheddy hard balls, plus one in the chamber so you can pop off, whenever you're ready.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:24 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


>The NRA may not be explicitly racist, but they embrace racists within their ranks and management, and they sure as shit don't complain when racism furthers their screeds.

Well congratulations, you've just described almost every human institution that has ever existed. Try this:

The USA may not be explicitly racist, but they embrace racists within their ranks and management, and they sure as shit don't complain when racism furthers their screeds.

From day one to the Indian Wars to the GWOT.

Hell according to your logic I can make the case that the Democratic party is a racist institution. I mean the leadership of the Democratic party can talk a good game, but the reality is that most of the politicians and technocrats support and maintain the racists criminal justice system in this country, which has done much more damage to the African American communities in our country than the NRA could ever dream of doing. So please will you people think before you post your bigoted unscientific clap trap which only serves to divide the country even more than it already is let alone move us closer to any semblance of a sane gun policy in this country...which by the way will not be accomplished by gun control measures alone but will require a societal component as well...which the topic of the fpp is trying to point out, but some people seem to be so fixated on "assault weapons" they can't seem to think straight.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:14 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


It helps me to separate questions.

1. Should people be allowed to own guns?

2. Should people own guns?

3. Should people use guns?

4. Should people like/dislike to own guns?

5. Should gun owners be trained?

6. Should gun owners be licensed?

7. Should guns be licensed?

8. Should people advance/oppose the commercial interests of gun manufacturers?

9. Should people support/oppose politicians because they are pro-gun?

10. Should people be allowed to make their own guns?

You can come up with others.
posted by michaelh at 6:16 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


11. How do we get there from here?
posted by box at 6:28 PM on January 2


>Perhaps the claims in this comment will prove more interesting.

I believe that there is probably a large vocal contingent in the NRA who is racist, or at least has an irrational fear of minorities. I also believe that stand your ground types of laws, while horrible, are not inherently racist. What is racist is the way those laws are interpreted and implemented in the context of structural racism in this country.

My point is not that the NRA is a great organization that we should all be donating money too, but rather that to demonize the entire membership as racist and "pro-murder" is not only patently false, but also fairly bigoted in its own right. More importantly it leads to a further polarization of the electorate which, in my opinion, actually hurts any long term prospects for some type of sane gun policy. I have friends, acquaintances, and family members who belong to the NRA. Some are racists, but most are just Americans who feel (rightly or wrongly) that their constitutional right to bear arms is being threatened.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:31 PM on January 2


There is a 0th question: should access to guns and ammunition be regulated in any way in order to better balance the needs of the community with the rights of the individual?

The NRA says no to that question, rendering the rest of your questions moot to them as a lobbying group.
posted by jsturgill at 6:32 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


12. Can we agree to not demonize people on either side of the issue with incendiary and divisive labels?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:32 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


I find it interesting that the main subject of the article identifies with Emma Goldman's anarchist politics, yet in this thread there's lots of "nah nah nah liberalism is incompatible with guns blah blah blah." As if, liberals were as far left as people can go.
posted by wuwei at 6:32 PM on January 2 [4 favorites]


I'm a Liberal, democrat, lifetime member of the NRA, gun owner, and also support strict gun laws. You're welcome.
posted by bradth27 at 6:38 PM on January 2


fairly bigoted in its own right

Bigoted against what?
posted by Artw at 6:38 PM on January 2


Bigoted against what?

The idea that gun owners would want to be members of the NRA. You are so sure of your own position that they only way, in your mind, that you can envision someone supporting the NRA is if they are "pro murder" and a racist to boot.

big•ot•ed (ˈbɪg ə tɪd)

adj.
extremely intolerant of another's creed, belief, or opinion.

posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:48 PM on January 2


I also believe that stand your ground types of laws, while horrible, are not inherently racist.

There really is no defense of "stand your ground" that doesn't make its supporters out to be disgusting excuses for human beings.

If I had the choice of whether people could think I was a horrific sociopath who actually believed that my right to my TV was more important than someone else's right to be alive, or whether people could think I'm racist, I think I'd be like "NO REALLY I'M JUST A BIGOT".
posted by Sara C. at 6:50 PM on January 2 [4 favorites]


12. Can we agree to not demonize people on either side of the issue with incendiary and divisive labels?

There are two things going on in this thread. One is that people are saying the NRA, as an organization, promotes laws and ideas and so on that have certain effects--such as increasing gun-related deaths, particularly minority deaths, and so on. This is pretty well supported by the facts, I think. Could be wrong though.

Another thing going on is people saying or implying that the typical NRA member is, generally speaking, someone who likes certain things the commenter thinks are bad, thinks thoughts the commenter thinks are bad, and wants things the commenter thinks are bad to happen. This is something that is impossible to demonstrate meaningfully or concretely in the same way.

I did the second thing earlier in one of my posts because that is my lived experience. I grew up in the south, surrounded by hunters, hunting, shooting a variety of guns with a variety of people, attending gun shows, etc. I have very different values from most of them and think their actions are unethical, their motivations suspect, and their reasoning flawed in this area. That doesn't mean they're bad people, but it does mean that they actively support things I think are evil.

True story, but no citations are possible.

Perhaps it would be more effective to address the former idea in this thread and leave the latter bits alone? I'm always curious to see if there is anything meaningful to the resistance to regulating guns in any way beyond stereotypical culture war garbage, and would love to be schooled some.

Also:

I'm a Liberal, democrat, lifetime member of the NRA, gun owner, and also support strict gun laws. You're welcome.

I hope you offset any support you give the NRA with support toward some other PAC, because the NRA is very much against strict gun laws. It is literally an organization that lobbies, intensely and effectively, against something you want to see happen. Without a lobbyist group fulfilling the role they fulfill in American politics, we would have stricter gun control. Or if politicians weren't collectively cowards, but that's another thing entirely.

You giving money to the NRA is similar to a steak-eating, bacon-loving meat-eater making an annual donation to PETA--only the NRA is actually effective at passing and blocking legislation.
posted by jsturgill at 6:56 PM on January 2 [6 favorites]


I have to say that while I disagree with AElfwine Evenstar on gun laws, I do agree with point 12. I know several gun owners and most of them are good people I would be happy to sit and have a conversation on most subjects with EXCEPT gun control. We've discovered that while we can have many interesting calm discussions on may subjects, gun control is not one. So, AE while I disagree with your position on gun control, I stand with you on civility in the discussion. Right, now for the popcorn...
posted by evilDoug at 6:56 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Sara C., I agree with your view that most of the SYG laws seem to be slathered with a heavy coating of racism. And I detest the idea that there are laws in certain states in my country that allow people to deprive others of their life over PROPERTY CRIMES. No, there is absolutely no justification for shooting someone just because they've taken your Xbox. But I do think there is value in the concept of self-defense when threatened with deadly force in my own house. None of this "open carry" bullshit, where every trip to the grocery store is treated like the climax to "High Noon". But I do feel that I should be allowed to defend my or my families' lives, in my own house. I don't feel that this makes me a racist nor some crazed gun owner. YMMV, of course.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 6:58 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


There's nothing inherently conservative about seeing assault weapons bans as pointless and irrational.

More Americans are killed every year with knives than with so-called assault weapons. More Americans are also killed every year with fists.

We live in an era where moral panic dictates liberal gun policy. So 26 mostly white kids get killed in a mostly white community, the weapon used was an AR, so everybody freaks out and thinks the pressing threat is to white kids at school, and that it comes from ARs.

Do you have a kid? Guess who's 20 times more likely to kill your kid than a school shooter? Give up? Go look in the mirror. You, a parent, are 20 times more likely to kill your kid than a crazed spree killer.

I'm liberal and armed to the teeth. I think anybody who can be vetted rigorously should be allowed to own ARs and handguns.

But I also think anyone who ever gets convicted of threatening someone with a gun should be subject to 10 years of having to allow cops to search them without a warrant. And I think it's reasonable and sane to raise the legal age of handgun ownership to 25. And I think anyone who wants a permit to possess or carry a gun should have to take a practical and written test.

All of these positions put me at odds with the NRA. It's perfectly reasonable that liberals would want their own gun organization. The NRA is an embarrassment to gun owners.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 7:00 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


AE while I disagree with your position on gun control

I don't know what your position is, but I'm all for sane gun control. Background checks, wait periods, ect. I just can't stand it when people automatically demonize the other side, and try to bludgeon people with labels like "pro-murder" and racist.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:03 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


If you're going to play the race card here, you'll have to do the required historical research:

The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery

The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says "State" instead of "Country" (the Framers knew the difference - see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia's vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too.

It is also worth looking at the SCOTUS case US v. Miller. Somewhere around here, I have an old book that is contemporary to the case. It claims that SCOTUS was prepared to legalize citizen ownership of military weapons including automatic weapons, but Miller and his legal counsel did not appear in court and did not make any argument for their case so they had to rule for the government argument.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:04 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery

You might want to check that. Noah Webster, passionate abolitionist, was also a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.

The slave patrol motivation is a myth. The reason the Second Amendment was ratified is that the founders had just fought and won a war against an oppressive government, and they couldn't have done so without having ready access to arms.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 7:09 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


As long as we're talking race and guns, listen to this guy.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 7:11 PM on January 2


RonbutnotStupid, Cho used a .22-caliber Walther P22 semi-automatic handgun and a 9 mm semi-automatic Glock 19 handgun, neither of which are "assault weapons." Go back and read the AWB ban, it really banned things based on looks more than anything.
posted by SuzySmith at 7:19 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


The idea that gun owners would want to be members of the NRA. You are so sure of your own position that they only way, in your mind, that you can envision someone supporting the NRA is if they are "pro murder" and a racist to boot.

Its an organization that advocates for wider ownership of deadly weapons by promoting a fantasy of using those weapons in racially motivated violence. If looking askance at people who would be members of such an organization makes me a bigot then sure, I'll cop to that.
posted by Artw at 7:25 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


Go back and read the AWB ban, it really banned things based on looks more than anything.

To emphasize the level of ignorance that went into the Assault Weapons ban, I give you this:

A picture of Diane Feinstein posing at a photo op about gun safety, while she holds an AK-74 in a undeniably unsafe manner.

The Democratic lawmakers and their aides just don't know enough about guns to make reasonable laws, or they're more interested in placating constituencies than in sound policy.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 7:25 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


However, this Liberal Gun Club does seem to be a step in the right direction. Most of the gun owners I know won't have anything to do with the NRA, and many people who *do* join the NRA could be picked off really easily by a saner organization.

This is really the key.
All but one of the ranges around here require NRA membership as a condition of joining the range.
This is in part because the NRA provides cheap insurance coverage for ranges, which is necessary in this age of litigation, but it also goes to support an orgaion that has strayed so very far from its roots.

Thankfully, there is a least one decent range near me that isn't in league with the NRA, but I imagine a lot of people don't have that choice.
posted by madajb at 7:31 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


The reason the Second Amendment was ratified is that the founders had just fought and won a war against an oppressive government, and they couldn't have done so without having ready access to arms.

Right, that's what the NRA has been preaching for decades. Did you even read the link I posted?
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:34 PM on January 2


A picture of Diane Feinstein posing at a photo op about gun safety, while she holds an AK-74 in a undeniably unsafe manner.

She's making a rhetorical demonstration with an unloaded weapon. It goes with the stage. I doubt she's there to shoot anything, but I could be wrong. Also, placating constituencies is often a sound policy for a lawmaker.
posted by Brian B. at 7:42 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


fought and won a war against an oppressive government

Even this is far from a neutral framing of the situation.
posted by Miko at 7:44 PM on January 2


Did you even read the link I posted?

Yeah, when it was first posted last year. It was bullshit then and it's bullshit now. It's in Truthout because for some reason, Truthout, with all of it's totally justifiable distrust of our incredibly violent government, has editors who believe that the government should have guns and people shouldn't.

Here's a response to that piece, posted not long after it went up.

TLDR? The second amendment had nothing to do with slave patrols. At the time of it's writing, it was intended to allow state militias to exist as a hedge against federal power.

Also, outside of that piece, if you read the correspondence and quotes of the time from the people who were crafting the bill of rights, it is fairly explicit that their intent was an individual right, and that much of their thinking was about a hedge against tyranny.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 7:45 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Like some other folks in this thread, I had gun-loving friends take me shooting while I was in Arizona. I've never had much aim in my life (especially while sober), so I was delighted to discover that I can actually aim well with a gun. And I've saved my targets and put them on the wall to show off.

But...yeah, still don't plan on getting a gun any time soon. It's not like I have a lifestyle where I need it, and I haven't been stalked yet. If/when that ever happens, I might reconsider. But other than that, I don't think it's something most of us actually NEED to have around. And while my version of gun laws kind of boils down to "practice proper gun safety and watch where you point it," I'm all for the more testing and regulations in order to have one, the better.

Unfortunately....shooting and aiming and hitting is FUN. And we all know that guns are the great equalizer in size if you do run into trouble. As long as guns are kinda awesome in their own way, we can't ever really fight the spread of them, I suspect.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:46 PM on January 2


She's making a rhetorical demonstration with an unloaded weapon. It goes with the stage. I doubt she's there to shoot anything, but I could be wrong. Also, placating constituencies is often a sound policy for a lawmaker.

The bolt on many AKs doesn't hold open when they're empty, so you can't tell it's unloaded, and the mag is in it. That's one safety violation.

She has her finger on the trigger, not in a ready position. Another safety violation.

She's pointing it in an unsafe direction. Another safety violation.

She could easily get thrown off any shooting range in America for that.

She knows so little about the rifle that she can't even hold it properly. She shouldn't get to tell us anything about guns.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 7:50 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


I'm sympathetic to Charlie Don't Surf's point, but that link is terrible. The quibble over the meaning of "state" - I mean, that is just ahistorical. They knew what it meant indeed, and they wouldn't have called the young United States a "country" because, in their minds, it wasn't one.

I agree that Diane Feinstein should not be using a rifle as a photo prop. There is no workable apologetics for that.
posted by Miko at 7:50 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


She knows so little about the rifle that she can't even hold it properly. She shouldn't get to tell us anything about guns.

I disagree, to avoid repeating myself, I'll add that she's not there to instruct you in gun safety, but in gun danger and non-advocacy. Somehow, your brain assumes that she should be on your side because she's holding a weapon, but you know she's not, and that's betrayal. This is not her shortcoming at all, she doesn't care about guns, you do. It's all consistent.
posted by Brian B. at 7:54 PM on January 2 [10 favorites]


I agree that Diane Feinstein should not be using a rifle as a photo prop. There is no workable apologetics for that.

Her ignorance is no different than republican's ignorance about climate change. Jesus is melting the glaciers! Not humans!

At the very least, if she wants to take all our guns away (and she does), she should do real research and learn accurate information.

The CDC did real research. Both the left wing and the right wing media buried it, because it contradicts left wing and right wing dogma roughly equally.

Both the mainstream left and the mainstream right are indeed pandering, and they're both wrong, both badly informed. That's why this liberal gun club is a welcome development if you ask me.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 7:55 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Its an organization that advocates for wider ownership of deadly weapons by promoting a fantasy of using those weapons in racially motivated violence. If looking askance at people who would be members of such an organization makes me a bigot then sure, I'll cop to that.

So that's a no on question # 12?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:56 PM on January 2


Its an organization that advocates for wider ownership of deadly weapons by promoting a fantasy of using those weapons in racially motivated violence. If looking askance at people who would be members of such an organization makes me a bigot then sure, I'll cop to that.

Again, Mr. Colion Noir has some smart thoughts on all of that.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 7:58 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


I agree that Diane Feinstein should not be using a rifle as a photo prop. There is no workable apologetics for that.

Bringing in a real weapon as a prop is more effective rhetoric then using a cutout of one. It makes complete sense on the part of a lawmaker.

She knows so little about the rifle that she can't even hold it properly. She shouldn't get to tell us anything about guns.


Why should she take a course in properly brandishing a class of weapons that she and her constituency believe should be restricted? "Boy, knowing how to hold this AK-47 properly will serve me well when I go down to the range/high school and fire off some rounds."
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:05 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


It makes complete sense on the part of a lawmaker.

Sorry, it's just totally irresponsible and a bad example. Anyone who's interested in the more responsible use and control of guns should condemn that act on its face regardless of intent.
posted by Miko at 8:06 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


The point about Feinstein is that people making gun policy should educate themselves about guns, and that learning to properly handle a rifle, any rifle, is the very first step.

As I said above, I believe anyone who wants to own a gun in America should have to take a written and practical safety test. Feinstein had a concealed carry permit when she was Mayor of San Francisco. If she'd had to take the test I advocate for, she would've failed.

I promise, the last Colion Noir clip. I'm done after this, but this is a great additional example of just how arrogant Democrats are about making up their own facts and advice on guns.

To me, a fundamental component of being a progressive is this: I believe in data. Feinstein and Biden believe in their own power outshining their ignorance.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 8:09 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


The idea that Dianne Feinstein can't regulate guns because she practiced poor trigger discipline at a press conference in 1999 is deeply silly. Legislatures pass regulations all the time without the individual members having deep personal knowledge of the object of the regulation.

Does anyone think that more than one or two members of Congress could design (or even install) an air bag? If they can't, was it somehow wrong for Congress to pass a law requiring that new passenger cars be fitted with them?
posted by burden at 8:10 PM on January 2 [21 favorites]


Both the left wing and the right wing media buried it, because it contradicts left wing and right wing dogma roughly equally.

In that story I really don't see it "contradict[ing] left and right wing dogma roughly equally." I see a pretty clear cut case for improved gun control. Also, I don't think these findings have been buried; I've been part of a number of literate conversations on gun control since Newtown, and these data and others like them are routinely cited.
posted by Miko at 8:11 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Why should she take a course in properly brandishing a class of weapons that she and her constituency believe should be restricted?

To be clear, if she did the same thing with a bolt action hunting rifle with the bolt closed, she'd be violating all of the same safety rules I previously mentioned.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 8:11 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


There really is no defense of "stand your ground" that doesn't make its supporters out to be disgusting excuses for human beings.

If I had the choice of whether people could think I was a horrific sociopath who actually believed that my right to my TV was more important than someone else's right to be alive, or whether people could think I'm racist, I think I'd be like "NO REALLY I'M JUST A BIGOT".


I don't give a shit about my tv. If you want it, you can have it, I guess. But if you break into my house how do I know if you just want the tv, or want to do worse? At that point, I'm honestly ok with someone shooting. However, the cases (of which there are far, far too many) where someone goes chasing down the street after someone and shoots them later -- not cool. At heart I'm probably expressing sympathy with the spirit of self defense laws and not their racist and classist implementation, but that's where I am at.

To emphasize the level of ignorance that went into the Assault Weapons ban, I give you this:

A picture of Diane Feinstein posing at a photo op about gun safety, while she holds an AK-74 in a undeniably unsafe manner.


Oh jeez, this is like when someone is all "That's not a clip, it's a magazine!" Seriously, it's not all that big of a deal and is missing the forest by focusing on a seedling. I've seen dudes screw up and have "accidental discharges" at the shooting range, where theoretically everyone is on their good gun behavior. It happens. Even people who should know better make mistakes, and most people just don't know that much in the first place.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:12 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


The idea that Dianne Feinstein can't regulate guns because she practiced poor trigger discipline at a press conference in 1999 is deeply silly.

Oh, I totally agree with that. She's perfectly qualified to regulate guns. She should just not be brandishing one in an irresponsible way for any reason. It's a technical point. Nobody should do that. But hell no, that doesn't invalidate her point of view or her legislative legitimacy.
posted by Miko at 8:12 PM on January 2


I see a pretty clear cut case for improved gun control.

Did you not read item 7? Traditional leftwing dogma is that if you have a gun to defend your home, it will be taken from you and used against you. This rebuts that, completely.

Another thing they left out: in countries like the Netherlands and the UK, many more burglaries are home invasions. Something like 40-55%, if I remember correctly. In the US, only 12% of burglaries happen when someone is home. For a very good reason.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 8:13 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Besides, we should regulate guns with the understanding that, in the real world, people do not practice good trigger discipline. Search for AR15 on twitter and look at the pictures that come up if you don't believe me.
posted by burden at 8:15 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


It's a technical point. Nobody should do that.

First rule of gun safety: always treat a gun like it's loaded.

Also, for those Mefites who are Jewish and aren't really hip on the NRA, there's always the JPFO.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:16 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


I prefer the SAF.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 8:17 PM on January 2


Did you not read item 7?

Read the whole thing. I'm very good at reading!

Traditional leftwing dogma is that if you have a gun to defend your home, it will be taken from you and used against you. This rebuts that, completely.

Mmmm, I'm not sure sure that is "traditional left wing dogma." I think that the traditional dogma, if there is such a thing, is that guns kept in the home are far more likely to injure or kill someone who is a resident in the home than an assailant. That happens to be true, and that's a different but more important point than the fear that an invading stranger could use your own gun against you.

And anyhow, that point is immediately followed by the note that even if that is a fact, the result is that we have created an "arms race" in which the need for protection is created by the reality of abundant arms in circulation: a vicious cycle. This a symmetry problem, not an arms problem in specific.

I still see a set of points that adds up to our present set of policies being responsible for a painful degree of social damage.
posted by Miko at 8:19 PM on January 2 [6 favorites]


Here's an NRA op-ed calling for Americans to resist Presidemt Obama and arm up ready for the coming race war.

Now, you may say that Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, isn't particularly representative of the views of the NRA, and I will say "detached from reality, what?", and you can say "rule 12" and I will say "bigot, who?".

Here's the thing: when the NRA makes dog whistle laden statements to its supporters WE CAN HEAR THEM TOO.

And in 2013 they said a lot.

Thus I stand by my description of them.
posted by Artw at 8:21 PM on January 2 [11 favorites]


Another thing they left out: in countries like the Netherlands and the UK, many more burglaries are home invasions. Something like 40-55%, if I remember correctly. In the US, only 12% of burglaries happen when someone is home. For a very good reason.

Well, someone shot up a mall outside Amsterdam with an assault rifle or submachine gun recently. So Dutch lawmakers may be spurred to make it easier for people to obtain such weapons to defend themselves from home invasions.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:22 PM on January 2


That happens to be true

It's true because of suicides. And the UK has the same suicide rate as the US, with the most similar culture to ours on earth and very few guns in homes. Methinks the suicide problem is because our societies fuck up our men. Not because of guns in homes.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 8:22 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Seems like that "UK home invasion" thing is fishy too, and Ann Coulter-generated to boot.
posted by Miko at 8:25 PM on January 2


I think there might be a useful comparison (useful for MeFites anyway) to be made between the NRA and AAA.

I drive crappy old cars, and, although or because I mostly maintain those cars myself, I like the idea of having a tow truck just a phone call away. I am a AAA member. But AAA also lobbies against what I see as sensible transportation policies (especially pro-bicycle ones)--it disgusts me, makes me feel like I'm on the wrong side of history, but I hold my nose because I like the bennies.

The biggest gun guy I know--a life NRA member, somebody who enters shooting contests and makes bullets and keeps a deer lease, somebody who I helped set up a gun trust as part of his estate planning--feels about the same way about the NRA (and he might not be happy to be described as 'the biggest gun guy I know'). And I know that a lot of his gun buddies (ditto) feel the same way.

Don't get it twisted--this is a limited comparison. AAA doesn't use racist rhetoric, and their policies don't have as big a body count. But here's the useful part--many of the people in the organization? They don't believe the hype. (It would also be fun to compare the NRA and the Catholic church.)
posted by box at 8:26 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


"UK home invasion"

Heard it on Intelligence Squared on NPR two nights ago, from a much more respectable source than Coulter. I'll check on it.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 8:26 PM on January 2


It's true because of suicides.

Oh, are we not supposed to care about those people? I guess I thought they counted.

Anyway, it's also true because of 4-year-olds. I am going to ask you to provide citations for your assertions now, because I don't think you're drawing on a body of established fact.

the most similar culture to ours on earth

Naw, come on, that's Australia.
posted by Miko at 8:27 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


US Suicide rate per 100,000: 12.0
UK: 11.8
Australia: 10

As for suicides versus accidents, that last data I saw was somewhere in the region of 40% homicides, 55% suicides, 5% accidents, and the accidents weren't broken down by age so you could see how many of them were toddlers.

Sure suicide counts. But to me, it's a right. And to me, it's much more obviously a mental health issue and a cultural issue. The US is 33rd in the world in Suicide, and it's behind many many countries with strict gun control.

And anyway, this is somewhat beside the point. DiFi wants to actually take away all the guns. We all know this is a non-starter. My progressive take is very pro regulation, very anti ban. Bans create black markets. Regulations create legal paths to ownership, steering the most dangerous weapons into the hands of the most verifiably responsible people. Actual confiscation laws? That'd create a lot of dead cops or a lot of cops who'd refuse to carry out confiscation.

The guns are already here, the progressive thing to do is to figure out how to live with them more safely.

Further, I hear progressives in my city talk all day about how we "can't arrest our way out of our violence", how we need to address the "root causes". The root causes aren't guns. They're poverty, a failed mental health safety net, and an near insurmountable lack of opportunity for urban youth, who are the biggest bloc of murderers and victims.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 8:37 PM on January 2 [4 favorites]


INterestingly, the World Health Organization shows significantly different rates of suicide in the US and the UK than Wikipedia does. It's a bit of a digression, anyhow.
posted by Miko at 8:39 PM on January 2


, that last data I saw

Provide a link to your data, please?
posted by Miko at 8:40 PM on January 2


The CDC did real research. Both the left wing and the right wing media buried it, because it contradicts left wing and right wing dogma roughly equally.

The IOM slides for the research proposal acknowledge the weakness (PDF; p 12) of the existing data.
posted by rtha at 8:41 PM on January 2


If the data's weak, shouldn't we get more before blundering into the same dogmatic gun law proposals that both the left and right have given us?

Seriously, how does nobody call Obama out for saying, after newtown, that we need new laws and we need more data IN THAT ORDER?
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 8:46 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


...Because Newtown is a hell of a data point?
posted by maryr at 8:47 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


"bigot, who?"

You've definitely proven that in this thread. I said it before, and I'll say it again since you didn't catch it the first time. Institutions and the individuals that compose them are not homogeneous entities, despite your attempts to demonize every individual member of the NRA as "racist" and "pro-murder."

Either way I feel confident in asserting that the NRA doesn't really represent the majority of gun owners in this country given that there are about 4.5 million members of the NRA and upwards of 80 million individual gun owners in the United States. I am sure you will find some other venue to demonize the rest of us, though.

Here's the thing: when the NRA makes dog whistle laden statements to its supporters WE CAN HEAR THEM TOO.

Could you point out those dog whistles please.

...Because Newtown is a hell of a data point?

No it's not. South side Chicago is a hell of a data point.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:52 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Provide a link to your data, please?

Here's where I think I saw it. It's down at the moment, but it's the most reliable source.

The obnoxiously named pro-ban group, Smart Gun Laws says I was off by a bit. But not too far off.

Also, by the way, having lived in Oakland CA for a decade, I can tell you off the top of my head that here, and in most cities, for every homicide, there are about ten people injured by bullets.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 8:52 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


Another thing they left out: in countries like the Netherlands and the UK, many more burglaries are home invasions. Something like 40-55%, if I remember correctly. In the US, only 12% of burglaries happen when someone is home. For a very good reason.

Those numbers aren't measuring the same thing. You can't compare them like that. And you certainly can't come to that conclusion without considering other factors.

To me, a fundamental component of being a progressive is this: I believe in data.

Perhaps people using statistics should educate themselves about statistics, and perhaps learning to properly handle statistics, any statistics, is the very first step?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:55 PM on January 2


No it's not. South side Chicago is a hell of a data point.

EXACTLY

I'm linking to a former friend on this one, I hope that's OK. I had influence in this piece too, somewhat. But it's relevant, so here it is.

_____

I believe I misstated that home invasion thing. As I recall, it's just about how often burglars enter an occupied home in the different nations, not about "home invasions" as we've come to understand them as total takeovers. Still, I'd rather have 12%, wouldn't you?
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 8:57 PM on January 2


If the data's weak, shouldn't we get more before blundering into the same dogmatic gun law proposals that both the left and right have given us?

Sure, okay, though that would've been a lot easier if the NRA hadn't blocked the CDC from studying gun violence for almost 20 years. We'd have a lot more data.
posted by rtha at 9:04 PM on January 2 [25 favorites]


Seriously, how does nobody call Obama out for saying, after newtown, that we need new laws and we need more data IN THAT ORDER?

Great. So whose loved ones shall we shoot to death while we wait for the perfect data? Some of the best data results from taking action and testing outcomes.

Really, what are the potential negatives to enacting some pilot legislation? Is there a reasonable case that the accidental gun death and murder rate will go up if we reduce the number of guns in circulation?

I, for one, am just as chagrined about the South side of Chicago as about Newtown. I don't see one as worse than another; they spring some from the same set of roots. I'm in full agreement that many more individuals are claimed by handgun incidents in cities than in mass shootings in the suburbs. That doesn't make either of these in any way an acceptable status qup.
posted by Miko at 9:07 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Sorry if I have oppressed anybody by assuming they know anything about the views of the organization they are passionately defending.
posted by Artw at 9:09 PM on January 2 [4 favorites]


"No it's not. South side Chicago is a hell of a data point. " ... I'm linking to a former friend on this one, I hope that's OK. I had influence in this piece too, somewhat. But it's relevant, so here it is.

If I were to craft an argument, media campaign, or political campaign to ban everything but small magazine/clip hunting rifles, I would not start by bringing up poor black kids. It would make more sense to frame the argument in terms of Newtown.

Because lot of gun enthusiasm in the States is due to mutated and evolved historical racism. While it is true that guns make it easier and more likely for poor black kids to kill other poor black kids, this is not a truth that speaks to most gun enthusiasts.

Many of them see such deaths in terms of a Just World Fallacy, and would regard them as inevitable.

And many of them are gun enthusiasts because they're scared of poor black kids; and the fantasy of effectively defending oneself from an attack is emotionally satisfying.

Sorry if I have oppressed anybody by assuming they know anything about the views of the organization they are passionately defending.

Psst. Sarcasm, while emotionally gratifying when one is frustrated, isn't always effective a changing peoples' minds.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:15 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


On what planet is learning how to safely handle a rifle a necessary prerequisite to having an opinion on the regulations on the private ownership of said rifle? I don't need to have a drivers license to know that people shouldn't drive drunk, nor do I need a pilots license to know that it should be illegal to fly 20 feet above my house or think that one should need a license to pilot an aircraft.

Learning to safely handle a firearm should be a prerequisite for purchasing a firearm, although it is not.
posted by wierdo at 9:19 PM on January 2 [11 favorites]


The NRA/AAA comparison is pretty apt. Only a minority of car ownesr in the US feel the need to join an organization to ensure that their rights as a car owner are protected -- at this point cars are privileged and we can all relax knowing we can drive anything anywhere, and pedestrians and bicyclists can look after themselves. At the same time, many drivers are also in favor of multiuse streets, more ecological options, mass transit... but the political system follows the AAA path and it's cars cars cars.

Guns are the same. Gun rights are now the default and the rational middle ground has been lost for decades. That doesn't mean that's the view of all Americans or even of all gun owners, but it is part of the political structure and proposals to change it need to acknowledge that.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:19 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Learning to safely handle a firearm should be a prerequisite for purchasing a firearm, although it is not.

Agreed. Some countries require a psych test before owning a gun. Which is exactly the kind of thing the NRA lobbies against.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:23 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


Psst. Sarcasm, while emotionally gratifying when one is frustrated, isn't always effective a changing peoples' minds.

Least I didn't leap in after a bunch of child murders to try and profit from it, or make weak excuses that you can't see into the heart of every member to see if they approved of that.

I'm also a member of exactly zero organizations that tried to incite a race war last year.
posted by Artw at 9:25 PM on January 2


Dip Flash: " Guns are the same. Gun rights are now the default and the rational middle ground has been lost for decades. That doesn't mean that's the view of all Americans or even of all gun owners, but it is part of the political structure and proposals to change it need to acknowledge that."

"Gun rights" is not a binary yes/no position, and the Second Amendment absolutist path that the NRA pushes is nowhere near any rational middle ground. Their own leadership routinely advocates against the polling data of its own members. I and many other pro gun control folks would absolutely love if gun policy reflected the "middle ground" of popular opinion.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:27 PM on January 2 [8 favorites]


rtha: " Sure, okay, though that would've been a lot easier if the NRA hadn't blocked the CDC from studying gun violence for almost 20 years. We'd have a lot more data."

And this is precisely why I can't accept the idea of this "Liberal Gun Club." The word "liberal" has an actual meaning. Sure, that meaning is a bit flexible, and it's changed over time, but it has never applied to people who believe that the government should be less involved in regulating a product that hurts and kills so many people, and is sure as fuck is not at all compatible with a movement that would ban the study of a product that kills tens of thousands of people on the off chance that it might infringe on some vital right that's been recognized for about as long as the 23andMe genetic test has. Shutting down debate and questioning/banning the science of things is from the conservative movement's playbook. Liberals doing it is just not consistent with any dimension of being a liberal that I'm familiar with.

Look, not every issue lines up perfectly on the left/right liberal/conservative spectrum, but at some point, your belief, however sincere, on a particular issue is so inconsistent with the foundational first principles of the political tribe you're claiming to be a member of that it's right to question whether your self-identification is appropriate. I'm not saying you can't be anti-choice and vote Democrat, or be gay and vote Republican -- there are good reasons for groups like Democrats for Life and Log Cabin Republicans to exist, especially when you feel boxed in by a two party system -- but to use the word "liberal" to describe people with the same position on guns as the NRA is simply a bridge too far.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:40 PM on January 2


but to use the word "liberal" to describe people with the same position on guns as the NRA is simply a bridge too far.

Why? We use it to describe people who participate in extrajudicial killings, totalitarian surveillance of every sector of society, and imprisonment without recourse to courts. I mean supporting the 2nd amendment (as misguided as that may be) seems to be quite a bit less offensive than many of the positions "liberal" politicians and individuals take on a great many issues.

Also, I could be wrong, but I don't think that it's accurate that the Liberal Gun Club holds exactly the same views as the NRA. Some are the same, some are not.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:46 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


AElfwine Evenstar: " Why? We use it to describe people who participate in extrajudicial killings, totalitarian surveillance of every sector of society, and imprisonment without recourse to courts.

What do you mean "we", white man?

I mean supporting the 2nd amendment (as misguided as that may be) seems to be quite a bit less offensive than many of the positions "liberal" politicians and individuals take on a great many issues."

There is nothing in the Second Amendment about a right to own a magazine of unlimited capacity (muskets had a capacity of one), to possess a handgun in every municipality (even Wild West towns collected guns upon entry to maintain law and order), or to ban scientific research into the safety of guns and the effects of gun ownership on society. Yet these are the places where the gun control battle is being fought. by the NRA.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:55 PM on January 2 [4 favorites]


I was merely pointing out that your labeling of individual NRA members as "racist" and "pro-murder" was pretty shitty and uncalled for.

Oh, did I do that? I've certainly pointed out that as an organization that has those qualities enough times, but I haven't made the distinction of calling its individual members that. I would definitely say that they should, when lending support to an organization, find out what it represents and that not doing so is kind of dumb and negligent. Unless it really does stand for nothing? Do they even stand for gun rights or is that an unwarranted assumption?
posted by Artw at 9:55 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


AElfwine Evenstar: " Also, I could be wrong, but I don't think that it's accurate that the Liberal Gun Club holds exactly the same views as the NRA. Some are the same, some are not."

I flipped through a half a dozen or so of the blog entries there, and couldn't find anything gun-related that was substantively more moderate in than the NRA's positions. The tone is softer, sure, but it's not that hard to show a kinder, gentler tone than "cold dead hands."
posted by tonycpsu at 9:57 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


that would've been a lot easier if the NRA hadn't blocked the CDC

I agree.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 10:03 PM on January 2


There is nothing in the Second Amendment about a right to own a magazine of unlimited capacity (muskets had a capacity of one)

When they wrote it, they intended an individual right to possess the standard infantry weapon of their army. Can I have my select fire M4 now?
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 10:06 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch: " When they wrote it, they intended an individual the infantry right to possess the standard infantry weapon of their army. Can I have my select fire M4 now?"

FTFY. A thorough debunking of the idea that the framers ever intended the Second Amendment to guarantee and individual and unlimited right to bear arms is included in Garry Wills' seminal piece on the issue. It's a long read, but it handily dispatches many of the silly arguments that have resulted from taking Founders' quotes out of context (including quotes that predate the Bill of Rights) or using terms such as "bear arms" outside of their (until the NRA began to hammer them into the standard vernacular) almost exclusively military usage.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:16 PM on January 2 [7 favorites]


Miko

Some of the best data results from taking action and testing outcomes.

Assault Weapons Ban became law in 94, ended in 2004.

Homicide went down during the ban, kept going down after it, despite rapidly increasing sales of semi-automatic rifles.

There's the outcome. For that matter, homicide has been on a downward trajectory in America for decades, and just this week, we're hearing news of record drops in urban homicide rates in places like Chicago and Oakland.

So there you have it. Murder went down, it went down some more, and it went down some more.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 10:18 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


A thorough debunking of the idea that the framers ever intended the Second Amendment to guarantee and individual and unlimited right to bear arms.

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States."
-Noah Webster

Pretty straight forward. Written by a framer. There's more where that came from. I mean, you can cherry pick quotes that say it was intended to be militias only. That's possible. But there are plenty of quotes that are quite clear about it being intended as an individual right, from that era, by the framers. They exist. They just do.

That said, I don't think I should get to have a select fire M4 without some very rigorous vetting. I totally believe in the "regulated" and the "shall not be infringed" part at the same time.

Thing is, in free states, I can get that M4 under certain circumstances. And I can even get a tank and tank rounds. It's just very very pricey and very very tightly regulated.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 10:29 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


I flipped through a half a dozen or so of the blog entries there, and couldn't find anything gun-related that was substantively more moderate in than the NRA's positions. The tone is softer, sure, but it's not that hard to show a kinder, gentler tone than "cold dead hands."

Do they really want to prevent research on gun violence, though? That would seem to be a deal breaker.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:29 PM on January 2


MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch: ""Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States."
-Noah Webster
"

He wrote that in 1787. The Bill of Rights (which included the Second Amendment) was drafted in 1789 and wasn't ratified until 1791. How does what one guy said years before the amendment was written have any bearing on what was meant in the language of the amendment that was drafted by others?
posted by tonycpsu at 10:37 PM on January 2


[A couple of comments deleted. Aelfwine Evenstar, you need to step back. You've said what you've had to say several times over -- and over, and over -- about a single comment from a single participant. Give it a rest.]
posted by taz at 10:38 PM on January 2 [2 favorites]


AElfwine Evenstar: " Do they really want to prevent research on gun violence, though? That would seem to be a deal breaker."

I don't know what you're trying to say here, but perhaps I'm missing your subtext. I see nothing on their site that talks about their position on gun research. All I'm saying is the posts I read looked like muted versions of NRA standard boilerplate about slippery slopes and law abiding citizens.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:39 PM on January 2


AElfwine Evenstar, I think part of my earlier point in may have been obscured.

I did a quick search for "pro-murder," "pro murder," and "racist" in the thread. It's not an exhaustive overview of everything that has been said, but every comment I found with those words is using them to describe the organization (the NRA), not its members. That's an important distinction that I think you're glossing over.

Those particular allegations are pretty straightforward, and reasonable people can see how the facts reflect that understanding even if one's personal ethical assumptions direct one toward a different conclusion. I gave one example of how one might see the organization as being pro-murder here, in this comment.

I think most of the people in the thread would agree that there are many people within the NRA who aren't more racist than the typical person, nor more pro-murder. The problem is that those people's monetary support of the NRA allows the organization to push its racist (from a certain perspective), pro-murder (from a certain perspective) agenda.

It does everyone a disservice to conflate the organization with the people.

Note, however, that I do reserve the right to be critical of even the "good" NRA members. Their hearts may be pure, but their money is going to support something pretty darn bad. Negligent homicide isn't nearly as bad as premeditated murder, sure, but it isn't above serious criticism.
posted by jsturgill at 10:42 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


tonycpsu

It has bearing because dozens of others said similar things, during the process of drafting it.

The reason it has that ambiguous comma may have something to do with placating less absolute views, but the sentence says "the right of the people to keep and bear", clear as day, and there is no possible grammatical argument that this means the militia. It means the people.

Patrick Henry made the case for an individual right too. And there are multiple instances of founders saying that they intended the entire body of the people to be armed. Multiple instances of a similar argument.

I know you don't want it to be true, but it's there, it always has been.

Not that I think the constitution or the opinions of 230 odd years ago are sacred. But liberals repeatedly cherry pick about this and they're completely lying for propaganda purposes, to contrive legitimacy.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 10:43 PM on January 2


I don't know what you're trying to say here, but perhaps I'm missing your subtext. I see nothing on their site that talks about their position on gun research. All I'm saying is the posts I read looked like muted versions of NRA standard boilerplate about slippery slopes and law abiding citizens.

Sorry I wasn't more clear. The subtext was the comment by rtha that you responded to.

AElfwine Evenstar, I think part of my earlier point in may have been obscured.

Yep well I've been told to give it a rest, but it was pretty clear to me what was being said...not by you...and quite funny that the NRA was accused of using dog whistles when pretty much the same thing was going on here.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:49 PM on January 2


MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch: "and there is no possible grammatical argument that this means the militia. "

Except for the very clear arguments (some grammatical, others historical) that I linked you to that show just that. Perhaps you didn't click through to read them?
posted by tonycpsu at 10:53 PM on January 2


Perhaps you didn't click through to read them?

Everything you've posted wantonly omits significant pieces of the historical record.

But that doesn't really matter.

Does it?

Not to me, at least for now.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 11:09 PM on January 2


Actually, the above links are nice, but not relevant to the constitutionality of an individual right to bear arms.

However, the framers, in their infinite wisdom, set up a situation where this and this matter as far as the individual right goes, and whatever you want to tell yourself they said in the 1780s does not matter.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 11:17 PM on January 2


whatever you want to tell yourself they said in the 1780s does not matter.

But it is a historically interesting exercise.

Sources on the Second Amendment and Rights to Keep and Bear Arms in State Constitutions
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:28 PM on January 2


The Commonplace Second Amendment
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:33 PM on January 2


MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch: "and whatever you want to tell yourself they said in the 1780s does not matter."

For your rhetorical purposes, it did matter, since you're the one who brought the founders' intent into the conversation. But suddenly what they said doesn't matter, and it's sufficient to show that the Supreme Court has the final say on matters of law, which is a point nobody here is arguing against.

Yes, we have some very recent and very controversial SCOTUS decisions that clearly enumerated an individual right to bear arms. Somehow, our institutions of government never got around to enumerating that right in the first 230-some years of our nation's existence, including a great deal of time when a different court case was routinely used as precedent to defeat challenges to federal gun control laws, and that case directly tied the Second Amendment to militia service.

But, yes, Supreme Court is Supreme. I think we all get that. But that wasn't your original argument, and that original argument was flawed.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:43 PM on January 2


Metafilter: Do you really talk to people this way? Do you imagine other people applauding you or something?

The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery

I see Professor Bogus blogged on this after his original article was brought to attention last year.
In ascertaining people’s motivations, it is at least as important to know their circumstances and what was important to them as it is to know their professed reasons for doing what they did. In Virginia and the South generally, an armed militia was of life-and-death importance because it protected whites against rebellion by a large – and in many places majority – enslaved black population. This – far more than soapbox rhetoric about having an armed militia to reduce the need for a standing army – had to be in the forefront of Southern minds when they talked about an armed militia being necessary to the security of a free state.
I don't know. It seems to me there is something to this, as there weren't any other legitimate concerns that would merritt preventing congress from regulating guns with the usual checks and balances. There is no documentation showing what Madison was actually thinking, so his true motivation for the second amendment (and its grammar) is rather mysterious - and an unfortunate obstacle standing in the way of effective and sane legislation today.
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:44 PM on January 2


I don't know anything about the group covered in this article. I have no opinion on whether they are or are not legimate liberals, but I do think there are actual liberal reasons to be suspicious of how our government legislates gun ownership and enforces gun laws.

From the ATF's FAQ page:

Q: Are there certain persons who cannot legally receive or possess firearms and/or ammunition?

Yes, a person who:

1) Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year;

...


One of the "advantages" of the selectively enforced drug war is that when massive numbers of young black males are sentenced to draconian prison terms and whites are let off lightly, is that it keeps legal guns in the hands of whites and ensures that many African Americans can only obtain protection illegally and thus that those weapons can be taken away at any time and for good measure can lead to more prison time.

When conservative whites open carry, while they make many people (including me) quite nervous, nothing much is done to stop them. When those of a different hue do the same thing, Republian governor Ronald Reagan signs the Mulford Act and brings open carry to an end in California.

Here's the thing: nobody is coming for your guns.

Well, sometimes, if you are known to have weapons, they might not bother coming for your guns, they just come for you. Just ask Fred Hampton, Mark Clark, or Malcolm X*. Oh wait, you can't. They're dead.

There was a time when at least some liberals and at least some conservatives lined up differently on this issue, but since the gutting of the Black Panthers and the assassination of Malcolm X, the collapse of the revolutionary left and the launching of the Drug War, slowly legal gun ownership moved increasingly into conservative white hands and militant gun rights advocates became paler. Things look somewhat different these days, but it was not always thus.

* - No government conspiracy in his death has ever been proven but Malcolm X was under heavy surveillance by many law enforcement agencies. From wikipedia: John Ali, national secretary of the Nation of Islam, was identified as an FBI undercover agent. Malcolm X had confided to a reporter that Ali exacerbated tensions between him and Elijah Muhammad, and that he considered Ali his "archenemy" within the Nation of Islam leadership. On February 20, 1965, the night before the assassination, Ali met with Talmadge Hayer, one of the men convicted of killing Malcolm X.
posted by marsha56 at 11:56 PM on January 2 [10 favorites]


I am a white, liberal college professor with four children who satisfies his need to shoot targets with an air rifle and gas blowback airsoft pistol.
posted by mecran01 at 1:42 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Regarding the whole "individual right to bear arms is just something the NRA made up pretty recently" line-- I was reading a California Law Review article just today from 1929 (17 Cal. L. Rev. 312). The article explicitly reviews a then-recent California court decision over California's then new concealed handgun law. The author considers whether handgun regulation is permitted under the 2nd Amendment, and finds that the individual right to bear arms is only in place against the federal government, and that California has no state constitutional right to bear arms.
posted by wuwei at 2:52 AM on January 3


It's worth pointing out that Noah Webster was in no way a framer of the second amendment. He was a successful publisher and served a few terms in the Connecticut legislature, but he wasn't a member of the first Congress. His opinion is interesting, but it really is the opinion of just some guy. It's not clear why we should give it any weight today.
posted by burden at 4:36 AM on January 3 [8 favorites]


weirdo said:

Seems pretty fucking simple to me, but somehow that's nazis coming for your guns.

jammy replied:

ok, bye.

...and now me:

If that's the straw that broke your camel's back then good fucking riddance, jammy.

Or do you not recall NRA figure and frequent spokesperson Wayne LaPierre's characterization of federal agents as jackbooted thugs, evoking the term's strong connection to naziism and totalitarianism?
posted by The Confessor at 5:02 AM on January 3


In any event, to bring the subject back to the OP, the "Liberal" label for this gun club for the most part applies only because the Overton window has shifted so far to the right. A more apt moniker would be "Centrist Gun Club" or "Slightly Leftish Libertarian Gun Club." Based on their forum posts, on the topic of regulation, these guys are a mile wide but an inch deep. Many of them make noises about background checks and mental health, but once pressed make any number of excuses, including many of those used by the NRA. A number of them subscribe to the NRA's WHARGARBL over the UN Treaty mean to cut down on international gun trafficking. The constant refrain of "pro-regulation is just like anti-choice" is both wildly inaccurate and tiresome. I see no reason that these guys wouldn't just roll over and contradict themselves in a few years to become full-blown NRA apologists. After all, Wayne LaPierre has done it several times.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:17 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


God this thread has been depressing. America is just batshitinsane about guns.

AElfwine and other pro-NRA types in this thread, don't worry. You've won.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:26 AM on January 3 [5 favorites]


This op-ed that ArtW linked up thread is fascinating. Phoenix is the kidnapping capital of the world? Awesome!
posted by dr_dank at 7:09 AM on January 3


Phoenix is the kidnapping capital of the world? Awesome!
that sounds ... off. let's look around.

Phoenix Kidnappings: Uncovering The Truth
Feds: Phoenix PD used overstated kidnapping statistics
In testimony before congress, former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and former Public Safety Manager Jack Harris testified that there was a kidnapping for ransom in the city “every night.” Those figures led Phoenix to become known as the "Kidnapping Capital of the United States."

To fight the problem, they said they needed federal money.

Phoenix police were later given $2.4 million in two federal grants.

Last year, the ABC15 Investigators found at least 100 of Phoenix’s 358 reported kidnapping cases never should have been counted. We also discovered dozens of questionable cases.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:26 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Disengaging tongue from cheek :)

Living in a post-fact world, I don't think that bringing fact checking into a gut piece isn't going to do much good. People are going to believe what they want regardless. If you don't think that Phoenix is kidnapping central, that Zeta cartels are infiltrating every city, that Muslim socialist Obama is going to take your guns, then you must be some softheaded liberal who is ignoring reality.
posted by dr_dank at 7:57 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


AElfwine and other pro-NRA types in this thread, don't worry.

I suggest brushing up on your reading comprehension skills.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:31 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


OOOOOH BURN! Don't tempt the delicate flowers, they'll reload faster than you.
posted by Big_B at 8:46 AM on January 3


MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch asked: Seriously, how does nobody call Obama out for saying, after newtown, that we need new laws and we need more data IN THAT ORDER?

Because new laws are required to collect the data you desire.
posted by wierdo at 9:32 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Or, to be more precise, the data was prevented from being collected (thanks to the NRA), and one of the first things put into action was "a presidential memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence" (Executive Action #14).
posted by zombieflanders at 9:37 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


It feels as if this site is more forgiving of pro-life activists than gun owners, and I just don't get it. I don't own a gun and I likely never will, but I thought AElf's point about handgun violence vs assault weapons was totally legitimate. Yet people jumped all over him and essentially accused him of supporting mass murders.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:42 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


In the context of the OP, it's a meaningless distinction. LGC members seem either disinterested or actively hostile toward the idea of any further regulations, least of all handguns. Both LGC and him seem to be using assault rifles as a canard, when it's actually precisely the kind of attitude that makes criticisms on-point.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:57 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Yeah, we've played this game before, where "but what about the handguns" is used as an obfuscation tactic by people who also oppose stricter (or any) regulation of handguns. I see no way in which it could be offered in good faith by anyone who's familiar with the gun control debate in the last 20 years.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:15 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


Both LGC and him seem to be using assault rifles as a canard, when it's actually precisely the kind of attitude that makes criticisms on-point.

How so? The fact that I think gun control measures should address the actual guns being used in the majority of homicides makes criticism on point?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:16 AM on January 3


is used as an obfuscation tactic by people who also oppose stricter (or any) regulation of handguns.

Or maybe it's used as a solution to the actual problem by people who want to solve the problem instead of make themselves feel better and safer regardless of what the poor minorities experience in the inner cities.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:17 AM on January 3


How so? The fact that I think gun control measures should address the actual guns being used in the majority of homicides makes criticism on point?

No, the fact that you apparently assumed that (1) nobody else did, and (2) that the LGC was on board with it.

Or maybe it's used as a solution to the actual problem by people who want to solve the problem instead of make themselves feel better and safer regardless of what the poor minorities experience in the inner cities.

Thanks for illustrating #1 perfectly for us.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:19 AM on January 3


No, the fact that you apparently assumed that (1) nobody else did, and (2) that the LGC was on board with it.

Where do I make either of those assumptions? Please point that out, thanks. Nevermind the fact that we have several people in this very thread saying that trying to ban and/or further regulate handguns is impossible. But whatever don't let reality get in the way of your crusade to belittle and castigate anyone who doesn't conform to your narrow vision of gun ownership.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:23 AM on January 3


Or maybe it's used as a solution to the actual problem by people who want to solve the problem

What solution are you proposing?

Supporting passable regulation on assault weapons doesn't mean someone is opposed to hand gun regulation.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:30 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Where do I make either of those assumptions? Please point that out, thanks.

You're kidding me, right? Your post discussing handguns states that "[u]ntil I hear people advocating for a handgun ban and/or other control measures relating to handguns I have a hard time taking them seriously as advocates for gun control." Which is also fairly hypocritical, since in the same breath you laud the LGC for being better acquainted with reality when it appears that you shouldn't be taking them seriously. You of course fail to point out anybody in the thread that advocates for, say, the AWB but not for handgun regulation before attacking others for not having solutions to actual problems. Nor do you provide any evidence that this is the case amongst pro-regulation advocates in general, likely because it's not remotely close to being true.

Nevermind the fact that we have several people in this very thread saying that trying to ban and/or further regulate handguns is impossible.

The only mention of handgun regulations other than yourself pointed out that SCOTUS had made it extremely difficult to do so, which subsequent legal rulings (e.g. McDonald v. Chicago) have borne out. So perhaps you should see what has happened in reality before launching into belittlement and castigation of your own.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:35 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


AElfwine Evenstar: " Or maybe it's used as a solution to the actual problem by people who want to solve the problem instead of make themselves feel better and safer regardless of what the poor minorities experience in the inner cities."

The math is very simple here. Exactly zero percent of handgun fatalities will be prevented by proposals to regulate handguns that never pass, while a non-zero percentage of mass shooting fatalities would be prevented by a ban on high-capacity magazines. Zero times a large quantity is less than a non-zero positive number times a smaller quantity, even a much smaller quantity. The goal of gun control proponents is to reduce gun fatalities, and a politically-achievable reduction in that amount is better than hopeless attempts to get something that has no prayer of happening as long as the Supreme Court has Anthony Kennedy as the median vote.

Pretending we live in a different world where it's possible to do something significant to regulate handguns when we can't even get universal background checks is really just a waste of everyone's time. Please stop.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:42 AM on January 3 [4 favorites]


Please stop.

Conversely, it would be nice if people stopped with the quoting the number of annual firearms fatalities and then jump to a call for banning/limiting assault weapons. As has been pointed out, assault weapons aren't what's driving that number and it's a deceptive way to argue. There are good reasons to restrict assault weapons, but doing so won't make a significant dent in fatalities.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:23 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


The first person to mention assault rifles outside quotes from the article itself was Aelfwine. And again, no one is saying that is the only solution.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:38 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Exactly zero percent of handgun fatalities will be prevented by proposals to regulate handguns that never pass, while a non-zero percentage of mass shooting fatalities would be prevented by a ban on high-capacity magazines.

I'm a liberal gun owner, and I'm not sure I believe either clause of this sentence. First, I think there is fertile ground for actual, useful regulation of all firearms that would be accepted by the vast majority of gun owners. For example, I think that treating gun use like car use would be a good thing - requiring an owners' license, testing, periodic background checks. Just because the NRA doesn't support these things doesn't mean that most gun owners wouldn't support them.

As for high-capacity magazines, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find many examples where this made a difference at all. It is very easy to change magazines on an autoloader - with minimal training or practice, you can do it without reducing your rate of fire. The only place where this isn't true is for fully-automatic weapons, which are very strictly controlled and are used in a vanishingly small number of crimes. So, when people familiar with guns see stuff like this and "assault weapons" bans, they come to the reasonable conclusion that gun-control advocates don't care about the effectiveness of a measure as long as it restricts gun owners' freedoms in some way. Personally, I'm ok with a ban on high-capacity magazines because I don't care about this freedom - I don't feel constrained having to change magazines - but on the other hand I don't see it as an effective way to accomplish anything. If you want to limit mass shootings by limiting what guns can do, you need to limit autoloaders - and that's simply not going to happen, because they're so old, common and effective.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:49 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Sure suicide counts. But to me, it's a right.

This, a thousand times. It's a right - a heartbreaking right, one that punches me in the gut each time it happens - and I'm on track for at least one friend a year dead to suicide for the last seven years - but it is not an "accident" or a "danger" of having a gun in the house. If people want other people to believe that having guns in the house leads to dangerous accidents, they need to remove suicide from the statistics.
posted by corb at 11:57 AM on January 3


me & my monkey: " First, I think there is fertile ground for actual, useful regulation of all firearms that would be accepted by the vast majority of gun owners."

Congress doesn't pay attention to gun owners, they pay attention to the gun lobby. Money talks, bullshit walks. Your argument might have some merit if we passed laws by referendum, but we don't, and less than a year removed from the failure of a Manchin-Toomey bill that was far less ambitious than the kind of reforms you're talking about, I think it's clear there's no possibility of anything approaching universal background checks, compulsory licensing and testing, etc.

me & my monkey: "As for high-capacity magazines, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find many examples where this made a difference at all. It is very easy to change magazines on an autoloader - with minimal training or practice, you can do it without reducing your rate of fire."

Hard-pressed? We know for a fact that Jared Loughner used a 33-round magazine, and was tackled when he was reloading. Try again.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:03 PM on January 3 [5 favorites]


It's a right - a heartbreaking right, one that punches me in the gut each time it happens

But is it a right that we want to be so easy to act upon, on impulse even?
posted by me & my monkey at 12:05 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


This, a thousand times. It's a right - a heartbreaking right, one that punches me in the gut each time it happens - and I'm on track for at least one friend a year dead to suicide for the last seven years - but it is not an "accident" or a "danger" of having a gun in the house.

Wow. You really have no idea how mental illness works, do you?

Sure, there are occasional Hunter S. Thompsons for whom suicide is a rational choice, but they are a vanishingly small minority of suicides.

If there had been a gun in my house when I was 13, I would be dead now. Period.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:05 PM on January 3 [7 favorites]


Agreed. Some countries require a psych test before owning a gun. Which is exactly the kind of thing the NRA lobbies against.

A good reason not to have a psych test before owning guns is that, paradoxically, it discourages gun owners or people who believe they may want to become gun owners from seeking psychiatric treatment.

It's hard enough to get people to go to a therapist. Add in, "Oh, by the way, if you see a therapist, they may take your guns away" and you are looking at a staggeringly vanishingly low possibility. It's one reason when restrictive new laws came in NY, the VA was really quick to take sweeping action pointing out to everyone that they are on federal land and NY laws about disclosure don't apply, and please don't stop coming to therapy, veterans.

This also affects suicides, for those who want to limit them - people who are in regular therapy are much less likely to kill themselves. Increasing the ability for people to get therapy, rather than decreasing the people willing to go in for it, seems like a much greater net good.
posted by corb at 12:08 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Where have I heard the call for mental health action? Oh, yeah: Obama's executive actions on gun violence, specifically

#20 - Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental-health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

#21 - Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.

#22 - Commit to finalizing mental-health-parity regulations.

#23 - Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:12 PM on January 3


A psych test before buying a gun is just that, corb. If you fail, you don't get a new gun. It doesn't have any effect on guns you already have.

Seriously, why does it always boil down to "they're coming for our guns" paranoia? Nobody is doing that. The NRA pushes that line to sell more guns. Stop falling for it.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:15 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


I don't see what a mandatory psych test for someone who wants to buy a gun has to do with people getting treatment. My understanding is that the regulatory agency doesn't go poking around in your psych files to see if you had therapy for six months a decade ago: they require you to be evaluated if you want to buy a gun. They're separate things.
posted by rtha at 12:16 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


But but but Feinstein's (out of context) quote says she's coming for our guns!
posted by Big_B at 12:17 PM on January 3


I might lose some of my gun control proponent friends on this one, but I don't feel like much is gained by linking the issue of gun control with the issue of mental health. Mental health needs more funding and attention for reasons completely disconnected from the debate over gun control, and I feel like any potential benefit of mental health screening is erased by allowing people to wash their hands and say that we've done our job if we've just kept guns out of the hands of the people who fail mental health screenings or have a significant history of mental illness. Plenty of people who can't be identified as mentally ill a priori commit gun crimes. Let's not lose the forest for the trees here.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:17 PM on January 3 [3 favorites]


I don't see what a mandatory psych test for someone who wants to buy a gun has to do with people getting treatment. My understanding is that the regulatory agency doesn't go poking around in your psych files to see if you had therapy for six months a decade ago: they require you to be evaluated if you want to buy a gun. They're separate things.

This may be different state to state. The New York act and acts in some other states (such as California) provided for the actual removal of guns.
In California, some shortcuts are already meaning weapons are being removed from lawful owners. Bloomberg reports cite the example of 48-year-old Lynette Phillips, a California woman who was recently hospitalized for mental illness. When a team of agents went to collect her two registered firearms, they also walked out with one registered to her husband.

“The prohibited person can’t have access to a firearm,” regardless of who the registered owner is, said Michelle Gregory, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office.
Even the evaluation can be problematic, though. For example: what, precisely, is on the psych test? What is a disqualifying condition? Should you not be allowed to own a gun if you're suicidal? What about just depressed? What if you have a serious mental health condition, but are medicating it? What if you have a mental health condition, but it's not dangerous? And most of all - who is paying for these checks? Should people who are poor be prevented from purchasing guns because they don't have access to good mental health care?
posted by corb at 12:26 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Congress doesn't pay attention to gun owners, they pay attention to the gun lobby. Money talks, bullshit walks.

But the gun lobby collects a significant amount of money from its members. While the NRA is a shill for gun manufacturers, it collects a significant amount of money and support from its members. Members who see people pushing for legislation that would have no useful effect on its stated goals.

Hard-pressed? We know for a fact that Jared Loughner used a 33-round magazine, and was tackled when he was reloading. Try again.

Can you find one other example? I'm sincerely curious. Because it seems to me if you're going to pass legislation that limits the freedoms of everyone in the country, you should have more than one case where that would make any difference at all. And, oddly enough, the Loughner example doesn't really indicate what you think it does. He wasn't just changing magazines - he was changing after a round failed to feed from a full magazine. (And of course, this is much more likely to happen with high-capacity magazines!) It's far less likely that someone would have been able to grab the second full magazine and get it away from him if it had been a regular Glock magazine. Had he been using regular magazines, he may well have been able to shoot more people.

A psych test before buying a gun is just that, corb. If you fail, you don't get a new gun. It doesn't have any effect on guns you already have.

Well, why is that, though? If you're not competent to buy a new gun, why should you get to keep all the guns you already have? I would like to see legislation that says, if you're not sane enough to buy a gun now, you can't keep the ones you already have - maybe they get put in escrow or something until you're sane again.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:26 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


This may be different state to state.

Oh, sure - but the bit you quoted was specifically referring to countries that require an eval in order to buy a gun.

And IMO, no, you should not have a gun if you are currently experiencing suicidal thoughts or making plans. I don't see how one could realistically enforce that, but having a gun in the house while being suicidal is a terrible idea.
posted by rtha at 12:35 PM on January 3



Sure suicide counts. But to me, it's a right.

This, a thousand times.

If there had been a gun in my house when I was 13, I would be dead now. Period.


Yeah. Actually, not this.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:41 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Even the evaluation can be problematic, though. For example: what, precisely, is on the psych test? What is a disqualifying condition? Should you not be allowed to own a gun if you're suicidal? What about just depressed? What if you have a serious mental health condition, but are medicating it? What if you have a mental health condition, but it's not dangerous?

"A danger to themselves or others" already exists as a mental health red flag.

And most of all - who is paying for these checks? Should people who are poor be prevented from purchasing guns because they don't have access to good mental health care?

Of course, there is no good answer to this: if we say "gun owners" we get accused of hurting the poor. If we say "taxpayers" then we get the usual blather about taxes being slavery. If we say "add it to insurance coverage" we get accused of pandering to the insurance companies. If we say "subsidize it/include it in government health care" we get OMG SOCIALISM. So, of course, it will inevitably come down to the only correct answer being "do nothing Because Freedom" and the usual derail from the usual suspects about mental health will have run its course.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:44 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]


Oh, sorry, rtha, I didn't realize that was talking about other countries' requirements specifically. They may have really different requirements, which I'm not as familiar with.

As a possible other solution for the issue of mental health and guns - what VA (which I am most familiar with, since most of my friends are veterans) does with these things, is it makes a "safety plan." It doesn't (usually, these days) tell law enforcement to lock up the firearms, but it says things like, "Hey, do you have weapons/firearms in the house? Do you feel tempted to use them? Do you think you could give them to a friend for a little while / lock them up and give the key to someone else?" Most people who are suicidal don't necessarily want to kill themselves, they just want not to be hurting. This kind of thing reduces the impulse, while not breaking the trust enough to convince people never to come back. I don't always like VA, but I think they're spot on in this one.

Back on subject, though, it is interesting how much the identity of the person with guns tends to alter how people feel about gun control. The NRA recently had a great article on the Deacons for Defense and Justice -
Meanwhile, Bogalusa was reaching a boiling point, as civil rights activists refused politicians’ requests to cease their marches and demonstrations. During a July 8 protest, a black girl was injured with a brick to the head. The car that was taking her to the hospital was attacked by a mob, and one man in the mob was shot by a Deacon in the car. A black man had shot a white man in broad daylight, and no arrest was made. Nobody could remember when such a thing had happened. It was a turning point in the history of the South.

On July 14, the Bogalusa mayor announced that an emergency ordinance for gun confiscation had been drafted. Civil rights groups led protest marches, and Bogalusa residents lined up 15 deep in department stores to buy guns.
I think the creation of a liberal pro-gun group is a great thing - it might have the possibility of removing guns from the nature of a culture war, and let people think about them unencumbered by the "my tribe/their tribe" type of mentality.
posted by corb at 12:45 PM on January 3


me & my monkey: "Because it seems to me if you're going to pass legislation that limits the freedoms of everyone in the country"

We also know James Holmes used a 100 round drum, and though it got jammed after 45 rounds, that means he was able to fire 45 rounds without having to reload. Had he needed to reload, there would have been more chances to tackle/disarm him.

But I've already proven more than I need to, because there is no real freedom limited here on the other side of the equation. We're talking about, what, ten seconds to change a magazine? If that only saved one life, and there are people who don't think it's worth them taking that extra time to save that life, then fuck them, seriously.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:49 PM on January 3 [2 favorites]


me & my monkey: " But the gun lobby collects a significant amount of money from its members. While the NRA is a shill for gun manufacturers, it collects a significant amount of money and support from its members. Members who see people pushing for legislation that would have no useful effect on its stated goals."

The NRA takes its orders from the gun industry -- they really don't need to worry about the regular dues paying members, as evidenced by the fact that they take actions all of the time that go against what a majority of members want. They can do this because they know there's a big difference between people saying they favor a moderate reform and actually cancelling their membership over it.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:51 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]


The NRA takes its orders from the gun manufactuers -- they really don't need to worry about the regular dues paying members, as evidenced by the fact that they take actions all of the time that go against what a majority of members want.

Case in point: NRA vs. NRA
posted by zombieflanders at 12:54 PM on January 3


I'd favor a pro-gun organization that taught inner city youth basic survival skills, computer skills like hacking, and long-range marksmanship, as well as distributed books relevant to their lives, like say appropriate political theory. Would teaching our downtrodden marksmanship help anything? Nah. It'd sure piss off many gun nuts though. :)
posted by jeffburdges at 1:06 PM on January 3


corb: "Meanwhile, Bogalusa was reaching a boiling point,"

Did you just verbatim quote an NRA Propaganda piece about Deacons for Defense to suggest that this conversation would be different if it were an ACTUAL OPPRESSED MINORITY wanting to make sure they could have automatic weapons?

Because I don't think it would be.
posted by Big_B at 1:22 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


We also know James Holmes used a 100 round drum, and though it got jammed after 45 rounds, that means he was able to fire 45 rounds without having to reload. Had he needed to reload, there would have been more chances to tackle/disarm him.

We don't "know" anything of the sort. It's something that sounds plausible, but the details of his shooting don't support your contention. This is a guy who brought several firearms with him, and simply switched from one to another.

But I've already proven more than I need to, because there is no real freedom limited here on the other side of the equation. We're talking about, what, ten seconds to change a magazine? If that only saved one life, and there are people who don't think it's worth them taking that extra time to save that life, then fuck them, seriously.

There are plenty of legitimate self-defense shootings where more than ten rounds are fired by the person defending himself. What is the appropriate death rate there that would provide sufficient balance for you?

they really don't need to worry about the regular dues paying members, as evidenced by the fact that they take actions all of the time that go against what a majority of members want.

If you honestly think that the NRA is not able to mount an effective propaganda campaign to moderate gun owners based on the actual attempts to limit gun ownership, I just don't know what to tell you. But if the NRA actually lost the support of moderate gun owners, it would be far less effective as a lobbying organization.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:26 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


I personally don't think imagining what Laughner or whatever other prospective mass murderer would or wouldn't or will or won't do is the best methodology for determining the effectiveness of gun control. I'm no social scientist, but there must be statistical methods out there that can be used to analyze the effectiveness of different attempts at addressing gun violence throughout the world. It is too bad gun owners and their associations do everything in their power to prevent these kinds of studies, but it makes it hard to take them seriously when they start concern trolling and tone policing discussions on preventing gun violence.
posted by Golden Eternity at 1:37 PM on January 3 [6 favorites]


>We're talking about, what, ten seconds to change a magazine?

Not even close

>If that only saved one life, and there are people who don't think it's worth them taking that extra time to save that life, then fuck them, seriously.

Do you really want to use this (saving one life) as a metric for evaluating foundational rights enshrined in the constitution? I mean hell I guess if there are people who aren't willing to forego their fourth amendment right to privacy and just let the NSA dragnet every piece of electronic data in this country because it might save one life then well I guess fuck them too...amirite?

>You're kidding me, right?

No, but apparently you are as the comment of mine that you quoted makes no assumption that "(1) nobody else did, and (2) that the LGC was on board with it." In the future please get your facts straight before you attempt to pillory me for not subscribing to your narrow views on gun control.

>Pretending we live in a different world where it's possible to do something significant to regulate handguns when we can't even get universal background checks is really just a waste of everyone's time. Please stop.

>I think it's clear there's no possibility of anything approaching universal background checks, compulsory licensing and testing, etc.

Ok so our only possible hope is to ban "assault weapons" and limit magazine capacities? I mean besides these two options what other types of gun control are "realistic" enough for you to not jump down someones throat for suggesting? You seem to be advocating for a very narrow form of gun control which at the end of the day will not significantly impact the number of gun deaths.

>The first person to mention assault rifles outside quotes from the article itself was Aelfwine. And again, no one is saying that is the only solution.

Yep. But as I illustrated above we have at least one member here try and limit the scope of the debate? Why is that? I don't know how many times I have to repeat myself, but some people have apparently been so propagandized by the MSM that they can't think clearly about this topic...banning "assault weapons" is not a solution. This is like saying that cutting global carbon emissions by less than 4% is a solution to anthropogenic global warming...in other words it is a feel good solution which is to say it is not a solution at all. But apparently the only acceptable parameters...read "realistic"...are banning high capacity magazines and "assault weapons" because real solutions that address the actual problems are a "waste of everyone's time" which we should "just stop" suggesting as a meaningful solution to the gun problem in this country.

Personally I am all for universal background checks, wait periods, licensing if prerequisite tests are passed, and penalties for not keeping your license up to date while still owning firearms, ect. This would seem to be a fairly non controversial position. But apparently since I previously objected to people labeling all NRA members as racist I am pro NRA and against gun control. Similarly since I have the reality based opinion that banning "assault weapons" is not a viable solution to the gun problem in this country I get attacked using appeals to emotion and other such schlock. What a joke. Metafilter can do better.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:28 PM on January 3


I appreciate the thoughtful back-and-forth people are having here and realize guns are tightly woven into the American mindset. But at the risk of making people mad, I want to at least state my own opinion to get it off my chest.

I think we should completely ban handguns. I think we should have background checks for hunting weapons and limit ourselves to those. I think we should not allow gun makers (or arms makers) doing business in the U.S. to export weapons of any kind anywhere. I think we should replace the second amendment with something that makes sense and isn't so poorly written. I am willing to risk being murdered in my home by a criminal if it means not having guns around. I almost threw up when I heard a 3rd grader in my kid's class say he hoped Santa would bring him Call of Duty for Christmas.

Also, I don't understand how so many people can be "Christian" and own weapons that are for shooting people, or join the army. It seems like the Christian way would be to open a dialogue with the home invader and forgive him and offer to make him a sandwich. Kind of crazy-sounding but seems more in line with Christian principles. Everyone talks the talk.

Also, most of the people I know well have gone through their whole lives without needing to have guns. As a suburbanite who doesn't hunt I just don't get why I'd want something like that. I'm sure shooting guns is fun but so is gardening. The people I do know who are "gun people" (besides sportsmen) are nice enough but tend to be kind of paranoid and loners (not generalizing beyond that, but true for my circles). Also I've had some very bad experiences with guns in my life, usually related to mistakes by people who thought they knew what they were doing.

Having said all that, maybe we could come up with a new compromise amendment that strikes a middle ground and both makes gun people feel better and puts some limits on the crazy fetishization of guns. That's what makes me mad about the NRA - they are so bonkers as a group that they push the window to the right and you can't talk about anything. I also hate feeling like I might need to be armed to combat the arming of all the right-wingers. That's not the way I want to solve differences. Let's reform the voting system and corporate power so we don't have to resort to guns to defend ourselves the powers that be. If we make it to that point, we're screwed, so why pretend that's a viable backup plan? Let's live in a bunker and shoot the census guy! Let's fight Obamacare with guns! Really?
posted by freecellwizard at 2:30 PM on January 3


AElfwine Evenstar: " Not even close yt "

I'm talking about on average, not a cherry-picked example from Youtube of someone showing off for the cameras under non real-world conditions. Stop it with this silliness, please.

AElfwine Evenstar: " Ok so our only possible hope is to ban "assault weapons" and limit magazine capacities? I mean besides these two options what other types of gun control are "realistic" enough for you to not jump down someones throat for suggesting? You seem to be advocating for a very narrow form of gun control which at the end of the day will not significantly impact the number of gun deaths."

Right now? Nothing is realistic. I'm big on universal background checks and magazine restrictions. I have no position on "assault weapons" because I agree it's a misleading term -- you're the one who keeps focusing on those.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:32 PM on January 3


I should expand on "nothing is realistic." As of 2008, we have an individual right to bear arms recognized by the nation's highest court. That's not going to change anytime soon. We also have an NRA that was able to defeat the most incremental of changes in the wake of the most horiffic mass shooting one can imagine. So I'm not just being fatalistic here -- there's nothing we can do right now, with these politicians, in this environment, at the federal level.

State and local laws can nibble around the edges, but the NRA attacks those, too -- it was the DC handgun ban that led to the creation of the individual right to bear arms, after all, and as long as the balance of SCOTUS remains the same, it can actually be counterproductive to try to reach for more aggressive change at lower levels, because you can end up creating a case that can be cited as precedent for even more rolling back of local regulations around the country.

So, no, I do not have to have some other reforms in mind that meet your arbitrary metric of "significantly" reducing gun deaths. I favor any and all that will reduce gun deaths by one or by thousands, and i believe universal background checks and limits on magazine size can do that. If we had Justice Amy Klobuchar instead of Justice Anthony Kennedy, I would like to see the errors of DC v. Heller and subsequent cases corrected, such that states and municipalities can regulate -- or not regulate -- guns as they see fit.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:45 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


As of 2008, we have an individual right to bear arms recognized by the nation's highest court. That's not going to change anytime soon.

Nor should it (in my opinion). It's a right enshrined in the constitution. Either way, none of the propositions you are terming as "unrealistic" would abrogate or infringe on that right to bear arms.

I favor any and all that will reduce gun deaths by one or by thousands

But just a few comments ago you said that talking about anything other than an AWB and limiting magazine capacities "is really just a waste of everyone's time. Please stop." I guess patrolling acceptable "liberal" opinions on gun control is more important to you than being consistent. I mean I guess you can personally "favor" gun control measures, but you limit that ability to your own person? I just don't get it?

Apparently our only point of disagreement is that you think banning "assault weapons" and high capacity magazines is a good policy and I think that it is not. So what gives?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:09 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Right now? Nothing is realistic.

Wait ..... so what? we should stop wasting everyone's time with our attempts to get a sane gun policy??? You aren't making much sense. Honestly at this point I don't even know what you were trying to say to me earlier other than knee jerk reacting at what you perceived my position to be.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:11 PM on January 3


No, but apparently you are as the comment of mine that you quoted makes no assumption that "(1) nobody else did, and (2) that the LGC was on board with it."

It really does, as illustrated by the fact that you continually state throughout this thread that people are saying the "only" things that can be done are the AWB, as well as in that very same post saying that the LGC was better acquainted with reality than the imaginary people who had said that in the thread.

In the future please get your facts straight before you attempt to pillory me for not subscribing to your narrow views on gun control.

What views of mine are narrow, pray tell? No, wait, let me guess: you assume all I want is the AWB or a magazine limit.

But as I illustrated above we have at least one member here try and limit the scope of the debate? Why is that?

You are pretty much the only one here limiting the scope of the debate by either dismissing everything but your suggestions or claiming that no one is suggesting anything else. You were the first one to bring up assault weapons bans. You pre-emptively accused others of not even considering other solutions when that wasn't the case. You're the one who keeps on trying to say one thing and claim you meant something else.

I don't know how many times I have to repeat myself, but some people have apparently been so propagandized by the MSM that they can't think clearly about this topic...banning "assault weapons" is not a solution. This is like saying that cutting global carbon emissions by less than 4% is a solution to anthropogenic global warming...in other words it is a feel good solution which is to say it is not a solution at all. But apparently the only acceptable parameters...read "realistic"...are banning high capacity magazines and "assault weapons" because real solutions that address the actual problems are a "waste of everyone's time" which we should "just stop" suggesting as a meaningful solution to the gun problem in this country.

No one's said they're not real solutions, they've said that focusing on them to the detriment of other solutions is ridiculous.

Personally I am all for universal background checks, wait periods, licensing if prerequisite tests are passed, and penalties for not keeping your license up to date while still owning firearms, ect. This would seem to be a fairly non controversial position. But apparently since I previously objected to people labeling all NRA members as racist I am pro NRA and against gun control.

Actually, you made a claim about the NRA (the organization; you're the one who's made it all about the members) and racism, repeatedly changed the goal posts, attacked other members for pointing out that you were doing this, and then went on the attack more when people had the gall to say that all of what you say here is extremely difficult to do either legislatively or judicially.

Similarly since I have the reality based opinion that banning "assault weapons" is not a viable solution to the gun problem in this country I get attacked using appeals to emotion and other such schlock. What a joke. Metafilter can do better.

I don't get how banning assault weapons is any less based in reality than "we can impose strong regulations on handguns" when SCOTUS has made it clear that the latter is largely untenable. Ditto for universal background checks, wait periods, etc. when not even one chamber of Congress could pass an extremely watered-down version of same. The only possible option at this point would be executive actions, which would be determined unconstitutional, and given your vituperative language whenever Obama is even mentioned, I get the sense that you would flip out over that, too.

And speaking of which, your lashing out in this thread is no better than any appeals to emotion you accuse anyone else of, especially when they result in you just making stuff up about what's been said. We're verging on MeTa territory here, but if you're just going to try and shut down the conversation by going around stomping your feet while telling other people they can't stomp theirs, I can't imagine how the rest of the thread will be conversed in good faith.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:12 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


AElfwine Evenstar: " But just a few comments ago you said that talking about anything other than an AWB and limiting magazine capacities "is really just a waste of everyone's time. Please stop." I guess patrolling acceptable "liberal" opinions on gun control is more important to you than being consistent. I mean I guess you can personally "favor" gun control measures, but you limit that ability to your own person? I just don't get it?"

For fuck's sake, you're not even close, as anyone with a working search feature in their browser can see. My actual quote:

Pretending we live in a different world where it's possible to do something significant to regulate handguns when we can't even get universal background checks is really just a waste of everyone's time. Please stop.

Emphasis mine. I was not saying that there are no other policy proposals that are acceptable, I was saying that your "but what about handguns" is irrelevant, because it's logically consistent to support background checks (which I do) and support magazine restrictions (which I do) and support many other things (including the right for jurisdictions to pass whatever gun control they want) but also recognize that current politics is a real constraint, and will not allow for any regulation of handguns.

And I haven't even brought up assault weapons once in this thread once -- that's been all you, despite your continuous use of scare-quotes to make it look like you're arguing against someone else's position. You can keep burning the straw man if you like, but at this point you're just making shit up to save face, so I'll let you do your thing.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:21 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


[One comment deleted; this thread has devolved into just a few people repeatedly debating how each of you paraphrased the other. At this point, please stop it; either engage the article or just let it drop.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:34 PM on January 3



As of 2008, we have an individual right to bear arms recognized by the nation's highest court. That's not going to change anytime soon.

Nor should it (in my opinion). It's a right enshrined in the constitution.


There is a colossal non sequitur in the constitution referencing an ill-defined "right to bear Arms," but it is certainly not enshrined there. This is the worst moral argument against gun control, imo. If it still makes sense at all to talk about natural rights in the way the Constitution does, it seems hard to argue that we have a natural right to carry handguns and rifles, but no natural right to carry grenades and rocket launchers and nukes. How did that line get drawn? Where did our natural rights come from anyway? Did Evolution grant them to us? It would make more sense to talk about a right to self defense in the Constitution and allow Congress and State legislatures to determine what weapons are permissible for that or other purposes.
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:05 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


There is a colossal non sequitur in the constitution referencing an ill-defined "right to bear Arms,"

How so?

but it is certainly not enshrined there.

It actually is. See the District of Columbia et al vs. Heller decision:

The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

The decision authoritatively settles the matter as to whether the right to bear arms refers only to a militia or grants individuals that right. Now of course that may change in the future, but for now there is no question as to whether we individually have the right to own guns.

This is the worst moral argument against gun control, imo.

Who's making a moral argument?

If it still makes sense at all to talk about natural rights in the way the Constitution does,

Is doesn't, so all this:

it seems hard to argue that we have a natural right to carry handguns and rifles, but no natural right to carry grenades and rocket launchers and nukes. How did that line get drawn? Where did our natural rights come from anyway? Did Evolution grant them to us?

is nothing but a strawman.

It would make more sense to talk about a right to self defense in the Constitution

Well yes, but if you read a little bit about the history of the 2nd amendment and the historical background you will find that while self defense is an important component it is also there as a check on tyranny. Of course now someone will probably digress into some ad hominem or other such fallacy referencing imagined gun/hero fantasies and how the citizens of the U.S. would never stand a chance against a 4g military. I am not stating my opinion I am merely stating the historical record. That the 2nd amendment was added as a check on tyranny and state power is uncontroversial. In fact the SCOTUS references this in the Heller decision. Now I guess you could argue that we no longer have any need to defend ourselves against tyranny. But again, as you state, the right to bear arms could still be upheld as a virtue in the context of self defense.

allow Congress and State legislatures to determine what weapons are permissible for that or other purposes.

This is actually the current state of affairs.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:35 PM on January 4


For fuck's sake, you're not even close, as anyone with a working search feature in their browser can see.

Yes you are correct in your criticism. I was incorrect in the way I phrased the sentence. Instead of referencing and AWB I should have referenced your idea that trying to ban and/or regulate handguns is futile. My only excuse is that I was writing a long response to both you and someone else. In the process of that I conflated my points and mischaracterized your statement. For that I apologize.

That being said I still disagree that "your 'but what about handguns' is irrelevant." I am also still confused as to what your point was. You initially said:

Pretending we live in a different world where it's possible to do something significant to regulate handguns when we can't even get universal background checks is really just a waste of everyone's time. Please stop.

Implying that because it is currently a difficult prospect to more heavily regulate handguns I should quit wasting "everyone's time" talking about it. But then in your next comment you say:

I think it's clear there's no possibility of anything approaching universal background checks, compulsory licensing and testing, etc.

So my question is: if all these options have not chance of passing in Congress why should I stop referencing the fact that handguns are involved in the most homicides and argue that we need to do something to regulate them more? I mean if all those other possible solutions are just as futile it seems like we should not waste out time talking about those either. I am not trying to score a cheap rhetorical point here; I am genuinely curious as to what your critique of my position is.

Unlike the other commenter I was engaging with you are interacting in good faith and not lying through your teeth trying to make me look bad....I can actually do that quite fine by myself without anyone else trying to help me along as evidenced my by mischaracterization of your quote. Again, I apologize for that and hope I have made myself more clear in this response.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:53 PM on January 4


Right now? Nothing is realistic.

I think it's clear there's no possibility of anything approaching universal background checks, compulsory licensing and testing, etc.

I would propose mandatory gun insurance. It would be free-market, non-government, and would cover stolen guns and reward and promote gun safety. They would also privately keep track of guns and gun violence the way they keep track of cars and car accidents. Some gun models would obviously be cheaper to own than others, and stockpiling weapons might become impossible for any would-be mass killers, because these companies would have their medical records and charge them so much extra for the risk. All this without a supply-side government intrusion that won't use costs as a mediating factor.
posted by Brian B. at 6:44 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


Banished for Questioning the Gospel of Guns
posted by Artw at 8:48 PM on January 4 [5 favorites]


AElfwine Evenstar: "Yes you are correct in your criticism. I was incorrect in the way I phrased the sentence. Instead of referencing and AWB I should have referenced your idea that trying to ban and/or regulate handguns is futile. My only excuse is that I was writing a long response to both you and someone else. In the process of that I conflated my points and mischaracterized your statement. For that I apologize."

Apology accepted, but I'm still confused who you'd be arguing the AWB point with, since you're the only person I see repeatedly invoking it in this thread. It really looks to me like an attempt to beat up a straw man and not engage on the more substantive points that people are actually making.

Implying that because it is currently a difficult prospect to more heavily regulate handguns I should quit wasting "everyone's time" talking about it.

Except you weren't talking about it from an "I wish we'd do a better job regulating handguns" standpoint, you were talking about it as a way to criticize people who suggest anything other than regulating handguns. Your exact quote was:

Until I hear people advocating for a handgun ban and/or other control measures relating to handguns I have a hard time taking them seriously as advocates for gun control.

You're a smart guy, and you clearly understand that a handgun ban is an absolute non-starter, which is why I can't see this as anything other than a desire on your part to undermine the legitimacy of any other ideas that might prevent deaths solely on the basis that they would not prevent as many deaths as a handgun ban that has no chance in hell of passing anyway.

So my question is: if all these options have not chance of passing in Congress why should I stop referencing the fact that handguns are involved in the most homicides and argue that we need to do something to regulate them more? I mean if all those other possible solutions are just as futile it seems like we should not waste out time talking about those either. I am not trying to score a cheap rhetorical point here; I am genuinely curious as to what your critique of my position is.

It's not at all true that other gun control measures are "just as futile." I described them as futile, but they're far more achievable than a handgun ban. The very Court case you just cited came about because of a local handgun ban, so we know that handgun bans are impossible as long as we have the same 5-4 split on the gun issue. Supreme Court terms generally don't expire unless the judges themselves do, so why would we waste our time talking about handgun bans?

The idea is to reduce gun deaths. Laws that pass save lives, laws that don't pass don't, regardless of how many lives the laws might hypothetically save if they passed. We can debate the probability of different things passing at different levels of government, but I don't understand what entitles you to say that people who refuse to advocate a particular reform that can't possibly survive judicial review are somehow being naive or illogical, and therefore aren't entitled to be taken seriously when they're offering those suggestions in good faith.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:26 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


There is a colossal non sequitur in the Constitution referencing an ill-defined "right to bear Arms,"

How so?


The Second Amendment seems to contain a couple of non sequiturs. A regulated militia does not seem to be necessary to the security of a free State (I guess this is actually begging the question); and if it were, it does not follow that there is a right to bear arms for self defense or other purposes (the use of a comma rather than a period seems to indicate the first clause is an intended premise for the second); and if it did follow, 'arms' are not clearly defined.

Who's making a moral argument?

As of 2008, we have an individual right to bear arms recognized by the nation's highest court. That's not going to change anytime soon.

Nor should it (in my opinion). It's a right enshrined in the constitution.


This looked like a moral (ethical) opinion to me, and after reading your previous comment still seems to be. If it is the 2008 SCOTUS decision that enshrines its interpretation of the Second Amendment in the Constitution, then a new SCOTUS decision could enshrine a different interpretation, or Congress could "repeal and replace" the amendment altogether. So it seems that saying an individual right to bear arms for self defense should not be changed because it's 'enshrined' is effectively just an ethical or moral approval of Second Amendment as recently interpreted by SCOTUS.


allow Congress and State legislatures to determine what weapons are permissible for that or other purposes.

This is actually the current state of affairs.


No, what I had in mind is that cities or states could be given the liberty to ban individual possession of handguns and more to prevent gun violence, which is prevented by Dist. of Columbia vs Heller.
posted by Golden Eternity at 2:44 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Banished for Questioning the Gospel of Guns

I came to post that link. I don't know what the actual numbers are, but there are a lot of people out there like the ones who wrote in and got the poor guy fired. I know a bunch of them -- totally normal people, not preppers living in remote cabins, but pretty much the equivalent of fundamentalist Christians. And like the fundamentalists, they collectively carry a lot of weight in terms of politics and reducing the space for nuanced discussion.

It's not as simple as pointing to a survey showing that lots of people support some middle way on regulation, any more than surveys suggesting that lots of people want a nuanced approach to abortion set the terms for that debate. In the article:

We are locked in a struggle with powerful forces in this country who will do anything to destroy the Second Amendment,” said Richard Venola, a former editor of Guns & Ammo. “The time for ceding some rational points is gone.”

This, and the equivalently unnuanced version from the other side, are what is controlling the terms of the issue, and are what I think has lead to decisions like Heller and the failure to pass even totally reasonable things like closing the gun show loophole.

In this thread, and when you talk with people individually, there is plenty of nuance. But that nuance and intelligence aren't setting the terms politically, sadly.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:47 AM on January 5


Gunpowder and Blood on Their Cold, Dead Hands
posted by Artw at 7:50 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


I'm talking about on average, not a cherry-picked example from Youtube of someone showing off for the cameras under non real-world conditions. Stop it with this silliness, please.

I have some bad news for you. Pretty much every 18-year-old Army soldier can do that. I learned it in basic training myself. It's very easy to do with any sort of magazine-fed sidearm: rifle or pistol. The buttons for dropping the empty magazine are designed for this sort of access. I learned how to continuously fire an ancient M1911 pistol (with seven-round magazines if I recall correctly) this way, with practically no interruption in the rate of fire.

The idea is to reduce gun deaths. Laws that pass save lives, laws that don't pass don't, regardless of how many lives the laws might hypothetically save if they passed.

Laws that pass save lives, unless they don't. And I think it's a legitimate question that moderates on both sides of the issue can ask: would a specific law actually accomplish anything? What would it accomplish? And, the simple answer is, in most cases we don't know. Should we act in the complete absence of that knowledge?

There is plenty of common ground for moderates here. Most gun owners would, I think, support stricter background checks, some controls on ammunition sales - which simply don't exist at all right now, studies to learn more about guns and their effect on society, mandatory minimum levels of training, etc. The NRA doesn't support any of these things, of course. But we don't see gun-control advocates doing anything on these issues either, do we? Why not? Why are we spending our time debating measures that will have little or no effect: banning specific weapons, magazine restrictions? Those measures just push moderate gun owners, who can gauge their likely minimal effectiveness, into the NRA camp.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:59 AM on January 5


But we don't see gun-control advocates doing anything on these issues either, do we?

But we do. In the aftermath of Newtown:

Democratic President Barack Obama supported legislation in Congress this year that would have extended background checks for sales made online and at gun shows. A Reuters/Ipsos poll in January showed that 86 percent of those surveyed favored background checks for all gun buyers...But the measures failed to clear the Senate in April in the face of opposition from gun-rights advocates who say it is essential to hold the line on Americans' right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

The NRA has argued that attacks like Newtown were more a result of a weak mental health system than lax firearms regulations.

A week after the Newtown attack, NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre came out strongly against gun control and called instead for armed guards in each of the 99,000 schools in the United States.


This in spite of the fact that various polls showed that huge majorities of NRA members supported more background checks. Which tells you a lot about what the NRA thinks of its members, I suppose.
posted by rtha at 8:20 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


me & my monkey: "I have some bad news for you. Pretty much every 18-year-old Army soldier can do that."

18-year-old army soldiers are not the average shooter. Please don't be ridiculous and suggest that the average person would be able to maintain a constant rate of fire. If that were true, then people wouldn't bother spending money on larger magazines, or defending their right to have them. What's the sense in fighting for them if they really don't make it any easier?

me & my monkey: " Laws that pass save lives, unless they don't. And I think it's a legitimate question that moderates on both sides of the issue can ask: would a specific law actually accomplish anything? What would it accomplish? And, the simple answer is, in most cases we don't know. Should we act in the complete absence of that knowledge?"

As many have pointed out, the NRA has made it illegal to study these things, so it's impossible to get hard data that isn't decades out of date. This is the Catch-22 that the NRA has created. You can't dare propose something that hasn't been proven to work in an unimpeachable study, but you also can't perform such a study.

me & my monkey: "There is plenty of common ground for moderates here. Most gun owners would, I think, support stricter background checks, some controls on ammunition sales - which simply don't exist at all right now, studies to learn more about guns and their effect on society, mandatory minimum levels of training, etc. But we don't see gun-control advocates doing anything on these issues either, do we?"

What a ridiculous assertion. The Manchin-Toomey bill pushed for stronger (but just barely stronger) background checks, and it failed. With respect to ammo sales, the Democrats offered a bill to stop online sale of ammunition after Newtown, but it was dead on arrival. In what universe could tough regulation of ammunition pass when a wimpy background check bill failed?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:27 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


The 12 Worst Things The NRA And Its Media Allies Said In 2013
posted by Artw at 8:30 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I have some bad news for you. Pretty much every 18-year-old Army soldier can do that.

It would be extremely hyperbolic to posit that the average gun owner is an active-duty soldier, or former soldier who has undergone recent training and/or exercises, and that they retain the skills and reflexes of said 18yo soldiers.

Laws that pass save lives, unless they don't. And I think it's a legitimate question that moderates on both sides of the issue can ask: would a specific law actually accomplish anything? What would it accomplish? And, the simple answer is, in most cases we don't know. Should we act in the complete absence of that knowledge?

So we can't know the effectiveness of a law until we pass it, but we can't pass it because we don't know the effectiveness of it? And that 17-year federal research freeze isn't to blame? Oh, and this cuts both ways, by the by. There's no evidence that either concealed or open carry has any effect on crime (or mass shootings, despite claims to the contrary). Nor has stand your ground proven to have any effect, apart from possibly causing more wrongful deaths.

Most gun owners would, I think, support stricter background checks, some controls on ammunition sales - which simply don't exist at all right now, studies to learn more about guns and their effect on society, mandatory minimum levels of training, etc. The NRA doesn't support any of these things, of course. But we don't see gun-control advocates doing anything on these issues either, do we?

Who's "we" here? Everything you just mentioned has been proposed at both the state and federal levels. Here's a small sampling:

SoCal Senator Pushes For Ammunition Buying License

Reps. Davis and Pascrell Introduce Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act

Gun violence research: History of the federal funding freeze

Anonymous online ammo sales would be banned under proposed law

State senator proposes mandatory training for new handgun owners

And you can add to that the executive actions from Obama, which said nothing about assault weapons or magazines, but fully a third of which dealt with background checks, in addition to calls for improved training and ending the federal research funding freeze mentioned above.

Why are we spending our time debating measures that will have little or no effect: banning specific weapons, magazine restrictions? Those measures just push moderate gun owners, who can gauge their likely minimal effectiveness, into the NRA camp.

The failure of Manchin-Toomey, among others, puts that myth to rest.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:50 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


From the front page of today's NYT:

BARRY, Ill. — The byline of Dick Metcalf, one of the country’s pre-eminent gun journalists, has gone missing. It has been removed from Guns & Ammo magazine, where his widely-read column once ran on the back page. He no longer stars on a popular television show about firearms. Gun companies have stopped flying him around the world and sending him the latest weapons to review.

In late October, Mr. Metcalf wrote a column that the magazine titled “Let’s Talk Limits,” which debated gun laws. “The fact is,” wrote Mr. Metcalf, who has taught history at Cornell and Yale, “all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be.”

The backlash was swift, and fierce. Readers threatened to cancel their subscriptions. Death threats poured in by email. His television program was pulled from the air.

Just days after the column appeared, Mr. Metcalf said, his editor called to tell him that two major gun manufacturers had said “in no uncertain terms” that they could no longer do business with InterMedia Outdoors, the company that publishes Guns & Ammo and co-produces his TV show, if he continued to work there. He was let go immediately.


So even when the not-crazypants-ban-all-guns call from a supporter and longtime advocate of gun ownership is coming from inside the house, putting one toe over the line is enough to get you evicted. That's a hell of a thing.
posted by rtha at 9:43 AM on January 5 [4 favorites]


More on the NYT Metcalfe story: First They Came for Smith & Wesson
I've written many times about the gunner boycott of Smith & Wesson, which began in 2000, after the company worked out an agreement with the Clinton administration to alter some of its distribution and manufacturing practices. The boycott lasted until 2003, by which time the company had been sold at a loss (and had agreed not to abide by the Clinton-era restraints). The gunners played hardball, and Simth & Wesson was forced to blink.

I've also written about Reed Exhibitions, which announced that it wouldn't allow the display of assault weapons at a gun show it ran just after the Newtown massacre; much of the gun community boycotted the show, and Reed eventually lost the right to run the SHOT Show, America's biggest annual gun show in America. Reed lost the SHOT Show only a few months before Metcalf wrote his column -- could he possibly have been surprised that the community turned on him the way it turned on Smith & Wesson and Reed?

But I blame the gun-buying public. It's clear from polls that support for at least some gun restrictions is widespread even among gun owners -- but the gun community sees itself as embroiled in a culture war with supporters of gun control, and supporters of wars really don't get upset at any harm that comes to anyone if it can be justified as part of the path to victory.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:32 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


A horribly depressing quote from the article I failed to provide the link to (sorry about that):

“We are locked in a struggle with powerful forces in this country who will do anything to destroy the Second Amendment,” said Richard Venola, a former editor of Guns & Ammo. “The time for ceding some rational points is gone.”

Depressing because accurate.
posted by rtha at 10:52 AM on January 5


Please don't be ridiculous

You might want to dial down the level of contempt you've been showing throughout this discussion. There's no call for it.

and suggest that the average person would be able to maintain a constant rate of fire

The average person, maybe not. The average person with a passing familiarity with autoloaders? Probably so. The average gun enthusiast? Definitely. My point is IT'S JUST NOT VERY HARD. It doesn't require any special skill, just a tiny bit of practice.

If that were true, then people wouldn't bother spending money on larger magazines, or defending their right to have them. What's the sense in fighting for them if they really don't make it any easier?

For the same reason that people want to own cars that can go significantly faster than the speed limit, I guess? People want these things because that's their hobby or whatever. Personally, I would have no objection to magazine capacity limits in most cases, since I am not a gun hobbyist and don't feel like I need them for self-defense.

What a ridiculous assertion.

I think you missed my point. Maybe I didn't state it clearly enough. Those efforts (Manchin-Toomey etc) are not the primary focus of the nation's attention when it comes to gun legislation. Instead, it's stuff that is seen by gun owners as (a) unlikely to have any material effect on gun misuse, and (b) therefore unnecessarily limiting their rights.

I honestly think that if gun-control advocates focused their attention on the common-sense things that would clearly make a positive difference, over time, there would be a higher likelihood that the average gun owner would accept those things. But if, while pursuing those things, gun-control advocates simultaneously push for the other things, gun owners will be more likely to see this as "powerful forces ... who will do anything to destroy the Second Amendment" from rtha's quote.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:02 AM on January 5


I think you missed my point. Maybe I didn't state it clearly enough. Those efforts (Manchin-Toomey etc) are not the primary focus of the nation's attention when it comes to gun legislation.

[citation needed]

I honestly think that if gun-control advocates focused their attention on the common-sense things that would clearly make a positive difference, over time, there would be a higher likelihood that the average gun owner would accept those things.

You've already been shown where gun control advocates have focused their attention on "common sense" solutions (which, by the way, don't seem to be seen as such even by supposed "moderate" groups like the LGC). You can't just ignore it because it's not convenient. But didn't you just say that in most cases we don't know what would, as you put it, clearly make a positive difference? It seems like this is just cherry-picking what "works" and what doesn't on a whim.

But if, while pursuing those things, gun-control advocates simultaneously push for the other things, gun owners will be more likely to see this as "powerful forces ... who will do anything to destroy the Second Amendment" from rtha's quote.

You are aware that, given what has actually been pushed for at a national level recently, this makes these supposed moderates seem like they're actually ideologues unwilling to compromise, right? Not to mention that the "common sense" solutions that you're talking about still didn't go anywhere. I'd believe that this wasn't the case if this hypothetical group of gun owners offered to meet gun control advocates half way anywhere near the extent that the reverse has been the case (which is quite often).
posted by zombieflanders at 11:25 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I honestly think that if gun-control advocates focused their attention on the common-sense things that would clearly make a positive difference, over time, there would be a higher likelihood that the average gun owner would accept those things.

I think plenty of average gun owners already accept plenty of common sense things; as a gun owner, I certainly do, and most (though not all) of the gun owners I know accept at least some as well. As stated repeatedly, however, "average gun owners" don't actually have any meaningful political voice or political power.
posted by scody at 11:30 AM on January 5 [4 favorites]


You can't just ignore it because it's not convenient.

I'm not ignoring it. Note the words "over time" in my previous response. It takes a while to change people's positions. And right now, the position of many (most?) gun owners is the one fed to them by groups like the NRA. And the support for that position comes from measures that these gun owners see as ineffective.

You've already been shown where gun control advocates have focused their attention on "common sense" solutions

Well, honestly, no. What I see are a couple of recent initiatives - initiatives that are good, and that I support - but the longer-term history of gun legislation has been about identifying specific guns or gun features and trying to ban them. That's what gun owners remember, and think about, when they think "gun legislation". Like any change, it takes time. I had high hopes after the NRA's atrocious response to Newtown that more gun owners would realize that the NRA doesn't speak for them.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:39 AM on January 5


That's what gun owners remember, and think about, when they think "gun legislation"

I don't see how this can be absolutely true when so many polls show that a majority of NRA members support (for example) universal background checks. Your average gun owner is not the problem, generally. The problem is the manufacturers' lobbying groups, of which the NRA itself is the 900-pound gorilla.
posted by rtha at 11:45 AM on January 5 [4 favorites]


Your average gun owner is not the problem, generally. The problem is the manufacturers' lobbying groups, of which the NRA itself is the 900-pound gorilla.

I agree. But the NRA gets quite a bit of implicit support from gun owners, even though it doesn't accurately represent their views.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:50 AM on January 5


I'm not ignoring it. Note the words "over time" in my previous response. It takes a while to change people's positions. And right now, the position of many (most?) gun owners is the one fed to them by groups like the NRA. And the support for that position comes from measures that these gun owners see as ineffective.

Okay, but it's largely been the NRA sucking up the oxygen when it comes to proposed vs. imagined measures. In other words, they're being told that the push has been for supposedly ineffective measures, regardless of whether or not that's the case, often wildly out of proportion to the actual levels of support and/or activity. And it doesn't explain the popularity of stuff like stand your ground and concealed or open carry, which haven't been shown to be effective either.

Well, honestly, no. What I see are a couple of recent initiatives - initiatives that are good, and that I support - but the longer-term history of gun legislation has been about identifying specific guns or gun features and trying to ban them.

Again, citation needed here. The AWB is relatively recent, while stuff like background checks, research, training, etc. has been a constant for a very long time.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:05 PM on January 5


citation needed here

Dem Bill Would Ban "Saturday Night Specials"

New Maryland Firearms Law Rides In On A Wave Of Gun Sales

As a former Marylander, I feel comfortable stating that Maryland's gun laws have historically not made a lot of sense. For example, Maryland has for years had an "approved list" of handguns. Here's an example of something on the approved list: the Beretta .32 ACP. Here's something that has been rejected despite several submissions: the Seecamp .32 ACP. What's the difference between the two? The Seecamp is a very high-quality pistol - as good as, or better than, the Beretta. They're the same basic size. Beretta has a factory in Accokeek, MD, though.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:20 PM on January 5


Actually, a quick check shows the Seecamp, after several years, is finally allowed in MD! That only took about ten years.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:22 PM on January 5



I honestly think that if gun-control advocates focused their attention on the common-sense things that would clearly make a positive difference, over time, there would be a higher likelihood that the average gun owner would accept those things.


I think gun owners should be the ones focusing their attention on reducing gun violence. Why should non gun owners be responsible for pushing a solution? I don't think most people who don't own guns care that much until they see children brutally shot to death and gun deaths quickly surpassing traffic fatalities in the US, and nothing being done about it. If it weren't for so many recent shootings there wouldn't even be a conversation.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:32 PM on January 5 [4 favorites]


me & my monkey: " You might want to dial down the level of contempt you've been showing throughout this discussion. There's no call for it."

I feel like my frustration is justified on the magazine changing point, because you and AE have caricatured my position and significantly minimized the impact of forcing someone in an active shooting situation to change magazines. This is especially stupid because we know of at least one high-profile shooting (Tucson) where this is exactly what ended the situation and prevented further casualties.

me & my monkey: "Well, honestly, no. What I see are a couple of recent initiatives - initiatives that are good, and that I support - but the longer-term history of gun legislation has been about identifying specific guns or gun features and trying to ban them. That's what gun owners remember, and think about, when they think "gun legislation"."

Has it not occurred to you that nibbling around the edges at the state and local levels is all that's left when the NRA has blocked everything else? And you're blaming the gun control side for taking what's available?
posted by tonycpsu at 12:34 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Dem Bill Would Ban "Saturday Night Specials"

New Maryland Firearms Law Rides In On A Wave Of Gun Sales


Two articles from 2013 doesn't address the citation I requested of a multi-decade effort wherein assault rifles and large magazines were dominant in gun control law to the exception of other regulations.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:44 PM on January 5


I feel like my frustration is justified on the magazine changing point, because you and AE have caricatured my position

I can't speak to AE, but I haven't caricatured your position. I've simply stated some basic facts. Changing magazines simply isn't difficult.

we know of at least one high-profile shooting (Tucson) where this is exactly what ended the situation

... except, as previously stated, we don't actually know that. Loughner had to remove a magazine that wasn't empty because the next round didn't feed into the chamber. I can tell you from personal experience that it takes longer to clear a misfire or a feed jam than simply to change a magazine. And, ironically, you are much more likely to have a feed jam if you're using high-capacity, non-standard magazines as he was. It may well be the case that, but for his using high-capacity magazines, he would have been able to shoot MORE people rather than fewer.

And you're blaming the gun control side for taking what's available?

No, I'm not "blaming the gun control side". After all, I AM ON THAT SIDE. I believe that we should have stricter regulation of guns. I would like to see stricter background checks. I want restrictions on gun show sales, and private sales. I want common-sense restriction on ammunition purchases. I want the government to come and take someone's guns away if that person can be clearly identified as a risk to others. Maybe even as a risk to himself.

My point is simple: to get these effective, common-sense regulations, I think that gun owners will need to be separated from the organizations that currently claim to represent them. And I don't think you get there from pushing laws that focus on specific guns or specific features of guns.

Two articles from 2013 doesn't address the citation I requested

Oh, ffs. You want to review all federal and state legislation on guns, be my guest. The simple fact is, there are plenty of laws that target specific guns or specific gun features. These laws are not effective, and are a distraction from the goal of fewer people getting shot. (That is the goal, right?)
posted by me & my monkey at 12:56 PM on January 5


Oh, ffs. You want to review all federal and state legislation on guns, be my guest. The simple fact is, there are plenty of laws that target specific guns or specific gun features. These laws are not effective, and are a distraction from the goal of fewer people getting shot. (That is the goal, right?)

Except that's not the data you provided. In fact, the if the data on junk guns really does show that they are essentially useless for personal defense but incredibly useful for committing crimes (which the link you provided points out), that sounds exactly like the kind of common-sense gun control you should be behind, regardless of whether or not it targets a specific gun. If a large subset of gun owners either doesn't accept that or refuses to allow it as a compromise merely because of one or two other proposed laws, that's not the fault of gun control advocates.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:00 PM on January 5


me & my monkey: " I can't speak to AE, but I haven't caricatured your position. I've simply stated some basic facts. Changing magazines simply isn't difficult."

It still takes some time, time that can give people a chance to escape or subdue the assailant. Perhaps the average isn't my wild-ass guess of 10 seconds, but it's also not the time shown in the Youtube video of someone showing off, or the average of well-trained soldiers. Meanwhile, on the other side of the equation, there is... nothing. The probability of saving some lives in mass shootings versus some recreational shooters being inconvenienced. It's not a difficult decision.

me & my monkey: " My point is simple: to get these effective, common-sense regulations, I think that gun owners will need to be separated from the organizations that currently claim to represent them. And I don't think you get there from pushing laws that focus on specific guns or specific features of guns."

Other than the 1994 AWB and a couple of isolated proposals that have gone nowhere, you've not shown that this is actually occurring. Meanwhile, in the last year:

- The Senate took up a bipartisan proposal to strengthen background checks last year, the NRA flexed its muscle, and the proposal died
- In many states, Democrats pushed for universal background checks at the state level, and were successful in some. I remember Connecticut, New York, and Colorado are on this list, plus a couple of others.
- In Colorado, the Democratic legislature and Governor passed a stronger background check bill after a Colorado cabinet member was shot and killed. Gun zealots responded by recalling several Colorado legislators.

In other words, not only are gun control proponents trying to move the ball forward in the ways you approve of, they're losing their fucking jobs to do it. But because Dianne Feinstein proposed a renewed assault weapons ban that went nowhere, you want to put blame on the people trying to be part of the solution.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:24 PM on January 5 [5 favorites]


if the data on junk guns really does show that they are essentially useless for personal defense but incredibly useful for committing crimes

This is absurd on its face. How can a gun be incredibly useful for committing crimes but essentially useless for personal defense? Guns can be used - for either crime or defense - in two ways. One way is to shoot it at your opponent. The other is to threaten your opponent. Any given gun is either capable of being used for these two things, or it isn't. There isn't some magical border between good and evil uses here. There isn't some quality level at which a gun is useful for bad uses, but not for good ones.

What the data show is that "junk" guns were favored by criminals because they're cheap. Of course, they were favored by people who didn't want to spend a lot of money on guns, not just criminals. And if you're a criminal, and a gun is part of the cost of doing business, you'll just pay more if you have to. Even "non-junk" guns just aren't that expensive.

Perhaps the average isn't my wild-ass guess of 10 seconds, but it's also not the time shown in the Youtube video of someone showing off, or the average of well-trained soldiers

You do realize why revolvers are less popular now than they were, say, a century ago, right? Autoloaders are trivially easy to reload. It doesn't take ten seconds to reload a revolver - again, with minimal practice. Instead of taking a wild-ass guess, I suggest you visit a local shooting range and watch what people do. Or rent a pistol yourself - by the end of the hour you'll be able to change magazines the same way yourself. Modern firearms - that is, anything by John Browning or later - are designed to make this very important combat task very easy. You don't have to be a "well-trained" anything - they're made to be easy to use! Autoloaders are actually harder to use in every other way - gun experts often recommend revolvers instead if you're not going to practice with it at all. Revolvers don't jam.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the equation, there is... nothing. The probability of saving some lives in mass shootings versus some recreational shooters being inconvenienced. It's not a difficult decision.

Except, as I mentioned earlier, there are quite a few cases where someone shoots more than ten rounds (assuming ten's your magazine limit) in self-defense. What about those cases? What is the acceptable limit of people dying in self-defense for you?

you want to put blame on the people trying to be part of the solution

You're reading my responses pretty selectively, aren't you? No. But I think that, in the long term, a successful gun control regime will require that gun control advocates focus on measures that won't alienate moderate gun owners. The zealots will die out as people realize that the gubmint ain't comin for our guns.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:45 AM on January 6


the average of well-trained soldiers

Oh, I'm sorry, but I had to come back to this. Because most soldiers are not especially well-trained when it comes to firearms. Most soldiers are not riflemen or infantry. If you're not infantry, you might go to the range once a year to recertify and spend an hour or two there. I was a tank driver and I fired my personal weapon about three times over three years. But I'm confident that I could still change magazines very quickly, and I could teach you how to do it as well in less than an hour. In other words, reloading an autoloader is not much of a skill.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:01 AM on January 6


This is absurd on its face. How can a gun be incredibly useful for committing crimes but essentially useless for personal defense? Guns can be used - for either crime or defense - in two ways. One way is to shoot it at your opponent. The other is to threaten your opponent. Any given gun is either capable of being used for these two things, or it isn't. There isn't some magical border between good and evil uses here. There isn't some quality level at which a gun is useful for bad uses, but not for good ones.

Of course there is. The statistics show that the effectiveness of guns for self-defense is infinitesimal compared to having a gun to commit a crime. I'd even go so far as to say that it's damn near statistically insignificant. So, yes, the quality (or more accurately, affordability) of a gun does seem to make a difference.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:30 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


The statistics show that the effectiveness of guns for self-defense is infinitesimal compared to having a gun to commit a crime.

I'm sorry, I don't see a breakdown of firearm quality or price in there, do you? Your assertion is that cheap guns specifically are suitable for crime, but not suitable for self-defense. Your link doesn't support that assertion.

In any case, I'll see your study and raise it:
"7. Guns are used for self-defense often and effectively. “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year … in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008,” says the report. The three million figure is probably high, “based on an extrapolation from a small number of responses taken from more than 19 national surveys.” But a much lower estimate of 108,000 also seems fishy, “because respondents were not asked specifically about defensive gun use.” Furthermore, “Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was 'used' by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”
posted by me & my monkey at 6:58 AM on January 6


I'm sorry, I don't see a breakdown of firearm quality or price in there, do you? Your assertion is that cheap guns specifically are suitable for crime, but not suitable for self-defense. Your link doesn't support that assertion.

Your prior link states that "of the top ten most-traced crime guns by the ATF from 2000, half were junk guns," then goes on to say that MD's junk gun ban reduced firearm homicides by 9%. So even if junk guns made up every single defensive-use weapon, they would still be woefully inadequate compared to the amount of them used for committing crimes and the ban would be more effective than allowing their use.

In any case, I'll see your study and raise it

You'll raise me what, exactly? Saletan's article specifically states that it's using self-reported survey estimates as opposed to statistical data from the law enforcement and criminal justice communities. But here's a sampling of what else it said (emphasis mine):
[The report] cited four studies, three involving criminal justice professor Gary Kleck of Florida State University, who was on the committee.

But it also pointed out that effectiveness of such tactics likely varies depending on the type of victim, offender and circumstance. "So further research is needed, both to explore these contingencies and to confirm or discount earlier findings," the report said.

It also pointed out that "even when defensive use of guns is effective in averting death or injury for the gun user in cases of crime, it is still possible that keeping a gun in the home or carrying a gun in public — concealed or open carry — may have a different net effect on the rate of injury.

"For example, if gun ownership raises the risk of suicide, homicide, or the use of weapons by those who invade homes of gun owners this could cancel or outweigh the beneficial effects of defensive gun use."
I also think it's worth it to note that Gary Kleck is not very well-regarded when it comes to studies about firearms, so the fact that he's not only one of the committee members, but also heavily cited by the study seems "fishy" itself. And considering that gun ownership has generally been found to raise "the risk of suicide, homicide, or the use of weapons by those who invade homes of gun owners," then that should answer that question (for starters).
posted by zombieflanders at 7:28 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


me & my monkey: "Modern firearms - that is, anything by John Browning or later - are designed to make this very important combat task very easy."

Nothing you've said disproves that it takes longer to change mags than it does to fire successive rounds. Semi-automatic weapons fire many rounds per second. Making someone pause for even a second could be the difference between life and death, and, while it's possible for someone to need access to that kind of firepower in self-defense, these would be isolated incidents far outnumbered by the many instances of mass shootings we've seen that have involved large-capacity magazines.

What about those cases? What is the acceptable limit of people dying in self-defense for you?

You're free to use this talking point when you've demonstrated that the number of times someone's needed an extended magazine in self-defense is anywhere near the number of times they've been used in mass shootings. And, as mentioned, the Kleck numbers have been thoroughly debunked, but the pro-gun side gets the last word, because their studies can be funded, while studies that could possibly advocate gun control cannot.

me & my monkey: "You're reading my responses pretty selectively, aren't you?"

I'm reading your entire responses. If there's some point you think I'm not addressing properly, you can ask me for a clarification instead of assuming bad faith on my part.

The fact is, you absolutely have been vastly overstating the gun control movement's focus on cosmetic features, and ignoring the fact that the movement has been pushing for every reform you've mentioned wherever possible. You're now at the point where you just keep repeating your premise without any evidence, so I'm pretty much done debating this point with you. If you really think it's gun control proponents' fault after all that's happened, we're just going to have to agree to disagree.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:57 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Your prior link states that "of the top ten most-traced crime guns by the ATF from 2000, half were junk guns," then goes on to say that MD's junk gun ban reduced firearm homicides by 9%. So even if junk guns made up every single defensive-use weapon, they would still be woefully inadequate compared to the amount of them used for committing crimes and the ban would be more effective than allowing their use.

Statistics on gun use do not tell you anything about the effective utility of a particular make or model of gun. They just tell you how existing guns were used.

And, if you read the discussion of the study, there are quite a few gaps here. Effectively, it looks like fewer guns were sold after the MD ban. The same result could presumably have been achieved by heavily taxing gun sales. I'm not sure how that brings you to "specific guns are more suitable for crime".

And, of course, the MD gun ban didn't exclusively focus on "junk" guns. It created a list of approved guns. Many guns that weren't approved, like the Seecamp I mentioned earlier, weren't junk - far from it! They just ... weren't approved.

Semi-automatic weapons fire many rounds per second.

No, not really. Automatic weapons fire many rounds per second. Semiautomatic weapons fire as fast as you can pull the trigger. There are very few people who can fire a semiautomatic weapon that rapidly and actually hit what they're aiming for.

Automatic weapons are heavily restricted under the law, as they should be, and are hardly ever used in crimes.

You're free to use this talking point when you've demonstrated that the number of times someone's needed an extended magazine in self-defense is anywhere near the number of times they've been used in mass shootings.

Extended magazines? They're hardly ever used by anyone - even in mass shootings. Can you find any cases other than Loughner's? (Where, again, his use of them may have been what stopped him from killing more people.)

If, on the other hand, you simply mean magazines that hold more than ten rounds, we can find many examples where people have fired more than ten rounds in legitimate use. Many firearms are designed to accept regular magazines that hold more than ten rounds. Most police sidearms, for example, hold more than ten rounds.

you absolutely have been vastly overstating the gun control movement's focus on cosmetic features, and ignoring the fact that the movement has been pushing for every reform you've mentioned wherever possible.

No. What I am saying is very simple. If the gun control movement will be effective, I think, it has to completely abandon attempts to restrict specific types and features of guns in favor of attempts to do all the other things we want. Because otherwise, gun zealots will continue to point to those attempts to convince moderate gun owners that gun control is a threat to them. Nothing here is about "blame" as far as I'm concerned.

I would like to see fewer people killed by guns. I don't care about magazine restrictions personally, although I don't think they're effective. I don't care about junk guns, since I don't buy them. For that matter, I don't buy any guns any more, and may never buy one again. I am not especially concerned about defending myself, as I have the modest wealth to live somewhere pretty safe. But I honestly think that if you want to get to an effective gun control regime in this country, you need to convince enough moderate gun owners that you speak for them better than the NRA does, and to do that you need to not tell them things that they can see are obviously false. This reminds me of anti-drug campaigns telling us all that marijuana was a gateway drug. It didn't take most people very long to realize that simply wasn't true.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:41 AM on January 6


me & my monkey: " Extended magazines? They're hardly ever used by anyone - even in mass shootings. Can you find any cases other than Loughner's? (Where, again, his use of them may have been what stopped him from killing more people.

If, on the other hand, you simply mean magazines that hold more than ten rounds, we can find many examples where people have fired more than ten rounds in legitimate use. Many firearms are designed to accept regular magazines that hold more than ten rounds. Most police sidearms, for example, hold more than ten rounds.
"

I'm not going to quibble over "extended" versus "high capacity." The legislative proposals I've seen call for banning magazines larger than 10, so that's the definition I'm using for "high capacity." Using the 10 or more definition, half of all recent mass shootings have involved high-capacity magazines (source).

me & my monkey: " No. What I am saying is very simple. If the gun control movement will be effective, I think, it has to completely abandon attempts to restrict specific types and features of guns in favor of attempts to do all the other things we want. Because otherwise, gun zealots will continue to point to those attempts to convince moderate gun owners that gun control is a threat to them. Nothing here is about "blame" as far as I'm concerned. "

The idea that a small number of proposals is what's keeping moderate gun owners from refusing to let the NRA speak for them is absurd, as is the idea that the gun control movement would have any mechanism to silence the very few people who offer such proposals. It's dishonest to judge an entire movement based on a few pieces of legislation that never go anywhere. You have to judge the movement on the entirety of its effort, and it's clear that cosmetic bans are just a point of focus for people who presume bad faith from the outset.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:57 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Statistics on gun use do not tell you anything about the effective utility of a particular make or model of gun. They just tell you how existing guns were used.

Again, in the case of the self-defense numbers I provided, it's clear that even if junk guns had been the entirety of the sample, their use would have been many times lower than the half of guns traced to criminal use.

And, if you read the discussion of the study, there are quite a few gaps here. Effectively, it looks like fewer guns were sold after the MD ban. The same result could presumably have been achieved by heavily taxing gun sales. I'm not sure how that brings you to "specific guns are more suitable for crime".

All you're telling me here is that you want to define "cosmetic" in a way that includes functionality as opposed to appearance. And the people involved in the study came to the conclusion that it wasn't merely a "cosmetic" ban as you keep on claiming. Here's the text of the study, wherein they state that they adjusted for different factors. Choice excerpts:
Saturday night special ban effects on handgun sales from licensed dealers

Our final model of per capita handgun sales in Maryland included per capita handgun sales in Pennsylvania, lagged firearm homicide rates in Maryland, and the prelaw and postlaw dummy variables. The prelaw period between the introduction of the legislation in early 1988 and its ultimate implementation on January 1, 1990, was associated with annual changes in those years that were 34 percent higher than would have been expected if there had been no Saturday night special ban prelaw effect (p = 0.09). The annual change in per capita handgun sales dropped sharply in the first year the Saturday night special ban was in effect and was 15 percent lower during the entire postlaw period of 1990–1998 than would have been expected with no Saturday night special ban. However, this difference was not statistically significant.
[...]
The immediate, constant post-Saturday night special ban model estimated a 7.2 percent increase associated with the postlaw effects of the Saturday night special ban that was not statistically significant. Each of the three alternative postlaw effect specifications produced statistically significant negative associations between the Saturday night special ban and firearm homicide rates. These estimates ranged from −6.8 percent (95 percent confidence interval: −13.2, −0.3 percent) for the delayed start, gradual effect model to −11.5 percent (95 percent confidence interval: −17.3, −2.4 percent) for the delayed start, constant effect model. The model that assumed an immediate but gradual effect of the Saturday night special ban estimated that Maryland's age-adjusted firearm homicide rates were 8.6 percent lower (95 percent confidence interval: −14.5, −2.6) during the post-Saturday night special ban period than would have been expected without the ban. This model produced the best model fit of the four alternative models; the model that assumed an immediate, constant law effect fit the observed data least well.
[...]
The plausibility of our estimates of the effects of the law on homicides should also be evaluated within the context of relevant theories about how Saturday night special handgun availability might influence homicide rates. Many homicides stem from spontaneous altercations that end in gunfire (21). Ready access to a firearm can increase the lethality of violent altercations because firearms are much more lethal than other personal weapons (21, 22). Prohibiting the sale of Saturday night special handguns could reduce the likelihood of these fatal encounters by either decreasing handgun ownership (particularly among high-risk persons) by making handguns more expensive or decreasing the incidence of concealed gun carrying. Aggregate handgun sales in Maryland were 15 percent lower after the ban than would have been expected without the law. However, this reduction was not significantly significant. Because legal purchasers of Saturday night specials are more likely than other handgun purchasers to have been arrested prior to the purchase and to be subsequently arrested for violent crimes involving guns (5), the ban may have nevertheless significantly reduced handgun acquisition by persons at increased risk of homicide perpetration. The law may have also reduced concealed gun carrying by banning the sale of easily concealable handguns. Efforts to deter illegal gun carrying in high-crime areas have been shown to significantly reduce criminal shootings (23, 24).

The fact that the law's effects were specific to homicides committed with firearms increases the likelihood that the effects are attributable to the gun law and not to unmeasured factors that affect trends for all homicides. Furthermore, there was no evidence that the reduction in firearm homicide rates associated with the law was negated by an increase in homicides committed with other weapons.

Opponents of the law predicted that it would leave low-income citizens more vulnerable to crime by increasing the price of handguns and would increase the lethality of shootings, because criminals would acquire higher caliber substitutes for Saturday night specials. We could not examine these possible intermediate effects with the data available. Absent such data, the net effects of the law suggest that any negative consequences for homicide rates were apparently outweighed by the law's benefits.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:04 AM on January 6


Using the 10 or more definition, half of all recent mass shootings have involved high-capacity magazines

Well of course, in the same sense that half of all recent bank getaways used automobiles instead of horse-drawn buggies. Most autoloading pistols have standard magazines that hold more than ten rounds. This is presumably because bullets are fairly small. I suspect that you wouldn't find a standard police autoloading pistol that holds fewer than ten rounds. Even compact autoloaders typically hold thirteen or more rounds.

It's dishonest to judge an entire movement based on a few pieces of legislation that never go anywhere.

I'm not sure what you mean by "never go anywhere". You do realize there was an assault weapons ban for many years, right? And that various states have their own restrictions? Those are the "few pieces of legislation" that every gun owner interacts with at point of purchase, you know?
posted by me & my monkey at 9:12 AM on January 6


Again, in the case of the self-defense numbers I provided, it's clear that even if junk guns had been the entirety of the sample, their use would have been many times lower than the half of guns traced to criminal use.

And again, that tells us nothing about the actual suitability to task of a specific gun. It just tells us that criminals prefer cheaper guns. Of course, everybody prefers cheaper everything, right?

All you're telling me here is that you want to define "cosmetic" in a way that includes functionality as opposed to appearance.

I defy you to find anything in the MD law that addresses functionality. Because it simply doesn't exist. Under the law, you can buy pistols just as concealable, in the same calibers, with the same capacity, as you could prior to the law. They simply cost more, in some cases.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:17 AM on January 6


And again, that tells us nothing about the actual suitability to task of a specific gun. It just tells us that criminals prefer cheaper guns. Of course, everybody prefers cheaper everything, right?

Okay, so you're admitting that cheap handguns increase their availability. And thanks to your link we know that they provide a large proportion of weapons used in crimes, at least half (although the Webster study says this rises to 70-80% when adjusted for location and/or demographics). Sure, there's no evidence that they've made self-defense less effective, but that's mainly because the statistics don't show that guns are effective for self-defense at all when compared to how effective they are at committing crimes. Which, I should note, was one of your points that I was responding to above when you quoted Saletan. Anyway, to repeat from the study I excerpted from above:
The fact that the law's effects were specific to homicides committed with firearms increases the likelihood that the effects are attributable to the gun law and not to unmeasured factors that affect trends for all homicides. Furthermore, there was no evidence that the reduction in firearm homicide rates associated with the law was negated by an increase in homicides committed with other weapons.

Opponents of the law predicted that it would leave low-income citizens more vulnerable to crime by increasing the price of handguns and would increase the lethality of shootings, because criminals would acquire higher caliber substitutes for Saturday night specials. We could not examine these possible intermediate effects with the data available. Absent such data, the net effects of the law suggest that any negative consequences for homicide rates were apparently outweighed by the law's benefits.
So why do you keep arguing that it's a useless law? Can you not connect the dots here? All available evidence shows that the effectiveness of of junk gun bans exceed the costs of keeping them in circulation. It seems as if their effectiveness in self-defense would come up at some point, but nobody's been able to do it. So the fact that there's no conclusive evidence that says they're unsuitable for self-defense is essentially meaningless when there is conclusive evidence that they're extremely suitable for crimes.

To put it another way: let's say there's a drug that supposedly helped a tiny percentage of people but was used to kill or seriously sicken by almost everybody else who obtained it. Half of the times the drug killed someone, it was because it was super cheap and available from a corner store. There's no real data that that tiny percentage of people it helped was due to costs or availability. Now, if someone said they wanted to make it so that you couldn't just plunk down a couple bucks at the 7-11 to get this drug, would you honestly tell them that, no, this ban would be useless?

I defy you to find anything in the MD law that addresses functionality. Because it simply doesn't exist. Under the law, you can buy pistols just as concealable, in the same calibers, with the same capacity, as you could prior to the law. They simply cost more, in some cases.

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Maryland
The Board must consider the following characteristics of a handgun in determining whether it should be placed on the roster: concealability, ballistic accuracy, weight, quality of materials, quality of manufacture, reliability as to safety, caliber, detectability (vis-à-vis airport and courthouse security equipment standards), and utility for legitimate sporting activities, self- protection, or law enforcement uses. The Board must “consider carefully” each characteristic, and must not place “undue weight on any one characteristic.”
But I feel like you're picking on the MD law just because you think it's an easy target, which it is as long as you don't read the fine print. Which is why most junk gun bans also include things like drop testing, melting point testing, and additional safety features, none of which are "cosmetic features." Then again, neither is build quality or accuracy, but I get the sense that that's not going to make a difference in your argument.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:03 AM on January 6


I'm not sure what you mean by "never go anywhere". You do realize there was an assault weapons ban for many years, right? And that various states have their own restrictions? Those are the "few pieces of legislation" that every gun owner interacts with at point of purchase, you know?

Actually, a comprehensive review of state gun laws show that you're far more likely to either never interact with restrictions like an AWB and/or live in an area with extremely permissive gun laws.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:17 AM on January 6


me & my monkey: " Well of course, in the same sense that half of all recent bank getaways used automobiles instead of horse-drawn buggies. Most autoloading pistols have standard magazines that hold more than ten rounds. This is presumably because bullets are fairly small. I suspect that you wouldn't find a standard police autoloading pistol that holds fewer than ten rounds. Even compact autoloaders typically hold thirteen or more rounds."

At first I was going to concede this point, since your response changes nothing about the simple, self-evident fact that changing magazines adds some time in between shots, even if it's a small amount. But I decided to look for actual stats on the percent of guns that have more than ten rounds, and I'm seeing numbers that undermine your assertion that high capacity magazines are very common. These are only guns that were seized by law enforcement in one state, so it's not a representative sample of all guns sold in America, but it would be very strange to me if criminals were less likely to be using high-capacity magazines than the general population. Do you have any hard numbers to back up your rather bold automobile vs. horse and buggy analogy?
posted by tonycpsu at 10:49 AM on January 6


you're admitting that cheap handguns increase their availability

Yes, I admit that. If you raise the price of something, people will buy less of it. I don't think this supports your argument, though. You think that banning these specific handguns decreased harm in a way that simply raising the price of all handguns would not, correct? I'm not seeing any evidence of that from the data you've provided.

It seems as if their effectiveness in self-defense would come up at some point, but nobody's been able to do it.

Per your study: "We could not examine these possible intermediate effects with the data available." So, no, without the data, it's hard to make the argument, I'll give you that.

The Board must consider the following characteristics ...

Yeah, that doesn't really get you anywhere. First, there isn't a specific ceiling or floor defined for any of these characteristics. Second, the MD law didn't actually require testing for those characteristics. Instead, gun manufacturers could submit a request for approval, and it would either be accepted or not. And it was very easy for me, as a MD resident, to find guns on the list that were inferior in every way to guns not on the list.

I feel like you're picking on the MD law just because you think it's an easy target, which it is as long as you don't read the fine print

It's the one I'm personally familiar with, having lived in MD most of my life. And having purchased several pistols under that law, I'm almost certainly far more familiar with said fine print than you are.

most junk gun bans also include things like drop testing, melting point testing, and additional safety features, none of which are "cosmetic features."

I think those tests are perfectly ok, in the same way we test cars and appliances, etc. But let's be clear: the most common failure of a handgun, by far, is its failure to fire. And that, by defnition, isn't going to kill anyone. And you would be hard-pressed to find a gun made in the last ten years that would fail any of the tests you mentioned.

you're far more likely to either never interact with restrictions like an AWB

Considering that there was a federal AWB that lasted for ten years, I think it's safe to say that everyone during that time interacted with it. And again, back to MD, there is now a ban of specific "assault weapons" that includes the AR-15 but does not include the Ruger Mini-14 - which is identical in functionality to the average shooter.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:52 AM on January 6


the simple, self-evident fact that changing magazines adds some time in between shots

Except, again, it doesn't, actually. If you eject the magazine before you've emptied the gun, you will have a round in the chamber. You can fire that round while you're inserting another magazine. Again, this is not difficult to do - by design - and any idiot can learn how to do this.

it would be very strange to me if criminals were less likely to be using high-capacity magazines than the general population

Why would that be strange? You can't have it both ways. Either criminals favor junk guns - which typically do not have high-capacity magazines - or they don't. If you're trying to conceal a gun you're carrying, smaller is better. If, on the other hand, you're keeping a pistol for home defense, you don't care how small it is.

Do you have any hard numbers to back up your rather bold automobile vs. horse and buggy analogy?

It depends on how hard you want them to be, unfortunately. We don't really keep national gun sales records, but if you look at the top US handgun manufacturers, it's a pretty short list of companies. Beretta, Sturm Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Glock, SIG Sauer, Taurus, a few others. From there, you can look at the products they sell. If they sell autoloading pistols (all of the above do), these fall into two categories: concealable pistols meant for concealed carry, and "regular" pistols similar to police sidearms. The concealable pistols may have single- or double-column magazines, depending on how concealable they are - the more concealable, the smaller the magazines. This is pretty easy to verify: just go into a gun store or two and see what they're selling.

Guns are not a fast-moving technology. The basics have been worked out long ago, by one guy pretty much. Everything since then has been minor innovations here and there, mostly.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:29 AM on January 6


I'd settle for any numbers, honestly, and at this point, I'd settle for an acknowledgement that changing clips at least increases the cognitive burden for the shooter to maintain the same rate of fire and accuracy. I've already acknowledged that magazine restrictions are a very small part of the solution, so it's not a hill I'm willing to die on against someone who won't admit that it takes time to perform an additional task while you're shooting.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:38 AM on January 6


Consider your wish granted! I'm sure it's an increase in a shooter's cognitive burden.

However, I suspect it's such an infinitesimally small increase that it doesn't support your case for restricting magazine capacity. And for someone not willing to die on that hill, you're spending a lot of time making an assertion that (a) you can't actually demonstrate, and that (b) contradicts the lived experience of many people.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:50 AM on January 6


Oh, bollocks. I conceded early on that magazine restrictions represent a small improvement, and I'm just not inclined to argue over small vs. "infinitesimal." I can't prove that you're overstating how easy it is to change magazines any more than you can prove you aren't. I brought numbers for percentage of high capacity versus not, you brought no numbers. You cited a couple of cosmetic bills over the past few years, I cited many examples from states just over the past year that addressed background checks. What else is there to argue about?
posted by tonycpsu at 12:05 PM on January 6


I conceded early on that magazine restrictions represent a small improvement, and I'm just not inclined to argue over small vs. "infinitesimal."

This word "improvement", I do not think it means what you think it means. Presumably, it means that fewer non-criminals would be shot, right? You've provided no evidence other than the Loughner shooting to indicate it would make any difference at all, and that evidence is very questionable, as has been pointed out repeatedly.

I can't prove that you're overstating how easy it is to change magazines any more than you can prove you aren't.

Given that this is a very simple skill, easily learned and familiar to a large number of people, I don't feel the need to provide additional proof. You can easily verify this for yourself in an afternoon at the range.

I brought numbers for percentage of high capacity versus not, you brought no numbers.

You brought numbers for the magazine capacity of guns recovered in a single state. Getting from there to "most autoloading pistols in circulation don't come with standard magazines that contain more than ten rounds" is not especially easy. On the other hand, if you want, you can find out what guns are currently available for sale, and look at their respective magazine capacities.

You cited a couple of cosmetic bills over the past few years, I cited many examples from states just over the past year that addressed background checks.

And here, again, you missed my point, which was I thought very simple. Gun owners generally oppose gun regulation because a non-trivial amount of that regulation consists of arbitrary and capricious limits. So when they "pick a side" in the gun debate, they pick the anti-regulation side. I, and presumably you, would like to see them pick the other side, no?

But if I haven't made that point by now, I think it's probably time to stop trying.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:27 PM on January 6



And here, again, you missed my point, which was I thought very simple. Gun owners generally oppose gun regulation because a non-trivial amount of that regulation consists of arbitrary and capricious limits. So when they "pick a side" in the gun debate, they pick the anti-regulation side. I, and presumably you, would like to see them pick the other side, no?


I suggest that instead of whining about regulations they don't like, gun owners suggest better regulations and then get them put in place.
posted by Golden Eternity at 1:44 PM on January 6


I suggest to you that instead of whining about the intransigence of the gun lobby, gun-control advocates find ways to split them from their supporting base.

One of our suggestions is more likely to bear fruit than the other. I wonder which one that is?
posted by me & my monkey at 1:50 PM on January 6


me & my monkey: "gun-control advocates find ways to split them from their supporting base"

I don't think you can. Facts do not faze them. Dead children don't faze them. You can't reason with someone with a tenous grasp on reality.
posted by Big_B at 1:58 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Yeah, go ahead and keep dismissing people as mentally deficient for believing they have rights that you don't believe they have. That's pretty much always made the world a better place in the past.
posted by Etrigan at 5:59 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Except you weren't talking about it from an "I wish we'd do a better job regulating handguns" standpoint, you were talking about it as a way to criticize people who suggest anything other than regulating handguns.

I was specifically criticizing the idea of an AWB as a way to decrease homicides. There are many possible ways to do this which as we agree have varying degrees of legislative viability, and unless they focus on handguns the effects will be minimal.

which is why I can't see this as anything other than a desire on your part to undermine the legitimacy of any other ideas that might prevent deaths solely on the basis that they would not prevent as many deaths as a handgun ban

Well I initially referred to "a handgun ban and/or other control measures relating to handguns." There are many sensible handgun regulations that can be implemented without amounting to a defacto ban which would get struck down. I can only assure you that the only other idea I was trying to undermine was an assault weapons ban. I am sorry if I wasn't clear enough about this point.

This is kind of off topic and not something that I've really thought about before, but why can the federal government and states ban assault weapons, but not handguns? Maybe someone who is better acquainted with the jurisprudence surrounding this issue could chime in.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:12 AM on January 7


The Second Amendment seems to contain a couple of non sequiturs. A regulated militia does not seem to be necessary to the security of a free State (I guess this is actually begging the question)

If we didn't have a standing army, which most founders opposed vehemently, how would you suppose a free state would provide security?

it does not follow that there is a right to bear arms for self defense or other purposes (the use of a comma rather than a period seems to indicate the first clause is an intended premise for the second)

I suggest you read Eugene Volokh's paper that I linked earlier. Here it is again. See also this page which I also linked earlier.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:49 AM on January 7


I'd settle for an acknowledgement that changing clips at least increases the cognitive burden for the shooter to maintain the same rate of fire and accuracy.

This really depends on the shooter, and their level of training. It's impossible to get numbers on it, but I'd speculate that for someone not familiar with firearms - ie someone picking up guns for the first time for a rampage - it would probably take at least thirty seconds to change magazines while firing and reacquire the target. However, for someone familiar with firearms, that may drop to fifteen seconds - and someone who has been trained on firearms repetitively, that could drop to under five seconds.

I consider myself moderately competent on firearms. I have been to the range and fired on a host of different things. For me to change a handgun magazine always takes at least 15-20 seconds, 30 if I'm reacquiring a target. I don't own a handgun and get few opportunities to practice with it - thus still have some unfamilarity. For me to change an M16 or AR magazine and reacquire the target, it takes less than 5 and only a few hand motions - one to drop the magazine, one to grab another magazine from a pouch, one to load it, and one to get it ready to fire again. This has nothing to do with the innate qualities of ARs vs handguns - this is because I was a member of the armed forces and trained repetitively (and honestly, boringly) on small, repetitive movements.

Most people fall somewhere in between. So yes: for some people, it does increase the burden. For others, it does not. It really, again, depends on the shooter.
posted by corb at 8:22 AM on January 7


I'm not going to quibble over "extended" versus "high capacity." The legislative proposals I've seen call for banning magazines larger than 10, so that's the definition I'm using for "high capacity." Using the 10 or more definition, half of all recent mass shootings have involved high-capacity magazines

This is kind of a semantic argument, rather than a real one. I don't think it's your fault, because you are not super familiar with guns, but on many, many firearms, the natural mag capacity is higher than ten. That's not an "extended" /or/ "high capacity" magazine - that's just a normal magazine. For ARs, it's usually a 20 round magazine. For handguns, it can go up to 17 as far as I recall (though I'm worse on handguns). That means it would take extra effort to modify them to take less bullets, and it would be trivially easy to remove said modifications if the person wanted to do so. That is the practical reason not to ban these size of magazines.

Magazines larger than this are magazines specially designed to be high capacity. Most people don't use these, and they tend to jam a lot. This is what shooters think of as extended or high capacity mags. You guys are talking past each other, but it doesn't even have to be intentionally.
posted by corb at 8:28 AM on January 7


AElfwine Evenstar: " I was specifically criticizing the idea of an AWB as a way to decrease homicides. There are many possible ways to do this which as we agree have varying degrees of legislative viability, and unless they focus on handguns the effects will be minimal... There are many sensible handgun regulations that can be implemented without amounting to a defacto ban which would get struck down."

OK, so how about instead of arguing against something nobody here has proposed, and that hasn't been the focus of the gun control movement in decades, you engage with the arguments actually being made here? What are some of these sensible regulations that you think could pass at the federal level, or at the state/municipal levels in places where they haven't already been attempted? Five or six states were able to get universal background checks at the state level after Newtown, while some others tried and failed. What else should people who want "sensible handgun regulations" be pushing for that they haven't already?

I'm not trying to be confrontational here -- I honestly want to know what it is you think the gun control movement could actually get out of the current political system that they're supposedly leaving on the table.

AElfwine Evenstar: " This is kind of off topic and not something that I've really thought about before, but why can the federal government and states ban assault weapons, but not handguns? Maybe someone who is better acquainted with the jurisprudence surrounding this issue could chime in."

Scalia touches on this in his Heller opinion:
"Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited," Scalia cautioned in his opinion. "From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. ... For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues."
..
"Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our [majority] opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

"We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. [Precedent says] that the sorts of weapons protected were those 'in common use at the time' [the Second Amendment was approved]. ... We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of 'dangerous and unusual weapons.'"
Now, the devil is in the details, and I have no idea what light (if any) has been shed on the exact definition of "dangerous and unusual" in subsequent cases, but it's clear that even the Second Amendment's most strident defenders understand that Congress can make constitutional laws that restrict specific kinds of firearms. He does imply earlier in the opinion that the phrase means anything that's used normally by law-abiding citizens for self-defense, but that's of course tautological, since the Court decides what's lawful, so this seems like an obvious dodge of the question (not atypical in Supreme Court cases.)

So, if anything, when you complain about things like bans of specific gun features or magazine capacities, you can thank the Supremes for not being clearer about what kind of restrictions are Constitutional. There's no way for lawmakers to ask them for a clarification without passing a law that restricts firearms in ways that the Court hasn't ruled on specifically yet.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:54 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


corb: "This really depends on the shooter, and their level of training. It's impossible to get numbers on it, but I'd speculate that for someone not familiar with firearms - ie someone picking up guns for the first time for a rampage - it would probably take at least thirty seconds to change magazines while firing and reacquire the target. However, for someone familiar with firearms, that may drop to fifteen seconds - and someone who has been trained on firearms repetitively, that could drop to under five seconds."

"Could drop to under five seconds" sounds like a much more reasonable estimate to me than the ones others have been asserting. I don't see how anyone could say that the possibility of having a five second break in a mass shooter's rampage couldn't be useful.

corb: "This is kind of a semantic argument, rather than a real one."

It appears you didn't read the part of the thread where I pointed out that the distinction is immaterial, because I'm using "high capacity" to mean "10 or more" which is what some legislative proposals have used, and the exact number is immaterial to the question of whether changing magazines requires more effort than shooting, which it does. The fact that some guns come with standard magazines larger than 10 doesn't mean anything to me, because I'm asserting that a limit of 10 would be useful, whether that means limiting "extended" magazines, or limiting the original "standard" magazines.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:59 AM on January 7


I don't see how anyone could say that the possibility of having a five second break in a mass shooter's rampage couldn't be useful.


Tactically, everything can be useful, down to the weather on the day he's shooting. But from my opinion, the usefulness in such a situation is outweighed by the extreme inconvenience in other situations - which is always kind of the delicate balancing act you do with laws. Personally, I'd rather forego the 5 second break than risk that in a self defense situation, 10 rounds would not be enough to put down an assailant. (Because honestly, outside of a combat situation, no one carries extra magazines and it would be super-paranoid to do so.)

What are some of these sensible regulations that you think could pass at the federal level, or at the state/municipal levels in places where they haven't already been attempted?

Sensible regulations that could pass:

1) firearm safety classes, if paid for by the government.
2) Universal background checks, if they were allowed to be done by private citizens without keeping records, and didn't require a large fee. Honestly, I'm still not sure what the arguments are against this one. What's wrong with private citizens being able to see people's background checks without becoming "authorized gun dealers"?
posted by corb at 12:11 PM on January 7


Am I to understand that it's super-paranoid to carry a second magazine, but not super-paranoid to think you'll need more than ten rounds?

corb: "1) firearm safety classes, if paid for by the government."

Mandatory firearm safety classes?

corb: "What's wrong with private citizens being able to see people's background checks without becoming "authorized gun dealers"?"

The same things that would be wrong with private citizens being used to regulate markets, or pollution, or anything else. We need not get into this "does government need to regulate anything" derail again.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:19 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


I think you're misreading me, tonycpsu. What I'm saying is, "What is wrong with private citizens being able to see people's FBI instant-background checks?" Not, "What is wrong with private citizens being able to do their own background checks like 'you look trustworthy'?"

In terms of firearm safety classes: yes, mandatory, if it would be able to be done without keeping records (which I'm not sure how it could be done, possibly by attending as a number? But that's an implementation question) and while still allowing people to purchase guns for other people. And no, I don't mean firearms dealing, I mean, "I'd like to get my son a rifle." (Or daughter. Daughters could get rifles too.)

The reason it's super-paranoid to carry a second magazine, in my eyes, is because it assumes a situation in which you will be in an extended firefight. As I noted above, the time it takes to reload a handgun is not insignificant - thus, you're assuming you will need those bullets not in the immediacy of the situation, but that you'll be, say, holed up behind somewhere providing suppressive fire. Which is just not likely with a handgun.

Again, that's just my opinion. Maybe someone who can grab a handgun magazine and reload quickly while not actually wearing an ammo pouch has a different one.
posted by corb at 12:28 PM on January 7


Well, while I personally would be happy to devote a significant amount of federal funds to pay for mandatory safety training, I suspect the impact on handgun violence would be small. It'd put some downward pressure on accidents, and I'm all for that even though accidents represent just a tiny portion of gun deaths, but I don't see how there would be any effect on murders and suicides.

With respect to your background check proposal, everything except the ability for anyone to pull up anyone's background check was included in the Manchin-Toomey proposal, including the "friends and family" exemptions. It failed. Are you seriously suggesting that if gun control proponents offered to open up the background checks to public access that this would change the equation?

And with respect to:

The reason it's super-paranoid to carry a second magazine, in my eyes, is because it assumes a situation in which you will be in an extended firefight.

I don't see how this is any different of a level of paranoia than wanting an 11th or 16th or 31st bullet in a single magazine.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:39 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


From what I recall - and I could be wrong - where the background checks portion failed is that it proposed to keep records of whose background records were requested, and also did not allow private citizens access to the network. It would have allowed gun dealers access to the website, but private gun sellers would have had to come in to their local police station to get the background check done.

I am seriously suggesting that if the background checks were public access, and no records were kept of who they were performed on, there would be a lot more momentum. Hell, I'd personally campaign for that. I have no interest in felons getting guns either - I just don't want it to turn away honest citizens.
posted by corb at 12:45 PM on January 7


corb: " where the background checks portion failed is that it proposed to keep records of whose background records were requested, and also did not allow private citizens access to the network."

Sorry, but there is no evidence of this at all. The Senators who ended up opposing it generally had political reasons for doing so, and would not have accepted such a deal.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:55 PM on January 7


But why should a random person, who may or may not have a gun to sell, be able to log on to Background Check Central (or whatever) and look me up, when I don't have an interest in buying a gun (I already own one, and one's plenty for me)? And be able, I guess, to do it for free? At least those "Find out about your date!" online investigative companies charge enough money to chase off the lazy and cheap. I know that in some states, private sellers must perform background checks, and they do so through a licensed gun dealer. Why is that unacceptable?

And I don't know why mandatory safety training would have to be free. If I want to have a protest in front of city hall, I might have to get a permit and that costs money. If I want to open a church, I might have to get a permit/apply for a zoning exemption, and that costs money.
posted by rtha at 12:58 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Do you have counterevidence of what forces you think sunk the background check proposal?

I'm on, unsurprisingly, a lot of gun rights mailing lists, so I get the "call to action" emails, and I know what we were encouraged (and I did) to call our legislators about. I think my opinions on this aren't unusual. Sure, I can't necessarily "prove" it, but I think that I've at least got a better handle on what concerns are there.

The real question, though, is: do you see any problems with what I've proposed? If not, why not go for it? If you can have something that gun owners won't mind and that gun control advocates would go for, why not go for it?
posted by corb at 12:59 PM on January 7


Oh, shit, didn't see the preview button pop up.

The problem with people having to do it through licensed gun dealers is that it means there's a government-side way to tell who is selling and buying the guns, which is pretty much a no-go for a lot of people. I could go into why, and will if needed, but suffice it to say that a government list of who owns guns is many gun owner's boogieman.

As to why free, because otherwise you're denying the privilege to those who can't pay, disarming the poor while permitting the non-poor to have guns. (I have issues with the free speech stuff too, but that's a discussion for a different day.)
posted by corb at 1:03 PM on January 7


corb: "Do you have counterevidence of what forces you think sunk the background check proposal?"

Why yes, I happen to have Mr. McLuhan Toomey right here:
For much of the previous week, he and amendment co-author U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., had implored skeptics to simply read the language of their proposal.

Toomey declared it was written solely “to make it a little bit more difficult for the people who aren't supposed to have firearms in the first place to obtain them.”

But in the end, the proposal was scuttled by rumor and innuendo – particularly the steadfast belief that the amendment would create a national registry of gun owners.
...
Both senators could see the downfall of their amendment days before the vote was even taken.

Earlier in the week, Manchin spoke of “outside pressure” and legislators' incessant worry of “getting elected” as he cajoled his colleagues from the Senate floor.

“The only thing I'm asking my colleagues who've heard something, or been told something, or gotten threatening phone calls is to read the bill,” he said Monday. “It's only 49 pages long.”

But for the powerful gun lobby and Second Amendment purists, that was 49 pages too many.
I'm on, unsurprisingly, a lot of gun rights mailing lists, so I get the "call to action" emails, and I know what we were encouraged (and I did) to call our legislators about. I think my opinions on this aren't unusual. Sure, I can't necessarily "prove" it, but I think that I've at least got a better handle on what concerns are there.

You have a handle on what the stated concerns are, but no more a handle on what deal the NRA would actually accept. Given that opponents were making shit up about a gun registry that was specifically prohibited in the language of the bill, it's quite clear they weren't going to flip over background checks being accessible to the public.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:19 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


The bill did ban a specific type of registry, but it didn't ban the collection of the information that could ultimately later be used to create a registry, and it weakened the definition of a national registry. (The Problem With Manchin-Toomey has more) If you'll forgive my analogy, it's a lot like the law that allowed the NSA to collect intelligence on American citizens, as long as they agreed not to view it or hold onto it - and we see how long that lasted. I don't think people not trusting governmental promises about keeping citizen data private and safe are necessarily being crazy about things.
When people complain that DHS (or the Social Security Administration) is violating the ban on federal gun registration, DHS and Social Security can reply, accurately, that they are doing no such thing. Manchin-Toomey specifically defines “national gun registry” as only something which is under the control of the attorney general, which Homeland Security and Social Security are not...

Or, to take another approach, suppose that Eric Holder decides to repeal the Ashcroft regulation, and begins keeping instant-check records for three years. He won’t be violating Manchin-Toomey, because instant check records of gun sale approvals by the FBI aren’t records that belong to gun sellers or health-insurance entities — they already belong to the FBI.
posted by corb at 1:27 PM on January 7


Do you think a Tea Party Republican Senator in a pro-gun state like Pennsylvania would back a proposal that would increase the chances of a national gun registry? Do you think the ACLU would have supported it if they thought it would increase the chance of the government restricting someone's constitutional right? Do you think all of the gun owner groups Toomey got to sign on to the bill were somehow hoodwinked? Do you think all all of these people whose job it is to understand the legislation are wrong, but one National Review columnist is right?

And please spare us the specious comparison of federal law enforcement to a clandestine branch of the military in terms of what they could possibly get away with.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:56 PM on January 7


I think that a bill that is rushed through makes bad law. I don't think it was intentionally increasing the chances of a national registry, but I think that in its fine points, it left room for it, which made people nervous.

As for the ACLU, when was the last time the ACLU ever took a robust view of the Second Amendment, anyway? And what does supporting gun control have to do with supporting civil liberties? Them supporting the bill showed how far they've come from their core mission.
posted by corb at 6:40 PM on January 7


corb: "I think that a bill that is rushed through makes bad law. I don't think it was intentionally increasing the chances of a national registry, but I think that in its fine points, it left room for it, which made people nervous."

The status quo also left room for a national registry, but without the language saying there can be no registry, and without the massive criminal penalties to anyone who uses collected data to create such a registry. There's no evidence that Manchin-Toomey made this more likely than doing nothing.

corb: "As for the ACLU, when was the last time the ACLU ever took a robust view of the Second Amendment, anyway? And what does supporting gun control have to do with supporting civil liberties? Them supporting the bill showed how far they've come from their core mission."

The ACLU has always been very interested in what governments are doing with big databases of information about Americans. They initially weighed in on Manchin-Toomey with concerns about the possibility of a gun registry, but when the language was changed, said that the bill would have reduced the possibility of such a registry. I don't really see the problem with them getting involved when a gun control bill overlaps with their usual areas of concern.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:08 PM on January 7


School Board Member Quits Over His Planned Sandy Hook Ammo Handout
posted by Artw at 2:27 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Two children shot at middle school in New Mexico.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:40 PM on January 14


Retired cop guns down man for texting at Florida movie
posted by Artw at 1:19 PM on January 14


I'd be curious to see what precisely the physical altercation was. They make it sound like he shot someone who was texting, but it looks like the guy texting initiated a physical conflict after the cop complained to the theater management.
posted by corb at 1:22 PM on January 14


He's probably just a regular guy who likes carrying a gun and starting fights with people in public places, like George Zimmerman.
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on January 14 [3 favorites]


Apparently voices were raised and popcorn was thrown. Clearly guns make the world safer and aren't just for assholes to bolster their ego at the expense of endangering everybody else.
posted by Artw at 1:34 PM on January 14


Unless the physical contact initiated was "called in a fucking airstrike danger close" then it doesn't really matter who started it, it matters which rage-fuelled assbag pulled a gun and shot someone over a popcorn fight.
posted by elizardbits at 2:36 PM on January 14 [5 favorites]


Really it's astonishing that only two people were hit.
posted by Artw at 2:43 PM on January 14


[A few comments deleted. Please knock it off?]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:37 PM on January 14


[Current-events updates in somewhat-related threads are something that are basically ok even if strictly speaking a bit of a derail; but following them up with a bunch of other events from recent years is even more of a derail and opens a debate on the current-events thing, which ends up being yes, a derail. Even more so if it's just the same tiny handful of people going over and over a thing they've been over a million times. That is what I mean by please knock it off.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:52 PM on January 14


Are concealed guns about self-defense or power?
posted by Artw at 2:46 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Gunman, two others dead in Indiana supermarket shooting

What appears to be Bair's Facebook page contains disturbing, bloody images and posts, including a man's bloodied face. His "likes" include the National Rifle Association, God, and the National Association for Gun Rights.

Huh. No "Liberal Gun Club"?
posted by Big_B at 10:28 AM on January 16


Gunman, two others dead in Indiana supermarket shooting

Wow, thank God that guy didn't have an assault rifle.


Are concealed guns about self-defense or power?
“There are a lot of people dead today who would be alive but for [a gun carrier] who gets angry and accelerates an argument to a homicide,” says Kristen Rand, legislative director at the Violence Policy Center in Washington. “It’s very clear that carrying a concealed gun creates a mindset among some people that, ‘I’ve got a gun, the state sanctions it, therefore I have a right to use it’ ” in public.

The number of guns in the US has exploded to more than 300 million, and about 40 percent of all US homes contain sidearms. As many as 8 million Americans have concealed-carry permits today compared with 1 million in the early 1990s. No one knows how many of those people are actually carrying a weapon on their person regularly, though some estimates put the proportion of armed people at no more than 4 percent of any given crowd.

This month Illinois, following the passage last summer of court-ordered legislation, became the last US state to allow citizens to apply for a permit. In one poll, 20 percent of Illinois residents said they want permission to pack a concealed weapon.
...
“With alarming regularity, individuals licensed to carry concealed weapons instigate fatal shootings that have nothing to do with self-defense,” the Violence Policy Center's Ms. Rand said in a statement commenting on the Florida shooting.
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:09 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


The NRA Literally Wrote Florida's New Bill to Legalize Warning Shots
posted by homunculus at 2:01 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Gun Industry Already Looking Forward To 2016 Election Paranoia For Even Bigger Profit
posted by homunculus at 2:02 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


"A person with a firearm is a citizen, a person without a firearm is a victim." - The NRA philosophy in one.
posted by Artw at 3:33 PM on January 17


There Has Been An Average Of One School Shooting Every Other School Day So Far This Year
posted by jeffburdges at 4:35 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


From the first paragraph: "Though the sample size is far too small to draw any definitive conclusions.."

Also: it's actually a really good thing to amend the law to allow for brandishing or warning shots, and it allows for less lethality. One of the things well known among gun owners and aficionados is that the laws are currently written generally in such a fucked up way that you really have to try to shoot to kill if you feel threatened, whether or not you want to, because otherwise you could be charged that you weren't really in fear for your life. Even if you know that the mere showing of the gun or the firing of a warning shot to show that it is loaded could have ended the conflict non-lethally.

Personally, I think everyone should have the right to fire warning shots - not everyone wants to take another life, and the taking of another life does affect you, even if you were completely right to do it. But if the goal is less death, then you should be standing up and cheering for the right of people to take intermediary measures between "do nothing and be assaulted" and "kill your assailant."
posted by corb at 8:16 AM on January 24


Why stop there? Why not just allow wounding injuries? Like you're allowed to shoot someone in the leg, but not in the chest or head. Surely that would stop the conflict non-lethally.
posted by Big_B at 8:29 AM on January 24


Big_B, that's a pretty glib response. Very few people are skilled enough to shoot an assailant in the leg, and leg wounds can also be fatal pretty easy. There's a reason that firearms training teaches you to shoot "center-mass".

Let me relate my own personal, anecdotal experience. Over 20 years ago, I used to live in a fairly high-crime area. I'd just gotten out of the Army, and I delivered pizzas. Pizza delivery people are common targets for holdups, even though they don't have a lot of money on them. Several of my coworkers were held up. So, I bought a small, cheap handgun for personal defense.

Later on, I was held up. The guy who held me up was a young, poor kid, with an even smaller, cheaper handgun - a little .22 revolver. And he was probably more scared than I was. But he was pointing a .22 at me, telling me to give him my money and my bike - which is what I used to make money. So, I had a choice. I could do one of three things. I could give him my stuff, but without the bike I'd lose my job and I didn't have a lot of cash at the time. I could justifiably shoot him - if I did that, I wouldn't actually get in any real trouble, because it would be pretty clear what had happened. I found both of those options unpalatable. So, instead, I did what I'd been trained to do in the Army (for guard duty, specifically) - I drew my small handgun and fired a single warning shot. That scared the shit out of him and he took off. A few minutes later, the police came by and picked me up. All they could tell was that I'd fired a shot, which was a minor but annoying misdemeanor charge. (They actually thought I'd fired two shots, since when they cleared the handgun the round in the chamber dropped onto the floor of the police cruiser - back then, I think they carried revolvers and many officers just weren't that familiar with autoloaders.) I spent the rest of the day in jail. The guy in charge of booking told me, "you should have just given him all six" - this was something I heard repeatedly from various officers again and again. They told me I wouldn't have even spent the day in jail.

I ended up getting embroiled in the court system, and having to explain what happened to prospective employers until eventually I got it expunged from court records. But just as recently as last year I had to go through the whole thing to a government investigator for a dumb-ass clearance that would let me work on an agency's web servers, etc. My gun was confiscated, of course - fair enough, I guess - and I was for a time prevented from buying a replacement. I eventually solved this problem by getting a job where I was much less likely to be held up, and moving to a richer area. Now, I live in a place where gun ownership is very restricted, but neighborhoods are save, and I got rid of my guns in the process of moving, and am very happy and content with that. But there are a lot of places where, if I lived , I'd feel the need to provide for my own safety.

Looking back now, I'm very glad I did what I did, rather than shooting him. Had I shot him, he would very likely have died. I'm very lucky things turned out the way they did. But that wasn't the lesson provided by the legal system and law enforcement.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:49 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


I'm confused, are you for the warning shot or not? Sort of feels like you're in the "give em all six" camp. You're glad you didn't shoot him because he would have died, but at the same time feel wronged by the legal system?

And thanks, I've had firearms training, grown up with guns (I own more than corb does!) and never got held up when I delivered pizzas for 4 years in college.
posted by Big_B at 10:41 AM on January 24


Everyone owns more than corb does. *sob* *mutter stupid paperwork laws mutter*

In seriousness, though, me & my monkey kind of highlights what I feel. I don't know if it's because we're both Army veterans and it's because we were trained like that, or if I would have come to the idea independently, but I think escalation-of-force (show the weapon, fire a warning shot, fire if you have to) has the ability to save lives and sanity.
posted by corb at 10:53 AM on January 24


I'm confused, are you for the warning shot or not?

Uh, yeah. I'm not sure how you could read what I wrote and not come to that conclusion.

Sort of feels like you're in the "give em all six" camp.

No. Again, I'm not sure how you got there from here given I wrote "I'm very glad what I did.'

You're glad you didn't shoot him because he would have died, but at the same time feel wronged by the legal system?

Yes. Both of those are correct. I don't see where they're contradictory. I solved the conflict without violence, and was punished for that. Had I solved it with violence, in all likelihood I would not have been punished for that. This seems to me to be a pretty clear disincentive to doing "the right thing".

I've had firearms training, grown up with guns (I own more than corb does!) and never got held up when I delivered pizzas for 4 years in college.

Good for you! I'm not sure how that's relevant to anything. Most people never get held up. But clearly some people are held up. I was one of those people. I'm glad you weren't, but the simple fact is, in many jurisdictions, you would be similarly punished if you responded the way I did, and not punished for shooting your assailant. I have the same problem with laws that criminalize warning shots as I do with extreme "stand-your-ground" laws - they make a violent outcome more likely.

But if you had firearms training, why the snide comment about aiming for the leg? You should know better, no?
posted by me & my monkey at 11:38 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


me & my monkey, just out of curiosity, where did your warning shot land?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:02 PM on January 24


me & my monkey: " I solved the conflict without violence, and was punished for that. Had I solved it with violence, in all likelihood I would not have been punished for that. This seems to me to be a pretty clear disincentive to doing "the right thing"."

This is probably where it seems contradictory to me, because you DID solve the conflict with violence - you fired a weapon. That is a violent act in my opinion. Had you given him your bike and the pizza you would not have been punished at all, other than being out a bike and having to tell your boss you got robbed. The latter would, I agree, suck, but would it have sucked more or less than having to deal with the court system and all the other aftermath you mentioned?
posted by Big_B at 12:04 PM on January 24


Firing a weapon at a safe backstop is not an act of violence - it is the propulsion of a small, inanimate piece of material, that lands in another inanimate object. No animate objects are necessarily harmed.
posted by corb at 12:14 PM on January 24


just out of curiosity, where did your warning shot land?

Right in the asphalt where I put it. It's probably still there.

This is probably where it seems contradictory to me, because you DID solve the conflict with violence - you fired a weapon. That is a violent act in my opinion.

On the scale of violent acts possible in this situation, it's pretty low, don't you think?

Had you given him your bike and the pizza you would not have been punished at all, other than being out a bike and having to tell your boss you got robbed. The latter would, I agree, suck, but would it have sucked more or less than having to deal with the court system and all the other aftermath you mentioned?

Not being able to make money would be worse than getting a misdemeanor. Money is what I needed to move to someplace less shooty.

You seem to be wilfully missing the point, though, which is pretty simple. Laws currently favor a more violent solution over a less violent one. Setting aside my own reaction, shooting the kid would have been the best possible outcome in that situation - I would have kept my possessions and not faced the same legal consequences. Don't you think that's a bad idea in the same way that the laws used to justify George Zimmerman's shooting are a bad idea?
posted by me & my monkey at 12:34 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


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