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The Agony of the Liberal Gun Lover
June 17, 2014 12:49 PM   Subscribe

"For a long time, being both liberal and a gun owner didn’t seem like a big deal. 'Guns were certainly an issue,' Robinson says, 'but owning firearms wasn’t enough to get you tossed out of the movement.' After Sandy Hook, though, that changed 'with a speed that was truly breathtaking.'"
posted by under_petticoat_rule (182 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
to liberals who support the kind of black balling robinson experienced -

do you REALLY want to live in a country where only conservatives have the guns?
posted by pyramid termite at 12:57 PM on June 17 [37 favorites]


But at the same time, he argues that guns offer an especially important measure of protection to minority groups usually identified with the left. “Our transgender, LGBT, African American members, they’ll talk about real oppression,” he says. “The police aren’t going to come. That’s meaningful defense.”

OK, I don't know if this quote was intended to enrage, but if there are places in this country where the police will not protect you because you are gay, getting a gun isn't the answer to that problem.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:58 PM on June 17 [37 favorites]


Dear God. The horrible awful tyranny of the LIBERAL ANTI-GUN MOVEMENT.

I mean, look what they did:

Last December, when the prominent gun journalist Dick Metcalf penned a column in Guns & Ammo magazine arguing that “all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be,” there was immediate, harsh backlash. According to the New York Times, “Readers threatened to cancel their subscriptions. Death threats poured in by email. His television program was pulled from the air.” Metcalf was fired within days.

Oh wait, that wasn't them. That was crazy gun nuts. But kicking someone off of an email list is pretty much identical and the author does a really good job of making a fair and balanced case of it.
posted by artichoke_enthusiast at 12:58 PM on June 17 [48 favorites]


OK, I don't know if this quote was intended to enrage, but if there are places in this country where the police will not protect you because you are gay, getting a gun isn't the answer to that problem.

What is the answer? I mean, obviously it's "make the justice system less fucked," but I'm not holding my breath, you know?
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:00 PM on June 17 [7 favorites]


OK, I don't know if this quote was intended to enrage, but if there are places in this country where the police will not protect you because you are gay, getting a gun isn't the answer to that problem.

Sometimes people can't or won't move, and changing the police takes time. Like it or not, responsible use of a firearm can save a life. Pretending that guns are an unalloyed negative in every case is neither true nor helpful.
posted by Etrigan at 1:02 PM on June 17 [42 favorites]


What is the answer? I mean, obviously it's "make the justice system less fucked," but I'm not holding my breath, you know?

Getting the guns off the streets is a good solution, too.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:03 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


But at the same time, he argues that guns offer an especially important measure of protection to minority groups usually identified with the left. “Our transgender, LGBT, African American members, they’ll talk about real oppression,” he says. “The police aren’t going to come. That’s meaningful defense.”
And in those same places, if you shoot someone in self-defense and you're transgender, LGBT, African-American, or any combination of the above, you're going to spend the rest of your life in jail for murder. I wouldn't judge anyone in that situation who got a gun, but guns aren't a solution to that problem.

I don't know. I know people who have guns, and I live in place where many people, including people I generally think of as reasonable, support gun rights. I'm not going to kick anyone off of the island because they're pro-gun. But I hate guns, I think that most pro-gun arguments really suck, and I don't think that this is an issue where we can all just sing Kumbaya and agree to disagree.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:03 PM on June 17 [40 favorites]


I always wonder: Is there any gun-owner, liberal or conservative, who would admit that they were an irresponsible gun owner?

I think it's a shame that we can only talk about how dangerous guns are when there is a mass shooting. I don't support gun control just because of mass shootings, I support gun control because children die every day. Because even if guns are stored safely, the risk of homicide and suicide increases in homes with guns.

And even worse, we can't talk about this. We can't say, "I feel unsafe around someone with a deadly weapon" without being characterized as cruel or insensitive towards women and minorities.
posted by muddgirl at 1:05 PM on June 17 [48 favorites]


I like this article. It's possible to support stricter gun control, or even banning all guns, without being totally reactionary and enforcing ideological purity at all costs. Why isn't there room for people who feel this way? I have never so much as handled a gun, but I, too, am pretty frustrated by the fact that there's no real space for liberal gun owners, even those who support stricter controls and enforcement.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:05 PM on June 17 [10 favorites]


(And to be "fair to both sides", I feel extremely unsafe around law enforcement officers who are packing heat, too. Making people afraid of getting shot is kind of why they carry a gun in the first place.)

but I, too, am pretty frustrated by the fact that there's no real space for liberal gun owners

...except all the spaces mentioned in the article?
posted by muddgirl at 1:07 PM on June 17


do you REALLY want to live in a country where only conservatives have the guns?

That's basically where we are now, as far as outcomes go. We already live in a country where conservatives decide gun-related and other public health policies on the basis of free market economics that defend gun purchases above all other considerations. That ship has long since sailed off into the sunset.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:07 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


OK, I don't know if this quote was intended to enrage, but if there are places in this country where the police will not protect you because you are gay, getting a gun isn't the answer to that problem.

The police won't protect you anywhere. Really. It's not their job. Their job is to investigate crime after it occurs. They are not there to prevent crime (that's what private security is for; if you can afford it).

That being said, some police forces have beat officers, to walk the streets - their mere presence deters crime, but that is a different thing than protecting someone who is in imminent danger.

(note: I don't think guns are the answer either, but having a clear understanding of the role of police is helpful in setting expectations).
posted by el io at 1:08 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


to liberals who support the kind of black balling robinson experienced

do you REALLY want to live in a country where only conservatives have the guns?


Given that a likely result of someone owning a gun is them killing themselves or a member of their family, maybe conservatives should be asking themselves that question.
posted by goethean at 1:08 PM on June 17 [22 favorites]


And to add on to what I just said, there's no black and white here. It's a game of inches. The less rounds in a mag the less shots a shooter can take, the less people a shooter can shoot before forced to give up their supreme tactical advantage. The more times a shooter has to reload the more chances to disable them.

There's every bit of difference that can be made with every bullet that gets removed from a mag.
posted by Talez at 1:09 PM on June 17 [6 favorites]


It's possible to support stricter gun control, or even banning all guns, without being totally reactionary and enforcing ideological purity at all costs. Why isn't there room for people who feel this way?

There's plenty of room. Note that the closest the reporter could come to a statistic was "most of the LGC members I interviewed report having strained or lost friendships among fellow liberals on account of their interest in guns.", and two people who said they'd been ostracized (with a couple more who hinted at it). This is the political equivalent of an NYT trends article.
posted by Etrigan at 1:09 PM on June 17 [21 favorites]


...except all the spaces mentioned in the article?

I mean within the greater liberal movement. Anti-vaxxers are more tolerated in liberal circles than pro-gun people, it seems like.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:10 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


The police won't protect you anywhere. Really. It's not their job. T

I don't know where you live, but I regularly see NYPD clearly on the beat on my subway from the Upper West Side to FiDi. If they aren't protecting us, I'm not sure what they are doing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:10 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


If they aren't protecting us, I'm not sure what they are doing.

Arresting black kids with half an ounce of weed?
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:11 PM on June 17 [65 favorites]


showbiz_liz: I mean within the greater liberal movement. Anti-vaxxers are more tolerated in liberal circles than pro-gun people, it seems like.

Please don't extrapolate what you read on the Internet with what goes on in the real world.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:11 PM on June 17 [7 favorites]


It strikes me as a complete fantasy that liberals enforce ideological purity on guns. If they did, liberal politicians wouldn't jump at every chance to have their picture taken with them and say things like:

"Kate, if you want to protect yourself, get a double barreled shotgun," Biden responded. "I promise you, as I told my wife, we live in an area that's wooded and somewhat secluded. I said, Jill, if there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put [up] that double barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house."


So much anti-gun purity!
posted by Drinky Die at 1:12 PM on June 17 [10 favorites]


Arresting black kids with half an ounce of weed?

That also, unfortunately.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:12 PM on June 17


BIDEN'S A-COMIN' WITH HIS SHOTTY, Y'ALL.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:12 PM on June 17 [8 favorites]


If nothing else, I personally feel that liberal gun owners who support stricter laws give more credibility to initiatives to enact those laws.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:13 PM on June 17 [4 favorites]


showbiz_liz: If nothing else, I personally feel that liberal gun owners who support stricter laws give more credibility to initiatives to enact those laws.

Um, did you perhaps mean that the other way around, and if not, can you unpack what you mean a bit?
posted by tonycpsu at 1:14 PM on June 17


Like, the default "liberal" position is stricter laws, so I don't see how liberals supporting stricter laws lends them more credibility.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:14 PM on June 17


About a decade or so ago now, a friend of mine tried to start a chapter of the Pink Pistols in Portland (LGTBQ gun club). It didn't go over very well, but I think that's ultimately going to be the demise of gun ownership in America- the NRA became very partisan, non-inclusive, and intolerant of any heresy or moderation on the position of gun regulation. As a consequence, and as this Sara Robinson has discovered, gun ownership has become a tribal matter, rather than a hobby preference. At one point, gun ownership could be likened to owning a boat or an airplane- a hobby with some dangerous aspects or potential. But now, it's a partisan divide.

By tying gun ownership so heavily into identity politics, the NRA has ensured the eventual extinction of guns in America as the demographics change.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 1:16 PM on June 17 [23 favorites]


I mean, if a person actually uses guns, understands guns, likes guns, and yet supports stricter laws around guns, that means something different than if a person who knows nothing about guns and has never handled one supports stricter gun laws.

Of course not having handled a gun doesn't mean you shouldn't have an opinion on the matter, that would be nuts, but having both kinds of people in the tent is good, isn't it?
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:17 PM on June 17 [13 favorites]


Like, the default "liberal" position is stricter laws, so I don't see how liberals supporting stricter laws lends them more credibility.

The Relationship Between Gun Ownership and Firearm Homicide Rates in the United States, 1981–2010: We observed a robust correlation between higher levels of gun ownership and higher firearm homicide rates. Although we could not determine causation, we found that states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:17 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


Well, I think he probably meant "gun owners supporting stricter laws" gives more credibility, and that's probably true.

I'm a liberal gun owner. I don't carry and I don't own anything for self protection. If I don't keep my mouth shut at the range I get looked down on by most of the (conservative) members and if I don't keep my mouth shut other places I do kinda get looked down on by liberal non-gun-owners. It's OK though.
posted by RustyBrooks at 1:18 PM on June 17 [9 favorites]


Both the common tropes "guns are necessary to resisting government tyranny" and "...the police are not going to come." are at the heart of the disconnect between the hardline pro-gun folks and, frankly, the rest of the political landscape.

Both arguments are de facto resignations from the political process. Because both governmental overreach and ineffective policing are actually political problems, policy questions, which at least in theory can be resolved or improved through engagement, campaigning, protest, electioneering, and political organizing. And these pro-gun arguments totally ignore those channels for addressing the stated threats/problems.

Claiming the fix for insufficient police protection is unregulated armed force, or claiming the tool to ensure a compliant government is violent resistance, is a sin not just against one's country, elected public servants, neighbors, and fellow citizens, it's a slur against civilization itself.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 1:18 PM on June 17 [41 favorites]


Like, the default "liberal" position is stricter laws, so I don't see how liberals supporting stricter laws lends them more credibility.

I think I can tackle that one. Liberals that are gun owners and support responsible gun usage don't have an end goal of the elimination of firearms altogether. Frankly many folks on the gun control side really want to incrementally remove gun rights as far as they can.

Liberal gun owners who support stricter gun control laws still want to be gun owners, and believe there is nothing inherently evil in owning a gun.
posted by el io at 1:19 PM on June 17 [14 favorites]


showbiz_liz: I mean, if a person actually uses guns, understands guns, likes guns, and yet supports stricter laws around guns, that means something different than if a person who knows nothing about guns and has never handled one supports stricter gun laws.

Ah, I see. And I totally agree. Thanks for clarifying.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:20 PM on June 17


Liberal gun owners who support stricter gun control laws still want to be gun owners, and believe there is nothing inherently evil in owning a gun.

This is true. But also, if the united states decided that it's citizens should not as a rule be allowed to own guns, then I'd be ok with that and I'd surrender mine. As such my support for stricter gun laws probably isn't going to make any conservative feel better.
posted by RustyBrooks at 1:20 PM on June 17 [4 favorites]


Pearl handled revolver clutching.
posted by srboisvert at 1:21 PM on June 17 [14 favorites]


"guns are necessary to resisting government tyranny" and "...the police are not going to come."

Waaaait a second here. The first one is an awful trope (and furthermore, when an army of swat teams descends on your bunker, you will lose, regardless of how many guns you own).

But for the 2nd... Yes, okay, the police will come if you call them... Lets pretend a good response time (10 minutes). If you have an intruder, 10 minutes is a lifetime, and the police will be able to investigate the crime after it occurred, but they really aren't going to do much to protect you.

I used to live a block from the central police department in a major US city. One day I heard gun-shots, and looked out of my window and saw a man with a gun. I called 911 (the only time i've done so for a crime). It took well over a half hour for the cops to arrive. It was a 1 minute walk from the police department.

If someone is intruding in your house, do not count on the police to save you. Now, for me, it means get the heck out of your house, get your loved ones to safety, and call the cops from a place of safety.
posted by el io at 1:23 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


el io: "The police won't protect you anywhere. Really. It's not their job. Their job is to investigate crime after it occurs. They are not there to prevent crime (that's what private security is for; if you can afford it). ¶ That being said, some police forces have beat officers, to walk the streets - their mere presence deters crime, but that is a different thing than protecting someone who is in imminent danger. ¶ (note: I don't think guns are the answer either, but having a clear understanding of the role of police is helpful in setting expectations)."

I really don't think this is true. I think you're confusing practical necessity in many cases with what the police are for. The idea that police officers are there to protect the populace is so old and so bound up with them that police departments many take that word quite literally as their motto: "TO PROTECT AND SERVE." That doesn't mean they can stand outside your apartment all day watching to make sure you're safe, but that's because it's not really a practical possibility, not because "protection" is not part of the duty of the police department.

I'm curious what you mean by this, though. Do you really think that preventing crime and protecting people isn't part of the mandate of a police department? Is it possible to seriously approach prosecuting crimes without having security and prevention as a core principle? And can you provide an argument or evidence for the idea that security isn't the traditional mandate of police departments?
posted by koeselitz at 1:23 PM on June 17 [6 favorites]


Both arguments are de facto resignations from the political process. Because both governmental overreach and ineffective policing are actually political problems, policy questions, which at least in theory can be resolved or improved through engagement, campaigning, protest, electioneering, and political organizing. And these pro-gun arguments totally ignore those channels for addressing the stated threats/problems.

I basically agree with this, but part of me also feels that a focus simply on banning guns also ignores these broader issues. It's a combination of lax gun laws and a whole lot of other dark sticky shit that leads to gun violence in America, but those other problems are harder to put into sound bites.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:23 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


The gun issue has a strong link to early America, when guns were commonplace on the frontier, and were needed when possible encounters with potential enemies and animals, and where inadequate policing made them necessary...
All you need do is compare the killing rates by guns in America with other nations that also have citizens with guns...our yearly rates far outpace all other nations in the industrialized world.

Seems though that changing cultural conventions nearly impossible. Fact is we can not even get universal gun registration, which would be a most modest beginning for some sort of sane control
posted by Postroad at 1:23 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Since we can't fix the justice system, we need more guns. Since we can't fix the fact that more guns mean more homicides, we need more bullet proof blankets and bullet proof vests to keep us safe from the guns. Since people who use guns for homicide have access to blankets and vests, we need better guns that can pierce those safety devices. Etc. etc. etc.

Whoop De Doo

I always wonder: Is there any gun-owner, liberal or conservative, who would admit that they were an irresponsible gun owner?

I've mentioned this before, but until they murder somebody for the first time or have some sort of terrible accident, most every gun owner could be characterized as a responsible gun owner. It is sort of a meaningless category. I could have a history of violence and mental problems (or live with somebody who does), but until I (or my roommate) actually shoot somebody, I'm a responsible gun owner. The term is meaningless. Like "true American."
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:23 PM on June 17 [4 favorites]


RustyBrooks: But also, if the united states decided that it's citizens should not as a rule be allowed to own guns, then I'd be ok with that and I'd surrender mine.

See, this is where the left side of the spectrum tends to want a more "states' rights" federalist solution, while the right side of the spectrum hangs its hat on the individual right to bear arms that the Supreme Court found in between the lines of the Second Amendment back in 2008. It shouldn't be "The United States" saying people shouldn't be allowed to own guns, it should be DC or NYC saying people shouldn't be allowed to own guns (or whatever regulations they actually vote for) and rural counties in Georgia and Arizona saying open carry of AR-15s is A-OK, and everything in between.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:24 PM on June 17


Liberal gun owners who support stricter gun control laws still want to be gun owners, and believe there is nothing inherently evil in owning a gun.

As a liberal non-gun-owner, I agree. There is nothing inherently evil in owning a gun, but every research I have seen says that there is something inherently dangerous in owning a gun. Even controlling for self-reported gun safety.

There's a game I like to play where I replace every instance of the word "gun" in a sentence with the word "bomb." Bombs can be a very helpful tool in many situations, and yet the idea of bomb-safety and bomb-regulation is crystal clear in the minds of the vast majority of americans.
posted by muddgirl at 1:25 PM on June 17 [21 favorites]


One more reason why I'm a leftist, and not a liberal.
posted by wuwei at 1:26 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


muddgirl: and yet the idea of bomb-safety and bomb-regulation is crystal clear in the minds of the vast majority of americans.

Not only that, but the idea of gun safety and gun regulation was crystal clear in the writings of Antonin Scalia when he and four of his colleagues codified the individual right to bear arms.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:26 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Getting the guns off the streets is a good solution, too.

More like getting illegal guns off the street. People who go to the trouble of getting a firearm through the proper channels are less likely to be the problem than the ones buying the smuggled variety.

But even if guns ceased to exist, people who are destructive can use knives, poison, make bombs, or use cars (and planes) to do the same thing. I always said I could be locked in a room full of weapons and be stuck with people who absolutely hated me and do nothing but goad me at their most hurtful non-stop for a month -- they will all come out alive and unharmed. I would never give another person that kind of power over my destiny.

By the time someone has the gun in his hands ready to harm, it is pretty much a foregone conclusion. Dealing with the fear that compels people to think lashing out is a solution would be easier to handle...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 1:27 PM on June 17


I'm curious what you mean by this, though. Do you really think that preventing crime and protecting people isn't part of the mandate of a police department? Is it possible to seriously approach prosecuting crimes without having security and prevention as a core principle? And can you provide an argument or evidence for the idea that security isn't the traditional mandate of police departments?

Citation:
In DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social
Services, (3) a boy, who was beaten and permanently injured by his
father, claimed a due process violation because local officials
knew he was being abused but did not act to remove him from his
father's custody. The Supreme Court concluded that the State
had no constitutional duty to protect the boy because the Due
Process Clause is a limitation on the State's power to act, not
a guarantee of certain minimal levels of safety and security.
Further, according to the Court, the Due Process Clause confers
no affirmative right to governmental aid, even where such aid
may be necessary to protect an individual against private
violence. (4) In doing so, the Court rejected the argument that
a duty to protect arose because of a "special relationship" that
existed, because the State knew the boy faced a special danger
of abuse and specifically proclaimed by word and deed its
intention to protect him against that danger. (5)
posted by el io at 1:28 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


I don't really know what Antonin Scalia has to do with whether or not "liberals" are unfairly prejudiced against gun owners.
posted by muddgirl at 1:28 PM on June 17


Frankly many folks on the gun control side really want to incrementally remove gun rights as far as they can.

I'll see if I can dig it up, but even in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, only something like 1% of Americans said this.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:28 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


But even if guns ceased to exist, people who are destructive can use knives, poison, make bombs, or use cars (and planes) to do the same thing.

...except, I guess, that Antonin Scalia and 4 other justices haven't agreed that there's an individual right to own knives, poison, bombs, cars, or planes, which means guns are different than any other type of weapon, and arguing that they aren't is illogical.
posted by muddgirl at 1:30 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


For Robinson, her experience has been “devastating.” She’s pulled back from almost all of her online progressive circles. She stopped attending gatherings. She’s walked away from her blogging career, as well as most of those friends.

*opens bottle of pinot, pours it out*
posted by phaedon at 1:30 PM on June 17 [14 favorites]


This very timely recap episode of The Daily Show is worth watching in its entirety. It even touches (very, very lightly) on the head-esplody contradictions of the idea of the lawful African-American gun owner, which almost nobody is willing to touch at all.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:30 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


But even if guns ceased to exist, people who are destructive can use knives, poison, make bombs, or use cars (and planes) to do the same thing.

I know, I've been saying for years the military needs to stop using guns. A good sword works just as well.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:31 PM on June 17 [7 favorites]


... further to the above, there's a pretty interesting moment in which he asks Gen. Stanley McChrystal a leading question with respect to the idea of an armed populace which imagines itself a bulwark against tyranny, and how it might fare in their fantasy scenario...
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:34 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


To paraphrase -- "If we Republicanize guns, then only Republicans will have guns."
posted by symbioid at 1:34 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


But even if guns ceased to exist, people who are destructive can use knives, poison, make bombs, or use cars (and planes) to do the same thing


Presumably you've trotted out this bullshit before, but to the extent that it is true it is irrelevant, and to the extent that it is false it is bullshit. There is a such thing as an instrument effect, and guns make it easier for people to kill people.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:34 PM on June 17 [7 favorites]


muddgirl: I don't really know what Antonin Scalia has to do with whether or not "liberals" are unfairly prejudiced against gun owners.

My point was that even the arch-conservative justice who first articulated the individual right to bear arms recognized the fact that sane limits must be placed on that right.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:34 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


This idea that any significant plurality of the American polity actually favors comprehensive and sweeping UK-style federal gun bans is a ridiculous fiction fabricated by the NRA as part of its true mission to drive gun sales. Really the most that's being argued for by serious participants in the process is a) keeping combat or military long-guns off the public market, b) creating some process to prevent known criminals from buying guns, and c) The ability to maintain local control over public possession of firearms. So DC, Chicago, LA, and NYC can have laws that make sense in their context without forcing Texas, Kentucky, and West Virginia to give up their hunting rifles.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 1:34 PM on June 17 [4 favorites]


firearm can save a life. Pretending that guns are an unalloyed negative in every case is neither true nor helpful.

Bit of a circular argument that. By far the largest number of lives saved with firearms are those threatened by -- wait for it -- firearms.

As always the the problem is looking at other countries. It turns out that in places where firearms are rare, firearm violence is are.

In the years before pepper spray, mace, and tasers I could go along with the personal defense argument, but it's just not doing it for me any more.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:35 PM on June 17 [9 favorites]


From the sound of it, this isn't a case of Robinson being exiled from the Left - this is a case of Robinson's friends having the lack of imagination to conceptualize that a Democrat could also be a hunter or a target shooter.

Still not fair to Robinson, but not, like, a monolithic sea change on the part of American Liberalism or anything. Or at least, not a permanent one (the powers that be may be treading more carefully for a while, understandably).

But yeah, the left has always had its "more progressive than thou" types, just as the right has always had its "more conservative than thou" types.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:35 PM on June 17 [4 favorites]


idea of the lawful African-American gun owner, which almost nobody is willing to touch at all

Well, except for this Sunday's New York Times.
posted by nicwolff at 1:37 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


I'm super liberal and know gun owners and I don't care that they own a gun. Agreed that it seems like a case of having a shitty community in the micro rather than the macro sense.
posted by josher71 at 1:37 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Pretending that guns are an unalloyed negative in every case is neither true nor helpful.

On the other side of the coin, they haven't proven to be a positive, either.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:38 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


I think that the right to own guns for hunting is a valid reason, whether or not hunting is moral to you. Guns for protection only really works during an actual war, where friendly fire can be judged acceptable losses.

Whether or the trial ends in acquittal or a verdict of murder, one gets the impression that Oscar Pistorius wishes he had never been able to defend himself against that "home invasion".
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 1:38 PM on June 17


Here is a nation where there are so many guns that the country has lost count of how many there are. And yet guns are almost never a problem HERE
posted by Postroad at 1:38 PM on June 17


the majority of swiss guns are privately owned but locked up outside of peoples houses. Nice try.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:41 PM on June 17 [7 favorites]


Postroad: Here is a nation where there are so many guns that the country has lost count of how many there are. And yet guns are almost never a problem HERE

Mythbusting: Israel and Switzerland are not gun-toting utopias
posted by tonycpsu at 1:42 PM on June 17 [6 favorites]


the majority of swiss guns are privately owned but locked up outside of peoples houses. Nice try.

I wish this was a thing here. I took up shooting as a sport when I injured my back because I wanted to do something competitive. I have no need or desire to store a gun at home. I really wanted there to be a gun repo where I could go and give them my card and they'd bring out my stuff, but there isn't anything like that. I think it would be great.
posted by RustyBrooks at 1:43 PM on June 17


Bit of a circular argument that. By far the largest number of lives saved with firearms are those threatened by -- wait for it -- firearms.

As always the the problem is looking at other countries. It turns out that in places where firearms are rare, firearm violence is are.


There are already more guns than people in the U.S. Even if we were somehow able to ban the manufacture of new ones, it would be at least a generation before the ones that are already out there are no longer dangerous. Unless you are advocating confiscation -- which many people are saying in this very thread is a "ridiculous fiction" -- then firearms will never be rare, and in fact, in this actual reality we're living in, yes, protection from a gun with a gun is circular and yet still possible in individual cases.
posted by Etrigan at 1:45 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


tonycpu: I haven't read your link, but I've never heard anyone stipulate that Israel was a utopia (from its supports or detractors). Pretty easy myth to bust, that one.
posted by el io at 1:47 PM on June 17


Yes, getting most guns out of circulation would take a generation or more. (Because many of the "responsible" gun owners will willingly and knowingly break the law.) If something like that is ever attempted, it has a big chance of ending up like the drug war if not done very carefully and slowly over time.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:49 PM on June 17


My politics are liberal, but I'll admit, that I've always liked guns. Not because I like hurting people or anything, but as cool machinery and because shooting them is fun, the same way fireworks are, kinda. And I knew families growing up who owned guns. I asked my dad why we didn't and he said 'If we did, I prolly would have shot all of you by now,' with a sigh and a grin.

My father in law owned a .357 Magnum Smith and Wesson. When he passed we took it, but after driving around with it in my belt, we decided it would be best to put it back. The other relatives later sold it for far less than it was worth. Today, I don't own a gun and favor serious regulation of them. FWIW.
posted by jonmc at 1:49 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Pencils, knives, crowbars, bikes, cars, airplanes and such all can certainly injure or kill someone, but that's not their primary purpose for existing.

What is the primary purpose of a gun?
posted by tehjoel at 1:51 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


This is just another wedge issue, like abortion, gay marriage and such that politicians are trying to use to demonstrate that there is a difference between the two business parties.

As user null reference says quite eloquently in a reddit thread regarding a man that ended up shooting a robber after 911 accidentally transferred him to voicemail.

"The vast majority of Americans do not own a gun. Especially people living in metropolitan/suburban areas. And far fewer than that actually carry them. America is "eight times more dangerous" than this or that country but considering how low the numbers start, it paints a wildly inaccurate picture of day to day life.

In the entire country of 300+ million people, a population larger than the combined population of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland, there is an average of 30 murders a day.

Countrywide, 30 murders in total. Not even one per state per day. And most of those murders happen in a handful of crime hotspots like Detroit, New Orleans or Oakland. The remaining 99% of the country shares about 10 - 15 murders a day. And not all of those involved a firearm.

Six times more people die in car accidents, 40 times more people die from smoking related illness, half as many drown accidentally in backyard pools and lakes, about as many kill themselves with power tools and ladders.

America has a problem with violence that needs to be solved, but it's not the perpetual war zone that it is depicted to be. Most Americans will go their entire lives never knowing a person that dies in a car accident, and six times less people will know someone who is murdered.

Human life is valuable and the debate is valid, but this "one puff will kill you" style fearmongering about gun crime is beyond ridiculous. Gun control advocates AND gun supporters both pretend the American streets are warzones to serve their point. The former saying guns are the cause, the latter saying it's why guns are necessary.

It's absurd. The violent crime rate has been steadily dropping for over twenty years but the way they talk you'd think we are on the brink of destruction.

excuse the editing, it will take me more than 5 minutes to clean up, so I am forced to leave it.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 1:51 PM on June 17 [28 favorites]


On the other side of the coin, they haven't proven to be a positive, either.

Oh, but who can say with certainty how many liberal juntas and FEMA roundups of people with pickup trucks have been prevented by an armed populace?

The More You Fantasize™
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:51 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


el io: tonycpu: I haven't read your link, but I've never heard anyone stipulate that Israel was a utopia (from its supports or detractors). Pretty easy myth to bust, that one.

They're always trotted out as an example of place where guns are as prevalent as America, even though they're not when you look beyond the numbers. That's clearly what Postroad was aiming for.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:52 PM on June 17


I haven't read your link, but I've never heard anyone stipulate that Israel was a utopia (from its supports or detractors). Pretty easy myth to bust, that one.

Here's the link from the Cato Institute that was being referred to by that article.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:52 PM on June 17


But at the same time, he argues that guns offer an especially important measure of protection to minority groups usually identified with the left. “Our transgender, LGBT, African American members, they’ll talk about real oppression,” he says. “The police aren’t going to come. That’s meaningful defense.”

Regardless of whether you agree with this sentiment or not, it's worth noting that there is a long (and often ignored) history of armed self-defense within the civil rights movement that goes beyond the Black Panthers.
posted by Rangeboy at 1:52 PM on June 17 [8 favorites]


I think there's something kinda coastal about this article. When I lived in Boston, I didn't know anybody who had a gun, and I would certainly have tended to imagine that someone who had a gun in their house was strongly on the right.

Now I live in Wisconsin. People have guns here. They shoot deer with them. Not everybody. But lots of people. So it's normal and it's not tied to politics. I know a guy here in Madison, WI, who's a professor, and Jewish, who has a gun in his house and hunts with his kids. Nobody kicks him out of the ilberal club. And let me tell you, the liberal club here is plenty liberal.
posted by escabeche at 1:54 PM on June 17 [19 favorites]


There are already more guns than people in the U.S. Even if we were somehow able to ban the manufacture of new ones, it would be at least a generation before the ones that are already out there are no longer dangerous. Unless you are advocating confiscation -- which many people are saying in this very thread is a "ridiculous fiction" -- then firearms will never be rare

That's less "never be rare" and more "at a minimum, a generation before they're rare," no? Incremental changes are slow, by definition, but they're still changes.
posted by cjelli at 1:54 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Pretending that guns are an unalloyed negative in every case is neither true nor helpful.

In a previous MeFi thread I posted some statistics for a few things which I am too lazy to look up again right now, but I recall ballpark figures:

-- percent of American adults who own guns primarily for hunting/sport (approximately 14%)

-- percent of American adults who own guns purely for "home defense" (approximately 13%)

-- percent of violent crimes in America where a victim or bystander attempted self-defense with a gun (0.69%, and 20% of those were by police officers) (I did not find statistics on how many of those were successful defenses without harm to the victim)

-- number of homicides and suicides per year committed with a gun (I don't remember, but it'a shamefully high and easy to search for)

Things I did not post: the chance that a woman will be shot and killed in a gun-owning household vs. in a non-gun-owning household. Also a rather telling figure, and certainly higher than a 0.69% increase.


"Unalloyed negative in every case?" Maybe not. "Several orders of magnitude more negative than positive?" Absolutely.
posted by Foosnark at 1:56 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


Gun control advocates AND gun supporters both pretend the American streets are warzones to serve their point.

I don't agree that gun control advocates pretend that the American streets are warzones. Nor do they tend to argue that America is less safe now than 20 years ago. What they say is that homes with guns in them are less safe than homes without, and that absent any outweighing positive reason to own a gun there is a general good to regulating gun ownership the way we would regulate any other dangerous weapon, or even other dangerous non-weapons like automobiles and airplanes.
posted by muddgirl at 1:56 PM on June 17 [10 favorites]


Regardless of whether you agree with this sentiment or not, it's worth noting that there is a long (and often ignored) history of armed self-defense within the civil rights movement that goes beyond the Black Panthers.

Which was not coincidentally when organizations like the NRA thought than gun control was a really good idea. Today's NRA writes up enemies lists targeting civil rights groups, women's groups, domestic violence survivors (while advocating for looser regulations for abusers to own guns), and religious organizations that advocate non-violence. That's when their leadership isn't uttering darkly about the mythical "knockout game" craze, accusing Obama of being a mongrel, lying about non-white neighborhoods rioting during natural disasters, and sending out flyers warning of "urban" youths and illegals coming for your traditional family.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:58 PM on June 17 [6 favorites]


Most Americans will go their entire lives never knowing a person that dies in a car accident, and six times less people will know someone who is murdered.

Okay, but I know my uncle committed suicide with a gun. It's a particularly deadly method of suicide.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:00 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


When I lived in Boston, I didn't know anybody who had a gun

It is remarkably, deliberately, and possibly unconstitutionally difficult to get a firearms license as a Boston resident. It's a statistical outlier and therefore probably not a reliable indicator of anything beyond the city limits (eg, "coastal").
posted by cribcage at 2:00 PM on June 17


I can understand being upset about being kicked out of a group you founded, but "oh no, other parents don't want their kids around guns and don't trust that my husband and I are 100% perfect 100% of the time locking up our guns" is something I am unsympathetic to. Kids can get into all sorts of crap, and adults can screw up.
posted by jeather at 2:03 PM on June 17 [8 favorites]


But wait, if all the gun owners are super-responsible, rational actors, why should one fear voicing an opposite opinion around them?

Oh wait, because they would threaten to kill you with their weapon, which would then make them still a responsible gun owner, right up until they point where they shoot somebody by accident. And then they're not a responsible gun owner, so No True Scotsman is harmed!

Personally, I think the gun fetishists deserve nothing but mockery at this point. If only we, as a society, were not afraid they'd kill us for doing so. Untenable, no?
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 2:05 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


So it's normal and it's not tied to politics. I know a guy here in Madison, WI, who's a professor, and Jewish, who has a gun in his house and hunts with his kids. Nobody kicks him out of the ilberal club. And let me tell you, the liberal club here is plenty liberal.

My wife and I used to live and work in Madison. We own several firearms and we hunt.

Our friends/cow-orkers/neighbors never gave us any crap about it, and in fact we went target shooting a few times and it can be fun. So, I think the person in the FPP needs better friends.

That having been said, we stopped target shooting at a couple of ranges in the area because they started to require a "loyalty oath" in addition to the usual waivers and disclaimers. Seriously - I'm shooting (at) some clay pigeons, I'm not running for office. Why do I need to sign a paper stating that I will defend the constitution and give my life to fight tyranny ?

And it was double hilarious because the fat fuck running the joint hasn't done a pushup since six months before he separated from the army in 1982, but he's gonna Wolverine all over the countryside ? I got out of breath just watching him waddle across the room.

I don't carry. I like hunting, but mostly, I just like watching the dogs work and being in the woods. I'm not in favor of a full on ban - And I really think background checks should be more stringent and negligent discharges should be a felony.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:06 PM on June 17 [13 favorites]


Most Americans will go their entire lives never knowing a person that dies in a car accident, and six times less people will know someone who is murdered.

I know of 26 people from my hometown who were murdered by guns. Before that, I knew 2 people who shot themselves. I've probably known as many as ten or fifteen people who died in car accidents.

Of course, I also just believe that reducing the total number of people that I don't know who get murdered by guns or kill themselves with them is a net-good for the world.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:06 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


I own firearms, and I'm largely liberal. I've gotten grief from some liberal friends about it in the past...but, look, if your friends are kooky liberals about firearms, then they're probably kooky liberals about other issues as well. My own policy is to not associate with kooky people... Or, if I have to, not to talk about politics with them...

OTOH, it has, at some points, seemed to me like firearms bring out the worst reasoning from both sides. I've had very smart people, both liberals and conservatives, say the absolute craziest shit to me about firearms. That's just anecdotal, of course...but it might be that it really is an issue that fans the flames of kookiness. I have sometimes thought that firearms produce a kind of almost religious/supernatural love/hate in people...

Despite being pro-Second Amendment (or whatever we should call it), I tend to think that more regulation is called for, and have a certain amount of sympathy for anti-firearm-ownership arguments...but IMO it's important to talk to people who aren't quasi-religious about the issue--e.g. those who sneer at the concept "responsible gun-owner," pretend that, since guns make people less safe on average, every gun makes every person less safe, fantasize about gun owners shooting people who disagree with them, and so on.

Not every internet forum is a good place for a dispassionate discussion of every issue, of course.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 2:07 PM on June 17 [7 favorites]


I will admit, despite knowing there are responsible gun owners, yadda yadda, out there, of every political stripe, the actions of assholes who appear to want to wave around their goddamn guns (or else!) in my family's general vicinity even when we go shopping or to the park, has indeed made me less tolerant.

Because I see no way of legislating just the idiots. I don't think anybody needs those semi-automatic (or whatever; giant guns that fire many rounds quickly, please do not start another goddamn gun-terminology derail) as much as I need to be able to live my life without worrying about some fucknut who forgot to put his safety on whilst buying pancake mix, or panicked because some black kid wore a hoodie.

I'm sorry, responsible gun owners. The idiots have overrun your hobby and made everyone in this country afraid and unsafe. I'm sure that losing the freedom to collect as many death-machines of as many types as you want will hurt, but those of us who don't have them are not the ones who changed the situation.
posted by emjaybee at 2:08 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


"Unalloyed negative in every case?" Maybe not. "Several orders of magnitude more negative than positive?" Absolutely.

Funny that you use the word "absolutely" in defense of an absolutist argument that you also admit is wrong.
posted by Etrigan at 2:09 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


el io: The police won't protect you anywhere. Really. It's not their job.

Your citation, DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services, does not support your argument. That ruling determined a specific interpretation of the due process clause, where, as the ruling states, "the Due Process Clause does not transform every tort committed by a state actor into a constitutional violation." This says nothing of the sort that the police do not have a job to protect.
posted by SollosQ at 2:13 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Funny that you use the word "absolutely" in defense of an absolutist argument that you also admit is wrong.

"Absolutely" is not "absolute".
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 2:14 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Like it or not, responsible use of a firearm can save a life. Pretending that guns are an unalloyed negative in every case is neither true nor helpful.

Sure it can. There are also other things that can save a life that don't result in stats like this, where "For every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides."

I just don't get it.

On another topic, are you required to get gun insurance, like you are required to with a car? And like with your car, if someone in your household takes your gun, could you be held liable for what happens?
posted by Hoopo at 2:15 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


But wait, if all the gun owners are super-responsible, rational actors, why should one fear voicing an opposite opinion around them?

Oh wait, because they would threaten to kill you with their weapon,


Surely you can't be serious.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:17 PM on June 17 [6 favorites]


"When guns are outlawed, it'll make it much easier to identify the outlaws."
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:17 PM on June 17


pretty funny!
posted by shockingbluamp at 2:18 PM on June 17


tossed out of the movement

Oh shit! I didn't know this could happen. Nobody tell The Lords of the Movement what I've been saying about Obama and Hillary!

On a more serious note, is "No private ownership of guns" something anyone anywhere actually advocates, outside of a right-wing Strawman argument? Most of the conversation I hear among "The Movement" seems to be about common-sense things like assault weapon bans and background checks, which are supported by a majority of people of all political stripes.

While I'm personally not a fan of hunting, or licensed people keeping a gun in the house for self-defense, the idea of trying to restrict those things would never even cross my mind as a topic for discussion.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:19 PM on June 17


A problem that exists the the lack of rigorous study regarding the public health of firearms. There is a lot of ancillary evidence for a number of positions, pro vs anti, but the political will to commission, say, the CDC to do a full-on public health study is, and will continue to be lacking. I had a friend who worked with the CDC for years and guns where the thing many wanted to examine, but... well.. this is America, land of guns.
posted by edgeways at 2:20 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


is "No private ownership of guns" something anyone anywhere actually advocates, outside of a right-wing Strawman argument?

Not even in Canada.
posted by Hoopo at 2:23 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


There's a game I like to play where I replace every instance of the word "gun" in a sentence with the word "bomb." Bombs can be a very helpful tool in many situations, and yet the idea of bomb-safety and bomb-regulation is crystal clear in the minds of the vast majority of americans.

An accurate equivalence, obviously.
posted by wrok at 2:24 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


the chance that a woman will be shot and killed in a gun-owning household vs. in a non-gun-owning household

Look, I am a gun owner. I am all for stricter regulations, increased background checks, doing something to change the culture of violence in this country, but I really do hate this statistic. It's the same as saying that people who live in homes with swimming pools have a higher chance of drowning than people who don't have a pool. Yes, they do have a higher chance, but it's not because the pool is attacking them, it's just proximity.

There is something to be said for the fact that guns make the proximity risk more deadly. We as a society really need to do a better job of screening out people with anger issues, mental health issues, abusive tendencies, etc.
posted by LizBoBiz at 2:26 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


-- percent of American adults who own guns primarily for hunting/sport (approximately 14%)

Keep it locked up at the range, shooting club or police station.

On a more serious note, is "No private ownership of guns" something anyone anywhere actually advocates, outside of a right-wing Strawman argument? Most of the conversation I hear among "The Movement" seems to be about common-sense things like assault weapon bans and background checks, which are supported by a majority of people of all political stripes.

Australia has a simple policy:

No private ownership of guns except for legitimate reasons and self-defense isn't a legitimate reason. Ornamental and antique weapons? You either pour lead into the barrel or weld a steel rod in there.
posted by Talez at 2:27 PM on June 17 [9 favorites]


Sorry, that's not the most relevant piece of the ruling that I wanted to quote

Like its counterpart in the Fifth Amendment, the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to prevent government "from abusing [its] power, or employing it as an instrument of oppression," Davidson v. Cannon, supra, at 348; see also Daniels v. Williams, supra, at 331 ("`"to secure the individual from the arbitrary exercise of the powers of government,"'" and "to prevent governmental power from being `used for purposes of oppression'") (internal citations omitted); Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 549 (1981) (Powell, J., concurring in result) (to prevent the "affirmative abuse of power"). Its purpose was to protect the people from the State, not to ensure that the State protected them from each other. The Framers were content to leave the extent of governmental obligation in the latter area to the democratic political processes.
posted by SollosQ at 2:28 PM on June 17


On a more serious note, is "No private ownership of guns" something anyone anywhere actually advocates, outside of a right-wing Strawman argument?

Yep. Just swing by Daily Kos or FDL or any of the other fever swamps.
posted by jpe at 2:29 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


Look, I am a gun owner. I am all for stricter regulations, increased background checks, doing something to change the culture of violence in this country, but I really do hate this statistic. It's the same as saying that people who live in homes with swimming pools have a higher chance of drowning than people who don't have a pool. Yes, they do have a higher chance, but it's not because the pool is attacking them, it's just proximity.

Your insurance rates go up a lot if you have a pool; you're liable for all sorts of accidents that happen in the pool, even if it's trespassing, etc. This is not, as far as I know, true about guns.
posted by jeather at 2:30 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


What they say is that homes with guns in them are less safe than homes without.

No, it says that more homes that have guns in them are unsafe compared to homes without. They don't say that MY home would be less safe with a gun in it.

I don't have a gun in the house but we very nearly did recently after our house was broken into. My reasoning was that most break-ins occur on weekdays while most people are at work. I work from home and it's possible that someone could convince themselves that our home is empty and try to break in. Now I'm a big, strong guy who knows how to handle himself and, though she did not (as near as we can tell) attack the thief who broke in, our 85 Lbs Akita would likely have a different attitude if she had occasion to put herself be me and the would be thief. So, while I'm reasonably confident that I could deal with that specific threat, there is the chance that I would be over powered, I'd rather not have to beat a man half to death, and I don't want to have to risk harm to my dog or having to deal with the consequences of my dog harming someone else (however well deserved).

Instead, I thought, maybe I could have a handgun in the house so I could let them break in (I don't know that it's in me to just chase them off), then hold them at gun-point while I wait for police. I could get a 9mm so since the rounds are fairly cheap and, since killing someone ranks one or two steps ahead of getting killed myself, they're less likely to actually kill someone. But then guns aren't cheap ($500 or so). They're one of the primary targets of thieves (along with laptops, cash, and jewelry) so I'd need to keep it in a safe that couldn't be moved AND allows for quick access (which also isn't cheap). And, I'd insist on everyone in the house (no kids as yet) knowing how to use the thing so there is more money for safety classes and range time for practice. It started to be a lot of time and money for something that is extraordinarily unlikely. But, I might take it up as a hobby some day but I can pretty much guarantee that MY house won't be more dangerous because it contains a gun.
posted by VTX at 2:32 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


Keep it locked up at the range, shooting club or police station.

No. That's stupid.

I'm all for background checks and open carry bans and increased standards for CC holders. The list goes on.

But letting someone else keep my guns ? No fucking way.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:32 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


LizBoBiz: There is something to be said for the fact that guns make the proximity risk more deadly. We as a society really need to do a better job of screening out people with anger issues, mental health issues, abusive tendencies, etc.

Why must that be the only option? It may not be politically possible to reduce the proximity risk by curtailing gun ownership, but it is something that could be done given the right political circumstances. Conversely, we have no machine that can identify mental illness without false positives (denying people who aren't likely to commit crimes guns) or false negatives (letting those who will commit crimes with a gun have them.) Even if we had universal background checks, we don't have the ability to do these kind of pre-crime mental health screenings.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:33 PM on June 17


There are also other things that can save a life...

Indeed. But like firearms, it's a cultural variance. Here in Massachusetts, chemical spray (mace, pepper spray, etc) is legally classified as ammunition, which means you need a firearms license to possess it. For a lesser fee we have a "chemical-only" version of the license you can obtain, but it still requires the same process, renewals, etc, and a surprising number of police departments aren't aware it exists. Electrical weapons (stun guns, tasers, etc) are outright banned.

We could be better about providing people with non-lethal means of self-defense. And lethality is only half the argument. The other half is pure practicality: if your goal is to stop a human being, a handgun is a poorly designed tool for that job. It lacks sufficient accuracy or power. Studies have found that its limited effectiveness is in significant part psychological, thanks to Hollywood. (Not kidding.)

are you required to get gun insurance, like you are required to with a car?

It's been proposed, although I'm not aware of anywhere it's been enacted. One of the big common-sense objections is that the net effect would be to funnel more money to the NRA, which would almost certainly become the primary insurance provider.
posted by cribcage at 2:33 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


From the FPP: As this dynamic of polarization intensifies, many Americans have found themselves shunted into the no-man’s land between camps.

"Everyone's taking sides, except for all the people in the middle!" sums the article up pretty nicely. The piece goes out of its way to set up and magnify a false dichotomy between liberals who do and don't own guns. Yes, there are almost certainly select liberals out there who can't abide the idea of any guns ever whatsoever. But that sentiment is in no way universal, and liberal gun owners aren't exactly an oppressed group.

Frankly many folks on the gun control side really want to incrementally remove gun rights as far as they can.

I'm willing to wager that the vast majority us just want what it says on the box: gun control. Meaning strict licensing, and background checks, and waiting periods, and meaningful safety training, and diligent enforcement, nationwide. (Why nationwide? Because this.) Federal funding for gun-safety studies would also be a plus.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 2:34 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


I will admit, despite knowing there are responsible gun owners, yadda yadda, out there, of every political stripe, the actions of assholes who appear to want to wave around their goddamn guns (or else!) in my family's general vicinity even when we go shopping or to the park, has indeed made me less tolerant.

I'm with you, emjaybee, I really am (despite owning some of those big guns you fear).

Because I see no way of legislating just the idiots.


That remains to be seen. I don't think it will be easy, and I don't have any good ideas...but I think that's what we need to start working on. The passionate anti-firearm folk don't want to hear it, but there is a huge difference in gun-owners. I know gun-owners who are among the very most responsible people I've ever met...and I know some who should not only not be allowed to own guns, they probably shouldn't be allowed to own cars.

I'm going to bug out of this thread before it irrationally makes me more anti-anti-firearms...but, look: firearms are not going away in the U.S. To think otherwise is to live in a fantasy world. So, we might as well start thinking about real solutions to the problem. And, hey, why not address the actual problem instead of the superstitious one? Guns are not magical death machines. But a lot of firearms are owned by irresponsible and/or unstable people. Since that's the real problem, and it would be wrong to try to take firearms away from the other people, and that's not a real option anyway...my recommendation would be to start trying to damn well figure out how we do minimize firearm ownership by the unstable and irresponsible.

I'll end with a story I've mentioned before: my brother was very pro-firearms. Too pro-, by my lights. Then he lost his job, and had to go to work retail at the local gun shop. After two years of this, he is far less in favor of firearm ownership than he used to be. Quoth he: "Most of those people have no business owning guns"...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 2:34 PM on June 17 [4 favorites]


Look, I am a gun owner. I am all for stricter regulations, increased background checks, doing something to change the culture of violence in this country, but I really do hate this statistic. It's the same as saying that people who live in homes with swimming pools have a higher chance of drowning than people who don't have a pool. Yes, they do have a higher chance, but it's not because the pool is attacking them, it's just proximity.

There is something to be said for the fact that guns make the proximity risk more deadly. We as a society really need to do a better job of screening out people with anger issues, mental health issues, abusive tendencies, etc.


Like you, I'm a gun owner. I'd argue this statistic has more meaning than you're attributing to it. Many of the people killed by guns don't benefit from the utility of having the guns in the household: they get all of the downside (increased risk of death) and virtually none of the upside. Pools, fast cars, boats, or other dangerous things typically have more utility to the people killed by them. Not as much the case with guns, where in many cases the victims of the gun violence are children and female family members who live in the household with the guns, but don't own them and don't enjoy them.

So, yes, it's a proximity argument, but also bear in mind that in many of the cases that make up the statistic, the victim doesn't get any of the benefit of the bargain of having a gun in the household, yet still dies.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:35 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


If only there were some way to prevent this...

Guns are not a force of nature, so why do we behave like they are? I'd have no problem with people keeping their guns if they could prove they could handle them. Three dead kids every weekend and 74 (as of the time of this writing, wait another week) school shootings since Sandy Hook say that they can't.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 2:40 PM on June 17 [8 favorites]


Supreme Court rules that 'straw' purchases of guns are illegal
The Supreme Court on Monday deemed “straw” purchases of guns illegal, delivering a huge win to advocates of stricter gun controls. In a 5-4 decision, the court concluded that one legal gun owner may not acquire a firearm on behalf of another — a practice known as "straw" purchasing.

The case, known as Abramski v. United States, centered on a former police officer who sought to buy a Glock 19 handgun for his uncle. Though both men were allowed to own guns, Bruce Abramski claimed on forms that he was the “actual transferee/buyer” of the weapon and was later convicted of making false statements.

Abramski argued that federal gun law — intended to keep guns out of the wrong hands — did not apply to his transaction. The court, though split down ideological lines, disagreed.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:40 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


One thing people seem to be missing about hypothetical gun confiscation: Most cops support the second amendment, most of them won't risk their lives to violate it by going out and confiscating guns. They'd get shot at, in large numbers, if they tried. And in large numbers they don't believe in trying anyway.

When California banned so-called "assault weapons" at the end of the last century, there were certain guns that were decreed to be so unlawful that they had to be surrendered or shipped out of state. But did they send cops around to pick them up? No. They asked politely that people comply. And the result was that people didn't comply.

The ultra-liberals who want to take all the guns are delusional, it can't be done. And the conservative nutbags who fear the government will come for their guns are also delusional, because it can't be done.

Far better to set aside the hyperbole, stop talking about bans, and start talking about harm reduction, regulation, and a public health approach to the underlying problems that lead people to misuse guns.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 2:42 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


But letting someone else keep my guns ? No fucking way.

Honest question: how would you feel about having to submit to periodic inspections to make sure you're storing your guns safely?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 2:46 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


But letting someone else keep my guns ? No fucking way.

You know what the alternative is, at least in Australia? Any registered gun owner can have their premises inspected at any time without a warrant to ensure compliance with the firearms laws.

Not only that but only licensed people can have access to your safe on the premises. So if you have a license and your partner doesn't and the police come around for an inspection and your partner grabs the keys they will immediately confiscate your weapons.
posted by Talez at 2:47 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Honest question: how would you feel about having to submit to periodic inspections to make sure you're storing your guns safely?

If you're a homeowner you have periodic inspections for gas lines and whatnot. It's not that onerous. So, maybe. But, I have a safe and do all the best practice stuff - my guns are for sport. I keep an axe in the bedroom - better in close quarters and so much more useful in a fire.

But, look - I've got over $10k in hunting rifles and shotguns. Some of which have sentimental value that far outstrips the material value - like the 20 gauge my dad bought me for my 9th birthday, or the 30/30 I got from my grandfather. Turning them over to someone else for "safekeeping" is so out of the question that the light from the question will take a 1000 years to get there.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:53 PM on June 17 [7 favorites]


Most cops support the second amendment, most of them won't risk their lives to violate it by going out and confiscating guns. They'd get shot at, in large numbers, if they tried.

"If you try to enforce Democratically passed laws we will shoot you!"

Clearly a sane group of people we should allow to have deadly weapons.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:55 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


I'm not one for bans much. I much prefer regulation and taxation. That goes for firearms as well as drugs that should be regulated the same way as alcohol and tobacco.

Effective firearms regulation should be something like owning and driving a vehicle:
* You should procure a license that requires regular evaluation for renewal, for which you pay a fee.
* To qualify for a particular type of firearm may require a different license (like a motorcycle license).
* At the very least firearms liability insurance must be purchased (this would negate raising other insurance premiums).
* For every firearm owned an annual registration fee must be filed.
* Those who go to the range and do not own a license should either be accompanied by a gun license holder or pay for an instructor; they cannot shoot alone. This would encourage applying for a license and getting them in the system.

As it is, some current regulation is outdated and also ineffective.
* Current handgun safety tests like the one in California are ridiculously easy to pass; it should at least be as difficult as the still-too-easy driver's test, which makes you go behind the wheel of an actual car before giving you a license. A handgun license should put you at a range with an instructor who evaluates your performance.
* A waiting period makes no sense with today's records availability. A person already in possession of a registered firearm and a valid/active license should be able to purchase another firearm without the wait. That's a swipe of their license and a couple of keystrokes today, not three or ten days for snail mail.
* There should be no fee for a background check. This is effectively replaced by a periodic registration fee and a gun owner license fee.
* Regulation like the California safe handgun roster needs to be rewritten into something logical. As it stands, particularly with the microstamping requirement, it is now more effectively a progressive ban that has put the entire regulation for safety in peril against constitutional lawsuits that want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. It should be a roster of unsafe firearms (down to the model and production year(s)) rather than a roster of safe firearms. It also makes no sense that a particular model suddenly become unsafe when a gun manufacturer does not pay the fee to renew a listing.
* It makes no difference if a magazine holds 10 or 15 rounds.. people just carry more magazines. This raises production costs for multiple versions, increases consumer annoyance and does absolutely nothing to regulate firearm use.
* Any proposals for tracking via ammunition makes no sense, either via purchasing or the aforementioned microstamping. Additional taxes like those with cigarettes, however, make sense.

Yes, adults can screw up and yes, kids can get into anything. I'd be more frightened of electrical outlets, knives, scissors and a kid getting into the garage and starting the car as those are out in the open. The regulations on locking up firearms, meanwhile, are pretty strong. That they are not followed... well, that's a different issue. Sort of the same one as someone who leaves a knife out where a three year old can grasp it.

There is also this fear of the unknown. A child who is taken to the range to learn about firearm safety and how to shoot is much less likely to go looking for the cool item mom and dad keep locked up in the bedside table drawer. It also removes the mystical qualities a gun has on many of those who have never fired or even seen one in real life, just on TV or at the movies. There are a lot of kids out there learning archery because of a recently popular book turned movie series. Those suckers are not only deadly projectiles -- they're dead quiet. But as they take classes and learn to use them responsibly, I'm not too worried about it. The same should go for firearms.

As it is, guns are so divisive an issue that I just don't talk about it much, but to those that know I own a firearm and ask me what I think about gun regulation, I just say, "Regulation and taxation/fees are great, but they need to make sense." And if they ask me to elaborate, you get the mouth diarrhea above.
posted by linux at 3:00 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


I'd be more frightened of electrical outlets

That's why, since 1971, Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters have been mandated in all new construction. We saw a problem, made a regulation and fixed the bulk of it.

I'm not sure how this is such a difficult process to comprehend when it comes to deadly weapons.
posted by Talez at 3:07 PM on June 17 [21 favorites]


A waiting period makes no sense with today's records availability

Based on one social worker friend's experiences, getting a criminal background check across several jurisdictions still takes days.

And background checks should happen periodically. I suppose that could be tied to renewing a license, rather than making a purchase, but background checks shouldn't be a one-shot deal (no pun intended).
posted by evidenceofabsence at 3:10 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Since about forty percent of Democrats report owning a gun, I'm going to locate this article somewhere between "overblown" and "kind of silly." You can definitely find micro communities with the kinds of strict attitudes described (including what looks like a solid cohort here), but that's not the case nationally.

Your insurance rates go up a lot if you have a pool; you're liable for all sorts of accidents that happen in the pool, even if it's trespassing, etc.

Some years back I very briefly looked into what was involved in putting in a swimming pool. The unsurprising part of the research was finding out that it was way too expensive, took way too much maintenance, and was not always great for your house value. The surprising part was calling my insurance agent and having them tell me that as long as it was legally installed and permitted, a pool would not affect my home insurance rates.

Though both men were allowed to own guns, Bruce Abramski claimed on forms that he was the “actual transferee/buyer” of the weapon and was later convicted of making false statements.

If this applies to spouses, then there are millions of lawbreakers in the US. I'm glad they are making it easier to stop straw buyers, but it seems odd that it relied on a case involving two family members.

But letting someone else keep my guns ? No fucking way.

No kidding. It's hard to think of a less viable idea.

Honest question: how would you feel about having to submit to periodic inspections to make sure you're storing your guns safely?

As with the comment from Pogo_F, my guns are locked up so you could inspect all day long and it wouldn't change anything for me. At the same time, I'd think that if it genuinely drove risk in a big, measurable way, you'd see it reflected in insurance rates (as is the case with things like fireplaces). That insurance companies don't seem to care if you own guns, and if so how they are stored, suggests that liability and risk are not the key elements.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:12 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


evidenceofabsence: I suppose that could be tied to renewing a license

linux: You should procure a license that requires regular evaluation for renewal, for which you pay a fee.

The thing is, when you guys say "license", most of the the anti-regulation crowd hears "gun owner registry." You can't regulate something you can't track, and they will not let you track their ownership of guns under any circumstances.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:13 PM on June 17


Though both men were allowed to own guns, Bruce Abramski claimed on forms that he was the “actual transferee/buyer” of the weapon and was later convicted of making false statements.

If this applies to spouses, then there are millions of lawbreakers in the US. I'm glad they are making it easier to stop straw buyers, but it seems odd that it relied on a case involving two family members.


There's no cousin privilege in court either. Spouses are different for many reasons.
posted by Etrigan at 3:14 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


My personal proposal for saner gun control is to start having people of color visit political rallies en masse while exercising their open carry rights, just like the Tea Party today and many left political groups in the past.

I suspect, somehow, that the political will necessary to find some sort of bipartisan movement on gun control would swiftly become more readily available to our elected representatives. Like magic! Terrible, racist magic.
posted by jsturgill at 3:18 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


I suspect, somehow, that the political will necessary to find some sort of bipartisan movement on gun control would swiftly become more readily available to our elected representatives. Like magic! Terrible, racist magic.

Really? History would indicate the first thing to happen would be literacy tests on firearm purchases rather than gun control.
posted by Talez at 3:20 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


they will not let you track their ownership of guns under any circumstances
To borrow an argument from another aspect of the debate: the fact that criminals, by definition, break laws, does not negate the utility of having laws.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 3:23 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


evidenceofabsence: To borrow an argument from another aspect of the debate: the fact that criminals, by definition, break laws, does not negate the utility of having laws.

You'll get no argument from me, I'm just pointing out that it's a political non-starter. And that's fine -- I support many policies that are just as far-fetched -- but the idea that offering licensing as a compromise will somehow get you closer to a political solution assumes facts not in evidence.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:25 PM on June 17


I'm nominally the owner of a gun that I inherited; I haven't seen it in probably six years. It's up on my late uncle's farm, where my aunt still lives and needed her rifle last spring to clear feral dogs off the property (they killed over 20 sheep; it was a big long saga). She's an organic farm inspector and used to teach Steiner school; we're both pretty liberal people.

I have a couple friends who own or have owned guns, and I generally feel OK about them, though since one just moved in with her girlfriend who has a 9-year-old, that might be a little more hinky. She keeps a handful of pistols around because she likes going to the range. A buddy of mine up in San Francisco used to carry when he lived in a shitty part of Oakland — he got beaten pretty badly on the subway, and got sick of getting mugged.

What I will say is that since Sandy Hook, there's been an increase in polarization in friends' facebook feeds — my libertarian buddies and their friends really buy into some amazing bullshit about guns, and their persecution fantasies started sounding a whole lot less like foibles after the massacre.

One thing I floated in a previous thread: I do think that firearms ownership should be a matter of public record. If you own a gun, it's reasonable to treat you like more of a threat when you start spouting off about any given nutbaggery.

As for: "The police won't protect you anywhere. Really. It's not their job. Their job is to investigate crime after it occurs. They are not there to prevent crime (that's what private security is for; if you can afford it)."

That's not actually true as a matter of police philosophy; historically it's pretty much backwards. The function of police is primarily to prevent crime and maintain order, and until a sweeping change in policing theory in the post-war period, they weren't really there to solve the crimes at all. Hence the private detective trope.
posted by klangklangston at 3:27 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Effective firearms regulation should be something like owning and driving a vehicle

Definitely. In virtually all jurisdictions, that means no regulation or insurance as long as it's on private property.
posted by jpe at 3:29 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Really? History would indicate the first thing to happen would be literacy tests on firearm purchases rather than gun control.

Not to digress too badly, but literacy tests were predicated on things like being administered at will by officers who could reliably be expected to be white, and being subject to a grandfather clause, i.e. you didn't have to take the test if your grandfather had the vote. (Which by the way is where our modern term "grandfathering" comes from.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:31 PM on June 17


Definitely. In virtually all jurisdictions, that means no regulation or insurance as long as it's on private property.

Which is why it would be appropriate to say "something" rather than "exactly the same as" or "identical to." It should be "like" owning and driving a vehicle in the sense that is meaningful to this debate.
posted by MoonOrb at 3:32 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


I'm gay, though I didn't know it yet in 1971, when I was in basic training for the National Guard at Fort Pendleton, California.

There was a particular exercise I will always remember. We had been in the field with our M-16s, practicing tactical field maneuvers with blanks. At the end of the day, we were mustered and run through a few obligatory drills, one of which was to cock the rifle and click the trigger. To my horror, my rifle fired a round that I didn't know was in the chamber.

I thought I had done everything correctly, but obviously I hadn't. There was a huge hubbub, and I was hauled into the drill sergeant's office. I was naive but not stupid, and quickly figured out that I was not to blame, the field marshal was, since this was "Bullets 101".

My lifelong takeaway from that experience was, mistakes happen, despite qualified instruction, and, if you are not holding a weapon in your hand, these mistakes are less likely to be fatal.

To this day, and I'm 62, I will not allow a firearm in my house. Similarly, if I see anyone carrying a firearm, I vacate the area immediately.

I don't care what the NRA says, anyone armed is a threat.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 3:36 PM on June 17 [34 favorites]


A fellow I know rather well died recently dicking around with a handgun. In college I was sitting in a dorm room with a couple of friends and one of them had a handgun and accidently let go a round that went through the wall. What Short Attention Sp said. I will not remain in the room with someone who has a gun.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:44 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


That's not actually true as a matter of police philosophy; historically it's pretty much backwards. The function of police is primarily to prevent crime and maintain order, and until a sweeping change in policing theory in the post-war period, they weren't really there to solve the crimes at all. Hence the private detective trope.

I agree with you on this; I think a lot of people are sort of not seeing the forest for the trees when they cite the court cases they claim mean the police have no obligation to protect you. That's merely to ensure they can't be held liable to every victim of a crime, by the simple fact of not having prevented it.
posted by Hoopo at 3:45 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure how this is such a difficult process to comprehend when it comes to deadly weapons.

I think our regulations for firearms remain a mess because of the divisiveness of the issue causing some pretty nutty legislation, something that was probably not an issue for electrical outlet safety regulation. I brought up outlets mostly because I fried myself as a kid so that's usually the first thing I think of when it comes to dangerous stuff at home... I am still deathly afraid of being electrocuted.

And background checks should happen periodically. I suppose that could be tied to renewing a license, rather than making a purchase, but background checks shouldn't be a one-shot deal (no pun intended).

No argument there. The thing is, if a person has a license and is already on the books as owning a firearm, the waiting period to purchase an additional one as a proxy for a background check just creates aggravation and is a backwards way of doing a check anyway. During renewals and during purchases, much like swiping a credit card, swiping a gun license when purchasing a new firearm can get denied due to a flag on the record.

"Oh, I'm sorry, your license comes up flagged. You're gonna have to call the Bureau of Firearms to clear that up before I can sell you this Smith and Wesson."
posted by linux at 3:57 PM on June 17


they will not let you track their ownership of guns under any circumstances

This is also one of the reasons the "gunshow loophole" is being defended so strongly. Many gun owners will ONLY buy a gun from a private seller with no paperwork at all because they believe that the Feds have some way to track background checks and link them permanently to citizens in order to make future confiscations possible.
posted by Megafly at 4:09 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


That having been said, we stopped target shooting at a couple of ranges in the area because they started to require a "loyalty oath" in addition to the usual waivers and disclaimers. Seriously - I'm shooting (at) some clay pigeons, I'm not running for office. Why do I need to sign a paper stating that I will defend the constitution and give my life to fight tyranny ?

This is actually a really bad sign, and one I've been waiting to see.

When one side in a politically, ethically and to some extent ethnically sharply divided population arms itself heavily, and at the same time seeks to deny arms to the other side--or even as in this case, merely tries to keep the other side from learning how to use the weapons they do happen to have--big, big trouble is on the horizon.
posted by jamjam at 4:20 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


I really appreciate this article and this thread. I don't know that I have much, or anything, to contribute, but I'd like to continue my show of appreciation by stating why.

My abusive father collects guns illegally. Because his pathological behaviour knows no bounds, I can't see him using those firearms responsibly, even after he was caught and cited by the police for illegal ownership and storage of firearms. He's not a hunter. Nor has he ever worked for law enforcement. Nor is he a likely victim of attack. I can't see a civilian plausibly using the powerful guns he likes in self-defense. I remember being scared to death of those guns as a kid and as a teenager.

On the other hand, I think black powder cannons are nifty, and I'd like to learn gunsmithing for the sake of the craft.

On the other hand, while I know that others disagree, I personally find guns ugly-looking, and I personally associate them with brutality, undeserved power, and force, so there's that.

But, that said, I follow Marc MacYoung for self-defense. I really have met people who would be happy to see me dead. I could try to become a martial arts master, or carry a knife, or keep switching my routine every time I'm stalked, but then it's easier to get a concealed carry permit.

But then it's easy to find yourself in a shootout, as in hiding behind walls that won't protect you, or shooting aggressively instead of defensively and finding yourself in jail. "Self-defense" has a very limited nomenclature, and ignorance of the law won't help.

That said, rifle ranges are fun.

THAT said, I wouldn't dare discuss my personal politics at a rifle range, or in public generally (with an obvious exception for this site). Too much can be misinterpreted. It makes for bad blood.

All of that said, I'm reminded of the woman in court who faced off with her ex, who plainly stated that if she walked out of the courtroom, he'd kill her that night. So she turned around and shot him, and was arrested.

There's no good outcome re: self-defense, I don't think, for a civilian, except in extreme circumstances. I don't like guns, but I have mixed opinions about the right to carry them. I really don't know, but I appreciate the clear and consistent perspective in the article.
posted by quiet earth at 4:26 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


start having people of color visit political rallies en masse while exercising their open carry rights, just like the Tea Party today and many left political groups in the past.

California banned public carrying of loaded firearms in 1967 with the Mulford Act because of the Black Panthers' habit of carrying weapons.

On a related note, California banned unloaded open carry in 2013, which depending on how Peruta v. San Diego goes might force California to switch to a "shall issue" concealed weapons license policy.
posted by dragoon at 4:32 PM on June 17


I follow Marc MacYoung for self-defense.

That guy is exceptionally smart, and anybody who is at risk of having to deal with real violence should read every last page of his site.

I contacted Marc after the first time I got in a fight with an armed assailant in '09. He was kind enough to talk me through a very rational analysis of the altercation. Good man. Invaluable resource.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 4:35 PM on June 17


Most Americans will go their entire lives never knowing a person that dies in a car accident, and six times less people will know someone who is murdered.

True, but unlike deadly car accidents, the number of people that one knows who have been shot rise dramatically from '0-1' to 'a dozen - too many to count' really fucking quickly.

I remember when the link in this post went around facebook - it was pretty stark. A lot of my feed I met in college or afterward, and their number was pretty low, if any. The ones I went to elementary and high school with, though? I think I had the lowest number of any of them, at eight.

The high concentration of gun-related injury and deaths to specific areas does not make me feel better about gun control in this country, let me tell you.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:58 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Funny that you use the word "absolutely" in defense of an absolutist argument that you also admit is wrong.

If that's what you took from my post, then apparently we are not communicating.
posted by Foosnark at 6:01 PM on June 17


But at the same time, he argues that guns offer an especially important measure of protection to minority groups usually identified with the left. “Our transgender, LGBT, African American members, they’ll talk about real oppression,” he says. “The police aren’t going to come. That’s meaningful defense.”

One of the stories my husband tells about the difference between guns in the rural south in the 80s and 90s vs guns in urban areas involves him hearing an NPR or Pacifica interview with two lesbians in Alabama or Mississippi who were being harassed (including animal killings) in their rural homestead, and how they and the interviewer discussed their guns and how they were ready to defend themselves. Not something you'd hear even then in urban areas.

My feeling is that guns in the home should be heavily regulated in urban and suburban areas because they are more dangerous in where there are more people in close proximity. If you live in the middle of nowhere, and particularly if you're involved in ranching or something else that, frex, attracts nuisance animals, it's a lot more reasonable to keep a shotgun in the gun rack on the back of your pickup. But I'm old enough to remember when guns were for sport/hunting and not primarily for home defense (against criminals or the government) in most cases.

I have college friends who became the sort of gun owners who talked about "hoplophobes". I grew up with guns in the house, and I learned how to shoot as a young woman. As things are now, I don't want a gun in my house and I definitely don't want people carrying guns in the store when I'm shopping. I look at the conversation about guns now and what behavior people think is reasonable and am boggled by how much it's changed in 20-30 years.
posted by immlass at 6:03 PM on June 17


Really daft question, but reading this I wondered if it had been tried before - what about infiltrating the NRA memberbase? I mean, it's $125 for 5 years to get board voting rights or $1000 for lifetime membership to get board rights immediately. More than half their revenue is coming from gun businesses etc, not member dues. So if you could get enough people in to the local chapters and then tip them over to get more pro-gun control people into the board, why not? There's like only 7% of the eligible 1.7 million who can vote (NRA board vote comments) so that means that you would need to quietly add about 50,000 people who gradually voted more and more moderately. Plus their seat 76 which is entirely member-voted.
posted by viggorlijah at 6:29 PM on June 17 [7 favorites]


I think that's kind of what happened with the NRA in the first place - it used to be an organization that was mostly about hunting and was not a strong political voice. It got more or less taken over and converted into what it is now. I suppose it might work.

To participate in most competitive shooting events (around here at least) you have to join the NRA, which I was really not a fan of doing.
posted by RustyBrooks at 6:45 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Really daft question, but reading this I wondered if it had been tried before - what about infiltrating the NRA memberbase?

Michael Moore tried this after Columbine but decided that making a movie would be easier.

There's like only 7% of the eligible 1.7 million who can vote (NRA board vote comments) so that means that you would need to quietly add about 50,000 people who gradually voted more and more moderately.

That's 7 percent who care enough about the differences among a bunch of people whose primary difference is whether they think all tanks should be included in the Second Amendment or just American tanks. It wouldn't take the NRA leadership more than one election to mobilize the other 93 percent if they realized that someone was trying to move the organization the other way, and there's no way to get people in place to do it "quietly" unless you're also willing to spend 20 years frothing at the mouth to convince them you're legit.
posted by Etrigan at 7:11 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


This story looks like a case where liberals are defined by their enemies. Basically, a conservative talking head claims that liberals want to ban all guns to strike fear in conservatives, and then some liberals adopt that position by suggestion.
posted by Brian B. at 7:28 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


It's the same as saying that people who live in homes with swimming pools have a higher chance of drowning than people who don't have a pool.

Notr unless people claimed having a swimming pool would keep you from drowning.
posted by layceepee at 8:18 PM on June 17 [9 favorites]


Hmm... It's quite possible that a kid who grows up with a swimming pool in the back yard is less likely to drown than one who doesn't, due to greater swimming abilities.

Might make an interesting study.
posted by Hatashran at 8:35 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


This author's last name is "Schatz"? (Sounds just like the English word "shots".)
posted by telstar at 9:05 PM on June 17


"A fellow I know rather well died recently dicking around with a handgun. In college I was sitting in a dorm room with a couple of friends and one of them had a handgun and accidently let go a round that went through the wall. What Short Attention Sp said. I will not remain in the room with someone who has a gun."

When I was about 16, this kid in the neighborhood was down in his basement with a friend, shooting at cans with a .22 rifle. But that's not how Ibn shot Marty — that happened when they disagreed over whose turn it was, and wrestled for the gun — it went off into Marty's thigh.

I guess part of why I favor gun control is that while the gun owners I know are about an even mix of reasonable and dangerously irresponsible people. Elevating gun ownership to a fundamental right means that it's much harder to keep the dangerously irresponsible ones from owning guns. The reasonable ones I don't really worry about.
posted by klangklangston at 9:45 PM on June 17


I remember when the link in this post went around facebook - it was pretty stark.

Oh god, that article. I remember thinking, "I've led a pretty sheltered life, and it's not like I grew up around guns. I don't think I know anyone who's been shot."

Except for my ex's friend, who accidentally shot and killed himself while drunkely playing with a handgun. Or that guy I went to elementary school with who was murdered. Or my great uncle, who was shot when his corner store was robbed. And my cousin, who committed suicide.

And the more I thought about it, the more things I recalled. My grandfather, who wasn't shot, but had a heart attack when he was robbed at gunpoint. My roommates, who were mugged at gunpoint just down the block from where we lived. The two occasions when I had to walk through an active crime scene, yellow shell casing markers and all, in order to get in and out of my apartment building. Shootings that took place just a block or two from where I've lived, in what I'd still describe as safe neighborhoods.

Which is not to mention the friends-of-friends, or the classmates and relatives who enlisted and went to war, or the armed police officers I see in the street every day, or the bored National Guardsmen stationed in the subway in late 2001 who would absentmindedly bat their rifles around.

That article helped me realize that whether or not I fancy myself someone who "grew up around guns," firearms have, for better or worse, always been part of the world in which I've lived.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:52 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


This story looks like a case where liberals are defined by their enemies. Basically, a conservative talking head claims that liberals want to ban all guns to strike fear in conservatives, and then some liberals adopt that position by suggestion.

Nah, there most likely have been those who've indeed wante to ban all guns all along. To a dramatically lesser extent than the NRA claims, mind you, but there's always been a handful of people down wih the idea.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:44 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


comprehensive and sweeping UK-style federal gun bans

I'm in the UK and this is a huge overstatement. I have several friends of left-leaning politics who own multiple firearms legally. There are regulations, but the regulations are quite sensible, involving about the same amount of paperwork and upkeep involved in owning a car.

I do feel safe in the houses of those friends, both because they're responsible people and because by law those guns are stored in a combination-locked steel cabinet bolted to an exterior wall in a room that is also kept locked.

It's noteworthy that in the UK a shotgun license is relatively easy to get and there is no limit to the number of shotguns you can own on a single licence. Magazine size, however, is extremely limited. So basically, UK gun laws are quite friendly to hunters, posh grouse-shooting wankers, and rural dwellers who use guns for pest control and humane despatch of animals.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:38 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


"posh grouse-shooting wankers"

I parsed this part of the comment quite incorrectly. "They wank so they can ejaculate posh grouses? What?"
posted by I-baLL at 7:57 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


On a more serious note, is "No private ownership of guns" something anyone anywhere actually advocates, outside of a right-wing Strawman argument?

Yes. In fact, I think I've even seen it suggested on a Metafilter thread or two, that they don't see any reason why anyone should have guns privately owned in their homes. I've also heard it conversationally where I live. (NYC) Now, this doesn't mean it's necessarily the majority opinion, but it does exist.
posted by corb at 8:12 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Many gun owners will ONLY buy a gun from a private seller with no paperwork at all because they believe that the Feds have some way to track background checks and link them permanently to citizens in order to make future confiscations possible.

So, a question for those of you who support gun control and think gun owners are paranoid for believing this: do you honestly believe that the Feds can't use the legally required paperwork to track guns? Do you honestly believe that if they wanted to, the federal government would not be able to use those records in order to confiscate firearms? I'm not saying "Is there a political climate to confiscate" or even "Would they want to?" I'm asking, could they?
posted by corb at 8:22 AM on June 18


They could.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:23 AM on June 18


I mean, they have big guns, you know.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:25 AM on June 18


Do you honestly believe that if they wanted to, the federal government would not be able to use those records in order to confiscate firearms? I'm not saying "Is there a political climate to confiscate" or even "Would they want to?" I'm asking, could they?

Sure, they could.

They could also use auto registration records to confiscate cars. They could use Deed Registries to confiscate real estate.

And it's academic anyway - They don't need a record of anything to confiscate it. There exist a dizzying array of options available to the government, some not so bad like Eminent Domain and others pretty bad like just ignoring treaties and otherwise straight up ignoring the law. And the U.S. government has done all that and far worse in the past.

Yet, here we are, still largely considered a shining beacon of freedom and liberty.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:39 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


So, a question for those of you who support gun control and think gun owners are paranoid for believing this: do you honestly believe that the Feds can't use the legally required paperwork to track guns? Do you honestly believe that if they wanted to, the federal government would not be able to use those records in order to confiscate firearms? I'm not saying "Is there a political climate to confiscate" or even "Would they want to?" I'm asking, could they?

In fact, the federal government even knows the name of your minor child and where your child lives: right this minute, the government could be coming to take your child.

Hyperbole aside, here is why it is unreasonable to resist background checks for the reason that the background check information could be used to create a registry that could possibly be used to seize privately owned guns. The benefits of background checks (i.e., creating more effective means of ensuring that people who possess guns will not use them to commit crimes) by far outweigh the downsides to having background checks. The downside alleged by gun owners here is speculative. Weighing this speculative harm of potential gun seizure against the likelihood that gun crimes can be more effectively prevented by background checks is kind of a no-brainer.

Also, you can't ignore the context: "whether the political climate exists" and "would the government want to" are relevant considerations. It's weird to narrow the issue down to "well could the government do this if the government wanted to and if the political climate existed?" Yes, of course the government could, just as the government could decide that it was going to reinstitute the draft, but this time for males and females and for people as young as 16. The political climate doesn't exist and the government doesn't want to, but it could. Would people worried about this seem paranoid? Of course...because it's not even remotely feasible that it would happen.

On the other hand, branding gun owners who worry about this sort of thing as "paranoid" is distracting and unnecessary. It's enough to describe it as unreasonable, which it is, even if they hold this concern sincerely. So, if you want to take issue with people who are calling it paranoid, fine. It's paranoid at worst, unreasonable at best.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:19 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


So, a question for those of you who support gun control and think gun owners are paranoid for believing this: do you honestly believe that the Feds can't use the legally required paperwork to track guns? Do you honestly believe that if they wanted to, the federal government would not be able to use those records in order to confiscate firearms? I'm not saying "Is there a political climate to confiscate" or even "Would they want to?" I'm asking, could they?

It's kind of moot when people are perfectly willing to advertise in public that they have a weapon.
posted by Talez at 9:33 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


The benefits of background checks (i.e., creating more effective means of ensuring that people who possess guns will not use them to commit crimes) by far outweigh the downsides to having background checks. The downside alleged by gun owners here is speculative. Weighing this speculative harm of potential gun seizure against the likelihood that gun crimes can be more effectively prevented by background checks is kind of a no-brainer.

I suppose what I'm trying to point out is that when people are mocking or denigrating this belief or calling people insane who hold it, they're not starting from the same first principles as those gun owners who, in the example above, will only buy from private owners to avoid this. Assuming that everyone's talking in good faith, rather than trying to confuse the issue for political ends, then I think people might want to take another look at that shifting sand.

Weighing the speculative harm of potential gun seizures against the possible likelihood that gun crimes can be more effectively prevented by background checks is not something that can be done in a vacuum. These sort of counterbalances are always affected not just by likelihoods, but by severity.

If you feel gun seizures are an unalloyed bad, completely catastrophic, if they take place, then, in fact, countering gun seizures as much as you can is completely sane. Even though the likelihood of the seizures may be low, it is too terrible an outcome to risk. Now, people may hold differing beliefs on whether in fact this would be such a terrible thing, on a 1-100 scale, but those are personal beliefs and feelings about what is important - not really something that breaks down easily on a idiot/smart/sane/insane sort of spectrum. (It is also worth mentioning that many people worried about seizures are not worried about seizures in their lifetime, but in the lifetime of their children, which is actually a far stronger likelihood.)

It's also a confusion of personal gun crime versus large scale societal gun crime. Because even if more background checks prevented gun crime to a certain extent, it would be unlikely to affect the specific and personal amount of gun crime that gun owner would be facing. So, in essence, they would be choosing to prioritize the risk of a terrible harm happening to them, over the risk of what seems a lesser harm happening to other people.

Assuming these priorities, then they are doing one of the smartest things they possibly could - buying in cash on the barrelhead, from people who do not require checks or records. And there are reasons to argue against that, but making people out to be stock moustache-twirling villainous idiots should not be one of them.
posted by corb at 9:50 AM on June 18


corb, and what I'm trying to point out is that your line of argument extends only to whether it is cool or not to mock or denigrate gun owners who sincerely believe this unreasonable thing.

It's usually not nice to mock things people sincerely believe, no. And it's usually not productive, either, if you're hoping to persuade the people you're mocking.

So, let's suppose we can agree that gun owners who oppose background checks hold this belief sincerely, for the reasons you articulated.

So what?

It's still unreasonable, even if they believe it's reasonable.

And, honestly, people are going to get mocked for unreasonable, if sincerely held, beliefs. This is why people mock preppers, for example.

So, if what you want to do is stand up here and say, Hey, let us please not be as disrespectful to those people who sincerely believe these things about guns, fine. But this really has nothing to do with the key to the issue, which has much more to do with whose beliefs should carry the day when it comes to public policy.

I mean, what you're doing here is making a tone argument, right? Instead of debating the merits of the position you're arguing that people advocating for background checks should be nicer about how they argue: they shouldn't be derisive about the beliefs of those who oppose the checks.

It's a sideshow. Arguing about the merits is more important than arguing about whether it's considerate or not to call people "paranoid" for believing these things.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:03 AM on June 18 [6 favorites]


Not exactly. I'm saying that for those particular gun owners, their actions actually are reasonable for them - not just that they think that those actions are reasonable, but that given what their desires are, they are taking the most advantageous line of actions that they can possibly take.

And I think that one of the things that turns people off to these sorts of proposals is that supporters of gun control laws - particularly around background checks - insist that these consequences are ridiculous, that no one sane could possibly think these things were real possibilities. And they are, whether intentionally or not, lying. They're not saying, "Yes, background checks would in fact make it easier for the government to confiscate your guns. But I think that lowering gun crime is worth that negative consequence." They're saying that increased background checks have no relation to the idea of confiscation. And this is an idea that can pretty quickly be demolished even by looking at statements of supporters, who say that they want records to be kept so that they can track down who sold which guns in case they're used in a crime.

People have a strong motivation to oppose legislation initiated by people that they know for a fact are lying to them. Because when you know someone is lying, you don't know how many things they're lying about. You don't know why they're lying about the things that they are lying about. You only know that you cannot trust their stated words.

So when people get upset about how gun rights supporters are reading things into their laws that are not in the stated text of the laws, they need to be aware that they are the ones who caused that particular state of affairs. By lying or being evasive about the actual impacts, they are causing that any law they create will be reasonably viewed with extreme suspicion.
posted by corb at 10:17 AM on June 18


If you can't trust Pat Toomey to be conservative enough...who can you trust?
posted by Drinky Die at 10:50 AM on June 18


corb: They're saying that increased background checks have no relation to the idea of confiscation.

The question as you posed it was:
Do you honestly believe that if they wanted to, the federal government would not be able to use those records in order to confiscate firearms? I'm not saying "Is there a political climate to confiscate" or even "Would they want to?" I'm asking, could they?
By framing the question in that way, you've subtracted out the factors that undermine your argument. Which is fine, but for anyone who chooses not to take your assumptions for granted, you've not proven anything.

I think most people would agree that if we could measure the probability of confiscation before a registry and the probability after a registry, the difference would be infinitesimal. You yourself have previously laughed at the ineffectiveness of recent confiscation efforts in Connecticut, and this comment from up-thread details how badly it failed in California.

Now, you can talk all you want about how political realities might change, but most people, if they had to assign a number to the probability that confiscation could ever succeed either politically or logistically, would assign a very small number, with or without a gun registry. If you want to make your point, It's not good enough to say that these very real constraints on the possibility of confiscation could change after the establishment of a registry, you must outline a causal mechanism for how that would work in practice. Knowing where the guns are hasn't allowed authorities to do any significant amount of confiscation before, and there's no reason to believe that knowing where they are on a larger scale would change that.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:58 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


"Not exactly. I'm saying that for those particular gun owners, their actions actually are reasonable for them - not just that they think that those actions are reasonable, but that given what their desires are, they are taking the most advantageous line of actions that they can possibly take. "

Well, no. No matter how sincere the belief, a belief that the earth is flat is not a reasonable belief. Especially since both flat earthers and gun owners have ample access to evidence that should cause a reasonable person to modify their position. It's like arguing that people who believe the moon landing was faked are reasonable in opposing NASA — it's begging the question.

Doubling down on a dumb premise is not a defense against people calling that premise dumb.
posted by klangklangston at 11:42 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Yes, but a belief that the earth is flat is not just unlikely, but impossible. The earth will never be flat. It is not, however, impossible that confiscation could happen.
posted by corb at 11:45 AM on June 18


Oh, and: "People have a strong motivation to oppose legislation initiated by people that they know for a fact are lying to them. Because when you know someone is lying, you don't know how many things they're lying about. You don't know why they're lying about the things that they are lying about. You only know that you cannot trust their stated words."

Since you appealed to rationality, is it reasonable to believe that Bill Clinton doesn't support, say, free trade agreements? I mean, he lied about getting a blowjob. Or can a reasonable person weigh evidence and discern between different contexts and make decisions based on that? If not, your "reasonable person" sounds a lot more like an idiot than a rational actor.

So when people get upset about how gun rights supporters are reading things into their laws that are not in the stated text of the laws, they need to be aware that they are the ones who caused that particular state of affairs. By lying or being evasive about the actual impacts, they are causing that any law they create will be reasonably viewed with extreme suspicion."

Hey, how come we aren't applying this to the pro-gun side, who have repeatedly lied about nominally incipient gun bans, confiscations, black helicopters, and have actively fought against actual research being done on public health effects of firearms?

Oh, yeah, because you support a fundamentalist view of firearm rights and therefore are a biased, dishonest interlocutor on the issue. And since you've been caught out again and again making shit up to favor your arguments, wouldn't your words here kinda justify treating you like an inveterate liar?

Sorry, corb, you're not making your case better here — you're making a case for why it's reasonable to treat you like a crank.

"Yes, but a belief that the earth is flat is not just unlikely, but impossible. The earth will never be flat. It is not, however, impossible that confiscation could happen."

Leaving aside epistemic issues, it's not physically impossible that the moon landing was faked or that 9/11 was an inside job. However, those are not credible positions and a reasonable person should be able to discern that.
posted by klangklangston at 11:50 AM on June 18 [7 favorites]


Doubling down on a dumb premise is not a defense against people calling that premise dumb.

I will quote this to the end of my days. Thank you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:36 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


So when people get upset about how gun rights supporters are reading things into their laws that are not in the stated text of the laws, they need to be aware that they are the ones who caused that particular state of affairs.

I don't think that follows. There are people who take the fact that the government can track weapons, and add the fact that the government already has the capability to confiscate things, and conclude that the government must be conspiring to take all guns away from everybody all the time.

That's flawed logic. The fact that some people insist on arguing from that logic, or interpreting any gun control measure whatsoever as the harbinger of a jackbooted regime that's going to wrest their weapons from their hands? That's their own damn fault.

Failing to repeatedly acknowledge someone's wholly improbable but infinitesimally possible dystopian fantasy doesn't constitute a lie.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 1:27 PM on June 18


As I've noted before, the problem is that the pro-gun side has seen the exact scenario they claim to be afraid of play out in the U.S. within our lifetimes via their fellow travelers on the right -- "reasonable restrictions" on abortion were the thin end of the wedge that have led to vast swaths of the country where women can't get even basic gynecological care. People tend to think that other people are like them, so the (pro-gun part of the) right is positive that, given the opportunity, the left will do what was done to them.

Note: I am not drawing a moral equivalence between any form of family planning and any form of firearms possession. I am pointing out the tactical means that were used and are feared. Nor am I saying that the left would do these things, merely that the right is at least being logical in their fears, if not correct in their premises.
posted by Etrigan at 1:33 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Etrigan, the key difference, in my mind, is that the pro-choice movement can make a pretty clear case that each of the incremental changes to reproductive freedom rights are harmful in and of themselves, whereas the 2A crowd will often say, e.g., "well, I would support universal background checks, but then slippery slope, yadda yadda..." Both sides will use the possibility of small-scale policy changes now turning into much more fundamental changes in the future, but I'm pretty sure a majority of the pro-choice movement has always opposed things like "partial birth" bans, parental notification laws, etc. on the merits, with very few saying those things would be okay, but for the slippery slope.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:54 PM on June 18


Oh, yeah, because you support a fundamentalist view of firearm rights and therefore are a biased, dishonest interlocutor on the issue.

Could you please do less of this thing where you entangle good and reasonable arguments with big time rhetorical shittiness? Good arguments stand on their own and the shittiness sucks to read.

I'm no second amendment absolutist, but I don't see anything odd about being concerned about slippery slopes. As noted above, incremental approaches work well on other issues, and there are the recent examples of Australia and the UK for anyone who doesn't believe that a near-total firearms ban is possible.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:09 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


This just in: Georgia Man Later Discovers He Shot Himself In Penis While Holstering Gun
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:24 PM on June 18


People tend to think that other people are like them, so the (pro-gun part of the) right is positive that, given the opportunity, the left will do what was done to them.

That's not really fair. There are indeed Americans who want to eradicate private ownership of firearms, either by amending the Constitution or by judicially limiting the Second Amendment to some formulation of "regulated militia" use. Extremists aren't a boogeyman. They aren't a trivial minority, either. In some jurisdictions they have achieved unconstitutional successes.

That said, the confiscation argument sort of is a boogeyman. There is no credible implication of it. First you would have to see tectonic shifts in both how America views guns and how America views personal property. It's just not a realistic, feasible scenario. Obviously it could happen, but it's low enough on the list of concerns that when you hear a person raise it, that's usually a red flag the person isn't...well, an expert.

The more substantial criticism of "background checks" has to do with it being a facile proposal. What does the term mean? What exactly are we checking for, where are we looking for it, and what's the consequence if we find it? We probably start with relatively simple common ground like excluding convicted felons, but once we move the line we're into gray areas pretty quickly. We currently have states where almost anybody can impulse-buy an assault rifle, and we also have states where the local police chief can prevent you from owning any firearms because your son plays for the wrong team in Little League. "Background checks" move us away from the former, which is awesome, but also closer to the latter, which is not awesome. So what do they look like, and how do we do them? That's a big conversation.
posted by cribcage at 3:41 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


"I'm no second amendment absolutist, but I don't see anything odd about being concerned about slippery slopes. As noted above, incremental approaches work well on other issues, and there are the recent examples of Australia and the UK for anyone who doesn't believe that a near-total firearms ban is possible."

1) For a slippery slope to not be a fallacy, the steps have to be connected and consequent. The argument that registration leads to confiscation is not reasonably connected nor consequent.

2) Neither Australia nor the UK have near-total firearms ban; see above for mention of UK shotgun laws. In both, they are strongly regulated but what might be called working guns (for hunting, killing feral animals, etc.) are available. But pointing to the UK or Australia ignores a ton of salient points, from Constitutional to cultural, and in this instance is pretty dishonest.

3) Corb has a long history of cherry-picking and making dishonest arguments with regards to firearms, and I think can be fairly said to be biased on the issue. For her to get sanctimonious about the dishonesty of gun control advocates is bullshit.

I'm tired of dumb, dishonest arguments controlling American discourse on firearms.
posted by klangklangston at 3:46 PM on June 18 [5 favorites]


As noted above, incremental approaches work well on other issues, and there are the recent examples of Australia and the UK for anyone who doesn't believe that a near-total firearms ban is possible.
Australia isn't a great example. Australia's regulations weren't a matter of incrementally increasing gun control, but the result of a widely popular measure that took place in 1996, and did exactly what it said on the tin. Further, while Australia does place constraints on the types of firearms that people can own, it doesn't have a "near-total firearms ban."

What exactly are we checking for, where are we looking for it, and what's the consequence if we find it?
It's not as if background checks aren't used in a multitude of other situations, or as if some states don't already require them for gun purchases, making them something of a solved problem. I think there are far fewer edge cases than you are suggesting, and none involving wrong little league teams.

If anything, the little league example would be an argument in favor of universal regulation.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:34 PM on June 18


Evolve -- Playthings
posted by homunculus at 1:24 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


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