Inner City Blues
July 17, 2003 6:47 AM   Subscribe

With violent crime rates on the rise, a police chief under fire for his department's inefficiencies and a city that seems powerless to stop the trend, one Senator has a brilliant solution to all of Washington, DC's crime woes!
posted by Pollomacho (90 comments total)
 
Note to readers, sorry there wasn't more diversity of articles but the Washington Times seems to be down, in the meanwhile here's a City Paper article about our beautiful capital city!
posted by Pollomacho at 6:51 AM on July 17, 2003


"It is time to restore the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and to defend their families against murderous predators," said Hatch, whose bill has 18 co-sponsors. "Try to imagine the horror that [a] victim felt when he faced a gun-toting criminal and could not legally reach for a firearm to protect himself."

I've read and enjoyed Doonesbury for many, many years, and I'll swear this exact quote was a punchline about three times.

I guess us Canadians will never understand...
posted by DrJohnEvans at 7:05 AM on July 17, 2003


Ah, the subversion of democracy. It never ceases to amaze me that the same politicians who go on and on about personal responsibility, letting local governments handle their own problems, no big government, no Federal mandates, et-fucking-c., are the ones who feel perfectly comfortable denying tax-paying citizens the right to make their own decisions about how to run their city. Hypocrites.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:10 AM on July 17, 2003


Guns are legal and available in VA and MD it serves no purpose except political to outlaw DC. That would be like saying guns are illegal in Manhatten, but legal in Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and the rest of the state. That is exactly the situation in DC.
posted by stbalbach at 7:13 AM on July 17, 2003


Andrew Arulanandam, spokesman for the Fairfax-based National Rifle Association, called Hatch's legislation a positive step: "D.C.'s draconian gun ban has effectively stripped the city's law-abiding residents of the basic right to defend themselves and their loved ones."

Yes, I'm sure once everyone and their "loved ones" (always a sentimental, manipulative phrase) are armed to the teeth we'll be much safer. How the More Guns = Less Crime arguement has ever had traction is beyond me. Guess it's time to invest in that bullet proof suit I've had my eye on.
posted by dhoyt at 7:13 AM on July 17, 2003


As a transplant from Washington to Salt Lake City, I have to say that I hate Orrin Hatch. We're talking about a guy who ran a campaign about term limits, when he originally ran for office like 30 years ago. We're also talking about a guy who takes most of his flights aboard pharmaceutical company jets. Oh, and in his spare time likes writing hymns and songs for his wife.
Never mind that there are all the guns you could want across the river in Virginia. And to top it all off he wants to nuke your computer for sharing files that the music industry rips you off for in the stores. If metafilter had emoticons I would insert an angry face right here.
posted by trbrts at 7:35 AM on July 17, 2003


Guns are legal and available in VA and MD it serves no purpose except political to outlaw DC.

Except possession of a handgun without a license in the District, even if you bought it in VA or Utah or wherever is a jailable offence, just simple possession, so anyone carrying a hand gun, in their car, their pocket, wherever is already breaking the law, now anyway. So while you're right, stbalbach, it won't stop anyone who really wants to from driving to MD or VA and buying a handgun, they are in violation of the law when they bring it home and at least that is at least that much more of a deterrent, besides, if they go buy it in MD they now have to do the whole application process and the firearm safety course. In VA, although you'd think they are less strict, its illegal for a minor to possess or carry a gun off family property without written parental permission, plus they do the whole background check deal there too, except their requirements for passage are higher. None of those things prevent bad guys from getting them, but they do make it easier for cops to arrest them before they do bad things.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:41 AM on July 17, 2003


"If Senator Hatch really believes that people are safer when they are carrying handguns, then why doesn't he advocate lifting the ban on bringing weapons into the U.S. Capitol?" Nosanchuk said.

Brilliant. And a question that Hatch would never answer even under torture.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:42 AM on July 17, 2003


dhoyt: The More Guns Less Crime argument, is, simply, that the propensity of murderers/assaulters/rapists/thieves to commit crime is inversely related to the risks they face in commission.

It's not a complicated argument. And crime rates are highest, in the DC example, where guns are banned.

I realize that correlation does not necessarily equal causation, but the statistics are, at worst, food for thought.

FWIW, I am one of those morally bankrupt people who gets a warm and fuzzy feeling when a would-be victim kills his or her attacker. And it makes me feel a good deal safer when it happens in my neighborhood.
posted by trharlan at 7:48 AM on July 17, 2003


Republicans, Democrats, Hypocrites. Those are all synonyms in my book.
posted by insomnyuk at 7:51 AM on July 17, 2003


FWIW, I am one of those morally bankrupt people who gets a warm and fuzzy feeling when a would-be victim kills his or her attacker. And it makes me feel a good deal safer when it happens in my neighborhood.

If that's morally bankrupt, then I'll gladly join.
posted by insomnyuk at 7:52 AM on July 17, 2003


This shouldn't even be a pro-gun/anti-gun thread. It should be a pro-democracy/anti-democracy thread. I would think that a true political conservative would cringe at a Senator from Utah's meddling with local ordinances, even if those local ordinances are misguided.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:04 AM on July 17, 2003


Whenever I hear the gun argument I can't help but think about a U2 concert I saw. At the end of the show, lights fade to black, and you hear Charlton Heston (NRA president) say "There's no such thing as a good gun. There's no such thing as a bad gun. A gun in the hands of a bad man is a very dangerous thing. A gun in the hands of a good person is no danger to anyone except the bad guys." Meanwhile they're showing a video of a little girl, maybe 3 years old, playing in her house. She finds a gun and starts playing with it right as the voice says "A gun in the hands of a good person is no danger to anyone..." For what it's worth.
posted by ben-o at 8:04 AM on July 17, 2003


Nearly half the guns used in D.C. crimes were purchased in neighboring states, police said in 1999, with 23 percent coming from Virginia and 20 percent from Maryland.

That is, criminals will always obtain firearms, either in the neighboring states or in the black market.

Where I live, there's a clear-cut social divide between the rich/ high middle class, who can afford to live in closed and heavily guarded condo-compounds, and the less well-off, who at this point do not trust the police at all. A gun ban actually means preventing the poor from protecting themselves, since they can't hire security personnel/bodyguards etc and can't count on the police either. Also, some forms of self-protection (like preemptive self-defense) can be performed only if you're entitled to legally possess a gun.
posted by 111 at 8:11 AM on July 17, 2003


A gun ban actually means preventing the poor from protecting themselves

that is a frightening opinion and completely steers away from any hope of soving the problem
posted by Frasermoo at 8:17 AM on July 17, 2003


Yes, ben, because rock stars know so much about politics.
posted by insomnyuk at 8:20 AM on July 17, 2003


Here in Texas, we are allowed to carry guns. That's why there's no crime, and we're never forced to execute murderers.

One of the many enormous problems with the Senator's and 111's, on preview) argument is that it presupposes a great deal of crime of a type that rarely occurs: the armed break-in while the victim is at home. In reality, people are rarely killed this way. Felony-related gun deaths (of which home burglary comprises only a fraction) made up less than 25% of gun deaths in 2000. Most gun violence is caused due to arguments between people, at least one of whom is carrying a gun. In the end, it's very unlikely that having a gun in your home will ever help you defend yourself; if you have young children in your house, it's a terrible, terrible idea.

I don't think the government has the right to tell you that you can't have a handgun in your house--I just think that you're wasting your money if you think it's going to save your life someday. If that gun is ever fired at another human being, the likelihood is that it will be fired by someone who purchased the gun from the guy who stole it from your house while you were away.
posted by vraxoin at 8:23 AM on July 17, 2003


preemptive self-defense

111??? You shoot people just to be sure?

"He looked a lot like Osama to me!"
posted by hoskala at 8:24 AM on July 17, 2003


Yes, ben, because rock stars know so much about politics.

Yep, them rock stars is stupid...unlike, say, actors from The Planet of the Apes...
posted by hipnerd at 8:26 AM on July 17, 2003


MoonPie: I would think that a true political conservative would cringe at a Senator from Utah's meddling with local ordinances

A true political conservative probably thinks that the DC ordinance violates the second amendment, and should be struck down by the courts. But a pragmatic true conservative doesn't let good be the enemy of perfect, and wants to see people's right to self-defense codified and preserved however s/he can.
posted by trharlan at 8:26 AM on July 17, 2003


DC has been ruled over by the feds since its inception. aLthough at that time there was little local population other than the politicians, DC being a bog old swamp. In recent years there's a history of preventing DC from ruling itself i.e. taxing commuters (as many other cities are entitled to do) and making marijuana possession legal (they wouldn't let them count the votes on a question that got on the ballot despite the best efforts of congress).

The city is kept perpetually under-funded, despite extra police duties required because of the presence of the federal government - think of all the protests that occur in DC instead of, say, Cincinnati.

Other absurdities - when the Redskins stadium was in DC, the players didn't have to pay any payroll taxes. The city budget has to be approved by Congress, so they make sure that things that Congress members don't like, such as family planning or abortions, can't be covered by the city.

When DC was originally envisioned, it was a state-free district, the thought being that no state(s) should be able to dominate the capitol, that it would be neutral. How ironic that the means intended to keep the district independent are instead being used to keep it in serfdom.
posted by Red58 at 8:27 AM on July 17, 2003


If Senator Hatch really believes that people are safer when they are carrying handguns, then why doesn't he advocate lifting the ban on bringing weapons into the U.S. Capitol?

Obviously people are safer if you can completely eliminate guns from the environment. In a closed system like the Capitol, this is presumably possible. But since it is not possible to completely remove every last gun from D. C., or even most of them, the two situations are not analogous.
posted by kindall at 8:27 AM on July 17, 2003


In 1992 Senator Richard Shelby forced a death penalty referendum onto the Washington, DC ballot after one of his aides was shot to death on Capitol Hill. Since then I've pretty much assumed that all intrusions into DC's local politics were the result of some unpleasantness that has inconvenienced a congressperson, or a member of his staff. People who don't live in the District really don't understand what it's like to be Congress' plaything.
posted by coelecanth at 8:31 AM on July 17, 2003


I can't wait to get out of this city. I've never lived in a place that was so angry, and had so much reason to be.
posted by gottabefunky at 8:35 AM on July 17, 2003


It's not a complicated argument. And crime rates are highest, in the DC example, where guns are banned.

I love how you cherry-pick. Please prove your assertion. Be sure to include Canada in your assessment.
posted by Cerebus at 8:36 AM on July 17, 2003


I am one of those morally bankrupt people who gets a warm and fuzzy feeling when a would-be victim kills his or her attacker.

Funny, I'm the opposite. I own guns (which I keep at my family cabin so as not to break DC law), yet I get the warm feeling of vomit coming up whenever I hear that someone "deserves" to die because they are a "bad" person. I feel Strom Thurmond was a bad person, I did not cheer when I heard he was finally fucking dead. Yes, I have been mugged, at gun point, in my nice peaceful, upper class, white neighborhood while waiting for the bus. Did my assailant, who also cracked a young woman in the nose with the gun deserve to die? No. Did I feel differently at the moment it happened? Yep. Would I have killed a 16 year old, dumbass kid (as it turned out to be) had I had a gun at that moment? I sure would have, and then I would have wanted to die for the rest of my life for what I'd done. Besides this anyway, shotguns are still legal in DC, a far superior home defense weapon, for both your own sake, that of the rare home invader and for your family on the other side of the drywall that you shoot clean through when you miss him.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:36 AM on July 17, 2003


I hope all you DC people in this thread are coming to the DC Mefi Meetup on August 7th.
posted by pjgulliver at 8:36 AM on July 17, 2003


Yes, ben, because rock stars know so much about politics.

Feel free to address his actual point any time now.

Oh wait, I forgot-- attack the messenger, not the message. Great debating technique. You win.
posted by Cerebus at 8:38 AM on July 17, 2003


I'll be there, pj, as long as we don't have to talk politics.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:41 AM on July 17, 2003


Frasermoo, it's 100% real life, and I'm not even talking desperately no-institutions no-State Third World. In daily life, we're often insulated from the real world by air-conditioned rooms, security guards etc, and that could make us think that guns are unnecessary; for many people out there, on the other hand, protection is self-protection and that's it. The State cannot invade your personal life and stop you from having the adequate means to protect yourself, your loved ones and your possessions.

One of the many enormous problems with the Senator's and 111's, on preview) argument is that it presupposes a great deal of crime of a type that rarely occurs: the armed break-in while the victim is at home.

vraxoin, on the sunny side of the street perhaps, but not where I live. Even on the safest place on earth-- Sweden, for instance-- you must have the right to be prepared if such a thing ever occurs. Most cars don't crash, but cars must have seat belts, fire extinguishers and so on. Less than 25% is almost one fourth if you look at it from another point of view.

hoskala, I'm not a lawyer so I'll give you the broad definition of preemptive self-defense:
if you (God forbid) find yourself in a situation where a criminal's pointing a gun at you and saying he'll shoot, you're entitled to shoot him first, even if the police finds out later that he was carrying a toy gun or something like that.
posted by 111 at 8:46 AM on July 17, 2003


if you (God forbid) find yourself in a situation where a criminal's pointing a gun at you and saying he'll shoot, you're entitled to shoot him first

What is this a Segall movie?
posted by Pollomacho at 8:49 AM on July 17, 2003


hoskala, I'm not a lawyer so I'll give you the broad definition of preemptive self-defense:
if you (God forbid) find yourself in a situation where a criminal's pointing a gun at you and saying he'll shoot, you're entitled to shoot him first, even if the police finds out later that he was carrying a toy gun or something like that.


No, that's your garden-variet self-defense. Preemptive self defense would be breaking into the house of the guy you think is going to mug you tomorrow and shooting him at the dinner table.
posted by Cerebus at 8:51 AM on July 17, 2003


Less than 25% is almost one fourth if you look at it from another point of view

Yeah, except the total numbers are somewhere around 2,600 gun deaths per year in the united states in the felony category, which means that in any given year, your odds of being the victim of such an assault are roughly 1 in 111,000. I'm willing to take those odds.
posted by vraxoin at 8:54 AM on July 17, 2003


(The rich) who can afford to live in closed and heavily guarded condo-compounds, and the less well-off, who at this point do not trust the police at all.

Ok, I'm with you...

A gun ban actually means preventing the poor from protecting themselves, since they can't hire security personnel/bodyguards etc and can't count on the police either.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Why would you need to hire a body guard just to keep yourself safe? It's not like DC is South Africa or something. What kind of normal person hires a bodyguard or a security force? That's paranoia on another level.

Reminds me of that scene in Bowling for Columbine where Moore walks around Canada opening people's doors, and asking why they think Americas are so paranoid and have such a gun fetish.

Also, some forms of self-protection (like preemptive self-defense) can be performed only if you're entitled to legally possess a gun.

Preemptive self-defense? Jesus, the Bush Doctrine is worming it's way into everything these days, isn't it. Preemptive implies that you know you're going to be attacked a good period of time before hand, so what, you're going to shoot the guy a week before and claim self-defense? A preemptive self-defense is an attack, but sounds so much more legitimate with a few five dollars words.

if you (God forbid) find yourself in a situation where a criminal's pointing a gun at you and saying he'll shoot, you're entitled to shoot him first, even if the police finds out later that he was carrying a toy gun or something like that.

That's the definition of self-defense, not preemptive self-defense. In order for something to be preemptive, it needs to be known ahead of time, not just reacted to in the moment.
posted by SweetJesus at 8:55 AM on July 17, 2003


What is this a Segall movie?

No, not Seagal. Not Jonathan Livingston Seagull either.

Cerebus, both cases seem to be variants of the same circumstance, namely: clearly perceived, impending threats.

vraxoin, good luck.
posted by 111 at 8:59 AM on July 17, 2003


It's not a complicated argument. And crime rates are highest, in the DC example, where guns are banned. I realize that correlation does not necessarily equal causation, but the statistics are, at worst, food for thought.

Uh, correlation most definetly does not equal causation in this case.

In the DC metropolitan area, the close-in wealthy DC suburbs of Maryland (Montgomery County, and Prince George's County to a lesser degree), and Virginia (Fairfax County, and Arlington, and Alexandria City to a lesser degree) disproportionaely have the wealth in the region. Like many of America's cities, the poor are concentrated in the central and denser city---in this case, mostly in the NE and SE quadrants of the city. Most of the violent gun crime occurs in these areas.

It's really an apples and oranges comparison, and counting DC as a state for your gun comparison (though its politically treated as one for the most part) to its suburban MD and VA neighbors, isn't quite fair. This is like comparing New York City to New York State.

I find it ironic that Hatch is screaming about gun rights in District, when over half a million people in DC still don't have voting rights. You would think anyone screaming about 'rights' would be screaming about that first.

(a thought from a DC resident)
posted by jare2003 at 9:12 AM on July 17, 2003


111, I completely understand what you are getting at, however if the goal is to get rid of guns then you have to get rid of guns and it is unfortunate that it is the law abiders who are the easiest to take them off.
posted by Frasermoo at 9:14 AM on July 17, 2003


Frasermoo, guns, like alcohol and drugs, will not ever be entirely removed off the face of the Earth. Gun bans only prevent those least likely to use them for a criminal act from having the means to protect themselves.
posted by 111 at 9:22 AM on July 17, 2003


I'm still confused about how this scenario is supposed to take place in the real world? I mean bad guys don't walk around with a mask and a striped shirt and take bags with dollar signs on the side. No body talks to you when they have a gun on you and they sure as hell don't give you the time to go get yours out of your glove compartment or bed side table. Chances are they've sneaked up behind you, maybe they've already hit you on the head once or twice, now they are just going to talk to you about how they are going to shoot you? This is not reality, things don't happen like that outside of hollywood, but hey, if someone thinks they do then maybe Darwin will sort them out. Regardless, if you still feel that you need to clutch a gun at all time in your home just in case someone breaks in on you while you are awake and home, then fine, in DC you can still get a shotgun, then at least when you shoot your wife or kid accidentally, or try to and miss, then a slug is not going to come through the apartment wall and kill me too.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:32 AM on July 17, 2003


What's this hypothetical victim facing a hypothetical gun toting criminal supposed to do with a gun strapped to his side? Play Quickdraw McGraw and fire off a few rounds into the gun toting criminal's torso before the gun toting criminal shoots him in the face? Yeah, like that's realistic.

Mr. Hatch is just bent on appeasing the NRA rather than working on the root causes of violent crime.
posted by cmonkey at 9:39 AM on July 17, 2003


Gun bans only prevent those least likely to use them for a criminal act from having the means to protect themselves.

Not true. Self-defense is a statistically negligable use of guns, as compared to crimes of passion, accidents and suicide.

BTW I'm curious: where do all these guns used in crime come from: are they legally acquired, or stolen from people who legally acquired them?
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:41 AM on July 17, 2003


guns, like alcohol and drugs, will not ever be entirely removed off the face of the Earth.

Whoa there. First, I don't think you want to compare an instrument that's sole purpose is to kill (excuse me, protect, but protection by injury/death) with two things that people use for pleasure (and let's leave out the people who develop addictions) People don't use alcohol and drugs for protection from criminals, nor do they use them to acquire food.

I just don't get that argument 111. If guns were banned, and they were no longer manufactured, eventually there would be no more guns to fall into nefarious hands. Make possession of a gun a felony, and destroy all guns that are confiscated. I don't think people are going to start manufacturing guns in their bathtubs like they can do with alcohol or drugs. I really just do not get the logic that the way to protect yourself from a gun is to manufacture more guns. What happens then when everyone owns a gun? Oh I guess crime will stop. That must be the answer. Not the deeper problem of poverty and dysfunction that permeates American society that is leading to so much crime.

But wait, that would put a whole industry out of business, and our economy is already going to crap, especially with all the telemarketers now going onto welfare. So I guess it's pro-America to buy guns.
posted by archimago at 9:43 AM on July 17, 2003


cmonkey, it's flight or fight; while some people would rather cower, cry their eyes out and beg for mercy, others may choose a different kind of reaction. Let them choose how to defend themselves.

Self-defense is a statistically negligable use of guns, as compared to crimes of passion, accidents and suicide.

George, that's immaterial; that second, emergency spare parachute we have to carry is probably not used very often either, but I feel better bringing one along just in case. People who'd rather not use a spare chute may choose to do so.

BTW I'm curious: where do all these guns used in crime come from: are they legally acquired, or stolen from people who legally acquired them?

There should be statistics about that somewhere. There's a third alternative to get a gun: black market purchase of firearms smuggled from other countries.

If guns were banned, and they were no longer manufactured, eventually there would be no more guns to fall into nefarious hands.

Well, try to apply that same line of argument to drugs then: have drugs being stopped being manufactured because they're forbidden? Manufacturing guns has already become an illegal/paralegal cottage industry in many countries-- it's not as if you need a gigantic plant with thousands of workers. What makes you think thugs could be exempt from the law of demand and supply?
"Banning guns" actually means "restricting the legal use of guns to police/armed forces", and that alone would open immense spilling out avenues through police corruption etc. Finally, it would be very unlikely to obtain a worldwide gun ban; there will always be guns for sale somewhere, so let those who want to keep firearms legally do so and have a little more control over their own concept of safety.
posted by 111 at 10:10 AM on July 17, 2003


"have drugs been"
posted by 111 at 10:14 AM on July 17, 2003


BTW I'm curious: where do all these guns used in crime come from: are they legally acquired, or stolen from people who legally acquired them?

From legal dealers selling guns illegally, mostly.
posted by Cerebus at 10:20 AM on July 17, 2003


It's Orrin Fucking Hatch, people. Of course he's an asshat, he's from Utah!

...er...wait a minute...
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:36 AM on July 17, 2003


guns, like alcohol and drugs, will not ever be entirely removed off the face of the Earth.

Why would we want to remove drugs and alcohol from the face of the Earth?

(I did have a longer, more serious point to make, but I'm in a hurry and leaving town for a couple of days, so I'm not going to get to make it. Just your standard "America engenders a culture of fear / The real threat doesn't wear a ski mask and carry a gun but sits in a corporate board room / Obligatory Bill Hicks reference for that extra bit of cred".)
posted by nath at 10:41 AM on July 17, 2003


Meanwhile they're showing a video of a little girl, maybe 3 years old, playing in her house. She finds a gun and starts playing with it...

My response to this scenario ("won't someone please think of the children!") is this: If you are such an incredible numbskull to allow your child and an unsecured deadly weapon to co-exist in an unsupervised area, don't be shocked and surprised when your genetic line is abruptly terminated, and don't expect me to be. You are a pathetic, irresponsible excuse for a parent, and you should turn yourself in for sterilization immediately. Natural selection can be an ugly thing. Don't blame the big evil corporations - it's the careless parent that murdered their own kid.
posted by majcher at 10:54 AM on July 17, 2003


Pollomacho: Chances are they've sneaked up behind you, maybe they've already hit you on the head once or twice, now they are just going to talk to you about how they are going to shoot you?

cmonkey: What's this hypothetical victim facing a hypothetical gun toting criminal supposed to do with a gun strapped to his side

Well, for one, Joe Megerle was confronted in a park by Jamie Kennedy, who drew a pistol and demanded money. Megerle shot Kennedy in the chest and head; he is in serious condition at University Hospital in Cincinnati.
posted by trharlan at 10:56 AM on July 17, 2003


while some people would rather cower, cry their eyes out and beg for mercy,

You forgot to add "like a girl".
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:57 AM on July 17, 2003


So the one example of a guy that shoots an assailant justifies the dozens of others who get shot for pulling something stupid like going for a gun (particularly the ones who have no training, skill or experience with fire arms, yet who's right to carry them is so loudly defended)? I fail to see how more people with guns is supposed to lead to less people being shot.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:10 AM on July 17, 2003


if you (God forbid) find yourself in a situation where a criminal's pointing a gun at you and saying he'll shoot, you're entitled to shoot him first

Well, for one, Joe Megerle was confronted in a park by Jamie Kennedy, who drew a pistol and demanded money. Megerle shot Kennedy in the chest and head; he is in serious condition at University Hospital in Cincinnati.

So to adequately defend yourself in the United States, you should not only own a handgun and carry with you at all times, you should practice your quickdraw until you're fast enough to draw it and accurately shoot before your assailant can pull the trigger. Any estimate on the success rate of this?
posted by timeistight at 11:11 AM on July 17, 2003


Oh, incidentally, Mr. Mergerle could still get a license in DC and own and carry a hand gun, its just that DC is VERY strict as to how they dole out the licenses.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:13 AM on July 17, 2003


Well, try to apply that same line of argument to drugs then: have drugs being stopped being manufactured because they're forbidden?

Well, manufacturing drugs and manufacturing guns are a little bit different. It doesn't require a whole lot of technical knowledge to manufacture drugs. Pot is just a plant, coke is a plant, crack is coke and baking soda. I don't know the technical specifications of heroin, but even that in it's essence is a plant.

In order to make guns, you need some infrastructure. It's not as simple as buying stuff at Home Depot and then building a gun (However, it's pretty easy to go to Home Depot and build a grow room). Gun's are technical, and most of the parts are created by very expensive metal working machines.

I doesn't take a genius to make and sell drugs. This is why so many teenagers do it. If you want to street coke, all you need is a microwave, some baby laxative and some Ambisol (The tooth-ache reliever). Don't you think if it was easy to make homebrew guns they would flood the street? No S/N, no way to trace it back. I think the idea that if guns were illegal people would start making their own guns is wayyyyyyyyyyyy off base.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:23 AM on July 17, 2003


111 -- I concede, though you offer no proof, that gun making may be a cottage industry in places other than the U.S., but that is not a justification for keeping them legal in the U.S. No one is going to swallow a condom filled with guns in order to sneak them into the U.S., and to say that it would be impossible to keep them out of the country is speculation as we have never really tried (I think).

Assuming that it becomes illegal to own a gun, once you start coming down hard on people and enforcing the laws, then things will change. I'm not entirely convinced the U.S. is that serious about keeping drugs out of the country.

The basis of your argument is that we should not try to rid the country of guns because it is never going to work, so that means we shouldn't try? So then why try to solve any problem because the solution is difficult and something that someone somewhere is going to disagree with or pose an opposition to. The dysfuntions of this country work for us on some level. If they didn't, we would do something about them. For some reason, poverty and crime and a shoddy public education system serve a purpose in this country and dare I say that there are people who want to keep the system status quo -- these people are the politicians. If they truly wanted to listen to the people and solve the country's problems, then they would. It's really that simple. How blind do you have to be to NOT see that poverty is taking over this country and causing more crime, that schools are in danger and are failing our children?

And I'm sick of hearing about the Constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon. Everyone with more than a 3rd grade education knows that the Constitution gives U.S. citizens the right to form an armed militia in the time of threat against the country, not to carry a pistol in your purse to protect yourself at the ATM.
posted by archimago at 11:29 AM on July 17, 2003


Pollo: I was merely illustrating that, yes, people do use guns successfully in self defense-- I think you and cmonkey were arguing otherwise.

I fail to see how more people with guns is supposed to lead to less people being shot.

I'm not splitting hairs or trying to be clever here-- do you really "fail to see how more people with guns is supposed to lead to less people being shot"?

I mean, I understand that you (and other reasonable people) disagree with the argument, but do you really not understand it?

SweetJesus: There were at least half a dozen kids in my high school metalworking class who could make a decent gun with a drill press, grinder, lathe, and bandsaw-- machines in my grandfather's basement.
posted by trharlan at 11:30 AM on July 17, 2003


Yes, ben, because rock stars know so much about politics.

Not that your comment has any relevance to the sentiments of my original post, but since you brought it up, I'd argue that the "rock star" to which I referred knows a thing or two about politics.

But do try to stay on the topic next time, mmmkay?
posted by ben-o at 11:35 AM on July 17, 2003


So the one example of a guy that shoots an assailant justifies the dozens of others who get shot for pulling something stupid like going for a gun

Oh come on, there are lots of other good examples.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:37 AM on July 17, 2003


In order to make guns, you need some infrastructure. It's not as simple as buying stuff at Home Depot and then building a gun

Actually, yes it is.
posted by Cerebus at 11:39 AM on July 17, 2003


Don't like guns? Don't have one.

Oh, I kid.
posted by NortonDC at 11:44 AM on July 17, 2003


SweetJesus: There were at least half a dozen kids in my high school metalworking class who could make a decent gun with a drill press, grinder, lathe, and bandsaw-- machines in my grandfather's basement

Maybe so, but if it was so easy to do, why isn't it a huge industry? Did the guns shoot right? Were they accurate? Automatic, semi-automatic, or what? They ever jam? You have to make your own clips, or do they work with standard clips? There are a lot of variables.

I'm trying to say that, yeah, its not impossible make a gun on your own, but if you're going to mass-produce quality guns, you need a lot more than a drill press, grinder, lathe and bandsaw.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:45 AM on July 17, 2003


I was merely illustrating that, yes, people do use guns successfully in self defense-- I think you and cmonkey were arguing otherwise.

I can only speak for myself, but I was more laughing at Mr. Hatch's insinuation that if that poor, unarmed victim had been able to reach for a firearm, the gun toting villain would patiently wait so they could have an old fashioned duel.

I don't doubt that there are some people that are quick enough to shoot their would-be wallet liberator in the face, I just think that in most cases it would just leave at least two people injured or dead, rather than one person without a wallet.
posted by cmonkey at 11:45 AM on July 17, 2003


Actually, yes it is.

You think somebody's going to stop buying a Glock, and start buying zip guns? Zip guns are useful to dick around with, but I'm talking about on-par-with-today's-guns quality.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:48 AM on July 17, 2003


Clever, Armitage, but:
On average in 1987-92 about 83,000 crime victims per year used a
firearm to defend themselves or their property. Three-fourths of
the victims who used a firearm for defense did so during a violent
crime; a fourth, during a theft, household burglary, or motor
vehicle theft.
posted by trharlan at 11:50 AM on July 17, 2003


don't forget trespassing.
posted by goethean at 11:57 AM on July 17, 2003


Maybe so, but if it was so easy to do, why isn't it a huge industry?

Because homemade firearms are generally classed as zip guns, and zip guns carry heavy penalties.

You think somebody's going to stop buying a Glock, and start buying zip guns? Zip guns are useful to dick around with, but I'm talking about on-par-with-today's-guns quality.

The original point was banning guns won't eliminate them, similar to how banning some drugs hasn't eliminated them either. You objected, saying that guns require an industrial base to manufacture.

I countered pointing out that a perfectly serviceable firearm can be made from parts found in a hardware store. (For that matter, a perfectly serviceable firearm can be made from paper.) I'll also point out that one of the design features of the AK-47 is that the majority of the weapon can be made by anyone with access to a sheet metal press.

Now you want to change the subject, and complain that because a zip gun isn't a Glock it's not a substitute. Pardon me, but personally I think trying to redefine the terms of the debate is rude. The fact remains that if guns are banned, zip guns can still be made and used criminally.

Game. Set. Match.
posted by Cerebus at 11:58 AM on July 17, 2003


Because homemade firearms are generally classed as zip guns, and zip guns carry heavy penalties.

Dammit, I thought I deleted that. Instead, I'll say that zip guns aren't an industry because better guns are cheaply available. Which is irrelevant to the point.
posted by Cerebus at 12:01 PM on July 17, 2003


from the same report:
"In most cases victims who used firearms to defend themselves or their property were confronted by offenders who were either unarmed or armed with weapons other than firearms. On average between 1987 and 1992, about 35% (or 22,000 per year) of the violent crime victims defending themselves with a firearm faced an offender who also had a firearm. (Because the NCVS collects victimization data on police officers, its estimates of the use of firearms for self-defense are likely to include police use of firearms.)"
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:04 PM on July 17, 2003


BAH--I promised myself I wouldn't get into the pro-gun/anti-gun argument. No one is going to have his mind changed on that subject. The real issue to me is (again) the power that Senate Republicans (OK, and one Democrat) have over the residents of my city.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:07 PM on July 17, 2003


Because homemade firearms are generally classed as zip guns, and zip guns carry heavy penalties.

Yeah, and manufacturing heroin doesn't? You can get 15 years for 5 grams in NY, mandatory Rockefeller laws. I know two stupid kids who just got popped the other day for over an oz of crack, and they're going away for a looooooong time.

The original point was banning guns won't eliminate them, similar to how banning some drugs hasn't eliminated them either. You objected, saying that guns require an industrial base to manufacture.

I countered pointing out that a perfectly serviceable firearm can be made from parts found in a hardware store. (For that matter, a perfectly serviceable firearm can be made from paper.) I'll also point out that one of the design features of the AK-47 is that the majority of the weapon can be made by anyone with access to a sheet metal press.


I'm saying again, that if any of these things are true, then why would people bother smuggling weapons in from Russia and eastern Europe? If you can just make an AK-47 with some sheet metal and the tools in your grandfather's basement, why are there not AK-47's everywhere? I mean, fuck, they've got a street price of like 5-6 grand a piece. You could clean up.

But that doesn't happen, because it's not nearly as easy as you make it out to be. I saw a documentary the other week on Israel and Palestine. Hamas buy's the majority of their arms from corrupt Israelis, to the tune of 5 grand a pop for assault rifles. If they're so easy to make, why not just make them.

Now you want to change the subject, and complain that because a zip gun isn't a Glock it's not a substitute. Pardon me, but personally I think trying to redefine the terms of the debate is rude. The fact remains that if guns are banned, zip guns can still be made and used criminally.

If you're going to go kill someone, or rob someone, or whatever with a gun for a living (gang, drug game, car jacker, whatever), you're not going to do with some one shot homemade pea shooter.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:12 PM on July 17, 2003


Dammit, I thought I deleted that. Instead, I'll say that zip guns aren't an industry because better guns are cheaply available. Which is irrelevant to the point.

No, they're not an industy because it's not nearly as easy to mass produce high quality hand guns as you say it is.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:15 PM on July 17, 2003


one Senator has a brilliant solution to all of Washington, DC's crime woes!

pollomocho, in recognition of the generous nature of your comments elsewhere, i have to say:
what the fuck is so "brilliant" about solving a crime problem with more guns? you've been eating the baby wipes again, haven't you?
posted by quonsar at 12:19 PM on July 17, 2003


That has to do how with this thread? Oh, I see, I didn't think so, fuckwad.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand, I see a whole lot of inner city youth operating metal lathes and drill presses at the level required to produce a serviceable semi-automatic hand gun and having access to the equipment and materials needed to do so, and besides do it all for less than they can buy a cheap gun. In reality, I actually do see them being able to acquire the skill and materials needed to make crack and sell it.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:39 PM on July 17, 2003


Game. Set. Match.

This reminds me of the kid shooting hoops by himself in the driveway and playing announcer: "he shoots; he scores!" just as he's heaving one that misses completely.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:42 PM on July 17, 2003


But that doesn't happen, because it's not nearly as easy as you make it out to be. I saw a documentary the other week on Israel and Palestine. Hamas buy's the majority of their arms from corrupt Israelis, to the tune of 5 grand a pop for assault rifles. If they're so easy to make, why not just make them.

Because the last time I checked, Palestine doesn't have diddlysquat to make them with.

Note also that I didn't say "all". I said "majority". Given the barrel and receiver, the rest of an AK-47 is easy to make. And is. In multiple variants. From multiple sources.

There's a reason why the automatic rifle of choice for poor countries the world over isn't an M-16. Or even an AR-15.

But this has fsck-all to do with the issue of small arms and crime.

If you're going to go kill someone, or rob someone, or whatever with a gun for a living (gang, drug game, car jacker, whatever), you're not going to do with some one shot homemade pea shooter.

But if that's all you can get, you bet your ass that's exactly what you'd use. Bet on it.

No, they're not an industry because it's not nearly as easy to mass produce high quality hand guns as you say it is.

No, they're not an industry because they're not in demand. They're not in demand because high-quality guns are easy to obtain. Make high-quality guns hard to get and you'll see zips on the streets.

And I never, ever said "mass-produce." Or even "high-quality". You did. Don't put words in my mouth.

I did say "perfectly serviceable," in the sense of "being perfectly capable of killing the target."

And George, I don't give a damn what memory of yours it tickles, because SweetJesus over there has yet to actually address the point-- if quality firearms are impossible to get, people are perfectly capable of making their own, and those homemade firearms will be used in crime. A large investment in mass-production facilities is not required, no matter how much he wants to think it is.
posted by Cerebus at 1:13 PM on July 17, 2003


Make high-quality guns hard to get and you'll see zips on the streets.

So that's why the streets of Vancouver are awash with home-made firearms!
posted by timeistight at 1:55 PM on July 17, 2003


Since the 1980's more and more police officers have moved from the .38 and the .357 revolvers to the 9mm or .40 automatics, why? Because they felt out gunned. They were out gunned because criminals moved from .38 snubnoses and zip guns to AK-47's, Mack 10's, etc. They moved to the higher class weapons because they could, because manufacture of these weapons became cheaper and they flooded the markets. The same thing happened back in the 20's and 30's when the first gun laws were enacted to restrict sales and distribution, back then cops had actually started to have to carry guns for the first time because mass produced, cheap guns flooded the markets. Unrestricted or less restricted flow of weapons has already shown to cause an increase in distribution and, as timeistight has shown in Canada, and the first control laws showed in the US, restrictions have a proven effect where they've been implemented. Sure, zip guns are a viable option, I suppose people could make rail guns too, or just use a knife, but at least for a time the restrictions cut the crimes.
posted by Pollomacho at 2:16 PM on July 17, 2003


timeistight: I'll bet you I can drive down to Seattle and buy a Beretta and smuggle it back to Vancouver without any serious trouble.

You'll note that I did say "impossible to get."
posted by Cerebus at 2:55 PM on July 17, 2003


timeistight: I'll bet you I can drive down to Seattle and buy a Beretta and smuggle it back to Vancouver without any serious trouble.

Okay, you're on. You can show it to me at next week's meetup.
posted by timeistight at 3:37 PM on July 17, 2003


"To investigate the associations among handgun regulations, assault and other crimes, and homicide, we studied robberies, burglaries, assaults, and homicides in Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia, from 1980 through 1986. Although similar to Seattle in many ways, Vancouver has adopted a more restrictive approach to the regulation of handguns. During the study period, both cities had similar rates of burglary and robbery. In Seattle, the annual rate of assault was modestly higher than that in Vancouver (simple assault: relative risk, 1.18; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.15 to 1.20; aggravated assault: relative risk, 1.16; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.12 to 1.19). However, the rate of assaults involving firearms was seven times higher in Seattle than in Vancouver. Despite similar overall rates of criminal activity and assault, the relative risk of death from homicide, adjusted for age and sex, was significantly higher in Seattle than in Vancouver (relative risk, 1.63; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.28 to 2.08). Virtually all of this excess risk was explained by a 4.8-fold higher risk of being murdered with a handgun in Seattle as compared with Vancouver. Rates of homicide by means other than guns were not substantially different in the two study communities. We conclude that restricting access to handguns may reduce the rate of homicide in a community. "
Handgun regulations, crime, assaults, and homicide. A tale of two cities in the New England Journal of Medicine.
posted by timeistight at 3:50 PM on July 17, 2003


And I'm sick of hearing about the Constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon. Everyone with more than a 3rd grade education knows that the Constitution gives U.S. citizens the right to form an armed militia in the time of threat against the country, not to carry a pistol in your purse to protect yourself at the ATM.

And should we need an armed militia, where will the get their guns, if they are banned completely?

If you research the statistics, you'll see that those who have a concealed carry permit are very unlikely to commit any type of violent crime. If I remember correctly there have be no people in the commonwealth of Virginia, who have a concealed handgun permit, who have committed a crime. (and other states, the statistics hold, those who are legally carrying a handgun, aren't the ones you have to worry about.)

Not only do you have to undergo a check to purchase a handgun in VA, but you must also take a class, and undergo further background checks to obtain a concealed handgun permit.

And VA is one of the laxer states when it comes to CCP, many other states have stricter regulations.

Worry about the criminals, not us law abiding citizens.
posted by SuzySmith at 10:09 PM on July 17, 2003


I see a whole lot of inner city youth operating metal lathes and drill presses at the level required to produce a serviceable semi-automatic hand gun

mate you have got to be kidding. there is a little bit more to it than basic shop techniques.
posted by Frasermoo at 1:42 AM on July 18, 2003


the 'defending yourself with a gun is ok' crowd should come to the UK. Yeah we have gun crime but you know who is getting killed? it's the kids who are facing up to guns with guns.

someone pulls a gun on you and you don't have one, chances are you will walk away.

pull a gun over here and the police spot you, chances are you're going down like a sack of spuds.

zero tolerance. gets my vote.
posted by Frasermoo at 1:48 AM on July 18, 2003


[...] some people would rather cower, cry their eyes out and beg for mercy [...]

A Purple Non Sequitor! Quick! After it! It may lead us to its hive! O sweet Mother of Logical Purity! We could destroy them all!

[No Purple Non Sequitors were harmed in the making of this comment. Mother of Logical Purity is a trademark of Microsoft, Proctor, Gamble, and Lockheed. Firearms courtesy of Staples Office Supplies.]
posted by Opus Dark at 3:43 AM on July 18, 2003


And should we need an armed militia, where will the get their guns, if they are banned completely?

I should have been more specific and stated that I think an armed army is a necessity. But outside of the military, guns should be be banned. If we are ever in a position where civilians need to take up guns to form a militia to protect ourselves from an invasion, then we have more problems than mere gun violence deaths and I will duly shut up.
posted by archimago at 5:37 AM on July 18, 2003


archimago: A convincing (albeit emotional) essay on why the citizenry (not the "army") should be armed.
posted by trharlan at 6:38 AM on July 18, 2003


I should have been more specific and stated that I think an armed army is a necessity. But outside of the military, guns should be be banned.

And if we had thought that way during the Revolutionary war, we'd all be saying "God Save The Queen."

Our military personnel are no better than you and I, they come from the same towns and backgrounds we do, why should they be allowed to own handguns, if we can't?
posted by SuzySmith at 12:39 PM on July 18, 2003


And if we had thought that way during the Revolutionary war, we'd all be saying "God Save The Queen."

So?
posted by timeistight at 1:01 PM on July 18, 2003


Are you trolling, timeistight, or do you really not understand that most people would rather be a citizen of the US than a British colony?
posted by trharlan at 1:57 PM on July 18, 2003


most people would rather be a citizen of the US than a British colony

But that isn't the choice! Canada and the US are both independent democracies. Where Canada acheived this through negotiation, the US did it through bloody revolution, and that historic fact costs you thousands of deaths and injuries by gunshot.
posted by timeistight at 8:28 AM on July 21, 2003


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