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Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot
July 26, 2007 3:29 PM   Subscribe

Knob Creek Gun Range, a former military-munitions test range situated near Fort Knox is home to the "World's Largest Machine Gun Shoot and Military Gun Show". Run by private citizens excercising their second amendment rights (Kentucky has no state-level gun laws) the focus is on Class III firearms - things like assault weapons and anti-tank rifles, but also the occasional high-caliber sniper rifle and cannon. Hold my bourbon and watch this! (more)
posted by phrontist (78 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Firing full auto is a lot of fun. I had a blast in Vegas renting a Thompson sub-machinegun. It belches smoke, and has a nice kick. Probably not very useful in any kind of situation where you don't have a vehicle or bipod mount though.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:36 PM on July 26, 2007


(I've been, and will go again. It was awesome, no matter how I feel about it's legality.)
posted by phrontist at 3:37 PM on July 26, 2007


I love shooting, and automatic weapons are great fun. But every time I watch a Knob Creek video I groan and think; 'Holy hell, how much money did these guys spend on ammo?'

I mean, some of those guns are shooting ammunition that is more than a buck a bullet.
posted by quin at 3:40 PM on July 26, 2007


Previously on MetaFilter: Small girl with machine gun in Oklahoma.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:41 PM on July 26, 2007


quin: There was a wealthy lawyer from louisville with a modern GE minigun (which runs at least $50,000) which fires bullets so fast the bullets are less than six inches apart and the firing rate is well in the audio range. We were trying to figure out how much per second it cost him to fire that thing.
posted by phrontist at 3:48 PM on July 26, 2007


I'm pro [state , county] gun control but I'm also pro private gun clubs. Seems like the right balance between nanny-state public safety protections and the important reasoning behind the 2nd amendment (the general population should have familiarity with firearms).
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:50 PM on July 26, 2007


People should be required to get training and pass a test before they become gun owners. There are too many idiots with guns -- no one complains that you need to pass a test before driving.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:53 PM on July 26, 2007


Driving ain't in the Constitution.
posted by Justinian at 3:55 PM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Geez, that kid looks one step away from accidentally blasting the crowd.
posted by etaoin at 3:55 PM on July 26, 2007


approaching eugene, oregon from the south on i-5, there's a business just east of the freeway with a big marquee "shoot a real tommy gun" and every time i drive past it with a woman on board, i tell her "that looks like a real fun date for sometime, just not this time."
posted by bruce at 4:10 PM on July 26, 2007


Knob is an insult in British English...
posted by A189Nut at 4:11 PM on July 26, 2007


no knob creek bourbon for you!
posted by bruce at 4:14 PM on July 26, 2007


While looking at a bunch of grownups shooting targets tells you something about the shooters, all that shooting doesn't seem to harm but their own pockets and the occasional caraless shooter. Giving that ak47 to the kid, the way he recoiled back, was so idiotic and dangerous , so I guess some will do it again and again.


Justinian writes "Driving ain't in the Constitution."
Neither is bearing ammo
posted by elpapacito at 4:21 PM on July 26, 2007


phrontist, the GE Minigun (the M134) fires at between 3000 and 6000 rpm. Bulk 7.62x51mm (AKA .308) sells for about $249/1000 or $0.25 per round.

Now as it happens, these nice round numbers make it pretty easy to figure out how much it costs per second:

(let's assume it's set to fire at full speed) 6000 rpm / 60 seconds = 100 rounds per second * 0.25 = $25 per second.

Which, as much fun as I'm sure it is, is too rich for my blood.
posted by quin at 4:26 PM on July 26, 2007


Jesus, what a country.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 4:36 PM on July 26, 2007


Kentucky has no state-level gun laws

Sure we do. Our state constitution has a somewhat broader and stricter version of the U.S. 2nd amendment. And there are some restrictions on possession for juveniles (handguns, I think, but rifles are okay) and felons, and concealed carry is only permissible with a permit.

Open carry is fine and dandy, though.
posted by dilettante at 4:48 PM on July 26, 2007


I had the same thoughts about ammo costs. Wow. talk about saving up your $$$ to blow it on 10 seconds of destroying something. To each their own.

I get annoyed at the cost of .22 ammo, so I don't think I'm in the same leagues as these guys... a minigun? how often do you really get to shoot that? He must be the envy of his (heavily armed) peer group, which no doubt was the point :)
posted by EricGjerde at 4:56 PM on July 26, 2007


Very fun post. I'm surprised that there are not more gun-haters commenting.
posted by snsranch at 4:59 PM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wake me when they take down the plutocracy.
posted by pompomtom at 5:05 PM on July 26, 2007


Very fun post. I'm surprised that there are not more gun-haters commenting.

Okay, well I hate guns. Sounds like these yokels are just having a good ol' time though.
posted by litfit at 5:06 PM on July 26, 2007


This is the right venue for this sort of stuff...but, just as I wonder at every classic car and bike show I go to, is this just a white male endeavor?
posted by maxwelton at 5:07 PM on July 26, 2007


Max Welton, probably not. (At least, not what you're thinking.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:12 PM on July 26, 2007


I guess the firing is merely the climax of gun ownership. How much do people up Knob Creek usually pay for 17 seconds of climax? $25 per second could easily be good value.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 5:14 PM on July 26, 2007


but, just as I wonder at every classic car and bike show I go to, is this just a white male endeavor?

I'll assume you've never seen a lowrider (almost always older models). And I've known numerous nonwhite gun enthusiasts. And even bikers are more diverse than you'd think.
posted by jonmc at 5:15 PM on July 26, 2007


More on the Wheels Of Soul.
posted by jonmc at 5:20 PM on July 26, 2007


Amazing Steven C. Den Beste, because we all know how well that worked out for the Black Panther Party... now we've got pink ones? Carrying a handgun is the quickest way to triple your chances of getting shot in the city.
posted by litfit at 5:21 PM on July 26, 2007


now we've got pink ones? Carrying a handgun is the quickest way to triple your chances of getting shot in the city.

Maybe. But at the same time it might make some queerbasher think twice. But then again so would a Guardian Angels-style citizen patrol group in gay neighborhoods. I'm not talking vigilantism, just a subtle reminder that stuff like that shouldn't go tolerated.
posted by jonmc at 5:26 PM on July 26, 2007


(it's been tried before)
posted by jonmc at 5:27 PM on July 26, 2007


Knob Creek is a blast. Some of the miniguns fire so fast that they sound like a solid tone. We were trying to figure out how many megahertz is equal to 30-50 Rounds per second.

and when two fire they develop harmonics like gigantic explosive basoons.
posted by Megafly at 5:45 PM on July 26, 2007


People should be required to get training and pass a test before they become gun owners. There are too many idiots with guns -- no one complains that you need to pass a test before driving.

Agreed, but considering there are 43,000+ vehicle deaths each year, compared to 900 accidental firearms deaths, perhaps the driving tests and vehicle regulations should be more stringent as well.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:49 PM on July 26, 2007


Why do y'all hate freedom?
posted by Timberman at 5:56 PM on July 26, 2007


I brought my knife...d'oh!
posted by Smedleyman at 6:01 PM on July 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


Agreed, but considering there are 43,000+ vehicle deaths each year, compared to 900 accidental firearms deaths, perhaps the driving tests and vehicle regulations should be more stringent as well.

Before you could make a meaningful comparison, you'd have to have information comparing the prevalence of firearm use to the prevalence of automobile use.

But perhaps Americans really do fire their guns just as often as they drive their cars?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:39 PM on July 26, 2007


Maybe we can make a car that fires guns. Get Courageous Cat on the phone.
posted by jonmc at 6:42 PM on July 26, 2007


Agreed, but considering there are 43,000+ vehicle deaths each year, compared to 900 accidental firearms deaths, perhaps the driving tests and vehicle regulations should be more stringent as well.

Shouldn't you include the people who were killed intentionally?
posted by ssg at 7:01 PM on July 26, 2007


Maybe we can make a car that fires guns.

Eh, been there. I want a gun that shoots whole cars.
posted by loquacious at 7:31 PM on July 26, 2007


We were trying to figure out how many megahertz is equal to 30-50 Rounds per second.
30-50 Hertz, a bit lower than electrical hum. Or 0.00003 to 0.00005 MHz.
posted by rolypolyman at 7:34 PM on July 26, 2007


Don't let Granny blow her Social Security on ammo!
posted by Burhanistan at 8:00 PM on July 26, 2007


total firearm deaths (2004) 29,500.

just a data-point. from this wholly neat site
posted by edgeways at 8:05 PM on July 26, 2007


We were trying to figure out how many megahertz is equal to 30-50 Rounds per second.
30-50 Hertz, a bit lower than electrical hum. Or 0.00003 to 0.00005 MHz.


what? WHAT?
posted by longsleeves at 8:09 PM on July 26, 2007


what? WHAT?

One hertz is just one [whatever] per second.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:42 PM on July 26, 2007


No, no. He can't hear you because all the gunfire made him deaf. Jeez.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:44 PM on July 26, 2007


Ssg, I doubt gun training would reduce intentional gun killings.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:13 PM on July 26, 2007


edgeways -- What that statistic doesn't take into account are the large percentage of those that are not accidental, including most particularly suicides. Guns are a popular way to off yourself, for reasons that should be obvious.

Anyway, when I was up in Maine (which has no state-level regulation of Class III firearms beyond the Federal stuff) I always envied the guys with belt-feds...right up until I looked at how much they spend on ammo. And barrels. Oh, and from what I've heard, a legal one will run you, on average, about $10k, plus the BATF taxes. (Not bad for a gun that probably only cost Uncle Sam a few hundred bucks originally.)

What they blow in an afternoon I can shoot in my semi-auto for the better part of a year. Still, they're neat. And unlike a classic car, you don't have to build a spare garage to keep it in.

Unfortunately, I've heard that the manufacture and import of Class IIIs have been blocked recently, so there aren't going to be any more of them. Sad, particularly considering that there's only ever been one (out of 100,000+) used in a crime.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:32 PM on July 26, 2007


I was hoping I'd read about them choosing up teams, maybe shirts and skins, and having a battle.
posted by pracowity at 12:21 AM on July 27, 2007


When my daughter was in second grade in the states, they used to have regular emergency drills during which she and her classmates would have to hide under desks in an attempt to avoid the bullets of an armed intruder. That was about enough for me, honestly.

*mentally calculates distance between children and Knob Creek*

Phew. Maybe we'd better move a little further east. Zealous "but-I-have-a-right-to-an-assault-weapon" gun freaks give me the jeebies.

Q: "Gee, chuckdarwin, why did you take your family and leave the United States?"

A: "The bullets can't reach us over here."

Note to anyone stupid enough to believe the old chestnut about defending yourself from your own government (just in case, you know): your popgun isn't going to do much good against an AC130 gunship, a swarm of attack helicopters or an airstrike (which is how your beloved government took Baghdad). You are an idiot. In the event that your personal firearm will ever take a life, that life will most likely be one of your own family members'.

*wipes ass with 2nd amendment*
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:50 AM on July 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


I am not a big gun fan. To a certain degree I can see the sport in trying to hit a target or in combination with another sport like biathlon. But this is just lust for destruction and mayhem. I am sure Uncle Sigmund has a lot to say about guns, egos and spaying target with loads of bullets ...
posted by homodigitalis at 2:57 AM on July 27, 2007


I hate to spoil the fun, but I'll have to agree with chuckdarwin and homodigitalis to a point. The videos make me feel ill because they're specifically glorifying violence and destruction, which really is insane, no matter how much we're inured to it on a daily basis. Though I'm not a gun owner, I do think responsible gun ownership is important and should not be outlawed. However, chuckdarwin is exactly right - the notion that you're somehow living up to a century-old idea that being a gun owner makes you a more responsible citizen makes no sense.
posted by odinsdream at 7:02 AM on July 27, 2007


odinsdream - Even if there was a Columbine / Virginia Tech style mass murder in America EVERY WEEK, no one would do anything to change the law. Some kind soul would start website. People would stop polishing their rifles for a moment and reflect on the tragic loss of life.

There comes a time when one is forced to give up on America: its citizens are never going to come to see reason on this issue.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:19 AM on July 27, 2007


There comes a time when one is forced to give up on America: its citizens are never going to come to see reason on this issue.

Well, then give up on us. Thank god, because we need your approval.

I think the exact thing abou the UK, we should give up on the UK, as they are never going to come to see reason on this issue.


As far as the original post, I would love to go to Knob Creek for the shoot one year. I will have to book it for next April for my husband and I, days of automatic weaponry? So much fun. The best time I have ever had shooting is when we have rented automatic weapons at the range.

If antigun people could just see for a minute that target shooting, and matches like this, are fun, it would make this discussion easier.
posted by SuzySmith at 8:38 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, then give up on us.

OK.
posted by chuckdarwin at 9:09 AM on July 27, 2007


I'm not a big fan of gun ownership but I do enjoy the occasional trip to the indoor range to rent a pistol and pop off a box or two of ammo. There's no aggression at all there, in myself or in the others there that I've noticed. It's just an interesting and engaging thing to do to try to shoot the little black circle, especially after 50 shots or so when your hands start to fatigue. Everyone should have a healthy fear of guns, which really only comes by using them (responsibly).
posted by Burhanistan at 9:10 AM on July 27, 2007


I've never been there: it's too far to walk and my "SO" won't drive me.

Do they have a Pat Tillman target?
posted by davy at 9:13 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Do they have a Pat Tillman target?

What the hell is the matter with you?
posted by Scoo at 9:59 AM on July 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


Amazing Steven C. Den Beste, because we all know how well that worked out for the Black Panther Party... now we've got pink ones?

Actually the pink ones are older than the black ones.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:11 AM on July 27, 2007


“Note to anyone stupid enough to believe the old chestnut about defending yourself from your own government...” - chuckdarwin

And your experiance with any kind of firearms is? Any military experiance, at all? Picked up a history book? Know anything about basic policing?

Note to anyone stupid enough to posit the old strawman chestnut about your government hitting it’s own population with airstrikes or assaulting neighborhoods with puff the magic dragon to target one gun owner - it doesn’t happen. If you think it does, you are an idiot.
But let’s follow that line of thinking for a moment. The government YOUR government, sends assault helicopters into downtown (let’s say) Chicago (’cos I live here) and kills everyone within a 4 kilometer radius of say Western and Division. What are you going to do, write your congressman?
Even then - I would split. It takes time to summon serious firepower. If I’m sniping I’d hit and fade. But that’s all a f’ing fantasy.
Violence can destroy power but it is utterly incapable of creating it (to swipe a quote from Arendt).

But the main reason I have a handgun (as opposed to rifles, and other arms which are damned handy in any kind of guerilla operation) is to kill people like you.
You read that right. Certainly, not you specificially. This isn’t a threat, this is an explication of a very serious point - it’s exactly people like you who, when the shit hits the fan will “denounce” people like me. I’d kill them in ones and twos, typically using subterfuge (and, y’know, a pistol).

Perhaps you were engaging in hyperbole when you said you wipe your ass with the 2nd amendment. Moot point. There are people who would do exactly that and would, have, and do - place the ‘purity’ of their idealism above practicality or the rights of others or even justice. (We’ve seen much of this from this current administration).
That your ideals happen to be (or appear to be) to the ‘left’ is irrelevent to the form despotic rule takes. (Granting that it’s the ‘right’ currently leading the charge into totalitarianism - but I suspect those are currently just two sock puppets from the same despotic source. I’d be very surprised if - whomever is president next, doesn’t lead the charge to revoke gun ownership. A ‘left’ president would greatly aid such a move, as much as this current ‘right’ president was aided by his cadre in restricting other rights. And I’d be astonished if that future president wasn’t cheered on in exactly the same way this one is.)

Practically speaking governments can’t use massively destructive hardware to eradicate it’s more individual-minded population. They need, at the very least, the show of law and order. The appearance of it. Even Stalin had the show trials.
But really, despots don’t need heavy military hardware to cow the population. Even been in a country ruled by a despot? It’s exactly the Milgram experiment. Everyone is playing a role. The most important thing is to solidify your own role (as good supporting member of the party or whatever) by denouncing others.
So, in the nifty example of Joe Steel, he didn’t need air strikes, helicopters, machine guns, or even bullets, just small squads with logistic support for prisoners (in the Black Mariahs) because he had millions of regular Soviet citizens unmasking their fellow citizens.

Frank Smitha:

“A society that is intense in its struggle for change has a flip side to its idealism: intolerance. People saw enemies everywhere, enemies who wanted to destroy the revolution and diminish the results of their hard work and accomplishments, enemies who wanted to restore capitalism for selfish reasons against the collective interests of the nation. If those at the top of the Communist Party and an old revolutionary like Trotsky could join the enemy, what about lesser people? In factories and offices, mass meetings were held in which people were urged to be vigilant against sabotage. It was up to common folks to make the distinction between incompetence and intentional wrecking [i.e., sabotage], and any mishap might be blamed on wrecking. Denunciations became common. Neighbors denounced neighbors. Denunciations were a good way of striking against people one did not like, including one's parents, a way of eliminating people blocking one's promotion, and ... a means of proving one's patriotism. Many realized that some innocent people were being victimized, and the saying went around that "when you chop wood the chips fly." As with Lenin, it was believed that some who were innocent would have to be victimized if all of the guilty were to be apprehended.”

And since some folks are happy to wipe their asses with what I consider to be an important consitutional right, I can only surmise what they’d do to me in ones or twos or en masse. Hell, I can pop despots. They’re pretty exposed. All it takes is willingness to work at it. For them to get me - an anonymous nobody - would be a real problem. I can hide, change my name, etc., they can’t, they have to rule.
But much like athiests’ gripe with Jesus, on a personal level it’s not the government I expect to kill me, it’s their fan club.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:03 PM on July 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


SuzySmith: I've been a few times now, well worth my 3 1/2 hour drive. I've only been in October, but I hear that one is the more popular one, though it has been about five years since I've gone. Whatever you do, make sure you stick around for at least one night shoot. (My) words cannot fully describe.
posted by Phantomx at 12:23 PM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Note to anyone stupid enough to believe the old chestnut about defending yourself from your own government (just in case, you know): your popgun isn't going to do much good against an AC130 gunship, a swarm of attack helicopters or an airstrike (which is how your beloved government took Baghdad).

Note to anyone stupid enough to believe the above: it helps to remember that while we took Baghdad with air strikes, it is necessary to hold it with infantry. And the history of the 20th century -- hell, the last day or two of sniper attacks in Baghdad -- shows quite clearly that small-arms guerrilla tactics work against infantry. The people of Iraq are armed mainly with improvised explosives and small-arms, and they are holding out against an occupation brought on by the world's most powerful army.

Clearly, "my popgun" might be better insurance against tyranny than you seem to think... and at any rate, it's certainly better than nothing. It does not surprise me that some people are unwilling to arm themselves -- it's obviously not for everyone -- but I am continually amazed at arguments like yours, which ignore the realities of physical force entirely. If war were as simple as "airstrikes > small arms", no one would ever have fought after 1945 or so, and we certainly wouldn't be living in a world in which one of the most well-trained and well-supplied armies ever mustered has lost more than one war against small-arms freedom fighters.
posted by vorfeed at 2:25 PM on July 27, 2007


So, Smedley asked:

Any military experiance, at all?

Ad Hominem:


Bill: "I believe that abortion is morally wrong."
Dave: "Of course you would say that, you're a priest."
Bill: "What about the arguments I gave to support my position?"
Dave: "Those don't count. Like I said, you're a priest, so you have to say that abortion is wrong. Further, you are just a lackey to the Pope, so I can't believe what you say."
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:09 PM on July 27, 2007


vorfeed makes a much stronger case, but fails to convince me.

...it's certainly better than nothing.

Not to me. The most likely scenario in which I would be called to use a gun would be to defend against a burglar. I'd rather they take the TV, honestly. I don't want to have someone's life on me conscience.

It comes down to this: people in the US want to hang on to their pistols and semi-autos because they want to be able to fight off the government [a highly unlikely scenario]. Meanwhile, any nutjob can get one and wipe out dozens of students on any campus in the country.

Am I the only person who sees this as a shitty trade-off? Surely a rifle would be good enough to defend yourself with... and a large rifle sure is hard to sneak into a school.

But, no. People won't budge. Some of you won't be happy until you can own a Howitzer.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:21 PM on July 27, 2007


Any military experience, at all?

Ad Hominem


No, it's not ad hominem; anyone with military experience would know that there's a huge difference between battles and occupation, as vorfeed described.

people in the US want to hang on to their pistols and semi-autos because they want to be able to fight off the government [a highly unlikely scenario].

It is a highly unlikely scenario in part because people have hung onto their guns. There is no way that a government could exist here without the support of the people.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:45 PM on July 27, 2007


One doesn't need to have been a soldier to tell the difference between a battle and an occupation.

Attacking me and my personal background instead of attacking my argument is an ad hominem argument. Read up on it.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:55 PM on July 27, 2007


chuckdarwin - my point in asking your experiance is questioning the premise upon which your statement was based.
Morally you can hold any position you wish. Where that moral basis conflicts with reality is open to argument on a practical, not theoretical, basis.
You can then argue that abortion is morally wrong.
You cannot however genuinely support that moral argument by asserting that abortion doctor bombard the fetus and patient and the entire neighborhood with harmful radiation.
It is simply not factual from practical experiance (my own, but more importantly, easily researched others) and from documented history that small groups using small arms are ineffective against larger more heavily armed military forces.
You wish to argue that the number of deaths from gun ownership are too high to justify a given interpretation of the second amendment - fine. I can address that conceptually and we can engage in a reasonable argument based on the degrees to which we respectively value life and liberty.
You want to say I can’t raise all kinds of hell in someone’s otherwise heavily secured backyard, it just isn’t true.
Arguments about the efficacy of resistance in meeting political objectives are a whole other thing.
But the Arendt quote (Violence can destroy power but it is utterly incapable of creating it) is solidly based on direct observation as well as a good deal of erudition on political science, human behavior, authority, totalitarianism and violence in general. Your statement runs contrary to that as well as my own study.
My question stands - upon what practical reality is the claim you made based?
Is there some historical basis for your belief? I don’t know of any - hence the question.

And it’s not an ad hominem. An ad hominem would be asserting your arguments have no merit because you’re the kind of dolt that refuses to address any points rasied by a counter-argument and instead engages in this academic rules of rhetoric fallacy bullshit.

Might work were I not in earnest. But no, I’ve taken your argument very seriously and I’ve taken pains to note that I’m not at odds with you personally.
And if it was not plain implicitly, I’ll make it explicit: I cede the other arguments (not the more irrational outbursts that we’re all subject to at times) - most particularly the notion that being a gun owner - automatically - makes one a more responsible citizen - it doesn’t.
I further have no argument on the numbers of dead or anything of that nature. I’m willing to debate (as above) the morality of the ownership of firearms, but that’s not at all what I addressed here.

What I did ask - more clearly put is: how then is it - or what is it that makes it - impossible for an armed citizen to resist the military force of his or her country?

I’ve outlined why I reject the idea that a government would use overwhelming force on it’s own subjects on the basis of the symbolism of power (indeed, I remember the Chinese taking pains to avoid running over ONE unarmed citizen confronting a tank column) and other reasons - easily googled (as my own experiance is not open to objective scrutiny).

Anything to substantiate your position - on that statement - beyond the fallacy dictionary?

To futher clarify: I would not consider a consession as a “win” for a pro-gun position. My passion on this subject is derived from the desire to properly classify the usage of firearms - not to establish the morality of them. Different subject.
Much as I’d contest the above characterization - irresponsible bombardment by radiation - of abortion.

(Although I will say I’ve never understood how some people can be pro-choice and anti-firearm. It seems inconsistent to assert the lives of the unborn are secondary to the life and liberty of the mother and the government has no business attempting to protect those lives, and yet refuse to weigh liberty as more important that life when it comes to ownership of firearms. And as has been pointed out, there are entities other than government that may wish to deprive you of your rights.
The out I suppose would be considering a fetus not to be ‘life.’ I don’t buy that myself (I am pro-choice however, for exactly the reasons I stated) - but I recognize it as a contested point. There are certain matters of technique and other practical concerns which are often distorted by the forces on one ideological side or the other. This matter - small arms being ineffective against military forces - I see in the same vein and I wish to remove the distortion, not, in this thread anyway, contest the ideology either way.)
posted by Smedleyman at 4:04 PM on July 27, 2007


One doesn't need to have been a soldier to tell the difference between a battle and an occupation.

Yet, you seemed to be unable to do so.

Attacking me and my personal background instead of attacking my argument is an ad hominem argument. Read up on it.

Instead of reading up on it, I'll just say I had the same reaction as Smedleyman did - no one with military experience would have written what you wrote. But thanks for the helpful advice, I guess. In turn, you may want to read up on the history of disarming populations under despotic governments. There are plentiful examples available.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:07 PM on July 27, 2007


It comes down to this: people in the US want to hang on to their pistols and semi-autos because they want to be able to fight off the government [a highly unlikely scenario].

Is it so completely impossible for people to understand that for a lot of us, it's not about fighting off the government or defending our homes from pirates or whatever, and it's that we enjoy shooting? That is what the links here are about. A bunch of people who like to go out into a big empty space and shoot guns.

You can see in this very thread people have discussed how enjoyable they find this experience.

Meanwhile, any nutjob can get one and wipe out dozens of students on any campus in the country.


Yes. And any nutjob could also do the same thing with a knife, or a propane bomb, or a car. Nutjobs are nutjobs, the gun in their hand don't change that.

Am I the only person who sees this as a shitty trade-off?

No, there are lots of people just like you. Which is why whenever anyone posts anything about guns, invariably it turns into a discussion just like this one.

Surely a rifle would be good enough to defend yourself with... and a large rifle sure is hard to sneak into a school.

Again, not everyone who shoots is doing so to defend themselves. And in some cases, no a rifle is not an ideal choice to defend yourself. In a confined space for example.

But, no. People won't budge. Some of you won't be happy until you can own a Howitzer.


Is that an option?
posted by quin at 4:14 PM on July 27, 2007


It comes down to this: people in the US want to hang on to their pistols and semi-autos because they want to be able to fight off the government [a highly unlikely scenario]. Meanwhile, any nutjob can get one and wipe out dozens of students on any campus in the country.

Am I the only person who sees this as a shitty trade-off? Surely a rifle would be good enough to defend yourself with... and a large rifle sure is hard to sneak into a school.


I'm not sure why you're including semi-autos in this. Semi-auto or full-auto "assault weapons" of the sort in the video are very rarely used in crimes, and on top of that, many long-rifles of the typical hunting persuasion (i.e. the type you'd apparently let people keep) are semi-automatic.

Also, a rifle is certainly not an appropriate weapon for self-defense. Rifles fire high-velocity, high-penetration rounds by design, which means they're likely to go right through the attacker, the wall behind him, the wall of the other house behind that, and then through your neighbor's kid. Rifles are offensive weapons meant for hitting something between 50 and 300+ yards away from you, not 5 yards or less, as in the case of a physical or handgun attack. This is the very reason why bayonets and/or handguns are carried by soldiers: because rifles don't make good defensive weapons. If you want a home-defense weapon, you want a handgun or a shotgun... and a handgun is much easier to secure and conceal, things you need to think about when choosing such a weapon.

So yeah, it's a trade-off, but not as simple a trade-off as you seem to think, particularly since Constitutional rights are in the mix. That goes double when you realize that our 200-million-plus guns kill around 15,000 non-suicides a year -- this doesn't exactly lend credence to the idea that guns are such tremendously hazardous objects that we ought not be allowed to have them. At best, a perfectly effective (and perfectly draconian) gun ban could save a few thousand lives... by eliminating a Constitutional right and disenfranchising millions. That's a shitty tradeoff, if you ask me.
posted by vorfeed at 4:19 PM on July 27, 2007


Odd how it's ok to use irrational rhetoric in characterizing a position if one feels one is right. It's not enough when talking about the rights of others. This kind of thing has to be thought through.
(There's been plenty of time to respond here.)
But hell, I've gone off myself and let my emotion get the better of me. Although typically I've apologized or at least admitted the basis for my argument was irrational.
(The debate concerning, say, electing a foreign-born president - I'm against it. I don't know why, just rubs me the wrong way. I can't really defend my position, I recognize maybe Schwartzenegger should have the right to be
president, but I don't like the idea (Arnold aside) as a whole. I can't back it up, but it's a recognition of my position, not an argument. Which I'd cede as irrational, but nonetheless my feelings on the matter. Same could be said here. Some folks don't like gun people talking about taking on the government, rubs them the wrong way - solid. But it's a matter of taste, not principle. And it's not a shame to not change an opinion, at least as concerns the realities. Morality, ideology - all still up for debate.)
posted by Smedleyman at 10:32 PM on July 28, 2007


So vorfeed, you guys are willing to trade 15,000 lives a year for your right to own a pistol?

I think that says more than any argument I can make.

Besides, Smedleyman, if your arguments were really persuasive, wouldn't every country in Europe have already legalised gun ownership? Maybe they all think that 15,000 extra murders per year are too high a price to pay for 'freedom'.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:57 AM on July 29, 2007


So vorfeed, you guys are willing to trade 15,000 lives a year for your right to own a pistol?

I think that says more than any argument I can make.


For one thing, it's obviously not a direct trade. A perfectly effective gun ban might prevent 15,000 "gun deaths", but I rather doubt they'd prevent 15,000 deaths total, because I'm pretty sure people aren't going to immediately stop murdering each other if they don't have any access to guns. And at any rate, a perfectly effective ban on anything is a dream to begin with -- in reality, both criminals and citizens who want self-defense would simply turn to illegal sources for guns. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think that would be a positive development.

Also, it's not just about "my right to own a pistol", it's about "my right not to have yet another perfectly harmless action turned into an excuse for the government to throw me in jail". Judging by how well the War on Drugs has worked (for the prison industry, that is), I'd say a War on Guns would probably end up ruining an order of magnitude more than 15,000 lives. We already have laws against murder. If you want to save lives, enforce those, and leave law-abiding people who don't hurt anybody alone.

Besides, I'd be willing to trade my life for my right to own a pistol, if need be. This may blow your mind, but some people really do have convictions that matter more than the simple existence of life. For me, one of those is self-defense.

Besides, Smedleyman, if your arguments were really persuasive, wouldn't every country in Europe have already legalised gun ownership? Maybe they all think that 15,000 extra murders per year are too high a price to pay for 'freedom'.

Here's another mind-blowing concept for you: different countries have different cultures! If (for example) the UK likes surveillance cameras more than guns, more power to them, and better them than us. I'm not interested in dictating the proper lifestyle for people in places I don't choose to live in, unlike some I could mention in this thread.

Also, considering that at least one country in Europe has not just legal, but compulsory gun ownership, maybe "freedom" is an important concept overseas as well. Then again, you'd have to actually know something about European gun ownership rates (hint: Guns are legal with restrictions in many EU countries. Some countries even have rates of per-capita firearm ownership close to ours, yet markedly lower homicide rates. So much for your easy trade-off.) And for more on the trade-off I mentioned earlier, read this, a paper written by an Austrian criminologist about gun control in the EU. The bottom line: gun control doesn't have an obvious effect on crime rates, but it does have an obvious effect on rates of illegal gun running and on civil rights. For more on the non-connection between legal gun ownership and crime, try Gark Kleck's "Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America".
posted by vorfeed at 11:55 AM on July 29, 2007


Thanks for a well-made argument: if it really does come down to culture over facts, let me be the first to say that I'm glad that I live in a country that eschews guns. Are my kids less likely to be shot living here or living in the states?

Here.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:17 PM on July 29, 2007


Oh, come on. "Culture over facts"? I haven't seen a single supported fact from you this entire time. Nor have you responded to any argument made in this thread, other than to insult people and make snarky and/or factually incorrect one-liners.

At any rate, it's clear that you're only interested in making assertions, not arguments. Funny how someone who claims that "Americans will never come to see reason on this issue" hasn't actually employed any reason to back up his beliefs. Yes, you value a sense of personal safety over gun rights -- good for you, perhaps now you'll bother to make some argument as to why such values should be adopted by Americans, or, failing that, why we should be considered "idiots" for not sharing them. I've given plenty of reasoning to support my position, but I'm not seeing any from you, and I'm getting tired of bothering when it's obvious that you're not really interested in challenging your previously-held notions on this issue. Easier to think of people on the other side of the issue as fools, I suppose.

p.s. Correlation (e.g. "the UK has relatively few guns and a relatively low violent crime rate") is not causation (e.g. "if the US also had relatively few guns, it would therefore have a relatively low violent crime rate"). There are many differences between your country and mine that have been shown to have a strong causative relationship with violent crime (namely poverty and inequality), and I've shown that there's a distinct lack of such a connection with regards to gun possession. So, while I understand why the relative lack of violent crime in the UK affects your own opinion about which country you'd like to live in, I don't see why it should have anything to do with American gun policy, and, by extension, this argument.
posted by vorfeed at 9:33 PM on July 29, 2007


“Besides, Smedleyman, if your arguments were really persuasive,”

Apparently my previous comment held absolutely no sway, or you ignored it, or are incapable of understanding the difference.
The point being - what arguments? My contention with you is over a point of fact.

“Maybe they all think that 15,000 extra murders per year are too high a price to pay for 'freedom'.”

Perhaps all the babies aborted each year are too high a price to pay for the “freedom” to choose.

- you see, that’s one of the (many) reasons my argument is over the reality of the situation and meaning of the words.
Forgive me for belaboring certain points, I don’t mean to insult your intellect, but you don’t seem to be understanding it. That there that I just did? That’s an example of how you are attempting to characterize the argument devoid of acknowleging that certain facts are contended. It’s similar to arguing a practical point with a religious fanatic or a pro-lifer. Many of them refuse to acknowlege the practical points against their “facts.” This doesn’t dispute the ideology, merely the realities. Yet they refuse to relinquish them when faced with solid evidence.)

Some countries don’t bring moralistic arguments into a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body - I favor that because although morally I’m entirely pro-life, I can’t in good conscience allow the government to have that power. For me it’s a legal right, period. Similar to gay marriage - which I oppose, but I respect the legal right. There’s a difference between the practical applications of power in terms of how it violates rights or creates a privileged class and any given moral standard.

Some countries have legalized drug usage, I favor that (in some cases) as well. I see many willing to sacrifice their health for the sake of certain freedoms.
But again - this is academic as you refuse to concede to any facts brought to bear that interfere with your ideology.

To again belabor the point - while I refuse to allow the government to interfere with the birth cycle - I do so on principle. Not because of any given technique of abortion - whether one is painful or harmful or not. That would be a sub-set of the overall question. And obviously I would oppose any harmful technique.
In much the same way “kids getting shot” is a subset of the overall question of gun ownership that is obviously universally opposed. The two positions - while related - are different in kind.
While I happen to agree with vorfeed that you have not brought any reasonable argument to support your position, I suspect that it is because you do not understand this difference. I’m not saying you’re stupid or anything, it is often the case that deeply held beliefs can occlude, in the passion to pursue them, a clearer perspective of not only what others are saying, but what one is saying oneself.
And vorfeed’s patience has been exemplary. My own is at an end.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:48 AM on July 30, 2007


Easier to think of people on the other side of the issue as fools, I suppose.

I don't think that either of you are fools; I think you're people who are convinced that guns make you safer. This is merely perception.

So, while I understand why the relative lack of violent crime in the UK affects your own opinion about which country you'd like to live in, I don't see why it should have anything to do with American gun policy, and, by extension, this argument.

You're right; it's too late. Even in the event of a ban, there are too many guns in America to ever be recovered. Keep your pistol... just don't point the fucking thing at me and mine.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:10 PM on July 30, 2007


My own is at an end.

Thanks for trying to change my mind. Right before I left the states, three kids were executed on prom night. This was very near my house.

I can't say that it made me feel very good about sending my kids to said high school.

Call me stubborn.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:13 PM on July 30, 2007


p.s. I don't like the comparison: aborting a fetus is not akin to murdering an adult. I can see where you're going with it, but it's kind of an offensive argument. Besides, abortion isn't [and probably never will be] a constitutional right.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:20 PM on July 30, 2007


I don't think that either of you are fools; I think you're people who are convinced that guns make you safer. This is merely perception.

Here's something you said in an earlier post. In case you have problems finding it, it's just a few posts before you started crying about ad-hominem:
"Note to anyone stupid enough to believe the old chestnut about defending yourself from your own government [...] You are an idiot."

It's pretty hard for me to take your "I don't think that either of you are fools" statement seriously, considering that you came right out and said the opposite just a couple of days ago. Sorry, I'm not buying it.

Also, please find even ONE place in this thread where I said something to the effect that I believe guns "make you safer". I haven't used the word "safe" at all, other than to describe your position, because I personally believe that feelings of "safety" are misleading and ultimately meaningless. What guns do is give you the ability to fight and kill if necessary, and that's clearly not safe in the least. I have guns precisely because I'm not willing to bet my life and well-being on passive ideals of "safety". Instead, I cherish active values of self-sufficiency and self-defense: that is to say, the personal, physical ability to fight unto death, if need be. This is probably why we've been talking over each other -- we have two very different world-views. I'm not interested in your "safety", and you're not interested in my "freedom". It's the sort of cultural difference one can live with... until you start smearing shit on the latter, yes?

As for my conviction being "merely perception", tell me: since there is no evidence that rates of gun possession have a direct relationship with rates of violent crime, how is your own conviction that a lack of neighbors with guns makes you safer not also merely perception? What do you think convictions even are, if not matters of mere perception? Yes, optimally, they should be backed up by facts... but that's why I don't understand your continual failure to offer any to defend your point of view.

At any rate, I was right -- you're NOT interested in reason or in responding to anyone's points, as demonstrated by yet another specious bunch of one-liners. I'm more than happy to exercise politeness and reason in debate (or "patience", as Smedleyman kindly put it), but when you fail to respond in kind, even after having been repeatedly called out for it, I'm just wasting my time.
posted by vorfeed at 5:42 PM on July 30, 2007


I cherish active values of self-sufficiency and self-defense: that is to say, the personal, physical ability to fight unto death, if need be.

That says it all, vorfeed: you're willing to take another life if need be, and I'm not.

If someone wants to rob me (which could happen almost anywhere), I'll certainly try and disarm the person or diffuse the situation, but if I have no choice, I'd rather give them the money than kill them. I'm no killer, and I don't wish to be.

You're correct: this is a waste of time.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:48 AM on July 31, 2007


Chuckdarwin, if you fear murder, you are right to live in the UK, because guns aside, it is a less murderous culture. Personally, I fear death in general for myself and my loved ones. I don't want to be run over, misdiagnosed, exposed to bad nutrition, or die in a household accident. As far as I'm concerned, gun homicide is a drop in the bucket when compared to the statistics of death. The best thing I can do for me and mine is shorten our time on the roadways.

You are right that it is too late for America to embrace gun control. There are over 200 million guns in this country, and at least 39% of households have one. Judging by the countries that have gun bans and higher gun homicide rates like Mexico, I doubt it would have gotten us anything positive to ban them.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:24 PM on July 31, 2007


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