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"We know that the first chance Obama gets, he will pounce on us."
February 23, 2010 6:14 PM   Subscribe

Though President Obama has signed no laws since taking office that prohibit gun purchases and ownership, that hasn't stopped permit applications and weapons sales in the United States from rising through the roof and worried state legislators from passing laws they wouldn't otherwise pass, which greatly ease access and allow carrying weapons in, among other public areas, city, state and national parks. Schools may have to get their kids prepared.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (102 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
As usual, fear and hate trump reality.

Here's an exhaustive listing of what Virginia did. I grew up there; I'm sad to see them do ridiculous shit like this.
posted by Mikey-San at 6:18 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Utah lawmaker wants MLK Day to honor gunmaker

UTAH PROUD!
posted by Joe Beese at 6:18 PM on February 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


The US has some of the most permissive gun laws in the (first) world and the Brady Center gives Obama an F. Guess what the NRA says. No really, guess.


If your guess was "We love Obama" you haven't been paying attention.
posted by DU at 6:21 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


In western PA, as late as 1991 or so, at my high school, we were allowed to bring our rifles to school on the first day of hunting season. The guns were checked at the office when you came in, and with written permission and a valid hunting license(which required a hunting safety training program) , the school bus would drop you off whever you wanted in the route so you could hunt that day.

This addressed the problem of kids skipping school to go deer hunting.

Think what you want about country folk, we never had a problem in over 25 years of that policy.
posted by chambers at 6:22 PM on February 23, 2010 [24 favorites]


I know it's been beaten to death.. but doesn't the United States Constitution have a rather clearly stated amendment in modern-ish english stating that you all can have guns?
posted by TravellingDen at 6:23 PM on February 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


TravellingDen: "I know it's been beaten to death.. but doesn't the United States Constitution have a rather clearly stated amendment in modern-ish english stating that you all can have guns?"

You'd be amazed how much ambiguity those so motivated can wring out of a dependent clause.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:26 PM on February 23, 2010 [13 favorites]


I know it's been beaten to death.. but doesn't the United States Constitution have a rather clearly stated amendment in modern-ish english stating that you all can have guns?

Nice attempt to derail, but the subject is not whether it should be legal to have a gun. The subject is the irrational fear that they will be made illegal when there are zero moves on the horizon to do so.

They are afraid of Obama. Because he's black.
posted by DU at 6:26 PM on February 23, 2010 [40 favorites]


It's sort of a voluntary paranoia tax. Or stimulus, if you prefer.
posted by 2N2222 at 6:28 PM on February 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


Schools may have to get their kids prepared.

Attempted murder remains illegal, and presumably the school banned firearms possession on its premises. The last link is fine to throw in to get some people all riled up about how awful it is that some people own guns and wouldn't it be nice if the government would just ban everything we don't like, but in reality there's no substantive connection. If gun control were effective, DC's violent crime rate would have been much lower for the past three decades.

You'd be amazed how much ambiguity those so motivated can wring out of a dependent clause.

You'd be amazed at how much people can let oft-demonstrated personal bitterness about the (stereotypical and inaccurate) political beliefs of gun owners shape their response to a near-total consensus among scholars of legal history on what the Second Amendment actually means.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:28 PM on February 23, 2010 [9 favorites]


I've worked in visitor services at a fairly busy state park in California. Our staff had more than enough problems with people driving in drunk, stealing artifacts, and throwing rocks at the sage hens without having to worry about whether they were packing heat.

I know a number of hunters and sportsmen, and they're generally great people. But a lot of gun fanatics and lobbyists don't seem to realize how much they scare the rest of us. The right to bear arms is not the right to brandish your handgun, at all times, for any reason, just as the right to free speech is not a license to constantly yell THERE'S A BOMB or LOOK, IT'S BIN LADEN in a crowded airport terminal.
posted by cirripede at 6:33 PM on February 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


Hmm....this post is making a pretty huge leap. Until there is more info about the guy in the school shooting, his history, and the rifle involved, I don't know if it's possible to say this is in any way related to paranoid reactions to Obama. It's possible, but there doesn't seem to be any evidence of that. In that sense, it seems a little axe grindy.

Although I sympathize, because it's an axe I like to grind too; I wish Obama would take away our guns - he's going to get accused of wanting to whether he does or not, so he may as well do our society some good and fulfill the prophecy.

I'm glad the kids will be OK.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:37 PM on February 23, 2010


re: brandishing
I generally agree with allowing concealed carry weapons, but I also think there should be (and there are in most states) penalties for just whipping out a gun for no damn good reason.
posted by chambers at 6:40 PM on February 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


The arguments against allowing concealed carry in national parks mostly seem to be about poaching, but that always struck me as fairly weak; first because easily-concealable weapons aren't really the kind of thing you'd use to poach the sorts of game that people tend to poach (which is large/rare game; elk, buffalo, bear, trophy deer, etc.), and also because there's not much in the way of enforcement of the current law as it stands — meaning it really only applies to people who are fastidious about following the rules (which poachers, pretty much by definition, are not). So I've been surprised to see as much controversy about it as there has been.

In most states, you'd never know if the guy in front of you at the gas station, grocery store, movie theater, or barber shop is carrying a gun; national parks, which are quite sparsely populated, would seem to be if anything much less problematic.

If you have a problem with any concealed carry that's a valid opinion to hold, but it seems odd to try and carve out a special case for national parks. There seem to be some politicians who are trying to play both sides of the street — not come out against popular state-level concealed carry laws, while at the same time oppose a rule change that doesn't seem particularly odious unless you're intrinsically against all or nearly all concealed carry. Trying to placate both the pro- and anti-carry crowds doesn't seem like a good strategy.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:41 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wonder if the gun shops are saying that Obama's going to "take our guns" just to spur sales. I mean, think about it. The NRA gets money from gun manufacturers, who want to sell more guns. The NRA is the primary news source on gun events for gun nuts, so if the NRA says guns will become illegal, up goes the sales. Tidy little racket.

If we could only get the delusion going that Obama wants to take away our electric cars, we could finally have enough demand to justify mass production of electric vehicles.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:44 PM on February 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


The 2nd Amendment is pretty clear on this:

"the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Problem #1 is that gun laws that make sense in New York City do not make sense in Montana. And if you can't recognize that, I don't know what to tell you other than you've clearly never lived in both a rural and urban environment.

Problem #2 is that Americans seem to have forgotten that we have the ability/lost the cojones to amend our Constitution.

It should be a state issue, not a federal issue. This bullshit will never go away until we fix an Ammendment which was ratified when the entire country was basically a rural environment.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:44 PM on February 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Growing up in the 90's doing debate, one of the subjects we were asked to compete on for three months was gun control. All of us high school kids had to go back and forth, on and on, about whether it was good or bad.

At the beginning, most people with pro.
At the end, most people were pretty shockingly neg.

The data in favor of gun control was just really, amazingly weak. A lot of it came from one guy whose methods were embarassingly bad and easily refuted, and everyone else pro just cited that one guy.

The neg side just had better data. Take, for example, the British experiment (disarm the society, violent crime rises 4x. Happened in the early 90's).

Anyway, Obama's not going to touch gun control, because it's a total loser of a political war. There's enough crossover on the left in favor of guns that its a clear loss of votes. Maybe by 2015 the NRA will realize this.
posted by effugas at 6:50 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Our staff had more than enough problems with people driving in drunk, stealing artifacts, and throwing rocks at the sage hens without having to worry about whether they were packing heat.

Unless you were running them through a metal detector, you (or someone in your organization) should have been worrying about this already. The fact that it was illegal doesn't mean that someone couldn't have had one anyway.

My suspicion is that the de facto effect of this rule change, as evidenced by the actual effect of CCW laws in other places, will be extremely small. If anything, it might force administrators to confront a situation that they previously stuck their heads in the sand about, by pretending that "it's illegal" means "it doesn't happen and I don't need to concern myself / make policies / think about it." (I've found such thinking to be very common in bureaucratic organizations, and not just about guns.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:50 PM on February 23, 2010


So, are there any good polls among liberals of how they stand on guns? As far as I can tell, at least from my circle, most liberals don't believe in complete disarmament, and usually just want to restrict how quickly a person can get a gun. After all, it's irrational to think outlawing guns would get rid of all the guns already on the streets.

I'd also like to see a table showing where each congressperson stands on gun rights. I will bet an organ that the "TAKE AWAY ALL THE GUNS" stance is very unpopular. Even Kucinich doesn't go that far.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:52 PM on February 23, 2010


The NRA is the primary news source on gun events for gun nuts

For the sake of civility and to avoid misunderstanding, please define your term 'gun nut'

Are they:
People who are nuts, and have a gun?
People who own any guns whatsoever?
People who are NRA members?
People who collect guns?
People who disagree with some policies that restrict guns and want to have their say?

I agree with your point that it is a unique and quite unique marketing angle, that can increase gun sales through perceived fear, but aren't anti-gun factions also selling their point through fear as well? Fear sells, no matter which side of the argument you're on.
posted by chambers at 6:53 PM on February 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


Kadin2048, poaching is just one argument against guns in parks. Another (and equally important, in my opinion) is the matter of park safety and management. Budgets for rangers, supplementary staff, and supplies are already being eviscerated all across the country, and this leads to plenty of safety problems in itself. The (sanctioned) right to carry firearms in national and state parks adds still another element of danger for park staff, visitors, and wildlife.

Kristen Brengel briefly summarizes the argument in this New York Times commentary:
Let me be blunt: Carrying a gun is not going to make me feel safer in a national park. . . . Hikers in the back country will have a different experience. I will probably be discouraged from many hikes if other visitors are walking around openly carrying guns. Frankly, it is threatening to see a person hiking with a gun when it isn’t hunting season.
Park staff are charged with maintaining safety for everyone in what usually amounts to a very broad area. It is a pretty impossible job already, with budgets what they are. Guns won't help.
posted by cirripede at 6:55 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hey TravellingDen, where does 1987 appear in that 25 year number?


Man Seized in Pennsylvania After Lethal Shooting Spree
AP
Published: May 31, 1987

MILROY, Pa., May 30— An armed man was arrested today after a nine-hour manhunt that followed a shooting rampage here in which a firefighter was killed and two other men were critically wounded.

The manhunt had forced the evacuation of a state park.

Randolph Scott Himes, 25 years old, was arrested at his home, where he began the rampage after arguing with his father, the police said.

He was charged with murder and attempted murder and held without bail.
posted by NiteMayr at 6:56 PM on February 23, 2010


People who collect guns. I'm used to using gun nut to stand for gun owner as it's easier to say. I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't really think it through. I guess I'm more prejudiced than I thought. I'm not antigun. I just don't really know too many gun owners, so I fell into the term I usually use for NRA members.

Sorry gun owners.

/sheepish
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:56 PM on February 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah, there are many disjoint sets. I'm a gun owner and go to the range frequently, but I refuse to join the NRA because of their politics. If there were a more sane group dedicated to preserving basic gun rights without getting so tied up in other issues, or in fearmongering, I'd be all over that.

I voted for Obama, after all he supported the Heller decision (although given the other issues facing the country, I'd have voted for him even if he hadn't). And as said earlier, he's done nothing to change gun rights at all. Yet it's true that the majority of people I meet at the range are paranoid of him, and I can't come up with a reason that isn't either hyperpartisanship or racism (I actually think it's mostly the former --- those for whom guns are the #1 issue are so wedded to the Republican party that they fear any Democrat regardless of their actual policies, which is one of my many not-in-the-NRA reasons).
posted by wildcrdj at 7:02 PM on February 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


re: brandishing
I generally agree with allowing concealed carry weapons, but I also think there should be (and there are in most states) penalties for just whipping out a gun for no damn good reason.


you'd think. recent incident involving Florida's Stand and Deliver (I mean Stand Your Ground) law that allows you to shoot people in public, rather than withdrawing to safety:

Guy on a bike is menaced by guy in a truck driving too close to him. Guy on bike speeds up and catches guy in truck and verbally abuses him. Guys stops truck, his friend gets out and starts pounding Bike Guy into grease spot. Bike Guy gets hand free, grabs own gun and shoots Truck Guy dead. Is arrested, not charged and released. Truck Guy's friend (the driver) witnesses in favor of Bike Guy.

I'm not ok with drivers menacing bikers, but I don't think a law that allows you to escalate an incident where nobody was actually harmed all the way to homicide with impunity is a good law.
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:03 PM on February 23, 2010


It seems as though gun ownership has become a marker for fear and helplessness in this country (compare the huge spike in gun ownership after 9/11 - what, like you're personally going to shoot down a jumbo jet before it crashes into your local Dairy Queen?)

Obama hit it on the mark when explaining why it was difficult for for him to win over working-class voters in Pennsylvania and the Midwest. Considering their desperate economic conditions and uncertain futures:
"it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Sadly, it seems, having a black man in charge of the country is about as frightening for some people as having passenger jets hijacked by Muslim terrorists and flown into buildings. And in neither case is gun ownership going to do a thing to help them economically. Statistically, it just increases the chance that someone in their family will be shot and/or killed by their gun. Though I suppose on the upside that's an evolutionary pressure against gun ownership, and perhaps a little extra ironic since the people most likely to be eliminated are the ones least likely to believe in that mechanism.
posted by Davenhill at 7:06 PM on February 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


I once took a loaded 9mm automatic to school with me. I was in the 8th grade.

I had borrowed my dad's coat, the one he took with him on walks in the woods. Ooops. (I never told him about this)

I discovered the gun on the bus ride to school.

To this day, I think about how that day might have gone, and what it means.

But I keep bumping up against the fact that nothing happened.

I had stuffed the coat into my backpack and stuffed that into my locker. Nobody looked, nobody cared.

I didn't show the gun to anybody. It was warm in the afternoon when I rode the bus home; my stuffed backpack was simply one of many.

As I walked down the street toward my house, I looked around and nothing was different. All day I had visions of booted police, german shepherds, vice principals sprinting down hallways with walkie-talkies.

I came close to making some poor decisions on other occasions. But what stuck with me was the likelihood that so many things, all potentially more dangerous than this, don't happen, every single day.

On that day, I probably went home and drew comics in my sketchbook like I did on other days. I still do that.

And ever since then, when somebody tells me how to feel about what might be, what could be, a dangerous situation, I immediately distrust them.

I just get the feeling that anxiety itself is the real danger our society has to face right now. And that may or may not have something to do with guns.
posted by circular at 7:08 PM on February 23, 2010 [13 favorites]


Just to post the whole amendment:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
posted by vapidave at 7:09 PM on February 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


I own a shotgun.

A person needs to be able to defend 'Merica when Obama sells us out. You know he is going to do it. He's selling us out to those fucking orange clay disks.

When those god damned clay disks come for me at their predetermined high and low angles I WILL BE READY REGARDLESS OF MY STATION.
posted by Loto at 7:10 PM on February 23, 2010 [21 favorites]


I wonder if the gun shops are saying that Obama's going to "take our guns" just to spur sales.

There is a gun shop near my house with a sign in the window (I drove past it this afternoon) that reads "GET 'EM WHILE YOU STILL CAN" so I'd say, yes, that's precisely what they're doing.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:12 PM on February 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Now that I've read your second comment, Kadin2048, I'd absolutely agree that guns in parks is something rangers and staff already should be (and are) concerned about, and that the net increase in firearms coming in past the entrance kiosk is unlikely to be very great. Whether or not it results in an enormous influx of creepy dudes with handguns on the John Muir Trail, however, I guess I just don't think guns have a place in conservation areas, and until now the law agreed with me—which may not count for much, but from a staff perspective, it's something. You do make good points.
posted by cirripede at 7:13 PM on February 23, 2010


Salvor Hardin: " I wish Obama Bush would take away our guns... he may as well do our society some good"

Notice how that doesn't sit quite right?

Please note: I am not saying Obama = Bush. I'm saying that you don't want the President to have the right to take away your guns. Because who knows? The guy who takes over for Obama may not have motives as pure as his.

The signers of the Constitution were not hanged for their troubles only because they were defended by citizens with guns. They wrote the Second Amendment for a very particular reason.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:13 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


NiteMayr,
I think you're confusing my post with his. My 25 year remark was about no problems arising from the policy of letting safety-trained students bring their guns to school on the first day of hunting season.

mccarty.tim,
It's cool, sometimes that term can be used to hastily, and elicit the entirely wrong response from an opposing view. I grew up around firearms, so they don't have the mystique some people I know have about guns who did not have much exposure to them. They're a tool, nothing more. I think there should be reasonable controls, but the idea that someone who is not going to follow the law in the first place is going to be stopped by another, more constrictive law, is patently absurd.

Daveenhill,
Having guns don't make you a racist, a republican, a xenophobe, or any combination of that. Your 'evolutonary' comment is pretty offensive, though. Should hot dogs be outlawed, or should you smugly think the problem of choking on them will resolve itself once all the hot dog-eating kids die from choking, so the gene pool will finally be free of people who like hot dogs?
posted by chambers at 7:14 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


he's done nothing to change gun rights at all. Yet it's true that the majority of people I meet at the range are paranoid of him, and I can't come up with a reason that isn't either hyperpartisanship or racism

Yes. Fuck, I don't go anywhere near gun stores or ranges anymore because I can't stand the nearly incessant drone from the patrons of "Well since he went into office..." where everything from ammunition shortages to food going bad is trotted out as examples of the evils that have fallen on us.

And I say this as someone who has better than two decades of regular range time, it's just not worth it anymore.

That's why I got back into archery; it's cheap, I don't need to buy ammo so I don't have to interact with these idiots, and I can go to the county park and shoot all day for free.

I love my guns, as objects of engineering they are masterpieces, but I've grown weary of some of the people with whom I used to share a hobby.
posted by quin at 7:18 PM on February 23, 2010 [10 favorites]


They are afraid of Obama. Because he's black.

I think it's also an ev-psych thing - their strong male leader-candidate lost, and they're trying to compensate for the testosterone drop. But yeah, it's a whole clusterfuck of fear of other, pandered-to base, etc.

Obama should do a 180 on them - "2 weeks from now: Free Uzi Night at in every Junior Highschool in the Land! Hallelujah Bay-Bee!"
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:31 PM on February 23, 2010


I can agree that some of the chuckleheads at the gun shops and ranges are just damn offensive sometimes. I get what I need and don't chat much with most of the folks there. But also, I can understand that those places would make some feel more free to vent frustrations regarding the laws that constrain them just as much as, say a LGBT bookstore would have it's clientele complaining about laws that constrain them. (not trying to compare politics AT ALL, just giving a 'location influences behavior' example)

Also, where are archery supplies cheap? I was thinking of getting back into it, and found out that a good quality set of 40 arrows and hunting tips would set me back over $150. As I yell at the kids to get of my lawn, I can remember when I could get the same thing for $40.
posted by chambers at 7:33 PM on February 23, 2010


Waving a gun around for no reason, AKA brandishing, is illegal in many US states. California is one of them.

The definitions of brandishing vary, but generally showing your gun to a friend isn't. Flourishing it to intimidate or impress strangers is.

IANAL, hopefully one will come along and point out my mistakes.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 7:34 PM on February 23, 2010


Free Uzi Night at in every Junior Highschool in the Land!

Don't worry, Uzi's are terrible. Inaccurate, and they'll be out of bullets in about 1.5 seconds, if it doesn't jam on them first.
posted by chambers at 7:38 PM on February 23, 2010


I think where there ar not brandishing laws, a prosecutor could also consider that assault, since it implies a threat of deadly force.
posted by chambers at 7:40 PM on February 23, 2010


I know I have some completely meaningless anecdotes about this topic somewhere....
posted by Brocktoon at 7:48 PM on February 23, 2010


OBAMA'S GOING TO TAKE YOUR GUNS!

ANY MINUTE NOW!

LOOK! HE'S DOING IT NOW!!! Oh, wait. He's eating a sandwich.

In western PA, as late as 1991 or so, at my high school, we were allowed to bring our rifles to school on the first day of hunting season.

Our rural western PA high school didn't even bother having class on the first day of buck season (Monday after Thanksgiving).
posted by dirigibleman at 7:49 PM on February 23, 2010


Fearing Obama Agenda, States Push to Loosen Gun Laws

At long last, the Obama presidency delivers something of benefit. Outstanding news.

-----

I'm a gun owner and go to the range frequently, but I refuse to join the NRA because of their politics. If there were a more sane group dedicated to preserving basic gun rights without getting so tied up in other issues, or in fearmongering, I'd be all over that.

Gun Owners of America

Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
posted by BigSky at 7:51 PM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Timely article from The Onion.

I Bought An Awesome Gun That Makes Me Feel Like God, But I Hope I Never Have To Use It
posted by Ratio at 7:56 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, where are archery supplies cheap? I was thinking of getting back into it, and found out that a good quality set of 40 arrows and hunting tips would set me back over $150.

I picked up a couple of recurve bows last year, one I got as a sporting goods was going out of business, so I got a crazy good deal for a riser with a set of 45# and 55# limbs, but I was also able to pick up a reasonably nice 35# online for about $100.

Arrows will set you back a bit, but considering that most of the time you will be shooting at bales, you probably don't need to be using broadheads all the time, so that would save you a little. I figure that most of my arrows cost me about $3.00 each with the nock and point, but since I probably fired each of them more than 500 times last summer alone, that's still cheaper than even .22 ammo when viewed over time.

I also only have two sets of 12 arrows which switch out depending on the bow. I walk to the bale a little more often, but most of the others who shoot at the park use about that many, and for safety reasons, it makes sense to have everyone collecting at the same time.

I figure that last year, I put a couple of hundred total into the hobby, but now that all the stuff is bought, my wife and I can shoot this year for the cost of paper plates (targets) and bug spray.

This askme pointed me to a couple of places that, while not that inexpensive, were pretty good on selection. For cheap, I usually turn to places like sportsmen's guide and Dunham's (sometimes you get lucky).

posted by quin at 7:57 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


BigSky: "Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership"

Leave the gun. Take the halva.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:59 PM on February 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Guns are very effective tools for certain uses, much less so for some uses that many people specifically acquire them for. And the legal gun owners of America often provide a valuable service to the criminal element of America, because guns are among the more easy-to-carry and easy-to-resell items a burglar can find in an unoccupied house.

And I have said before, here and elsewhere, that if I should ever decide to commit premeditated murder (and I have absolutely no reason to do so at this time), I will legally purchase a gun (observing the proper waiting period) and get properly trained to ensure that I can effectively kill my intended victim from a safe distance. I can't think of a better tool for that specific purpose. And I am confident I will be able to do so anytime in the foreseeable future. Until then, I see no real benefit in owning a gun.

I also see no particular benefit in owning a Snuggie, an iPhone, a Hummer or a bread machine.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:09 PM on February 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


As the owner of firearms I am pleased that some of the more restrictive laws against carrying or purchasing weapons are being repealed. The reason that they're being repressed depresses me though and so do the paranoid scumbags pushing it who had no problem with eight years of Bush's illegal renditions, illegal wiretapping and illegal war but suddenly freak out when a black man is president.

It reminds me of the central theme of David Brin's 'The Postman' which was that after the apocalypse we have the most to fear from the survivalists. It also makes me want to start an pro-gun, anti-NRA organization. Something for socialist, tree-hugging, gun toting, anti-war freaks like myself.
posted by Vaska at 8:14 PM on February 23, 2010 [12 favorites]


Our rural western PA high school didn't even bother having class on the first day of buck season (Monday after Thanksgiving

Yea, most public schools in PA seem to close for Bambi day. I even had class at CMU cancelled so that the professor could go hunting.
posted by octothorpe at 8:21 PM on February 23, 2010


re: brandishing
I generally agree with allowing concealed carry weapons, but I also think there should be (and there are in most states) penalties for just whipping out a gun for no damn good reason.


Especially during league play.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 8:47 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


You'd be amazed at how much people can let oft-demonstrated personal bitterness about the (stereotypical and inaccurate) political beliefs of gun owners shape their response to a near-total consensus among scholars of legal history on what the Second Amendment actually means.

This attorney has never seen said consensus, amongst legal scholars, the Supreme Court or first-year law students.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:55 PM on February 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


The whole notion of individual gun ownership is based on myths; why should we expect them to have any less skewed version of reality when it comes to the president. With the recent supreme court cases the gun control legislation is so narrow that it really is meaningless. We are fighting at the margins baring a constitutional amendment; which will be unlikely to happen ever. I mean with Columbine and VA Tech we got zero movement. Just to depress you further the global warming thing will go the same way. Even in the face of total environmental catastrophe the skeptics will use their base to keep meaningful legislation from moving forward. They will write off major incidents as freak occurrences rather than patterns and present freak occurrences like a snowstorm in may as example of being correct.
posted by humanfont at 9:04 PM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade (1969):

Robert Kennedy, whose summer home is eight miles from the home I live in all year round, was shot two nights ago. He died last night. So it goes.

Martin Luther King was shot a month ago. He died, too. So it goes.

And every day my Government gives me a count of corpses created by military science in Vietnam. So it goes.

My father died many years ago now -- of natural causes. So it goes. He was a sweet man. He was a gun nut, too. He left me his guns. They rust.

posted by neuron at 9:23 PM on February 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


"(compare the huge spike in gun ownership after 9/11 - what, like you're personally going to shoot down a jumbo jet before it crashes into your local Dairy Queen?"

It may be hard to believe post 9/11 but terrorism in the US isn't restricted to airplanes
posted by Mitheral at 9:31 PM on February 23, 2010


The last link is fine to throw in to get some people all riled up about how awful it is that some people own guns and wouldn't it be nice if the government would just ban everything we don't like, but in reality there's no substantive connection.

To the extent that gun laws are being rewritten to bring weapons into public spaces where they did not belong, tomorrow it may well include our public schools. While legislators are eager to rewrite the law, perhaps we should politely ask our legislators' NRA lobbyists to budget for putting our children in bulletproof school uniforms.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:04 PM on February 23, 2010


I generally agree with allowing concealed carry weapons, but I also think there should be (and there are in most states) penalties for just whipping out a gun for no damn good reason.

No concealed carry. That's for insecure little weasels. People should be willing to just strap their gun to their thigh like Wyatt Earp. I feel much safer being able to pick out the dangerous idiots in a crowd than having to guess. I like having the option of maintaining my distance.

I've lived in places where people would openly bring their guns into the bar and trade them on the bar top. It's a much more sane situation than jerks slinking around with concealed weapons waiting for an opportunity to go all Bruce Willis.
posted by JackFlash at 10:26 PM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


chambers: Daveenhill,
Having guns don't make you a racist, a republican, a xenophobe, or any combination of that. Your 'evolutonary' comment is pretty offensive, though. Should hot dogs be outlawed, or should you smugly think the problem of choking on them will resolve itself once all the hot dog-eating kids die from choking, so the gene pool will finally be free of people who like hot dogs?

Lighten up, Francis.

First, I never said owning a gun makes you a racist, etc. But I do think it's a fair but rebuttable presumption that people who are buying guns as a reaction to events like 9/11 or Obama's election are reacting out of irrational fear. And fear that is so far detached from reality is manifestly risible.

(Certainly you didn't think I was also being serious about shooting down jumbo jets to prevent them from flying into Dairy Queens? That really should have been the tip-off that I wasn't being entirely serious)

Second, I am not, as you seem to be implying in your hot dog analogy, advocating outlawing guns. I am a gun owner myself.

But the hod dog analogy does raise an interesting contrast about the huge blind spot gun advocates have for the danger of having guns in the house.

Everyone seems to agree without controversy that hot dogs pose a choking danger for children. Even though only a handful of children die per year from choking on hot dogs.

Meanwhile, about 10 kids are killed each and every day by handguns. But we all know that handguns don't kill people... um, playful children do?

As for the evolutionary pressures go, it probably doesn't matter whether a careless parent's child dies because it choked on a hot dog or because of a gunshot wound. But statistically speaking, a gun is something like 65,000% more likely to kill a child than a hot dog.

But we focus on hot dog choking deaths for children instead of gun deaths because one political party isn't bat shit insane over wieners.

posted by Davenhill at 11:45 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


a gun is something like 65,000% more likely to kill a child than a hot dog.

I should hope so. A gun is designed to be dangerous.
posted by BigSky at 11:50 PM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


cirripede: “The (sanctioned) right to carry firearms in national and state parks adds still another element of danger for park staff, visitors, and wildlife.

How so? The quote you included doesn't really suggest anything, other than that the author is uncomfortable with guns; that's unfortunate but not exactly convincing as a basis for policy.

Given that there wasn't any enforcement (except perhaps after the fact) of the existing rule, the effect of getting rid of it ought to be extremely minimal: I cannot imagine that it is a very large class of people who are (1) desirous of carrying a concealed weapon everywhere, including in situations where it would be really inconvenient, like hiking; (2) in possession of all the necessary state permits for wherever the park is located, provided the park is actually in a state that allows concealed carry; (3) are actually going to change their behavior as a result of the rule change. Those sort of legalistic teetotalers don't strike me as the most problematic sort of folks, and they're the only ones who are going to care about a new de jure right in addition to a de facto one already in existence. (And in all seriousness, in some parts of some national parks you could probably play with light artillery pieces and not get noticed; they contain some of the most remote areas in the continental US. The idea of enforcing gun laws there distinct from the surrounding area is ridiculous.)

I'm quite in agreement with you that the NPS is underfunded and we could use a lot more Rangers and the ones we have could use better equipment, training and support (especially as some National Parks have become corridors for drug trafficking and production, although that's a complex issue that gets into the WoD and I don't want to derail), but the claim that sanctioning concealed-carry adds a significant amount of danger that didn't previously exist seems pretty hard to swallow.

As a totally coincidental aside, I'm actually located inside a National Park as I write this. I only became aware of the rule change a few days ago after seeing a NPS poster in the Ranger Station about it. Was kinda surprised to see it up on the Blue.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:10 AM on February 24, 2010


I so wish you all could see this tab, right next to a tab with Lewis Machine & Tool Company's CQB (Close Quarter Battle) MRP (carbine) version open.
posted by Cathedral at 12:19 AM on February 24, 2010


Obama should do a 180 on them

I agree. America needs a new stimulus package. If Obama is really all about equality then I suggest he repeals the laws against convicted felons owning firearms, and introduces a measure that provides highly subsidized automatic weapons to minorities and the urban poor.

Perhaps he could fund an organisation like Acorn to assist people from poorer communities to get their hands on the new, subsidized firearms?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:39 AM on February 24, 2010


The neg side just had better data. Take, for example, the British experiment (disarm the society, violent crime rises 4x. Happened in the early 90's).

Do they not teach debate teams about the difference between correlation and causality?

Britain has never been an armed society. All that happened in the 90's is that a tiny number of sports marksmen lost the ability to use handguns. Shotguns and rifles are still available.

An alternative account would be that as the UK armed its police for the first time, so violent crime rose 4x. Limit the police to wooden truncheons again and violent crime will obviously drop 4x.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:54 AM on February 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


"... Given that there wasn't any enforcement (except perhaps after the fact) of the existing rule, the effect of getting rid of it ought to be extremely minimal: I cannot imagine that it is a very large class of people who are (1) desirous of carrying a concealed weapon everywhere, including in situations where it would be really inconvenient, like hiking; (2) in possession of all the necessary state permits for wherever the park is located, provided the park is actually in a state that allows concealed carry; (3) are actually going to change their behavior as a result of the rule change. ..."
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:10 AM on February 24

1) Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Americans, in 48 states that allow some form of concealed carry, have bought concealable weapons, trained in their use at their own expense, got registered/fingerprinted with appropriate local authorities after passing criminal and civil background checks (which, sometimes, they also paid to have done), all at, for the most part, their own individual expense in time and money, in order to carry concealed weapons on their persons, as much of the time as they deem prudent, consistent with local regulations and carry prohibitions.

2) Thanks to the doctrine of reciprocity, at least 37 states allow holders of CCW permits in at least one other state to carry concealed while traveling in their state. Presumably, some of those people from other states will be visiting, and carrying concealed, now, in Federal parks, in the states allowing them reciprocal carry privileges, which prior to this easing of regulation, wouldn't have permitted such, due to complications with transport and secure storage in their non-native states, when their vacation plans included visits to Federal parks only reachable to them by travel across state lines. Personally, I think that means, that for popular Federal parks, like the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National Forest, various Civil War battlefields, various Federal seashore parks in the Eastern US, and many Federal park lands in the West, that there will be hundreds of thousands of law abiding people carrying concealed, that couldn't before. I view this as a desirable outcome of the easing of regulations, likely to reduce crime and personal assaults in our Federal parks.

3) In my experience, nearly 100% of CCW permit holders know and carry only in compliance with their permitted regulations, because of the damage to their reputations and carry privileges, should they be caught carrying illegally. The expansion of their franchise means, to most of them, that they have new opportunities to carry while traveling in new areas, and I suspect that, given their investments in weapons, training, and permit compliance, many, if not most, will exercise their expanded franchise. At least, I hope they will.
posted by paulsc at 1:33 AM on February 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


But we focus on hot dog choking deaths for children instead of gun deaths because one political party isn't bat shit insane over wieners.<>

I would argue that we don't focus on gun deaths because one political party is, in fact, bat shit insane over wieners. Just not the hot dog kind.

posted by Joey Michaels at 1:35 AM on February 24, 2010


I would also normally close that italics tag.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:36 AM on February 24, 2010


Meanwhile, about 10 kids are killed each and every day by handguns. But we all know that handguns don't kill people... um, playful children do?

Great. Now show that gun control affects this number.

Go on. Find some data that even hints in that direction.

Man, we looked.

Britain has never been an armed society. All that happened in the 90's is that a tiny number of sports marksmen lost the ability to use handguns. Shotguns and rifles are still available.

Shotguns? Really?

Look. In no possible universe is the data subtle here. According to this link:
In the two years following the 1997 handgun ban, the use of handguns in crime rose by 40 percent, and the upward trend has continued. From April to November 2001, the number of people robbed at gunpoint in London rose 53 percent.
There's a reason it was really difficult to debate this subject. The great experiment in Britain -- the one that's continuing with the belief that cameras without consequences will magically eliminate crime -- was a pretty rough data point to argue against.
posted by effugas at 1:37 AM on February 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


The gun lobby doesn't lobby for our gun rights. The gun lobby is there to lobby for the gun manufacturers so they can sell more guns.

During the past presidential election the NRA wouldn't endorse Obama (can't imagine why) so they endorsed McCain and started pushing propaganda that said Obama was going to take guns away. He's hasn't and won't.

As a result in 2008, two of the few durable goods to see a rise in profit and manufacturing were guns and ammunition.
posted by brando_calrissian at 2:16 AM on February 24, 2010


brando--

Ha, so you're basically saying the gun lobby needs a bogeyman to say "buy now, while you still can!". Gotcha.
posted by effugas at 2:23 AM on February 24, 2010


Great. Now show that gun control affects this number.

The argument, "We will only run this experiment once we are presented with data that shows this experiment will have a positive outcome." tends to make me believe you're not really sincere.

We could eliminate this problem by putting an RFID reader in a gun and a RFID chip, say in a ring, on the owner's person. If someone unauthorized has the gun, they're not going to be able to fire it until they open it up and bypass the safety. Now check out this wild assed paranoia rant here. Here's one where they're more on the point and slightly more grounded in reality but I'll bet you a days pay that if we said, "You're right. Instead of a technical solution, we should just have a law where, if you don't practice safe and responsible gun storage, you get a year in prison." they'd have a page up telling us why that is a bad idea.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:46 AM on February 24, 2010


effugas, your ideas about Britain's 'great experiment' and the results of it are wrong. If you want to make convincing points about gun control then you're going to have to do better than the poorly-researched arguments of a bunch of high-school students ten years ago.

Britain was not 'disarmed' in 1997. I'll repeat PetermcDermot's point: Britain has never been an armed society; no significant number of law-abiding citizens has carried handguns since the fin de siécle. The 1997 handgun act affected only 0.1% of people in the UK*. A robber, murderer, mugger etc has never had to seriously consider that a civilian walking around in public would be carrying a gun. What's more, violent crime has been more or less static since the 90s, and certainly hasn't increased fourfold*. So gun control is not a cause of violent crime in Britain. The two are not even significantly correlated.

That rise in violent crime (since, let's say, the 50s) is not de facto proof of the failure gun control, either. That is, you can't argue that the rise wouldn't have happened if it weren't for gun control. America sees much more violent crime now than it did then* despite all its guns. Violent crime in Japan is extremely low despite there being almost no guns there*. Gun control does not cause violent crime.

Here's some more likely causes of violent crime in the UK: increases in inequality and marginalisation accompanying immigration; increases in overcrowding; proliferation of black market weaponry (riding on the back of the proliferation of legal weaponry worldwide); a culture with more glorification and normalisation of violence (partly imported from America); an increase in armed police. Just off the top of my head. Even if you can find some statistic that correlates violent crime with gun control it's meaningless if you don't factor out all of the above, just for starters.

What point were you making about the shotgun? That story just shows that they, too, are tightly controlled.

Now I'm certainly not saying that gun-control laws are some kind of fool-proof method of reducing gun-crime/violent crime. Violent criminal cultures are self-sustaining and self-propagating because fear and violence tend to lead to more fear and violence, which makes them hard to get rid of. To fight them you have to increase equality, opportunity, education, and more. But gun-control laws, wherever in the process they are introduced, are a vital part of it, in my opinion.
posted by Drexen at 4:59 AM on February 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


In the two years following the 1997 handgun ban, the use of handguns in crime rose by 40 percent, and the upward trend has continued. From April to November 2001, the number of people robbed at gunpoint in London rose 53 percent.

The handgun ban had literally no effect at all on anything since it changed nothing. There was no carry law in the UK prior to 1997. Private ownership of handguns required them to be kept in an inspected firearms safe if retained at home and most handguns would have been kept at shooting clubs (incidentally - the events which caused the handgun ban were caused by a man with legal firearms which he kept at a shooting club, much like the previous Hungerford shootings).

We have not been able to walk around armed in the UK for over 100 years. Increase in reported violent crime will include physical assault, battery, ABH, GBH, rape etc. Changes in statistical methods within the police force took place over this period thanks to New Labour implementing business trends within the police force. PPAF and it's predecessors have greatly affected the gathering of crime statistics within the UK and have little to no relation to the reality of the matter.

You are arguing two separate points.

The increase in people held at gunpoint doesn't have anything to do with gun control since the firearms were not legal either way. Unless you wish to argue that legal gun ownership would reduce the number of people held up. Good luck with that one.

I am interested in firearms and I can say for sure if I had the time and the money I'd get myself down to Bisley and enjoy some target shooting but I absolutely prefer the genuine reality of safety to the chance that a neighbour might get shitfaced drunk and put a bullet through his wall into my flat. Fuck that.

Guns aren't evil, they are tools. The problem is - so are a lot of owners.
posted by longbaugh at 5:07 AM on February 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


I wonder if all the lobbying against foie gras actually leads to an increase in purchases of foie gras because people want to eat it while they still can. Perhaps the only winning move, if you think foie gras is cruel, is to not say anything until you're sure you have the political support to get it banned.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:12 AM on February 24, 2010


ISTR that despite the high levels of gun purchases since Obama took office, the rate of gun ownership hasn't changed all that much. It seems that it's the same gun nuts that are making more purchases over and over. As I said earlier, it's a paranoia tax or stimulus depending how you look at it. So at least it's helping the economy to some extent.

More interesting is that I've found some pro gun groups pushing the idea that Obama is going to ban guns, despite no indication of this happening. And perhaps more surprisingly, that crime is ever rising and one must be armed, even though violent crime in the US has been trending downward for over a decade. I attribute this to two things. One, the gun industry/vendors can always handle more sales. Two, gun lobbyists seem to have a track record of being more interested in self preservation than actual gun rights. Paranoia fills the coffers.

The only thing that bothers me about all this stuff is that ammo has gotten crazy expensive.
posted by 2N2222 at 6:46 AM on February 24, 2010


I'd have a lot more sympathy for the pro-gun crowd if they hadn't cheered the Bush-era erosion of the 4th Amendment. The same goes for years of bitching about the ACLU defending the 1st Amendment.
posted by kableh at 7:26 AM on February 24, 2010


When the armaments manufacturers have a political lobby, you might as well expect that they loop it back into a sales campaign.

I went to a local gun show a couple of weeks after the election. Sales were booming. Everybody was sure the gun grabbers were after them. Seems they believed the "change" rhetoric.

But these are the same folks who honestly believed the UN was going to invade and take their guns fifteen years ago. Black helicopters, blue helmets, the whole deal.

They will also angrily insist that we found the weapons of mass destruction.

And some of them have insisted to my face that Bush was a liberal and the Republican Party has been taken over by socialists.

It's mass delusion and it ain't going to go away. It's endemic.

I must say I'm surprised no one yet has said this is going to end badly.

This is going to end badly.
posted by warbaby at 7:42 AM on February 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth This attorney has never seen said consensus, amongst legal scholars, the Supreme Court or first-year law students.

"This programmer has never seen consensus on an algorithm to solve that problem, amongst script kiddies, software engineers, computation theorists or writers of programming languages."

"This cook has never seen consensus on a recipe for that cake, amongst tuck shop ladies or high-end professional chefs."

"This mechanic has never seen consensus on the method for fixing that fault in cars, amongst backyard-tinkerers or raceway pit crew or automotive design engineers."

If the meaning of a law cannot be clearly understood and agreed upon, not just by the ordinary lay populace who are subject to it, not just by professional lawyers, not just by scholars of law, but not even by the ultimate authority whose reason for existence is to provide a bright line of clarity and understanding of the law ... then it's an outstanding example of stupid legal drafting.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:53 AM on February 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The paranoia about Obama, who is at once a militant socialist, secret Muslim and atheist (and also... you know...), being about to seize Americans' guns reminds me of some of the Bircher conspiracy theories from the 1960s, about how the Civil Rights movement, the Students for a Democratic Society (who are really Maoists, you know) and the Black Panthers would, with the help of Chinese troops disguised as Mexicans and stationed south of the border, take over America and turn it into a Communist dictatorship, in between raping white women. Both narratives seem to come from the same place.
posted by acb at 7:59 AM on February 24, 2010


Something for socialist, tree-hugging, gun toting, anti-war freaks like myself.

Please, please do this. At least get me a bumber sticker that says, "Armed Liberal."
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:57 AM on February 24, 2010


let people have all the guns they want, just make the bullets prohibitively expensive and extremely difficult to obtain.
posted by kuppajava at 9:09 AM on February 24, 2010


I'm a highly ambivalent gun owner. I have a carry permit and I do occasionally carry a compact .380. I spend only as much time at the range as I need to stay proficient (small handguns aren't much fun to shoot anyway).

What I have noticed since I picked up my little gun is that ammunition is almost impossible to come by. The independent gun shop I go to will only sell one box at a time. The Dick's Sporting Goods by me hasn't had .380 in stock in months, and doesn't know when they'll get any.

I know handgun sales are strong due to anti-Obama paranoia, but I think there's another story here. Who's hoarding all the bullets?
posted by workerant at 9:10 AM on February 24, 2010


kuppajava, apparently.
posted by cashman at 9:13 AM on February 24, 2010


I think Gunn(s) should be legal.

I have the same experience as the workerant. Ammo is getting more expensive and harder to come by. Sort of gives me the incentive to buy a box whenever I can and store it rather than wait until I need it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:20 AM on February 24, 2010


Davenhill: Meanwhile, about 10 kids are killed each and every day by handguns. But we all know that handguns don't kill people... um, playful children do?

Effugas: Great. Now show that gun control affects this number.

Go on. Find some data that even hints in that direction.


First, read my post, I'm not advocating gun control. I'm just saying it's a lot more dangerous to have a gun in the house than not.

Second, hope I'm wrong, but you're coming off like a Creationist daring me to provid any valid evidence for Evolution, i.e. you sound like you've already made your mind up on ideological reasons and would reject any information that contradicted it. I think most people can figure out as a matter of common sense that a home with a gun is more likely to have a shooting death than a home without a gun in it, and the only people denying that are pushing an ideological agenda.

As for some data that even hints in that direction, here's what I found in about 30 seconds of looking:

The American Journal of Epidemiology Guns in the Home and Risk of a Violent Death in the Home: Findings from a National Study
the presence of a gun in the home was associated with a nearly fivefold risk of suicide (adjusted odds ratio = 4.8) (13) and an almost threefold risk of homicide (adjusted odds ratio = 2.7) (14). Other case-control studies have also found an increased risk of suicide for those with firearms in the home, with relative risks ranging from 2.1 to 4.4 (15–19).

Some studies have specifically examined the association between purchase of a handgun and risk of a violent death (20, 21). In a case-control study of members of a large health maintenance organization, Cummings et al. (20) found that a history of family handgun purchase was associated with an elevated risk of both homicide and suicide.
It's well cited, but I'm looking forward to learning why the AJE is a biased source of Liberal propaganda that is a part of a conspiracy of lies against those poor, harmless and unfairly maligned handguns.
posted by Davenhill at 9:34 AM on February 24, 2010


ammo has gotten crazy expensive

Startlingly so.
posted by bz at 10:35 AM on February 24, 2010


ammo has gotten crazy expensive
As Chris Rock jokes, we don't need gun control, we need ammo control. If bullets cost $50,000 there would be no more innocent bystanders.

And if you ever did get shot, you'd know who did it, because they'd come over to retrieve their bullet "I believe you have my property".
posted by Davenhill at 10:45 AM on February 24, 2010


Davenhill, I think the homes that have knives have a higher rate of cutting/stabbing injuries than in a knife-free home. The weapon is not the motivation for suicide/murder - it's only a vehicle.
posted by winks007 at 12:29 PM on February 24, 2010


the best part about obama being president is asking evangelicals/tea partiers/gun nuts when obama is going to reveal himself as the antichrist/institute the new world order comunist empire/take away all the guns

it's like when those same people said in 1999 that the rapture was at hand and they hid in their basements and waited for it and they were so excited for it and then the new year came and went and they poked their heads out like groundhogs and were genuinely disappoiointed that everyone else wasn't dead in a global cataclysmic holocaust
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:27 PM on February 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Davenhill--

I'm saying we spent three months arguing this subject, and in those three months, nobody could point out a single strong datapoint that said "We passed this law, and violent crime dropped."

Remember, you can't magically make guns disappear. You can only make them harder to legally acquire and legally possess. What we never found, not even once, was any sign that increasing difficulty of legal acquisition and possession did anything to decrease crime rates. I mean you'd think there'd be something, somewhere. But no. Nothing like, "We passed this law, and five years later, the streets were so much safer."

Your study has control problems, in that being at risk of both suicide and homicide may lead to greater gun acquisition, rather than the other way around.

longbaugh--

All I'm saying is you've got a place with Gold Standard level gun laws, the "in your wildest dreams" level gun laws, and the output isn't exactly wonderful now is it?
posted by effugas at 1:54 PM on February 24, 2010


I'd have a lot more sympathy for the pro-gun crowd if they hadn't cheered the Bush-era erosion of the 4th Amendment. The same goes for years of bitching about the ACLU defending the 1st Amendment.

Right, because 100% of gun owners are also Conservatives.

let people have all the guns they want, just make the bullets prohibitively expensive and extremely difficult to obtain.

We'd then be left with an armed populace who never go to the range, and are therefore much less proficient with their weapons. That sounds brilliant.

I have seven days left before I can pick up my new Mossberg 590. If the zombie apocalypse happens before then, I'm voting Republican. Zombie Reagan '12!
posted by Thoughtcrime at 3:01 PM on February 24, 2010


In terms of The Incredibles, guns would be wrong as they give weak people the ability to injure or kill strong people. If everyone is equalized by guns, then no one is special. Thus, Objectivism is antigun.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:39 PM on February 24, 2010


All I'm saying is you've got a place with Gold Standard level gun laws, the "in your wildest dreams" level gun laws, and the output isn't exactly wonderful now is it?

It really is actually. Anecdotally and with as many data points as you'd like to back it up, the UK is leagues upon leagues behind the USA when it comes to death by firearms, be it self or third party inflicted. I know if I have a barney with someone they aren't going to pull out a gun and shoot me. I know that if I carry on with my day to day life the chances that someone will point a firearm at me or a loved one is for all intents and purposes nil.

I am open to an argument that could justify private ownership of firearms but having seen how people drive, how people act when drunk or high or in situations where emotions run high (be they anger or grief) I see no reason to allow people to utilise a tool which, by every piece of research I have ever seen, increases their chances of killing either themselves or someone else.
posted by longbaugh at 6:11 PM on February 24, 2010


The Awl's Abe Sauer on gun control
posted by dirigibleman at 6:38 PM on February 24, 2010


I am open to an argument that could justify private ownership of firearms

How about this one?

Same argument, different angle:

How the right to arms saved the non-violent civil rights protesters

Civil Rights and Gun Sights: Black self defense in America

The Klan's Favorite Law: Gun control in the postwar South
posted by BigSky at 7:04 PM on February 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


longbaugh--

Well, lets see:
In the UK, there are 2,034 offenses per 100,000 people, way ahead of second-place Austria at 1,677. The U.S. has a rate of 466 crimes per 100,000 residents, Canada has 935, Australia has 92, and South Africa has 1,609.
Wow. That sort of sucks. More data, along these lines.
posted by effugas at 10:12 PM on February 24, 2010


winks007 Davenhill, I think the homes that have knives have a higher rate of cutting/stabbing injuries than in a knife-free home. The weapon is not the motivation for suicide/murder - it's only a vehicle.
And homes with guard-bears have higher rates of mauling deaths than homes without guard-bears. That doesn't mean guard bears are a net improvement to your household's safety.

Knives are more or less a necessary given for households to function from week to week, e.g. meal preparation. The same isn't generally true for handguns.

Guns may provide peace of mind, but it's extremely unlikely they will ever be used for their intended purpose of defending the home against an armed intruder; they are much more likely to injure or kill a member of the household than protect them from intruders.

As I posted before:
In a case-control study of members of a large health maintenance organization, Cummings et al. (20) found that a history of family handgun purchase was associated with an elevated risk of both homicide and suicide.
Why is that?

First, handguns make killing others, or yourself, much easier and much faster than other weapons/methods like knives. There are also significant physical and psychological differences between the use of a gun and, say, a knife.

Murdering someone with a knife requires immediate proximity to the victim (which risks a physical struggle over the knife) as well as physical exertion of stabbing someone (if your victim is stronger than the attacker the victim may be able to defend themselves or turn the knife on the attacker). Also, knives tend to require multiple stab wounds to kill a person; this makes the act of killing someone with a knife take longer, which gives the attacker more opportunity for second thoughts, as well as more opportunity for self-defense by the victim.

Comparatively speaking knife attacks tend to be more violent, and more personal than handguns murders. It takes consistent, physical rage to stab someone to death, whereas you can shoot someone from across a room or from across the street. You don't even have to get out of your car to shoot someone. Pulling a trigger once is very easy. Stabbing someone a dozen times when they're screaming, bleeding, and struggling face to face with you... much harder to go through with.

Second, a single bullet wound is more likely to be fatal than a single stab wound (to varying degrees depending on caliber and bullet type). This is probably even more true of accidental shootings vs. accidental stabbings, and definitely more true when the gunshot or stab is reluctant, e.g. domestic disputes where a spouse immediately regrets the gunshot or stab the moment they realize what they've done. The victim is more likely to survive the stab wound.

Or put it another way, how often do you hear of a parent accidentally mistaking a family member (a child for instance) for an intruder and stabbing them to death? Pretty much never. Handguns, on the other hand...

Or how often to you hear of people accidentally stabbing themselves to death while cleaning a knife? It may happen, but we both know it's exceedingly rare compared to handguns.

Finally, ask a police officer what's the best way to protect your home, especially when you have kids. Most will tell you to get a dog, not a gun. A dog provides deterrence and an alarm 24-7 (not to mention companionship) and is far, far less likely to 'go off' and kill you while you clean it.
posted by Davenhill at 11:11 PM on February 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Davenhill--


Second, a single bullet wound is more likely to be fatal than a single stab wound (to varying degrees depending on caliber and bullet type). This is probably even more true of accidental shootings vs. accidental stabbings, and definitely more true when the gunshot or stab is reluctant, e.g. domestic disputes where a spouse immediately regrets the gunshot or stab the moment they realize what they've done. The victim is more likely to survive the stab wound.


God. You really have no idea what you're talking about.

It's OK. A ton of martial artists don't, either.

So the reality is that knives are really, amazingly, horrifyingly deadly. There was actually something of a problem in recent years, with black belt martial artists getting into street fights with random punks -- and, well, dying. The problem is that you can bleed out from a knife wound in an astonishingly small number of seconds.

In fact, at short range, a knife is more fatal than a gun. I'm serious, I've watched the videos. Somebody can rush and stab a cop at twelve feet before he can pull, aim, and fire a round.

The problem is enough that martial arts schools have taken to doing practice fights against people with pens. Your goal is to take someone down without getting sliced.

Good luck with that.

So, with Britain drowning in knife crime, now they're apparently trying to have curved tips, so deep stabs are harder. Meanwhile, the crime rate just keeps going up.
posted by effugas at 11:26 PM on February 24, 2010


effugas: Davenhill-- I'm saying we spent three months arguing this subject, and in those three months, nobody could point out a single strong datapoint that said "We passed this law, and violent crime dropped." Remember, you can't magically make guns disappear. You can only make them harder to legally acquire and legally possess.
This is a strawman. You're arguing a different point from the assertion I made. The gist of my point was that bringing a gun into your home increases the risk of injury or death to your family members, not reduces it.

Not one strong data point? Well, I'm not going to argue your point, but I will provide you with one data point so as not to go home empty handed.

The Brady Bill was passed around November 1993. Homicides by handguns peaked in 1994 at around 14,000/year and started a steep decline, reaching 8,000/year by 1999. That doesn't prove cause and effect (as if anything could make the case definitively either way), but it's a noteworthy positive correlation.

------------------
effugas: God. You really have no idea what you're talking about. It's OK. A ton of martial artists don't, either. So the reality is that knives are really, amazingly, horrifyingly deadly.
I'm not sure insults or condescension help your argument. Nor does your continuing use of strawmen. Nobody is saying knife wounds aren't horrible or deadly, or whatever arbitrary adjectives one might use to describe them, but rather that however horrible the average stab wound is, the average gunshot is comparatively worse than the average stab wound.

A couple of examples:
The Journal of Trauma (36:4 pp516-524) looked at all injury admissions to a Seattle hospital over a six year period. The mortality rate for gunshot wounds was 22% while that for stab wounds was 4%. Even among patients that survived, gunshot wounds were more serious -- the mean cost of treatment for these patients was more than twice that for stab wounds.
or a comparison of costs:
We analyzed charges and reimbursements for the treatment for all patients with GSWs (n = 1116) and stab wounds (SWs) (n = 1529) admitted to a level I trauma center from 1986 through 1992. Mean and median charges were higher for GSWs ($14,541; $7,541) than for SWs ($6,446; $4,249) (p <>The Journal of Traumaa
Some studies note hospital numbers under-represent the comparative lethality of gunshot wounds to stab wounds because more gunshot victims die en route to hospitals than victims of stabbings.
Direct admission to the mortuary was three times as common in cases of gunshot compared with stab wounds. The hospital mortality rate for gunshot wounds was 8 times that for stab wounds. South African Medical Journal.85(11):1172-4, 1995:
These may not be definitive, but I'd wager they are more probative than anecdotes about videos you've watched, or non sequiturs about someone being able to stab a police officer before they can pull a gun, or the prevalence of knife crimes in Britain.
posted by Davenhill at 1:24 AM on February 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Based off the fact that you are saying South Africa is almost half as violent as the UK I'd start off with a fit of giggles. Once I'd finished giggling I'd point out that British police have little to no discretion when it comes to recording crimes, hence our increased recorded figures compared to other countries. Unless you are aware of facts like these I'd call your conclusions into doubt.

Oh I see, the stats you've chosen have nothing to do with firearms, just violent crime (which in the UK covers crimes such as assault which actually includes instances of verbal abuse!).

Also, whilst I am it -

There was actually something of a problem in recent years, with black belt martial artists getting into street fights with random punks -- and, well, dying.

A black belt isn't hard to come by nowadays and even worse in the late 70's and early 80's. There are a lot of folk around with black belts that couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag. Also, having a black belt doesn't make you smart. It isn't a bulletproof vest or a knifeproof jacket. It's a fucking belt. It stops your trousers falling down. If you see someone with a knife and intent, you're probably going to get cut regardless of how good you are. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to sell you snake oil. Also, where exactly was this slaughter of black belts taking place?

The problem is that you can bleed out from a knife wound in an astonishingly small number of seconds.

I'm going to have to call you on that. Ask any professional knife instructor. Cutting both femoral arteries (a useful target in CQC knife fighting - see Emerson's Karambit method and Pikal knife fighting) it would still take around 2 minutes to bleed out. In the meantime your target retains hydraulic support of his limbs and motive capability and can use that time to smack you upside the head a dozen times. When you're out for the count he can spend his last few conscious moments sawing your head off.

In fact, at short range, a knife is more fatal than a gun. I'm serious, I've watched the videos. Somebody can rush and stab a cop at twelve feet before he can pull, aim, and fire a round.

What has the alleged lethality of one weapon vs. another got to do with reaction times? If the cop had emptied his magazine into Mr Stabby then who's more lethal now?

So, with Britain drowning in knife crime, now they're apparently trying to have curved tips, so deep stabs are harder. Meanwhile, the crime rate just keeps going up.

Moral panic, media attention and increased gathering of knife based crime statistics to make it look as if the police are challenging the issue of knife crime. It's smoke and mirrors. An understanding of how the police in the UK collate statistics vs other countries would be helpful here but that's too much to expect to be honest.

The problem is enough that martial arts schools have taken to doing practice fights against people with pens. Your goal is to take someone down without getting sliced.

Never going to happen - at least you acknowledge this. A whole lot of bollocks is talked about when it comes to defence against knives. Mick Coup of Core Combatives is one of the most sensible blokes around when it comes to this sort of thing.
posted by longbaugh at 5:18 AM on February 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, and this to BigSky - Yeah. If I lived in a dictatorship or otherwise unstable nation state then maybe I'd be sold on owning a gun. I live in the first world however. I have a choice of bagels from my local bakery and a stable, affordable internet connection. I have access to free healthcare, a state pension and a whole load of other benefits that folks in war torn countries or those with unstable or oppressive regimes don't have. I don't need to keep an SKS wrapped in a plastic sheet at the bottom of a river bed for that special day when they come and get me. I can take that money and buy my kid a week in a caravan site by the seaside and an ice cream.

I know which I'd rather have.
posted by longbaugh at 5:30 AM on February 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Or how often to you hear of people accidentally stabbing themselves to death while cleaning a knife? It may happen, but we both know it's exceedingly rare compared to handguns."

IE: if you want to commit suicide while still allowing your relatives to collect your life insurance make sure to lay out your cleaning supplies before shooting yourself.
posted by Mitheral at 7:13 AM on February 25, 2010


They are afraid of Obama. Because he's black.

Horseshit. They're afraid of Eric Holder, who's a strong supporter of gun control.

Not everything needs to be a racial issue and more often then not, there is at least a hint of a reason behind things like this.
posted by rulethirty at 7:21 AM on February 25, 2010


Also, and this to BigSky - Yeah. If I lived in a dictatorship or otherwise unstable nation state then maybe I'd be sold on owning a gun.

You miss the point. When a dictator takes power there's no longer an option to exercise. This is all the more so if said dictator has it in for a certain group. In the first world, gun ownership is advocated precisely to forestall such a possibility. Believing that the government should disarm the civilian population is to also believe that the citizens will never again be confronted with such an occasion. There's little historical evidence suggesting that the government will always be in the control of good men who selflessly look after the interests of the least powerful.
posted by BigSky at 11:04 AM on February 25, 2010


Dude, I live in England. We aren't going to have any sort of uprising ever again. We don't need one. We're happy here. Barring an alien invasion there is almost no chance of anyone here needing a firearm. Maybe a farmer or something. Even that's debatable.

I know you're a libertarian from reading dozens of your previous posts so it's also entirely pointless arguing with you about the evil state abusing it's powers and the evil CCTV cameras which follow my every move.

With regards to your final statement I present to you the NHS. Something you probably hate with an unbridled passion despite how absolutely wonderful it is. If that doesn't work for you how about the Constitution of The United States. There. Two examples of men looking selflessly after the interests of the least powerful.
posted by longbaugh at 12:52 PM on February 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Constitution of The United States … men looking selflessly after the interests of the least powerful.

You're kidding, right?

Not that this really matters; BigSky said "[t]here's little historical evidence suggesting that the government will always be in the control of good men…" which the creation of the U.S. Constitution, even if it had been an act completely free of self-interest, doesn't really address.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:33 PM on February 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


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