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January 11, 2011 10:25 AM   Subscribe

Following the tragic shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others, Peter King (R), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, plans to introduce legislation banning firearms within 1000 feet of a government official.
posted by clarknova (205 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
While rated "D" by the National Rifle Association, King's record on Gun control is mixed.
posted by clarknova at 10:27 AM on January 11, 2011


I say we ban them within 1,000 feet of anyone.
posted by theredpen at 10:27 AM on January 11, 2011 [95 favorites]


Scope sales to increase in 5, 4...
posted by Space Coyote at 10:28 AM on January 11, 2011 [15 favorites]


They should just install backscatters at the entrance of every Safeway parking lot.
posted by nushustu at 10:28 AM on January 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


I thought we needed *more* firearms to prevent this sort of thing, not fewer. All this will do is ensure that anyone with a gun near an official is a criminal.

(Am I doing this right?)
posted by LordSludge at 10:28 AM on January 11, 2011 [16 favorites]


I certainly hope Peter King can ground this in the Constitution as he promised he would do.
posted by mightygodking at 10:29 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


NPR this morning said that Gifford's shooter was going to be charged with something like "attempted assassination of a member of Congress". My wife and I were surprised that was a separate crime.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 10:29 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Theater. Cynical political opportunism.

And yeah, scopes...

(Perhaps then he'll want to outlaw scopes, and then binoculars and then telescopes, but of course mentally ill people will always be free to buy all the guns they want....).
posted by Skygazer at 10:30 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because lord knows government officials are a special class of people that deserve special protections.
posted by Nelson at 10:31 AM on January 11, 2011 [12 favorites]


I say we ban them within 1,000 feet of anyone.

Gun control, like DRM, only impedes the law abiding.
posted by Scoo at 10:31 AM on January 11, 2011 [21 favorites]


My wife and I were surprised that was a separate crime.
Some are more equal than others.

Functionally, who counts as a government official? Are (for example) public servants like police officers officials of the government?
posted by Fraxas at 10:32 AM on January 11, 2011


Gun control, like DRM, only impedes the law abiding.


Yeah! Cause law abiding citizens NEED concealed weapons on them at all times. You know, just in case they have to... I don't know... what do we use guns for?
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 10:33 AM on January 11, 2011 [13 favorites]


An (R) by his name? Indeed, only Nixon could go to China.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:34 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I support this, not because it will prevent any assassinations (it won't), but because it would make the Secret Service and other federal security agents lives much easier by getting rid of nutjobs like these.
posted by Aizkolari at 10:34 AM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is silly, all they need to do is ban guns within 1000 feet of the one dangerous Safeway grocery store in the nation.
posted by odinsdream at 10:35 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Functionally, who counts as a government official?

That will be hashed out in the details of the legislation, which no one voting on it will read.
posted by clarknova at 10:37 AM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah! Cause law abiding citizens NEED concealed weapons on them at all times.

Exactly zero people have suggested that so far. Can we skip the ridiculous hyperbolic strawman section of the gun control discussion this time? I realize there might not be anything left, but that's a feature, not a bug.
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:37 AM on January 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


How the hell are you going to know if you're within 1000 feet of a government official? Most aren't radiating anything. Is that something you could even be aware of?

Not that I want to carry a gun within 1000 feet of anything, but that seems hard to manage from an enforcement perspective.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 10:37 AM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah! Cause law abiding citizens NEED concealed weapons on them at all times. You know, just in case they have to... I don't know... what do we use guns for?

Yes, let us ban all dangerous things that we don't NEED.
posted by ghharr at 10:37 AM on January 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


I can't even figure out how this could be characterized as well-intentioned-but-flawed. That's because it is political grandstanding. Unfortunately, political grandstanding has resulted in a great deal of legislation.

It's illegal to kill people, and illegal to attempt to kill them. We can add laws all we like, but because laws and legal consequences do not have a deterrent effect to begin with, what we wind up with is a tangled morass of spaghetti legal code, ripe for abuse.
posted by Xoebe at 10:37 AM on January 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


Restrict access to elected officials and you solve the "crazy guy running at a politician with a gun" problem.
Restrict crazy guy's access to guns and you solve the "crazy guy running at everyone with a gun" problem.

America loves to react to a tragedy with more restrictive laws for everyone rather than dealing with the actual problem.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:38 AM on January 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


Okay, let's ignore the Second Amendment implications of this for a minute. There are other problems here.

First, that's a whole lotta people. The proposed law would include all 535 members of Congress, 875 Article III judges, and maybe even the hundreds and hundreds of Article I judges. So not only would it be illegal to go within about a block of a courthouse packing heat, but it would also probably be illegal to carry one in the neighborhood where one of them lived. Live next door to a judge? No guns for you!

Second, the proposed legislation would make it a crime to knowingly carry a weapon within 1000 feet of an official. If you did it innocently, i.e. "I was just doing my concealed carry like always! I didn't know the judge was getting his hair cut two doors down, honest!" then you're okay. Same goes for not knowing that a certain person is a federal official. Unless all federal officials and weapons in the country are fitted with GPS devices which let the people carrying weapons know where the magical 1000-foot boundaries are, this is just dumb.

But third, exactly what do we think we're going to prevent here? The people who weren't planning to use their guns weren't going to use them. The people who were planning to use their guns were already planning on committing half a dozen far more serious felonies than this one, including who knows how many firearm violations.

Besides, the problem here is not where there are guns nearly as much as who has guns and what kind of guns they can buy. There's no reasonable civilian purpose for owning an expanded magazine Glock. But that discussion involves a Second Amendment analysis, and I think the proposal is stupid even without that.

Tl;dr version: This is a predictable but stupid response to the tragedy. It fails as a measured reaction to these events, but it also fails as a gun control measure.
posted by valkyryn at 10:39 AM on January 11, 2011 [77 favorites]


I'm guessing that for every gun-wielding nutjob who's ever taken a shot at a congressman, there are thousands who've fired at ex-husbands, ex-wives, bosses, gang rivals and drinking buddies. Setting elected officials up as a special protected class seems a bit off to me. And how is a gun owner with a carry permit supposed to know when he or she comes within a thousand feet of a government official? Will they wear special hats?

Also: Peter King is a grandstanding jackass.
posted by steambadger at 10:39 AM on January 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


So THEY get sweet salaries (over 100K), healthcare and gun control? What's an ordinary citizen to do?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:40 AM on January 11, 2011 [21 favorites]


What happens to all those color guards? Pols need their color guards. How else to broadcast patriotism?
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:40 AM on January 11, 2011


My Rep, Heath Shuler (D), plans to carry a gun anytime he is out of DC. He is encouraging his staff to do the same.
posted by I'm Doing the Dishes at 10:42 AM on January 11, 2011


And of course, this legislation will only in affecting the people who have the common sense not to carry a gun in the first place. For the nutjob shooters, they could care less about some stupid legislation.

Stupid Peter King. I have to wonder what this is a smokescreen for from him.
posted by lampshade at 10:42 AM on January 11, 2011


affecting=affect
posted by lampshade at 10:42 AM on January 11, 2011


What happens when a Congressperson goes to a gun range for a photo op?
posted by fatbird at 10:43 AM on January 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yes, let us ban all dangerous things that we don't NEED.

Well of course i don't NEED to bring this home-made flamethrower into your station, officer. But should we really ban every potentially-lethal thing that we don't NEED?

Why else should anyone be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in the first place, unless they NEED it for some reason? For fun?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:43 AM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


How the hell are you going to know if you're within 1000 feet of a government official?

They'll have insignias on the helium balloons attached to their belts.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:44 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tl;dr version: This is a predictable but stupid response to the tragedy. It fails as a measured reaction to these events, but it also fails as a gun control measure.
Pretty much. Thanks for saying what I was thinking faster than I could type it.
posted by verb at 10:44 AM on January 11, 2011


This is going to make Sarah Palin's next hunting trip mighty awkward.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:45 AM on January 11, 2011 [16 favorites]


Peter King himselfhas a record of supporting terrorism. Grandstanding jackass, indeed.
posted by plep at 10:45 AM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Functionally, who counts as a government official?

How the hell are you going to know if you're within 1000 feet of a government official?

That will be mentioned in the article, which no one will read.
King's legislation to make it illegal to knowingly carry a gun within 1,000 feet of the president, vice president, members of Congress or judges of the Federal Judiciary. . .
posted by jng at 10:45 AM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Gun control, like DRM, only impedes the law abiding.

"Law abiding" is a gradient, not binary. I am mostly law-abiding. I don't pirate unless I have no legal option, even if the legal option has DRM on it. I used to share stuff on Napster back in the day, but now I don't - partly because I'd be worried that the DRM (iTunes encryption, Amazon watermarking) would trace back to me.

Since you said "only", my existence alone negates your argument about DRM, and by extension your argument about gun regulation.

Gun regulation would reduce access to guns for some subset of that gradient. It's possible that something in the Tucson shooter's background would have red-flagged him and prevented him from having a legal gun. Yes, maybe he had a connection where he could buy one on the black market, but maybe he wouldn't have sprung for the extended clip.

This tragedy could have and should have been averted or mitigated, and binary thinking on these issues is part of the reason why it wasn't.
posted by Riki tiki at 10:46 AM on January 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


Clearly we just need body scanners at all grocery stores. Security theatre and more Rapiscan sales.
posted by simms2k at 10:46 AM on January 11, 2011


Can we stop calling these people "legislators" please? Can we find a new word? How about "grandstanders", or "knee jerkers", or "tunnel visioners"?
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:46 AM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Won't that make it kinda hard for federal agents to do their jobs enforcing laws and protecting people?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:47 AM on January 11, 2011


Ah, knee-jerk reactions. Always a winner.
posted by sunshinesky at 10:47 AM on January 11, 2011


As a general rule of thumb, I try to stay 1000 feet away from most governmental officials already. I wouldn't want any of that rubbing off on me.
posted by Sailormom at 10:48 AM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


What's dumb about this is that it won't stop any shootings. What it will do is add another crime to anyone who tries to assassinate an official, but unless they're planning on setting up a 1000' perimeter around any of those who would theoretically protected by this law and do a full-on TSA screening of anyone and everyone, it won't actually stop someone from walking up to someone with a gun and shooting them in the head.
posted by hippybear at 10:48 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lol then how will Cheney hunt?
posted by melissam at 10:48 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Won't that make it kinda hard for federal agents to do their jobs enforcing laws and protecting people?

The law, like the one about schools, would presumably include an exception for government agents of all stripes, not to mention the government officials themselves.
posted by valkyryn at 10:49 AM on January 11, 2011


I actually agree 100% with valkyrn. This is exactly the kind of unworkable and ultimately counterproductive policy that Republicans like King always accuse liberals of wanting to enact. Even if everyone agreed the correct response to this tragedy were some form of gun control regulation, surely this wouldn't be it...
posted by saulgoodman at 10:50 AM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


King, what an asshole!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:50 AM on January 11, 2011


And, in case it needs to be said, shooting someone in the head with a gun is already illegal. Unless you're Dick Cheney.
posted by hippybear at 10:50 AM on January 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


What if I'm working at Five Guys or something and happen to have my piece strapped on (legally, of course), and the president swings by to pickup burgers for the reporters hanging out with him that day?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:53 AM on January 11, 2011


There's no reasonable civilian purpose for owning an expanded magazine Glock.

Funny how Glocks with expanded magazines (15 or 20 round) were by far the most popular guns I saw in concealed-carry class, then.
posted by vorfeed at 10:54 AM on January 11, 2011


This is such a mind-bogglingly terrible suggestion -- so likely to incite and galvanize anyone concerned about 2nd amendment rights, so likely to offend people who like to actually think about policy, and therefore likely to take the focus off the underlying problems of this tragedy -- that I'm having trouble attributing it to stupidity instead of malice.
posted by weston at 10:55 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can they make this legislation retroactive?
posted by mazola at 10:56 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is exactly the kind of unworkable and ultimately counterproductive policy that Republicans like King always accuse liberals of wanting to enact.

Don’t worry: in 15 minutes this will somehow be all the liberals’ fault regardless.
posted by Shepherd at 10:56 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is exactly the kind of unworkable and ultimately counterproductive policy that Republicans like King always accuse liberals of wanting to enact.

Right. Which makes me just a little curious as to why he's doing it. The only thing that comes to mind is that he's actually freaked out by this. Which doesn't strike me as being terribly unlikely, but it's not a good justification for proposing legislation.
posted by valkyryn at 10:57 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Am I wrong to think that "the right to bear arms" as enshrined in the Constitution was there at least in part ensure that citizens could stand up to government if necessary?
posted by Hoopo at 10:58 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm hoping this fine Republican effort passes and that people can get their homes declared government offices. "Oh, I stuff envelopes here for the parks department. I'm an under-sub-assistant-deputy for the the parks commissioner and this spare room is my government office. Sorry, no guns on our block."
posted by pracowity at 10:58 AM on January 11, 2011


> Funny how Glocks with expanded magazines (15 or 20 round) were by far the most popular guns I saw in concealed-carry class, then.

Expanded in this case means 30 rounds, since a typical full sized Glock can hold up to 18 rounds. The expanded magazine is comically oversized, if one forgets for a moment that it basically turns a pistol into an assault rifle.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:58 AM on January 11, 2011


Can they make this legislation retroactive?

No. Or, at least, not in a way that would have any effect on Loughner.
posted by valkyryn at 10:58 AM on January 11, 2011


What it will do is add another crime to anyone who tries to assassinate an official


hippybear: That might be part of the point. I'm not sure that this law could be enforced in a preventative way at all. Maybe the point is to add additional counts in case they catch the shooter? I dunno, not a legal scholar.

Anyway. seems like political grandstanding, as was said a bajillion times already.
posted by dubold at 10:58 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I smell a think-tank report:

No guns within 1000 feet = 1,000,000 square feet.
1 square mile= ca 28,000,000 square feet
USA=3,800,00 square miles

TOTAL NUMBER OF GOT WORKERS EVENLY DISTRIBUTED ACROSS CONTINENTAL USA TO ENSURE A SAFE AMERICA = 10,640,000

Come on homeland security!
posted by lalochezia at 10:59 AM on January 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


Gun control, like DRM, only impedes the law abiding.

Really? I'm not so sure about that. A simple competency test or waiting period could have deterred Loughner (or, say, the Virginia Tech shooter).

Restrictions on semi-automatic concealable weapons and extended clips probably wouldn't have helped Congresswoman Giffords, but probably would have prevented some or all of the other 18 people from getting shot.

It was also interesting to note that there were several people at the Safeway where the incident took place that were carrying weapons. None of them chose to draw their weapon, given the overall chaos of the situation, the unlikelihood of getting a clean/safe shot, and the potential of accidentally being identified as the shooter themselves. More guns would not have helped here... there were already more guns present, and they were useless.
posted by schmod at 11:00 AM on January 11, 2011 [15 favorites]


And within 1000 ft of any child.

Or anyone who has been a child.
posted by iotic at 11:00 AM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


nope
posted by nathancaswell at 11:00 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Excellent idea. As soon as it passes we can begin parachuting members of Congress into conflict zones. Voila - world peace!
posted by anigbrowl at 11:00 AM on January 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


*shrugs*

I used to be fairly pro gun control.

Then I had to debate it competitively for four months.

Everyone realized about a month in that the pro-gun control side was terribly weak. Surprised a lot of us, really, but there's just no data whatsoever that shows the legislation having any positive effect. It was easily the most imbalanced resolution we ever had to compete on.
posted by effugas at 11:02 AM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


How the hell are you going to know if you're within 1000 feet of a government official?

They'll have insignias on the helium balloons attached to their belts.


Not visible enough. Add a siren and a flashing light (red or blue, depending.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:02 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]



Am I wrong to think that "the right to bear arms" as enshrined in the Constitution was there at least in part ensure that citizens could stand up to government if necessary?


hoopo: Assuming for a moment that the Constitution does say that, how much firepower should each citizen be allowed, and who pays for it? Cause I can't afford a tank.

Insurgents in various places have had access to full-on military grade hardware and have had mixed results standing up to their government, so maybe other options, like voting, are preferable?
posted by dubold at 11:03 AM on January 11, 2011


I find it terrifying that a significant number of Americans think it's necessary to carry concealed handguns with 17 or more rounds in them.

...and I say this as someone that lives in a rural setting, where it's normal to have a rack of hunting rifles and shotguns, one for every occasion, and a pink one for the little girl.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:03 AM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Scoo: "Gun control, like DRM, only impedes the law abiding"

You could say that about any law. "Banning bank robbery only impedes non-bank robbers".
posted by octothorpe at 11:04 AM on January 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


Ah yes, Peter King, the IRA supporter.
posted by grounded at 11:06 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm Doing the Dishes: "My Rep, Heath Shuler (D), plans to carry a gun anytime he is out of DC. He is encouraging his staff to do the same"

Yay for political showboating! What ridiculous nonsense.

The same applies to this bill.
posted by graventy at 11:07 AM on January 11, 2011


Maybe the point is to add additional counts in case they catch the shooter? I dunno, not a legal scholar.

I don't know if that's the point, but that's about all it would do, apart from creating some litigation over its constitutionality. The problem is that, as valkyryn mentioned, anyone trying to assassinate a government official has already racked up so many counts (many of them serious) that he or she would almost certainly be looking at life or its equivalent already (e.g. a dozen 10 year sentences served consecutively are, effectively, a life sentence).

Everyone realized about a month in that the pro-gun control side was terribly weak. Surprised a lot of us, really, but there's just no data whatsoever that shows the legislation having any positive effect.

Mostly because very little gun control efforts in the US actually target the real problem: there are just too damn many guns floating around in the first place (something like 192 million privately-owned guns, 65 million of which are handguns). A real gun control effort would involve both severe restrictions on manufacturing and importation as well as buy backs, registration, and confiscation. Without a repeal or modification of the Second Amendment an effective gun control scheme is probably impossible.
posted by jedicus at 11:07 AM on January 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


How the hell are you going to know if you're within 1000 feet of a government official?

Each gov't official will be assigned a helicopter that will shine two concentric coloured spotlights over the official.

A red spotlight will indicate the no-weapons zone.

A yellow spotlight will indicate that one is nearing a red zone, thus alerting law-abiding civilians and allowing an opportunity to vacate.
posted by mazola at 11:07 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Funny how Glocks with expanded magazines (15 or 20 round) were by far the most popular guns I saw in concealed-carry class, then.

By funny I hope you mean disheartening. That's not self-protection anymore, that's like a dick-measuring competition.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:07 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I appreciate the sentiment, especially from a Republican, but yeah, it's not going to solve much and has a lot of workability issues.
posted by Nattie at 11:08 AM on January 11, 2011


The expanded magazine is comically oversized

Heh. Mr. Glock, your dick is hanging out.

My wife and I were surprised that was a separate crime.

18 § 351. Presidential is 18 § 1751. They differ primarily in technicalities.
posted by dhartung at 11:09 AM on January 11, 2011


How the hell are you going to know if you're within 1000 feet of a government official?


Ignorance is not excuse, citizen. May I see your license?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:09 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Insurgents in various places have had access to full-on military grade hardware and have had mixed results standing up to their government, so maybe other options, like voting, are preferable?

Yeah Iran, get out and ROCK THE VOTE!

(it worked so well last time around)
posted by nathancaswell at 11:10 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why else should anyone be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in the first place, unless they NEED it for some reason? For fun?

Oh you're right, the "List of allowed behaviors for citizens" is in dire need of updating.

It's none of your (or my) business why someone wants to carry a concealed weapon. It doesn't hurt anybody and you probably wouldn't even notice if you passed someone on the street who was packing. If someone shoots someone, or threatens someone it can be our business because they're hurting someone, and that's already against the law.
posted by ghharr at 11:11 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which makes me just a little curious as to why he's doing it.

Peter King was last seen trying to have Wikileaks classified as a terrorist organization. He likes to hear his name on the television. That's all this is.
posted by steambadger at 11:11 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


NPR this morning said that Gifford's shooter was going to be charged with something like "attempted assassination of a member of Congress".

I wonder what would make an act like this considered "treason." Murder of a federal judge, attempted murder of an elected federal representative, seemingly political motivations...
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:12 AM on January 11, 2011


There's no reasonable civilian purpose for owning an expanded magazine Glock

To shoot more watermelons/cans/bottles/peanut butter jars/other inoffensive household objects before you have to stop and reload, because reloading is boring?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:13 AM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


You could say that about any law. "Banning bank robbery only impedes non-bank robbers".

The argument would actually be, "Banning access to banks only impedes non-bank robbers."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:13 AM on January 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


I am in support of something the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is proposing? Did I slip through the portal into bizarro world?
posted by stoneweaver at 11:13 AM on January 11, 2011


Gun control, like DRM, only impedes the law abiding.

Firearm Homicide Rates by Country (Selected Industrialized Nations)
(per 100,000 per year)

7.07 USA
5.24 North Ireland
1.66 Italy
0.86 Finland
0.76 Canada
0.72 Israel
0.44 France
0.44 Australia
0.30 Norway
0.17 New Zealand
0.15 England/Wales
0.02 Japan

(source)

This may not reflect on gun laws necessarily, but it certainly is good evidence that there is something deeply flawed about Americans and their guns. We're doing better than South Africa, Colombia, Thailand, Guatemala, Brazil, Mexico, Philippines, Estonia, and Paraguay. Keep in mind that these are nations that barely have the resources to provide any police protection at all.

There are 35 deaths every day from gun violence, which is about six Tuscon shootings per day, or 2,160 a year. But that amount of senseless violence is so common here that it's not even news anymore, unless they're all shot at the same time and place.
posted by notion at 11:14 AM on January 11, 2011 [29 favorites]


The expanded magazine is comically oversized, if one forgets for a moment that it basically turns a pistol into an assault rifle.

How's that? It is still just a 9mm pistol. It just has a lot of rounds now. It's not like it also extends the barrel or gives it a special magical magnum charge or something. Even a stubby 9mm assault rifle like the MTAR 21 or a Steyr AUG A3 has almost twice the barrel length of a Glock 17.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:15 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I bet Dick Cheney would like to make this law retroactive, so after shooting Harry Whittington in the face, he can now also go after him for carrying a gun in the VPs presence.

In other news, clay pigeons and ducks around the US extend thanks to Rep. King, as future electoral campaigns will include games of laser tag instead, since random hunting trip photo ops will no longer be allowed.

On the positive side, every time an elected official is going to visit a war zone now, it will be preceded by an immediate ceasefire and disarmament of all parties involved. What a fantastic new foreign policy that will surely bring peace around the globe in no time.
posted by CaffeineFree at 11:15 AM on January 11, 2011


Regarding the question valkyryn answered:

Couldn't the news report have explicitly pointed out that the officials and their personal guards will be exempt? I know they're above the law, the media knows they're above the law, but wouldn't it feel nice to at least still pretend that that's a point in question rather than the default assumption?
posted by roystgnr at 11:16 AM on January 11, 2011


That sound you just heard was the barn door closing. In the distance? Hoofbeats.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:17 AM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Re: expanded magazine. It's almost a tactical wash, really. It holds about 12 more rounds than a standard sized Glock, but the additional weight makes it more difficult to shoot accurately. It's near impossible to conceal loaded, and the large magazine takes up about the same space as two standard capacity magazines. So, outlawing them may not make a huge difference.

However, in the Giffords shooting, we see that the shooter used the 30 round magazine to its potential. Close range, heavy barrage of shots, lots of dead and wounded people. If he had only regular sized magazines (he did have two of those on him that probably came with the gun), then he would've been tackled much earlier when he went to reload and lives probably would have been saved.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:18 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


By funny I hope you mean disheartening. That's not self-protection anymore, that's like a dick-measuring competition.

The advantage of having 15 or 20 rounds as opposed to 10 is very real. Reloading under pressure isn't fun, even when it's just practice.

Add-ons like PEW PEW LASER sights and tactical hip-holsters, however... now there's a dick-measuring competition.
posted by vorfeed at 11:19 AM on January 11, 2011


You could say that about any law. "Banning bank robbery only impedes non-bank robbers".

Yeah, that kind of thing is a logical fallacy. Obviously someone who commits a crime was not deterred by the law, but that says nothing about whether other people were deterred or not. For example, sure a bank robber wasn't deterred, but perhaps laws against robbery deterred countless others from trying the same thing.

It's hard to be sure, but laws do seem to be able to deter rational people by changing the economic calculus. For example, food purity laws do seem to make a difference. Without them we had pretty impure food. But that deterrent effect doesn't work so well on the mentally ill or the ignorant. If you don't know or don't care about the facts or the law, then that can't really enter into your equation. Most people who would try to assassinate a government official probably fall into one of those two camps, so this law wouldn't help.

Laws also give society a justification for locking people up for a while so that they don't offend again (and hopefully rehabilitate them along the way). The problem with a law like this is that we already have so many laws that cover essentially the same conduct that this one would be redundant.
posted by jedicus at 11:19 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Couldn't the news report have explicitly pointed out that the officials and their personal guards will be exempt?

Probably, but when's the last time you remember a journalist, let alone one on HuffPost, actually doing that kind of legwork? That would require them to read the thing.

In their defense, it's entirely possible that this is still hypothetical at this point so there's no text to read. But even if there were, I highly doubt that those sort of technicalities would get brought up.
posted by valkyryn at 11:19 AM on January 11, 2011


No guns within 1000 feet = 1,000,000 square feet.

It's a radius, rather than the length of the side of a square.

3 141 592 ft2
posted by zippy at 11:19 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, the Arizona legislature is considering a bill requiring the state to offer firearms training to government officials. As the link points out, a gun carrier was on the scene with his firearm out and the safety off.... and almost shot the guy who wrestled the gun away from Loughner. I don't think "more guns" is going to be the answer.
posted by norm at 11:20 AM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


> How's that? It is still just a 9mm pistol. It just has a lot of rounds now. It's not like it also extends the barrel or gives it a special magical magnum charge or something.

Well, note I said "basically". It's not going to have the same performance as an M4 or something, but 30 shots is the same capacity as most assault rifles. Given that these kinds of shootings usually take place in close range situations, the additional barrel length of a carbine really isn't going to be much of a factor for anyone who can shoot halfway decently. I'd say that a carbine might even be less effective, since it takes more time and energy to swing it around than a pistol.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:21 AM on January 11, 2011


I will say this, though. This law isn't about deterrence. It's about the capability of arresting and prosecuting someone.

Is this law going to deter someone from taking a shot at an official? No.

Is this law going to give a police officer a reason to search, arrest and hold someone acting strangely at an event? Yes. It will also give a prosecutor a means of putting someone behind bars for taking an action like this. In theory, these are goods things.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:23 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Am I wrong to think that "the right to bear arms" as enshrined in the Constitution was there at least in part ensure that citizens could stand up to government if necessary?

Not at all, that's how women got to vote - they shot all the men who would not let them.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:23 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


DEMOCRATS WANT TO TAKE AWAY YOUR GUNS
posted by Legomancer at 11:25 AM on January 11, 2011


"Pardon me sir, a state representative is attending this funeral. Are you carrying a firearm?"
"Why, yes I am."
"No firearms within 1000 feet of the official. I can't let you get any closer."
"Ah, I see. If I leave my piece with you, may I get a better view? I drove a long ways to let all the attendees know that the soul of the dead little girl will burn in hell for eternity."
"Oh, gotcha. In that case, I'll hold onto that for you...thank you....head over that away about 700 yards, just over the hill. Please stay about, oh, 10 bus lengths away. Have a nice day."
posted by prinado at 11:26 AM on January 11, 2011


REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMEN WOULD LIKE YOU STAND A LITTLE FURTHER BACK.
posted by mazola at 11:27 AM on January 11, 2011


Because lord knows government officials are a special class of people that deserve special protections.

I'm not sure the people themselves deserve special treatment, but the function of the office does.

You don't have a democracy when violence is used to suppress the people's representatives.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:27 AM on January 11, 2011


The advantage of having 15 or 20 rounds as opposed to 10 is very real.

But when could any civilian possibly need that many rounds? As mentioned upthread, the standard glock clip is 18 anyways. The extended is ~30. My boss and a few of my co-workers carry every day. I wouldn't want any of them to have any more bullets than they already do. If any of them decided to go apeshit, I'd prefer there only being 18 in the air vs. 30.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not all gun-control crazy. I actually like shooting just fine. It's concealed weapons that weird me out.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:29 AM on January 11, 2011


> I drove a long ways to let all the attendees know that the soul of the dead little girl will burn in hell for eternity."

I rarely if ever wish bad things for people, but just this once I'll make an exception for Phelps and co. Goddamn.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:30 AM on January 11, 2011


clarknova: "Peter King (R), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, plans to introduce legislation banning firearms within 1000 feet of a government official."

Kadin2048: "This is going to make Sarah Palin's next hunting trip mighty awkward."

On the other hand, it's exactly the restriction the Secret Service Ninja Division has been waiting for.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:31 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


No guns within 1000 feet = 1,000,000 square feet.

It's a radius, rather than the length of the side of a square.

3 141 592 ft2


That would make it 4 188 790 204 ft3
posted by MtDewd at 11:31 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


My Rep, Heath Shuler (D), plans to carry a gun anytime he is out of DC. He is encouraging his staff to do the same.

Breaking News: Congressman arrested in shooting rampage!
Authorities speculate that Representative Heath Shuler snapped under the pressure of trying to stay 1000 feet away from himself...
posted by steambadger at 11:31 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess it was too much to hope that security theater would limit itself to airports.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:32 AM on January 11, 2011


I'm guessing that for every gun-wielding nutjob who's ever taken a shot at a congressman, there are thousands who've fired at ex-husbands, ex-wives, bosses, gang rivals and drinking buddies. Setting elected officials up as a special protected class seems a bit off to me. And how is a gun owner with a carry permit supposed to know when he or she comes within a thousand feet of a government official? Will they wear special hats?

Quite. I'm no big fan of US gun culture, but this seems remarkably obnoxious. If you have a right to your guns, then this is the second amendment version of "free speech zones"; if that right can be abated in the name of safety, I would have thought there'd be more benefit in protecting the safety of Joe and Jane Sixpack (see: Socialised healthcare is for Senators, not citizens).
posted by rodgerd at 11:33 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


You could say that about any law. "Banning bank robbery only impedes non-bank robbers".

You're making a category mistake, one that other commenters haven't picked up on yet. The distinction you're missing is between malum prohibitum, i.e. acts which are wrong because they violate some human law, and malum in se, i.e. acts which are wrong in and of themselves.

Assassinating a member of Congress is malum in se. There doesn't need to be a law against it for it to be wrong. Indeed, most crimes including murder and theft were not actually violations of any particular statute until the codification movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

But carrying a gun to a particular place? Totally malum prohibitum. Just like speeding, immigration violations, and (arguably) copyright law, there wouldn't be anything wrong with that except for the fact that there's a law against it.

Making a law against something which, like bank robbery, is malum in se, is different than making up entirely new prohibitions not based on any underlying moral or ethical code. The former appeals both to our civic duty as well our deeper sense of morality. The latter does not, so adding laws upon laws just enforces the fact that we're making shit up.
posted by valkyryn at 11:34 AM on January 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


Given that these kinds of shootings usually take place in close range situations, the additional barrel length of a carbine really isn't going to be much of a factor for anyone who can shoot halfway decently. I'd say that a carbine might even be less effective, since it takes more time and energy to swing it around than a pistol.

Now that I can mostly agree with (though the stability a strap or stock offers migth be a wash). That said, most handgun fights do take place in VERY close quarters and VERY short periods of time. While some would argue that a larger magazine allows the shooter to get out more rounds in that short period of time, I would contend that the shooter would be better equiped spending the money on range fees rather than stupid accessories so that the fewer rounds actually hit something.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:35 AM on January 11, 2011


I happen to be an elected government official. I'm going to take one of these and a cop to the next gun show by me, announce who I am, and give them 2 minutes to give me a thousand feet. Then I"m going to move two feet to the left, and do it again.

Put me down as a supporter.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:35 AM on January 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


In other Rep. Peter King news...

His next proposal will prohibit Muslims from coming within 1000 feet of government officials.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:36 AM on January 11, 2011


The advantage of having 15 or 20 rounds as opposed to 10 is very real. Reloading under pressure isn't fun, even when it's just practice.

In combat? Sure. Serious question, though: how often is a civilian likely to find himself in an extended gunfight? I know people who've defended themselves from muggers; all of them did it just by flashing a weapon. I once knew a guy who shot a burglar in his house. I've never heard of anybody who wasn't in a gang war or some similar situation slinging 20 rounds.
posted by steambadger at 11:39 AM on January 11, 2011


Does this mean the gene that has been used to make mice and pigs glow green will be used on Politicians, so that we can identify them on sight? 'cause that'd be kinda cool.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:42 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


How did the shooter get a gun in the first place if there were documented accounts that he couldn't come back to school until he met a mental health assessment requirement. One would think that such a statement would be documented as a person of high risk meaning it should flag a gun control process. If someone isn't allowed to enter a school until he/she gets mental clearance, they're obviously trying to avoid a V-Tech incident again (and they did). But perhaps we should have some sort of process where any flag anywhere --work, school, etc. allows it to be officially flagged so certain people don't get a hold of guns to do something violent somewhere else (like this?)
posted by stormpooper at 11:44 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


> How did the shooter get a gun in the first place if there were documented accounts that he couldn't come back to school until he met a mental health assessment requirement.

He wasn't declared incompetent by a judge.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:47 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


In combat? Sure. Serious question, though: how often is a civilian likely to find himself in an extended gunfight? I know people who've defended themselves from muggers; all of them did it just by flashing a weapon. I once knew a guy who shot a burglar in his house. I've never heard of anybody who wasn't in a gang war or some similar situation slinging 20 rounds.

That's what I'm saying. It's not even 20 rounds. These folks are selling a 33-round 9mm mag. You can buy it in all but 8 states. WTF could any civilian need 30 rounds for?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:47 AM on January 11, 2011


There was a [hilarious] interview on the CBC show "As It Happens" the other night,where she interviewed an author of a books about gun laws in Arizona.
The guy went on a tirade against the "Anti-rightwing prejudiced" "liberal media" and said that if only everyone had guns there, this never would have happened.

She asked if it was wise for the public to start shooting at someone while in a crowd, and wasn't that not the best idea, and he said that was the stupidest and most biased question he had ever heard.
posted by Theta States at 11:47 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


A pistol with 30 rounds is not an assault rifle. It's a pistol with 30 rounds. Trying to call it an assault rifle (which has an actual, specific meaning) is just senselessly trying to make it sound scarier. It's a gun, it's already a thing which is widely known to be deadly, without any need to dress it up with rhetoric.
posted by knave at 11:52 AM on January 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


Man, if only this law was on the books a week ago, Jared Loughner would have thought twice before breaking this law, I tell ya.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:54 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


> A pistol with 30 rounds is not an assault rifle. It's a pistol with 30 rounds. Trying to call it an assault rifle (which has an actual, specific meaning) is just senselessly trying to make it sound scarier.

Ok, whatever. I didn't mean to raise the ire of the firearms hairsplitters. Let's just call it a 30 round mass murdering device and call it even.

I say this as someone who owns several guns but doesn't really get upset if they are demonized.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:55 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not at all, that's how women got to vote - they shot all the men who would not let them.

There aren't many examples of successful armed revolt in the US.

Whiskey Rebellion - government won
Fries's Rebellion - government won
Taos Revolt - government won
Civil War - government won
Puerto Rican Nationalist Party attacks - government won
Wounded Knee Incident - government won

In each of those cases the aggressor also either lost politically or was politically successful only through later non-violent means.

One possible example of a successful revolt would be the Dorr Rebellion, but it's a complicated one. Arguably the Dorrites were the legitimate government, though they lost the armed conflict. In the end their cause was politically successful, though.

The Battle of Athens is probably the best example of a successful armed revolt, but it's worth noting that the stakes were low, it occurred in a small (~31,000 people) county in rural Tennessee, and no one was killed. Had the violence escalated I suspect the state or federal government would have intervened.
posted by jedicus at 11:56 AM on January 11, 2011 [13 favorites]


It's not about splitting hairs or pedantry, it's about having a rational conversation about a sensitive issue.
posted by knave at 11:59 AM on January 11, 2011


Am I wrong to think that "the right to bear arms" as enshrined in the Constitution was there at least in part ensure that citizens could stand up to government if necessary?

Debateable. It was arguably there for national defense reasons (that's the "militia" bit). What's not clear, to me, is why anyone thinks that it would work.

Look, if you want to own guns for defending your home, go for it. If you want to own guns because you like going down to the gun range and shooting them, who am I to judge? If you own guns because you like hunting, well, okay. If you want to own guns so that you can overthrow the government should it become necessary then you are barking mad.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 12:00 PM on January 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


I find it hard to stomach that it's now going to be more illegal to knowingly carry a weapon near a public official, but not near a 9-year-old. Both were innocent victims of a horrific crime, yet one's safety has clearly been prioritized over the other.
posted by dflemingecon at 12:02 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


That would make it 4 188 790 204 ft3

I am glad that someone considered the threat from the mole people.
posted by zippy at 12:05 PM on January 11, 2011 [18 favorites]


I think we'd be better off with universal (mental) health care coverage and systems in place to get people like this the help they need before a tragedy happens. I guess that makes me a socialist.

(Also calling a handgun a rifle just makes you and cause you're allegedly supporting look idiotic.)
posted by callmejay at 12:11 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean, gee, you think maybe if the army decides someone is mentally unfit to serve, it might be beneficial to society if they could direct that person to someone who could help? Or if a school identifies a student with these issues?

People are so short-sighted sometimes it makes me sick. Providing free health care to anybody who needs it is almost always worth the cost even if you're an amoral fuck who doesn't care about the people who need it.
posted by callmejay at 12:15 PM on January 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


> (Also calling a handgun a rifle just makes you and cause you're allegedly supporting look idiotic.)

Jesus Christ. I said "basically", as in now you have a 30 shot device just like a standard assault rifle. How is that idiotic?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:19 PM on January 11, 2011


who counts as a government official?

Peter King.
posted by JackFlash at 12:20 PM on January 11, 2011


how often is a civilian likely to find himself in an extended gunfight?

Almost never. In around a quarter of all self defense incidents involving a firearm, the defenders simply said they were armed, and never displayed a weapon. This includes bluffs. Your acquaintance who had to shoot a person in self defense is practically an outlier.

WTF could any civilian need 30 rounds for?

Reduce reloading time at the practice range.

These second amendment arguments are all backwards, and always will be. Gun control advocates want to eliminate firearms because of things like this. They're right. Sportsmen opponents want to end restrictions on their kooky hobby. They're right. Patriots see private gun ownership as a civic duty and last line of defense against tyranny. They're right.

The problem is that the 2nd amendment was written to ensure that the civilian populace was ready to be the soldiery at short notice. There is language in the constitution for maintaining a navy, but none for a standing army. The framers didn't intend for there to be one, and said so in their letters.

That's the leviathan in the gun room no one wants to talk about.
posted by clarknova at 12:24 PM on January 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


If he had only regular sized magazines (he did have two of those on him that probably came with the gun), then he would've been tackled much earlier when he went to reload and lives probably would have been saved.

Honestly, this dude, crazy as he was, seems to have done enough planning that I think his reaction to only being able to get 15-round magazines would have been to just bring a second pistol.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:25 PM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


> Honestly, this dude, crazy as he was, seems to have done enough planning that I think his reaction to only being able to get 15-round magazines would have been to just bring a second pistol.

It takes about as much time to holster/stow a pistol and draw a second as it does to replace a magazine. Probably much more time unless he's wearing unconcealed holsters.

As for reloading at the range, there's merit in that, but it takes a lot longer to load a 30 shot magazine than a 17 shot. I'm not saying the 30 shot mags should be banned (and I would be a hypocrite if I did by the way), but there's still something ominous about them that merits additional attention.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:30 PM on January 11, 2011


A pistol with 30 rounds is not an assault rifle. It's a pistol with 30 rounds. Trying to call it an assault rifle (which has an actual, specific meaning) is just senselessly trying to make it sound scarier.

The term "assault weapon" has a specific legal meaning, which has been heavily criticized by the gun lobby as arbitrary and non-technical (see the NRA's definition of the term here). An assault rifle is defined by the military in a specific way, and I will agree that a big clip on a pistol doesn't qualify under either definition.
posted by norm at 12:32 PM on January 11, 2011


The problem is that the 2nd amendment was written to ensure that the civilian populace was ready to be the soldiery at short notice. There is language in the constitution for maintaining a navy, but none for a standing army. The framers didn't intend for there to be one, and said so in their letters.

Exactly. State militia members--which by the conventions of the day included all eligible healthy male citizens of a state--had to own guns so they could use them to serve as the national army. Not only were the citizen's militias that existed prior to the standing army expected to serve in the national defense when called, they were expected to bring their own guns to the fight. That seems to have been the real historical point of the 2nd amendment, although these original issues have been muddled all to hell and back by the various parties with vested interests on both sides, and there are fair points to be made about the wisdom of giving up any additional rights that may have previously been implied just on principle.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:38 PM on January 11, 2011


This legislation sends a clear message to isolated incidents everywhere.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:38 PM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Yeah! Cause law abiding citizens NEED concealed weapons on them at all times."

Exactly zero people have suggested that so far. Can we skip the ridiculous hyperbolic strawman section of the gun control discussion this time? I realize there might not be anything left, but that's a feature, not a bug.


Uh, except AZ is a concealed weapons state.

They shootin'.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 12:40 PM on January 11, 2011


Following the tragic shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others, Peter King (R), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, plans to introduce legislation banning firearms within 1000 feet of a government official.

When I am elected to the Congress I'll introduce legislation banning people without eyebrows from buying handguns.

I will call it the: No, You Shaved Eyebrows Assface Psycho, You Can't Have a Handgun, Act.
posted by Skygazer at 12:40 PM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Over here in the UK, where personal ownership of anything other than a shotgun is well-nigh impossible, not many people get shot. I like it that way, like I like universal healthcare. People still get sick and die, and we still get nutters with guns going on rampages, but even the police, by and large, go about their business without firearms. There is almost no taste for liberalising our gun control laws, so the NRA looks like a very odd fish indeed from this side of the Atlantic.

However, +1 on the idea that this proposal is daft. It's like our old ban on CB radios: one of the reasons given was that terrorists might use them. Well, yes they might - but contravening the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 (as amended) was unlikely to persuade them to mend their ways. On the other hand, it gave the Home Office radio regulatory bods plenty of reason to keep their budgets up and the wherewithal to hassle people they didn't much like. (The CB radio ban got overturned by weight of popular disobedience; we didn't need an armed militia to do it.)

If you find yourself faced with a law that gives officialdom additional powers of interference with the person but with no logical chance of fixng what it claims to fix, it's not hard to call. See also, cannabis laws and anti-abortion rules. (Guns, drugs and abortion - is that the holy trifecta?)
posted by Devonian at 12:40 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Glock Pistol Sales Surge in Aftermath of Arizona Shootings, The Onion? No, Bloomberg.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:40 PM on January 11, 2011


> Glock Pistol Sales Surge in Aftermath of Arizona Shootings, The Onion? No, Bloomberg.

You can also place your bets on high capacity pistol magazines flying out of the inventories of online stores all over the country in anticipation of some kind of ban or restriction.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:43 PM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


WAIT I HAVE AN IDEA GUYS.

Why don't we just make it illegal to shoot a dozen people in a Safeway parking lot?! Then this terrible tragedy will never happen again!
posted by auto-correct at 12:43 PM on January 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


>> That would make it 4 188 790 204 ft3
> I am glad that someone considered the threat from the mole people.


Haha, but it does raise the issue that if the "circle of gunlessness" is instead a "sphere of gunlessness" people upstairs & downstairs of the elected official, even separated by 100 stories, must be gunless.

> The law, like the one about schools, would presumably include an exception for government agents of all stripes,

I wish "no guns at school" laws didn't have exceptions. I see no reason for cops at my kid's school who are doing an enforcement day for speed limits at on adjoining street to have firearms. Parking enforcement officers don't carry and get into plenty of conflicts.
posted by morganw at 12:45 PM on January 11, 2011


That's what I'm saying. It's not even 20 rounds. These folks are selling a 33-round 9mm mag. You can buy it in all but 8 states. WTF could any civilian need 30 rounds for?

To take out 33 God-less homo-loving Socialists??

Sorry, sorry, I know that was in poor taste, but spending too much time arguing with total effin' idiots on Right wing blogs has given me an almost Stockholm Syndrome-esque ability to impulsively answer stupid questions like that from their POV.
posted by Skygazer at 12:46 PM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sorry, sorry, I know that was in poor taste, but spending too much time arguing with total effin' idiots on Right wing blogs has given me an almost Stockholm Syndrome-esque ability to impulsively answer stupid questions like that from their POV.

I chuckled but I'm a cynical prick.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:47 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


hoopo: Assuming for a moment that the Constitution does say that, how much firepower should each citizen be allowed, and who pays for it? Cause I can't afford a tank.

Insurgents in various places have had access to full-on military grade hardware and have had mixed results standing up to their government, so maybe other options, like voting, are preferable?

Not at all, that's how women got to vote - they shot all the men who would not let them.

...If you want to own guns so that you can overthrow the government should it become necessary then you are barking mad.


Yikes! Guys, I'm Canadian and don't like guns FWIW. I find "the right to bear arms" sort of anachronistic and unfortunate. I had just heard that somewhere, and after looking at Wikipedia it seems to have been a debate in the US since the 1780s. I gather Glenn Reynolds supports this view, and unfortunately he's a part of your political discourse.
posted by Hoopo at 12:52 PM on January 11, 2011


This isn't in bumfuck arkansas/arizona either.

You know, it's so easy to make fun of the less popular states, but this is a national problem and many non-bumfuck states have concealed carry. I see from your profile you're in Rochester, New York, presumably a non-bumfuck zone. Here in Minnesota the elementary schools, malls, and churches have signs to remind people that guns are banned on those sites. I've lived in four states, both liberal and conservative, and know that wherever you go people are pretty much the same: some good, some stupid, generally nice. The more we think about this as "huh huh Arizona is dumb" the more we ignore that the same issues are everywhere.
posted by norm at 12:54 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I chuckled but I'm a cynical prick.

Rep. King could've turned frickin' Gandhi into a cynical prick.
posted by Skygazer at 12:57 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


There aren't many examples of successful armed revolt in the US.

Depends on which government they were revolting against, as long as you aren't revolting against the US:

American Revolution (and American Revolution II - aka War of 1812) - Independence
Vermont Revolution - "Independence"/Absorption
West Florida Secession - Independence/Absorption/Eventually caused the absorption of the rest of Florida and it's banner was used in the Texas Revolution and as the First CSA Flag
Texas Revolution - Independence/Absorption
California Revolt - Independence/Absorption
Philippine Revolt - Independence/Absorption/Independence (see also Cuban Revolution aka Spanish-American War)
Cuban Revolution - "Independence"/Independence
Hawiian Kingdom Overthrow - Independence/Absorption
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:59 PM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]



7.07 USA
5.24 North Ireland
1.66 Italy
0.86 Finland
0.76 Canada
0.72 Israel
0.44 France
0.44 Australia
0.30 Norway
0.17 New Zealand
0.15 England/Wales
0.02 Japan


oK source 1998

as for Northern Ireland, please check back in 2 years and re-do this study.

And see what freely available guns in a culture that is "valley of the squinting windows" small (Oh, Was that Mary Murphy's son with that girl who looked Chinese? Oh tis Bottox, Oh, that's OK then! Phew!) will do.

it's actually a good comparison to make, Northern Ireland without the crazies who shielded themselves in "Terrorism and the whatever flag" is a far better comparator with USA than possibly any other country in the world.

you have heard the one about " Why are there no serial killers in Norther Ireland? Right?

"cos they're all gainfully employed........bad-da-boom!"


sick, possibly true.... how sad.
posted by kairab at 1:01 PM on January 11, 2011


Correction: ....has given me an almost Stockholm Syndrome-esque ability to impulsively answer stupid reasonable sane questions like that from their POV.

My bad.
posted by Skygazer at 1:15 PM on January 11, 2011


The real problem is that any policy based on a single incident like this is doomed right out of the gate, if your aim is to reduce homicides, or even specifically to reduce shooting homicides specifically. Mass shootings are scary, but responding to them is just like all the post-9/11 TSA douchebaggery; it's a disproportionate response and it wastes resources that could more productively be deployed elsewhere.

What we need -- both for the kind of terrorism that actually gets called as such on the news, and mass shootings that don't but really are -- is a measured, restrained, minimally-invasive, evidence-based response. Unfortunately, rather than trying to calm the public long enough to let something like that develop, we have a political class that has entrenched itself by constantly pouring fuel on the fire of panic and outrage.

This latest bit of stupid is just another in a long line, and it's from the same intellectual tradition that brought us the pornoscanners. It won't work, it has direct costs to the public in terms of time, money, and freedom, and anyone with half a brain can think of ways to get around it if they want to do something nefarious. And yet it gets airtime, and large segments of the public swallow it hook, line and sinker, every. single. time. The enemy of democracy is, apparently, democracy.

The biggest thing protecting all of us from crazed killers is the same thing protecting us from Al Qaeda suicide bombers: there really aren't that many people in the world who want to do it. If there were more, we'd be in real trouble. But there aren't, and acting as if the world is chock full of crazies waiting to go postal or stuff some TATP and ball bearings in their underwear is ridiculous. (Even in really shitty places like the West Bank and Gaza strip, which you'd figure would have a higher-than-average number of angry and desperate people, terrorist organizations have resorted to preying on bullied schoolkids to meet their quota. The world is not teeming with people who want to die violently and messily.)

The solution -- and this is for both the politically driven terrorism of Al Qaeda and the inscrutably personal terrorism of someone like James Lee -- isn't something as simple as airport patdowns or gun control, both of which have the benefit of resonating with the electorate but of being mostly grandstanding. The solution is more complex: recognizing the people who are teetering on the edge of a violent abyss, and finding a way to pull them back, but doing so in a way that doesn't impinge on their rights, on the rights of the nonviolent mentally ill, or that doesn't make other social problems (like the general stigma associated with mental illness, depression, or suicidal ideation) worse. All of those things need to be balanced, but somewhere in there lies the solution. Not necessarily a solution that will prevent all terrorist attacks, whether perpetrated with a gun or an airliner, but certainly make them less likely.

But I despair of anything like that happening, and not being a total clusterfuck itself. Good solutions to non-trivial problems, and terrorism is a non-trivial problem, require thought and careful, contemplated action. That does not seem to be anything that the US government, at least at the Federal or many state levels, is capable of.

Better to do nothing, than to do stupid things in haste and anger.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:19 PM on January 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


[come on folks, please leave the "all americans are crazy" stuff for other blogs, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 1:27 PM on January 11, 2011


This seems...impractical? At least unenforceable. It's not really like bans on guns within a certain distance from a school, because a school stays in one place, but an elected official, uh, doesn't. The "what if the President comes into Five Guys?" example may have seemed a little specific, but multiply that times the hundreds of government officials this applies to and the significantly higher amount of time some of them spend interacting with the public and you've got something that seems pretty unworkable, at least in more gun-happy districts, unless I'm missing something.
posted by naoko at 1:36 PM on January 11, 2011


I will call it the: No, You Shaved Eyebrows Assface Psycho, You Can't Have a Handgun, Act.

Section 4.
(1) All businesses selling firearms shall have, posted prominently in a space visible to customers at the point of purchase, a poster depicting:

(a) A shaved eyebrow assface psycho with the caption "No, You Can't Have A Handgun."
(b) Inset into the lower left corner, a handgun with the subcaption "Not Yours"

(2) Violation of this section shall be punishable by up to 15 minutes of exposure to the Hasselhoff Recursion.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:44 PM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm thinking Sen King put ineffective legislation out there to have a competing idea against any effective gun control. I don't even think he cares if it passes as long as he can say the Republicans addressed the issue and Democrats shot them down to push their partisan agenda or some such nonsense.

Also, on the list of fighting the gov't: Battle of Blair Mountain.

No purely civilian effort can overthrow the government, but maybe they can throw their weight behind the right faction if two are fighting (more likely the wrong faction, but hey). I really don't want to ever take up arms to defend the rule of law, and don't see such a scenario as likely to occur in the US. However, I'm not going to say that people who do feel that way are entirely crazy. But this applies an intent to the second amendment that's irrelevant. It says what is says regardless of the reason for putting it there. If you don't like it, make an effort to pass a new one restricting, removing, or clarifying it. I support it while it's part of the highest law of the land, but I'm not going to lobby to keep it there.

As to 30 round magazines. I have to say, having a certain number of rounds in the gun made an IPSC shooting match even more fun. I'm not sure I particularly care if they are somewhat limited, but less than 10 rounds would probably be a pain in the butt.

As for what's needed for legitimate civilian use, I guess it depends who's using it. I'd like a sound suppressor so that I will still be able to appreciate music when I'm 70. I'm sure someone can articulate a sport or hobby real or invented that requires the firing of 30 rounds in 10 seconds.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:55 PM on January 11, 2011


oK source 1998

as for Northern Ireland, please check back in 2 years and re-do this study.


Too true. Americans aren't smuggling lots of guns there any more. They're smuggling them to Mexico.
posted by mobunited at 1:57 PM on January 11, 2011


Rep. Israel's plan to increase safety is to move his constituent meetings to fire houses. Firefighters seem cool with that idea.
posted by etaoin at 1:58 PM on January 11, 2011




theredpen: I say we ban them within 1,000 feet of anyone.

That's just the kind of thing a robot would say!
posted by filthy light thief at 2:17 PM on January 11, 2011


filthy light thief: " That's just the kind of thing a robot would say!"

Really? I see robots as potential NRA supporters. The fewer of us still around when they launch their inevitable apocalyptic takeover of the planet, the better. Or maybe they'll need us for slave labor. Off to kiss my Roomba's ass.
posted by theredpen at 3:12 PM on January 11, 2011


Armed Giffords hero nearly shot wrong man

In truth, it's pretty damn dangerous to take the real shooters gun away from him since suddenly you look just like a shooter to the police, never mind a random armed bystander.
posted by smackfu at 3:17 PM on January 11, 2011


Can we skip the ridiculous hyperbolic strawman section of the gun control discussion this time? - 0xFCAF

Apparently not.
posted by rush at 3:33 PM on January 11, 2011


1000 feet??? That might be a practical distance to ban...but every US Marine has qualified riflemanship at 500 yards, which is 1500 feet.

I remember my range instructor commented that his students should be able to shoot a head off a baby at that range. (Babies, watch out.)

I dont understand the purpose of this legislation. Is it supposed to be another charge that can be tacked on after the fact, if something like Arizona happens again? Is it a way of getting in the good graces of those who think Arizona was horrific?

Just do the hell away with all weapons. The more legal weapons we have, the more legal weapons will be stolen or "lost", thus creating more illegal weapons.

I used to love shooting my M16A2 service rifle...but seriously i see it doing more potential damage than potential good in the hands of myself, a civilian. Just like lawn darts and ephedra, it causes more damage. Just do away with it.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:38 PM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


You guys are too trusting.

Here's the deal. The Republicans are dividing up their response so they can fractalize the discourse and come off looking reasonable. They are covering their tracks and blowing smoke.

King is one of few who live in a district where gun control is popular, and not a sure fire election-loser. So he has to carry the water in this one. He's a first-class douche politically, he didn't suddenly grow a conscience. He's just taking one for the team at the lowest possible risk.

Gun control will go nowhere. The country is just wound too tight. There are enough guns here already -- almost one per citizen -- that "controlling" them is as ridiculous as controlling pot or gay sex. A few show-trial cases, but the vast majority will play the odds and get away with it. And of course, it would be differentially enforced in communities of color.

But contra David Frum, if they legalize pot most people will be too mellow to want to shoot anyone. It's a perfect solution.

Kidding (or maybe I'm not) aside, the only hope is in controlling rage and alienation, not guns, and dealing with the severely mentally ill in much more robust ways.

On the other hand, a majority of Americans seem to be insane, so maybe it's too late. Maybe this *is* the zombie apocalypse, and we just didn't notice it was starting.
posted by spitbull at 4:00 PM on January 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


On the other hand, a majority of Americans seem to be insane

Cite?
posted by hippybear at 4:02 PM on January 11, 2011


Right, then just make it a legal requirement to have a government official positioned every 2,000 feet and finally you Americans will have sorted your gun problem.
posted by Decani at 4:09 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


cite
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:11 PM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Right, then just make it a legal requirement to have a government official positioned every 2,000 feet and finally you Americans will have sorted your gun problem.

A classic case of the cure being worth than the disease.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 4:16 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


BrotherCaine: I get what you're trying to say there, but there are few math systems in which 62 million is a majority out of 300 million.
posted by hippybear at 4:27 PM on January 11, 2011


As a former resident of the greater New York area?

Peter King's entire reason for doing anything is "how can I get my face in front of cameras more?". I don't actually believe he cares about his constituents as much as being a public figure for whatever reason.

(And why is it that Representatives named King seem to be really out-there ones? Peter King, Steve King of Iowa... they're some of the seriously weird-brained ones.)
posted by mephron at 4:31 PM on January 11, 2011


also, as a friend of mine pointed out, this bill says nothing about knives and swords, so you could get a bunch of people go up to a Congressional servant, stab him, and yell Shakespearean lines...

...and then they'd try to ban Shakespeare in schools.
posted by mephron at 4:32 PM on January 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's great to see the country's leadership acting with courage and determination. We truly deserve these elected officials, even those who openly sympathize with terrorists, like Peter King.
posted by jsavimbi at 5:46 PM on January 11, 2011


A couple of thoughts...

A) Peter King is generally a jackass, but this isn't a terrible bill. It's a marginal bill, but on a whole it's a net positive. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy is going to introduce another bit of gun control legislation as well which has a bit more teeth. I would be surprised if either made it out of committee.

B) That said, this most likely would have done nothing to stop what happened in Tucson.

C) Most of the policies that probably would have materially changed the outcome of this event had they been in place beforehand -- increased mental health funding, more stringent gun license laws, the assault weapons ban and its ancillary ban on high-capacity magazines -- are not going to be seriously considered. The sole exception might be an increased security budget for Congressfolk.

D) It's very depressing how far gun control is from the Democratic agenda. Forget entitlements; guns are the real third rail of American politics now. It just goes to show how the NRA has not only successfully lobbied their case, but has completely reshaped the terms of debate.
posted by Weebot at 5:55 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let me make sure I have this right...
Every asshole and mentally ill individual who wants a gun can get one because it's his constitutional right. But if that same individual happens to shoot someone who can't get health insurance he can afford... that's okay?
posted by honeybee413 at 6:26 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The shooting was tragic and incredibly disturbing, but why does it take shooting a public official to get people riled up? No disrespect to elected officials and/or other famous people (celebrities, athletes, what have you) who may come into contact with unstable people with access to weapons they shouldn't have more frequently than the average person (tell that to all the people -- and their families -- who are shot every day all over the country), but just because one is in the public eye doesn't make his or her life any more valuable than... say, your life or my life. I should think that any shooting is considered a crime, not just the ones that target people who are considered high profile. Because, not only is senseless violence tragic, but so is ranking people's worth by occupation, salaries, or perceived social influence.

In other words: 'I say we ban them within 1,000 feet of anyone.' (theredpen]
posted by Mael Oui at 7:12 PM on January 11, 2011


So we make it so that the cops, the military, criminals and private security contractors are the only ones who get to have guns? Screw that noise.
posted by Scoo at 7:25 PM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I agree with the sentiment, but still I'm left wondering, in America, why does it always seem to come down to questions about what we think we "get to have" versus what we think others "get to have"? Are we really still just little kids fighting over stuff we want?
posted by saulgoodman at 8:17 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Valkyryn asked: exactly what do we think we're going to prevent here? The people who weren't planning to use their guns weren't going to use them. The people who were planning to use their guns were already planning on committing half a dozen far more serious felonies

It prevents people from openly carrying weapons near "public officials", which would impede assassins to at least some degree. But I presume it's really intended to filter out law-abiding gun-owners from the crowd that police need to monitor. This law would basically ensure that only criminals and crazy people will be carrying firearms at public events, and by criminalising their behavior it lets police arrest them without having to show a reasonable belief that they intended to assassinate someone.

There are lots of similar laws like "possession of drug paraphernalia" that impose a small(ish) cost on law-abiding people but a huge cost on people planning to break the law. They're usually not aimed directly at the targeted crime but at some associated behavior that is easier to detect or prosecute.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:20 PM on January 11, 2011


Peter King is generally a jackass, but this isn't a terrible bill. It's a marginal bill, but on a whole it's a net positive.

Sorry; I don't see how passing feel-good-do-nothing laws so that we can avoid thinking about actual problems is a net positive.
posted by steambadger at 8:39 PM on January 11, 2011


"but why does it take shooting a public official to get people riled up?"

Don't worry, in a week or so everything will be back to business as usual.
posted by sneebler at 10:14 PM on January 11, 2011


steambadger: That is more a problem with the state of gun politics in this country rather than anything having to do with the bill itself. I pretty much agree with Joe in Austraila said as far as its efficacy goes.

The thing is there isn't even a likelihood that King's bill will go anywhere. Speaker Boehner is against this, and the Democrats have no capability to do anything with gun control, unless Giffords miraculously recovered next week and introduced the legislation herself. That's why I don't see this going anywhere.

So it's not even a question of passing this or passing a better bill; it's a question about passing this or something even more marginal -- or even nothing. In that sense, King's bill is both an incremental step in the right direction and a damning indictment of the state of gun politics in this country.
posted by Weebot at 11:12 PM on January 11, 2011


BrotherCaine: I get what you're trying to say there, but there are few math systems in which 62 million is a majority out of 300 million.

Well I guess it depends one whether we think that was a representational 62 million. But then I was just being a smart-ass, and don't actually think voting for Dubya was a sign of insanity. Poor judgment and/or ignorance maybe, but not necessarily insanity.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:18 PM on January 11, 2011


It prevents people from openly carrying weapons near "public officials", which would impede assassins to at least some degree.

No, it wouldn't. Security forces already freak the hell out if you do that.

This law would basically ensure that only criminals and crazy people will be carrying firearms at public events, and by criminalising their behavior it lets police arrest them without having to show a reasonable belief that they intended to assassinate someone.

I say again: you show a weapon at a place with active security, you are attracting immediate attention. The only reason this thing happened is because no one knew he had a gun, which makes the kind of enforcement you're talking about completely impossible.

There are lots of similar laws like "possession of drug paraphernalia" that impose a small(ish) cost on law-abiding people but a huge cost on people planning to break the law. They're usually not aimed directly at the targeted crime but at some associated behavior that is easier to detect or prosecute.

But, see, here's the thing: there's not a whole lot else you can do with drug paraphernalia except, you know, do drugs. Which is illegal. So yes, criminalizing possession of drug paraphernalia is aimed directly at the targeted crime, namely drug distribution, possession, and use.

But it is not illegal to own or possess a firearm, and in most states it is not illegal to carry one around in public, provided you've got the proper license. If someone wants to take a Glock to the shooting range and fire off a few clips, hey, more power to 'em. Rather than criminalizing fringe behavior of something already illegal, this law--and others like it--would create an entirely new category of criminal offense.

The Second Amendment is, for good or ill, a real force in the American legal and political systems. I'm not going to participate in the discussion about whether or not it's a good idea, but the facts on the ground are that gun ownership and possession is legal, so adding laws like this one is just dumb.
posted by valkyryn at 4:50 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Burhanistan writes "Jesus Christ. I said 'basically', as in now you have a 30 shot device just like a standard assault rifle. How is that idiotic?"

Throwing a roof rack on your civic doesn't turn it into a truck. The same applies to pistols with extended mags whether you want to use the goofy legal definition or the more nuanced military concept of assault rifle.

valkyryn writes "But, see, here's the thing: there's not a whole lot else you can do with drug paraphernalia except, you know, do drugs. Which is illegal. So yes, criminalizing possession of drug paraphernalia is aimed directly at the targeted crime, namely drug distribution, possession, and use. "

Drug paraphernalia laws are often just as goofy as they depend on intent. Buy a bong for tobacco and you're ok; buy it for pot and you're a criminal. Carry around needles to inject yourself with insulin, no problem; have a history of heroin use and you are a criminal.
posted by Mitheral at 5:12 AM on January 12, 2011


Assault rifles are dangerous "devices" partly (mainly?) because they are rifles and shoot bigger bullets faster and farther. It's not just that they hold 30 rounds.
posted by smackfu at 6:09 AM on January 12, 2011


Burhanistan: As a fellow gun owner who also dosen't get worked up if they're demonized (at least as much as I once did), the problem is just a language one. I've been noticing more and more that gun owners are trying to demand 'correct' language and in a way, I think they're right in insisting as much. Assault rifles by definition are select fire, meaning they can fire both semi-auto and some form of full-auto. Select fire weapons are nearly impossible for regular folk to own in the US, and rarely show up in crimes, so even using the term 'assault rifle' to describe civilian variants of military small arms makes for some loaded conversations. A civillian AR-15 may look like its military cousins, but functionally it's an entirely different animal. Grouping pistols into that category even more so; select fire pistols are out there, like the Glock 18, but again they're well out of the reach of the average citizen. I look at it as a language = trust sort of issue, gun owners hear incorrect language and figure if the talking head dosen't have the basics down, how can we trust their core arguments. The one that seems to be a real sore point in the wake of the Giffords shooting is using the word 'clip' to describe a 'magazine', two things so very different it makes absolutely no sense to confuse the two. And to be fair, I think if the average mefite heard a news anchor or 'expert' calling cars buggies or carriages we'd question the appropriateness of the speakers input. Or maybe a better example would be when we hear Bill O say we can't explain how tides work, it does call into question the knowledge base the speaker is working with. Guns, being marginalized in the media seem to get a pass on this rule.
posted by paxton at 7:11 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


What an impressive collection of poor grammar I just threw out there, my apologies.
posted by paxton at 7:18 AM on January 12, 2011


I'm curious as to what legal use there is for a loaded gun, other than shooting targets at a range or hunting in-season.

In what circumstance is it legal to draw and fire a gun in general public space?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:26 AM on January 12, 2011


Throwing a roof rack on your civic doesn't turn it into a truck. The same applies to pistols with extended mags whether you want to use the goofy legal definition or the more nuanced military concept of assault rifle.

Doesn't really matter when you're point blank in a safeway. It's also going to be pretty difficult to conceal your m4.

Assault rifles are dangerous "devices" partly (mainly?) because they are rifles and shoot bigger bullets faster and farther. It's not just that they hold 30 rounds.

A 9mm bullet is going to do more damage to a soft-target than a .223. Just sayin.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:30 AM on January 12, 2011


Ah, the hairsplitters are still up in arms about the suggestion that a 30 shot 9MM pistol could be compared to an assault rifle. Quite asinine, given the application of the pistol in this instance.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:34 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


In what circumstance is it legal to draw and fire a gun in general public space?

This circumstance, pretty much.
posted by smackfu at 7:38 AM on January 12, 2011


Well Burhanistan, do you consider it hairsplitting when someone who's pro-choice gets angered by anti-abortion groups calling doctors baby killers? The loaded language we use in both casual conversation and in the media ends up drawing uncrossable lines in the sand. Makes me think my grandmother was right in telling me not to discuss politics in mixed company.
posted by paxton at 8:26 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Well Burhanistan, do you consider it hairsplitting when someone who's pro-choice gets angered by anti-abortion groups calling doctors baby killers?

No, that's called equivocation.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:26 AM on January 12, 2011


A 9mm bullet is going to do more damage to a soft-target than a .223. Just sayin.

Uh, no. Dear god no. Google ".223 terminal ballistics" if you want. There's about a 4x difference in energy, and most non-hunting-designed bullets will fragment on impact at close ranges. I've talked to people who have treated them, the wounds from a standard-issue M4 or M16 are awful, and nothing like your typical 30 cal handgun GSW.

In what circumstance is it legal to draw and fire a gun in general public space?

It depends on the state. In most places, it's some variant of 'to protect yourself or others from imminent harm or death.' States vary on whether you can protect only yourself and your family, yourself and others, your property, etc., and whether the standard is actual danger in fact, or a reasonable belief that it existed at the time. (Which becomes an issue if someone gets shot when there wasn't, in retrospect, any danger; i.e. a drunk breaking into the house next door instead of their own.) Also it tends to vary depending on where you are; your own home and place of work are in many states easier to legally defend than if you're in some public place.

Arizona's statute apparently says, with regard to the display (brandishing) of a firearm:
The defensive display of a firearm by a person against another is justified when and to the extent a reasonable person would believe that physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the use or attempted use of unlawful physical force or deadly physical force.
The actual use of a firearm is covered under Title 13, Chapter 4 of the AZ Criminal Code, but I'll have to wait until later to actually pull it up.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:17 AM on January 12, 2011


non-hunting-designed bullets

Eh sorry. I was thinking .223 FMJ rounds. Which, as far as I understand, simply tend to punch clean holes, whereas a lower velocity/higher caliber round would do more damage close range, with no armor. I understand that a higher-energy hollow point is going to do more damage.

The point still stands that you can't conceal an m4 as easily as a glock. I just can't understand why it's legal to carry a weapon with a 30 round clip in a public place. There is no reasonable scenario where a civilian would require 30 handgun rounds to defend themselves.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:40 AM on January 12, 2011


> There is no reasonable scenario where a civilian would require 30 handgun rounds to defend themselves.

You're one of those Zombie Apocalypse deniers, aren't you?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:41 AM on January 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


You're one of those Zombie Apocalypse deniers, aren't you?

Goddamnit burnhanistant, I hate it when I get outed.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:44 AM on January 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which, as far as I understand, simply tend to punch clean holes

I know we're getting off into derail territory, but yeah this is the crux of the misconception. Hunting bullets will actually stay together in one piece; they'll expand / mushroom out, but they're designed to stay together (because you don't want your venison full of little lead and copper bits, presumably). But military 5.56mm, both the old FMJ ball and the newer "green tips" with the steel penetrator inside, aren't really that sturdy. They have a "fragmentation threshold", basically a velocity over which, when striking a typical soft target, they just won't hold together and will break into pieces. The typical break is at the cannelure, but it's not predictable -- there's no way to tell whether it's going to split into 2 pieces or 10. (Whether or not this is an intentional design characteristic to get around the bans on expanding rounds for military use is up for argument.)

The context where this really matters is when you're talking about the difference between a 7.62x39 (AK-47 round) and the 5.56mm M-16 round. The latter is much worse than the former, which I suppose is good for US soldiers, unless you have the bad luck to pick up a stray round. And that's the context in which the people I know have become familiar with its characteristics.

As for the 30 round magazine (not clip) issue, I agree that a handgun with a 30 round magazine isn't particularly practical for anything except on the shooting range, but I think you have to come up with a better argument for prohibiting something besides "I can't think of any reason for it." That's not the way that the laws -- regardless of what we're talking about prohibiting -- ought to work. There may be a compelling argument for it somewhere, but my suspicion (said in an earlier comment, my second in the thread) is that any legislation that comes immediately in the wake of an act of terrorism is going to be seriously flawed. The kneejerk legislative response to a mass shooting is going to be just as wrongheaded as the legislative response to 9/11 was, and the results will be equally hard to undo later when we've calmed down and realized they weren't entirely necessary.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:54 PM on January 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


/derail. Kadin wins.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:00 PM on January 12, 2011


any legislation that comes immediately in the wake of an act of terrorism is going to be seriously flawed

Oh I agree. And I think the proposed law is a canard at best.

The context where this really matters is when you're talking about the difference between a 7.62x39 (AK-47 round) and the 5.56mm M-16 round. The latter is much worse than the former, which I suppose is good for US soldiers, unless you have the bad luck to pick up a stray round. And that's the context in which the people I know have become familiar with its characteristics.

Yeah I picked that tidbit up during rifle qualification. I just assumed it was applicable here.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:04 PM on January 12, 2011


Hunting bullets will actually stay together in one piece; they'll expand / mushroom out, but they're designed to stay together (because you don't want your venison full of little lead and copper bits, presumably).

Optimally yes, but because hunters usually have too much rifle/load for the range/game, the velocities that the bullets are traveling shatters them leaving bits of toxic lead in the meat that they eat.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:46 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Optimally yes, but because hunters usually have too much rifle/load for the range/game, the velocities that the bullets are traveling shatters them leaving bits of toxic lead in the meat that they eat.

Damn, I didn't know that. Think I'll pay double for a box of all-copper hollow points this year!
posted by vorfeed at 10:44 AM on January 13, 2011


Damn, I didn't know that. Think I'll pay double for a box of all-copper hollow points this year!

You can take down any game you need to (except maybe moose) with a semi-auto .22 long.

A certain shot to the heart or lung, with a few follow ups to the body will bring down a full grown buck in less than a minute. You actually do more damage to the animal with lower caliber/velocity because the whole bullet ricochets inside the body, and has a greater chance of inflicting the internal arterial bleeding that incapacitates in short order.

Just make sure you get up off your ass and chase what you shot.
posted by clarknova at 7:14 PM on January 13, 2011


clarknova writes "You can take down any game you need to (except maybe moose) with a semi-auto .22 long."

While it is certainly possible to kill larger animals with a .22LR I'd consider it generally cruel and it isn't even legal in BC [PDF] to do so.
posted by Mitheral at 7:08 AM on January 14, 2011


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