Most American mass shooters use legally obtained firearms.
June 15, 2016 10:05 AM   Subscribe

A Mother Jones Investigation: Fully Loaded: Inside the Shadowy World of America's 10 Biggest Gunmakers.

Additional coverage of the gun industry, gun murders and the NRA from Mother Jones:

2016
* A Brief History of America's Massive Gun-Buying Spree. "How the NRA and gun makers exploited politics and paranoia to sell millions of weapons."
* How America's Mass Shooters Now Use Weapons of War. "Attackers in six mass shootings in the past year alone have struck with assault rifles and ammo designed to kill en masse."
* Do You Own Part of a Gun Company?
* 6 Guns That Got a Barrage of Free PR From Hollywood
* This is the Assault Rifle Used by the Orlando Mass Shooter
* Trump's Connection to the Maker of the Weapon Used in Orlando

2015
* What does gun violence truly cost?
* Inside the Race to Stop the Next Mass Shooter. "While politicians do nothing, a growing legion of cops, psychologists, and federal agents is scrambling to stem the bloodshed."

2014:
* The NRA's Murder Mystery. In 1963, Robert Dowlut was convicted of murdering a woman with a handgun. Today, he's the National Rifle Association’s top lawyer. Accompanying piece: primary court and police records cited in the investigation. (Previously on MeFi)

2012
* MJ is now updating their 2012 Guide to Mass Shootings in America.
* More Guns, More Mass Shootings—Coincidence?
* The NRA Surge: 99 Laws Rolling Back Gun Restrictions. "In the past four years a barrage of measures across 37 states have made it easier to own, carry, and conceal firearms."

--
Also see: The Gun Violence Archive (Previously on MeFi)
posted by zarq (277 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
 
The more gun violence happens and the more the NRA doubles down in defense of their beloved firearms the more I'm convinced that guns are the weapons of cowards. The NRA is made up mostly of terrified old white men and they need to keep the rest of America as scared as they are to further their agenda. Holding a gun doesn't make a man safer. It makes him more dangerous.
posted by wabbittwax at 10:20 AM on June 15, 2016 [25 favorites]


11 Things Harder To Get Than A Gun-- In Iowa it is easier to buy a gun than to get a permit to sell lemonade.
posted by briank at 10:27 AM on June 15, 2016 [14 favorites]


Add to this:
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) launched a talking filibuster on the Senate floor — which was quickly joined by fellow Democrats — in an effort to pressure Republicans to accept legislation that would deny suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms and require universal background checks.
posted by mephron at 10:29 AM on June 15, 2016 [15 favorites]


Sadly, that filibuster won't apply much pressure, since the GOP doesn't care about passing laws that don't overturn Obamacare or ban medical procedures for women -- either of which would get vetoed by Obama -- anyway.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:32 AM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Great post! Going to have to go back and read all of these articles…
posted by Going To Maine at 10:32 AM on June 15, 2016


What is nearly alwahys ignored, or left out, is the recognition that our nation has a long history of gun violence. Orlando, thus, though likened to other earlier mass shootings, ignores our past, in which there were more deaths by gun violence than in recent times. 1, 2.
posted by Postroad at 10:33 AM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


...I wonder if knowing the location of all of those gun manufacturers would be useful for a little bit of demonstrating.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:33 AM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


pan·dem·ic
adjective
1. (of a disease) prevalent over a whole country or the world.
synonyms: widespread, prevalent, pervasive, rife, rampant
"the disease is pandemic in Africa"

We’re 164 days into 2016. We’ve had 133 mass shootings. - Vox.

posted by Zack_Replica at 10:36 AM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Americans Have Bought Over 100 Million Guns During Obama's Presidency (Townhall.com, Dec 09, 2015)
Okay; now there’s no denying it. President Obama, the Democratic Party, the liberal media, and other members of the progressive left are the best gun sales team of the decade.
...
Last week, Christine wrote that the number of background checks ran by the FBI on Black Friday reached a record 185,345. As for gun production, it's increased by 140 percent under the Obama presidency. As for concealed carry permits, John Lott of the Crime Prevention Center released a study in July, showing that they’ve increased 270 percent for women and 156 percent for men since 2007. There’s also evidence “that permit holding by minorities is increasing more than twice as fast as for whites.” In Chicago, the areas with the most carry permits are predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods.
More links in the article.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:42 AM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ending the war on drugs is the biggest step we can take to reduce violent crime.
posted by michaelh at 10:44 AM on June 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


The biggest questions about gun violence that researchers would still like to see answered
[...] There’s frustratingly little evidence on what policies would work best to reduce gun violence. (Australia saw a drop in homicides and suicides after confiscating everyone’s guns in the 1990s, but that would likely never happen here.) Experts still don’t have a great sense of how well stricter background checks work, how the "informal" gun trade operates, or even how people use guns in crimes.

"We have superficial knowledge of most gun violence topics," says Michael Nance, director of the Pediatric Trauma Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. And this ignorance has big policy consequences.

This ignorance is partly by design. Since the 1990s, Congress has prevented various federal agencies from gathering more detailed data on gun violence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has elaborate data gathering and monitoring programs for other public health crises like Ebola or heart disease, has been dissuaded from researching gun violence. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives can't distribute much of its gun trace data for research purposes. Obamacare limits doctors' ability to gather data on patients' gun use.

To get a sense of what we’re missing, I surveyed a half-dozen researchers in the field and asked them about some of the biggest outstanding questions about gun violence that they’d like to see answered. Here's what they said. [...]
posted by tonycpsu at 10:44 AM on June 15, 2016 [14 favorites]


the more I'm convinced that guns are the weapons of cowards.

And military and repressive governments... and so on and so forth. This calculus is not really that difficult. Sure regulate the hell out of them, but good luck trying to confiscate 300 million plus firearms.

The NRA is made up mostly of terrified old white men and they need to keep the rest of America as scared as they are to further their agenda. Holding a gun doesn't make a man safer. It makes him more dangerous.

Yes, but regurgitating wedge issue platitudes fed to you by the mass media isn't going to get us any closer to addressing the social issues which lead to gun violence.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:49 AM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Matt Valentine at Politico: “The Most Political Gun in America”
posted by Going To Maine at 10:49 AM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have resigned myself to the idea that it doesn't matter how many people are killed due to gun violence, we won't see the reforms that are needed in my lifetime.
posted by INFJ at 10:49 AM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


[...] There’s frustratingly little evidence on what policies would work best to reduce gun violence. (Australia saw a drop in homicides and suicides after confiscating everyone’s guns in the 1990s, but that would likely never happen here.) Experts still don’t have a great sense of how well stricter background checks work, how the "informal" gun trade operates, or even how people use guns in crimes.

And the Nirvana fallacy comes into effect. No gun policy will ever remove the threat of gun violence. In 2014, Australia, the bastion of the world of "take guns away" policy, had a siege at the Lindt cafe where the gunman used a fifty year old shotgun and twenty year old ammo, both of which predated the ban.

HOWEVER. During that siege only two people plus the gunman were killed. If the gunman had a semi-automatic rifle there probably would have been a dozen deaths if not the whole 18 hostages.

This is what we mean when we say sensible gun control. It's not going to fix the problem of gun violence in the United States. But every step we take makes it more difficult for people to do damage and do more unnecessary damage.

For instance, take Jaylen Fryburg's little rampage down in Washington. He was disarmed when he stopped to reload. Jared Lee Loughner? He was apprehended reloading. That's why we push so heavily on magazine restrictions. It may not stop a shooter but it can limit the carnage.

Every step and set of eyes looking increases the chance of catching a potential Orlando or Columbine. To limit sensible information gathering and analysis techniques because we don't know whether they would solve the problem is short sighted at best. When you can walk up to a guy at a gun show and the only thing he asks is "One question: Are you a felon?"

THAT'S ENTIRELY FUCKED UP.
posted by Talez at 11:02 AM on June 15, 2016 [47 favorites]


Majority Opinion in Heller, which killed the DC handgun ban:
Whatever the reason, handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.
Adam Winkler in the LA Times, post San-Bernadino: “Why banning assault rifles won't reduce gun violence”
Because[“assault rifles”] are really just ordinary rifles, it is hard for legislators to effectively regulate them without banning half the handguns in the country (those that are semiautomatic and/or have detachable magazines) and many hunting rifles as well.
Not to say that these things are impossible, just that they are hard.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:06 AM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


INFJ, I read an interesting article on Slate that draws some parallels between the abolitionist movement in the 1850s to the gun control advocates of today. While the article correctly points out that historical parallelism is not perfect, it can still be instructive. There were a great many people who felt that slavery was wrong but sort of shrugged their shoulders and said "It's in the Constitution, the government supports slavery, what can we do?" But a core and arguably somewhat fanatical group refused to give up and took every opportunity to do damage to institution of slavery in the US. Emancipation was not a perfect solution. It still took another 100 years to strike down Jim Crow laws, segregation, laws against intermarriage, all that. And obviously we still have problems with racism today. But I truly believe that with some tenacity, the gun lobby can be defeated in small ways and ultimately big ways. But even with common sense legislation (allowing gun violence research, state funding hooked to thorough and appropriate reporting for background checks, strict criminal negligence charges for improperly stored weapons later used in crimes or even tragic accidents, bans on "modern sporting rifles" and large capacity magazines, etc.) gun violence will not be "solved." It's a problem that requires a multi-pronged attack sustained over long periods of time.
posted by xyzzy at 11:14 AM on June 15, 2016 [14 favorites]


Obama recently said some sensible things on this issue. His suggestion that we should at least begin studying this to develop the data we need to design appropriate policies may be a way to punt the problem down the road, without ignoring it completely, while developing a plan for the future.
posted by cubby at 11:15 AM on June 15, 2016


Step 1) Institute type 12 to the federal firearms licence as gun owner.

Step 2) Wire it to every police database you can get your hands on and have it on a shall issue basis.

Step 3) Give every doctor and police officer the ability to flag an individual for scrutiny and possible revocation.

Step 4) Every transaction, dealer or personal, involves assigning a gun the owner's FFL number. You can take a gun's serial, put it into a federal database on a webpage, it tells you who owns it, the current owner can transfer it to a new owner's FFL number or report it stolen. Until then you have custody of the gun and you're legally responsible for it.

Step 5) Caught with a stolen gun, a gun without a serial or a serial that isn't assigned to your FFL? Confiscation and federal charges that anywhere from probation to 6 years prison. If it wasn't reported stolen the FFL number assigned to it is also pulled into their local FBI office to please explain why this person has their gun.

There. We just closed the gun show loophole. We closed off straw man. We closed off cross state gun running.
posted by Talez at 11:19 AM on June 15, 2016 [62 favorites]


My legislative process is pretty rusty these days, so I'm not sure if Senator Murphy's filibuster will have any effect on the National Defense Authorization Act. It has to go to committee since the House and Senate bills are different, and the President is threatening to veto it, but there could be a little more leverage here than there might appear to be at first. I, of course, would happily defer on that point to ROU Xenophobe or someone with similar expertise.
posted by wintermind at 11:20 AM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


People are always like, oh, bans on guns wouldn't do any good, there are already a billion guns out there, people can always get or steal guns, etc. I mean, never mind the fact that most guns used in mass shooting are new guns bought legally, and not black market guns purchased from some truck in the back of a liquor store somewhere, never mind the actual facts.

Let's just pretend for a second this is so. That even if we ban certain guns, mass shooters will still get them, because with 100 million guns sold just during Obama's term, there are so many guns out there.

Well, a lot of those guns were bought by gun hoarders. I have a lot of experience dealing with hoarders, because it seems to be the favorite hobby of Omahans. And I have been a gun owner, and can tell you from experience -- you stick a gun in a wet basement for a while, it stops working. According to the Wright Rossi Report, guns tend to last about as long as a car, maybe 22 years. Well-maintained ones will last longer, poorly maintained ones less.

So we stop selling guns, or certain guns. Well, then the clock starts ticking on the life of these guns. Within a few years, a lot of them, due to lack of maintenance, will be out of circulation. A few more years, more are gone. A decade, two decades, a great many of them will be scrap, and more will have been rendered useless because of changes in caliber, or changes in manufacture that mean you have to hand-tool replacement parts.

Yes, there will be some left. Some guns just last forever, and some people take care of their guns and keep them working, like old car collectors somehow manage to keep model t cars tooling around.

But the preppers, the hoarders, the sovereign citizens? We're going to find a lot of holes in the ground with a lot of broken, rusted, useless guns in them in the future.
posted by maxsparber at 11:32 AM on June 15, 2016 [72 favorites]


I think all gun owners should be required to have insurance on them. The more guns you have, the more you are paying in premiums. And if you hurt someone, or someone else hurts someone or themself with your gun, you have to pay, big time, your premiums will go up or perhaps you lose your ability to have insurance and thus your ability to legally own a gun.

Basically, the gun lobby seems so keen to compare guns to cars, so let's really do that.
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:44 AM on June 15, 2016 [50 favorites]


Yes, but regurgitating wedge issue platitudes fed to you by the mass media isn't going to get us any closer to addressing the social issues which lead to gun violence.


Perhaps you might elucidate what those social issues are, and the ways in which the ones in the US are so much different from those in other countries, which practice stricter regulation of gun purchase and ownership, and have significantly lower rates of gun violence.

Because, I fail to see how not placing additional restrictions on gun purchase and ownership is going to reduce the level of gun violence in the US. It sure as hell hasn't so far.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:44 AM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Emancipation was not a perfect solution. It still took another 100 years

And the bloodiest war in American history.
posted by biogeo at 11:47 AM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


I really wish attention wasn't coalescing around banning people on the "terrorist watchlist" from owning firearms. It seems like it would be mostly ineffective — how many other spree killers were on this watchlist? For that matter, who else is on the watchlist? What are the procedures for contesting your presence on this watchlist? How are you added/removed? Is this just a backdoor way to ban Muslims and other minorities with zero accountability?

If the NRA-owned politicians surprise everyone and say, "sure, why not?" and the issue passes, does the issue of gun control once again drop out of the public consciousness? It seems to me like it would.
posted by indubitable at 11:48 AM on June 15, 2016 [10 favorites]


I really wish attention wasn't coalescing around banning people on the "terrorist watchlist" from owning firearms.

As with the Paris killers who ran around Europe and Syria for months if not years, the secret police are often trying to nurture these dudes as informers and useful assets for more important concerns. Once you realise that 'terror watch lists' are not designed to protect the public from anything - because that's not what the state exists for - then you can stop being concerned about this.
posted by Coda Tronca at 11:53 AM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Because, I fail to see how not placing additional restrictions on gun purchase and ownership is going to reduce the level of gun violence in the US. It sure as hell hasn't so far.

One answer I hear is that we need to arm more people, so the good guy with the gun will stop the bad guy with the gun. Never mind that there has never been a single mass shooting stopped by a civilian with a gun, and never mind that a good Samaritan gunman nearly shot the wrong guy at the Gabby Giffords shooting, and ...

I mean, god damn it, the Orlando Swat team, who were specifically trained for this sort of thing, might be responsible for some of the deaths at Pulse.

So that's not the answer, obviously. But it's the only one we get. The solution for gun murder? More and better gun murder.
posted by maxsparber at 11:53 AM on June 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


and never mind that a good Samaritan gunman nearly shot the wrong guy at the Gabby Giffords shooting

Yeah I mean just imagine a scenario like in Orlando, except, say, five civilians draw their firearms so they can be 'a good guy with a gun.' To each one of those individuals, there appears to be five active shooters that they need to take down.
posted by beerperson at 12:06 PM on June 15, 2016 [26 favorites]


According to the Wright Rossi Report, guns tend to last about as long as a car, maybe 22 years.

I would not put much stock in the Wright Rossi report.

True that a firearm that is stored unprotected in a damp basement will be at risk of rusting.

But all the gun owners that I know take greater care of their firearms than they do of their significant others.
posted by notreally at 12:17 PM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Trump's out there right now talking his fantasy about people in Pulse having guns 'strapped to their legs or ankles' to ensure there was 'less carnage' (quoting from memory, I think he's just said it).

An entire nightclub full of drunk and high people in the dark with deafening music start shooting at each other. It would be funny if the whole thing wasn't so awful.
posted by Coda Tronca at 12:18 PM on June 15, 2016 [19 favorites]


Senator Murphy's filibuster is going on 4 hours (I think?) and NPR reports that speaking slots have been filled for as late as 10:30 PM tonight. Senator Gary Peters of Michigan is currently speaking. You can watch this live on CSPAN2.

Does anyone know what we can do to help, right now? Call to express support (or would that just tie up the phones)? Can we order pizza for the staffers or something?
posted by sallybrown at 12:21 PM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Assault rifles are NOT ordinary rifles. If you need an AK to shoot a deer, maybe you should quit hunting and take up macrame instead.
posted by jonmc at 12:23 PM on June 15, 2016 [18 favorites]


My uncle used to hunt for bear with a bow and arrows, plus a pistol. (He's a gentle soul but still very tough.) This is pretty much my suggestion for people who mention AR-15s and the like in the same breath as hunting: what's the extra "firepower" for? Just how many slugs do you want to have to cut out of your deer?
posted by wenestvedt at 12:31 PM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


indubitable: "I really wish attention wasn't coalescing around banning people on the "terrorist watchlist" from owning firearms." [...] "What are the procedures for contesting your presence on this watchlist?"

A secret, classified arbitration held by the people who are in charge of compiling the list.

maxsparber: "According to the Wright Rossi Report, guns tend to last about as long as a car, maybe 22 years."

Somewhat ironically laws requiring secure storage (gun safes instead of end tables and cardboard boxes in the basement) would go a long way to lengthening the average lifetime. A rifle cleaned and oiled after use and then stored in a safe in the average home isn't going to deteriorate much at all. The functional parts are mostly metal rather than rubbers and plastics that lose function just from sitting.

jonmc: "Assault rifles are NOT ordinary rifles"

Related: 538 on why guns like the AR-15 were never fully banned.
posted by Mitheral at 12:38 PM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


This will not be solved via political means because the culture loves guns too much. We teach ourselves to love them and the power they seem to give in our films, the video games we play and the cartoons we watch as toddlers.

Real talk, a clandestinely developed bioweapon that converts cordite into an inert mass is about it. Or a nanobot swarm that eats guns. Or multi-generational social engineering to make us all extremely wary about guns--the least likely, owing to the entertainment culture previously described.

But nothing we do as a collective society will fix this. Not dead kids, not dead adults. There are already too many guns, and too much of an investment in what they mean for any effort to have any meaningful effect. This is how we live now until we decide collectively we won't, or some small group of very capable people simply makes it so that we can't.

As long as you depend on votes to fix this in our current society, go ahead and vote to get me a unicorn too--both are just as likely to succeed.
posted by turntraitor at 12:42 PM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Never mind that there has never been a single mass shooting stopped by a civilian with a gun

I'm not sure how you came up with that claim, but you are incorrect. There have been a number of mass shootings stopped by civilians.
posted by dragoon at 12:45 PM on June 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


Assault rifles are NOT ordinary rifles. If you need an AK to shoot a deer, maybe you should quit hunting and take up macrame instead.

I'm as pro gun control as anyone, but 'assault' rifle is a scary sounding nonsense word. If you mean to ban semi-automatic rifles, say that.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:46 PM on June 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


Assault rifles are NOT ordinary rifles. If you need an AK to shoot a deer, maybe you should quit hunting and take up macrame instead.

Yeah, the claim that the AR-15 variants are vastly different from the M16 doesn't make sense to me. I'm far from being a gun expert, but my understanding is that the only difference is that the M16 is capable of fully automatic fire, while the AR-15 is not. But doesn't the military discourage the use of fully automatic fire (so much so that updated variants of the M16 don't even offer full auto)? So that kind of negates the importance of the differences, no?

I also don't understand the argument that all the "scary-looking" parts of the AR-15 are just cosmetic. Why would a weapon designed for military use have superfluous additions that don't increase its lethality?
posted by jessssse at 12:46 PM on June 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


dragoon: "Never mind that there has never been a single mass shooting stopped by a civilian with a gun

I'm not sure how you came up with that claim, but you are incorrect. There have been a number of mass shootings stopped by civilians.
"

OK, but that's 10 whole examples over almost a twenty year span. There have been thousands of mass shootings in the US since 1997.
posted by octothorpe at 12:50 PM on June 15, 2016 [12 favorites]


I also don't understand the argument that all the "scary-looking" parts of the AR-15 are just cosmetic. Why would a weapon designed for military use have superfluous additions that don't increase its lethality?

You'd have to make a checklist of those features that make an AR15 more lethal. The features usually mentioned really are cosmetic. The ability to accept high capacity magazines might be thought of as a "more lethal" feature, but certainly not unique to the AR15 or "assault rifles" in general.

I'm not a hunter, but ISTR that in some States, a typical AR15 wasn't allowed for hunting because it isn't considered powerful enough, as measured by caliber.
posted by 2N2222 at 12:57 PM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


jesssssse: ...my understanding is that the only difference is that the M16 is capable of fully automatic fire, while the AR-15 is not.

I think the M16 is only semi-auto. But the Army's current rifle, the M4, is currently in the middle of a big upgrade project that in fact will make it full-auto while replacing any M16s still out there:
The Army’s upgrade to M4A1 stands at about 25 percent complete and will continue into 2020. Barrels that warped in Afghanistan during extended firefights — causing guns to fail — served as the impetus for the change. That upgrade incorporated three core changes: a heavier barrel that better withstands extended use; ambidextrous safety controls; and conversion of its three-round burst mode to fully automatic. The Army is upgrading the M4s (and also replacing its larger forbear, the M16) base-by-base.
(emphasis mine)
- http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/2016/06/12/army-ditches-plans-additional-m4-carbine-upgrades/85702010/
posted by wenestvedt at 12:58 PM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


OK, but that's 10 whole examples over almost a twenty year span. There have been thousands of mass shootings in the US since 1997.

I've seen that list before. I love that it's 10 examples and a majority sound like this:

"of course it’s impossible to tell whether the shooter would have kept killing"

"While again it’s not certain whether Plotts would have killed other people"

" We believe that it could have been much worse that night"

"it’s possible that the criminal wasn’t planning on killing anyone"

"it seemed very likely that Lavant and Hill would have killed (as well as raped) some or all of the partygoers had they not been stopped"

" It’s not clear whether Villagomez would have killed more people"

"it is again not clear whether he would have killed more people had he not been wounded"

"possibly to attack more people, though the stories that I’ve seen are unclear "

" I have seen sources that state that Woodham was on the way to Pearl Junior High School to continue shooting, though I couldn’t find any contemporaneous news articles that so state."

So that's nine of the 10 stories. But I'll give you that the first one was a mass shooting that was stopped and will revise my statement: One of the thousands of mass shootings in the US was stopped by a good guy with a gun. Others? Eh, maybe. Not so many as to be statistically important.
posted by maxsparber at 12:59 PM on June 15, 2016 [16 favorites]


You'd have to make a checklist of those features that make an AR15 more lethal.

I'll just borrow from a comment of mine in the previous thread quoting Gen. McChrystal:
An M4 Carbine fires a .223 caliber round which is 5.56 mm at about 3000 feet per second. When it hits a human body, the effects are devastating. It’s designed for that. That’s what our soldiers ought to carry. I personally don’t think there’s any need for that kind of weaponry on the streets and particularly around the schools in America[...]The number of people in America killed by firearms is extraordinary compared to other nations, and I don’t think we’re a bloodthirsty country. We need to look at everything we can do to safeguard our people.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:05 PM on June 15, 2016 [12 favorites]


I'm as pro gun control as anyone, but 'assault' rifle is a scary sounding nonsense word. If you mean to ban semi-automatic rifles, say that.

People split hairs about the naming of guns that fire off lots more bullets more easily? Part of the problem.
posted by Coda Tronca at 1:05 PM on June 15, 2016 [30 favorites]


It's a smokescreen of bullshit. Anyone who throws up that smokescreen is the enemy.
posted by Artw at 1:09 PM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


You'd have to make a checklist of those features that make an AR15 more lethal. The features usually mentioned really are cosmetic. The ability to accept high capacity magazines might be thought of as a "more lethal" feature, but certainly not unique to the AR15 or "assault rifles" in general.

I'm not a hunter, but ISTR that in some States, a typical AR15 wasn't allowed for hunting because it isn't considered powerful enough, as measured by caliber.


I don't think a gun's level of lethality can be judged only by the caliber bullets it fires, though. Surely parts like the pistol grip add to the lethality, or the military would still be using guns with standard rifle grips, right?
posted by jessssse at 1:10 PM on June 15, 2016


Well, California banned assault rifles in 1989 and that's worked really well for us so far.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:15 PM on June 15, 2016


How did this get only 3% of the required signatures?

A petition to Require that all Civilian Firearms be Painted Pink
posted by kleinsteradikaleminderheit at 1:16 PM on June 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


Well, California banned assault rifles in 1989 and that's worked really well for us so far.

I think it's harder to get a bag of oranges into California from another state than it is to get a gun in.
posted by jessssse at 1:19 PM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Well, California banned assault rifles in 1989 and that's worked really well for us so far.

That seems less a criticism of the ban and more an argument for why the ban should be national.
posted by maxsparber at 1:20 PM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Trump's out there right now talking his fantasy about people in Pulse having guns 'strapped to their legs or ankles'

The trouble is that too many people believe this fantasy. Never mind that there were four trained "good guys with guns" at the scene that all failed to hit the shooter before he retreated to the bathroom.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:28 PM on June 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


The use of the phrase "terrorist loophole" or "terror loophole" is an interesting development. Just heard it in the filibuster so it looks like something the Democrats will stick with.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:28 PM on June 15, 2016


The thing that's infuriating about the "you dopes can't even define 'assault rifle' so give it up, neener neener" argument is that it's taking necessary political compromises as signs of foolishness. The reason for the hair-splitting is because the correct solutions are off the fucking table.

An "assault weapon ban" should really contain two things: no semi-automatic anythings, including pistols, and no magazine capacity above ten rounds. Boom, done. There is no legitimate reason for semi-autos in private hands, nor is there call for large-capacity weapons. Handguns would mean revolvers, long guns would mean bolt-action rifles and pump-action or breech-loading shotguns. Hunters can still hunt, target shooters can still target shoot (okay, semiauto target pistols would be lost, a nation weeps), homeowners in fear of intruders can still have powerful weapons that will dissuade or kill criminals. Spree shooting, however, becomes much harder.

But of course, this straightforward, uncomplicated, and fair approach is, to American politics, pretty much on a par with saying that you like to eat babies dipped in kitten blood. So out come the bullshit games. "No pistol grips," etc.

Of course those are bullshit, arbitrary categories. Because the gun lobby has made the real ones radioactive.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 1:31 PM on June 15, 2016 [43 favorites]


I'll just borrow from a comment of mine in the previous thread quoting Gen. McChrystal:


.223 caliber rifle round is considered a medium power round, and is not unique to "assault rifles". You can get anything from single shot to "ranch" varmint guns chambered for it.

I don't think a gun's level of lethality can be judged only by the caliber bullets it fires, though. Surely parts like the pistol grip add to the lethality, or the military would still be using guns with standard rifle grips, right?

I agree the "power" of a firearm isn't measured by caliber. The point is that there is an assumption that a rifle such as an AR15 is uniquely more "powerful" than another firing the same round is false.

AFAIK, the military liked the AR variant because, among other things, of its modular design. The pistol grip looks to me like an easy way to configure the innards, keep its modular design, and maintain a way for the user to hold the gun. I think there are now work-arounds that allow one to own a AR15 without a pistol grip in places that ban "assault rifle" features.

I think the .223 round was also favored because it was lighter and smaller in dimension than a comparable larger caliber round, allowing a soldier to carry more rounds that are presumably still lethal enough.

If you maintain that a pistol grip has some significant advantage in lethal ability, you'd have to propose how that would be. Maybe there are, but I really can't think of any.
posted by 2N2222 at 1:33 PM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here is the central issue: In the United States, there is an amendment to the Constitution (the second, I believe) which implies that some kind of possession and ownership of firearms is a fundamental right of citizens.

There are many possible interpretations of this amendment. I am of the opinion that the amendment can be read -- reasonably -- to conclude that gun ownership should be accompanied by some kind of service to the state and it's associated regulations.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court completely disagrees with that idea, and has generally argued that gun ownership is indeed a fundamental right, or approaches a kind of fundamental right that can only be abridged in very narrowly constructed and perhaps extreme circumstances.

So. Guns are going nowhere until the amendment is repealed or altered to the point where it means the opposite of what the Supreme Court has traditionally held it to mean. This can be accomplished in generally two ways:

1) Stack the court with jurists who disagree utterly with virtually all 2nd amendment precedent that the court has laid down in the past 200 years or so

or

2) Repeal or modify the 2nd amendment (as mentioned above).

Option 1 will require a radical legal reinterpretation of existing case law. Assuming you managed to get enough justices on the court who agreed with this position (a dubious prospect without a heavily Democratic-Socialist House AND Senate, for MANY years), you also run the risk of provoking a backlash. Imagine a future USSC decision that says "Nah, the govt. can totally confiscate your guns". There would be an instant and immediate Constitutional Convention which would "clarify" the second amendment to include the right for all Americans to own and use guns, forever, and the new super-liberal USSC would be powerless to stop it.

Option 2 would require 38 state legislatures to be solidly Democratic-Socialist. Need I say more?

Listen. Listen to me:

Guns are not going anywhere, because guns are structurally baked into the political apparatus of the United States. You literally have more of a right to own a gun than you have a right to be fed or clothed. Your right to own a gun is literally more legally sound and sacrosanct than your right to exist.

Our nation was founded by 18th century plantation owners who believed in certain things, but not others. That is the fundamental struggle and frustration with the "gun issue" in the United States. Barring a revolutionary overthrow of our entire government and social system, it's not going anywhere.

Personally, I recommend kevlar vests.
posted by Tyrant King Porn Dragon at 1:47 PM on June 15, 2016 [22 favorites]


You know, it was literally just a decade ago I thought gay marriage was impossible in the US, because homophobia was, to use your words, structurally baked into the political apparatus of the United States.

Something else that is baked into the United States is the capacity for change. And it can happen very quickly when the shift starts to happen.
posted by maxsparber at 1:51 PM on June 15, 2016 [21 favorites]


There is no amendment to the constitution which requires homophobia. There is an amendment to the US Constitution which, according to continuous legal tradition, essentially guarantees the right to own guns.

I know what you're saying, but believe me when I say: legally speaking, this is a different ballgame.
posted by Tyrant King Porn Dragon at 1:52 PM on June 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


no magazine capacity above ten rounds

Why even ten? What's the scenario where someone is just blasting away to that degree, other than a shooting range? Like a guy breaks into your house and you just start firing a bunch of rounds all over? It seems like this happens a lot in movies, but is this a real life scenario for the average joe? As a non-gun person it seems like a lot of the pro-gun argument is "well I have a constitutional right to do this thing which I don't really ever need to do" ... so it seems more hypothetical. Target shooting, deer hunting, even home defense deterrent seem pretty reasonable to me, but the numbers and types of weapons flying off the shelves don't seem to map to any of these uses. For the NRA specifically (I'm not looping all gun owners into this - the NRA is basically an extremist terrorist group with people signing up out of habit I guess), it seems like the right to bear arms is really about protecting oneself against an overbearing government, or being ready for zombie times or some other kind of total societal collapse. It doesn't seem worth it to fill up our country with a bajillion weapons to prepare for these sorts of very unlikely edge cases. And I kind of worry about people for whom that's a serious daily focus.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:53 PM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


this is a different ballgame

We curtain all sorts of constitutional rights. Freedom of speech is not absolute. Freedom of religion is not absolute.

The only reason the 2nd amendment is absolute is because of a powerful lobby. A majority of Americans support gun control. It may not be gay marriage, but it's certainly the same ball game as outlawing crying fire in a crowded theater.
posted by maxsparber at 1:56 PM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


There is an amendment to the US Constitution which, according to continuous legal tradition, essentially guarantees the right to own guns.

But it doesn't say there can't be limits or rules around it. I would argue that conservative activists and judges have basically just interpreted it to say what they want it to say. The Constitution is pretty awesome but and the end of the day it's just a bunch of words with lots of viable interpretations, like say the Bible. In my dream world we get both sides together and craft an amendment that replaces the 2nd and is much more clearly stated, but that'll never happen because of a small group (NRA) that is totally f***ing off the deep end crazy.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:57 PM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Since banning or carefully regulating guns is so difficult, and gathering up all the guns that are around in our country is impossible, then regulate the ammunition: how much can be bought in a period of time, etc.
posted by Postroad at 1:58 PM on June 15, 2016


" Well, then the clock starts ticking on the life of these guns. Within a few years, a lot of them, due to lack of maintenance, will be out of circulation. A few more years, more are gone. A decade, two decades, a great many of them will be scrap, and more will have been rendered useless because of changes in caliber, or changes in manufacture that mean you have to hand-tool replacement parts."

Just wanted to point out that guns are mechanically very simple to make and that there are black market factories churning out guns. The reason that American mass shooters use legally or semi-legally obtained firearms (acquiring by proxy) is because legal guns were available. On the other hand, there's a huge black market of guns that exists in Europe that doesn't yet exist here.
posted by I-baLL at 1:58 PM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, I'm curious. How many pro-gun control people on here are for more restrictions and/or stricter background checks, etc. and how many are for a total ban?
posted by I-baLL at 2:00 PM on June 15, 2016


Why even ten?

We had a bit of discussion of this in the other still-open gun thread, and MeFite ridgerunner put forth this list of real world scenarios where they felt larger capacity magazines were needed. I already made my comments in that thread about where I feel the limit should be and won't repeat myself, but I just thought I'd bring that bit of anecdata into the mix since the topic is coming up again.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:01 PM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


The only reason the 2nd amendment is absolute is because of a powerful lobby. ...
posted by maxsparber at 1:56 PM on June 15 [+] [!]


See, I used to believe this but honestly I think this is where the liberal-socialist analysis of "the gun issue" starts to drift into conspiracy theory territory.

The NRA is incredibly powerful. But if the NRA were wiped from existence tomorrow, do you think that Republicans would just spontaneously support gun control? "Now that the NRA is gone, we can advocate for gun control like we've always wanted!" No, I don't think that would happen. There is an ideological component to gun ownership and interpersonal violence that I think a lot of well-meaning liberals overlook.

I'd argue that the NRA is actually a symptom of a deeper cultural and structural malaise rather than the source of these problems.
posted by Tyrant King Porn Dragon at 2:02 PM on June 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


the Supreme Court completely disagrees with that idea, and has generally argued that gun ownership is indeed a fundamental right, or approaches a kind of fundamental right that can only be abridged in very narrowly constructed and perhaps extreme circumstances.

This is simply not true. The history of the Supreme Court has allowed all sorts of restrictions on citizen arms. For example fully automatic machine guns are controlled. "Assault weapons" have been controlled. Hand guns are legally restricted. Concealed carry requires permits or is not permitted at all in some cases.

Guns are going nowhere until the amendment is repealed.

As pointed out above, that is simply not true. There are all sorts of things that can be legally done without changing the Constitution. For example there is nothing in the Constitution prohibiting registration and licensing of all guns. There is nothing in the Constitution preventing the Federal government from maintaining a database of all gun owners. There is nothing in the Constitution preventing Federal taxation of guns and ammo. There is nothing in the Constitution preventing annual license fees for possession of guns.

This fatalistic apathy is useless. Things can be done without changing the Constitution.
posted by JackFlash at 2:02 PM on June 15, 2016 [23 favorites]


jessssse: "I also don't understand the argument that all the "scary-looking" parts of the AR-15 are just cosmetic. Why would a weapon designed for military use have superfluous additions that don't increase its lethality?"

It's not that they don't have military utility, it is that they don't make any difference to mass killers. EG: No mass killers mount bayonets so the bayonet lug makes no difference, is never used and therefor for the mass shooter is cosmetic. No mass shooters have used a grenade launcher (if they ever do you've got a whole other level of problems) so the grenade launcher mount makes no difference and so is cosmetic. A flash suppressor is maybe of very limited utility to a mass shooter but as has been pointed out up thread mass shooters very rarely encounter return fire. Pistol grips and folding stocks have some utility to the mass shooter. But they appear on weapons no one thinks of as Assault Weapons too.

Harvey Jerkwater: "An "assault weapon ban" should really contain two things: no semi-automatic anythings, including pistols, and no magazine capacity above ten rounds. Boom, done. There is no legitimate reason for semi-autos in private hands,"

Disabled people may find a self loading weapon a requirement when hunting. I imagine operating a bolt with a prosthesis could be challenging.

Harvey Jerkwater: " Handguns would mean revolvers,"
Revolvers fire one bullet every time you pull the trigger exactly like semi-autos; what is your theory on giving them a pass?
posted by Mitheral at 2:02 PM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


virtually all 2nd amendment precedent that the court has laid down in the past 200 years or so

It might shock you that you're off by about 180 years. The legal interpretations regarding individual rights to bear arms are basically a late-20th century invention.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:03 PM on June 15, 2016 [13 favorites]


This fatalistic apathy is useless. Things can be done without changing the Constitution.
posted by JackFlash at 2:02 PM on June 15 [+] [!]


Realism != Apathy

Anyway, how are those gun regulations working out? Everybody registered yet? No?
posted by Tyrant King Porn Dragon at 2:04 PM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Anyway, how are those gun regulations working out? Everybody registered yet? No?

At the state and local level, not terrible. See the responses in NY and CT after Sandy Hook for examples. These are not nearly sufficient, but they're a start, and as of yet the NRA hasn't been able to challenge them, because they likely know that these kind of restrictions comport with the Second Amendment as a right that can have time, place, and manner restrictions placed on it, just like all other individual rights.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:07 PM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Disabled people may find a self loading weapon a requirement when hunting. I imagine operating a bolt with a prosthesis could be challenging.

Oh good god. Are you really saying that we can't have gun control because it would violate the ADA? That's your argument?
posted by octothorpe at 2:08 PM on June 15, 2016 [35 favorites]


no magazine capacity above ten rounds

Canadian hunters have been making do with five for decades now.

And some of them work in Grizzly and Polar bear country.
posted by bonehead at 2:09 PM on June 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


(data on progress since Sandy Hook broken down by state)

A mixed bag, for sure, and one that won't get better without progress at the federal level, but in many states, things are trending positive, albeit very slowly.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:09 PM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


It might shock you that you're off by about 180 years. The legal interpretations regarding individual rights to bear arms are basically a late-20th century invention.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:03 PM on June 15 [1 favorite +] [!]


To the best of my knowledge, Presser v. Illinois (1886) was the first USSC ruling to explicitly proclaim gun ownership as a individual right, and it had been proclaimed as such by state courts repeatedly before that.
posted by Tyrant King Porn Dragon at 2:10 PM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Why even ten?

Because we're a decimal society. If we were octal, or duodecimal, it's be different.

/of course, it's still be 10, just a different 10.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:11 PM on June 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


Realism != Apathy

Then let's get real. You made a demonstratively false statement that nothing can get done until the Second Amendment is repealed. You made a false statement that nothing can be done unless "38 state legislatures to be solidly Democratic-Socialist."

This not realistic at all because is it not real. It is an excuse for apathy - just sit doing nothing until the Second Amendment is repealed.
posted by JackFlash at 2:11 PM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Revolvers fire one bullet every time you pull the trigger exactly like semi-autos; what is your theory on giving them a pass?

Technically that's only true of double-action revolvers. The law could define semi-automatic to include double-action revolvers.

Anyway, revolvers have several other limitations. They essentially can't be silenced. Their capacity is limited, especially for larger rounds. They can't be reloaded nearly as quickly as guns that use a magazine. There's no semi-automatic mechanism to absorb recoil, making it harder to combine fast and accurate shooting.

Basically all the reasons the police and military use semi-automatics instead of revolvers and have basically since semi-automatic and automatic weapons were invented.
posted by jedicus at 2:11 PM on June 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


I can't urge strongly enough for those interested to turn on CSPAN2 or watch online now to see this filibuster in action.
posted by sallybrown at 2:13 PM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


The NRA is incredibly powerful. But if the NRA were wiped from existence tomorrow, do you think that Republicans would just spontaneously support gun control?

I suspect that, absent the NRA's -money- a lot of heavily pro-NRA Congressmen would either back off a bit on the stance, or be ousted in elections, yeah.
posted by Archelaus at 2:13 PM on June 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


This not realistic at all because is it not real. It is an excuse for apathy - just sit doing nothing until the Second Amendment is repealed.
posted by JackFlash at 2:11 PM on June 15 [+] [!]


How are you going to confiscate 300 million guns without an amendment to the Constitution? Is there some sort of super-secret legal procedure of which I'm unaware?

Other, minor methods (like mass registration, limitations on magazine size) are fine -- and may or may not be allowed by future USSC courts -- but they will do little to stop someone who is morally committed to mass murder.
posted by Tyrant King Porn Dragon at 2:14 PM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


To the best of my knowledge, Presser v. Illinois (1886) was the first USSC ruling to explicitly proclaim gun ownership as a individual right, and it had been proclaimed as such by state courts repeatedly before that.

Not only is that not what it said, but there were many cases at both SCOTUS and lower courts that disagreed with that interpretation before and after that.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:16 PM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


An insincere, politically-calculated interpretation of law by the Supreme Court is one not likely to stick around for long (comparatively speaking), judging by the history of the Court. I suspect within one or two decades the Justices' "understanding" of the Second Amendment will have changed dramatically.
posted by sallybrown at 2:18 PM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


octothorpe: "Oh good god. Are you really saying that we can't have gun control because it would violate the ADA? That's your argument?"

No. I was refuting that statement that self loading weapons have no utility for private owners.
posted by Mitheral at 2:19 PM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mitheral: No. I was refuting that statement that self loading weapons have no utility for private owners.

Fair enough, but does that utility outweigh the cost? To me, and I suspect to most people, that's a ludicrous question. It doesn't. "My dad can't hunt anymore" is sad; "some asshole shot up a bunch of kids" is a lot sadder. Preventing human deaths is a higher good than allowing a few people their recreation. And again, long guns would still be available, just not semi-autos.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 2:23 PM on June 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


People split hairs about the naming of guns that fire off lots more bullets more easily? Part of the problem.
The thing is it isn't splitting hairs. When you say ban assault weapons/rifles you aren't saying anything because an assault weapon/rifle is, by definition, illegal. It is already banned because the only time the term assault weapon/rifle is defined is in law, and when defined it is done so to restrict/ban their possession.

But saying assault weapons should be banned? It doesn't mean anything until you describe what you mean. To me I agree that assault weapons should be banned but that's because they are already banned or restricted, but clearly you mean to say that a particular type or types of firearm that are still legal, and therefore not assault weapons, should instead be classified as assault weapons and therefore become banned or restricted. But because I do not know what particular type or types of firearm you mean I will have to ask you what you mean, and it doesn't help if the comeback is that this is splitting hairs because it really isn't.

I have no problem if someone claims they want all firearms that can kill this many people in this little time an assault weapon and therefore a restricted firearm. This definition doesn't contain any specific gun terms or inclusive terminology and it clearly defines the metric. Eventually when it has to be codified it'll have to get morbidly specific. I would think a law would read something like "any semi-automatic firearm that allows the next cartridge to be fired within 0.5 seconds." But this would be something you are presenting as what needs to be a definition while someone else may disagree and have a completely different one.

But just saying ban assault weapons really isn't splitting hairs because until you define what you mean by assault weapon it isn't saying anything.

For example, federally you haven't been able to possess a machine gun or a short barreled rifle or shotgun in over 80 years. But if you are in California, there is an addition to the federal list that defines what is an assault weapon. The AR-15 as configured in California is not an assault weapon whereas another type of AR-15 obtained elsewhere is an assault weapon if brought to California.

Some of the more rabid gun proponents would be dismissive if you used the term. I honestly am not being dismissive. I just need to know what you mean when you use it so I understand what you want to ban because the term in and of itself is only defined by laws that ban them, and these laws are not in agreement.
posted by linux at 2:26 PM on June 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


Basically all the reasons the police and military use semi-automatics instead of revolvers and have basically since semi-automatic and automatic weapons were invented.

Were a "semi-automatic" ban or restriction enacted, I'm sure the gun manufacturers could have manually-cocked pistols available very quickly for civilian buyers.
posted by bonehead at 2:26 PM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Pardon if my prior post has some repetitiveness. I was cutting and pasting and didn't edit too well.
posted by linux at 2:32 PM on June 15, 2016


I agree that assault weapons should be banned but that's because they are already banned or restricted

The assault weapon ban expired in 2004.
posted by JackFlash at 2:32 PM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


linux: "The AR-15 as configured in California is not an assault weapon whereas another type of AR-15 obtained elsewhere is an assault weapon if brought to California."

For anyone who is interested here is the Identification Guide California uses. The first two sections are firearms that are defined as assault weapons by their model identification. The third section details a generic assault weapon identifier. Note that the generic definitions are different for pistols, rifles and shotguns.
posted by Mitheral at 2:36 PM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


The assault weapon ban expired in 2004
That is a specific act passed in 1994. The NFA is still in effect and in fact a lot of the AWB survives in California state law. This is what I am saying: assault weapon has no meaning except by the law that defines it for the jurisdiction it is in effect.
posted by linux at 2:37 PM on June 15, 2016


Sure, but we're not a court, nor a legislative body. Can't you just infer what it means close enough to have a conversation?
posted by ODiV at 2:39 PM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


People split hairs about the naming of guns that fire off lots more bullets more easily? Part of the problem.

But people who label allies raising legitimate concerns as 'part of the problem' are totally part of the solution.
posted by leotrotsky at 2:50 PM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Sure, but we're not a court, nor a legislative body. Can't you just infer what it means close enough to have a conversation?

Maybe? Assault weapon as a term in law is basically there to say "this is banned/restricted because it is a firearm capable of killing a lot of people in a short period of time". The problem is that legal definitions do not define assault weapon that way, so when we are talking about banning assault weapons then I am assuming you want to redefine it in such a way that it captures in its definition that it can kill a lot of people in a short period of time. But then that would lead me to ask you what you think defines an assault weapon, and I just want to be clear that in my asking I am not trying to offend but trying to have that conversation.
posted by linux at 2:50 PM on June 15, 2016


Saying "assault weapon" is like saying "gun control". If you say you're for gun control you'll probably then explain what you mean by "gun control" since it could be anything from a full-blown ban on any firearms to very specific laws and restrictions. It ("it" being "assault weapon") is a vague term whose meaning cannot be inferred from context since any 2 people in this conversation can mean vastly different things by it.
posted by I-baLL at 2:54 PM on June 15, 2016


The thing is it isn't splitting hairs. When you say ban assault weapons/rifles you aren't saying anything because an assault weapon/rifle is, by definition, illegal. It is already banned because the only time the term assault weapon/rifle is defined is in law, and when defined it is done so to restrict/ban their possession. But saying assault weapons should be banned? It doesn't mean anything until you describe what you mean.

Of course it's saying something. Because someone has not provided a narrow, precise, legally defined explanation, you're saying they're not saying anything and it's impossible to say what they really mean.

"Ban" means 'legally prohibit from selling' or possibly 'from manufacturing' or possibly 'from owning.' That's pretty clear; sure, there's a range of meanings, but it is clearly not proposing making access easier, it is clearly not proposing a tax, it is clearly not proposing all manner of things. The general intent is clear.

"Weapon" means guns. It means some subset of guns, sure, but it's clearly guns and not something else. It's clear that the 'weapon' we're talking about is a gun, and not a machete, and not something other than a gun.

"Assault" means what it means within a cultural, rather than legal, context: something ambiguous, with grey areas, and yet with meaning. You don't hear "assault weapon" and think "flintlock," nor do you think "revolver." The term has meaning, absent precise legal meaning. It has several meanings, but it has meanings.

Saying that all together, far from saying nothing, says: lawmakers, please take this desire and make a law of out it. Lawyers, translate this into precise meaning. Lobbyists, push for something in this general direction. Metafilter is not the government. We're not (so far as I know) the ones writing the laws. We do not need to hew to legal definitions to convey meaning.

I just need to know what you mean when you use it so I understand what you want to ban because the term in and of itself is only defined by laws that ban them, and these laws are not in agreement.

Which is exactly why it's more helpful to accept a degree of ambiguity and imprecision and go by the general cultural meaning of the term, rather than waiting until we can all sit down and hash out which precise legal definition we're using.

You're asking people to either accept a legal definition -- at a time when people are suggesting that the law doesn't cover enough now -- or you're asking people to write a new legal definition before we can have a conversation about guns.

Respectfully, that's hair-splitting.
posted by cjelli at 2:56 PM on June 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


I feel as if this thread is getting slightly disrailed. Can we say ban semi automatic weapons instead of assault weapons? I have seen this particular tangent come up again and again.

I would feel comfortable if there were no more provisions for semi-autos in the states, and I think many other people would be ok with that as well.
posted by jonbro at 2:56 PM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


The second link in the "bang bang" thread (The Gun Control We Deserve) was a conscience-searing read, because after reiterating that one of the primary conservative justifications for gun ownership (government overthrow) is pants-on-head folly, it then excortiated white liberal gun control advocates in a way I'd never seen before:
Given that today’s Aversive Minimalists include many white liberals whose primary concerns vis-à-vis “gun violence” more or less boil down to making high-profile rampage killings disappear from their newsfeeds, the possibility that they will embrace measures that gesture at solving that problem while doubling down on militarized policing, surveillance, and America’s overcrowded prisons is depressingly easy to imagine.
Some digging turned up this.

Among 20-29 year old black men, the firearm death rate was 90 per 100,000 of which 82% are intentional homicide and 14% are suicide. Among 20-29 year old white men, the firearm death rate was 20 per 100,000 of which 19% are intentional homicide and 77% are suicide.

Several thousand young black men are murdered every year in this country by 9mm handguns, and we sit here having a collective freak-out over scary-looking guns that kill several... dozen. I'm having a hard time viewing the broader debate over assault rifles, or calls to have them banned, as anything short of culture warfare and passive racism of the oh-well-they're-all-gang-bangers-anyway variety.

I personally believe that guns should be regulated in much the same fashion that cars are, although I hold little hope of the needle budging slightly in my lifetime, but the fact that anyone who feels strongly about gun control even mentions assault rifles at this point is a testament to the media's power to keep us all bickering over side issues that constitute, at best, a total distraction.
posted by Ryvar at 3:02 PM on June 15, 2016 [22 favorites]


jonbro: "I would feel comfortable if there were no more provisions for semi-autos in the states, and I think many other people would be ok with that as well."

It's a good honest definition that is easily interpreted (I can't think of any edge cases) and I think you are right that strong advocates of gun control could see that as a good compromise.
posted by Mitheral at 3:08 PM on June 15, 2016


And the Nirvana fallacy comes into effect. No gun policy will ever remove the threat of gun violence. In 2014, Australia, the bastion of the world of "take guns away" policy, had a siege at the Lindt cafe where the gunman used a fifty year old shotgun and twenty year old ammo, both of which predated the ban.


And? That one shooting, in which the gunman only had the opportunity to kill two people, was so unusual that it resulted in weeks of national mourning. Meanwhile the US has weekly mass shootings worse than the Lindt cafe incident. Hell, on the day of the Orlando massacre alone, 37 other people were murdered in mass shootings.

The threat of gun violence in Australia is far far lower in Australia than in the US, and that is because you can't just walk to the local shops and buy a gun, be it handgun, rifle or whatever.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:17 PM on June 15, 2016 [12 favorites]


Well, to be fair, the population of Australia (the 6th largest country in the world by area) is only 3 million more than the population of the New York metropolitan area. And they've always had a relatively low incidence of gun violence if I remember correctly.
posted by I-baLL at 3:20 PM on June 15, 2016


I also think that there should be a near total handgun ban (the exceptions that the uk has for muzzle loaders, starter pistols, and the like seem fair). I don't see either of those bans as things that will get bi-partisan support, but narrowing the language from assault to semi-auto is a good plan.

Watching how fast someone can reload on a straight pull bolt action makes me feel like it isn't going to do quite enough, but at least it will clear up the language a bit.
posted by jonbro at 3:20 PM on June 15, 2016


So why do we want to ban assault weapons? Serious question. Is it because we are sick of high profile mass shootings, and we want to go back to the way it was before when only poor minority males between the ages of 18-24 were silently being killed by mostly handguns? Banning assault weapons will have a negligible impact on total gun deaths as they only account for something like 6% of all gun deaths.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:47 PM on June 15, 2016


Mostly because "high profile mass shootings" are something we can get more-or-less sufficient agreement on to maybe impact that problem.

Getting folks to care about handgun suicide rates, just for example, is frequently an exercise in futility.
posted by Archelaus at 3:50 PM on June 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


And? That one shooting, in which the gunman only had the opportunity to kill two people, was so unusual that it resulted in weeks of national mourning. Meanwhile the US has weekly mass shootings worse than the Lindt cafe incident. Hell, on the day of the Orlando massacre alone, 37 other people were murdered in mass shootings.

Did you read the giant however? Or even the part about the nirvana fallacy? The point is we shouldn't forsake practical improvements in gun control just because one single measure on its own won't be perfect or may not even appreciably reduce gun deaths until combined with other reforms and changing attitudes of society.
posted by Talez at 3:51 PM on June 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


Well, to be fair, the population of Australia (the 6th largest country in the world by area) is only 3 million more than the population of the New York metropolitan area. And they've always had a relatively low incidence of gun violence if I remember correctly.

Population doesn't account for it. The most recent complete statistics I can find are from 2007, but in that year, Australia had a gun homicide rate of 0.14 per 100,000.

The US rate was 2.97 per 100,000.

Have we completely eliminated the risk? No, of course not, because there are legitimate uses for guns (farming and such), we allow guns for those uses, and that's how the Lindt cafe gunman likely got his old shotgun. But the risk is so low that - at least in cities, where the majority of the population live - Australians don't worry about gun violence on a day to day basis.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:54 PM on June 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


Like when people say "criminals will get guns if they're banned from owning them".

Do these people know how much a weapon is on the black market once they're banned? It's $15K for a semi-automatic rifle on the streets of Sydney. If a street criminal had 15 thousand fucking dollars they wouldn't be a street criminal.
posted by Talez at 3:54 PM on June 15, 2016 [22 favorites]


Getting folks to care about handgun suicide rates, just for example, is frequently an exercise in futility.

It's not that people don't care, it's that the political will to do anything that would curtail access to handguns doesn't exist, whereas restrictions on specific kinds of guns and features have been able to pass (at the federal level in the 1990s, at the state/municipal levels more recently.)

Anyone who cares about the problem is thus put by the NRA and their bought-and-paid-for legislators in the position of defending more modest legislation that only attacks a part of the problem, opening them to attacks that suggest they don't care about people of color, or about people who kill themselves with handguns. It's a simple calculation that 6% (or whatever) times a non-zero percent chance of passage will save more lives than the remaining 94% times a zero percent chance of passage.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:58 PM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


So why do we want to ban assault weapons? Serious question. Is it because we are sick of high profile mass shootings, and we want to go back to the way it was before when only poor minority males between the ages of 18-24 were silently being killed by mostly handguns? Banning assault weapons will have a negligible impact on total gun deaths as they only account for something like 6% of all gun deaths.

Putting aside the inaccurate characterization that the endgame is banning assault weapons, we could just as easily ask you about the reverse. If handguns are the major issue in gun deaths, especially amongst minorities (and they are on both counts), then why don't you want to ban them?
posted by zombieflanders at 3:58 PM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


You're asking people to either accept a legal definition -- at a time when people are suggesting that the law doesn't cover enough now -- or you're asking people to write a new legal definition before we can have a conversation about guns.

I'm not asking people to accept a legal definition, I'm saying the term only exists as a legal definition and so isn't a good term to use in a conversation about what sorts of weapons should be restricted. You will ultimately have to define it in some way or form. Like I said, defining it as a firearm that can kill lots of people in a short period of time is still a definition; it's not a legal one and it isn't using any special terminology, but it is still a definition around which a conversation can be had. But eventually, if the conversation is about implementing a ban on such a weapon, then the numbers for "lots" and "short period of time" will have to be defined.

If the conversation is about gun violence then we shouldn't use the term at all. Just use the word gun.
posted by linux at 3:58 PM on June 15, 2016


Of course, just using the word gun, when you talk about limiting guns, leads inevitably to the "you're just trying to take our guns away" counterargument.

Hence, using a catchall term for a more-or-less defined group of guns that are common in this type of shooting.

This whole thing is starting to feel like a derail, at this stage.
posted by Archelaus at 4:00 PM on June 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


Mostly because "high profile mass shootings" are something we can get more-or-less sufficient agreement on to maybe impact that problem.

Yeah, mostly this.

I mean, I'd be fine with heavy restrictions on semi-auto handguns as well. Or a restriction on removable magazines, too. Or even a more general restriction on sustained rate of fire: If you can fire more than X rounds in Y seconds, no go.

This whole thing is starting to feel like a derail, at this stage.

Which is more or less the official NRA approach to preventing gun legislation at this point. Just continually derail every conversation about gun control to prevent momentum from building behind any specific effort.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:03 PM on June 15, 2016 [11 favorites]


Did you read the giant however? Or even the part about the nirvana fallacy? The point is we shouldn't forsake practical improvements in gun control just because one single measure on its own won't be perfect or may not even appreciably reduce gun deaths until combined with other reforms and changing attitudes of society.

This is not for nothing. And per bonehead's comment above: Michael Zihauf-Bibeau shot a soldier and the rushed Canada's Parliament building with the weapon he could get his hands on: a lever-action rifle with a limited magazine capacity.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:11 PM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Of course, just using the word gun, when you talk about limiting guns, leads inevitably to the "you're just trying to take our guns away" counterargument.
That depends on the participants. I don't think any of the gun advocates in this particular conversation would jump to that conclusion. I wouldn't, at least.

The problem here is that assault weapon has too much baggage to be used as a catch-all. It has legal definitions that vary depending on the laws specific to where you live. It has gun violence allusions for gun control advocates that invoke a visceral response. And gun advocates don't use it at all unless they complain about the legal definition of their particular residence . There's enough baggage here to make it pretty meaningless in a discussion so let's just not and stick to calling them guns.
posted by linux at 4:25 PM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Putting aside the inaccurate characterization that the endgame is banning assault weapons

I don't really think that there is an "endgame" in this thread. I was just responding to people who think we should ban assault weapons.

If handguns are the major issue in gun deaths, especially amongst minorities (and they are on both counts), then why don't you want to ban them?

Because that would be ruled unconstitutional. Realistically, we should implement background checks at the federal level. It's never gonna happen, though, because the way the issue is being used by both sides as a wedge issue. This precludes any rational and reasoned debate on the issue as evidenced by this thread and pretty much any conversation that anyone is having on the issue at the moment.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:26 PM on June 15, 2016


Let's just make a damn point here: The Lindt cafe seige was not a mass shooting. It was a criminal act carried out by a man with a history of mental instability in which the suspect is believed to have shot and killed one person. The other fatality was the victim of an apparent ricochet from a police weapon. ALL of the injuries from police fire. Invoking the incident as proof that Australia's gun control laws have failed is disingenuous and throughly disrespectful to those victims, and to the victims of the literally hundreds of mass shootings that have occurred in the US since 2014.

IT DOES NOT EVEN COMPARE.

Hunters and target shooters, often invoked as the innocent sports-loving losers of gun control, are perfectly capable of shooting only one thing at a time with only one bullet at a time. I am almost certain that given the hilariously inflated prices for mobility aids, prosthetics, and other devices for the disabled, there would be a profit motive for calming surgical pink loading devices. There is no reason for civilian ownership of weapons that fire and reload themselves in any way. Protection, self-defence, security: all these things boil down to shooting at other human beings.

Oh no! The guns in circulation are too powerful! Here's a solution: Confiscate guns.

Oh no! Criminals have guns! WHAT AN UNEXPECTED SHOCK! Here's a solution: Confiscate guns!

Oh no! There are thousands of unregistered guns in circulation! Here's a solution: Confiscate guns!

Oh no! The legally-permitted psychos who own more guns than they can usefully hold in their hands are shooting at government officials! Here's a solution: Confiscate their goddamn guns and put the fuckers in jail.

Perhaps, instead of jailing black youths for maliciously drinking Slurpees in front of officers on a really hot day or whatever, you could jail people who obtain guns by illegal methods? And perhaps, you could actually make methods of gun ownership illegal?

And seriously, if your reason for not doing that is that gun owners have guns and will shoot people who try to take away their guns, aren't you kind of admitting there's actually a really serious problem?
posted by prismatic7 at 4:35 PM on June 15, 2016 [19 favorites]


If handguns are the major issue in gun deaths, especially amongst minorities (and they are on both counts), then why don't you want to ban them?

For what it's worth, as a pro-gun liberal (or, as my family would have it, a pro-gun-fire-breathing-socialist) - handguns are the only category of firearm I feel would benefit from additional restrictions, were it possible.

Why? Concealment. If some asshole is openly carrying an AR-15, and I see them, I can calmly leave or attempt to run away as the situation warrants. With handguns I have no idea whether or not the guy next to me is going to take my comment about gay marriage/trans rights personally and explode into a pile of suddenly-armed, bigoted rage. A society with easy access to concealed weapons knows no peace of mind and sees thousands of its most disenfranchised dead every year.

But given over a hundred million handguns in circulation a total ban tomorrow wouldn't change the situation one iota before I die. What might is shifting focus away from the What and towards the Who: primarily, mandatory safety training that doubles as de facto mental health screening. I don't believe anybody like me should have access to guns outside supervised ranges, for instance, but as someone who grew up where police response time averaged well over 20 minutes, I believe that other, more stable people absolutely should if they so choose. Hence my position above that firearms should be regulated in much the same way that cars are.
posted by Ryvar at 4:40 PM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Because that would be ruled unconstitutional.

And yet it wasn't ruled unconstitutional until 2008, in a 5-4 decision. The author of the decision is, as we all know, dead. So, hypothetically (as much as I hate hypotheticals), if Sarah Brady was appointed to SCOTUS and Heller was overturned, what would your opposition be?

Realistically, we should implement background checks at the federal level. It's never gonna happen, though, because the way the issue is being used by both sides as a wedge issue. This precludes any rational and reasoned debate on the issue as evidenced by this thread and pretty much any conversation that anyone is having on the issue at the moment.

Ah, yes, the "both sides are equally at fault" fallacy. Never mind that background checks have huge support not just among the public at large, or even gun owners as a whole, but even by NRA members. The problem here isn't really either side, it's an unrepresentative government in the legislature and judiciary, and those problems vis-a-vis background checks are almost entirely one-sided.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:42 PM on June 15, 2016 [13 favorites]


AElfwine Evenstar: "So why do we want to ban assault weapons?"

An "assault weapon" ban lets both sides get something. Politicians get to tell control advocates that they've done something. Gun control advocates see it as a good first step. Politicians get to tell weapon users and enthusiasts that they limited a gun ban to weapons with mostly cosmetic markers allowing weapons without those markers but functionally identical (EG: the Ruger Ranch Rifle instead of an AR-15). And anti control politicians get to solicit donations to push back regulations. Pro control politicians get to solicit funds to extend the definition of assault weapon. And there will be constant opportunity for for the 24 hour news cycle to debate what constitutes an assault weapon (and to incorrectly refer to weapons that don't meet the legal definition as an assault weapons). Because the US hasn't confiscated weapons when new items are banned it also means good business for manufacturers as people rush to buy weapons and magazines that might or are being banned.

As a bonus because the definition of an assault weapon runs a 100 pages practically everyone is confused about what they are banning. Perfect for hyperbolic sound bites from both sides to get the bases riled up.
posted by Mitheral at 5:00 PM on June 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


Great post, thanks zarc.

Has anyone here seen an article with stats (as much as they can even be compiled) on the claim that guns act as a deterrent to crime (in general, not in the "good guy with a gun" way)? I think this is pretty impossible to measure, other than at a really high level (i.e. the US doesn't have lower crime rates than any other similar nation), but I was talking to a friend recently who made this claim and while I wanted to roundly refute it (because I don't think it's true), I couldn't recall ever having read anything that addresses this specifically.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:03 PM on June 15, 2016


Banning semi-automatics would be difficult. For one, there are many small caliber arms that are semi-automatic that are not capable of the sort of carnage the same exact firearm but chambered for a larger caliber can cause. The AR-15 platform can come in .22LR, which can be lethal but would not in any way be capable of the violence an AR-15 in .223/5.56 can cause. There are bird rifles that are semi-automatic. Some have tube magazines where to reload you would need to put the rifle down, unscrew a cap, and insert a round one by one into the tube.

In the bang bang thread there was a discussion about restrictions based on the capability of the ammunition coupled with the speed in which that capability can be delivered. A cartridge-centric definition. Let's say you define an assault rifle on a federal level as "a semi-automatic rifle chambered for a cartridge whose maximum muzzle energy is greater than 1,000 ft-lbs".

You would consequently also have to define the maximum muzzle energy for each type of ammunition and ban any ammunition that exceed it.

Any firearm chambered for a cartridge with high muzzle energy must therefore be a manual action firearm. This gets you legal hunting rifles that must have sufficient energy to take down an animal and not have them run away and bleed to death in pain. It also means that the only AR-15 you can legally own is one chambered in .22LR.

Can an AR-15 chambered in .22lR still kill? Yes. But at that point shot placement becomes necessary. You can't just shoot it as fast as you can and a lot of people may not even notice they've been hit while running away full of adrenaline -- and people can totally bum rush you, get hit, not stumble or die, and still take you down.

I see more sense in determining the killing capacity of a weapon based on the ammunition (the actual thing projectile sitting in front of propellant that does the physical killing) and on the weapon's speed in delivering that killing capacity as a solid definition for "assault weapon" over the pages and pages of confusing flowcharts and lists that the states and the federal government use for their laws.

I think that a number of gun owners would be okay with that since this means they can get whatever they would like in whatever configuration, go nuts on configuring and customizing or whatever, as long as what they possess cannot use high power ammunition with the speed of their trigger finger.

That it keeps the legal definition simple also means it is easy to comprehend and is future-proof: manufacturers can't find workarounds to the physics of bullet energy and the mechanism of automatic loading.
posted by linux at 5:24 PM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Of course, just using the word gun, when you talk about limiting guns, leads inevitably to the "you're just trying to take our guns away" counterargument.

Hence, using a catchall term for a more-or-less defined group of guns that are common in this type of shooting.

This whole thing is starting to feel like a derail, at this stage.


Exactly. It's hard to convince somebody you are operating in good faith if you are playing a game of terminological Calvinball.
posted by jonp72 at 5:26 PM on June 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


Couple of notes.

--Each time gun violence happens, there are many discussions about restrictions, legislation, and other "solutions." Not much happens...except a giant rush on gun sales because people fear sales will be restricted or certain weapons banned (and I surmise that's how the AR15 type weapons got such large sales).

--Doesn't the 2nd Amendment start with the introductory clause, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,...?" With Air Force, Marines, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, National Guard, police, sheriffs, highway patrol, and many other "well regulated" militias now that didn't exist when the amendment was written, I'd say our free State is secure at this point.

--In the 1970s, All in the Family was a popular show and I remember Archie Bunker stating that he knew how to solve the airplane hijacking problem. "Just give every passenger a gun as they get on the plane. No one would dare try anything if everyone was armed!" Everyone laughed that was so absurd. But nowadays, that seems to be exactly a solution being offered....

::sigh::
posted by CrowGoat at 5:35 PM on June 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


USA Today, Behind the Bloodshed: The Untold Story of America's Mass Killings:
USA TODAY examined FBI data -- which defines a mass killing as four or more victims -- as well as local police records and media reports to understand mass killings in America. They happen far more often than the government reports, and the circumstances of those killings -- the people who commit them, the weapons they use and the forces that motivate them -- are far more predictable than many might think.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:43 PM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


AElfwine Evenstar: "Yes, but regurgitating wedge issue platitudes fed to you by the mass media isn't going to get us any closer to addressing the social issues which lead to gun violence."

Huh, didn't realize gun nuts are a social issue
posted by notsnot at 5:47 PM on June 15, 2016


--Doesn't the 2nd Amendment start with the introductory clause, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,...?" With Air Force, Marines, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, National Guard, police, sheriffs, highway patrol, and many other "well regulated" militias now that didn't exist when the amendment was written, I'd say our free State is secure at this point.

This is a fine point, but the Supreme Court flipped a while ago and decided that yes, the second amendment does mean that individuals have a right to have guns. Sucks perhaps, but that’s where we are. If the Court flips again, of course, the rules would change.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:49 PM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter 2016: Sucks perhaps, but that’s where we are.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:51 PM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Huh, didn't realize gun nuts are a social issue

I mean... model train enthusiasts for example aren't responsible for a lot of deaths, and that seems like a reasonable line to draw.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 6:06 PM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


[This thread has been going really really well for a gun control thread. Please make every effort not to take cheap shots at each other and to maintain the tone y'all have set so far! If your temper is getting the better of you, take a walk, get some air, let someone else make your points.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:17 PM on June 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


(and I surmise that's how the AR15 type weapons got such large sales).

The AR-15 has a lot going for it. Most importantly it's the civilian-legal version of the M4/M16 family that all US soldiers were trained on and issued, so universal veteran familiarity for the last forty years means it begins with a huge advantage. The standard caliber (.223, or 5.56x45mm for the civilized world) is perfect for pest control, where pests = coyotes, foxes, and prairie dogs (which are actually a serious, major threat for livestock farming). It's extremely high-velocity which makes for a flat trajectory at middling ranges (75-150 meters), and has very low recoil for a rifle round. It was originally designed to wound - not necessarily kill* - humans and is not a good choice for hunting deer (which have roughly equal lethality requirements), but for rural varmint control it's pretty exceptional and ammo aside the semi-automatic aspect of the weapon itself means quick follow-up shots when you miss.

Beyond that, virtually all the popular brands these days are highly modular and interchangeable - even someone who has never touched a gun before can easily swap out the parts necessary to go from California Legal to Nightmarish Hollywood Death Machine in an hour (which is, in the context of gun control, Not Great). This is also true of many other similar weapons, but their lower relative popularity means the parts are much more difficult/expensive to source.

In the last decade there is absolutely an emerging outlaw/piss-off-the-libruls thing going on, but the snowball started large and mostly on merits.

An AR-15 can fire, what, 700 rounds per minute?

With an illegal modification to full-auto...well, still no, because you'd have to change magazines, but in theory yes. In practice: 60 rounds per minute is reasonable.

*5.56mm is a product of the Vietnam War era's dawning realization that logistically speaking a wounded enemy soldier costs the other side far more than a dead enemy soldier. It can be quite lethal, obviously, but was the result of a conscious decision to instead focus on accuracy (flat trajectory/low recoil), low carrying weight/more ammunition available, and defeating kevlar vests (penetration = Kinetic Energy / Bullet cross-section, and KE = 0.5 x Mass x Velocity-squared).
posted by Ryvar at 6:45 PM on June 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


A workable line of demarcation, I would think, is that the Second Amendment doesn't apply to a weapon if it allows you to kill people at a rate which would have required an artillery piece in the 18th century when it was written.

That would allow the Constitution to remain unaltered (thus lowering the bar for achieving legislative progress, as discussed further up the thread) but dispense with quibbling over what the word "assault" means, while still apparently taking care of ridgerunner's cases because multi-shot pepper-box revolvers existed as hand weapons in 1791.

(I realize that this would only be a start on addressing gun violence, but we have to start somewhere.)
posted by XMLicious at 6:50 PM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]




Putting aside the inaccurate characterization that the endgame is banning assault weapons, we could just as easily ask you about the reverse. If handguns are the major issue in gun deaths, especially amongst minorities (and they are on both counts), then why don't you want to ban them?

Surely there is a solution to the highly concentrated (geographically as well as socially) violence you describe other than national disarmament? That seems like a rather blunt tool for such a particular problem.

I don't think it should be all that hard to get votes for linking the no-fly list to a no-gun list, since it appears to be mostly minorities and foreigners on the no fly list to begin with. I can't see it having any impact, but it won't do much harm either.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:34 PM on June 15, 2016


Surely there is a solution to the highly concentrated (geographically as well as socially) violence you describe other than national disarmament? That seems like a rather blunt tool for such a particular problem.

We tried banning the guns in a more fine-grained fashion at the state/municipal levels, but that's been ruled unconstitutional. So we try to pass incremental laws to ban certain features, restrict guns in certain buildings, etc. but then the gun lobby fights those in court.

This isn't about gun control proponents using a blunt instrument by choice, it's about the finer instruments being taken away from them.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:46 PM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


How many pro-gun control people on here are for more restrictions and/or stricter background checks, etc. and how many are for a total ban?

Passionately pro-gun control and also passionate defender of the 2nd amendment. There are lots of legitimate reasons to own weapons. Which doesn't mean we can't have reasonable restrictions, licensing, waiting periods, storage requirements, limits on magazine capacity, and bans on types of weapons no needed for hunting, agriculture, and home security.

I've been having this argument for days and I'm absolutely fed up with the "this kind of ban won't do any good", "this legislation is flawed", etc etc excuses why we shouldn't do anything.

So here we go. EVEN IF any piece of legislation did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to remove a single gun or prevent a single instance of violence from occurring, it would still be an accomplishment. If there's anything we should have learned from the playbook of the right, it's the fact that small pieces of seemingly innocuous legislation increase public acceptance of larger and more invasive later legislation. There's this idea right now that any gun regulations are unconstitutional, which is PATENTLY FALSE. That meme needs to be defeated. Then maybe we can have a rational conversation about what is most effective.
posted by threeturtles at 8:12 PM on June 15, 2016 [16 favorites]


As a Canadian, I just want to throw this out there: the vomiting of product onto the market by US gun makers and retailers makes my country less safe.

Because, well, look, we'd like to keep a relatively open border with the US. You're our biggest trade partner, and you're goddamn nice people. Moreover, we rely on you for trade. But fuck me - we have pretty sane gun control up here - the operative word being "control." And yeah, of course legally-owned guns here get used for the wrong purpose. But illegal guns come over the border.

But also: here, that "control" means: If your toddler was able to pick up a gun and shoot you, or anyone else, you would be criminally charged with unsafe storage of a firearm. That's a pretty reasonable proposition. It's a proposition that doesn't seem to apply in a whole lot of US jurisdictions.

I mean, even a goddamn waiting period. But whatever.

It's so weird living next to this locked, cocked, and ready-to-rock shitshow.

Even modest gun control could prevent a few deaths.

This isn't about "gun confiscation." It's about "Have you lost your minds?"
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:13 PM on June 15, 2016 [29 favorites]


Y'all, if you ain't watching the filibuster you're missing out.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:26 PM on June 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'd personally be fine with a total ban and confiscation, but I'd also be fine with trying out licensing/registration/insurance and seeing how that goes, too. Basically, the thing I'm not fine with is continuing as we are and piling up more bodies. We've done that a while now, and it clearly isn't fixing the problem.

I'm definitely with mandolin conspiracy in that I think the "toddler picking up a gun and shooting someone" thing -ought- to result in charges. (That it doesn't astounds and infuriates me, to be honest).
posted by Archelaus at 8:34 PM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


There's enough baggage here to make it pretty meaningless in a discussion so let's just not and stick to calling them guns.

There was a good interview on CBC tonight with the head of the (I think) Canadian Sports Shooting Association, who are supporting a petition to lift some/all restrictions on "assault rifles" in Canada. There was some discussion about the definitions of assault rifles etc., but when the interviewer asked the CSSA guy if he owned a weapon like that he said, "But I don't own any weapons - I own firearms. And I wouldn't admit publicly that I own an AR-15 style firearm." These are people for whom every discussion is a semantic shooting gallery.
posted by sneebler at 8:36 PM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: "the filibuster you're missing out."

Can they rotate speakers out to maintain the filibuster or is this a human endurance limited thing?
posted by Mitheral at 8:37 PM on June 15, 2016


They rotate people "asking questions," which is really speaking for ~30 minute chunks, but it requires Chris Murphy to be there; they're all technically using his floor time. Every now and then they actually ask a question, and he answers. Sometimes he tells his son to go to bed.
posted by miguelcervantes at 8:41 PM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


The filibustering Senator has to remain on the floor of the Senate and usually can't take pee breaks, but his ally Senators can ask him questions, and the questions can take hours on end, to at least give the lead filibusterer a break from speaking.

I think they're also only allowed to eat hard candy and no real food.

If you're filibustering on the floor (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-style) it won't actually stop the legislation, just draw attention to it and delay it for a couple of days. (The "procedural" filibusters that prevent legislation from coming to the floor by demanding cloture is what can actually stop legislation.) So don't get too hopeful, but it's always pretty thrilling to see old-style talking filibusters.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:44 PM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


And unlike some filibusters, they're not reading Dr Seuss or reciting the phone book.

It's story after story after story after story about gun violence in this country, intersectionality, and the silence coming from the other side of the chamber.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:55 PM on June 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


These improvised speeches are as impressive as they are moving. Murphy and Booker, in particular, are really amazing at this. Tough to listen to at 2am, but profoundly moving. No effects on Republicans, of course, but sometimes that isn't the purpose.
posted by chortly at 11:12 PM on June 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


"Tough to listen to," I mean, in the sense that I tend to tear up more easily at 2am, and Murphy finished with a pretty profound tug at all the heartstrings at the end there, before a final mild "I yield the floor" and walking off. Worth rewatching if you can take it, though somehow that final "I yield the floor" had almost as strong an effect just by itself after having the video playing in the background for over 12 hours.
posted by chortly at 12:13 AM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


It occurs to me that of course mass-shooters use legally-acquired guns. Apart from whatever is driving their desire to kill a bunch of people, they're generally 'normal' mostly-regular behaving citizens who have every 'right' to bear arms. Criminals on the other hand, may have illegal weapons, but are much more likely to be just after getting their 'payday', with actual use of weapons being secondary, if not undesirable.
Sorry if that's obvious or rambly - just trying to think this shit through. (will go read post now.)
posted by quinndexter at 2:01 AM on June 16, 2016


quinndexter: I think you're confusing mass shooters with spree killers. Most spree killers in the US are mass shooters but I don't think most mass shooters are spree killers. A mass shooting is an incident of gun violence where at least 4 people are injured or killed. So a gang doing a drive-by and something like the Orlando shooting are both considered to be "mass shootings" since that's what they are.

Here's a site that keeps track of them:

http://www.shootingtracker.com/
posted by I-baLL at 3:49 AM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


"Population doesn't account for it. The most recent complete statistics I can find are from 2007, but in that year, Australia had a gun homicide rate of 0.14 per 100,000.

The US rate was 2.97 per 100,000.
"

Yeah. Though I do tend to look at the overall homicide rate as opposed to just the gun homicide rate. Either way, pre-ban Australia's statistics followed the same pattern (were massively lower than the US's rate):

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/VC.IHR.PSRC.P5
posted by I-baLL at 3:53 AM on June 16, 2016


small pieces of seemingly innocuous legislation increase public acceptance of larger and more invasive later legislation.

I guess that's why gun rights supporters oppose even seemingly innocuous legislation.
posted by jpe at 4:23 AM on June 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


A mass shooting is an incident of gun violence where at least 4 people are injured or killed. So a gang doing a drive-by and something like the Orlando shooting are both considered to be "mass shootings" since that's what they are.

That's a newer definition of "mass shooting" that has become prominent in the last year or two, I think as part of that study you link. Personally I find the conflation in the term of different kinds of incidents supremely unhelpful, but the study has gotten a lot of attention (in large part because no one else seems to be doing much to track the overall violence) and I wonder if their definition will end up sticking.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:49 AM on June 16, 2016


I'm all for confiscating guns. Now. Today. However: Doing so would be the thing that proves a militia's needs to have guns. Trying to take the guns from those that clearly adore them would be the catalyst for a violent revolution.
posted by archimago at 6:14 AM on June 16, 2016




"Britain's own white terrorists coming out of the woodwork."

That's very weird phrasing. What does "white" mean in this context and has a description of the attacker been released?
posted by I-baLL at 6:39 AM on June 16, 2016


Britain First is a far-right fringe political party in the UK whose politics are anti-Islamic and anti-immigration. (I won't link to them, but they're easy to find if you're curious.) Whether the shooter is affiliated in any way or if the statement is just coincidence remains to be seen.
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:46 AM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Today’s Filibuster Mentioned Instagram’s Guns for Sale. Then #Gunsforsale Disappeared.
But then, in real time, the results began to shift for people throughout the WIRED office. The number of results dwindled with subsequent searches, then disappeared entirely before reappearing a short time later with the addendum “Recent posts from #gunsforsale are currently hidden because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram’s community guidelines.” Instagram, and its parent company Facebook, didn’t say so, but it appeared that Markey illuminated an unintended use of the platform and the company was struggling to keep it in check.
posted by zakur at 6:51 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


small pieces of seemingly innocuous legislation increase public acceptance of larger and more invasive later legislation.

I guess that's why gun rights supporters oppose even seemingly innocuous legislation.


Yes. To make threeturtles' point less subtle: innocuous legislation and reasonable restrictions reduced abortion from "legal everywhere" to "effectively unobtainable and practically illegal across wide swaths of America". The NRA saw the playbook run to a T by their fellow travelers on the Right, and they know exactly how well it can work.
posted by Etrigan at 6:55 AM on June 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Interestingly, the tweet with the claim that the gunman yelled "Britain First!" during the shooting has been removed from the Guardian's live blog and has been replaced with this:

This post has been removed while the information it contained is verified.
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:56 AM on June 16, 2016



Yes. To make threeturtles' point less subtle: innocuous legislation and reasonable restrictions reduced abortion from "legal everywhere" to "effectively unobtainable and practically illegal across wide swaths of America". The NRA saw the playbook run to a T by their fellow travelers on the Right, and they know exactly how well it can work.


As long as laws focus on restriction and those restrictions stay obsessed with cosmetics rather than killing power over time the effort is a non-starter for gun proponents as it will be seen as a ban by degrees just like with abortion.

It's happening right now in California with a Dem supermajority passing bills like no tomorrow (Brown vetoes a lot of it but if Newsom succeeds him....). California dealers cannot sell any new semi-automatic handguns because they lack a requirement that does not exist. It is effectively a ban on handguns as over time manufacturers stop making the old models. Yet law enforcement is exempt. You might think this a good thing but I think it may be an overreach that could end up at the Supreme Court and
posted by linux at 7:33 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


and = . up there.
posted by linux at 7:49 AM on June 16, 2016


As long as laws focus on restriction and those restrictions stay obsessed with cosmetics rather than killing power over time the effort is a non-starter for gun proponents as it will be seen as a ban by degrees just like with abortion.

I'm sorry, do you think that laws focusing on killing power over time won't be seen as (the beginning of) a ban by degrees?
posted by Etrigan at 7:57 AM on June 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


I think it classifies weapons in easier to understand groups. You can have an AR-15, and you can have all the configuration options from stocks to grips to whatever, as long as it is either a manual action receiver or it is semi-auto chambered for a low power cartridge.

When the laws focus on the visuals, like in California where an AR with a pistol grip AND a foregrip is restricted but if you take off the foregrip it's not restricted, what do you accomplish? If you then try to ban ARs implicitly by adding a new restriction on a part, you can still have a legal AR if manufacturers work around that new restriction and if they cannot then you have an effective ban on what is claimed to be a legal firearm.

The gun part of a gun is a specific part. It is the part that recieves the ammunition and fires it. That's the actual gun. Focus on restrictions around the receiver (like where I posited you can ban all semi-automatic receivers that accept a particular cartridge type) and this is like saying you cannot sell alcohol of a certain proof.

Different categories of alcohol below the banned product become subject to licensing (beer and wine versus hard liquor) and you have effective regulation versus an outright ban (which did not work for alcohol and hasn't happened for drugs).

That's the goal, right? To prevent access to weapons that can be massively destructive?
posted by linux at 8:17 AM on June 16, 2016


Yes, thank you, I already understand what killing power over time is intended to mean, and why you are using it to differentiate from previous efforts that seemed more focused on cosmetics.

What I do not understand is why you think that "classify[ing] weapons in easier to understand groups" is going to lead to a reduction in the NRA's and gun-lovers' resistance to even the slightest restrictions on firearms ownership, maunfacture, or sale.
posted by Etrigan at 8:24 AM on June 16, 2016


Okay, maybe not your goal. It's my goal, though. I do not believe in bans. But I do believe a weapon like an AR chambered in 5.56 has no business being a consumer product.
posted by linux at 8:25 AM on June 16, 2016



What I do not understand is why you think that "classify[ing] weapons in easier to understand groups" is going to lead to a reduction in the NRA's and gun-lovers' resistance to even the slightest restrictions on firearms ownership, maunfacture, or sale.


It makes it hard for the NRA to defend. You can have a self-defense weapon and you can even have one in a largr caliber. But how can anyone justify a weapon designed to kill a lot so quickly? That is not self-defense.

Also, it makes the conversation clear about the goal. When laws focus on what looks dangerous versus whether it actually is dangerous you play into the NRA's hands. They can always find a loophole.

You can't find a loophole (much harder at least) around the physics of a projectile.
posted by linux at 8:30 AM on June 16, 2016


If you then try to ban ARs implicitly by adding a new restriction on a part, you can still have a legal AR if manufacturers work around that new restriction and if they cannot then you have an effective ban on what is claimed to be a legal firearm.

How does that logic not also apply to restrictions on receivers?

If you then try to ban ARs implicitly by adding a new restriction on a part, you can still have a legal AR if manufacturers work around that new restriction and if they cannot then you have an effective ban on what is claimed to be a legal firearm. The gun part of a gun is a specific part. It is the part that recieves the ammunition and fires it. That's the actual gun.

Right, if you're saying that the receiver is a part of a gun, and we're restricting a part of a gun -- the receiver part -- how is that not exactly 'having a legal AR if manufacturers work around the restriction, and if they cannot you have an effective ban on what is claimed to be a legal firearm?'

Genuinely asking -- I don't see how your argument fits one situation but not the other. I understand that you're saying that the receiver is a more important part, but that merely flips the restriction that needs to be worked around, not he underlying logic by which the NRA and others would argue that it's either an implicit ban or an ineffective piece of legislation.
posted by cjelli at 8:30 AM on June 16, 2016


From columnist Abby Norman: You Won't Care About Gun Control Until Someone You Love Dies.
posted by Kitteh at 8:35 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


When laws focus on what looks dangerous versus whether it actually is dangerous you play into the NRA's hands. They can always find a loophole.

And yet, they still fight those laws, even though the loopholes are so easy to find and they play into their hands. It's almost like they believe that any restriction may be used by the anti-gun forces to eventually enact effective bans on firearms across wide swaths of the country, just like was done with abortion.

Making it "harder to defend" is not a problem for an organization and its bought-and-paid-for legislators who pivot from "What a senseless tragedy" to "But we're not going to take the slightest step toward preventing the exact same thing from happening again anywhere ever" within hours.
posted by Etrigan at 8:35 AM on June 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


But how can anyone justify a weapon designed to kill a lot so quickly?
The exact same way they justify having weapons designed to kill a lot so quickly right now.

Ted Cruz: 2nd Amendment Is 'Ultimate Check Against Government Tyranny'

For much of the NRA-hardline people, having "a weapon designed to kill a lot so quickly" is the point, and any attempt to restrict or ban "a weapon designed to kill a lot so quickly" is an unconscionable attack on their inherent freedoms. They actually do want "a weapon designed to kill a lot so quickly," and state outright that this is the case.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:40 AM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Not a more important part. The important part. The receiver is the actual part considered a gun by law. Everything around it is just a part and if a gun is a platform like an AR these other parts can be swapped and customized and made to be just about anything. Our current laws focus on these bits rather than the actual part that is the gun. It allows gun lobbyists to dance around the issue and let them throw money at a smokescreen.

Simplify the statement and define assault weapon outside of law with a single sentence and you have a stronger message that many gun owners can get behind.

Another thought is that this can lead to an NRA member revolt resulting in either transforming it or causing a more moderate lobby to oppose it.
posted by linux at 8:44 AM on June 16, 2016


How do these people think that they're going to use small arms to fend off this imagined tyrannical government that presumably would be armed with tanks and drones and helicopter gunships and such?
posted by octothorpe at 8:49 AM on June 16, 2016


Assymetric warfare.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:53 AM on June 16, 2016


Simplify the statement and define assault weapon outside of law with a single sentence and you have a stronger message that many gun owners can get behind.

So you're saying that many gun owners who currently fight tooth and nail, and allow their most visible lobbying group to fight tooth and nail, against even cosmetic restrictions will somehow be more willing to allow functional restrictions.
posted by Etrigan at 8:57 AM on June 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


For much of the NRA-hardline people, having "a weapon designed to kill a lot so quickly" is the point

How do these people think that they're going to use small arms to fend off this imagined tyrannical government that presumably would be armed with tanks and drones and helicopter gunships and such?

So you're saying that many gun owners who currently fight tooth and nail, and allow their most visible lobbying group to fight tooth and nail, against even cosmetic restrictions will somehow be more willing to allow functional restrictions.

The majority of gun owners are not hard line and have no such fantasies and yes I do think gun owners are more willing to allow functional restrictions or at least are willing to listen to such proposals. The problem is right now, gun control bills obsess over the parts that are not a gun. To a gun owner these bills either do nothing useful or worse, nonsensically restrict things that cause problems that don't solve the issue for which the bill was intended. And yes, it means gun owners look at gun control advocates and think they're not making any sense if these are the bills they are promoting.

So if the NRA is there to fight these bills then the gun owner will side with the NRA. But the majority of gun owners see no option but to side with the crazies because the crazies are fighting crazy laws. This is where I think you can see a change in the conversation if gun control advocates get behind a practical proposal on how to limit certain firearms that makes sense to gun owners.

The majority of us are not hardliners. But we also can't get behind bills that don't address the problem statement.
posted by linux at 9:01 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


The problem is right now, gun control bills obsess over the parts that are not a gun.

You are either unaware of or willfully ignoring the historical record that shows many attempts at these more substantive bans being rebuffed. Only when public sentiment demands that pro-gun legislators do "something" do these far less effective compromise bills ever get a chance.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:04 AM on June 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Tony Dokoupil: Family of AR-15 Inventor Eugene Stoner: He Didn't Intend It for Civilians
"Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47," the Stoner family told NBC News late Wednesday. "He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events."
[...]
But their comments add unprecedented context to their father's creation, shedding new light on his intentions and adding firepower to the effort to ban weapons like the AR-15. The comments could also bolster a groundbreaking new lawsuit, which argues that the weapon is a tool of war — never intended for civilians.

Eugene Stoner would have agreed, his family said.

The ex-Marine and "avid sportsman, hunter and skeet shooter" never used his invention for sport. He also never kept it around the house for personal defense. In fact, he never even owned one.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:05 AM on June 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


The problem is right now, gun control bills obsess over the parts that are not a gun. To a gun owner these bills either do nothing useful or worse, nonsensically restrict things that cause problems that don't solve the issue for which the bill was intended. And yes, it means gun owners look at gun control advocates and think they're not making any sense if these are the bills they are promoting.

As has been noted several times in this and the other current thread, that argument simply does not bear up under scrutiny. Gun laws have focused on certain parts rather than others because more direct restrictions were opposed by the NRA and by gun owners. To posit that more direct restrictions would be supported by gun owners is to ignore all the prior attempts to do exactly that. More substantive restrictions and bans have been opposed because they were substantive, not because they were insufficiently substantive.
posted by cjelli at 9:06 AM on June 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


The problem is right now, gun control bills obsess over the parts that are not a gun.

The only one who is obsessed over parts of a gun seems to be you. The reason the laws are written this way isn't because law makers are stupid, which seems to be what you are implying. The reason they are written this way is because of the necessary compromises with the crazy gun lobby. They want ambiguous laws because that allows them the loopholes to avoid the rules.

So you may as well drop this whole derail about parts of guns. If we could pass better laws we would.
posted by JackFlash at 9:16 AM on June 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


This is where I think you can see a change in the conversation if gun control advocates get behind a practical proposal on how to limit certain firearms that makes sense to gun owners.

If gun owners, through the NRA or through congress or some other national organization, put forward a practical proposal for limiting firearms, gun control advocates will, I think, happily get behind it. The NRA can do that at any time! Gun owners could lobby their representatives! Some do! And yet, what guns has the NRA actually supported restricting in the last decade? What parts has the NRA said it would be okay to restrict or ban?
posted by cjelli at 9:21 AM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


The vast majority of gun owners and gun supporters I know do not support the NRA. In fact I can only think of one who does, and he's a senior member of the KKK, so...

Growing up where I did, I know a lot of good people who identify as Republican - I don't know any good people who currently support Trump, and to be perfectly frank my entire family is angry there wasn't a sane candidate for the evangelical voter this time 'round (my argument that Sanders had a lot in common with Jesus politically fell on deaf ears, of course).

The current situation for gun rights supporters is not substantially different. There's no serious group for people like linux who support ownership but not of semi-automatic rifles chambered in 5.56. There's no serious group for people like me who support ownership along current lines but with strict background checks against a unified database, mandatory licensing and safety courses taught by instructors trained to recognize signs of mental illness.

I'm aware of a few efforts along those lines - sometimes they pop up in my FB feed from other pro-gun leftists - but so far they're universally dead on arrival. It's like we're recapitulating the two-party system at the lobbying group level. I have no idea what I can do to change this, but if other people have some ideas I'm all ears.
posted by Ryvar at 9:26 AM on June 16, 2016 [3 favorites]




You are either unaware of or willfully ignoring the historical record that shows many attempts at these more substantive bans being rebuffed. Only when public sentiment demands that pro-gun legislators do "something" do these far less effective compromise bills ever get a chance.

As has been noted several times in this and the other current thread, that argument simply does not bear up under scrutiny. Gun laws have focused on certain parts rather than others because more direct restrictions were opposed by the NRA and by gun owners. To posit that more direct restrictions would be supported by gun owners is to ignore all the prior attempts to do exactly that. More substantive restrictions and bans have been opposed because they were substantive, not because they were insufficiently substantive.

The only one who is obsessed over parts of a gun seems to be you. The reason the laws are written this way isn't because law makers are stupid, which seems to be what you are implying. The reason they are written this way is because of the necessary compromises with the crazy gun lobby. They want ambiguous laws because that allows them the loopholes to avoid the rules.

So you may as well drop this whole derail about parts of guns. If we could pass better laws we would.


All this just sounds like the NRA has managed to steer the conversation their way, especially when you think most gun owners side with the NRA. They do not. You're saying that because we can't talk about pragmatic solutions then you're going to go for these impractical ones so you have something to call an achievement.

There are many gun owners out there who would like to have this conversation. Saying it is a derail sort of explains why said gun owners end up staying silent or supporting the opposite extreme. I'm frankly frustrated because I apparently cannot have this conversation because the NRA has already historically and currently neutered all of us from having this conversation.

If gun owners, through the NRA or through congress or some other national organization, put forward a practical proposal for limiting firearms, gun control advocates will, I think, happily get behind it. The NRA can do that at any time! Gun owners could lobby their representatives! Some do! And yet, what guns has the NRA actually supported restricting in the last decade? What parts has the NRA said it would be okay to restrict or ban?

I think this is happening slowly. NRA membership is down despite their effort to say otherwise. Other national organizations are gaining traction but the problem is they're busy fighting all the nonsense legislation. Maybe if we stopped throwing punches and get both gun control advocates and gun owners to have an actual conversation on gun violence in America without either side being dismissive about ideas, any ideas, to address it, we can come to an acceptable compromise.

It's like we're recapitulating the two-party system at the lobbying group level.
Here I am writing my response and Ryvar pretty much summed it up. We really are in this crazy two party either/or set up and there's just no place to have a conversation outside of it.
posted by linux at 9:42 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


The NRA can do that at any time!

Looks like the NRA supports Cornyn's terror watch list measure. The Feinstein bill would permit the AG to block a sale and allow the applicant to sue, while the Cornyn measure would require the AG to go to court to block a sale.

Feinstein and Cornyn are currently working on a compromise bill.
posted by jpe at 9:49 AM on June 16, 2016


You're saying that because we can't talk about pragmatic solutions then you're going to go for these impractical ones so you have something to call an achievement.

No, we're saying that we can't talk about pragmatic solutions for very specific reasons, so quit claiming that the impractical ones are what's keeping the pragmatic ones from being discussed.

Saying it is a derail sort of explains why said gun owners end up staying silent or supporting the opposite extreme.... Maybe if we stopped throwing punches...

Ah, the cry of the wounded Ally: "I totally support you, but you're being mean, so I'm going to support people that I claim to disagree with instead. Really, it's your fault that there's an extremist organization spending millions and millions of dollars to oppose you."

You are putting on a master class in Internet argumentation here. Pivoting, cherry-picking, goalpost-moving, victim-blaming... it's really quite breathtaking to see.
posted by Etrigan at 9:58 AM on June 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


Looks like the NRA supports Cornyn's terror watch list measure.
Anyone on a terror watchlist who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing. If an investigation uncovers evidence of terrorist activity or involvement, the government should be allowed to immediately go to court, block the sale, and arrest the terrorist.
Note that this is basically blaming the government for not already having investigated and arrested people who have actual terrorist activity or involvement.
posted by Etrigan at 10:00 AM on June 16, 2016


Note that this is basically blaming the government for not already having investigated and arrested people who have actual terrorist activity or involvement.

To the same extent the Feinstein bill does, which is based on the same basic criteria. The difference appears to be the timing of the due process.
posted by jpe at 10:05 AM on June 16, 2016


The Democrats' bill also allows secret evidence to serve as the basis of the denial of a constitutional right. It's not clear how Cornyn's bill would treat that.
posted by jpe at 10:06 AM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ah, the cry of the wounded Ally: "I totally support you, but you're being mean, so I'm going to support people that I claim to disagree with instead. Really, it's your fault that there's an extremist organization spending millions and millions of dollars to oppose you."

I don't think there's anything to be gained by adopting this tone, nor is it accurate. Nobody in this thread supports the NRA. Nobody in this thread thinks the current situation is acceptable. Roughly 35% of Americans are gun owners, and less than 1% (3% of gun owners) are NRA members. It might feel good to rage at that 3%, but I think moving the ball forward is more likely to happen if the other 97% had a voice, which is currently not the case.
posted by Ryvar at 10:22 AM on June 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Oh no! The guns in circulation are too powerful! Here's a solution: Confiscate guns.

Oh no! Criminals have guns! WHAT AN UNEXPECTED SHOCK! Here's a solution: Confiscate guns!

Oh no! There are thousands of unregistered guns in circulation! Here's a solution: Confiscate guns!


I understand this impulse--I really do--but the estimates of how many guns there are in private hands in America range from 270-310 million. Buybacks wouldn't get rid of more than 20% of these (still a huge number, of course.) So you've still got 80% of these guns out there. So, we confiscate them. We massively increase the security arm of the United States and send in ATF agents to take all the guns. How does that play out? Not well, I'd wager. At best we'd get a lot of people shot and killed. At worst we'd start a low-boil civil war. And we most likely wouldn't get more than an additional 20% of the guns out there.

The problem of gun violence in this country is too big for any one solution. We need a well-designed multi-pronged approach that addresses all of the many facets of gun violence in this country, and that will take decades. That doesn't mean we shouldn't start, of course. A good way to begin would be to get a bloc of gun control single-issue voters, the same way that gun advocates do. Of course, even then, the Republicans have the House locked up for a generation.
posted by Automocar at 10:22 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Etrigan, I think that is an extremely uncharitable reading of linux's comments. He is saying - and I agree - that cosmetic measures banning some guns because of their appearance will lose the support of more moderate gun owners while accomplishing nothing. Whatever you or I or linux think about gun ownership, meaningful gun control can't be accomplished without majority support from gun owners. If you want to ban assault weapons, you have to come up with a useful definition of what it means to be an assault weapon. And, again, like linux said, the only part of a gun that really matters is the part that fires bullets. Bayonet lugs, bullpup stocks, matte black finish - none of that stuff actually makes a difference in the lethality or effectiveness of a gun.

When gun control advocates propose banning "assault weapons", this plays right into the hands of the NRA, which gets to tell moderate gun owners "see, they'll ban this just because of how it looks! Your rights are in danger!", pushing them towards a more extreme viewpoint. I used to own guns, and frankly I found that a pretty compelling argument despite my disagreement with the NRA in general. There's no difference in lethality between a Ruger ranch rifle and an AR-15.

So, yes, the impractical solutions do negatively affect the ability to propose practical solutions.

Ah, the cry of the wounded Ally: "I totally support you, but you're being mean, so I'm going to support people that I claim to disagree with instead. Really, it's your fault that there's an extremist organization spending millions and millions of dollars to oppose you."

I think this is an accurate descriptive statement for a large percentage of gun owners, regardless of whether linux falls into that category or not (I suspect he doesn't). Personally, I agree with his statement, and I definitely want to see gun control. At this point, I am less concerned about the Second Amendment than I am about how easy it is for my fellow citizens to kill me on a whim. But if you honestly don't think the NRA and its ilk capitalize on this sort of thing, you're dead wrong.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:29 AM on June 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


No, we're saying that we can't talk about pragmatic solutions for very specific reasons, so quit claiming that the impractical ones are what's keeping the pragmatic ones from being discussed.

You are putting on a master class in Internet argumentation here. Pivoting, cherry-picking, goalpost-moving, victim-blaming... it's really quite breathtaking to see.

I guess I don't see it that way and I certainly don't think I did any of those things. When I was talking about gun parts and cartridge power I was trying to think of a way that would allow for the restriction of a certain class of firearms that was direct and pragmatic and can be agreed upon by the moderate members of both sides as a compromise.

I didn't want to go into the current and historical politics as I would rather think on just this part first then figure out how to get it into the larger conversation because the larger conversation is just that: too damn big.

Telling me I can't talk about it because politics is pretty frustrating.
posted by linux at 10:31 AM on June 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Nobody in this thread thinks the current situation is acceptable.

One person in this thread is, quite plainly, putting the blame for the current situation on gun control proponents for not offering solutions that they have actually offered in vain, and refusing to assign any blame to their fellow gun control opponents, be they NRA members or not. I don't care if you aren't a member and never have been -- if you're playing an Unfrozen Caveman who is totally unaware of the many attempts at more substantive regulation that have been torpedoed by the NRA while the vaunted 97% of non-NRA gun owners looked on, you're part of the problem.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:31 AM on June 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


Roughly 35% of Americans are gun owners, and less than 1% (3% of gun owners) are NRA members. It might feel good to rage at that 3%, but I think moving the ball forward is more likely to happen if the other 97% had a voice, which is currently not the case.

You hear this 3% argument all the time, but it is a red herring. It doesn't matter what percentage of gun owners are NRA members. What matters is that most gun owners are one-issue voters who vote according to NRA recommendations.

Do you really think that Congress is afraid because of a tiny 3% of NRA gun owners, 1% of voters? No, it's the NRA's loyal 35% who scare them.
posted by JackFlash at 10:32 AM on June 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


When gun control advocates propose banning "assault weapons", this plays right into the hands of the NRA, which gets to tell moderate gun owners "see, they'll ban this just because of how it looks! Your rights are in danger!", pushing them towards a more extreme viewpoint. I used to own guns, and frankly I found that a pretty compelling argument despite my disagreement with the NRA in general.

What rights were in danger that you were compelled to defend? Because I read that as "Your rights [to any guns whatsoever] are in danger", which is a slippery slope argument, and it's the one that the NRA uses when the most trivial functional restrictions are proposed.
posted by Etrigan at 10:37 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


When I was talking about gun parts and cartridge power I was trying to think of a way that would allow for the restriction of a certain class of firearms that was direct and pragmatic and can be agreed upon by the moderate members of both sides as a compromise....I didn't want to go into the current and historical politics...Telling me I can't talk about it because politics is pretty frustrating.

Saying that your proposal is something that 'moderate members of both sides...[can compromise] on' is necessarily getting into the politics. They are not separable discussions.

I agree that this is frustrating (and I would stress: for both sides), but that politics is frustrating does not mean that it can be ignored.

No one is telling you you can't talk about it. But it's unreasonable to bring up a technical issue with an inherently political component, and then claim that a political response to that technical issue is an inappropriate response.
posted by cjelli at 10:42 AM on June 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


Do you really think that Congress is afraid because of a tiny 3% of NRA gun owners, 1% of voters? No, it's the NRA's loyal 35% who scare them.

People are never this simple, not even those who culturally pride themselves on being "salt of the earth" types. When I go home for Christmas, I'm surrounded by people who are marginally more likely to vote for a candidate who vows to fight attempts to take guns out of private hands. Those same people are way more concerned with whether or not said candidate pays lip service to being a (Protestant) Christian - they will vote for a gun-hating Evangelical over a gun-supporting Atheist (or anything else), unless that Evangelical were also pro-Choice (extremely rare, but they exist).

My point is: genuine single-issue supporters for any cause are rarer than active NRA members. The overwhelming majority of individuals are a complex matrix of semi-overlapping causes & beliefs to which they assign wildly varying priority rankings.

What is happening in Congress is that representatives look at the Gallup polls on guns and see 44% support for same-or-looser gun laws. Yet when a vote for stricter background checks fails despite 90% voter support, 39% of those polled report being relieved/happy at this outcome. This sort of schizophrenic response is precisely how the NRA wields such outsized influence, and even that is only made possible by their being the only game in town.

I believe that the majority of voters on either side lack effective representation, and the real solution is to break the two-party structure and mentality surrounding this issue.
posted by Ryvar at 11:06 AM on June 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


No one is telling you you can't talk about it. But it's unreasonable to bring up a technical issue with an inherently political component, and then claim that a political response to that technical issue is an inappropriate response.

I do not disagree. But when the reply (not yours) is that it is a derail and to stop talking about parts because if better laws could be passed we would, isn't that also unreasonable?
posted by linux at 11:07 AM on June 16, 2016


The overwhelming majority of individuals are a complex matrix of semi-overlapping causes & beliefs to which they assign wildly varying priority rankings.

They really aren't that wildly varying. The vast majority of people care about one or two issues, pick a side because of those issues, and then align themselves on all the other issues with that side. So instead of a complex matrix of Issues A-J with Priorities 1-10 where there are 3.6 million possible alignments, you see Bob Voter with "Issue A: Priority 1; Issue B: Priority 2; Issues C-J: Priority 10" where there's really just, like six common alignments that 90-plus percent of people fit into. The GOP spends most of its political capital wooing three of those (taxes, guns, religion), the Dems have three of them (social services, gun control, equality), and some of the remaining people find themselves as Green or Libertarian.
posted by Etrigan at 11:20 AM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


What rights were in danger that you were compelled to defend?

The Bill of Rights guarantees us all several rights, but those guarantees are balanced against the rights of others. They can be limited, but when a limitation is proposed it makes sense for anyone who values those rights to see whether that limitation actually protects the rights of others in any way. If it doesn't, what's the point of the limitation?

The simple fact is, any magazine-fed semiautomatic rifle that fires a 5.56 round is in the same threat category as any other. Any one of these is just as lethal as another. If someone proposes a law that would ban one but not another, what's the point of that limitation? What does it actually accomplish? If someone can't buy an AR-15 but can buy a Ruger ranch rifle instead, what is the benefit to society?

I used to live in Maryland, and this is what "gun control" looks like in Maryland. Some of these rifles are "regulated" and others aren't. I can go into a Wal-Mart or whatever and buy an unrestricted rifle like a Ruger ranch rifle. I can't buy an AR-15 at all, because it has a pistol grip etc etc. Of course, it's trivial to deck out a Ruger ranch rifle with a pistol grip etc using third-party parts (or by making your own) if you're into that. This is a great example of a law that does nothing but limit the rights of law-abiding citizens. Why should gun owners support it? Why should gun control advocates support it, for that matter? What does it do for us other than being "a win for our side"?

In the same vein, we have attempts to restrict the First Amendment all the time. Should we allow them regardless of whether they have any positive value to society?

which is a slippery slope argument

You don't need to make a "slippery slope argument" to assert that, if someone's willing to restrict your rights for no actual benefit to themselves, they don't give a damn about your rights. If you happen to care about those rights, you might object to that.

To end this long comment, here are the changes I'd like to see to restrict gun ownership:
- much more thorough and lengthy background checks for all purchases
- mandatory waiting periods
- licensing requirements
- insurance requirements
- periodic review of gun owners to verify that these requirements were still met
- limitations on direct resale permissions between private citizens

I think that some gun owners would agree with some of these things and others would not. I think they would be generally more effective than any "assault weapons" ban.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:20 AM on June 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


The vast majority of people care about one or two issues, pick a side because of those issues, and then align themselves on all the other issues with that side.

Not editing to clarify: The vast majority of people care about one or two issues enough to influence their vote, pick a side etc.
posted by Etrigan at 11:23 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


To end this long comment, here are the changes I'd like to see to restrict gun ownership:

None of which have anything to do with functional restrictions on firearms, which is what linux was talking about and which you claimed that moderate gun owners would totally support, while simultaneously being worried that your rights are being violated by cosmetic restrictions.

Nope. I still don't get it.
posted by Etrigan at 11:26 AM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


The simple fact is, any magazine-fed semiautomatic rifle that fires a 5.56 round is in the same threat category as any other. Any one of these is just as lethal as another. If someone proposes a law that would ban one but not another, what's the point of that limitation? What does it actually accomplish? If someone can’t buy an AR-15 but can buy a Ruger ranch rifle instead, what is the benefit to society?

I used to live in Maryland, and this is what “gun control” looks like in Maryland. Some of these rifles are “regulated” and others aren't. I can go into a Wal-Mart or whatever and buy an unrestricted rifle like a Ruger ranch rifle. I can’t buy an AR-15 at all, because it has a pistol grip etc etc. Of course, it’s trivial to deck out a Ruger ranch rifle with a pistol grip etc using third-party parts (or by making your own) if you're into that. This is a great example of a law that does nothing but limit the rights of law-abiding citizens. Why should gun owners support it? Why should gun control advocates support it, for that matter? What does it do for us other than being “a win for our side”?

I like this point, and wish that more comments were dedicated to it. Perhaps we should be banning Ranch Rifles as well.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:28 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I like this point, and wish that more comments were dedicated to it. Perhaps we should be banning Ranch Rifles as well.

Sure, but how would you define the ban? This is where I was going with banning semi-automatic receivers that accept high power catridges like .223/5.56.

Let's just work on the definition then we can put it up as a strawman for politics.
posted by linux at 11:36 AM on June 16, 2016


much more thorough and lengthy background checks for all purchases

from 2013:
A summary of the Manchin-Toomey gun proposal
Background Checks Could Lead To Gun Confiscation, Many Voters Tell Quinnipiac University National Poll; But 91 Percent Want Universal Gun Checks
Manchin-Toomey gun amendment fails - "The amendment, which would have required background checks on all commercial sales of guns, got the support of 54 members and was opposed by 46. It needed 60 votes to move forward."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:39 AM on June 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


"This is where I was going with banning semi-automatic receivers that accept high power catridges like .223/5.56."

Those are not considered to be high power cartridges. Those are considered to be low-to-medium power cartridges.
posted by I-baLL at 11:45 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


None of which have anything to do with functional restrictions on firearms,

No, they don't. I just thought it would be nice to add other restrictions that I think might accomplish something, and that I think might be supported to varying degrees by a majority of Americans.

which is what linux was talking about and which you claimed that moderate gun owners would totally support, while simultaneously being worried that your rights are being violated by cosmetic restrictions.

I don't think anyone claimed that any group would totally support anything, sorry. But I do think that there are plenty of gun owners who would accept functional restrictions that actually accomplished something. Most gun owners don't purchase magazine-fed 5.56 caliber semi-automatic rifles. I think many gun owners might agree with a ban on magazine-fed rifles for that caliber, for example. I know I would, but at this point I care less about the Second Amendment than I do about people shooting each other, so maybe I'm not the best example.

But if you "don't get" that people who do value their Second Amendment rights might not want to give up those rights without any benefit to society, there's not much of a conversation to be had here.

Perhaps we should be banning Ranch Rifles as well.

Yes, I think we should. I think we should remove detachable magazines from weapons of that caliber entirely. I may not be representative of the majority of gun owners on that point, but if you have to manually put bullets into a rifle after firing five or ten rounds, that's going to put a crimp on your ability to kill lots of people. I don't think limiting the size of detachable magazines is enough, because it's easy to change magazines with fairly minimal practice or training.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:45 AM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


None of which have anything to do with functional restrictions on firearms, which is what linux was talking about and which you claimed that moderate gun owners would totally support, while simultaneously being worried that your rights are being violated by cosmetic restrictions.

That's because, again, people aren't that simple and gun supporters are not unified on what constitutes acceptable limitations. linux has voiced support for potentially restricting specific aspects/types of weapons. I'm against that, but for most of the proposals me & my monkey listed; I disagree with the periodic review clause for Fourth Amendment reasons but would still make donations to a group based on that platform.

I should add that while I currently can own a firearm, I do not nor do I think that I should be allowed to for mental health reasons (severe emotional disorder).

There are a lot of different perspectives on this, but the only one that has a visible coherent identity is the bully shouting "UNACCEPTABLE" in response to everything.

the man of twists and turns: Yeah that was the specific example I was talking about with the 44% for equal-or-looser laws, 90% for stricter background checks, 39% relieved it failed. Sometimes people go beyond complicated and clear on into "frustrating".
posted by Ryvar at 11:46 AM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


To edit my own response a bit:

"I don't think limiting the size of detachable magazines is enough, because it's easy to change magazines with fairly minimal practice or training."

That said, I would personally vote for size limitations of ten rounds or less for detachable magazines. I just think it's less effective than not having detachable magazines at all.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:48 AM on June 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


"Most gun owners don't purchase magazine-fed 5.56 caliber semi-automatic rifles."

Those are probably the most common rifles sold in the US.
posted by I-baLL at 11:51 AM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


That's because, again, people aren't that simple and gun supporters are not unified on what constitutes acceptable limitations.... There are a lot of different perspectives on this, but the only one that has a visible coherent identity is the bully shouting "UNACCEPTABLE" in response to everything.

Because so many allegedly reasonable gun owners seem to turn around on acceptable limitations whenever one actually comes to the floor, saying things like "Well, I personally absolutely agree with this, but it's a violation of the Second Amendment, so whaddaya gonna do..." or "I'm pretty sure this isn't the first step toward confiscation, but I can't be completely sure...".

Shooting down the goalposts is even more efficient than moving them.
posted by Etrigan at 11:52 AM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Which would be solved by have three or four different lobbying groups. The NRA has the Lemongrabs covered, clearly, but at minimum there needs to be one for people who are willing to support moderate restrictions but not a total ban, and one for people who are unwilling to support restrictions on types but support substantially overhauling (or in some jurisdictions simply creating) the ownership-vetting process.
posted by Ryvar at 12:00 PM on June 16, 2016


Sure, but how would you define the ban? This is where I was going with banning semi-automatic receivers that accept high power catridges like .223/5.56.

I dunno, maybe? I don’t own a gun, and am simply aware that there is a thicket of technical details that I will never penetrate because I lack the inclination, and that gun control is going to really come from people who do have that inclination. The one thing I want is mandatory gun safes, but that has more to do with keeping people from shooting themselves casually rather than killing en masse, so isn’t really germane.

Which would be solved by have three or four different lobbying groups. The NRA has the Lemongrabs covered, clearly, but at minimum there needs to be one for people who are willing to support moderate restrictions but not a total ban, and one for people who are unwilling to support restrictions on types but support substantially overhauling (or in some jurisdictions simply creating) the ownership-vetting process.

There are other gun lobbying groups than the NRA, though, aren’t there? My impression was that they just don’t have the clout. But yeah - in many ways, “gun control” is going to be solved by people on the right -people who own guns but can’t stand the NRA- standing up and making changes.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:08 PM on June 16, 2016 [3 favorites]




Sigh.

I understand the urge, but it's totally counter-productive.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:16 PM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Those are probably the most common rifles sold in the US.

Sure, but that doesn't mean that most gun owners have one. And I think a lot of those who do, bought them because they thought they'd be restricted in the future ("Obama's comin' fer yer guns!"), or are gun collectors, or fervent 2A advocates/open carry nutcases, etc.

saying things like "Well, I personally absolutely agree with this, but it's a violation of the Second Amendment, so whaddaya gonna do..."

I think this is an actual problem, and I think that we won't really resolve this until the Second Amendment is itself amended. Like it or not, it does guarantee the right to keep and bear arms. But I think that many moderate gun owners are open to placing limitations on that right, if they see those limitations as effective. I think that the focus on cosmetic limitations hurts the gun control cause, because it demonstrates to gun owners that their rights could be limited without any actual benefit. It certainly doesn't help that cause, because even if we banned everything that looked like an AR-15 tomorrow, we'd still be selling unregulated guns that are equal in lethality.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:17 PM on June 16, 2016



Those are not considered to be high power cartridges. Those are considered to be low-to-medium power cartridges.

Upthread I proposed defining high power as any cartridge that produces 1000 or more ft-lb of muzzle energy. This includes 5.56.

I used 1000 as it is the posted minimuum requirement for hunting rounds.
posted by linux at 12:26 PM on June 16, 2016


When I say posted I meant what I have heard is the recommended minimum.

I don't hunt so I am not positive on that, but it seemed like a good number to start with.
posted by linux at 12:29 PM on June 16, 2016


I've heard many hunters be skeptical of "low power" rounds like the 5.56mm for going after larger game, preferring the older 7.62 kinds (and the like) for things like deer, let alone moose or elk. Clean kills, and so on.
posted by bonehead at 12:36 PM on June 16, 2016


That's why the restriction is on a semi-automatic receiver that accepts rounds capable of a certain level of energy.

Hunters can use manual action rifles chambered in those big power rounds.
posted by linux at 12:40 PM on June 16, 2016


Or put another way, I think a 5.56, while weak against big game, is not weak at all against the human body and so to me is high power.
posted by linux at 12:44 PM on June 16, 2016


Oh. Sorry. Misunderstood your nuance.

I still prefer Canada's solution, I have to say: semi-autos are (largely, not entirely) in a "restricted" class which can only be played with in the privacy of your own dwelling and/or behind closed doors at private clubs. Bolt/pump action long guns are mostly the weapons allowed out for hunting.
posted by bonehead at 12:56 PM on June 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


linux: it varies depending on both load and barrel length: muzzle energy is a function of the amount of time the force of expanding gas pushes the bullet, but diminishing returns comes into play. There's considerably greater range for hand-loaded rounds, naturally, which is a big thing for both the enthusiast & impoverished yokel types.

For killing deer (or humans) you generally want >2500 Joules muzzle energy. The most common deer hunting and police/SWAT sniping ammunition (.308 or 7.62x51mm) starts around 3000 Joules and similarly-purposed ammunition goes up from there. Anything exceeding 4000 causes most shooters to develop a flinching habit when they pull the trigger. .223/5.56 is typically ~1700 Joules, 9x19mm (which accounts for the vast majority of fatalities in the US) is ~550.

There's no express legal limit as far as I'm aware, but .50cal (12.7x99mm) is the typical max one would encounter and hovers around 16,000. It is virtually never used for crime for any number of reasons (30lb. rifles to handle the stress, for starters) - last I checked it accounted for two homicides, ever.
posted by Ryvar at 1:06 PM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


linux: it varies depending on both load and barrel length: muzzle energy is a function of the amount of time the force of expanding gas pushes the bullet, but diminishing returns comes into play. There's considerably greater range for hand-loaded rounds, naturally, which is a big thing for both the enthusiast & impoverished yokel types.

Agreed. That would be why the restriction would be based on the cartridge type, not on the actual energy of a specific brand or handloaded cartridge as these can vary. I would propose that the muzzle energy calculation be something like the EPA gas mileage rating: a cartridge is evaluated according to a set process to determine its energy rating. I think there's always a minimum energy that a particular cartridge would produce in order to function and that can be established and the ammunition classified according to that determination.

When you have that, no one has to know the actual energy number. Ammunition would just be categorized as either a "low power" round versus a "high power" round, like beer versus spirit.

From there you can address the rate of delivery and say semi-automatic guns are limited to "low power" rounds. By putting the dividing number at 1000 ft-lb / ~1350 Joules you immediate classify any semi-automatic that uses a 5.56 cartridge as an assault weapon regardless of the way it looks: AR, AK, Ruger Ranch Rifle, it doesn't matter. It becomes an easy metric to use for establishing a real weapon class for the term "assault weapon" versus the way it is today, where if you stick this doohickey on it's an assault weapon and if I take it off it isn't, yet it's still the same gun because it can still fire 5.56 as fast as I can press the trigger.
posted by linux at 1:22 PM on June 16, 2016


It's a lot of work to administer though when you could instead just say no centre fire semiautomatic weapons. The result would be would be the same.

bonehead: " semi-autos are (largely, not entirely) in a "restricted" class which can only be played with in the privacy of your own dwelling and/or behind closed doors at private clubs."

Not really. Canada has a "scary weapon" ban on specific named weapons and a ban on generic weapons meeting certain criteria (bayonet lugs, barrel length etc.) but there are plenty of semi-automatic hunting rifles and shotguns. What we do restrict heavily is handguns which are licensed range only or prohibited.

Canada also has a byzantine set of rules limiting magazine size based on what weapon the magazine is manufactured for and an idiotic rule banning suppressors.

Also you can't buy or possess firearms or ammunition without a license which requires 16 hours of instruction and a background check initially and needs to be renewed every five years.
posted by Mitheral at 1:44 PM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's a lot of work to administer though when you could instead just say no centre fire semiautomatic weapons. The result would be would be the same.

That's a good point, but that would eliminate semi-auto rifles that use pistol rounds. I'm not averse to that but it may become a sticking point with gun owners who could be wooed from supporting the NRA or staying quiet.
posted by linux at 2:03 PM on June 16, 2016


Some of these rifles are "regulated" and others aren't. I can go into a Wal-Mart or whatever and buy an unrestricted rifle like a Ruger ranch rifle. I can't buy an AR-15 at all, because it has a pistol grip etc etc. Of course, it's trivial to deck out a Ruger ranch rifle with a pistol grip etc using third-party parts (or by making your own) if you're into that. This is a great example of a law that does nothing but limit the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Slight derail, but isn't what all laws do - limit what law abiding people can do? I get that someone can break the law and have something that's banned, but that then makes them a criminal, and not a law abiding person. Right?
posted by MattWPBS at 4:20 PM on June 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Canada also has a byzantine set of rules limiting magazine size based on what weapon the magazine is manufactured for and an idiotic rule banning suppressors.

Why is that idiotic? What is the civilian use for suppressor?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:26 PM on June 16, 2016


Suppressors are controlled in the US, so there’s some overlap there.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:57 PM on June 16, 2016




His thoughts were red thoughts: "Why is that idiotic? What is the civilian use for suppressor?"

Suppressors don't work like shown in movies. IE: they don't make shots, even with sub sonic ammunition, anywhere near silent. Instead they reduce the noise by about the same amount as foam ear plugs.

However that is a pretty big reduction for the people next to or firing the weapon. Having a suppressor on a weapon reduces the chances of hearing damage. Especially while hunting it would be safer to be able to hunt while not wearing hearing protection. Actually I'm kind of unusual in that I wear foam plugs even while hunting and not just at the range. It would also generate less ire from other users of the wilderness. We get people writing angry letters to the editor here all the time because they are out in the wilderness and can hear gun shots.

And for people who may be near ranges (say within a couple kilometres) it can reduce or eliminate the noise pollution from the range.

Admittedly suppressors can apparently also make it more difficult to tell where a sniper is operating from. However your Muhammad/Malvo situation (not that they used a supressor) is extremely uncommon. A slightly greater chance of figuring our where a sniper is compared to the advantages to shooter and the public is IMO an obvious trade off. It's why they are legal in a lot of European countries.
posted by Mitheral at 5:36 PM on June 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


Family members live near neighbors who like to target shoot on weekends. Very annoying when you are trying to entertain outside. I would love if they would be required to use something to reduce the noise.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:41 PM on June 16, 2016


homunculus: "Once Upon a Time, the United States Believed in Genuine Gun Control"
The thinking among many conservatives was that the gun nuts were fucking everything up for the hunters.
Pretty sure this is the thinking amongst a lot of hunters today.
posted by Mitheral at 5:46 PM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


isn't what all laws do - limit what law abiding people can do?

Sure. But the part you left out is "nothing but". If a law does nothing but limit rights, if it has no other positive effect, what good is it?
posted by me & my monkey at 6:14 PM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I dunno. Maybe we could try it, see if it -has- a positive effect, rather than our current paradigm of "do nothing" and see?
posted by Archelaus at 6:20 PM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I doubt that position will get much support among people who place any value on that right. Why not treat other rights the same way? Trump suggests we violate the First Amendment rights of people he doesn't like. Sound like a good idea? I hope not. Would it be a good idea if it happened to stop one mass shooting?
posted by me & my monkey at 6:41 PM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm honestly past caring about the feels of folks who support their second amendment rights over the rights of folks not to be killed by guns. Way, way past it. I think it's reasonably well demonstrated at this point that the net harm to society by leaving things as they are is larger than the good.
posted by Archelaus at 6:51 PM on June 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Nearly fifty years ago, in the wake of the assassinations of MLK and RFK and not that long after JFK, there was a moment when the United States Congress actually considered, seriously, strict gun control laws. As part of an omnibus crime bill that was debated in June of 1968, shortly after Bobby Kennedy was shot dead, gun registration and licensing was on the table.
Unsurprisingly, it took some of their own getting gunned down to move the people in power to seriously push to do something. Fifty young people in a nightclub somewhere is a Tragedy. Two of your own is a Big Fucking Problem.
posted by indubitable at 7:24 PM on June 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


"I'm honestly past caring about the feels of folks who support their second amendment rights over the rights of folks not to be killed by guns."

Good luck getting support from the one third of American households that have gun owners then. And you could take that sentence you just wrote, replace "second" with "first" and "guns" with "Muslims" and summarize the "feels" of a significant voting bloc.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:32 PM on June 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Good luck getting support from the one third of American households that have gun owners then. And you could take that sentence you just wrote, replace "second" with "first" and "guns" with "Muslims" and summarize the "feels" of a significant voting bloc.

I suspect the size of the latter voting bloc you refer to is quite possibly larger than the former, and that the former is not quite so large as you may suspect.

And as Senator Charles Schumer put it in his speech during the filibuster - we already do have restrictions on the first amendment.

* You're not allowed to yell "fire" in a crowded theater if there is no fire.
* You are not allowed to tell lies about someone if those lies cause damage.
* You are not allowed to make or distribute child pornography.
* You are not allowed to present someone else's words as your own without attribution.

These are all cases where the government itself acknowledges that completely unfettered speech would do someone harm. And we have almost all of us accepted these conditions out of an interest in maintaining the common good of all. There are people who still feel this is too much of a restriction on free speech, but the majority of us understand the reason behind these restrictions, and are unwilling to allow this percentage to take over.

So why are you advocating that, even though we are in the majority, we should let the minority dictate our actions in this instance, especially since we are talking about a much more dangerous outcome? ....It's not because you fear that their protests could be more deadly, is it?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:46 PM on June 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


I've been watching way too much CNN lately. But I noticed something tonight, a lot of the show hosts and pundits are in Orlando and getting tired and stressed and more significantly, talking to survivors and victims. I think they have no fucks left to give when talking to Republican NRA apologists. This whole thing sucks, but it's been nice to see them pushing back to those people. Don Lemon and Jeffrey Toobin hammered some Fla. GOP Senator and spent an entire segment telling a Trump supporter that Trumpnwas full of shit with the "Hillary wants to repeal 2nd Amendment" crap.
posted by marxchivist at 8:04 PM on June 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Chalk that up as another right winger conspiracy theory I wish were actually true.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:12 PM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Chalk that up as another right winger conspiracy theory I wish were actually true.

I fairly seriously suspect that the whole "Clinton and Obama will take away your guns!" thing was started as a cynical gun manufacturers' viral sales technique that turned out to have amazing sticking power. I hope whomever came up with the idea got a huge bonus, because it is marketing genius and completely disconnected from reality.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:01 PM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


[Maybe put those numbers in a file somewhere online and link to the file rather than dumping a dataset in-thread.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 9:45 PM on June 16, 2016


Has anyone here seen an article with stats (as much as they can even be compiled) on the claim that guns act as a deterrent to crime (in general, not in the "good guy with a gun" way)?

A while back, I collated a list of countries' gun ownership and murder rates and I and at least one gun control supporter could find no correlation between the two. Since it's been a while, I've updated the stats (in comma-delimited form here) and there is a slight negative correlation (-0.1208102806, to be entirely too precise), but I don't know enough about statistics to say whether that means more guns really equals less crime, or whether it's statistically insignificant. In any case, more guns does not appear to cause more crime, or at least more homicide.
posted by MoTLD at 10:30 PM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


In any case, more guns does not appear to cause more crime, or at least more homicide.

This study says that, in the US context, there is a 'robust correlation' between gun homicides and gun ownership rates.

The studies listed in the Harvard literature review that I linked above made similar findings.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:16 PM on June 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


I collated a list of countries' gun ownership and murder rates and I and at least one gun control supporter could find no correlation between the two.

Oh, surely you must be joking. Your list is dominated by third world countries like Angola and Togo with sky high murder rates . Try again with developed countries in the OECD.
posted by JackFlash at 11:47 PM on June 16, 2016


From your first link:

Results. [...] This model indicated that for each percentage point increase in gun ownership, the firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9%.

Conclusions. [...]we found that states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides.


These two statements are contradictory. If 1% increase in gun ownership equates to 0.9% increase in gun homicide, there is in fact a less than proportional increase in deaths from firearm-related homicides.

And in any case, it's hardly surprising that there's a robust correlation between gun homicides and gun ownership rates, that's sorta tautological. According to the raw data I've provided, there is not a positive correlation between homicides in general and gun ownership rates, worldwide. Isn't that a more useful comparison? It addresses the argument that without guns, people will kill each other by other means, even, sadly, mass killings by other means.

Your other link is to summaries of (some rather old) studies. They don't give any numbers, and I don't have access to the journals with the actual studies. Each one claims to indicate that higher gun ownership rates correlate to higher overall murder rates, but without access to any actual numbers, I'm not willing to just take their word for it.

Sorry, it's my fault, but this is straying a bit from the topic at hand of mass shootings, perhaps the other gun control thread is a better place to continue this more general line of discussion? Unless someone wants to get explore incidence of mass killings with/without guns versus rates of gun ownership, but I really don't want to dig into that myself right now.
posted by MoTLD at 11:52 PM on June 16, 2016


MoTLD, I recognise your username now and I decline to have this conversation with you again. I'm out.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:06 AM on June 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure why sky-high murder rates in third world countries invalidates the observation, but I'll check it out. The last time I did this the question was also about developed countries, so I used the UN HDI top quartile to determine "developed countries". This time, for the 45 countries in that list for which we have data, the correlation is 0.0682801672. Doesn't seem like much.

Using the OECD High-Income Countries list, as you request, which is the richest 31 of those 45 developed countries, the correlation jumps to 0.4369715984. That sounds significant to me, and also seems like a trend, and now I'm interested.

So I went with a larger sample of most developed countries, the World Bank high-income economies list, and the trend seems to bear out. The 54 countries for which there is data show a negative correlation again, of -0.1008103132, but less negative than worldwide (-0.1208102806).

Perhaps, going the other direction, the top 15 countries in the HDI will tell more of the story? 14 of the 15 most developed countries (minus Hong Kong, for which we don't have data) together have a high correlation between gun ownership and overall murder rate, at 0.8954550087.

The top 10? 0.9333374823.

Either the richer your country, the more your level of violence depends on your level of armament...or, the sample sizes are just getting too small for the correlations to be useful? I don't know enough about statistics to say anything to the second possibility, so I'll just meditate on the first for a while.

I have listed all of this data, along with the similar older stuff from the previous discussion (later in the very thread to which His thoughts were red thoughts refers, in fact), on the stats dump page I previously linked.
posted by MoTLD at 1:42 AM on June 17, 2016


I fairly seriously suspect that the whole "Clinton and Obama will take away your guns!" thing was started as a cynical gun manufacturers' viral sales technique that turned out to have amazing sticking power. I hope whomever came up with the idea got a huge bonus, because it is marketing genius and completely disconnected from reality.

In 2008, I went to a conference in Vegas, and I wound up with a group of people who wanted to take a British fellow on his first visit to the US to a gun range (as you do). On the way in, there was a sign above a trash can that said "Voting for Obama? Save time, put your guns here."

So, yes, it's a cynical GOP slogan that also doubles as a cynical gun seller's slogan.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:16 AM on June 17, 2016


I don't know enough about statistics to say anything to the second possibility, so I'll just meditate on the first for a while.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the fact that you're not a statistician and are using extremely limited statistical sets doesn't exactly instill confidence. You haven't really demonstrated let alone proved anything. For instance the US also has an anomalous level of deaths from all assaults, something it doesn't look like you've considered or addressed.

Plenty of other work has demonstrated the US' unique gun problems, to the point that claims about the ineffectiveness of gun control are essentially on the level of climate change denial by now. That work has used much deeper and wider investigation into the data than you have at your disposal. And also like climate change denial "experts", the studies that claim to prove gun control largely come from gun industry stooges like Lott and Kleck. Unsurprisingly, their conclusions have been debunked, sometimes with their own datasets. That doesn't exactly give me the warm fuzzies that someone lacking even their data, their tools, and their expertise (such as it is), has magically discovered that guns have no negative effect on crime and violence.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:37 AM on June 17, 2016 [12 favorites]


Oh, and also: enough with the accusations of "tautology" that you've also used in at least one previous thread on this topic. It's starting to sound like Vizzini exclaiming "inconceivable!" When someone says "gun control reduces gun deaths/crime/violence," it doesn't mean that calling it a tautology somehow renders it useless when talking about death/crime/violence as a whole. At the very least cite some unbiased, non-homebrew research that backs up your rebuttal.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:04 AM on June 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


These are all cases where the government itself acknowledges that completely unfettered speech would do someone harm. And we have almost all of us accepted these conditions out of an interest in maintaining the common good of all. There are people who still feel this is too much of a restriction on free speech, but the majority of us understand the reason behind these restrictions, and are unwilling to allow this percentage to take over.

In all the cases you cited, it's pretty clear that the restriction will actually prevent harm. In the example I gave, it is not clear at all that the restriction would make one bit of difference, or would save one life. Why not focus on restrictions that would make a difference? Because the minority that does care about these rights is pretty large - large enough that you need the cooperation of some of them to get where we want to be.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:27 AM on June 17, 2016


These two statements are contradictory. If 1% increase in gun ownership equates to 0.9% increase in gun homicide, there is in fact a less than proportional increase in deaths from firearm-related homicides.

That is not what proportional increase means. They are claiming that Δh/Δo = .9/1, or Δh = 0.9 Δo. This relationship has the form of direct proportionality, y = kx. So it is false to say that this is "less than proportional." But, this is also not what "disproportionately" means in the sentence you were responding to, this is referring to the fact that gun deaths in these states are in excess of what would be expected as a proportion of the population. In other words, if gun ownership was unrelated to gun deaths, then gun deaths would only be proportionate to population. But instead there appears to be a fairly large effect of gun ownership that pushes the number of gun deaths above what would be expected from population alone.

You've acknowledged that your statistics knowledge is limited, but you're (incorrectly) arguing against actual professionally-analyzed statistics based on highly technical points which you clearly misunderstand. Please don't do this. It comes across as attempting to win an argument by making technical-sounding statements and hoping that no one else will be able to call you out on them. If you are genuinely just interested in these datasets as a way to learn about statistics, you should be making these posts in a thread about statistics, not gun control. Playing with datasets and trying to understand them is a great way to learn statistics, but inserting these naive analyses into a discussion about the actual subject matter is a waste of everyone's time.

Also, friendly tip: reporting correlation coefficients out to 10 decimal places is amusing, but has no real meaning, and indicates a lack of serious thought about what these numbers mean. You can generally round to 1, 2, or 3 decimals and have fully captured the information that a correlation coefficient gives you up to any meaningful precision.
posted by biogeo at 12:11 PM on June 17, 2016 [10 favorites]


Thoughts and Prayers, The Game
posted by Artw at 2:22 PM on June 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mea culpa.

It was late and I was tired, I have no other explanation for why I thought my amateur statisticianing was even appropriate in this thread. I'll be bowing out and doing some research, and bring some more useful contribution somewhere where it is, well, more useful.

I still think "more guns means more gun violence" is as obvious and useful as "more computers means more computer-related identity theft," as in, very and not very, respectively. But, again, this is not the place for that argument, and I'll take it elsewhere.
posted by MoTLD at 3:24 PM on June 17, 2016


More cars also brings more automotive deaths. These are the tradeoffs we make as a society.

With guns, it's not a tradeoff I am willing to make any more. Fuck the amendment.
posted by maxsparber at 4:26 PM on June 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


Well, of course it's obvious, but the NRA and other pro-gun extremists explicitly claim that the opposite is true, that more guns will somehow lead to fewer gun deaths or at worst no effect on gun deaths. Obviously this is false, but the Overton window is so far to the right on this issue that gun control advocates feel they must support this obvious point with data.

Good on you for recognizing your mistake. That is rare and I respect that.
posted by biogeo at 11:15 PM on June 17, 2016


Keep in mind that that another concern with playing with data is that your conclusions can only be as good as your data. I checked the source for that wikipedia data, which had a note for my country's data: "find source for 330,00 number" (they probably missed a zero). According to the source, there are 330,000 registered guns to civilians in the Netherlands. I don't know if that was true in 2007, but now there are about 206,000 registered guns here (link in Dutch).

I searched a bit more and found this: Firearms and violent deaths in Europe which states in its first paragraph:
The rate of firearms possession in a country is a crucial variable in research on the relationship between
guns and violent death. Finding out how many guns there are in European countries, however, is a
challenging endeavour. Calculating the number of legally-held firearms in Europe is not an easy task
given the lack of reliable and comparable official data on gun possession, but reliable statistics on the
number of illegally-held and trafficked firearms in Europe are even harder to find. [...] The dearth of
reliable data becomes very plain in a recent study commissioned by the European Commission where
the number of illegally-held firearms is estimated as lying somewhere between 81,000 and 67 million.
This clearly illustrates how hard it is to find out how many firearms there are in Europe.

posted by blub at 2:55 AM on June 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


NRA Backs Proposal to Delay Gun Sales to Those on Terror Watch List

The proposal, introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas), would give federal officials three days to show a judge there is probable cause to block someone on the lists from purchasing a firearm.

NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre said Sunday the answer to dealing with people on the terror watch list is Mr. Cornyn’s measure. The three-day delay “gives law enforcement the opportunity to go before a judge and prove their case,” he said on CBS.

posted by Drinky Die at 2:22 PM on June 19, 2016


The three-day delay “gives law enforcement the opportunity to go before a judge and prove their case,”

Hilarious.
posted by biogeo at 2:42 PM on June 19, 2016


I hate that the one bipartisan compromise we're able to make on guns involves creating a new application for the useless, unethical goddamned No Fly List.
posted by tobascodagama at 3:31 PM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


They won't be able to prove their case; the justifications for inclusion on the list is classified and contains information from unconstitutional sources.
posted by Mitheral at 3:43 PM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Jon Stokes: Why I “Need” an AR-15
So cops and civilians “need” an AR-15 because that one gun can be adapted to an infinite variety of sporting, hunting, and use-of-force scenarios by an amateur with a few simple tools. An AR-15 owner doesn’t have to buy and maintain a separate gun for each application, nor does she need a professional gunsmith to make modifications and customizations. In this respect, the AR-15 is basically a giant lego kit for grownups.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:51 AM on June 20, 2016


In this respect, the AR-15 is basically a giant lego kit for grownups.

Sure. And if Legos could be adapted to fire 45 rounds in a minute, I would call for a ban on Legos too.
posted by maxsparber at 11:13 AM on June 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


Why can't people just use duplos anyway? It's all the same.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:26 AM on June 20, 2016




Amazing what millions of dollars of industry money can buy these days.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 5:31 PM on June 20, 2016


In somewhat better news, here in Pennsyltucky: Pa. High court: NRA can’t challenge local gun laws
posted by tonycpsu at 5:49 PM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


How racial prejudice helps drive opposition to gun control - "It’s because of the symbolic appeal of guns to white Americans


The theory of racial resentment, developed by David Sears and Don Kinder, offers an important clue as to what underlies this relationship between prejudice and guns. It goes like this. Unlike “old-fashioned racism,” which justifies racial differences in norms and behavior as biological, racially resentful whites believe that many blacks have made a choice to pursue crime and government dependency, behaviors that deviate from traditional American virtues. Some prominent conservative intellectuals have encouraged these beliefs, arguing that blacks have been competing unfairly through affirmative action and that they support color-conscious policies that put whites at a disadvantage. Survey data confirm that 37 percent of whites, and 47 percent of white gun owners, believe that the government “does too much” for blacks."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:35 AM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Senate's fillibuster didn't help - let's see if the sit-in in the House of Representatives does.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:30 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


The LGBT case for guns.
posted by Rumple at 9:35 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


The LGBT case for guns.

This is mislabeled: it’s the standard case for guns (good for keeping you safe), but being sold to a particular at-risk population. You could just as easily call this the women case for guns or the black case for guns.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:25 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


The LGBT case for guns.
Now I can’t help wondering how many victims in Orlando might have been saved if a few people inside the nightclub had had concealed carry permits, and been able to fight back.
Literally less than zero.
posted by Etrigan at 12:28 PM on June 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


How exactly is the door security at a nightclub supposed to know if you're a good guy with concealed weapon or the next mass shooter?
posted by octothorpe at 12:49 PM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


How exactly is the door security at a nightclub supposed to know if you're a good guy with concealed weapon or the next mass shooter?

The black hats, duh.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:44 PM on June 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


How exactly is the door security at a nightclub supposed to know if you're a good guy with concealed weapon or the next mass shooter?

Sometimes I wish the What-If Machine from Futurama was real, just so I could show people the actual consequences of their political policies without actually having to implement them.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:58 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]






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