My Cold, Dead Hands. Thoughts on Gun Control by Me and Michael Moore

guncontrol“We are an easily frightened people and it is easy to manipulate us with fear.” – Michael Moore

Michael Moore was on Piers Morgan last night talking about the Aurora massacre. He also wrote an article about it here. In this article, he points out that psychopaths exist, regardless of ideology or whether or not gun control laws are prohibitive or strict. He says there have always been insane people, and there always will be. However, he makes a designation between the United States and the rest of the civilized world. He states that we have two “Auroras” that take place every day of the year in America, and he is not count the ones who are accidentally killed. Adding those triples it.

Now, I support the second amendment and the right to bear arms. I’ve made no secret of that. However, there is no getting around the fact that the United States is responsible for more than eight out of ten gun deaths in the wealthiest twenty-three countries combined.

Michael Says…

In his article, Michael Moore states,

“The right believes that the Founding Fathers, through some sort of divine decree, have guaranteed them the absolute right to own as many guns as they desire. And they will ceaselessly remind you that a gun cannot fire itself – that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” 

Of course, they know they’re being intellectually dishonest (if I can use that word) when they say that about the Second Amendment because they know the men who wrote the constitution just wanted to make sure a militia could be quickly called up from amongst the farmers and merchants should the Brits decide to return and wreak some havoc. 

But they are half right when they say “Guns don’t kill people.” I would just alter that slogan slightly to speak the real truth: “Guns don’t kill people, Americans kill people.” 

Because we’re the only ones in the first world who do this en masse. And you’ll hear all stripes of Americans come up with a host of reasons so that they don’t have to deal with what’s really behind all this murder and mayhem. 

They’ll say it’s the violent movies and video games that are responsible. Last time I checked, the movies and video games in Japan are more violent than ours – and yet usually fewer than 20 people a year are killed there with guns – and in 2006 the number was two! 

Others will say it’s the number of broken homes that lead to all this killing. I hate to break this to you, but there are almost as many single-parent homes in the U.K. as there are here – and yet, in Great Britain, there are usually fewer than 40 gun murders a year. 

People like me will say this is all the result of the U.S. having a history and a culture of men with guns, “cowboys and Indians,” “shoot first and ask questions later.” And while it is true that the mass genocide of the Native Americans set a pretty ugly model to found a country on, I think it’s safe to say we’re not the only ones with a violent past or a penchant for genocide. Hello, Germany! That’s right I’m talking about you and your history, from the Huns to the Nazis, just loving a good slaughter (as did the Japanese, and the British who ruled the world for hundreds of years – and they didn’t achieve that through planting daisies). And yet in Germany, a nation of 80 million people, there are only around 200 gun murders a year.”

Probably the most succinct statement he made is this:

“So those countries (and many others) are just like us – except for the fact that more people here believe in God and go to church than any other Western nation”

Michael lays it out in two points:

“1. We Americans are incredibly good killers. We believe in killing as a way of accomplishing our goals. Three-quarters of our states execute criminals, even though the states with the lower murder rates are generally the states with no death penalty.

Our killing is not just historical (the slaughter of Indians and slaves and each other in a “civil” war). It is our current way of resolving whatever it is we’re afraid of. It’s invasion as foreign policy. Sure there’s Iraq and Afghanistan – but we’ve been invaders since we “conquered the wild west” and now we’re hooked so bad we don’t even know where to invade (bin Laden wasn’t hiding in Afghanistan, he was in Pakistan) or what to invade for (Saddam had zero weapons of mass destruction and nothing to do with 9/11). We send our lower classes off to do the killing, and the rest of us who don’t have a loved one over there don’t spend a single minute of any given day thinking about the carnage. And now we send in remote pilotless planes to kill, planes that are being controlled by faceless men in a lush, air conditioned studio in suburban Las Vegas. It is madness.

2. We are an easily frightened people and it is easy to manipulate us with fear. What are we so afraid of that we need to have 300 million guns in our homes? Who do we think is going to hurt us? Why are most of these guns in white suburban and rural homes? Maybe we should fix our race problem and our poverty problem (again, #1 in the industrialized world) and then maybe there would be fewer frustrated, frightened, angry people reaching for the gun in the drawer. Maybe we would take better care of each other (here’s a good example of what I mean).”

Here’s a clip from Piers’ show last night on CNN where he discusses the aftermath of the shooting in Aurora, CO, acclaimed filmmaker Michael Moore speaks out on topic of guns in the U.S.

The Second Amendment and Atheists…

I’ve written before on my support of the second amendment, and how many people are under the assumption that those of us who hold no belief in the existence of deities oppose the private ownership of firearms. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and part of our Bill of Rights states:

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The fact is that many of the sweeping “across-the-board” gun control laws that aim to remove the right to bear arms from United States citizens are blatantly unconstitutional. The second amendment grants an individual’s right to own guns as personal, private property, and that many restrictions on buying and carrying guns unconstitutionally impede individual rights.

As an American, the First Amendment guarantees that I will not to be forced into worshiping any god. The Second Amendment guarantees my right not to be prevented from acting defensively, with extreme prejudice if necessary, to protect life, limb and personal property. Gun ownership has nothing to do with hunting. Many gun owners do not only refrain from hunting, but are against trophy hunting, meaning that if you kill an animal you should be prepared to eat it, unless you shoot it to protect yourself from an imminent attack. The issue is about the right to protection, defense and deterrence.

With That Said…

Freethought, skepticism and the process of critical thinking are our landmarks, and from time to time those of us who live in the trenches outside the world of academia and that collection of brilliance we know as the scientific community must reexamine ourselves, our motives and our points of view. We must constantly revisit the reasons why we hold our opinions, and using the tools that are available to us, to make changes where necessary or to reinforce where needed.

While I still support the Second Amendment, I have reservations about the availability of weapons designed solely for killing large groups of people and ammunition that is designed to pierce bullet proof vests, among other ordnance that been specifically designed to wreak massive amounts of havoc to the general public.

I know this sounds like I’m cherry picking the Second Amendment, and perhaps I am. The issue of gun control and regulation is an evolving point of view for me, particularly in the face of incidents like Aurora, Columbine, etc. Who knows where I will stand on the issue the next time a mass murder is committed with these types of weapons.

To wit, and as I have stated in my last book, I feel it is my responsibility to my readers to bring forth my thoughts on issues that have been the target of my process of critical thinking and my re-examination of my points of view.

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  69 comments for “My Cold, Dead Hands. Thoughts on Gun Control by Me and Michael Moore

  1. piksi
    July 25, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I’m sorry, private citizens should not be permitted to own assault weapons. What are you supposed to be defending yourself from in that case? Alien invasion?

  2. ibbica
    July 25, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I’m sorry, private citizens should not be permitted to own assault weapons. What are you supposed to be defending yourself from in that case? Alien invasion?

    As I understand it, returning British armies seeking to re-establish territorial claim over the Americas.

    Or their own government. Or the US military. Because sometimes a handgun or rifle just won’t do. Although of course you’d need waaaaaay more than ‘assault weapons’ to effectively counter either of those organizations, should either of them actually decide to attack the civilian population.

    Ugh. Honestly? Nope, I don’t really ‘get it’ either. All the “explanations” and “rationale” I’ve heard thus far just sound… hollow? false? ridiculous? But DAMN do some folks try hard to explain and rationalize :/

  3. machintelligence
    July 25, 2012 at 11:41 am

    As a gun owner, I too, have to weigh in against semi-automatic weapons with large capacity magazines. The potential for mayhem far outweighs any foreseeable legitimate use.
    Colorado has a fairly liberal concealed carry law (background check plus training course). IMHO we should now toughen up the penalties for illegal carry.
    PS. I have never felt the need for a concealed weapon.

  4. Pen
    July 25, 2012 at 11:42 am

    I suppose I will have to go and read your linked statements on why you defend the second amendment if I want to know. But this:

    The issue is about the right to protection, defense and deterrence.

    Skepticism should require us to think about the effectiveness of guns for those purposes using real evidence. I think the evidence is showing that gun ownership is failing to protect, defend or deter Americans. In fact it seems to keep getting in the way of them exercising other rights, such as the right to occupy public space, the right to say what they think and the right to do things permitted by law even when other people don’t like it. It’s also clear that guns can no longer realistically be expected to protect citizens against government forces, domestic or foreign. Perhaps there are better ways?

  5. jehk
    July 25, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Yeah.. isn’t our well-regulated Militia now called the National Guard? Is private gun ownership necessary for that?

    • machintelligence
      July 25, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      Actually, no.

      The current United States Code, Title 10 (Armed forces), section 311 (Militia: Composition and Classes), paragraph (a) states: “The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.”

  6. July 25, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Al, I hear you on this. My views have been evolving too. I’ve gone from strongly anti-guns and pro-gun control (except for hunting) to thinking that every citizen ought to learn how to handle weapons in early teen years so that every citizen is prepared in the unlikely – but not impossible! – event of a military coup of other authoritarian takeover attempt. I am pro-gun control, but I am not pro banning guns for private citizens.
    It’s complicated!

  7. DaveL
    July 25, 2012 at 11:43 am

    It’s rather dishonest to make comparisons using only “gun murders”. We should use overall murder rate instead, if we’re actually interested in public safety policy.

    By this standard, of course, the U.S. still stands head and shoulders above most other industrialized nations, but not by the multiple-orders-of-magnitude that artificially singling out firearms makes it look like. Further, cherry-picking countries like that doesn’t lead to a valid statistical case. One can always cherry pick in the other direction, for example, Switzerland (where most adult males have a military rifle in their homes) has a homicide rate significantly lower than that of the United Kingdom (where private firearms ownership is rare).

    • Who Knows?
      July 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      Honduras
      Jamaica
      El Salvador
      Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
      Trinidad and Tobago
      Lesotho
      South Africa
      Saint Kitts and Nevis
      Belize
      Lesotho
      Brazil
      Guyana
      Puerto Rico
      Russian Federation
      Nicaragua
      Mexico
      Kazakhstan
      Uganda
      Uganda
      Lithuania
      Chile
      Mongolia
      Sri Lanka
      Republic of Moldova
      Pakistan
      Philippines
      Estonia
      Thailand
      Belarus
      Ukraine

      DaveL, this is a list of the countries that had a higher murder rate than us in 2008. I’m not all that impressed.

      • Who Knows?
        July 25, 2012 at 12:58 pm

        I’m not sure I did that right… Sorry if the list is wrong.

      • July 25, 2012 at 6:09 pm

        And which of America’s peers (western, developed, democratic countries) are on that list? None. You can compare the USA to the listed countries all you want but a far more valid comparison is to Canada, The UK, France, Sweden etc.

        • Laura
          July 30, 2012 at 8:33 am

          Agreed. Is Sri Lanka where we’re setting the bar these days? Is that the nation we’re striving to be better than? Or South Africa?

  8. jj7212
    July 25, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    To me, guns are somewhat fascinating mechanically. I personaly like the M-240G machine gun. Hell, I’ve even fired a few FIM-92 Stinger missiles! But I have no need to use a gun now that I’m not active duty any more. It’s not a hobby of mine.

    Al, the article here kind of reinforces my reasoning of why I mentioned to some of my buddies earlier this week “Why do you really need to own a personal weapon?” I got various responses, and thankfully we all had a responsible and mature conversation. Being honest is always a reasonable way to communicate.

    On the flip side, I live in the mountains in rural Japan and I’d love to blast those wild boars next to my house! No can do in Japan though… especially as a foreigner here!

    • Chip Matthews
      July 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      I’m guessing you are not a citizen so this probably does not apply to you but, per Wiki:
      “Japan prohibits handgun possession by citizens. Shotguns and rifles for hunting or sports may be possessed upon completion of a licensing procedure that requires a police background check, successful completion of a safety course, passing of shooting, written, and psychological tests, and police verification of secure storage, prior to approval being granted by the police to purchase a firearm.[29] Fully automatic weapons are restricted to military and police. Gun owners must take a class once a year and pass a written test. Police check on the owner once every three months on an unannounced visit.[Source?] They inspect the gun locker, proper ammunition storage, and the firearm.”
      I’m sure you probably already checked on it though. I’m amazed at the hoops they make you jump through to have a gun there, but you can own a gun if you want to.
      Wild boar can be gamey but very tasty if prepared right. 🙂

  9. Sqrat
    July 25, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Let’s look at the wording of the Second Amendment again:

    A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    What is being protected here is the right of “the People” to maintain their own militias. That this is so is reinforced by the use of the term “bear Arms.” “To bear Arms” doesn’t mean “to own a gun.” It is a phrase that has a specifically military connotation. The guarantee of “the right of the People to keep and bear Arms” is not a guarantee of the right of private individuals to own guns, but rather of the right of the people in their collective capacity to provide for their own military defense without relying on the federal government to provide it for them.

    This was deemed “necessary to the security of a free State” not because, as your average right-wing gun nut fervently believes, because the people might need guns to rise up and overthrow the federal government in a violent revolution, but because the alternative to the militia in maintaining the security of the state was a standing army. Standing armies were considered to be dangerous to liberty, because they could be used by the government against the people as well as against foreign enemies. The use of a standing army against their own people was one of the very reasons that rulers maintained such armies in the first place. That was true in the eighteenth century, and it remains true today — take a look at Syria.

    The claim that “The second amendment grants an individual’s right to own guns as personal, private property” is false. So is the claim that “The Second Amendment guarantees my right not to be prevented from acting defensively, with extreme prejudice if necessary, to protect life, limb and personal property.” This is not to say that you do not have such a right, but rather that such a right is not the right that is protected by the Second Amendment.

    What is important for the current discussion is that the “right to bear Arms” protected by the Second Amendment is the right of the people to avail themselves of those very “weapons designed solely for killing large groups of people and ammunition that is designed to pierce bullet proof vests, among other ordnance that been specifically designed to wreak massive amounts of havoc,” etc., that many folks would rather not be in the hands of private individuals. In other words, military-grade weaponry, the kind of weapons with which one makes war. But this right belongs to the people in a collective capacity, not as private individuals. This kind of weaponry can, in full accordance with the Second Amendment, be owned by state or possibly local governments and kept stored under lock and key in arsenals and armories, only to be handled by members of a “well-regulated Militia” (in the modern context, members of the National Guard) acting under orders in pursuance of their official duties.

  10. July 25, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Google deputized Klu Klux Klan…………

  11. firefly
    July 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Having lived in Belgium, England and now living in Tennessee, I have thought about this issue a lot and my opinions have evolved greatly. In the last week, I have had to utter the phrase “gun control is not the same as a gun ban” so many times it doesn’t even sound like words anymore. How is it that when you say ‘gun control’ to some otherwise intelligent people, what they seem to have heard is ‘gun ban’? The effect of NRA propaganda?

    @Sqrat, #9:
    Bookmarking your comment for future reference. That was very clearly put. Thank you.

  12. July 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    sqrat, your comments were really interesting and eloquently written! I enjoyed reading. My one quibble with the logic of your conclusion is in the last paragraph – you mention that the weapons which should be available to the people (but regulated under lock and key) be controlled by a “well-regulated militia” like the National Guard – which, to me, begs the question; “What if the National Guard (or similar) is under the influence of authoritarian forces?” The very point you made earlier in the comment – that standing armies are a danger to liberty (as we have seen repeatedly throughout history, most recently in Syria) because they can be used against their own people is very well taken – but it does beg the question of how to protect the people from abuse if there is always a barrier to access which is controlled by a few people.
    I suspect that this is the thrust of the pro-gun ownership argument.
    I don’t have a better suggestion for how to handle this, but I think it is a problem worth pointing out. Especially considering the Christian right’s radicalization of nearly all branches of the military.

    • Sqrat
      July 25, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      It is certainly possible for a state militia to be under the control of authoritarian forces. For a considerable time in our history, the militias were primarily social clubs for the wealthy and the well-connected, and certainly the militias were sometimes called out by state governments to break strikes, in order to “preserve order.”

      Bear in mind, however, that the purpose of my post was not to argue either for or against gun control or any other political position, but simply to explain the meaning of the Second Amendment.

      • smrnda
        July 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm

        Along with breaking strikes, the national guard was used to deny people their right to public assembly and protest during the civil rights era through repressive violence, and was deployed to shut down protests against the Vietnam war.

        At the same time, my worry about a ‘citizens militia’ is that they’re typically right-wing organizations that would do just as much damage in terms of denying the rights of the people not holding the guns.

        • ik
          July 29, 2012 at 3:04 am

          It was also used to protect people, I seem to remember.

          My opinion is that 1. The constitution can and should be changed and 2. that bearing arms in opposition to the government is totally irrelevant because due to technology there is absolutely no way that armed citizens could be a threat unless things get to the point where nobody is obeying laws in general any more.

  13. Onamission5
    July 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    The part I continue to get stuck on is the phrase “well-regulated militia.” I think many adamant second amendment proponents overlook that part and skip directly to the right to bear arms. What does well-regulated mean? What doesn’t it mean?

    I am fairly certain that a well regulated militia is not a single citizen or small group of citizens hoarding semi automatic weapons, armor piercing ammo and conversion kits in paranoid anticipation of future attack against them by the government. I am fairly certain that well-regulated does not mean unlimited access to whatever armourments one desires, for any purpose, with no need to endure a background check or waiting period. Well regulated, to me, implies external controls. Permits, documentation, training, certification, and supervision. We have to have licenses to drive, we have to renew them, we can have them revoked if we do not comply with the rules and regulations of driving, and we can even do jail time if we further refuse to comply, but semi automatic weapons in many states can be purchased at gun shows without any sort of effective controls in place. I am fairly sure that *that* is not what the term well-regulated means.

    Let us also not forget that the NRA when first formed was all about responsible gun ownership. They were in favor of quite a bit of gun control legislation. It was not until the back end of last century that they became a political lobby against any sort of gun control.

    We have to do something about rampant gun violence in the US, and banning costumes in theaters is probably not going to be our most effective solution.

  14. July 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Ugh. Grammar fail:

    FIFM:

    The very point you made earlier in the comment – that standing armies are a danger to liberty (as we have seen repeatedly throughout history, most recently in Syria) because they can be used against their own people – is very well taken, but it does beg the question of how to protect the people from abuse if there is always a barrier to access which is controlled by a few people.

  15. Francisco Bacopa
    July 25, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I’d like to point out that the whole “well regulated militia” thing is a British idea, not a uniquely American one. After the restoration of the Stuarts, the King and Government disbanded almost all remnants of Cromwell’s New Model Army, a highly trained standing army under centralized control, and returned to a more decentralized system based on calling up regionally dispersed local regiments. William of Orange commented on how inefficient this system was, he was told that this was done so that the army would be less of a threat to the freedom of the people.

    This was the historical tradition the authors of the second amendment had in mind. The well-regulated militia was necessary for a free state not because it was needed for defense, a smaller and more centrally controlled professional army, could do that. No, the militia was needed as an alternative to a large professional army.

    For further context, Adam Smith, writing around the same time as the Declaration, lamented that the rise of the industrialized state would make the idea of a militia impossible, and that a centralized professional army was unavoidable. Here in the US, we were less industrialized and thought the militia model might still work.

    Now I’m not exactly the most “original intent” kind of guy, but for those of you who are, there’s the context to help you determine what the intent behind the 2nd Amendment probably was. I don’t think there’s any way you can argue that holmes up in Colorado had any right to stockpile such a deadly arsenal.

    • Sqrat
      July 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      Well said, sir. I am not an “original intent” kind of person either. I do not think that it was the original intent of the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that those documents were to be interpreted in terms of any supposed (or even actual) original intent on their part — they were to be interpreted, first and foremost, in terms of what the the documents actual said.

      The doctrine of “originalism” as first articulated by James Madison in the 1790’s referred to “original meaning,” not “original intent.” For the purposes of legal interpretation, it was legitimate to inquire what the framers meant by certain key terms such as “well-regulated Militia” and “to bear Arms,” but the question of what they intended to accomplish with the Second Amendment is something that Madison would probably have considered a historical and not a constitutional question. Were he alive today, Madison might argue that the doctrine of originalism has been perverted by modern-day originalists.

      • machintelligence
        July 25, 2012 at 2:58 pm

        I posted this above in the thread but perhaps it bears repeating.
        According to current law:
        The current United States Code, Title 10 (Armed forces), section 311 (Militia: Composition and Classes), paragraph (a) states: “The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.”
        It’s a little sexist, but it was written over 100 years ago and is still in effect. It excludes me, too, because i’m over the age limit.

        • Sqrat
          July 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm

          I haven’t looked into it, but I believe that, in practice, this definition simply serves to define the class of people who can be compelled by the federal government to “perform their militia obligation” — that is, who could be conscripted, or who could be compelled to render active duty service as members of the National Guard when the Guard is called up.

          To put it another way, the Second Amendment “right to bear arms” has, in part, become the right to be drafted.

  16. Alex D.
    July 25, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    It’s always tough and interesting to have this argument. I’m a longtime member of both the NRA and the ACLU – there are certainly some agendas on the fringe at both of these organizations that I find myself strongly disagreeing with but on the whole it seems to promote somewhat of a balance. I will say that the banning of guns sure seems like a slippery slope once it is started based on history and my first hand experience over time in places like Australia and countries in the EU. Unintended consquences arise and people lose the ability to protect themselves effectively.

    It’s also a fight between those that live in cities and those that live in rural areas. When I lived in the city I rarely carried a gun with my concealed permit except when I would be in dangerous areas late at night carrying a stupid amount of cash for my job at the time. I also felt generaly safer in the city all things being equal. Now that I live in a rural area, I find myself shooting sage rats, rabbits, and other varmints on my property using a hi-capacity magazine as well as getting back into some types of bird hunting.

    There is also certainly more of a tangible fear in some rural areas. It would take the police quite some time to get to my house in an emergency. Cell coverage can be spotty only a mile or so from the house. There is also much more of a visible gang and meth problem in this area with some vary risky and bizarre home invasions, kidnappings, and general robberies/muggings. These are not isolated events – most of my neighbors have a story or two. Rather than choose to be a potential victim without options in a bad circumstance I have renewed my CWP and find myself carrying much more often (to be fair I’m not out there carrying my AR-15 either).

    Unprovoked gun violence is tragic, awful, and senseless. Life can be like that. I don’t see banning guns in the US as a cure though (the genie is definitely out of the bottle folks). On the other hand, I wish that when things like this happened there was more of an emphasis placed on mental health issues and the diagnosis, care, and treatment of mental illness in this country. The US does an abysmal job of talking about and addressing mental illness. Prisons are full of people that should be in hospitals or at least acknowledged as being mentally ill. Yet, we barely even pay lip service to it, certainly don’t have indivuduals covered for it, and there is no reliable social safety net. I hear a lot about mass shooters being “evil”. Bullshit – people are bad, mentally impaired, or just a waste of oxygen but don’t lay this good vs. evil crap on top of a tragedy – it smacks too much of religion. I obviously have no idea if this particular perpetrator is indeed mentally ill (though the appearence in court sure did look like someone that was medicated, the idea itself was crazy, plus I’m willing to bet this guy had probably been picked on and socially marginalized his whole life adding fuel to the fire). Given some good anti-psychotics, more research into mental illness, better health coverage, and some healthier sex-positive attitudes in this country and we might have a different outcome than what is seen here. (And for mental illness I’d start by attracting a better cadre of Psychitrists in this country – most go into it to find out what is secretly wrong with themselves – I’ve worked in the profession and been to the association meetings – it’s not pretty)

    Rant complete… thanks

  17. Chip Matthews
    July 25, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Re: Prat’s #9
    You say “The guarantee of “the right of the People to keep and bear Arms” is not a guarantee of the right of private individuals to own guns, but rather of the right of the people in their collective capacity to provide for their own military defense without relying on the federal government to provide it for them.”

    I believe that is exactly what it means. How are the people going to provide for their own military defense if they are not allowed to own guns? Everything you wrote is bass-ackwords Prat. You are welcome to your own opinions, just not your own facts. You can’t make them up as you go and interpret them however you want so that they meet your ideals.

    • Sqrat
      July 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      How are the people going to provide for their own military defense if they are not allowed to own guns?

      How are the people going to deter a nuclear attack unless every person has the right to keep a thermonuclear warhead in his garage? You seem to be unaware that there could be any kind of distinction between “the people” — a collective body — and “a person.”

      To answer your question directly, the people could provide for their own defense by belonging collectively to the militia, and the militia could own and provide the weapons, distributing the weapons when required,and only when required.

      In this day and age, the idea of having the people provide for their own defense by having individuals show up for military service with whatever personal weapons they happen to own is simply ludicrous. The logistical implications of trying to provide for maintaining an adequate supply of ammunition for a gazillion different kinds of unstandardized weapons would be staggering, even if we stay-at-homes wanted to rely for our defense on a bunch of under-trained, under-equipped, out-of-shape yahoos.

      You are welcome to your own opinions (however absurd), just not to your own facts, Chip.

      • Patrik Roslund
        July 28, 2012 at 10:32 pm

        Indeed, this sort of system is actually quite broadly used. I live in the o so neutral and peaceful Sweden but we still have our own version of this called hemvärnet. it’s mostly a bunch of gun loving middle aged ex soldiers and rejects who will be our last line of defense or “guerrilla fighters” should we ever find ourselves in a war again.

        • ik
          July 29, 2012 at 3:09 am

          If your first line of defense is guerillas, you are in a bad way.

  18. Mikey
    July 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    This may be off topic but as a huge gamer I don’t flinch at all at shooting virtual people with a virtual shotgun in their virtual face but if my roommate has his hand gun on the table, just cleaning it, I can’t help but stare in fear. I’m an odd duck >_>

    • Paddy
      July 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm

      Mikey,

      This does not make you an odd duck at all. You simply can distinguish between a gaming fantasy world, and real life.

      Now, after 20 years in the military, I don’t believe anyone should “fear” a weapon being cleaned on the table, but I absolutely believe in practicing gun safety and “respecting” the weapon.

      I’m an avid gamer myself, I have no issues destroying scores of pixilated adversaries whether human or computer controlled. However, I feel sick at the thought of violence to an innocent person in real life. I know I’m generalizing, but I believe that the majority of what we consider “normal” people in society, feel the same way.

      I don’t own any guns, but I don’t think all guns should be banned. I do believe that common sense gun controls are appropriate, and NOBODY outside the military NEEDS an assault rifle with high capacity magazines for protection.

  19. Brad
    July 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Even though I don’t own any guns, I usually enjoy a couple of the shows like Discovery Channel’s “American Guns”. But after the Aurora massacre I turned on an episode (which had aired a couple of weeks ago) that showed them taking turns unloading clip after clip from fully-automatic machine guns into range targets. This is par for the course on the show, but this time it just made me a little sick to my stomach as it showed so clearly how much these weapons are designed to snuff out as much human life as possible in the least amount of time.

    Sure, the general public has to “settle” for semi-auto, which basically means “as fast as you can pull the trigger”, which can be pretty darn fast, with some practice. I’m not sure that is much comfort. Actually, I’m sure that’s not much comfort.

    I can’t see any legitimate reason people need the ability to own these type of weapons.

  20. July 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    The simple fact is, nobody NEEDS to own a gun. EVER.

    No, nobody “needs” to hunt, either, as meat is readily available at the supermarket. Not to mention, “hunting” is inhumane — it’s not at all fair to your prey to hide in a tree and shoot it from 100+ yards with a high-powered rifle. And it is unspeakably cruel to shoot an animal just for wandering on to “your” land, especially when you’re stupid enough to have livestock (a.k.a. “the dinner buffet”) freely available for the picking. (Hint: It’s called a FENCE, invest in a good one, and you won’t have problems.)

    In short, there is no legitimate “reason” to own a gun. EVER.

    • feloniuspope
      July 26, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      Have you ever actually hunted? Done properly it is more humane than getting your food from a factory farm.

    • Nathair
      July 26, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Not to mention, “hunting” is inhumane

      Well, sorta, kinda, maybe. Around here if the government did not sell deer hunting licenses as a revenue source they would instead have to pay MNR employees to cull those same deer using basically the same methods the hunters do. Many years they end up doing both, license the deer hunt and still end up having to cull deer. Deer are thriving alongside us and even with “population management programs” conflicts are frequent and often serious. For example, more than ten thousand Canadians hit deer or moose with their cars every year. This costs lives and millions of dollars. (It’s also pretty hard on the ten or twelve thousand deer and moose involved.)

      So the question is, what other option would you recommend? (And before you make the same mistake I did, not only does releasing hundreds of tigers into the woods north of Toronto turn out to have problematic side effects but it’s not actually any more “humane” for the deer either.)

      • Francisco Bacopa
        July 27, 2012 at 10:18 pm

        Hmmm, Tigers in Ontario. Interesting idea. Surely cougars from Chile would be a better choice.

        I used to go out with a megafauna restoration advocate. She ranted every time she saw a Chinese tallow tree and wanted elephants to tear out the mesquites of South Texas to restore the biologically diverse shortgrass prairie.

        Texas law deems some species as feral invasives which can be hunted year round. Hogs and nutria, a South American aquatic rodent the size of a small dog, are the main problems here. Must pig hunting is done around here without gunfire as firearms discharge is illegal on all city and county flood control owned land, and the Addicks/Barker levee system west of Houston is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, so no guns there either. Hunters use two packs of dogs, Louisiana Curs to track the pigs, and pit bulls to follow the curs (pit bulls aren’t fast or smart enough to find pigs) and cut a few pigs out of the herd and pin them down. The pinned pigs are roped and then killed with a knife to the throat.

        Nutria hunting used to be quite popular when fur prices were high in Russia. You could get 4 bucks per kill. Now it’s about a dollar and no one bothers. I think Louisiana has a bounty and nutria have spread as far north as Maryland and that state is considering a bounty.

        So I do support some hunting. Killing invasives should always be legal. That protects the environment.

  21. kyoseki
    July 25, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    I see a lot of people bandying around the term “semi automatic” in this thread like it somehow makes a gun magically more dangerous – almost ALL handguns sold in this country are semi automatic, they will fire one round every time you pull the trigger.

    Basically if it’s anything other than a single shot muzzle loader or a reproduction cowboy gun that has to be cocked every time you shoot, it’s probably a semi automatic handgun of some description.

    Semi automatic does not mean it’s a machine gun.

    As far as the law is concerned, firing anything other than a single round any time you pull the trigger classifies the weapon as a machine gun, which are not legal for sale with a handful of very rare and very expensive exceptions.

    Civilians are also not allowed to own armor piercing ammunition (without an unbelievable amount of paperwork) or convert semi automatic rifles to automatic operation (without an even larger amount of paperwork), so I don’t know where anyone here gets the idea that this kind of thing is protected by the 2nd Amendment, basically, if you’re anything short of a firearms and ammunition MANUFACTURER, you don’t get to own that shit.

    Now, that said, I think the AR-15 is a pretty stupid gun, I don’t see the point in owning one, but I don’t see how banning them solves anything either.

    … in every other instance of mass shooting I can find in this country, the perpetrator used handguns (and/or shotguns), which of course are responsible for the vast majority of all firearms deaths in the US.

    If this guy hadn’t had an AR-15 style rifle, he simply would have (and indeed did when the rifle jammed) used something else.

    Aside from looking scary, what is it about these guns that makes them too dangerous? Where is the line drawn? How do you define “too dangerous” ? These are not machine guns, they fire one round every time you pull the trigger, just like a handgun. It’s true that they’re more accurate at range and more effective against targets in body armor, but neither of these were a factor in the Aurora shootings since it took place indoors against unarmored targets.

    That said, I do feel that drum magazines are pretty stupid and should be more difficult to get hold of (I’d put them in the same category as silencers – possible to obtain but it’s a ton of paperwork and someone is tracking them). Restricting magazine sizes may help reduce the casualties in mass shootings, assuming you could get all the existing high capacity magazines out of circulation, but all that seems to happen is that the perpetrators end up carrying more than one weapon or change their tactics.

    In the deadliest shooting in US history, The Virginia Tech shooter killed 32 people with a further 25 wounded and he was armed with 2 handguns and 15-round magazines, I’m having a hard time believing that had he been limited to only 10-round magazines that the outcome would have been significantly different.

    Additionally, California has very restrictive “assault weapons” laws, a ban on magazines over 10 rounds and stops you using detachable magazines on semiautomatic centerfire rifles (like the AR-15), but still has a higher than average rate of firearms murders (http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/10/gun-crime-us-state).

    As long as people have access to firearms, any kind of firearms, you’re going to get spree killers, banning any specific type of firearm is just rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic.

    ps. While I agree, from an individual freedom standpoint, with the idea of concealed carry, anyone who seriously believes that a person with a handgun could have stopped this attack is fucking delusional.

    • tajparis
      July 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      Semi-automatic does not refer only to firing one round for each pull of the trigger. It also means that at the end of the firing cycle a new round is loaded in the chamber and the firing mechanism is primed. This effectively increases substantially the rate of fire and number of consecutive rounds that can be fired. A revolver that fires one round per trigger pull is not semi-auto, nor are lever, pump, or bolt action shotguns and rifles. Those four categories make up the bulk of privately owned firearms in the US.

      • kyoseki
        July 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm

        True enough, but you’ll notice I was referring primarily to handguns with the first few paragraphs.

        Handguns are the firearm used in an overwhelming number of murders and mass shootings (http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/homicide/weapons.cfm) so that’s what I was focusing on – indeed, you’ll notice that “other guns” are about equal with knives and “other weapons” when it comes to the weapon used.

        … and as I stated, the vast majority of handguns sold in this country are semiautomatics or double action revolvers, both of which will fire a round as fast as you can pull the trigger, even though the method of operation is different.

        An AR-15 is simply a semi automatic rifle, using terms like “assault weapon” obfuscates the fact that it’s rate of fire isn’t significantly different to that of most handguns in this country – and you can get 100 round magazines for handguns as well so it’s not like the AR is the only gun with a huge ammo capacity (and just so as we’re clear, even I think those are pretty excessive) – and of course, it’s a lot easier to hide a handgun than a rifle.

        Even though I don’t agree with them (from either a personal liberty or a practicality standpoint), I can recognize that people calling for an outright ban on firearms aren’t drawing arbitrary distinctions between firearms, but I don’t understand people who decide that it’s OK for everyone to own handguns but not semiautomatic rifles when the vast majority of firearms deaths we see are caused by the former anyway.

  22. Rob
    July 25, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    In my country gun ownership is restricted. This does not prevent pretty much anyone from having a gun if they want one. With a population of just over 4 million we have an estimated 1.1 million privately owned guns spread over 5% of the population.

    The licensing system is run by the police. You cannot have a criminal conviction and if friends/family/colleagues raise red flags over your character that can cause issues. I own a small hunting rifle and have been through the process. It is clearly designed to weed out the worst of the criminal fraternity and those who have extreme mental health issues.

    Handguns are almost unheard of as you need to have a specific purpose for one of these (for example target shooting) and you go through extra steps for that licence. Same with Military style weapons. Automatic weapons are not allowed, magazine size is restricted. We have no daft stand your ground laws or right to blaze away at people who enter your property. We do have a right to defence of self and others, but this must be in proportion to the immediacy and nature of the threat. Use of firearms in this context is heavily scrutinised. Gun related crime is certainly not unknown, but is at a level that police here do not publicly carry weapons (although they are available in lock boxes in patrol cars).

    It’s always risky trying to suggest to people in another country what they should do, but I feel more comfortable with our system. In a country as highly policed and militarised as the USA I see no reason for the public to carry weapons and to have access to other than reasonable hunting weapons. To me it appears than gun ownership is much more an ideology than a necessity and seems symptomatic of a society seriously out of balance and uncomfortable with itself. In such a situation having lots of guns around just makes it easier for the sad, bad and mad to cause harm to themselves and others.

  23. kyoseki
    July 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    In short, there is no legitimate “reason” to own a gun. EVER.

    Really? Something like two thirds of gun owners do so for recreation (target shooting, not hunting – http://www.gallup.com/poll/20098/gun-ownership-use-america.aspx) – this is certainly why I own guns, it’s like a much louder form of archery (which I also practice).

    So, is recreation a legitimate reason to make something legal?

    Recreation is the only reason alcohol is legal, and that kills substantially more people every year than firearms (CDC estimates put it at at least double).

    How about convenience?

    We could save tens of thousands of lives every year by forcing everyone to take public transport instead of driving themselves, after all, unless you’re actually disabled, there’s no reason why you can’t take public transport (and nobody says you have to live so far from work you have to drive), so your car isn’t something you really NEED either.

    Tell me, should both of those activities be made illegal because we don’t need them? Should you have to demonstrate a need to own a car or alcohol before you’re allowed to buy either? Certainly the two together are a significant threat.

    I know I’m sure as hell more concerned about getting hit by a drunk driver cycling home from work than I am about getting shot.

    • Makoto
      July 26, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      Personally, that’s why I’m all for reasonable limits on gun ownership, but not complete outlawing. I see no reason to stop the hunters, the target shooters, and the people who feel the need for home defense (though, after that recent incident where a police officer shot his son entering their hotel room, I’d like to reiterate the need for training in things like leaving the gun unloaded when not in use).

      I just don’t see the need for high capacity magazines or ARs. They don’t help hunting – if you miss the first couple of times, the game is likely gone. They don’t help for home defense – if you miss the first couple of times, you likely have other trouble. And they certainly don’t help for target shooting – miss the first time, and you generally need to reset.

      I enjoy shooting, and many of my family members do as well. But none of us see the need for high capacity magazines, or ARs, or several other types of weapons. On the flip side, we all see how high capacity / rapid shot weapons mean more people shot / fewer chances to escape or charge the assailant in these sorts of attacks.

      If, as you say, it’s like a much louder form of archery, let’s all go back to single shot guns.

      • kyoseki
        July 27, 2012 at 1:40 am

        Personally, that’s why I’m all for reasonable limits on gun ownership, but not complete outlawing. I see no reason to stop the hunters, the target shooters, and the people who feel the need for home defense

        Agreed, I think we just disagree on the extent of those limits, but you’ve already picked the firearms that are responsible for the vast majority of gun deaths in this country as items that you feel are reasonable to own.

        I just don’t see the need for high capacity magazines or ARs. They don’t help hunting – if you miss the first couple of times, the game is likely gone. They don’t help for home defense – if you miss the first couple of times, you likely have other trouble. And they certainly don’t help for target shooting – miss the first time, and you generally need to reset.

        I can see some advantage to semiautomatic rifles for hunting, if your first shot misses you can get another off fast without having to cycle the action manually, but you’re right, beyond the first few rounds, there’s no gain to having more in the magazine.

        You are right on the other two points, however, I would never use a rifle for home defense, the risk of overpenetration is far too great and for target shooting, give me a decent bolt action rifle any day.

        That said, there are a LOT of guys who seem to get a lot of enjoyment from shooting their ARs at the gun ranges, as I’ve said earlier, I’m not one of them, in my experience they’re nothing more than a good way to blow through a lot of money very quickly.

        I’m ok with the idea of people owning ARs as recreational rifles, I think they should be limited to 20 or 30 round magazines and anything beyond that should probably get put into the same category as silencers, which, whilst still available, require a shit ton of paperwork, a hefty tax duty, and a review by a government employee before being issued.

        Handgun magazines I would limit by saying that all the rounds should be housed within the handle of the firearm, or 20 rounds, whichever is less – the reason I don’t like the arbitrary 10 round limit is that a lot of guns have magazines specifically designed for them that take a little more than 10 rounds. Case in point, my target pistol is designed for counterweighted magazines that extend below the level of the magazine well (only the counterweight sticks out, the magazine sits 100% within the magazine well).

        In 40S&W, this means I’d have 14 rounds in the magazine, which is hardly a game changer over the proposed 10 round limit, but means that I end up buying stock California spec 10 round mags which really aren’t designed to work with this model of the gun.

        I enjoy shooting, and many of my family members do as well. But none of us see the need for high capacity magazines, or ARs, or several other types of weapons. On the flip side, we all see how high capacity / rapid shot weapons mean more people shot / fewer chances to escape or charge the assailant in these sorts of attacks.

        Well, as I’ve noted elsewhere, most mass murders are committed with handguns and shotguns (and even then, with pretty small magazines, only the Arizona shooting I can think of involved a ridiculous 40 round handgun magazine), two items you’ve already said you don’t have much of a problem with.

        The worst attack I can think of with a semiautomatic rifle was the Norway murders last year, but that wasn’t an AR, it was a Ruger Mini 14, which doesn’t sound (or look) nearly as scary as the “military style” assault weapon. In fact, the Mini 14 qualifies as a featureless rifle under California’s assault weapons laws (which means you can buy it legally). It fires the same .223 caliber round as the AR, with the same rate of fire, but because it has a one piece wooden stock and not some plastic thing that looks like an army gun, it’s completely legal here.

        How does that make the blindest bit of sense?

        If, as you say, it’s like a much louder form of archery, let’s all go back to single shot guns.

        Well, single shot guns are no use for self defense, which is something you say you support, but you can still do a hell of a lot of damage with one – the DC Beltway Sniper a few years back killed 10 people with only a single round fired each time, even limiting people to single shot guns isn’t going to stop the madness.

        I guess what I’m saying is that after these kinds of shootings, everyone jumps on the “lets ban gun/item X!” bandwagon, whilst ignoring the fact that it’s really the mundane firearms (regular handguns) that are used in the VAST majority of shootings deaths and suicides.

        You may stop the next shooting being committed with an AR-15 (and bear in mind he used a pump action shotgun and a 40 round handgun as well), but you won’t stop the next shooting being committed at all, and if the guy is sufficiently intelligent, he’ll find another way.

        You have to either ban ALL guns (which is never going to happen and could well lead to a lot more deaths) or you have to change the fundamental way people view guns and violence in general in this country. My personal belief is that you only stand a chance in hell of pursuing the second option, once that’s done you can start looking at the first, but by then, you won’t need to.

  24. July 26, 2012 at 12:04 am

    I’d support stricter standards for licensing drivers.

    I AM disabled, and I DO take public transportation. Taking the bus OUGHT to be the first resort (or walking, or riding a bicycle), rather than hopping in the car just to go four or five blocks.

    We tried Prohibition. It didn’t work then. It’s not working now (see the War on (Some) Drugs).

    The simple fact is, a gun is designed for one single purpose: TO KILL. A car, alcohol, these weren’t designed for the sole purpose of killing others, and though they can be used to kill, should not be restricted on that basis. Guns, however, SHOULD.

    I know we’re never going to achieve a total gun ban, but I want severely restricted ownership — restrict ownership to police and military, disallow guns in ANY home where a child is (or might) be present, and institute very strict penalties for violations (including a lifetime ban on ownership and handling, and potential federal prison time, for the most severe violations.)

    The thing is, if we look at other countries, where gun posession is NOT viewed as some kind of “god-given” right, the homicide and gun-crime rates are drastically lower (sometimes even non-existent). But we refuse to consider even the most reasonable restrictions on gun ownership, and instead just let anyone and their mother buy a gun. Then when the inevitable tragedy happens (Columbine, Aurora, V-Tech…) we wonder what went wrong.

    There needs to be a Federal registry of all guns bought and sold, along with the kind and amount of ammo purchased. And speaking of ammo, there needs to be a limit on how much you can buy in a given period of time — there is NO reason this nutter in Aurora should have been able to stockpile assault rifles and thousands of rounds without raising red flags. The fact that we treat this shit as “normal” is very disturbing, and tells me that we, as Americans, value our killing machines more than we value our citizens.

    • kyoseki
      July 26, 2012 at 1:11 am

      I’d support stricter standards for licensing drivers.

      Wasn’t my point, you’re not talking about stricter licensing on firearms, you’re talking about a ban – should you have to prove that you NEED a car before you’re allowed to own one? The simple act of owning a car and driving it in public puts other people at risk (conversely, most gun owners don’t generally wave their guns about in public).

      We tried Prohibition. It didn’t work then. It’s not working now (see the War on (Some) Drugs).

      Yet somehow you feel that a ban on firearms would be more effective?

      There are something like 290-300 million firearms in this country, we don’t have an accurate count because we simply don’t know, do you seriously believe that they will all just go away because we make them illegal? It didn’t work on alcohol, it didn’t work on drugs, why would it work on guns?

      The simple fact is, a gun is designed for one single purpose: TO KILL. A car, alcohol, these weren’t designed for the sole purpose of killing others, and though they can be used to kill, should not be restricted on that basis. Guns, however, SHOULD.

      Couple of points:
      1: I own 3 guns, only one was designed as a sidearm, the other two were designed for target practice, so based on that distinction, I should be allowed to keep my target pistol and skeet gun, right?
      2: Based on the same logic, that anything designed as a weapon should be illegal, we should therefore outlaw archery and all martial arts, correct?

      I know we’re never going to achieve a total gun ban, but I want severely restricted ownership — restrict ownership to police and military, disallow guns in ANY home where a child is (or might) be present, and institute very strict penalties for violations (including a lifetime ban on ownership and handling, and potential federal prison time, for the most severe violations.)

      I don’t particularly disagree that people should be held accountable for negligence on their part when it comes to firearms and children, but the rest of these suggestions are based on the idea that people are all idiots and that somehow you know better than everyone else.

      … I want a logically coherent reason as to what qualifies something as “too dangerous” for the general public to own and a logically coherent reason as to what qualifies you to make that judgment.

      Explain to me why, as a responsible person, I shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun and shoot paper targets at the gun range.

      You can’t treat people like children and expect them not to behave as such. Most European countries actually have relatively high (20-30%) rates of gun ownership without the associated firearms murder rate of the US (the UK is actually unusually low in this regard). It is not access to guns that is the problem, it’s how those guns are viewed.

      … which brings us to;

      The thing is, if we look at other countries, where gun posession is NOT viewed as some kind of “god-given” right, the homicide and gun-crime rates are drastically lower (sometimes even non-existent).

      Now there are two issues here, the first is that gun culture is intrinsic to this country. It was, after all, founded through a revolution that wouldn’t have been possible without civilian firearms ownership – and whilst I happen to agree that the bulk of people out there who still harbor the idea of armed rebellion and probably jerk off to reruns of Red Dawn are pretty goddamned delusional, the fact is that guns and violence are still glorified here. It’s an attitude that needs to be addressed before you can possibly even think of overturning the 2nd amendment and getting people to surrender their firearms – in fact, if you try to get people to surrender their guns before changing that attitude, I guarantee you, you’ll see a hell of a lot of deaths on both sides, even assuming you could find police willing to try to take them (in my experience, most rank and file cops are actually pretty ok with the idea of an armed populace).

      The second issue, of course, is assuming that the lower murder rates are a direct result of the availability of firearms, which really doesn’t hold water. The UK has INCREDIBLY strict firearms laws enacted after the Dunblane and Hungerford massacres, but it’s worth noting that they still have a problem with spree killers (look up the Cumbria shootings) and additionally have a higher overall murder rate than Norway, France, Germany and most other European countries that actually have far more relaxed gun laws – even with the awful mass shooting in Norway last year, their overall murder rate was still half that of the UK, and bear in mind that the perpetrator was also able to buy his firearms legally – in fact, with a 10 round magazine, the Ruger Mini 14 he used would even be legal in California, despite the fact that it shoots the same .223 cartridge as an AR-15 (and so is just as lethal).

      The US has a real problem with violence, but even if you don’t count ANY of the firearms murders here, we STILL have a murder rate 50% higher than England (and about 3x that of Norway).

      Guns still hold a kind of mythos here, both among gun owners and people who want to ban them, both sides see them as something far more powerful than they really are and it’s that attitude that needs to be addressed first and foremost.

      The countries that have low rates of gun ownership and low murder rates have achieved that because nobody there WANTS guns, it’s not a case of the populace being desperate to get them and the government stopping them, there simply isn’t the impetus to violence that we suffer from here.

      You stand a better chance of changing attitudes than you do getting rid of firearms (and indeed this is what I feel needs to happen).

      There needs to be a Federal registry of all guns bought and sold, along with the kind and amount of ammo purchased. And speaking of ammo, there needs to be a limit on how much you can buy in a given period of time — there is NO reason this nutter in Aurora should have been able to stockpile assault rifles and thousands of rounds without raising red flags.

      I’m actually with you on the registry, I have no problem with the idea of knowing who owns what, but there are tens of millions of unregistered firearms out there, not counting the fact that most states don’t require firearms transfers to be registered added to which, Canada has had a firearms registry for the past 10-15 years, but they’re shutting it down because it was a: useless and b: expensive, so I’m honestly not sure whether it would be particularly effective.

      Now, on the second part of stockpiling assault rifles & ammo, he only had the one rifle and that was definitely registered with the state, so he wasn’t stockpiling weapons.

      6000 rounds of ammunition sounds pretty ridiculous, but you have to remember a couple of things;
      First off, you can’t carry that much ammo, you’re looking at 3-400 lbs of ammunition, not counting the magazines you’d need,

      Second, competitive shooters can easily blow through a few hundred rounds in a session at the gun range (I’ve gone through 250 shotgun shells at the skeet range in the space of an hour and a half), so bulk orders like this really aren’t all that unusual, consequently you’d get an awful lot of false alarms which would get in the way of legitimate threats.

      I honestly don’t know what the solution is here, but constantly pressing for a ban is both futile and naive because it woefully underestimates the extent of the problem.

    • July 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      I’d also like the police to be disarmed. All to often in history they have armed groups like the KKK or were members themselves. I was told stories by my mother of how the Texas Rangers would indiscriminately kill Mexicans and brag about “stacking them up like cord wood”

      • ik
        July 29, 2012 at 3:22 am

        That is completely not going to work. Although I agree that we REALLY REALLY NEED a nonlethal weapon that can stand up to lethal weapons without still killing some people. Currently that does not exist and the ones that come closest are still a highly coercive, torturous pain devices. The US has some pretty violent criminals and you hear about things like those armored bank robbers who basically shot their way out of a bank, took hundreds of rounds from police, wounded several police, did massive property damage, and eventually died when they took enough injuries through their body armor.

        Disarming some police would help, I think. We really DO have too many deaths caused by trigger-happy and often racist police.

        • kyoseki
          July 30, 2012 at 2:04 am

          You’re thinking of the North Hollywood shootout in 97.

          These guys were equipped with machine guns (illegally converted) and body armor, and while the shootout itself was on a par with an action movie, the only people killed were the bad guys.

          The event led to California’s assault weapons laws and high capacity magazine ban. Laws that are so effective, we’re only marginally above the rest of the country in firearms related deaths.

          I mean seriously, look at the numbers;
          Firearms murders per 100,00 population:
          California 3.37
          US AVERAGE: 2.84
          Colorado 1.28

          There is no such thing as “sensible gun control”, anything short of a complete ban is a complete waste of time, and even then, I can give you a dozen reasons why that wouldn’t work.

          Pandora’s box has been opened, you don’t get to try to stuff the contents back in.

  25. sosw
    July 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

    In this article, he points out that psychopaths exist, regardless of ideology or whether or not gun control laws are prohibitive or strict. He says there have always been insane people, and there always will be.

    There is a pretty big terminology problem here. Psychopaths aren’t insane, and they don’t tend to be mass-murderers. They aren’t deranged, they are simply unsuitable for civilized society because they lack all empathy. Most psychopaths you meet are likely to be “successful” people who are good at manipulating and convincing other people to do their bidding, whether it’s in their interests or not.

    • Patrik Roslund
      July 28, 2012 at 11:12 pm

      True but they are also over represented among violent offenders.

      • July 29, 2012 at 12:12 am

        Which is why it’s so important to identify them EARLY, and get them into proper therapy (institutionalization, even, if appropriate), and ALSO why it’s so important to know who is trying to purchase or has purchased firearms of any kind and any amount of ammo over, say, six rounds.

        For you “sport” shooters, your guns and ammo should be kept LOCKED UP AT THE RANGE, and NEVER removed from the grounds.

        • kyoseki
          July 30, 2012 at 1:50 am

          Keep track of anyone buying any amount of ammo over six rounds?

          That would be EVERYONE.

          They don’t sell ammunition in six round blocks, the minimum purchase I’ve ever seen is 50 rounds (a single factory box) or maybe 20 rounds in the case of personal defense ammunition (things like hollow points or specialist rounds).

          Oh wait, shotgun ammunition is sold in 25 round boxes.

          Setting a standard that identifies everybody is no more useful than setting a standard that identifies no-one, or do you think the FBI/ATF have the time and resources to run background checks on everybody who buys a single box of ammunition?

          Interestingly, I just saw a quick piece on the US Olympic Shooter who just won her 5th gold medal, apparently she goes through 6000 rounds a WEEK.

          That said, if someone goes from being a non gun-owner to buying 4 guns, 6000 rounds of ammunition and a complete set of body armor in the space of a couple months, some red flags should go up.

          Personally, I’d be ok with restricting, or at least tracking, body armor sales – there are very few reasons I can think for someone to buy ballistic armor, and all of them involve getting shot at, which generally is not something one would plan for ahead of time.

          As for keeping firearms at the range, that’s absurdly impractical for a number of reasons, do you have any idea of the amount of storage required for every firearm belonging to every shooter at even a medium sized range?

          Can you even prove that such an idea would be beneficial?

  26. left0ver1under
    July 26, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    ibbica (#2) says:

    As I understand it, returning British armies seeking to re-establish territorial claim over the Americas.

    That claim turned out to be load of codswallop. When the US invaded Canada in 1812 and got its behind kicked back to Washington, the British did not try to revoke US independence, less than 40 years after declaration.

    If it didn’t happen then, it was never going to happen, so the “well armed militia” blathering is a crock.

  27. M Groesbeck
    July 27, 2012 at 1:31 am

    Y’know, I’ve lately had to wonder whether I should take up gun ownership.

    Specifically, it’s as a matter of self-defense when it comes to those (like the NRA and Al Stefanelli) who insist that the first half of the 2nd amendment is purely decorative and that what’s really being referred to is a fundamental right of “Us” to offer a continual deadly threat against anyone who has the gall to be a “Them”.

    • kyoseki
      July 27, 2012 at 1:45 am

      I would say that everyone should have a solid understanding of firearms and how they work, what their capabilities are and how ridiculous their portrayals are in tv and movies.

      It’s the general ignorance of the nature of firearms that contributes to their level of mythos.

      People should not be comfortable around guns, but they should be more familiar with them.

      • M Groesbeck
        July 27, 2012 at 2:45 am

        Oh, I’d agree that in the world-as-it-exists everyone (especially who isn’t of the NRA-approved heterosexual Christian white male configuration) should have a basic understanding of how firearms work. (I received my initial training from the Boy Scouts, where I was the designated firearms hotshot for my troop before I came out.) I just wish that this weren’t necessary due to…well, the NRA and their affiliates. I shouldn’t have to worry constantly about my personal security due to the continued efforts of “only the second half of the 2nd Amendment counts” conservatives to put a semi-auto-loaded Sword of Damocles over the head of everyone the NRA doesn’t approve of. And, hell, I say that as a white non-conservative-approved individual. How many times in the last 10 years have you heard of white gun-enthusiast groups (NRA being at the top of the list, though people like the Pink Pistols are certainly right up there) objecting to the state of affairs where anyone who isn’t white is openly subject to on-the-spot police execution for daring to possess anything (e.g. a cell phone) which might be mistaken for a firearm?

      • ik
        July 29, 2012 at 3:26 am

        Incidentally, I suspect that guns are not the best self-defense weapon. They are an entirely non-defensive weapon, so the only way to defend yourself is through coercion (against somebody who probably has the drop on you and/or is already attacking) or preemption, which is crappy given the lethality of them.

        I don’t know what the alternatives neccesarily are. But I imagine that some close-combat weapons that still have a bit of reach and defense ability might be worth considering.

        Incidentally knives have the same shortcomings plus being a close-combat weapon that can’t defeat an adversary before they are in range.

        • kyoseki
          July 30, 2012 at 1:39 am

          If there’s an alternative out there that levels the playing field as much as a firearm, I’m all ears.

          With any kind of melee weapon, the skill and size of the wielder is just as important as the weapon itself, plus, I don’t think that forcing everyone to go to krav maga classes is really a valid option.

          … even if they did, if your attacker outweighs you by a hundred lbs, you’re going to lose.

          With firearms, it doesn’t matter if you’re an 80 year old grandmother or a 25 year old bodybuilder, your odds basically come down (or up) to 50/50.

  28. J. Goard
    July 27, 2012 at 6:51 am

    However, there is no getting around the fact that the United States is responsible for more than eight out of ten gun deaths in the wealthiest twenty-three countries combined.

    Could you explain this statistic a bit more for me? Going by the IMF list of nations by per capita GDP, I’m estimating that the US population is slightly greater that that of the other richest 22 combined. (It’s still quite a bit higher than the most populous seven — Germany, France, the UK, Canada, Taiwan, Australia, the Netherlands — and many of the other richest countries are truly tiny.)

    While you don’t cite this as coming directly from Michael Moore, I’m especially sensitive to bullshit misuse of statistics in this particular context because I vividly remember seeing “Bowling for Columbine” scarily contrast absolute numbers of murders in the US with those of much smaller countries, and wanting to yell at the screen, “What are the fucking *rates*?!?” In general, I’ve come to realize that Moore’s not shy about massive abuse of statistics for the purpose of propaganda, so much so that I can’t stand to watch or read him even when I’m strongly in agreement with his message.

    • mildlymagnificent
      July 28, 2012 at 10:01 am

      many of the other richest countries are truly tiny

      I notice Japan isn’t on that list – and it’s the second largest rich country in the world. One thing we all tend to overlook is that the USA has *the* biggest population in the world, excluding the 2 gigantic humongous incomprehensible countries, China and India, quite apart from its economic/ agricultural juggernaut status.

      If you want quick comparisons to ‘comparable’ rich countries, try a few multipliers. Whatever the specific crime incidence is for that country’s whole population, multiply to get the equiv. population rate for USA. (Most UN and CIA Factbook crime and similar statistics are given in rates per 100,000, but some sources aren’t.)
      2.4 x Japan, 127mil. 3.5 x Germany, 82mil.
      5 x France or UK or Italy, approx60mil. 9 x Canada, 33mil.
      14 x Australia, 22mil. These are rough, but good enough to start with.

      It’s a while since I looked at this stuff, but the crime/ homicide/ gun deaths difference between the USA and apparently similar countries is absolutely staggering. If you’re really interested borrow a copy, or buy a cheap one, of Wilkinson & Pickett’s “The Spirit Level”. There are only 2 chapters on crime related topics, but they’re worth a look.

      The really good thing is that if you think the stats are a bit out of date, it’s super easy to pick up more recent figures (because they use only the UN universally available numbers) and plug them in yourself and see what difference it makes. Presuming that you’re American, the statistical analyses of the differences between individual states is also very interesting.

  29. mildlymagnificent
    July 29, 2012 at 3:33 am

    There’s some discussion and neatly presented graphs on gun violence during this program. I don’t know if it’s geographically restricted though. There might be another link in a couple of days through the program itself rather than i-view. I’ll check tonight / tomorrow.

    http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/search/planet%20america

  30. brucegee1962
    July 30, 2012 at 2:40 am

    I wish someone from the NRA would just get on television and say, “Look, owning guns is very, very important to our members. They realize, and we realize, that occasional mass slaughters like the ones in Aurora are the price that all Americans have to pay so that we can continue to own them.”

    That would be the honest thing.

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