The second amendment

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Rorschach
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The second amendment

Post by Rorschach » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:30 am

I'm very surprised that this hasn't been mentioned this week. I suppose it still may be too raw for people to be posting about on an internet forum and I hope I don't offend or upset anyone.

After the atrocity in Conneticut, I'm genuinely wondering if the tide of American public opinion is turning towards changes in current gun legislation. The British press would have you believe that this may be the case, but having been witness to many cogent arguments for the preservation of the second amendment on this very site, I'm sceptical.

I've read both pro- and anti-gun lobby supporters in the last few days and some of the postions are interesting. I wish I had better sources, but I'm sure they've been repeated on news shows around your country.

So, my limited understanding is that schools are the, or one of the few, places where you cannot carry arms? This seems to be one bone of contention of the pro- lobby - that teachers should be armed. I'm wondering what people think about guns in schools. I remember after the Aurora shooting reading here the opinion that an armed citizen could have taken out the shooter and saved more lives. Should teachers be able to defend their children in similar fashion? My own opinion is that it's a lot of responsibility to place on a profession as hopefully far removed from violence as possible, although this week has proven otherwise. I'd be interested to hear the surviving teachers' thoughts on the matter. They might very well disagree with me.

The other thing I'm curious about is marrying the spirit of the second amendment to the need for powerful, fast-firing assault rifles with huge bullet capacities. Is there an argument - or indeed is there something in place - to limit the effectiveness of a gun obstensibly for the defence of one's own home/place of business? How many bullets does a competent and trained shooter need to neutralize a threat? One of the big chains - is it Walmart? - has pulled assault rifles from its shelves; although business goes on and you'd have to think that this will not be a permanent move. Would I be right in saying that assault rifles have only been available since 2004 when the prohibition of sale lapsed?
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The second amendment

Post by Deacon » Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:14 pm

I applaud your open-mindedness. Your questions are reasonable, though they do reveal the platform of understanding that's been built for you. I sometimes forget I have those own platforms in my world as well. It's important for all of us to remember that making judgments on things we're not actually familiar with is like a local plumber on WebMD denouncing a medical doctor's prescribed treatment of a patient under his care. If you're using the term "assault rifle" (invented during Clinton's reign to help manipulate the public into giving up more of their rights), it generally means you wouldn't know a hammer from a firing pin and are thus not really qualified to discuss the finer points of individual gun control and are likely approaching it from a basis of what sounds or looks mean.

I don't have time at the moment to do the topic justice, but the most vulnerable areas to this kind of terrible act is anywhere that is a "gun free zone." It means that only those who are not concerned about the law are going to be the ones with a gun. It makes absolutely no sense at all to me, when there are qualified, law abiding citizens who are part of the faculty and staff who may be willing to take the small step of arming themselves in case they're called upon to take the very large step of putting themselves in harms way to protect their students and peers. These kind of events are incredibly rare. You have a better chance of being struck by lightning, killed by bees, etc, but there's absolutely no reason to prevent responsible adults from exercising their second amendment rights.

If you doubt the concept, try to find a single instance in history where anyone has even attempted to rob the cashier at a shooting range or otherwise perpetrated a massacre at one. It will never happen--cannot ever happen, because there are too many armed citizens milling about.

I'll try to touch on the rifle question, too, but for now remember that amendment has nothing to do with sport and everything to do with making sure the government can never ensure its own power in tyranny by disarming its populace. When it was written, there were no limitations whatsoever. If you wanted a musket like the soldiers used, you got it. You wanted a cannon like they used? It's yours if you can afford it. Hell, if you can afford a battleship, go for it. Our comfort has bred apathy and a sense that never will we have to protect ourselves as individuals and fight for our rights. There is no reason to believe that is true.

So how many rounds does a person need to put down a bad guy? Anyone who has actually fired weapons on a regular basis and considered whether they would be willing to lay down their life in defense of strangers will tell you: as many as it takes. Budgeting a handful of rounds is for zombie movies and sci-fi TV.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: The second amendment

Post by lucksi » Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:17 pm

The second amendment states "well regulated militia". Gun owners are not well regulated and not trained (if you call a 40 hour course training, then fark right off) and have guns/rifles that are 200 years more advanced when that was written.

Need a rifle to protect yourself against tyrants? Get a muzzleloader.

But yeah, arm the teachers and train them to blast anyone that walks through a door. American schools are already like prisons compared to Europe, so why not add guns to them too?.

20 kids (and over 10k other victims) is a small price to pay for freedom that you pay each and every year. The more the better. So quick, act now and get yourself a rifle too, to defend yourself against the crazies. Buy one, get one free. No waiting list, no background check.

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Re: The second amendment

Post by collegestudent22 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:48 pm

Rorschach wrote:Would I be right in saying that assault rifles have only been available since 2004 when the prohibition of sale lapsed?
As defined in the law, that would be the case. But what defined "assault rifles" was basically aesthetics - guns were banned in the US based on how "scary" they looked. There is basically no difference between a semi-automatic hunting rifle and the "assault rifle" category except the look of the guns. For instance, you can buy this "ranch rifle", which offers the same caliber in a semi-automatic weapon as these "assault rifles" (defined so because they look similar to military weapons, despite lacking the burst/auto capability those weapons have).
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Re: The second amendment

Post by Rorschach » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:29 pm

Deacon wrote:Your questions are reasonable, though they do reveal the platform of understanding that's been built for you.
I agree completely. It's difficult to the point of impossible for me to get past the 'guns = bad' mentality I imagine would be prevalent in most non gun-bearing countries. Remaining objective is a struggle for me. If that sounds like I'm making pre-emptive excuses then I guess I am.
It means that only those who are not concerned about the law are going to be the ones with a gun.
You make this law sound like a choice. Is there no way that gun control could be effectively enforced? Or even tighter controls on gun sales? Obviously I don't know, but is it difficult to get a gun in the US? Or is this one of these questions whose answer could vary wildly depending on the State?
qualified, law abiding citizens who are part of the faculty and staff who may be willing to take the small step of arming themselves in case they're called upon to take the very large step of putting themselves in harms way to protect their students and peers.
Yeah, I was pretty doubtful about that but thinking about it, most of these terrible occurances in schools seem to have some hero teacher physically shielding their charges or otherwise putting themselves in the line of fire. I guess the choice of having the means to fight back might be something of a no-brainer. I don't like the idea of a firefight around children, but not as much as I dislike the notion of wholesale kid slaughter.
If you doubt the concept, try to find a single instance in history where anyone has even attempted to rob the cashier at a shooting range or otherwise perpetrated a massacre at one.

Yeah, that's fair. And it's pointless to ask you to find a single instance of a gun-based crime in the UK where guns are illegal because clearly some people are still getting their hands on them and using them. I don't know the veracity of the source - for all I know the Washington Post is your equivalent of The Daily Mail - but I found this article quite interesting.

“Since 1982, there have been at least 61 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii,” they found. And in most cases, the killers had obtained their weapons legally
It's difficult to be exact from their diagram but it looks like about 49:11 in favour of these weapons being obtained legally. Although in the interests of balance, I don't have any figures for other types of gun crime.

Interestingly, they claim that gun ownership is on the decline. If true, I wonder what the reasons for that would be.

Also, interestingly, they cite a CNN poll asking respondants to support or oppose different theoretical policies.
There's about a sixty percent support rate to banning semi-automatics - which would be anything you don't have to cock, right? Handguns and rifles together? - and a similar support rate to banning high capacity clips. Really, the whole thing seems pretty lefty, the only surprise, given the overall tone - is the opposition to limiting the number of guns each individual can own.
Our comfort has bred apathy and a sense that never will we have to protect ourselves as individuals and fight for our rights. There is no reason to believe that is true.
I teach an awful lot of students fleeing persecution from their own governments so I really should be less naïve than I apparently am but I just can't see it being likely. And although possible, is the price of so many shootings worth the guarantee that you're able to defend yourself against the government?

I think back to the UK riots of last year - you'll notice Scotland was too lazy to bother - and I wonder what would have happened had the rioters been armed? Between armed rioters, armed police response and armed citizens, I just can't see how it could have ended in anything other than a horrifcally messy clusterfuck. Doubtless the authorites would have won as you'd imagine they'd have the superior weapons and training, but that's not necessarily true of the US, is it? People have high-quality firearms and train with them.

Anyway. This whole thing just fascinates me. I understand it's probably like trying to explain Firearms for Dummies for most of you and for that, you have my thanks. Also, I appreciate it's largely pointless given our vastly differing cultural standpoints, but be fair - there's not much else going on in the forums at this time of year.
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Re: The second amendment

Post by The Cid » Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:04 am

Rorschach wrote:I'm very surprised that this hasn't been mentioned this week. I suppose it still may be too raw for people to be posting about on an internet forum and I hope I don't offend or upset anyone.
Your post isn't offensive at all, and a good set of thoughts to spur a discussion.

I don't know about anyone else here, but one reason I'm hesitant to post my thoughts on the tragedy in Connecticut at any length is that thinking about it makes me angry. It makes me feel sick. It puts me in such a state that my thought processes skip over logic and reason, reverting to a very primal "this needs to be prevented dammit" line of near-panic. I can't even wrap my mind around how much of a tragedy this is. I don't know if anyone can. So in the wake of somebody being such a monster, my mind overreacts.

Like most people, I'm always deeply shaken by the realization that people at their worst can be monsters that would frighten Lovecraft. No belief system I know of has a vision of a Hell horrible enough for someone like this shooter, whose name should be erased from our memories.

To be honest, I don't know anything of substance about guns. My parents never owned a gun, I never owned a gun, I don't hunt, and I sincerely doubt I'll ever find myself owning a firearm. That isn't to say I'm against guns, but I'll admit that while I support the second amendment, I find myself skeptical of a lot of the claims of the pro-gun communities. I always blow up their arguments to cartoonish extremes in my mind because I don't know crap about crap and don't live around guns.

I think we need to have a long national discussion about guns, and how to keep them out of the hands of the clearly dangerous while allowing the responsible to have them. Maybe we can't. Maybe the fact that guns exist means that, from time to time, awful human monsters will use them to do horrible things. But shouldn't we as a country go over things and figure out if there's anything we can do? Or is this just more of that "something horrible just happened, something must be done" mentality that we should avoid but all fall victim to sometimes?
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The second amendment

Post by Deacon » Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:50 am

Once again I propose you consider the question in the light of a broader and more fundamental question that should be applied to pretty much every topic regarding government regulation or control: can this problem be solved with more freedom instead of less? The answer is not always yes, but as I find myself drifting ever further into the clutches of libertarianism, that question becomes more and more important to me, and I begin to identify more directly with the mindset of the founders back when they set up a weak central government to handle interstate disputes and national defense and that's about it, with control concentrated at the local and state level--but even that limited. As part of that setup they wanted to make sure that the same thing that helped secure their victory over the British, individual civilians armed with modern weaponry coming together to fight off a tyrannical government, was never to fall victim to the same civilian disarmament ploy used time and time again and that would be used with devastating effect in other countries in the couple hundred years to follow. The Bill of Rights is not about duck hunting, it's about preventing the government from using its power to persecute or unduly control the lives of its individual citizens. The First Amendment explicitly guarantees the right to free speech. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to make sure the First is upheld.

Now, that said, when we have a problem with the functional aspects of the health care system we (should) talk to the doctors and nurses to see what they think about it. While maybe not gospel, it's at least worthy of serious consideration. When we have a problem with violent crime we should likewise talk to local law enforcement officers about it to get their take, which is certainly worth consideration.

I think what you'll find is that they largely support the Second Amendment, the individual's right to keep and bear arms. They know they can generally only show up after the fact to secure the crime scene, not stop someone in the moment. They also appreciate those of us who are law abiding citizens (overused term, but I can't think of anything better other than the somewhat more pedestrian "good guys") who take the time and effort to properly acquire, learn, practice, and prepare to use firearms in defense against criminals, who do none of those things, and against lunatics, who...well, who knows? Only rarely have I heard of encounters with LEOs who, upon learning that someone they're interacting with has a CHL, react in a negative manner. They may ask if you're currently armed and if so to verbally describe where on your person or in your vehicle it is, but of course that can be important information.

Guns are not mysterious. They're a piece of machinery. Their misuse in a manner like we saw in Connecticut is very rare. The overwhelmingly vast majority of firearms are owned legally and never used illegally. Even cases of being used neglectfully are rare enough to be news stories. On the other hand people drive drunk and neglectfully every day and kill scores of people daily. Nobody moves to ban cars because they understand cars; they themselves use them, learned to operate them, feel that they're necessary tools for those who opt not to wait for the bus and hope it gets to its destination on time and walk the rest of the way.

In those areas where legal gun possession and use is common, most people feel the same way about firearms for the same reasons. They generally feel it's preposterous to ban guns, philosophical reasons aside. Guns themselves aren't the problem--it's treating them as inherently bad things and restricting them to use only by criminals and insane people.

Have to pick this up later...

Quick edit to add: the NRA from what I understand suggested today that armed uniformed officers be posted at every school from here on out. That's a ridiculous waste of money and manpower, with an obvious disadvantage of loudly pointing out the only person on campus who has any chance of stopping a lunatic. Simply allowing faculty and staff who have obtained a CHL to exercise their Second Amendment rights is sufficient, and something that should always have been done if we allowed reason rather than sensational emotion to drive our thinking and decision making.
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Re: The second amendment

Post by lucksi » Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:40 am

Why haven't you risen up against the government then? Freedom of speech is all but gone, freedom of press went a long time ago. Right to a trial went out the window. Reasonable search with probable cause? Gone. Unlimited detention - check.

But hey, you got your guns, so everything is fine. And the solution to the run away gun problem is clearly more guns. The US has sooo much guns, it clearly is the safest country on the earth. And no facts will stand in the way that it is not.

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Re: The second amendment

Post by Rorschach » Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:07 am

The Cid wrote:No belief system I know of has a vision of a Hell horrible enough for someone like this shooter, whose name should be erased from our memories
It won't be. That's the twist of the knife right there. I still remember the name of the Dunblane shooter and I could have told you it before the news of Connecticut. I'll be able to tell you it in fifty years. I wish it were otherwise.

Deacon, I was interested in your 'more freedom' point. How would that be applied to gun law?

Although I understand the notion of the second amendment being partly to prevent a government's hostile actions against its own citizens, I just can't marry that very small possibility with the actual fact of an average two mass shootings a year for the last thirty years in the US. The cost seems too high.

I'm not going to be hypocritical enough to talk about home security as I have a baseball bat under my bed for that very purpose - my ability to wield the thing properly aside. Which is why I was asking about the number of shells a competent gun owner needs for home protection. Surely a limited capacity weapon - what would be the average for a handgun? Like eight or nine shells? - would be sufficient to defend you and yours against anything but a targeted assault? Most mass shootings are perpetrated with higher capacity rifles, aren't they?
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Re: The second amendment

Post by The Cid » Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:14 pm

Rorschach wrote:It won't be. That's the twist of the knife right there.
And it sucks, because I wonder whether any psychopaths would be less inclined to do this if they knew nobody would know who they were.
Deacon wrote:Once again I propose you consider the question in the light of a broader and more fundamental question that should be applied to pretty much every topic regarding government regulation or control: can this problem be solved with more freedom instead of less?
Again, I do support the second amendment. I just have trouble wrapping my mind around gun-related concepts because it's no world I've ever lived in. So Deacon, keep in mind I'm just addressing items in my own curiosity as someone from a culture that does not embrace firearms.
Deacon wrote:As part of that setup they wanted to make sure that the same thing that helped secure their victory over the British, individual civilians armed with modern weaponry coming together to fight off a tyrannical government, was never to fall victim to the same civilian disarmament ploy used time and time again and that would be used with devastating effect in other countries in the couple hundred years to follow.
Okay, but is that still a real thing? Can guns still protect us from tyranny, given how well-equipped our own police organizations and military are? If the US wanted to become tyrannical (and no, we're not there yet, or anywhere close) there is absolutely nothing that any amount of guns are going to do to protect any entity from that.
Deacon wrote:Guns themselves aren't the problem--it's treating them as inherently bad things and restricting them to use only by criminals and insane people.
But would it really be a defeat for freedom if we made it harder for the insane and the criminal to get their hands on powerful firearms seemingly designed for military applications, as is the case here? That's where I'm at with this. Last week didn't turn me off from guns entirely, but the particular way this horrific event unfolded is unacceptable. Would looking into keeping the mentally unstable away from guns--and maybe we can't, but shouldn't we look into it--really be a victory for the tyrant?

It's not that guns are good or bad. Guns are a thing. People are good or bad. I get that. But because we know that, and because we can often (not always by any stretch) identify bad people, shouldn't we consider doing something to keep "bad" people away from guns?

Oh, and I have to ask about this. I'm sorry if it makes you mad, but I want pro-gun people to understand that those of us from cultures that do not really embrace the firearm such as other countries and parts of this one have trouble wrapping our minds around this:
Deacon wrote: Simply allowing faculty and staff who have obtained a CHL to exercise their Second Amendment rights is sufficient, and something that should always have been done if we allowed reason rather than sensational emotion to drive our thinking and decision making.
I am incapable of reading statements like this and not picturing an Old West style standoff in every retailer and restaurant in this country. I know, that's absurd, but when you don't handle guns "more guns" is an absurd solution to "someone just shot up a school." I realize there's logic to it. I realize there's statistics to back it up. But when I allow it to play out in my mind, it seems extremely counter-intuitive.

I have little faith in people. People are irrational, panicky, and prone to stupid overreactions. Give the less responsible among those people an item that allows them to turn a bad decision into an irreversible one instantly, and it stands to reason that bad things will happen. You're right, a gun is a piece of machinery, but common sense suggests that not everybody should keep a chainsaw at hand. I, for example, would certainly have lost an arm by now.

Would the "more freedom" part of this solution involve allowing gun retailers to refuse service to anyone they wish for any reason? Or how about, if you live in a house with a son who you believe to need professional help mentally, you don't give them access to and practice with the kind of weapon designed for military applications? Is that reasonable to ask? Or is that another victory for the tyrants?

Okay, I'm letting emotion take over for reason, so I'm going to stop. Bottom line though, I just have trouble picturing all of these things, because I have little faith in people to be "good guys" when the time is right whether they have the tools to do so or not, and because I have even less faith in people as responsible anything. That isn't to say outlawing anything is the solution, because as long as guns exist at all they are going to be in our society and sometimes monsters are going to get them. But more guns? In the hands of human beings? I have trouble swallowing that one.
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Re: The second amendment

Post by Deacon » Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:58 pm

The Cid wrote:Okay, but is that still a real thing? Can guns still protect us from tyranny, given how well-equipped our own police organizations and military are?
Yes. Look at how well-equipped the British police organizations and military were. The civilian populace was nearly as well equipped, which is what helped establish our independence in the 1700's instead of the 1900's. That and a number of those British police and military either joined the rebellion or refused to fight against them. That is really the main thing that will save us if it comes down to it, I think, due primarily to our culture. I can't believe we'd have full troop support for waging the kind of war on our own people as is going on in Syria, for example. Some, sure, but definitely not all, probably not even most. As far as police, forget it. They're a whole lot less eager to be the steel-toed jackboots for The Man than the Germans were (and many others have been, both before and since). There may be a few True Believers, but in my very anecdotal evidence of all the cops I've known (both local and federal) they would be much quicker to take up arms in defiance of tyranny than in support of it. I guess you never really know until it's upon you, but it's important to at least have the option. The Japanese were hesitant to attack the US mainland in WWII due the proliferation of civilian arms, and the police are not going to want to head into the teeth of continual firefights if full-on chaos erupted. An airliner is unlikely to ever be hijacked again with a box cutter, because we learned lessons from 9/11. We allegedly learned some lessons from WWII, including the evils of disarmament. German gun control laws certainly helped enable the Nazis to suppress political dissidents and round up German Jews and the various other undesirables for extermination. The Germans then invaded eastern Europe which fell almost instantly, due to the inability of their victims to fight back. But that lesson is hard to remember while being cradled in the arms of complacency.

Google turns up tons of quotes related to this topic, of course, but here are a couple especially relevant selections, from a crook and cop.

"Gun control? It's the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. I'm a bad guy; I'm always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You will pull the trigger with a lock on, and I'll pull the trigger. We'll see who wins."- Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, whose testimony convicted John Gotti

"Gun control has not worked in D.C. The only people who have guns are criminals. We have the strictest gun laws in the nation and one of the highest murder rates. It's quicker to pull your Smith and Wesson than to dial 911 if you're being robbed.” - Lieutenant Lowell Duckett, President Black Police Caucus, Special Assistant to Washington, D.C. Police Chief

That second one is particularly important, because DC is an area where gun control really was thoroughly implemented. Those who cherry pick the Bill of Rights decided to violate DC residents' guaranteed right to keep and bear arms, to squash their freedom with the supporting threat of government power, with disastrous results. But in the same way that the firmly religious rarely acknowledge when their mythology has been shown to be false, those True Believers respond that the answer for DC is even more gun laws, because while it has effectively been rendered meaningless, the Second Amendment hadn't yet been violated entirely.
Deacon wrote:But would it really be a defeat for freedom if we made it harder for the insane and the criminal to get their hands on powerful firearms seemingly designed for military applications, as is the case here?
That depends. Are you going to make it harder (or illegal) for me to get my hands on any weapons? If so, then it's certainly a defeat for freedom. That's kind of the definition of a defeat for freedom, isn't it?
Last week didn't turn me off from guns entirely, but the particular way this horrific event unfolded is unacceptable.
It is, but I don't understand where you were coming from there. Can you please clarify? My response would be that I agree, that it should've folded back up again nearly as quickly as it began when the principal shot him from a couple doors down the hallway.
Would looking into keeping the mentally unstable away from guns--and maybe we can't, but shouldn't we look into it--really be a victory for the tyrant?
It's rarely as black and white as a victory or defeat of tyranny, rather a question of moving closer to or farther away from it. To answer your question: yes, it is. You cannot predict who out there in the world will end up pulling something crazy, whether with a clear head or on something or with some sort of explosion of insanity. Those you can predict or who have in the past are locked up already. When you use terms like "the mentally unstable" you paint with a very broad and nearly unenforceable brush. The answer isn't for the State to subject people to psychiatric evaluation upon the purchase of a firearm and then routinely once a quarter after that. Aside from the ick factor, it's just another vehicle for control, opening the door to confiscating their firearms if they offer any criticism of the current government, for example. Or they crank down what is required to "pass" such an evaluation so that almost no one is allowed to pass. The answer is to make sure that those of us who will never go on a shooting spree (i.e. 99.9999...% of gun owners) are allowed to stop the aberration. You can't know ahead of time whether people with an intact driver's license will end up killing a family in a minivan after getting drunk one night. So we don't subject any new car buyer to an extensive psychiatric evaluation in order to determine how likely that particular evaluator thinks the prospective buyer is to drive drunk one day. And should that day ever come where he's considering it, you can call him a cab, give him a ride home, etc. So let's not ban vehicles, either, even though they're not explicitly guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

You cannot convict people of things they could theoretically do one day. You cannot ban something because someone might misuse it. Well, you can, but you can't in a free society.
It's not that guns are good or bad. Guns are a thing. People are good or bad. I get that. But because we know that, and because we can often (not always by any stretch) identify bad people, shouldn't we consider doing something to keep "bad" people away from guns?
We already do. When was the last time you bought a gun? Even in Texas, which is one of the better states at accommodating someone looking to buy a gun, it's a giant pain in the ass. Even with a CHL, requiring an extensive background check, fingerprinting, and so forth, it's still generally an hour long process, and that gun is now registered in my name. For those not concerned with following the law and for those who are even nefarious, it con sometime be much quicker and easier to get what they wanted. You think gang members stand in line to buy their guns from Bass Pro?
I am incapable of reading statements like this and not picturing an Old West style standoff in every retailer and restaurant in this country. I know, that's absurd, but when you don't handle guns "more guns" is an absurd solution to "someone just shot up a school." I realize there's logic to it. I realize there's statistics to back it up. But when I allow it to play out in my mind, it seems extremely counter-intuitive.
Maybe this will help: how often do you hear about the Hollywood style standoffs you're picturing actually happening in retailers or restaurants in this country? Because what you may not have realized is that every time you wander into a mall there are a number of people there armed. How many varies, of course, but it's always more than zero. Some are armed legally, some may be breaking the law, but you're not worried as you enter the mall that you're going to be caught in a crossfire. In states like Vermont, where there's no license at all required to carry a gun, you hear nothing of these incidents. Even in Texas, which is a large and highly populated state with plenty of urban poverty together with a fairly high CHL adoption rate, you don't worry about getting caught in the crossfire. Because it's not a real thing. It's a Hollywood invention. The rational don't start anything and the irrational are stopped quickly. Unless no one has the means to stop them, of course, in which case we just have to hope the cops come before too many children die. Why? Because cops are infallible and never find themselves "mentally unstable" so they're the only ones we trust to keep and bear arms. Right? Giving up your right to defend yourself in the face of an attacker is a small price to pay for the delusion of safety. And it helps that a woman found dead in an alley, raped and strangled with her panty hose, is also morally superior to a woman explaining to police how her attacker got that fatal bullet wound.

Based on a lot of what I'm hearing, it sounds like between fantastical Hollywood movies and the extensive urbanization of this country (that is, people leaving the farms and moving to the cities), people have both a) become unfamiliar with firearms and b) been lead to believe that the lobby shoot-up scene in The Matrix is even physically possible, much less realistic. If all you knew of Japan were anime, you'd have a pretty warped view of that country. If all you know of guns is what you see on TV or in the movies, your view will be wildly warped as well. It's especially bad when it's supplemented by those who are both smarter than you and know more than you preaching at you from the pulpit of their TV news desk or political stump speech that they can keep you safe if you just surrender your rights. If you don't already exercise that right, it won't hurt much. You might not even notice your fundamental freedoms being killed off. As a normal human being, the only rights you care about are those you exercise yourself, after all. But as a member of a society, we must look beyond our own personal lives at others in our society and think about how you'd feel about any other rights being violated at government gunpoint.
I have little faith in people. People are irrational, panicky, and prone to stupid overreactions. Give the less responsible among those people an item that allows them to turn a bad decision into an irreversible one instantly, and it stands to reason that bad things will happen.
You're right, and it happens many times every day on this nation's roads, exponentially more people are killed in vehicular collisions than by all legal and illegal firearm use combined. But we don't ban cars. Why? Because we are familiar with them. We recognize that they can be and almost always are used properly. We know how furious and violated we felt if the police showed up one day to impound our personal car because a government bureaucrat somewhere decided that despite you never having so much as gotten a ticket you can't be trusted to drive responsibly. We acknowledge how preposterous it would be to ban cars outright, or to limit the size of gas tanks to 4 gallons so kidnappers can't get away too far before having to stop and refuel, or put in place a nation-wide speed limit of 20, or make it illegal for a family to own more than one car, or require that at least one of the car's wheels be booted when not actively in use, or require that the keys be stored in a safe, or to ban convertibles because they look far more dangerous, etc. Yet we want to ban guns outright, or limit the size of magazines, or render them useless by requiring they have trigger locks or be secured in a safe, or ban the ones that look "scary" based on only the most thorough ignorance.
You're right, a gun is a piece of machinery, but common sense suggests that not everybody should keep a chainsaw at hand. I, for example, would certainly have lost an arm by now.
Are you seriously suggesting that if you had taken up target shooting as a hobby you would've legitimately murdered people around your or committed suicide? If so, what's to stop you from doing that with so many of the other tools available around you? If not, please don't be flip.
Would the "more freedom" part of this solution involve allowing gun retailers to refuse service to anyone they wish for any reason?
I don't see why not. Is that sarcastic? I can't tell. I would say a bartender has an ethical responsibility to not knowingly over-serve someone who they know is driving themselves home, too.
I just have trouble picturing all of these things, because I have little faith in people to be "good guys" when the time is right whether they have the tools to do so or not, and because I have even less faith in people as responsible anything. That isn't to say outlawing anything is the solution, because as long as guns exist at all they are going to be in our society and sometimes monsters are going to get them. But more guns? In the hands of human beings? I have trouble swallowing that one.
That whole paragraph is very difficult to read knowing it's coming from you, who generally seems to self-identify with many of the principles of libertarianism. But OK, Fuggle, you don't have faith in everyday people? Take away their freedom to make their own decisions about their daily lives and you must necessarily take away your own. Give them freedom, and you secure your own, and you have the extra advantage of also being able to protect those freedoms. As little faith as you claim to have in everyday people, they continue to move on, every day, without blowing up themselves or their loved ones, even those who work at quarries with access to explosives. There are countless times each day when an opportunity arises for a person to do the wrong thing. Rarely do they take it. If you really have so little faith in people to live their life, society is not and cannot be possible, and we must all revert to lone woodsmen who wear hoodies and aviator sunglasses and send bombs through the mail. Luckily, that's not the case.

EDIT: I took so long writing that out, it told me the form was invalid when I tried to submit the post.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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The Cid
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Re: The second amendment

Post by The Cid » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:38 pm

Deacon, let me make this perfectly clear: I support the second amendment. I do not want to take your guns away. I did not even hint that I wanted to do so. Yet, in your post, you assumed I'm in favor of the government rounding up all the guns and putting them away so we can be safe.

I never said anything of the sort. I never said anyone should have their guns taken away. I never suggested tighter gun laws. I never mentioned the phrase gun control. So all this crap about the illusion of safety, and calling me Fuggle, and putting words in my mouth? Stop it. I'm trying to have a discussion. I'm not coming to take your guns away. I resent the Hell out of the tone and the wording of your post.

Guns already exist, and I think we have clear evidence that making something illegal while it still exists does nothing whatsoever to remove that thing from our society. I don't need any other arguments to support the second amendment. Those other arguments, valid or not, are very hard for someone who does not live around a gun-friendly culture to picture. I wish the pro-gun communities understood that.

I also wish so many supporters of guns weren't so defensive and paranoid where every question about guns turns into a plea to ban them. Can't even ask a question without being told I'm trying to ban guns. Give me a damn break.
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Re: The second amendment

Post by Arres » Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:22 am

Rorschach wrote:Which is why I was asking about the number of shells a competent gun owner needs for home protection. Surely a limited capacity weapon - what would be the average for a handgun? Like eight or nine shells? - would be sufficient to defend you and yours against anything but a targeted assault? Most mass shootings are perpetrated with higher capacity rifles, aren't they?
You didn't really get an answer to this Rors, so I thought I would provide one: It doesn't really matter. The attack against high capacity magazines is smoke and mirrors. Unless you limit it to RIDICULOUSLY small sizes a magazine can be changed out so quickly as to seem to almost be the same one.

When I was still practicing routinely, I could press the button to release the magazine and have a new one in, and the slide (the thing that loads bullets) home and ready to fire practically before the old one hit the ground.

This will sound callous, I know, but here it is. It is a BLESSING that noone who has perpetrated one of these massacres has ever had any serious training save possibly the Norwegian Killer. Even 27 is a low number for someone trained and determined with a target rich environment like an undefended school. With a revolver and speed loader rounds, I could do more damage in under 5 minutes if I wasn't horrified by the idea of it. It is my understanding that killings in Norway only stopped because he thought he had made his point.

*I choose to not use the name of the Norway Killer because hopefully that puts us one step closer to forgetting him and remembering only his victims. Names are powerful things.
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Re: The second amendment

Post by Rorschach » Mon Dec 24, 2012 7:59 am

Holy shit. That's terrifying.
Maybe Chris Rock was right when he said every bullet should cost five thousand dollars.
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Deacon
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The second amendment

Post by Deacon » Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:19 pm

You can just make your own you know :)
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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