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The right to bear arms

Pro and Con

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1citygirl
Nov 7, 2007, 5:12pm Top

If you are anti-gun,

1. How far should gun control go? Should all guns be illegal? Should no one have a carry permit? Or do you want to make it harder to get guns but not ban them outright?

2. If guns were controlled in the manner you'd like, what would be the result?

If you are pro-gun,

1. What restrictions, if any, are acceptable to you?

2. What relationship do you see between gun ownership and violent crime?

And, for anyone who knows, what's this gun thing like in countries that are not the U.S.?

2Doug1943
Nov 7, 2007, 5:26pm Top

In the UK, only criminals have firearms.

Our crime rate for muggings, burglaries, rapes, etc. is about the same as the American one.

But for murders, it is about one-fifth. It's gone up by a factor of two to three since the benighted Victorian times (when guns were not hard to get ahold of), but other crimes have gone up by ten or twenty times.

Guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people. Or rather, people who can use guns kill people, which brings me to a proposal: make the punishment for first convinction involving use of a firearm, the amuptation of the user's trigger finger. Do it under anesthetic, and it wouldn't be cruel. Do it often enough and it wouldn't be unusual. What's not to like?

3citygirl
Nov 7, 2007, 5:33pm Top

What about the people who live in the country and like to hunt? What do they hunt with?

And is it true that your police are not armed?

4MrJessDub
Nov 7, 2007, 5:55pm Top

I do not recall seeing British police officers with guns outside of the airport; however, they are armed.

5Autodafe
Nov 7, 2007, 6:05pm Top

citygirl,

Here are two other threads from two other groups that may interest you:

1. Progressive and Liberal! - Gun Control

2. Outside - So, should the shooter's letters/video/photos be plastered all over the news?

Both discussions were prompted by the Virginia Tech shootings.

Autodafe

6GirlFromIpanema
Edited: Nov 7, 2007, 6:07pm Top

Reporting from Germany :-):
In a nation of 80 million, we have about 10 mio legal firearms and about 20 mio illegal firearms (that's an estimate of course, and includes a lot of inherited/antique weapons still fit to fire). As far as I know we are about 10-20% below the UK rate of murders.

The ownership of a gun is generally not regarded as a good thing here. People definitely don't think that one has a "right" to own a gun to "protect himself". Most people think that is the job of the police. Hunting is not regarded as a sport everybody should engage in, shooting clubs are often regarded with some suspicion ("What do they do there?"). Our police are armed (pistols), hunters with a license can have their gun at home, locked up safely in a special cabinet. Same for sports marksmen. A few especially endangered persons can apply for a permit to carry a weapon (pistol), but that's about it.

Is there anyone from Switzerland listening in? Would be interesting, since they have more weapons than the Germans but less capital crimes with guns, I believe.

A quote from an article in a german newspaper, a talk between a german writer and his brother who immigrated to the USA:
"You're not going to tell me now, that you carry a pistol on your belt because you're scared of robbers on this dark country lane." --"No." said my brother and fished for his Red Bull can. "I have the gun in case we hit a deer. To give him the coup de grâce. But truth be told...", he took a sip, "I carry the Glock for a wholly different reason: Because I can."

7Doug1943
Nov 7, 2007, 6:07pm Top

Handguns are absolutely banned.

Rifles and shotguns are technically available, but you have to jump through many hoops to get them. A farmer might have one. I think mainly rich people have hunting rifles. The only people I know who have firearms are farmers.

The police on patrol in the streets are not armed. They are pretty useless anyway. If they had guns, the criminals would just take them away from them.

There are special firearms units, for situations where firearms are needed.

8citygirl
Nov 7, 2007, 6:14pm Top

In the UK, what would be the consequence of a homeowner using his or her illicit handgun to shoot an intruder?

9Doug1943
Nov 7, 2007, 6:17pm Top

Life imprisonment, unless they could convince the jury that the force used was reasonable. If the intruder were coming at them with a butcher knife, having already killed someone in the kitchen, you might get off.

They would still face -- five years, I think -- for the handgun.

What you are supposed to do, if a burglar breaks into your house, is hide in the bedroom.

10citygirl
Nov 7, 2007, 6:23pm Top

In your objective, ahem, opinion, does this seem reasonable to the populace in general or is this a subject of controversy?

11Doug1943
Nov 7, 2007, 6:27pm Top

I am the only person in the UK, except maybe some inmates in the insane asylum, who wants the right to bear arms.

Most people I know get indignant at the lenient treatment of criminals, and the harsh treatment of decent people, but no one expects to do anything about it. The UK, and Europe in general, is much less democratic than America. What the elite decides, gets done, whether or not the people approve.

12Arctic-Stranger
Nov 7, 2007, 6:29pm Top

In Alaska, everyone is issued a handgun upon entrance to the state. Even tourists. Failure to carry your handgun or assault rifle results in a hefty fine. You are expected to shoot at least three animals before you leave.

13GirlFromIpanema
Nov 7, 2007, 6:36pm Top

#11; I have no numbers handy, but the UK seems to have a violence problem (see the stickers warning everyone not to attack busdrivers, ticket sellers, other public staff --unheard of in my country). Do you think that it is smart to introduce free weapons into the equation at this point?

14GirlFromIpanema
Nov 7, 2007, 6:37pm Top

#12: *snerk*

15Doug1943
Nov 7, 2007, 6:48pm Top

"Free?" I had to pay for mine. But I suppose the Socialist mentality would be to make them free.

16GirlFromIpanema
Edited: Nov 7, 2007, 6:53pm Top

*grrr* Give me some leeway here. I am not a native speaker and it's 00:50 at night. I meant a "free for all" in the sense of everybody can shop for one. My question still stands. :-)

17Doug1943
Nov 7, 2007, 7:01pm Top

There is no mercy in the Lib/Con wars.

Well, for the sake of argument, I suppose that making cheap automatic weapons, handguns, grenades, high explosives, rocket launchers, and so on, might have some effect. Especially since we have a few hundred thousand adherents of the Religion of Peace amongst us.

18Doug1943
Nov 7, 2007, 7:15pm Top

If you want to see the wonderful effect of the expansion of prosperity to the poor, the very great growth of the welfare state, the growth of rights for the accused, and parallel curbing of police powers, the dying off of organized religion, click here, and then click on the link that says "Click here for a summary of recorded crime data from 1898 to 2001/02 (excel format)" -- you will download a spreadsheet.

19codyed
Nov 7, 2007, 9:19pm Top

Arctic is absolutely right about Alaska. I was at my local Starbucks the other day when a police officer approached me and chided me for not carrying my pistol. After a lot of bickering, he gave me a ticket for $50.

The bastard.

20Lunar
Nov 7, 2007, 9:49pm Top

The way I see it, there are two and a half arguments that can be made about gun control:

The constitutional argument would be that the 2nd ammendment clearly states that the reason for there being a right to bear arms is because the nation was dependent upon a citizen army being able to provide their own guns for the defense of the nation. This is a state of affairs that does not seem to be applicable anymore, therefore a right to bear arms is no longer required to be guaranteed.

The freedom argument is that... if I can buy something, who's to say I can't have it? It's mine.

Then there's the social engineering argument about controlling crime through gun control, an argument that I find to be a red herring because it seems to me that it's not the most important factor contributing to the problem. It seems more about economics and culture.

21margd
Edited: Nov 8, 2007, 3:52am Top

We were impressed with the process my husband endured in order to leave his duck gun in Canada. (He figured it was safer to leave it in my cousin's locked gun safe than to bring it back and forth between cottage and primary residence). Anyway, he didn't hunt that first year! Instead he took the gun safety course and filed applications, etc., that Canadian residents do. I had to sign a statement saying that I knew about the gun. And then he had to satisfy Canadian Customs that he had fulfilled all the requirements.

I like that hunters over there can have their guns for hunting, but that other weapons are highly restricted. From my occasional reads of local papers, Toronto (and other cities?) do seem to have a problem with youth violence and handguns smuggled in from the US. But still pretty safe--last Christmas, the death of an innocent bystander was front page news in Toronto.

22AsYouKnow_Bob
Nov 7, 2007, 10:16pm Top

Doug, I hope that you're heeding the disclaimer in that spreadsheet.

Look at the crime of 'racial and religious harassment' - that's gone up an infinity in a century. Reporting rates change over time; a hundred years ago, who would go to the coppers to report a fight?

23Essa
Edited: Nov 7, 2007, 10:53pm Top

Speaking of gun ownership/crimes in other countries, here is a news story from today...

Finland shocked at fatal shooting
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7084045.stm

(from the story)
Gun ownership per capita in Finland is the third highest in the world, although incidents of this kind are extremely rare in a country that prides itself on very low levels of violent crime.

Edit for pesky italic tag.

24philosojerk
Nov 7, 2007, 11:06pm Top

From an American in favor of the right to bear arms (I will never call myself "pro-gun" - that's like calling a pro-choicer "pro-death" - it carries a stigma before ever even giving a hearing to reason):

1) No restrictions on what kinds of arms I may possess are acceptable to me. The only acceptable restrictions are those which refuse licenses to individuals who have previously been convicted of violent crimes. In that case, it does not seem unjust to refuse them violent weapons, as the safety of society in general takes precedence.

I have heard (and in this thread seen mention of) people claiming that it is ridiculous to want an automatic rifle to hunt with. I agree. But my right to own an automatic rifle (or any weapon) has nothing to do with hunting, no matter how convinced various rednecks may be that it does. The right to bear arms is directly related to the right to resist an unjust government. I'm not going to stop a tank rolling down my street with a freakin' six-shooter pistol. (Honestly, I'll probably need a grenade launcher, but here's the justification for my right to own one). In the U.S., second amendment rights are about the just right to revolution against an unjust regime - precisely the role the founding fathers found themselves in.

I *do* think gun ownership may be legitimately restricted by licensing, as long as said licenses are reasonably priced and not restricted for reasons other than previous violent offenses. (I.e. not paying taxes can't be an excuse not to license someone, since refusal of taxation might be another valid form of protest against an unjust system of governance, and licenses cannot be offered only in one, distant location in the middle of bumfuck-nowhere in a state, thus restricting those without transportation from obtaining one.)

2) Any relationship between gun ownership and violent crime is either coincidental or due to external factors. My desire to be able to own guns and use them (responsibly) does not in any way indicate that I am a violent criminal, nor does another individual's violent nature necessarily entail that they are "pro-gun." Guns appear so often in violent crimes because they are a means to an end - but this is not an argument in favor of restricting gun-ownership to legitimate interests, but rather a good reason to see that those who already have criminal backgrounds do not come to own the kinds of weapons which are useful in the continuance of such lifestyles.

As an aside, I find the right to bare arms equally central to my way of life. A person's beer belly or their hairline says far less about them than the size & shape of their biceps & triceps.

25AsYouKnow_Bob
Nov 8, 2007, 12:21am Top

Chris Rock had it about right:

"We don't need no gun control. Nah, we need some bullet control. That's why I think a bullet should cost FIVE. THOUSAND. DOLLARS. If a bullet cost $5,000, there'd BE no more innocent bystanders. If you got hit with a stray bullet, no need to pay a hospital to take it out - they gonna want their bullet back. On the news - Someone got shot - everybody gonna be like, 'Oh he must of done SOMETHING'. "


More seriously, twenty years or so ago, there was briefly policy talk of putting bullets under the jurisdiction of the FDA, as "medical devices". (You would be able to get bullets, but you'd need something like a doctor's prescription - somebody to say that you had a legitimate need for them.)

26codyed
Nov 8, 2007, 12:30am Top

Ridiculous. We might as well put swimming pools and steak knives under FDA jurisdiction.

27AsYouKnow_Bob
Nov 8, 2007, 12:40am Top

Well, granted, the idea went nowhere.

But -as Chris Rock points out - there's certainly a logic to it. (This was around the time when public health policy wonks were also wondering if they could do anything about smoking while driving (the monoxide dulls the driver's reflexes, an effect not much less than alcohol.)) Some ideas might make sense on a theoretical level, but not in the real world. Politics is about finding where that boundary is - and the boundary moves over time.

And such an idea isn't far from the Swiss system: essentially every able-bodied male is in the reserve and is issued a weapon - but heaven help you if you can't account for the ammo.

28codyed
Edited: Nov 8, 2007, 2:27am Top

Interestingly enough, that's precisely the logic behind the drug-war.

If you reduce the supply of drugs, then you will increase the price, resulting, hopefully, in fewer consumers. But since demand for illegal drugs is significantly inelastic, the actual number of people that are compelled to quit due to the price change is damn near insignificant. Because the price of drugs is now so high due to a decrease in supply, consumers will now have incentives to commit crimes in order to pay for their habit.

I can't tell you how elastic or inelastic the demand for ammunition is, but I can tell you that if you raise the price several magnitudes above the market price (or restrict the sale to a select few individuals), you will create a black market.

And since law abiding folk are less likely to engage in black market dealings, only those with no such compunction will buy it.

In other words--If you outlaw ammunition, only outlaws will have ammunition.

Or something like that.

EDIT: Completed argument in paragraph two.

29Doug1943
Edited: Nov 8, 2007, 1:28am Top

Bob: In message #22 you said:"I hope that you're heeding the disclaimer in that spreadsheet.

Look at the crime of 'racial and religious harassment' - that's gone up an infinity in a century. Reporting rates change over time; a hundred years ago, who would go to the coppers to report a fight?"

Whenever statistics showing the grotesque failures of the welfare state are produced, someone who wants to defend it is sure to report that there are problems with the reliability of statistical data in general and with social statistics in particular.

My favorite example of the problems involved with social statistics was uncovered by one of my ex-wives, who was studying Soviet employment data: she found that in the 1920s, there were significant numbers of people whose employment was listed as "sheperd" but who lived in Moscow and Leningrad and other big Soviet cities. She even had a category for "urban sheperds". What was going on? Did they actually herd flocks of sheep through downtown Moscow? I don't think she ever found out.

Problems like this arise in all statistical studies. It does not mean we must just throw up our hands not not collect and analyze data.

I suppose my side would use the same ploy if we were discussing statistics on poverty in America.

Yes, there are problems of definition, the propensity to report, the propensity to record. The commission of the crime of blasphemy has apparently dropped significantly here too, although when we begin instituting Sharia Law it may start to rise again.

And the people who do this are trying to say, "Oh, things aren't that bad."

But it's just dust in our eyes. They are that bad. No amount of Lefty apologetics can disguise that fact.

We have had a significant drop in crime over here, according to the statistics, since 1995. Nothing like a return to the Victorian rate, but not negligible either.

If I wanted to play the sophist, I could give you several reasons why this apparent drop is not so real as the apologists for crime would like us to believe, some of which might be true.

Here is one of them: in many areas, people, especially older people, have become afraid to go out of their houses at night. After dark, the streets belong to the criminals, who have to mug each other. A great advance for society.

30myshelves
Nov 8, 2007, 1:32am Top

Aside from a black market, guess what ... criminals don't have any compunction about stealing guns or ammunition.

Most of the "law-abiding folk" I knew way back when in NYC had and carried illegal guns, at least after their first mugging experience. They figured they'd rather survive to be charged with the Sullivan Law violation.

31Doug1943
Nov 8, 2007, 1:55am Top

As Britain has brought in large numbers of people from the Third World, it has also brought in their attitude to firearms. And as its inner cities become advance outposts of the Third World, so they become battlefields.

It's an unfolding tragedy, but has its comic aspects too, as the old-fashioned let's-play-fair-chaps politeness of the indigenous British runs up against savage reality of Jamaican drug gangs, Somali gunmen and Albanian pimps.

32AsYouKnow_Bob
Edited: Nov 8, 2007, 2:14am Top

Doug #29: All true, but a century really is a long time.

Would we be surprised if we dug into it and learned, say, that in the 19th Century there used to be a fee to file a police report? Simple methodological changes really will mess with the data. I know the US Census methodology has changed enormously over a similar span.

There are larger trends at work, too - in 1900, the UK sent lots of high-spirited young lads around the world to commit various forms of official and unofficial mayhem all around the planet. Little of that ever made it into the Home Office's stats. Today, the lads stay home and commit football hooliganism.

My favorite Fun Fact about British crime: George II was mugged in his own Kensington Garden. Took his watch, his silver buckles, etc.

33Doug1943
Nov 8, 2007, 2:15am Top

Bob: I agree with you that we should bring back compulsory military service, and of course it would be wonderful if the compulsorily-serving were able to return to certain parts of the Empire and restore some measure of decent government to the wretched inhabitants thereof.

34reading_fox
Nov 8, 2007, 6:12am Top

#10 - no controversy. In the UK general opinion is definetly on the no guns side.

What you are supposed to do is call the police, and maybe then hide.
you are allowed "reasonable force" and if you own a legal firearm, you are allowed to use it I believe. However you are not allowed to shoot the assailents in the back as they are running away. They survivied, sued and won. This created controversy.

#29 statistics. remember the famous quote "Lies, damm lies and statistics". Of course it is possible that the stats were fairly produced controlling for all other variables and the results correctly intrepreted without bias. But this is often not the case, and equally likely ot be found on either side of the argument.

35GirlFromIpanema
Nov 8, 2007, 6:40am Top

I can't believe what I just read. (in #24, philosojerk)
"The right to bear arms is directly related to the right to resist an unjust government. I'm not going to stop a tank rolling down my street with a freakin' six-shooter pistol. (Honestly, I'll probably need a grenade launcher, but here's the justification for my right to own one). In the U.S., second amendment rights are about the just right to revolution against an unjust regime - precisely the role the founding fathers found themselves in."

This about sums up the basic difference in attitude between Europeans and US-Americans on weapons. Someone wanting to privately own a grenade launcher or a tank would be considered a lunatic here (you can ask the average citizen, across the political spectrum, and I doubt you'd find more than a very few agreeing with the above stance). And on fighting against an unjust regime...--well, read up on central European history 1988-1990. There you are. Without guns (mostly, see Romania for exception).

Question: How many (in percent) of recent rulings have decided that the second amendment is indeed about the personal right to carry a gun, and not about the historic duty to provide a gun for militia services (like Lunar explained in #20)?

36GirlFromIpanema
Edited: Nov 8, 2007, 6:49am Top

codyed, #26: "We might as well put swimming pools and steak knives under FDA jurisdiction."

Well, that's what they did in the UK. I had my 15 year old Opinel #6 confiscated by British Transport Police when boarding the Eurostar from London to Brussels (i.e. out of the country) this June. The knife is considered a kitchen tool in every other EU country (they found it in my lunch box).
(Yes, you can buy and own the knife in the UK, but it is illegal to carry it in public. I have done the research.)

37reading_fox
Nov 8, 2007, 6:51am Top

Yep. In the UK you are not allowed to carry a knife of blade longer than 2" I think (it may be 3"?) without specific justifyable reasons*, many other types of weapons also banned.

* Ie I've just bought a brand new still in the packaging steak knife is probably OK. I'm taking this knife to show a friend is probably not.

However the police do not have stop and search rights. They must have probable cause, currently. Although this is being questioned.

38GirlFromIpanema
Edited: Nov 8, 2007, 7:04am Top

#37: They were doing security checks before boarding the Eurostar, so there's the cause. And the problem with the Opinel #6 is not the length (at 7,2cm it is under 3in) but the lock mechanism, I was told (and verified this later). A Leatherman knife of the same length would be OK. I was on holidays, on a long distance hike (backpack and stuff to prove it), so there's my justifiable reason, also I was *leaving* the country, but you don't argue with the police over a 10€ piece of equipment 20 minutes before your train leaves...

39Doug1943
Nov 8, 2007, 7:40am Top

An Opinel! My favorite pocket knife. A brilliantly-simple design, aesthetically-pleasing, a carbon steel blade whch can be sharpened like a razor. I carry one everywhere, and once, finding myself at the airport, on my way to Paris, I found I stilll had mine. So bought an envelope and a stamp and mailed it to my home -- it was hard to force it through the slot on the letter box, but I did. And it got delivered.

40Bookmarque
Nov 8, 2007, 9:16am Top

Pepperspray is also illegal in the UK...I guess the govt wants everyone to be victims. Such easy prey they must be too. Personally, I'm not wired to be a victim. I'm not a nut about it, but that's how I feel. And I agree about the idea that owning defense tools is a hedge against the bet that government will be the only ones with brute force. I for one don't like that feeling of powerlessness. Oh please wait Mr. Intruder, let me call the police so that they can protect me and it will be a fair fight, right now you have the advantage over me and you wouldn't want it that way, would you? It will only take a minute...

41Doug1943
Nov 8, 2007, 9:22am Top

Just last night a gang of about eight youthful spawn of the British welfare state rampaged down my street, as they do every couple of weeks. I'm talking young male bucks here, 16 and 17 years old. The kind who stomp to death those who get in their way.

The police cannot be bothered to come out, although someone who rang them a few weeks ago was helpfully told that the problem was being dealt with by building these "youngsters" a skateboard park.

This is liberalism in power. Don't let it happen to you.

42citygirl
Nov 8, 2007, 11:26am Top

What about self-defense? If one lives in a country, region, area where there is little violent crime, I can understand why not having a gun might not be a big deal. As a law-abiding citizen and a woman who is significantly smaller and less powerful than the average-sized male would-be mugger, rapist, car jacker, home invader, etc., I feel I should be allowed to have a registered gun in my nightstand, purse or under my car seat. Is that really crazy? I mean, really.

As for the make-ammunition-prohibitively-expensive argument, what about people who shoot at paper for sport and practice?

43tim_watkinson
Nov 8, 2007, 11:34am Top

i'm worried for your milkman, citygirl.

why not just get a gun and shoot everybody?

the ammunition expensive is a chris rock joke, by the way. he's a trip!

44reading_fox
Nov 8, 2007, 11:41am Top

#41 - ramagaed? really? breaking every window in sight, beating up everybody who even looked vaguely in their direction? Or were they perhaps slightly noisy, generally intimadating but not actually breaking any laws or giving any reason for the police to come out?

On the very rare occasions when we have troublesome youths in our street (a suburb of one of the more violent cities in the UK) the police respond very quickly to even the slightest degree of possible lawbreaking.

The repression and fear of innocent people is conservatism in power. Don't let it happen to you.

I don't think I've actually met in person anyone who has been mugged/assulted. Thefts nearly always happen when the house is not inhabited, and I'm not sure that stature makes much difference to your already small likelihood of being mugged. Streetwise behavior may do. Although pepperspray is illegal there are various personal defences that are legal, but the best stance is to avoid the situations in the first place.

45philosojerk
Edited: Nov 8, 2007, 11:45am Top

No, I'm in agreement with citygirl. I tend to take the "defense against government" approach to gun rights, but I'm also a single woman who has lived alone, in large cities since the age of 18. I've been mugged twice (both times when I lived in New Orleans), and I carry pepper-spray when I run. I feel completely justified in wanting to own a gun to protect myself if necessary, especially considering (as mentioned by a few already in this thread) that calling the police, in most cities anyway, usually results in a 4-hour wait for them to show up. How's that going to protect me from the rapist coming through my window right now?

ETA: #44 was posted whilst I was typing. Now you have met one such, reading_fox.

46Bookmarque
Nov 8, 2007, 12:24pm Top

My mother in law was a victim of home invasion. Not that a gun would have necessarily helped her in that instance, but it does happen. Anyone who comes into my house univited and threatens violence is going out in a bag.

47citygirl
Nov 8, 2007, 12:26pm Top

tim w, as long as the milkman sticks to delivering milk, he's got nothing to worry about. I have no desire to shoot anyone, ever. But I am absolutely willing to do so in order to protect my own life and body and my family's. To me, that's the only reasonable position to take.

reading fox says: the best stance is to avoid the situations in the first place.

That is reasonable, too, and I agree. But how do you avoid having a malevolent stranger break into your house? The most you can do is have an alarm system and a bad dog. But what if he gets past both?
And, I assure you, rape and other assault victims avoid the situations to best of their ability. Nobody wants this, but it happens. In interviews with rapists, they have said that they picked on women who looked like they wouldn't put up much of a fight, and that is why it is advised that a woman walk with confidence, purpose and as if she is aware of her surroundings. I would argue that woman who knows she's carrying will walk in such a way that she is less desirable to those who prey on the weak.

Just a note, it sucks not be able to walk on streets alone at night and to hope that your dog is deterrent enough when you're sleeping alone. Or, even if it is daytime, and a scary-looking someone or a group of scary-looking someones walks past you. I can't tell you how many women I've known who have been stalked. A few have even been assaulted by their stalkers. I'm glad it wasn't me. Fortunately now I have a militarily-trained husband who doesn't travel that much without me, but I remember those single days. Always aware, always aware. I'm sure there are men who know what this is like, but I'm willing to bet they're in the minority.

48Jargoneer
Edited: Nov 8, 2007, 1:04pm Top

It's interesting that so many mention "the stranger coming through the window" as a justification, when you are far more likely to be murdered by someone you know; quite possibly using your gun.

I have to agree with Reading_fox (#44) about the situation in the UK; I just don't recognise Doug1943's description except in the pages of "The Daily Mail".

49Doug1943
Nov 8, 2007, 12:57pm Top

Fox: Last night, so far as I know, they did not destroy anything. "Slightly noisy?" How I wish I could have materialized you in their path -- and, since I know you are a good person -- vanished you just as they got up to you.

The last time they smashed the wing mirrors of several cars, including mine. £90 to replace. They smashed the glass out of the bus shelter. They went onto the grounds of a local school and did various sorts of damage there. A few nights later they went to our local playground, and pulled out all the strip lighting from somewhere, and smashed the bulbs and left the playground littered with lethal flourescent tube shards. It is now closed.

The police here are pretty good, when there is something they can do. Our street is being sysematically burgled -- the other half of our semi-detached (duplex) was burgled a few months ago, and the house next to us about a month ago, and another one down the street a couple of weeks later. Probably the local Gypsies. My wife happened to see the second burglary and I phoned the police -- they were here within a few mintues, including a dog team and a helicopter.

But we have been told that our local thugs will just get a "caution" and that they can get up to five of these before anything more serious happens.

As for physical violence against the person: a friend who lives nearby has a son who has been mugged about four times, on the trains to London, and in Guildford. A couple of years ago he was violently attacked by two of our local welfare cases, just a hundred yards from my house. In this case, I think one of them got a few months in jail, but he was soon out on the street and cashing his welfare checks to buy drugs with.

By the way, although it should make no difference, we have a sprinkling of Black and Asian people living in our village -- there are a number of mixed marriages -- and none of them are involved in any way with this. All the scum are pure white Aryans.

A society with a proper sense of self-defense would have recycled these animals for their organs long ago.

50oregonobsessionz
Nov 8, 2007, 1:04pm Top

>12 Arctic-Stranger: Arctic
In Alaska, everyone is issued a handgun upon entrance to the state. Even tourists. Failure to carry your handgun or assault rifle results in a hefty fine. You are expected to shoot at least three animals before you leave.

Some years ago, I spent a week of my vacation bicycling from Fairbanks to Anchorage. When I was planning for this trip, everyone informed me that we MUST carry guns to protect against bears and those people who live in Alaska because they can’t function Outside.

LOL! It’s rather awkward to carry a rifle or shotgun, when one is peddling nearly 400 hilly miles against continuous headwinds. Put a loaded handgun in the panniers, and you might shoot your own foot at the first pothole. That leaves the alternative of carrying an unloaded 44 or whatever, with a supply of bullets in the handlebar bag. I figured that if a grizzly charged, my chances of getting the gun out and loaded, adopting an acceptable stance while astride the bike, and actually hitting the bear were quite slim. Worse, I might end up with an angry grizzly rather than a dead one.

We rode unarmed, and saw lots of bears, but had no problems. We did have a scary moment, when we stopped at an empty tavern to get some iced tea, and a large group of rough-looking bikers (the kind who have offensive tattoos and ride Harleys) arrived about 5 minutes later. They were obviously regulars, and we thought they might object to the presence of wimpy-looking people in cycling clothes, but no problems.

51oregonobsessionz
Nov 8, 2007, 1:06pm Top

>35 GirlFromIpanema: GirlFromIpanema
Question: How many (in percent) of recent rulings have decided that the second amendment is indeed about the personal right to carry a gun, and not about the historic duty to provide a gun for militia services (like Lunar explained in #20)?

Review of Supreme Court cases involving the Second Amendment

For this term, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal arising from a ruling by the Washington D.C. Circuit Court. D.C. residents had challenged a local gun control law, and the Circuit Court ruled that the Second Amendment does guarantee an individual right to have a gun.

52philosojerk
Nov 8, 2007, 1:07pm Top

>50 oregonobsessionz: oregonobsessionz

Some years ago, I spent a week of my vacation bicycling from Fairbanks to Anchorage.

Bears and scary Alaskans aside, that sounds absolutely amazing. Did you do this through a group tour or just on your own with some friends?

53oregonobsessionz
Edited: Nov 8, 2007, 1:29pm Top

>52 philosojerk: philosojerk
Did you do this through a group tour or just on your own with some friends?

thread hijack
No, just two of us. I am not much for guided tours or large groups. I used to do a lot of work in Alaska, so it was pretty easy to plan the trip. (My retirement fantasy is to have two homes - one in Alaska and one in New Zealand, so I don't have to deal with those very short winter days. Don't know if I will want to work long enough to actually manage that.)

I have done other long-distance cycle rides - route 101 around the Olympic peninsula and down the coast in Washington one year, Portland to the coast and pick up route 101 to the California border another year.

The Oregon trip is easy and among the safest. Since the 70s, the state has mandated that every major road project must add 1% to the total cost to provide bike lanes - either wide shoulders or off-road - so you have to compete with traffic only in limited areas. Most of the coastline is owned by the state, so you can easily find a state park to camp in, whatever distance you decided to ride on a given day.

Sometime when I can afford it, I would like to do one organized ride - Cycle Oregon. They select a different rural route every year, and do a fully-supported week long ride.

edited to fix the link

54GirlFromIpanema
Nov 8, 2007, 3:29pm Top

# 48, Jargoneer: "It's interesting that so many mention "the stranger coming through the window" as a justification, when you are far more likely to be murdered by someone you know; quite possibly using your gun.
I have to agree with Reading_fox (#44) about the situation in the UK; I just don't recognise Doug1943's description except in the pages of "The Daily Mail"."

Yes, I also agree that the fear of people mostly has nothing to do with reality (just last week the local paper reported on this with numbers for our Land, but I've thrown it out already...).
Although my neighbourhood is pretty rough (more and more people sliding down into welfare, in a part of the country that has up to 18% unemployment), I still feel pretty safe here. True, there are youngsters tipping the Red Cross collection container every three months or so or smashing the windows of the public phone at night. But other than that? Nothing, at least nothing that was bad enough to make the press or even be discussed in the neighbourhood.

I also absolutely refuse to let the press or people with an agenda (politicians or others) scare me into a permanent Angst. And I probably would have a reason for fear. When I was 21, one of my flat mates was killed while jogging. At 8:00 in the morning, with about 5 people within earshot, by an escaped convict she happened to come across, with a kitchen knife.
Not to mention this guy, who had two legal guns and used them in 2002. Seeing my boss and a coworker thoroughly rattled, because their wife/kid were there was enough (thank God they survived). In this case it was "someone you know". And it wasn't their wing mirrors that got smashed.

Do I think I need to go out and buy a gun? You bet I don't. Do I go out at night? You bet I do.

55Arctic-Stranger
Nov 8, 2007, 3:45pm Top

I used to cycle the Denali Highway on a regular basis, often with kids from a local camp. I carried a .44.

The kids knew I had it, and I told them that if they so much as looked it the wrong way, I was shutting the trip down, and we would call their parents to come get them. (Which would take some time, since there is no phone service on the highway.) The kids were mostly raised around guns, so that was never a problem.

To keep from blowing your own foot off--two empty chambers. The "hot" chamber and the next chamber. That way it could feasibly go off twice before doing any damage.

Personally I have no problem with gun ownership, but if you have to have a license to drive a car, you should have to have a license to own a gun.

I would also add a law that being drunk and in the vinicity of a firearm is considered a mental illness--that person is a danger to self and others. (Most suicides and murders I see up here are alcohol related.) Being a mental illness, the person can be treated, and not just incarcarated.

Contrary to what I wrote above, I do not own a gun. Why? Because a) that would mean I would probably go hunting. Hunting means shooting, and shooting means you have dress and tote the thing you shot. Moose weigh around 1200 to 1400 pounds. I have friends who hunt, and I get meat from them.

b) I have kids, two of them very curious boys. Every year some kid up here gets shot by his father's gun. I dont want that to be my kids. (The chief NRA guy up--and you can imagine how active an Alaska NRA activist is--had his grandson killed playinig russian roulette. It CAN happen to any one.

56GirlFromIpanema
Nov 8, 2007, 3:45pm Top

#45, philosojerk: "I feel completely justified in wanting to own a gun to protect myself if necessary, especially considering (as mentioned by a few already in this thread) that calling the police, in most cities anyway, usually results in a 4-hour wait for them to show up. How's that going to protect me from the rapist coming through my window right now?"

In that case I'd ask for a few beheadings within the police department and the higher-ups (have that include the guy responsible for distributing the tax money). 4 hours? That is an outrage.

57citygirl
Nov 8, 2007, 4:01pm Top

It's largely a question of family/regional culture, I think. Arctic mentioned the kids being raised around guns. Observation (which I am happy to have challenged): people who are raised around guns think it's perfectly natural to own one and often know how to be hypersafe with them. People who aren't raised with them, like me, think guns are pretty weird to have around unless and until they enter a culture (in my case my husband's family's culture) where guns are commonplace. But for me, the idea of personal self-defense wasn't strange and before I married I, like many single women I suspect, had considered obtaining a personal firearm to keep at home.

It seems the two groups have a hard time understanding each other. To one group it seems perfectly obvious that if there weren't so many handguns around, people would have less opportunity to shoot others. To the other it seems obvious that responsible adults should be trusted with firepower to defend themselves against those who would harm them.

But there is a major flaw to each position: 1) If you outlaw the guns, only the criminals will have them, and 2) not everyone is responsible with guns, and tragedy ensues. What's the solution?

58Essa
Nov 8, 2007, 4:07pm Top

I'm pro-2nd-Amendment rights and I think you raise excellent points, citygirl. I'm not sure there is a solution, though. Or at least, no one singular magic-bullet (sorry for pun) solution. There will always be people who won't be responsible with guns, knives, cars, power-drills, forks, ballot measures...

Perhaps part of the solution is to look to societies who have simulataneous medium-to-high gun ownership and low crime rates. That story I posted by Finland intrigued me because it seemed to be precisely such a case. And, of course, in their case, they are now dealing with a school shooting. Obviously the answer isn't as simple as, "Well, there were guns," because apparently in Finland, there were always guns. So there is more to it than that.

If we could examine the "more to it," and learn from it, maybe that would help suggest solutions...

59reading_fox
Nov 8, 2007, 4:10pm Top

Well I stand corrected on the levels of violence in Guildford which was a peaceful town when I was there. Obviously LTers encounter more dangerous surroundings than I have.

One thing I would ask those who support the right to carry a weapon - Has it ever been of use? Have you ever prevented an actual attempt on life or property?

60Arctic-Stranger
Nov 8, 2007, 4:13pm Top

I never had to use the gun I carried. But I know at least four people who have shot charging bears. (One of them, the gun barrel was in the mouth of the bear when he pulled the trigger.)

61citygirl
Nov 8, 2007, 4:14pm Top

Not yet. But it's like an insurance policy. What's wrong with that?

62GirlFromIpanema
Nov 8, 2007, 4:21pm Top

I'd be careful with discussing a school shooting as an example of violent crimes. These amok shootings happen whether there is easy access to guns or not. Dunblane and Erfurt happened in countries with low gun-ownership and high legal barriers to get a gun. Maybe I shouldn't have introduced them in my post, I was just trying to make a point on "Angst".
In the discussions following our local shooting, a lot of experts (psychologists) stated that these crimes are meticulously planned and prepared, including shopping for a gun if there's none available, and the "media work" these guys do before setting off. Compare my link (and the articles linked from there) to the reports from Finland. Eerily similar.

63tim_watkinson
Nov 8, 2007, 4:24pm Top

i live in a city where shootings are becoming everday occurences and, i'm sorry for those of you that imagine you can own and keep a gun but no, i do not believe anyone should be allowed to have a gun within my cities limits. I'd be willing to volunteer at a gun storage facility where a visitor's gun is turned in for the duration of their stay here but no, i do not want anymore guns brought in to my town, thank you very much.

as for you who are responsible enough to keep your guns in a safe place, i'm sorry but i don't believe you. many of the guns involved in crimes here are guns that have been stolen. and having been on both the receiving and the giving end of a crime gun, i strongly suggest you who desire to carry one with you for defense consider other options.

so, yeah, i'm one of the liberal Cons in this instance.

so be it. just please don't shoot me.

64BGP
Nov 8, 2007, 4:27pm Top

"2. If guns were controlled in the manner you'd like, what would be the result?"

(Our resident NRA members are going to love this one)

Given the fact that there's little to no likelihood that the Second Amendment will be repealed (this century, anyway), and given the fact that the a left/liberal alliance will never win a small arms race with the right (this caveat's for the doomsday "what if we have to defend ourselves from a Fascist government?" scenario), I believe that: all arms should be registered and filed into a national database accessible to law enforcement; those citizens who choose not to register their weapons should be subject to harsh financial penalties ($10,000 mandatory fine; and a mandatory period of imprisonment for felons who no longer have the right to be armed); people should have to wait a significant period of time before they can purchase a weapon (i.e., a sufficient period of time for a thorough background check to take place); the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) should be renewed; and the aforementioned bill should be expanded to include all semi-automatic weapons, large capacity magazines, etc.

65Bookmarque
Nov 8, 2007, 4:33pm Top

So much for those beloved privacy concerns when it suits. Lists will never work. Registration on this level is unenforcable. I think the failure of the uber-control folks is that control means nothing to the criminal or improper user. All these controls do is make it more and more difficult for the responsible owner/user to access a legal product. Pass as many laws as you like, the desperate, the crazy and the criminal will just break more. Take drunk driving laws as an example.

66reading_fox
Nov 8, 2007, 4:41pm Top

#61 - "insurance what's wrong with that" it has cost. All insurance does. The cost this time is potentially your children's lives, or another innocents life whne its stolen, or even just the time and inconvenience of carrying it, when it isn't used.

#65 - drunk driving laws work. Not perfectly but with significant public awareness campaigns alongside them they're massively reduced dd incidents in the UK and more, they've changed public attitude. Here it is unacceptible to dd when it used to be ok.

67Bookmarque
Nov 8, 2007, 4:42pm Top

Eh...I don't see that they work in the sense that no one drives drunk. My point is that some people are just beyond caring about laws and will break as many as there are.

68BGP
Nov 8, 2007, 4:49pm Top

"So much for those beloved privacy concerns when it suits." -Bookmarque

The role of the state is to protect the people, no?

"Lists will never work. Registration on this level is unenforcable." -Bookmarque

Violations of the registry law would, of course, be pursued like any other law violation (the police would have to have reasonable intent). No one would expect the police to go door to door and search every house and hideyhole in their respective districts.

"I think the failure of the uber-control folks is that control means nothing to the criminal or improper user." -Bookmarque

I'm fairly certain that any police officer would agree that, while registration may not help combat drug related murders, they would certainly help with the murders which are typically considered "crimes of passion." Registration does not have to a glorious success in all areas of crime prevention/prosecution for it to be worthwhile.

"All these controls do is make it more and more difficult for the responsible owner/user to access a legal product." -Bookmarque

Shouldn't one have to jump through a couple of hoops before they're allowed to play with a dangerous piece of equipment? One must prove that he or she can drive before they are allowed to drive alone. The same can be said for heavy machinery, airplanes, etc. The only people who are going to be hurt by mandatory background checks and registration are the paranoid militia men, the felons and the completely and utterly incompetent ("What? I had to submit to a background check a week ago? But I'm going hunting tomorrow!").

"Pass as many laws as you like, the desperate, the crazy and the criminal will just break more. Take drunk driving laws as an example." -Bookmarque

Oh, yes, you're absolutely right. Let's just call this whole republic thing off.

69citygirl
Nov 8, 2007, 4:51pm Top

I disagree, reading fox, about how high the cost of insurance is. Every accident involving a child and a parent's gun should reinforce the need for security measures. If enough time and thought is put into developing a system to keep guns away from those who should not have them, it will work. The people whose children get shot with their own guns have not created such a system. This is a conversation I have had in-depth with my husband, who is much more pro-2nd amendment than I.

Personally, I don't want to carry a gun around all day everyday, but I'd like the option in case I ever felt threatened. If I could, I would keep one under my car seat.

70Arctic-Stranger
Nov 8, 2007, 4:52pm Top

Because they dont work for everyone we should do away with them or not even try?

I am not likely to drive drunk. If they made legal tomorrow, I still would not be likely to drink and drive (or shoot heroin, look at child pornography, or listen to disco). Yet I still feel these activities need to be regulated. By law.

71codyed
Nov 8, 2007, 6:11pm Top

The NRA itself isn't opposed to background checks and mild regulations. What some people here want is to set the barriers to possession of a firearm so high as to make it a de facto ban.

72myshelves
Nov 8, 2007, 8:27pm Top

reading_fox asked:
Has it ever been of use? Have you ever prevented an actual attempt on life or property?

No one else has answered, so I will. Yes. I didn't have to pull the trigger. The guy apparently believed (correctly) that I would, and backed off rapidly when he saw the gun.

A few years ago, on a mystery writers/readers discussion board, someone asked "How many people have actually known anyone who was murdered?" It was specified that the murder must not have been domestic. I was surprised by the replies. I could say that I'd known 3, but hadn't expected so many others to answer in the affirmative.

tim_watkinson says:
i'm sorry for those of you that imagine you can own and keep a gun

I'm not imagining that I've owned and kept a gun for about 40 years.

and, as for you who are responsible enough to keep your guns in a safe place, i'm sorry but i don't believe you.

I usually keep mine in my home, which does not contain any children. Not a completely safe place, judging from the regular police bulletins about break-ins to occupied residences which the neighborhood crimewatch captain forwards to me. (It is, btw, an "upscale" neighborhood.) I take precautions, but I can't guarantee that no one will break in and steal the gun when I'm not home. If someone breaks in while I am home, I hope not be tied up and tortured a bit, as happened in one local episode, but to send him off in a bag.

I'd almost forgotten . . . it has been several weeks since the night I hit the floor at the sound of gunshots on my quiet residential street. The detective who stopped by the next day told me that some guys in a car had been using the man who lives around the corner, who was walking home, for target practice. They missed with all shots, hitting a couple of fences, but no people. Luck. Btw, our local crime rate is waaay down. We're very chuffed about it.

73margd
Edited: Nov 9, 2007, 8:30am Top

> 72 myshelves "How many people have actually known anyone who was murdered?"

Thankfully, no one I know has been murdered. Wish I could say the same about suicide. I recall a statistic that a handgun is more likely to be used in suicide or a domestic death than to kill an attacker/invader.

BTW, anyone who loves their family should NEVER choose a gun for suicide. Bad enough to discover your loved one dead at his or her own hand. Horrific when their brains are splattered all over the room. (Per my dad, who supervised followup when one of his soldiers killed himself on base. And as a WW II veteran, Dad's no stranger to gore, unfortunately.)

74Doug1943
Nov 9, 2007, 7:07am Top

People whom I have known personally, to one degree or another, murdered by strangers:

Someone I met in the summer of 1965 at the University of Texas, shot to death by Charles Whitman, the Texas Tower sniper the following year.

George Vizard: The head of the Communist Party's youth group in Austin Texas, who was taken into the cold storage room of the 7/11 where he worked alone at night and shot to death in the summer of 1967.

A fellow in Los Angeles whose nickname was "Tree," a lovely guy, a musician, who made the mistake of advertising a diamond for sale, and was killed by robbers posing as potential buyers.

Since we are apparently all separated by only five (?) degrees of separation, we probably all either know someone who has been murdered, or know someone who does.

75reading_fox
Nov 9, 2007, 7:28am Top

Not at all to dismiss the tragedy of those who know someone attacked or murdered I want to comment on Doug's last paragraph, statistics and percieved risk

"five (?) degrees of separation, we probably all either know someone who has been murdered, or know someone who does.
"

and hence tales of event misrepresent there actual frequency of occurance, because we know far mroe people (at third hand) than we percieve.

76Doug1943
Edited: Nov 9, 2007, 7:43am Top

Yes, everything is for the best, in the best of all possible worlds.

For those who are interested in watching lovely, civilized peaceful England slide back into the primieval ooze, I recommend The Policeman's Blog. The author was a UK policeman, who has now immigrated, but it has lots of interesting details, and links to other police blogs.

77GirlFromIpanema
Nov 9, 2007, 7:41am Top

#39, doug1943: "An Opinel! My favorite pocket knife. A brilliantly-simple design, aesthetically-pleasing, a carbon steel blade whch can be sharpened like a razor. I carry one everywhere,"

Tsk-tsk-tsk. That's illegal, ya know? ;-)

(Psst: I bought a new one, because I am like you, I carry it everywhere (in my lunchpack). I plan to take it along with me on future travels, including the UK. I might put it somewhere deep inside the suitcase, though. Worked on numerous trips to the UK, unknowingly.)

Going further off on a tangent: I can't believe no-one has mentioned the right to arm bears. Arctic?

78Doug1943
Nov 9, 2007, 7:44am Top

The Right to Arm Bears is such a common bumper sticker in the US that no one thought it worth mentioning.

79myshelves
Nov 9, 2007, 8:26am Top

I have a restriction to suggest. Anyone who fires shots in the air to celebrate some event, or his favorite holiday, or New Year's Eve, has the gun confiscated, is never allowed to own one again, and is branded with M for moron.

80reading_fox
Nov 9, 2007, 8:33am Top

#77 that'll be a The Fourth bear reference will it?

81margd
Nov 9, 2007, 8:34am Top

I second the motion.
Amend to add yahoos who shoot at "O" in stop signs?

82myshelves
Nov 9, 2007, 8:45am Top

#81

Amendment accepted.

83Bookmarque
Nov 9, 2007, 8:47am Top

"So much for those beloved privacy concerns when it suits." -Bookmarque

The role of the state is to protect the people, no?

No actually, it’s not. It is A role. How are you with library book lists?

"Lists will never work. Registration on this level is unenforcable." -Bookmarque

Violations of the registry law would, of course, be pursued like any other law violation (the police would have to have reasonable intent). No one would expect the police to go door to door and search every house and hideyhole in their respective districts.

If no one goes door-to-door, how would this be enforced?

"I think the failure of the uber-control folks is that control means nothing to the criminal or improper user." -Bookmarque

I'm fairly certain that any police officer would agree that, while registration may not help combat drug related murders, they would certainly help with the murders which are typically considered "crimes of passion." Registration does not have to a glorious success in all areas of crime prevention/prosecution for it to be worthwhile.

Crimes of passion are not the problem. The vast majority of those cases are solved fairly easily.

"All these controls do is make it more and more difficult for the responsible owner/user to access a legal product." -Bookmarque

Shouldn't one have to jump through a couple of hoops before they're allowed to play with a dangerous piece of equipment? One must prove that he or she can drive before they are allowed to drive alone. The same can be said for heavy machinery, airplanes, etc. The only people who are going to be hurt by mandatory background checks and registration are the paranoid militia men, the felons and the completely and utterly incompetent ("What? I had to submit to a background check a week ago? But I'm going hunting tomorrow!").

We already have registration…how much more registration do you want?

"Pass as many laws as you like, the desperate, the crazy and the criminal will just break more. Take drunk driving laws as an example." -Bookmarque

Oh, yes, you're absolutely right. Let's just call this whole republic thing off.

Woosh. Point missed.

84GirlFromIpanema
Nov 9, 2007, 9:02am Top

Bookmarque, could you please mark up the quotes, or alternatively mark up all your comments? Makes it a lot easier to read and understand who was saying what.
Thanks! :-)

85oregonobsessionz
Edited: Nov 9, 2007, 10:19am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

86oregonobsessionz
Nov 9, 2007, 10:21am Top

The Right to Arm Bears or this?

The latter is, as Doug suggests, very popular (at least in Portland).

I have seen a car with that bumper sticker and this one.

87myshelves
Nov 9, 2007, 10:41am Top

I've seen one that read: "If guns are outlawed, how will we shoot the Liberals?"

88Arctic-Stranger
Nov 9, 2007, 12:54pm Top

Scariest bumper sticker I ever saw.

"The voices told me to stay home and clean my guns today."

89GirlFromIpanema
Nov 9, 2007, 1:00pm Top

#86, 87 and 88: OK, I'll stick to my side of the Pond :-D

90Arctic-Stranger
Nov 9, 2007, 1:44pm Top

True story

I get called to the psych ward one morning. There is a tearful woman there who was arrested the night before for walking down the main street of town with two guns, yelling at the top of her voice that God has told her to wipe out the unbelievers. (When she asked me if I was a True Believer, you better believe I said "Yes!" Very quickly!)

Anyway, she has a 30 day hold, and the whole time she is in she is totally wrapped up in getting her dogs and her guns back. (She had ten dogs, which were in the pound during her hospitalization.) I didn't want to be the one to tell her her guns were not coming back to her.

Well she was released...and given her guns upon her release. Because she had not been charged with a crime (she was declared incompetent) there was not legal reason to keep the guns from her.

Also about guns and suicide. If you are going to so stupid as to do that, at least leave enough money to replace the wallpaper, carpet, and furniture in the room. The first time I saw a gun related suicide I remember thinking, "I didnt know a person had this much blood in them."

91oregonobsessionz
Nov 9, 2007, 11:16pm Top

>73 margd: margd
..anyone who loves their family should NEVER choose a gun for suicide. Bad enough to discover your loved one dead at his or her own hand. Horrific when their brains are splattered all over the room.

>90 Arctic-Stranger: Arctic-Stranger
Also about guns and suicide. If you are going to so stupid as to do that, at least leave enough money to replace the wallpaper, carpet, and furniture in the room.

We had a few suicides like that when I volunteered on the fire department. (F.D. operated the ambulances, so we went in first on any kind of medical aid call.) Whoever would do something like that must have terrible hostility to the family members who are going to find the aftermath.

92myshelves
Nov 10, 2007, 12:30am Top

Could be that some people have watched too many old movies or tv shows. Give the chap who has cheated at cards a gun, send him into the next room, and solve everything "neatly and cleanly." There was never any mess when they found people who had shot themselves. Guy with head on desk, gun in hand, perhaps a slight trickle of blood. We've seen it dozens of times. Seeing is believing, right?

93Lunar
Nov 10, 2007, 1:22am Top

#92: Method of suicide is definitely a culturally transmitted phenomenon. Gladwell's The Tipping Point has a chapter devoted to describing how suicide culture took off in Micronesia, where the predominant form of suicide is by self-strangulation.

94rufustfirefly66
Nov 10, 2007, 3:10am Top

I like firearms. I like hunting. My gun control would be based on stupidity. Which means gun ownership would be greatly reduced.

95BGP
Nov 10, 2007, 3:41am Top

>94 rufustfirefly66: "My gun control would be based on stupidity." -r

Now you've done it...

Codyed was just waiting for someone to give him an excuse to bring up his beloved intelligence quotients...

96Doug1943
Nov 10, 2007, 5:04am Top

There would still be the problem of theft.

However, advances in microelectronics might solve this.

Imagine a microchip built into the weapon, with a tiny display on the grip.

Pick the weapon up, and it automatically comes on, locking the firing mechanism.

In the display appears a problem to solve. "If two men can dig one ditch in four days, how long will it take one man to dig two ditches?" or something like that. Answer it, and the trigger is unlocked for one hour.

The "legacy gun" problem would remain, but after a hundred years or so, the problem would be largely solved.

And it would create employment for smarty-pants types, accompanying gangsters as their gun-bearers, so to speak.

97booklover79
Nov 10, 2007, 10:54am Top

I have never been comfortable around firearms, but I never grew up around them so that could be the reason. It wasn't until I attended an rotc camp and went to the range with a 9mm, machine gun, and m16 that I realized how fun target shooting could be.=) As long as a person is trained and responsibly handles their firearm, I don't see the harm in owning one.

I am in favor of the 2nd amendment giving Americans the right to bear arms. Some believe it doesn't apply to the individual, but it's pretty clear the founding fathers knew how governments can become tyrannical and oppressive to the people and this 2nd amendment gives people the means to counter this if it should ever happen in the future. I do believe that outlawing fireams to ordinary citizens would do nothing to help stop violent crimes with such weapons. Criminals don't care about laws, they'll find a way to obtain a handgun. All a ban does is prevent the law-abiders from owning one.

I think someone mentioned Washington, DC as an example. I live outside DC and I've heard all the excuses the DC politicians in favor of banning firearms. And the excuses they give about how criminals get a hold of these weapons despite the ban! (they come here to VA where it's legal to carry and own a handgun, it's because of VA's lax handgun laws, etc). But it's clear it's not working, this ban, and yet they still can't admit maybe they were wrong and a ban isn't working to keep crime down in the city.

Anyways, I have no problem with restricting firearms from people who shouldn't be owning one. Those with a criminal background or those who are not mentally stable enough to own one. But I do believe that those people who are responsible and law-abiding shouldn't be banned from owning one.

98Doug1943
Nov 10, 2007, 11:39am Top

I repeat:

Guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people. Or rather, people who can use guns kill people, which brings me to a proposal: make the punishment for first convinction involving use of a firearm, the amuptation of the user's trigger finger. Do it under anesthetic, and it wouldn't be cruel. Do it often enough and it wouldn't be unusual. What's not to like?

99geneg
Edited: Nov 10, 2007, 12:56pm Top

As I've said in other times and other places while going home. . . uh, where was I, oh yeah, guns. As I've said before: every child should be issued a weapon upon entering kindergarten (5 - 6 Years old) and spend that entire year learning to use it, clean it, keep it safe, and know when and where it is appropriate to use it on another human being and when it is not. If those thirty some odd people murdered at Va. Tech had this training, they wouldn't all be dead now. Think about Columbine. Think about the guy who goes postal, he wouldn't get very far before someone shot him. We need more guns, not fewer.

Another thing, I think maybe philsojerk brought this up early on in this thread, where does the government get off telling me I can't mount two fifties (an absolutely killer machine gun) on top of my house, or a fifty on my car? If I have the right to bear arms, why can't I put a few cruise missiles around the lower forty for heavy duty survivalist purposes? Why can't I buy a B-52 and it's complementary load of nuclear bombs? These are all weapons, aren't they. If I was a terrorist I could buy these things. If H-bombs are outlawed only terrorists will have H-bombs. Oh, but they are special weapons that don't fall, somehow, under the second amendment.

So, the issue, it seems to me is not about bearing arms, but drawing lines through the heart of the second amendment to define to whom, what, where, and when this amendment applies. Wait, if we can do that now, why pay any attention to the second amendment at all? We can classify all weapons the same as H-bombs and outlaw all of them. Where's the NRA when you need them? Why won't they take on this fight for our personal freedom to bear arms: big, nasty arms?

BTW, I believe in the right to bare arms as well, philosojerk.

100myshelves
Nov 10, 2007, 1:15pm Top

I've often fantasized about having some heavy firepower mounted on my car, for self-defense against violent drivers trying to kill me. :-)

101oregonobsessionz
Nov 10, 2007, 1:41pm Top

>99 geneg: geneg

…where does the government get off telling me I can't mount two fifties (an absolutely killer machine gun) on top of my house, or a fifty on my car? If I have the right to bear arms, why can't I put a few cruise missiles around the lower forty for heavy duty survivalist purposes?

You could always move to Montana and join the Church Universal and Triumphant, a doomsday cult founded by Elizabeth Clare Prophet (great name for a cult leader).

They got started in California, but CA managed to run them out by enforcing land use laws, so they moved to Livingston, Montana, where land use laws are all but nonexistent. At one time they had quite a fortress, with heavily armed turrets along the property line.

Summarized from the material at the Doomsday link above:
ATF got after them in the late 1980s. At that time they were building underground bunkers to prepare for the end of the world. Ms. Prophet’s husband and another cult member used birth certificates of deceased individuals to obtain driver’s licenses so they could purchase and stockpile weapons. The ATF found hundreds of illegally acquired weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition, including ten semi-automatic fifty caliber weapons purchased with the false IDs. Several cult members, not including Ms. Prophet, were convicted of illegally purchasing firearms.

Apparently Elizabeth Clare Prophet now has Alzheimer’s. That explains a lot. Anyway, the ATF enforcement suggests that the Second Amendment does in fact have limitations.

102reading_fox
Nov 12, 2007, 10:33am Top

the BBC's thoughts on how and where guns get onto the UKs streets, and how we're increasingly cracking down on the supply - soon not even criminals will have them. Well we can hope anyway.

103codyed
Edited: Nov 12, 2007, 11:27am Top

Yes, we can all hope.

104Doug1943
Nov 12, 2007, 1:29pm Top

The politically-savvy will always discount what politicians and their shills in the media claim that they are doing, or will do.

The latest figures I could find, on a quick trawl, show this:

Gun Crime Statistics

The following statistics are taken from the report on Crime in England and Wales 2004-05

* In 2004/05 there were a provisional 10,979 firearm offences, an increase of 6% since 2003/04. The number of offences has risen each year since 1997/98.

Source

105Jesse_wiedinmyer
Nov 12, 2007, 1:41pm Top

It's a rather meaningless statistic in and of itself, Doug. How has the population increased? How about the percentage of the population between 18 and 30?

106GirlFromIpanema
Nov 12, 2007, 2:18pm Top

More questions: Does the term "firearm offences" also include offences that were simply the fact of owning an illegal gun (for whatever reason)? I know that people in Germany like to use the argument that "foreigners commit more crimes" and draw the total number of "offences by non german nationals" (which of course includes things like being in contempt of asylum ordinances, i.e. leaving your registered place of residence while your application is being considered, which Germans cannot commit).

107codyed
Nov 12, 2007, 2:33pm Top

I think Jesse is maneuvering into gadfly/codyedesque territory asking those kinds of questions.

108Jesse_wiedinmyer
Nov 12, 2007, 2:34pm Top

codyedesque

One wonders how this would be pronounced...

109codyed
Nov 12, 2007, 2:37pm Top

With a mouth full of milk and a poppy seed bagel in your right hand.

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