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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Are gun range parties, reckless, or a fun way to start a healthy weapon respect early?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (21139 points ) June 4th, 2012

Now I know there will be too opposing forces because of the “ick factor” many have against weapons themselves, much less in the hands of perceived babes. What would be so wrong with gun range or target shooting parties slanted more towards children and young teen adults? If they are tightly supervised (which I believe they will be), the up side is they have a healthy respect for weapons, and receive proper training on how to use a weapon, and to keep it safe with proper cleaning and safe securing (tipping my hand on what I feel of it). I can’t see how any of those youngsters will be able to go amuck and shoot up the place.

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73 Answers

Ponderer983's avatar

What would be the difference between this and letting them run free in a Walmart in Tennessee? Honestly, I’m OK with it, but not soooo young. I would say 14 + years. But, the insurance and legal issues will probably always overrule and prevent a shooting range from wanting to do this. Too much risk. I would be OK with more of a focused group. Like if a parent wants to take their child at a younger age to learn, I’m down with that. I would find it hard for me as a mother (of which I am not), to let my child do something like this on their own for the first time without me there to supervise.

WestRiverrat's avatar

When I was in the boy scouts eons ago, we had an annual event at the gun range. This was supported by the local businesses and the state police.

I lived just outside Bloomington Illinois at the time.

@Ponderer983 when the guns were present we were not allowed to ‘run free’ as you put it. The event was tightly controlled. If you did not follow all the rules all the time you were sat down and not allowed to handle the guns. There were a couple hundred of us there and only about 15 to 20 adults, but they never had any discipline problems.

bolwerk's avatar

Let’s extend the OP’s logic to drugs and alcohol!

flutherother's avatar

This idea borders on the insane.

Ponderer983's avatar

@WestRiverrat I was joking in that first line…kind of. Point was kids can go buy guns at Walmart of go shoot them on their own

bolwerk's avatar

@ragingloli: the gun obsession is probably an ersatz sexual experience anyway.

syz's avatar

Would you also take them to a closed race track and let them drive race cars around? Regardless of your thoughts on guns and gun control, it’s age inappropriate. Sit in on a classroom of 8 year olds and tell me that you’d place weapons in their hands. It’s possible that some few individual kids may have the concentration and focus to listen to and comprehend instructions and explanations of the seriousness of safe handling, but to put a group of them together in a party atmosphere? Idiocy.

chyna's avatar

We learned to shoot rifles at summer camp when we were in grade school. I never thought a thing about it, but now, I doubt that if I had children, I would allow them to shoot at such an early age.

ragingloli's avatar

And something tells me you would see this on a regular basis.

An 8-year-old boy died after accidentally shooting himself in the head while firing an Uzi submachine gun under adult supervision at a gun fair.

The boy lost control of the weapon while firing it Sunday at the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman’s Club, police Lt. Lawrence Vallierpratte said.

Police said the boy, Christopher Bizilj of Ashford, Conn., was with a certified instructor and called the death a “self-inflicted accidental shooting.”

As the boy fired the Uzi, “the front end of the weapon went up with the backfire and he ended up receiving a round in his head,” police Lt. Hipolito Nunez said. The boy died at a hospital.
The boy’s father and older brother were also there at the time, a gun club member and school official said. Francis Mitchell, a longtime member and trustee of the club, said he was told the boy’s father was supporting his son from behind when the shooting happened.

Keep_on_running's avatar

People shouldn’t have such a relaxed attitude towards guns, especially as a young person.

lillycoyote's avatar

I think 8 years old is way too young. I’m not sure 8 year olds would fully understand that firearms and children’s birthday parties are generally not a very good combination. I think that for older kids, maybe 13 and up, who have already been taught appropriate and responsible gun handling it would be O.K. but not for 8 year olds. I have this horrible picture in my mind of some kid bringing his parents’ gun to another birthday party because of this; because the kid was too young to understand that guns generally don’t belong at birthday parties.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Gun range parties? I’ve never heard of or seen anything like that. I don’t like the idea because for me and people I choose to shoot with, target practice and partying don’t go together. The kids I’ve seen shooting are very focused, very organized, calm and carefully supervised. Anything less than that would seem foolhardy, at least to me. I’d never let a kid of mine use weapons in a lighthearted party atmosphere.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@Ponderer983 Where do you live? Federal law states that you have to be at least 18 to buy a rifle or shotgun and 21 to buy a pistol. You also have to clear the NICS or the waiting period of whatever state you are in. No child can just walk into walmart and legally buy a gun.

ucme's avatar

I’m betting all the boys are named Charlton.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Ponderer983 But, the insurance and legal issues will probably always overrule and prevent a shooting range from wanting to do this. I don’t know if there would be any legal issues today but one of the most memorable events I had was when I went to the gun range with a group of teacher in high school. Granted we were teenagers but we were not out of school. I do not even know what class it was, There must have been 15 to 2 dozen of us students out there with about 5 or 6 teachers who brought out their collection of firearms. They had .357 magnums, .44 magnums, .45s, .38s, 30.06 rifles, double barreled shotguns, pump shotguns, all the way down to the lowly .22. No one made a sink of it, not the school, no parents, the media didn’t show up to sensationalize it, it was just an event at the firing range. Those teachers stressed the dangers of not using a firearm properly, how to sight your target, how important it was not to fire a dirty firearm that could jamb and cause lots of problems. It is almost as if we think kids are more stupid these days. I am sure back some 50 to 60 years out on the plains, the ranch or up in the mountains kids learned to shoot early from their families. I am not sure, but I believe in South Africa all children (those who were not of color) received firearm training at a very young age, and there were not a lot of Columbine type incidences going on.

@ragingloli The boy lost control of the weapon while firing it Sunday at the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman’s Club, police Lt. Lawrence Vallierpratte said.

Police said the boy, Christopher Bizilj of Ashford, Conn., was with a certified instructor and called the death a “self-inflicted accidental shooting.

As the boy fired the Uzi, “the front end of the weapon went up with the backfire and he ended up receiving a round in his head,” police Lt. Hipolito Nunez said. The boy died at a hospital.

That is an easy fix, you have a lanyard or tether that attaches to the underside of the firearm that prevents it from being pointed laterally from the shooting table or more than 60◦ vertical, then it can never point back at the shooter unless he/she jumps in front of the table.

Ponderer983's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Did the kids actually shoot the guns?

@WestRiverrat NJ, but the people I have known to live in the South where guns are more readily available say it was easy to get them when they were kids.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@Ponderer983
Key words, when they were kids. That was at least 20 years ago.

Ponderer983's avatar

@WestRiverrat Under age 18 would be 12 for me. I’m not that old.

King_Pariah's avatar

I find this to be a decent idea. Gun Range parties can be quite a blast. Frankly, everyone who is saying let’s apply this to sex, alcohol, and drugs to make a point of that it’s a bad idea, I’m pretty sure you’re using a fallacy known as the slippery slope and can frankly go fornicate yourselves with a cactus until you can come up with a legitimate argument against gun range parties.

I find that gun range parties can provide a very safe environment in which persons of just about any age can experience firing guns. I’m guessing that many of those who argue “nay” have never been to a gun range thus don’t know how they operate. True, different ranges tend to follow different protocol but there is some pretty universal rules such as the range is cold when people are on the range and the range can only be hot when there is NO ONE on the range. And with experienced adults supervising each gun, you can very easily make sure that gun safety rules are not broken.

King_Pariah's avatar

Note: I’m grumpy, I apologize if I insulted anyone but I got my hand shat on and my ear nearly bitten off.

Trillian's avatar

Really? Who thought it would be ok to give an 8 year old an uzi?
A lanyard or tether? Really?
Why does this line of reasoning nnot surprise me from this source?

ragingloli's avatar

@King_Pariah
It is only a slippery slope if you are sliding up the hill. Drugs, alcohol and sex are far less harmful than guns, which are specifically designed to kill people.
We are making these comparisons because righties tend to have a no-tolerance approach to these. Children are to be kept away from from them at all costs. In fact, they would prefer it if adults, too, would not have access to those. But when it comes to guns, which are far worse than drugs and sex, they somehow can not wait to teach children how to properly kill people.
I get the impression they would be ecstatic if babies were born with barrels growing out of their arms.
What is pointed out here is right wing hypocrisy.
The actual arguments against it are:
1. It is dangerous for the children, as demonstrated by the 8 year old who popped himself in the head with a machine pistol under so called expert supervision. It is akin to teaching little children how to handle venomous snakes by having them interact with live cobras. Did not work out so well for that preacher either, and he was allegedly an adult.
2. It perpetuates the existing gun culture and breeds acceptance thereof, which will only serve to ensure that the gun crime rates will continue to be off the scale, especially compared to civilised nations that have strong firearm regulations in place.

King_Pariah's avatar

@Trillian You have an adult actually hold the weapon and really just let the child to pull the trigger, child does not get to carry it around or anything.

@ragingloli accidents happen, we’re only human. Personally, I think letting young adults try out alcohol under supervision isn’t a bad idea and can help teach them responsibility with alcohol. I suppose the same can be done with drugs though there are many people should never touch (ex. Angel Dust). Sex… sex is it’s own thing. Also, it’s still a fallacy either way as they are mostly completely unrelated (drugs and alcohol can be a comparison that would make sense I admit but guns, drugs, and sex thrown in to the same boat of rules and guidelines? No way, that’s illogical).

6rant6's avatar

The premise that “parties” at gun ranges will put kids on the road to having “a healthy respect” for guns is thinner than Bruce Willis’ hair.

But I could be wrong. Maybe we should be having boy scout meetings at strip clubs to give young men a “healthy respect’ for women. And we should take teens to NASCAR events to teach them a “healthy respect” for good driving. Then we can go to 31 Flavors to get them on the road to “healthy respect” for eating well. I’d go.

jerv's avatar

I don’t like the idea.

As a young kid (under 5), I was around guns a lot. I used to sit there and watch my dad practice with his pistol, but there was no partying involved. From him, I learned that guns are serious. Sure, you can have fun with them, but that doesn’t mean that they are toys.

While there are many practical uses for guns, most of them involve putting holes in whatever they are pointed at, and guns don’t care where they are pointing so they must be handled carefully. As a Vietnam combat vet, my father knew all too well what guns could do, and he made sure I knew too so that our guns never did anything bad.

I knew that before I learned the alphabet. The fact that so many adults know less than a 3-year-old is almost depressing.

@ragingloli First off, about that 8-year-old… I knew about recoil before I could even spell it. That was part of why I never handled anything other than a BB pistol at that age; I was too small/weak to handle the recoil of even a .22 semi-auto. Even now, >35 years later, the recoil from a machine pistol (or even a small SMG without a stock) would be a bit much unless it had a 3-round burst limiter; no mass to “absorb” the force, no real recoil mechanism, no muzzle brake, and often no leverage, so all of the recoil goes right into the hands and arms, unlike a decent rifle. It requires a bit of strength to control the recoil from even a single 9mm round, let alone a stream of them, more than even many adults have. Therefore, saying that the child was being supervised by an “expert” means that somebody got their gun license in a box of Cracker Jacks.

Second, gun training leads to responsibility whereas ignorance leads to uninformed knee-jerk reactions and the occasional “forbidden fruit” accident where some kid finds a gun and, due to a lack of training, treats it as a toy. After all, most of the things adults don’t want kids to even know about must be fun! I would rather see a kid find a gun and treat is with care and respect than with ignorance. We already have enough ignorant adults :/

@6rant6 I concur. I don’t want kids equating guns with partying. Target practice can be meditative or competitive, and hunting can be done for food and/or as an excuse to get out for a long walk, but none of the uses for a gun I can think of are fun. Save the party for after you win that skeet-shooting tournament or bag that 10-point buck and put the gun away (unloaded and locked).

King_Pariah's avatar

I don’t get where people get the partying at the gun range idea from. every gun range party I’ve been to involves partying away from and after shooting at the range

lillycoyote's avatar

@King_Pariah People are getting the idea of partying at the gun range from the link in the details of @Hypocrisy_Central‘s question. Here’s the link:

Texas gun range to host children’s birthday parties

King_Pariah's avatar

Lol, c’mon people, that’s Texas :D

Though I admit, they have pretty decent GATE programs in some parts of it.

jerv's avatar

@King_Pariah I’ve seen stupider things. Hell, I’ve been to company parties that had Skeet-shooting, open bar, and a lot of under-21 people that never got carded. They weren’t totally reckless though; they had a campground where you could pitch a tent and sleep it off instead of driving home.

Sleeping in the woods near drunken kids with shotguns is… interesting.

lillycoyote's avatar

@jerv Apropos of nothing, but you might like this quote, as it combines two, possibly three of your interests, who knows? Mitch Ratcliffe, a technology journalist, once said, “Computers have enabled people to make more mistakes faster than almost any invention in history, with the possible exception of tequila and hand guns” :-)

jerv's avatar

@lillycoyote Of the three, I feel that tequila is the biggest mistake. Both computers and handguns at least have potential uses, but tequila… I’ve had good times with every other form of alcohol, yet tequila never ends well.

bolwerk's avatar

@King_Pariah: perhaps because you were distracted by your arousal over cactus-to-anus contact, you missed my point. I actually was completely serious about extending that logic to those things. In fact, it would be better to let “kids” master those things long before letting them play with weapons in groups. As @ragingloli says, those things are generally safer than guns.

But then, the safe money is either the OP is a troll (”...a fun way to start a healthy weapon respect early”) or wants to normalize playing with weapons for political reasons. My politics are rather anarchist, but if guns should be restricted, the people in the so-called gun lobby are probably the least qualified to be playing with them. They’re general fascistic and delusional.

There are responsible ways to acclimate young people to guns, like highly supervised visits to a shooting range, professional training, hunting lessons, etc.. There are even responsible recreational uses for weapons (i.e., trap shooting). A party is just…nuts.

lillycoyote's avatar

@jerv, you’re probably right, but I think Ratcliffe meant “handguns and tequila” not “handguns or tequila.”

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

We are actually going to try to stack firearms up against sex, drugs, and alcohol?

Let us do that, shall we?

Drugs: Glorified as much as guns and sex. The carnage caused by them may not be as instant, but the prolonged devastation is worse, babies get left on the top of cars, massive theft and thievery happens behind it, and it is usually a staple of the sex trade. An act of gun violence will last lest than an hour on most accounts. Drugs will plague a family and a community for decades, and still often ends in death, just a low meandering one that sucks a lot of people in. If fire arms teach people how to be killers, I guess drugs teach people not to face their problems but to try and mask them over.

Alcohol: Almost as nefarious as drugs (if not worse), because it is so expected and accepted the devastation easily goes overlooked. You need to look no further than Prime Time to see all of the references that alcohol consumption is good, make many thing better, bearable, and being drunk is fun and cool. No open house party while the parents are away would be worth is Facebook street cred if it did not have underage drinking there. If the cops show up they are not going to bust all the drunken teens and haul their asses to jail. The DA will not drag them to court and the judge will hardly sentence them to 6 months to a year in jail for their underage drinking. The authorities will go for the easy marks, those over 18 who brought booze to the party, (even if they didn’t, they will have the wrap hung on them). No one will go after the parents to bust them because their little urchins were bombed off their asses on Vodka, gin, beer, tequila, or what have you. Pound for pound alcohol kills more people (innocent victims) than firearms or smoking. Drinking is fun, acceptable, and expected so it gets a pass.

Sex: Might not kill anyone but the devastation behind recreational or indiscriminate sex is a life time for many, be it AIDS, herpes, and other nasty STDs, or being made merchandise of with the help of alcohol. This is all before the unplanned pregnancies. The solution to this potentially life altering act is just dish out the condoms and tells them to be careful. If the youngster becomes pregnant the government is not going to fine the parents the amount of aid it will have to pay to take care of them since the mother and the father are both likely to be destitute and still living off their parents. The government is not going to place a lien on the parents, holding them accountable in the same way if their firearms ended up in their kids hands and an accident happened. Not to mention the violence spawned from sex because of jealousies. Sex is used to sell 85% (est.) of all goods and services here in the US so it has to be all good, even with its potential life-long devastations.

Firearms pound for pound is less devastating to kids than drugs, alcohol, and sex on the whole.

bolwerk's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central: if firearms are less devastating than even your exaggerated views on the dangers of sex, drugs, and alcohol, it’s because sane people usually keep guns away from kids, and generally kids are satisfied to find other ways to entertain themselves like video games or RedTube.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Most of you seem to assume a gun range party is not a controlled situation.

Kids can and do act responsibly when they know what is expected of them, and the consequences of not following the rules. Even in groups when they are excited they can and will behave.

The parties I have been to have been controlled, fun, safe and educational for the kids. Not having the parents there is sometimes advantageous, if the parents are nervous and over emotional about the fact that their baby is shooting a gun, it can be picked up by the kids making them nervous.

Part of the classroom session before hitting the range is what to do when they find a gun on the street – Don’t touch, Move out of the area, and Tell a Responsible Adult.

King_Pariah's avatar

@bolwerk by your logic, kids should never be near pool as there are more pool related child death incidents each year than there are gun related child death incidents each year. Your logic is flawed.

And my favorite occasionally rage inducing quote “Your god guarantees my insanity, but may I ask? Who guarantees your god’s sanity?”

Simply put that “sane” is a relative term of the definition has changed to match the “norm” of human society over millennia. Another abstract idea that renders bias towards those of differing thought processes and beliefs.

bolwerk's avatar

@King_Pariah: You really might want to brush up a little on logic before commenting on it. Kids most likely have orders of magnitude more exposure to pools than they do guns, precisely because guns are more dangerous than pools.

Would you prefer the term “sensible”? A sensible person does not encourage kids to use guns, at least not without intense supervision. Most kids can use a pool responsibly, and safely at least in groups, before their age is in the double digits.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@bolwerk the same with kids and gun as with pools. If I hadn’t been hunting as a 3rd grader, we would not have had meat in the pot much of the time.

King_Pariah's avatar

@bolwerk the point of the average gun party is to introduce kids to guns in an intensely supervised environment. And frankly, most of the younger kids I’ve seen at these gun parties are frightened by guns, which is a not too shabby way of encouraging kids to avoid guns. And I believe you should adjust that to 1st world kids are more likely to be exposed to pools than guns. There are large portions of the world that the opposite is very true. (and removing the conflict aspect of weapons, you still have more kids drowning than blowing themselves away).

Peace out and ta ta. I’m off to bed.

bolwerk's avatar

@WestRiverrat: if the use of a gun permits sustenance, the practical outcomes of use of a gun logically outweigh the risks of gun use. It’s another story, albeit a highly unusual one these days. The city and suburban kids that make up the bulk of the U.S. and other developed world minor population aren’t in places where they need to use guns, and probably aren’t even in places where guns can be used safely for any recreational purpose even by trained adults.

@King_Pariah: unless party just means “group,” it would seem that playing with guns in a “party” (i.e., relaxed) environment is by definition a bit less than stringent.

jerv's avatar

@bolwerk I concur. When I think “party”, I think:

1) Cake and ice cream!

2) Booze!

3) A group of player characters thrown together by the GM who will most likely cause various assorted forms of mayhem hither and yon.

Whichever one of those you wish to use as a definition, none of them are particularly serious.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@jerv The Donner party must have been a blast then.

Mariah's avatar

I haven’t read the whole thread, so apologise if I’m a broken record here.

My biggest problem with this is that no matter how well supervised this is, it only takes half a second for someone to point a gun wrong and shoot it. And anyone who’s ever been around a group of kids can tell you that you can’t control them that well.

6rant6's avatar

Some people should not have guns. The idea that we pick who has them by exposing all our kids to them and seeing who develops a lustful craving for them – and issuing them permits – seems less than an ideal method for deciding. But that could just be me; I am opposed to anyone shooting me or anyone predisposed to shooting me having a gun.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Mariah: Exactly! We’ve been out shooting with a friend who brought his 9yr son and the kid got distracted and excited enough times to start talking while using his hands, one of them still holding a .22 pistol which he felt so confident with because it has little recoil and a soft firing sound- yikes for the rest of us as we shouted for him to become still and put his hands down! I can’t imagine keeping track and control of a group of kids together.

bolwerk's avatar

@WestRiverrat: the OP quite clearly wasn’t referring to a party as in a travel party or a party at a table, where party just means something like group of people. He said “gun range parties” in a context (“fun”) that suggests the type of relaxed atmosphere of a birthday celebration or or something.

Somehow I don’t think “gun range party” = well-regulated milia. Either way, I don’t see why gun rights advocates would push this kind of stupidity. It ultimately only reflects badly on responsible gun owners, which ultimately doesn’t help them politically.

Trillian's avatar

“accidents happen, we’re only human.” This is a ridiculously stupid argument . Accidents, by definition, are things we don’t want to happen, and can not prevent. A child shooting himself in the head with a fucking uzi was preventable.

King_Pariah's avatar

@Trillian I agree and I also believe that the child was not under proper supervision when handling the gun. If you think I would ever call that incident an accident, you are mistaken. An example of what I think is an accident is when a new plastic buttstock of an M4 shatters when being fired and drives shards of plastic into the shoulder of the individual firing it (this was when I was back in the Army).

jerv's avatar

@King_Pariah I was thinking more along the lines of firing a Beretta 92 or M9. Sure, the slide is supposed to fly backwards when you fire a semi-auto pistol, but it is not supposed to keep coming back and hit you in the face!

@Neizvestnaya Normally I am against corporal punishment, but that is one instance where I would actually favor a nasty spanking. Figure, if an adult did that, it could get them a couple of years in prison for Reckless Endangerment, or just plain shot in self defense, so a spanking is pretty lenient by comparison.

King_Pariah's avatar

@jerv isn’t that just another example of an accident? (Though easily possible that it’s a case of failure to maintain one’s weapon)

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@6rant6 Some people should not have guns. The idea that we pick who has them by exposing all our kids to them and seeing who develops a lustful craving for them – and issuing them permits – seems less than an ideal method for deciding. Some people should not be allowed to drive vehicles, but so long as they can pass the test at the DMV they are allowed to operate a 3 ton or more 118Hp to 300hp gas laden land missile. To make matters worse, when they are proven to be dangerous they are not banished from operating one as they are banished from owning a firearm if they commit a crime, even if that crime had nothing to do with a weapon. We in the US treat the privilege like a right, and the right like a privilege; something ain’t right. It is well known many people under 22yr, who were trying to jump over friends in a shopping cart off a ramp 2–4 years ago are not going to use good judgment behind the wheel, but we hand over the keys and sit and see who will screw up and who will not. Let’s not even go with what we know about those who can’t keep away from the booze or the drugs, yet still get their license back again and again.

jerv's avatar

@King_Pariah Same principle, different weapon.

King_Pariah's avatar

@jerv actually not quite, the plastic stock was brand new

6rant6's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central So if I understand you, you’re saying the guys with the shopping carts should be carrying guns instead of driving?

With a car at least I can wear a seat belt. I’d prefer not to have to wear Kevlar, too.

Right/privilege… people get hung up on the words. We allow what we allow and forbid what we forbid. We require people to pass a test to drive a car which is not by nature an offensive weapon. A gun on the, other hand, requires you to buy it and point it. It is by its nature something that causes harm, and not to the owner.

You want guns. I get it. But twisting logic to make it reasonable is feeble, IMHO. It doesn’t work, and people who argue that way seem dim witted to me.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@6rant6 So if I understand you, you’re saying the guys with the shopping carts should be carrying guns instead of driving? No, you misunderstood. The child who grew up in a hunting family or around firearms would have way more experience with them than the guy pulling Jackass moves would in a car or truck.

Right/privilege…people get hung up on the words. The devil is in the details. Those “just words” are the words people have fought and died for many times to protect and defend. The Constitution clearly states what right you have to arms I guess I missed the part about driving.

We require people to pass a test to drive a car which is not by nature an offensive weapon. A gun on the, other hand, requires you to buy it and point it. It is by its nature something that causes harm, and not to the owner What it points at is not predominantly humans, dear, prairie dogs, mosses, elk, wolves, rabbits, etc are the usual targets when it is. Other than that it is usually clay pigeons, old cans, targets, etc. I would estimate more than 80% of the firearms sold across America never get pointed at people. When it does, it is usually at the hands of criminals, and guess what, as many criminals as there are, I think law abiding gun owners out number them by a vast amount.

bolwerk's avatar

The U.S. constitution says that the states have a right to a well-regulated militia whose members can keep or bear arms. The clause in “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” refers to a collective right of a community (the people) to defend themselves, and not as a blank check to do whatever you want with guns. Some individuals might elect or even be forced to be part of the militia, the armed citizenry that can be called up when needed to defend the community, and these people logically would have needed access to arms. Keep in mind, at this time, it was generally believed the United States should not have a standing army, hence the need for a militia.

But I agree that cars are generally, by measure of consequences, more dangerous than guns, but that is largely because of how people treat cars. Then again, they don’t parade their stupidity by throwing casual “parties” where children get to play with cars.

6rant6's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central They are still just words. I can say it’s my right to walk the streets unafraid that someone who has had too much to drink is going to shoot me. I can wrap myself in the flag as well as you can. I can argue about what “well-regulated militia” means. You can parrot all the half-truths gun owners parrot. I can point out what mortality rates are in countries without guns.

But really, it’s just that you want guns and I don’t. All the rest is puffery.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@bolwerk why is ‘the people’ in the second amendment considered a collective right, but in the rest of the Bill of Rights it is an individual right?

WestRiverrat's avatar

@bolwerk The Supreme Court has ruled that the second amendment grants an individual the right to keep and bear arms. It is not a collective right.

In 2008, the D.C. Circuit held that the Second Amendment protected an individual right, in Parker v. District of Columbia, 478 F.3d 370 (D.C. Cir. 2007) which was reviewed by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. ___ (2008). In the District of Columbia v. Heller decision the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment “protects an individual right to keep and bear arms”.

bolwerk's avatar

@WestRiverrat: “the people” is always used collectively in the U.S. Bill of Rights: the people can assemble; the people can be secure in their homes; “enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”; “powers not delegated to the United States…are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” When the intent is to convey and individual right, it either tends to be stated (the right of “the Owner” in Amendment IV; “person” in Amendment V; “the accused” in Amendment VI) as such or can be construed as both and individual and collective right. Admittedly incorporation of the Bill of Rights makes the question a bit more muddled – does Amendment I make sense as a collective right if it’s not also an individual right? – but the fact of the matter is that a collective people as subjects of the Crown State is a rather ancient distinction in common law.

Also, besides being a highly politicized decision flying in the face of decades if not centuries of scholarship on the matter, as I understand it Parker has not even been construed to be applicable outside the District of Columbia (cf., “But the 5 to 4 opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller did not address the question of whether the Second Amendment extends beyond the federal government and federal enclaves such as Washington”). This, too, was probably political, since I presume SCOTUS wanted to avoid the fallout.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I have to disagee with you @bolwerk

In 2008 and 2010, the Supreme Court issued two Second Amendment decisions. In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia[1][2] and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. In dicta, the Court listed many longstanding prohibitions and restrictions on firearms possession as being consistent with the Second Amendment.[3] In McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 3025 (2010), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment limits state and local governments to the same extent that it limits the federal government.[4]

WestRiverrat's avatar

Nowhere else in the Constitution does a “right” attributed to “the people” refer to anything other than an individual right. What is more, in all six other provisions of the Constitution that mention “the people,” the term unambiguously refers to all members of the political community, not an unspecified subset. This contrasts markedly with the phrase “the militia” in the prefatory clause. As we will describe below, the “militia” in colonial America consisted of a subset of “the people”— those who were male, able bodied, and within a certain age range. Reading the Second Amendment as protecting only the right to “keep and bear Arms” in an organized militia therefore fits poorly with the operative clause’s description of the holder of that right as “the people”.

bolwerk's avatar

@WestRiverrat: yes, I know the current Supreme Court is politicized to the point that it doesn’t have much grasp on reality. But most legal scholars and historians would disagree with you. The only (perhaps tenuous) argument you can make that the Second Amendment is an individual right is that it should be incorporated analogously to certain other rights per Amendment XIV – something even the current court hasn’t done to the exclusion of “states’ rights” – and something that never included the entirety of the Bill of Rights. I’m not sure I buy that argument, given that the right to a militia really was something that was assigned to the “free State” in lieu of keeping a standing army, something the early founders didn’t want to do as part of the central government except as needed, but at least there is a logic to it.

To say there was ever an intent by the founders to make individual gun use a federally protected individual right is just bunkum. The entire slew of the Bill of Rights was originally about keeping the feds from overreaching.

dabbler's avatar

I disagree with the comparisons to sex, alchohol, and drugs, because what we mean by citing each of those is that they can go badly wrong. And yes, that’s certainly possible when mixing kids and guns.

But we all know that exposure to each of these topics is good at some point in kids’ development. Instilling smart boundaries and understanding seems possible at a gun range situation as described by @WestRiverrat. Maybe a ‘party’ might be the wrong thing to call it, sounds like an outing or an exercise or go-ahead-and-call-it-training, if well-managed.

And I don’t see anything wrong with target shooting. It’s a good discipline and and extremely objective sport, the shot hits where it hits, good, bad or ugly. Most shooting is not less green or more wasteful than a lot of other recreations. And I frankly think more people could do with some real shooting experience of some kind. It can rationalize and focus real objections to gun problems.

So, considering what we usually mean when bringing up kids and “sex, alchohol, drugs” in the same paragraph ( < > gone wrong ), a more fair comparison would be to the unstructured and incidental exposure to guns some that kids will get on the streets and with their posse.

WestRiverrat's avatar

For those that believe excited kids cannot learn self control, you throw the first kid out for misbehaving and the rest get the message, especially when it is something they want to do.

dabbler's avatar

Regarding the second amendment I’d have to agree with @bolwerk that there’s no guarantee of personal gun ownership in the constitution. It is allowed for there to be a sufficient amount of armament, and presumably persons trained to used them, to form a militia that is powerful enough for defense purposes, in the context of a constitutional prohibition of a standing army except in times of war. For training purposes there’s no reason to think gun ranges are prohibited and widespread access to guns, especially for training, is clearly allowed.

The Supreme Court has made several jarring misinterpretations of the constitution in its history (Southern Pacific Railroad and Citizens United, and everything in between, come to mind) and many of its judgements about gun ownership are among the worst.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@WestRiverrat Word to that! Who would want to be the kid hearing about how cool it was to grease some bowling pins with a FN FAL but not actually having done it because you were sitting in the break room or on the bus because you got tossed for acting an ass while inside.

bolwerk's avatar

If we just throw the first kid out that blows out another kid’s brains, all will be well.

I’m actually pro-gun rights, FWIW. I just don’t buy that the Second Amendment allows unrestricted ownership of firearms, because any serious legal scholarship virtually has to lead you to the conclusion that it does not. Even (especially?) crude legal reasoning like Scalia’s original intent would have to lead one in a completely different direction

That said, this obsession with letting children play with guns is probably a sick way to normalize gun use, and doesn’t have any rational connection to use of guns for useful purposes like defense or hunting.

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