Social Question

janbb's avatar

So - if we won't control access to weapons, what will stop the killings?

Asked by janbb (62336points) September 17th, 2013

I truly do not the answer and I am fucking tired of this in a so-called civilized country.

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205 Answers

syz's avatar

Don’t you know? Only good people with guns can stop bad people with guns, therefore we should arm everyone. Never mind the idea of keeping guns away from bad people. Or crazy people. We should all just have a free-for-all shoot out. Every school should be the Alamo. Every federal park should be a shooting range. Drunks should carry guns in bars. Blind people should have guns.

We are a nation of idiots.

ragingloli's avatar

Criminals do not obey traffic signs, so we do not need traffic signs.

gorillapaws's avatar

According to the NRA it’s more weapons of course!!! Arm everyone!

glacial's avatar

No one knows the answer. It is an unanswerable question. If your politicians lack the will to do anything to control the situation, then it will remain out of control.

From my point of view, it appears that changing the individual politicians will not make them more effective as a whole. I think that your system of government is in need of some kind of reform. But to do that, you need smart, willing, capable people who can agree with each other just long enough to accomplish it. Sort of like your Founders.

JLeslie's avatar

My only idea is to do our best to ensure that people live in safe, healthy environments. I saw a show a couple of days ago where someone famous was being interviewed who grew up poor, basically in a ghetto, and he said he wanted to kill someone when he was young. He wanted someone else to hurt as much as he hurt. It seems to me this is a basic theme of homocidal people, although I really don’t know all the motives of killers. They are in pain themselves. Not necessarily poor, I am not picking on the poor at large; we see dysfunction at every economic level.

So, it will take some sort of cultural shift where we are less likely to produce people who want to inflict pain, or seek glory in horrific acts.

In a country the size of America I guess we are statistically more likely to have a horrible event like mass murders now and then compared to much smaller countries, but whatever we can do to reduce the numbers, let’s do it. I hope someone figures it out.

From what I understand the navy yard shooter had a criminal record and a license to carry a concealed weapon. Did you hear the same?

It reminded me of the psychiatrist who did the shooting at Fort Hood. People pass that off as some Muslim terrorist act, but I see it as also the man was in a tremendous amount of turmoil. He asked to have his assignment changed many times. He knew he wasn’t handeling it well. He was in a lot of psychological pain.

I think it is never just one thing, it is a combination of things, and the person just gets overwhelmed. Take away one element that is contributing to the final homocidal act, and we might avoid the killings. Again, just my thoughts on the matter without any real knowledge of what the data or research might say.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Nothing will happen. People will continue to kill each other. This is the fervent wish of the gun lobby so that they can justify their intransigence.

snowberry's avatar

Considering that it’s possible to kill large numbers of people with a lot more than just guns, perhaps we are going about it wrong. I refer to the mass murderer wielding a knife in China, the Oklahoma bombing, flying planes into buildings, etc. Crazies are everywhere, and they’re right next door. Furthermore, what’s nuts to me is sane to you, and vice versa.

Career criminals are too connected to be inconvenienced by anti-gun law. They’ll get guns and use them with no problem to them.

rojo's avatar

Bring back the code of honor and legalized dueling again. Won’t stop it but might help channel it.

Thammuz's avatar

Nothing will. You’re paying the price, as a society, for the innate flaws in your system.

States whose votes count regardless of population density, institutionalised bribery, revulsion towards anything resembling a background check and fear of looking discriminatory, as well as a general lack of foresight.

What you need is to start putting the right people in charge, and i’m not talking about the politicians. It’s ridiculous that states that house a fistful of people count as much as California or New York. Basically, as it stands, your vote counts less the more densely populated your state is.

That or a bloody revolution with heads on spikes and all that.

Afterall, people have started talking about the fall of the American empire since the early ‘00s, it’s no wonder you’re starting to feel it too.

zenvelo's avatar

The answer is there, but the gun lobby is too strong, so it will not end. Australia did it, so it’s not impossible.

Guns have only one use: To Kill Things.

rojo's avatar

Set up voluntary “hunger games” type sports arenas (they can be both urban and rural settings where those inclined to violence can face off against others of the same mindset only instead of paintball guns they use real ammo. Killing is legal only in these designated areas. People who kill outside the areas would be put into the arenas unarmed instead of imprisoned. Rival gangs can fight each other without the general citizenry having to worry about collateral damage.

Countries could provide armies to go up against each other in a winner take all scenario. Heck, why use proxy warriors, politicians from one country could fight with the politicians from the other without the middlemen. It is their fight anyway.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
ETpro's avatar

The problem is clearly that we’re not allowing ordinary citizens to be properly armed. If only we all could have a roof-mounted 50 cal. machine gun on our car roof and carry fully automatic Uzis and Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers we’d have a very peaceful society. Just look at how well it works in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan.

CWOTUS's avatar

I’m astonished that nominally intelligent people still believe in Prohibition “if only it was done correctly!”

Prohibition doesn’t work. Get it straight. Prohibition. Does. Not. Work.

Hyperbolic statements (which the NRA has not made) to “arm everyone” are also foolish. However, it is true that only a good person with a gun (and a person who is good with a gun, too, though this isn’t always stated so clearly) can stop a bad person with a gun. So, yes, the answer is to enable good people to have guns, and for them to become good with their guns. It’s not hard, really. Some police officers are good people, and some of them are also good with their guns, but that’s not a perfectly unified set if you do the Venn diagram. Also keep in mind that when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

Until our society changes for the better and fewer bad people carry guns, either because they choose to for whatever reason or if we enforce laws and penalties that are already on the books more laws will not make us more safe.

For a simple example, I am no one’s problem. I don’t commit crimes, and I do like to help people. However, the hoops to jump through in Connecticut are just too much for me to bother with, so I have not yet applied for a pistol permit (required in this state just to own a handgun legally). I’m also a good shot. But since it’s too much trouble for me to own a gun, and then nearly impossible to carry one (legally) even if I did, and therefore also difficult to practice, to buy ammunition, etc. – I don’t own a handgun. But someone who cares not about your laws, a criminal intent on robbing and/or murdering takes no account of stupid prohibitions.

Why is it so difficult for you all to understand this?

ragingloli's avatar

Only works in civilised countries, not the US.

glacial's avatar

@CWOTUS Gun control laws are not the same as prohibition. Must we trot out every old straw man today?

Thammuz's avatar

@CWOTUS The problem with your statement is that you’re not taking into account one simple fact: in nations where guns were NEVER that easily obtained, keeping the general populace unarmed is the norm, and random acts of violence don’t manage to reach your kill count. So prohibition does work, it just needds to be the case from the outset.

Failing that, you keep tabs on the weapons that ARE around.

Here in Italy, and we’re a less than law abiding people, if you buy a gun, you have to pay, to get evaluated both as far as training goes and as mental helth, and approved for a permit, then there is a waiting period so the police can make a background check on you and only after those you’re cleared to buy a gun, from an authorised dealer, who will inform the police of the serial number of your gun and its fingerprint. And different permits allow you to buy only specific kinds of weapons.

Guess how many gun related incidents we have? Hint: it’s much fewer than the US.

Switzerland, the oh so beloved example of “everyone has a gun, yet there is almost no gun violence” is an even more extreme case. You have a rifle, given to you by the state after you’ve done your first draft period. You’re not allowed to use it outside of mandated training exercises for the army or self defense. You’re given a set number of bullets when you get the gun, the bullets are not commercially available and the serials are noted.
Every few years you’re going show up for your physical+inspection so that they can see if you’re still able to be drafted in the defence forces (If you’re not, they take the gun back). Then they inspect the gun, they check the bullets and so on. Should you fire it in self defense you must tell the police, so they can report that you have fired x number of bullets and you can get them replaced, otherwise they’ll bascally assume you’ve murdered someone the next time you’re up for your visit.

See? prohibition isn’t the only way to do it, but you can’t just assume that it’s either prohibition or moronically giving guns away to anyone.

Pachy's avatar

Guns are here to stay. I’m glad I won’t be around to see where their accelerating proliferation will lead us to.

jerv's avatar

Comparing other countries that have strict gun laws to us and thinking it will work here denies cultural differences. Look how many handgun shootings happened in DC where handguns are banned. We are not Australia or Japan; until you accept that, you’re too idealistic for me to take seriously in conversations about gun control.

Never mind the fact that guns are relatively easy to make, at least for anybody with enough drive to teach themselves some simple skills. Not hard, not much special equipment required, and the skills, tools, and materials required have too many legal uses to restrict.

The only gun control that can work is to remove the desire for guns. Otherwise, it’s Prohibition and the rise of organized crime all over again.

ragingloli's avatar

DC is not an isolated country with strict border controls. Nothing to do with culture or lack thereof.

janbb's avatar

@jerv What do you think it might take to remove the desire for guns? Some people really seem to have it and some of us don’t.

GoldieAV16's avatar

It is not true that only a good person with a gun can stop a bad person with a gun: Antoinette Tuff.

More guns are not the answer, clearly, as we are the most armed nation on earth.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m with @Thammuz that a big problem in the US is we have let gun ownership be lax for so many years that it is difficult to go back. I see it as a subjective observer from one part of my country to another. In places where gun ownership is uncommon, the people tend to be more liberal politically and also don’t feel a paranoia to be able to defend themselves with a gun. I do know people who do own a gun for self defense even in those places, and they are happy to comply with the laws. In places where I have lived that gun ownership is commonplace, people are proud of their guns, and tend to hate the federal government, and also they have a lot of gun violence, they want guns to defend themselves against the other guns out there, and they do not want to comply with gun laws. I get it, really I do, after living in places with lots of guns, even though it is not my nature to want to be around guns. Your perspective completely changes when gun violence is common where you live.

It is a viscious circle. It is almost impossible to take the guns out of the hands of the bad people, so as long as we have areas of our country densely populated with gun violence, the good people around those areas will still want to own guns.

When I worked at a psych hospital outside of Memphis (lots of gun violence there) most of the very unstable people from the inner city owned guns, trust me.

jerv's avatar

@janbb If I had the answer to that, odds are that somebody else would’ve thought of it decades ago.

@ragingloli The only border that is strictly controlled is North Korea. As for isolation, the US is not an island like Australia. Plus, insurgents and criminals are rather ingenious, so even if we managed to get all the current guns and ammo out, we’d have to ban so many tools and chemicals it’s not funny. Try banning horse-shit, sulfur springs, and burnt wood; the ingredients for blackpowder. Also, you’d gut the manufacturing industry by banning lathes and mills… though someone with patience and a steady hand could use dentist drills and hand files to make the same things.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Spend more money and time on mental illness diagnosis and treatment.

ragingloli's avatar

Yeah, because every crim that would be without a gun would go to the trouble of installing a lathe.
Besides, they did not ban lathes in australia and they still got control of their mass shooting problem.
What you have done is nothing more than rehash the old “if we can not get a 100% success rate, it is not worth doing” fallacy.

Thammuz's avatar

@jerv You’re assuming that the people who’d be dangerous with a weapon in their hands would have the skills and brainpower to actually build a working firearm.

The only case i can think of a reported (attempted) murder with a hand made firearm was an attempt on the King of England with a gun made from a teapot. It blew up in the guy’s hands and he got himself sent off to Australia.

There are people owning guns that are dumb enough to do shit like this, i have no doubt there would be a considerable decline in gun ownership if they had to manufacture the gun themselves. That or a rise in accidental suicides.

CWOTUS's avatar

If you think that other countries’ laws actually work to preclude gun ownership, then you are even more deluded than those who think that the USA is particularly violent or wanton.

And despite the fact that we may have “more guns” in the country than any other (we are, after all, one of the largest nations), I think that Switzerland still qualifies as “most heavily armed”, since all adult males have been required to own a weapon (unless that has changed recently). The USA doesn’t have anywhere near that level of per capital ownership.

@GoldieAV16 thank you for your example of “the exception that makes the rule”.

jerv's avatar

@Thammuz The 1950s street gangs and the Afghan conflicts never happened then. And every attempted murder makes the news, even those against regular (non-government) people in places with no journalism to speak of.

Look how many people learned how to make alcohol during Prohibition. Sure, many made poison, but enough didn’t and got rich for enough people to learn the skills for me to maintain my skepticism. Of course, our current supply of cheap, legal booze has made those skills rare now. More modern examples include meth labs and the manufacture of IEDs; demand creates supply.

And dumb people getting killed by their own stupidity is a constant throughout history, and goes far beyond firearms.

ETpro's avatar

@CWOTUS Australia’s success in eliminating mass murders is real, and it is impressive. Vacuous statements pulled out of thin air claiming to demonstrate nothing can be done are not real and are not impressive.

Universal background checks on all gun sales is NOT prohibition. Putting real teeth in laws against straw sales is NOT prohibition. These things wouldn’t stop all gun violence, but they would stop some bad guys, insane guys and terrorist for getting a gun.

If you don’t think we should prohibit the criminally insane or those on a terrorist watch list from buying unlimited amounts of firepower and ammunition, why on earth not? Should we just sit back and enjoy all the mass shootings we don’t get caught in the midst of? Popcorn, anyone?

Thammuz's avatar

@jerv Making alcohol is nowhere near as complicated as creating a firearm from scratch. As demonstrated by the fact that we know of alcohol beverages that predate writing. I assure you, most people wouldn’t be able to build a weapon out of parts, let alone create the parts and then build it and use it.

YARNLADY's avatar

I think we need a peace and kindness drug to put in the drinking water. That way, only those exempted it would be able to fight.

tinyfaery's avatar

Let all people have access to firearms, but make bullets cost $5,000. Ad lib Chris Rock

Thammuz's avatar

@YARNLADY Bill Hicks had it right: “I don’t think weed should be legalised, i think it should be mandatory

gorillapaws's avatar

@jerv you can make bombs out of all kinds of easy to find materials, shouldn’t we just legalize universal access to plastic explosives?

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws There isn’t a demand for explosives, though there are a few people that do make their own. Firearms are different since they are in demand. I don’t know of anybody claiming owning a block of C4 is a right granted by our forefathers either.

@Thammuz Pandora’s box has been opened though. And if Medieval Europeans could do it without the sort of information sharing and manufacturing techniques and tools we have nowadays then why couldn’t we? Or are you telling me that out of all the billions of people in the world, I am the only one that has the skills to do it? I may have an ego, but I highly doubt it. I’m fairly certain that there are at least a few million that either have the same skills and knowledge I do, many more that could learn them fairly easily if so inclined, and am fairly certain that at least some of them are far less scrupulous and law-abiding than me.
Making your own gun is complicated in the same way that rebuilding a car engine or coding a website are complicated. Just because you consider something arcane knowledge, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a whole bunch of people who consider it simple.

Besides, you can’t cure a disease by only treating the symptoms. To end gun violence, you must end violence; there’s no way to end guns.

However, if there is a legal way for law-abiding citizens to get guns, there won’t be much black market demand. And I actually support background checks, and gun registries. I’m just too pragmatic to see how heavy-handed solutions won’t cause far more problems than they solve.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jerv “I don’t know of anybody claiming owning a block of C4 is a right granted by our forefathers either.”

It is though. State militias (i.e. the National Guards) have a constitutional right to C4, and any other arms, and are protected from the Federal government from being disarmed.

Also, demand has nothing to do with it. Either it’s right for ordinary citizens to have access to C4 or its not. When we apply the same logic as your argument, it indicates that you think it is, otherwise you’re being inconsistent.

bolwerk's avatar

Political assassinations of completely delusion gun nuts would help a lot.

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws Way to miss my point, and put words in my mouth in the process.

Now, tell me, where have I seen people clamoring for the right to have plastique? And are there nearly as many of them as there are members of the NRA? Unless you prove to me that I actually have seen such people and that they are numerous, I stand by my words.

As for the claim that demand has nothing to do with it, I’m pretty sure a robber would rather hold up a 7–11 with a pistol than a bomb. Most people prefer weapons that are more discriminatory in their effects than explosives, so there is far less of an issue with illicit C4 than with illegal firearms.

Also, firearms have more legitimate uses than explosives. Few people would blow up their home to protect their family, but they might shoot an intruder. I’ve never had a venison steak or Thanksgiving turkey that was obtained with an IED, but I’ve had a few that were shot. So how can you really claim that demand has nothing to do with it when the hunters and self-defense crowds strongly favor firearms to the point where regulating them fairly is far trickier than a weapon few want and nearly nobody has a legitimate use for?

ETpro's avatar

@bolwerk I was idly wondering today what might happen if someone who sees the insanity of the arms manufacturer’s shill, the NRA, were to go to the NRA’s next convention where concealed and open carry is encouraged in the crowd, and set themselves up with several AR-15s with 100 round clips in an alcove where anyone trying to stop them would have to step into plain view. Then they take out Wayne Lapierre and all the dignitaries they can nail on the stage first before turning to the convention floor. Return fire would erupt all over the convention floor, and half the people down there, adrenalin rushing, would interpret those firing defensive shots as primary shooters and open fire on them. It would soon turn into a massive circular firing squad. The death toll could go into the hundreds. Thousands would be wounded.

If the original shooter were nimble enough, they could cease fire once pandemonium broke out and just let the crowd exterminate each other while they evacuated the building unharmed and free. Would that be enough to tip the scales?

Mr_Paradox's avatar

The fact that most responsible gun owners should know to triple check that they are shooting the right person.

bolwerk's avatar

But he’s talking abut the NRA, not responsible gun owners.

ETpro's avatar

@Mr_Paradox So police aren’t responsible gun owners? Last week, 2 police shootings. One where a guy was freaking out, but the police shot two innocent bystanders and missed the unarmed nutcase entirely, later subduing him as they should have to begin with through non-lethal force. The other an unarmed man running up to the police to ask for their help because he has wrecked his car. They killed him.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
gorillapaws's avatar

@jerv You’re the one missing the point. The logic of your argument can be used to “prove” something absurd and ridiculous, ergo your logic is broken and ridiculous: reductio ad absurdum.

mattbrowne's avatar

Do people who suffer from psychosis (seeing things, hearing voices) have a legal right to bear arms in the US?

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws I find that quite hypocritical coming from you, but since the internet is more about presentation and popularity than about facts, history, or anything along those lines, I’m just going to shrug it off. You don’t have to be right when you’re a better wordsmith, and expressing my thoughts accurately and tactfullly isn’t my strong suit, so it’s just not worth continuing with you since you’d rather go non sequitur and win style points than use the past to extrapolate the future and keep it real.

@mattbrowne Depending on jurisdiction, they might not be prevented from owning a gun, so the net effect is the same.

wreckinball's avatar

I think a lot of the comments miss the point. The 2nd amendment provides the right to bear arms. If you don’t like it repeal or modify it. Good luck.

“Controlling access” is always going to be balanced versus the 2nd amendment. Based on recent gun laws some of which attempted to further control access and were overturned I think we already have the access control allowed until the 2nd amendment is repealed or modified

janbb's avatar

The Second Amendment can be interpreted many different ways though. Do we really still have or need a well-regulated militia?

jerv's avatar

@wreckinball Many consider it easier to add more laws than to enforce existing ones.

@janbb Considering how many distrust our government, there is a strong argument to be made that we do need militias; strong enough to tie up the courts for a while at least.

wreckinball's avatar

Present interpretation is that the 2nd amendment provides the individual right to bear arms. We don’t have militias now but who knows. I wouldn’t preclude it in the future.

Because of the constitution we have freedoms and I am pretty wary about giving them away. The right to bear arms was primarily for self defense or defense against gov’t intrusion.

I’d rather err on the side of freedom and I think most agree or at least ⅔, what it takes to change the constitution, don’t want to change that right.

You are primarily responsible for protecting yourself in a free society. Lets face it the police generally come to pick up the body. More laws won’t change that.

janbb's avatar

@wreckinball So mass murders several times in two years are an acceptable cost for this freedom? Not for me.

wreckinball's avatar


So disarming the public is your answer to these mass nutcase shootings?

Note that the only thing that stops the nutcase shooter is an armed force.

How long it takes the for the nutcase to meet an armed force usually determines the size of the body count. Also notice that these shootings almost always happen in supposed “gun free” zones. No wonder. The nutcase can almost guarantee that he will have free reign for awhile in these supposed “safe” zones.

I have heard of no cases of a nutcase mass shooting at a gun show or NRA convention. So you are safer at a gun show than the kids in Conn. were at school.

So if you are interested in protecting yourself or those important to you you should provide armed protection. Thats what they did in the Conn. schools by the way.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@bolwerk A lot of sane people join the NRA to preserve our right to bear arms.

@mattbrowne Our mentally ill people are so neglected and underfunded, they often don’t know they have a mental illness, let alone anyone else. So yes, I’d say mentally ill people have weapons if they want them.

tom_g's avatar

Like I have said in the past, guns and related gun-control issues are the most puzzling things to work out. I am not sure where I stand. I have yet to hear a completely compelling case for how to deal with them. There are aspects to many of these arguments that I can appreciate. But there seem to be many flaws with these arguments as well.

Constitution – I don’t give a shit whether it was just for militias or everyone and their grandmother toting a gun. What makes sense today? We certainly have different weapons than we did back then. And gun advocates (or most of them) don’t seem to be advocating that all weapons be legal.

Protection from government – Related to the constitution thing and other types of weapons. First, I don’t see the US government as this much of a threat. Maybe I’m naive. I could be. But it seems that a large part of the population sees their role in maintaining a functioning democracy as heading to the polls every 4 years, and spending the rest of their time anticipating/wishing for some kind of scenario where they have to go around playing guns like when they were 8 years old.
Second, it seems pretty clear that there would be nothing worth saving if a bunch of NASCAR buddies with guns decided to take on the most powerful army in the world.

I’m confused because it does seem as though there are countries that don’t have the level of gun violence, and they have more restrictive gun laws. But many people argue that reasonable gun laws wouldn’t work here in the US because it would be like prohibition. This raises way too many questions about the US. Maybe there is something just wrong with the US citizens. Maybe it is too far gone. I’m not the most patriotic person in the world (obviously), but I find it funny that some of the more patriotic people I have met have told me that the US is unlike other civilized countries, so it could never work here. Wow, that’s quite a statement.

Anyway, I don’t know what the solution is. Maybe the US is too far gone. Maybe we just accept that and just accept that guns should be in more people’s hands. I am not convinced at all. And I wonder what line people would draw when it comes to weapons. And what would be the reasoning? Are grenades ok? Can we allow for private labs to enrich uranium just in case we have to fight off the government?

I’m not kidding. I don’t have any answers. But when (nearly) everyone speaks on the subject, I feel that they are not quite hearing what they are saying. They sound like they are engaged in satire.

wreckinball's avatar

I think the constitution still makes sense today.

But if you don’t agree contact your state legislator and petition to amend it. The constitution was meant to be very hard to change, i.e. you can’t repeal the right to bear arms with a 50% plus one vote.

This prevents the tyranny of the majority.

It seems many would rather prohibit guns versus addressing the particular situation. Kind of analogous to prohibiting drinking (has been tried once) or prohibiting driving because there are too many drunk driving accidents.

jerv's avatar

@wreckinball Band-aids are easier than surgery, so of course gun bans make more sense than addressing the real issue of people wanting to kill each other in the first place.

While I wholeheartedly disagree with banning violent video games, at least that movement makes an attempt to stop gun violence by stopping violence instead of stopping guns.

@tom_g The highest rates of gun violence in the US are generally in places where gun laws are stricter than average. Conversely, some places with lax gun laws have gun violence rates nearly as low as Japan. To my mind, that proves that there is no real relationship between gun laws and gun violence; there are other factors involved.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@tom_g “But it seems that a large part of the population sees their role in maintaining a functioning democracy as heading to the polls every 4 years, and spending the rest of their time anticipating/wishing for some kind of scenario where they have to go around playing guns like when they were 8 years old.
Second, it seems pretty clear that there would be nothing worth saving if a bunch of NASCAR buddies with guns decided to take on the most powerful army in the world.”

What is wrong with liking guns?
What’s wrong with hunting legally and helping control the animal population?
What’s wrong with sitting around with friends and doing some target practice?

The prejudice against gun owners is out of control. WE are not your enemy, and most rednecks I know are law-abiding citizens. So we like to have a beer and watch NASCAR, big deal, it’s the BIGGEST spectator sport in America, so that’s a lot of people you’re putting on some list.

Boston Bombing—-
“As quick as the media was to hang this on some white, redneck Christianist they are just as slow to speculate that these guys just might be Muslim.”

bolwerk's avatar

People in the NRA may not be strictly “insane,” but no sane, intelligent person would want them nearby because they are not responsible gun owners.

tom_g's avatar

@jerv: “To my mind, that proves that there is no real relationship between gun laws and gun violence; there are other factors involved.”

What are those factors, and what can we do about it?

@jerv: “The highest rates of gun violence in the US are generally in places where gun laws are stricter than average.”

Do you happen to have a source for those stats? I’m not doubting you. Just can’t seem to find it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@bolwerk It has changed and it’s not perfect, but I’m glad someone cares about the common sense of the organization.

“The group has become a better defender of gun owners after being burned by compromising with Democrats, says Hammond of Gun Owners of America. “After Columbine NRA endorsed 90% of Clinton’s gun legislation. After Virginia Tech they negotiated with Chuck Schumer…I think they learned from that, that for Chuck Schumer gun control is just a platform for more gun control.”

“74% of NRA members support a universal background check, so the NRA is not even speaking for their own members on some issues. The NRA leadership is far more radical than average gun owners and even average NRA members.”

The NRA credits itself with teaching “freedom to future generations,” Jeremy Greene, the NRA’s director of marketing, told Politix in a statement. They’ve also had a positive role in promoting gun safety with programs like “Refuse to Be a Victim,” which teaches adults self-defense, and the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program which has taught gun safety to over 25 million kids.”

bolwerk's avatar

The NRA babbling about freedom is about the most frivolous thing ever. Your freedom-lovin’ cred goes out the door when you are one of the biggest supporters of the most authoritarian major political party in the western world.

Fuck ‘em, really. The only positive thing about them is they kill themselves in Darwinian accidents about as often as their negligence harms others, but that doesn’t make them less tragic.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@bolwerk I’m just saying, can’t you hate the organization and still support those of us who are gun owners and NOT crazy?

“The NRA leadership is far more radical than average gun owners and even average NRA members.”

bolwerk's avatar

@KNOWITALL: not when knowingly participating in an organization precludes responsible gun ownership, at the very least. It probably implies delusion, and insanity certainly can’t be ruled out.

Gun owners need to swear off authoritarianism for me to take them seriously as “responsible,” not pay into it.

jerv's avatar

@tom_g Population density affects per capita crime rates, but there seems to be an even stronger link between crime and poverty. Not enough info for me to say anything concrete, but enough to make me think looking into reducing poverty would help. What are the poverty rates like in Australia and Japan? Food for thought…

KNOWITALL's avatar

@bolwerk Well if my choice is the NRA or people like you trying to take them all away, I’ll choose the NRA all day long.

Here’s a nice chart for ya’ll to study on——

wreckinball's avatar

“Gun owners need to swear off authoritarianism for me to take them seriously as “responsible,” not pay into it.”

Actually the beauty of the 2nd amendment is that it doesn’t matter if you take them seriously. And gun owners don;t have to swear off anything.

And it takes a super majority to repeal or change that amendment. Not likely.

Those founding fathers were some pretty smart guys. Especially relative to those who are in charge now.

CWOTUS's avatar

That’s a low hurdle, @wreckinball. Drunk people in bars are smarter than the ones in charge now. Smarter than most of the ones who would like to be in charge, too.

glacial's avatar

@bolwerk has a good point. Why aren’t the sane NRA members resigning their memberships in protest? Imagine a new organization forming, of just these people. It would have political clout and not be hated by non gun-owners.

jerv's avatar

@glacial For the same reason sane Conservatives still affiliate with Republicans after the Libertarians and Tea Party took over… but that’s a whole other loooooong discussion. Suffice it to say, the NRA will have a mix of sane people and wingnuts on it’s membership roster for the foreseeable future.

bolwerk's avatar

The funny thing about @KNOWITALL‘s chart is it once again parades a possible correlation between pig ignorant NRA gun liberalization policies and gun fatalities. Though, since I’m not anti-private ownership of firearms, one has to wonder what “people like you” even means. [Removed by Fluther].

And there isn’t a demonstrable correlation between population density and violence. If anything, population density might reduce violence.

mattbrowne's avatar

So, basically the 2nd amendment is saying “every person has a right to be hired as a babysitter”.

snowberry's avatar

If we are going to control weapons, we have to control all of them. Start with guns, then move on to the kitchen, wood working shop, garden shed, etc. where there are an abundance of knives and other blades. From now on you have to live your life without cutting anything! Next remove all heavy blunt objects that can be used to batter out someone’s brains (this includes everything from heavy cooking pots to baseball bats, construction material and more). Matches must be outlawed because it’s too easy to set fires (sorry about that, smokers). Nobody can drive cars anymore because a car has too often been used as a weapon.

Sure, go ahead and live your life. You ought to be just fine.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry Those weapons are not exactly the same as guns. Guns can be used at a distance. There is less risk to the person with the gun, then actually getting close enough to stab someone. It also psychology is easier to feel at a distance if you are physically at a distance. Less chance of empathy for the victim. There absolutely have been rampages of violence with a knife, but it is easier to run from a knife than a gun. If you are fast you can get away. It is much easier to kill 20 people with a semi automatic weapon than with a knife. Think of the Gabby Giffords shooting, no way all those people would have been killed if the assailant had a knife instead of a gun. I am not saying get rid of all guns, I am saying the slippery slope argument doesn’t work for me.

janbb's avatar

@snowberry You do realize that’s a ridiculous argument, don’t you? Most, not all, but the vast preponderonce of mass murders have been committed with guns, not hammers and not bread knives. In Australia they tightened gun laws after a mass murder and guess what? Another one has not occurred.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
jerv's avatar

@janbb Considering how many gun-toting places also haven’t had mass shootings, I think that’s confusing coincidence with causation.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry If you can show me a country that has very strict gun control and very low gun ownership that also has taken the step to outlaw knives in the same way then I might take your point into consideration.

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie ?? That doesn’t seem to have been aimed at anything I said.

JLeslie's avatar

Shoot, snowberry.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@snowberry The one thing that completely irritates me about this whole argument is that people who are completely sane and safe with their weapons are still lumped in with the psycho’s who go on rampages.

As long as that attitude prevails by liberals or the anti-gun establishment, the membership of the NRA and stockpiling of weapons will increase. They can’t see that they do more harm than good, at least to people like me, and there are a lot of us.

The Navy shooter had PTSD supposedly and was hearing voices. If we all don’t start focusing on the core issues of mental illness diagnosis and treatment, these violent acts will continue.

snowberry's avatar

Christians have long been labeled as being mentally ill because we have God inside us, and he speaks to us. So even though I am totally sane, I would be on the mentally ill list of many of those in control. Nope. Not working for me.

snowberry's avatar

But wait, I’m already irrational, naïve, silly, bla blah bla blah. So…?

janbb's avatar

@KNOWITALL I have no problem – or very little – with people who want to own guns owning guns if we can find a way to identify the violent mentally ill or potential murderers and keeping them out of their hands. I’m all for better care for the mentally ill.

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie Thank God for punctuation, or I’d be dead already! “Shoot, snowberry.”

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry LOL. I just realized what I said. No pun intended. Haha.

@KNOWITALL Most liberals I know are not trying to get guns out of the hands of everyone (of course there are some extreme liberals hoping for that). We do not think every gun owner is the same. I agree with you that the right wings fear of the government making guns illegal or harder to get causes gun owners to buy more guns and to not register their guns. The NRA and, gun vendors, and gun lobbyist benefit greatly every time the topic comes up, because their people get more paranoid and more vocal in response to people and media saying they want gun control changes. It seems neither side really listens to the other.

I do think when accidental or purposeful gun violence occurs the NRA and gun owners should come out in disgust of the events. I remember a story of two guys firing across a waterway randomly and hitting a young girl by accident. They were just “having fun” not aiming at anything. Just like pulling the trigger I guess. My point is, just like many people say they want to hear from Muslims denouncing Osama and what happened on 9/11 and other terrorist attacks in the name of God and Islam, I want to hear from the gun owners and NRA telling other gun owners how disgusting it is to treat a gun like a toy. To say it out loud. To be responsible publicly in the media. They won’t, because of money.

This last Navy Yard event seems to me like the laws already in place were not followed. I just hope they don’t tighten up military bases too much, because I am looking forward to visiting the base near me when my mom and dad come to visit.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie I’m a gun owner and I think it’s disgusting to treat a gun like a toy. Seriously.

I don’t own any weapons that could kill masses of people in less than two minutes either.

@snowberry You and I both brother. Don’t make me come through this screen….lol

wreckinball's avatar

To use a cliche guns don’t kill people do. Its old and tired but true.

So focus on not letting insane or known violent folks like convicted felons from buying guns. Note that they can still probably get one from their local hoodlum but only so much you can do.

Insane is subjective so it will always err on the side of assuming sanity and having to prove insanity.

Next stop thinking that a “gun free” zone is safe. Now that is truly insane. If you value something provide armed protection. Ask Obama how much he values the Secret Service and would he mind if they were disarmed if he so happens to enter a “gun free” zone.

I’ll bet he prefers keeping his SS guys armed always. What’s good for him should be good for the rest of us.

snowberry's avatar

@wreckinball Yep. Exactly, but some people are far more important than other people, so maybe that’s not going to work.

janbb's avatar

Maybe we should divide the country up and those who think more guns are the answer can be in one part and those who think no guns are the answer can be in another.~ A Modest Proposal.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@janbb Isn’t that called the North and South? lol

wreckinball's avatar

The 2nd amendment like the 1st amendment is generally considered to be absolute. That is it provides an absolute right that no gov’t can take away. That is how it has been interpreted.

A solution would be to just prohibit the federal gov’t from gun control and allow states to establish their own laws. I believe this would require repeal of the second amendment and approval of a a new specific amendment only limiting the federal gov’t.

Once again it could happen but most likely does not have enough support to actually happen.

snowberry's avatar

@janbb Or I like this quip- I think it was from SNL: “Save the children! Save the whales! Save the children! Feed ‘em to the whales!” Similar idea, anyway.

jerv's avatar

@KNOWITALL There are plenty of liberal Yankees who like their guns too. Best way to get Thanksgiving dinner ;)

KNOWITALL's avatar

@jerv Oh I know, darlin’, that’s really good huntin up theya, just teasin ya’ll. I watch North Woods Law sometimes! California was on top of the gun chart I posted earlier, too, somebody armed all those happy cows I guess…lol

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I don’t question for a second that you find it disgusting to treat a gun like a toy. But, when something horrible happens, the NRA and the very vocal gun people in the media are just standing their ground so to speak. Some of them are telling gun owners to stock pile. I guess the two sides are going to be more on the polar ends in the media though.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Probably because people focus on the guns instead of the people. Nothing will change if we keep perpeatuating the myth that guns unlock themselves, load themselves and shoot themselves into others.

ETpro's avatar

Here’s an interesting footnote to this discussion. Seems two Michigan men, each with a concealed carry license, killed each other in a gunfight sparked by road rage.

ragingloli's avatar

That gives me an interesting idea that may solve this problem elegantly.
We should found a secret organisation whose purpose is to lure and coax gun owners into situations where they end up slaying each other.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ragingloli I think someone said that, like a Hunger Games (movie series) for gun owners.

That really would have to be divided by skill sets though since obviously a military trained sniper would be a better shot than me, a redneck who takes pot shots with handguns at beer cans in the woods. Somebody call Hollywood, this could be HUGE!

@ETPro I passed my conceal and carry but couldn’t find a handgun I wanted enough. I’m pretty sure my farm girl physic and a baseball bat is good enough protection. I never really wanted to cause harm to anyone and nor do most of my friends and family who have guns.

ragingloli's avatar

Yeah, and the sole survivor gets nuked.

YARNLADY's avatar

If people not guns kill, then the obvious solution is to keep guns out of the hands of people – problem solved.

What? You are saying people will still kill? Well, yes, but in fewer numbers and with fewer victims.

jerv's avatar

@YARNLADY You must have missed a number of my earlier comments in this thread. Quick recap; I am a machinist, one of many. People with less skills that lack access to the specialized equipment make guns. People like me could make more of them better and faster. You ban guns and people like me would get rich on the black market.

Not to mention rounding up existing guns would be non-trivial.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@YARNLADY @jerv Don’t make me pull out the atlatl you guys!!!

Seriously, it’s like the war on drugs, and prhibition or maryjane, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to give up on the idea because if we want them we will get them. All this talk does is make people build up cache’s which seems to contradict directly what you want.

snowberry's avatar

A little humor to help the conversation. This is from a similar question a while back.
ETpro: @snowberry OK, this is a test of your commitment. Believe that grizzly bears only eat peaches. Then go hand-feed a peach to a hungry grizzly.

snowberry: Done and done.

Ow! My arm!

KaY_Jelly: In what context are we feeding grizzly bears peaches? NSFW or SFW? Is it Friday already??? I’m confused. :-M

snowberry: Oh, I’m strictly SFW. I’m fully clothed, and I hand feed ‘em to grizzlies every day of the week.

The grizzlies on the other hand, are never safe for work, or anywhere else, so now I have no arms. Hand feeding has become much more challenging of late.

KaY_Jelly: You have passed with flying colors and without bearing arms!

jerv's avatar

@KNOWITALL Precisely! That is why I consider the “ban guns!” crowd idealistic at best.

YARNLADY's avatar

@jerv random thought I wonder how many people would turn in guns if they were offered drugs in exchange?

janbb's avatar

And yet everyone seems on board with regulating automobile driving. Doesn’t the Second Amendment say there should be no restrictions on our right to operate automobiles?

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Oh, we focus on the people also. The thing is, we aren’t realistically going to predict, catch, or figure out who and when they are going to flip out and be homocidal, or do random stupid acts in fun and kill someone. How owul you know that guy firing into the air was going to do that? I doubt he was a lunatic. He just was some guy who did something stupid and changed his and someone else’s life forever, and everyone closely tied to that person. I am sure he must have horrible regret. If he had not had a gun, it never would have happened. Both things are true. Guns and people kill people.

snowberry's avatar

@janbb Automobiles are not guns. And one is for protection and food (very much a part of OUR lifestyle by the way), while the other is for one type of transportation

janbb's avatar

Thanks for letting me know.

jerv's avatar

@YARNLADY Fewer than you might think. Then again, those that would are precisely the type of people that even the most ardent NRA member would rather didn’t have a gun anyways. Most of the “pro-gun” crowd isn’t so much about everybody having a gun so much as every sane, law-abiding citizen being able to have a gun.

@janbb We’ll set aside the fact that our forefathers had no concept of “automobile” and focus more on the fact that there are far fewer people arguing that there is no legitimate need for fast, reliable long distance transportation in the hands of civilians. Now, had the Founding Fathers argued that horse-drawn carriages should be restricted from private hands, it’d be a different story.
And there are also quite a few pro-gun people who have no real issues with requiring background checks and/or gun registration… both things many places already require and thus don’t need more laws regarding. Now, when you have rules in place that people keep breaking, does adding more rules really help, or would it be better to just enforce the existing ones?

CWOTUS's avatar

Actually, for another thought and perspective, if internal combustion automobiles were being developed now, having never been used before, cars running on gasoline, there would probably be far more restrictions placed on them than we see today. The industry might never get started.

If you think guns are dangerous, perhaps you really don’t understand gasoline… or guns. Gasoline actually works by exploding. Even when it’s not used in an engine, but, as some fools do, used to start a fire, it’s the gasoline vapors that burn, and they burn explosively. (You can put a fire out with liquid gasoline if it’s not too big and you know what you’re doing – I wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s possible.)

And gasoline is sold almost without restriction, to anyone who has the price on the pump. It’s supposed to be dispensed only into fuel tanks on registered and road-worthy automobiles or “approved” safety containers, but if you buy from someone who’s not particularly careful about the regulations, you can pump it into glass bottles. Guns don’t just “go off” (no matter what you’ve read or heard), but gasoline, stored improperly, can vent to atmosphere and a spark can set it off.

Likewise LP gas, natural gas, butane and other commonly available fuels. No license, no permit, no real age restrictions, either. (And I’m not arguing that there should be.) These are common, useful – and deadly, if misused.

But to get back to the point of @janbb‘s plaintive question (and I do understand the frustration that led to it), laws won’t prevent bad people from doing bad things. The hyperbole of “well, maybe we shouldn’t even have laws against murder, then”, is just silly, because murder is a thing that people do to other people. And we recognize that the law won’t prevent murder; it merely sets out penalties for what will happen if you do the crime and it can be proven. Most of us who believe strongly in “gun rights” also believe just as strongly in “gun responsibilities”. You need to control your weapon. You need to maintain it. You need to handle it responsibly, and if you commit a crime with it, then you should pay a heavy price.

As @jerv cogently says, there are tons of people that none of us want to see with weapons (not even the NRA or gun makers and sellers). But those people don’t obey laws. You can pass any law that you want to say “thou shalt not” ... and they will have them. There are a lot of bad people in the world and in this country. Laws that disarm the law-abiding are counter-productive, as has been proven in any number of studies on the topic. The more “gun-free zones” and the stricter the control laws you try to enact, the worse the problem gets. I simply cannot imagine why this is hard to grasp.

And before anyone says “well, what about Australia, then?” one more time, there are a lot of non-parallels between the USA and Australia, despite the similarities between our nations.

In the first place, Australians have never had a Constitutional right to own weapons; far fewer Australians have owned weapons than Americans, and even with the “sweeping” laws enacted there, the ownership of guns has not ceased, merely dwindled, and not a lot. Since the late 1990s, when the particular laws were enacted in Australia, gun ownership has declined from about 1 in 15 to about 1 in 20 citizens. There are still a good number of guns in Australia. I strongly suspect that “other sociological causes” are responsible for the decline of gun violence there since the late 90s, in the same way that abortion in the USA seems to have helped to mitigate a lot of the “youth crime” that was on the rise from the 1950s into the 1980s.

One final note: If the US Constitution could be amended to severely restrict ownership of personal weapons, then @jerv far, far understated the “non-trivial” issue of attempting to rescind people’s ownership of them. That attempt would make the D-Day landings look like a day at the beach, if you’ll pardon the pun.

ETpro's avatar

@CWOTUS Well, realistically, cars don’t generally kill people either. People driving cars so. In fact, automobiles kill a lot more people than guns do, But we do background checks on all who want to drive and test them to see that they know how. I see no problem with doing the same with guns.

mattbrowne's avatar

@ETpro – How can American society accept the fact that it is easier to get a gun than a driver’s license and the right to babysit small children?

janbb's avatar

Just wanted to mention that the US Constitution is constantly being open to re-interpretation. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t need the Supreme Court. Some people are quite willing to give away their privacy and free speech rights to be safer from terrorists but don’t try to restrict assault weapons because it’s unconstitutional..

ragingloli's avatar

This sums it up pretty well.

mattbrowne's avatar

@ragingloli – Well, it’s fairly obvious that Kinder chocolate eggs pose a far greater threat. It’s not guns that kill people, it’s Kinder eggs.

glacial's avatar

I find it really interesting that the pro-gun, anti-reform people here (some of whom are agnostics or atheists) use the same sort of mind-bending, “no-no-no-but-it-doesn’t-really-mean-that” arguments that religious people use to justify all the crazy inconsistencies in the bible. Very interesting indeed.

JLeslie's avatar

Wait, children cannot have chocolate eggs? That is completely unnacceptable.

@glacial like what exactly?

jerv's avatar

@glacial That door also swings both ways.

bolwerk's avatar

Hmm, catching up on this thread. My response was evidently moderated because I refuted someone misrepresenting my position, though the misrepresentation was not moderated. Very nice.

jerv's avatar

@bolwerk Something I’ve learned the hard way is that presentation often matters more than content. Thus my issues with @gorillapaws earlier in this thread.

tom_g's avatar

Ok. So, there are gun owners here that state that responsible gun ownership is possible, guaranteed by the constitution, and is compatible with a healthy society.

Other than an increase in mental health services and efforts to decrease poverty and screening, are there additional changes should be made to existing gun laws? I am all for a single payer healthcare system, and would love for preventive mental health care to be standard and available for everyone. And I’m a socialist, so I’m all for programs to aggressively target poverty.

Am I missing anything? In other words, when you say that the problem isn’t guns, are you saying that we’re trying to solve the wrong problem altogether? Are we simply seeing a manifestation of a broken healthcare system and systemic poverty?

If so, since we are unlikely to address those 2 major problems in this country anytime soon, could you see any regulation-related legislation that would make minor improvements in the level of gun violence in the US? In other words, if we can’t eliminate gun violence by more strict regulation or prohibition, do you see any benefit in minimizing it – even if it’s slightly? And if so, what would you recommend?

Just asking questions here, people.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@tom_g Good questions. How about making anger management a course everyeone is required to take, along with parenting classes if you want to be a parent?

A broken system and broken people can be fixed, at least some of them.

Violence itself is inherently a never-ending cycle, and guns are here to stay.
That’s why it’s important to protect yourself.

gorillapaws's avatar

@wreckinball Regarding the 2nd amendment. It was written to preserve the slave patrol militias. That’s what the “militias” are referring to. so if you want to …round up some upity niggers and put ‘em in thar place then you’ll have to do it as part of your state’s militia. You might have had a good opportunity if you were in the Louisiana national guard during Katrina. Or part of the California national guard during the LA riots.

Regarding “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” I would have to disagree, unless you want to hold this 2-year-old accountable, charge him with attempted murder, or this 4-year-old with murdering his mother in cold blood, or this 4-year-old with murdering his 6-year-old neighbor (although maybe he could claim self-defense, I’m not sure if New Jersey has stand your ground laws).

Guns have made the act of killing so easy that kids that haven’t learned how to not shit their pants can do it. I know you’ll want to blame the parents and still claim that it’s “people” who kill. But the reality is that it’s the gun that made all of this possible. I also guarantee that every parent involved in these situations would swear on their mother’s grave that guns keep their family safe and that they are responsible parents and keep their weapons secure if asked the day before the incident. In other words there is a disconnect between people insisting they’re responsible gun owners (even believing they are) and actually being responsible gun owners. If it didn’t affect other people that would be fine, but try telling that to the parents of the 6-year-old who was murdered by is 4-year-old neighbor

I don’t support a total ban of guns, believe it or not. I do think all civilian firearms should require manual cocking, between rounds: bolt action rifles, revolvers, pump-shotguns etc. That is a reasonable restriction. I’ve fired AK-47’s and AR-15’s and plenty of various semi-auto handguns. It’s fun—I get it. But in the wrong hands, they can inflict massive damage.

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws As an advocate of trigger locks, gun safes, and most of all education, I have to say that if you want to blame the gun for those killings then you would be a hypocrite for not seeking the abolition of automobiles. Over the years, I have heard/read countless stories of children getting into sometimes fatal accidents because they somehow got their parents car keys and went for a joyride, or dart out into the path of a moving vehicle. The car made all of that possible.

You are correct that there is a gap between those who are responsible, and those that merely think they are but, that applies to far more than guns, and sometimes has consequences that are just as deadly.

Personally, I was raised around guns. I was 3 years old when my father taught me that guns were not toys. I had yet to master the whole wiping my own ass thing when I was taught things like, “Never point a gun at something unless you intend to destroy it; never point it at a person unless you are prepared to kill them.”, or “Always assume a gun is loaded.”. Given what type of person he was, if he could teach his kid that sort of stuff and take measures to keep me from gaining access to his guns, then any gun owner that cannot shouldn’t be allowed to breed. For that matter, breeding should require mandatory training courses before being allowed, but that’s a separate discussion. It isn’t the gun that caused those deaths; it’s irresponsible gun owners that I feel should face criminal charges (reckless endangerment, possible Manslaughter) for allowing their kids to get access to the guns. While I am for gun ownership, I also feel that being allowed to have a gun is a responsibility, and that if you breach the trust of society by being reckless with a gun, you should pay a harsh penalty.

In the wrong hands, just about anything can inflict massive damage. Take computers for instance. Some kids cyber-bully other kids into suicide, some people hack into financial institutions, some people go after military secrets, yet I don’t see government computer registrations or waiting periods for PCs. No mandatory training classes required to own an iMac.

@tom_g I think the biggest change that could be made is enforcement of current laws. No sense having new things if you aren’t using the old ones.

Tackling poverty would help too, as crimes require three elements; motive, means, and opportunity. We can’t really do anything about opportunity, but it seems that all efforts are focused on reducing the means and none on reducing motives.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jerv You’re mixing up my arguments. I think guns do kill people, and if you want argue that my position requires that I acknowledge that vehicles kill people, then I will happily concede that point. I’m not arguing for a total firearm ban, I think there should be significant restrictions and verifications and limitations just like with vehicles (for the same reason we do this with vehicles). You’re not allowed to drive a Formula-1 racecar on public roadways, you’re not allowed to fly certain types of military aircraft in US airspace, likewise, certain firearms should be left to the military, state militias, and the police. With bolt-action, manually cocking revolvers, and other weapons that require action between shots people can still keep weapons in there home, they can still have hunting rifles, but they can’t have weapons that have insane rates of fire.

Also, you’re not going to inflict the kind of damage with your vehicle that you can with a perfectly legal trip to the local gunshow and followed by a trip to a crowded movie theatre. That can only come from firearms, or wmd’s.

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws I think we would be more in agreement if no tfor the fact that there already are restrictions on both cars and guns. And there are certain firearms that are illegal for civilians. Most notably, any weapon that fires more than one round per trigger-pull is verboten, and the restrictions on silencers/suppressors are onerous enough to qualify as a de facto ban.

However, as legislators have no idea on how certain things actually work, they occasionally go overboard and run smack into the highest law of all; the Law of Unintended Consequences. There is a reason Barret Firearms won’t sell to CA law enforcement. More importantly, many things inconvenience law-abiding gun owners far more than they do criminals; a fact that idealistic lawmakers overlook the same way that they fail to realize that DRM is more of a hassle to regular people than to pirates.

Insane rates of fire…. you might be interested to know that 60 rounds a minute is not hard from a bolt action anyways, at least not with a little practice. Considering how long it takes for recoil recovery with a semi-auto (generally about a second), you are pretty much asking for single-shot or muzzle-loaders as bolt actions aren’t terribly much slower, and single-action revolvers can be fanned or thumbed to achieve comparable ROF. Oh, and most sniper rifles and “elephant guns” are bolt action for a reason; bolt actions tend to be more accurate, allow for more powerful ammo to be used, and work better with silencers/suppressors.

As for your last paragraph, I disagree. Most shooting sprees have a lower death toll than you might think. The worst I could find a from a single person without the use of explosives was 32 dead, and most seem to be a dozen or less. There have been vehicular non-accidents that had similar death tolls, and intentional fires with death tolls in the hundreds. In fact, it would seem that the most deadly “spree killings” involve fire, not firepower, so a Ronson is deadlier than a Remington. And we won’t even get into the mayhem that could be caused by a Lincoln Continental on a crowded sidewalk.

snowberry's avatar

Here is the Open Letter from Barret Firearms that @jerv referred to, and it’s very helpful in clearing up a lot of misconceptions:

ragingloli's avatar

Propaganda from the death manufacturers.

jerv's avatar

@ragingloli You would rather keep them underground? Out of sight, out of mind?

Before you answer, look at the number of manufacturing, distribution, and retail jobs that you would eliminate if guns were banned and only made by people with my skills and less scruples. Also bear in mind that the anti-gun peopel also use propaganda; in fact, more blatantly as they not only ignore statistics and history, which are open to interpretation, but the laws of physics and engineering, which are not.

How much harm are you willing to inflict on society tilting at windmills and trying to nail jelly to a tree? The irony there is that the increase in out-of-work people will add to the real causes of gun violence, which would likely cause an increase in gun violence, exactly the opposite of what you seek.

Look, nobody here wants psycho-killers running out shooting people. So long as you act like gun owners do want random killings, it’s hard to think of you as as a sane, rational person capable of enough objectivity to solve anything. Your position is no more rational than that of those who seek to make gun ownership mandatory.

Both sides want a solution to end the violence; a solution that will actually have a chance at working without causing problems that are even worse. A solution that won’t lead us to the problems that history has shown can happen with strengthening organized crime (as Prohibition did) or bans (as happened in DC). A solution that doesn’t rely on hyperbole and hand-waving to “prove” it’s merits.

Now, why side are you on here? You’re obviously not on the gun rights side, but are you on the side that seeks solutions, or the side that prefers to dream and fantasize while ignoring how reality has worked for centuries and will continue to work no matter how may happy thoughts you think?

ragingloli's avatar

Give each of them a free rope and a map to a tree. Problem solved.
In fact, it will help the economy, as all the money wasted on guns and ammo would then be used to support other, actually useful industries.
And statistics constantly show that gun control equals lower gun crime rate.
And even fucking Switzerland, that the gun nutters like to put on their leaden pedestral, has the second highest gun crime rate in Europe.

jerv's avatar

@ragingloli So, your solution is to kill the unemployed. Got it. And no, black market are not cheap, so odds are that a lot of the money would just drop out of the economy while the rest went to increased taxes to support those unemployed by you that didn’t hang themselves.

I see other words there, but I’m not sure they are worth reading after that ridiculous opening.

I can see that I have unpopular opinions compared to the dreamers and idealists :/

glacial's avatar

@jerv Or maybe they just read past the first sentence.

jerv's avatar

@glacial I finally managed to stop laughing long enough to do so, and can think of enough cases where gun control laws have not reduced gun crime rates to consider assertions that they do to, at best, have an asterisk and some fine print.

But y’all are going to think what you’re going to think no matter what I say, and eloquence matters more than history, so keep dreaming and high-fiving each other while I push to avoid wasting taxpayer money on ineffective solutions while promoting policies that might actually be effective.

BTW, would you explain how violent crimes in general (gun-related or not) have been trending downwards for years even though there are more guns out there*? And check out the stats of VT and NH compared to placed that have stricter gun laws… if you dare look at info that contradicts your preconceived notions.

ETpro's avatar

@jerv Let’s get real. Here’s an AR-15 on rapid fire using slide action to reload. And here’s how fast it fires in trigger pull mode.

jerv's avatar

@ETpro Oh really? 10 rounds, 6.5 seconds, and turn-bolts are generally slower than straight-pulls.

Of course, you using a spray-and-pray for the semi-auto and aimed fire for the bolt action stacks the deck a bit. I would expect better from you; a bit more objectivity.

janbb's avatar

@jerv so – the question remains, how would you stop mass killing by guns?

jerv's avatar

@janbb Not by going after the guns. A few places (most notably, DC and Detroit) have tried that and failed spectacularly.

To reiterate, a crime requires motive, means, and opportunity. We cannot really stop opportunity, and going after the means won’t really solve much, so how about reducing the motive? And what are the motives? It seems that poverty and unemployment play a role, so lets look into that. Lets see what happens when people aren’t so desperate to survive that they will kill for a loaf of bread, or so stressed that they turn to drugs and kill for those.

I don’t have a complete answer though. If I did, rest assured that my Congress-critter would’ve heard about it before Fluther did. Still, I know what hasn’t worked, and I know that when people’s lives suck, they tend to turn criminal, so how about trying something crazy like making people’s lives not suck so bad that they turn to crime?

Oh, and about how well the gun ban worked in Australia, bear in mind that many people there wanted to get rid of their guns after a couple of massacres. Contrast that with the US where such things cause a surge in gun sales and it’s obvious at least to me that what worked in Australia probably wouldn’t here. Or I could just look at the historical figures for DC and Detroit…

mattbrowne's avatar

Perhaps modern-day Americans should wonder why the constitution of 1 country contains the right for every citizen to bear arms and the ones of the other 193 countries don’t. Of course, you can always argue that one can be right while everybody else is wrong. On the other hand, there’s the wisdom of the crowd…

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne You just cited the exact reason why I maintain that the sort of restrictions you see in Australia, Japan, and the UK wouldn’t work here. What is it about us Americans that is so different that we feel the need to be armed the way we are instead of the way Switzerland is?

I think another thing to consider is that we’ve effectively lost our Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment rights, and our First Amendment rights are getting eroded, so many who love our Constitution, even those like me who don’t actually own a gun, are even more impassioned about protecting the Second Amendment. Considering that the Constitution was written around the time of a conflict against what was seen as unjust government, coupled with the current attitudes many Americans have towards our current government, I almost suspect that any attempts at more restrictive laws would backfire.

glacial's avatar

@jerv Are you implying that people are passionate about protecting the second amendment because the fourth, fifth, and sixth have been “lost”? Because, if that were true, we’d have seen a lot more protesting over the Patriot Act than we did. Looking at the effort being spent on protecting guns, comparatively there was almost no reaction to the Act whatsoever.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jerv “What is it about us Americans that is so different that we feel the need to be armed the way we are instead of the way Switzerland is?”

We had slavery. You need guns to keep them in submission which is why the 2nd amendment was written.

Regarding the video you linked, I would much rather have that guy try to shoot me in a movie theater than the one in @ETpro‘s video.

ETpro's avatar

@jerv If you want to know haw fast the action in an AR-15 can move on full auto, check this. The 100 round clip is perfectly legal in many states. The full-auto conversion is not, but it can be had. But slide fire is pretty fast and perfectly legal, even with the 100 round clip. In a crowded theater of sports arena, who needs to aim? This WILL be used to kill hundreds of people. It’s only a matter of time.

bolwerk's avatar

Amerikans who care most about the Second Amendment (what the NRA thinks it means, not what it really means) tend to be the ones demanding erosion of the other amendments. They’re the ones voting in civil rights- and democracy-hating teabaggers. They’re the ones who will be kicking doors down and putting bullets in the heads of people who look different than them or disagree with them, and to some extent they already are.

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws You just proved how little you know about guns and tactics. Your ideology distorts your perception of reality (history and physics). I will be charitable and assume that that you learned everything you know about firearms from movies.
Rate of fire really is meaningless unless you are going for spray and pray. That one @ETpro showed demonstrating how fast he could pull the trigger would run out of ammo quite quickly, would not actually hit many targets. While a semi-auto has an edge in hunting where you cannot afford to do anything that may jerk your crosshairs off of a target, the accuracy loss of a follow-up shot with a bolt-action is meaningless when firing into a crowd.
Of course, you seem to think that all mass shootings have the gunman up there full-auto like Rambo, shooting off 109459687 rounds a minute. That is false, and even semi-aimed fire is generally under 30 rounds a minute (1 every 2 seconds). In fact, the military removed full-auto capability from many of it’s weapons as it was considered a waste of ammo. Three-round burst is it, and even those weapons are only sold directly from the manufacturer to the military or police.

@ETpro In a crowded venue like that, it’s easier and more effective to set a fire. Look at the fires that have killed hundreds as people get trampled, everybody clogs the few exits, and then everybody dies of smoke inhalation or just gets burnt up.
Look at the statistics. Arson is a better killer than a gun. And how many shooters have matched Timothy MacVeigh and his diesel fuel and fertilizer?

Alas, my fact-based mind cannot compete with fear and ignorance. You two enjoy your hyperbole; I’ll be over here in reality.

@glacial ~I forgot, the EFF and ACLU don’t exist. Not all protests are highly visible. And the issues surrounding privacy, legal procedures, etcetera are not nearly as flashy as a gun. That leads to lower viewership and fewer advertising dollars from the media, so most of what you see regarding constitutional rights protests is a bunch of rednecks with misspelled signs going on about things that go bang. But are you aware that a recent Supreme Court decision about copyright law may have accidentally gutted the DMCA? If not then you too are more aware of things regarding the Second amendment than the First.

@bolwerk Insanity takes many forms. You are correct though, and I for one appreciate the irony.

ETpro's avatar

@jerv Brilliant. You could put a hydrogen bomb in a major city too. So we should let let people open carry flame throwers, hand grenades and nerve gas because that wouldn’t kill as many people as a 50 megaton thermonuclear device. Wouldn’t that be fun in a Colorado theater?

jerv's avatar

And now you know why I can’t take gun control discussions seriously.

Yet, I am the one accused of Reductio ad absurdum. for citing things that have actually happened before while that sort of thing is applauded as gospel….

@ETpro I can show you plenty of cases of arson and vehicular manslaughter with death tolls in the hundreds, but no shootings over 50. I have shown where gun bans have failed.

This is no longer a discussion though. Nobody else here wants solutions; they just want guns outlawed under the delusion that that will actually work and to cheer on those who agree with that failed assessment.

Facts don’t matter here though, so this is no place for people like me who use facts then form opinions based on those facts instead of forming opinions first and working backwards from there.

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws I got your bolt-action right here

I think I’d rather take my chances with the .223…. tthough given how easy it is to penetrate modern aluminum engine blocks or cinder blocks, it really doesn’t matter unless you believe the Hollywood version of ballistic science.

glacial's avatar

@jerv You are the only person here arguing that there are no solutions! Honestly, you argue so rationally about every topic but this one. I wish you could see that you’re on the wrong side of this argument.

jerv's avatar

@glacial You misread and misrepresent my entire argument. There are solutions, but they attack the issue from a totally different direction that the direction that has proven ineffective for reasons I’ve already pointed out.

What’s right isn’t always popular, and what’s popular isn’t always right, but I think we’re all on the same side here, only you don’t realize it. I mean, you do want to reduce/eliminate gun violence and accidental firearm deaths, right?

CWOTUS's avatar

@jerv‘s not the only one, he’s just the only one willing to keep beating his head against the flaming wall of ignorance that y’all keep erecting.

There are no solutions in law to the problem of mass killings. No matter how illegal you make weapons, people who want to use them will find them and use them. It is true that a few people at the margins might be temporarily deterred by inability to place their hands on a weapon “right now”, but the truly deranged, unless locked up, will manage to find a way. And the truly evil and criminal already have them and know where to get more.

This is why I keep repeating, even to those who think that I am deranged and don’t know what I’m talking about, “prohibition doesn’t work”.

bolwerk's avatar

You may not be deranged, but you certainly don’t know what you’re talking about. Prohibition certainly works, as shown by how it well it works in other countries, and there is even a lot of evidence it works in the USA. It’s pretty easy to see that places with more gun control have less gun death.

You can make the case that it doesn’t work as well as it could until every U.S. state has equal levels of prohibition. As it stands now, gun control in places like New York and Massachusetts is undermined by liberal laws in places like Virginia, where guns are easily stolen or bought illegally.

CWOTUS's avatar

Yes, Prohibition has such a great history in the USA. I must not know what I’m talking about.

bolwerk's avatar

If you are conflating gun prohibition and alcohol prohibition, you really don’t.

tom_g's avatar

So far, this has been an interesting discussion. I do feel, however, that some of my questions have gone unanswered. One in particular touches on the issue of this so-called prohibition.

If prohibition is not the solution to keeping weapons out of peoples’ hands, are you ok with lifting the “prohibition” on weapons such as anti-aircraft missiles, biological, or nuclear weapons? Don’t laugh. I am just trying to find out if there is a line – and if this line exists, where is it and what is the reasoning behind such a line?

bolwerk's avatar

I don’t really see why prohibition is necessary myself. As far as I’d be willing to go would be to treat guns like we treat cars: license them, require people be trained to use them, and require they have insurance – which would start out on the higher side, and go down as problems related to guns are reduced. Most of the point of that is to keep them out of the hands of kooks. The insurance should have included this as a supplemental for ObamaCare.

Still, saying prohibition doesn’t work is denying reality. It works. But there is also the whole matter of limits, which everyone implicitly supports. That is a question of drawing the line.

CWOTUS's avatar

That’s okay, @bolwerk. Re: If you are conflating gun prohibition and alcohol prohibition, you really don’t.

If you thought this makes any sense at all, it really doesn’t.

tom_g's avatar

(Regarding my question a few posts ago ^)

@CWOTUS: “There are no solutions in law to the problem of mass killings. No matter how illegal you make weapons, people who want to use them will find them and use them. It is true that a few people at the margins might be temporarily deterred by inability to place their hands on a weapon “right now”, but the truly deranged, unless locked up, will manage to find a way. And the truly evil and criminal already have them and know where to get more.”

Does this apply to other weapons such as anti-aircraft missiles, biological, or nuclear?

CWOTUS's avatar

In general, @tom_g, yes, that applies to other weapons, too.

Timothy McVeigh’s bomb, though it was made with legally-available materials, was certainly illegal. There was nothing at all legal about that bomb or its placement, yet he was able to make it, place it and detonate it with “success” according to his lights. I do not believe he consulted with an attorney prior to placement.

The nerve agents released several years ago on the Tokyo subway by a domestic Japanese group were “illegal”. Strangely, that didn’t seem to deter them.

The mujahedein in Afghanistan who shot down Russian aircraft in the 1980s with American-supplied Stinger anti-aircraft missiles were operating completely outside of their law. Maybe the Russian/Afghan government at the time simply didn’t think to pass “the right law”, though. If you want to argue that this was a legal loophole, well, you might have me there.

Do you really think that making it “illegal” to own anti-aircraft weapons in this country is what keeps us safe from them? Do you fly cross-country secure in the knowledge that, “No one would ever shoot me down in the USA because that would be illegal.” I hope you’re not so foolish. (You should fly cross country secure in the belief that you’re safe, but not for that reason.)

People don’t have and use those weapons because there is no perceived need, desire or benefit to be had from owning and using them. If there was a benefit to be gained (a net benefit, you understand, so that a rational person who might be capable of obtaining and using those weapons could make a logical cost/risk-benefit analysis that came out on the plus side) then someone would start stockpiling and either threatening to use or actually using them.

The fact that they are “illegal” merely gives authorities another charge to add when criminals who might avail themselves of those tools are caught, charged and tried.

The very idea that “the law will protect you” is absurd. Lewis Carroll might have included that in Alice in Wonderland. I’ll have to read it again. Maybe he did.

tom_g's avatar

@CWOTUS: “In general, @tom_g, yes, that applies to other weapons, too.”

I’m going to attempt to paraphrase your position by stating back what I am gathering from your answer. Apologies if I am misrepresenting your position.

So, you feel that all weapons should be legally-available. That is, I should be able to purchase anthrax or anti-aircraft missiles at my local gun/arms dealer. Correct?

@CWOTUS: “Do you really think that making it “illegal” to own anti-aircraft weapons in this country is what keeps us safe from them? Do you fly cross-country secure in the knowledge that, “No one would ever shoot me down in the USA because that would be illegal.” I hope you’re not so foolish.”

Note: I’m am attempting to assess your position here. I’ve expressed multiple times that I don’t have a coherent position concerning gun control. That said, it seems reasonable to assume that the the chance of getting blown out of the sky by a surface-to-air missile would increase if they were available for purchase at the local sporting goods store.

Do you feel that allowing mass production and sale of these weapons (or nerve agents) would simply eliminate the black market created by the prohibition, and would not increase the use of such things? Additionally, since nuclear weapons would be available (but likely quite costly), would there be no increase in the use of these weapons in the U.S.?

To be honest, I expected that you might argue that there is no legitimate private, “safe” uses for nerve agents and nuclear weapons. So, therefore, we would want to keep them illegal. It could be argued that anti-aircraft weapons and other large arms might be useful for people who like explosions and have plenty of safe land to engage in target practice. But your position is rather consistent. You seem to be arguing that simply everything should be legal to produce and purchase. And we could simply legislate illegal use.

CWOTUS's avatar

Thank you, @tom_g, for at least attempting to understand my position instead of simply misrepresenting it, imagining what a Neanderthal ogre I must be – or in my dotage or off the meds or whatever.

I don’t have a problem with the continued unavailability and illegal status of the heavy weapons, weapons of mass destruction, anti-aircraft (at least for now), nukes and other such weapons that we mentioned above. Those should definitely be illegal. There is no place for nerve agents, period. However, you should recognize that it’s not the fact that they are illegal that keeps you safe from them in the USA.

This is a key point to grasp. It’s the crucial point regarding all laws to control the availability, size, style, caliber and use of “personal” weapons in this country. (In fact, it applies just as well to the heavy weapons described above, including the unavailability of naval warships, submarines, land and sea mines, fighter/attack aircraft and all other “weapons of war”.) It’s not the law that keeps you safe. It’s the fact that no one has determined that they must have and will use these weapons. The people who would do that do not care a whit about your laws.

The guy holding up a Seven-Eleven has broken so many laws by the time he sticks the gun in the clerk’s face (whether or not he shoots it, and in fact whether or not it’s even loaded), that “more gun control” will not stop him.

The guy who will walk into a place of employment, a theater, a school, a movie theater, a city street or anywhere else to start murdering people, whether he does it at random or whether he intends to kill people on a list cares not how illegal it is.

Yes, “gun control legislation” may make it somewhat more difficult for some crazy people to get some weapons. I will grant that. It may slow some of these people down by a day or two, until they figure out where to steal or buy a weapon on the black market, or it may cost them a few more dollars to buy the weapon somewhere else – in the black market or in another part of the world or from a neighbor whose house they break into – and it may, maybe, might deter a few nut cases from even doing a crime. It really might. I grant that.

However, the more laws and barriers you erect to prevent people from exercising what we have up to now regarded as a fundamental right in this country (whether some individuals personally agree with that right or not), the more freedoms we all lose – all of us – and the more difficult you make it for sane, rational, responsible and serious-minded citizens to stop something like a mass shooting much sooner or, even better, stop it from happening in the first place.

It’s not the law that keeps you safe. It’s the fact that nearly 99% of the people in this country (and in most countries, I think) want safety, want peace, want law and order. When that percentage starts to drop much, then more laws will not make you more safe.

jerv's avatar

@tom_g One important difference is that the skills and equipment required to make AAMs and nerve gas are far harder to come by, and generally have no legitimate uses outside of military applications. Infrared guidance systems are non-trivial to design and build, and we won’t even get into the chemistry involved in nerve gas except to say that a meth lab is far safer by comparison.

By contrast, gunsmithing is a relatively common skill; I have friends that have actually gone to school for it, their skill-sets are actually quite similar to my own as I am a machinist (a trade with vast legitimate uses and commonly available equipment), and not hard for anybody of a remotely mechanical mindset to figure out. Sure, making a gas-operated semi-auto may be a bit tricky, but a single-action revolver (especially a “pepperbox”-style one) could be whipped up pretty quickly. Hell, give a competent machinist like me a centerfire cartridge and a rubber band and we could make you a crude single-shot weapon (a “zip gun”) in under 15 minutes! Spend a couple hours whipping those out, sell them for $100 a piece, and that’s about a month;s pay, tax-free, for a couple hours work. Ban the ammo and it’s still fairly easy to go old-school with charcoal and saltpeter or find another way to make an explosion… or just make a railgun.

Accordingly, there are some things that are easy to keep out of the hands of ne’er-do-wells, and some that are practically impossible. And that is without touching on supply and demand. How many robbers want to use a Stinger or some VX to hold up a convenience store? I would wager that at least nine out of ten would rather have a gun. The only people I see wanting those things are people who would use them for either military action or terrorism. On the other hand, many legitimate sportsmen like rifles, and handguns are always popular.

As for legislating illegal use, I support that. I fully applaud the fact that certain crimes automatically get a few years tacked onto the sentence if a gun is involved. And I would like to add “leaving your gun where a child can get at it and shoot somebody” to the list of said crimes; I think that if more parents went to prison for 10–15 years for manslaughter after little Billy blew his sister away, it’d promote more responsible gun ownership (like the use of trigger locks, gun safes, etcetera). I also feel that there is no need for burst-fire/full-auto in civilian weapons.

But since you asked nicely about our position, I think you might be a good person to ask for some clarification myself so taht I can understand where others are coming from.

How can one see an inconsistency between wanting legal firearms and yet illegal AAMs and WMDs? Is it really that non-obvious? To my mind, it’s not apple and oranges; it’s apples and whales. The only way I can understand how another person may even link them together is if one lumps all weapons together, in which case it would lead to restrictions on knives and clubs. How long a waiting period should there be for a Santoku, or a Louisville Slugger? That is, unless one does not know the difference between a foot and a mile. Could you please clear that up for me? Is there a rational reason that that is so?

bolwerk's avatar

@CWOTUS: don’t feed me crap. You mentioned prohibition in the context of guns, and then commented, “Prohibition has such a great history in the USA. I must not know what I’m talking about,” presumably knowing that “Prohibition” refers to a period of U.S. history when alcohol was prohibited. Maybe you didn’t mean to refer to that, but I refuse to believe you are too unintelligent to understand why the comment makes plenty of sense.

There is just a preponderance of empirical evidence that gun prohibition works, if the goal is to reduce gun violence, both in the USA and globally. Unless you care to explain why Americans have some inborn antisocial defect others don’t have, this should not be very controversial to anyone who isn’t an ideologue.

jerv's avatar

@bolwerk If there is a preponderance of evidence, explain DC and Detroit. And before you mention that they are small parts of a larger nation, you might be interested to hear about a place called “Mexico” that has a rather porous border despite the best efforts of the government and various citizen militias.

Not that that matters so long as the ingredients for guns are readily available, as I have pointed out ad nauseum. So before you speak of ideologues, please look in the mirror.

That said, I know that you are also intelligent. I just don’t think you’re realistic enough to agree with @CWOTUS and I. I think just a touch of cynicism (though not too much) might do you good and allow you a bit more objectivity. At worst, it will help you extrapolate historical evidence well enough to mitigate the Law of Unintended Consequences.

tom_g's avatar

@CWOTUS – I see some similarities in your position here and my position concerning drugs and free speech. You reasonably admit that gun control legislation could possibly limit the amount of “nut cases” who might be eager to do some damage. That is, limitations on gun ownership might be responsible for some percentage in a reduction in gun violence – at least when it comes to the mentally ill. But this is a price we (society) must pay for a right a freedom that you value highly. And since we would never be able to eliminate the desire to own guns, and would never be able to eliminate the manufacture (and therefore, supply) of guns, efforts to legislate are absurd.

I have stated something similar regarding drugs. But I wonder if it’s worthwhile to evaluate the nature of the manufacture (supply) and consumption (demand) of the items we are talking about. It seems reasonable to assume that an increase in gun availability would significantly increase gun violence. While an increase in drug availability might increase drug overdoses, the decriminalization and severe reduction in black market might result in a reduction in overall violence. Granted, this is just my assumption.

It seems to me that those who advocate for more gun legislation (or complete elimination of private gun ownership) see the freedom/violence trade off as just being too costly. In other words, we give up something (ability to easily purchase guns, or the ability to purchase certain guns, or the ability to purchase guns altogether) as a way of increasing societal health.

Now, the stats that I have seen seem to suggest that legislation and attempts to reduce the number of guns might work in reducing the gun violence. But as some have pointed out here, there might be something so “broken” (or healthy, depending on your position) about the U.S. population that makes it immune to such efforts. I honestly don’t know.

I will admit to being in the “I don’t get it” camp. Guns, that is. If I had been raised in a different socioeconomic class, part of the country, or a different time, I might have developed an attachment to them. But when I think of a gun, I can only imagine a tool that is designed to kill. Sure, there are those that hunt, and those that express their enjoyment at target shooting. But I do think there are many people in the population that share my attitude. I’m not saying that it’s correct or better. But in the interest of expanding this discussion, there is definitely a cultural divide here that might somewhat (not cleanly) mirror some of the other so-called culture war issues.

So, I am still not sure what to make of it all. But it’s a decent discussion.

@jerv: “But since you asked nicely about our position, I think you might be a good person to ask for some clarification myself so taht I can understand where others are coming from.
How can one see an inconsistency between wanting legal firearms and yet illegal AAMs and WMDs? Is it really that non-obvious? To my mind, it’s not apple and oranges; it’s apples and whales. The only way I can understand how another person may even link them together is if one lumps all weapons together, in which case it would lead to restrictions on knives and clubs. How long a waiting period should there be for a Santoku, or a Louisville Slugger? That is, unless one does not know the difference between a foot and a mile. Could you please clear that up for me? Is there a rational reason that that is so?”

Well, you did a good job of asking the question yourself. But the reason I have asked it is that gun advocates have not yet demonstrated the inconsistency. And I do think any legitimate discussion of guns and gun control should definitely spend significant time in ironing out why we do or don’t legislate everything – including knives and clubs. Without discussing this, you’re probably going to be left with people asking the question. It helps tease out the relevant variables involved. This might include uses, availability of materials, other uses, violence speed and ability, etc.

jerv's avatar

@tom_g I am reasonably sure that the anti-gun crowd has always bought their Thanksgiving dinner from a store, and never even seen a real, live bear on their porch. They’ve never been late to work because the road was blocked by a moose, a bear, a herd of cows, or a flock of turkeys. To many Americans, that sort of thing is fiction, but it’s what it was (and still is) like where I lived.

I am also reasonably sure that none of them have raised livestock and had their livelihood depend on their ability to protect them from predators. If you were given a choice between owning a gun and losing 50–80% of your annual income, what would you do?

So yes, I think where you were raised has a lot to do with it.

As for demonstrating the inconsistency, I don’t think it’s the gun advocates that bear the burden of proof here; it’s those that seek change that must prove why such change is needed. If your mind operates anywhere near how mine operates, you will see that there are more inconsistencies on the anti-gun side by the fact that they are willing to lump firearms and nerve gas together despite the vast differences between them, but refuse to admit that knives are more similar to guns in that both are common murder weapons and thus equally in need of restrictions.

Much of the reason I feel as I do has to do with the fact that I can find no logical way to allow knives and gasoline yet restrict guns. I’ve seen too many things that others would deny even possible for me to have a viewpoint other than the one I have. I’ve read too many historical counter-precedents and learned too much engineering. I would welcome some fresh insight here though.

tom_g's avatar

@jerv: “If your mind operates anywhere near how mine operates, you will see that there are more inconsistencies on the anti-gun side by the fact that they are willing to lump firearms and nerve gas together despite the vast differences between them, but refuse to admit that knives are more similar to guns in that both are common murder weapons and thus equally in need of restrictions.”

I disagree that there are “more inconsistencies” on the anti-gun side regarding the spectrum of dangerous things (possible weapons). I don’t think anyone is talking about it. Including here.

It seems that one way we could discuss this would be the possible, common, and extreme uses for each item. Some of these items are tools that people use daily. For the small percentage of people who still hunt for food in the U.S., they could argue that the rifle is as valuable a tool as a knife. But since we both agree that this lifestyle is a rarity in the U.S., there will have to be some further discussion to evaluate how these things are used.

Another approach might be to discuss the ease that such things can be made. A knife can be made by your average 6-year-old. I wouldn’t know the first thing about manufacturing a gun (even the most simple) or ammo, mining and refining oil, creating bio-weapons, or enriching uranium.

@jerv: “Much of the reason I feel as I do has to do with the fact that I can find no logical way to allow knives and gasoline yet restrict guns.”

Fair enough. But do you see how this same reasoning might lead people to ask the same question about AAMs or other weapons that are currently illegal?

Anyway, from my perspective, which is likely (and probably appropriately) seen as naive from both sides of this issue, there are things left to discuss. It seems, however, that much of the public debate focuses on second amendment interpretation and government rebellion fantasies. I don’t think there is much to talk about there.

jerv's avatar

@tom_g Only one real quibble with your answer; the part about us agreeing that that lifestyle is a minority.

Is it fair to legislate against homosexuals? Last I checked, roughly 90% of Americans were straight, but our forefathers never mentioned them in the Constitution. And it could be argued that homosexuality damages the moral fabric of America in the same way that nuclear weapons damage the landscape. I’ve seen worse “logic” make it’s way into lawbooks, so I’m not sure I’d want to play that “minority” card.

tom_g's avatar

@jerv – Slow down. Made a few leaps here. I didn’t make any appeal to popularity. I am merely stating the fact (please correct me if I’m wrong) that most people in the U.S. get their food from the grocery store. They no longer head into the woods and return with food to feed their family. There are exceptions for sure.

But what does this have to do with homosexuals and all of that other stuff you wrote? I think you might be recalling previous discussions you’ve had with people. Sometimes arguments become habitual. Sometimes this results in some quick trigger refutations that are not necessarily appropriate or on target.

I’m not playing any “minority” card or anything that you seem to be saying. Please stick to our discussion here. Keep things here. Seriously.

@jerv: “Only one real quibble with your answer; the part about us agreeing that that lifestyle is a minority.”

It isn’t a minority?

jerv's avatar

@tom_g You are correct; the majority do. Where i grew up, a bit less food comes from stores and a bit more grow our neighbor’s “yards” (whether by hunting or gardening) but there are tens of millions who have no idea where maple syrup really comes from.

As for the homosexuals that was more parallel thinking than precedent. Roughly what percentage of Americans are farmers, hunters, or otherwise fit into what even Australian gun laws would consider “legitimate need”? I would wager about the same ~3–4% amount that openly identify themselves as gay. Would we agree that being outnumbered 24-to-1 constitutes a minority? Therefore the parallel.

BTW, you made it sound like a minority lifestyle was perfectly acceptable to discriminate against, almost like minorities were a bad thing. I just couldn’t put the right words to the thoughts, but “minority” was the word that triggered the thought.

tom_g's avatar

@jerv: “BTW, you made it sound like a minority lifestyle was perfectly acceptable to discriminate against, almost like minorities were a bad thing. I just couldn’t put the right words to the thoughts, but “minority” was the word that triggered the thought.”

I promise you, that was not my intention. In fact, identifying them as a minority would likely lead me (if I did have an opinion on this) to make sure that we disproportionately weight their needs as to offset the fact that people are generally so far removed from this process, that any discussions regarding weapons as tools (hunting for food) would need special consideration so as to not get buried in discussions about how “we” feed ourselves.

And yes, it’s a separate topic probably. But I suspect you and I probably agree more than you assume here. I feel that people have an unhealthy distance from their food source, which allows for some really nasty shit to go down (factory farming, etc). Again, off topic.

jerv's avatar

@tom_g I think we do agree quite a bit. I just wasn’t sure.

jerv's avatar


@ETpro I think you have just proven that you believe that weapons are weapons. By lumping firearms in with WMDs, you are also lumping baseball bats and kitchen knives in there. If not, you are being more inconsistent than I have been accused of being. If you cannot see the differences then I wonder if you can tell a bicycle from a car from an 18-wheeler. I know you have the intellect to do so, but it seems that you have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to scale.

ETpro's avatar

Wonder of wonders. I actually do believe that weapons are weapons. I’m stunned that is controversial. If that drives you to a facepalm, I think that says more about you than me.

If there were a mass wave of baseball bat murders, I might want to see background checks on buying them too. The fact is, though, firearms are responsible for more US deaths every year than all other kinds of weapons combined. Blunt instruments are at the very bottom of the chart, and that would include billy clubs, truncheons, 2×4s, pipes, Maglites, lampstands, and somewhere down at the bottom or the list, baseball bats.

If guns (weapons) don’t kill people, then chemical weapons don’t either. If the idea that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” means we should do no background checks and anybody who wants a gun (or lots of guns) should be able to buy them; even if they are known homicidal maniacs or terrorists; then the same should hold true of chemical weapons and even nukes, because they don’t kill people, people kill people. It is a simple reductio-ad-absurdum of the specious argument, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

jerv's avatar

@ETpro “Guns kill more people by suicide than homicide.”


ETpro's avatar

@jerv Yes, they do. It’s also true that men use guns in suicide attempts, while women prefer poison, and men are far more likely to succeed in killing themselves, whereas women are often rescued before they die. I doubt if universal background checks would have much impact on that, though. And if somebody really wants to die, that’s their decision to make. My concern is with those that want ME to die.

I favor universal background checks coupled with strong mental health and police reporting to the background check database to prevent whackos like the Washington Navy Yard shooter and the Batman movie shooter form having easy access to heavy firepower. Same goes for terrorist. Right now, people that can’t even board a commercial airplane after being searched head to toe and x-rayed can walk into a gun store and buy a whole arsenal of guns and ammo if their terror group can fund the purchase. I don’t understand why it needs to be that way.

jerv's avatar

@ETpro That part we actually agree on; I also feel that guns should only be in the hands of sane, law-abiding people. We already have plenty of unenforced laws to make that happen. How about enforcing those before adding new laws?

gorillapaws's avatar

@jerv Clearly you’ve never been to a gun show. And the current laws make straw-man purchasing and transportation to other areas (like NY) ridiculously easy.

CWOTUS's avatar

Anyone want to hazard a guess as to how many of these thugs have obtained and used their weapons legally?

If they’re already breaking laws, do you suppose “a better law” would have stopped them?

ragingloli's avatar

Interesting how you casually link to a site that seems to be quite popular on

CWOTUS's avatar

So… this is an indirect ad hominem argument against the facts, or ad hominem once removed, or what?

ragingloli's avatar

so you are defending this racist website, subtitled “urban crime news straight from ‘da hood”.
I will make a mental note of that.

jerv's avatar

@CWOTUS I didn’t follow that link, but last I checked many crimes were committed with stolen guns (the figures I’ve seen range from 40% up to 93%); enough to make the issue of gun sales almost irrelevant. Still, there are some people who love the “straw sale” straw man, but I won’t bother with the facts since you’re on my side and they would continue with their fallacy.

CWOTUS's avatar

You’re supporting my point, of course, @jerv. The issue of legality in regard to gun murders is frankly silly when so many of the weapons are stolen to begin with. It’s like we need to make them “double-secret illegal” and “extra-criminal” ... by taking them away from the likes of you and me.

When you start to become the arbiter of rational debate on Fluther, @ragingloli, then I know it’ll be time to leave. Not that I’m arguing with you – a process much like nailing a lizard to sand – but I didn’t “defend” the website I linked to. I put it out there with an implication that “this seems to be factual” since I was looking for statistics on “crimes committed with legal weapons” and couldn’t seem to find anything better. I’m not wasting a lot of time on a silly debate about “how many laws will it take to make us safe”. I will not visit the vile site that you linked to, however, enough times to know what is popular or not. Your predilections and screeds are, as always, disregarded.

ETpro's avatar

@jerv & @CWOTUS How many of the recent mass shootings were committed using stolen guns? None. Many of those who legally purchased their guns shouldn’t have been able to because they were clearly nuts, and/or had records of firearms violence in their past. But the NRA has worked tirelessly to ensure that the background check database doesn’t get this information. The terror watch-list is also excluded. Numerous police incidents involving gun violence (as in the case of the DC Navy Yard Shooter) are also excluded thanks to the tireless efforts of the NRA. They work for the weapons manufacturers and they want to sell more guns without any regard for who gets killed by them. Mass shootings are GREAT for them. They instill fear and drive mora gun hoarding. As long as weapons manufacturers; profits go up, the NRA is doing their job, and they will get their millions in rewards.

The Federal Straw Sale law is an utter joke. It’s designed by the NRA to be utterly unenforceable. There is the gun show loophole, the private party loophole. The only reason a criminal needs to steal a gun is if he can’t afford to buy one. This should change. There should be universal background checks and the database they are run on should be as good as we can make it.

jerv's avatar

@ETpro Until mass shootings actually account for a significant portion of firearm deaths every year, I’m going to set those aside. I don’t buy into the fallacy that flying is more dangerous than driving because plane crashes get more media coverage than car accidents, and the same logic applies here. Are you trying to reduce firearm deaths, or just force the news to find something else to sensationalize?

gorillapaws's avatar

@jerv Deaths from hand grenades is probably pretty low too, does that mean we should make those available as well?

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws I don’t see enough people protecting their livelihood or their personal safety with grenades, or even thinking that they would do so better than conventional firearms, to make a case for “legitimate use”.

Besides, if you hit a turkey with a grenade, what will you have for Thanksgiving? Even 00 takes away too much meat, making a #4 or #6 shot far preferable. You want to drop the bird, not atomize it!

ETpro's avatar

@jerv Well. the death toll per year is relatively low and relatively constant. I don’t see why meaningful background checks would be harmful. And they would help reduce other violent gun crimes as well as mass shootings. But how many people do you want to die per year in gun violence before we do anything to reduce the number?

jerv's avatar

@ETpro My main thing is that I feel that gun laws are trying to solve the issue all wrong. When your car gets a flat tire, do you pop the hood and check the oil? I don’t; I grab a jack and lug wrench.

Why do people shoot each other (and themselves!)? Too poor to pay the bills and can’t get a job to fix that? Economic reform. Found daddy’s loaded gun in the dresser drawer? Why the fuck wasn’t it locked up?! Too many voices in your head? Well, mental health in this country is rather atrocious, so we might want to fix that (as if we didn’t have enough reasons other than gun violence to do that anyways….). I prefer to treat causes rather than symptoms, and I see gun violence as a symptom of larger issues.

I do think that treating guns a bit more like cars would help. I know that here in WA, when you sell a car, you have 5 days to file a Report of Sale with the state. If the buyer doesn’t register, that’s their issue, but at least the state knows where the car is and won’t come after you when they find the thing abandoned with a dead hooker in the trunk. Try “Straw sales” with that system in place!

ETpro's avatar

@jerv I am all for more care for the mentally disturbed, and for addressing the underlying social inequities that come close to condemning people with brown skin to poverty, poor schools, high unemployment and an incarceration rate that’s off the chart.

All I am asking for in background checks is that we be as serious about them as we are checking a driver’s record before issuing a registration to let them put a car on the road. It sounds like, despite all our talking past one another, we pretty much agree.

jerv's avatar

@ETpro On a lot of things, yes.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jerv You’re missing the point again. You made the argument that we shouldn’t be concerned with mass shootings because they have a low body count relative to other things. My hand grenade point was to point out that low body count isn’t a useful metric for determining if something should be regulated. It’s just like your fire argument being bogus. Yes there may be ways for murderers to kill more people than with guns, but that doesn’t negate the fact that we still can and should do something about guns too.

I agree with the goals of improving mental health, the wealth inequality in the US and many other aspects, but we’re never going to get that perfect, and as long as guns are readily available (especially at gun shows) and as easy to discharge hundreds of rounds very quickly with civilian weapons, we’re not going to see this problem get better.

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws I think you missed mine by mixing apples and oranges. I think you’ve also missed my points about regulations going awry. In short, I think we are looking at this from totally different perspectives.

Tell me again how the lax gun laws in the Northeast fail to lead to high gun violence rates again? It’s far worse in MA where the laws are stricter. That alone tells me the problem is somewhere other than where you think it is.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jerv Because its easy to get guns in other areas. I’m not mixing apples and oranges; I’m pointing out the flaws in your logic.

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws Since you lump grenades in with firearms, you are mixing apples and oranges. So long as you persist claiming otherwise, I cannot take you seriously when you mention logic. Whether your inability to see the distinction is deliberate or not, I can’t tell, but I sense that you’re just itching for a reason to whip out more Latin terminology on me anyways.

Tell me, suppose we “solve” the gun “problem”; what problems would crop up? I can take an educated guess… unless you conduct a massive sweep of the entire nation, then hermetically seal the borders in ways that we haven’t managed yet (the drug trade proves that). I don’t see that happening.

The “flaw” in my logic is that I’m not idealistic to the point of delusion. I don’t seek confirmation bias by looking at what worked elsewhere; I extrapolate from what has happened here.

augustlan's avatar

I do agree that there are many parts of this problem, and all of them need to be addressed. What I can’t understand, though, is the unwillingness of some people to even consider tightening up the gun laws. Even if tightening gun laws would only have miniscule effect today, as years go by and more and more illegal guns are confiscated (during criminal arrests, for instance), fewer and fewer illegal guns would be out there floating around. Why not try to make things better for the sake of future generations?

jerv's avatar

@augustlan There are some areas where the gun laws are a little loose even for my liking. I think a bit more uniformity would help that part immensely. Then the only borders we would have to worry about guns going across are international ones. If a few people here are correct, that would make the gun crime rates in places like Detroit and DC come down to somewhere closer to average without making gun smugglers rich.

It could be argued that the existing gun laws passed a couple of decades ago already have had that effect; gun violence has been trending downwards for decades. In fact, violence in general has. Is it that the guns aren’t being taken off the street fast enough by arrests?

How about if we ignore guns for a second and just look at assault deaths in general. Not only are we a violent nation, but it seems to be largely regional, and much of it directed at blacks. Now, back to guns and the historical gun crime rates.

So, are you going to try to do something about the violence, or are you just going to continue focusing on the guns? You can if you want; I will focus on just facts

BTW, how is the gun control thing working out in Columbia?

kritiper's avatar

It’s not that we won’t control guns. We can’t.
‘Nuff said.

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