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Author Topic: Gun Rights
Hobbes
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Seems like there hasn't been a lot of discussion about this topic here, at least not for a while. I know it can be a hot button issue but I wanted to bring it up all the same. The reason being I'm on the fence on this issue and have been for some time. I really don't know what my position is and I figured Hatrack would be a great place to hear from people on it. [Smile]

Basically, on spec, I like gun control laws. I see massive benefit from limiting handguns, assault rifles and the like and I think arguments made comparing America's violent crime rates and deaths (from violent crimes) to other 1st world countries with strict gun control laws make a pretty good point. Of course it also helps that I've never particularly liked guns. On the other side of the issue I have a really hard time writing off the 2nd amendment (as my view of gun control laws is based entirely on an American view, apologies to all 'foreign' members). Particularly with the massively expansive readings most of the other amendments have (right to privacy, right to free speech, etc...) I'm not comfortable with the idea of not allowing the 10 commandments to be hung in a courtroom due to the first amendment, while banning specific kinds of guns (and regulating into almost non-existence others) despite the 2nd. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating for the former but it makes me uncomfortable to have what I feel to be such a restrictive view of one amendment when another is taken so liberally. Obviously the two amendments can be read in this way: after all they are! But that doesn't justify it for me. So this is my issue with it.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Lyrhawn
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I have no problem with the Second Amendment. There's nothing in the 2A that says the government can't regulate guns.

Of course, there are more fundamental issues going on as well. 2A is arcane, as written. It has no place in modern America. Perhaps some other version of 2A that intends to protect some basic right to keep some type of arms, but 2A was clearly written with the intent to arm a well-regulated militia, not so mobs could take to the streets mowing people down at random, and not for the purposes of personal protection.

Having said that, I'm not one of those crazy anti-gun people. I kind of used to be, until I actually started target shooting as a hobby. I think guns are far too easy to get, I think guns that are far too dangerous are available that shouldn't be, no matter how difficult they would be to access. I'm not afraid of guns, or the idea of guns, but they represent a very real threat, there's just no way around the statistics regarding gun violence in America.

I can see myself owning a gun some day, but it wouldn't be for personal protection or for my eventual need to rise up and overthrow the Republicans, should they ever become too oppressive. It'd be because I like target shooting as a hobby. I find it relaxing, and oddly satisfying. I find the "get rid of all the guns!" people just as annoying as they "from my cold dead hands!" people. I'm somewhere in the middle.

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odouls268
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Dogbert says that people should be allowed to have any kind of gun they want whenever they want. But that only HE should have the bullets, because people can't be trusted with anything more dangerous than a wet noodle.
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odouls268
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As for me, I happen to think that people should treat each other kindly, work hard for their accomplishments and paychecks, not sue each other for BS reasons, and not commit horrific crimes upon one another.

None of those things came true, so why on earth would it matter what I think of Gun Control?

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Hobbes
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quote:
Of course, there are more fundamental issues going on as well. 2A is arcane, as written. It has no place in modern America. Perhaps some other version of 2A that intends to protect some basic right to keep some type of arms, but 2A was clearly written with the intent to arm a well-regulated militia, not so mobs could take to the streets mowing people down at random, and not for the purposes of personal protection.
See, this is the argument that sails right by me. If we just ignore the parts of the constitution that we find arcane... well then why even bother amending the Constitution? We can just decide what we like on a day-to-day basis. If it's arcane then change it, ignoring it is more than a dangerous precedent.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Stone_Wolf_
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The language of 2nd Amendment is such a pain! It should just say, citizens in good standing can have guns to help protect the country if invaded. That's what they meant it to say.

As to gun stats...the areas with the strictest laws against guns are the ones with the highest murder rates, and vice versa. I'll look them up and post them tomorrow.

I know its over used, but it is true: If you outlaw guns then only outlaws will have guns. There are simply too many weapons out there to do anything of the sort. By definition, if you were to outlaw guns, only law abiding citizens would be disarmed.

I live California. One of the stricter gun states. The federal "assault weapons" ban was repealed, but not the state. The federal restriction on "high capacity magazines" was repealed, but not the state. Luckily for me I was into guns before the ban, so I got all my toys grandfathered in. Let's just say mine is not a house you want to break into. All these restrictions are just silly. They do zero good. If I only had ten rounds, or could only use a bolt action rifle, it wouldn't help make anyone more safe then they are or are not already. Most firearms used in crimes are illegal anyway, one way or another. The weapons used in the Colinbine (sp) murders were sawed off shotguns and pipe bombs...illegal.

If you look up numbers (which, again, I will post tomorrow) about accidental death do to automobiles vs do to firearms, the numbers are...1,000 to 1...something like that.

I'm all for regulation of fire arms. I have no problem with someone who wants to own guns paying for a physiological evaluation, a safety certification, proof of ownership of an appropriate gun safe, not allowing private citizens access to high explosives or automatic weapons.

But make no mistake. Guns are powerful. And if you ban this power from the good, law abiding people you let the reigns of power slip into lessor hands. Guns, like money and love and sex and all powerful things can be used in good ways and bad. The morality of power is not that it is bad, it is that it must be used with conscience and care.

If guns could be uninvented, along with A-bombs and hand grenades, I might well cast my lot for that. But the reality of the situation is that this country was founded by men with guns standing up to the Brits and saying, "This is our home, and you are not welcome here." From that day to this day Americans took this land, held and kept this land with a gun in their hands. Not all of it is proud history, but it is our history. We are an armed people, and no foreign power would think of invading us without taking that into consideration.

Any person who feels that all guns should be banned I ask, would you feel comfortable placing a sign out on your front yard that reads "I don't believe in guns. I don't own guns."? And if not, why?

[ July 20, 2011, 03:18 AM: Message edited by: Stone_Wolf_ ]

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Shanna
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I do not own a gun. I will never own a gun. If my house is robbed, it will likely happen while I am not at home, as has been the case for every person I know who has ever had their home robbed. I feel better knowing that a criminal can't steal a gun from my home and use it to kill someone.

I've lost a few friends and old classmates to gun-related deaths. Some were intentional, some were unintentional, and with some cases, we will never know.

I live in Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans and its been a very violent past few weeks. And the last time I checked, our state like many other southern states is extremely lax on gun control.

quote:
“Laws keep down the gun population,” says the centre’s executive director Josh Sugarmann. “But states with the most lax laws and the highest gun density tend to have the highest overall deaths.”

Arizona is ninth in state firearm deaths. Its rate for 2007 was about 15 per 100,000, exceeding the national average of 10.

Louisiana, where 46 per cent of households have guns, has highest figure, of 20 per 100,000. In the lowest ranking state, Hawaii, with a gun death rate of 3 per 100,000, only 10 per cent of households have guns, according to U.S. statistics. (http://www.thestar.com/News/World/article/920205)

Here is a link to the above mentioned rankings: http://www.vpc.org/fadeathchart09.htm

I'm not saying that no one should have guns but regulation in many parts of this country is a joke. Gun shows are notoriously bad for selling firearms to anyone who asks for one without proof on identity, mental stability, responsibility, or knowledge of safe gun practices. We require more from people getting their driver's license. And while cars are absolutely dangerous, causing injury or death is not their primary function.

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Hobbes
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quote:
As to gun stats...the areas with the strictest laws against guns are the ones with the highest murder rates, and vice versa.
Unless these studies you have are about causation rather than correlation this is neither surprising nor an argument in your favor.

quote:
If you look up numbers (which, again, I will post tomorrow) about accidental death do to automobiles vs do to firearms, the numbers are...1,000 to 1...something like that.
I'm not indifferent to that, but this is an argument for banning automobiles not allowing handguns.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Hobbes
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quote:
I'm not saying that no one should have guns but regulation in many parts of this country is a joke. Gun shows are notoriously bad for selling firearms to anyone who asks for one without proof on identity, mental stability, responsibility, or knowledge of safe gun practices. We require more from people getting their driver's license. And while cars are absolutely dangerous, causing injury or death is not their primary function.
This is a good argument, and the stats are convincing but again, cars don't have their own constitutional amendment. If it were purely a question of safety then you have me already.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Stone_Wolf_
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This is an older article...but I found it interesting.

quote:
In the two years following the 1997 handgun ban, the use of handguns in crime rose by 40 percent, and the upward trend has continued. From April to November 2001, the number of people robbed at gunpoint in London rose 53 percent.

Gun crime is just part of an increasingly lawless environment. From 1991 to 1995, crimes against the person in England's inner cities increased 91 percent. And in the four years from 1997 to 2001, the rate of violent crime more than doubled. Your chances of being mugged in London are now six times greater than in New York. England's rates of assault, robbery, and burglary are far higher than America's, and 53 percent of English burglaries occur while occupants are at home, compared with 13 percent in the U.S., where burglars admit to fearing armed homeowners more than the police. In a United Nations study of crime in 18 developed nations published in July, England and Wales led the Western world's crime league, with nearly 55 crimes per 100 people.

Source.
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Stone_Wolf_
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This one is more recent...

quote:
An extensive study that one of us (Kates) recently published with Canadian criminologist Gary Mauser confirms the negative results of two large-scale international studies over the past 15 years. ("Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide: A Review of International Evidence," Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, vol. 30, pages 651-694.)

These studies compared data from a large number of nations around the world. There were no instances of nations with high gun ownership having higher murder rates than nations with low gun ownership. If anything it was the reverse, for reasons discussed below.

For example, though Norway has far and away the highest firearm ownership per capita in Western Europe, it nevertheless has the lowest murder rate. Other nations with high firearms ownership and comparably low murder rates include Denmark, Greece, Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Holland has a 50 percent higher murder rate despite having the lowest rate of firearm ownership in Europe. And Luxembourg, despite its total handgun ban, has a murder rate that is nine times higher than countries such as Norway and Austria.

It turns out that in nations where guns are less available, criminals manage to get them anyway. After decades of ever-stricter gun controls, England banned handguns and confiscated them from all permit holders in 1997. Yet by 2000, England had the industrialized world's highest violent crime rate -- twice that of the U.S. Despite the confiscation of law-abiding Englishmen's handguns, a 2002 report of England's National Crime Intelligence Service lamented that while "Britain has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, [i]t appears that anyone who wishes to obtain a firearm [illegally] will have little difficulty in doing so."

In the rare case in which gun bans work, murderers use other weapons. Eight decades of police-state enforcement of handgun prohibition have kept Russian gun ownership low, resulting in few gun murders. Yet Russia's murder rates have long been four times higher than those in the U.S. and 20 times higher than rates in countries such as Norway. Former Soviet nations like Lithuania also ban handguns and severely restrict other guns, yet have 10-15 times higher murder rates than European nations with much higher gun ownership.

Source.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Here's a little one on the assault weapon ban:

quote:
The U.S. Department of Justice conducted two studies of the consequences of the 1994 assault weapons ban. In 1999, Bill Clinton's Justice Department looked exhaustively at the ban's effects. It concluded that "the public safety benefits of the 1994 ban have not yet been demonstrated." In 2001, a second Justice Department review similarly found no evidence that the ban had a statistically significant effect on violent crime. A congressionally mandated study by the Urban Institute reached comparable conclusions.
Source.
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Vadon
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I'm tired and probably shouldn't be posting, but...

My problem with guns has less to do with the guns themselves as the attitude that surrounds guns. A gun is a powerful weapon in its nature, and that power should be respected. I think a part of that respect demands that we carefully evaluated who should be permitted to have that power. I believe that power is disrespected when one fetishizes them or subsumes gun ownership as a part of their identity.

I'm in favor of regulation and restriction, but I've never really been gung-ho about an outright ban. What's more dangerous than guns is the too common belief that violence is a permissible solution to temporary problems. When you mix guns with that attitude, it's a lethal combination. As such, removing guns from the equation can help stymie the harm of that attitude, but that doesn't mean I think guns are inherently evil nor are they the cause of the misconception.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Vadon:
My problem with guns has less to do with the guns themselves as the attitude that surrounds guns.

To be honest, it's easy to know a lot of people who are sensible and practical when it comes to their attitudes towards guns. It's just that the yeeeeeeehawwww ~mah guns~ people are the biggest attention-getters.

My position on guns, distilled to a soundbite after all these years, is that where we're at is pretty good. Most attempts at regulation are impractical, cost too much, and don't help. The pandora's box of guns won't be closed in this country. Concerned about gun crime, suicides, or any crime? Then understand that most Gun Control proposals aren't really very useful, compared to other avenues of social engineering, in managing that.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
For any one of you lilly livered bow legged varmits care teh slap leather with me, in case any of ya get any idears, ya better know yer dealin with. I'm tha' hootiness, tootiness, shootiness bob tailed wild cat in the west. I'm tha' fastest gun north, south, east, andddd west of tha' pecos.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Hobbes:
quote:
Of course, there are more fundamental issues going on as well. 2A is arcane, as written. It has no place in modern America. Perhaps some other version of 2A that intends to protect some basic right to keep some type of arms, but 2A was clearly written with the intent to arm a well-regulated militia, not so mobs could take to the streets mowing people down at random, and not for the purposes of personal protection.
See, this is the argument that sails right by me. If we just ignore the parts of the constitution that we find arcane... well then why even bother amending the Constitution? We can just decide what we like on a day-to-day basis. If it's arcane then change it, ignoring it is more than a dangerous precedent.

Hobbes [Smile]

I think you misunderstand me. I think it's arcane and should be eliminated as it stands, so I agree with you on the amendment front.

But even AS WRITTEN, it applies only to a well-regulated militia, not to everyone owning any type of gun they want for whatever reason they want. I see nothing in the amendment that restricts the government from restricting some types of guns. I'm not saying ignore it, just adhere to it as written, and as historically intended.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
quote:
Justice Antonin Scalia in writing for the majority in District of Columbia v. Heller:

Nowhere else in the Constitution does a “right” attributed to “the people” refer to anything other than an individual right. What is more, in all six other provisions of the Constitution that mention “the people,” the term unambiguously refers to all members of the political community, not an unspecified subset. This contrasts markedly with the phrase “the militia” in the prefatory clause. As we will describe below, the “militia” in colonial America consisted of a subset of “the people”— those who were male, able bodied, and within a certain age range. Reading the Second Amendment as protecting only the right to “keep and bear Arms” in an organized militia therefore fits poorly with the operative clause’s description of the holder of that right as “the people”.[105]

Justice John Paul Stevens countered in his dissenting opinion:

When each word in the text is given full effect, the Amendment is most naturally read to secure to the people a right to use and possess arms in conjunction with service in a well-regulated militia. So far as appears, no more than that was contemplated. But the Court itself reads the Second Amendment to protect a “subset” significantly narrower than the class of persons protected by the First and Fourth Amendments; when it finally drills down on the substantive meaning of the Second Amendment, the Court limits the protected class to “law-abiding, responsible citizens”.[106]

Source. I say rewrite it. Something like "It is the right of all citizens of good standing to own and bear reasonable firearms for self defense, defense of life, property and country."

I include the word reasonable because I don't think we need miniguns or rocket launchers. If the Chinese army ever does fall from the sky, I'd prefer if the people with the training had those weapons while us civis had guns that only went "bang" one at a time and didn't explode on contact.

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Wingracer
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:


If guns could be uninvented, along with A-bombs and hand grenades, I might well cast my lot for that.

So want to be ruled over by the biggest, strongest guy in your neighborhood?
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Stone_Wolf_
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Martial fighting takes discipline, and with that discipline comes respect...more so at least then the point and click of guns.

And I am the biggest, strongest guy in my neighborhood.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Stone Wolf:
Source. I say rewrite it. Something like "It is the right of all citizens of good standing to own and bear reasonable firearms for self defense, defense of life, property and country."

I include the word reasonable because I don't think we need miniguns or rocket launchers.

Do you suppose that everyone shares your definition of reasonable?
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Stone_Wolf_
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I know for a fact that they don't.

*shrug*

Perhaps more specific wording is required.

How could I say non automatic, non explosive well?

And do you think that is a good line in the sand to draw?

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Lyrhawn
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You mean fully, or semi-automatic?

Going to have to be specific, otherwise you're restricting everyone to 19th century era Colts and bolt action rifles.

You see the problem, of course, with trying to put those kinds of specifics into a document like the Constitution. It's a document that can be left fairly vague. Your first section works fine, so long as the second section reads "2. "Reasonable" shall be defined by the Congress of the United States of America." That makes it fairly impossible to outlaw all guns, and leaves it to Congress to decide what can and can't be sold.

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CT
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
This is an older article...but I found it interesting.
...
Source.

I don't have a good sense for how you assess sources yet, Stone_Wolf_. This seems to be a [biased] site (the "About" page reads to me as an indication of libertarian leanings), which might well be fine, except that I cannot find primary sources for this article's quite detailed statements of fact. Granted, my eyes are blurry, so I may have missed them.

But if the sources for these claims are not listed, why not? That is a step necessary to take in order to make what one is writing both accessible and systematically assessable by those reading it.***

Can you give me a general idea for how you go about picking references like this for your posts and how you then assess whether or not this is a reliable and appropriate reference to cite? (I am not trying to trap you, just curious. It is a process I find really interesting, and I am trying to examine my own choices more carefully lately as well. Why do I cite where I cite?)

Of course, if other parts of the conversation beckon, feel free to carry on there rather than here. [Smile]

---

Added: ***For example, you do this, and I really appreciate it.

[ July 21, 2011, 01:44 AM: Message edited by: CT ]

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imogen
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The other interesting thing to compare may be gun ownership rates vs gun culture and ease of obtaining a firearm.

From my own limited experience, I have been to Denmark and Germany and did not see anything like the gun 'supermarkets' I saw in the US. (Which from my own sheltered, Australian gun controlled background, I found shocking.)

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Stone_Wolf_
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Lyrhawn: Yes indeed, semi-auto. I can't see any legitimate reason why non law enforcement/military citizens should have access to fully automatic weapons. Same for grenades, grenade launchers, rocket propelled grenades, c4 plastic explosives, etc.

CT: Well, I try to exclude sales sites (sometimes more successfully then others), and try and make sure at least seems like a legitimate source, for instance, the one you referenced above, I almost didn't post because of the "nobama" tee shirt ad, but that's just politics...I decided to go with it because it was a published magazine article, and figured they would cite their sources...I guess they didn't...sorry. Mostly my "technique" is to google search and try and find something that supports the opinion I'm trying to push with some facts, figures or quotes from knowledgeable people. I look over the site to make sure it isn't BS and then...post.

What is your process?

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CT
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
What is your process?

That is a good question, and it deserves a thoughtful answer. I am on my way out the door but will return and write something up.

Thanks for the reply. [Smile]

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