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Rebooting the Gun Control Discussion
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:05 pm    Post subject: Rebooting the Gun Control Discussion Reply with quote

(Disclaimer: I have only recently started looking at this subject in more depth and, obviously, I am no expert. I rely on the good graces of those who are more knowledgable to correct any glaring errors and, if required, direct my attention towards relevant things I have missed or am unintentionally ignorant of.)

After researching the subject, it seems that the last time that weapons were effectively banned in the US was the National Firearms Act of 1934 (see also the Miller case (1939), the Gun Control Act (1968) and the Heller case (2008)).* So it is clear that banning or severely restricting certain types of guns/weapons is possible, but it is also seems clear that it is only under certain circumstances (not necessarily related to rationality or the Constitution).

Much of the rhetoric of the Left around increasing the regulation of guns is impassioned and emotive (if generally well-intentioned**). However, there is a very simple and, at present, totally effective block to any measures they propose: the refusal of the Republican Party to countenance any legislation to that end.

While it seems that US citizens are generally evenly divided on gun rights v gun control, there is a [url=fivethirtyeight.com/features/most-americans-agree-with-obama-that-more-gun-buyers-should-get-background-checks/]general popular consensus[/url] on certain specific gun control issues like increased background checks.

As I see it, there is then a very straightforward way in which increased gun regulations can be approached that represents the views of the American public as a whole. Firstly, 2nd Amendment rights are affirmed, then very specific proposals are drawn up:
    - an improved system of background checks that closes the loopholes of private and gun show sales

    - the use of a 'no fly, no buy' list (which it is claimed currently affects 2,700 US. citizens), with the proviso that due process is maintained for those who are incorrectly on the list.

    - a restriction on high capacity magazines

    - a serious look at restricting AR-15 style weapons due to their rate of fire, accuracy and deadliness***

At the moment the debate is characterised by stereotyping and demonisation. The Left wants to 'take away your guns' and the Right are all 'gun nuts'. Neither of these descriptions is helpful. There is broad popular support for gun rights and also certain types of increased control. This means that bipartisan support for non-controversial controls should be possible. As I see it, if the views of the American public are to be represented (whether on gun rights or on gun control) then the Democrats need to reaffirm the importance of 2nd Amendment rights, and the Republicans need to recognise the popular support for certain gun control measures.

This does not mean that these measures will prevent future shootings, however, they would be a beginning and would show intent to address some of the factors involved. In conjunction with other measures (such as Connecticut's GVRO process) and a more realistic approach to threats like those presented by radical Islam/Daesh (ISIS), there would be a real chance of coming to grips with what is a growing threat to an open society.

u.


[size=10]* Interestingly, both of the major Acts were passed under circumstances that might be described as impassioned and emotive. Also interesting to note is that, AFAICS, neither Act has been properly contested in the Supreme Court, which means that their constitutionality is still in question.

** As a person who lives in a country where guns are tightly restricted (I have handled and fired shotguns and rifles, but have never held a handgun or a semi-automatic weapon) I am pro gun control under the right circumstances. I recognise that in a country like the US which has 300+ million guns, banning and controlling guns is a totally different propect.

*** As I see it, those arguing for banning or restricting weapons should concentrate their focus solely on semi-automatic rifles (which the media persistently inaccurately call 'assault rifles'). The reasons for this are the same reasons that these weapons are popular with gun enthusiasts: rate of fire, accuracy and deadliness. Put simply, these are the most effective weapons currently available in gunstores (the same reason why mass shooters/terrorists choose them).

There are also good reasons (other than exercising basic 2nd Amendment rights) why people would want to buy a gun like this and this should be recognised when proposing any restrictions. Guns like AR-15 style weapons are highly adaptable and can be used for a variety of purposes from hunting to competition shooting (this person suggests that one of the most effective arguments for semi-automatic rifles is 'hogs'). And, even under the 1934 Act it is still possible to buy a fully automatic rifle (like an M16) if you are willing to undergo an FBI background check, wait 8+ months and pay $200 tax (seemingly very important).

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue is pretty simple on the surface. It's rights vs safety. We all agree that both are important. But the issue is clouded a bit by the fact that this specific right actually make us safer, when exercised lawfully. Being able to defend oneself is precisely why we have this right. How does one balance between the safety of those lawfully exercising this right (i.e. the vast majority) and the danger of those who don't (i.e. a tiny fraction)? It seems obvious to me: the side that errs on the freedom and rights of those who are innocent. In restricting our rights, law-abiding citizens are made less safe by having access to better weapons restricted. This affects me personally. In contrast, the tradeoff in limiting my right is a questionable decrease in the possibility that I'll be a victim of a mass shooting, a possibility which was already infinitesimal to begin with.

When no one can say to what extent gun control laws will prevent mass shootings--if at all--our willingness dismiss this ignorance and err on the side of caution makes no sense relative to a Constitutional certainty. We know we have a right to bear arms. We don't know that limiting this right will do any good whatsoever in making us safer.

The comparison to arguments (seen elsewhere) such as, "But people will commit murder regardless of laws, so by that logic we should make murder legal, too," is a red herring. The difference is obvious: we don't have a right to murder, but we do have a right to own a gun. The reason for gun ownership being legal isn't a sense of futility at stopping people from doing something illegal, but rather a Constitutional necessity.

The burden of proof lies with those who claim we should limit this fundamental right. The increase in our safety should be demonstrable and extremely significant--indeed, on the level of national security. Gun crime isn't a national security threat ... like, say, a jihad upon the West.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

UGH.... the first State falls....Hawaii

SB 2954, now Act 108 just passed, which authorizes police departments to enroll gun owners into a federal criminal monitoring database, known as Rap Back.

Gov. David Iges signature means Hawaii becomes the first U.S. state to enroll gun owners in the FBI system. In addition to alerting authorities when a Hawaii gun owner is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country, the measure will allow Hawaii police to evaluate whether the firearm owner can continue to possess and own weapons.

Im gonna tell you. It will be a cold friggin day.....
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good summation, u.

I found the article I was thinking of when I said some gun owners have suggested limiting magazine sizes. (Yes, yes, I know -- the guy in Orlando used a Sig Sauer, not an AR-15. Feel free to tell the author he's wrong.)

thoughtcatalog.com/daniel-hayes/2016/06/i-am-an-ar-15-owner-and-ive-had-enough/
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Heller case banned nothing; in fact what it said was that handguns couldn't be banned.

To paraphrase a video that's been posted here, name me one other right that's specifically protected by the Bill of Rights that requires:

- Justification to a government authority as a prerequisite to exercise.

- Licensing that costs the citizen money (24th Amendment says "no poll tax").

And then, you can explain what other rights specifically protected by the Bill of Rights can be stripped away not only without your knowledge, but without due process of law. And will cost you money to prove that you deserve your rights.



Getting to guns themselves, it's virtually impossible to obtain a fully automatic weapon. It's extraordinarily expensive and there's a very comprehensive background check. And it takes 9 months if you're lucky.

That leaves semi-automatics. An AR-15 fires no faster than any other semi-automatic rifle or pistol. The advertised rate of fire is 40-45 rounds per minute. Which ain't gonna happen, as the biggest standard magazine is 30 rounds. And at that rate, you'll melt the barrel pretty quickly, and you're not going to be very accurate.

I'll say it again, be careful what you wish for. Lots of people were horrified with Bush's use of Executive power, and are totally cool with the Big O using it. And I bet they'll be horrified again if Trump's elected. Similarly, while you might think it's just fine to keep suspected terrorists from buying guns, you probably weren't cool with suspected terrorists being shipped to Gitmo and getting waterboarded, and not having any due process rights.


There is example after example of draconian gun control not working (Chicago, Baltimore, and the ineffectiveness of the last AWB). Time to give it up and deal with the reality that people have guns. Teach gun safety and education in schools....Y'know, like you argue for better sex education and STD prevention in schools.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:

When no one can say to what extent gun control laws will prevent mass shootings--if at all--our willingness dismiss this ignorance and err on the side of caution makes no sense relative to a Constitutional certainty. We know we have a right to bear arms. We don't know that limiting this right will do any good whatsoever in making us safer.

This is a good summation of the core of the debate. Any changes or limitation in rights needs a very compelling reason. I do not think the "defense"argument is compelling, but here's the thing: neither does the court. Jurisprudence in the US does not care if you use the gun as defense, as hunting, or as a hobby. It also does not care if you are actually part of a militia, or even if the gun would be useful in a militia.

It does not care.

Really, the key case is the Heller case, since that's what holds sway right now. And as I understand it, the restriction on the type of gun you can own is mainly if it is commonly accessible. That means handguns, hunting rifles, and yes even AR-15 style guns are allowed and protected under the current interpretation of the Second Amendment.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And again, we wouldn't be having this discussion (at least along the same lines of division) if we were talking about 8th Amendment rights. Can you imagine that?

Well, if you're on the terror watchlist, you shouldn't be exempt from cruel and unusual punishment. My goodness, the Republicans are siding with the terrorists!

It's BS theater.

The default should always be, "the people have the right to..." And let's not go down the "positive rights" rabbit hole. "Positive rights" aren't rights.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2016 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SoulBiter wrote:
UGH.... the first State falls....Hawaii

SB 2954, now Act 108 just passed, which authorizes police departments to enroll gun owners into a federal criminal monitoring database, known as Rap Back.

Gov. David Iges signature means Hawaii becomes the first U.S. state to enroll gun owners in the FBI system. In addition to alerting authorities when a Hawaii gun owner is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country, the measure will allow Hawaii police to evaluate whether the firearm owner can continue to possess and own weapons.

Im gonna tell you. It will be a cold friggin day.....


Worry not--this law will be struck down the first time it hits a Federal Court. Worst-case scenario: it has to go to a Federal Appeals Court.

Sometimes the slippery slope really exists. Registration and/or being placed on a list is the first step towards confiscation. My advice to gun owners in Hawaii is this: hide your guns now. Lose them in a hiking mishap. Arrange a buglary at your house and claim the guns were stolen.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well stated, both U and Z.

As I've said before, background checks should be comprehensive. Here, having been convicted of any criminal act has a serious impact on your likelihood of getting a license.

Interestingly, (perhaps), you can buy and own as many guns as you like in SA. But until you're licensed, they have to remain in the physical possession of the dealer or club.

Some sports shooters never bother getting a license. The firearm stays at the club.

We have about a 3 month waiting period for the license application, but as I mentioned before, there is also a 3 month wait on the competency certificate, which you need before you can apply for a license.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(SB highlighted this in the thread on the Orlando shooting.)

This is the sort of thing that I am talking about:
The bill looks like it will have a common sense mixture of measures that will address the prevention of radicalisation and the prevention of terrorism suspects from buying guns, while also protecting 2nd Amendment rights and due process.

These are the sorts of measures that both parties should be able to sign up to. What is needed now is for both sides to refrain from playing politics with the issue. It should be made clear that the legislation is properly bipartisan so that both can share in the credit.

u.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aliantha wrote:
Good summation, u.

I found the article I was thinking of when I said some gun owners have suggested limiting magazine sizes. (Yes, yes, I know -- the guy in Orlando used a Sig Sauer, not an AR-15. Feel free to tell the author he's wrong.)

thoughtcatalog.com/daniel-hayes/2016/06/i-am-an-ar-15-owner-and-ive-had-enough/


So short of wholesale, door to door confiscation of firearms, what do you believe is the answer to deaths to to firearms?
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know, let's start a war on guns. Very Happy

I can't say I'm opposed to people convicted of domestic violence for example being prohibited from purchasing guns, although I do think there needs to be clarity on what comprises it. Same for most other criminal convictions. But that just requires proper background checking.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ussusimiel wrote:
This is the sort of thing that I am talking about:
The bill looks like it will have a common sense mixture of measures that will address the prevention of radicalisation and the prevention of terrorism suspects from buying guns, while also protecting 2nd Amendment rights and due process.

These are the sorts of measures that both parties should be able to sign up to. What is needed now is for both sides to refrain from playing politics with the issue. It should be made clear that the legislation is properly bipartisan so that both can share in the credit.

u.

Or maybe not:
u.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem with that article is that it fails to mention that Congress is expressly forbidden from restricting a citizen's rights to buy, own, and use any sort of chemical or electromagnetic projectile weapon (commonly referred to as a "gun"). The other problem is that no self-proclaimed conservative is going to vote for any sort of gun control legislation, no matter how weak or ineffective, only a few months before an election.

The other problems with gun laws all boil down to the same problem--people who are willing to break the law to obtain guns for an illegal use will find a way to get what they want.
For example, consider Average Joe--he is in his 20s or 30s, has no history of criminal activity or mental illness whatsoever, and is approached by Dirty Dan, who offers Joe $10,000 cash to buy him a couple of guns at the local gun show this weekend. As long as Joe fills out the paperwork, passes the background checks, and is allowed to buy the guns he can then hand them over to Dan later that evening and no one can stop him--he can claim that his house was burglarized (it really was--Dan did break in, but only to cover Joe's tracks). Convoluted, sure, but not outside the realm of possibility. Joe can then launder the money by going to a casino, playing only two or three hands of blackjack or take a few pulls on the slot machine, then cash out and go back home.
Scenario number two: Dirty Dan and Filthy Felipe take that $10,000 to Mexico, buy guns from a cartel (Felipe's cousin is a pistolero or a coyote so they have a contact), drive the guns to a remote part of Falcon Lake, then funnel them across into the United States without being detected. A large canoe, painted black, crossing the lake at night--simple. Anyone who thinks guns cannot be smuggled across the border clearly misses every news story of trucks being abandoned in Texas with a couple dozen illegals in the back.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If there is a ban on all weapons.
How do you explain

The Second Amendment repeal?
The black market where item will be purchased?
(enforcement of such laws?)
Murders that continue to happen? (by other means than using a firearm)
The survival of the strongest? (Isn't the law suppose to take care of the weakest? Where is the law when they are needed most?)
Supression of the violence actions of people where there are no laws that address that?)
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 3:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rawedge Rim wrote:
aliantha wrote:
Good summation, u.

I found the article I was thinking of when I said some gun owners have suggested limiting magazine sizes. (Yes, yes, I know -- the guy in Orlando used a Sig Sauer, not an AR-15. Feel free to tell the author he's wrong.)

thoughtcatalog.com/daniel-hayes/2016/06/i-am-an-ar-15-owner-and-ive-had-enough/


So short of wholesale, door to door confiscation of firearms, what do you believe is the answer to deaths to to firearms?

Again, I have to ask: Did you read the article at the link? The guy suggests limiting magazine sizes. I think that seems reasonable. I'd also like to see people actually taught to handle firearms, particularly if they want to own one.

What's *your* answer?
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orlion wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:

When no one can say to what extent gun control laws will prevent mass shootings--if at all--our willingness dismiss this ignorance and err on the side of caution makes no sense relative to a Constitutional certainty. We know we have a right to bear arms. We don't know that limiting this right will do any good whatsoever in making us safer.

This is a good summation of the core of the debate. Any changes or limitation in rights needs a very compelling reason. I do not think the "defense"argument is compelling, but here's the thing: neither does the court. Jurisprudence in the US does not care if you use the gun as defense, as hunting, or as a hobby. It also does not care if you are actually part of a militia, or even if the gun would be useful in a militia.

It does not care.

Really, the key case is the Heller case, since that's what holds sway right now. And as I understand it, the restriction on the type of gun you can own is mainly if it is commonly accessible. That means handguns, hunting rifles, and yes even AR-15 style guns are allowed and protected under the current interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Uh, I don't think that's true. I am not deeply familiar with the case, but I undertook a cursory examination on the wikipedia article. The very first page of the decision states that the district court that first overturned the decision in favor of the gun owner did so in part because it violated ability to use a gun in self defense. Quotes from the decision of the supreme court justices voting in favor of the decision also state that the initial decision was unconstitutional for similar reasons - in fact, to be very, very exact, it states that the "the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional." I don't think it's possible for them to any more explicitly rule that strongly infringing on the use of weapons for certain purposes, such as self defense, is unconstitutional. Many of the fragments - admittedly small pieces of the whole - of the decision make it abundantly clear that the court does think the uses a gun would be put to are important in deciding whether it should be restricted in a given situation, for a given person, etc.

I do agree, based on what I read, that they really don't care if gun ownership is related to a militia. I mean, they would certainly recognize that as a valid reason to own a gun, but one of the major precedents of the decision seems to have been its support for the "individual right" to ownership independent of the "collective right" to gun ownership.

It's one thing if you think the judges were saying one thing while thinking/meaning another, but the language very clearly states that the right to bear arms can be infringed upon at times, dependent upon certain factors, and it seems very clear that the reason for owning a weapon is a factor worthy of consideration in their eyes.
Quote:

If there is a ban on all weapons.
How do you explain

The Second Amendment repeal?
The black market where item will be purchased?
(enforcement of such laws?)
Murders that continue to happen? (by other means than using a firearm)
The survival of the strongest? (Isn't the law suppose to take care of the weakest? Where is the law when they are needed most?)
Supression of the violence actions of people where there are no laws that address that?)

If there is a post like the one above.
How do you explain

The unanimous Think Tank support of gun ownership? (not absolutely, but to at least some extent)
The apparent lack of people in general supporting such a ban?
(perhaps a few do?)
Apparent unanimous agreement on this thread that people should have the right to own weapons? (but some believe there should be some restrictions)
The existence of a post like this? (isn't a post supposed to address other posts? where is the person who needs a post like this because they actually think all weapons should be banned)
The lack of such posts wherever people are weird enough to suggest all weapons should be banned?
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aliantha wrote:
The guy suggests limiting magazine sizes. I think that seems reasonable. I'd also like to see people actually taught to handle firearms, particularly if they want to own one.
The Dallas shooter had so many magazines that they were spilling out of his pockets. Whatever law you pass, it will not stop someone who wants to kill.

Let's say that we pass every single "common sense" gun regulation that the Left wants to pass. Ban "assault rifles." Limit magazine size. Close all the alleged loopholes. Make it illegal for people on the terror watch list to buy guns.

What then? We'll still have shootings. What exactly will the Left propose then? At some point, laws aren't going to stop crime because people break laws. You know, like murder.

The Left keeps saying that it shouldn't be so easy to get guns. Will it really make you feel better after a mass shooting if the shooter had to work a little harder to get his guns? How is that any consolation whatsoever? I'm serious. The Left is only saying it to make themselves feel better--since it won't stop a determined shooter--but how in the world would that make anyone feel better? Getting killed with a handgun is somehow not as horrific as being killed by an assault rifle?

aliantha wrote:
What's *your* answer?
Deal with the reasons why people want to kill in the first place. The Dallas shooter was whipped into a racist rage by the same exact irrational reasoning that the Left and the BLM movement are using to smear White America and cops. Race mongering and refusal to withhold judgment until proven guilty are the culprits. For Orlando, it was radical Islam. We have to combat the irrational thought process and ideologies that are driving people to murder.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Limiting magazine size seems reasonable Ali since it's something you agree with (why, I have no idea, as it's not been shown to have any effect on violence). The Orlando shooter (the ISIS terrorist) held people at bay for hours and reloaded multiple times. Are you arguing that if he'd had to reload a few more times that fewer people would have been killed?

You want to dramatically reduce accidental shootings and suicides? Teach gun safety in schools just like we teach sex education. The shootings will still happen just like there are still deaths from illegal drugs.

That makes a difference and no one's rights are trampled on. And there's no rational argument against it.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Dallas shooter had training in how to handle a firearm. Training does help to prevent accidents, but no one here is talking about preventing accidents. For a person who wants to commit murder, training just makes them a better murderer.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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