Gun Control - Now Discussing Tucson Shooting

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Lowbacca_1977, Dec 3, 2008.

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  1. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    No, "people" have suggested that the presence of a gun in the home comes with a non-zero probability that it will end up being involved in a firearm accident, domestic violence or suicide, and it's useful to know what the tradeoff is between increasing your family's safety from intruders, if a gun can do that, and decreasing your family's safety from the gun.

    It's like a clinical trial for a cancer drug. In a clinical trial, 10 people get cured of cancer, but 15 people die of side effects from the drug. Do we approve that drug for use as a cancer cure?
  2. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    And I just have to comment on this:

    n the movie "Die Hard 2", Bruce Willis says "He pointed a Glock 7 at me. Do you know it? It's a German gun made entirely of ceramic and invisible to X ray machines."* "Germany" was false, "Ceramic" was false, undetectable was false, and there was no such thing as a Glock7. Still, it amounted to the best publicity imaginable. "Suddenly, everyone was talking about the Glock," says gun lobbyist Robert Ricker.

    Ye gods, this is certainly the "Hollywood effect" that you mentioned earlier, Watto. I realize it's just entertainment, but that scene in Die Hard 2 was just cringe-worthy beyond belief. Glocks were never made out of ceramic, and the model is the 17, not 7. Not mentioned in the above quote is when McClaine also says something along the lines of "it's a specialized pistol that costs more than you and I make in a month," when in fact, the is as basic as you can get, and it's on the inexpensive side. But there's the ready made mystique.

    The other 2 movies which are the worst offenders are:

    Terminator, when Arnold walks in and asks for a "Uzi 9mm," and the gun store actually gives him one, considering that such weapons have been regulated for decades.

    And Lethal Weapon 3 (it might be 4, I don't recall) when Riggs demonstrates the super, jet powered, Teflon coated, "cop killer" bullets, and exclaims "they're everywhere on the streets, boys." When in fact, no such bullets exist.

    The culmulative effect is that firearms in general become somehow elevated and more mysterious than they really ever should be, especially for those who it should probably matter more to, those who are are unfamiliar with guns.
  3. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    It's like a clinical trial for a cancer drug. In a clinical trial, 10 people get cured of cancer, but 15 people die of side effects from the drug. Do we approve that drug for use as a cancer cure?

    Sorry for the double post, but that's not the situation at all. It's your perception, which is the crux of the issue. Your ratio is all out of wack. Realistically, the actual stats don't indicate that for every person who owns a gun, additional people they know are going to be harmed because of it. It's the reverse. For your example to work, then more people would be dead than the entire population of the US.

    What I'm saying is that we know the stats, because they've been repeated by both sides. If there are some 270million guns in the US, and 30,000 gun deaths, then that doesn't even come close to using an example of for every 10 guns, then 15 people will die, and have the analogy remain relevant. The actual ratio is less than 1%, but since you can't have a half a person, we round up to one. And you can distill that down even more. The accidental death rate hovers around 500-1000 people out of the total. (removing intentional use, homicide, and suicide.) So, really, accidents involving guns are infinitesimally small, but again, we can round up to 1. Either way, total deaths or accidents still have a rate of less than 1%, which isn't represented by the comparison.

    To be accurate to what actually happens, you would have to say if 14 people are cured of cancer, but one person dies of side effects, is the one death worth more than the 14 who aren't harmed at all? That could be a debate worth having. I'd even be willing to be more ambiguous and say that 3 people are saved, 1 person is killed, and 11 people suffer no effects at all. What's the cost ratio for that? I suppose you could even add in that the one death is accompanied by spectacular and gruesome physical effects, so when it does happen, it gets covered by the news, while the 14 others in the trial are simply mundane and don't get any coverage at all, but that would be not so subtle at all.

    If you have any example where out of 270 million widgets, 1000 die from them, that would be considered safe by any stretch of the imagination. (it's a what .0000007 risk factor? whatever the math is..) Because as I keep pointing out, that could apply to anything.

  4. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    No, you're still not characterizing my argument correctly, which may be the problem.

    I have not said that for every gun in the home there are 3 accidental shootings and 1 intruder repelled, therefore guns are not safe.

    I've said: for every gun in the home there is a nonzero but very small probability that an intruder will ever be repelled with it, and there is a nonzero but very small probability that it will result in an in home accident, be used in an act of domestic violence, or be used in an inhome suicide attempt.

    I acknowledge that the probability of either happening is small for any one household. However, I think it is useful to know which is statistically more likely than the other, and that if the odds of an inhome accident, act of domestic violence, or inhome suicide attempt are higher than the odds of a successful lifesaving intruder repulsion, then there is a net safety loss in keeping a gun in the home.
  5. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    But that's where I do have a problem, or at least keep questioning your conclusion. Because you're using an assumption to prove a set conclusion. You keep saying "IFthe odds are higher for one, then that's why my conclusion is that there is a safety loss..."

    Again, every year there are around 600 accidental deaths involving firearms, out of 270 million examples. (it hovers between 500 and 1,000) That's an insanely small amount. To make other relevant social illustrations, you can add in suicides and what it means, and intentional uses, which I would raise questions over, but I'll accept them for the debate. So, even worst case, there are 30,000 negative results out of a pool of 270 million individual potentials. That's still a exceedingly small amount.

    That's why it is not as much of a social slam dunk as you are characterizing. If the ratio you indicated was actually true, let's say the gun death rate in the US was closer to 1,500,000 per year instead of 30,000, then guns would disappear tomorrow. But that's not the case. A negative result rate of .0000007 is considered a success in every other field. Rationally, people can look at the results and say "for all the hype, only 600 people were accidentally killed by guns." That the same amount of people who choke to death on pretzels.... This reality goes against everything you've been saying. Think about it, any specific person in the US is no more likely to die from owning a gun, than they are for owning a bag of pretzels. So why focus so much on guns in this area, or rather why focus any more on guns in and of themselves?

    The bottom line is that I'd conclude that one is not less safe for simply owning a gun, so I'd say that your ultimate conclusion that there is a net safety loss isn't accurate. (or at least its not accurate with regards to any other uncertainty in life, such as snacking on pretzels.)
  6. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6

    Not sure about #2... I think, at the shooting range, the primary function of a gun can be recreational. I personally wouldn't mind having a go, if only for the thrill. But then I don't see why anyone should allow me to bring the gun back home with me.


    #2 isn't so much about the primary use of the gun... it's not really it's primary use since you're pointing it at inert objects, but I can negotiate on that. The point is that -- even if it DOES count towards its primary use -- it's being used in an environment where accidents and unlawful use is specifically made less likely to happen than real-world use.

    If every car when used came with its own instructor, pylons on the road, never traveled faster than over the speed limit and never had to worry about pedestrians because all you ever encountered was plastic manniquins where pedestrians would otherwise be... methinks the level of auto deaths would plummet (unfortunately, so would any number of other advantages to having the car to begin with, like getting shipments by truck on time and reasonable commute times).
  7. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Hang on, 44, death is not the only likely result from a gunshot. Or pretzels.

  8. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Detoxing and depoliticizing the data would help everyone, that's for certain. Why would anyone want to exclude adolescent firearm suicide from the statistic about the dangers to family members of weapons, or the dangers of in home firearm violence?

    Remember, my focus in this thread has not been on gun violence in the street, but protecting the lives of people within the home and very specifically whether keeping a loaded handgun in a home with children, including of course moody adolescents, is a good idea specifically defined as creating a net decrease in the likelihood of harm to a family member within the home.

    Both of us seem to be arguing that if there is a net safety increase for people within a home as the result of keeping a loaded handgun for the purpose of protection it is so vanishingly small that it is absurd to justify handgun ownership as a means of home protection.
  9. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Hang on, 44, death is not the only likely result from a gunshot. Or pretzels.

    Well sure, but I don't think it changes the overall points being made, because then everything jumps up as well. We've focused on deaths as a single gauge. If we factored in injury, then what would be the overall rate for say, something like auto crashes? Or anything else?

    Remember, my focus in this thread has not been on gun violence in the street, but protecting the lives of people within the home and very specifically whether keeping a loaded handgun in a home with children, including of course moody adolescents, is a good idea specifically defined as creating a net decrease in the likelihood of harm to a family member within the home.

    Ok, then we'll remove the other factors, and guns are still no more likely to cause harm than pretzels, even with moody teenagers. Jabba, see, this is were you completely loose me. This isn't Chicago, where votes get to be counted twice and such. What's the specific number again? If we count all the moody teenagers who kill themselves, it's still only 17,000-18,000 out of 270 million guns. I don't want to diminish the tragedy that this represents, but it is simply not the case that millions upon millions of teenagers are killing themselves simply due to there being a gun in the house. It doesn't even matter if they would end up finding another way, the figures are set. Even without guns, I bet the numbers won't change all that much, because a set percentage of the population is going to view this as an option. The suicide rate isn't a gun issue it's a social/mental health issue.

    Both of us seem to be arguing that if there is a net safety increase for people within a home as the result of keeping a loaded handgun for the purpose of protection it is so vanishingly small that it is absurd to justify handgun ownership as a means of home protection.

    No, I disagree. I'm saying that it doesn't matter why one keeps a gun in the house-protection, sport, hunting-the actual and specific "harm rate" isn't dependent on that fact, and is so small compared to other risk that it doesn't stand out as particularly remarkable.
  10. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    And yet the fact remains that there are thousands of easily preventable gun accidents and deaths in the home that are easily measurable as the result of emergency room stats and police reports, weighed against very squishy and vague statistics about successful use of guns to repel an intruder who is threatening the lives of family members in the home.

    Despite your attempts to wave away their significance, the numbers are large enough to make home gun accidents, home gun assaults and home adolescent/minor firearm suicide attempts a significant public health issue.

    My one central point through this discussion is that a loaded handgun in the home is an inappropriate and ill-suited tool for increasing home safety. If "just a tool" it is an exceedingly bad one. Not one of your comments has addressed that point, 44.

    A consistent theme across all my political beliefs, and I think anyone who is familiar with my posts here over the years would know this is that when we weigh individual rights against regulation, we should consider the need to protect minors from the stupidity of adults, and sometimes from the stupidity of their own parents. So I have a consistent approach to issues like sex education, the extent to which religious parents should be able to deny medical care for their own children, keeping a loaded handgun in the home, regulatory requirements for child car seats, etc. It's impossible to fully protect children from the stupidity of their own parents, but when there are simple, common sense solutions like regulatory requirements for gun ownership in households with minors present, then we should pursue them.

    I'd add too points I've made in the past, that hunters in general seem to be by an incredibly wide margin the most responsible of all gun owners, when you look at the accident stats for hunters, and I would never want to ban firearm hunting as a sport in this country or prevent firearm ownership for the purposes of hunters. I also believe that hunting rifles/shotguns fulfill all the demands of the second amendment. Obviously, my personal belief in that particular matter doesn't matter in the slightest after DC v. Heller, but I continue to believe that ruling was a travesty, a horrific error based on a textual, originalist and historical reading of the constitution and that in the long term it will make our country less safe for law abiding citizens.
  11. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I think you would also admit that you are quick to view everything in the worst light, as more of a "end of the world" type situation. You often overstate and focus on the negative of a topic and minimize the positive aspects.

    It's why, in the dictionary, they have your avatar pictured with the definition for "Malthusian". :p

    Kimball Kinnison
  12. Master_SweetPea Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2002
    star 4

    (1) How exactly would one show that is or is not ill-suited by your standards? Obviously not all neighborhoods are the same, the decision to purchase a firearm may be based on the the frequency of incidents in that area, etc.

    (2) The problem I have with that statement is that it sounds like you are saying that hunters ONLY have hunting equipment. All the hunters I know own handguns as well. (myself included)

    (3) When the Majority in this nation agrees with you I'll be very sad.


  13. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I think you would also admit that you are quick to view everything in the worst light, as more of a "end of the world" type situation. You often overstate and focus on the negative of a topic and minimize the positive aspects.

    Pessimists are better realists than optimists.
  14. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    Now, I'll admit, my family has a lot of guns, and my dad taught us to shoot, but I'll never understand the moar dakka mentality in America. Often to the point of removing all practicality. I don't see it as a phallus substitute, though; for one, some of the best shots I know are women.

    By the way, you want to know how you'll be a good shot? If you hate guns. If you love guns, you'll be an idiot. You'll hold it to the side like they do in the movies. You'll shoot the sky à la Yosemite Sam. You'll forget that the body doesn't really stop the bullet.
  15. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    My wife can out shoot me, and did on our first date, with my own .45! (I swear I will never, ever piss her off.)

    I wouldn't agree with that. It's not the people who love guns that are a problem, but the people who don't respect them and handle them with that respect.

    I have many friends who love guns, and they are all extremely careful with them. Why? Because they respect the destructive potential that they have. They recognize that they are not toys, but serious tools with the potential to harm someone, including the shooter himself.

    At the other extreme, I have seen people who hated guns try to shoot, and they often are so scared and timid that they become a real danger to themselves and others. I remember one time last year at the NRA's HQ range in Fairfax, VA when a friend and I were there, and a first-time shooter was a few lanes down. While we watched, she got so scared of the gun she was holding that she turned away from downrange, sweeping the loaded gun across everyone on our side of the room. Fortunately, the person with her stopped her and got the gun pointed back in a safe direction relatively quick.

    Kimball Kinnison
  16. Darth_Tarkus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 10, 2011
    star 4
    My apologies for not digging through all 25 pages of this thread before asking, but what are you guys' thoughts on re-banning the clip the killer used in this massacre which holds over 30 bullets and had been banned up until 2004? If that ban had never expired he would only have been able to shoot half as many bullets before having to stop to reload, which was when he was tackled to the ground. Seems like common sense legislation to me.
  17. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Well, I'd think the question with legislation like that is, where do you draw the line? I'd agree that unless a gun owner can explain the need for 30+ bullets in one clip, that seems excessive, but I'm not sure where we draw the line on that.
  18. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Any situation that requires 30+ bullets requires just calling the police. There is no "line" to draw.
  19. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Jabba-wocky, so your stance is that 30+ should be illegal, but everything up to 29 bullets should be legal?
  20. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    I don't think anything other than a standard clip size should be legal.
  21. Darth_Tarkus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 10, 2011
    star 4
    And how many bullets are in a standard clip?

    I don't believe in the slippery slope. You don't need to consider what else might wind up happening if that happened, I'm talking only about this one law, which was already law at one point but George W. Bush let it expire even though it was one of his campaign promises not to. Limiting the number of deaths that can occur in these types of massacres by constraining the number of bullets in these clips in no way infringes on Second Amendment rights.
  22. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    So, you can make a handgun designed to have a standard clip be 30 bullets, at which point that would be acceptable? When it comes down to it, I think the descriptive terms are meaningless, what matters is the number you set it at, and that's the part where I'm not sure where to draw that line since I'm not a gun owner, I've never handled a gun of this sort (fired a revolver, but those are different entirely) and so my question is how many bullets for a clip do you consider sufficient, rather than just making it so people buy guns designed for higher capacities rather than clips for higher capacities?
    To highlight my point.... just looking at Glocks on Wikipedia, the standard clip size ranges from 6 bullets to 17 bullets. Heck, for a model of Glock that's not legal in the United States (because it's fully automatic), 33 bullets IS the standard clip. So, let's say we banned non-standard clips tomorrow. What's to stop Glock from making another variant that uses the same standard clip as the Glock 18, but is only semi-automatic and is therefore legal in the U.S. under the "standard clip size only" rule, but is precisely the sort of thing you were trying to ban in the first place?
  23. Darth_Tarkus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 10, 2011
    star 4
    Same here. All I know is the clip that maniac used was banned up until 2004, and if it was still banned he wouldn't have been able to shoot 19 people before reloading because he wouldn't have been able to buy a clip with that many bullets in it. So it just seems like common sense reform, not even a partisan thing like most gun issues, to re-ban those clips. Just like banning people on the terrorist watch list from getting guns, these proposals actually poll really well among gun-owners, but the NRA has the power to squash these debates, especially with the House now in Republican hands.
  24. Master_SweetPea Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2002
    star 4
    Whoa slow down!

    (1) Congress let it expire. "W's" campaign promise was to sign it IF congress "sent it to him"
    this was covered during the 2004 election when he talked about how the votes weren't there and no one wanted it.
    As a side note Kerry said he didn't know that it was going to expire and he would have fought for what Bill Clinton
    fought for if only he had know. (sounds like he's really a great senator huh!?)

    (2) There is currently no data that shows any real difference in the deaths of mass shootings from high-capacity magazines compared to standard. The 9mm carbine used at Colombine is only available with a 10 shot magazine from the manufacturer for example. This Video is surprisingly good at explaining why the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was silly.

    I need to get off these boards and get some studying done.
  25. Darth_Tarkus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 10, 2011
    star 4
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Columbine shooters had acquired their guns through illegal means. This guy didn't. This guy got the most he could the legal way. So if those clips were still illegal, he wouldn't have had access to that clip and therefore would not have been able to shoot as many people as he did. I have no particular love for John Kerry so that doesn't really surprise me. But in this one case I think the evidence is pretty clear.
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