Senate Gun Control

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ghost, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    The problem is that it's not "turning into an epidemic". People only think it is because of a few high-profile incidents. All rifles (not just "assault rifles") put together account for about 300 deaths each year out of a population of over 300 million. That's literally one in a million. And yet, to hear gun control advocates talk, if we don't ban "assault weapons", our streets will become rivers of blood with regular full-auto gunfights everywhere. (Somehow, I missed where that happened in the last 9 years.)

    I'm sorry, but the historical evidence is clear that at best an "assault weapons" ban has no measurable effect on crime rates. Since the last ban expired in 2004, crime rates have dropped to historic lows. What, then, is the benefit of such a ban? Without any measurable benefits, why should gun owners have to give up what they currently have? It's not "balance" if there isn't any give and take. An "assault weapons" ban is just taking from gun owners without offering anything in return.

    The problem is that too many people demand action because of a traumatic incident, but that demand is an emotional one rather than a rational one. They demand a "kitchen sink" approach without any examination of whether any of the proposals would actually address the real problems. Emotion is the worst place to set policy from, because it discourages people from examining the actual consequences of that policy.

    If you want me to support a "balanced" approach, then present me an actual balanced approach. Present me something that offers me a benefit at least as great as what you demand I give up. Present me an option that is proven to work, rather than something that has been tried over and over with (at best) marginal results.

    One of the big problems with Manchin-Toomey was that some of what it offered to gun owners is stuff that they should already have had. For example, under current law, you are protected from prosecution for violating local firearm laws if you are merely traveling through a jurisdiction in your care. You are also legally allowed to check a firearm in your baggage when you fly. However, you aren't protected when moving your baggage from the car to check in for that flight. It's hardly a concession to fix such a clear defect in the current law. (Similarly, the law should have been clear that HIPAA did not prohibit sharing mental health information with NICS when it was passed after Virginia Tech in 2007. It's hardly a concession to tell the states that they can do what they already should have been doing all along.)

    When someone is willing to present a serious offer, I'll consider it. I simply haven't seen anything that offers gun owners anything substantial in exchange for new, significant burdens on their existing activities.
  2. V-2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
    Guys, there's no gun death epidemic because of some technical detail about machine guns, why can't you understand that?

    Never mind that at least 71 children have been killed by guns since Newtown. Their noble sacrifice enables REAL Americans to defend the country against the British/NWO/Zombies/Aliens/Communists/Muslamic Terrrrists.
  3. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    But what specific policies would change that?

    Look at some of that list in your link. They specifically say that 40 of the 71 were unintentional. I would categorize that as an area where teaching more gun safety could make a difference, but gun bans or background checks can't. That's why I've strongly supported the idea of mandatory gun safety programs in schools. Even something as simple as the NRA's Eddie Eagle program (which teaches "Stop. Don't touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult." as the way to respond if you find a gun) can make a huge difference. You don't have to touch a gun to learn how to handle one safely, and yet it could have potentially saved 40 lives in the last 5 months to teach those principles.

    If you are concerned about accidental deaths from guns, the solution is to teach people, not to restrict their rights.
    Last edited by Kimball_Kinnison, May 9, 2013
  4. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Building on my last post, I just saw this article on one of the firearm blogs I follow.

    A Houston-area elementary school and another preschool cancelled firearm safety presentations at the last minute because they were going to use material from the NRA's Eddie Eagle program. The presentations were going to be given by local police officers, not representatives of the NRA.

    You can look at the materials online, if you want. Can anyone here point me to anything in the actual content of those materials that they find objectionable? Again, the entire point is to teach kids to "Stop. Don't touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult." In no way does the program advise anyone to pick up a gun for any reason.

    This is the sort of ideological idiocy that I despise about the anti-gun crowd. The NRA is probably the foremost advocate for gun safety. Their firearms safety training is the gold standard. They spend a lot of effort to promote safety, including making Eddie Eagle materials available essentially at cost. (The supplies cost on the order of $10 per classroom, as you can see at the link.)

    How can anyone object to helping kids learn basic gun safety that might avoid a lethal accident?
  5. shinjo_jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 5
    Even if there is nothing in the manual to promote guns, I don't find it surprising or wrong to distrust something from the NRA. People hate them as much as you love them, Kimball.

    Anyway, I often hear that firearm safety classes would solve a lot of problems. Is there any proof to this? I mean, I received countless drug and alcohol and safe-sex tutorials when I was in school and, from personal observance, I'd say an overwhelming majority of us did not adhere to those classes.

    I'm in a rush, but after typing "firearm safety class" into Google Scholar this is the first study that comes up: "After the program, pairs of children were observed playing in a structured setting in which they had access to a semiautomatic pistol. A total of 53% of the pairs played with the gun, and there was no difference in gun-play behavior between those children who did and did not receive the intervention."

    Now, of course that is one study, but I find the typical pro-gun response of "we need more training classes / people just don't know how to use them properly / whatever" to be a rather specious argument.
    Last edited by shinjo_jedi, May 9, 2013
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  6. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    A lot depends on what type of safety class it is, and how well the information is reinforced.

    If you do a one-day lesson on the subject once a year, it's not going to do much at all. The abstract you linked to says only that it was a week long "skills-based firearm safety program". Since I can't access the actual paper, I can't comment on the specifics of the program they used. However, a later study showed that effectiveness can be greatly improved based on the type of training given.From the abstract:
    As with any other safety training, a large part of the key is to reinforce the training at a later date. A one-time 4-hour class is nowhere near as effective as two 2-hour classes or four 1-hour classes or activities.

    At the very least it's been shown to be at least as effective as all of the other gun control proposals out there. ;) (It's also far less intrusive or expensive than those other proposals.) There are even quite a few anecdotal pieces of evidence regarding specific incidents where children remembered the lessons from Eddie Eagle when they found a gun.
  7. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 1999
    star 7
    Thank you for citing evidence on the effectiveness of an intervention. It annoys me to no end when people suggest that we do futile interventions.
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  8. V-2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
    So should gun training be mandatory before being allowed to keep a gun at home? And should the prospective gun owner pay for that, or should it be paid for by the taxpayers?

    Wouldn't a gun tax be a good idea? It could pay for a lot of this stuff (background tests, psych profiles, safety training, etc) as well as some of the cost to society (medical costs, victim support, counselling, funeral costs, property damage, etc).
  9. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    This is a bad idea, for several reasons.

    First, it's unenforceable and unworkable. With the number of guns already in private hands (even if you neglect sales), you are going to see millions of people who inherit firearms. Should they be required to get training before a will goes through probate? What about if they don't find the guns until they sort through those last boxes from Grandpa's house years later? How about the case of where a person owns guns and then they get married? Should the fiancee be required to take gun training before moving in?

    Second, what sort of training would be sufficient? While I have taken some formal training, most of my experience with guns came from friends or family teaching me as we went shooting. I've similarly passed along knowledge in the same way. (For example, any time I take a novice shooter to the range, I sit them down to go over the rules of gun safety at home first, and help familiarize them with the guns we will be taking.) How do you measure that, or would you require that they pay an instructor to give them a certificate?

    Finally, if the training requirement demands government control of the criteria, it would be a clear infringement of a fundamental right, similar to the reading tests that some places required before voting. What other fundamental rights are contingent upon getting training from an approved government source?

    If such things are a benefit to society, then why shouldn't they be funded by society as a whole? After all, if I'm to be expected to help fund someone else's health care because it benefits society in general, then why shouldn't you be expected to help fund firearm safety and self defense?

    However, the biggest argument against a "gun tax" is that it would be unconstitutional. The government can't levy a tax on the exercise of a fundamental right. That was shot down when Minnesota tried to tax newspapers (by taxing the ink and paper that they used), and it would fail for the same principle here.

    Again, though, I raise my question that I asked @Piltdown: this sort of proposal is designed to take from gun owners by restricting things they can currently do legally. What is the benefit to gun owners that would be part of your proposal? You seem heavy on taxing and restricting gun owners, and rather light on offering them anything to make them want to agree.
  10. Emperor_Billy_Bob Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2000
    star 7
    Gun ownership can be abolished. Human frailty cannot. The state would outlaw guns before it would redistribute wealth to encourage safe gun ownership.

    Moreso than that, the elite Right, if called to pay taxes for such things, would almost certainly start to distance itself from the NRA and the gun culture. There is no higher priority than oligarchic unaccountability. The gun thing is a culture war BS issue meant to drag Red Americans to the polls who do not have an economic stake in lower capital gains taxes, et al.
    Last edited by Emperor_Billy_Bob, May 9, 2013
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  11. Darth-Lando Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 6
    We can't encourage gun training and safety classes! Criminals wouldn't go! So let's not bother.
  12. Obi-Zahn Kenobi Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 1999
    star 7
    "Gun training and safety classes are a futile intervention" is an entirely legitimate argument against expending resources on them.
  13. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Yes, but futility isn't measured by the attendance of criminals.
  14. V-2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
    Why should anyone consider the rights of gun owners over the rights of victims of gun crime and gun accidents? It's like asking what are the benefits for smokers to have a ban on smoking in public, or what are the benefits for child molesters to be put on a register.

    The benefits would be that you get to keep your guns despite the awful social cost.
  15. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Personally, I don't have a problem with gun training classes. (I'm talking about voluntary adult training, not school sponsored which is an issue for individual school boards) It's one thing the City of Chicago got right. Let me back up for a second.

    What I despise is the "nanny state" mentality, where the entire population suffers for the poor choices of a few. Not only that, but blanket bans-and I mean bans on anything, not just guns- almost always don't work. (and legally, the Supreme Court takes a dim view of bans in general) For example, take New York's ban on large sodas. Now, I don't drink a lot a soda, but in a perfect world, maybe the obese should be banned from purchasing sugary drinks, if the goal is forcing health? (again, I'm not supporting any kind of ban) But if you use something irresponsibly, then it might make sense to get it taken away instead of taking something away from everyone, including those who use it responsibly. But it's easier, and requires less thought, to try and ban something for everyone. It doesn't make much sense though.

    Chicago used to have a total ban on handguns (and ironically, despite the ban, had an extremely high per capita handgun violence rate, but that's a different matter) until it was struck down by the Supreme Court. (there's that dim legal view again) Now, in order to legally possess a handgun in Chicago, (instead of simply banning them outright) you have to go through a qualifying training class, among a couple of other steps that I'll save for another time. What the class requirement does though, is allow the city to set minimum standards, and, as an added benefit, all sorts of instructor/teacher classes have sprung up where there were none before. The class cost is quite reasonable, and are usually filled by retired police officers, so it gives the old cops something to do as well. It covers such things as familiarity, safe storage, legal issues, and basic marksmanship. Why not? Chicago's training requirement doesn't cover every contingency, nor is it meant to. But you need to take "driver's education" to get a driver's license, so there's nothing too out of the ordinary in requiring "handgun education." Now, the consequence is that not meeting the requirements results in its own distinct set of criminal charges. For example, in IL, not having a valid Firearm's owner card could possibly result in an arrest, which I don't think any other state has. But it's a baseline.

    Now, if something like this were to be tried on a national scale, this is where the anti-gun side also has to meet in the middle as well. You can't do something like make every class cost $1000 so no one could afford it as an attempt at a backdoor ban. You can't require it with every gun purchase as some sort of gun tax, when a main class and maybe a refresher every 5, 10 years would be just as effective. There has to be some sort of legislated privacy protection so the names and addresses of those who take the classes by requirement can't be published every time the New York Times wants to start controversy. In other words, a dialog has to occur over which things actually impact the use and misuse of firearms, instead of worrying about pointless things like seeing a rifle that has a plastic stock and somehow thinking it's more deadly than one with a wood stock and other such distractions. Guns aren't going to go away in the US. Now, what would make sense to mitigate the misuse of them, while promoting the general responsible use by everyone?

    So to summarize:
    Anti-gun side
    1)I don't have a problem with the idea of requiring a kind of "driver's education" for guns.
    2)I don't have a problem with universal background checks, although it's not as big of an issue as some think
    3)I don't have a problem with a separate concealed carry license, if one chooses to take the extra step.

    Pro-gun side
    1) I wish anti-gun people would learn just a basic knowledge of how guns work, instead of "oooh, it looks scary, but I don't know anything else about them."
    2)Quite relying on the ban as the go to panacea.
    3)Realize that lots of people view the right of gun ownership as an important issue, no different than other issues that you may give the same importance to.
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  16. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    Meanwhile, a hot mic catches some anti-gun rights politicians pushing for confiscation, among other stuff.

    You know, when I her folks like Feinstein say they'd ideally want a law that says "turn `em in" or "confiscate, confiscate, confiscate," I tend to not want to go ANYWHERE close to it.
  17. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Let's assume the absolute worst case scenario. Someone wants a bill confiscating guns? So what? What is the "scandal" here? Some people think that there should be no restrictions on gun ownership at all, and that machine guns should be legal again. What is your point? What is there to "discuss" and what does some unidentified voice on an open mic in a crowded state senate have to do with Diane Feinstein?
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  18. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    They want guns to be kept out of the hands of "bad guys" and this is the cause of moral outrage and extremism? What do you think background checks are for Smuggler? Even the Scalia interpretation of the Second Amendment does not extend its protection to criminals and "bad guys". As a wind up, I'd give your post a 6.5 out of 10.

    You know this whole gun control debate is misguided. You cannot control guns in the US in any meaningful way beyond the controls which are currently in place. There are simply too many guns in circulation already and you have constitutional protection to bear arms for self defence. The horse has bolted. This is the reality. It's a terrible reality but it exists nonetheless. What you really should be doing is focusing on the events/massacres/shootings that have given rise to the current gun control debate and focus your attention on how to keep your kids safe in schools despite the continued existence of these types of guns. There needs to be a paradigm shift in law enforcement because meaning meaningful gun reform just isn't going to happen, unless there is a significant change to the second amendment, which isn't going to happen, ever.
  19. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    So do other states have an equivalent law that keeps track of handguns? If not, isn't that the idea behind universal background checks?
  20. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Except that they don't work.

    This case proves that quite clearly. The man was already prohibited from possessing the gun, and was legally required to register the firearm if he weren't prohibited.* From the article, he had previously served 10 years in prison for robbery according to state corrections records, which indicates that he is a long-time resident of New York. In other words, he couldn't have legally purchased the handgun in any other state, even through a private sale.

    How did any of the strict laws in New York stop him from getting a gun in New York? Quite simply, they didn't. All those laws do is provide prosecutors additional charges that they can pile on after the primary crime has been committed. There's no reasonable way for law enforcement to identify people who have unregistered firearms until they have broken some other law.

    * By Supreme Court precedent, requiring a prohibited person to register a firearm that they are prohibited from having is a violation of the right against self-incrimination (5th Amendment). The only people who can legally be required to register a firearm are those who can legally possess it already. See Haynes v. United States (1968) for details.
    Last edited by Kimball_Kinnison, May 20, 2013
  21. V-2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
    How can the militia be well regulated if you don't know what guns are out there, or who has access to them?
  22. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    It's very simple. "Regulated" didn't mean the same thing in 1792 as it does today. In 1792, it meant "well functioning" or "well trained". The term referred to the regulation (i.e. training) of the militia, not regulating (i.e. controlling) the arms themselves.

    If you want to read more background on the historical source and meaning of the Second Amendment, including the militia clause, take a look here. It provides a thorough and well-sourced look at how the Second Amendment was developed, and the events surrounding its creation.

    The short version? The militias of 1792 (and earlier) were not government-sponsored bodies. Instead, they mostly consisted of private citizens who banded together for mutual defense, sometimes against the government! The Second Amendment was written by George Mason, who based it on Article 13 of the Virginia Declaration of Rights (which Mason also wrote). In 1774, George Mason helped found such a mutual defense association for the defense of Fairfax County, Virginia.

    In short, anyone who tried to claim that the militia clause was meant to allow the government to control access to arms or their use is completely ignoring the historical context of the colonial and revolutionary era in which it was written.
  23. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    That's a decidedly terrible answer, KK. A key part having an organized, professional caliber fighting force is standardization. At the very least, it requires a detailed knowledge of the armaments and capabilities each can bring to bear, so that one can create strategies that optimize the use of combined arms. You can't really do that if it's a huge mystery about what, if any, weapons the members of your militia even possesses.
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  24. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    The problem is that you are assuming that a militia is "an organized, professional caliber fighting force". It's not.

    The entire idea of a militia, as mentioned in the Second Amendment, has nothing to do with the government itself. It is a group of private citizens who band to gather for mutual defense. The militia formed by George Mason in 1774 was of that type, and directly influenced his writing of the Virginia Declaration of Rights in 1776 (which he later reused as the basis for the Second Amendment).

    Such militias are still relevant today. One modern example of this comes from the Korean shopkeepers during the 1992 LA riots.

    The concept of a militia as a government-created "organized, professional caliber fighting force" is very much a modern creation, dating back only as far as the creation of the National Guard in 1903*. Prior to that time while there were some state-funded

    In short, your entire premise that a militia (as the term is used in the Second Amendment) is a government-organized force is completely at odds with the history surrounding the Second Amendment. If you wish to claim otherwise, then cite your sources.

    * Even then, that only relates to the "organized militia" as defined in 10 USC 311. The "unorganized militia" defined in that section is far more in keeping with the historical term.
    Last edited by Kimball_Kinnison, May 21, 2013
  25. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    I have no desire to, and it's irrelevant. Privately run military forces are better when professionalized, too. What are you arguing? Proposing that militias should remain poorly trained simply because they were in the 1770s is like arguing they should continue to use muskets.
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