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Archive through November 24, 2002

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Lordhobgoblin
Posted on Sunday, November 24, 2002 - 8:09 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Blackjack,

"It is in the US. It is protected in very much the same language and context as our right to free speech, religion, and to a trial by jury."

The concept that the right to own a gun deserves a place up there with free speech, freedom of religion and trial by jury is just something very difficult to swallow (on this side of the pond anyway). I could accept an argument that says it makes practical sense to allow gun ownership but all this "I was born with the right to own a six-gun and there should be no debate on the matter" is bizzare.

And on the right to free speech being protected. Well it seems this is a protected right so long as your free speech doesn't involve anything uttering anything communist. A poster in the part of the US embassy in London where people apply for visas (and in the year 2002!) says 'We don't want alcholics or Communists in the USA'. That could probably be my chances of a visa fucked (possibly on both counts). It seems you protect the right to free speech so long as what you say is no further left-wing than liberalism.

As for trial by jury, well there's always the option of being indefinitely held on a US military base in Cuba.

It would seem that your right to own a gun is much more protected than the right to free speech or trial by jury.

_Blackjack
Posted on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 3:03 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

Increasing the controls on private gun ownership would have very little effect on our economy or our daily lives.



Well, except for those million or more who use the guns to defend themselves each year.

And while removing legally owned firearms might not have an IMMEDIATE effect on the day-to-day life of many, it would totally disrupt the basic balance of power between the people and the government in this country. The way it stands now, the people have a great deal of power to protect themselves, from crime, from foriegn invasion (OK, not much of an issue since 1812, but still) and, yes, from a hypothetical oppresive regime. Take away the guns, and the people are totally dependant on the government for these things.

If our Constitution was being written today, it may well be that car ownership would have been enumerated as a right as well, but as it stands, gun ownership WAS.


Quote:

I would argue that COMPELLING arguments are needed to prove that loosening the gun controls in the UK would lead to any decrease in gun crime.



I never said it would. There are fundemental differences in the cultures of the two countries. It might reduce the number of home-invasion burglaries and muggings, but there are too many other factors to be sure. However, previous to the second world war, firearms were much more widely availible (legally) in England, and <gasp> most of you managed to avoid shooting one another, same as us.


Quote:

So gun control is an reduction of personal liberty, well so is control over class A drugs, illegality of sex with under 16's, not being able to legally buy booze if you're under 18 (or I believe 21 in the USA), not being able to legally drive a car at speeds of over 90mph (or much les I believe in the USA), not being legally able to drink more than 2 pints to beer and drive home, any many other things.




Some (but not all) of those things you listed entail a very significant risk to the public, so the government is justified in limiting those liberties to the extent that it can reduce tat risk. Allowing law-abiding citizens to own guns does NOT present anything close to the risk that drunk driving does, since, as I've shown you again and again, the people who are committing crimes with guns are almost never law-abiding citizens. The government is justified in curtailing the liberties of convicted felons because they pose a demonstrable threat.


Quote:

Gun ownership is not some special, untouchable individual right.



It is in the US. It is protected in very much the same language and context as our right to free speech, religion, and to a trial by jury.
Lordhobgoblin
Posted on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 11:00 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Blackjack,

"Your argument based on the potential for human irrationality and irresponsibility could be used much more strongly to justify banning automobiles, whose irresponsible used accounts for far, far more deaths and injuries than firearms'."

Banning automobiles would have a massive impact on our economies and our way of life. Increasing the controls on private gun ownership would have very little effect on our economy or our daily lives.

Whereas you argue that COMPELLING arguments are needed to prove that banning guns in the USA would lead to a substantial decrease in gun crime I would argue that COMPELLING arguments are needed to prove that loosening the gun controls in the UK would lead to any decrease in gun crime.

So gun control is an reduction of personal liberty, well so is control over class A drugs, illegality of sex with under 16's, not being able to legally buy booze if you're under 18 (or I believe 21 in the USA), not being able to legally drive a car at speeds of over 90mph (or much les I believe in the USA), not being legally able to drink more than 2 pints to beer and drive home, any many other things. Gun ownership is not some special, untouchable individual right. If a government believes it is in the interests of the safety of society to ban private ownership of guns then such a law is entirely justifiable.
_Blackjack
Posted on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 1:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

Perhaps you may be content with just going round and kicking the shit out of him, but just maybe the thought of picking up your gun, knocking on his door and blowing his brains out might just cross your mind for a brief moment.



Perhaps, but statistically that is not a common outcome. The thought of bashing in his head with a brick might cross someone's mind as well, now and then, but we don't ban bricks based on this eventuality.

Your argument based on the potential for human irrationality and irresponsibility could be used much more strongly to justify banning automobiles, whose irresponsible used accounts for far, far more deaths and injuries than firearms'.


Quote:

I have not seen any solid evidence to show that legal gun ownership actually reduces violent crime so therefore it is in societies interests to reduce the amount of guns potentially available for acts of violence.




The statistics I quoted are pretty strong. From an economic standpoint, based on those figures, the cost to our society from gun crimes is less than the cost of the crimes that private gun ownership prevents, albeit marginally. Even if it is a zero-sum, where the economic risks and the benefits negate each other, there is still the question of personal freedoms and the innate structure of the US government. Unless one can demonstrate COMPELLINGLY that an abridgment of a freedom this basic is necessary for the public good, we can't allow ourselves to give that freedom up. So far, nobody has demonstrated that more gun laws will have so significant a beneficial effect that they are worth increasing the government's power.
Lordhobgoblin
Posted on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 10:46 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Doc,

I'll agree that most gun owners are responsible, well-balanced individuals most of the time.

But just imagine that you found out that the man next door was screwing your wife behind your back, laughing about it and boasting to his friends down in the local pub. Perhaps you may be content with just going round and kicking the shit out of him, but just maybe the thought of picking up your gun, knocking on his door and blowing his brains out might just cross your mind for a brief moment.

Perhaps with another man, slightly less rational and balanced than yourself the thought might become more than a passing moment. Perhaps he's already suffering from depression and in a fit of anger and rage might decide "fuck it anyway, my life is screwed up, I've nothing left to lose, I'll go round and blow the bastard's brains out" and then do just that.

Human beings are not emotionally well-balanced all of the time and therefore legally held guns will be in the hands of irrational, emotionally unbalanced people. Then there's the incidents of children getting hold of their parent's weapons. Personally I think that the risks involved in increasing the amount of guns available in society (legal or otherwise) increases the likelihood of shooting incidents involving guns. I have not seen any solid evidence to show that legal gun ownership actually reduces violent crime so therefore it is in societies interests to reduce the amount of guns potentially available for acts of violence. Criminals will always get guns if they want to so its very difficult to reduce the amount of illegal guns, but holders of legal weapons are unlikely to get a gun if they cannot legally own one.
Head_Prosthesis
Posted on Monday, November 18, 2002 - 8:10 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

HABLA ESBULLETHOLE?
Dr_Ordinaire
Posted on Monday, November 18, 2002 - 12:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Those who dislike guns often believe that gun owners are itching to shoot an intruder.

There may be some "repressed killers" out there, but for me a gun is just insurance.

I dont hope to shoot someone with it any more than I hope for a fire when I buy fire insurance or hope for an accident when I buckle up.

For me, its hard to understand people who do not avail themselves of this "insurance"

There is some truth to that saying in martial arts circles: There are no victims, only volunteers.
Bjacques
Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - 10:31 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Heh. Considering the government we have now, leftists should be backing the microbus up to Guns Warehouse. I mean, *Admiral Poindexter* in da house? Anyway, Blackjack's right. Guns, like drugs are easy to get. Use both responsibly (and not concurrently).

Disclosure: I don't own a gun, never have and probably never will. It's more trouble than it's worth. Half my friends have them, though.
Mr_Rabid
Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2002 - 11:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

As far as the number of incidents of self defense that don't include shooting go- there is no knowing.

See, if you live in the ghetto, and those inclined to Break, Enter, and Annoy In General are aware you posess a gun... they tend to fuck with you less.

A guy just out for a buck will leave you alone.

The knowledge of you being armed won't stop a crack or heroin addict on the tweak (who will do just about anything for the money,) but the bullets will, assuming you manage to fire.

The downside is, you are a more attractive target for those desperate enough for gain not to care, because they may acquire a gun in the bargain.
_Blackjack
Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2002 - 4:46 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

To the gun advocates, the other side are 'leftist' control freaks who want to disarm everyone so they can be sent to the Gulag more easily.



Nah, I think most gun-cotrol folks are genuinely concerned about violence in our society, but have become so overcome with their emotions that they ignore the facts of the matter.

For that matter, I am a leftist, at least relative to most Americans, and probably would get along better with most gun-control advocates than with most NRA members. I am just a leftist who doesn't let emotional predispositions get in the way of my reason. That is also why I don't much bother FIGHTING gun control legislation, since it is very unlikely to have much effect on the availibility of guns. The position I usually take is to correct factual errors, not to advocate a specific policy.
_Blackjack
Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2002 - 4:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

OK, I don't know, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that statistic sounds very very dubious.




The 2.6 mil figure comes from a study done by respected Florida State criminologist Gary Kleck. He has no stake in the gun lobby (he is a lifelong Democrat). His work has been reviewed extensively, and while some think his number is a little high, it is generally accepted to be in the ballpark, and his methods are considered sound. A smaller study done by the Department of Justice ( http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles/165476.pdf ) put the figure at about 1.5 million. Various other studies have produced numbers between 775,000 and 3 million, so 1 million seems like a good conservative estimate. The FBI's crime victimization stats put the number at 100,000, but that is generally accepted to be very low, since it only counts incidents reported to authorities.
Pataphysician
Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2002 - 1:40 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Everybody:

This is my rifle, this is my gun,
This one's for fighting, this one's for fun!
Lordhobgoblin
Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2002 - 1:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I think it's fucking wierd. I really thought the image of American men lovingly cleaning and polishing their firearms and keeping them loaded in anticipation of an intruder was really a myth. As to discussing the relative merits of using a 9mm semi-automatic, a 12-guage Winchester or a pump-action shotgun to do the job! It all smacks of surplus testosterone.

Just go and get laid, it's a lot more satisfying than hand polishing your long barrelled Magnum.
Pataphysician
Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2002 - 12:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I think it's gay.
Admin
Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2002 - 12:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Pata, that's what freaked me out about the doctor (a psychologist!) who lived next door. he was gleefully *waiting* for someone to set foot in his bedroom. he would get all giddy just talking about it.

not saying ya'll are that manic, but there must be some hormone that makes people? men? desperately want to defend their territory/family. like, otherwise they might pee their pants if they didn't think it might be so much fun.
Perruche_Verte
Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2002 - 12:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

It's sad to see all the elements of the national 'debate' reproducing themselves here.

To the gun control side, the others are all gun nuts masturbating over their firearms collections. To the gun advocates, the other side are 'leftist' control freaks who want to disarm everyone so they can be sent to the Gulag more easily.
Pataphysician
Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2002 - 10:23 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Some of you boys are creaming your jeans fantasizing about some big strong man coming into your bedroom at night so that you can penetrate him with your Magnum until he spurts all over your carpet. It's too bad that it's unlikely that will ever happen for you. Must be frustrating.
Pataphysician
Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2002 - 9:43 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

"The 'shoot the bad guy' scenario happens about 1200 times a year in the US"

or, in other words: almost never.

"people defend themselves with firearms (usually without having to shoot anyone) upwards of 1 million times each year, possibly as high as 2.6 million, depending on which study you go by"

OK, I don't know, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that statistic sounds very very dubious.
_Blackjack
Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2002 - 9:25 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The "shoot the bad guy" scenario happens about 1200 times a year in the US, based on CDC stats, but people defend themselves with firearms (usually without having to shoot anyone) upwards of 1 million times each year, possibly as high as 2.6 million, depending on which study you go by.

For my money, a 9mm is not the best choice for home-defense, unless you are using "safety slugs" (bullets which fragment on impact instead of penetrating deeply). 9mm's tend to penetrate very well, so if you miss (or even if you hit!), there is a risk of the round going into the next room, the next apartment, etc. More penetration also tends to mean less knock-down power.

The conventional wisdom is that, indeed, a pump-action shotgun is the way to go, not just because it is intimidating, but also there is less risk of penetration, they have tremendous stopping power at close range, and they don't require a lot of aiming.

I don't own a gun for self-defense, personally. All I have is a Winchester lever-action carbine, which I own because I think it looks cool. I go target shooting now and again, but the gun usually stays on a rack with my swords, unloaded. There aren't a lot of break-ins in my area, tho I have had drunks just wander in on a couple of occasions. Fortunately, they tend to turn tail and leave once they see me.

Thea main question is one of choice and responsibility. Most American adults are more than capable of owning guns responsibly, so I see no reason to put unreasonable restrictions on them, especially since such restrictions would do little to reduce gun crime.
Pataphysician
Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2002 - 8:34 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I've always thought those "shoot the bad guy" scenarios were really just wishful thinking. Join the Army. They could fix you up with somebody to shoot.
Perruche_Verte
Posted on Wednesday, November 6, 2002 - 9:25 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well, I wish this were something more than rumor (hello, lawyers? Baz?) but an old roommate (who was FAR too interested in such matters) once told me that if someone breaks into your home in the middle of the night, you may assume they intend to hurt you and respond with deadly force if you wish.

The rationale is that if they just wanted your stuff, they'd break in when no one was home. I can go along with that. I don't think any of my possessions are worth killing over, but I do believe in self-defense.

But if you keep guns at home, AND have an alarm that calls the police (as MD says he does), then I think you DO have an obligation to let the police know you have guns. Unless they are very well-secured, with trigger locks, etc., whenever you're gone -- which IMHO they ought to be anyway.

If you rely on other people to protect your property, it seems only fair to let them know they might be facing an armed attacker when responding to your alarm. This is, as I understand it, why many cops are in favor of gun control.

As to whether guns really make you safer, I'd say it depends on too many other factors to make any kind of blanket statement at all. My main protection is three layers of locked doors and some very observant neighbors.
Raschied
Posted on Wednesday, November 6, 2002 - 8:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ditto. Nothing is scarier to a burglar than the CHA-CHINK of a shotgun slide.

Of course, I'll also chamber a real round when I do it...ya never know....
Dr_Ordinaire
Posted on Wednesday, November 6, 2002 - 4:51 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

MD, I keep a 12 gauge Winchester shotgun. Not because I ever hope to use it, but because I believe that, in the still of the night, the Krack-Krack of a Magnum 12 gauge round being chambered will discourage potential bad guys.
Mogan_David
Posted on Wednesday, November 6, 2002 - 2:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Quote:

If someone breaks into your home, do you really know what their intentions are? I wouldn't be shooting them to protect my DVD player, but rather to protect my family. If there is some asshole in my house at 2:00AM they've forfeited their right to life and liberty by threatening mine.



Very well said.

I simply look at it this way. What if the criminal did his deed to a cop. What would happen if the criminal were to carjack a policeman? How do you think the policeman would react? I feel I have the same right to react as he would.

Wanna hear my plan should a break in occur at my house? It really doesn't matter because I'm going to tell you anyway.

If some night I hear breaking glass and someone opening my front door and entering my home, I plan to take my Ruger 9mm semi auto pistol and fire a single round into an ugly chair that I have in the bedroom. My hope is that this will warn the intruder that the shit has officially hit the fan.
If when I round the corner of my bedroom and enter the living area of my house and the SOB isn't running his ass out the door, I plan to shoot him with the remaining fourteen rounds in the clip of my pistol. I will then yell FREEZE! while I reload. It's a simple plan, and I expect it will work.

Invading someone's home is a form of psychological rape. A person's security, privacy, and much of how they identify themselves as a person is wrapped up in where they live. A burglary destroys a persons sense of well being and safety. It goes far beyond a property crime and is in my opinion a crime of violence.

My grandmother has a friend who was burglarized while in her home. The thugs tied this old woman up so tightly that she lost the blood flow into her hands. The time it took for someone to find her was long enough that her hands died from the lack of blood and had to be amputated. She now has no hands because some fuckwad decided he'd steal a few bucks from an old lady. Death isn't good enough for people like that.

At trial the benefit of the doubt goes to the accused. During the perpetration of a crime, shouldn't the benefit of the doubt go to the victim?

MD
Crosby
Posted on Wednesday, November 6, 2002 - 12:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

If someone breaks into your home, do you really know what their intentions are? I wouldn't be shooting them to protect my DVD player, but rather to protect my family. If there is some asshole in my house at 2:00AM they've forfeited their right to life and liberty by threatening mine.

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