Discussion in 'The Sanctum Santorum' started by Gabe Lewis, Dec 14, 2012.
No. Only 11 states require background checks, and 16 require licenses to sell.
Taking this out of context for a moment, I'm wondering why wouldn't it be feasible for people who possess guns for hunting or other sport reasons, to permanently keep those guns at a club or maybe a local armoury? Seems to me like something like that would solve the issue of safe gun storage and making sure that people who are taking the guns out are people who are going to shoot animals, not, you know, other people.
I don't know much (anything) about guns, but are bans on high-capacity magazines/clips whatever not feasible? Like, if you want to shoot more than 6 bullets, you have to take a few seconds to reload, at least. I know this was part of the bullshit Assault Rifle Ban, but what's the harm in bringing at least this piece back?
I don't know that it's the only thing, but I think we can all agree that it wouldn't hurt.
Part of the reason is that Heller explicitly gives self defense as a viable reason to own a gun. So according to the Constitution, guns are in fact for shooting people.
Would that have made any difference in the situation in Newtown though? Let's say Lanza goes in with two 5 shot revolvers (oooh only 5 shots, must be worthless and not dangerous!). Average class size in the U.S. when I was in school was 25-30 kids. So he goes in with these revolvers, walks into a classroom, first shoots the teacher (there goes any and all resistance). He can then simply stand in front of the door and fire at will and reload at will, the elementary kids aren't going to be able to get past him to the door, and most likely none would try. The second revolver could be kept in case any adult tried to fight their way into the classroom.
The only thing I could see as maybe helping this situation, would have been an armed and well trained security guard (I'm not so much in favor of teachers carrying). Some people might argue about why there should be an armed security guard in a elementary school of all places. Well we put them in shopping malls, at Wal-Marts, court houses, public events, etc. Why shouldn't there be an armed person there to protect the public where they are incapable of protecting themselves?
If guns are in fact for shooting people, is alcohol for drunk driving manslaughter, rape, and spousal abuse? A bit of a stretch there, I know. But 99.999999% of the time guns are used for recreation, sport, or hunting. Just like alcohol is used for recreation. But that 0.000001% time when someone abuses that and gets someone killed, everyone wants to blame the inanimate object. Prohibition sure didn't work in the past.
Theoretically if you reduce the firepower, you reduce the body count. This guy apparently had such an arsenal on him he put 11 bullets into one kid.
Yes. The federal government requires all dealers to be licensed and all purchasers to pass a background check and be over 18 for long guns and 21 for handguns. These restrictions generally don't apply to private sales, however. Individual states can, as you've shown, have tighter regulations, but Pacodeth is more-or-less correct.
The gun clubs don't want the liability. They would have to have insurance against theft or fire for all the hundreds of thousands dollars worth of firearms on the premise. Besides, what if the gun owners want to go hunting or go to another range? The gun club I belong to takes me 40 minutes to drive to.
"Theoretically" - The VA tech massacre was accomplished with two pistols - A Glock 9mm with a 15 round mag, and a Walther .22LR (one of the lowest powered bullets made) with a 10 round mag. He killed 32 people. I don't think limiting the Glock to 10 rounds (which was the assault weapon ban stupidity) would have changed that body count at all. And even if you institute a ban like that, you still have literally million of pre ban mags floating for use out there. The only thing the ban did last time was drive prices up.
Personally, as someone who is fairly reflexively anti-gun control, a national no-purchase registry is kind of a no brainer. HI WE HAVE THIS THING CALLED THE INTERNET, IT'S PRETTY AWESOME.
I had no idea he managed it with 2 crappy handguns; wow.
This is why I asked up thread about what changes would be made to make guns "less lethal" - someone with a revolver and a shitload of half moon clips is just as dangerous as someone with an AK-47 with a 90round extended mag. Probably more so, those super large extended mags tend to be unreliable and make the guns jam (I'm only joking a little bit here...)
The overwhelming majority of mankind since time immemorial disagrees with your position and it has never been adopted by anyone other than the Khmer Rouge. Your position betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the way the human mind processes fairness and social order. In short, your view is wrong, you are simply arguing, and you do not in fact feel that way. Attempted murder is "less serious" than murder because it has lesser consequences for society. The difference between a living, breathing human being and a corpse is not inconsequential. It is in fact, one of the single most consequential factors when it comes to punishment. Although you might say that fault is equal, you are again wrong. Total fault or excusable fault is an incomplete picture because it leaves out the issue of fault, for what? If you have trouble contemplating that there can be strings tied to the concept of fault, consider affixing to the ideas different words. Remind yourself that there is a difference between fault and blameworthiness. Nute and Extar and the others are correct. Nute is also correct in that every human death is of significance. You are incorrect to argue to the contrary, both factually and in terms of whether or not you ascribe to contemporary notions of morality.
You are not technically free to dispute the assertion that human life is important or that the difference between life and death is of significance. You have benefitted from a bargain made between all mankind, most of the time honored, that we are entitled at least to pretend that we all deserve treatment better than beasts or inanimate objects. To argue openly to the contrary is not to invite violence or merit expulsion from society, it is however, an invitation not to be taken too seriously, or depending on the listener, deplored as monstrous. When you go to a dinner party, you simply do not insult the host.
Guns don't kill people. People who sell guns kill people.
I knew he was an asshole...
It's an interesting datapoint to be sure and I'm not arguing that reducing the number of guns in the US dramatically wouldn't help, I think it would if it could be done. Though the evidence linking the decline in Australian homicides since the mid 90s to the relatively small gun buy back is fairly weak (Did you know that US homicides have fallen by a similar amount over the same period despite a general loosening of gun laws?) a fall in violence could be due to any number of factors and government policies instituted over the period over which the gun buyback and new purchase regulation were just a small part.
For the US the problem is more likely to be the cost and practicalities of such a scheme. Australia started from a much lower base and managed to buyback only 1/5th of their guns, for the US to attain a similar reduction 1/5th reduction they'd have to buy back 100 times as many guns. Australia put the cost of the buyback at a 1% increase in income tax for a year, though they have 10 times fewer people so a similar US buyback plan would cost either another 10 points on income tax for a year or (more likely) a smaller tax increase spread over 10 years. I'm not convinced that a 1/5th reduction would have a similar effect in the US though simply because the absolute numbers of guns are already so high. I mean a 1/5th reduction would probably only take the US back to 1990's levels of gun ownership when the murder rate was as high as it's ever been. Basically the cost of a gun buy back scheme that would bring the US down to Australian levels of gun ownership would be absolutely enormous.
You could try other more draconian measures like confiscations plus significant bans (handguns & shotguns being as those are the guns that people actually own in large numbers) but I think that you'd get a situation much like the drug war except with an even higher rate of associated deadly violence.
I was talking about both overall homicides and mass killings.
Saying that all or most of the shooters come from secure economic backgrounds isn't a counterpoint against the effects of low, society wide social capital. It would be if I was trying to link the mass killings to poverty rates but I'm not and I think perhaps you are either misunderstanding what social capital is or perhaps thinking of the weaker link with economic inequality and getting confused about that as well.
Social capital is defined as 'interpersonal trust that promotes cooperation between citizens for mutual benefit' and is measured by a social attitudes survey (Do you trust your neighbours, how afraid are you of your local area; those type of questions) and is something that can be increased by socialist style government policies that promote sharing individuals problems across society (National healthcare, education etc) or by socialist private activities like an uptake in volunteering at the local soup kitchen or even just going to community clubs (see: Bowling Alone). Economic inequality is connected with social capital of course, I would argue that it in part arises from it and once it widens helps reinforce low social capital however the transmission mechanism is easy to miss so I'll go over it.
Economic inequality isn't something that just harms the poor through poverty, it hits everyone from the richest to the middle class as it increases society wide psychological factors like social alienation and status anxiety (both factors that are measured by social capital). The rich are often just as anxious about maintaining their status & position at the top of society as the poor are about improving theirs and when things go dramatically wrong a rich person who falls into poverty can suffer deep psychological trauma at the sudden change in status even though their absolute economic situation is no worse than millions of poor people. I guess 'stockbroker suicides' are one common concrete example of this phenomena manifesting. Then of course you have the general social alienation, the fear of your neighbours and 'strangers'. Being of wildly different income levels tends to lead to a lot of heavy community sorting via property prices where the wealthy concentrate in one small area and the poor in another larger area. The two groups rarely interact or even see each other and they become disconnected and unsure how to interact with each other if they ever do meet. You see low level fear between the groups and eventually feelings of hatred as the result. As a concrete example see the phenomena of gated communities, where the rich within literally build a wall to keep the poor masses out, if that's not living in fear then I don't know what is.
So these mass killers, whether they be poor or rich can still be suffering from the same social environment, the same alienation and social anxiety. Those factors can lead to second order effects too where the rich see no need to fund social services (like mental health care) for the poor as they can't relate to them or their lives in any way except as an 'other' to be feared.
As a first order example though, if you are mentally ill with an autistic spectrum disorder and surrounded by a wealthy, successful, networked environment that you have very little chance of integrating into with your illness then it seems possible to me that that environment could just magnify your feelings of personal failure and alienation rather than help mitigate them. If you grow up poor then at least everyone around you was also 'failing' at the social status aspiration game right along with you.
Someone just posted this on my FB feed. Damnit. Took 'em to task about the ridiculous.
What? THE STAFF OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS ARE NOW ALL COMMANDOS is the apparent solution.
Or a call to the police? I don't know.
As a practical, what-can-be-accomplshed-sort-of-way, I am only talking about mass killings. Changing America's gun culture, while improving its safety net and mental health treatment, are all fine and laudable goals, but they are the work of a generation.
In the short-term, outlawing semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, or at the very least limiting their availability to those willing to be certified, both in gun safety, mental health and liability (you must insure your gun like you insure your car) could be accomplished this congressional term. Let the retrogrades stand with the NRA in blocking meaningful and long overdue legislation. We'll see what the shelf life on outrage is.
I agree the buy-backs are not going to accomplish much (due to the sheer volume of guns in the US if nothing else) but it would be a nice gesture and would allow those people who now are seeing some of the statistically significant risks having a gun in the house pose somewhere to safely get rid of said gun. I doubt you would actually see enough participation for the program to actually have the kind of financial impact you are talking about. Also, I am excluding double barrell shotguns, bolt rifles and handguns, which are the type of guns most Americans possess (and while obviously dangerous, are much harder to commit mass murder with - smaller clips for handguns is about as far down the path of actually banning them as any legislature could go in the near future).
I think, you are a bit more optimistic than I am about the maths in Washington and among the public more widely. I expect that the maximum possible result of the latest shooting with this congress and senate to be a restriction on high capacity magazines and something much vaguer around mental health that is cheap and possibly unconnected to guns. I bet any proposed assault weapons ban dies in congress (Republican controlled and likely to remain that way even in two years) or the senate (far too many democratic senators from the south and the filibuster). I'm taking my lead from here:
Here in Canada, the maximum capacity for pistol magazines is 10 rounds while for rifle magazines it's 5 rounds (the loophole is that AR pistols use special 10-round magazines, which can be used in AR rifles). The numbers were an arbitrary -- the federal government originally wanted a cap of 5 rounds for pistol magazines but competition shooters (IPSC) complained. The magazines in Canada are imported with their full capacity (typically about 15 rounds for pistol magazines and 30 rounds for military-style rifle magazines) but are then pinned to their regulated capacity.
Magazines not pinned are prohibited and any civilian in the possession of them will be charged. However, criminals and those who snap will just pop out the pins to use the magazines to their full capacity. The law only affects law-abiding gun owners.
Dan, so how did President Clinton get the "Assault Weapon Ban" passed?
Rachel Maddow on past gun laws -- "Hey, tyranny didn't happen when the ban on plastic guns passed!" -- and possible future gun laws.
In short; he had a democratic controlled congress:
...and a less gun friendly senate and public at large than exists today. You'll also note that the law as passed in 1995 was laden with compromise provisions like the 10 year sunset clause and enough loopholes that manufacturers could skirt the ban fairly efficiently. Plus, an 'assault weapons' ban was always something of a band aid on a severed arm in terms of a legal response.
Gun crime and harm using the kind of weapons that were banned was always low (in the couple of percent of overall gun crime) and overall ownership and possession was low. I'm also not convinced that the ban as written had, or would have any significant impact had it continued, on the kind of mass shootings discussed here which have been perpetrated multiple times (including the one with the highest body count) by individuals with weapons which would not have been covered by the ban as well as during the time the ban was in effect.
With the talk of another "assault weapon ban" that won't be retroactive to firearms already in existence paranoid gun owners are just going to stock up on more guns and ammo... just like when President Obama first got elected.
And also just like before he got elected a second time.
Lum, why do you want people to stitch yellow badges on their clothing? Are you a Nazi?
Seriously, though, it should be a no-brainer. I mean, we have a national Do-Not-Call List that we require telemarketers to abide under threat of huge fine, why can't we have a national Do-Not-Sell-Guns-To List that we require all sellers, even private, to abide?
April 27, 1861
Good thing you're really here for a serious discussion and aren't acting all disingenuous and knocking down strawmen!
Just six posts later:
Trust I am totally here for a serious discussion. I just hate how some people think that reducing the magazine capacities somehow magically makes a gun inert or less deadly. Or that magically making all the guns in the U.S. disappear will somehow prevent seriously disturbed people with the intent to kill masses from doing so:
Oooooooh you're an idiot. Carry on then.
You are entitled to your opinion, but you are wrong about the genuineness of my own opinion. You also don't have a monopoly on determining "how the human mind processes fairness and social order". If you want to argue the point I'll try and explain my position as best as I can, but flatly telling me I'm wrong, then implying I'm monstrous, isn't much of an argument.
Coupled to this is the fact that I never said that human life is not important or insignificant. Human life is incredibly important and death is hugely significant. I just don't think it should matter in the context of criminal justice, because it isn't relevant to any of the things we should properly be trying to accomplish in the criminal justice system (rehabilitation, deterrence, protection of society), which I tried to discuss above. Many things in life are important but should not be taken into account in the criminal justice system, as I'm sure you'll agree. And I absolutely think we deserve better treatment than beasts or inanimate objects, I'm just willing to extend that same treatment to people convicted of crimes. I think punishments should be fair, and punishing people for things outside of their control is unfair. I feel this way because I think all human life is important and human dignity worth respecting, not because I'm a monster or a robot or whatever.
I'm actually not sure why you think consequences should be relevant to criminal justice specifically (as opposed to society generally), because you don't really explain yourself. Maybe the closest you come is this:
To me, this is kind of backward thinking, because it implies that what punishment is doing is trying to mete out consequences proportionate to the loss to the society. This is basically the concept of revenge or retribution, and while you're right that it has a long history, I don't think it's a very admirable or happy history. The point of punishment should not be to assess how much society has lost, then punish a person until society is somehow satisfied that the offender has made up for his or her crime in suffering, as if a loss of human life was a debt that the offender has to repay in time or pain or even his own life. The point of punishment should be to deter, to rehabilitate, and to protect society. None of these objectives has any connection to the consequence of a crime.
I'm not, I fully expect political cowardice, cynicism and ignorance to carry the day.
I think that your system of justice would seem quite robotic to the average person alex as it would quickly lead to either some emotive examples where the principle of fairness appears to be missing or to an incredibly overburdened prison system depending on how you work the sentencing. The law as it is now is a compromise that aims to do justice to all parties as best it can and sometimes that means that a person who did a small wrong has to take a big fall because their actions led to some drastic consequences. The possibility of those huge consequences can help act as a deterrent as well as helping to assuage the feelings of revenge felt by the victims which might otherwise lead to vigilante style actions.
To give a concrete example it would be unworkable to jail every person who gets into a drunken fight but unfair to the victims family not to give at least some significant jail time to a person who kills their opponent in such a fight.
This right here. This is why victims and their families absolutely should never ever ever be heard from at sentencing time. Punishment for the wrongdoer should never be determined by the victims' ability to weep on cue for the court.
The problem with punishing all crime for the potential of harm instead of actual harm is that it quickly leads to life sentences for running red lights (you COULD have killed thirty people in a crosswalk), or the opposite and giving someone a $50 fine for killing 30 people in a crosswalk because we only charged him with running a red light.
We have a range of punishment available in order to mitigate for factors the law might not have taken into account, and we stack additional charges on things because you need to be held responsible for your direct actions. You may not have intended to cause some additional harm while doing something dangerous.. but you did, so you are responsible for it. This has nothing to do with using the court systems as retribution, and far more to do with using them as deterrent by holding you responsible for all end results you directly cause in the course of breaking a more minor law.
You start out by saying you have no intention on reading what has already been said, and then a few posts later here you are repeating stupid arguments we've already covered - go right ahead, but expect people to waste as much time reading your posts as you did ours.
In other news here's a good article on the NRA's war on gun science. It's good policy to make sure people stay uninformed:
That's not what I'm talking about, I just mean that over time those kinds of cases would build up, especially controversial ones where the perpetrator only just gets off the 'intent' hook by a whisker, and they would rapidly undermine faith in the system of justice. And widespread faith in the justice system is all that holds it together and stops victims friends and families from just turning up at perpetrators houses and burning them down 'by accident'. Whether you like that instinctive eye for an eye element of human nature or not, history has proven that its there and I suspect that the justice system has to acknowledge that and carefully channel it toward something less medieval or it will be replaced by something else that does satisfy that need.
I also agree with this:
I think it's more that it's not about being fair to the victim in criminal cases, as much as determining ongoing threat to society as a whole. We're always going to have the human element of desiring punishment, but the court system's purpose is more to determine if there is any need to lock the accused away for a bit due to likelihood of continued offenses. In civil cases it's entirely about being fair to the victim and compensating them.
This should all probably go into a new and interesting "the purpose of courts and jail" thread.
My god, you don't fucking say! Seriously, it's an article about republicans shutting down funding for and banning any agency from doing a specific study on firearm safety. That's the sort of thing that nobody should ever be allowed to do. We're actively making policy off of bad data because part of our government keeps ordering the data people to not produce good data.
Separate names with a comma.