Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Guns & Football

Below the jump, some thoughts on topical issues relating to two things Americans are way, way too obsessed with. Contains politics, so don't read it if you don't wanna:

Regarding The Aurora Massacre:
Absolutely tragic, no other way to say it. That having been said, this whole thing where we're not supposed to say James Holmes' (the shooter's) name or discuss certain "bigger" aspects of this story so that he won't "win?" Look, I understand the feeling behind that... but he already "won" to the degree that he pulled off his crime. I understand the symbolism behind "denying him the fame he so craves;" but come on, that's largely impossible whether you participate or not. It's too late to deny this bastard "victory" (since he clearly doesn't care about being caught); so the only tangible "win" the rest of us can get out of this is to learn from it and prevent it from happening again...

...Which brings me to guns.

I think people have the right to own guns, because guns are tools and tools are only as good or bad the person using them. However, I also recognize the reality that it's incredibly stupid for anyone to be able to own any gun. I drive a car, for example, and to get the right to drive that car I have to prove that I know how to drive it, register it with a government agency on a yearly basis, get it inspected on a yearly basis and have a public record of what I do with it - because cars, while useful, are also dangerous. And if I prove that I'm incapable of using a car properly, my privilige to drive can be restricted and even revoked. To me, that guns should be at least as well-regulated as cars is pretty logical.

But it's not really about logic - it's about cultural mythology. It's about symbolism. Americans LOVE The Gun as symbol. It reminds us of ourselves as we like to see ourselves. Guns are symbolic of our revolution against an oppressive colonial government, our "conquest" of the western wilderness and the "spirit" of how both were accomplished - i.e. not through strategy or fighting-techniques informed by high-born martial legacy, but through a tool that any man of any background can pick up and become a warrior with. "God didn't make all men equal," goes an old saying that might as well be our secondary national motto, "Samuel Colt did." Guns and their attendant mythos are sacred to the American Psyche, so you're never going to get us to "quit" them.

But is it really too much to ask that there be common-sense restrictions on their use? Is it really "radical" to suggest that a Second Ammendment written in an era when foriegn-invasion by armed ground-troops was a very real threat and the "fastest" gun was a single-shot pistol may not be entirely applicablr in an era where foreign-invasion by armed ground-troops is a logistical impossibility and automatic weaponry is commonplace? A common gun-rights retort is that, "yes, people DO need to have assault rifles in case the enemy becomes our own government!;" in which case it seems to me that the Second Ammendment is even more obsolete: Sorry, Mr. Gribble, but The Government has nukes, radar-guided missiles and predator drones - if the Eeeeeeevil Kenyan-Born Secret-Muslim Communist President wants your ass dead, it won't matter how many AKs you've got stacked up in your post-Rapture Panic-Room.

Just saying.

Regarding Penn State.
So Penn State's football program doesn't get the "death penalty" for covering up decades of child-rape in order to protect the "honor" of a fucking athletics program. Instead they just lose a shitload of money, the Holy Program gets kneecapped for a few years and bunch of utterly-meaningless statistics and records get either wiped-out or asterix'd from the books. And yet some people think this is "too far." Me? I don't think it goes nearly far enough.

Granted, nothing can "undo" the crimes or the cover-up; but the sickness that allowed both things to happen - that allowed a monster to go about raping children while others covered it up goes higher than Joe Paterno and bigger than Penn State. The cover-up was possible because Football Programs wield far, FAR too much power in the American college system. Programs wield that power because it's often the college's main source of income - effectively supporting the rest of the institution. And they are the main source of income because alumni donors, and Americans in genral, care way, way too much about Football.

That we are willing, as a culture, to pump infinitely more money into bloated, greedy NCAA programs in order to maintain a talent farm for the bloated, greedy NFL is obscene enough, but predictable - you can't expect America to start caring as much about collegiate science, art and humanities programs that might yield cancer cures, energy-sources on the next transcendant works of art as we do about whether or not some guy can kick a ball between two poles... I mean, have you met us? Most of the time, these warped priorities manifest themselves in ways that are only superficially irritating; like raising men whose sole contribution to the world is throwing a ball pretty-good to the status of living gods. But the Sandusky Scandal represents the logical-extreme of this obsession: The willingness to excuse/ignore horrible crimes in order to protect The Game itself.

This is, incidentally, why while I feel bad for the players, potential players and other program staff whose careers have been impacted by this; I don't see that as a reason not to have done it - innocent of the cover-up they may be, it's all part of an institution that has frankly been crying out to be knocked-open, re-examined and probably dismantled to a large degree for a long, LONG time now. Yes, Penn State should be made to honor the commitments they made to scholarship athletes who may no longer be playing, up to an including financially-assisting them in finding placement at other schools' programs. Yes, either the NCAA, Penn alumni or their trustees should take the good-faith step of helping potential scholarship prospects already "in the works" get to the school (if they still want to) even if there's no real program waiting for them. But beyond that? Knock "The Program" over, find the rotten parts, reassemble if possible and above all else put the fear into every other Program that they're godhood - and their free ride - is over.

Now, obviously, you can't stop people from caring too much about NCAA football; but if colleges were better funded in other areas to begin with football programs wouldn't be quite so all-powerful, which is the only way you're going to stop the next Penn State from letting the next Joe Paterno cover-up for the next Sandusky. I'll probably be branded some kind of "socialist" for saying this, but y'know what'd be a good start? More federal funding for the non-athletic departments of American colleges. Start with the science and technology departments, since after all those have a tangible economic/security benefit to the nation as a whole so as to warrant such investment.

Just saying.


Billy said...

I agree with you, but as a Coloradan who spends a lot of time in Aurora, we don't need people reminding us not mentioning his name is pointless. Just let everyone deal with it their own way. Especially not yet. It would be a different matter if they wanted to not keep record of his name or something, but this is just a choice those people are making because maybe it helps them deal with this. Why does it matter?

but thanks for weighing in on these subjects, was curious if you'd post about them.

personally, while I disagree that we shouldn't have the gun conversation in the wake of this thing, I think we should all try and keep respectful tone while we're having that conversation. Lets discuss it in the context that things like this do happen in a free society with guns. You have a reasonable view of a solution, but "post-Rapture Panic-Room" is rhetoric that I might find funny, but isn't doing the argument any favors. I guess that's a whole other debate though.

Ralphael said...

I totally agree with all the football stuff....

As for guns....not as much.

Cars and guns are two TOTALLY different things. A car is WAY more useful than a gun.... soo sorry to say that argument gets tossed in the garbage with other moldy apples and oranges.

Or do you live in a world where terrorists can stop by at the local gun store and pick up a gun without a background check?

@Raithnor said...

That world exists, it's called any Wal-Mart in Texas.

More importantly, when the good guys have guns the bad guys have tear gas and riot armor.

Ralphael said...

Do I really have to point out to you how many more people die from car accidents compared to bullets?? Cause it's 1:03 over here and I'm thinking about hitting the hay.

Ralphael said...

@Raithnor Well, I've lived in Houston and every time I purchased a gun from Walmart I've been checked sooo could you send me a link to any articles proving your claim?

Ralphael said...

inB4 wall of texts and name calling. Goodnight to all. <3

Omorka said...

It's not the bored dudes at the Wal-mart who don't do due dilligence checking; it's the guys at the gun show down at Reliant Center you have to worry about.

Anonymous said...

Why would a gun nut and militia man need a POST Rapture bunker? Seems like a waste of money for those guys. Now a PRE iPod Uprising Bunker, that I can get behind!

JamesT said...

First on Guns: according to the FBI, the average yearly amount of crimes that are prevented because someone had the foresight to bring a gun to a situation is (drumroll please)... 3. Yes, I'm not shitting you, that is a real statistic. Make of that what you will.

On Football: What Penn State got as worse than the death penalty. The amount of fines and scholarships they have to give up (plus the fact that they're players can leave for different schools without penalties and can keep their scholarships without actually PLAYING the game) for the next few years has effectively CRIPPLED Penn States football program for YEARS, if not DECADES.

I would still argue that the NCAA's decision didn't go far enough, but it's definitely worse than 1 measly year without football.

Smpoza said...





And for the record, there are more than three gun homicides per year (by about nine thousand) so "we need guns to fight other people with guns" doesn't really make sense if you have the ability to do, you know, simple arithmetic. Keep protecting people's rights to buy fully-automatic assault rifles though; by all means.

Anonymous said...

To those who are pointing out that guns are not cars and in the same breath comparing vehicular deaths to gun-related deaths...make up your mind. Either they're comparable or they are not.

One way they are different is that nearly EVERYONE in America owns at least one car, and drives it at least once per day. There are far fewer people who own guns, and those who do usually don't use them every day. In addition, when a gun is used, you're usually using it in an isolated or sectioned-off area where the possibility of accidentally hitting someone is minimal. Cars, not so much.

It's very easy to account for the higher mortality rate via cars vs that of guns without making a stupid blanket statement that therefore, cars must be more deadly. It's not that they are inherently more dangerous; it's that they are more frequently used for longer periods of time around more people who are also using them.

Bob was comparing them as machines with the potential to seriously injure or kill people and making the point that ANY machine or device that has the capacity to _easily_ and/or _accidentally_ maim or kill a human should have reasonable regulations imposed upon its acquisition and use. Guns, cars, heavy or high-voltage equipment...all of it qualifies.

Nixou said...

"I'll probably be branded some kind of "socialist" for saying this"

Well, if the slave owning plantation aristocrats who wrote your country constitution had not already been divinized, half the US political class as well as their voter-lackeys would be calling them bolshevicks.


"Or do you live in a world where terrorists can stop by at the local gun store and pick up a gun without a background check?"


Unknown said...

considering americas gun crme, this is considerably small.

James said...

So Bob, are you saying you're okay with the government killing people through drone strikes?

biomechanical923 said...

Bob, are you saying there's no point in owning a gun because if gangs or the government want you dead, you're already dead?

Because that's what it sounds like.

Megabyte said...

And once again on the politics we are on opposite sides. And while you could point out the nutballs "who hide in bunkers with stacks of AKs" I could just as easily point out the freakshows who see a gun as a devil's tool and literally are so scared of them they won't enter a house that "might" have one.

If you want to setup strawmen of the extremes, two can play at that game, and I for one refuse to live by rules written in the panicked sweat and tears of someone terrified of an inanimate machine they somehow believe is evil and will turn anyone who touches it Satanic.

Just sayin. :)

(PS I really do know people like this... do you know real bunker dwellers, Bob?)

All poking aside though, the 2nd amendment exists and we are NOT in a political climate where I want anything in that document touched... whichever side dominates will rewrite it completely to ideology right now, so trying to say "lets edit this" seems so god damn stupid to me.

As for Penn State, it both went too far AND not far enough. It went to far as to punish the innocent. I don't give a flying shit what kind of example you want to make of whatever system there is, innocent being punished beyond what can't be avoided with the guilty is unacceptable.

It doesn't go far enough because it can't go far enough. The guilty parties really need criminal punishment. THIS punishment is not about justice. It's about vengeance, and since they cant get at the guys who did it anymore, the next in line pays the price.

Tracy said...

Amen. Preach it. Particulary on the Second Amendment crybabies. I agree with the right to bear arms as I am a gun owner myself and my husband hunts. However we are both trained in how to use those firearms, have had to study and practice long and hard to make sure we do it right, and know that just because you can own a gun doesn't mean you should. Frankly the average person is a dumbass I wouldn't trust with a boiled potato launcher, let alone something more dangerous. I agree that people should arm themselvs but I don't feel comfortable with the thought of the Average Joe owning a basement full of AK's or a gattling gun.

As for the football....took the words out of my mouth. Too hell to all the people who would place sports above the lives and well-being of people who will have to bear the scars of what a monster did to them for the rest of their lives.

SirRosser said...

I own many guns. I promise all of you that I will never use them to shoot anyone, unless they are threatening the lives of myself or my loved ones. You can all breathe a sigh of relief and stop losing sleep over it, I guess. Whatever.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan said...

I was with you on the firearms portion until you threw this out there:

"...if the Eeeeeeevil Kenyan-Born Secret-Muslim Communist President..."

You really had to drag that nonsense in here? I get it, you're on the Left and support the President, but you really undermine your good points by demeaning the other side of the political spectrum and say, "Hey, everyone on the Right is a buncha racist morons"*.

On Penn State, yeah, college football, which I adore (go Georgia Bulldogs!), has gotten exponentially larger and more crooked over the last 15 years because it's bringing in more money and attention than at any point in its history. There's no denying that.

The reasons behind funding discrepancies between general university funds and athletic funds are numerous.

I'd argue, however, that the main one is simply that state governments, where public universities used to get the lion's share of their funding, simply can't afford to give that much money to universities anymore, seeing as how the majority of state governments are broke.

As a result, they have to get money from where they can, and the big money in college right now is athletics (football, specifically).

I can't speak for all colleges, but I know UGA's athletic funds are separeted from the academic funds: I think the Athletic Department is technically a separate entity than the university itself, which would explain said separation. As such, the athletic department gives sizable donations to the academic fund annually. So to say that athletic contributions "take away" from academic ones is, for the most part, inaccurate.

Unless you count opportunity cost, though that only applies if the donor in question was choosing between athletics and academics: he or she could have been choosing between athletics and a new car.

That said, I think universities need to use the demand for athletics to help fund their academic initiatives. Why not reward academic donations with athletics-related rewards like football tickets, memorabilia or other things of that nature?

If you're wanting to change people's mindsets to favor academic over athletics entirely...good luck with that.

*I'm a Conservative 99% of the time (I'm pro-gay marriage) and I think the whole birth certificate/sleeper Muslim/whatever else conspiracy theories is stupid at best and horrible at worst: but I only comment on it when someone is stupid enough to bring it up.

UNHchabo said...

I'm willing to debate the gun issue rationally, but I want to clear up some misconceptions first.

After the recent SCOTUS decisions (mostly McDonald v Chicago), a total ban on handguns, or firearms in general, is impossible without repealing the Second Amendment.

Everyone's freaking out that the rifle used in this case was banned under the 1994 "Assault Weapons" ban that expired in 2004. Before this law, actual fully automatic Assault Rifles were already effectively banned from public hands. This law banned certain cosmetic or ergonomic features on a semi-automatic rifle like a bayonet lug or a pistol grip. This law changed nothing about the lethality of any firearm, only the things that make them "look scary".

Bob (and everyone else), what restrictions would you want to put in place? If you actually suggest something useful, maybe I'll agree with you, but all I've heard suggested so far is useless laws, or laws that are already on the books.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of gun violence could be mitigated by requiring all gun owners to go through an extensive psychiatric evaluation. Run them through all the tests for psychopathy, narcissism, delusions of grandeur, and anything else that is likely to lead to them killing people. Also test them extensively on proper gun safety. Stretch it out over a long enough period so we don't get the same problem as current drivers (i.e. they're learning how to beat the test, not be responsible drivers).

That would be the most realistic possibility at the moment. Another idea is requiring RFID-linked and controlled failsafes on all guns in order for them to be legal and putting forth a massive effort to take away anything unregistered and unlimited, but I can imagine people spinning an invasion of privacy argument against that.

Anonymous said...

@biomechanical923 He saying that the reasoning of
owning a more powerful gun is pointless under the
argument of protecting yourself from the government
because they have indefinitely more powerful weaponry
anyway. It doesn't make a difference how powerful
your gun is in that regard. In addition he said nothing
of gangs.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with people owning guns, my problem is the guns people are allowed to own. Military hardware is for the military, not civilians and automatic weapons aren't needed unless you want to have carnage like this. Handguns, shotguns, and hunting rifles I get, but anything that you can fire multiple rounds with while holding down the trigger, that is where I have a problem.

Anonymous said...

You know the difference between those "military" guns civilians are allowed to have and "normal" ones? The look. All functionality reserved for the military are not in there or the gun is illegal. Period

UNHchabo said...

...requiring all gun owners to go through an extensive psychiatric evaluation.

If this just needs to be done by any psychiatrist, then someone crazy could just shop around until they find a doctor who will sign off for them. If this is to be done by a state-appointed psychiatrist, then there's a potential for abuse. There's a history in this country of some people in power denying rights to minorities through laws that allow for subjectivity. This is why poll taxes were outlawed. Similarly, in states that require a law enforcement sign-off for firearms ownership, there's historically a disproportionate number of denials for minorities. Besides, what if the state just appoints a doctor who believes that anyone who would want to own a gun has some sort of psychosis?

a more powerful gun is pointless under the argument of protecting yourself from the government because they have indefinitely more powerful weaponry anyway

If this were 100% true, I think we would have lost fewer of our soldiers in the past decade than we have.

but anything that you can fire multiple rounds with while holding down the trigger, that is where I have a problem.

This was not the case in this shooting. He had a semi-auto rifle, which means you have to pull the trigger for each shot. It looks like a military rifle, but there's little mechanical difference between that and a normal hunting rifle. You can put all kinds of body kits on a Honda Civic to make it look like a drag racer, but it's still a Civic.

UNHchabo said...

Just to clarify, I'm not against psychiatric testing, but I don't think it should be onerous, and I can't think of any way to do it that wouldn't allow violations of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Right now we don't allow anyone who has been found mentally incompetent by a court, or who has been committed to a mental institution, is prohibited. Is there any other fair and objective way of determining mental illness?

Michael Harris said...

Let me just say that I don't care about football. I know that this is coming from a place of spite because of the nerd/jock narrative of my high school years, but any money taken from football (useless) and put into science and technology (of use) is a positive good.

On the topic of gun control I would just state a few points.
1)Can we put the "guns are just tools" thing to rest? Seriously, we are all adults and this knowledge isn't new. We know guns don't will themselves to murder people. It is just so much useless fluff that we have to put into every. Single. gun control debate that is just useless and tacit. No one is afraid of guns. Most are afraid of getting shot.
2) Bob isn't saying that it is good that the government can kill any civilian militia. It is just reality.If you are actually delusional enough to believe that the government (who only gets its power from its citizens) would kill its innocent citizens then it takes another stretch of the delusion to think that we would actually be a threat to them. The reality is that unless you have the tech, infrastructure, and intelligence of the government, then your ak-47s aren't going to do a thing against them if that time ever comes...which it won't.
3)The main difference between cars and guns is that when cars are operated properly they are safe and don't harm us. Guns on the other hand when they are operated properly for their designed purpose they harm us and others. That is what guns were designed to do, make killing/harm/violence as easy and as one sided as possible without harming the user...I find it maddening that guns are one of the things that is designed to kill us (poisons,weapons, chemicals) that we don't regulate. We are very lax about regulating one of the most common homicide weapons.
4. Civillians don't need assault weapons. Seriously what else are these things used for other than murdering swaths of other human beings. Those things floating around unregulated+no background checks when buying them=massacre.
5. Extensive background checks on people owning/buying/selling guns. Is there more to say? Honestly this whole debate is so frustratingly simple.
6. To those who say "If you make gun laws, then only the criminals will have guns." I love that misguided bit of defeatist rhetoric. Only murders murder, but we still try to stop that. Only people who will cheat the tax system do that too, but we still punish those who do.
7. I think that the constitution needs ratification, but not in this political climate and not by politicians.
These are just a few of my thoughts on the matter. The fact is that America is the only developed nation that has such an astronomically high rate of gun violence. It is an embarrassment and the continued inaction is the reason that we keep having massacres like this one.

Michael Flinn said...

You know what is really stupid about all this? That the NCAA seeks to invalidate the records that were made by these people. To make a similar comparison, look at Roman Polanski. He was in quite the scandal and it scarred his career but it didn't make him any less a great director. I don't condone what Sandusky or Paterno did but that is no reason to push their achievements under the rug. People who want to learn about this stuff will know. As for Penn State, they get whatever is coming to them.

UNHchabo said...

@Michael Harris:

A few of your points:
4) As I said above, "assault weapons" are a label designed to make plain-old semi-auto rifles sound scary, and nothing about "assault weapons" makes them any more dangerous or lethal than any other firearm.
5) We do have federally-required background checks when buying any firearm. Go to a gun store and try to buy even a simple .22 rifle if you don't believe me.
6) If you outlaw murder, then only criminals commit murder. This is a good thing. If you outlaw guns, then only criminals own guns. This is not a good thing. Most violent criminals, even today, use their physical might to impose their will on others. Firearms in the hands of individuals make it so that someone who is physically weaker can prevent themselves from being victimized.

Look at the overall violent crime statistics; even discounting "gun crime", we're still a much more violent place to live than any other "developed" nation. Even if you got rid of all our guns overnight, that wouldn't fix our country's crime problem.

Michael Harris said...

4. I meant assault rifle. I was talking about automatic weapons which is an error on my part. I know that the term is used as a scare tactic so just replace my term with automatic weapons and it still stands. What is the point of civilians having that which can only kill many other humans.
5. I know you think that I don't know much about guns or do not own any, but when I lived in Dallas I bought a Remmington 870 mag 12 (beautiful gun, but regardless) from a gun store in downtown Dallas. I was 21 and I was told that I would have to go through a background check usually, but there was a gun show and he just took my money and gave me the gun. One could argue that that was just a shady place, but my point is that it needs to be regulated better and more strictly. Nothing was known about me at that place and I just handed over money for a gun...that isn't right.
6. Well it is the same thing there. they are both bad things. Criminals murdering isn't a good thing nor is the fact that criminals have guns. I understand what your point is burried under an unfortunate argument, but if you make guns harder to get to then you have less gun violence...I want to make a fine point on the empiricality of that statement. It is a fact that if you make gun laws strict then gun violence goes down. You see it in China, the UK, Japan. Sure only the criminals have guns, but so do police. I trust the police(to an extent, but significantly more than I trust criminals). I don't trust some person who has a gun that they don't train to use/don't maintain properly. Outside of the house that is the only person I need carrying a gun around.
To your point I am not saying that guns should be taken away, or that there should be a nationwide ban on guns. I am saying that yes our country has a problem that is based in sociology, anthropology, history, technology, psychology, and industry. Guns and the sale thereof are apart of that problem, but nothing ever gets done because no one ever wishes to point out the fact that guns are also the problem. When my nephew hit me in the balls with a baseball bat I did tell him it was wrong and examine why he did it, but the first thing I did was take away the damn bat so he couldn't hit me anymore.

Aiddon said...

On Guns:

Shotguns, hunting rifles, and pistols I'm fine with. HOWEVER, civvies do NOT need AR-15's, Uzi's, body armor, Desert Eagles, or .50 sniper rifles. That's the stuff that should solely be in the hands of law enforcement and the military.

On football:

Penn State has pretty much been crippled for decades. A similar case happened in the 80s with Southern Methodist who had an absurd winning percentage but after getting banned from playing for a year their football program was ruined. This has become an example that maybe universities (and people in general) should stop heaping so much reverence on athletic programs.

counterpoint said...

thanks for posting about this. glad to hear your thoughts.

Really, the guy who is afraid to be around guns (on the left) is really "as bad" as the guy stacking AK's (i.e., the right)? What world do you live in? One guy might be kind of a wimp, but the other might kill somebody.

Re; Football.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was raised a practicing Nerd, but I also really love football (though don't care much about the NCAA).
To those who say these penalties are too steep - do you remember what happened to USC around 5 years ago? Reggie Bush's (a star player) dad took some money from an agent, and the running-backs coach knew about it. They had a FOUR year Bowl-game ban and STILL have a penalized scholarship pool. Basically the Penn State penalties without the wins vacated and the $ fine (which are of course huge).
So how is this a "Fate worse than death" for Penn state's program when they were accomplices to a CRIME, when similar penalties were levied for financial rule-breaking (not a crime, of course).

Bob, I am always impressed by the loud voices of some pretty oddly right-wingers on your site and many, many forums around the net. The sort of "gamer conservative" - pro guns, military, mildly homophobic, misogynistic, and even racist (i.e., essentially anti-PC etc). Haven't seen anything really like that on these posts, today, thank goodness, but you know what i'm talking about. Probably warrants an episode of American Bob... if you're suicidal, that is.

LessCrazedCitizen said...

A common point of note in the conversations around the office here is that while the Aurora shooter was armed to the teeth and shooting into a crowd, a single armed individual in the crowd could have probably shot and neutralized the shooter, themselves. (They'd at least be shooting from concealment, at least).

Obviously, that outcome did not happen, but I'm kind of curious to learn if such a person did exist in the audience and if they did or did not make such an attempt. I don't think that is the case, though - I think Holmes was shooting into an unarmed crowd.

In the absense of a "No crazed gunman shooting spree in the first place" outcome, I'm okay with a "Crazed gunman shooting spree ended prematurely when shot by less-crazed citizen" outcome.

James said...

Bob, still waiting for an answer to my question - are you okay with innocents being killed by drone strikes?

James said...

Bob, you're NOT a progressive. You've already said many times that you're okay with peoples' rights being violated if it suits your agenda. You're a narcissisct, plain and simple. Just admit it.

UNHchabo said...

4. Automatic weapons are already nearly impossible to get legally. If you want one, you need to find one that was made before 1986, pay whatever the seller is asking, get a letter from your chief of police saying you're a good person, then pay $200 to file for an extensive background check from the FBI (the same background check they do if you want to buy explosives), and wait several months for them to get back to you. Without an outright ban, I don't see how they could be more restricted.
5. Depending on the exact circumstances, you and the seller may have broken the law. In some states private sales (not involving a dealer) aren't regulated, but a private seller who does no due diligence opens themselves up to huge legal liability.
6. To me, lessening "gun violence" without also lessening overall violence is counterproductive. From the statistics I've seen, this seems to be the case in areas where guns get banned.

As I said above, AR-15s are no more lethal than any other rifle, they just "look scary".
Uzis are already out of the hands of the public unless you happen to find one that's semi-auto, in which case it's just a 9mm pistol.
I'm not sure I'm 100% in favor of body armor, but I need to play Devil's Advocate in this case: what about non-violent public figures whose lives are in danger?
Desert Eagles and .50 cal rifles are merely more powerful than most other options; what would be your legislative basis for banning them? When California banned .50 cal rifles, anyone who wanted those rifles instead used .416 Barrett, which is essentially just a slightly skinnier round fired out of the same case. The Desert Eagle was mostly just an experiment to fire revolver cartridges from a pistol; it got notoriety in the movies cause it "looks cool", but nobody actually buys one except as a range toy.

I'd still like to know if you guys have any actual ideas for legislation we should put in place; most of the things you've recommended are in place already, and the rest would be useless.

Michael Harris said...

I have stated my view points and you seem to be eschewing them because they don't fit your narrative, but I am nothing if not persistent. Here are things I would propose.
1. No automatic weapons, period. I know you say that they are difficult to get, but it is not impossible. They aren't illegal. They are highly regulated, but civilians can still buy them and that is a problem. My point is not invalidated because they are a bit harder to get to.
2. Someone, other than the person profiting from the sale of guns who just wants money, monitoring the background check.
3. Harsher penalties for gun store owners who don't follow the rules. I and the gun store owner did break the law, this probably happens more than once so there needs to be a bigger crackdown on shady gun stores. Again this is one of those "just because it is already in place doesn't make it useless. It is broken" rules.
4. No more bulk ammo buying, or barring that, an inquiry to why you need 3,000 bullets for a gun.
5. Leave your gun at home unless you are taking it to the range. Make everywhere a no gun zone. Like I said the incidences of civilians in public using guns turns out negative more often than positive. If this issue is really about protecting your property from the government then this is a no brainier.
6. No hollow point bullets allowed to the public. Is there even a debate there. They aren't illegal.
7. A gun license required to operate a gun. This is a no brainer as well if we need drivers licences to operate a car, why not for a gun?
I'm sorry but the whole "leave the laws the way they are" is pretty indefensible when one observes our reality as is the mind set of control the person and not the gun. While I agree with that, there will always be crazy people we can't fix that because we don't make people. We do make guns and we do make laws so we know exactly how guns and laws will operate. We will always know that so why not control what we can? I mean it fits within your narrative to dismiss any legislation as useless or already there (but broken), but I think the things I have put up there are pretty sound.

John said...

James, this is your daily reminder: you are a prick and an asshole.

UNHchabo said...

1. Why is it a problem? There have been exactly two crimes committed with legal automatic weapons since 1934, and one of those was committed by a police officer.
2. Not sure what you mean. If you mean that store owners should be monitored to make sure they do background checks, the ATF does audits, and they close down stores all the time that have even slightly shifty paperwork.
3. Ten years in prison is the current penalty if you're caught; that sounds reasonable to me. I fully agree with you that enforcement needs to happen; I want people to see gun owners as responsible, and dealers who don't follow the law are detrimental to that.
4. Everyone I know who shoots regularly buys by the case because it's cheaper; how much is "bulk"? I shoot competitively, so I go through a fair amount. How much time and money do you want the ATF using to investigate me?
5. I'd like to see your stats on that, because the stats I've seen show the opposite; concealed-carry by law-abiding citizens reduces crime. If you're talking about criminals carrying in public, then I'll agree with you; we need to arrest them.
6. Hollow-points are more effective at stopping an attacker, so fewer shots are needed. With fewer shots, their chances of surviving are better. Additionally, they make it so that the chance of a through-and-through are less likely, so that anyone behind the attacker is less likely to get hit. These are the reasons why police use hollow-points in their firearms, and why average people should be able to use them as well.
7. I don't need a driver's license to simply own a car, nor to operate it on private land. I can put my car on a trailer, have a friend tow it to a different piece of private land, and drive it there.

I think you misunderstand me a bit. I don't think we should leave everything as-is, just that we don't need any more new laws. If there are people breaking the current law, arrest them. Just because I oppose any new laws you've proposed doesn't mean I think we should get rid of what we have.

Background checks are good. If they're not being done, and criminals are getting their hands on this stuff, why should there be any additional restrictions placed on me, or any of the other millions of people who have no record?

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that if the government were to oppress the population by force they would be doing so with the support of the military and law enforcement agencies. Now from my understanding of the more extreme gun owners who make arguments like “we need guns to fight the tyrannical government (which it will inevitably become)” these people tend to worship at the alter of the armed forces. It begs the question, when the shit hits the fan who do these people think that they will be shooting at?

counterpoint said...


I'm pretty much on the "left" on this issue, but I just wanted to point out that you seem quite reasonable and logical, as do your arguments and conclusions.

[This is all the more neat considering your status as a far-right gun-nut michigan-militia bible-thumping Bob-hating Halo-playing redneck)

Megabyte said...


Really, the guy who is afraid to be around guns (on the left) is really "as bad" as the guy stacking AK's (i.e., the right)? What world do you live in? One guy might be kind of a wimp, but the other might kill somebody."

Actually, my point was that bunker-boy is fringe enough that he is basically Bob's straw man. To prove my point, I invented one on the spot by grabbing the reverse fringe.

Now the fact that you had to ask me which one I REALLY think is worse only tells me you completely missed this point... whoosh... right over your head. Because NEITHER of them are common enough to base any real laws on their behavior. Get it now?

Redd the Sock said...

I've always had less a problem with guns than gun culture. Jon Stewarts said it best on last night's Daily Show: we still can't carry sizable portions of liquid on planes over something that almost happened, but we can't react after something that did because it's guns. The paranoia behind how much firepower is needed for home defense. The delusions of grandeur involved in armed revolution of the governement with nukes, tanks, et al. The arrogance that assumes criminals won't adapt to a more armed society. The lack of remorse when an unarmed person is shot for looking suspicious. The fatalism that these tragedies can't somehow be prevented and we should all just be ready to shoot back. It can come off as a very unwell bunch not undifferent from these shooters. I won't get into personal conspiracy theories about how the solution of "more guns" gives huge boosts in profits for gun manufacturers and sellers.

Not that gun control is an ideal solution, it's just easier to impliment than actualy trying to force people to keep an eye out for what are obviously unwell individuals and geting them the treatment they need to not do something drastic. Sadly, that's a buck long since passed with repeated "not my responsibilities". Gun advocates need to accept that they'll be judged by these horrible incidents (rightly or not) and at least make it look like they're trying to prevent them rather than an atitude that comes off like these are incidents we just have to accept as a fact of life.

Anonymous said...

Here are the reasons why the NRA is right:

#1: They have money

#2: The 2nd Amendment exists

Here are the reasons why the Gun-Control "lobby" is right (the quote marks are because these people have no power):

#1: No tyrant has ever been overthrown in America because of Militias, but between 1968 and now over a million civilians have been killed by gun violence.

#2: Everyone agrees with the premise that there are some weapons that only the military should have (for example, nuclear bombs). It ought to be possible to have a rational discussion about where the line is. A gun that can fire hundreds of rounds within two minutes, without reloading, which is what happened in Colorado, is necessary neither for hunting nor personal self-defense. It is ONLY better than, say, a handgun if what you want is to injure or kill large numbers of people quickly. I don't see why anyone has a right to own it. I have heard the argument that this could have been done with a pipe bomb, grenades, etc....but a) bombs are illegal also (or they should be) and b) it wasn't, because it's easier to do this with an assault rifle.

#3: Owning a gun continues to increase the likelihood that you will be killed with a gun.

#4: Countries with gun control have far fewer deaths by gun violence.

Here's why Bob is right about football:

#1: Football is a game where you jump on people so they can't move a ball forward on a field. It doesn't matter at all and we spend zillions of dollars on it. That's fine, but if you can't spend zillions of dollars on a pointless activity without molesting children, then you probably shouldn't get to do it.

JamesT said...

Smpoza: I think you missed my original point. It wasn't that there are only 3 homicides as a result from firearms every year, it's that guns PREVENT ONLY 3 crimes a year.

My point is that people talk about how they want to have a gun so they can feel safe and protect their family. But often, Guns are more of the problem than the solution. Guns contribute more to violence, than preventing it. And it's surprising that American's willfully ignore the statistics that clearly show that guns do far more harm than ANY good.

Smpoza said...

Um...JamesT...that's what I said. I was saying that in NO WAY can you argue that people protecting themselves with guns offsets the amount of gun crimes that exists, because only three gun homicides are prevented versus thousands committed. I agree with you.

Jeffery said...

I'm not against gun ownership, but I do think the argument that 'we need them to fight the government' is silly. It reminds me of people who seriously have strategies set-up just in case of Zombie Attacks. American military on American soil fighting its own populace is a whole other beast than an American army in Afghanistan or Iraq or Vietnam. A fully functioning military effort by the United States government on its own people would have every advantage in the world, including use of all their bases and a steep, powerful and massive infrastructure. It would also have the ability to cripple every single level of transportation, infrastructure and development in the country. It's not just a question of can you fight. Who's going to fix your guns when they break? Who's going to make you more bullets? Who's going to transport them? How are they going to be transported? How do you get fuel? How do you get food? How about electricity? Clean water? Sewage? Communication? Garbag Disposal? How do you deal with tactical air strikes and long range missiles? This is not the 1800s. We are completely inter-connected whether anybody likes it or not. If we were really facing a police state, super government take-over, these militia groups would be so screwed, Brewster. If society does decide to go Red Dawn on their ass, they're going to end up chicken feed at the Soylent Green factory.

paronomasiac said...

You've said twice now that there are statistics showing that guns prevent crime 3 times a year. Gary Kleck, a criminologist from Florida State University makes the claim that guns prevent an estimated 2.5 million crimes a year, or 6,849 per day.

Could you please cite your source?

UNHchabo said...

Thank you for saying so. I'll note that I'm pretty much none of the things you said though. :)

I'm not conservative; I actually think the minorities of this country are the ones who would most benefit from widespread firearms ownership, as it means that the local governments have less power to take away their rights. That's the main relevance of the Second Amendment in the modern era, not open war against the federal government. There are still areas where government officials have either open or thinly veiled hostility towards minority groups.

@Redd the Sock,
I don't want any of that stuff to be banned. I think shampoo should be allowed on planes, and large drinks should be allowed in NYC. My main problem is people who try to pass legislation in the wake of a tragedy in order to take advantage of people's emotions. That's how we end up with things like the Patriot Act.

"A gun that can fire hundreds of rounds within two minutes, without reloading"
Would it be any better if he was able to reload very quickly? How many rounds is too many?

@JamesT, Smpoza,
paronomasiac cited a study by Gary Kleck; even David McDowall, who had issues with Kleck's study, counted 64,615 annual instances of guns being used in defense of a crime. I have no idea where you got the "3".

Dustin Hiser said...

James, Bob isn't going to answer your question. It's quite frankly a stupid question. It's clear Bob isn't in support of that. You just hate him so much you read stupid shit into everything he writes.

Anonymous said...


Your main point stands but you could not be MORE wrong on the idea that "Footballs support the rest of the university." Less than half of football programs are even profitable, and the cost on law enforcement and medical responders on football events outweighs any type of tax revenue.


In fact, only like 20% of total athletic programs are profitable. Even if they were, this is very, very far from "supporting the rest of the university." Universities typically subsidize the programs, not the other way around. Of course, you could maybe argue that the programs serve as attractants for more students--but I think if you looked into it, school pride before choosing a school is mostly vapid and students generally just choose college based on where they feel like they should go. In any case, the research isn't there for that.

Okay, so there I am with the fact correction. But the thing is...it makes your point more right. They weren't covering up to protect revenues. They weren't covering up to protect a university's success as a whole, hoping that the scandal would be offset by a new generation of learners. No. They were covering up for the sake of their own jobs, and for the sake of FOOTTBALLL. We are too entrenched, and it has blinded us to the main mission of the university.

Anonymous said...


You make a great point. Speed-loaders are also something I think we need to consider banning. Really, my position is that anything that would let you shoot 70 people in two minutes should be unavailable to the general public.

Smpoza said...

@Paranomasiac, UNHchabo, the "3 crimes prevented per year" statistic is from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, also known as the FBI.

UNHchabo said...

By "speed loader" I assume you mean a magazine? To ban those you'd have to ban nearly all firearms designed in the last 120 years. You can also achieve that speed of shooting with nearly any firearm made in that timespan, with a little practice.

Go watch a video of Todd Jarrett, one of the most successful competitive shooters. Even with a 100-year-old pistol design, he can shoot two accurate shots from two magazines faster than most newcomers could fire off two controlled shots. How would you propose we put restrictions on him?

I read the McDowall study as saying that 15,000 people are shot defensively per year. Based on that, I think it's a stretch for the FBI to say that only 3 crimes are ever stopped that way. Do you have a link for your statistics? I can't find anything with google.

paronomasiac said...

Yes, it was mentioned that it was an FBI statistic. However, after a couple of hours of research (yay unemployment), I was unable to find any such statistic anywhere on the internet, let alone the FBI's website. Please, anyone, link me to a primary source that says 3 crimes per year are prevented due to guns.

At least give me enough information to search it up.

Zeno said...

"#2: Everyone agrees with the premise that there are some weapons that only the military should have (for example, nuclear bombs)."

I don't.

Anonymous said...


Weapons of mass destruction should not be covered by the 2nd Amendment. If a layperson can do this kind of damage with that kind of speed, it's too much; ban the tools, criminalize their possession. I understand you don't agree with me, but my position (any weapon that goes beyond the basic requirements for self defense or hunting should be restricted, and any object designed primarily to kill people ought to be licensed and heavily regulated) saves lives and yours (which appears to be "gun owners are, as a group, so awesome that they should be allowed to have whatever they want") at best fails to save lives, I'm sticking with my opinion.

@ Zeno

I've talked to you before, so I recognize you're not an idiot, but unless your position is secretly "there are some weapons NO ONE should have", you're just being silly.

UNHchabo said...

Except that statistics show that not to be true. John Lott's study found that ownership, and specifically the carrying, of guns decreases violent crime rates. There's been some debate over his results, with other researchers finding no effect. Since Lott's study though, no academic has found any evidence that violent crime rates will increase.

My view is simply that the current federal laws are all we need from the legislative side. Yes, more enforcement is always better, but I haven't heard someone suggest a new law, that we don't already have in place, that I think would be effective at reducing crime.

Zeno said...

"any object designed primarily to kill people"

ITT: Teleology

"you're just being silly."

Am I? For humans ever to conquer space requires cheap and abundant energy, probably from a nuclear source. The decentralization of this technology would make it much easier for people to acquire nuclear weapons. Even if that weren't the case, any reaction engine that can accelerate large amounts of cargo to high velocities would be able to do comparable damage to a nuclear weapon. Ultimately, because the advance of technology, the proliferation of Archimedean levers, means that individuals will have that much more destructive power at their disposal, progress depends just as much on trust as it does on engineering.

I'd also like to mention the short story by Heinlein where a man who broadcasts instructions on how to build a laser pistol capable of taking out whole armies effectively ends the possibility of tyrannical government.

cdstephens said...

As a college student, I personally support increased federal loans and such, not federal funding of colleges. For one, the government will get the loan money back, will in itself help offset whatever deficit created by an increase in education spending. Secondly, I'm afraid of improperly going about increasing the funding of education such that colleges either increase tuition costs or decrease financial aid. It's a really tricky issue that I'm scared of giving a definite answer on, mainly because my ability to attend my university comes down to whether I can afford a few more hundred dollars or not due to not exactly being a part of a well off family.

Gordy said...

It's not even proper football.

Just sayin'. ;)

Megabyte said...

Im sorry, but increasing loans wont help.... It can't to be quite honest, not in the long run.

In fact, isn't it unpayable student loans that were the main issue the Occupy movement was about? Well, when it was about anything in particular, anyway...

The problem is we have hit the "education bubble" where the cost more then outweighs the benefit, and people are starting to notice. It's going to burst, the number going to college is going to drop like a rock, and we are going to all be on the hook for the hoard of students who wont be able to pay either the government or banks who gave the loans.

Just watch and see.

Anonymous said...


Yes, you are being absurd. On the one hand, a nuclear bomb can kill millions of people at a stroke, and we already have ample evidence that some people can't handle being allowed to own handguns without going off the rails. On the other hand, one time Robert Heinlein wrote a story. You're overthinking this.


Here are the statistics you're looking for demonstrating to no one's surprise that strong gun laws correlate with fewer shootings.


The United States has a rate of gun homicide something like twenty times higher than the rate of every other similarly-situated country because of our laws.


As for "no legislation that would help"...I mean, preventing people from avoiding background checks and weapons bans using gun shows, gun kits, and the internet is kind of a no-brainer, isn't it?

I feel like this issue really comes down to perceived utility. I've read that it would save something like 10,000 lives a year to take the national speed limit down to 55mph, but we don't do it because we just hate the idea of having to drive slowly. Similarly, I think we'd save thousands of lives by tightening the rules around weapons, but we don't do it because some of us really, really love owning guns. The difference is that gun ownership is kind of a subculture, whereas most people drive. So to me, it seems kind of ridiculous that we don't restrict guns more aggressively, but of course those laws would cost me nothing I care about. But it also would behoove us to stop pretending gun control is totally ineffective.

Zeno said...

"Yes, you are being absurd. On the one hand, a nuclear bomb can kill millions of people at a stroke, and we already have ample evidence that some people can't handle being allowed to own handguns without going off the rails."

You know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

Megabyte said...

Do you have homicide/violent crime rates stats? Not just gun, but general? Might prove interesting.

Although then again, Im not sure how legitimate the stats are... considering Boston is a very liberal city in a state with strict gun laws... but how often do shootings happen there?

Im sorry, but it seems to me this is one of those topics that the figures tend to match what the guy compiling them wants them to... to use a phrase: "figures never lie, but liars sure can figure."

Also, changing the speed limit would do nothing but generate more speeding tickets.... cause no one would obey it.

Shark said...

There's really no right answer to gun control. Both sides have their strengths and weaknesses.

States with strict gun control laws generally have high crime rates because the citizens don't have a gun to fend off a criminal who has a gun or a knife in their hands and it's hard to buy, or carry a fire arm. The police take a long time to get to the crime scene and the criminal will be long gone by the time they arrive, leaving the victim either dead at the scene, or critically injured, or shaken up by the event. States with strong gun control laws have low gun related deaths or injuries because again, the citizens don't have a gun and its hard to buy one.

States with lax gun control laws on the other hand have low crime rates because the citizen can easily buy a gun and use it to fend off a criminal. These states will most likely have tragedies like Aurora, or Columbine because it's easy for a criminal to get a gun. The criminal will purchase the firearm via a loophole, or run circles around the background check by getting someone to purchase the firearm for them. Gun related deaths are also in places with lax gun control laws for a variety of reasons: the owner harming himself, or a loved one due to reckless gun usage, the shooting sprees, or gun user killing a criminal.

Personally, I think we need more gun safety classes to teach people how to use a gun responsibly, have gun stores run background checks on the customer before they sell they sell the fire arm to the the person, and close the loopholes to prevent criminals from exploiting them.

Unfortunately, that won't happen because the politicians vote along party lines.

Anonymous said...

@ Megabyte

No, the speed limit thing was tested in the 1970s when the speed limit was decreased in order to save gas. We have very good statistical data supporting the extremely high probability that there would be fewer accidents and they would be less fatal.

And arguing that the (easily accessible) statistics that pretty much conclusively prove the effectiveness of gun control legislation must be lies because the facts don't agree with your prejudices is the last resort of an intellectual coward. The whole "lies, damned lies, and statistics" argument only works if you haven't already dug underneath the facts.

Violent crime not committed by handguns, for example, is much less deadly, which is the whole point of gun control (sorry, no stats right now, I'm too tired, but look 'em up.)

@ Shark

No, you're just making shit up. Find me a shred of evidence that violent crime correlates to states with strict gun laws somewhere. A MUCH more useful correlate is that in CITIES, which tend to have stricter gun laws for reasons that are pretty obvious, crime is also higher for reasons that are also obvious, and so states that have smaller cities and looser gun regulations also have lower crime rates. But population density is a much better predictor of crime than gun laws are. On the other hand, lax gun laws are a MUCH better predictor of deaths by gunfire as a percentage of population than anything else. There is, in this case, a right answer: stricter gun laws would save lives.

To give you, again, a really specific example of what I'm talking about, there was an armed man at the incident in which Gabrielle Giffords was shot. And he wanted to stop the shooter, and he almost killed an innocent person.


That's *all* you get from arming the populace....and anyway, I say again for the millionth time, the really fascinating thing about this argument is that no pro-gun person ever wants to argue about assault rifles or extended clips; the argument always becomes a debate about whether we should ban ALL guns, which of course nobody is talking about because there are good reasons to own a gun.

As for gun safety, I live in a state with very strict gun laws, including a safety course, and the net result is that I still found a loaded semi-automatic weapon next to the bed of a man who had left his house with two small children in it and I had to unload the thing before somebody shot themselves. There is no amount of training that can make up for that kind of flagrant stupidity.

So to sum up: I see very little evidence that guns in the hands of civilians save lives at all, no evidence that military-grade weapons save lives at all, and a mountain of evidence, both anecdotal and statistical, that thousands and thousands of people wouldn't be dead if Americans weren't so devoted to shooting things.

Again, I'm fine if we want to decide that we love guns so much we just don't care about that, but I'd like that reasoning to at least be explicit.

Zeno said...

"the really fascinating thing about this argument is that no pro-gun person ever wants to argue about assault rifles or extended clips;"

I'll argue about SLBMs and beryllium tampers.

UNHchabo said...


The anecdotal argument about the Arizona shooting could also happen to off-duty cops. The point is that Zamudio didn't ask irresponsibly.

I've already pointed out stats; John Lott's book "More Guns, Less Crime" provides a detailed statistical analysis that has never been positively refuted. The most any other academic study has been able to do since is to claim that gun control has zero effect on violent crime.

I agree that population density has a much greater effect on violent crime, which is why John Lott's study is so detailed; he looks at the effects over time in particular states as laws change. We don't need to try to determine whether the difference between Baltimore's and San Francisco's violent crime rates is due to differing laws. We need to look at each city's rates over time, as compared with the national rate as a baseline. John Lott's done that, and I've read his analysis.

"the really fascinating thing about this argument is that no pro-gun person ever wants to argue about assault rifles or extended clips"

I have been doing that. Assault rifles, which are full-auto, are all but banned in this country. Semi-auto rifles that look like assault rifles are no more dangerous than any other rifle. I'd like you to look at an M1 Carbine, a very common rifle in this country, and unrestricted by the so-called "Assault Weapons Ban", and tell me what makes it more dangerous than an AR-15. They shoot similar, relatively low-power rounds, and both take detachable magazines. The only real difference is that the M1 Carbine has a stock made of wood, and the AR-15 has a stock made of black plastic.

As for magazine capacity, my argument is simply that it won't affect crime. A ban on magazines larger than 10 rounds was also in place during the 1994-2004 "Assault Weapons Ban", and no study has shown any part of that law to have an effect on crime. Almost all firearms come standard with larger mags; most pistols designed since the 1930s hold around 15 rounds, and most rifles hold either 20 or 30 rounds. When the AWB was in place it didn't affect existing mags (and neither does Lautenberg's proposed law), so you have hundreds of millions of mags unaffected by the law, it just meant that manufacturers had to make newly-designed 10-round mags. Some rare mags got raised in price, but overall the law had no effect on what people were able to buy.

Extended mags, that hold more than the standard amount, were involved in both the Giffords shooting and the Aurora shooting. However, both of these mags arguably saved lives, since they both appear to have jammed, whereas reloading with California-legal 10-round mags would have been very quick, possibly allowing both shooters to take more lives than they did.

A magazine is a small, simple device that can be built using a spring, sheet metal, and simple tools. Since criminals would be able to make "high capacity mags" quite easily, why not let defensive shooters use the mags their firearms were designed to use? Yeah, most incidents are over in under 3 shots, but why not let them decide what they need on their own?

I'll leave you with a quote:
"No matter how psychologically comforting it may feel to just do SOMETHING in the wake of a senseless tragedy, you can't just start banning or censoring things because you think they MIGHT give people bad ideas, for the simple reason that in a civilized society, you don't punish innocent people for the possible crimes of another." - Bob Chipman

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but that quote is total nonsense and Bob is a goofball for saying it. If that were true, we'd have no safety standards for anything at all, no regulatory agencies at all, no controlled substances, no airport security, blah blah blah, all of which are inconveniences that we put on ourselves because not to do so would be to take insane liberties with public safety. I totally disagree with that and I bet you do too, if you think about it for five seconds.

I think it's fantastic, truly, that automatic weapons are banned. I think we'd be doing even better if those extended clips were banned, because - hey - if they *had* worked, more people might have died, and there's NO REASON AT ALL why anyone NOT planning a massacre needs to personally own one.

I haven't read this Lott dude's book, but it strikes me as impressive that I found multiple articles accusing him of faking his results during a routine Google search. And here's an article pointing out - with lots of data - that in facts more guns lead to more crime.


I suspect that the stats aren't ever going to convince anyone, although I think I made a perfectly good case with the basic numbers. I also think it's hard to to measure gun control laws accurately in the US, because they're so easy to circumvent here that it's hard to do the thing gun laws really are designed to do, which is to reduce the number of guns available to add to the US's statistically impressive habit of shooting its citizens.

I really appreciate your desire to talk about the specifics of guns and gun equipment, though, which to me is the only way to have a rational discussion about this issue. In my mind, I simply don't understand why anybody who is not on a SWAT team or in the military needs to fire more than one bullet at a time, or use armor-piercing bullets, or do any number of things with guns that are really for tactical assault people to do. I think it's messed up that crazy people keep getting their hands on this equipment legally and that we should take aim at preventing that while allowing guns to be bought and used for protection, hunting, etc. I just don't know why that position is so offensive.

UNHchabo said...


Bob's quote is not total nonsense; he was speaking about censoring movies and other media, but it fits here too. You can't go around banning things because they sound scary; you actually need a reason. The First Amendment allows all speech as long as it doesn't advocate immediate violence, or another limited restriction that the courts have outlined. Similarly, I still think most gun control legislation, and most of the things you've outlined, are directed towards firearms that "sound scary", rather than being based on fact, or allowing the ordinary person any latitude in being able to protect themselves from harm.

If you think that Ayres and Donahue's article says that "more guns lead to more crime", then you missed the point entirely:

"We conclude that Lott and Mustard have made an important scholarly contribution in establishing that these laws have not led to the massive bloodbath of death and injury that some of their opponents feared. On the other hand, we find that the statistical evidence that these laws have reduced crime is limited, sporadic, and extraordinarily fragile." (pg 9 of the pdf)

Also, this academic work only covers "shall-issue" concealed carry laws, not gun ownership overall. This means that states cannot deny someone a License to Carry without cause; generally this means a criminal record or history of mental illness. I believe in "shall issue" on the basis of the 14th Amendment; if you grant and deny licenses based on personal opinion, that's a system that's ripe for abuse. Sheriffs could deny licenses to minorities they dislike, or they might be anti-gun, and not give them to the people who really need them.

Armor-piercing bullets are a non-issue in this country; no police officer has ever been killed when his vest failed to stop a round it was designed for. The anti-gun lobbies like to say that the NRA wants people to have armor-piercing rounds, but that's just spin. The NRA helped rewrite the law, since the original law banned any round that could penetrate a vest, which would have included every rifle round (and the anti-gun lobby was okay with that). In order to stop a rifle round, you need the big and bulky armor our military uses. No cop wants to wear that on patrol. The current law bans handgun ammo of a design that is conducive to penetrating armor.

When you want to define what firearms are "acceptable" for defensive use, it gets very tricky. Are you okay with pistols? Then what about pistol-caliber carbines like the Beretta CX4? That platform is essentially just a long-barrel pistol with a stock, so you're less likely to miss your target and hit something or someone else. If you're okay with that, then you're talking about semi-auto rifles; the M1 Carbine I brought up earlier is only a little bit more powerful, and the AR-15, firing a weak rifle round, is only a bit more powerful than that. Where would you draw the line?

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