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I figured this is the best place for it, if any.

Today a terrible, terrible thing happened in Connecticut and like clockwork, my Twitter feed exploded with cries about why firearms are falling into the hands of people would commit these terrible deeds. Or, how if guns were banned, the violence would be mitigated. But I have yet to read a convincing story for gun control that isn't "ban all guns" or "ban arbitrary selections of guns". It's the liberalized version of Obamacare that conservative factions (such as myself) push against: we don't want it, but we just don't know what the solution is.

Thoughts? If you're for gun control, how do we implement it?

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You know my thoughts on gun control...

Gun control means hitting what you're aiming at.

It's funny because I did a lot of research a couple of years back and discovered that some countries with strict gun control laws (like Canada and the U.K.) have a higher incidence of violent crime, per capita, than the United States. In fact, in Canada, the rate of gun murders in Canada (per capita) is higher than in the United States and almost all of those gun murders are done with guns which are illegally owned (it is possible to legally own a gun in Canada, you just have to jump through a lot of hoops).

This tells me that taking guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens leads to one thing...murders being committed by criminals, with illegally owned guns, against people who can't defend themselves.

Fuck that.

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We have gun control. This summer I bought just a .22 Remington and had to fill out forms. I think it had to be run through a criminal background check as well.

Unless by Gun Control this discussion means gun prohibition.

I heard an interesting comment though that the school had a protocol in place for security. A locked door where visitors are buzzed in. It sounds like somebody fucked up and let this guy in.

EDIT: /from WSJ

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323297104578179271453737596.html

A letter sent to Sandy Hook parents earlier this year described a new security protocol put in place at the school. The protocol requires identification for most visitors who must ring a doorbell to gain entry to the school's front entrance, which is locked after 9:30 a.m.

"If our office staff does not recognize you, you will be required to show identification with a picture ID," the letter said.

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My stance is always the same. It sucks stuff like this happens but if someone really wants to do it, they would find a way to get a gun or use another weapon. Kids need to be taught about gun safety.

You always here stories of older people where they were taught how to use guns before their teens. That stuff doesn't happen anymore.

Also there is a petition that reach 25,000 signatures related to this today that has to be addressed by the Obama administration. Since it's reached 25k I'm signing it just to hear what the White House says: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/immediately-address-issue-gun-control-through-introduction-legislation-congress/2tgcXzQC

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I wrote this on my Facebook because I saw a bunch of my friends getting into it over the gun law thing. These are just my thoughts on today's events, and I don't mean to offend anyone with them, and I don't think I will, but this thing has hit me hard so it's a little emotional at points.

"I've tried to take the day and get my emotions settled before I said anything about what happened today. I've tried to do some internal soul searching and attempt to understand what happened today, but I can't do it. I can't understand. Before anyone keeps reading, understand that this has hit me exceptionally hard for some reason and I can't help but be emotional about it. I just need to express my thoughts, in some way.

I am crushed by today's events, and I find it curious that many have taken the shootings and turned them into a massive debate about gun laws. Are we so far numb to these things as a society that we now jump on any national tragedy and piggy back it for our own political agendas? I get that there's anger, and hurt, and sadness across the US right now. But instead of coming together and using this as an opportunity for some inner thought and meditation, so many of us jumped on the gun debate. Don't get me wrong, I understand that for some, this is undoubtedly their way of caring. We are all in the same boat when it comes to never wanting this to happen, regardless of which side of the gun debate you're on. We have a disagreement of how to best solve the problem.

I think it says something about myself, personally, that I'm not remotely shocked by today's events. I'm devastated, but this stuff doesn't surprise me anymore. I was looking through some of the photos of the parents and kids and imagined how I'd be feeling if it were the school my parents worked at, or a school that I used to go to... a school where I know the staff. Or even going on another level, thinking back to when I was in school, and imagining the feeling of saying "have a nice day" to my brother only to have him stolen from me by some depressed psychopath who couldn't cope with his relatively average life. The anger, rage, grief, and sinking feeling in my stomach from even thinking about this scenario is the only insight I can gain into what the parents and siblings of those lost today must be feeling. But I've been down this road before... I remember when the Aurora, Colorado shootings occurred, I thought the same thing. I had been sitting in a theater with... I don't even remember who... but I remember it was people I loved and cared about. And I couldn't help but wonder what it would've felt like to watch them die. And before that, Columbine. And before that, the shootings in Norway. And the countless other ones that I can't remember right now. But today is somehow different, somehow harder. I saw the other stories and thought they were sad, and moved on. This one has haunted me all day. Why?

Because 20 kids between the ages of 5 and 10 were killed today, along with 6 faculty members and teachers of an elementary school. 20 kids, not old enough to understand the complexity of the situation that surrounds what occurred today. I've got 13 years on the oldest one and I don't think I understand either. I don't think I've been this devastated by a national incident since 9/11. These teachers, to say nothing of the 20 innocent children, had dedicated their lives to a selfless profession and had no business being killed in cold blood. You can't write this off as "some kid who shot the bullies that tormented him". It can't be written off as a "political statement". It just goes straight the root of the human mind and soul. How can someone be that disturbed? What the hell is wrong with us?

At the end of the day, I can only hope that some of the families are able to repair themselves from the devastation that occurred today. That some of the children had siblings, so that the parents still have a reason to wake up every day. That the teachers who were killed had an opportunity to live out some of their dreams before their lives were stolen. But I know deep down that's not going to be the case for all of them. That for some of the parents, the wounds that were inflicted today are never going to heal. And as an atheist I can't sit here and pray and hope that god will do something about it. The only question I'm left with is if he actually does exist, why the fuck didn't he do something about it? So instead, I hope. I wish against anything that an atheist can wish against. And I'll probably even pray, because on days like this it doesn't matter to me that I don't believe. So I guess all I can really get to is the same thing everyone else gets to. "My thoughts and prayers and wishes are with you guys in Connecticut." But I know that my thoughts aren't going to bring back those poor kids, who were excited about Christmas. All the presents their parents bought that they're never going to be able to open. My thoughts and prayers aren't gonna bring back the teachers. And that this isn't the last time in our lives that this is going to happen, regardless of how much we pray and hope that it will be."

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Note: I wasn't going to post this because I didn't want to take the time to edit it, and I kind of didn't even know if I should post it. Since I've basically only heard about this debate for the last week (there was a shooting in an Oregon mall by where my parents live a few days before the Sandy Hook shooting), I decided to take the time to edit and post this. Also, by further way of introduction, I'm generally a liberal fuck, but haven't ever really thought or cared about this issue before, so some of these ideas might be a little raw or stupid. Please point out any rawness or stupidity that I don't myself point out.

Original post, with edits and modifications: So, while I agree with the general sentiment of Absolution, I think that the gun debate is an important one to have, and now is when it is happening. I also think guns are not the thing that could be changed to actually effect any outcomes of any shootings in America. Mental health coverage is the thing that should be focused on, since it's at least a problem that America can deal with.

While gun restriction measures work in places like Japan or the UK, the US is too big for anything like gun elimination to even be remotely effective without a massive and expensive police effort; it would probably fail without a massive effort by the National Guard, which would make people freak out about more than just the 2nd amendment. In other words, the political reality of an effective solution to gun control is nonexistent in this country at this time. Concealed weapons permits seem like the dumbest shit I can possibly imagine as a measure to prevent criminal violence. In fact, any restrictions on how and where people can carry guns without metal detectors being installed at those locations (or even with them being installed, as we get more and more 3D printers... but that's an entirely new discussion) seems completely stupid. These are exactly the types of circumstances that highlight the "criminals... guns" claims, to me. The only thing that would remotely work is removing guns from the hands of people who are likely to commit violence. Ideally, this would be determined by vast amounts of information, from a study of mass killers to information on how mental illness works generally, you could make it so that background checks actually mattered.

This brings me back to my original comment. The effective policy that would fix this (and would never pass congress or survive exposure to the American public) is as follows: In order to purchase a gun, you must be of good mental health, unlikely to commit such a crime (say, a threshold of less than 0.0000003%, such that, if we actually did this, statistically, less than one gun crime should happen per year). How the fuck would you know this? Everyone would get mandatory mental health evaluations every year. Actually study these types of events using science, instead of people writing novels and other bullshit about them. Since people don't like to be forced to do things, the punishment for not submitting to these evaluations would have to be severe (plus, if you didn't have proof of one, you couldn't buy a gun). Anyone who was deemed likely to commit violent crimes would be placed under watch, and have all firearms removed from their homes and all other places they would be readily available such that the watch wouldn't work to prevent the acquisition of guns. Then, there wouldn't be any gun violence.

Obviously, this is ridiculous and would not ever happen in America. But at least it would function as a prevention measure, which nothing I've ever seen suggested would do such that it was not susceptible to "then only criminals would have guns" claims. This is: only potential criminals wouldn't have guns! The government would also have no money. Crime prevention is hard. Is this an important type of crime to prevent? Yeah, I think we all think that. I also think that the causal relations involved are not opaque, and are available for study. I have a lot more to say about this whole thing, but I think this wall of text is enough for now.

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This is straight up stolen from a buddy's facebook page. He is currently a Green Beret, and I attended the course with this guy. He is not a gun nut. He is a very conservative, Christian man. It sums it up pretty well. "Gun control" is not gun control... it's the first step in conquering a people.

"A LITTLE GUN HISTORY

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. >From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated

Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

You won't see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.

Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.

Take note my fellow Americans, before it's too late!

The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind them of this history lesson.

With guns, we are 'citizens'. Without them, we are 'subjects'.

During WWII the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!

If you value your freedom, please spread this antigun-control message to all of your friends.

SWITZERLAND ISSUES EVERY HOUSEHOLD A GUN!

SWITZERLAND'S GOVERNMENT TRAINS EVERY ADULT THEY ISSUE A RIFLE.

SWITZERLAND HAS THE LOWEST GUN RELATED CRIME RATE OF ANY CIVILIZED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!!!

IT'S A NO BRAINER!

DON'T LET OUR GOVERNMENT WASTE MILLIONS OF OUR TAX DOLLARS IN AN EFFORT TO MAKE ALL LAW ABIDING CITIZENS AN EASY TARGET.

Spread the word everywhere you can that you are a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment!"

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@PapaKhaz, a couple of things: First, there is too much yelling in that post at the end. It's not easy to read, and it's not indicative of sense-making. That's unfortunate, because it appears to actually really be moderately sensible, if outdated information (I'm here specifically talking about the stuff in all caps).

Second, a question (again, I'm new to thinking about this seriously): I see your friend brought up some concerns that look like they are saying the US could turn on it's people more easily with gun regulation. My question is: if the government wanted to kill or control us, would weapons being discussed as being banned actually help vs. such a force? I mean, we have drones and stuff now that normal people have nearly no countermeasures to. I just don't know anything, though.

Third, Switzerland just isn't a very violent place. Whether this is because of guns is actually determinable (and I might actually try to do this while my ability to play a certain game is lacking). However, 75% of their murders were with guns, which is far over the average across the world. I actually tried to look into what their current policy on storage of guns is, and I gathered that most of the militia now stores their rifles in some sort of storage facility, and only a small number of ready-trained people actually have their rifles and bullets in their homes.

Fourth, I do think that it would be interesting to figure out if more gun ownership actually relates to lower property theft or mugging or whatnot. I would think it would, but I haven't actually seen any of this data anywhere in the current debate. This is likely because it is focused on preventing loss of life, rather than any other ramifications of said prevention.

Again, error pointing is encouraged. I'd rather be right in the end than ignorant and wrong at the beginning, and just pretending to be right in the end. :P

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I've started seeing that stuff in several other areas, so I think he simply copied and pasted, not wrote it himself. I agree it gets less factual and quite a bit more 'preachy' there at the end.

Your second point is a good one. I personally, having been both law enforcement and now military, do not believe that the government will flip a switch and suddenly jack-booted thugs will be patrolling the streets cinema style to take our guns and oppress the people. The guys who are the police and military are the ones who enjoy shooting and have lots of guns. They don't want to give theirs up anymore than the rest of us do. I know because I really like MY guns and wouldn't give them up, much less kick my way into people's homes to take theirs. What I AM concerned about is a gradual shift. If we start implementing strong, far-reaching gun control then my kids will grow up with the idea that all guns are bad and nobody should ever have them... then when that next generation takes over the seats of law enforcement and military, for them it is only a very small step to kicking in doors. So that's my concern. It's not going to happen overnight, but it lays the groundwork for what could happen within my lifetime. That scares me, for my kids and my (future) grandkids. I don't want any of them to live in oppression, and I truly and firmly believe that the 2nd amendment is NOT about protecting my right to hunt a deer, it is about protecting my descendants' futures from an oppressive government the likes of which our forefathers fought a war with in order to secure the freedoms they recognized but an oppressive government refused to. Will my having a semi-auto AR15 with a 'tactical' style foregrip and buttstock stop a US military soldier with the technology available to him in 25 years? No. But an armed populace will make the government stop and think before they issue those orders. It's a 'worst case' scenario, and it's a long way off... but our country became a country out of that very situation.

Switzerland may simply be a more peaceful place. I can agree with that. Sometimes places are just nice and people just get along really well and there's little need for personal self defense. However, this ain't Switzerland. Empirical evidence has proven, time and again, in countries where strict, far-reaching and wide-encompassing gun control is implemented the only people who follow those new laws are the law abiding citizens and there is always a rise in crime by those who do not care about laws preying on those who follow the new laws. Look at Chicago, a city that implements very strict gun control: Chicago has some of the most strict gun control laws in the country, yet so far 446 children have been shot and killed this year alone. The average murder in Switzerland may have been committed with guns, but compare their number of murders per capita and it's easy to see that they have a very, very low rate of murder or violent crime. Unfortunately we'll never know if it's strictly because of widespread gun ownership and use or if it's just a really nice place and people get along.

I can tell you that gun ownership does indeed lower violent crime rates. I know this from personal experience within my neighborhoods that I patrolled, in the instances where gun owners showed or even used guns in defense and word got out... suddenly those neighborhoods had less criminals rolling through, burglarizing homes or cars, etc. I know this at state and national levels based on report after report after report that are issued that directly and conclusively link gun restriction and gun ownership with crime rate.

What I was muttering to myself from the start and I'm beginning to see coming to the surface more and more is this: It's not a gun control issue so much as it is an issue of our current recognition and treatment options available for people with mental instabilities. I read the very well written blog from a woman who is the mother of a violent child, and her struggles to care for him, to love him, and yet to seek the help she needs in order to keep his rages in check. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-mental-illness-conversation_n_2311009.html)

It really opens the eyes. I had to deal with these kinds of people in my time on patrol, the people who have mental problems that cause them to lash out and become violent, even though 30 minutes later they are lucid again and are weeping because they don't know why they went off like they did.

I'm concerned for several reasons because of these recent attacks. I'm concerned because I don't want anyone to ever lose a child, much less to a murderous rage from a disgruntled person. I'm a father of 3 beautiful daughters, I could not begin to imagine how those families must feel. My heart truly bleeds for them. I pray for those children, I pray for the survivors. I'm concerned because I, right wrong or indifferent in the opinions of others and despite the fact that I have devoted my working career(s) to enforcing this government's rules and laws, I do truly fear for my safety when left in the hands of that government. The government is a collection of power handed out to powerful men. Power corrupts. Therefor government corrupts. It is a fact. It has happened to every single government that has ever come before. I am concerned because I do not want my government to take away my rights, little by little, and become the very same government that oppressed a people to such an end that those people took up arms and fought for independence and established their own country in order to be free of the shackles the corrupt government would see them in. Last but not least I'm concerned because we do have people who truly do need help and yet we can't get past the gun control debate to begin discussing what we can do for those people, how we can make sure they do not have the chance to commit some kind of atrocity like those we have seen in recent years, and yet care for them humanely and in a manner that does not leave them as a raving lunatic in an asylum, strapped into a straightjacket and medicated to the point of drooling in a corner for 18 hours a day.

Now that I've had my pages-long rant, I'll step off the soapbox. :P

-11B

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First off: Holy crap, I'm having a rational discussion about gun control. Awesome.

Secondly: Thanks for responding to each thing I brought up. Your answers helped me to understand the issue more.

I really do think that controlling who can have guns (not crazy people) is the most important thing, and since I guess it is actually relevant, I'll probably come back to this in a post or two, since I actually have some concrete ideas about this. Short version: Mandatory storage (locked) and/or carrying only (I, not having them lying around a house or whatever, or you're liable for whatever the fuck someone does with your weapons. If someone wants to buy a gun, make them take some kind of quick mental evaluation as part of the background check, not just some check on whether they've yet been diagnosed by someone.

For now, I'd like to talk about something that you brought up that I only started noticing after talking about this on the forum. I just read the second amendment and it sure as shit isn't about hunting weapons. I'm actually confused as to how the assault weapons ban didn't get struck down in the supreme court the first time it was passed, since supposedly the second amendment is now being interpreted as for personal defense, which uh... doesn't make sense to me. Pretending for a second that the second amendment should actually be interpreted as written... Why don't we have an infrastructure for state militias that includes making sure every able bodied person can actually fight? Some of these things (California's, I believe) actually require you to have already been in the military... I don't even.

Also, finally (and written after the bulk of this post), holy fuck: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57560297-504083/dalton-williams-south-dakota-teen-allegedly-shot-to-death-by-friend-after-paintball-argument/

Guns. Anger. Bad.

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Actually, there are 2 ways in which the second amendment are commonly interpreted.

The first is that we should have the right to keep and bear arms so that we are able to form a militia and defend ourselves against invaders.

The second is that we should have the right to keep and bear arms so that we are able to form as private citizens and defend ourselves against a tyrannical government, should the need ever arise.

Much of the debate has to do with the use of commas in the article which talks about keeping and bearing arms.

The original wording is thus:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The version which made it in to the constitution, however, is slightly different :

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The argument is over the meaning of the comma as it would seem to separate the need for a militia and the right of the people to keep and bear arms. This indicates the need of the people to be able to rise up against an oppressive government and its militia.

Others say that the comma is simply a pause and that the meaning is that we need to keep and bear arms in order to form a militia, which some believe means that those arms are ok but only for military personnel.

If we look at it in the spirit in which it was written, however, the founding fathers understood the need of the people to both defend themselves as a militia AND to rise up against an oppressive government because we had just done both. I firmly believe that the original intent was to secure exactly that right...to keep and bear arms for self defense and for the purpose of defending our territory against invaders, both foreign and domestic.

I hate to use dirty debate tactics and logical fallacies like ad hominem but I truly can't see how any rational person could NOT translate it that way. (and that's where the ad hominem comes in due to the implication that if a person doesn't see it that way they're dumb, which isn't my intent). It is just so clear to me that I wish I could nail it into all the anti-second amendment people's heads.

Bottom line is, we are intended to have guns according to the second amendment. Those guns are not limited by type, form, or function in any way and we are intended to have them for whatever purpose we see fit, insomuch as that purpose falls within the law or the spirit of the constitution.

2cents.jpg

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If we say "crazy people" can't buy guns, who dictates what "crazy people" includes? It could include anyone with a mental handicap, but it could also be rewritten to include anyone who works in this profession, or anyone who lives in this area. If you draw that out to the final extreme, that could mean "anyone who lives in the South" or "anyone who works in the private sector." I agree with Khaz in saying that the government won't likely flip a switch, but it would be a gradual continuation towards tyranny.

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Rob, I just want to take a sec to add something to your statement :

Those guns are not limited by type, form, or function in any way and we are intended to have them for whatever purpose we see fit, insomuch as that purpose falls within the law or the spirit of the constitution.2cents.jpg

Part of a pretty intense debate I was having through a friend's facebook page with some other friend was about what exactly an "assault" weapon is. If you research the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that was instituted by Clinton in 1994 is disgustingly written. The most sickening aspect, to me, is that the way the law was written, the capability to actually perform as a military grade assault rifle is insignificant, only that the weapon in question have a similar cosmetic appearance to those rifles.

The actual wording of that bill, H.R. 4296 (103rd): Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, is this: a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of-- (i) a folding or telescoping stock; (ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon; (iii) a bayonet mount; (iv) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and (v) a grenade launcher;

Is it just me, or is it not scary that regardless of capability to actually act as a military grade assault rifle some governmental poindexter can decide that, because they make rifles look 'meaner' or more 'aggressive', putting mods on any of a plethora of rifles available on the market today turns that rifle into an 'assault' rifle? In 1966 Charles Whitman used standard hunting rifles that do not in any way fit into the 'assault' category to kill 13 and wound 32 in a rampage that people still know about today. If having the above listed cosmetic or adaptable features is what makes an 'assault' weapon, then our grandads stormed the beaches of Normandy and took on entrenched Germans with batteries of artillery and heavily entrenched machine guns... with hunting rifles. Our forefathers threw off the yoke of oppression lain on them by the British crown and established this country and provided us the freedoms we enjoy today... with hunting rifles.

There is so much focus being put on these 'assault' weapons when in all reality these perpetrators of recent mass shootings are committing these offenses with nothing more than standard rifles manufactured or aftermarket modified to look like stuff you see in movies and on video games. The functionality of military grade assault rifles does not, and can not, exist in those weapons.

I personally find it despicable. Why don't we ban spoilers, turbo chargers, and low-profile tires on cars, since we all know those make people want to drive fast like racecar drivers and end up causing wrecks?

The last time appearance was used to judge something as being dangerous (that I am aware of), people were jailed for the shapes of their heads through the study of phrenology. Is that really the kind of logic we want our lawmakers following in this age?

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@Rob, I meant the predominant interpretation by the Supreme Court since around the early 18th century. I do appreciate the information, though.

The weird thing to me is that somehow we have people who like hunting and want their guns to do that (which they do NOT have a constitutional right to), but they want to prevent people from having guns to kill people (ie protect themselves), which they actually have a constitutional right to possess. And then you have the people who want to ban assault weapons (hopefully at least correctly, rather than based on appearance). Also, I'm pretty sure the last time a law was eliminated that was based on appearance (in the US) was during the Civil Rights Movement, which is irony of ironies, given the people behind the assault weapons ban. It honestly worries me more about the effect of lobbying on the functioning of our government than anything else. That's how most of this insanity happens, because law makers don't have enough time to know everything about everything, and there aren't reliable fact based organizations that produce accurate predictions of how policies might actually affect reality on the ground. Instead we have political hacks manipulating the facts in order to get more money in their pockets to give to other politicians who, while trying their best to do their job well at least some of the time, are really asked to do the impossible.

The STUPID thing to me is that everyone wants to prevent these kinds of tragedies, but we can't even have a reasonable fact-based discussion on any public forum of any size. This is seriously the most rational discussion I've seen of this ANYWHERE ever in my entire life. That's pretty disturbing. This is an internet forum focused on Games/Technology/Entertainment (this reminds me of something I'll bring up later at my "new contributions" section *).

@Kij421, the definition for who is crazy could relatively easily be defined in such a way that it legitimately only excluded people likely to commit such crimes. This could be determined by an objective test. They have them for sociopaths, where the test is designed such that if you try to cheat by answering in specific patterns, you will be flagged as a sociopath. This isn't some reading test designed to exclude people from voting. It would probably have to be closely regulated, to make sure it didn't turn into that, though.

Finally, the NRA seems to think that the problem is composed of 1) people wanting fame, 2) people playing violent video games, and 3) not enough security... everywhere.

My responses are as follows:

1) These people (unlike serial killers) seem pretty unconcerned with being around to see any fame that they might get, so this just seems incredibly stupid to me without any actual evidence that people wanted to be famous, and that's why they committed mass shootings. Most people doing this have deranged world-views and legitimately believe they are doing something "right". I have no explanation as to this last person's motives, but they certainly were not anything relating to a manifesto, as he destroyed his computer and left no note, killing the only person who could have given any indication as to why the hell he did this.

2) * The only finding around violent video games that has actually been corroborated over time when proper controls are put in place as of the last time I paid attention to this stuff is that they make people think more in terms of good and evil, rather than any kind of nuance. So... this claim is ridiculous.

3) I could actually get behind this (most of my liberal friends seem to disagree on principle, which is odd to me), but it seems prohibitively expensive. Thus, I'm not sure who, politically, would actually support this. I don't think a mere ALLOWANCE for teachers to carry guns would be enough. They would need training, and perhaps be mandated to carry, if something like arming teachers was to work. Relatedly, does anyone know if there are any shootings that have actually been prevented by private citizens with their own weapons? The reason I ask this is because in, for example, the Oregon Mall Shooting, a dude had a gun, but didn't fire at the shooter since he didn't want to hit anyone else.

Again, I really appreciate the relatively high light to heat ratio of this discussion, and while I understand if this gets exhausting for people, I would like to try to continue it in some capacity for as long as possible, even if we have to drop it at various times and take it up again at a later date.

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@renshank I don't know if there are any hard statistics out there for how many shootings have been prevented by armed bystanders... by the very nature that the crime was stopped before it had the opportunity to actually occur, we will never know which of those criminal activities would have resulted in nothing more than a guy holding a gun and shouting versus a guy using that gun.

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  • 2 weeks later...
You know my thoughts on gun control...

Gun control means hitting what you're aiming at.

It's funny because I did a lot of research a couple of years back and discovered that some countries with strict gun control laws (like Canada and the U.K.) have a higher incidence of violent crime, per capita, than the United States. In fact, in Canada, the rate of gun murders in Canada (per capita) is higher than in the United States and almost all of those gun murders are done with guns which are illegally owned (it is possible to legally own a gun in Canada, you just have to jump through a lot of hoops).

This tells me that taking guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens leads to one thing...murders being committed by criminals, with illegally owned guns, against people who can't defend themselves.

Fuck that.

That's a tough one really. It depends on factors such as the definition of 'violent crime' in each respective country. It also doesn't take into consideration the seriousness of each 'violent crime'. For example, in the UK, making someone flinch without actually hitting them can be considered assault, which is a 'violent crime'.

Similarly there is the issue of crime recording statistics. Some years ago (in the UK), every time any incident which could consititute a crime was reported to the police, a crime was recorded, irrespective of the complainant's wishes (it was called complying with National Crime Recording Standards or NCRS). That's no longer the case and this will have massively changed the crime figures nationally.

For the purposes of this discussion, it would probably be more pertinent to look at 'serious violent crime' and 'murder' etc. I would expect the UK to be well down the leaderboard on those.

If you did research into the area, I'm sure you're more than aware of all the above (and I'm certainly no expert). Just my two pence.

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This is a copy and paste of a note I put on facebook a few nights back. This pretty much sums up my feelings on the issue:

"I had an interesting experience the other night that I would like to share. I know my friends are largely of the same mindset that I am: guns are a good thing, and even though they are occasionally used by criminals for illicit or immoral purposes, they shouldn't be banned entirely for any number of reasons. I know that some of my friends and family do not feel that way. Whatever your feelings are, please keep an open mind as you read this.

My experience is this: A few nights ago, my middle daughter woke me up knocking at my bedroom door. "Daddy, Aurora (my oldest, 13 years old) heard the garage door banging and thinks someone is trying to get in, she's hiding in the bathroom." I knew that it was a somewhat windy night, and chances were that it was just wind rattling the door.

Nevertheless, I hopped up and pulled on a pair of shorts to go check. I then opened the closet door and grabbed my pistol. I told the children to stay there, close to my room, and the oldest in the bathroom (where she felt safe) and I went through the house. I wasn't being all 'tactical', I wasn't 'pieing off' corners or conducting room 'take downs'. I simply walked from room to room, checked it visually for several seconds, and moved on. I went to the interior entry into the garage, and turned the light on. The door was secure, and didn't appear to have been tampered with. I went out the front door, into the yard. I checked the yard area, checked the garage door, and checked up and down the street for anyone who might have been on foot. I saw nothing. I felt the wind gusting around. I heard the garage door rattle in the wind.

When I walked back into the house, the girls were standing in the front hallway watching me. They were no longer scared. They were no longer in fear that someone might get in and hurt them. Partly because of the idea that "daddy went and checked, and nothing is there" but partly I'm sure because they saw that I was armed with a firearm and that in the offhand chance that someone WAS in our house I and my pistol could have stopped them before they had a chance to offer harm to my family.

I began thinking about a story the children had relayed to me about an attempt that an unknown person made to try and force entry into their mother's home. The girls told me that on an otherwise unremarkable evening after dark their mother went into the room of their home where the back door is located. She saw a man standing outside the door, looking in. He saw her. He reached for the door. It was locked. He began banging on the door and trying to force it open. The girls' mother ran through the house passing at least a few of the children shouting for them to "run and hide" (at least according to what they tell me). She went to a distant room where she closed the door and locked it. She stayed there.

The children were very afraid that night. They knew someone was trying to get into their home. Their mother, who did not have a weapon at the time, hid because she had no way to fight back against a potential intruder who was trying his best to break into the home using physical force; force that no doubt would have been used on them should he have gained entry.

Fortunately, that man did not get in. He left, and the incident was over in no more than seconds. The girls, however, remember very clearly what happened. They remember that no one in their home had the physical means to stop that man should he have entered. They remember very clearly how scared they were. They know that the only thing that could have stopped that incident cold and not allowed it to move any further would have been a firearm.

Since then, their mother went and purchased a pistol. She keeps it at her home. She has educated herself on its proper use. She has taken the only measure she sees fit to protect against future incidents of that type.

The difference in the children between their fear the night a man tried to break into their mother's house versus the confidence in the firearm in my hand as I ensured that no one got into OUR home is clear. Yes, guns are used to commit violence justified by self defense and, very rarely in comparison, criminal acts. The difference between those two nights was a pistol in hand.

What I would like someone to do is justify to my children why I as an American, as a homeowner and a father, should not be allowed to have any weapon that I deem fit, from the lowliest .22 caliber pistol to the most decked-out, tactical style AR15 (as commercially available in semi-automatic, not an illegal fully-automatic weapon), to protect them when the wind rattles the garage door or a man is staring us down through the back door trying to force it open with his shoulder.

Tell my children why they can't have a measure of protection against those who would seek to harm them, who would clearly overpower them and do evil upon them.

This is not an issue of what our present-day lawmakers determine of what our founding fathers meant when they wrote the constitution, the bill of rights, or any other document that protects our rights and freedoms and humans.

This is an issue of my children knowing that they are safe from those who would see them come to harm.

So to those of you who feel that no person ever needs a firearm and that they should be made illegal, or to those out there who feel that 'tactical' style weapons should be banned because they have the appearance, though lack functionality, of a "military grade" weapon, I beg you to step into those shoes; take a moment and consider the possibility that it may be YOUR door some man is staring through; consider that it might be your children waking you up at what they believe to be the sound of someone forcing your garage open;

How do you protect yourself, protect your children, against that large, imposing man if you don't have a firearm? How do you make your children feel safe instead of cowering in a bathroom in fear, if you cannot stand up and confidently confront the percieved threat? Can you truly physically overpower him? Do you grab a kitchen knife to counter the knife he has in his pocket? Do you call 911 and wait the ten minutes for a policeman to arrive, cowering in a bathroom in fear, or in a closet trying not to breathe too loud so he doesn't hear you?"

So yeah. Statistics be damned, whether for or against gun control. Tell me why I can't keep a gun to fight off some guy coming after my kids, should it happen.

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@PapaKhaz : Yeah, that's pretty much what Sam Harris says (at least, about that issue). And, like you, he seems like a responsible father who wants to protect his family. I actually completely agree that people should have guns to protect themselves, because, as Sam Harris says, "if a person enters your home for the purpose of harming you, you cannot reasonably expect the police to arrive in time to stop him. This is not the fault of the police—it is a problem of physics."

The following is my favorite part of the article, as it highlights the point quite well: "Like most gun owners, I understand the ethical importance of guns and cannot honestly wish for a world without them. I suspect that sentiment will shock many readers. Wouldn’t any decent person wish for a world without guns? In my view, only someone who doesn’t understand violence could wish for such a world. A world without guns is one in which the most aggressive men can do more or less anything they want." This part of the article goes on, I really encourage people to read it, because I think that is really just drives home the point in a way I've only seen Sam Harris be able to do.

But really, I wish you wouldn't damn statistics... that's like saying damn reality, or at least human's ability to interpret reality. Makes me sad.

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