Gun control
#1
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
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#2
It's a bizarre issue, unique to the US, and getting stranger all the time. For one, there's just so many guns here. While I'm sure there are plenty of people who fantasize about
large scale confiscation in the future,I don't think that will ever be possible. It would be a fool's errand, doubtless with a high cost in human life. They're out there, and they're
going to stay out there.

Speaking of cost, there's a price for everything. In other words, if you want to own an AR, don't complain about the militarization of the police.

As to it getting stranger all the time: with the advent of 3D printers, banning things like bump stocks and high-capacity magazines may only be symbolic moves. Anyone with
the money and know-how can just make their own.

Ultimately, I don't know what will happen in the future. I don't see things changing any time soon.
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#3
As far as large scale confiscation goes, if it is considered an absurd and impossible task to find and deport 12 million illegal aliens, how in the world would one hope to find and confiscate 300 million firearms?

The militarization of the police comment is interesting. I’m not sure where you’re going there. Police have access to full auto and burst fire weapons (I’ve fired one issued to a SWAT team member) while the general public does not unless the weapon is of pre 1986 vintage and the citizen jumps through a LOT of hoops. An AR is a small caliber, relatively low power weapon.

Bump stocks and magazines are both essentially metal boxes with springs. You can make them difficult to buy, but you can’t make them difficult to make.
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#4
I don't own a gun myself but I come from a family of gun owners. That is to be expected, I guess, given how many of my relatives have served in the military going back many generations. But there are farmers in the family tree, too, and they often hunt.

To me gun control is a complicated issue because the problems with guns are associated with statistical minorities in our population (in the USA). I prefer the term "statistical minorities" to distinguish these groups from the usual ethnic classifications we use when discussing subsegments of the US population.

We have some very real problems:
  • Many gun crimes do occur every year
  • Many non-gun violent crimes occur every year
  • Our police forces are trained to use deadly force in many situations
  • We have a few violent groups (gangs & militias) that openly advocate violence

I don't know how many of the militias "openly advocate violence". I would guess that a majority of them see themselves as preparing for anarchy, although the media have occasionally described some of the militia groups as anti-government. Only a very small number of people associated with the militia movement have been charged with seditious crimes, and I am not sure how many of those were related to guns. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols used a truck filled with fertilizer to take out a government building in Oklahoma City. Gun control obviously was not going to stop them.

To me, a lot of the statistics that are cited on both sides of the gun control issue are shaped by biased arguments. There are occasions where crimes committed against society or the government using guns seem to call for gun control. The Las Vegas shooting is the most recent example. But if the Las Vegas mass murderer had not had access to the automatic weapons he was able to purchase, would that have stopped him from killing a lot of people.

Gun ownership itself doesn't, in my opinion, lead people to decide to commit horrific crimes. The Columbine shooters stole guns from their families, as I recall; they were too young to own guns. So if someone decides they are going to kill a lot of people, how does gun control prevent them from stealing weapons?

Taking weapons out of the homes of citizens does hypothetically remove guns from the equation but the equation doesn't go away.

When the terrorist attacks in Europe started cranking up a couple of years ago they were using automatic weapons. As the police dismantled their supply networks they began turning to alternative means of harming people, mostly knives and using vehicles as weapons. Clearly, the gun control advocates are not calling for bans on knives and vehicles. That's a criticism that hasn't been fairly answered.

In my view I don't mind if people own guns for recreational purposes or to protect their families as long as they don't misuse them, are not cruel to animals, and take precautions against their being found by children. There was a woman who was accidentally shot by her own son earlier this year as she was driving down the road. He found her weapon in the back seat of the car. Clearly she had not taken appropriate measures to keep the child from finding and firing the weapon.

And yet, millions of gun owning families manage not to cause any harm every year. It's not fair to them, in my view, to portray them as a danger to themselves or anyone else.
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#5
Well stated, Michael. However, there is one glaring inaccuracy that I’d like to correct and expand upon.

The Vegas shooter did not use automatic weapons. Many people are confused about nomenclature, so let’s set out a few definitions:

An automatic weapon is one which fires multiple rounds with one pull (and hold) of the trigger. It uses some of the energy of the round to cycle another round into place and to activate the firing mechanism again. Rates of fire can be as high as thousands of rounds per minute (although, unless you’re using belt-fed ammunition as in a military machine gun, you’re going to shoot your magazine dry in a second or two). These weapons are very tightly regulated. A civilian wishing to legally purchase one may do so, but the weapon must be of pre 1986 manufacture, and the buyer must pass a multi-month permitting process. The military M16 rifle fits this description.

A semi-automatic weapon fires one round per trigger pull. Like a fully automatic weapon, it uses some of the energy from a round to eject the spent cartridge and advance another into the firing chamber, but unlike an automatic, the trigger must be pulled again to fire again. Most modern firearms fall into this category, including so called “assault weapons” and those used by the Vegas shooter. He also used a device called a bump stock, which uses some of the recoil energy to allow the trigger to be pulled more quickly than one could do manually. (Basically, the gun bounces back and forth against a stationary trigger finger). A bump stock equipped weapon is not considered fully automatic, although it does have a higher rate of fire than can be achieved without one.

There is persistent confusion and conflation between these two types of weapons. Invariably, AR15 style rifles are called “assault weapons” or “military style weapons”. This is bunk. They might look similar to military weapons, but they do not have the same capabilities.
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
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#6
Bacchus Wrote:The militarization of the police comment is interesting. I’m not sure where you’re going there. Police have access to full auto and burst fire weapons (I’ve fired one issued to a
SWAT team member) while the general public does not unless the weapon is of pre 1986 vintage and the citizen jumps through a LOT of hoops. An AR is a small caliber, relatively
low power weapon.

I understand the difference, but the AR can still be put to very effective use, as we've unfortunately seen. Correct me if I'm wrong but weren't guns like the AR previously
illegal under the "assault weapons" ban from the mid 90s? It was after that expired in 2004 that we saw the massive increase of them. It's really exploded over the last few
years, and seems to have become a symbol of the 2nd Amendment unto itself.

Anyhow, my point is that with all these semi-automatic rifles out there, you're naturally going to see an escalation in police gear and weapons. They have to be able to have
the upper hand in any given situation, regardless of what they're up against. Small caliber or not, someone with a semi-auto rifle is a way bigger threat than someone with a
shotgun, hunting rifle, or pistol with 6-8 rounds in between reloads. I think we're kidding ourselves if we think they're not going to continue to gear up as much as possible to
deal with that.
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#7
I sit corrected. I don't know much about guns or gun nomenclature so I defer to the opinions of others. But don't be surprised if I make that mistake again. I've probably been making it all my life.
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#8
Boomstick Wrote:I understand the difference, but the AR can still be put to very effective use, as we've unfortunately seen. Correct me if I'm wrong but weren't guns like the AR previously
illegal under the "assault weapons" ban from the mid 90s? It was after that expired in 2004 that we saw they massive increase of them. It's really exploded over the last few
years, and seems to have become a symbol of the 2nd Amendment unto itself.

You’re not wrong. Tha AR-15 was one of the specifically named weapons that were banned in 1994. A handful of models were named in the 1994 Law, and a list of other characteristics were banned. The absurdity of the ban, however, was in the fact that the banned characteristics were almost entirely cosmetic. Magazine size was in there, but at the end of the day a magazine is a metal box with a spring. You can make it tough to buy, but not tough to make.

No statistically significant effect on homicide has ever been measured either from the enacting of the ban or from the expiration of it. That’s because homicide by rifle (“assault” or otherwise) is vanishingly rare relative to other firearm homicides. In fact, long guns (including shotguns) are used in a homicide less often than hands and feet.

Now, the AR15 “looks scary”. Looks sorta like an M16. But it’s actually a fairly good weapon for home self defense. It fires a small, fairly weak round that is reasonably unlikely to accidentally hit something downrange. Long guns are inherently more accurate and easier to fire accurately than handguns. And the 30 round magazine means you don’t have to reload as soon of you miss.

Quote:Anyhow, my point is that with all these semi-automatic rifles out there, you're naturally going to see an escalation in police gear and weapons. They have to be able to have
the upper hand in any given situation, regardless of what they're up against. Small caliber or not, someone with a semi-auto rifle is a way bigger threat than someone with a
shotgun, hunting rifle, or pistol with 6-8 rounds in between reloads. I think we're kidding ourselves if we think they're not going to continue to gear up as much as possible to
deal with that.
As a philosophical matter, im not convinced that police have a right to superior firepower. We are intended to be a sovereign people with the sovereign right to self defense, even against an injust government. That philosophical concept butts up against cold reality when I also don’t want police forces to be outgunned by criminal groups. I dont have a good answer there.
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
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#9
Michael Wrote:I sit corrected. I don't know much about guns or gun nomenclature so I defer to the opinions of others. But don't be surprised if I make that mistake again. I've probably been making it all my life.
Michael, God Bless You, you must really feel sick. That’s the first time I can remember in almost 20 years of association with you that you’ve just flat out said I was right and you were wrong. :thud:

Get well soon, my friend! Smile
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
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#10
You're right, Bacchus.

I have felt really sick this week.

:crazy:
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#11
Bacchus Wrote:As a philosophical matter, im not convinced that police have a right to superior firepower. We are intended to be a sovereign people with the sovereign right to self defense, even against an injust government. That philosophical concept butts up against cold reality when I also don’t want police forces to be outgunned by criminal groups. I dont have a good answer there.

I don't disagree, I just bring it up because I think it's the reality of the situation, regardless of what may be right or wrong. While I'm not "anti-police" in the way that we often
currently see, I'm also very wary of them, and don't think for a second that they're looking out for my best interests as an individual. I guess that's another discussion, though.
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