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Religion is probably the biggest cause of killing, despite what their scriptures say. So I look forward to a rational, secular age, devoid of superstition and wacko nutjobs. Libya is going tits-up, Algeria is a bad place to be...

With regard to judging for one's life. We are the only ones who can, aren't we? Others may have the power to incarcerate, torture, execute, but we ultimately judge ourselves - our actions and causal motives. Only we know the true motive behind our actions, whether they be altuistic, selfish or otherwise. Anyway back to guns and their usefulness - unless you hunt for a living or take part in a shooting sport, I really can't see the point in owning one. It must be that the owners are insecure, insane, or both. I've been on firing ranges with SLRs and 303s and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. But, taking one home? Hell, no.

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Even if Congress and the Pres ban assult weapons doesn't mean the weapons will magically disappear. Such a ban will most likely have little or no affect.

I love how this is always said as if it were a fact and is usually trotted out whenever any regulation is suggested in the USA almost always by people with a financial interest in avoiding the regulation. So forgive me if I don't take it on your word.

Lots of other countries have been successful in disarming its citizens without the use of force, I can't remember which one at the moment but one of the African countries which was brisling with AKs after a civil war had a very successful campaign to disarm by banning the sale of guns and several buy-back programs and indeed an art project where relenquished weapons were turned into public artworks, furniture, etc...

A ban won't be an instant solution but it will start moving it the right direction (where as more guns will just maintain the status quo).

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even if you take away the guns, people still kill each other

And how many people would have died in Aurora had the killer been armed with a knife instead of semi-automatic weapons?

When mandatory seatbely legislation was introduced up here there were a lot of protests. Someone always trotted out the argument that even people wearing seatbelts can die. Usually they cited a case where the person died because he/she was wearing a seatbelt such as a side impact or drowning. They never considered actually thinking that these are one-in-ten-thousand examples. Take all of the mass shootings and imagine the killer was armed only with a knife. How much lower would the death toll have been? How about the highway sniper in Washington a while back? Kind of hard to do that sort of mayhem with a knife.

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Another lie regarding Newtown - The killings happened because we took God out of the schools.

Right. How many child molestations has God prevented in churches? But then again, lesbians caused Katrina so I suppose it is conceivable that atheists caused Newtown.

Edited by Reverend Jim

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I love how this is always said as if it were a fact and is usually trotted out whenever any regulation is suggested in the USA almost always by people with a financial interest in avoiding the regulation

If your statement were correct then why didn't the Brady gun control laws stop gun violence? It did absolutely nothing to stop it. We have just as much if not more gun violance today then we did when those laws were passed. Brady Gun Bill == "Feel-Good about ourselves" bill with no real impact.

Take all of the mass shootings and imagine the killer was armed only with a knife. How much lower would the death toll have been?

True, but that is a fantisy world or the world before 1750 AD, not realistic.

You can actually blaim scientists (and China) for our gun violance. (link). They started it all in about 700 AD.

Another lie regarding Newtown - The killings happened because we took God out of the schools.

Never heard that one.

Edited by Ancient Dragon

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If your statement were correct then why didn't the Brady gun control laws stop gun violence?

The Brady Act requires that background checks be conducted on individuals before a firearm may be purchased from a federally licensed dealer, manufacturer or importer—unless an exception applies.

Passing a law in and of itself will not stop gun violence. The law has to have enforcement and it can't have loopholes. Background checks are not required for

  • sales at gun shows
  • sales by private individuals

I recall reading that approximately 40% of all firearms fall through this enormous loophole.

Also, change takes time. You can't expect to see immediate results no matter what steps are taken. When Obama was elected the first time did you expect he would fix the mess that Bush took 8 years to correct overnight? If the Dems get their gun reforms passed (whatever form they take), and another shooting occurs in 3-4 months, are you going to sit back and say "see, I told you it wouldn't work"?

Edited by Reverend Jim

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By the way, the NRA has steadfastly opposed every provision in the Brady Bill. They have blocked legislation that would allow inter-agency sharing of firearms data and they have blocked introduction of technology that would allow better tracking and identification of guns and that would allow only the legal owner of the gun to fire said weapon. The NRA is not about public safety or reasonable regulation. The NRA is in favour of more profits for gun manufacturers.

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You can actually blaim scientists (and China) for our gun violance. (link). They started it all in about 700 AD.

Yeah, and you can blaim the Wright brothers for drone strikes too! (translation: don't blaim the people who do it and promote it today, blaim some dead guys from another era)

Brady Gun Bill == "Feel-Good about ourselves" bill with no real impact.

You keep repeating that gun control laws have no impact and are just to make some people feel good. All countries that have gun control laws have extremely low levels of gun violence, and all countries that don't have such laws have very high levels of gun violence (mostly third-world countries, plus the USA). That's hard to ignore, even within the right-wing echo-chamber (e.g., a majority of republican voters support stricter gun control). You can choose to cover your ears and scream "LA LA LA LA LA, I can't hear you", but you can't keep repeating your point and expect rational people to buy it.

I would agree that gun control is not going to solve the problem completely, not by a long shot, but it's a step in the right direction. But, of course, it is more of a measure to stop the bleeding (literally), not really a solution to the root of the problem, which is widespread desperation and obscurantism. There are a lot of things that distinguish other civilized countries from the US besides gun control, for example, not having a majority of their population living in poverty, having a functional health care system, having a penal and juvenile hall system that actually reduces recidivism (as oppose to increasing it, as in the US), having better education, having better work conditions (and unionization), and having better mental health care systems, and the list goes on. This leads me to another world famous lie:

"The United States is a first-world nation." (Essay: "America the Banana Republic" - Hitchens)

Votes + Comments
I like the Wright Brothers' reference
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You keep repeating that gun control laws have no impact and are just to make some people feel good.

I was talking about USA, not other countries.

but you can't keep repeating your point and expect rational people to buy it

Prove to me otherwise. Show me statistics where gun control laws in USA have made a significant impact. You can't, because there aren't any.

As an example in 1976 Washington D.C. banned handguns (click on chart title for source link) link)

During the years in which the D.C. handgun ban and trigger lock law was in effect, the Washington, D.C. murder rate averaged 73% higher than it was at the outset of the law

Edited by Ancient Dragon

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Professor John R. Lott, Jr. from University of Chicago Law School conducted a study of the impact of Brady gun control laws (link)

At the Democratic convention, President Clinton played up his proposed expansion of the 1994 Brady Law, which by making it harder for men convicted of domestic violence to obtain guns is designed to reduce crime against women. Our study is the first to provide direct empirical evidence of the Brady Law's effect on crime rates and we found just the opposite result: The law's implementation is associated with more aggravated assaults and rapes. Mrs. Brady's exaggerated estimates of the number of felons denied access to guns are a poor measure of the law's impact on crime rates.

What about minor disputes such as traffic accidents? Are legal owners of concealed handguns more likely to use them in such situations? In 31 states, some of which have had concealed weapons laws for decades, there is only one recorded incident (earlier this year in Texas) in which a concealed handgun, was used in a shooting following an accident. Even in that one case, a grand jury found that the shooting was in self-defense: The shooter was being beaten by the other driver.

And what about accidental deaths? The number of accidental handgun deaths each year is fewer than 200. Our estimates imply that if the states without "shall issue" laws were to adopt them, the increase in accidental handgun deaths would be at most nine more deaths per year. This is small indeed when compared to the at least 1,570 murders that would be avoided.

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States’ crime rates show scant linkage to gun laws

President Obama has called for stricter federal gun laws to combat recent shooting rampages, but a review of recent state laws by The Washington Times shows no discernible correlation between stricter rules and lower gun-crime rates in the states.

States that ranked high in terms of making records available to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System also tended to have tighter gun laws — but their gun-crime rates ranged widely. The same was true for states that ranked poorly on disclosure and were deemed to have much less stringent gun-possession laws.

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There are causal and casual links. Linking a toothless law to numbers of incidents is dangerous and bad science. You can draw correlations between any two or more variables, but it doesn't mean that they are necessarily linked. Are we to infer that this law actually caused an increase in domestic violence? It does not take into account the fact that private arms sales - I think amount to 40% of all sales - I may be wrong - can ensure that anybody can get their hands on a piece.

I was only reading New Scientist tonight - an article on Obama's plans for his second term, and read that the NRA has repeatedly lobbied Congress to suppress research into the causes of gun crime / violence. This is an outrage. Can you imagine a food manufacturer lobbying against the research into food safety? There would be a massive stink. But, because the NRA have convinced the Supreme Court and other bodies that the Second Ammendment actually means citizens have a right to bear arms, this seems to be an acceptable - even a laudable - standpoint.

Edited by diafol

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even if you take away the guns, people still kill each other... if you get to keep them, you still kill just as many people as you do without a gun.

That's false.

M. Killias, "International correlations between gun ownership and rates of homicide and suicide", Canadian Medical Association Journal, 1993. - Quote:

There was no negative correlation between the rates of ownership and the rates of homicide and suicide committed by other means; this indicated that the other means were not used to "compensate" for the absence of guns in countries with a lower rate of gun ownership.

L. M. Hepburn and D. Hemenway, "Firearm Availability and Homicide: A Review of the Literature", International Journal of Aggression and Violent Behavior, 9(4), 2004. - Quote:

Most studies, cross sectional or time series, international or domestic, are consistent with the hypothesis that higher levels of gun prevalence substantially increase the homicide rate.

The truth is, having a gun at your disposal makes it easier to commit a homicide or a suicide, and thus, more guns equal more homicides and suicides. All studies on the subject, whether international or state-by-state arrived at the same conclusion. The causality is obvious, and the correlation is apparent. That case is closed. The only debate is about how to effectively reduce gun ownership. And if I'm not mistaken that is what AD is trying to argue (by presenting titbits of anecdotal evidence), that the gun control laws being considered now, and those that were attempted in the past, aren't effective at reducing gun ownership.

So, the question is "What are the measures that are effective at reducing gun ownership?"

I would argue that you ideally need a system similar to driving licenses. Take a basic course, pass an exam, get a license to own and use a gun for the purposes allowed by the terms of the license, and the license can be revoked in cases of aggregious violations of its terms (e.g., negligent uses of the guns leading to injury or death, or intentional acts of aggression using the gun). And like motor vehicles where you have basic licenses for a normal car and more strict licenses for buses or semi-trailer trucks, you would have different licenses for hunting rifles, hand-guns (presumably for protection), and semi-automatic / automatic rifles (presumably for sport). Of course, this won't make it impossible for criminals, irresponsible twits, or mentally-disturbed people to get a gun, but it does make it harder, and it does give cause to law-enforcement to seize their guns if it is discovered that an un-licensed person has a gun.

I used to do some fishing a little while back, and for that, I went to get a license to be able to use a small outboard motorboat, as it is required by law in Canada. I had an evening class for a few hours (buoys, safety precautions, etc.), had an exam, and got a life-time license. No big deal. If you want to hunt, why couldn't you go through something similar to get a license to use a rifle, which is way more dangerous than a small canoe with a trolling motor. There are similar training + licenses for just about everything that is even remotely dangerous to use (cars, boats, machinery, industrial equipment, etc.), but not for guns?!?

Back in the days, that was the official position of the NRA, back when it was still an association of responsible gun enthusiasts, they advocated for strict licenses and safety training for people who wanted to own and use guns. It is only in the latest decades that the whole "second amendment above all else" nut-job attitude has settled into the NRA, largely due to gun manufacturers jumping on board and taking over.

And to that point, the Second Amendment calls for a "well regulated militia", not a completely unregulated and untrained bunch of heat-packing twits. Also, the purpose of this amendment was to make sure of an even balance of force between a federal standing army and the population, as the only means to preserve a free state. For the balance of force, untrained civilians with semi-automatic rifles are no match for US's armed forces, with its missiles, jets, tanks, and drones, which makes the amendment rather pointless. As to the preservation of liberty, the history of democratic states since the inception of the USA up until today, in most developed or developing countries around the world, has demonstrated that liberty can be preserved by peaceful means (paying attention to public policy, petitioning your representatives, voting, protesting, a fair rule of law, human rights agreements, etc.), and that is generally what is meant by the "civilized world".

Edited by mike_2000_17: bad language

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Over the past two decades, the NRA has not only been able to stop gun control laws, but even debate on the subject. The Centers for Disease Control funds research into the causes of death in the United States, including firearms — or at least it used to. In 1996, after various studies funded by the agency found that guns can be dangerous, the gun lobby mobilized to punish the agency. First, Republicans tried to eliminate entirely the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the bureau responsible for the research. When that failed, Rep. Jay Dickey, a Republican from Arkansas, successfully pushed through an amendment that stripped $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget (the amount it had spent on gun research in the previous year) and outlawed research on gun control with a provision that reads: “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

See the full article here

So the NRA is not only opposed to any type of regulation no matter how bat-crap crazy everything gets, they are also opposed to anyone actually studying the situation to see how bad it is.

Edited by Reverend Jim

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^^ That's pretty much the gist of the New Scientist article I read. Unbelievable.

Far from upholding the rights of the citizens, as it claims to do, the NRA are quashing public debate and research. How's that for irony?

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Basically the NRA is upholding the rights of the gun manufacturers to make a profit and damn public safety. To use a timeworn example, the right to free speech is not absolute (the whole shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre thing) so why should second amendment rights be any different?

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I was talking about USA, not other countries.

So you think the USA is some how different from the rest of the world so what works in the rest of the world will have the opposite effect in the USA (like how everything is upside-down in Australia)?

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o you think the USA is some how different from the rest of the world

Yes. AFAIK the rest of the world doesn't have the Second Amendment rights to their constitutions. Our government can not arbitrarly disarm Americans as governments of other countries have done. Americans are so well armed that it would be impossible for our government to do that even if the Second Amendment were somehow abolished. Any attempt to do that would be met with bloody (bloodbath) resistance (civil war).

According to this NBC article there are enough weapons in the USA to give every citizen a weapon (not counting weapons on military installations).

How many guns do Americans own?
According to the Congressional Research Service, in 2009 there were an estimated 310 million firearms in the United States (not including weapons on military bases), of which 114 million were handguns, 110 million were rifles, and 86 million were shotguns. The current population of the United States, according to the Census, is around 314 million.

[edit]I just found out that there are quite a few countries that have right-to-bear-gun laws (link)

Edited by Ancient Dragon

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Interesting AD.

Other than Belarus, Costa Rica and Barbados, the only countries that have a homicide rate > 1/50,000 are those with a right to bear arms. However, there are some that have this right, but have a 'hit rate' lower than most countries, e.g. Denmark.

So, although there seems to be a correlation, it's not a simple picture and other factors must be at play. Researching further, Denmark only allows handgyuns for sporting pursuits and rifle ownership is accompanied by licence from a 3-month course. Rifles must be locked away securely.

So the stats need further scrutiny. 'England and Wales' has one of the lowest rates, which fits with my expectations. I would imagine that Wales by itself would be lower again. Firearms incidents are virtually zero - Ok we only have a population of just over 3m, but still. A pop 1/100th of the USA, but not 1/100th the incidents of the USA - and we have our fair share of idiots and maniacs, I assure you.

Edited by diafol

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Far from upholding the rights of the citizens, as it claims to do, the NRA are quashing public debate and research. How's that for irony?

Since the NRA gets a lot of funding from the Arms Industry, it isn't surprising that they would support whatever is in the interests of their backers. This (mis)use of Corporate power and money happens to one degree or another in all kinds of industries where the interests of the Companies and the interests of the public may be quite different. This happened with cigarettes, it's happening with GMO foods and it's happening in many other domains. These are like cancers in our society but as long as Companies only have a responsibility to their shareholders and use whatever means is necessary to increase their profits (including the subversion of legislators), it's not likely to change very much. It must be very lonely to be a legislator with integrity who wants to fight some of these abuses but ends up fighting his own collegues (who get funding from the Companies) and the Companies themselves who can spend big bucks to eliminate a threat to their profitability. The same probably applies to journalists who work for newspapers owned by conglomorates and dependent on dwindling advertising from large companies.

Some change is possible but it takes a long time and a lot of effort to make small gains. Cigarettes are gradually becoming more restricted and smoking isn't quite as popular as it once was but that took a long time. Despite the internet, the "corporatization" and centralization of power in the media has probably made it that much harder to get attention to some of these issues.

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