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Sun Dec 16, 2012, 08:29 AM

There simply have to be options other than "do nothing" and "ban certain kinds of guns"

I catch a lot of hell here for saying that banning certain kinds of guns would be as ineffective (and even counterproductive) as banning certain types of drugs has been. I'm accused of throwing up my hands and saying we can't do anything.

I don't think we can't do anything, but I think whatever we do needs to actually take a step towards solving the problem and actually make it more difficult for disturbed and otherwise dangerous people to get guns, and not just be a blow in the culture war to show our disapproval of the fact that a lot of people like to have guns.

The main reason it's so easy for the wrong people to get guns is that there's so ****ing many of them. We agree there. Does a ban help that? A manufacture ban would, I guess, in a few decades, as the current crop breaks down (but we're talking several decades; guns last a long time).

Take these last two mass shootings. In both cases, the killer stole the weapons from people who had passed background checks to buy them. And as long as there are people who can buy guns, there will be the inevitability of a bad person stealing them. Yes, by all means, we should mandate gun safes and trigger locks, but we can't even get more than two thirds of motorcyclists to wear helmets. And that's on public roads; it's hard to think of a way to actually police how people keep guns in their own houses. But, yes, we should do something about gun storage, and hopefully even criminal liability for people who leave guns where others can get them (as we're seeing, civil liability isn't enough).

If the big problem is "prevalence of firearms", then we need to look at it that way. What would make fewer people want to buy guns in the first place? Is that even something a law can address, primarily? We have recycling laws, but my perception at least is that it was social changes that made recycling actually stick (and gave the requirements the push they needed to pass); when people on the street will scowl at me for throwing a can away I'm more likely to wait till I see a recycling bin. (Also, having lived in cities with and without deposits, I think deposits are a great example of how the "market forces" I usually distrust can do some good in cases like that; maybe a strong enough buyback program could do something like that -- but so far buyback programs haven't actually meant fewer guns on the street.)

In terms of access to guns, any semi-automatic weapon can be used by a spree killer. If we want to actually cut off all access, we'll have to get rid of all of them. Not just ban their manufacture and new sale: actually get rid of them (including from police armouries). That's a much farther bridge than I think a lot of people on DU seem to realize, because that's slightly more than half of the 300 million guns that are out there right now. And even that wouldn't address the orders-of-magnitude more common "normal" murders, which can be done just as easily with a revolver. For that matter, I'm not even sure those are entirely compatible goals, stopping spree killings and stopping other murders, because the sorts of things that would make spree killings less easy to do would push a lot of guns onto the black market, where "normal" criminals would be able to get to them at a lower price than they do now.

I don't know. It's lazy to say "we can't do anything", but it's also lazy to pretend that that's what people warning about the problems with legislative prohibition of certain popular features of firearms are saying.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 08:45 AM

1. as a nation fully embracing the UDHR would be a good start

Perhaps articles 20-30 in particular.

I am all for regulating access to guns in a balanced way but that in and of itself will never fix this problem.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 08:48 AM

2. Start with banning high capacity ammunition clips. Do background checks on all gun purchases.

It's harder to adopt a dog than to by a high capacity killing machine in this country.

There is no legitimate reason on earth why anyone needs a gun that fires off more rounds than an old fashioned six shooter. The target shooters will howl but frankly, who cares. What is more important? The couple of seconds it would take them reload or the right of the rest of us to send our kids to school or sit in a movie theater without worrying about some wack job spraying bullets from a semi-automatic.

It will not stop every pissed off little weirdo with manhood and mommy issues from getting his hands on a weapon but it will make it harder for them to do it. By making it harder it might bring these guys to the attention of the authorities and get them the help they need before they go out and kill a whole bunch of innocent people.

By doing nothing we are as guilty of enabling potential mass killers as that mother who thought it was a good idea to keep a small arsenal in the house with her mentally ill son.

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Response to bklyncowgirl (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:13 AM

6. Neither of the last two shooters used them, but ok. I can support that

And I am completely with you on extending NICS to every single firearms transfer. Hell, let's even open with "strict liability to the transferrer as an accessory to any crime committed by the transferee", at least as an negotiating position.

There is no legitimate reason on earth why anyone needs a gun that fires off more rounds than an old fashioned six shooter. The target shooters will howl but frankly, who cares.

At the level I target shoot at, at least, you use 5-round magazines (well, 10-round magazines with 5 rounds in them), so I agree it wouldn't be a problem. Plus large magazines tend not to work well (that's how Loughner was stopped, after all; his magazine jammed). There's a logistical problem of how you deal with the tens of millions of high capacity magazines currently out there, but we can figure that out. (Grandfather them? Do buybacks?)

It will not stop every pissed off little weirdo with manhood and mommy issues from getting his hands on a weapon but it will make it harder for them to do it.

Which part will? None of what you have talked about would have done anything to even inconvenience the last several shooters.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 08:50 AM

3. Perhaps a greater focus on GUN SAFETY rather than GUN CONTROL would be a place to start.

Requiring separate secure locked storage for firearms and ammunition, for instance. Licensing and permits. A current gun safety certificate. There are things that can be done that don't necessarily involve banning guns at all. (And most states don't have any requirements on licensing, permits, or secure storage.)

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:10 AM

4. How about approaching it from a tax angle

Exempt a persons first handgun, hunting rifle, and shotgun and maybe antique gun. Tax the living shit out of anything more. Heavily tax ammunition. And completely ban large clips and assault weapons. That would give us some measure of safety.

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Response to CanonRay (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:17 AM

7. It's an interesting idea

Making it actually work could be tricky, since it would be people reporting the guns they themselves own. But it's worth thinking about.

And completely ban large clips and assault weapons

Connecticut has an Assault Weapons Ban; the rifle was legal under it. Both that rifle and the rifle from Aurora were legal under the 94 AWB. I don't think assault weapons are what you think they are. Tell me the gun characteristics you want to ban.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:12 AM

5. For example, requiring licensing and registration for all handguns or semi-auto rifles.

Requiring background checks for private gun transfers, and mandate reporting of all lost or stolen guns. Limit bulk purchases.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:18 AM

8. I think those are all great ideas

I don' t know how much good they would do (all of the guns the killer used were licensed and registered, just not to him), but it would do some good.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:31 AM

9. It's hard to tell, but I agree it probably would not have stopped this guy.

It looks like he stole/took the guns from his mother, who was a gun enthusiast. On the other hand, it may have stopped the Gabby Giffords tragedy -- I don't know if that guy would have gone through a whole licensing and registration process. It may have prevented Columbine, where the guns were purchased without background checks at a gun show. Etc. It's always hard to tell exactly what would have happened, of course.

And even if it doesn't prevent all mass shootings, it could also help quite a bit in terms of preventing guns from being diverted from civilian markets to criminals, thus reducing overall gun violence.

The other thing it could do is discourage irresponsible or "casual" gun ownership. Right now, in many states, you can go to a gun store, without ever having even handled a gun before, and walk out with 15 handguns. Or you can go to a gun show and buy the same 15 guns from a private seller without even a background check. Imagine if, instead, owning a handgun required going through a procedure similar to what is required to get a conceal-carry permit. You can own a handgun, but you have to take it seriously.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #9)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:36 AM

10. Whoa there...

It may have prevented Columbine, where the guns were purchased without background checks at a gun show.

Whoa. The long guns were purchased with a background check, at a gun show, by Harris's girlfriend, and then she illegally gave them to Harris. The pistol was purchased illegally from an individual.

And even if it doesn't prevent all mass shootings, it could also help quite a bit in terms of preventing guns from being diverted from civilian markets to criminals

Possibly, or it could divert a large number of gun sales to the black market. Sort of like how a lot of kids were exposed to cocaine because pot was illegal, and the same guy who can get you weed can get you coke.

Or you can go to a gun show and buy the same 15 guns from a private seller without even a background check.

As an aside: why do people keep bringing up gun shows, as if that had something to do with the issue? You can go to a garage sale or flea market and purchase from a private seller without a background check. Why keep bringing up gun shows?

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:37 AM

11. Here's what I said in another thread.

First, we need to take mental health seriously and stop acting like it's not real.

We need more public and charitable funding to do toward rehabilitating those with mental problems or keeping them locked up if need be.

We also might need to increase security in our schools (and apparently our malls, new shooter for attention). New school cops to be at the front door at all times.

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