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Tue Jan 3, 2012, 08:26 AM

(UK) Horden shootings: killer held six gun licences

The police inquiry into four shootings at a house in a north-east former mining community on New Year's Day is likely to focus on why a man with a previous history of self-harm was allowed to hold six gun licences.

Police investigating the deaths of three women and the man who shot them in Horden, County Durham, before apparently killing himself are expected to focus on why he owned six guns.

Michael Atherton, 42, had licences for the firearms despite police revealing they were told in 2008 that he had threatened to harm himself during what they describe as a "minor" incident.

Atherton shot his partner, Susan McGoldrick, 47, her sister Alison Turnbull, 44, and her niece Tanya Turnbull, 24, late on 1 January after they had returned from a family meal and drink.

full: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jan/03/horden-shootings-killer-gun-licences

And this is in a country that restricts self-defense against burglars and has strict gun laws and low ownership rates.

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Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
Reply (UK) Horden shootings: killer held six gun licences (Original post)
alp227 Jan 2012 OP
SteveW Jan 2012 #1
rl6214 Jan 2012 #2
friendly_iconoclast Jan 2012 #3
iverglas Jan 2012 #4
discntnt_irny_srcsm Jan 2012 #6
iverglas Jan 2012 #8
discntnt_irny_srcsm Jan 2012 #11
iverglas Jan 2012 #12
discntnt_irny_srcsm Jan 2012 #13
iverglas Jan 2012 #15
discntnt_irny_srcsm Jan 2012 #27
friendly_iconoclast Jan 2012 #7
iverglas Jan 2012 #9
friendly_iconoclast Jan 2012 #30
iverglas Jan 2012 #31
iverglas Jan 2012 #5
Euromutt Jan 2012 #10
ellisonz Jan 2012 #16
Euromutt Jan 2012 #19
ellisonz Jan 2012 #24
DanTex Jan 2012 #14
ellisonz Jan 2012 #17
Euromutt Jan 2012 #20
DanTex Jan 2012 #21
We_Have_A_Problem Jan 2012 #22
DanTex Jan 2012 #23
We_Have_A_Problem Jan 2012 #25
hack89 Jan 2012 #26
iverglas Jan 2012 #33
hack89 Jan 2012 #34
iverglas Jan 2012 #29
gejohnston Jan 2012 #18
iverglas Jan 2012 #28
discntnt_irny_srcsm Jan 2012 #32

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 03:26 PM

1. When in doubt, pile on ever more restrictions...

From the Guardian article:

"Just over a year ago, the home affairs select committee described gun legislation in England and Wales as a "complex and confused" mess and called for tighter restrictions on licences."

Maybe the motivations behind the legislation are "complex and confused."

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 03:32 PM

2. Ah the gun laws in the western civilized nations

 

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 03:52 PM

3. As for Benjamin Barnes, so for Michael Atherton.

If we're going to use a single example as proof that a gun control system has failed, it's only logical to extend that to
other examples and other systems....

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Response to friendly_iconoclast (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 04:24 PM

4. well, I'll say exactly what I said in the thread

 

where you brought this tale, when I was not aware that there was a separate thread about it. You may continue that discussion here.


If we are going to use one example to proclaim a failed system, why not another example to proclaim a different system failed?

Ah, I love your arithmetic.

You have one example of the system failing in the UK.

I'm sure you don't want me to start totting up examples of people in legal possession of firearms in the US annihilating their families ... or coworkers, or fellow students, or complete strangers ... or doing any of the myriad other harmful things people in legal possession of firearms (or who got their firearms from people in legal possession of firearms) do with them in the US.

http://www.citizensreportuk.org/reports/murders-fatal-violence-uk.html

Select weapon=gun and you get 31 firearm homicides in England/Wales in 2011, 2 of them "policing" related, so that leaves 29. At a roughly 6:1 ratio, that would be equivalent to 174 firearm homicides in the US, where there have actually been about 10,000 annually in recent years.

Whose system works better to reduce the risk of homicide by firearm?

There isn't a system in the history of the world that could not be improved. The system in question in the UK looks like it needs some improvements, and the article you cite mentions some.

May I point out, again, that I consistently refer and have referred in this thread to reducing the risk of harm. I don't know by what measure one could proclaim a system under which there were 29 firearm homicides in a year in the population of England/Wales "failed", unless one were applying the wholly unreasonable standard of perfection.

That sytem failed to prevent the instance of serious harm to which you refer. Most likely, the large majority of the other firearm homicides were committed with firearms possessed unlawfully. If they originated with lawful owners within the UK, then the system failed, because someone was able to subvert it - and of course it simply isn't possible to prevent someone from breaking the law if they have the means to break it, i.e. legal possession of a firearm.

Careful screening of those who are permitted to possess firearms legally, so that they are genuinely "law-abiding", is the best way of ensuring that illegal transfers will not happen, of course. My confident guess is that very few if any firearms used in crime in the UK were illegally transferred, voluntarily, by lawful owners, let alone acquired through "legal" channels (by straw purchase, by ineligible purchasers who evaded detection, etc., let alone by unmonitored transfer) as happens all the time in the US.

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Response to iverglas (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 04:50 PM

6. But let's be accurate.

"I'm sure you don't want me to start totting up examples of people in legal possession of firearms in the US..."

What "system" in the US are you saying is failing?

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Response to discntnt_irny_srcsm (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 07:06 PM

8. perhaps you would ask

 

the poster to whom I was replying, who is the one who referred to that "system".

That would also clarify whether that poster and I were talking about the same thing, which is probably best done as a first step.

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Response to iverglas (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 07:43 PM

11. I will...

...leave it to you to clarify whether you and the poster to whom you replied were referencing the same thing. Feel free to clarify that first.

I didn't ask that, however. I just ask about your reference by the term "system".

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Response to discntnt_irny_srcsm (Reply #11)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 08:00 PM

12. I dunno

 

How tough is this?

There is a system in place in the US for determining who may legally acquire and possess firearms, and enforcing those rules.

Perhaps a definition will help you? System:

1. A set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole, in particular.
2. A set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network.

How will an answer to your question assist you in participating in the conversation here?

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Response to iverglas (Reply #12)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 08:40 PM

13. As I expected...

...you are discussing the US system commonly referred to as the NICS. Thank you

I must point out that the NICS is aimed to prevent those prohibited by law from buying firearms. It was conceived as a means to respect the rights of those not prohibited while restricting those prohibited. As you astutely point out, there is not a system in the world that cannot be improved. The integration between the FBI's database and the states that feed information to it is not without some gaps and cracks.

For further information you may wish to consult a report by the Mayors Against Illegal Guns titled Fatal Gaps.

Maybe we could talk more then.

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Response to discntnt_irny_srcsm (Reply #13)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 09:36 PM

15. but not actually

 

Sorry, I guess I should have expanded.

NICS is the mechanism by which some parts of the system are implemented.

The system itself is composed of things like the law that makes a person subject to a restraining order ineligible, the laws that make people with felony convictions ineligible, and so on, and then the laws that govern licensed dealers and the laws that govern gun shows, the laws about what firearms may legally be possessed by which classes of individuals (like the one about machine guns or whatever), the various state laws about permits (for possession or carrying concealed), laws about age restrictions, and whatever else I'm not thinking of offhand. The whole ball of wax, as it were.

(Just as Canada's system consists of the legislation and regulations governing licensing and about who is eligible and not eligible for a licence, the legislation and regulations governing registration and the registry, certification of instructors and other things relating to firearms safety courses, approval of gun clubs/ranges, the regulations defining classes of firearms, etc. etc.)

NICS implements a set of prohibitions against firearms purchase, but there are other implementation/enforcement measures for other components of the system as well, including, of course, criminal laws relating to firearms offences.

I do appreciate your point about the gaps in NICS, of course. The failure of some states to maintain appropriate records and submit the required information to that database seems to be a significant problem (Michigan being a big offender, for example, from what I have read).

I have to say that this seems like the weakest form such a mechanism could take -- relying as it does on accurate and complete reporting of numerous facts (criminal convictions, mental health committals, mental incompetency adjudications) from a myriad of sources (state courts, state mental health authorities, reporting to some other state agency, reporting to a federal agency ...), with all of the slips twixt cup and lip that have to be foreseen in those chains.

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Response to iverglas (Reply #15)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 01:08 PM

27. This is where any new work needs to start.

The billions spent on the NICS thus far would be wasted if this system is dismantled and replaced. The updating of state laws is where effort needs to be made.

The US Constitution reserves to the state, the authority to regulate private citizens. Existing federal laws bind FFLs and with FFLs being the principal retail source of firearms, the sales end of reasonable control is covered. The information collection that failed in the case Cho in Virginia, for example, needs work. While Virginia has made changes, other states have not.

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Response to iverglas (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 05:03 PM

7. And that "careful screening" will not occur, as firearms possession has now gotten...

...the imprimatur of a Constitutionally protected right, and thus greater barriers against prior restraint on their exercise obtain.

And as I've said before, one may like or lump District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, but they are binding and will
remain so unless and until they are overturned by the Supremes.

I'd also add that opening access to the NICS to private sellers (with "safe harbo(u)r" provisions to encourage sellers to use it) would go a long way to
reduce illegal transfers. I leave it to the interested reader to speculate why the various gun control .orgs failed to support President Obama when
he suggested as much in March of last year:

"President Obama: We must seek agreement on gun reforms"

http://azstarnet.com/article_011e7118-8951-5206-a878-39bfbc9dc89d.html#ixzz1hwyfqhO7


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Response to friendly_iconoclast (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 07:14 PM

9. what is the basis for this repeated assertion?

 

And that "careful screening" will not occur, as firearms possession has now gotten...
...the imprimatur of a Constitutionally protected right, and thus greater barriers against prior restraint on their exercise obtain.


Marriage is a constitutional right. You may be aware of the conditions that apply.

I don't know whether you'd say that voting is a constitutional right in the US, but if so, you may also be aware of conditions that apply to the exercise of that right.


And as I've said before, one may like or lump District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, but they are binding and will remain so unless and until they are overturned by the Supremes.

And given the appalling scholarship in those decisions, that's an entirely foreseeable possibility, given a couple of changes to the seating on the bench. Perhaps it's wise to prepare for that possibility and gird one's self for battle with arguments that stand better on their own.

Argument from judicial authority works in court. It doesn't work in discussions of public policy where the issues are efficacy and reasonableness -- constitutions are of course a consideration, but judicial interpretations of constitutions are subject to critique like any other opinion.

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Response to iverglas (Reply #9)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 02:19 PM

30. And efficacy can only be determined in retrospect, and reasonableness is subjective.

I'd argue the only measure for efficacy of firearms law can be crime rates. Certainly, I'd find it annoying to have to go get fingerprinted by the local constabulary in order to buy a rifle or shotgun, but my annoyance is tempered by two things: 1) If I'm not disqualified under law, I will get a firearms ID card
(as would any other Massachusetts adult) , and 2) There's a low rate of gun crime in general, and long gun crime in particular in Massachusetts.

The FID card requirement for long guns may or may not be effective, as many other states that don't have it have similarly low rates of crime involving
long guns. But it is transparent, objective and minimally intrusive, so it's unobjectionable on Constitutional grounds.

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Response to friendly_iconoclast (Reply #30)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 03:01 PM

31. round and round and round

 

reasonableness is subjective

Have you READ any decisions of your Supreme Court regarding regulation or restriction or limitation of activities? "Reasonableness" is a fundamental concept in multiple areas of the law: search and seizure, sentencing, commercial regulation ...

Good heavens, the fourth amendment to your Constitution uses the word "unreasonable" in its very text.

There has indeed been backing and forthing on "reasonableness" on your Supreme Court (it seems to have meant different things at different times).

http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/lawjournal/issues/volume65/number5/calabresi.pdf
(I'd class this on the right wing of things, so I offer it only for some background, not necessarily agreeing with its opinions. I assume you're as familiar with Lawrence as I am; if not, you may want to look it up.)

The key constitutional issue of the last 100 years has been whether the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment gives the Supreme Court the power to judge de novo the reasonableness of state laws. The high Court answered that question affirmatively in 1905 in Lochner v. New York2 and again in June 2003 in Lawrence v. Texas.3 In both cases, the Court found that the state laws burdened key liberty interests of the petitioners, and placing the burden of proof on the States, the Court held that the States had not succeeded in meeting the burden of showing that its criminal laws were reasonable.4 Under this Lochner/Lawrence approach to substantive due process, a lot of state laws could fall as being
unreasonable.

Happily, for most of the period between 1905 and 2003, the Court has been substantially more restrained in its construction of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. For example, in its landmark decision, United States v. Carolene Products in 1938, the Court announced that most reasonableness review under the Due Process Clause would be done under the rubric of rational basis scrutiny with the utmost deference to legislative judgments.5 ...

... The decision in Lawrence raises many fascinating questions, but perhaps the most urgent one is: What does its overruling of Bowers portend for the future of reasonableness review under the Due Process Clause? Does Lawrence mean that the Roe-era or the Lochner-era is back? There certainly can be no question that rhetorically Lawrence bears no relation whatsoever to Glucksberg. Whereas Glucksberg promised that the power of judicial review would only be used cautiously to protect fundamental rights deeply rooted in the nationís history and traditions, Lawrence could be read to suggest that state morals laws that cannot be proven reasonable may be unconstitutional. If one takes the doctrinal language of Lawrence seriously, then the case certainly does seem to signal a rebirth of vigorous Lochner-style substantive due process.15


"Rational basis" is obviously, itself, an appeal to a form of "reasonableness".

For the rest, you have my reply in another thread:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/11725687#post114

and I would prefer not to spread an identical discussion over two threads.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 04:46 PM

5. love your citation

 


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3584752/We-must-be-allowed-to-defend-ourselves-against-burglars.html

I know some have complained in the past in this forum about "blind links": I did the mouse-over thing, so I was aware I was being directed to that sterling example of the progressive press, The Telegraph ... I just didn't expect it to be an opinion piece from 2002. Quite the authority for your assertion! --

And this is in a country that restricts self-defense against burglars

... not.

Maybe you can tell us -- in the 9+ years since that screed was written, how many people have been killed (or even injured) in incidents like the ones described there?

That's what "self-defence" actually is about, you know -- defence of persons, not property. "Self-defence against burglars" therefore does not even make sense: self-defence against people who assault or attempt to assault or are likely to assault one, yes.

Maybe you could also tell us exactly how the country in question does "restrict self-defence against burglars", if we
(a) take "burglars" to refer to people who enter one's home unlawfully and can reasonably be believed to be about to cause one injury, or
(b) take "self-defence" to mean "defence of property".

You may know that in jurisdictions where there are no charming "castle doctrine" laws and people must justify their use of force, force may be used to prevent theft, and if one is assaulted when one does that, one may then use force in self-defence. In Canada, for instance:

http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/stat/rsc-1985-c-c-46/latest/rsc-1985-c-c-46.html

Defence of personal property

38. (1) Every one who is in peaceable possession of personal property, and every one lawfully assisting him, is justified

(a) in preventing a trespasser from taking it, or
(b) in taking it from a trespasser who has taken it,

if he does not strike or cause bodily harm to the trespasser.

Assault by trespasser

(2) Where a person who is in peaceable possession of personal property lays hands on it, a trespasser who persists in attempting to keep it or take it from him or from any one lawfully assisting him shall be deemed to commit an assault without justification or provocation.

Defence of dwelling

40. Every one who is in peaceable possession of a dwelling-house, and every one lawfully assisting him or acting under his authority, is justified in using as much force as is necessary to prevent any person from forcibly breaking into or forcibly entering the dwelling-house without lawful authority.

Defence of house or real property

41. (1) Every one who is in peaceable possession of a dwelling-house or real property, and every one lawfully assisting him or acting under his authority, is justified in using force to prevent any person from trespassing on the dwelling-house or real property, or to remove a trespasser therefrom, if he uses no more force than is necessary.

Assault by trespasser

(2) A trespasser who resists an attempt by a person who is in peaceable possession of a dwelling-house or real property, or a person lawfully assisting him or acting under his authority to prevent his entry or to remove him, shall be deemed to commit an assault without justification or provocation.


(And of course, anyone who is unlawfully assaulted is then entitled to act in self-defence, you see.)

I doubt that people in the UK are prohibited from using force to prevent people from entering their homes unlawfully or remove them if they enter unlawfully, I really do.


Meanwhile, I'm having difficulty seeing the connection between this business and the news report about the multiple homicide by a man in lawful posession of firearms.

That one I have already posted about, so I'll refer you to that other post, #4.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 07:25 PM

10. A law is only as effective as its enforcement

Grahame Morris, MP, can call "for a review of the gun licensing laws in the aftermath of the shootings" all he wants, but the problem here is not that the law was too lax; the police could have pulled the guy's firearm licenses but didn't.

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Response to Euromutt (Reply #10)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 10:07 PM

16. The police then need more oversight/and or funding. n/t

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Response to ellisonz (Reply #16)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 06:42 AM

19. The police need more oversight, lest... lest what?

Lest they be overly respectful of citizens' civil liberties in enforcing the law? Where have you been the past four hundred years or so? Or indeed, the past several months of Occupy protests? In models of democracies under the rule of law, the executive branch of government isn't placed under the scrutiny of the legislative branch and (particularly) the judiciary because anyone thought the executive would be too reticent to stomp all over citizens' freedoms. And that point of view has been consistently supported by empirical evidence.

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Response to Euromutt (Reply #19)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 11:39 AM

24. Lest they ineffectively enforce the firearms permitting laws. n/t

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 09:33 PM

14. What's noteworthy about this story is that in England, this is actually a noteworthy story.

In the US, gun homicides occur so frequently (is it 20 times the rate of England? more?) that it's easy to fall into a mindset where you just sort of accept these astronomical levels of gun violence as part of life.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 10:12 PM

17. +1000

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Response to ellisonz (Reply #17)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 07:47 AM

20. Can we say "post hoc ergo propter hoc"?

There are very, very few editorial cartoonists who possess sufficient insight to produce cartoons that actually make a valid point. Mr. Adcock is not one of them.

I'll trot out the usual objections:
1) The American non-firearm homicide rate is higher than the overall homicide rate in most western European countries.
Even if you could magically make all firearms disappear from the US overnight, and even if there were no "method substitution" (i.e. if homicides that would otherwise be committed using firearms were not committed at all, rather than by other means such as blades, bludgeons, "personal force" etc.), the U.S. homicide rate would still be higher than that of most western European countries.
2) The lower homicide rates, by firearm or otherwise, in Europe predate European gun control laws. In most European countries, gun control laws weren't imposed until in the immediate aftermath of World War I and (more importantly) the Russian and German revolutions. These laws weren't intended to curb violent crime, but to forestall armed revolts by disgruntled (former) military personnel with (legitimate) grievances against their respective governments.
3) European suicide rates aren't notably lower than American ones. Europeans hang themselves or jump in front of passenger trains instead of shooting themselves; they wind up just as dead (and traumatize the engineer to boot). One could readily reverse the cartoon with "train-related deaths."

Just take a look at Britain. The London Metropolitan Police Service has, for quite a few years now, been operating Trident, a task force assigned to dealing with gun violence perpetrated by blacks (be they of Afro-Caribbean descent, African or whatnot) on other blacks. Not entirely coincidentally, a sizable chunk of American gun violence is similarly "black on black," notably in places like Detroit, Baltimore and Oakland. One aspect in which the U.S. differs from western European countries is that, where European countries shunted African slaves to their (Central and South) American and Caribbean colonies, the U.S. brought them right into their own territory. As a result, whereas the U.S. had to deal with an influx of former slaves spreading across the country after the Civil War, European countries didn't have that problem until decolonization almost a century later, combined with bringing in "guest laborers" from Turkey and North Africa (and Yugoslavia). In short, the United States simply has a century's head start on western Europe in fostering an ethnically based socio-economic underclass of darker-skinned individuals who are unable to identify with the lands of their ancestors, but are treated as outsiders by their "host" societies. Not coincidentally, gun crimes have been on the rise, notably with perpetrators of foreign descent, in European countries for the past twenty years. In particular, the Yugoslav wars of the early 1990s created a supply of weapons and thugs willing and able to use them, who happily placed themselves in the service of those operating the pipeline of Taliban-encouraged heroin from Afghanistan westward.

Lest anyone accuse me of racism, my point is not that there's something inherently criminal about non-whites; it's that individuals who are members of a socio-economic underclass and seek to escape it are practically forced to do so by resorting to criminal activity. They don't do it because they're bad, they do it because they're poor (though the industry turns them bad fairly quickly).

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Response to Euromutt (Reply #20)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 10:43 AM

21. The "usual objections"...

Last edited Thu Jan 5, 2012, 01:24 PM - Edit history (1)

In most other developed countries, the gun homicide rate is close to zero, so comparing the non-gun homicide rate in the US to the overall homicide rate in Europe is basically the same as comparing the non-gun homicide rate in both.

More importantly, it's not like the US has an extraordinarily high non-gun homicide rate. It may be slightly higher than the average (or the median) but it's not way off the charts. Also, with other violent crimes other than homicide -- robbery, rape, et -- the US is generally somewhere in the middle of the international comparisons. In other words, without gun homicides, the US would have violent crime statistics very comparable to other developed nations.

On the other hand, our gun homicide rate most certainly is off the charts. We are #1 among developed nations by a large margin -- in fact, in many cases (like England) our gun homicide rate exceeds theirs by a factor greater than 10 (not sure the exact number, but it's up there).

Criminologists Zimring and Hawkins were (to my knowledge) the first ones to emphasize that the US does not in fact have an inherently criminal or violent population. It's only in lethal crime that the US tops the developed world by a comfortable margin. And this lethal crime is driven by our enormous levels of gun violence.

And this is the biggest flaw in the arguments that claim it's just some kind of coincidence that the US has lax gun laws and high ownership, and also by far the highest homicide rates in developed world. Whatever social problems you might point to to try and explain away the international comparisons, they simply don't account for the fact that it's gun violence specifically, and not violence and crime generally, where the US stands out.


I'll also point out that the international comparisons are not the only place where the link between gun availability and homicide shows up. There have also been studies done, for instance, across states and counties in the US. And then there are arguments about "instrumentality" -- since most gun homicides occur either as a result of an argument or during another crime, then the presence of a gun can often mean the difference between an assault and a homicide. Actually, since you mention suicide, the same has been found with suicides -- "means matter", in the sense that suicidal impulses are often momentary, and the availability of a gun can mean the difference between a completed suicide and either a suicide attempt, or even just a passing suicidal thought.

In any case, the international homicide comparison provides a pretty vivid illustration. And the message of that cartoon is largely accurate. We do have far more gun-related deaths than Europe. And at the same time, we have NRA types fighting to prevent mandatory background checks for private gun sales, because, you know, that would violate "gun rights" and lead to "tyranny"...

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Response to DanTex (Reply #21)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 10:50 AM

22. Simply put Dan....

 

No amount of studies, statistics, etc. justifies restriction of a constitutionally protected right. Period.

You're free to believe what you wish of course, but at the end of the day, facts are facts.

The right to keep and bear arms is protected from government infringement in this country and with very good reason. If you don't like that fact, work to amend the Constitution (good luck with that) or move out.

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Response to We_Have_A_Problem (Reply #22)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 11:31 AM

23. Yes, facts are facts.

Your post is a perfect example of the extremism and inability to weigh costs and benefits that pervades the right-wing rhetoric on the issue of guns. The question I was addressing is whether gun availability results in more gun crimes, homicides, suicides, accidents, and whether gun control can be effective in reducing gun violence. And the facts and statistics show that the answer is yes. But you aren't interested in any of that, which is why you aren't able to do much besides hammer the "constitutional rights" line.

However, the constitutional issue is a separate one. You are right that, as long as we have a right-wing majority on the court, we are going to keep getting right-wing decisions like Heller. But that doesn't mean this is a good thing. I don't know about you, but Scalia has made other decisions I disagree with.

I guess what I keep finding odd is the inability of pro-gunners to distinguish between two different questions:
1) Would it be a good idea to have tighter gun laws?
2) Is the government is likely to enact tighter gun laws in the near future?
My post was about question (1). The fact that Scalia has re-interpreted the second amendment to include civilian gun ownership for self-defense is an argument about question (2).

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Response to DanTex (Reply #23)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 11:51 AM

25. I can make the distinction quite easily

 

However, tighter gun laws would run afoul of the 2nd amendment so the two are not as separate as it seems.

I do not agree that it would be a good idea to have "tighter gun laws". What would you propose tightening? Make it more illegal to shoot someone?

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Response to DanTex (Reply #21)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 12:31 PM

26. How much of our murder rate is skewed by drug violence?

it is not like gun violence is uniformly distributed in America - it is concentrated in areas of poverty, high crime and drug gangs.

Why don't we fix that problem and see what the results are first?

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Response to hack89 (Reply #26)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 03:39 PM

33. why do you imply this is not true of other comparable countries?

 

It absolutely is true of Canada and the UK, for example.

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/101026/dq101026a-eng.htm

Decline in gang-related homicides

Police reported 124 gang-related homicides in 2009, 14 fewer than in 2008. This decline was due mainly to a decrease in Alberta, where gang-related homicides dropped from 35 in 2008 to 13 in 2009.

Among the 10 largest CMAs, Winnipeg had the highest rate of gang-related homicides, followed by Vancouver. Police reported 30 gang-related homicides in Toronto, the most of any CMA. However, taking population into account, Toronto's rate per 100,000 population was third highest.

Firearm homicides down

Police reported 179 homicides committed with a firearm in 2009, 21 fewer than in 2008. In terms of rates, this was a 12% decline, reversing an upward trend recorded between 2002 and 2008. Prior to 2002, rates of firearm homicides had been declining since the mid-1970s.

Of the 179 firearm homicides, 112 involved handguns, 29 involved a rifle or shotgun and 14 a sawed-off rifle or shotgun. Declines were reported in all three of these categories in 2009.

Among the 10 largest CMAs, Vancouver and Toronto reported the highest rates of homicides committed with a firearm in 2009. Handguns remained the most common type of firearm involved in homicides in major metropolitan areas.


- Canada has a population roughly 1/9 the US
- legal purchase/possession of handguns in Canada is restricted to licensed sports shooters and collectors
- all of Canada's major urban centres have significant gang/drug problems (e.g. Hell's Angels at the importing, production and national/international distribution level, domestic gangs at the provincial/national level, local gangs at the street level, international gangs, e.g. Mexican and US, moving into specific areas)

Virtually all handgun homicides in Canada can be connected with gang/drug activity. Our gangs are not kinder and gentler than in the US. But they don't have as many handguns.

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Response to iverglas (Reply #33)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 03:43 PM

34. So lets fix that problem first - more bang for the buck

and much more political palatable. If we reduce our gun violence rate by a significant amount we can declare victory and go home.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #21)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 01:43 PM

29. a site that may be of interest

 

http://www.citizensreportuk.org/reports/murders-fatal-violence-uk.html

2011 homicides in the UK. (Seems to exclude Northern Ireland.)

Select weapon=gun and you get 33 events, 2 of which were "policing" related. (I believe it has been updated since I was there yesterday or the day before, to account for the Atherton event.)

You can click on each one on the map to see the details of the event. Most in the list say "Don't know" for motive, but clicking randomly in the London area, you will find that most victims are young black men, suggesting that the circumstances are similar to those of many firearms homicides in the US.

So that's 31 firearms homicides in a population of roughly 60 million. Say 1/5.5 of the US -- which would produce a total of roughly 170 if the rate were the same in the US as there. The actual annual number in the US is more like 10,000.

So the ratio is something like 58:1. Difficult even to picture -- that the US has more than 50 times the number of firearms homicides, per capita, than the UK. At the US rate, the UK would have had about 1800 firearms homicides rather than 31.

There were 170 firearms homicides in Canada in 2010. With a population roughly 1/9 the US, we would have had over 1000 firearms homicides, at the US rate, and the US had over 1500, at the Canadian rate.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 4, 2012, 10:16 PM

18. more likely

because they think about more interesting things than Snookie or Kim ... what's her face..

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Response to DanTex (Reply #14)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 01:23 PM

28. I meant to say that

 

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Response to DanTex (Reply #14)

Thu Jan 5, 2012, 03:37 PM

32. There are options...

...for those who don't accept reality...

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