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Wed Dec 19, 2012, 07:48 PM

How would you feel about a tax on gun & bullet sales to de-cool guns?

Guns are everywhere, more guns than people, and yadda yadda. I have no interest in banning guns, or even restricting them (with certain exceptions), but I think things can be done to make it less likely that guns will wind up in inexperienced or stupid hands.

There's a mystique around guns. A "coolness factor." There are people who want guns because AWESOME DUDE! rather than any of the rational reasons DUers sometimes enumerate. And I suspect that the people who want guns because they're "cool" are less likely to respect the weapon and its hazards.

There was a time when cigarettes were cool. And we as a society un-cooled cigarettes. Restrictions were placed on smoking in restaurants and workplaces. Taxes were levied upon cigarettes to pay for anti-cigarette advertising; the ads targeted young people, and they were devastatingly effective. Now there are far fewer smokers, and far fewer people starting to smoke, and far fewer people dying of smoking-related illnesses, and far fewer non-smokers forced to tolerate other people's decisions.

I think the same could happen with guns. A tax on the sale of every gun and every bullet, to pay for advertising that discourages a GUNS ARE DA COOLEST SHIT mentality.

---

I've spent the last few days in a combative psychological space, but this thread is not an effort to initiate combat; I'm seeing if discussion really is possible.

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Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply How would you feel about a tax on gun & bullet sales to de-cool guns? (Original post)
ThatPoetGuy Dec 2012 OP
jody Dec 2012 #1
ThatPoetGuy Dec 2012 #3
jody Dec 2012 #6
ThatPoetGuy Dec 2012 #8
jody Dec 2012 #10
ThatPoetGuy Dec 2012 #11
jody Dec 2012 #14
Flyboy_451 Dec 2012 #2
ThatPoetGuy Dec 2012 #7
Flyboy_451 Dec 2012 #15
oldhippie Dec 2012 #4
ThatPoetGuy Dec 2012 #9
oldhippie Dec 2012 #17
pscot Dec 2012 #5
gejohnston Dec 2012 #12
rrneck Dec 2012 #13
OneTenthofOnePercent Dec 2012 #16
ileus Dec 2012 #18

Response to ThatPoetGuy (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 07:59 PM

1. Do you believe that's a serious proposal to prevent another Sandy Hook tragedy? Versions of it have

 

been posted so many times it's nothing more than a cruel joke.

If we can't have a serious discussion on DU among Duers who are pro-RKBA and anti-RKBA then heaven help this nation.

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Response to jody (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 08:05 PM

3. I think it's a portion, and I think demanding a solution before acknowledging a problem

is the wrong way to solve any problem.

Would the Sandy Hook killer's mother have had so many guns if she hadn't bought into a gun culture? We won't know until we learn more.

Would there be fewer guns around if people frowned on guns? I feel certain of it.

(Just for what it's worth, for self-disclosure purposes, I am what the pro-RKBA-ers would consider anti-RKBA; I'm testing the waters to see if it's possible to discuss even a small proposal like this.)

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Response to ThatPoetGuy (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 08:09 PM

6. "before acknowledging a problem"! I didn't know anyone was left who didn't know we had a problem.

 

You ask "Would there be fewer guns around if people frowned on guns?"

And answer "I feel certain of it."

Please cite published research in a referred journal than supports your assertion.

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Response to jody (Reply #6)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 08:14 PM

8. So you're saying that the notion shouldn't be discussed because

a) it's been discussed before,
b) it wouldn't magically solve the problems of gun proliferation by itself,
and c) the massively underfunded groups that oppose gun proliferation haven't invested a lot of money into the studies that would be necessary.

I am trying to discuss an idea here. You are saying that the idea shouldn't be discussed.

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Response to ThatPoetGuy (Reply #8)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 08:58 PM

10. Mea culpa, I've been discussing RKBA on DU since before 2001. I believe I'm becoming weary, a

 

symptom of too many DU threads and too many who are just here to disrupt what should be one of the most serious discussions of a divisive, polarizing political issue in our nation.

Other DUers and I have been saying that for over a decade only to be banished, ostracized, and called the "gungeon".

All that and even now only reluctantly permitted the light of day for a brief time by allowing posts in General Discussion.

Peace to you ThatPoetGuy and as Martin Luther King Jr. said "We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."

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Response to jody (Reply #10)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 09:04 PM

11. Thanks! I didn't expect that.

Peace to you as well, jody.

What would you like to see happen?

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Response to ThatPoetGuy (Reply #11)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 09:37 PM

14. Many people live in places where LEO response to a 911 call are more than 10 minutes away or perhaps

 

hours.

Even LEO recommend citizens in those areas arm themselves against criminals who wish to rob, rape, or commit other violent crimes.

On the other hand, when people group together as in a theater or school, they present an inviting target for anyone; mentally unstable, terrorist, et al; who wish to murder lots of people.

That's something IMO society has a right to defend.

That's the problem as I would define it.

A solution would enact laws that balance the "right of an individual to defend self" with the "right of society to defend itself", i.e. social groups.

IMO the first is the older since it predates society and the latter is an outgrowth of society.

Perhaps an imperfect hypothetical would be laws that acknowledge the individual right to self defense of a rancher in remote Wyoming with the social right to defend groups in the District of Colombia.

I purposefully chose two extremes as something like a worst case scenario.

Don't know the answer, really don't, but IMO a solution must satisfy both needs.

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Response to ThatPoetGuy (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 08:04 PM

2. discussion should always be possible

I have no issue with your tax idea in principle, but in practice I can see the potential for problems. I love the idea of increasing general education and the idea of removing the cool factor from guns. I would support this idea as long as the tax was modest and the educational information was neutral in political tone. No "guns=evil" type ads.

Something along the lines of what the NRA does with the Eddie Eagle program. Don't touch! Leave the area! Tell an adult! Add to this information on the dangers of misuse without demonizing them.

JW

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Response to Flyboy_451 (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 08:11 PM

7. Well, how would you feel about an ad that used only factual information, to represent

gun owners in an uncool light?

Suppose a tv commercial announced, "The average gun owner is a white male, xx years old, who weighs yyy pounds, and has z for education," along with onscreen images. Would you object to that, so long as x, y, and z were statistically accurate?

That's NOT the kind of commercial I was thinking of, I'm just trying to ascertain where you personally would draw the line.

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Response to ThatPoetGuy (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 09:44 PM

15. I think an ad as described would be a wasted effort...

I'm not an advertising expert, but I fail to see the point of such an ad. How about an ad that shows a comparison between the average lawful gun owner and the average illegal gun owner? or an ad that graphically shows and describes what prison life is like for those who choose to pursue a life of crime involving illegal use of guns?

I don't have definitive answers, but I'm certainly willing to explore options and opportunities. I have long been an advocate of hands on instruction for appropriately aged, stable and mature kids. It has been my experience that this is one way of demystifying guns, and seldom leads to negative effects. Over the years I have taught hundreds of kids about gun safety as well as coached a Junior rifle team for several years, including one young man that progressed all the way to Olympic tryouts.

I don't think we will ever find an answer that makes everyone happy. But, I do think that solutions that can have a dramatic impact on our society as a whole are out there. It is up to all of us to explore possibilities and find them.

JW

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Response to ThatPoetGuy (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 08:06 PM

4. It would keep guns out of the hands of the riff raff ...

 

... and in the hands of the 1% and the well to do. Wouldn't that be great?

Let's try it.

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Response to oldhippie (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 08:18 PM

9. How would it do that?

I didn't suggest a massive tax, if that's what you're thinking.

Or are you saying that only the "riff raff" are subject to a sense of what's cool? I went to one of the most expensive colleges in the country, and met the sons and daughters of some of the wealthiest families. They were trend-chasers as much as anyone.

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Response to ThatPoetGuy (Reply #9)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 10:34 PM

17. How much of a tax would it take ...

 

.. to do any good?

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Response to ThatPoetGuy (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 08:09 PM

5. A big one

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Response to ThatPoetGuy (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 09:10 PM

12. there has been an 11 pecent tax since 1919

has been paying for environmental projects since 1937.

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Response to ThatPoetGuy (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 09:18 PM

13. I like the idea of making guns less popular.

Their popularity is a function of any number of things. Part of it is just plain old consumerism. Americans are never satisfied with the stuff they've got. They always want more stuff, better stuff, more complicated stuff, and more accessories for their stuff. I remember when "saturday night specials" were the evil gun du jour. Now everybody's got a five hundred dollar Glock. Then it was "assault weapons". Now we're up to our ass in black rifles. Taxing stuff in an effort to make people not want it just pisses off consumers. They're like teenagers. Tell them they can't have something and it will be the coolest thing in the world.



Beneath plain old consumerism is the American need to fight. I don't mean bar room fighting. I mean the underlying attitude that every day existence in this country is a fight. Why do you think the phrase "war on ______" is so popular? People identify with the concept of fighting to get what they need. Ultimately, every fight is symbolized by a gun. After forty years of dismantling the social safety net and bankrupting the middle class, people on both sides of the political aisle are thinking in terms of fighting in one form or another.


http://www.gallup.com/poll/150353/self-reported-gun-ownership-highest-1993.aspx

Teabaggers aren't the only ones buying guns. After eight years of those warmongering fascists Democrats are understandably nervous. Guns are unpopular on the left, but don't think for a minute liberals aren't buying the shit out of them. "Political gridlock" and "income disparity" are in danger of becoming balkanization and the kind of class warfare that means more than just occupying public parks. It's on people's minds, and they are buying guns because of it. I doubt it will come to full scale social upheaval, but that won't keep people from buying guns.

You can't tax or regulate cultural change in any meaningful way. If you want to change people's attitudes about something, inspire them to think differently. Inspire them to believe that life isn't a fight, but an adventure. Government can create the context for that inspiration. But it cannot provide it. The inspiration has to come from the arts, and yeah, religion if that's your thing.

Real cultural change doesn't happen by fiat, but by desire.



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Response to ThatPoetGuy (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 10:26 PM

16. Ever had kids? Ever tried to make them do something?

 

Well the more you tell people not to do something and the more taboo/forbidden it is... the more they're going to demand it. Just like the popularization of Black Rifles and Assault Weapons in the midst of the 1994 AWB and just like the current gun/ammo rush, if people fear a ban or are told not to do something it's just going to increase demand.

Did you know, that REAL fully automatic weapons have a $200 excise per firearm and paperwork that takes about 4 months to clear... and they demand for them is outrageos. The tax and onerous paperwork/waiting was incorporated to dissuade full auto firearm ownership. A Mac11 that cost $400 in the 80's costs over $3000 now. An UZI that cost only abuut $600 now costs about $7000. Full Auto M16... $13000. Boy, that tax sure keeps people from buying them.

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Response to ThatPoetGuy (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 10:47 PM

18. I'd pay a dollar on the 100 if the tax went to safety education and

New ranges for firearm owners to learn proper handling of their firearms.

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