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Gender: Male
Hometown: Eastern North Carolina
Home country: United States
Current location: Eastern NC
Member since: Wed Dec 1, 2004, 03:09 PM
Number of posts: 11,541

Journal Archives

Here in NC,

you can ask to see the buyer's carry license (if they have one, they've passed multiple checks). That's true of most states. For those without carry licenses, I suppose you could run a background check like employers do, but it's pricey.

NC does require a background check for all handgun purchases, but the check is conducted by the sheriff's department for $5, at which time the person undergoing the check gets a purchase permit that is good for a specified period of time. It evolved from a Jim Crow scheme, but at least now it is de facto shall-issue. If there are going to be checks on private sales, I think that is the most practical way to do them, rather than forcing all sales through gun stores.

Imagine, civilian guns holding more than 10 rounds. Shock, horror.

A civilian with a clean record has been able to walk into a general store and buy an over-10-round rifle since 1861 or 1862, whenever the 16-round Henry rifle became available. The 16-round Winchester hit the civilian market in 1866, as I recall.

Then don't own one.

It's a personal choice. You choose not to own guns, and that's fine with me. I choose to, and will retain that choice.

That doesn't mean firecracker-sized small arms cartridges are "bombs".

That level of hyperbole is downright funny. Are firecrackers "bombs" too? Although in light of the fact that I've heard .22 caliber rifles called "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (yep, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were actually destroyed by a small-caliber rifle, dontchaknow) I guess it could be worse...

FWIW, guns *are* regulated. U.S. citizens with clean records and no restraining orders can only own non-automatic, non-sound-suppressed, non-disguised small arms under .51 caliber, or shotguns (up to .775 caliber, typically) that cannot be easily converted to automatic fire, and have a minimum barrel length of 16" for rifles or 18" for shotguns, and armor-piercing ammo is banned in all calibers in which it matters. Pretty much anything else is a 10-year Federal felony to possess without a whole lot of Federal paperwork. In most states, you have to have a license to carry one concealed; to get a license here in NC, I had to pass an FBI background check, state background check, mental health records check, fingerprint check, take a class on self-defense law using a state-approved curriculum, and demonstrate competence on a shooting range, live fire. But that's not enough for you...

It is controlled. And there's only about a sugar cube's worth in a cartridge.

A 9mm round contains about half a gram of powder (0.02 ounce); a .223 load (small caliber rifle) contains about 1.6 grams of powder (0.06 ounce).

Even bulk powder is probably a fair bit safer than gasoline, if that puts it into context---and far more controlled.

It's "defensive" to point out that gun propellants burn, rather than explode?

Guns depend on a smooth burn to smoothly pressurize the chamber, just like car engines do. If you are familiar with the internal workings of gasoline engines, you know that a detonation instead of a smooth burn can destroy an engine, and the same is true of a firearm.

Here's what happens when gunpowder is ignited (skip ahead to 0:28 or so):

When confined inside an enclosed chamber, the rising gas pressure and temperature greatly accelerate the burn rate, but it's still a burn, not a detonation. For a typical small-caliber centerfire rifle, pressure peaks when the bullet is about an inch and a half down the barrel and gradually declines until the bullet exits and drops the pressure to ambient. Same as an airgun, just with a different source of gas and a much higher working pressure (55kpsi for a typical rifle).

And it's not pedantic to point out basic errors of fact, when *legislation* may end up based on it.

One relevant Supreme Court ruling, in addition to D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v Chicago...

is Minneapolis Star & Tribune Co. v. Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue, 1983. Minnesota levied a heavy tax on printer's ink, and the Supreme Court held that this violated the First Amendment freedom of the press. Even though ink is not mentioned in the First Amendment, it was held to be necessary for the exercise of the right, and therefore protected. Were that not the case, then many freedoms (not just that protected by the 2ndA) could be outlawed simply by outlawing the tools necessary to exercise them.

I do own guns for self-defense, yes. But not because I'm afraid.

I also shoot competitively with the same guns.

Do you think everyone who puts on a gi and studies practical martial arts for years does so solely, or even primarily, out of raw irrational fear? If so, why?

I get that you don't like guns and don't choose to own them. It's a free country, and I 100% support your choice. I happen to choose differently. That doesn't make me less rational, or less human, than you.

Ah, the assumption that anyone who chooses differently than you

must be acting out of primitive emotion, because if "they" were choosing intelligently, then OBVIOUSLY "they" would agree with you on your pet issue. So "they" must own guns out of deep-seated fear or something.

Years ago (back on Common Ground Common Sense, originally the John Kerry forums) I encountered this same claim and posted the following in response. I don't own guns out of fear, and I don't think many people do; the defensive utility is certainly part of the picture for most people, but it's more about competence than about fear. Since CGCS is (alas) no longer operating, I'll repost it here.

Proficiency with firearms is a martial art just like isshinryu karate, tae kwan do, kenpo, or tai chi, and can gives a sense of accomplishment and competence just like any other human discipline. The Japanese concept of bushido applies just as much to the gun culture as to other martial arts cultures. I have some moderate experience in the Asian martial arts culture (isshinryu), and there are a lot of similarities between the gun culture and the traditional martial arts culture, and just as with empty-hand martial arts, proficiency in self-defense is a symbiotic benefit that is a worthwhile purpose in its own right.

Just as with the other martial arts, IMHO training and skill development are an end in itself, very much a Zen thing, if you will. To shoot well you must view shooting in a very Zen-like way; breath control, minimization of muscle tremors, concentration, sharp focus on the front sight, smoothness... A lot of the shooters I know also have a thing for archery, which is pretty much the same thing, and my (ex-)wife did fencing for a while.

Some people pride themselves on how well they can smack a small white ball with a stick on a golf course. Others pride themselves on how accurately they can shoot a firearm.

Also, I am a certifiable physics geek, and there are very few inexpensive hobbies that are more physics-intensive than rifle shooting. (Aviation is more physics-intensive, but it's not inexpensive...) Many shooters are mechanically inclined, and I'll bet the percentage of photographers and engineers among shooters is higher than in the population at large. My younger sister is a shooter and she also happens to be a professional engineer, with degrees in both engineering and mathematics.

It's also a "freedom thing." The guns in my gun safe are a tangible reminder of political and personal freedom, a Zen-like discipline, a fun hobby, a tool of personal security, and a locus of camaraderie that crosses political, social, and ethnic lines. I do not own them by a grant of permission from some social elite; I own them because I choose to, and because as a mentally competent adult with a clean record, it is my right to choose to.


Here's the root of the disconnect, I think. A lot of prominent gun-control activists are people who have both been impacted by criminal violence, and have not been particularly exposed to the positive side of gun ownership. I think to some degree, they have come to see "guns" as the entity who victimized them, and see gun control as a way to lash out at that enemy. That victimization by people misusing guns also taints their view of gun owners, I think, that we must somehow be either ignorant, or evil, or some selfish mixture of the two, possibly with some sort of sexual deviancy thrown in (because some of those victimized see guns as sexualized power objects). As a for-instance, Sarah Brady's husband was shot by a nut with a .22 revolver; while I don't think that justifies her attempts to ban my rifles, it at least helps me understand it.


It's not "any and all guns" that are involved in criminal mayhem; it's actually a tiny subset of guns, mostly illegally possessed handguns, in the hands of a violent few. And in fairness, it's not all gun-control activists that dream up creative deceptions to try to outlaw our most valued possessions, either. I think most of us on our respective sides are not as far apart as our legislative positions on the issue would appear to make us; I think we just have a huge knowledge and communication gap (on both sides).

There IS common ground to be found. The bedrock of that common ground is, NOBODY wants to see criminals misusing any guns. People who hurt other people piss me off just as much as they piss you off. We all agree that bad guys shouldn't have them. The disagreement comes in when people on your side of the issue decide to slap sweeping restrictions (AWB, handgun bans, pre-1861 capacity limits) on everybody in order to affect the bad guys (so they hope), and we respond by opposing all new restrictions to avoid having wrongheaded restrictions slapped on the good guys. Hence the impasse.

"Judge orders Wal-Mart to let SC church challenge contraceptive sales"

Would you be cheering the theocratic principle then?

The fact that a church thinks God wants them to ban something is hardly newsworthy (look around and you can find churches that want to censor, ban, or outlaw all kinds of "sins" they disagree with---whether contraception, alcohol, cigarettes, erotica, same-sex relationships, "nonsporting" weapons, "unwholesome" entertainment, or the practice of Islam---but it's a little odd to see the theocratic principle implicitly endorsed here on DU. I guess the idea of Banning Things For Gawd is ok as long as the sin in question is gun ownership.

The church's obsession with rifles is a little odd, though, since rifles are the least misused of all weapons in the United States, but whatever. It's a free country.

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