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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-05-05 10:33 AM
Original message
Dems and the Gun Issue--Now What?
Some of you may know me as a regular on the Common Ground Common Sense forum, formerly the JK forum. Shortly after the election, I pulled a lot of thoughts together into one document about how the party might stop alienating gun owners so badly. Please read it with an open mind, and post any feedback you'd like. For those of you who hate guns, it may at least help you understand where gun owners like my wife and I are coming from. Thanks!

--benEzra


Democrats and the gun issue: Now what?

First, let me say that I'm a gun owner. Second, I don't hunt.

To some of you, that automatically makes me wierd. After all, aren't most gun owners hunters? Isn't hunting the main reason law-abiding Americans own guns? And aren't hunting guns what most American gun owners are so protective of?

Well--no. And it's this misunderstanding may have just cost the Democratic party another national election. But please hear me out.

After the 2000 election, when Al Gore lost his home state of Tennessee and pro-union West Virginia--and consequently the White House--over the gun issue, the gun-control group Americans for Gun Safety counseled Democrats that if the party made its support for hunting and hunters vocal enough, and got that message out, then the gun issue would cease to be the black hole sucking votes away from Democrats. The party could push moderate gun control such as banning nonhunting guns, and gun owners would feel assured that their gun rights were going to be restricted.

It didn't work out that way this year; the gun issue was still a major factor in this election. Pro-gun Democrats tended to win in pro-gun states, but Democrats who had supported bans on nonhunting guns tended to lose. Here in North Carolina, Democrat Mike Easley (who opposes more gun control and is rated "A" by the NRA) easily won reelection, but nationally known Democrat Erskine Bowles (an ardent supporter of the "assault weapons ban") lost his Senate race to no-name Republican Richard Burr. And many of the same voters who elected our Democratic governor voted against the Democratic presidential ticket. Why?

The leading Democrat in the Senate, Tom Daschle, was hammered at the polls by gun owners and lost to a relative unknown, despite commercial after commercial showing Daschle hunting with a shotgun. Why?

Ohio, where the Presidency was lost, went heavily for Senator Kerry in urban areas, but rural gun owners went heavily for Bush, despite the senator's heavy emphasis on his support for hunting. Why?

The answer is very simple--so simple, in fact, that its puzzling why the party has missed it for so long. Let's look at the numbers. It is estimated that there are estimated to between 65 and 80 million gun owners in the United States. There are between 13 and 16 million licensed hunters in the United States. Now do some math. Four out of five gun owners are not hunters. I repeat: 80% of gun owners are not hunters.

So why is the national party trying so hard to recast the protections of the Second Amendment as applying only to hunting firearms, if 80% of gun owners don't hunt and hunting has absolutely nothing to do with 2nd-Amendment jurisprudence? Or to turn the question around--why did party leaders think that demonstrating support for hunters would allow the party to go after nonhunting guns with impunity? Four out of five gunnies don't hunt; is it any wonder that a pro-hunting message didn't win the bloc?

The party platform-writers can talk all they want about supporting the Second Amendment, but if we nonhunters lose the right to choose to own nonhunting-style guns, we have lost our Second-Amendment rights. Period. As a nonhunter, I personally don't care if I am "allowed" to own a skeet shotgun or a slug gun suitable for deer; I want to keep my modern-looking small-caliber self-loader, thanks. I'm a Gen X'er, that's what I grew up thinking was cool, and that's what I as a law-abiding American citizen choose to own. And my wife would just as soon keep her 15-round defensive handgun. And apparently, a lot of gun owners feel the same way I do.

Don't get me wrong. I fully support hunters and the right to hunt-- indeed, the excise taxes my wife and I and millions of others pay on our nonhunting guns and ammunition helps fund the game lands that hunters enjoy. But I wish the Democratic party would practice a bit more tolerance for us law-abiding gun owners who don't fit its narrow ivory-tower stereotype of "acceptable" gun ownership.

In the last two presidential elections, the party has consciously tried to split hunters and wingshooters away from nonhunting gun owners; "we'll go after the hunting vote," goes the logic, "and leave owners of other styles of firearms to the Republicans." But that's bad math, since 80% of gun owners don't hunt, and of the 20% that do, many probably own nonhunting firearms too. And trying hard to win a small percentage of a voting bloc while driving the majority of that bloc--and its most committed and motivated advocates--to your opponent is not the way to win a voting bloc.

The prohibitionists have taken the Democratic party for a ride--straight down. Since September 1994, when prominent Democrats led the charge to ban practically all firearms holding over 10 rounds, restricted civilian long guns based on silly distinctions such as what their handgrips look like, and threw the whole weight of the party's prestige and resources behind the movement to ban nonhunting firearms, the Democrats' once-rising star has plummeted. Backing prohibition of nonhunting guns cost the party control of the House in 1994, cost the party control of the Senate, and has now arguably cost a SECOND hard-fought presidential election. Yet the party's response may once again be to try to repackage its support for additional gun prohibition in yet more "hunter-friendly" rhetoric. Perhaps hunters were taken in by NRA rhetoric, party leaders may think yet again. Perhaps hunters didn't get the message that we support hunting, that we support conservation. Perhaps we need yet more photo-ops in hunting gear, more photo-ops at skeet shoots. But perhaps there's a simpler reason that the party's obvious support for hunting didn't defuse the gun issue. Maybe its because most gun owners don't hunt.

Some leading Democratics still don't get it. Democratic strategist Steve Murphy, listing the things that Democrats should absolutely NOT do in order to stop driving away swing voters, stated emphatically that the party should not abandon the push for additional "moderate" gun control, a position echoed by authoritarians at the Democratic Leadership Council. Unfortunately, what urban ivory-tower strategists consider "moderate"--outlawing various nonhunting-style firearms--is considered "extremist" to a lot of us gun owners. But to these strategists, gun control seems to be the Holy Grail--the party can ditch anything else in its platform, it can lose every presidential election, it can continue its slide in Congress, but it must continue to push for more and more restrictions on the rights of nonhunting gun owners.

What if the Republicans tried something like this? Imagine, if you will, the Republican party trying to woo swing voters by pushing to ban all alcoholic beverages over 10% alcohol content, banning beer and wine based on the shape of the bottle they come in (since beverages in tall, dark-colored bottles "have no nutritional purpose"), demonizing wine drinkers as "extremists," and portraying champagne as "the beverage of choice of rapists and drunk drivers"? Although this might appeal to some conservative Baptist teetotolers, who are probably going to vote Republican anyway, do you think this might POSSIBLY hurt the Republican party among the 50% or so of Americans who regularly partake of alcoholic beverages? That would be a really foolish move politically, wouldn't it? Now what if the Repubs didnt just try this once, but over and over and over and over, losing election after election on the issue but thinking its sure to work next time"?

But that's exactly what the national Democratic party is doing with the gun issue, isn't it? Trying to curry favor with gun-404 urbanites living in states with draconian gun laws, by advocating nationwide restrictions on whatever the gun-prohibitionist lobby tags with a scary name? Labeling people who own nontraditional-looking firearms as extremists and terrorists? And after every lost election, blaming it on bad talking points and thinking its sure to work next time? See the problem?

So what can the Democratic party do to defuse this issue? Here's some ideas.

Confront stereotypes. When I say I'm a gun owner, what image of me comes to your mind? A middle-aged white male who talks with a Southern drawl, drives a pickup truck, chews tobacco, likes beer, and owns lots of camoflage clothing? Or do you think of a thirtysomething college-educated guitar-playing, poetry-reading physics geek with glasses and a goatee, who drives a Toyota Camry and is dad to a special-needs kid? Because I'm the latter. I recently worked with a gun owner who happens to be a thirtysomething college-educated black female from New York state who often drives a Lexus to work. And I am married to a gun owner from Cambridge, Massachusetts who grew up in Maine, has a B.A. in English, and studies medieval history for fun.

But let's probe our prejudices a bit further. What if I tell you my most cherished rifle is a SAR-1, a civilian rifle that looks (but does NOT function) like an AK-47? Is your first response to view me as an incipient wacko, full of paranoia about "black helicopters" and "the gubmint"? If so, why? Because all the "AK" owners you've met are like that, or because the media told you to view me like that?

Stop confusing law-abiding gun owners with criminals. Gun crime is a problem. But being tough on law-abiding gun owners is not the same as being tough on crime. It is vital to make that distinction. Any gun is dangerous in the hands of a violent criminal. America's law-abiding gun owners are NOT the problem, and whether we own hunting or nonhunting firearms has nothing to do with it.

As it stands in 2005, the gun control issue isn't about your common street criminal. Criminals are already prohibited from owning a gun. The people who the Feinstein and Schumer and the DLC are fighting to place new gun-ownership-restrictions on are people like my wife and I, who have never had so much as a speeding ticket. Calls for more and more restriction on gun ownership are aimed squarely at us.

Get educated on gun issues. Democratic politicians should take a closer look at the technical issues involved in gun legislation before jumping on the prohibitionist bandwagon du jour. If an anti-car activist advocating banning Honda Civics with 18" wheels, rear wings, levitation lights, and windshield-washer LED's because they are "race cars" that can "outrun police" and "have no legitimate transportation purpose," do you think the average senator or congressperson would fall for it? No, because they are all familiar enough with cars to know that glow lights and chrome wheels don't make a car go any faster, even if it makes it look faster. But when an anti-gun activist claims that thumbhole target stocks, vertical handgrips, threaded muzzles, or rugged looks make a rifle an "assault weapon" that "out-guns police" and "has no legitimate purpose," many legislators fall for it, because they aren't really all that familiar with guns or gun law. That needs to change.

Whenever a Democrat urges a ban on "weapons of war like AK-47's and Uzi's," he or she looks dishonest to gun enthusiasts familiar with the law, because military AK-47's and Uzi's are already tightly restricted by Federal law, the National Firearms Act of 1934--which, after all, has only been on the books for SEVENTY YEARS. Oh, the prohibitionists didn't tell you that the legislation they gave you didn't ban any military weapons, did they? Just civilian nonhunting firearms like my wife's 15-round Glock handgun. It astounds me that more than ten years after the 1994 "assault weapons ban" was passed, many politicians and respected media organizations were still reporting that the ban covered "automatic weapons" or "weapons of war" or "machine guns." When all anyone had to do was go to the BATFE web site and read the Federal Firearms Law FAQ to find that this was 100% wrong.

When leading Democrats seek to ban any ammunition capable of piercing body armor--which practically ANY centerfire rifle caliber will do--why are they surprised when rifle owners feel threatened? (Yes, even grandpa's old .30-30 Winchester deer rifle will drill through level II or IIIA body armor like it's not there.) Oh, the prohibitionists didn't tell you that Kevlar body armor is only designed to stop handgun rounds, did they? But ten minutes' research would have revealed that--if any Democratic strategist had bothered to check.

I could go on. About the myth that a nontraditional-looking 9mm handgun like a civilian Uzi lookalike will blow a deer to smithereens, even though it is only one-seventh as powerful as an ordinary .30-06 hunting rifle. Or the canard that rifles with vertical handgrips are designed to be spray-fired indiscriminately from the hip, even though a vertical handgrip is more ergonomic than a conventional grip for shooting from the shoulder based on simple human forearm anatomy. Or the claim that the .223 Remington is an ultra-powered super-bullet too powerful for civilians to own, even though its the least powerful of all common centerfire rifle cartridges. Or that my SAR-1 is a weapon of mass destruction that can penetrate police body armor from a thousand yards away. Yeah, right. And my Toyota Camry goes 200 miles per hour and gets 150 mpg. Wanna buy the Brooklyn Bridge?

Maybe Democratic politicians should hire a few pro-gun staffers (not just pro-hunting, but pro-gun in the broader sense) to try to expose these embarassing details before introducing wrongheaded legislation or issuing inane press releases. And maybe the party should view prohibitionist talking points about "assault weapons" and "cop-killer bullets" and "sniper rifles" and "pocket rockets" with the same skepticism they currently reserve for NRA pronouncements.

Pro-gun Democrats--and gun-ambivalent Democrats who don't see the point in alienating tens of millions of voters for no good reason--need to take back the party from the prohibitionists. People like Senator Charles Schumer, who thinks the shape of a rifle's stock affects its lethality, or that a puny 9mm Luger is too powerful/lethal for "civilians" to own (but is OK with "civilians" owning .338 Lapua magnums and 12-gauge shotguns), have absolutely no business setting the party's gun policy.

Don't try to gauge public opinion from "push polls." Perhaps one reason the party was sucked into banning over-10-round- and nontraditional-looking guns in the first place were all the polls claiming that 70% or more Americans favor banning them. But such figures typically come from push polls that misrepresent what the ban actually covers (i.e, "Do you favor outlawing rapid-fire military-style assault weapons that out-gun police and are designed to quickly kill large numbers of people in a very short time," blah blah blah). If instead you ask, "Should all firearms that hold over 10 rounds, like the handguns police carry, be outlawed for civilian use?" you might get a somewhat different response, no?

Remember that nonhunters have gun rights, too. Standing up for hunters is great, and should be applauded. But hunters are only a small fraction of law-abiding gun owners. Don't forget that the rest of us have rights, too.

"Moderate" gun control is already on the books. Prohibitionists consider banning various classes of nonhunting style firearms as "moderate" gun control. To those of us in flyover country, that's not "moderate." It's extreme.

"Moderate" gun control is restricting automatic weapons, firearms over .50 caliber, cut-down firearms, and explosives; requiring background checks for purchases from any gun dealer, even at a gun show; prohibiting a criminal or anyone adjudicated mentally incompetent from touching a gun; requiring background checks and licensing in order to carry a firearm; strictly regulating when a gun can be drawn and/or used in self-defense; restrictions on armor-piercing handgun ammunition and hypothetical "plastic guns" that could evade metal detectors, and so on. All of the above laws are already on the books.

The line of demarcation between civilian and non-civilian firearms was drawn seventy years ago, by the National Firearms Act of 1934. The gun-control advocates really crossed the line when they shattered that compromise in 1994 and tried to outlaw guns that have been deemed suitable for law-abiding civilians to own for 70 to 130 years. In so doing, they stepped all over the rights of the law-abiding while doing little or nothing about the real criminals. And it motivated gun enthusiasts like me into political activism like no gun-related issue has before or since.

I'm not asking for loosening restrictions. I'm just saying that the huge array of restrictions already on the books is enough; continuing to pile more and more restrictions on the heads of law-abiding gun owners (like saying I can't own a certain rifle because of the way the stock is shaped) is wrongheaded and doesn't address gun misuse at all.

Leave it to the states. Advocating "moderate" gun control may play fairly well in places like Southern California, Massachusetts, New York City, Chicago, and D.C . But what the prohibitionists consider "moderate" can be politically disastrous in pro-gun states like Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Nevada, and West Virginia.

If it is so important for gun-404 residents of NYC or Boston or Chicago or San Francisco (where legal ownership of ALL types of guns is rather difficult) to have a ban on low-powered-but-scary-looking guns to make them feel better, let them work for a LOCAL ban, or at worst a state ban (which is already law in Massachusetts, California, and a few other gun-phobic states) instead of trying to shove a national ban down the throats of people in other states who not only don't want one, but who will politically mobilize and fight tooth and nail to defeat any national candidate that calls for one. That is one key lesson the Democratic party needs to learn from the 2004 election.

So why not just leave it to the states? If the people of California want to make owning a rifle with a black plastic stock a felony, they can. If the people of North Carolina wish to own 15-round handguns, they can. And the issue ceases to be the albatross around the national party's neck.

Many Democrats complain about the NRA's influence in national elections. But if the national Democratic leadership would simply drop the crusade against nonhunting guns, the NRA wouldn't even CARE who won. Internet gun forums like the Firing Line and the High Road would once again go back to debating whether 9mm or .45 is the most versatile caliber, or whether .223 Remington is better than 7.62x39mm, instead of organizing to defeat the (mostly Democratic) politicians behind the ban du jour. And I'd be spending more time at the shooting range instead of blogging away at a computer.

It appears that at least some Democratic leaders are beginning to understand. Senator Russ Feingold, who voted for the original ban on nontraditional-looking and over-10-round guns in 1994, rethought the issue and voted against renewing the ban in 2004. And he won reelection.

So, now what? In light of this past election, will the party now stop, leave the issue up to the states, and leave law-abiding owners of nonhunting guns alone? Will the party now stay out of our gun safes, instead of risking election after election in order to get "just a little more" restrictions on the rights of law-abiding nonhunters?

Is the national party going to respect the Second Amendment rights of ALL gun-owning Americans, or just support only the relatively small fraction that chooses to hunt? Is outlawing nontraditional-looking guns really the single most important plank in the entire Democratic party platform, or will the party finally drop it--DROP IT--and move on to the issues the leadership says are more important? Will the party continue to present owners of nonhunting guns with the choice of "vote non-Democrat, or else"?

You tell me. And the other tens of millions of gun-owning nonhunters like me.

We'll be listening. :)
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coloradodem2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-05-05 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
1. You're right.
n/t
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-05-05 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
2. Good summary - I have one minor problem with it
Edited on Wed Jan-05-05 10:58 AM by slackmaster
Any time you cast the right of civilians to own guns as protected by the Second Amendment you set yourself up for a non-productive discussion on the intent of its authors, what the courts have said about it historically, and what it means or should mean in the current context. The real problem with federal gun control is that it rests on a shaky foundation - Federal power granted by the Interstate Commerce clause of the Constitution, stretched beyond recognition. You can see that starting to crack when you read the fine print of recent proposals to "close the gun-show loophole". The federal government simply has no business regulating activity that is neither interstate nor commerce.

There is no federal minimum age to drink alcohol and it has no power to do so, but all the states have managed to set it at 21. The federal government used its powers of persuasion by controlling the purse strings on federal highway funds to achieve that standard. The same principle can be applied to gun regulations, e.g. the IMO reasonable prohibitions against convicted felons, etc. having guns.

I say if the Supreme Court won't directly address the meaning of the 2A (as it has been conspicuously avoiding for decades), then leave that out of the dialogue. Our nation is founded on the idea that we are independent and free people who decide for ourselves what to say, own, believe, do, and how to live. The basic human rights of liberty and the pursuit of happiness are sufficient of a foundation for a right to keep and bear arms. Objects should never be regulated unless they pose a hazard all by themselves, e.g. chemical, biological, and nuclear materials. Guns become a problem only when a human intentionally or negligently mis-uses them. Laws and enforcement should focus on criminal misuse.

We as Democrats should enshrine personal liberty in all aspects of life. When I joined the party in 1976 I thought that was one of our core values. We seem to have forgotten that along the way, and it has cost us dearly.

Thanks for taking the time to express your views.
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-05-05 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Thanks, and good point. (n/t)
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-05-05 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. Excellent point "The basic human rights of liberty and the pursuit of
happiness are sufficient of a foundation for a right to keep and bear arms."
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MrSandman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 08:09 PM
Response to Reply #2
26. Advocating blackmail...
Even with good intentions, legitimizes blackmail...

The federal government used its powers of persuasion by controlling the purse strings on federal highway funds to achieve that standard.

Each state can figure out these laws on their own.
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Romulus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-05-05 11:29 AM
Response to Original message
4. great post
now if the "right people" would just read it, maybe we'll be set for both the 2006 midterms AND 2008. . . :toast:
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Postmanx Donating Member (524 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-05-05 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
5. Wonderful Post!
Absolutely perfect with one exception; I do not agree with states limiting gun rights any more than I do the federal government.

Now brace yourself for the deluge of flames written by antis who did not bother reading past line three.
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-05-05 12:13 PM
Response to Original message
7. Reads well.

I am mostly in agreement.

Someday, I wish a Democrat a try to repeal the 1989 importation ban. I don't understand its purpose. A gun made in Germany is not legal to import, but if the gun were made in the US it would be legal. Where is Free Trade when you want it. The most useless defacto gun control law next to the AWB of 1994.

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Billy Ruffian Donating Member (672 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-05-05 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
8. Outstanding.
I do agree that the 2nd Amendment discussion *should* be there, but if leaving it out gets the party off the gun control issue, then it's fine, for now.

I also disagree that the states should be able to have more restrictions, but, again, if leaving that in gets the party off the gun control issue, I can live with it for now. (and not in those states)
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Paladin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-05-05 06:48 PM
Response to Original message
9. You Can Dress It Up All You Want......
....but you're just advocating the same old principle-free vote whoring that we've been seeing in the Gun Dungeon for a long time now. In order to advance the only interest that seems to really and truly matter to you (Guns, Guns, Guns), you want the Democratic Party to shit-can it's traditional stance on firearms and lurch rightward to a hyper-Republican position that's more to your (and Wayne LaPierre's) liking. And as usual, you swear that the votes will come pouring in as a result of all this blatant pandering. I don't think so; I remember how you gun-loving "Democrats" reacted to John Kerry's goose hunt a few weeks ago. Multiply that by a factor of 20 to get the likely response to the kind of changes you're advocating.

And let's keep in mind that, no doubt encouraged by the gun militants' siege of the party, the anti-abortionists are now doing the very same thing, urging that Democrats walk away from our long-term commitment to keeping the government out of womens' reproductive systems, blaming lost elections on the party's rigidity, demanding that we adopt a "big tent" approach in order to capture some of those Life Begins With Heavy Petting votes. Where does all of this end? What's left of the Democratic Party if we cave in to every interest group's particular concerns? I've asked these questions before in this forum, and I've yet to see anything in the way of a decent response. If it comes down to losing another election or two on one hand, or maintaining our party's core beliefs on the other, I'll side with beliefs every time......
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Retired AF Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-05-05 07:22 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Only a fool keeps on doing the same things
time after time and cant figure out why he keeps losing.
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Billy Ruffian Donating Member (672 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-05-05 07:55 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Kerry's goose hunt
I remember how you gun-loving "Democrats" reacted to John Kerry's goose hunt a few weeks ago. Multiply that by a factor of 20 to get the likely response to the kind of changes you're advocating.

There's a big difference. Kerry had voted for more and more gun control. He came off the campaign trail to vote to renew the Scary Looking Gun ban. He supported Ted Kennedy's ammunition tax. He had a SOLID anti-gun record. The only gun ownership he supported was some fancy hunting weapons.

Then, he shows up with a shot gun, and allegedly shoots a goose.

What benEzra is proposing is a fundamental change in the Democratic stance on firearms. Not window dressing trying to fool people that a politician considers stupid enough to be fooled.
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KerryOn Donating Member (899 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-05 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #11
32. Amo Tax & Gun Cintrol Votes
1)AMMO TAX - NRA Fact: Kerry says, "I think you ought to tax all ammunition, personally, I think you ought to tax guns."

This statement came from an appearance by Kerry on CNN in 1993. The statement is true however it was taken somewhat out of context. What they were referring to was a tax on mushrooming bullets, like cop killer bullets.

Guns and ammunition are already taxed more than normal, and the money goes to the Fish and Wildlife Service under the Department of the Interior. Is there anything wrong with that? Kerry did state that he felt that regular ammunition should be taxed more, and that guns should be taxed as well, but he did not explain weather he was simply agreeing with the current tax, or if he was insinuating the tax should be higher than it is now.

To my knowledge Kerry has never tried to pass legislation to increase taxes for ammunition or guns.
*See factcheck.org for additional information.

2) Kerry Votes to ban all semi-automatic weapons?
NRA Fact?: "Kerry has voted nine times in favor of banning semi-auto firearms."

The votes were not to ban ALL semi-auto firearms as the statement implies. Every single vote had something to do with getting the original 1994 assault weapons ban passed. So did he vote one time or nine times?

The first three votes were in 1990, which were votes on a crime bill that were early unsuccessful attempts for the assault weapons ban, which latter became law.

Vote No 133, June 28, 1990 Senate Bill S.1907 Deconcini Amdt. 2085; Providing for the "Antidrug, Assault Weapons Limitation Act". To protect the public safety by imposing minimum, mandatory prison sentences for firearm violations, other violent crimes, and drug crimes.

Vote No 103, May 23, 1990 Senate Bill S.1970 Hatch Amdt. No. 1681; To strike the gun provisions. A bill to establish constitutional procedures for the imposition of the sentence of death, and for other purposes.

Vote No 102, May 23, 1990 Senate Bill S.1970 Motion To Table S.Amdt. 1676; To define the term assault weapon and to ban the sale of large-capacity magazines.

The remaining six votes were on the assaults weapons ban. Five of these six votes were on the original passage of it in 1994. The sixth vote was in March of 2004 to extend it. (Bush support it as well but let it expier for political reason just before the election. It had pased all he had to do was sign it!)

Vote No 24, March 2, 2004 Assault Weapons Ban Bill S.1803, Feinstein Amdt. No. 2637; To provide for a 10-year extension of the assault weapons ban. This is the assault weapons ban that just expired in Sept 2003. What wrong with extending it?

Vote No 295, Aug 25, 1994 - Motion to waive C.B.A. re: conference report to accompany h.r.3355; Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

Vote No 294, Aug 24, 1994 - cloture motion on conference report to accompany h.r.3355; Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994

Vote No 293, Aug 25, 1994 - motion to waive C.B.A. re: conference report to accompany h.r.3355; Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994

Vote No 375, Nov 17, 1993 Senate Bill S.1607 Feinstein Amdt. No. 1152; To restrict the manufacture, transfer, and possession of certain semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices.

Vote No 365, Nov 9, 1993 Senate Bill S.1607 Motion to Table Levin Amdt. No. 1151; To improve Federal and State fingerprint systems to identify more criminal suspects.

You can search and read all the votes here: (Click on the year and then look for the vote number.)

http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/legislative/a_three_se...
http://www.factcheck.org/article296m.html#

NRA Ad Falsely Accuses Kerry
It says he's sponsoring a proposal to ban "every pump shotgun" and voted "to ban deer-hunting ammunition." Don't believe either claim.
October 28, 2004
Modified:October 28, 2004

Summary
The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund began airing a TV ad Oct. 26 falsely accusing Kerry of voting to ban deer-hunting ammunition. In fact, what Kerry voted for was a proposal to outlaw rifle ammunition "designed or marketed as having armor piercing capability."

The NRA ad also claims Kerry is co-sponsoring a bill to "that would ban every semiautomatic shotgun and every pump shotgun." That's false. Kerry co-sponsored extension of the now-expired assault-weapon ban, a measure that would have expanded the ban to cover military-style shotguns but specifically exempts pump-action shotguns.

Analysis
This ad began airing in Wisconsin Oct. 26, and may also be running in other battleground states. Some of the claims are false, others merely misleading or exaggerated.


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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-05 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. I agree to a point...
Edited on Tue Jan-18-05 08:56 PM by benEzra
I agree that some of the NRA claims in that ad were quite over the top. That is a shame, because their exaggeration invites dismissal of the points they raise that were valid. I'd like to address your concerns at some length here, if I may (and this is all my own thinking; I'm not quoting the NRA or anybody else here, just speaking for myself).

As I have mentioned in another post below, IMHO it was Senator Kerry's cosponsorship of S.1431 (a draconian expansion of the "assault weapons" ban) and of S.A. 2619 to S.B.1805 that really hurt him in pro-gun states. That was where the grassroots objections were coming from and those were my concerns as well.

I agree with you that S.1431 did not ban all semiautomatic firearms. However, there aren't too many popular semiautomatic centerfire rifles that it didn't ban; it even banned the Ruger mini-14 in its wooden-stocked, 5-round magazine configuration, as well as the M1 carbine that has been popular since the 1940's. Worse, it would ban any self-loading, detachable-magazine long gun with a nontraditional-looking stock (thumbhole, pistol-grip, or even radical-Monte-Carlo, IIRC), based on the prohibitionist canard that an ergonomic stock facilitates "firing from the hip." :wtf:

The NRA statement (the "all semiauto shotguns" claim) was based on some language in the (badly written) bill that banned any self-loading shotgun having "any characteristic that can function as a grip." The NRA's interpretation is literally true, but that portion of S.1431 was obviously a boneheaded typo that some gun-404 senate staffer missed (all firearms have grips--duh). I hope that the BATFE would not try to enforce a law based so obviously on a typo, but there's really no excuse for that having been in the bill to start with, regardless of one's views on ergonomic stocks. The sad thing is, the rest of the bill is so draconian that the NRA's hyperbole on the semiauto hunting shotgun issue was pretty much irrelevant for most of us (especially since most of us gun owners don't hunt).

Regarding the ammunition ban amendment, factcheck.org made a rare but glaring mistake on that one. They cite the bill's summary as affecting only ammunition designed or marketed as armor-piercing, but the actual text of the bill does >>NOT<< limit the scope in this manner. The relevant wording from S.A. 2619 to S.B.1805 is as follows (from thomas.loc.gov):
(iii) a projectile that may be used in a handgun and that the Attorney General determines, pursuant to section 926(d), to be capable of penetrating body armor; or

(iv) a projectile for a centerfire rifle, designed or marketed as having armor piercing capability , that the Attorney General determines, pursuant to section 926(d), to be more likely to penetrate body armor than standard ammunition of the same caliber.

You (and factcheck.org) refer solely to paragraph (iv), but the relevant paragraph is actually paragraph (iii). Notice the conjunction "or" (which factcheck misread as "and"); that means that either (iii) or (iv) may be used to ban ammunition. Under (iii), the only two criteria that must be met are

(1) it can be used in a handgun, and

(2) it can penetrate body armor.

This is a handgun (Thompson-Center Encore single-shot hunting handgun). The following calibers of ammunition (among others) can be used in this handgun: .223 Remington, .45-70, .22-250, .243, .25-06, .270 Winchester, 7mm-08, .30-30 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06, and .450 Marlin.

Every single cartridge I have listed will penetrate level II or IIIA body armor as if it's not there.

So, ipso facto, paragraph (iii) of S.A. 2619 to S.B.1805 would have granted the Attorney General the authority to ban any of the above calibers, and many more, at his/her discretion. There is no legal reason why an Attorney General could NOT declare any of the above calibers "armor piercing" and restrict them to military or law enforcement sale only, based on the text of the proposed law.

So the NRA was correct on this one, although it seems to have been a blunder on Kennedy's part rather than an intentional power grab. I suspect that the bill was actually drafted from prohibitionist "model legislation" by a gun-404 Kennedy staffer, and that Senator Kennedy just didn't know what was in his own bill. But Kennedy compounded the problem when he railed against the .30-30 Winchester in the floor debate on that bill.

Regarding the ammunition tax proposal you mention (which I was not familiar with),
This statement came from an appearance by Kerry on CNN in 1993. The statement is true however it was taken somewhat out of context. What they were referring to was a tax on mushrooming bullets, like cop killer bullets.

I think some terminological clarification is in order; I think you are conflating two unrelated issues here. The rounds dubbed "cop-killer bullets" were nonexpanding, hardened steel (later hardened bronze) handgun rounds with a tapered, pointy profile, originally designed to penetrate sheet metal. Armor piercing bullets of all types are specifically designed not to "mushroom." Armor-piercing handgun rounds were banned by Federal law in 1986.

Expanding bullets, to which you refer, are the kind almost universally kept for defensive purposes (both by civilians and by the police) as well as for hunting, and AFAIK have never been tagged with the "cop-killer" label except perhaps by mistake. If Senator Kerry actually did propose punitive taxes on expanding ammunition (which I had not heard of), that would look very bad indeed.
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Silverhair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-10-05 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #32
70. You have inadvertently made the pro-gun case.
You said: " What they were referring to was a tax on mushrooming bullets, like cop killer bullets."

That is interesting. You see, "cop killer" bullets is used by most gun-grabbers to mean bullets that DO NOT mushroom and will penetrate kevlar. (Originally used to mean teflon coated bullets.) Now you are using the term to apply to the opposite kind of bullet. Between you and other gun grabbers (Or in this case, ammo grabbers) the term "cop killer bullets" has now been used to describe ALL BULLETS.

You want to do away with them ALL. And we who are pro-gun realized that long ago, which is why we view any attempt by you side at new laws as another step to elimination of ALL guns.
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-11-05 07:55 AM
Response to Reply #11
74. Folks just don't get..
... how much the Scary Looking Gun Ban :) (Assault Weapons Ban) pissed off the gun rights community. It is as arbitrary a law as has ever been passed, using a ridiculous scoring system to decide what constitutes an "assault weapon" and leaving enough ambiguity to make it hard to really be sure you are following the law.

No ban in the world has ever kept a criminal from having a weapon. "Assault weapons" are no more deadly than any number of other easily obtainablefirearms.

The gun issue is a total loser for the Dems. I'm for abandoning it, not because I am a whore willing to compromise my core beliefs for political expediency, but because AMERICANs BELIEVE IN GUN RIGHTS AND SO DO I.
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-05-05 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Gun prohibition became a pet issue only recently...
Edited on Wed Jan-05-05 08:09 PM by benEzra
you want the Democratic Party to shit-can it's traditional stance on firearms and lurch rightward to a hyper-Republican position that's more to your (and Wayne LaPierre's) liking.

Gun prohibition is not the traditional Democratic stance on firearms. The national party did not jump on the prohibitionist bandwagon until the late 1980's, IIRC, and the crusade to ban nontraditional looking long guns dates to no earlier than 1988 or 1989. Prior to that, the party mostly left the issue pretty much up to the states, with the ground rules set by NFA '34 and GCA '68. There were a few prohibitionists in Congress, but the party as a whole was effectively gun-neutral. That changed when the party adopted the hardline prohibitionist position pushed by a few communitarian think tanks in the late '80s/early 90s, and somehow became part of the "New Democrat" platform. But its roots are very shallow indeed.

Nor is gun ownership a rightist position, or gun prohibition a leftist position. Roughly a third of registered Democrats own firearms, and in pro-gun areas the percentage is far, far higher. I believe something like 80% of union members in Tennessee are gun owners. John F. Kennedy was a life member of the NRA, BTW...

And as usual, you swear that the votes will come pouring in as a result of all this blatant pandering. I don't think so; I remember how you gun-loving "Democrats" reacted to John Kerry's goose hunt a few weeks ago.

Which shows you apparently didn't read my post. I pointed out that hunting photo ops are mostly irrelevant at winning the gun vote because the vast majority of gun owners ARE NOT HUNTERS. If gun rights are limited to hunters, four out of five gun owners lose their rights...

Nor does that change the fact that many of the current proposals the party is advocating are based upon blatant misinformation, which is the other point I raise in the above article. The Democratic party has been manipulated into adopting a much more sweeping prohibitionist stance than some seem to realize.
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bperci108 Donating Member (969 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-06-05 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #9
14. When did this become the "traditional core belief" of the party?
The question that comes to my mind is precisely when (and moreover why) did the Democrat "side" become anti-gun?

You cite that it is one of the party's "core beliefs"; why?

As for it's "traditional" stance; such an observation can only be made with an extremely short-sighted survey of history. I live in what was not that long ago a Progressive stronghold- Kansas. And it has never been "anti-gun", not then and not now.

I have my own theories that might answer the above, but I am interested to hear yours.

Regards.
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Paladin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-06-05 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. The Democratic Party Is Not "Anti-Gun".....
....as much as the RKBA crowd might want to believe it to be so. That's nothing more than NRA propaganda---not that any of you gun-loving "Democrats" in this forum would ever admit it and risk interrupting your non-stop trashing of the party.

If you want a basic answer as to when the party's current position on guns started to form, that's easy: about the time that several prominent Democrats started taking bullets in their brains.......
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Billy Ruffian Donating Member (672 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-06-05 07:33 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. The exact statement from the party platform
We will protect Americans' Second Amendment right to own firearms, and we will keep guns out of the hands of criminals and terrorists by fighting gun crime, reauthorizing the assault weapons ban, and closing the gun show loophole, as President Bush proposed and failed to do.


The AWB was a ban of firearms based on cosmetic features.
There is no gunshow loophole. There are private sales allowed, and 'closing the gun show loophole' would simply be requirement that private citizens get permission to sell to other private citizens.

Additionally, leaders in the party (Kennedy) have proposed onerous taxes on ammunition, and restrictions on ammunition that would end up banning all centerfire rifle ammunition.

This is why our party is perceived to be anti-gun.

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bperci108 Donating Member (969 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. I hope you're right...
...Because as a relatively recent convert (so to speak) I really hope the party realizes that the "gun issue" is as polarizing as the abortion issue. Too many times it (or both, I should say) is used as a club to beat us with that WE give the wing-nuts ourselves!

I'm not "trashing the party", I'm merely trying to understand and present a different POV for those who are able and willing to listen to one.

My God, friend...why the hostility? :(

As for your statement:

"If you want a basic answer as to when the party's current position on guns started to form, that's easy: about the time that several prominent Democrats started taking bullets in their brains......."


Democrats/progressives/liberals aren't the only people to fall victim to a murderer and projecting the responsibility for those crimes onto an inanimate object is foolish, illogical and irresponsible and the party has suffered immeasurable damage from such a ridiculous position publicly espoused by some since those times.

It's time to wise up.

One of the framers (Jefferson, I think) called privately held arms "Liberty Teeth" for a reason: if the soap box and the ballot box don't keep this nation on the right path then the cartridge box will. (God forbid it ever comes to that again.)

Just as the position that "abortion should be safe, legal and rare" will beat the Radical Right's stand on that particular issue, the position that this party considers the RKBA just as important a civil right as the rest will beat the Right's rhetoric on THAT issue.

The Radical Right has been defining the Dems for far too long and until we return to our roots and core values of civil rights and populism they will continue to do so.

My 2 cents---rant mode off. ;)


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Paladin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. You Want Hostility? I'll Show You Hostility

Go back into the Gun Dungeon achives covering the course of the last presidential campaign. Look at the non-stop trashing that was aimed at John Kerry and other Democratic candidates by the gun-loving "Democrats" in this forum. Now that's hostility. You say you're tired of the Radical Right defining Democrats? This may not be the forum for you; far right gun policy is being served up here on a daily basis.

And don't even start in about abortion. You ought to be aware that there is an organized movement afoot to move the party rightward on reproductive rights, very similar in nature to the efforts of the gun militants' efforts here in the Dungeon. I may not have all the answers to what steps the Democratic Party needs to take to get back on track, but turning into a bunch of fucking Republicans isn't the way to go.....
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bperci108 Donating Member (969 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 08:12 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. Hostility will get you absolutely nothing...
...but ignored.

That's part of the problem with the party--everyone is so hostile to otherson his/her own side over every perceived deviation from the supposed "fundamentals" of what it is to be Liberal or Progressive that the left is spending it's energy on fratericide instead of going after the wingnuts, who have their "fundamentals" down to the gnat's ass.

If we don't meet on the common ground and hang together we will most assuredly hang seperatly (Sorry Ben, had to steal that one...)

I will agree that the left has no business trying to be "Republican-lite" but common sense and empathy need to overrule emotionalism and group-think.
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Paladin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. 90% Of Your Post 23......
Edited on Mon Jan-17-05 06:19 PM by Paladin
....consists of trashing the Democratic Party and the left, with the remaining 10% devoted to praising the right wing for having its "fundamentals" down so well. How completely and utterly unsurprising.

You know, it's one thing to offer constructive criticism, but you RKBA types hardly ever do that. Invariably, it's the Democratic Party that's always at fault when it comes to guns, while the RKBA movement is as infallible as it is reasonable. It's we Democrats who have to bend over backwards to make the NRA happy by flushing our traditional stance on firearms down the toilet, because, Christ knows, the NRA is never, ever wrong. My own belief is that the vast majority of gun owners in this country aren't anywhere near as radicalized as you and your associates wish they were. The process of getting more gun owner votes may require some adjustments by the party, but it sure doesn't mean we have to jerk Ted Nugent off.

Feel free to ignore me because of all this hostility, OK? That's what I intend to do as far as you're concerned.......
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bperci108 Donating Member (969 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #25
36. Wow.
How you draw those conclusions about me and what I believe from just a couple of internet postings is absolutely astounding.

I never would have imagined that I am such a reprehensible human being merely because I disagree with you.

I'm so ashamed....

Hope the rest of your day is better. :)
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MrSandman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #16
27. You are right about...
Edited on Mon Jan-17-05 08:42 PM by MrSandman
Democratic Party Is Not "Anti-Gun"....."
as much as the RKBA crowd might want to believe it to be so.


As evidenced by the lack of Democratic Reps. to formlly call for a vote on AWB renewal, the number of Democrats endorsed by RKBA groups, and the number of Democrats who voted for the repeal of the AWB.

However,

If you want a basic answer as to when the party's current position on guns started to form

The GCA of 68 was much less restrictive than current proposed bans of AW's, sniper rifles, hunting ammo, handguns....

I would contentd that the current position began to form as the Democrats response to the perception of GOP being the "anti-crime" party, anti-terror party....


Edited to add link:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
It was a simplistic approach that worked, and continues to work in some districts. However, in many districts, it does not work. These Representatives, wisely, do not advocate anti-RKBA positions.

I continue to fail to understand how the RKBA is in opposition to reproductive rights. If there are anti-reproductive rights posters in GR&GC, I have missed them. I support reproductive freedoms for the same reasons I support the RKBA. Or for the same reasons I oppose many Patriot Act provisions.

Of couse, since I do support the RKBA, I must be less of a Democrat. Or do I care less about the well-being of others? Or am I misguided in believing that we should find the least restrictive means of regulating individual behavior?

And believing that the extension of unemployment benefits is more important than extending the AWB me a pawn of the corrupt gun industry?
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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #16
59. Fair or not, if you're anti-semi-automatics, you're considered "anti-gun"
It neither breaks your back nor picks your pocket if I own an AK-47.
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SlipperySlope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 03:33 PM
Response to Reply #9
40. Paladan please read
Oh heck, I'm just a noob on this board, everyone will probably ignore me, but I want to say my piece.

I understand your point about "vote whoring". Nobody wants to see the Democrats become "Republicans Light" in order to win elections. But what I perceive, and many other people here are saying, is that strong gun control just isn't consistent with the rest of the principles that we stand for.

Take abortion; we support it in part because it is a woman's private choice and none of the government's damn business.

Gay rights; again, a private matter and none of the government's business.

None of us want to see the government compiling lists of citizens based on what books they read, or what internet sites they visit.

From my point of view, I'm not asking the party to whore to gun owners, I'm not asking them to become "republicans light", I'm just asking them to be consistent. I, and many like me, think that owning guns is a private matter, and a public good. When you ban them, or restrict them, or register them, you are in effect coming into my home - intruding on my privacy - and making the government more intrusive into our private lives. When you register my guns, you are putting me on a "list" of citizens, and I don't know who is ever going to look at that list with suspicion.

There is simply no way that the party could become anti-abortion and still remain true to it's values. But the party could easily become more pro-gun and be true to itself.

We can be pro-gun and think the war is wrong.
We can be pro-gun and know we were lied to.
We can be pro-gun and support social security.
We can be pro-gun and care about the environment.
We can be pro-gun and support the rights of the downtrodden.
We can be pro-gun and want to provide health-care to all.

Respecting my rights (including my rights to arms) is a way of respecting me as an individual. And I think that, maybe more than anything else, our parties beliefs flow out of respecting individuals and wanting to do what is right for them.

I understand that you disagree. But please, try to at least understand where we are coming from. We see this issue as hurting the party, and it doesn't have to be this way. There is nothing about it that (to me) is at the heart of progressivism.
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Paladin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #40
42. Just Watch What Happens Here In The Gun Dungeon.....
....as the 2008 festivities get closer. I can promise you that, no matter who the Democrats end up nominating for President, the RKBA crowd down here isn't going to like him or her, and they are going to make that dislike known in as loud and unpleasant a manner as possible. It's happened before, and it will happen again. And I've heard your consistency argument time and time again---it never, ever changes the fact that the RKBA movement is led and made up of right-wingers, to an overwhelming degree. Why the hell should I prize the consistency you speak of, when it means adopting the position of people like George W. Bush, Tom DeLay, Zell Miller, Condi Rice, Ann Coulter, Ted Nugent, John Ashcroft, et al, individuals out there on the far right flank who genuinely despise the Democratic Party?

Final news flash for you: the Democratic Party is already gun-friendly enough, here and now. But it's not enough for you and your gun militant pals, is it? No, and it never will be enough---gotta love that consistency.....
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SlipperySlope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 07:13 PM
Response to Reply #42
43. At least thanks for reading
Thanks for at least taking time to read my post.

You are right that RKBA is today led by right-wingers. I would respond that is because there are no left-wingers who have embraced RKBA and given the bulk of gun-owners an alternative.

I may be wrong, but I believe a gun-friendly democratic party would find new voters in droves, and could also be true to the cause.

Regarding the 2008 election - what you write may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because the party won't let a pro-gun candidate through the primaries, by definition there won't be a candidate for the left-leaning RKBA types to embrace. It isn't the RKBA crowd rejecting the candidate, it is the candidate rejecting the RKBA crowd.

It is sad, that is all, just sad.
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Paladin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #43
44. It's Always The Democrats' Fault, Right?

I repeat: the Democratic Party is gun-friendly enough, right now. That doesn't stop the NRA and the rest of the RKBA movement from claiming otherwise, and there always seem to be plenty of Gun Huggers here in the DU Gun Dungeon---looks like you're one of them---who believe those claims. You're right, it's sad.
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SlipperySlope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #44
45. No, not "fault"
Hi Paladin,

No, I'm not saying it is anybody's "fault", I'm just stating my observations.

We don't see eye-to-eye, and I won't try to convince you. I (and others) think there is an opportunity for the party here. You (and others) disagree.

As to whether the NRA has lied about the democrats, and to whether I've "swallowed" their claims, I don't know. If I had swallowed their claims, then maybe I wouldn't know it.

Here is what I consider gun-friendly; a party that promises that anything I can legally buy today, I will still be able to buy in five years.

Thanks for your time.
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Mothrog2 Donating Member (199 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 10:36 PM
Response to Reply #42
46. The Democratic Party
is a far stretch from gun-friendly. When you eliminate Schumer, Feinstein, Kerry, and Ted Kennedy, you might have a remotely gun-friendly party. However, when those nuts run around trying to ban guns that pose no threat based on cosmetic features (a la AWB), ban ammunition because it can penetrate body armor (just about every centerfire rifle cartridge out there, common hunting cartridges especially), and ban guns that have never once, to my knowledge, been used in a crime (.50 rifles) because a criminal MIGHT use them, RKBA people will never cozy up to the party. Kerry can run around with a shotgun slung over his shoulder all he wants, but he can't undo 20 years of anti-gun extremism in Congress.

As far as being "gun militants" because we choose to fight for a Constitutional right, I'll take that label as a badge of honor. How can you possibly have a problem with upholding a right to defend oneself without government approval? I have to wonder, do you label people who fight for the right to burn the flag or put "Fuck the Draft" on jackets as free speech militants?
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Mothrog2 Donating Member (199 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 10:49 PM
Response to Reply #42
47. And just a little taste of how pro-gun the Democratic Party is
S.620 - Assault Weapons Ban Reauthorization Act of 2005

Sponsor: Sen Feinstein, Dianne - DEMOCRAT

Cosponsors:

Sen Boxer, Barbara - 3/14/2005 DEMOCRAT
Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham - 3/14/2005 DEMOCRAT
Sen DeWine, Mike - 3/14/2005 REPUBLICAN
Sen Dodd, Christopher J. - 3/14/2005 DEMOCRAT
Sen Durbin, Richard - 3/14/2005 DEMOCRAT
Sen Levin, Carl - 3/14/2005 DEMOCRAT
Sen Mikulski, Barbara A. - 3/14/2005 DEMOCRAT
Sen Reed, Jack - 3/14/2005 DEMOCRAT
Sen Schumer, Charles E. - 3/14/2005 DEMOCRAT
Sen Warner, John - 3/14/2005 REPUBLICAN

So, out of 11 sponsors and cosponsors of a worthless cosmetic ban that does nothing to protect the American public, 9 were democrats. Go look through the voting records and sponsor lists of any other gun control bill and you'll see similar democrat-heavy support. Our party can cry all that it wants and our Congressmen can carry around shotguns all day long, but their voting record speaks far louder.
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skippythwndrdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-06-05 12:19 PM
Response to Original message
13. I am blown away. Best post in memory in the Gungeon.
Thank you, thank you for expressing what I've felt in my heart. Maybe we should send this to Feinstein, Schumer, Kennedy, et. al. If they want to ban guns, they should run for their own state senates and do it from there. I don't want them imposing their views on Kentucky or Ohio.
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Factoid Donating Member (124 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-06-05 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
15. This is a Fantastic post.
May I have permission to print it out, with your name included, to give to a couple friends of mine?
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-07-05 07:33 AM
Response to Reply #15
18. Yes,
and feel free to fix a couple of typo's that I didn't notice until it was too late to edit. :(

4th paragraph--"that their gun rights were ^not^ going to be restricted"

8th paragraph--"It is estimated that there are between"

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alwynsw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-07-05 11:54 AM
Response to Original message
19. Dandy!
Edited on Fri Jan-07-05 12:04 PM by alwynsw
Now, if the anti's will only read past the first paragraph and try to keep an open mind.

I think this deserves DU front page treatment!
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Cooper Donating Member (79 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 03:25 PM
Response to Original message
21. this is about the best damn post on DU! nice! n/t
n/t
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Peak_Oil Donating Member (666 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 11:24 AM
Response to Original message
24. This is critical reading material.
After reading this essay, I would strongly recommend lurking at www.ar15.com, www.battlerifles.com, www.firingline.com, and any other shooting forum you can find. Try to understand the people who shoot. They're good people and they want to go have fun. They're also 80 million strong.

Ignore this group at your peril. If we swing 5% of gun owners to the Democratic party, we win the trifecta. Presidency, HR, and Senate. As it is, we have nothing.

We have got to take a serious stance in favor of personal gun ownership, the repeal of the AWB, etc.
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KerryOn Donating Member (899 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 08:41 PM
Response to Original message
28. You have made some good poits.
Edited on Mon Jan-17-05 08:42 PM by KerryOn
But I dont see everything the same as you. I'm a gun owner as well, and I don't hunt.

I realy didn't see much difference between Kerry and Bush when it came to guns. The Republicans just ran a better campaign on the gun issue is all, and the NRA helped them. The NRA gave Kerry and "F" on gun control, siting I believe 15 or 16 so called facts against Kerry. If you check out the NRA's so called facts you will find that almost every single one of them was a LIE. Even president Bush supported the assult weapons ban, he just didn't want to deal with it before the election.

Here is my favorite NRA so called fact as an example:

NRA SO CALLED FACT: "Kerry has voted to hold the highly regulated American firearms industry legally responsible for the illegal acts of violent criminals."

A YES vote on this bill would have prevented manufactures, distributors, dealers, trade groups and importers from being sued. As it stands now the firearms industry can already be sued for violent crimes committed with a firearm. (But that does not mean that they will be found responsible.)

The fact is the NRA member Craig (who is also a Senator) URGED senators to VOTE AGAINST the bill after some amendments were added, calling them "poison pill" measures. And he did just that, Kerry voted NO.

A YES vote would have made background checks at most gun shows mandatory, which many gun owners are against and would have required a license for any individual to sell a gun at a gun show. (This would not include sales from homes or hunting clubs.)

A YES vote would have reauthorized the assault weapons band for 10 years, which many gun owners are against.

Kerry voted NO, and the bill did not pass. If it had passed, it would have taken away gun owners rights. Nothing changed and by voting NO Kerry protected gun owners rights.

Senate kills bill protecting gun makers
WASHINGTON (CNN) --The Senate Tuesday overwhelmingly voted to kill a bill that would have protected gun manufacturers from lawsuits, with supporters turning against the measure after senators added a provision extending the 1994 ban on assault rifles.

The bill died on a 90-8 vote after its principal sponsor, Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig, and the National Rifle Association urged a thumbs-down on the amended measure. Craig, an NRA board member, said his bill was "so dramatically wounded it should not pass."
"I would not send to this president or any president a bad bill of the kind that was crafted here in the Senate through the amendment process over the last several days," he said. But he added that the issue "will not go away."

Craig's bill would have shielded manufacturers from potentially ruinous lawsuits except in cases of defective products or illegal sales. More than 25 cities have filed lawsuits accusing gun manufacturers of negligently marketing their products in ways that make them readily available to criminals and of failing to include safety features.

Attorneys for gun manufacturers have said they sell firearms only through licensed distributors and fully comply with federal laws. They argue that holding manufacturers responsible for what a criminal does with a gun is unfair.

In a series of votes Wednesday, senators added an amendment to Craig's bill that would have closed the loophole that allows the purchase of guns at gun shows without a background check; an amendment to let off-duty and retired police officers carry concealed weapons across state lines; and another to extend the assault weapons ban, which is set to expire in September.

The NRA urged senators to vote against the bill after the amendments were added, calling them "poison pill" measures.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/03/02/senate.guns /


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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-05 08:10 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. The thing that hurt Senator Kerry the most...
weren't the votes on the liability protection bill, but his cosponsorship of S.1431 (draconian "revised and expanded" assault weapons ban) and his cosponsorship of Senator Kennedy's ammunition ban amendment (which as written would have granted the Attorney General the authority to ban any centerfire rifle ammunition he/she saw fit up through .30-06 or so).

The Kerry/Edwards web site also said that the favored outlawing the *possession* of guns the prohibitionists define as "assault weapons." Which was worrisome indeed to me.

I corresponded with Senator Edwards on the issue (I'm from NC, he was my senator) and he seemed to be under some major misconceptions about what the ban actually covered. I'm inclined to grant Senator Kerry the benefit of the doubt as well, since I don't think he would have said it banned "weapons of war like AK-47's and Uzi's" had he known that that was not the case, and so on.

The liability protection bill was more of interest to the gun industry than to individual gun owners, I think; the benefit to gun owners would be more indirect (and theoretical). But telling my wife and I that if we want to keep our guns, we need to "join the military" sounded rather ominous to me...
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Romulus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-05 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #29
30. (hijack) re:the Kennedy Bill
only targeted ammo "designed and marketed" as being super-duper armor piercing ammo.

The SB.1431 desription was right on. The Benelli "stady shot" line of turkey shotguns would be banned under that one, as well as a whole lot of others.
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-05 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #30
31. That's what the SUMMARY said...
Edited on Tue Jan-18-05 11:02 AM by benEzra
but if you read the actual text of the Kennedy amendment, that's not what it DID.

The amendment would have authorized the Attorney General to ban, and I quote,
(iii) a projectile that may be used in a handgun and that the Attorney General determines, pursuant to section 926(d), to be capable of penetrating body armor; or

(iv) a projectile for a centerfire rifle, designed or marketed as having armor piercing capability, that the Attorney General determines, pursuant to section 926(d), to be more likely to penetrate body armor than standard ammunition of the same caliber.''.


Very little ammunition would satisfy paragraph (iv). But practically all rifle calibers under .45-70 would indeed satisfy paragraph (iii); they (1) can be used in a handgun (like a Thompson-Center Contender or Encore, or an SSK single-shot), and (2) they can penetrate level II or IIIA body armor like it's not there.

Since the Attorney General could ban any rifle ammunition that satisfied paragraph (iii), the AG could ban pretty much any he/she wanted. I don't imagine you'd see .30-06 hunting loads banned, even though it would satisfy the AP definition, but I would expect that there would be strong pressure from the prohibitionists to ban .223 and 7.62x39 as having "no sporting purpose."
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enfield collector Donating Member (821 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-05 08:22 PM
Response to Original message
34. awesome, this gets my vote!
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turnkey Donating Member (110 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-20-05 01:21 AM
Response to Original message
35. Great post benEzra
It's what I've come to expect form you.

Frenchy
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IronHorseman Donating Member (105 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 08:30 AM
Response to Original message
37. Very well said
Now if Bill could just understand this.
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doc03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 09:02 AM
Response to Original message
38. Great Post! Here's some food for thought, if you think guns
are the problem and not the culture in this country. Why is it that the Amish all have guns and I have never heard of an Amish gun crime.
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SlipperySlope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 03:18 PM
Response to Original message
39. Excellent Post - Thank You - N/T
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Jack_DeLeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 03:36 PM
Response to Original message
41. Excellent Post
I agree completely.
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Xela Donating Member (787 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-05 08:16 AM
Response to Original message
48. Agree-Excellent Post
benEzra,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree with you.

Xela

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farmbo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-05-05 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
49. Always enjoy your posts. But what do we do with armor-piercing bullets?
We are organizing a Second Amendment group in Ohio: "Sportsmen United". Essentially, we are adopting your philosophy...no national gun control policy and no AWB.

But our Board is locked in a disagreement over armor piercing bullets and high capacity clips. Can states act to ban or restrict these for demonstrable law enforcement purposes?

The NRA position is, of course, no regulation at all. Some of our supporters want to adopt this position. But we are NOT the NRA. Let's face it, the NRA leaders are Republican supporters and operatives first and gun advocates second, if at all. Even if a Democratic candidate scores a 100% NRA record, the NRA leadership will still do whatever is in their power to undermine them and support the Republican in the race.

Most of our board believe states or localities should be empowered to act in these areas. After all, it is law enforcement which is leading the charge for regulation in some (but not all) jurisdictions.

After all, these bullets are designed for one thing: to pierce the Kevlar vests used by cops.

What the hell do we do with this issue?
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-05-05 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #49
50. Let me reply at some length...
We are organizing a Second Amendment group in Ohio: "Sportsmen United". Essentially, we are adopting your philosophy...no national gun control policy and no AWB.

But our Board is locked in a disagreement over armor piercing bullets and high capacity clips. Can states act to ban or restrict these for demonstrable law enforcement purposes?

(snip)

Most of our board believe states or localities should be empowered to act in these areas. After all, it is law enforcement which is leading the charge for regulation in some (but not all) jurisdictions.

After all, these bullets are designed for one thing: to pierce the Kevlar vests used by cops.

What the hell do we do with this issue?


Good questions, and I'll reply at some length if I may.

The first one is easy: handgun ammunition designed to pierce Kevlar vests that would otherwise be proof against that caliber is already restricted by Federal law. The story of that law may be found here: 1986 armor-piercing bullet law. FWIW, this law was passed with the support of the NRA. In 1991, the BATFE formally classified .223, 7.62x39, and .308 Winchester as "handgun rounds" for the purposes of the 1986 law, so solid-steel or tungsten-core ammunition in these calibers is also prohibited (which is why you can no longer buy the inexpensive Chinese steel-core 7.62x39).

Why weren't rifle rounds restricted? Because practically all centerfire rifle rounds will penetrate a Level II or IIIA vest (like most police wear) like it's not even there. Soft body armor is designed to stop handgun rounds only, not rifle rounds. To stop rifle rounds, you need hard body armor (usually a composite of ceramic or steel and Kevlar); hard body armor is generally Level III (rated to stop multiple hits from low- to intermediate-powered rifles like .223, 7.62x39, etc. up through .308 or possibly .30-06 non-AP) or Level IV (rated to stop .30-06 tungsten-core armor piercing, e.g. U.S. military M2 ball).

To see what I mean, see this article: Fatal Bullet Pierced Kevlar Vest. The weapon was a .30-30 Winchester rifle, a cartridge dating to the late 1800's and usually chambered in "cowboy style" guns like the Winchester Model 94. Any "performance based" standard for rifle ammunition is going to run squarely into this fact--there is hardly a centerfire rifle in this country that won't penetrate Kevlar.

Hence, in my opinion, the "armor piercing bullets" issue is a red herring. Armor piercing handgun rounds are already restricted, and armor-piercing rifle rounds per se are more or less irrelevant since (1) rifles can already penetrate Level II and IIIA armor even with softpoint hunting loads and (2) the most commonly AP-available calibers are already restricted (.223, 7.62x39, .308). So basically you are down to arguing over whether surplus .30-06 M2 ball should be banned. Somehow I don't foresee many criminals running around with M1 Garands stuffed in their waistbands anyway, so I don't see it as anywhere near the issue it has been made out to be. It's moot for criminals toting handguns, and doesn't give the odd criminal with a rifle any significant enhanced capability.

Also, if anyone brings up the FN FiveSeven pistol, both the BATFE and the Fraternal Order of Police have issued press releases saying the 5.7x28 will NOT penetrate police body armor with civilian-legal ammunition. The Brady Campaign put out a video purportedly showing that it would, BUT the video only shows it penetrating an obsolete Level IIA vest (which is not even rated to stop .357 magnum).


The NRA position is, of course, no regulation at all.

Actually, the NRA's position is generally opposition to yet more regulation piled on top of the law-abiding, rather than opposition to all regulation. The NRA supports the National Firearms Act, most of the Gun Control Act of 1968, the 1986 "cop killer bullet" law, the ban on hypothetical handguns that might not show up on X-ray, the mandatory NCIS background check for purchasing a gun from any dealer, etc. etc. "No regulation at all" is certainly the straw man the anti-gun lobby sets up to burn in effigy, but it doesn't describe the NRA's actual positions at all, IMO.

Let's face it, the NRA leaders are Republican supporters and operatives first and gun advocates second, if at all. Even if a Democratic candidate scores a 100% NRA record, the NRA leadership will still do whatever is in their power to undermine them and support the Republican in the race.

I'm not sure about Ohio, but in most states the NRA has been eager to endorse pro-gun Dems, if for no other reason than to deflect the charge that they are stooges for the repubs. Here's the first page of NRA endorsements for state offices here in NC for the 2004 election:

Governor--Mike Easley, Democrat (endorsed over "A" rated Repub)
Lt. Governor--Beverly Perdue, Democrat
Attorney General--Roy Cooper, Democrat (endorsed over a pro-gun repub)

State Senate
District 1--Marc Basnight, Democrat
District 2--Scott Thomas, Democrat (endorsed over "A" rated repub)
District 3--Clark Jenkins, Democrat
District 4--Robert Holloman, Democrat (unopposed)
District 5--no endorsement
District 6--Cecil Hargett, Jr., Democrat (over "A" rated repub)
District 7--no endorsement
District 8--R.C. Soles, Jr., Democrat
etc.

They endorsed some repubs too, but reading down the list, it appears to me that they are quite willing to endorse truly pro-gun Dems, which we have a lot of here in NC. BTW, Governor Easley is still our governor (he easily beat the repub 55%/45%, even though NC went against the presidential ticket by roughly the same margin).

high capacity clips

I'll discuss this one separately so as not to clutter up the AP discussion above.

The prohibitionist lobby generally defines anything holding over 10 rounds (5 rounds for shotguns) as "high capacity." I personally feel that this is a ridiculously low limit. The defensive handguns carried by most police officers hold 13 to 17 rounds, and they often carry another 30 rounds or so ready to go on their duty belt. Standard capacity for some of the most popular civilian nonhunting rifles is 30 rounds.

I have no problem with capacity limits for hunting rifles while the person is actually engaged in the act of hunting, but most gun owners aren't hunters, so imposing hunting-regulation capacities on a nonhunter's defensive handgun, rifle, or shotgun will definitely be met with much resistance. The magazine capacity limit was one of the most-hated aspects of the now-defunct Feinstein ban, because it drove prices for replacement magazines for popular handguns through the roof (my wife paid over $100 for a 15-round Glock magazine around 1996 or so).

Anecdotally--my wife's home-defense handgun is a Glock 9mm with a 15-round magazine. If, heaven forbid, she is ever confronted by violent intruder(s), the only ammunition she will have is the ammunition already in her gun. Since standard-pressure 9mm is relatively low-powered (0.5 kJ) and she's not particularly comfortable shooting +P loads in that gun, she would rather not be restricted to only 10 rounds if she felt threatened. There's also the concept of reserve capacity; there's no penalty for leaving unfired ammunition in your magazine, but there's a big penalty for running out of ammunition if somebody is trying to kill you... So I don't think allowing her to keep her 15-round magazine is unreasonable. And based on surveys of gun owners, self- or home-defense is the #1 reason why America's 65 to 80 million legal gun owners own firearms, so there are probably a lot of people out there that would agree.

As far as theoretical crime benefit, most shootings by criminals involve an average of 2.5 rounds fired, IIRC. Even if you could somehow make all over-10-round magazines disappear and make possession of them punishable by life in prison, I don't think you'd see any change in the crime statistics. Last time I checked, the #1 gun used in crimes per the BATFE Top Ten list was the .38/.357 caliber revolver, which is generally a 5- to 7-shot firearm. And even for mass shootings, magazine capacity hasn't really correlated with number of fatalities (compare the Patrick Purdy and Gang Lu shootings, for two examples).

And let me speak personally: for my favorite rifle, I have magazines of 5, 10, 20, 30, and 40 rounds capacity. I would definitely vote against anyone who tried to take from me the right to own them, to purchase replacements, or to transfer them to my children when they are of age.

In my opinion, laws that target criminal misuse of any gun are the way to go, not laws that seek to place more and more limits on the types of guns that may be owned by law-abiding voters.
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farmbo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-06-05 06:28 AM
Response to Reply #50
52. Thanks...I take it that we could oppose center fire rds for handguns...
...only. Your point about rifle rounds is well taken. (FWIW I have both a Winchester 94 and a 30.06 M1 Garand and do not think either firearm will become popular in the arsenal of Gang bangers.)

As far as the Hi-cap clips...that's a much harder call. I tend to support a cutoff at 30 rounds. We may have to agree to disagree on that.

FYI...in Ohio the NRA gave an "A" rating to Democratic Congressman Ted Strickland...then sent Charlton Heston into his district to campaign in support of his Republican opponent. Strickland won, thank God, but I lost any respect I had for that organization.


(I will PM you with further information about Sportsmen United.)
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Billy Ruffian Donating Member (672 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-06-05 07:54 AM
Response to Reply #52
53. If you oppose center fire rounds for handguns
then you'll be opposing .38 Special, .357 Magnum, 9mm, .380 ACP, .45 ACP, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .41 Special, and a host of others.

In otherwords, opposing centerfire handgun rounds means opposing a huge majority of the calibers available.
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-07-05 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #53
56. Slip of the keyboard?
I took him to mean armor-piercing ammunition in centerfire handgun calibers?







Explanation for any non-gunnies who may be scratching their heads over the terminology here--a centerfire cartridge is one in which the priming compound is contained in a priming cup in the center of the cartridge base. Rimfire cartridges (the other type) have the priming compound spun into a hollow rim around the base of a thin-walled case. Rimfire cartridges are very low-pressure by firearm standards but are much cheaper to manufacture. As far as common cartridges go, .22's are rimfire and pretty much everything else is centerfire.

An average centerfire handgun (9mm) is two to three times more powerful on an energy basis than a .22, while an average centerfire rifle (.30-06, most common deer hunting caliber in the U.S.) is around twenty times more powerful than a .22 on an energy basis.
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HardWorkingDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-06-05 02:37 AM
Response to Original message
51. Here is how to win on gun issues....
When it comes to gun laws, about the only study that has shown where a gun law affects criminal behavior is one out of Minnesota. This study showed that when an offender was caught with a firearm it was mandatory prison time. It is also an older study, but one that showed great promise. With that, here are some ways how Dems can win on the gun issue:

Write strong gun penalty laws for criminal use. Even throw in civil penalties that lack the same standard of proof as that found in criminal trials. In other words, fine people in civil proceedings when only 51 percent of evidence in needed instead of "beyond a reasonable doubt."

While writing these laws, make sure there are provisions that protect gun owners from stupid mistakes. For example, several years ago there was a story in the media about how some gun owners were facing strong penalties when caught with a gun while violating minor things in gun laws such as forgetting to renew a gun owner's license or a hunter carrying a firearm in a vehicle the wrong way.

Straw purchases must be stopped as well. Investigations must be done so that people who buy gun after gun and then re-sell them to street thugs must be locked up and heavily punished.

Lastly, Dems should push for increased Federal funding for more federal prosectutions of gun crimes. Local prosecutors are worried about convictions more than Federal prosecutors and also are worried about elections. I don't mean they both don't like them, but local prosecutors will not take questionable cases and criminals are scared of Federal court. Federal criminal courts do not jack around when it comes to gun crimes.

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astrawinski Donating Member (1 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-07-05 11:15 AM
Response to Original message
54. I'm a Republican...
...and in keeping with the spirit of your forum rules, this will likely be my only post. Be gentle! :P

This is without a doubt, one of the best pro gun pieces I've ever read in a forum. I signed up for no other reason than to thank you for your insight and superb writing. I couldn't have crafted a post any finer myself.

As a Republican, your article gives me pause. You have clearly shown that if your party dropped it's anti-gun stance, my party would stand a very good chance of loosing the House, Senate and Presidency. Honestly, it hadn't occurred to me that it might be that simple. Since I don't generally share the values of this site's membership, I won't discuss this revelation or it's implications any further, except to say that I'm a little worried now.

If you were in Ohio, I'd take you shooting and buy you a beer. With all this talk of building bridges and reaching out to the other side, you are one of the few that have done so successfully. We Republicans should endeavor to do the same, once in a while.

And with that, I'll gracefully bow out....

:hi:
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Wickerman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-07-05 11:44 AM
Response to Reply #54
55. Thanks for stopping by
your honesty is refreshing.

:hi:
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SlipperySlope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-07-05 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
57. Q: Why can't I find this on the greatest page?
It looks like this thread has five votes for greatest (and no, I'm not one of those five voters). If I understand the way "greatest" works, this post should be in the right column with the other posts that received five votes.

But when I look there, I don't find it.

What gives?
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Wickerman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #57
58. its a nearly six month old post
and seldom posted in of late; it would be buried by threads that have been kicked by recent posts.

no :tinfoilhat: required here.
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newswolf56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-10-05 02:22 AM
Response to Original message
60. To See Another Democrat Write So...
...eloquently and persuasively in favor of our party taking a more rational stance toward American firearms owners is the best homecoming I could possibly have been given -- "homecoming" because (though a Democrat for most of my life) I nevertheless spent a long period alienated from the party. I was banished from a local Democratic organization by its dominant members' vindictive hostility to firearms owners (an ugly reality about which I obviously need say little more). There were further embitterments too -- matters of Democratic social policy that, in their effect on me personally, merely intensified the vicious agenda of the Reaganoids -- but this is not the thread upon which to speak of them. Nevertheless, my genuine horror at Bush Administration domestic policy has finally brought me back into the Democratic fold and therefore eventually onto this site, though my fear of finding again the same anti-gun hatefulness I encountered in Bellingham, Washington c. 1986 kept me away from DU until just last week. Your post (and its subsequent elaborations) are therefore tantamount to a genuine embrace.

I have been an NRA member since 1951, shot competitively in high school ROTC in the 1950s and was a hunter in my younger years. But I finally reached a point at which my distinctly Pagan Gaia-consciousness will no longer allow me to hunt unless my own survival depends upon it, though I remain very much a "gun guy" -- one who appreciates firearms both for practical reasons and aesthetically as hand-held sculpture, one who enjoys not only the contest-with-self that is marksmanship but also the applied physics of handloading, ballistics and the intricacies of bedding. My favorite caliber is of course the .30-'06 -- the issue cartridge of my Regular Army military-service years -- with the hoary old .45-70 running a very close second. I am fortunate that, even with 65-year-old eyesight, I can still very much hold my own with iron sights and a good rifle out to 500 yards and even beyond. Which is not to boast -- but rather to convey the depth of my appreciation for all that you have said.

Moreover I too am nothing like the mythical "right-wing gun-nut" so beloved of some of our caricaturists. I belong to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, was twice a Democratic PC during the 1970s, and was sufficiently devoted to the Southern Civil Rights Movement to not only have gone to jail for it in 1963 but -- as a consequence -- to have brought on myself a "radical" stigma that severely and permanently damaged my journalism career: something I would nevertheless do again. I have been a firearms owner all my life -- and on more than one occasion, the presence of a gun has kept me from harm and in fact probably saved my life. Indeed it is one of my personal axioms that Real Leftists Own Guns.

As to claims about the Democratic legacy on firearms, others have covered them more than adequately with their citations of Jefferson. I will add only that the late Sen. Warren Magnuson was as staunch a defender of the Second Amendment as he was of welfare rights and the environment, also that I am old enough to know Eleanor Roosevelt was herself a crack pistol shot. She practiced regularly on the range that was then in the White House basement and often went armed as she toured the United States -- especially in regions where genuinely liberated women were deeply resented. It was at least partly for this reason I was so appalled by the presumptuousness and dishonesty of anti-gun Hillary Clinton's effort to equate herself with Mrs. Roosevelt -- Mrs. Roosevelt whose husband was quite possibly America's greatest president ever, Mrs. Roosevelt who was unquestionably our greatest and most forward-looking First Lady.

Which brings me to the party's present-day firearms schism: I believe this has more to do with class division -- especially the hostility toward the blue-collar class that is the ugly lingering legacy of the Vietnam years -- than any other single factor. Yes, the Communitarian scheme for total disarmament played a significant role, as did the radical-feminist view that the firearm is a surrogate for the (hated) penis. But neither of these authoritarian hoplophobic ideologies -- nor for that matter the generalized big-city (disarmed) urbanite's fear of the (armed) country-dweller -- would have taken hold had not the petri-dish of class hostility provided it the medium in which to grow. Indeed, in this context, the anti-gun sentiment is not the cause of our divorcement from, say, the United Mine Workers membership of East Tennessee and West Virginia, but rather instead its chief symptom. Therefore I believe if we heal the class-schism, all the rest will fall into place of its own accord. Or so I suspect: what I have posited here is but a hypothesis -- one toward which I have a definitively open mind.

In any case, benEzra, many many thanks.
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Xela Donating Member (787 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-16-05 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #60
61. And thank you...
newswolf56,

This is a very moving commentary. Thank you for sharing it.

It echoes similar liberal voices on my travels.

But, I am not sure I agree with your last analysis.

That is, in retrospect, wouldn't other radical left factions' recognition of the quintessential "power of the barrel of the gun" as a form of provoking social change (Black Panthers, Weathermen, Symbionese Liberation Army) counter the communitarian scheme and the radical-feminist hoplophobic ideology?

Or, shouldn't we also consider that both radical sides did not play a significant role within the Democratic party as we have been led to believe by reactionary America?

Having been a participant yourself, it would be quite interesting to see your point of view.

An inquiring young, liberal, and pro-2nd Amendment mind sends you his...

Best Regards,

Xela
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newswolf56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-19-05 07:13 PM
Response to Reply #61
63. Just now noticed your response; sorry if I seemed...
...slow to respond, especially since you pose a good and thoughtful question.

The allegedly pro-gun elements you cited -- and I use "pro-gun" advisedly, as there is no evidence any of these groups would have continued to support the Second Amendment (or any other part of the Bill of Rights) had they actually achieved power -- nullified by their acts of armed rebellion any enduring influence they might ever have had over the Democratic Party's internal politics. In every instance, they definitively placed themselves "outside the system" as violent or incipiently violent revolutionaries, thereby rejecting the very liberties and processes by which they might have made their views prevail.

By contrast, feminists (both pro-gun and anti-gun) and the venomously anti-gun Communitarians (who achieved their influence largely due to the undeniable rhetorical brilliance of Robert Reich) all chose to work within the party structure. Ditto for environmentalists and minorities, themselves often sharply divided on Second Amendment issues: note for example the clash between Deacons-for-Defense factions and the strictly pacifist elements within the Civil Rights Movement. However, the ascendance of the anti-gunners was not ensured until the pro-gunners were literally driven from the party. Not coincidentally, these were mostly rural and/or blue-collar folk, people who had transcended blue-collar backgrounds but remained faithful to their class origins, and the intellectuals who represented both groups.

I could relate some painful personal experiences that exemplify how this ouster took place, but the late Nat Hentoff did it much better and in much broader terms. Though (to my knowledge) Hentoff never addressed the Second Amendment issue, he wrote extensively about the class schism itself, with his insightful work published mostly in The Village Voice. If you can find his essays on the topic (most of which are NOT available on-line but -- if you can endure the long wait for an active link -- may be accessible through the New York City Public Library), they will tell you all you need to know. Hentoff began writing on the subject in the wake of the 1968 convention fights, wrote extensively on it after the McGovern debacle too, and by late 1972 was predicting that this class warfare would destroy -- probably forever -- the socioeconomic coalition that had so often assured Democratic victory. Sadly, Hentoff's predictions were confirmed when Ronald Reagan took the presidency.

I hope this helps.
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Xela Donating Member (787 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-19-05 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #63
64. Re: Hentoff
newswolf56,

Thanks for the tip. I'll take note of the resource.

Again, thanks for being here with us.

Xela
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newswolf56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 02:31 AM
Response to Reply #64
66. Ooops. STOOOPID mistake on my part. Should have said...
...Jack Newfield, not Nat Hentoff. Sorry I didn't catch it until too late. (Hentoff is still very much alive, as far as I know.)
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newswolf56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 02:35 AM
Response to Reply #66
67. And now I just discovered it's too late...
...to edit my original text, so my drooling "senior moment" idiocy is exposed to the whole world for electronic eternity.
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iverglas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 06:24 PM
Response to Reply #66
68. newfield, hentoff ...
At least Newfield doesn't seem to have been a vicious anti-choice misogynist ...

Hentoff and the second amendment ... well, he hangs out with / is touted by the right <sic> crowd:
http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/elder051902.asp
http://www.davekopel.com/2A/Newsletter/SAP2000/2000-May...

Cripes. People like that really pass as "progressive" in the US, right? ("Liberal", that I can understand, and it's probably exactly what I'd call him and what the late lamented Phil Ochs would have called him.)

Anyhow, I find this:
http://www.law.ucla.edu/volokh/2amteach.htm

With this new scholarly consensus has also come a renewed recognition, at times reluctant, that the Second Amendment must be taken into account in the gun control debate. It has not been uncommon in recent years for writers, even those who have supported far-reaching gun control measures, to reluctantly acknowledge the validity of the individual rights position.<66>

<66> See, e.g., Michael Kinsley, Slicing Up the Second Amendment, Wash. Post, Feb. 8, 1990, at A25; George Will, Oh That Annoying Second Amendment, Phila. Inq., Mar. 22, 1991; Nat Hentoff, A Second Look at the Second Amendment, Wash. Post, Mar. 9, 1996, at A21.



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JeffUAW Donating Member (24 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-18-05 04:26 PM
Response to Original message
62. Gee, Somebody with a clue!
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Van23 Donating Member (220 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-24-05 11:00 PM
Response to Original message
65. A right excellent article!!!
You should get it published as an op-ed piece somewhere!! :yourock:
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DFLer4edu Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-29-05 05:07 AM
Response to Original message
69. This should be our stance! (a comment from somebody who hates guns)
I don't like guns. I don't want to have a gun in my home. That said, I think what you just advocated should be the position of the Democratic Party. The tooth paste is already out of the tube. Criminals already have guns. New gun control laws do nothing to prevent criminals from getting guns. All they do is piss off law abiding gun owners whom thus end up voting republican.
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Swamp Fox Donating Member (106 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-10-05 07:00 PM
Response to Original message
71. it only applies to flintlock muskets
The way I read the Second Amendment , it only applies to flintlock muskets and therefore everything else is subject to be banned.


Swamp Fox
U.S. Army Draftee

Nowhere to run !
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Insight of a Bull's-Eye
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...


No Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Violence Policy Center
http://www.vpc.org/fact_sht/secondfs.htm

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virginia mountainman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-10-05 07:07 PM
Response to Reply #71
72. That is a dangerous way of thinking.
Hear YEE, HEAR YEE!!!! <- (imitates Town Crier)

That is a dangerous way of thinking.

Would you like someone to apply that logic to the REST of the amendments??
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-11-05 07:09 AM
Response to Reply #71
73. Since merely raising the price on some handgun magazines,
and requiring that civilian AR-15's be sold with fake adjustable stocks instead of real ones, helped cost the Democratic party the House, the Senate, and two Presidencies, care to speculate on how an actual ban on only these items might play out? (Never mind talk of banning everything but flintlocks...)

And as I mentioned previously, if you are going to read "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" as applying only to technologies available in 1791, then you can't very well read the First Amendment as applying to technologies developed since 1791. Or the Fourth Amendment (guess we don't have any protection against warrantless searches of our homes by millimeter-wave cameras or ultrawideband radar). Or the Fifth Amendment, which must only apply to torture technologies available in 1791. etc.
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Bullwinkle925 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-18-07 05:31 PM
Response to Original message
75. I'm trying to understand the fascination of gun-ownership - but it does
elude me. Admittedly, I read part (not all) or your post and could not find what the reasons are for the fact that you own guns. You say you do not hunt. Is it for aesthetic reasons? You like the shape of the gun? The history of the gun? I really am trying to understand. I have no problem with anyone owning a gun that has been disabled and cannot fire a round. I understand the South's addiction to the gun as they are still smarting from losing the Civil War. As a woman - and a woman in her 50's - perhaps that prevents me from this kind of understanding or empathy for gun owners. Can you tell me the real reason for the enjoyment of owning a gun? Is it something like collecting stamps?
BW925
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Turnagain Donating Member (54 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-18-07 07:57 PM
Response to Reply #75
76. Do we have to be fascinated
or can we just "like" or "appreciate" them? If I'm not from the South but "like" guns anyway, am I "addicted" too? Is there something about the word "investment" that you don't understand? Are you aware that a single Colt revolver sold at auction for over $800,000.00? Are you aware that many guns are considered priceless works of art? Do you think that it would be a good idea to deface a priceless piece of art by rendering it inoperable? Well, that's for starters, we can get into more reasons for owning a gun later. How about that when I'm feeling frustrated, I can load a gun and go find something small and furry and defenseless and BLOW IT AWAY. Just tryin' to help ya' out with your anti gun spiel.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-18-07 11:50 PM
Response to Reply #76
79. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
qdemn7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-18-07 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #75
77. Shooting is a skill
And learning and honing one's skills is fun. Plus it's simply fun sometimes.

To put it another way: "It's a man thing, you wouldn't understand." :bounce:
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Bullwinkle925 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-18-07 11:47 PM
Response to Reply #77
78. I can understand that in sport.
Golf, bowling, darts - all harmless. Well, guess you could kill someone with a club, bowling ball and dart - but certainly not in a 'massacre way'. I understand the joy in honing one's skill. I just don't understand the ecstasy in snuffing out the light in someone or something's eyes? Perhaps you are onto something speaking of genders. Since women 'give' birth, perhaps they understand more significantly the preciousness of life? Do you think if we could possibly switch the tables and have men carry the child and go through labor and delivery that the thinking might change on that point? Just wondering.

:shrug:
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qdemn7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-19-07 04:25 AM
Response to Reply #78
80. You want serious answers?
Here are my real thoughts and feelings.

I agree that some women understand the preciousness of life but apparently many don't. Just as a few examples; The continuing cases of women having child after child, being unable to care for them so they all live in poverty, but refusing to get sterilized or even use contraception. Or having a child and dumping it in the garbage, like... garbage, despite the fact there are so many couples begging for children. Or women who abandon their children, either physically or emotionally just so they can have a man. And then we hit the rock of abortion, and I'm pro-choice, BTW.

For many men, myself included, what appears to be the supreme hypocrisy of women are their stark views between the sacredness of life and abortion. If American women care about life, so much, then why do they have 1,000,000 abortions a year? After all it is a human life, not an inanimate object. So if they were really concerned, they could have the child and give it up. As I stated couples are begging for children. BUT, what truly angers me and other men, is that women seem to so concerned about life; ie; let's ban guns, let's have laws for this, laws for that, until THEIR freedom is personally threatened. It seems the only personal right women really understand is the right to choose.

The reason so many of us (men) are passionate is that we regard the RKBA (Right to Keep and Bear Arms) the way ardent feminists regard the Right to Choose. In effect we are saying "This is MY body, and NO ONE is going to tell me what I can do with it." This also extends to the "child" of my body which for many men is the fruit of their labors, their wealth and their property. By attempting to remove the "choice", that is the decision whether or not to own a gun, you are attempting to exert dominion over my body, and my property, and this is something that I / we will simply not tolerate. You can make all the arguments about OTHERS getting hurt, or the possibility of something bad happening, and to be frank, it is all irrelevant, since you are thus prioritizing my body as being less important than others. Now it is OK for ME to make that choice, but it is definitely not acceptable for YOU to be doing that. Anymore than it is my place to attempt to tell a women whether, when, how or even if she can reproduce.

In a country based on the Rights of the Individual, you are saying the Group is more important than the Individual, and that is something that is utterly unacceptable to many people in the USA.

Let's get something real clear. I don't care how much you, your friends, and so on think that because "Guns are dangerous" they must be banned. The idea that because "Things are dangerous, they must be restricted, or banned" is what is wrong with this country today. This country is becoming a sissy state and a nanny nation because a bunch of silly, emotional, phobic people of all genders are terrified "someone might get hurt". We are loosing are freedoms because people think that Safety is more important than Freedom.

As far as men having the child, sure it would change some men's minds, but not all. But that can't happen. What has changed in my lifetime, I was born in '57, btw, is how child rearing attitudes among men have changed. Forty years ago it was the woman's job alone. Many men these days are much more involved in their children's lives, much more so than when I was a child. So maybe society is changing slowly.

However saying all the positives, there is this negative.

War is the supreme test of man in which he rises to heights never approached in any other activity. --George S. Patton

Patton said man and he meant just that. War is a male endeavor, always has been. Men enjoy war else we wouldn't engage in it so much. So willingly going off to fight in them. So readily to send our young men to fight them. If war was so terrible, war would end after only one generation. The generation of men that fought a war would never send their sons to fight another one.

I can't find the quote, but someone said something to the effect as follows: War is the supreme act of male bonding men that engage in. In war men find brothers they otherwise never had. In war men are able to prove their manhood in the only way that really matters, to other men. In war men are freed from the "restrictions and constraints" of women. In war men are able to show their love for other men by sacrificing their lives for other men.

I may have went farther than you wanted, but you seem really curious, not just asking rhetorical questions.



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Bullwinkle925 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-19-07 10:17 AM
Response to Reply #80
84. You are correct - I am curious ......
It does go back to that male/female thing. Of course, many women own guns - some out of fear for their lives (unfortunately) and others for the sport (I guess). I knew that this would get to the abortion issue. Well, the Bush Administration has just taken one of women's rights away this week. The right to bear arms seems to be more sacred than the rights of individuals, it seems. I don't back abortion as a birth control method. I do back a woman's (and sadly, since as of today it is still ONLY the woman who does conceive and go through labor and delivery) right to make a decision over her body. When a woman becomes pregnant (typically outside of the boundaries of marriage), she usually is forced to make the decision to abort due to either health or financial reasons. It appears that the man who has impregnanted (and yes, not without (usually) the woman's participation) generally leaves the situation and doesn't want to become involved in the child-rearing or financial responsibility. There is one such young woman I know of right now who gave birth to a beautiful boy last summer and is raising him on her own. The man doesn't want anything to do with this child and she's not asking him for anything at all. I wonder if in the future this man might want to form a 'bonding' with his son. I wonder how he looks at himself each and every day - but that's the human frailty in life. I don't fully understand how that equates with the right of an individual to purchase a gun and ammunition. The woman who has to make a decision (and usually it's a very emotional decision to have to reach) is herself going through a medical procedure that may have repercussions upon her physical person.
Not so for a gun-owner. Nothing invasive is being done when you purchase and operate a gun. (Unless you ultimately shoot yourself in error, I suppose?).
Going to the abortion issue I feel, is a dodge of the real question as to gun control and the safety of society at large.
And the issue of war as a bonding thing between men is a sad, sad reflection on human evolution. My husband is an ex-Marine but thankfully, doesn't have the feelings towards guns as explained by yourself. Yes, he felt the camaraderie that men feel as they are supposed to in the eventuality they do have to serve their country in war and take care of each other. Again, I'm unsure of what that has to do with gun control and how we are going to ensure a safe environment for ourselves.
I guess what it ultimately boils down to is the fact that people who own guns just want that liberty to be able to do so. I respect that. The reality is that our society is unable to weed out those who are mentally unstable and should never be able to own a gun. The reality is that these shootings will continue, over and over and over again, in order to uphold the right to bear arms. The reality is that the gun lobby carries a heavy stick in Congress. The reality is that (for the main part) men will always have a love affair with their guns and somehow it seems to represent their manhood. Maybe that equates with some women's love of silicone and feels that represents womanhood? I don't know. Silicone, however, doesn't massacre. If it kills, it only kills the one individual who chose to have it inserted.
From each of our viewpoints, it seems that we will respectfully agree to disagree.
Since I do not have any kind of interest in owning a gun, of course banning them does nothing to my way of life. I go on as usual. But, I go on breathing a little easier in the knowledge that no more will be issued and out on the streets. That won't happen, however.
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qdemn7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-19-07 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #84
87. Thank you
For your thoughtful posts. We will just have to agree to disagree, however.
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Bullwinkle925 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-19-07 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #87
88. You're right.
Believe me, if everyone out there was courteous and behaved in an appropriate manner, I don't have a problem with gun ownership.
I may really not understand it, but I'm sure there are many things I enjoy where others may question??!! However, society being as it is, perhaps we do have to lose one freedom in order to ensure the safety of others? I just cannot bear the thought of how I would feel if my daughter were to be in 'the wrong place at the wrong time'. What the loved ones of all massacre victims are going through is so unimaginable. For all the love of ownership of guns, it still does not replace losing a loved one due to insanity and the ability to purchase guns. I don't see another way out. Guns are dangerous. Guns are available.
Guns are produced with only one capability - to shoot ammunition.
I posted a poll in the lounge regarding an individual's concept of safety. I'll be curious to see how it ends up - that is, if people honestly participate in it.
Have a good day. I'm meeting an elderly lady for lunch and then coming back to hopefully be able to watch Gonzo under fire later on C-span.
:hi:
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-19-07 08:07 AM
Response to Reply #78
82. Approximately one third of U.S. women personally own a gun
Perhaps you are onto something speaking of genders. Since women 'give' birth, perhaps they understand more significantly the preciousness of life? Do you think if we could possibly switch the tables and have men carry the child and go through labor and delivery that the thinking might change on that point? Just wondering.

Approximately one third of U.S. women personally own a gun, which is lower than the ownership rate among men, but not that much lower. So I don't think it's so much of a gender thing, more a reflection of the fact that until recently women were supposed to be "passive" and always let men protect/provide/make decisions for them.

My mom, my wife, and my sister all own handguns, and my wife also owns an antique rifle. I have a number of female coworkers that own guns as well.
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Bullwinkle925 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-19-07 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #82
86. Hi-
Thanks for your response. It is also a geographical cultural thing as well. I would suspect that more women in the Southern States own guns than women throughout the rest of the geographical country. Just a supposition - but it would be interesting to see a 'gun-ownership' map of the U.S.
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-19-07 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #86
89. More an urban vs. non-urban thing, I'd say...
gun ownership rates are very high in the rural Northeast (Maine, NH, VT, Penn.), the Northwest, and West, as well as the South. My wife is from Maine, BTW.

It's less common in highly urban, industrial states like NJ.

If you exclude NYC, the state of New York has very high rates of gun ownership upstate, but NYC skews the figures down, I'm sure (it is very, very difficult to legally own a gun in New York City).
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Bullwinkle925 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-19-07 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #89
91. Right - I'm in the SF Bay Area and I'm sure that gun ownership increases
the further out from SF you are. I wish that we didn't ever have to have these debates. But, that's being rather too 'Pollyanna-ish'. I suppose I can't help the way I see a gun - to me, it is only an implement of death. I can't see it for any kind of intrinsic value. Again, I understand that there are quite a few people who are gun collectors and never fire any of them. I can appreciate that. I can appreciate the aspect of whatever historical value might be associated with a Civil War, Revolutionary War, WWI or WWII piece. Lord knows, I've spent hours in a Military Museum in Paris - after a while, every cannon ball and piece of chain mail begin to look alike. I just don't know what the answer is to the violence that we see in this country and why Americans are so fascinated with their firepower? I wonder if the love of the 'Old West' plays a huge part in it. The Civil War, I'm sure is what drives the Southerners to want to hold onto their right to bear arms since they have the perceptions that they were once taken over by their own government.
Well, I'm whipping a dead horse.

By-the-way - have I missed the reason that you like to own guns? Is it the historical aspect? I might have glossed over it - but I can't recall what the reason was/is??
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-20-07 06:06 AM
Response to Reply #91
93. See post number 81 for an answer to that question at some length.
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Vilis Veritas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-19-07 10:04 AM
Response to Reply #78
83. Not so sure about gender
and what your point is about men carrying babies? To your other point though...

Just because someone owns a gun, does not make them a killer that likes to look their victims in the eyes as their life drains away.

That, I think is what this post is all about. I am not a killer, exact opposite. Yet I own a gun. Why?

My story. When I was little, a relative put a 22 caliber pistol in my hands and said, "see that tin can top nailed to that tree?, see if you can hit it."

We were standing on a porch and the tree was twenty paces away. About 40 feet.

I nailed it 3 out of six times. He was besides himself. I was thrilled. I had done something even he could not do, with a crappy little 22 pistol that was not a target pistol.

I still shoot for the thrill, not the kill.

With respect...
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-19-07 07:31 AM
Response to Reply #75
81. Someone once asked me that on Common Ground Common Sense
Edited on Thu Apr-19-07 07:32 AM by benEzra
I'm trying to understand the fascination of gun-ownership - but it does elude me. Admittedly, I read part (not all) or your post and could not find what the reasons are for the fact that you own guns. You say you do not hunt. Is it for aesthetic reasons? You like the shape of the gun? The history of the gun? I really am trying to understand. I have no problem with anyone owning a gun that has been disabled and cannot fire a round. I understand the South's addiction to the gun as they are still smarting from losing the Civil War. As a woman - and a woman in her 50's - perhaps that prevents me from this kind of understanding or empathy for gun owners. Can you tell me the real reason for the enjoyment of owning a gun? Is it something like collecting stamps?
BW925

Someone once asked me that on Common Ground Common Sense (formerly the John Kerry forum) and this was the gist of my reply:

To me, it's a competence thing.

Here's some random thoughts, in no particular order.

Proficiency with firearms is a martial art just like Isshinryu Karate or Tae Kwan Do or 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. FWIW, 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, a lot of gun enthusiasts view training and skill development as an end in itself. A Zen thing, if you will. (BTW, 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 wife is into SCA fencing in addition to shooting.

Some people pride themself 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 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 (she double-majored in Engineering and Mathematics at NC State).

Gun owners also tend to lean individualist rather than collectivist, and have a high view of individual rights. If you hang around the High Road much (reading/posting welcome, but no trolling, please), you'll find nearly as much disdain for free-speech restrictions and 4th-amendment violations as for the latest gun-grab attempt, and you'll find a lot of sympathy with the ACLU except for their dyslexic view of the Second Amendment (in my opinion, though I know you would probably disagree). Note that individualist does NOT mean conservative; Big Brother communitarian conservatives are as antithetical to the individualist mindset as any Big Brother communitarian liberals.

So I suppose that ultimately, it's also a freedom thing. The guns in my gun safe are a tangible reminder that my wife and I are free people. We don't own those at the dispensation of some elite power broker; we can own them because we are free people, and are free to make that choice for ourselves. That's probably a cultural thing and I wouldn't expect you to feel the same way, but the freedom issue runs very, very deeply with most gun enthusiasts.


FWIW, here's a fairly recent book on the "gun culture" by an American anthropogist that you may find interesting:

Shooters: Myths and Realities of America's Gun Cultures.

BTW, gun ownership isn't just a southern thing. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc. are every bit as pro-gun as any southern state, and in some ways more so.
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Bullwinkle925 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-20-07 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #81
94. Thanks - it was my fault in that I did indeed gloss over it.
I understand it better when you frame it in a martial arts aspect. I have never participated in that sport. It is my understanding that individuals who are practicing martial arts are also taught an inner-discipline as well? There are life lessons to be learned along with the physical aspect of the martial arts?
I only wish the 'zen-like' quality would also be transferred to those participating within the gun culture.
It is my feeling that you are a rare animal in the gun world.
Do you use live ammunition or blanks? How would you feel if you were required (if live ammuntion is used) to be able to purchase such ammunition ONLY at the gun range and make the sales of ammunition illegal? Would you feel uneasy at not being able to have a loaded gun in the home?

I have to do some long and hard thinking regarding those who hunt and how they can obtain ammunition but not be able to stockpile such or have loaded guns at home. This is a most difficult discussion - but I feel that the balance of power still resides on the side of public safety.
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qdemn7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-20-07 06:48 PM
Response to Reply #94
95. The problem is that prohibitions can easily be circumvented.
Can you think of one major thing that has been banned or prohibited such that the Prohibition has actually worked?

Suggestion: You make ammo illegal. Answer: You can reload empty cartridge casings. Bullets can be cast from lead or pewter, or machined from harder metals. You will need to acquire the powder and primers but primers are very small and a black market would develop for that and smokeless powder.

The problem is you, and many others, are completely unfamiliar with guns, and everything you suggest can easily be circumvented. I don't want to sound patronizing (but this will), you are in the position of a virgin trying to lecture about sex.

As far as I am concerned, the primary reason to have a gun is self-defense. I don't hunt, not opposed to it, but I'm just not an outdoorsman. Every else is secondary, tertiary, or further down the list. If I can't have one for the primary reason, I'd just as soon as not have one. You keep wanting to punish people preemptively. Because something MIGHT happen, we must restrict people's freedoms.

You cannot have a situation where on one hand you promote freedom at every turn, only to promote safety at every turn. The two are mutually incompatible.

Ask yourself this: As a woman are you comfortable with restrictions on abortion? Like the partial birth ban just upheld?






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Bullwinkle925 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-20-07 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #95
97. Good point -
I am unfamiliar with the workings/operations of guns. I have no interest in them whatsoever. When I said a ban on sales of ammunition, I was trying to save those people who truly wanted to have their guns and carry on with their hobby of target practice. I'm trying to reverse my opinion of a law against guns altogether in order to satisfy some of the population. I'm trying to come up with some kind of suggestion that would hopefully satisfy the majority of the people in this country and find some sort of balance. I can understand your wanting to equate the abortion argument with a ban on guns or ammunition. I feel that the take you have on the gun issue is predominantly coming from the stance of having your civil liberties challenged. You simply don't want anyone to say no to you. I'm not saying this sarcastically, although when you look at words in black and white, it is difficult to have a feel for the inflection in which they are being said. I am only stating it in an analytical way. As far as the abortion issue goes, I must say that I don't feel that my life is threatened whenever a woman decides to have an abortion. She is making a conscious decision of terminating the life of the fetus she is carrying and it goes no further. It doesn't end up in the massacre of people who have already been born and are currently living on this planet with an intricate family/friend web of relationships. When a person is able to purchase a gun - whatever kind - they are all made for shooting some type of bullet/ammunition, then that person becomes a potential mass-murderer. I think we are all in agreement that the present situation is woefully not working. There will be more VT types of mass murders. Can you understand how threatening it is to some of us to know that there are people in this society that would rather make the sacrifice of having totally innocent people die in order to save the privilege of owning their guns? Should we be satisfied with that? The collateral damage of the gun lobby? I'm not satisfied with that.
Do you have any thoughts or suggestions that would eliminate what happened this week?
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qdemn7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-20-07 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #97
98. Yes I do
From MSNBC http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18217741/site/newsweek

But Rand and othersincluding federal officialssay that enforcement of the provision in the law barring the mentally ill from buying handguns has been erratic at best. More than 20 states dont report any mental health recordsincluding court records of mental commitmentsto the FBIs National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the central federal database for background checks on firearm purchases, according to Paul Bresson, a FBI spokesman. Other states, including Virginia, do report some records,

WHY don't these states reports? Have courts said no? Is the medical community resisting? Is is simple laziness? Is it it due to lack of money? Why isn't it mandatory that all states report to NCIS?

1) REQUIRE that all cities, counties and states report all persons "adjudicated as mentally ill" to the NCIS. No exception, no excuses.

(2) Fund said requirements as necessary (no unfunded mandates).

Number 2 is easy, number 1 is the hard part.
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Bullwinkle925 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-20-07 10:57 PM
Response to Reply #98
99. There would have to be a change in Federal HIPPA regulations in
order to provide sensitive medical information to national databases. That is a way you could start. You would need to contact your Congressional representatives and also start a groundswell in the general public to do this. I've worked for physicians and I know how private people are about their health information.
That would be opening the 'right-to-privacy' door affecting all of us as well.
There is nothing to avoid someone from having fake I.D.'s made up and giving false information in order to purchase guns - unless we are all fingerprinted at our healthcare provider's offices and have that information in a national database? This may have us move another step dangerously close to the idea of the National Identity Chip being implanted in each of us so that the Government can track our comings' and goings'. Where does it end? I wish everything were that easy.
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qdemn7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-20-07 11:07 PM
Response to Reply #99
100. As a matter of fact
I called my Congresswoman today and laid this out to one of her people.

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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-20-07 08:31 PM
Response to Reply #94
96. I think that for the most part, it is.
Edited on Fri Apr-20-07 09:06 PM by benEzra
I understand it better when you frame it in a martial arts aspect. I have never participated in that sport. It is my understanding that individuals who are practicing martial arts are also taught an inner-discipline as well? There are life lessons to be learned along with the physical aspect of the martial arts?

Yes. That is the essence of the concept of bushido, at least as I understand it.

I only wish the 'zen-like' quality would also be transferred to those participating within the gun culture.

I think to a large extent, it does. A lot of the non-gun-owner perception of the "gun culture" is merely what the MSM choose to portray as the "gun culture." Uneducated, mostly southern, "redneck," with a strong subtext of irresponsibility, dangerous but not particularly competent. In my opinion, that characterization is a false one, or is at least true of only a very small minority.

You may find the following High Road threads interesting with regard to media stereotypes. Certainly THR is not a perfectly representative sample, being composed more of gun enthusiasts than casual owners, but interesting nonetheless:

Guns and education level (poll)
Gun owner demographics - Who are we? (poll)

In my observation, at least in the portions of the "gun culture" with which I am acquainted, an American analogue of bushido does exist. There is a very strong emphasis on safety, with most gunnies following the Four Rules religiously, and those who don't are corrected or avoided. There is also a strong undercurrent of integrity and individual responsibility, in a good way.

For an interesting read on the subject, you might be able to get the following book via interlibrary loan. It was written by a grad student in anthropology, from a pronounced "outsider's" perspective.


Shooters: Myths and Realities of America's Gun Cultures

BTW, as to the zen aspect, to be a good shooter, you do have to take a zen approach. The best shooting advice I was ever given was, "Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast." Accurate shooting is 90% mental, like a good golf swing, I guess (I can't say for sure, because I suck at golf). It's all about being aware of your breathing and your surroundings, tensed and relaxed at the same time, and then for an instant, the front sight has to become your sole focus, while you load the trigger until the hammer falls. We humans are wired to flinch at bright flashes and loud noises, and the difference between a good shot and a lousy one might be only a few arcminutes. The media, again, have this picture of target shooting as being somehow a violent activity, the release of pent-up rage or whatever, which is way off the mark.

It is my feeling that you are a rare animal in the gun world.

On the analytical side, maybe (most shooters probably don't take a Palm with a ballistics calculator to the range with them, which makes me the nerd in the Wierd Al video). On the responsibility/safety side, I'm not unusual. What I know of that end of things, I learned from the broader gun community.

Do you use live ammunition or blanks?

Always live ammunition. Blanks make noise, but they're just firecrackers; you can't tell whether the shot would have been a bullseye or A-zone hit, or a clean miss. It would be like playing golf without a ball. Nor will blanks cycle an unmodified pistol or a self-loading rifle (movie guns are modified to cycle realistically with blanks, but unmodified real guns won't).

Now, I do occasionally practice at home with no ammunition at all, to practice sight alignment, trigger release, and reloading (always with a safe backstop, per Rule Two, usually either the safe, a good brick-backed exterior wall, or the fireplace), but shooting blanks would require a shooting range, and if you're on a range, then you might as well shoot ammunition that will actually make a hole in the paper.

How would you feel if you were required (if live ammuntion is used) to be able to purchase such ammunition ONLY at the gun range and make the sales of ammunition illegal?

I would very much oppose that, for numerous reasons. There is the self-defense aspect; the vast majority of gun owners do list defensive purposes as the #1 reason for said ownership, followed by recreational target shooting as #2 and hunting a rather distant third. There's also the fact that much target shooting is informal, rather than at formal ranges, and a lot of formal ranges don't have anyone there besides the shooters. Third, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of different calibers of ammunition, and no range could realistically stock them all. Two of my rifles (antiques), I actually have to mail-order ammunition for, because no one I know of within an hour's drive of my house sells it. And finally, a lot of gun enthusiasts load their own ammunition at home (Google "reloading") and a lot more would do so were ammunition availability curtailed.

My wife and I typically buy ammunition in bulk, as it's much cheaper that way. We both own carbines in 7.62x39mm and pistols in 9mm, plus a couple of antiques and a .223, so we probably have a couple thousand rounds total in the cabinet. We buy the 9mm target ammunition in 100-round boxes, and 7.62x39mm by the half-case (500 rounds). A typical range trip for me is probably 100 rounds of 9mm and 75-100 rounds of 7.62x39mm, so we go through it fairly quickly.

Would you feel uneasy at not being able to have a loaded gun in the home?

Right now, there are three loaded guns in the house: my S&W, my wife's Glock, and a carbine in the safe that has a magazine inserted but the chamber not loaded. All our guns, loaded or not, are kept in the safe when not being kept directly accessible, and we are very careful about not letting our children (8 and 6) have access.

I don't know that I'd be "uneasy" if I had no loaded guns, but I'd probably feel the same way I'd feel if I knew our fire extinguishers were empty; I'd definitely rather have the capability and not need it, than need it and not have it. And if I were not allowed to have loaded guns around, I would be very, very annoyed (and would probably keep one loaded in the safe anyway).

I have to do some long and hard thinking regarding those who hunt and how they can obtain ammunition but not be able to stockpile such or have loaded guns at home. This is a most difficult discussion - but I feel that the balance of power still resides on the side of public safety.

Only about 20% of gun owners hunt, and most types of hunting don't use much ammunition (a box or two of ammunition per year per hunter, I'd guess, except perhaps varmint hunting). However, American recreational target shooters go through several billion (yes, with a "b") rounds of ammunition in a given year. Some gun enthusiasts I know go through a thousand rounds a week (lucky individuals very close proximity to ranges). A violent criminal, on the other hand, could probably go his entire criminal career on a single box of ammunition (50 rounds). Any ammunition restrictions would hit us gunnies a lot harder than it would hit the criminals or nutcases, and smuggling from other countries would be sufficient to supply the criminal market; they could disguise imports as routine cocaine shipments.

I don't think you could do it from a pragmatic standpoint, either. You'd be telling ~80 million people of voting age that they are no longer allowed to own something they consider a basic right, and you'd get pretty much the same backlash at the polls as you would if you banned all guns (I wouldn't see the two scenarios as much different). Think of the backlash you'd get if you banned hunting, and multiply it by five.

Now, one thing you COULD do would be to put some sort of endorsement on the driver's license of people with clean records, I suppose (stores have to check your age anyway, since you have to be 18 to buy ammunition in most states, 21 to buy handgun ammunition). But given the billions of rounds of ammunition we already have stockpiled, I don't think that, or anything else short of summary execution for ammunition possession, would do anything to dry up the civilian ammunition supply.

BTW, thanks for the thoughtful responses.
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Van23 Donating Member (220 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-19-07 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
85. Excellent!!
Have you ever tried to get this published in a major newsweekly or newspaper? This article deserves a large audience!
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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-19-07 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #85
90. Never have. I'd probably need to update it a little (lots of 2004 references there)
Edited on Thu Apr-19-07 02:43 PM by benEzra
and I'd want to footnote the statistics references, but I did email it to the DNC and as many Dem think tanks as I could think of in early 2005. If you have any ideas, I'd be open to them. (Thanks for the compliment, BTW.)
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qdemn7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-19-07 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #90
92. You really should
Try to get it published. Spend some time with it as necessary, then it start submitting it. You have a little over 18 months to the next election. Now, as to WHERE you would want to start submitting it, that part I have no idea, other than you would want to reach as broad a "market" as possible.
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