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benEzra

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Eastern North Carolina
Home country: United States
Current location: Eastern NC
Member since: Wed Dec 1, 2004, 04:09 PM
Number of posts: 11,913

Journal Archives

Well, we've reduced gun homicides by 50% and gun accidents by 95% already,

and our suicide rate is comparable to Australia's and most of Europe's, most years (and far below Japan's). But since you're speaking of "where do we go from here", I think that question is made a lot more complicated by the current Holy War against responsible gun ownership.

When I first started posting on DU back in 2004-2005, I (naively) floated a few proposals that I thought might could be a productive middle ground between gun owners and gun control advocates, such as universal background checks (with felony criminal penalties to prevent compiling a registry or other misuse), a tax credit for the purchase of UL-listed gun safes, etc. But in the past four years, I've seen compromises such as those I once advocated, as well as prior compromises by gun owners, wielded as weapons against the lawful and nonviolent. The result is mistrust of all such proposals by lawful gun owners, and I doubt that mistrust will abate until the fundamentalists currently running the gun control lobby are replaced by pragmatists who look for common ground instead of talking points and rhetorical cheap shots.

To me, it appears that the current leadership of the gun control movement isn't so much interested in reducing gun violence, as it is interested in criminalizing ownership by the nonviolent, at least those of the working class and middle class. When the people pushing "mandatory training" or "safe storage" or "universal background checks" are simultaneously talking about compiling registries, banning and confiscating the most popular guns, and outlawing self-defense, it undermines even some good-faith proposals that might have merit.

I think universal background checks might be do-able, still, but the proposals currently being pushed aren't about background checks so much as they are about registration and petty harassment (e.g. making it a crime to share a gun with your life partner even if they have a clean record, or to introduce new shooters to the shooting sports at anywhere but a formal range). And in the context of the current culture war, I see little interest on either side in crafting a compromise. Even my idea about a tax credit for gun safes would inevitably be twisted by the prohibitionists into a requirement that all guns be unloaded and locked away at all times, and in that environment no such proposals are really viable.

"Cop-killer bullets" were banned in 1986 (Public Law 99-408, 8/28/86).

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d099:HR03132: (Ban on "Cop-killer bullets", Public Law 99-408; passed 8/28/1986)

This law was extended to all rifle calibers that matter in 1994.

Congress banned marketing of civilian rifles under 19 scary names in '94, but banned no guns,

and required AR-15's and other modern-looking civilian rifles made between 1994 and 2004 to have nonthreaded muzzles and nonadjustable stocks. No guns were banned, and AR-15 sales easily tripled 1994-2004, so I'm not sure that's a very good example. A strict reading of D.C. v. Heller would seem to protect AR-15's and such (under the "in common use for lawful purposes" test), but we'll see. Still, given that more Americans own "assault weapons" than hunt, and they are the most popular civilian rifles in U.S. homes, such bans aren't going anywhere.

A small handful of states have instituted bans on rifle handgrips that stick out, adjustable stocks, and other "modern" features, but you can still own an AR-15 in California or New York if you put a straight stock on it and don't call it by a Prohibited Name of Ickiness.

I don't think the U.S. Supreme Court has addressed arbitrary bans on civilian magazine capacity either way, but it's hard to imagine that a minuscule 10-round limit would pass strict scrutiny, if anyone bothered to apply it. The very first repeating rifles ever made (the 1861 Henry, and Winchesters since 1866) had capacities of 15, 30-round magazines hit the market in the early 1870s, and 13+ round pistols have been common since the 1930s, so it's hard to make a case for threatening 50 million people with prison for possessing items that have been mainstream since the 1860s.

What if "the guns" are "assault weapons" and over-10-round magazines?

Those are "the guns" that gun owners are concerned about. You can't just threaten 50+ million people with prison for owning protruding rifle handgrips or post-1860 magazines and not expect some pushback, especially when rifles kill fewer people than bicycles. That stuff needs to be walked back, hard, IMO. The examples of Gore and Kerry vs. 2008 Obama should be instructive.

I was one of those who tried to influence the Kerry campaign in '04 to address the blind spots, but the campaign was too wrapped up in 1950's Field and Stream stereotypes to listen, and ended up pandering to caricatures instead of addressing real concerns.

The moment when the gun control lobby shot itself in the foot...

was when it decided to bet the farm on the "assault weapon" fraud and magazine bans. There were other things that hurt their cause as well, but Clinton's AWB was the Pyrrhic victory that all but obliterated the Brady Campaign and set the rest of the U.S. gun control lobby on a path to spluttering, extremist irrelevance. Were it not for the megabucks of a single Wall Street control freak, it'd be defunct---all largely because a stupid bait-and-switch with no relation to fighting violence morphed into the primary goal of the gun control movement.

No, they're trying to ban things *less* misused than knives and baseball bats.

"You don't see them raising millions to register knives, or baseball bats, do you? "

No, I see them shelling out millions to outlaw weapons that result in far *fewer* deaths than knives, baseball bats, and bicycles.

Murder, by State and Type of Weapon, 2014 (FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 2014)

Total murders...................... 11,961
Handguns............................ 5,562 (46.5%)
Firearms (type unknown)............. 2,052 (17.2%)
Clubs, rope, fire, etc.............. 1,610 (13.5%)
Knives and other cutting weapons.... 1,567 (13.1%)
Hands, fists, feet.................... 660 (5.5%)
Shotguns.............................. 262 (2.2%)
Rifles................................ 248 (2.1%)


The guns the prohibition lobby has been fighting hardest to outlaw for the last 25 years are the most popular civilian rifles. Look at that chart and tell me how rifles compare to knives or clubs....

They have also campaigned hard for banning guns that have been used in zero murders in this country that I am aware of (e.g. 50-caliber precision rifles). So, yeah, they don't care how rarely guns are misused; they want to ban them.

I'll also point out that the gun-control lobby primarily targets the most law-abiding of gun owners (CCW licensees and competitive shooters), not the people actually going out and shooting each other on the streets on a daily basis.

The framers of the Bill of Rights....

penned the 2nd Amendment in response to bans on military-style firearms that British law enforcement imposed on various American cities in the 1770s, including Boston. So, yeah, I think they would have been OK with peaceable American citizens owning civilian non-automatics like AR-15's.

It's also interesting to note the prohibitionists' obsession with banning "assault weapons", when I doubt a rifle has been used in a murder in this town in years.

And this statement:

"why anyone sees the need to own assault weapons in Longmeadow - or in any private stockpile - is hard to fathom."

is noteworthy for sheer ignorance, when you realize that the working definition of an "assault weapon" is a civilian rifle with an ergonomic handgrip.

No wonder the proposal failed 950 to 30...

And yet a $40,000+ truck with abundant onboard power, unlimited room for electronics,

a benign operating environment, and a less-than-10-year expected life span doesn't have a fingerprint reader to start it, because that technology isn't considered reliable enough even under those circumstances.

On the other hand, my oldest gun is 111 years old and still works with reliability of 0.9999 or better. I'm not sure that Armatix even cracked .95, end to end.

Three times as many people are murdered each year with knives...

"how many babies who killed other babies were killed by knifes"

Three times as many people are murdered each year with knives as are murdered using all rifles and all shotguns combined, including "assault weapons". Bicycles kill more people annually than are murdered by rifles and shotguns.

Most murders by gun are also close and personal...and most are committed by people with long criminal records, not the peaceable and nonviolent who are your primary targets.


Last time I went out to eat, I was carrying a S&W Lady Smith.

Time before that, a FN FNS. If you were at the next table, you wouldn't have been alarmed.

An AR is way too big to conceal, which is a big reason why rifles are the least misused of all weapons. It's also heavy and bulky, in spite of the small caliber, and you can't wear it.

You do realize that the only people who ever took AR's to restaurants were a handful of clueless publicity-seekers a couple years ago, right?

What really bothers you, and what you're trying your best to criminalize, is peons like me who have an AR in the gun safe and take it to the shooting range regularly. Such horrific deeds deserve felony punishments, ja?
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