Hooooow refeshing to see a foreigner give his view about the gun culture in America!!
Fair warning though, it’s a bit not safe for work cause there’s a lot a fucking swearing!!
Hooooow refeshing to see a foreigner give his view about the gun culture in America!!
Fair warning though, it’s a bit not safe for work cause there’s a lot a fucking swearing!!
Gun regulations megapost:
I’ve gotten accused of a lot of frankly weird things in talking about gun rights, but one of the main things has been being too verbose and asking too many questions. I feel this is an incredibly unfair and frankly baffling contention, since gun rights are a dense, tricky subject, interfacing with property rights, self-defense rights, public safety, privacy, and a host of other issues and to treat them at all seriously you need to go into it in depth.
Still, to keep things to a minimum, I am going to lay out my thinking in this here megapost. I am going to include counterarguments where I can, and do a synthesis where I can.
You will notice a lack of reference to the 2nd amendment. This is because referencing the 2nd amendment is not an argument, but just a citation of fact. The majority of gun regulation laws decided at the Supreme Court level have been decided by a 5-4 majority. The constitutionality of gun ownership as an individual right, or as a highly unregulated right, etc. is as tenuous, if not more, than the privacy rights and abortion rights guaranteed in Roe v. Wade. The dissents make compelling arguments for guns as a collective right with self-defense as the individual right. Anyone who relies on the 2nd amendment during an argument about what our gun policy should be is missing the point: The question is what policy we should have. The 2nd amendment is not a part of that conversation except to the extent that it offers an argument. The argument in the 2nd amendment for the possession of guns is the need for a militia, and so the 2nd amendment, on its own, is a very weak, very poor argument.
1. For any firearm regulations to really change in the US, gun culture has to change.
This is rather obvious, but it needs to be stressed. The push, in the wake of school shooting tragedies, for legislation addressing the problem is not helpful. It is not helpful because these laws tend to be badly written, but also because, even if there is political will in the wake of a tragedy, that ground gained would not be permanent and can be rolled back. We would not be celebrating the gay rights victories in the courts if the culture of the US wasn’t also becoming more and more tolerant of gay people.
Counterargument: Changing laws will change culture. The Civil Rights movement wouldn’t have gotten anywhere if it didn’t focus on legal changes.
Rebuttal: This is relatively difficult to argue, but I don’t think it holds water because we have numerous examples to show that it doesn’t. Prohibition didn’t change US drinking culture for the better, it actually made it worse. The anti-abortion culture in the US has made abortion rights restrict even while gay rights expand. Laws are absolutely a part of this change, but they should capitalize on cultural change, not be expected to produce it on its own. The Civil Rights movement was very much a cultural as well as a legalistic force.
2. Guns are a tool designed for a purpose. The purpose of guns is to kill things. That guns are also used for plinking tin cans and for target shooting does not eradicate their actual purpose, which is to kill. Among the things they are designed to kill is human beings.
Counterargument: Guns are for fun, some guns can’t kill a human being, guns are for threatening and not for killing.
Rebuttal: Each of these may be true, but the reason that guns were invented, the improvements to their design, their central purpose is to kill. Corner cases do not contradict this.
3. If a person has a gun, they should be trained to use that gun for the purpose that they bought the gun for. This may seem like common sense, but there’s a surprising amount of pushback against this. Still, if one starts from the beginning, I think this contention is a very powerful one. If someone buys a gun for self-defense, then they should be able to defend themselves with that gun. If someone buys a gun for hunting, they should be able to hunt with that gun. They should be able to do these things safely, without presenting an undue risk to themselves or others. If they cannot use the gun safely for the purpose that they bought it for, then there is no purpose for which they actually have the gun.
Counterargument: Honestly, I have a hard time finding a counterargument to this. Currently, in many, many states, you can just buy a gun and keep it at home with zero training. This makes minimal sense, and I think is a large part of the PR problem of the gun community, that it has such a low barrier to entry. Many other places have an incredibly law bar to even carry a concealed weapon around, like Florida, where a hunter safety course is enough to get you a CCW. I have not yet had anyone articulate an actual reason why people who want a gun for a purpose should not get the training necessary to use and be tested on that training.
I have seen the argument that some current gun training courses are already sufficient for this. I’m fine with that argument, as long as that contention gets tested.
4. Gun bans are counterproductive, expending political capital for little return. The number of guns in the US is already so high that bans do little to affect actual numbers. Gun bans turn people who are just ignorant and/or fearful into criminals, when a better solution can be found.
Counterargument: Gun bans lower gun violence.
Rebuttal: While it may be true, though hard to prove, that bans alone can reduce gun violence, there are lots of places with gun bans and high gun violence, because the guns are simply brought in from more lax areas. There is little point to having a gun ban in the city when anyone can just drive into the city with a gun. This also leads to people who are legal carriers passing through another jurisdiction being arrested, which is a waste of time and money. Gun bans expend a ton of political capital and tend to focus on ‘villain’ guns like ‘assault rifles’, while cheap handguns contribute far, far more to gun violence. In theory, I kind of support the ‘right’ of a city to decide gun regulations inside it, but I see it as really besides the point and counterproductive.
5. Most people buying guns for self-defense don’t need them, and actually increase their risk by buying them. People look at the national numbers for crime and come to the conclusion that they are at risk for violent crime, but the simple truth is that most people are not at any particular risk for violent crime, and where they are at risk, it is from intimate partners, friends, or family, and a gun would be unlikely to be useful. Stranger crime—being attacked by someone you don’t know—is rare, and it is very rare in most places. It mostly occurs in particular areas of cities, along drug corridors, and between criminals or those who live among criminals. People need to assess their actual situational safety and not use national numbers, and they need to honestly self-assess their risk of gun accidents, too.
Counterargument: Even though the risk may be low, who is to say what’s too low? People have a right to make themselves safe even against unlikely fears.
Rebuttal: Guns are not just a danger to the person who has them, but to society at large. They can be stolen—which many, many guns are each year—or be used in suicides. We would not support the right of people to burn tires in their back yard to drive away rabid raccoons; the actual likelihood of an event has got to count for something, and the risk of the response to that event. Furthermore, this touches on one of the worst aspects of gun culture, the paranoid “You’re never safe” attitude, the vigilante attitude, that causes problems far beyond the actual physical gun problems.
Finally, we should remember that most gun owners are just ordinary people. Most gun owners are not the fetishists, and the bad habits of gun culture come from a minority of yahoos. Gun owners, in general, take gun ownership seriously. My proposals, I feel, would strengthen the gun community and protect them, long-term, against the loss of gun rights. In the current moment, more and more antipathy towards gun owners is building up in ordinary people, partially because of the unwillingness to compromise—but this unwillingness is mainly pushed from groups like the NRA. I think that responsible gun owners exist and are reachable, but that they have been propagandized for a long, long time and need to be approached rationally and patiently. We should remember that we live in a very safe country in general, and that most violent crime is confined to intra-group violence in areas that need a sociological solution.
I would also note that the proposal I’m making for training and testing doesn’t touch at all on the ‘good character’ thing which is so often cited.
If you’ve read this whole thing, thank you for your time and attention. If you feel I’ve made any errors, please point them out. All I ask is that, given I took time and care with this post, you take time and care in your reply. If I am in error, show where I am in error and actually demonstrate it, construct an argument, not just an assertion. This topic needs to be approached soberly and judiciously: it is not going to go away, and if responsible gun owners don’t step up, their gun rights may be severely restricted within our lifetime.
Check out the NRA’s latest anti control proposal. In a Think Progress Video, I originally saw over at Wonkette ( where we had a lot of fun making fun of it ), Billy Johnson, proposed for lack of a better term “Gun Socialism.”
Kyle Kulinski ( Secular Talk ) Created an excellent response video to Billy Johnson’s “Gun Socialism”
I have to agree with Kulinski.
How would putting guns into the hands of children stop school shootings? We’re supposed to trust little kids now, who are barely mature enough to survive on their own to use dangerous weapons?
Also I’ll bet, Johnson expects us to believe the old myth that more guns equals less crime, sorry but it doesn’t exactly work that way.
His idea may fall in line with the most extreme interpretations of the second amendment, but how is he supposed to squire with the wingnut opposition to anything even perceived to be socialist?
Now how is it that Obamacare, which is supposedly socialism and therefor bad, but this isn’t socialism and this is good? I mean he’s advocating the government spend our tax dollars on giving people guns? Not to mention government funded shooting ranges, and “free” ammo? How is it that wingnuts wouldn’t call him a socialist if he was proposing something like this for anything else?
Also the reason why even the most extreme anti gun control advocates in general can’t perceive guns as a need, in the way he says we should, probably has something to do with this fact. Human beings have literally survived for over a million years without guns.
Cross posted from a comment-at Skips Page on this topic
I want to add CCW and open carry is a discussion that we want to happen, I really wish that were not at the behest of a law already signed. The precise requirements and regs work that goes with concealed or open carry and how that has to play out day to day is essential to avoid violence, tragic misunderstandings and worse. Cross posting in my Page on this law.
Thing is click bait screaming memes and headlines add to the problem.
From Huffpo. Not the NRA, nor Brietbart, nor any advocacy site.
You know that gun control is no longer an issue, either pro or con, when both sides try to make you believe that something big has happened when nothing of any real importance happened at all. I’m referring to the gun law just passed in Georgia which is awaiting Governor Nathan Deal’s expected signature, a law described by the New York Times as one of “breathtaking sweep” and by the NRA as a “historic victory for the 2nd Amendment.”
Since I really do believe in evidence-based discussion about guns, I took the trouble to read HB60, as the new law is known. If this law represents a “historic victory” for the 2nd Amendment, the NRA better find someone else to defend the beloved constitutional rights of gun owners. On the other hand, if the editors of Mother Jones really believe that this new law will result in guns being “everywhere” in Georgia, then there must be some place named Georgia other than the state where this law just passed.
Here’s what the bill basically does: 1) It allows guns to be carried in places where liquor is served, which previously had been off-limits for guns; 2) It also allows guns to be carried in churches which, like restaurants and bars, were also off-limits for guns; 3) It further allows guns to be carried in certain non-secure areas of airports, which is really funny since Atlanta’s airport was ranked #1 nationally in the number of guns confiscated in 2013.
The scenic little energy-boom mountain town of Rifle, CO had a new business open up within its town borders recently: A new restaurant owned by 2nd Amendment zealots and self-professed Christians called (I hope you’re sitting down) “Shooters.”
“I consulted with my Christian friends and everyone said ‘Shooters’ sounded like a bar or a strip joint,” Lauren Boebert said with a laugh. “But I thought, this is Rifle — it was founded around guns and the Old West. We called it Shooters and started throwing guns and Jesus all over the place.”
Don’t worry, they don’t serve alcohol.
Note: If you click the article, in order to read it in full you must answer an advertising question. After all I did cite a small-town newspaper and they like to muck up their websites with advertising.
Yet he claims that he opposes violence at the same time? How exactly is he opposing violence here? Oh and this guy was arrested for violating our gun control laws, no surprise there. The Southern Poverty Law Center needs to keep monitoring people like Adam Kokesh. Everyone here should consider donating to them
David Edwards at Raw Story has more on what this sick idiot had to say,
A libertarian gun activist — who was convicted on weapons charges after he carried a loaded shotgun in downtown Washington, D.C. — this week defended two people who recently went on a shooting rampage in Las Vegas, killing two police officers and another person.
“You’re not going to get away with it this time USA Today and SPLC,” Kokesh insisted, arguing that the shooters had acted because “authority has become a homicidal institution against freedom.”
Wow, what a wingnut! Defending the murder of police officers, yeah, that’s really going to help your cause.
Mike is a moderate. Rated c+ by the NRA, he proposes better B/G checks on a national basis. I agree. It has been noted there are no weapons provisions, and the NRA helped draft the bill it probably now opposes. *sigh*
Folks, I’m sending a letter to the speaker via email, and I suggest that any and all of you who agree this bill would help do the same. Page rules forbid my putting an email in this Page. So here is a link to the Speakers website.
I’m not posting my letter as I don’t think boiler plate copy/paste works well. Take a moment and send a note. At least then we can say we gave it a shot.
“I’d bet it would not get to the House floor,” Thompson, D-Napa, told a meeting of The Press Democrat editorial board.
In an election year, any measure related to gun control is problematic for Democrats as well as Republicans, he said.
“There are a lot of folks who don’t want to do anything tough,” said Thompson, chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.
But Thompson said the bill he co-authored with Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, now has 189 co-sponsors, including three Republicans.
A look at the bill
Said to be identical to this previous bill
War, in all it’s iterations has become synonymous with the United states.
We ‘officially’ went to war in 1812, against the United Kingdom. In 1846 we fought Mexico. In 1898, Spain. In both, 1917 and 1941, we fought World Wars. We also called them “wars” - Congress issued ‘proclamations of war’ in each case.
However, we also fought other wars we preferred to call ‘Military Engagements’. The Quasi-War - with France, The first and second Barbary Wars. We intervened in the Russian Civil War, In Veracruz, in Paraguay, and Lebanon, In Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf, In Afghanistan, and again in Iraq.
On at least 125 occasions, the President has acted without prior express military authorization from Congress. These include instances in which the United States fought in the Philippine-American War from 1898-1903, in Nicaragua in 1927, as well as the NATO bombing campaign of Yugoslavia in 1999.
The United States’ longest war was fought between approximately 1840 and 1886 against the Apache Nation. During that entire 46-year period, there was never more than 90 days of peace.
The Indian Wars comprise at least 28 conflicts and engagements. These localized conflicts, with Native Americans, began with European colonists coming to North America, long before the establishment of the United States. For the purpose of this discussion, the Indian Wars are defined as conflicts with the United States of America. They begin as one front in the American Revolutionary War in 1775 and had concluded by 1918. The United States Army still maintains a campaign streamer for Pine Ridge 1890-1891 despite opposition from certain Native American groups.
The American Civil War was not an international conflict under the laws of war, because the Confederate States of America was not a government that had been granted full diplomatic recognition as a sovereign nation by other sovereign states. The CSA was recognized by the United States government as a belligerent power, a different status of recognition that authorized Confederate warships to visit non-U.S. ports. This recognition of the CSA’s status as a belligerent power did not impose any duty upon the United States to recognize the sovereignty of the Confederacy, and the United States never did so.
Which begs a question - why are we so cautious when actually fighting wars - such as Iraq, Vietnam, and Afghanistan, to not go the full Monty and issue a full decree of war, when we seem so quick to do so when these actions are directly aimed at American citizens?
We have wars on women, wars on abortion, wars on culture and yet we seem entirely lacking in reluctance to call these wars. We are eager because war has become so synonymous with this country that we see it as a tool to ending social problems and other issues we deplore. The language of war has become our ‘one stop solution’ to cleanse us of what we deem at any given time a ‘cultural malaise’
We name something a war, don our fatigues, assume the position, and dig in for the fight. We have been so long engaged in the fight, that we no longer see the point in peace. If we are always at war, we are always morally striving, fighting, to improve.
The problem with this stance is that war rarely improves the lives of those affected, or those whom it is ostensibly fought for. Sure, after World War 2 the lot of peoples from Paris to Tokyo improved significantly. This is a rarity. Could you reasonably suggest the lot of the people of Iraq has improved? How about After World War I? Did the lot improve for Native Americans or non-native Americans alike after the Indian wars? How about Vietnam? North Korea? If your answer is ‘yes’ - I am unlikely to make a case you want to hear, so stop reading. If you said ‘no’, or ‘its complicated’, please read on.
The drug war is not unique as far as wars are concerned. There are the soldiers, on one side, the Federal and International Alphabet soup of agencies, the DEA, the FBI, the CIA; and on the other, kingpins, ms-13, cartels, and even the odd grandmother or two.
The drug war is also unique in one manner - what if we are fighting the wrong enemy on the wrong battlefield? what if we are gunning for the wrong fight, and instead of making headway towards a conclusion, we ended up making the problem exponentially worse?
One of the long tested but little realized aims of the drug war was to reduce violence. During the cold war, President Ronald Reagan (also ironically one of the leaders who expanded and increased the drugwar) ended the United States reliance on detente with the Soviet Union, and shifted to a more directly combative doctrine known as “Peace Through Strength”. Put in simple terms, Reagan vowed to outspend, out-arm, and outlast the Soviet Empire, which at this point, was already long into a death spiral. If we could just keep increasing our militaristic strength through building up of arms, then, Reagan surmised, we could undermine the Soviets by driving them bankrupt. Reagan bet the house on the logic that they would meet our buildup with their own, thereby draining the system of treasure and resources, and exploiting the vulnerabilities that would entail.
And in some sense he was right. The Soviets did attempt to out-arm us, and that was a factor, albeit not the reason the Soviet Union, a system that could not sustain itself, ultimately failed.
The irony is, he did not foresee the same reaction when he ramped up the drug wars. Unlike the Soviet Union, drug dealers have access to a potentially unlimited, sustainable resource - drugs, which provided them with a potentially unlimited sustainable wealth. This wealth could be (and is) used to increase the firepower and manpower drug dealers could bring to bear. Unlike the Soviet Union, drug dealing was not inherently designed to fail. It had all the attributes any other successful free market enterprise has - an un-exhaustible, dedicated, ever expandable customer base.
The question is - how could the Reagan brain-trust of Block, Ling, Baldridge, Verity, Weinberger, Carlucci, Bell, Bennett, Cavazos, Edwards, Hodel, Herrington, Sweiker, Hecker, Bowen, Pierce, Laffer, et al have missed this?
The one man who did not miss this is former Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III. He, a veteran soldier of the drug war, had come up inside of Baltimore’s anti-drug units. He began on the front lines, during Reagan’s 80s. By the mid 1990s he was Commissioner. And he got to thinking:
Bealefeld has an obsessive streak, and soon he was pouring over the matrices that predicted violence: What made you likely to be a murderer? It was true that nearly all of Baltimore’s murderers and murder victims had drug arrests in their past. But in many parts of Baltimore, nearly everyone seemed to have some involvement in dealing—the narcotics-unit lingo was “8-88,” meaning there were participants in the drug trade as young as 8 years old or as old as 88. Trying to organize policing around drugs, given these circumstances, could only mean a broad roundup of the neighborhood, and though this had worked very well in New York, it had worked much less well when smaller departments (New Orleans, Philadelphia, Baltimore) tried the same model—and it had the additional effects of overwhelming jails and probation systems and alienating the community. “We are fishing with a net,” Bealefeld started to say publicly, “and we need to be fishing with a spear.”
what he found was striking:
The spear he found was gun priors. Encoded in Baltimore’s murder records was a singularly interesting piece of data: Over half of the murderers in his city had previously been arrested for a handgun violation. The universe of offenders in Baltimore with prior gun convictions was very small, and most of them were serious criminals. Focusing on them seemed plausible. The commissioner did not publicly declare the war on drugs a failure, though he believes that to be the case, or petition the legislature to decriminalize possession. “We just deemphasized it,” he says.
Quietly, in experiments in a few influential police departments around the country, a new set of tools for policing is being tested, as cops have come to realize that violence tends to be driven not by neighborhoods but by small and identifiable populations of exceptional individuals. Working with arrest records on the crime-ridden far West Side of Chicago, a young Yale sociologist named Andrew Papachristos discovered that he could create a social map of violence (including only people who were arrested together with other members of the network) that encompassed just 4 percent of the people in the neighborhood but virtually all of the murderers and murder victims. Each time you “co-offended” with another member of the network, it turned out, you grew 25 percent more likely to be murdered. The universe of the violent and the vulnerable, Papachristos found, was far tinier than the universe of people involved in drugs, or in gangs; it was a small circle of people who all knew one another.
It is this data point, gun priors, that seems to hinge the drug war to murder and other violent actions.
The number of prior convictions involving a ﬁrearm follows with a contribution of about 6 percentage points. Of some whatless importance are, in order, gender, the number of prior convictions for violence offences, the total number of all prior convictions and race
The numbers suggest, quite strikingly, the most likely factor linking murderers, is prior gun crimes.
“Research consistently shows that populations of homicide offenders and victims generally have higher-than-average rates of arrest and conviction for a variety of offenses. The National Criminal Justice Commission estimates that about 30 million Americans—approximately 15% of the U.S. population over age 15—have an arrest record (citations omitted). Studies of homicide, however, reveal that typically about 70% of U.S. offenders have been arrested in the past (usually more than once; see [Wolfgang, Marvin E. 1958. Patterns in Criminal Homicide. Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press. P. 177]) and about 50% have been convicted of an offense (see Kleck and Bordua, 1983:293). …
“Less is known about the criminal record of victims, but the same pattern is evident. In Wolfgang’s (1958:175, 180) study of criminal homicide in Philadelphia during 1948-1952, almost half of the victims had a history of arrest.”
—- Cooney, Mark. 1997. “The decline of elite homicide.” Criminology 35:381-407.
This would be a minor data point - but for one factor - this crises seems to have been largely created and exacerbated by those strident drug warriors, and the right-wings pro-firearm fetishism.
Murder rates in the United States were falling by a significant amount until Richard Nixon began the drug war in 1971, when it seems to explode, until the 2000s. What is even more striking that is pre-criminalization of drugs - 1900-1923 for marijuana and cocaine, 1906 for opiates, show dips in homicides rates, only to see them rise again during the “paranoia age” - they were rising before ultimate prohibition, and rising in concert with the growth of ‘drug paranoia’.
If we look at a graph of gun ownership since the beginning of the ‘war on drugs’ it seems to correlate with these findings :
While correlation is not causation, it is also not likely to be a coincidence. You may suggest - violent crime is going to increase gun ownership rates - however - that is not exactly correct - they seem to operate independently of each other.
While this chart purports to show a link between more guns and less crime - it only does so if you are blind. There simply is no linkage between a rather modest growth of gun ownership, but a drastic reduction of violent crime. (maybe the producer of said chart needs to revisit ‘correlation does not equate to causation’)
Why is this important? Beyond suggesting that a more militarized policy targeting drug dealers will go hand in hand with an increased militarization of those same dealers, it suggest those opposed to gun-regulations are a large part of the cause.
If increasing gun ownership had any affect on lowering violent crime rates - one would expect to see all violent crime react the same - no matter of the weapon used:
what we see is all other forms of violent crimes not involving guns remain relatively flat. Increased gun ownership does not decrease violent crime rates across the board, and likely - they are not the reason for the dynamic changes in gun crime rates.
That chart details the dynamic changes in all violent crime rates for Massachusetts.
What is striking - is that Mass. has an ever growing multitude of gun regulations:
Massachusetts is one of the few states, most of which exist in the ‘Liberal’ northeast, that has a very strict gun-control mindset.
Indeed - the south is a much more likely to experience gun crime than any other region:
So why does this happen? Well Reagan’s “Peace through Strength” has one, and only one logic working for it - that when one side of a war ramps up armaments, so does the other in quite elegant concert.
More guns beget more guns, and when you are fighting an enemy with unlimited resources, unlimited customer bases, and unlimited will, you simply cannot spend them into oblivion.
The more we agitate for more guns, the more guns there are. The more guns in our atmosphere, the more likely guns are to fall into the hands of the people most likely to use them.
Back to Commisionner Bealefeld
But the most dangerous person—the guy holding the gun—almost never ran. Bealefeld had surveillance footage that he showed in training of a group of cops approaching a crew standing outside Lexington Market and then chasing those who bolted. Left standing on the corner with the one cop who remained was a suspect with a sawed-off shotgun stuffed down his pants. Most of the cops were chasing the drug slingers, and they were missing what was really important.
And if ending the drug war does not move you to see the correct battlefield: gun proliferation - maybe this will
Too many youth continue to harm others…
* About 1 in 9 murders were committed by youth under 18 in 1999.
On average, about 5 youths are arrested for murder in this country each day (a total of 1,176 in 1999).1
* Youth under 18 accounted for about 1 in 6 violent crime arrests in 1999.2
* One national survey found that for every teen arrested, at least 10 were engaged in violence that could have seriously injured or killed another person.3
* A review of surveys found that between 30-40% of male teens and 16-32% of female teens say they have committed a serious violent offense by the age of 17.4
Too many youth continue to harm themselves…
* Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers — over 1,500 teens kill themselves each year.5
* In 1998, there were 1,520 suicides among 13-18 year olds.5
* About 1 in 12 high-school students say they have made a suicide attempt in the past year.6
* More than 3 in 5 youth suicides involve firearms.5
Americans are a unique lot - and nowhere is this clearer than in our relationship with guns. Take, for example, the belief that owning and carrying a firearm constitutes a basic political right. It’s a belief that is largely unintelligible to people in other countries, but it’s one that a lot of Americans hold dearly. It’s even written into the Constitution. Even so, large swaths of the country, by and large, don’t understand it. Throw in extraordinary levels of violent crime and gun violence, and the result is a debate about gun control that is fiendishly difficult to make sense of.
I’ll admit that I started the process with some personal bias, which I’ll get to later. In the end, I changed my mind about some things and not about others. After reading this report, I suspect that you’ll agree with me on some things and not on others. But the most important thing I learned, and the thing I hope that readers will take away from this, is that despite what activists on both sides would have you believe, the issues surrounding guns are fiendishly complicated.
You’d assume that if gun-control advocates are going to chose the AWB as the hill they’re willing to die on, that they’d have good reasons for doing so. So it’s worth taking a look at what the AWB actually prohibits: rifles with a detachable magazine and a pistol grip may not have an adjustable stock, flash suppressor, grenade launcher, or bayonet mount.
To put it bluntly, the AWB doesn’t prohibit the kind of scary-looking rifles that proponents assume it prohibits. In fact, at the time of the Sandy Hook shootings, Connecticut had in place its own version of the AWB, modeled on the 1994 federal law. The Bushmaster rifle that was used that day complied with that Connecticut law.
It is well sourced, and it collects all the talking points about the gun issue. So it’s quite complete. Somehow it shoots right down the middle. In so doing, it does not delve deeply into “education” as a way of preventing some gun accidents except by saying that some households with kids and guns avoid accidents. It also does not mention the disproportional effect of licensing and training requirements on the poor which also tend to be minorities populations in cities. A direct comparison between a poll tax and a licensing fee seems to easily present itself.
I also appreciated that it held up the AWB’s attempt to ban various firearms for how they look as the complete failure that it was.
All in all, an interesting read, especially if you take the time to look at it in conjuction with my earlier page on Commentaries: New Issues in Gun Rights - Harvard Law Review
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Last updated: 2014-03-07 2:19 pm PST
They're serving burgers in the back!