The Big Gun Control Thread

LarryC wrote:
Paleocon wrote:
LarryC wrote:
Robear wrote:

Well, remember, there was also the "we need weapons for hunting" bloc, and the "no one should have weapons" states. So it was a wide range.

You need neither a semiautomatic pistol nor a high-powered rifle for hunting. I'm willing to bet that the minority of gun-related fatalities that occur every year are due to hunting rifles.

Actually, a high powered rifle is precisely what you need for hunting (eg: my Winchester 70 bolt action .30-06 is ideal for everything from deer to bear and everything in between).

My mistake. Not assault rifles, though, surely?

True legal assault rifles are extremely difficult to get. Since the 1986 BATFE ban on the manufacture of new automatic weapons, it has been just about impossible for civilians to obtain assault rifles without spending upwards from $20k for a legal serial number (and prices continue to go up as supply tightens and demand increases). It's pretty widely acknowledged that legal automatic weapons haven't been a statistically significant contributor to violent crime since at least the enactment of the 1968 Gun Control Act.

If by "assault rifles" you mean a semiautomatic rifle that looks mean and nasty, that's a more difficult question. The functional difference between say this:

IMAGE(http://blog.daddysplace2.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/AR15.jpg)

and this:

IMAGE(http://en.valka.cz/files/m1garand.jpg)

or even this:

IMAGE(http://www.centerfireguns.com/images/detailed/rifle-remington-semiautomatic-7055-750-woodmaster-243-satin.jpg)

is not a lot. The one on the top is the AR15 which folks seem to be afraid of. The one in the middle is the M1 Garand which your grandad might have used in the Korean War. And the one on the bottom is a Remington 750 hunting rifle. All are semiautomatic. All are capable of roughly the same rate of fire. The AR15 is by far the least powerful round.

There are several reasons why the AR15 is particularly popular. One is that it is so widely produced that quality, aftermarket accessory availability, reliability, and accuracy are pretty fantastic. It is hard to do better than an AR15 for cost/performance when it comes to target shooting or varmint control. I built mine, for instance, for about $700.

Here is another illustration. Here is an example of a Russian made Saiga hunting rifle.

IMAGE(http://world.guns.ru/userfiles/images/civil/civ011/saiga_308-2.jpg)

It is relatively inexpensive and commonly used to hunt deer or elk.

Here is the very same gun with a few cosmetic modifications:

IMAGE(http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:aL7F3nHk9QAohM:http://www.gunnerairsoft.com/newgun/chinese/army-ak47/army-ak47-01.jpg&t=1)

edit:

Here is another one. This is, possibly the most popular rifle in America. The Ruger 10/22:
IMAGE(http://www.impactguns.com/store/media/ruger/ruger_1022rb.jpg)

Here it is with a few cosmetic modifications:

IMAGE(http://www.themartialist.com/images/tac2207.jpg)

Paleocon wrote:

Actually, a high powered rifle is precisely what you need for hunting

While not a hunter myself, I come from a family of avid bow-hunters who would readily disagree with you.

LarryC wrote:
Robear wrote:

Well, remember, there was also the "we need weapons for hunting" bloc, and the "no one should have weapons" states. So it was a wide range.

You need neither a semiautomatic pistol nor a high-powered rifle for hunting. I'm willing to bet that the minority of gun-related fatalities that occur every year are due to hunting rifles.

You would be right for firearm-related homicides (which is nearly 70% of all homicides): 3.8% of involve rifles, 4.6% involve shotguns, and 70.5% involve handguns (the rest is "firearm, type unknown).

Bah, was going to carry over a discussion from the Arizona Congresswoman thread... but I don't want to derail you guys on your current line.

I am from Canada and I was talking with a co-worker about gun control and that sort of thing the other day.

I don't know the american rules as well as the Canadian one but basically in Canada we have three classes.

1) Prohibited
2) Restricted
3) Everything else

All hand guns are at least restricted, as well as things like sawed off shotguns. Rifles can be found all over.

For clarification restricted guns even need a permit to move it from your house, even if it is to the range. Though from what I understand if you take a restricted firearm somewhere frequently you can get a permit for many such movements.

I won't touch restriction in general, since I don't know enough to say anything one way or another but I did learn something interesting.

In Canada at least some guns are placed in the prohibited or restricted classification based entirely on appearance. Something scary looking will get prohibited despite being functionally equivalent to something in classification 3.

Guns have also been prohibited based on what some famous guy did one time with it. So for example if some crazed gunman uses a gun to kill a bunch of people, that gun will often get banned.

Thats crazy right? I can't think of any reason to do things that way. Plus I feel like it does a disservice to both the pro and anti gun crowd. The pro crowd losses access to a gun for no reason and the anti crowd looks so foolish making those sorts of decisions. I think the people advocating for gun control have good valid points, they have things worth saying and lisitening to. But decisions like that destroy credibility.

Interesting stats, OG_Slinger. I think handgun deaths are more common because they're cheaper and easier to conceal. We talk about the "War on Drugs" and how it really is a battlefield on the urban streets, but it's not really a war in the conventional sense. They can't very well routinely use mortar rounds and tanks or even a very powerful machine gun, for instance.

Since hunting enthusiasts aren't very disposed to use a pistol for shooting down deer and elk, perhaps it would make the most sense to put the kibosh on the small handguns? While it may not make sense from an outside view, it does actually make sense from the stats and from the street. A rifle is harder to conceal, both from enemies and law enforcement. It's also heavy and it slows you down when you're running and climbing fences, and it's apparently expensive. These qualities mean that it is not the go-to low-cost urban weapon of choice.

LarryC wrote:

Interesting stats, OG_Slinger. I think handgun deaths are more common because they're cheaper and easier to conceal. We talk about the "War on Drugs" and how it really is a battlefield on the urban streets, but it's not really a war in the conventional sense. They can't very well routinely use mortar rounds and tanks or even a very powerful machine gun, for instance.

Since hunting enthusiasts aren't very disposed to use a pistol for shooting down deer and elk, perhaps it would make the most sense to put the kibosh on the small handguns? While it may not make sense from an outside view, it does actually make sense from the stats and from the street. A rifle is harder to conceal, both from enemies and law enforcement. It's also heavy and it slows you down when you're running and climbing fences, and it's apparently expensive. These qualities mean that it is not the go-to low-cost urban weapon of choice.

Believe it or not, a pistol is really not any less expensive than a rifle or shotgun. You can get a Glock 19 like the one Loughner used for a little under $500 at just about any gun store in Maryland. For that money you could buy a Mossberg 590 milspec 12g and still have money left over for a tactical light, laser, and ammunition.

I don't contest that they are easier to conceal and agree that that can be problematic. I don't particularly have a problem with common sense restrictions on the purchase of handguns. I may bitch about it from time to time, but I don't really find the restrictions I have living in the State of Maryland to be terribly onerous. Those include control over handgun purchases, background checks, and waiting periods. There is nothing I would ever need a handgun for that I wouldn't be able to wait two weeks to do.

Larry, that totally makes sense. And it's in line with the way Canada seems to deal with it. I haven't looked at our local firearm laws, but they have become far more restrictive in the last decade and I'm pretty sure hand guns are harder to get a license for than a hunting rifle.

Thanks, MrDeVil909

Paleocon:

I hope I'm not creeping people out too much with this, but from what I see and hear, portability and concealability are the main reasons for why small handguns are the weapon of choice for urban lawbreakers. For that matter, some people who are, er, acquaintances of my friends, shall we say, have been given the choice between knife and rifle, and they'd usually choose knife unless they know for certain that they have to go against guns.

Apparently, concealability and portability go a long way. Knives also have deniability and tool use in their favor. You can always claim that you were carrying it for culinary purposes.

You seem to be a knowledgeable gun enthusiast. What would you say to legislation that kills all legal ownership of any gun smaller than an MP5? I'm thinking of a complete across-the-board ban for reasons of simplicity of legislation, prosecution, and implementation. Under a law where there are exceptions, a person carrying a handgun could be a legal owner. Under a complete ban (including just handling small handguns that are not yours), anyone caught handling a small handgun is immediately identifiable as a criminal element.

Since rifles come so cheap, you can't reason hunting, and you can't reason home defense. If you need to do those things, just get a longarm.

LarryC wrote:

Thanks, MrDeVil909

Paleocon:

I hope I'm not creeping people out too much with this, but from what I see and hear, portability and concealability are the main reasons for why small handguns are the weapon of choice for urban lawbreakers. For that matter, some people who are, er, acquaintances of my friends, shall we say, have been given the choice between knife and rifle, and they'd usually choose knife unless they know for certain that they have to go against guns.

Apparently, concealability and portability go a long way. Knives also have deniability and tool use in their favor. You can always claim that you were carrying it for culinary purposes.

You seem to be a knowledgeable gun enthusiast. What would you say to legislation that kills all legal ownership of any gun smaller than an MP5? I'm thinking of a complete across-the-board ban for reasons of simplicity of legislation, prosecution, and implementation. Under a law where there are exceptions, a person carrying a handgun could be a legal owner. Under a complete ban (including just handling small handguns that are not yours), anyone caught handling a small handgun is immediately identifiable as a criminal element.

Since rifles come so cheap, you can't reason hunting, and you can't reason home defense. If you need to do those things, just get a longarm.

I am probably not the right person to ask about this one since I have never carried concealed nor felt any particular need to. Living in Maryland pretty much means you'll never be able to get a CCW permit and, personally, I don't think I've ever felt the need to have one. I've been in a number of violent interactions in my lifetime and can't think of a single one that would have been made better with the addition of a handgun.

I own handguns, but none of them really fit into the category of "small concealable" handguns. I prefer a full sized because they are easier to aim, have better recoil control, and are generally more pleasant to shoot. The HK USP 45 I own has often been described as the "Judge Dread gun". The large frame S&W 686 .357 I own is just shy of the Dirty Harry .44. A smaller handgun offers no real advantages other than concealment. Anything you can do with a 2" barrel, you can do better with a 6" barrel. And if you're doing competition shooting, you really do want the added accuracy, recoil control, and longer sight radius of a full sized service pistol.

In either case, my handguns are still quite a bit smaller than an MP5. Come to think of it, so are common hunting pistols like the Thompson Contender:

IMAGE(http://www.factcheck.org/demos/factcheck/imagefiles/Image/2008/September/2008_9_22_NRA_attacks_obama/Thompson_Contender.jpg)

or the Magnum Research BFR:

IMAGE(http://www.acbsystems.com/boards/rohrbaugh/images/compared/bfr-338.jpg)

What I find is that gun control advocates, should lose the veil and come out as ban advocates. There is plenty of regulation that passes constitutional muster for gun ownership, hunting, concealed carry. Wisconsin has pretty strict regulations, but a vibrant sporting and shooting community, with rather low crime. Texas and California are polar opposites with equivalent levels of crime in their major cities.

Crime, whether it is drugs, guns, terrorism is a nmatter of research, logic, and attention. Americans kind of suck at that collectively. Our 15 year rise in everything that causes violent crime, and steady fall of violent crime is evidence enough of that.

KingGorilla:

Well, it's important to remember that not all of us posting here are Americans. I'm neither a gun advocate nor a gun control advocate because I'm not American so the issue just doesn't matter to me all that much. I'm just looking at it from an outsider's perspective. If you ask me, all the gun love is scary and more than a little creepy. One can enjoy a shooting sport without using lethal ammo, and one can enjoy hunting using only a handful of heavily regulated guns.

I think it's in the interest of your nation, given the amount of gun deaths you have, to clearly demarcate certain small arms as taboo so as to limit their usage in urban crimes. This is a clear loss for gun enthusiasts, and even I would consider it unfair from their POV - but it makes sense as a patriotic sacrifice in order to paint the bad guys in brighter colors.

KingGorilla wrote:

What I find is that gun control advocates, should lose the veil and come out as ban advocates.

Why? What if I don't advocate banning? What if I'm as fine as can be with someone owning a gun, but don't necessarily want them bringing one to school because I don't find "what if a crazed shooter comes to class" in anyway persuasive?

Texas and California are polar opposites with equivalent levels of crime in their major cities.

Which is a pretty good indication that guns don't cause crime.

Malor wrote:
Texas and California are polar opposites with equivalent levels of crime in their major cities.

Which is a pretty good indication that guns don't cause crime.

No, they just make crime a lot more deadly/dangerous to it's victims.

What makes me crazy about the whole gun control debate and this is not directed at anyone in particular in this thread.

Guns look cool, guns look powerful. They make big noises and are really really popular in the movies! THEY'RE NOT FOR SURVIVAL (unless you live in Alaska or Afghanistan) OR DEFENSE TOOLS (unless you're member of the 10th Mountain Division) ANYMORE....not for the general population anyway. Lets not pretend that the chance of someone defending themselves with their home with their own gun is unbelievably low. You're far more likely to get shot with your own gun than you are to stop a home invasion. If that's not the case then your guns probably aren't secured properly.

The reality is that guns make a lot of guys feel like bad asses. Can we please stop pretending that they do anything more than pump up self esteem. I've walked with many guns of many varieties and when you're carrying them you feel dominant. That's all fine and I support your right to own one (with some specific restrictions). The functional practical use of guns in modern society has all but evaporated unless your profession requires them. Gun ownership is far more about self esteem and showing off than anything else. Do you really think anyone gives a sh*t that you might have a concealed carry permit? If not, why do people insist on telling others? The only reason I care at all is because I don't want to get shot by you because you're a careless nitwit.

If you disagree, ask yourself this question. Why do a lot of people still hunt? It's not like its an efficient way to gather food? Hell it's not even really necessary for anything other than entertainment. When you kill something with a gun, you feel powerful. You feel like you've won something. Your survival is no longer an issue. Owning that gun and killing the game makes you feel.......like a badass.

Now zombies....thats an entirely different gun discussion!entertainment than necessity.

Bear:

Here's something that might be interesting in that vein: my dad used to have a pistol. He used to keep it in his drawer and made it clear to all us kids that it is not to be handled by any of us for any reason whatsoever - even life or death reasons. It was a sound rule. He cleaned it rigorously and even got the permits and everything.

At that time, we were living in a clearly depressed portion of town with a significant criminal element. Things got stolen from our house. People were getting gunned down in the streets.

At no point in his life did he ever find a need to use the gun. Instead, he installed multiple points of exit from the house, at least two from every room, sometimes three or four. Since the house was fundamentally indefensible, it made more sense to allow everyone a chance to get out rather than put up what were unsure defenses. Made the house safer in terms of fire hazards as well.

When he got older, he just got rid of it. His thinking was that, in case of an armed entry, having a gun won't make staying for a shootout a better idea - you should still call the police and get the hell out (or at least go to a bulletproof panic room). This means that having a gun for home defense only makes sense in the extreme case where you're all going to die anyway and you might as well sell your life for as dear a price as you can.

That and systematic assassination. If you're in danger of being assassinated, having a gun for fighting out of a trap can be handy. Might want to invest in bulletproof vests as well.

Bear wrote:

Guns look cool, guns look powerful. They make big noises and are really really popular in the movies! THEY'RE NOT FOR SURVIVAL (unless you live in Alaska or Afghanistan) OR DEFENSE TOOLS (unless you're member of the 10th Mountain Division) ANYMORE....not for the general population anyway.

If we banned guns, would the ban include police and private security officers?

I tend to agree that there are very few situations in modern society in which a firearm would be useful for self defense. I can, however, think of one in particular: The 1992 Los Angeles Riots.

When "Law and Order" Pete Wilson turned his backs on the Korean American community and let folks burn them out, the only proper response was to get a group of business owners with shotguns and rifles and keep the rioters out.

Larry, it is also a quirk of the American constitution. It takes a hell of a lot to change its contents. People tend to focus on the 2nd amendment a lot, but the country has grappled with the entire document. If you want to say our understanding of the right to bear arms is different or was different-so was our understanding of free speech, free assembly, right to trial by jury, right to vote, right to legal counsel. I don't see many people complain that our modern understanding of free speech, free assembly is inferior to the 20's when any gathering of more than 20 people or a union was criminal.

Our track record in messing with that document is a mixed bag-Due Process, Alien and Sedition, prohibition, etc.

As someone who is a student of crime, America has a big problem with murder, always has. What "civilized" nation in the world has this many assassinations or attempts? We helped invent truly organized crime in the 30's. But Central America has a serious kidnapping problem, China, Japan, Korea have suicide problems, Ukraine, Russia, Poland have major drunk driving problems, Scandanavian nations have tremendous sexual assault problems.

Murder and arson are America's big problems. That is falling as gun laws like the assault weapon ban and brady bill are no longer in effect.

KingGorilla wrote:

As someone who is a student of crime, America has a big problem with murder, always has.

As Malor pointed out earlier, the statistics indicate that black America has a big problem with murder. White Americans are far more likely to die via suicide than by being shot to death. This is probably why strict gun control is a lot more popular in cities than in the suburbs. If the death rate of white suburbanites was 18 per 100,000 instead of 1.5, we might have a completely different view of the politics of gun control.

It would be interesting to see what the rate is among poor whites. I couldn't find those stats earlier.

Funkenpants wrote:

If we banned guns, would the ban include police and private security officers?

Absolutely not, that's why I said "The functional practical use of guns in modern society has all but evaporated unless your profession requires them". Law enforcement, military and other professions that require them as a force advantage should always have access to guns. They're trained professionals and they earn the right to carry them.

This is where it gets complicated though. I'm not advocating that we ban guns, we need to find a way to secure the guns in our society. Passing laws that punish sane law abiding citizens isn't going to stop the unnecessary deaths. The sad reality is that it's far harder for a law abiding citizens to get guns than it is your average street thug. That's what we need find the answer to.

Paleocon wrote:

I tend to agree that there are very few situations in modern society in which a firearm would be useful for self defense. I can, however, think of one in particular: The 1992 Los Angeles Riots.

IMAGE(http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2011-01/58852252.jpg)

(from: LA Times article last week)

Bear wrote:

Law enforcement, military and other professions that require them as a force advantage should always have access to guns. They're trained professionals and they earn the right to carry them.

Amadou Diallo would disagree with you. He'd be alive today if the police who wanted to arrest him didn't have guns. Plus, it's difficult to argue that private citizens don't need guns for self-defense when even police officers wouldn't feel safe without them. Police operate in the same areas as private citizens and have the same concerns over their personal safety, no?

Also, what other professions would require guns outside law enforcement or the military?

Funkenpants:

No, not really. Private citizens, when confronted by an armed criminal element, can always run. Prudent citizens would avoid being caught in a compromising situation, and when it comes down to it, offer up whatever is being asked to avoid a violent conflict. Police officers do not have these options.

LarryC wrote:

No, not really. Private citizens, when confronted by an armed criminal element, can always run.

Wait- so the criminals will have guns even when weapons are banned? What point is having a ban when the ban doesn't work?

Plus, there have been enough shootings of unarmed victims during crimes to indicate that compliance and flight aren't the simple solutions you make them out to be. The fact that we have unarmed victims of crimes is evidence of the opposite. Or are you suggesting that unarmed people frequently don't try to flee or comply with armed criminals?

Funkenpants:

Criminals can still have firearms even when they're against the law. That's why they're criminals. The point of instituting a selective pistol ban is so that anyone carrying a pistol can immediately be identified as a criminal. Of course, they could still carry a rifle and try to rob people at rifle-point, but it's harder to run around or walk while appearing nonthreatening with a longer firearm.

By making pistols harder to carry and less necessary (because citizens won't have guns), the expectation is for criminals to move towards either carrying rifles (which are more obvious and less suited to covert criminal activity) or carrying knives (which are somewhat less deadly than guns).

Funkenpants wrote:

Plus, there have been enough shootings of unarmed victims during crimes to indicate that compliance and flight aren't the simple solutions you make them out to be. The fact that we have unarmed victims of crimes is evidence of the opposite. Or are you suggesting that unarmed people frequently don't try to flee or comply with armed criminals?

Review the exchange. You were saying that police officers have the same personal safety concerns as normal private citizens. My comment that a private citizen can always run is in direct rebuttal of that statement. It was not meant to imply that flight and compliance are foolproof ways to avoid injury.

LarryC wrote:

The point of instituting a selective pistol ban is so that anyone carrying a pistol can immediately be identified as a criminal.

Handguns are easily concealed. Plus, you sound like this hasn't all been done already here in urban areas where illegal handguns represent a major problem.

You were saying that police officers have the same personal safety concerns as normal private citizens. My comment that a private citizen can always run is in direct rebuttal of that statement

Meh. It doesn't rebut it since the personal safety concern I was talking about was getting shot by a criminal. Or do people only get shot when they're trying to stop a crime?

Funkenpants:

Funkenpants wrote:

Handguns are easily concealed. Plus, you sound like this hasn't all been done already here in urban areas where illegal handguns represent a major problem.

I was not aware of such programs. I am not American, you know.

Funkenpants wrote:

Meh. It doesn't rebut it since the personal safety concern I was talking about was getting shot by a criminal. Or do people only get shot when they're trying to stop a crime?

My understanding was that if you go to a lot of criminal hotspots on purpose and then try to stop armed criminals by any means necessary, you are more likely to be shot. Is this not true in America?