[Discussion] How to enact Gun Safety

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The scope of this discussion is strictly options or suggestions on HOW to create policy and law and how to implement them in the US so as to reduce the number of guns in the hands of those who intend to use them for criminal purposes.

Whether or not those options should be explored is not under debate. The 2nd Amendment is not under debate nor under discussion. The assumption of the thread is that "gun control" law is necessary at this point and which policies and laws are good to pursue on the basis of putative results.

Stupid big government telling me who I can and can't kill.

ranalin wrote:
Aetius wrote:

I think that by far the best and easiest thing we could do to lower deaths-by-gun in the United States would be to end Prohibition.

Prohibition of what exactly?

Drugs. Here's the article I linked earlier, where the Guardian did a heat map of murders by gun using data from the Gun Violence Archive. From the article:

The problem they face is devastating. Though these neighborhood areas contain just 1.5% of the country’s population, they saw 26% of America’s total gun homicides.

Gun control advocates say it is unacceptable that Americans overall are "25 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than people in other developed countries". People who live in these neighborhood areas face an average gun homicide rate about 400 times higher than the rate across those high-income countries.
...
America’s gun policy debate is usually driven by high-profile mass shootings that seem to strike at random, and it focuses on sweeping federal gun control or mental health policies. But much of America’s gun homicide problem happens in a relatively small number of predictable places, often driven by predictable groups of high-risk people, and its burden is anything but random.

thrawn82 wrote:

I don't think the mass shootings, spousal murder, and firearm suicides in the US are related to illegal drug violence...

You'd be surprised. Take, for example, the mass shootings as defined by GVA. Between the Parkland shooting on February 14th and today, 17 people have been killed and 79 wounded in mass shootings across the country. Yet none of these shootings made the national news. Examine the shooting in South Bend, Indiana on March 12th where six people were wounded.

Why is this shooting different from shootings like Parkland?

Neighbors, who asked that their names not be used because of concerns for their safety, said that there was a party going on at the house on Saturday night and into early Sunday morning, with cars parked along the street.

...

“This used to be such a nice neighborhood,” one longtime resident said. “This is why I don’t put no money into (improving) my house, because the neighborhood is deteriorating … You just get tired, you know?”

Note that the article - like most of the others - is very, very careful not to do two things: identify the race of the victims, or speculate on why the shooting occurred.

We can, however, pretty quickly find out some things about the neighborhood. Right across the street is the Henry Studebaker Elementary School, which has the the expected demographic mix of students. A quick look at NeighborhoodScout shows that this is one of the least safe neighborhoods in South Bend - It's one of the small rectangular sections labeled Calvert Street / Michigan Street, and is roughly an 8 on the 10-point crime scale. A check of city-data.com's poverty data shows that the 46613 zip code, where the address of the crime is located, has more than 1 in 4 residents below the poverty line.

Now ask yourself - why would the neighbors be concerned for their safety? There were fights at this house, and one resident reported seeing a gun. You'll notice that the article very carefully skirts around it, but it should be obvious that this is a drug house and the occupants are involved in the drug trade.

Here's a few others - a gang-related shooting in Oklahoma, a gang-related shooting in Kansas, a rare case in Palm Beach where the story clearly identifies the murder as drug-related, and a drive-by in Utah.

The takeaway is pretty obvious: if you're poor, have brown skin, and live in a bad neighborhood, when you are the victim of a mass shooting no one cares. Further, if you're involved in the illegal drug trade - or just happen to live near to drug activity - you're much more likely to be the victim of a shooting or a mass shooting, and it's even less likely that anyone will care.

The next question: is violence inherent to trade in illegal substances, as Sessions has suggested? A Cato study of alcohol Prohibition shows a very clear correlation between the illegal alcohol trade and violence. Another study of the illegal cigarette trade in New York also shows a strong correlation between encouraging illegal trade through high taxes or bans and violent crime. Note, however, that the keyword there is illegal. Other places that don't have high cigarette taxes don't see cigarette-related violent crime. Similarly, in other countries de-criminalizing drugs has been incredibly successful.

In short, if you want to reduce gun-related deaths, ending the War on Drugs is by far the easiest and most effective step that can be taken at the federal and state levels. It will also end decades of racist drug enforcement and mass incarceration.

That seems a bit reaching to me, in addition it seems like you are making the error of reversing a correlation inappropriately: You are stipulating that all most trade in illegal substances in inherently violent, but then you are reversing that to say all most violence is inherently connected to drug trade, and THAT part at the very least is fallacious.

Its a nice way of labeling an already distasteful activity as something we should address before we address guns directly, while also tarring the victims of violence with that same brush as participants in the activity and insinuating they are culpable in the violence done to them.

I actually agree with you that legalization is a good thing, but I don't think it's a good thing to focus on INSTEAD OF focusing on the prevalence of weapons.

thrawn82 wrote:

Its a nice way of labeling an already distasteful activity as something we should address before we address guns directly, while also tarring the victims of violence with that same brush as participants in the activity and insinuating they are culpable in the violence done to them.

What? I'm pointing out that the War on Drugs drives violent crime and thus gun deaths, and is racist. The necessary consequence of that is that minorities suffer disproportionately from the War on Drugs, violent crime, and gun deaths - I don't really see this as a debatable point. Where was I insinuating that they were responsible or culpable for that? If anything, it's the exact opposite.

I used to think the war on drugs is racist. Then when pot was legalized and the white people that took advantage of it, I realized that everything in this country is racist.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

I used to think the war on drugs is racist. Then when pot was legalized and the white people that took advantage of it, I realized that everything in this country is racist.

This is a really good point. It's been shocking to me, people who I previously knew as conservative, who always voted Republican, suddenly partaking. "Like, what the f*ck were you against all this time?"

Aetius wrote:
thrawn82 wrote:

Its a nice way of labeling an already distasteful activity as something we should address before we address guns directly, while also tarring the victims of violence with that same brush as participants in the activity and insinuating they are culpable in the violence done to them.

What? I'm pointing out that the War on Drugs drives violent crime and thus gun deaths, and is racist. The necessary consequence of that is that minorities suffer disproportionately from the War on Drugs, violent crime, and gun deaths - I don't really see this as a debatable point. Where was I insinuating that they were responsible or culpable for that? If anything, it's the exact opposite.

I apologize if I misunderstood, I thought you were putting forward that the gun violence problem itself was solely or majority a result of the war on drugs, as in if you've been harmed by gun violence it is because you were participating in the drug trade, and if we legalized the drug trade you would not have been harmed. That's the idea I was pushing back on.

It definitely not debatable that the war on drugs is implicitly and explicitly an exercise is racism, which drives violence.

I knew what Aetius was saying and I still disagree. Violent crime has been going down for decades, but we still have (what should be) unacceptable levels of gun deaths. Ending the drug war would certainly help. So would making it more difficult to get gun.

If you can start a neo nazi hate group, write screeds about exterminating Jews and immigrants, and publicly advocate the violent overthrow of your democratically elected government and STILL legally purchase a gun that you can legally display publicly in an act of intimidation of peaceful protest, we can safely say that our gun "freedoms" have gone way out of control.

Turns out the school resource officer probably didn't stop a mass shooting.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/mar...

It looks like this was a targeted killing of his ex girlfriend. He took his dad's Glock and fired a single shot that passed through his ex gf's head and struck the second victim in the leg. After that, he walked without shooting until confronted by the resource officer and shot himself in the head at the same time that the officer shot him in the hand.

I don't disagree with Aetius per se, but while stopping the war on drugs might help reduce gun violence, reducing the number of guns will necessarily reduce gun violence.

I do find it fascinating to watch the number of indirect actions that people (not aimed at Aetius, btw) suggest can/should be implemented before directly addressing the sheer quantity of weapons.

Retired SCOTUS associate justice John Paul Stevens: Repeal the 2nd Amendment

NYT wrote:

Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated in Washington and other major cities throughout the country this past Saturday. These demonstrations demand our respect. They reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society.

That support is a clear sign to lawmakers to enact legislation prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons, increasing the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old, and establishing more comprehensive background checks on all purchasers of firearms. But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.

Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment, which provides that “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century.

For over 200 years after the adoption of the Second Amendment, it was uniformly understood as not placing any limit on either federal or state authority to enact gun control legislation. In 1939 the Supreme Court unanimously held that Congress could prohibit the possession of a sawed-off shotgun because that weapon had no reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a “well regulated militia.

During the years when Warren Burger was our chief justice, from 1969 to 1986, no judge, federal or state, as far as I am aware, expressed any doubt as to the limited coverage of that amendment. When organizations like the National Rifle Association disagreed with that position and began their campaign claiming that federal regulation of firearms curtailed Second Amendment rights, Chief Justice Burger publicly characterized the N.R.A. as perpetrating “one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

In 2008, the Supreme Court overturned Chief Justice Burger’s and others’ long-settled understanding of the Second Amendment’s limited reach by ruling, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that there was an individual right to bear arms. I was among the four dissenters.

That decision — which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly was debatable — has provided the N.R.A. with a propaganda weapon of immense power. Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple and would do more to weaken the N.R.A.’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option.

That simple but dramatic action would move Saturday’s marchers closer to their objective than any other possible reform. It would eliminate the only legal rule that protects sellers of firearms in the United States — unlike every other market in the world. It would make our schoolchildren safer than they have been since 2008 and honor the memories of the many, indeed far too many, victims of recent gun violence.

Well, he just handed the NRA their talking points for the next freaking decade.

trichy wrote:

Well, he just handed the NRA their talking points for the next freaking decade.

It trended yesterday on Twitter and all the usual NRA/Russia/Trump bots/trolls jumped on it immediately. Not the op-ed her wrote, but the fact that it was trending. As if that's what everyone who's pro gun control wants. I mean, it's what I want, but I know it's not smart politics to go that far.

Well the NRA is adept at creating boogie men as the basis for their talking points already. So no harm done there.
The simple retort to "ZOMG they are going to take away our gunz" is "regulating guns and requiring background checks and licensing/training is far from taking away guns". Plus, even if the bid bad government did come to take away guns, look at how effective they are at taking away drugs in the "War on Drugs". Our biggest drug problem is abuse of legally prescribed opioids...

trichy wrote:

Well, he just handed the NRA their talking points for the next freaking decade.

And the NRA's core "my right to a gun is more important than your child's right to live" talking point is just going to sound worse after each of the dozens and dozens of school shootings that will happen over the next decade.

The NRA wants gun ownership to be an inviolate right. The American public doesn't (and hasn't for years). Something will give.

fangblackbone wrote:

Well the NRA is adept at creating boogie men as the basis for their talking points already. So no harm done there.

In general, the left is way too concerned with what the right is going to call them. Any candidate who doesn't toe the line of the Fox-Rush-Trump axis is already going to be called a gun-grabbing Leninist regardless, so why not just ignore it. Try a Reaganesque "There you go again" in response to their histrionics if you think you can pull it off.

qaraq wrote:

In general, the left is way too concerned with what the right is going to call them. Any candidate who doesn't toe the line of the Fox-Rush-Trump axis is already going to be called a gun-grabbing Leninist regardless, so why not just ignore it. Try a Reaganesque "There you go again" in response to their histrionics if you think you can pull it off.

I agree. It is okay to be bothered by things and I don't subscribe to the "grow thicker skin" mantra but leaving no gray area to adapt the outrage to match the offense is a proven losing mindset.

It is one of the things I really agree with Bill Maher on. (he is also someone who thinks we need to go after the deification of the 2nd Amendment)

qaraq wrote:
fangblackbone wrote:

Well the NRA is adept at creating boogie men as the basis for their talking points already. So no harm done there.

In general, the left is way too concerned with what the right is going to call them. Any candidate who doesn't toe the line of the Fox-Rush-Trump axis is already going to be called a gun-grabbing Leninist regardless, so why not just ignore it. Try a Reaganesque "There you go again" in response to their histrionics if you think you can pull it off.

I think it's more that the left has continually wrung its collective hands over its inability to reliably attract white voters, especially suburban and rural men. So it's less that they're worried about what the right is going to call them and more that they're going to scare away those voters.

I'd prefer it if the left would simply stop chasing white voters--non-college educated suburban and rural whites are rarely going to vote Democratic (especially men) and college-educated and urban whites pretty much always will--and focus on implementing policies that will boost turnout among strongly Democratic demographics: young voters and people of color.

Aetius wrote:

You've got this almost exactly backwards, at least historically. Before the Constitution was written, the militia was understood to be every military-age white male. Those men were also expected to provide their own weapons, a tradition which dated back centuries in the United Kingdom, and their right of using those arms for self-defense and community defense was long established.

No, the "provide their own weapons" argument misses the point that good firearms, ammunition, clothing and gear cost around 10 to 12 pounds at the time, and that was out of the reach of the majority of citizens. In fact, in most states, the *government* provided the firearms and ammunition and gear (thus leading to the problem of central armories holding this stuff while there was no conflict, and locking it away from the citizens).

At the time, the Anti-Federalists were very wary of a standing army, having just defeated one that was wasn't particularly well-behaved. The 2nd Amendment was specifically proposed by Madison to ensure that the Federal government did not have the power to disarm state citizens or control the arming of the militia, and thus the ability to deprive a state of military power. Reading the various drafts of the amendment is very informative.

This argument elides the substantial differences between individual use of firearms, and the role of the militia's arms in defense of the state. There's nothing in the constitution that references hunting, for example, or even self-defense using firearms. That's because at the time, the concept of self-defense was tied up completely with the concept of defense of the community (just as the term "pursuit of happiness" refers to the ideal community being safe and well regulated under law, not "trying to be happy" as we take it today). So for the colonists and early Americans, the ideas we hold today about firearms - the collective argument and the individual argument - were all part of one understanding, a combination of civic rights (the right to bear arms in defense of the community and the state, and later the country) and civic obligations (that white males *must* bear arms in defense of their community, their state and their country). So arguments today to that separate the two, including Heller, are not at all Originalist.

State constitutions were often more explicit. The Pennsylvania constitution, for example, says this:

The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.
It's also critical to note that "well-regulated" had a very different meaning at the time - it meant well-trained, not regulated legally (and there was much argument about how well trained they should or could be, which made sense as the performance of various militias at various times ranged from terrible to excellent). From the arguments and writings of the time, it's very clear that the writers of the national and state Constitutions not only meant to preserve people's right to bear arms, but in fact insisted that the arms they bore were weapons suitable for military service.

It meant both, in that the training was expected to come from the officers, who were officers of the state, not just people who "associated" together to form ad hoc militias. (This was a *huge* debate in Pennsylvania, because it had no militia law - and the non-Quakers wanted desperately to have the government arm them so they could bear arms to defend their communities (ie, "themselves") and their state. Note that that phrase is "and their state", not "or their state". The holding of arms without militias was regarded as nonsensical. It was simply not brought up in most discussions. There was one group in Pennsylvania that argued that the right to bear arms was a "natural right", but they lost the debates that produced the two Pennsylvania Constitutions cited by Individual Rights interpretation fans, something that usually does not get mentioned when their words are quoted. (They also approved of Pennsylvania's laws regulating the possession and use of arms in hunting, and they tied the "natural right" directly to the defense of the *community*, rather than individual self-defense.)

The reason all these states wanted military grade weapons in the hands of citizens was, in fact, to enable them - to *require* them - to participate in the defense of their communities, their states, and eventually the Federal government.

Thus, if we were actually following the intentions of the framers and the laws enacted just after the new government was formed, not only would every adult be expected to arm themselves with military weapons and supply their own ammunition, but they would also be expected to train with them and be subject to call-ups at any time for national defense.

This is partly correct, but also partly wrong. States were expected to furnish arms for the militias in various ways. They were also expected to *regulate* their possession and use among citizens through laws (and this comes from even the most hard-core "natural rights" enthusiasts, who favored existing laws that would make the NRA blanch, and by the way, the group in Pennsylvania that is so often quoted in support of the individual rights interpretation was also dead set against the Bill of Rights, calling it "superfluous and absurd". They obviously did not have a modern view of "individual rights" at all.

Finally, consider the case of Dr. James Reynolds, in 1799 Philadelphia, who was set upon by a crowd that threatened his life. He carried a pistol after hearing threats against him, so when the mob moved to attack him, he brandished his pistol at them and ran them off. He was charged with attempted murder for that action. But his defense nowhere cites the state constitution that supposedly enshrined individual carry, and the trial transcript nowhere contains the phrase "bear arms". Instead, his lawyer argued that it was the "natural right" of every man, *outside* of the state constitution and laws, to carry a firearm when under threat. And he was acquitted on that basis. So even in the state that is regarded as most illustrative of the "individual right" interpretation, in the relevant time, the law did not enshrine that right for personal self-defense alone.

This will be illustrative to those who are patient enough to work through it. It's worth repeating that neither today's Collective Right Only theory, or today's Individual Right Only theory accurately reflects what the Founders understood and intended. They viewed bearing arms and keeping arms at home as a blend of right and responsibility, and crucially, as completely inseparable from the defense of the community, the state, and later the Federal government. One reason we have so much difficulty with this is that we've invented new interpretations of the Second, based on lines of argument that were *rejected* soundly by the states and the writers of the Articles and the Constitution.

We really need to teach people history better.

Dr. Nathan Kozuskanich wrote:

Gallatin and many other Pennsylvanians would be mystified by our
modern propensity to separate the right to bear arms into either an individual
or a collective right. No doubt this is because we have lost sight of
our “common interest in the welfare of the community,” a concept that
very much motivated Pennsylvanians of the founding era. To be sure, we
live in a much different world than the peoples we study. Pennsylvania’s
history reveals an abiding concern for a well-regulated militia, and the
men who drafted the 1776 constitution were products of that very concern.
With the coming of the Revolution, Pennsylvanians began to regulate
firearms more than ever before and demanded that all men fulfill
their obligation to the common defense. To ensure that men could meet
their obligations, the constitution protected a right to bear arms so that
the people could defend themselves and fulfill the very purpose of government
as stated in the preamble: “the security and protection of the
community".

Agent 86 wrote:

Stupid big government telling me who I can and can't kill.

I wasn't sure where to post this story but Agent 86's quote was at the top of the page and I thought it fit! "Stupid big government telling babies who they can and can't kill"

Toddler shoots her mom with a gun her dad left in their car, police say

An Indiana man faces charges for leaving a loaded gun in the car with his family as he shopped, after his 3-year-old daughter accidentally shot her mother, police said.

Shanique Thomas, the woman who was shot, told police she was unaware that Menzo Brazier, 21, was carrying his weapon when they left their residence in Michigan City, Indiana.
They brought along their children, a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, the Merrillville, Indiana, Police Department said. Brazier asked if Thomas wanted to join him as he went to a nearby store and tried on clothes.

I don't even know what to say about this one.

A Republican lawmaker in Missouri wants to require adults in his state to purchase handguns and AR-15 rifles.

Two bills introduced by state Rep. Andrew McDaniel would require residents to purchase firearms while providing $1 million in tax credits on a first-come, first-served basis to residents who fall under the law.
The first bill, the McDaniel Second Amendment Act, would require Missouri residents aged 21 or older to purchase a handgun. It also would allot up to $1 million per year in tax credits for residents who purchased weapons to comply with the law. The bill was filed in late February.

The second bill, the McDaniel Militia Act, was filed days after the handgun bill and would require Missouri residents aged 18 to 35 to purchase an AR-15. It also would provide a tax credit of up to $1 million per year to incentivize the purchase of weapons.

He doesn't really expect it to pass. So why do it?

"The other side of the aisle loves mandates, so I'm trying to get them to make an argument against mandates," Republican state Rep. Andrew McDaniel, of the rural Bootheel community of Deering, said in a telephone interview....

McDaniel said the legislation "points out the absurdity of the opposite side," and their proposals to "add more requirements and barriers for law-abiding citizens." He said he decided, "Let's get back at them."

Also:

“I merely planned for media to write about it but would ultimately amend it to take out the mandates and requirements (age and type of gun) and turn it into a gun tax credit bill,” McDaniel told Splinter in an email.
The other side of the aisle loves mandates, so I'm trying to get them to make an argument against mandates," Republican state Rep. Andrew McDaniel, of the rural Bootheel community of Deering, said in a telephone interview.

That is an impressive missing of the point. Like, this is the guy that goes on a profanity-laced racist tirade at your grandmother’s funeral and then apologizes for swearing :eyeroll:

Is there a mass shooting thread in D&D? I can't remember and couldn't find it.

Anyway, I was reading an article today about the 20th anniversary of Columbine and the man who was principal at the time, and while reading it, had the genuine thought "Oh, only 13 people (not including Harris and Klebold) died at Columbine?"

Then I remembered that Columbine was one of the defining national moments of my teenage years, and that since then, we've literally come to a place where I think to myself "only 13 people died."

Prederick wrote:

Is there a mass shooting thread in D&D? I can't remember and couldn't find it.

Anyway, I was reading an article today about the 20th anniversary of Columbine and the man who was principal at the time, and while reading it, had the genuine thought "Oh, only 13 people (not including Harris and Klebold) died at Columbine?"

Then I remembered that Columbine was one of the defining national moments of my teenage years, and that since then, we've literally come to a place where I think to myself "only 13 people died."

Here you go!

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