Friday, December 19, 2008

* I was wrong – Last week I offered a comment about gun control. Joe Huffman at the blog The View from North Central Idaho was critical of my remarks. Below is the note that I sent to Mr. Huffman:

I noticed a number of people had linked from your blog to mine. I visited your site and read your opinion about my gun control comments. When you stated that I was spouting a bigot belief about guns I went back and re-read what I had written. You are correct and I owe my readers a fuller explanation. I was guilty of something that is going on in America for which I have been very critical – debating an issue in its extremes to prove one’s point. The result is leaving little possibility of reaching a common ground. Although I stand by what I said, it was what was unsaid that should be addressed.

I am not against the Second Amendment. I am not against lawful gun ownership. I am against criminals and people with certain mental illnesses having too easy an access to guns. My criticism is aimed at those who cite the Second Amendment against every attempt to bring reasonable gun control to our society. Many gun rights advocates seem to have taken the position that there can be no “control” because that would lead to banning private citizens from owning guns. I would hope that the debate about guns in our country will be over “reasonable” restrictions instead of a debate of no controls versus a ban on all guns. My interest is to reduce the number of illegal guns that are killing large numbers of innocent people and police in major urban centers such as Philadelphia, PA where I reside. Those of us who believe that there is a need for stricter gun control need to do a better job stating our positions. I appreciate your taking me to task and I will share this with my readers.

* What is reasonable? – A number of Joe Huffman’s readers had reactions about my comment and note. Although the topic of gun control generates strong feelings on both sides of the issue the comments were courteous and challenging. A very fair question was asked, “What is reasonable?” Below are some suggestions that I feel merit consideration:

~ Ban assault weapons from private possession
~ Ban .50 caliber (armor piercing) weapons from private possession
~ Allow local communities to determine what is appropriate for their circumstances. If cities such as Philadelphia and Washington D.C. feel that stricter gun control laws are needed than state or federal law provides, they should be allowed to govern their particular situation. The view (and conditions) from Idaho can be significantly different from major urban centers such as Chicago, LA, and NYC.
~ Improve oversight of corrupt gun dealers
~ Limit the number of guns an individual can purchase in a month. This will reduce the number of guns purchased with the intent to sell them illegally on the street, also known as straw purchases.
~ Mandate that sales at gun shows include criminal background checks. This is a major loophole in current law.

America is a diverse and complex society. It requires a balancing of individual rights and societal needs. This is the art of intelligent governance necessary for a free society to flourish. It is never easy and it presents one of the current challenges we face as a nation. Its resolution will be one of the defining elements for America in the 21st Century.

* What is unreasonable? I have been noting that the Bush administration has been injecting last minute rules into place, also known as “midnight regulations,” that are regressive and damaging and are without congressional approval and oversight. Somehow they are legal and that alone speaks volumes to the state of our nation and how it is governed. The Wonk Room has compiled a list of these backward regulations that is stunning in its breadth. The list includes regulations that effect healthcare, the environment, civil liberties, taxes, labor and government administration. Of the many elements of the Constitution that the Bush administration has eviscerated, “checks and balances” of the executive branch have been one of the most damaged. Recovering from the Bush presidency will be the next great test for America. We can begin the new era by saying: No more crony capitalism, no more empire building, no more denial of science.

If you can still laugh at Bush’s tenure of Greek Tragedy, Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films has created a short video, George W. Bush’s Nightmare Before Christmas, that puts a humorous spin on Mr. Bush’s final acts of incompetence and harm. January 20, 2009 is just one long month away.

* The blog dailykos is asking people to help President Bush come up with a title for the book he intends to write. Below are some suggestions that I would submit:
~ A Foreign Policy Primer - Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites – They All Look the Same
~ What Laura and I Did in the White House is No One’s Business
~ Heckuva Job
~ Reducing Taxes for the Wealthy & Increasing Spending – Are You Shitting Me?
~ Screw the Arctic – As Long As My Icemaker Works
~ NeoConservative Philosophy By Dummies
~ Don’t Drink the Water, Don’t Breathe the Air - My Years in the White House... and After
~ George’s Coloring Book for Chief Executives
~ Recipes for Cooking the Books – Edited by Dick Cheney
~ No Special Interest Left Behind – In Collaboration with Jack Abramoff
~ Protecting America’s Borders – En Collaboracion con Juan Hernandez Pablo Calderon Gutierrez
~ Scientific Proof that Science Doesn’t Matter
~ Duke Cunningham is Cool – with an introduction by former Congressman Bob Ney
~ The U.S. Legal System in the 21st Century – In Collaboration with Alberto Gonzales
~ I Am the Decider – by Dick Cheney as told to George W. Bush
~ Wall Street and Me - Managing the U.S. Economy
~ The Sanctity of the Supreme Court – In Collaboration with Harriet Miers
~ Barney and Me – Peeing on the Oval Office Carpet
~ P O T U S: The President of the Untied States – a children’s book in block letters
~ Combining Church and State – A Fundamental Building Block for a New America
~ My Vision for America – A Collection of Favorite Poems including 3 Blind Mice
~ When the President Does It, It Is Not Illegal – In Collaboration with Richard M. Nixon
~ History Will Exxon-erate Me
~ Mission Accomplished – In Collaboration with Osama bin Laden
~ Bushed

* Holiday wishes – A good friend who was born and bred in Missouri, most recently converted from a Republican to a Libertarian and who currently resides in a foreign land known as metropolitan Boston, sent the following:

To all my Democrat friends:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of other, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2009, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

To all my Republican friends:
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

* “A nation as a society forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society”
Thomas Jefferson

26 comments:

Sue Katz said...

Nice to wake up to you, Stephen, on the run-up to a huge storm that's going to keep me in the house watching too much warmed-over weekend news. Thanks for balancing the list of horrifying last-minute Bush damage with the funny Xmas messages.

Anonymous said...

What would we do without Stephen Views the News? And he even answers his critics! How cool it is that you attract people from such a broad range of views.

Like Sue, I'm curling up for the day since we're probly getting the tail end of Boston's ice storm here in Philly.

Stephen, your blog keeps me honest and informed. Salud!

Anonymous said...

I really dislike anonymous entries. I hit the wrong button.

Anonymous is really Ruth Z Deming at www.ruthzdeming.blogspot.com

Someday I'll learn!

Joe Huffman said...

I have posted my point by point response here.

I look forward to the defense of your "reasonable" proposals.

Regards,

Joe Huffman

Anonymous said...

In a previous post I asked you to explain the current laws on the books so you could show some understanding of the issue. I even listed some of the laws in question. With the aid of Google you could have learned much.

Clearly though you did no research. Sadly, I am not surprised.

Will you answer these questions then?

What defines an "assault weapon'? As a hint please describe the difference between a flash suppressor and a muzzle break in construction and operation.

How do you define ammo as being armor piercing? What threat level armor are you talking about? Do you even understand anything about threat levels in body armor? Please explain more and show you understand the issue instead of the ability to blindly repeat other peoples talking points.

I take it incorporation does not apply any more in the constitution if local preemption is allowed. I also take it you will allow local jurisdiction over what is construed as "hate speech" or allowable freedom of political expression. Personally I find having to get a permit to hold a protest is a gross violation of the 1st amendment. Using your local preemption argument it should be allowed, nay, encouraged.

Corrupt dealers is already covered by the 68 GCA. Enforcement is the issue here, not new laws. Google is your friend.

Straw purchases are already illegal. See the 68 GCA. Also, how does 1 gun a month work without some form of national registration? How does it cover the use of fake IDs, or stolen identities? Crooks do crooked things already and this will change nothing at all from where we are today.

Gun sales through dealers at gun shows are already covered by the 68 GCA. The "Gunshow loophole" is a codeword to ban private transfer of firearms between individuals, for instance between father and son, or uncle and nephew. Estates will not be allowed to transfer ownership in wills. Is that what you want to ban? Sounds very mean spirited to me.

So, the ball is back in your court. Define AP ammo and what an assault weapon is and maybe this can go further.

So far all you have done is echo talking points with no real understanding of the current laws or of the terms and technology you are talking about.

You statement about balancing rights and needs is very alarming. The world is replete with cases where the so called balance leads to massive in-justice and intolerance.

This seem to be the approach that China is using.

Never state support for a position that you would not want to used against yourself. To do so makes one an elitist who thinks himself better than anyone else. Would you consider my closing of your blog acceptable for my view of "individual rights and societal needs." If not, why not? What are the objective as opposed to subjective criteria? I'm really looking forward to the response on that one.

Earl Harding

Rob K said...

Is the Ruger 10/22 an assault weapon? New Jersey state law says it is. How about the Marlin Model 60? Or the Remington R-15 VTR? They market it for hunting. Is it an "assault weapon" or not? How do you define what an assault weapon is or is not?

ravenshrike said...

What the hell is the obsession with the anit-gunnies and .50 cals. I seriously doubt a criminal is going to run around with a several thousand dollar 30 lb 4 and a half foot rifle for which ammo costs about $3 a round. Even a terrorist wouldn't, because of the uwieldyness and slow reload times.

Josh said...

I think you're either missing some information, or not familiar with the subject matter, sir.

Assault weapon bans have been overwhelmingly unreasonable. In some cases these bans prohibit safety features -- the infamous "shoulder thing that goes up", as Mrs. McCarthy calls the barrel shroud, is a safety feature to prevent burns. In the vast majority of the remainder, the ban items based on arbitrary features or appearances, or on aspects that are not overly related to illegal use. The 1984 ban took out firearms that were too heavy or had a bayonet mount, two things seldom tied to criminal activities, while still covering a number of firearms used for legitimate uses or which are historically important items. Not only do the laws have the ability to negatively affect a wide variety of people without providing significant beneficial effects -- the definition of unreasonable in this case -- they are literally without sane reason. A ban on a bayonet lug is similar to banning words with too many Zs in them; you might as well join the modern-day equivalent of Turkmenistan's Niyazov.

.50 caliber is simply a measurement of barrel width. Any rifle bullet, shotgun slug, or other long gun, including all hunting rifles, can penetrate normal police body armor. The definition and testing for class IIa body armor is anything that can take a handgun round but not a rifle round. Meanwhile, the average shotgun shell filled with birdshot, one of the few things that can not go through a class IIa vest, typically measures between 0.55 and 0.76 inches in diameter. Again, completely arbitrary. Worse, the only methods to ban any rifle that could pierce this body armor would ban every firearm lawful for use hunting deer, most firearms used for target rounds, and the vast majority of firearms used for lawful self-defense.

The rest of your "reasonable" definition have similar issue. "Reasonable" is requiring regular call-ins to a government agency for every single private sale -- a government agency that has weeks if not months of downtime yearly? "Reasonable" is more scrutiny that biannual BATFE inspections, regular warrant-less requests for records of every business transaction, and regular tests that they're following the rules? I'm a fan of backdoor play, personally, but I don't think many gun owners or even average Joes will find the full body cavity search that implies to be particularly enjoyable or reasonable. "Reasonable" are local laws that often turn into out-right bans or gifts for graft and harassment?

You are certainly correct in that America, and every other country, has to balance on the fine line between individual rights and the needs of society as a whole. Your list of reasonable seems more focused, however, on what society desires -- or rather, what your part of society desires -- rather than what is even remotely good for it.

Tom said...

CRIME comes from the mind.

stick, stone, water, government, gun, extra scary "assault weapon", box cutter, airplane, rope, bare hands, poison, shove into traffic, knife, dangerous animal, gas, lack of air, air bubble, peanuts, power tools, electricity, or just about any other object in the world makes no difference.

The CRIMINAL is person already breaking the law, the person who has made the decision, either intentionally or irrationally, to commit the act.


You say America is a diverse and complex society. It requires a balancing of individual rights and societal needs. That is NOT a free society, that is a society where rights are removed to CONTROL people. You know what happens next? People ignore the controls, aka laws, and you have an inevitable spiral of more controls. Can you show one law that has stopped a criminal? I ask that in all sincerity as nobody ever involved in this discussion will, or can, answer that question.

Further down this page you have gone on to comment about the current president's “midnight regulations.” It seems as if you have a problem accepting the government destroying “checks and balances” even at a time when another party (yours?) has nearly complete control of the entire federal government. Can you illuminate me as to why that might be? Why do you have this fear when the party who apparently supports the very objectives your have put forth has free reign without the possiblity of being stopped?

Can you explain why you are a supporter of more government control (being appalled at allowing guns in parks ) and in others (letting the police have more power to stop criminals) you are opponent? If guns were illegal in parks why wouldn't you WANT more police powers to remove them? It would seem that you seek to live in an world that does not exist, one with no guns, but where police cannot stop criminals. Can you explain this contradiction?


To address your list of specific items...

~define assault weapons using a specific legal definition as one would expect to find in the law. Explain how certain guns are more dangerous.
~what "armor" would banning a weapon never used in a crime ensure the safety of? Why the fascination with a specific caliber of weapon that is the polar opposite of those used by criminals?
~Why do you seek to limit the rights of people based on location? Would you support mandating where people can speak, say, a "free speech zone" in order to protect people? Would you support the forced housing, in private homes, of government troops, or police in certain areas of the country in order to reduce crime?
~Can you please provide examples of a "corrupt gun dealer"? Define that term. Would that be someone who were to deny a person a gun based only on appearance and "gut instinct"? What makes one a corrupt gun dealer?
~Define straw purchase. I don't think you know what it means. I also have to assume you are unaware that it is already ILLEGAL, and anyone involved would be guilty of a federal crime, and would be open to charges of conspiracy as well.
~Can you tell me who does not have to fill out federal paperwork before being allowed to buy a gun at a gun show? Are you also in favor of laws before being allowed to buy a car, a book, computer, or any other item you might want?

Please, since you have shown us "common sense" laws, explain in detail what effect any one of these will do to stop someone from commiting a crime.

Perhaps most importantly, explain the punishements you would use to enforce these laws should someone be convicted of breaking them.

Anonymous said...

Reasonable gun control is just Common sense, right?

Here's some recent examples of some other "common sense" ideas that seemed "reasonable":

Putting babies to sleep on their stomach was only common sense, because if the baby is lying on his back and throws up, he'll choke on his own vomit and die! Seemed reasonable, until it was discovered it dramatically increased the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Laws to control the Blacks from owning firearms after the civil war were reasonable, because it's only common sense that if they had arms to protect themselves, they might have the ability to fight back against the KKK or law enforcement officials that had to make sure they stayed in their place. I don't even think I need to tell you how screwed up that was or why...

Shipping off the Jews and other undesirables to the concentration camps was reasonable, since racial impurities are what caused the decline of Germany and caused its defeat in the Great War. It's the only common sense solution, because, as Adolph Hitler said, "we shall regain our health only be eliminating the Jews."

My point? Common sense is absolutely relative, and the word "reasonable" is a controlling mechanism. How could anyone possibly be against something reasonable, and how could anyone sane rally against common sense?

So what really is reasonable about ANY gun control, when there is no proof that it protects the average person, or even makes society any better or safer in general.?

How is any gun control common sense when there is overwhelming evidence that gun control has been used to enslave, overpower, and murder millions of people by multiple tyrannical governments?

How many more gun control laws must we add before we realize THEY DON'T DELIVER AS ADVERTISED?
...Orygunner...

One Sensible Progressive said...

Passing a law that will imprison people that defy it is a serious thing. In a free country, isn't it something we do only for PROVEN societal safeguards? Let's see how sensible your choices are:

Ban assault weapons:
So called "assault weapons" are used for about 3% of crimes. And criminals will just choose other weapons if a particular gun is unavailable.
AWB foolishness


Ban .50 calibers:
I know of no cases where such a heavy, expensive rifle was used in a crime. (Hopefully we are speaking of the powerful .50 BMG and not .50 black powder muzzle loaders)

Allow local communities to determine what is appropriate:
The 2nd amendment is a civil right for ALL Americans. People in Sacramento have a different view of gay marriage than those in San Francisco. Should the rules and rights be different for gays in Sacramento than SF?

Limit the number of guns an individual can purchase in a month:
Absolutely unproven to do anything except limit the number of guns purchased by law abiding citizens.

Mandate that sales at gun shows include criminal background checks.
This is simply another way of demanding total gun registration. If civilian gun ownership is a counterbalance to government power, what good is gun ownership if the government tracks every one of them? And it will save no lives as criminals already can't legally purchase guns but still seem to find them.
Gun registration puts liberty at risk


Bottom line:
We've had a "war on drugs" for decades. Is that war keeping drugs away from criminals, or turning otherwise law abiding people into criminals. Gun laws just restrict law abiding people.


Gun group create a culture of fear and paranoia


The largest mass murders are ALL non-gun



REAL common sense gun laws

OldTexan said...

I like to see discussions about gun regulations and I would invite all concerned folks to visit a gun range, take a lesson and see what us gun folks are talking about first hand.

I do suggest taking a lesson because, just like driving a car, safe handling of firearms is important.

I also acknowledge there are jerks who spout off about guns on both sides of the issue so if you are really interested in guns and you are not a convicted felon you have the right to come on out and learn how to shoot. Then see if your opinions are still the same.

That's about it for me and I hope to see some of you'all at the gun range.

PolyKahr said...

[quote]"America is a diverse and complex society. It requires a balancing of individual rights and societal needs. This is the art of intelligent governance necessary for a free society to flourish. It is never easy and it presents one of the current challenges we face as a nation. Its resolution will be one of the defining elements for America in the 21st Century."[/quote]

No, it really doesn't. Would you accept the notion of sending every post through a government censor before posting? Yes, you may be called on the carpet afterward for something you said, but there is no prior restraint on your saying it. Free speech is a civil right. Similarly, the other individual rights mentioned in the Bill of Rights are civil rights. In theory, there should be no prior restraints to exercising these rights, though there may be consequences afterward for misuse.
As for balancing, these rights should only be abridged or infringed by overwhelming, and temporary circumstances. In these cases, there is nothing even reasonable, let alone overwhelming about the proposals. As Joe Huffman said, so what are you really trying to do, because it sure ain't stopping crime.

Anonymous said...

good apology. i disagree with your "reasonable" regulations, but the fact that you are attempting a logical argument means you will listen to a logical response. this moves you immediately out of the lunatic category straight into the reasonable people can reasonably disagree category. i looked up the city you live in and would like to offer you an opportunity to go with me to the range. i live in the lehigh valley, and would be pleased to host you at a very nice range in Chadds Ford. i believe that you are basing your opinions on incorrect info, and it is my hope that with correct info, you would have a different opinion.
Sean@SeanSorrentino.com

mopar said...

Everyone else has been covered pretty well, but there is another aspect of this I havent seen mentioned yet:
"~ Allow local communities to determine what is appropriate for their circumstances. If cities such as Philadelphia and Washington D.C. feel that stricter gun control laws are needed than state or federal law provides, they should be allowed to govern their particular situation. The view (and conditions) from Idaho can be significantly different from major urban centers such as Chicago, LA, and NYC.
There are already tens of thousands of firearm laws on the books. They fill several phonebook sized books. If you would like to see for yourself, you can request them from http://www.atf.treas.gov/dcof/index.htm . At the very least get ATF P 5300.4 - Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide and ATF P 5300.5 - State Laws and Published Ordinances-Firearms. As a legal firearm owner, I am expected to know and follow all those laws while traveling the country. Now you want to allow every town and country in the USA to have different and potentially conflicting laws? Any you expect the average person to know them and be aware of what jurisdiction he is in at all times? Do you know every town you travel through on a 100 mile trip, and where each town starts and ends?
How would you feel if the same thing applied to your car? How would you like to have to get a different driver's license and vehicle registration for each town you want to drive through? Makes sense, because many more people are killed by legal car owners then by legal gun owners. And you have to admit there is a huge difference between driving in Boston or NYC and driving in rural Idaho.
How about booze or smokes? Again both cause more deaths then legal gun owners. Can you imagine letting every town set it's own laws there? Legally pick up a 6-pack and a pack of smokes in town A, then get jailed for possession in town B.
Is it fair and reasonable for something that is perfectly legal in town A,C,D,E to be a felony crime in town B?
How do you expect law-abiding people to keep track of all these various laws? Criminals by definition are people who don't follow the law, do you really think someone from town A where guns are legal intent on commiting a crime with a gun in town B where they are banned is gonna stop at the town line and think "Darn! Now what am I going to do? I cant use a gun to rob someone in town B! Oh well, I guess I'll just turn around and go home."

Ted said...

Stephen, I came here via Joe Huffman's place. First, let me say that I'm glad to see someone who is trying to foster more dialog in this politicized environment.

Second, I'd like to invite you to come shooting sometime, if you're ever up in the Boston area. The reason is that I think that it might give you some food for thought about what "common sense" means regarding guns. I think that everyone - even you and Joe - will agree that common sense is common sense. What constitutes "common sense" is what's under discussion here.

I'm not trolling for hits, but I posted about the last time my wife came shooting with me, and yes, she shot an "assault weapon". She didn't like them before she went, but she had an experience with one of the other ladies who was shooting there. If you're interested, please stop by, and in particular, click through to her post at her place.

http://borepatch.blogspot.com/2008/08/range-report-ar-15-with-mrs-borepatch.html

Where you and I differ is that, while I think that your goal is precisely right (reduced gun crime), I don't think any of your recommended approaches will have the slightest impact on the crime rate. None. For example, there seems to be no crime at all committed with 50 caliber weapons, so quite simply, there's no reduction possible.

Likewise, it seems that very, very few crimes are committed with so called "assault weapons". This actually makes sense if you think about it, as most crime is committed by thugs who want a weapon that is easy to conceal.

You'd have a lot more impact if you were to suggest banning revolvers. There's actually crime committed with these.

I don't want to fisk you in your own comments (I suspect that the next Emily Post will roundly condemn this as the boorish act it is), but my point is that many of us oppose your proposals because we think it will not work - because it cannot.

I think that a couple hours on the range with some gunnies (who are from my experience all normal, sane, and polite) would give you a very different perspective.

Let me know if you - or any of your readers - would like to take me up on the offer.

Anonymous said...

The others have covered the lack of knowledge in your reasonable regulations. If someone espouses regulations the should know what the details are like " ammo that can piece body armor" really is any hunting round from either a bolt action or semi automatic rifle. That is just one example.

It seems to me that you are focusing on the gun and not the criminal. If your fear is of the criminal, then go after criminals and lock them up and don't let them out. The criminals that shot and killed a Philadelphia cop had been in and out of jail and never served the entire sentence.

That is a problem with the justice system. Many of the cities with high amount of criminal’s misuse of guns have a catch and release program with criminals. Your focus should be on correcting the justice system that releases violent criminals to prey on society.

The gun is just a tool like a hammer and can be used for good or ill. It is the criminal that is the problem and focusing on gun controls does nothing to control criminals. Only the law abiding obey gun laws the criminal does not.

The statement” That if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns” is quite true. That is what you are asking for but in a lighter form.

Criminals with guns have power over the unarmed. The only cure is a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. That is why police are armed. But if a bad guy comes up and attempts to rob or kill a civilian then the only defense is for the civilian to be armed. Police are a reactive force not a preventative force. They catch criminals after the act, not during (rarely) and not before. Only the victim has the opportunity to stop a crime in action.

This is especially true in cities with high incidence of crime. Residents should be on equal footing with criminals rather than defenseless. The single mom in DC should have the ability to have a firearm in her home to defend against home invasion. The women walking to her car in the city should have the ability to be armed against muggers and rapists.

Why do you want the people in cities to suffer from murder, rape and robbery? Those urban folks should have the ability to defend themselves wherever they are from criminals whether they are black or white, rich or poor.

I think you are resisting the reality that society can be dangerous and that law-abiding folk carry guns is a reflecting of that. So you want to limit the symbol, guns, and not face up to the danger of society.

The reality is crime happens everywhere, more is some areas than others, and the only personal defense is law-abiding folks and their guns.

Rifles and “ assault weapons” are just items that have little to do with crime. They do have a lot to do with the shooting sports and you have indicated a willingness to restrict the ability of people to enjoy those sports.

I suggest you take up the offer of those to go to a range and try out the weapons and the shooting sports. You may learn something and maybe have fun.


RAH

Anonymous said...

It is even simpler than many here have pointed out:

Look at crime rates in similar countries where private citizens have had their right to own firearms removed.

Australia and Great Britain both come to mind.

For some reason, their criminals refused to surrender their guns, and gun related deaths, as well as crime, is up overall, even without all those "legal" firearms!!

Anonymous said...

Stephen,
great talk we had on the phone today. in a way, i envy you. your education in a new and fairly esoteric branch of our collective reality will be a lot of fun. i will contact you again after the new year for our trip to the range.

everyone else, this guy is trying, by his lights, to be reasonable. i had a conversation with him by phone for over an hour today (saturday) and i believe that he is a person who can be reached by reasoned argument. please remember that because he is not an active shooter, he doesn't use the same words we use. our jargon is confusing and complicated. keep it simple, and keep it friendly, and we may find that we convince him. he'll not likely be ready to carry concealed any time soon, but he may turn out to be that guy on the left who can explain us weird gunnies to his friends. our job is to introduce him to the real us, not the caricature us. if we truely believe that we are right, we need only explain ourselves with reason.
Sean

Joe Huffman said...

I have written a gun dictionary that might be useful for people new to guns.

See also the scary words glossary.

REBEL said...

Greetings from another jumper from Joe's world.

As many before me have covered most of the obvious holes in your attempt to restrict the Consitutional rights of law abiding gun owners under the pretense of common sense gun laws (the latest phrase in a series of feel good attacks on Consitutional rights), I would like to issue you a challenge.
Go learn something about the 20K laws that are on the books today regulating firearms. By the time you are half-way thru I have faith you will have learned a few things about firearms, their functions, and characteristics to intelligent discuss statements like "armor piercing" and the fact these projectiles are already heavily regulated.
Go do some research on the NFA of '34 and the GCA of '68, then the '86 act (I forget its name). Then you can intelligently discuss the lack of performance of the feel good Klinton era ASB and the latest round of attacks on a gun because it has a bayonet mount. Please inform me of the results you find on bayonet attacks you find in your research.

Another necessary set of data is the studies involving felons where they typically make statements about not caring about gun laws as they won't follow them anyway and the fact they are much more concerned about an armed citizen than a cop. The cop may show up in minutes (if you are lucky) and is restricted on using his firearm - while wanting to keep his retirement - while the citizen is present and worried about the felons acts against property and the citizen's person. Cops are not a big threat to thugs, armed citizens are!

dockbot said...

"I am not against the Second Amendment. I am not against lawful gun ownership."

Given the relative weakness of these statements, I am having a hard time determining whether or not you in fact support the 2nd or lawful gun ownership.

How about "I support the Second Amendment. I support lawful gun ownership."

That would clear out any ambiguity. Also, should you support these things (again, I can't tell) I would ask "what have you done to support and strengthen the Second Amendment? What have you done to support and strengthen lawful gun ownership?"

I think we both know the answers. Feel free to enlighten us all.

It is the role of government to protect our rights (at the VERY least that would be "all of the Bill of Rights for all of the citizens," no?) and it is the powers of government that are to be constrained. It is not the role of government to perpetually hack away at the inalienable rights of the citizenry - actions for which I'm sure you are willing to take the Bush administration to task for, but are willing to advocate yourself when it suits your sensibilities.

Who was it that said "there ought to be limits to freedom?" Well... George W. Bush. And YOU. Reasonable restrictions on the freedom of the law abiding. How does that sit with you?

Be aware also that the "gun control movement" has stated many times over that they want to erode the rights of US citizens through whatever legislation can be passed at the time. By advocating "reasonable restrictions" you are doing their legwork. In this way you are in fact against the Second Amendment, whether you believe it or not.

Ask yourself at what point in the continual barrage of citizen restriction have the various and sundry gun control advocates been satisfied with their attack on legal gun owners? When have they said "OK, this is good, we have reasonable restrictions in place?"

The honest answer is "never."

Perhaps it would be believable that the "slippery slope" is NRA nonsense, except for the fact that the gun control groups are ON THE RECORD as saying that they want total bans, and they'll be patient and take whatever they can get, always hunting for more.

Head on over to

http://www.gunscholar.org/gunban.htm

... if you don't believe me.

Gun bans and restrictions on the rights of citizens are the stuff of the 20th century. Your call for more of the same failed policies hardly strikes me as "progressive," a term which you use to describe yourself.

Either you wish to infringe gun owners in part, or you are dishonest about your true intentions of total disarmament. I care for neither sentiment.

I'm sure you take as part of your "progressive" values the idea of education. In that case, get thee to a gun range and spend some time getting yourself a real education. It will be time well spent and perhaps you will get to better know this subject about which you care to opine.

If you will excuse me, I will now continue to sign people up to the NRA. You see... I SUPPORT the Second Amendment and I SUPPORT lawful gun ownership.

For more, be sure to look at my Reference page. I think you'll better understand in what company we both stand.

Gun Poll Lover said...

Stephen, I agree with you. If you look at the official gun poll at thegunpoll.com you can see that most americans actually believe that more guns will cause the crime rate to go down, but that most people believe the 2nd amendment doesn't protect the rught to own military guns. it's definately an interesting perspective.

Gun Poll Lover said...

the site is www.thegunpoll.com or click here www.thegunpoll.com. in the previous post the link didn't work.

Anonymous said...

Stephen,

I congratulate you being open minded enough to respond to Joe Huffman and accept the invitation to go to a range. I hope you have fun and learn something new.

Like any enthusiasts we love to introduce new people to our sports. There have been many people who were scared or against guns for similar reasons you have and have changed their minds. I don’t expect that of you but you are at least giving it a chance.

Have fun.
RAH

benEzra said...

I think the misunderstanding here stems from the way the issue has been framed.

An "assault weapon" is not, contrary to popular belief, a military automatic weapon like an M16 or military AK-47; those are already as tightly controlled under Federal law as 105mm howitzers. Rather, "assault weapon" is Brady-speak for the most popular non-automatic, small- and intermediate-caliber, civilian rifles in the United States, exemplified by such rifles as the AR-15 platform, non-automatic civilian AK lookalikes, and the Ruger Mini-14.

Also contrary to the "assault weapon menace" meme, rifles of any description are not commonly used in homicides; according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports (Table 20, Murder, by State and Type of Weapon), all rifles combined account for about 3% of U.S. murders. To put it another way, twice as many Americans are murdered annually using shoes and bare hands as using all styles of rifles combined.

More on the "assault weapon" issue here, if you're interested:

http://www.tribtalk.com/showthread.php?t=16466

To put it into a First Amendment context, bans on "assault weapons" are very much like bans on "subversive speech" aimed at stifling political expression. The label is intended to shut down critical thought and provoke a response based on fear or anger rather than reason, and to make such restrictions seem reasonable.

The reason the "assault weapon" issue is considered such a threat by the gun-owning community is that (again contrary to popular belief and media stereotyping) the vast majority of U.S. gun owners are nonhunters. The #1 and #2 reasons Americans own guns in this country are defensive purposes and target shooting, and "assault weapons" are the most popular centerfire target rifles and defensive carbines in U.S. homes, and more Americans own them (as defined by H.R.1022 et seq) than hunt. Which is probably why the gun-control lobby wishes to ban them.

Anyway, have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year, and best wishes.

benEzra

http://journals.democraticunderground.com/benEzra/1