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  1. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Another Eternal Question: Gun Control

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by T.Trian, Dec 20, 2013.

    Since this subject has been discussed in various threads across the forum, I figured it deserved its own topic. I got the idea for this thread when I came across this news snippet which shows how an armed response can end a school shooting (and since it's Washington Times, I'm fairly confident it's not just NRA propaganda):

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/dec/18/prevention-of-school-massacre-shoots-down-argument/

    The perp entered the school (apparently with an intent to commit a massacre) and killed himself 80 seconds later when he was confronted by an armed deputy. If my memory serves me right, there was an armed official at Columbine as well, but he failed to stop the massacre anyway. In my opinion, that still doesn't change the fact that if there are armed personnel in a school, they have a better chance to stop the massacre than if the only armed people in the school were the perpetrators.

    Instead of making this thread all about school shootings, I would like to also discuss private gun ownership in general, since it's been a hot topic here in Finland for years now, especially since our own school shootings took place in 2007 & 2008 (and two other, non-school -related shootings in 2009 & 2012).

    I often see that gun-related problems start to occur when you have armed people who don't know the first thing about their guns, how to handle them safely and responsibly, how to use them, the psychology of self-defense etc. Ignorance and misconceptions combined with guns can produce catastrophic results whereas if guns were treated more like cars, i.e. you had to partake in a specific training regime (including theory, i.e. local laws & regulations regarding guns and self-defense etc) in order to get your permit, even pass a physical & theory test, things might be different. At the very least, the number of gun-related accidents (and probably unjustified shootings) would go down and the benefits of private gun ownership would increase.

    Imo, such training ought to be mandatory, e.g. two weeks (a few times a week) every six months, and you'd have to pass the tests to keep your guns. That would ensure that gun owners would know their guns, they would understand gun and self-defense laws, and the training would help them react reasonably when confronted by a threat of violence.

    Anyway, these are some preliminary thoughts on the subject, just to give it an initial nudge, but feel free to branch out to other issues related to private gun ownership.
    The floor is yours.
     
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  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I support the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns. It doesn't bother me in the least that they have them.

    I support universal background checks, and believe there should be put in a place a system that private sellers can use.

    I support dedicating more resources to treating mental illnesses, and believe that people with a history of certain mental illness should not be allowed to own guns, and if other members of their household own them they should have an obligation to ensure that the mentally ill individual doesn't have access to them.

    The idea of mandatory training is fine with me, in cases where the individual cannot otherwise demonstrate that they have the necessary skill and training.
     
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  3. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can see the attraction of guns. When I see news reports showing gun stores in the US, I think 'Wow, I'd love to have one of those'. But I wouldn't like my children to have one, or my neighbours and I wouldn't want one in my house. The more I think of it, the less I want to have anything to do with guns.

    We do not have a gun-culture in the UK. People do not desire guns or feel a need for them. Hand guns are illegal and you need to be a member of a gun club to own a rifle. We do not feel oppressed because of this and our children go to school without fearing for their lives.

    I'm sure many wish to own a gun for the reason of self defence. They feel vulnerable and frightened of the people in their neighbourhood. And this is compounded by the idea that these people have guns and their unruly teenagers could also be armed. Everyone having guns doesn't make everyone feel safe. It makes everyone feel frightened.

    The gun culture in the US seems to be woven into the fabric of society. But if you give so much prominence to that which is designed to bring nothing but death and destruction, why be surprised when lives are lost?

    Sometimes, lives are lost for a worthy cause and although it is always sad to lose a comrade or a loved one, we can at least be united in thinking their life was not wasted. Thousands of lives are being lost including hundreds of those of children because of the gun-culture. The question to ask is: Is this a worthy cause?

    Every country has crazy people. Sometimes, a crazy person does a crazy thing. The difference is that in the US, the crazy person has a gun and people die.

    If the US wants to do something about this problem, it can either do something about the guns or it can do something about the people. If it chooses to do something about the guns, one constitutional right may be lost. If it chooses to do something about the people, all constitutional rights may be lost.
     
  4. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I made a traffic stop on an elderly lady the other day for speeding on U.S. 166 Eastbound at Mile Marker 73 just East of Sedan, KS. I asked for her driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. The lady took out the required information and handed it to me. In with the cards I was somewhat surprised (due to her advanced age) to see she had a conceal carry permit. I looked at her and ask if she had a weapon in her possession at this time.

    She responded that she indeed had a .45 automatic in her glove box. Something — body language, or the way she said it — made me want to ask if she had any other firearms. She did admit to also having a 9mm Glock in her center console. Now I had to ask one more time if that was all. She responded once again that she did have just one more, a .38 special in her purse. I then asked her what was she so afraid of.

    She looked me right in the eye and said, "Not a damn thing!"
     
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  5. DPVP
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    DPVP Active Member

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    What I never understood is why we do not teach gun safety in most schools. We have every other safety class imaginable but not one on something commonly found in homes. I understand the idea of parents teaching it but why not for everything else?

    I will say their are few things as going to the range or being out hunting.

    The other thing I have never understood is fear of a inanimate object, it all the fear of outsiders and other groups of people look a lot more sane. Granted the British still have a monarch so they are obviously weird and not out of the whole surf thing so I don't see where someone's experience with them matters.

    I had a rather novel idea on the background checks. Why not have an indication on your DL or other state ID if you can't have a firearm. That way we all know to be suspicious of a person that has a NO FIREARMS endorsement on their license.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't go that far. I've spent my whole life in the US. I've never lived in a house that contained a gun, and I don't think that I've ever so much as touched a gun. (I say "I don't think" because a friend did once show me his new gun purchase, and I'm not positive that I didn't touch it.) I don't think that I'm unusual in having so little exposure to guns. Now, having even one friend who owns a gun might be very unusual in the UK; I don't know.
     
  7. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    May I ask why? Do you fear they would hurt someone with the gun? If so, do you fear them when they are holding a kitchen knife, a hammer, or scissors?


    I'm kinda hesitant to accept this as the truth because you're speaking for an entire nation here and I know for a fact that there are lots of people in the UK (albeit they are still a minority) who would like to own guns, if not for self-defense, then for sport (like practical shooting) because I've discussed this with several people from the UK / who live there.

    I'm also not sure if you can say your (I mean UK's) children go to school without fearing for their lives. Sure, I don't think many do actually fear that they will die on their way to school, but there are plenty of areas in the UK where there's lots of street violence. Coventry comes to mind (or at least it used to be a violent area, not so sure about how things stand today).


    This, too, is a matter of perspective. If I gave my friend a gun, I would not fear him anymore than I do now (which is not at all, really). There are bad apples in every lot, but I would argue that most people wouldn't change into homicidal maniacs if they got a gun. Would you turn into a dangerous killer if you had a gun? If not, why would your neighbor or his neighbor?

    Another reason why most gun owners I know are actually noticeably more law-abiding than those who do not own guns is that they've had to jump through hoops of fire to get their permits and one tiny infraction, like a speeding ticket, can mean that they lose not only their permits, but all their guns (which are worth thousands).
    That's one reason (of many but a reason nonetheless) why, e.g. I don't speed, I don't participate in bar brawls, I don't buy beer or smokes to minors, or do any other such things which might jeopardize my hobby / way of life whereas plenty of my friends do the things listed above. It's not just because they don't own guns, but at least here in Finland, gun owners are known to be some of the most responsible groups of people at least parly because of this. It's not so much that we'd break laws if we didn't have guns, but having them means we do our damnest to avoid doing anything illegal, including taking some shit from a drunkard just so we don't risk losing our permits.


    I don't think anyone is surprised that violence is rampant in several countries. What surprises people is that the violence continues to be rampant even after guns are banned and confiscated.
    It's just that the violence is no longer gun-related but it's still violence and a death is a death is a death regardless of whether the person was shot, stabbed, beaten to death, or mangled to death with a shovel, axe, or baseball bat. Banning knives, shovels, axes, and baseball bats won't cure the problem. Then people grab sticks and rocks or use their fists and feet to hurt each other. The conclusion: it's not the guns, it's the people.


    I'm not sure what you mean by losing lives because of the gun culture? Because if you look at the statistics, while gun-related crime is very low in the UK and Australia, for instance, that hasn't stopped violence. In fact, if I remember correctly, violent crime rates rose after guns were banned in those countries. If you'd like you can check those statistics or I can see if I can dig them up.

    Now, what does that tell us? To me, it screams that guns aren't the problem, people are. So, instead of banning guns, why not focus on offering help (psychological, monetary etc) to kids, who are the future of our nations? Essentially nip the problem at the root (mental problems, poverty, social exclusion and consequent alcoholism / substance abuse etc) instead of the bud (gun-related violence).


    Not sure if you are aware of this, but it's easier to build a homemade bomb out of off-the-shelf -ingredients (with the help of instructions easily found on the internet, even how-to videos) and blow up half a mall instead of going through the arduous process of getting a gun permit, paying lots of money for a gun, and then going on a killing spree which usually results in less deaths anyway since killing with, say, a pistol actually requires some skill whereas anyone can plant a bomb.

    I mean, I have a shooting competition tomorrow, and I have to practice my ass off if I want to perform well, i.e. hit my targets. Spraying and praying doesn't usually deliver much results.

    Some school shooters, for example, have a relatively high death toll because of the situation: they've been able to walk up to an unmoving target and shoot them at point blank range. Things didn't go so well to the guy in the link of my first post, when he encountered an armed deputy. That's when the lack of skill will come into play and the shooter will be neck-deep in trouble (unless the person confronting him is equally unskilled, which isn't unheard of and which is lamentable and something which should be remedied).

    As for crazy people owning guns: people will always find a way to hurt others if they so wish. The homemade bomb is the simplest example, but I think it was in China or Japan where a man produced a fairly high bodycount just with a knife. You know, where there is a will, there is a way or how did it go? And then there's the notion of illegal firearms: they are here to stay, that's a sad fact. So if someone wants a gun, they will get one whether they were legal or not. Criminals have and will always have illegal firearms, ergo the only people who are stripped of guns by laws, are the people who follow those laws, i.e. law-abiding citizens.

    I do advocate thorough background checks for people applying for a gun permit, but I do not advocate registration of guns because I believe governments should not know who has and what firearms (because we all know what happened in Nazi Germany). However, they should define clearly e.g. mental ailments or criminal histories which would bar a person from applying for a permit.


    Actually, I'd argue that they should do something about the people, and that would be to ensure gun owners are educated and trained to handle their guns properly. They should also understand the psychology and physiology of violent confrontations as well as the legal and social ramifications they are dealing with in those situations. That would help reduce things like negligent (I refuse to say 'accidental' because they are pretty much always caused by negligence) discharges, premature escalation, and deaths resulted by lack of proper training.

    I don't think any of that strips anyone of their constitutional (or other) rights.

    That being said, I don't see guns as the problem, but ignorant, uneducated people. And this doesn't just mean the US, but every country.
     
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  8. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's the old, and say this in my best red neck drawl, guns don't kill people, people kill people. What a crock of shit.
     
  9. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Last I checked, not a single gun has grown legs and shot someone. It is always the desire of a human being to use the gun as a deadly weapon. Do we blame the gas for the Holocaust?
     
  10. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    Machine/semi-automatic guns have one purpose: to kill and cause harm to people. As does poisonous gas.
     
  11. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I am a British person, and I own a gun. I also have friends who do too - one of my friends owns two rifles and a shotgun. I actually like the way the UK has it's gun laws, they are legal, but restricted, and you have to go through procedures to obtain a gun licence. Unless you go through criminal black markets, it's hard to get a gun if you are not the sort of person who should be using one. Obviously it doesn't always work, but it's very very rare it does to be honest.

    That is, I think, the way it should be. Here if you want to use a gun for sport, as I do, then you are free to do so. Other than that, I don't see why you would need a gun. Mind you, I say that, I live in a middle class area, there is not much crime near me.
     
  12. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    This is your opinion, however guns are used for sport and hunting much more than they are used for harming people.

    But you statement also ignored my argument, that people, not guns, kill other people. You could give me a tank, or even a nuclear bomb, why would you think I would use it? Anyone who wouldn't kill someone with a bow and arrow, wouldn't kill someone with a machine gun because they are not killers.

    A gun is a peice of metal, much like a table saw, or a crowbar. If I lend my neighbor my crowbar, I'm not worrying that such power might cause him to plunge it into my skull.
     
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  13. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    @T.Trian

    Yes, I would fear that someone in possession of a gun would hurt someone. People often act impulsively and later regret what they did. If there is a firearm involved this could be a very serious matter.

    I'm sure there are some people in the UK who would like to participate in shooting sports. I was making a very general statement here. There are many issues that British people are concerned about but greater accessibility to guns isn't one of them. There are no campaigns, demonstrations or any lobbying or publicity that I've heard of in support of allowing people to have greater access to guns.

    In the 20th Century there has been only one school shooting in the UK (Dunblane 1996) and there has been none since. In contrast, there has been about 180 in the US http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States

    (Handguns were banned in the UK after Dunblane)

    If you give a gun to your friend, he is still your friend. If my neighbours are peace loving people who would never hurt anyone, why would they even want a gun? If one of my neighbours chose to purchase a gun (assuming he was allowed) I would be suspicious of his motives and fearful of his possible future actions since I do not know him very well.

    According to a Gallup poll (October, 2013) 60% of gun owners in the US have guns for safety/protection. Protection from whom? Is this not a climate of fear? Are these people paranoid? Are they mentally unstable? If you met a stranger with a gun, would you not be fearful?

    A society where everyone has guns is not a safer society than one where no one has a gun.

    It sounds to me as if you have very strict gun controls in place in Finland already.

    Homicide rates have significantly fallen since the mid 1990s when handguns were banned in the UK. But this may have nothing to do with guns.

    In the UK in 2011 the homicide rate per 100,000 was 1.0

    In the US in 2011 the homicide rate per 100,000 was 4.7

    If the problem is people, why are there so many problem people living in the US? Perhaps it is the general culture in the US that is the root of the problem.

    Yes, I was generally aware that it is easy to build a bomb but people do not build bombs just because they think that one day they might need to use one or because they want to feel safe and secure. People who build bombs do so because they have a target in mind. In contrast, I'm sure people do not obtain gun licenses because they know of someone they want to shoot. But people still get shot.

    When I made the comments about constitutional rights I was thinking more along the lines of mental health issues rather than education and training. If you accept that guns are common in society and, in practice, accessible to all. And then you want to deal with those who have mental health issues, you would firstly need to identify those people. So some sort of compulsory mental health screening would be needed for all citizens. Then you would have the problem of what to do with those people who failed the test. The whole thing would become very draconian very quickly.
     
  14. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    But the guns used in sport aren't machine guns, they're rifles and revolvers. Own as many rifles as you want to, because you can't really shoot up a school with them.
     
  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, I agree. In fact, a number of my friends have guns and I'm not concerned in the least that they have them. I think a lot of the sentiment about guns, particularly from people in countries where they are not common, is irrational in nature. For example, questioning the motives of someone simply for owning one, when there is no other evidence of bad acts or intention, demonstrates a certain amount of paranoia of guns, probably due to unfamiliarity.

    A Reuters report I read indicated that there are 270 million guns owned by citizens in the U.S. One thing that should tell people is that while gun violence is terrible when it occurs, the vast vast majority of gun owners in the U.S. never cause any problems. Thus, being fearful or suspicious of any and every person who owns a gun is irrational.
     
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  16. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    You should do some more research. Most school shootings are commited with rifles and handguns, as machine guns are illegal everywhere in the US.
     
  17. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    You seem to be claiming that nuclear weapons don't kill people. Do you think the US government should change it's policy and allow Iran to have them?
     
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  18. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    That's not what I claimed at all. Nuclear bombs have no desire to kill people and if left alone, would kill zero people one hundred percent of the time. Evil people on the other hand do desire to kill and will use whatever weapons they wish, legal or not.
     
  19. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    Everyone has motives for the things they do. If someone does something very unusual, it's only natural to ask, "Why is he doing that". Guns can cause great harm and it seems reasonable for people to be concerned.
     
  20. Aled James Taylor
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    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you think Iranians are evil?
     
  21. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    That reflects a different cultural perspective, I guess. Owning a gun isn't unusual in the U.S., by any means, so viewing it as though it is and being suspicious of everyone who has one isn't reasonable here. In a country where guns are hard to come by and very limited among the population, I suppose it might raise more eyebrows, I don't know.

    Personally, with respect to the people I know who have guns, I wouldn't care if they had 100 guns, because I'm not worried they're going to harm anyone with them.
     
  22. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Pressure cookers and baseball bats can cause great harm. A pickup truck can cause great harm. Fertilizer can cause great harm. Bathtubs and swimming pools can cause great harm. Any object in the hands of an evil person becomes a weapon.

    Once we figure out that people, and not innanimate objects cause murders, the discussion will become worthwhile.
     
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  23. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    What kind of question is that? A silly one with no relevance and no intelligent answer.
     
  24. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    I would just like to point out that countries have spent trillions upon trillions of dollars for violence, nuclear bombs, et cetera, but not one has spent a major amount on education. It would take only 1% of what they spend on guns to put every child in school.
     
  25. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    The US spends more on education per child than any other developed nation. Not sure why you think the things you do.
     
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