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  1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    How many mass shootings are there really?

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Steerpike, Dec 8, 2015.

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  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I like the last paragraph:
     
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  3. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    The article definitely argues against media sources who claim or imply a majority of gun violence comes from mass shootings like San Bernadino, and it argues that specific subset of mass shootings need to be studied as a separate event. But it's not saying gun violence overall is overstated, as it rightly points out how widespread gun violence is in the forms of robberies, gangs, and domestic abuse.
     
  4. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I think it is important to point out that there definitely needs to be a separation between what is really mass shootings, and gun violence like gang shootings and robberies. How often do gangs and those that commit robberies legally purchase guns? So basically what I'm saying is, those types of shootings don't really have anything to do with gun control, whereas other mass shootings where guns were actually purchased by the offenders was done under the current gun laws.

    It does seem though, that the killers in San Bernadino didn't purchase their own guns, but had someone else do it for them.
     
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  5. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    We don't know, because we can't track that data.
     
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  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    You seem to be assuming that the huge, huge number of legally purchased guns in the United States don't make it easier for someone to get a gun illegally. Also, if certain types of gun are completely illegal, it's going to be harder for anyone, criminal or otherwise, to get hold of them, because there won't be a plentiful supply of them to steal, redirect, etc.
     
  7. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    And you are assuming that a great deal of illegally bought guns were once legally bought in the U.S., which I think is fairly untrue. Gun smuggling through Mexico is a pretty big thing, did you ever hear about the Operation Fast and the Furious?
     
  8. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    That operation sent legally purchased guns in America to Mexico, where they ended up coming back into the US. In fact the usual flow goes in the opposite direction. 2/3 of guns in Mexico can be traced to a purchase inside the US.
    http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jul/12/nation/la-na-ff-gun-trafficking-20130713
    And no, according to the ATF, most illegal guns are straw purchases made legally by someone the criminal knows can purchase a gun.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/guns/procon/guns.html
     
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  9. Moth
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    Moth Active Member

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    Boy am I glad I live in the UK.

    I think that y'all freefolks of the ol' colonies need to stop debating on if you should implement gun control - any sane person with half a conscious knows that access to deadly weapons should be limited - and start debating how much gun control is needed. What changes should be made to current law, what can be done about the already three-hundred million guns in circulation in the US, how long would changes in law take to have any real effect given the gun-saturation.
     
  10. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Straw purchases aren't legal. It is just a way to illegally purchase a gun by abusing the system. I found an interesting article that points out the different illegal ways that guns get in the hands of the bad guys.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/guns/procon/guns.html

    So basically the article is saying that there are many ways that a criminal can obtain an illegal firearm. But the important thing to take from this article is, most of the guns obtained are done through a minority of the population. Which points out to me, that it is important not to create new gun laws that are going to infringe the rights of "law abiding" Joe Blow American citizen, just because a minority of people are breaking the current laws. I recently had to do an essay for one of my criminal justice classes about the decline of crimes in America, and despite these mass shootings and the media attention they get, the United States is safer now than it was 30 years ago.


     
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  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Mother Jones isn't exactly a bastion of conservatism. I doubt the guy who wrote the article in the OP even supports the Second Amendment. But the point he makes, which is in part that the sensationalization of gun statistics in misleading ways doesn't do anyone any favors, is valid. It's the kind of rhetoric I expect from Rachel Maddow. She's basically a Hannity or Limbaugh. But when NPR runs with it, it is kind of disappointing. I think anyone who saw the stat that was being bandied about immediately said "uh uh, so how are they defining that?"

    Which isn't to say any gun violence isn't problematic - it is. But the rhetoric and misleading information the article argues against isn't helpful, and I'd argue that it's the sort of thing that hardens positions, perpetuates division, and makes it even harder for elected representatives to come to consensus on these issues.

    But I'm against inflammatory, hyperbolic rhetoric in general, whether from the left or right. Unfortunately, both sides have too many people who excuse it so long as their side generates it.
     
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  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    A straw purchase depends on a situation where it's legal for SOMEONE to purchase a particular type of gun. If a SuperMegaKillEveryone rifle cannot be legally purchased by anyone, then it's not possible to obtain it through a straw purchase. So gun control, in outlawing SuperMegaKillEveryone rifles, does affect shootings that would involve that rifle. Yes, those rifles might be obtainable by smuggling from other countries, but that's a lot more difficult than just paying someone a few dollars to buy a readily available gun.
     
  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If I'm not mistaken, the guns used in San Bernadino weren't legal at all. They'd been modified in violation of California laws such that they were not legal weapons (at least not in this State; CA outlaws characteristics that are allowed in other States).
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Or by making them. I spent some time working in a facility that produced AR-15s. Surprising how simple they are. If you have the capacity to machine parts, which is pretty common, you could make them. Not that many people would. But apart from that, you can get partially-machined parts and finish them yourself. For example, with AR-15s, the lowers are what have serial numbers and are tracked by the government. They're pretty simply pieces. You can actually buy lowers that are something like 3/4 done. They're not lowers yet, and don't have to be stamped or tracked because of it, but you can knock out the last 1/4 of production pretty easily.
     
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  15. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    If someone can't get an assault rifle through straw purchases, they will get it through an FFL that is doing illegal sales. If they can't get it through an FFL who is doing illegal sales, they will find an illegal street dealer to buy one from. If they can't find and illegal street dealer to buy one from, they will find a gang or crime syndicate that sells illegally trafficked guns. If they can't find a gang or crime syndicate to purchase an illegal assault rifle from, then they will just decide to purchase multiple hand guns, shotguns, and hunting rifles. If someone is out of their mind, and is at the point they want to kill people, they will find a way.

    As the article I cited pointed out, the illegal guns in this country have come from a minority of the people, and I'm totally against infringing the rights of law abiding citizens because of the few people that abuse the system.
     
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  16. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    That brings up another point. What's to stop some of these gangs from purchasing a 3-D printer and making their own guns that don't have serial numbers and are totally unregistered? Imagine the money they could make off selling those!

    http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/191388-1200-the-price-of-legally-3d-printing-your-own-metal-ar-15-rifle-at-home
     
  17. Robert Musil
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    I'm all for any reminder that data, without knowing the methodology that produced it, is useless. However I think arguing over the definition of "mass shooting" misses the bigger issue, which is that mass shootings (however defined) are a relatively small piece of the gun-violence picture. A small minority of all the gun homicide victims in the US are killed in mass shootings, and all gun homicide victims combined are outnumbered by gun suicide victims. And I do consider suicides part of the problem too, since having ready access to a firearm significantly increases your chances of succeeding at a suicide attempt.

    The focus on mass shootings comes, I think, because it's politically low-hanging fruit for the pro-gun control crowd. Mass shootings are scary, military-looking rifles are scary, it's easy to mobilize people to fight against these things. But compared to the handguns-and-suicide problem, the rifles-and-mass shootings problem isn't all that big.

    Of course, compared to other countries with similar income and education levels and rule-of-law norms, we do far, far worse on all of these measures of gun violence. I really struggle to find any explanation for this, besides the fact that all such countries have stricter gun-control regimes than we do.

    Not that any of this matters, since our gun laws aren't changing in the foreseeable future. Instead what I think will change is the level of security in public places. I think we'll end up going the Israeli route, putting armed police on every bus and metal detectors in every movie theater, etc. It'll cost us millions or billions of dollars that we could otherwise spend on more pleasant things, but I guess putting a band-aid on the problem would be better than nothing.
     
  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    This suggests that the difficulty of obtaining a gun will make absolutely no difference whatsoever to whether someone will commit a gun crime.

    Let's imagine two realities, one in which obtaining an assault rifle requires one thousand dollars and four hours of effort, and another where it requires fifty thousand dollars and a hundred hours of effort. Do you feel that in those two realities, there will be the same number of gun crimes?
     
  19. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I just showed that a person can make their own unregistered gun in their own home for $1,200, so your argument that one would cost fifty thousand dollars and hundred of hours of effort is unrelated. See post #16.
     
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  20. Moth
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    Moth Active Member

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    Yet this did not pop into the mind of a recent "terror attack" in the UK where the culprit wielded a knife. Injured two, no deaths - if I recall correctly. I imagine such an act would have led to far more fatalities in a country where there are more guns than people. Just sayin'.
     
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  21. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    We're still looking at a fair bit of forethought and work. I just don't believe that every single mass shooting is the result of a long-term, carefully-hatched plan.
     
  22. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    This is a strange, albeit perfectly understandable, misunderstanding of the black market. If you've been on the drug scene it's easy to see. Case in point, LSD. When I was in highschool acid was ridiculously easy to come by, but after the arrest of one guy, there was a 90% decrease in the world supply of LSD. Acid is now extremely difficult to come by, and there's really no reason you can be sure of what you are getting when you try to buy it. It usually involves trying to put a line out from drug dealer to drug dealer to get it. Similarly, if you're in the southwest it's pretty easy to get a hold of peyote, but doing so in Alaska (as my older brother is fond of trying) is next to impossible. Making guns harder to get is a very difficult concept to argue against.

    But that's beside the point, the goal is not to cut down on sales.

    Right now, if an officer pulls me over with an assault rifle in my backseat, all he can do is wish me on my way, and write a report. If I have a truck full of weapons, he might arrest me for intent to sell (if he makes that call, it's really up in the air), but there's still nothing illegal about it if I have the permits. When that officer can simply get every assault rifle he finds off the street, it becomes much more difficult for anyone to get their hands on those weapons.
     
  23. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    But as I said, if someone can't get their hands on assault rifles, they just go to hand guns. In fact though assault rifles have gotten a lot of attention in some of these mass shootings, several other mass shootings didn't involve them.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/crime-study-handguns-not-assault-rifles-used-in-most-mass-shootings/article/2542118
     
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  24. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    This is the "they'll just use knives" argument, but all it says is that we need to put limits on handguns as well. The argument is that someone will find a way to kill you regardless of the weapon choice. But I don't see why that means we should make it easier for them.

    Besides, while there are more shootings with handguns there are more fatalities with assault rifles. (Sandy hook, Aurora, Virginia Tech, etc)
     
  25. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    So what is the general make up of most of these mass shooting people? Let's take the latest group in San Bernadino, they were middle aged Muslims.

    Well now let's look at the general make up of most gun owners in the U.S.:

    http://www.livescience.com/51387-gun-ownership-rates-us.html

    So once again, why are we looking to infringe on the rights of law abiding citizens for the sake of trying to stop illegal criminal activity? I read a stat somewhere, that the majority of the guns in America are owned by a very small minority of people, despite the fact that about 1 in 3 Americans own a gun. So even though the percent of people that own a gun seems high compared to most countries, it is not a true representation to the overall number of guns in America, because there are so many gun fanatics that collect them and own multiple firearms.

    http://listverse.com/2015/09/01/10-insane-facts-about-guns-and-gun-violence-in-america/

    So even without a higher restriction of gun laws, less people are owning them, and despite that the minority of "collectors" out there are buying them.

    The U.S. has a homicide rate of 3.8 per 100,000 people according to 2012 statistics.

    Russia, which has very strict gun laws, has a rate of 9.0 per 100,000 people.

    When looking at the list it is amazing how many deaths occur in Central and South America, and it really makes me wonder how skewed the United States numbers are when taking into account the number of deaths that occur due to gang violence and the violence that is spread into the United States by the cartels in Central America. Countries like Great Britain don't have the neighbors like the United States has that can create the problems of violence and death that occur around our borders. Drug trafficking, human trafficking, and other crimes are a real issue with United States and with that comes death and violence, so I find it hard to compare homicide rates with countries like Canada, Australia, and Great Britain. I just don't think they share the same issues the United States faces.
     
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