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  1. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I'm interested in the British response on this thread.

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by The Tourist, Apr 17, 2012.

    Over the last few days we've discussed the use of firearms in stories. But I'd like to query our friends in the UK about a real story I saw last night--admittedly I have spotty information.

    Briefly, one of the Royals was in a car, supposedly being chased by the paparazzi. The driver, either a friend or bodyguard, brandished a pistol, and took dead aim at the photographer who snapped a picture looking down the barrel. Clearly a kill shot.

    In my state, we can carry, and I do. While locally we have the "castle doctrine" but no 'stand your ground' provision, an attempt by vehicular means (even a carjacking) is grounds for self-defense. Me? The attacker would be dead already. I make sure I carry every day, and this is one of the reasons.

    Supposedly, your queen is not amused. Is this the truth? Is this seemingly logical response tolerated in your country, or is this just your usual media way of fomenting debate to sell more newspapers?
     
  2. RowenaFW
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    Your post isn't entirely clear, so I have researched the relevant story.

    From what I've heard, guns are very important to you and the way you live. Over here, guns are rare; most of the people who carry them do so because it is necessary for the jobs they do and then only carry them when they are needed. The automatic response to seeing someone wield a gun is to wonder whether it's real or whether they're joking, or to disapprove, rather than fear. We are not trained to kill and we have no expectation of that level of violence.

    I am not sure if this answers the question you are posing.
     
  3. Domino
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    Domino Active Member

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    I hadn't heard this story. Just googled it.

    Apparently it happened in France. I'm guessing it will turn out to be a fake, a prank, a publicity stunt, whatever. The people in the photograph are all laughing like they're larking about. I doubt they'd be doing that if the bloke in the front seat was brandishing a real loaded gun. They'd all be papping themselves.
     
  4. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I wondered if that might be the case, but two things nag at me.

    One, Princess Diana was killed in this way. As an American, I'd wonder if the driver was thinking about the same thing happening. (As for the laughter in the car, it could be explained by "turning the tables." In other words, the occupants in the car might be saying, "The paparazzi think they have us, but it's quite the opposite.")

    Second, I've had the same thing happen, and it was even more bizarre than this incident. I got chased late one evening, and made sure I evaded the lunatic. No cell phones in those days, but I had a pistol.

    Turns out the nutball was an employee of our state's Fish and Game Depratment, he misappropriated a Dane County Sheriff's vehicle and started 'enforcing the law.' In the dark I couldn't see that this was a police vehicle, and the guy almost got shot. Fortunately I saw the markings in time as he passed me.

    (I called the authorities from home, they traced down the vehicle and guy got fired.)

    The moral of the story is that being chased for no reason really kicks in the pucker factor. And if the paparazzi in this country would have hurt somebody--even one of his own photographers in the chase vehicle--they would have been charged with vehicular homocide or felony murder.

    We shoot people here for that, and no one much cares. So much in fact, that 'stand your ground' clauses are often included in most states with concealed carry provisions.

    Having said that, our press is dismal. Most of the stuff isn't researched properly, and rules of journalism in place when I was a boy went right out the window. In fact, my SIL listens to local news then turns on the BBC. When I hear the news I just assume I've been mislead or lied to.

    These are serious isssues, and you could lose your life being cavalier with someone else's safety. The first thing that happened when President Reagan was shot was that one Secret Service agent pulled a fully automatic Uzi. I think your paparazzi were lucky in that driver for the Royal only had a pistol.

    However, I do like the exchange of information between cultures. We should do this more.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, it took place in france...

    but, no, there wasn't really a 'royal' involved...

    the reason there was such a flap about it is that one of the passengers in the car with the gun-brandisher was the sister of a future queen of england, prince william's recent bride [who may be a royal 'adjunct' but is not one herself]...

    kate's glamorous sister pippa was caught looking amused by the guy waving the firearm at the paparazzi, which is what fueled such banner headlines as 'smirking gun'...
     
  6. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    If you mean she was killed in a car in France, while being stalked by paparazzi, then yes. But there were NO GUNS involved in that incident - it was a car crash, so I don't really see that you can say she was killed 'in that way'

    Was the car speeding at the time? Because Diana's was. Hence loss of control, and nasty accident. There is also some debate as to whether her driver was completely compos mentis...

    This is why most people in the UK think that carrying guns is a really, REALLY bad idea. Why do you need a gun for self defence? All it does is escalate the violence and increase the potential for serious injury or death. I anticipate your argument that the other guy might be carrying, so you'd better carry too... isn't it better if the laws of the country make it far less likely for either of you to be armed?


    This is not being chased for no reason then, is it? It is being chased because you are a celebrity and someone wants to get a photo of you they can sell to a tabloid. It's not quite the same as being chased by some random stranger whose intentions you are absolutely ignorant of. Celebrities know why they are hounded, and to an extent, this is an occaptional hazard they have to accept in order to perpetuate their celebrity status (after all, if no one was interested in them anymore, they wouldn't enjoy the perks of fame either)

    If this statement is true, I really despair for your country. Such a low price you put on the value of life that you shoot first and ask questions later. It makes me feel quite sick, actually. And you call yourselves a developed nation?

    I seriously doubt it was a real one - at least in the UK, carrying handguns is illegal. I'm not sure in France, but if it was a British bodyguard or associate of Pippa (who, by the way, is NOT a royal, she is merely the sister of the Dutchess of Cambridge, i.e. related to the royals by marriage) then I don't think they would be carrying. It might be different if it was a member of the secret service, but I don't think a professional of that calibre would be dumb enough to wave a sidearm at a photographer - do you? Besides, Pippa isn't really important enough to get secret service protection. She's a reality star more famous for her pert rear than a person of any real standing.

    To me, it simply looks like the very ill thought out action of a stupid kid trying to act hard and impress his mates.
     
  7. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Stories like this make me wish the UK was a republic. I know it wasn't really a royal, someone related to someone who married into it, but my god - this story is really overblown.

    It wouldn't be anywhere near the sensation it is if it didn't involve who it does.
     
  8. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    A group of Eurotrash types behaving in a Eurotrashy way, perfect fluff for the newspapers these days. I haven't read the queen's take on things, if that has even been published, but I wouldn't be surprised if she is unhappy; the royal family hasn't had the best reputation for a while now, and a bunch of giggling morons waving a gun (albeit probably fake) around with a royal-relative in the car is hardly a good bit of PR.


    This really isn't a story that needs to be taken seriously, although I can see how someone not familiar with this 'culture' might think it is; there isn't a chance in hell that the silly boy would have shot anyone, and if there was a chance then Pippa would certainly not have been smirking.
     
  9. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I think it was a prank as well. Not a very funny or well-thought out one, but it was a prank.
     
  10. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    In the UK, if you carry a weapon then you are a criminal, even the police are rarely armed! Sounds like this happened in France. I have heard the story though not read up on it. Personally, I see exactly why the Queen isn't amused, it's not the kind of thing you'd expect anyone to do, especially anyone with a royal connection. Clearly, the guy wasn't actually going to shot anyone. Not the most subtle of pranks though, is it?

    On the case of royal/not royal, what you have to understand is that Kate Middleton and her sister are about the only fresh thing to come into the Royal Family for a good few years, and the fact they're reasonably attractive (some would say very) means that they're always going to cause a buzz.
     
  11. Domino
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    Domino Active Member

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    Or a farmer... Though why farmers are automatically allowed a gun license is beyond me. "Boohoo, a pigeon pooped on my vehicle" *Bang* Tut. I hate guns.
     
  12. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    The police have the armed Counter Terrorist unit. I don't think your average bobby is allowed to use guns.

    And you can use and carry a weapon, it just depends on how and what sort of weapon it is. You are not allowed Handguns (where, until a change in the law in 1996), but shotguns and .22 rifles you can carry around so long as it's in a secure carrying bag outside of property you are allowed to use it on. In most cases you need written permission from the owner of the property you wish to shoot on, but places like open gun-ranges (they exist here in the UK) they are allowed to be used within specified areas.
     
  13. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    I kind of meant you're a criminal in terms of peoples' perception of you, i.e. it's not normal or accepted for people to carry weapons.
     
  14. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    That's the thing. You need a secure carrying bag or case, not unlike a guitar bag or case, and your licence kept with the weapon. You aren't allowed to go around carrying a rifle on your back like some cowboy, obviously.
     
  15. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    When I mentioned Princess Diana, I meant her death resulted from being chased. Her driver had no idea what the intention of the pursuer might be, likely a paparazzi, but who knew for sure?

    As for weapons, this is the part of exchanging cultural ideas I had in mind. What might be 'criminal' to you is just part of everyday life here. Perhaps our guns kill more people as a classification of methods, but the murder rate of western countries is the same. Some places just use more poisons.

    It's not the wild west here. And even our real west wasn't the way it's presented in movies. But at the end of the day I'm not going to surrender my wife or my life to some thug. He get's what coming to him for his crime.
     
  16. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

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    Over here, an overwhelming majority of the population have no wish to ever have firearms available to the general public. The final nail in the coffin was back in 1996 when a suspected paedophile walked into a primary school (elementary school) armed with four handguns and murdered sixteen children. This kickstarted a public petition to ban private ownership of handguns which was passed into law. To us in the U.K. this is what guns represent.

    There is also the fact that we have no death penalty in our country, hence there is no crime which is deserving of execution. We have laws protecting people who use reasonable force to defend themselves (the general rule is that you're allowed to incapacitate an assailant to provide yourself and those with you a means to escape. If you wound a man and he falls to the floor and stays there and then you stab him again, that is not viewed as reasonable and you will be arrested), but you do not have the right in the UK to kill someone just because they're trespassing on your territory.

    There is a huge cultural difference in this regard between the UK and the US. I don't think you'll ever understand the UK state of mind just as we will never understand the US state of mind regarding firearms. Given that the banning of firearms has such public support, it seems almost impossible that the ban would be overturned for the foreseeable future.
     
  17. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I think you put your finger on the crux of the matter. But your assumption that we are headed for a ban as a logical conclusion is where we differ in agreement.

    I could argue that we are finally getting rid of foolish, knee-jerk nanny laws that never really addressed the problem, anyway. And illegally circumvented our Constitution.

    Like myself, many Americans just don't like the idea of shredding the Constitution because some whiner tries to launch a career on 'safety issues.' For example, we had the "cop killer bullet" fiasco. The bullets were called 'KTW' bullets--which are the last initials of the three cops who invented them. However, some senator used fear to garner votes.

    Same thing with helmet laws, seat belt laws, switchblade laws, etc. These were conditions that never presented the "wave of danger" their constituents claimed. For example, there aren't "brain dead biker wards" in hospitals. Most states have seat belt laws, and they are most ignored statutes on the books. As for switchblades--the horror of the 1950s--they are now sold over the internet legally. My business sells them all of the time. I carry them, myself.

    Like any pursuit, you have to investigate if the item or condition is really dangerous or just a cause célèbre. When handguns were first permitted in hunting whitetail deer in our state, the lefties here predicted there would be "shoot outs in taverns." Never happened, and we've been toting them for almost 30 years. All but one USA state has some form of licensing for carrying firearms. During the decades that has built this condition, there are only a handful of people that lost their license due to misconduct.

    In fact, the first three months of the CCW provision in my state, over 100,000 people applied. Again, the lefties said Wisconsin was so safe that no one would care, hence no one would apply.

    The perception that has caused the passage of nanny laws here has never mirrored what is really going on. My state repealled its helmet law, and many congressmen helped that happen.
     
  18. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

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    I wasn't actually implying that the US was heading for a ban. I cannot see that ever happening myself, it's like expecting Italy to ban fornication, or Germany to require a sense-of-humour from its citizens. It comes down to the cultural differences here. When we have gun deaths, the UK thinks, 'we need to get rid of guns then it won't happen.' Whereas the US thinks, 'if we had more guns, it could have been stopped.' That's a complete difference in collective psychology. I don't think it's either of our places to say which mindset is right, and which is wrong, if such absolutes even exist in such a complex matter.

    Same goes for the role of government. We don't like politicians trying to tell us how to raise our kids or anything, but laws on seatbelts, helmets and other safety issues are generally respected here (we're not super hot with the speed limits though).
     
  19. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    ...or dental licensing in England. :)

    Even a Surpeme Court ruling once used the language that "American citizens have the right to be left alone."

    What started the debate here in Wisconsin was the issue of five guys sitting in a Culver's Restaurant peacefully eating, openly wearing firearms--which is legal. Some nervous Nellie called the police, who responded and asked for ID. If you are not breaking the law here, you do not have to produce ID. The five guys got arrested--and chewed out by their boss when they got to the station--and then sued. It opened the issue of licensed concealed carry, which passed very quickly under a new Republican Governor.

    I had fun a few days ago. I happen to know the Dane County Sheriff. He came up through the ranks as a Motor Officer (motorcycle cop), and my club used to ride with The Blue Knights, a police club.

    He was in the bike shop, and I excitedly ran up to him and said, "Dave, please frisk me!" He asked why I would want that, and I replied, "Well, for the first time in my life I am carrying legally." We both laughed, because as a bike cop he knows that you can find a pretty nice arsenal if you tip random bikers upside down.

    I saw him again the next day, and he was in civilian clothes buying bike parts. Strangely, I was carrying, he was not.

    If you're an American, this all makes sense.
     
  20. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I might be misunderstanding this, but it sounds like he got punished by his superiors for holding random bikers upside down. That's...generally not a thing cops should do. ;)

    I can see the point of concealed weaponry laws. Not many people will be comfortable in the same room with a man who is openly carrying a firearm, even if said man was just peacefully eating his lunch.
     
  21. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    I remember visiting a nightclub in Israel some years ago. The man next to me at my table had a pistol on his hip, the group at the next table over had piled up half a dozen Uzis between their beer glasses and several of the girls were dancing with M-16s slung over their shoulders.

    Needless to say, unlike a British nightclub, I didn't expect any loud drunks to be starting trouble there that night.
     
  22. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

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    Yes, cause nothing's safer than an Israeli nightclub stacked with drunks, girls and UZIs.
     
  23. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    A century ago, you could be released from jail in the UK, walk down the road, buy any gun you wanted, no questions asked, then walk to the post office and hand over ten shillings for a license and carry it anywhere you wanted. The right of free Britons to own and carry weapons was considered sacrosanct; two world wars, mass brain drain and decades of slippery slope were required to change that.

    As far as I can see the big difference between Britain and America is that Americans just kill each other a lot more than Britons do. Britain has been a statistical outlier for a long time with a much lower murder rate than other European countries, regardless of availability of guns; Britons didn't kill each other much when anyone could buy a gun over the counter with no questions asked and they don't kill each other much now. The last I looked, the per-capita knife murder rate in America was larger than the entire per-capita murder rate in the UK.
     
  24. ChickenFreak
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    As a citizen of the US, I'm feeling the urge to make some random comments:

    - Guns are not a part of my culture. The _right_ to own guns is a part of my culture, but I've never owned a gun, and neither have my parents, my significant other, his parents, or, really, most of the people I know well enough to know if they own guns or not. The gun owners that I've known in the past generally owned them for hunting or for target shooting or as collectibles. Yes, I'm sure that in my circle of friends there are some people who own a gun for self defense, but that's far from universal.

    - I don't think that US law would support shooting someone who was obviously pursuing a vehicle in order to _photograph_ it. Deadly force requires self defense or defense of others; someone brandishing a camera is not a deadly threat. Speeding to escape the photographer could be dangerous, but it is also optional - to argue that one was in deadly danger because one _had_ to speed to escape a photographer is deeply implausible.

    - I generally do not support gun control. (OK, I wouldn't allow, say, back yard cannons or grenade launchers; I'm talking about normal human-sized guns here.) But I also do not support casual use of guns. (Well, casual use for hunting and target shooting? Fine. I'm talking about shooting people.) I absolutely don't support "stand your ground" and I'm pretty sure I don't support the "castle doctrine" either. IMO, a person who shoots another person had better be prepared to demonstrate that firing that gun was the only strategy likely to save himself or others from the strong likelihood of severe injury.

    Someone's trespassing on your land? Call the cops. Someone wants your money, and you can hand it over with reasonable confidence that no one will get hurt that way? Hand it over. Someone's breaking into your house, but you can escape out the back door? Escape. There are three helpless children in the house with you and you can't be confident of safely herding them away from the invading threat? Or, there's reason to believe that the criminal's cronies will be waiting for you by the back door? Well, then, yes, that may count as a sufficient demonstration, but I still want to know the details - for example, there had better be some "breaking in" damage, rather than a dead drunken frat boy on the porch next to an undamaged (except perhaps for the bullet holes) front door.

    I don't accept, "It's _my_ house; why do I have to flee?" Having to flee is unjust, but to me it's dwarfed by someone's death. I'm not saying that those who disagree, who argue that the invaders chose their fate when they invaded, don't have a compelling argument. But I still don't agree with them.

    - On the other hand, those licensed carriers in the restaurant - if it's legal, it's legal. A citizen should be assumed to be not-a-criminal until proven otherwise, so I agree that the ID should not have been required. I wouldn't _like_ their presence, not one little bit, but I can eat somewhere else.

    - Re "we shoot people for that and no one much cares" - most of the people that I know would care a great deal, and would see the incident as a tragedy. That includes people raised in California, Oregon, Missouri, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Illinois. Nakhti, I don't think that you need to despair as much as you are.

    ChickenFreak
     
  25. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I respect your opinion, and I'd like to offer a rebuttal. Feel free to offer your remise.

    No, they're not universal, but the right is. If freedom of speech is to be considered a right, even with restrictions, then so are guns. The problem is that some people want to ban ever-increasing never-ending segments of my culture--and they're usually not informed.

    Example, the lefties had heart palpitations over a round called the "Black Talon." The cartridge is still made, but now called the "Ranger SXT." Same cartridge, differing color. The Black Talon never was the evil bullet they vilified it to be, and no one has any issue with the SXT. It was just whining.

    I'm not a mind reader. It could be a paparazzi, it could be a kidnapping, it could be a case of mistaken identity. We have to quit making excuses for criminals. You don't try and chase someone in a two ton automobile. That in itself is a crime.

    Again, then know what you're talking about. I built a flat top AR-15 with a Leupold scope and a heavy Shilen barrel. Every unschooled person who saw that rifle said it was a 'sniper rifle' and weapons for use against humans should be outlawed. It was a varmint rifle for South Dakota prairie dogs.

    And I do. But when seconds count the cops are just minutes away. Sit quietly for four minutes to see just how long that is. Then imagine me beating the snot out of you for that entire interval.

    As for my wallet, not on a bet. My identity and the address where my wife lives is in that wallet--which is chained to me, BTW. Nothing will bring a hollowpoint to your head faster than making me risk a home invasion.

    As for an escape, eh, possibly. One, I don't have to under law. Two, it might be impossible, as my wife might be in an inner room or in the shower. Three, there's just something about rewarding a felon for breaking into my home. BTW, lots of people sell the house in which they were attacked, they never feel safe there again.

    So is sacrificing your own life for a felon who will kill you just to eliminate a witness. Besides, even at 75 cents per round for commerical ammunition, that's still cheaper than getting hurt and months of re-hab.

    Granted, they have the right to throw their own lives away if that is their principle. The problem is denying the right to self defense to others. The Second Amendment is covered by the Tenth Amendment, and such action isn't even legal. It would be like saying to you upon entering Wisconsin, "You can speak freely in any other state except here. We have local laws that make you shut your mouth."
     
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