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Governing Requires Compromise

gun-flag-500Governing requires compromise, and democratic government especially so.  Only absolute dictators get what they want all the time, and even then only in simplistic caricatures, because there are always interests and allies that have to be contained or assuaged even when one is said dictator.  And, as I like to tell my student, absolute dictator may be a great job, but its one that is hard to come by.

This basic notion has come to mind a lot of late.  The background to these thoughts is there is that faction of the Republican Party that refuses to budge on the notion of taxes.  To them, taxes can never be raised and that is that (hence the failure of Speaker Boehner’s Plan B vote).  However, I was reminded of the mindset when watching President and CEO of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre on Meet the Press yesterday.  LaPierre clearly sees only one solution to gun violence:  more guns (I am not sure how many times he repeated the line about “good guys with guns” during the interview).  This is why the only policy proposal made by the NRA is to put armed guards at schools. *  In fairness, he did also make some vague claims about the need to arrest and jail more criminals (but, of course, these mass shootings are not carried out by ex-cons and known criminals, so pointing in the direction is a dodge).

On the fiscal cliff, the good news is, the rigid faction isn’t an absolute dictator, and some break in the impasse with come.  Along those lines, I think that Jonathan Bernstein is correct:

the other underlying fact is that there will, eventually, be a bill or bills that passes. It’s not quite 100% certain, the way it is with government shutdown or debt limit showdowns, but it’s awful close to certain. The bill or bills may come before January 1 (very unlikely now), in early January, in late January, in February, even in March…but the odds are overwhelming that sooner or later something passes that will undo the bulk of the fiscal cliff tax increases, take care of the Doc Fix and the AMT fix, and do something about the sequester, among other things.

Moreover, everyone involved knows it. Well, maybe not Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert, but just about everyone.

On the gun questions I am less optimistic that anything meaningful will emerge, but we will see.

Regardless, it would be nice if there was recognition by major players, such as the NRA, that there can be a discussion on the subject rather than treating the Second Amendment like it says “the right to keep and bear arms is infinite and cannot be regulated in any manner.”  Personally, I would like to hear a reasonable defense of some fairly micro-level issues, such as why 30-round magazines are something that ought to be generally available, and especially the marco-level fact that the US does have a clearly distinct pattern when it comes to firearm-related violence in comparison to other advanced economies.   When I hear Wayne LaPierre emphatically state that policy X or Y will not work not matter what, the comparativist part of my brain immediately goes to the fact that we have plenty of places to look to make systematic comparisons of policies in other countries.

Note, for example, this list of The Worst Mass Shootings of the Past 50 Years and one will see that in that list there is one country that overwhelmingly dominates the list (care to guess which one?).  The only country beside the US to make the list more than once is Finland, and that is will all of two entries.  Now this is proof of nothing, to be sure.  It is, however, a clear pattern that clearly suggests that there is more than a little room for discussion, especially when we know that one of the variables involved in the nature of the gun laws in the countries in question.

Other things we know:  various peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated a clear correlation between the number of guns and the number of homicides, even when controlling for other factors (see here).

And there is no doubt that there are more guns per capita in the US that in other industrial democracies.  For example, I compiled the following table** based on the Small Arms Survey of 31 democracies, and the numbers are rather striking:

gunpercap

Some other numbers to ponder.  PolitiFact asked:  Facebook post says the U.S. is No. 1 in gun violence. Is it?

The answer is no, we are not #1, but rather 14th.  Those who best us in that category?

According to the U.N., the U.S. had 3.0 firearm homicides per 100,000 in population in 2009. But there were 14 other nations that had higher rates in 2009, primarily in Latin America and the Caribbean: Honduras (57.6), Jamaica (47.2), St. Kitts and Nevis (44.4), Venezuela (39.0), Guatemala (38.5), Colombia (28.1), Trinidad & Tobago (27.3), Panama (19.3), Dominican Republic (16.9), Bahamas (15.4), Belize (15.4), Mexico (7.9), Paraguay (7.3) and Nicaragua (5.9). Three other nations had higher rates in 2008: El Salvador (39.9), Brazil (18.1) and Ecuador (12.7).

Any pattern emerging there?  First, these area all developing states (although some are more developed than others).  Second, most (if not all) of these states are heavily influenced by the drug trade.

When comparing to countries of similar economic levels of development, PolitiFact found:

Using the U.N. data, European nations — even former eastern bloc countries — typically have rates well below 1 per 100,000, or far less than one-third the frequency seen in the U.S. The pattern is similar in other advanced industrialized nations, such as Canada, Taiwan, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Also, via the ABA, three stats:

1. The rate of death from firearms in the United States is eight times higher than that in its economic counterparts in other parts of the world.

Kellermann AL and Waeckerle JF. Preventing Firearm Injuries. Ann Emerg Med July 1998; 32:77-79.

2. The overall firearm-related death rate among U.S. children younger than 15 years of age is nearly 12 times higher than among children in 25 other industrialized countries combined.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 1997;46:101-105.

3. The United States has the highest rate of youth homicides and suicides among the 26 wealthiest nations.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Rates of homicide, suicide, and firearm-related death among children: 26 industrialized countries.
MMWR. 1997;46:101-105.

Krug EG, Dahlberg LL, Powell KE. Childhood homicide, suicide, and firearm deaths: an international comparison. World Health Stat Q. 1996;49:230-235

Anyone who wants to assert that there is no correlation between the numbers of guns in our society and the amount of gun-related violence is denying reality. Anyone who then states that there is no conversation to be had (including one about policy) on whether there is causation in this correlation is an ideologue.

I am not, by the way, anti-gun (although I am, likewise, no enthusiast).  I am not a hunter (and, honestly, don’t get the appeal), but I think that people have a right to own (and use) arms for hunting.  I certainly agree that people ought to have the right to own a firearm to protect their homes, if they feels this to be necessary.   I can see interest in gun collecting and target shooting.  All well and good, I suppose.  I am not looking for the confiscation of guns.  However, there is a lot of space between confiscation and the NRA’s position (even if they pretend like any attempt at regulation is one step away from said confiscation).

I do, however, think that we are well overdue for a serious discussion of gun policies including examination of assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, licensing, keeping track of sales, and the like.  The evidence clearly points to the need for such a discussion.

*I am not, per se, opposed to have armed guards at schools if there is a need (and, sadly, some school have such a need).  However, there are two major problems with this solution.  First is the cost factor, where is the money going to come from to pay for guards at every school? (I might have taken LaPierre more seriously, by the way, if he had proposed a tax on guns to pay for the guards).  Second, I doubt that a guard is any guarantee of stopping a mass shooter armed to the teeth.  Consider:  you have been a guard at a nice, quiet, and safe elementary school for years (you know, a school like Sandy Hook Elementary).  Are you going to be on high alert for years and years, just in case some nut shows up?  Or, is is possible that you will be one of the first people shot by the nut with the AR-5?

**From Taylor, Shugart, LIjphart, and Grofman, A Different Democracy: A Systematic Comparison of the American System with 30 Other Democracies  (working title, currently under editorial review)

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    But there were 14 other nations that had higher rates in 2009, primarily in Latin America and the Caribbean: Honduras (57.6), Jamaica (47.2), St. Kitts and Nevis (44.4), Venezuela (39.0), Guatemala (38.5), Colombia (28.1), Trinidad & Tobago (27.3), Panama (19.3), Dominican Republic (16.9), Bahamas (15.4), Belize (15.4), Mexico (7.9), Paraguay (7.3) and Nicaragua (5.9).

    Rather clearly, it’s warm weather and the resultant drunk tourists that it brings that’s the underlying issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  2. Andre Kenji says:

    Note, for example, this list of The Worst Mass Shootings of the Past 50 Years and one will see that in that list there is one country that overwhelmingly dominates the list (care to guess which one?).

    That list is biased toward the United States and it does not list the worst mass shootings. It does not list two mass murders in Brazil(The Realengo massacre of last year and 1997 massacre where a former Army Soldier killed 20 people), most Australian mass murders are also not listed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  3. michael reynolds says:

    None of this will mean anything to the gun nuts who I assume will arrive shortly. There is no fact that could change their minds. Reality is utterly irrelevant. Logic is irrelevant. If bullet-riddled 6 year-olds were piled up ten feet deep all over America it would not matter to them in the slightest. They are a cult, and cult members don’t do reason.

    Politicians compromise. Religious fanatics don’t. For most people on the right there is no longer any line between religion and politics. For them the constitution is religion, the Founders are saints, and any deviation from the most right-wing interpretation of law is heresy. Their opponents shouldn’t be debated, they should be damned, if not killed outright.

    You know the thought that first went through the minds of gun cultists when they heard about Newtown? Oh, no, gun control! Not those poor children, not those poor parents, but my gun, my ammo, my cult.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 8

  4. JKB says:

    Let us speak of compromise….

    At one point, according to notes taken by a participant, Mr. Boehner told the president, “I put $800 billion [in tax revenue] on the table. What do I get for that?”

    “You get nothing,” the president said. “I get that for free.

    And for all your “I am not, by the way, anti-gun… “, perhaps that is true for you but you use the language and debate tricks of those who are. “Assault rifle”, really? Are you unable to learn about the subject you argue? Assault weapons is a made up term to inflame but at least isn’t an outright lie. Again, “assault rifles” are select fire weapons and have been controlled, registered and now limited only to those manufactured prior to 1986.

    The reason gun owners hold fast on guns is because they’ve seen the ultimate goal of the other side.

    Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic — purely symbolic — move in that direction. Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation. Source

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 19

  5. @James Joyner:

    Rather clearly, it’s warm weather and the resultant drunk tourists that it brings that’s the underlying issue.

    Clearly, more research is needed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  6. @Andre Kenji: I would hardly be surprised if that list is incomplete.

    However, do you dispute the basic notion that mass shooting are disproportionately a US phenomenon, especially in the developed world?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  7. @JKB: What term would you prefer? I am speaking about semi-automatic rifles that were originally designed for combat use or are modeled on such weapons.

    What would you like to call them?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  8. stonetools says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Not a single one of the gun cultists who have appeared here have expressed the slightest regret about the massacre of the children. For the gun cultists and their enablers, the massacre of kindergarten children and their teachers is simply part of the cost of living in a society where gun cultists should have unlimited access to their favorite semi-automatics.For them, its all about rights. Responsibilities? Data? Rational solutions Pfui.! That’s for others.

    Also too, if we don’t have unlimited access to semi-automatics, how are we going to fight off the brown hordes when the Apocalypse comes? Many of the gun rights advocates, who sound so reasonable, refuse to admit that a major part of the unyielding resistance to rational gun safety legislation is fueled by racism and/or paranoia, as any visit to the gun cultist forums will confirm

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @stonetools:

    There’s no question about it. You don’t buy multiple 30 round clips because you’re hunting deer or defending your home from burglars. You buy them to kill African-Americans and Mexicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

  10. James Joyner says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You don’t buy multiple 30 round clips because you’re hunting deer or defending your home from burglars. You buy them to kill African-Americans and Mexicans.

    That’s not true. What about hippies? Or commies? Or union thugs?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  11. mattb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    What would you like to call them?

    My understanding is that the correct term is “Assault Weapons.”

    @michael reynolds:

    You don’t buy multiple 30 round clips because you’re hunting deer or defending your home from burglars. You buy them to kill African-Americans and Mexicans.

    Or you buy them for convenience at the range. Which in my mind isn’t a good enough excuse to avoid regulation.

    But the fact is that there are a lot of gun owners who are not simply living out a *shoot brown people* fantasy. Though perhaps some of the one’s I know with multiple 30 round range clips are living out a *shoot white folks* fantasy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  12. MBunge says:

    1. The only reason a civilian would need multiple 30 round clips is to survive the zombie apocalypse.

    2. I suspect that one of the main problems with the fiscal cliff is that too many people are too sanguine about it. While it is virtually certain that tax cuts would be restored in its wake, I think massive, economic-crippling spending cuts will be much harder to undo.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  13. rudderpedals says:

    I’m not sure panicky people can be reasoned with. The news keeps refreshing the story. Today’s pile of firemen used for target practice in upstate NY isn’t going to help calm gun enthusiasts, nor will tomorrow’s or the day after. Time to move around the obstruction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  14. Dave Schuler says:

    I wonder how “civilian owned firearms per 100 population” translates into number of gun owners per 100. The statistic might only mean that Americans who buy guns buy more of them than their counterparts in France rather than there being more gun-owners.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  15. mattb (as in the pro-gun regulation matt) says:

    I think a worthwhile question in all of this is what types of gun violence do we want to target as a society. Mass shootings are without a doubt horrendous, and no family should have to endure the pain they cause.

    They still, also, remain a far more infrequent source of death than the “everyday” gun violence that plagues our country.

    While I am sure that there are some regulations that could have some effect on both areas (reduced magazine capacity, base national standard rules for licensing and acquiring weapons, tightening procedures for person-to-person sales, etc.), I also suspect that each should be treated as different beasts with different solutions.

    And if I had my druthers, I’d rather target the everyday gun violence (which also means addressing drug laws) than spend all of the political willpower on stopping the “scarier” but far less prevalent problem. That said, it’s probably not going to play out that way this time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  16. Blue Shark says:

    ….Your Republican hosts are responsible for putting the kind of lunatics we see in today’s Republican party in a position of power and allowed the gerrymandering and vote suppressing to keep them there.

    …This is the problem y’all have saddled every American with.

    …Clean it up … PLEASE!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  17. mattb (as in the pro-gun regulation matt) says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    The statistic might only mean that Americans who buy guns buy more of them than their counterparts in France rather than there being more gun-owners.

    That’s my understanding. Though part of the problem is that we don’t have a strong understanding of how many individuals own guns in the us. Recent Gallup polling (2011) puts it at 47% of households . University of Chicago research estimated household ownership at 32% in 2010.

    Of gun owners, recent surveys suggest that 62% own multiple guns. Though what also should be noted in that is that guns are often an inter-generational item.

    Of those owners:
    67% say they own for self defense
    66% for target practice
    58% for hunting
    (obviously it was a check more than one form)

    Here are some other stats on ownership:
    http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/transparency.jpeg

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  18. stonetools says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The gun cultists’ favorite game is to claim that there is some holy significance in the naming of things and those who don’t pronounce the right name should somehow be excluded from the conversation .
    They will tell you that the proper name for the AR 15 is not assault weapon or assault rifle, but rather, battle rifle.
    They will go on to speak about the vital difference between automatic and semi-automatic, between magazine and clip, between .223 caliber and 5.6mm , between pistol ammo and rifle ammo, the relationship of muzzle velocity to stopping power and on and on.

    99 per cent of this is of course wankery , because even if we got all the terminology exactly right to their satisfaction, they would still oppose any rational safety regulation of their favorite cult objects.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  19. Dave Schuler says:

    @mattb (as in the pro-gun regulation matt):

    University of Chicago research

    That’s actually NORC (National Opinion Research Center), an old client of mine. They’re loosely affiliated with U of C.

    It’s non-trivial to get good statistics on actual gun ownership. What I’ve been able to come up with so far suggests that there’s about the same percentage of gun owners in the U. S. as in France or Germany. Basically, a relatively small number of people are buying a lot of guns here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  20. mattb (as in the pro-gun regulation matt) says:

    @JKB:

    The reason gun owners hold fast on guns is because they’ve seen the ultimate goal of the other side.
    … Paranoid Quote

    For those not interested in clicking through, the source of JKB’s “gun snatching” paranoia quote is Charles Krauthammer.

    It seems to me amazing that despite these types of predictions (Krauthammer’s was made in 1996), we have yet to see modern gun regulation ever lead towards the “confiscation” that Krauthammer and other’s constantly predict (remember all the folks who assured us that Obama’s first election, then his second, would lead to the government coming for your guns).

    The sad fact is that isn’t going to happen any time soon. Hell, even if restrictions are placed on magazine capacity, it’s going to be a largely toothless measure as I don’t think there’s the political will to do what Canada did and allow no grandfathering.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  21. Let's Be Free says:

    I now live in a rural area, not inside the Beltway or on a cloistered college campus where a 911 call can roust up a half dozen police cruisers within 5 minutes.

    As the elites prattle on about useless and ineffective regulation, I’ve been out to sporting good stores, farm supply depots and gun shops. They are filled as i write with people inspecting and buying semi-automatic weapons and high capacity magazines so they can make sure they have the same in the event they should become outlawed. Most of these folks would purchase these someday only if the situation warranted, which it never would except for your threat of taking their rights away. So yes, you advocacy is putting tens, probably hundreds of thousands of weapons on the street that wouldn’t otherwise be there. Prattle on, prattle on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 11

  22. mattb (as in the pro-gun regulation matt) says:

    @Let’s Be Free:

    They are filled as i write with people inspecting and buying semi-automatic weapons and high capacity magazines so they can make sure they have the same in the event they should become outlawed.

    All this demonstrates is, much like the desire to “do something about the epidemic of mass shootings,” people are motivated to action by moral panics.

    The fear the government is going to take your guns away is just as rational — or not so — as fears that you are going to be the victim of a mass shooting. It’s this second one that the NRA is stoking with it’s “armed security in every school” policy.

    It’s these same types of baseless fears that lead to the internment of American citizens, people attempting to overturn vaccination laws, and laws banning “dangerous” animals in cities (anti pit-bull legislation).

    It’s a terrible way to govern. And it’s not something that I’d put forward as a strong argument for the rationality of current gun buyers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  23. stonetools says:

    @mattb (as in the pro-gun regulation matt):

    I think a worthwhile question in all of this is what types of gun violence do we want to target as a society. Mass shootings are without a doubt horrendous, and no family should have to endure the pain they cause.

    They still, also, remain a far more infrequent source of death than the “everyday” gun violence that plagues our country.

    The simplest legislative scheme for preventing mass shootings would be to require that the person who owns or wants to own semi automatic weapons undergo some sort of periodic training and/or evaluation to determine whether they were fit to own semi-automatic weapons. That’s what they do in Switzerland and they have almost no mass shootings. Failing that, we should do the Australian /UK model of banning and buying back automatic weapons. (No mass shootings since they passed that law).

    A law specifically tailored to preventing the current fact situation would be to require that any parent/caretaker of the mentally ill store their weapons in a secure location away from home ( such as the shooting range).

    It sort of depends on what we want to do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  24. stonetools says:

    @Let’s Be Free:

    They are filled as i write with racists and paranoiacs inspecting and buying semi-automatic weapons and high capacity magazines so they can make sure they have the same in the event they should become outlawed.

    FTFY.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  25. mattb (as in the pro-gun regulation matt) says:

    @stonetools:

    The simplest legislative scheme for preventing mass shootings would be to require that the person who owns or wants to own semi automatic weapons undergo some sort of periodic training and/or evaluation to determine whether they were fit to own semi-automatic weapons.

    I have no issue with that provision. I’d also extend that to Concealed Carry. The key thing though is working out what is meant by “evaluation.”

    A law specifically tailored to preventing the current fact situation would be to require that any parent/caretaker of the mentally ill store their weapons in a secure location away from home ( such as the shooting range).

    This is a far more difficult provision for me. I completely agree in theory, but the execution of this one scares me if it’s implemented in a vacuum (or more accurately I don’t see how it can be implemented in a vacuum.

    There is so much tied into the issue of mental health — what do we mean by “mental illness”, what/who determines a finding of “mental illness”, how is that information shared, how is that cross referenced against gun ownership, who enforces this law. And there are a lot of longer term ramifications for this — from insurance to hiring/firing — that I don’t see how something like this could be implemented without a complete federal overhaul of the mental health system.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  26. Argon says:

    Regarding 30 shot magazines to kill brown people…
    @James Joyner:

    What about hippies? Or commies? Or union thugs?

    Shooting anyone in the former two groups would not be considered manly enough. Honestly, could you admit to your survivalist friends that you needed your Death-Max Super-Kill 5000 with under-barrel grenade launcher, 30 round magazine and Predator-II night vision scope to take out a hippy? The only acceptable weapon in those cases is a butter knife. Anything more lethal and you’d be laughed out of the ‘Survivors of the Coming Armageddon’ email list.

    How about we require all automated weapons to be painted pink with ‘Hello Kitty’ stickers, and be given names of flowers? Would that infringe on the 2nd Amendment?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  27. mattb (as in the pro-gun regulation matt) says:

    @Let’s Be Free:

    They are filled as i write with people inspecting and buying semi-automatic weapons and high capacity magazines so they can make sure they have the same in the event they should become outlawed.

    One other point on this — tying it back to Dave S’ post from above — it will be interesting to see, when the dust clears on the current buying spree, how many of these rifles are being purchased by existing gun owners versus new gun owners.

    I also have to wonder how much seasonal shopping is contributing to this run on guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  28. Andre Kenji says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    However, do you dispute the basic notion that mass shooting are disproportionately a US phenomenon, especially in the developed world?

    No, and I think that there are additional problems. You can legally buy tear gas in many states in the US(That´s why the movie theater shooting in Aurora was so lethal while a similar shooter failed to do further damage in São Paulo in 1999), that´s insane.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  29. mattb (as in the pro-gun regulation matt) says:

    @Argon:
    Obviously you haven’t seen fashion guns:
    http://www.hightech-edge.com/designer-guns-fashionable-weaponry/4612/
    http://gungoddess.com/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. stonetools says:

    And if I had my druthers, I’d rather target the everyday gun violence (which also means addressing drug laws) than spend all of the political willpower on stopping the “scarier” but far less prevalent problem. That said, it’s probably not going to play out that way this time.

    The problem is that most of the people killed in the everyday gun violence are urban brown-skinned people and who cares about them?

    A problem for the gun cultists is that the right kind of children were massacred this time, and thus the gun cultists can’t slough off the slaughter as being part of the “natural order of things”.

    Note that the NRA doesn’t think that they way to deal with urban violence is to arm urban blacks with more and better guns. Wonder why that is? Well, I’m sure it’ll come to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  31. wr says:

    @stonetools: “99 per cent of this is of course wankery , because even if we got all the terminology exactly right to their satisfaction, they would still oppose any rational safety regulation of their favorite cult objects”

    I don’t know why I’m reminded of this:

    Homer Simpson: Kids: there’s three ways to do things; the right way, the wrong way and the Max Power way!
    Bart: Isn’t that the wrong way?
    Homer Simpson: Yeah, but faster!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. Tsar Nicholas says:

    There are all sorts of great prospective compromises out there.

    - On guns the two factions could meet half way by having a single federal ban on new domestic purchase-money sales of assault rifes, but simultaneously preempting all state and local gun control, having a single federal standard for background checks and waiting periods, eliminating strict liability claims against those who trade in guns as part of commerce and granting absolute third and first-party claim immunity to gun manufacturers for all torts other than for gross negligence or fraud.

    - Concerning the deficit the two factions could meet half way by reverting to the highest pre-2003 marginal income tax rate for those earning in excess of $1M per annum, but simultaneously abolishing the estate tax, making permanent the Bush tax cuts for those who earn under $1M per annum, and reverting in three annual downward steps to 1997-level spending on all federal programs and departments, including DOD.

    Win-win.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  33. mattb (as in the pro-gun regulation matt) says:

    @stonetools:

    The problem is that most of the people killed in the everyday gun violence are urban brown-skinned people and who cares about them? … Note that the NRA doesn’t think that they way to deal with urban violence is to arm urban blacks with more and better guns. Wonder why that is? Well, I’m sure it’ll come to me.

    To be slightly impolitic (though this may be your point) is that part of the problem is that young urban — let’s stop using “urban” here, and use the words that really matter – poor and living in low income areas black men are already too well armed. Especially those engaged in the drug trade.

    Note that this isn’t an attempt to single out “black men” as being inherently more violent. Living in an area with its share of young, poor men of all skin tones, living in low income areas and engaging with the drug trade, I have regular reminders how conditions are far more important than skin tone when it comes to gun violence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  34. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    Hillary is totally coming for your guns in 2017.

    Prepare. Repeat. Prepare.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  35. stonetools says:

    @mattb (as in the pro-gun regulation matt):

    This is a far more difficult provision for me. I completely agree in theory, but the execution of this one scares me if it’s implemented in a vacuum (or more accurately I don’t see how it can be implemented in a vacuum.

    I understand your reservations and there is no easy silver bullet approach to this. The best approach would be to provide for a hearing in case of a charge so that some magistrate should judge whether the mentally ill person would be a danger to himself and the others.
    My guess is that most caretakers of a mentally ill person would voluntarily comply, bellyaching all the time that “their” person wouldn’t hurt a fly. The heck of it is, that generally, they are right-till said person goes off and murders 26 innocent people.

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  36. stonetools says:

    To be slightly impolitic (though this may be your point) is that part of the problem is that young urban — let’s stop using “urban” here, and use the words that really matter – poor and living in low income areas black men are already too well armed. .

    Of course, that’s the point-and somehow, it didn’t result in the polite, peaceful Arcadia that the gun cultists claim would be the natural result of an armed society.

    Of course , they will say that the problem is that the wrong sort were well armed. The right sort would be white, suburban kids whose parents made sure that they were trained in use of guns and taught target shooting-oh, wait………………

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  37. john personna says:

    I’m sure I could accept any of the likely outcomes. I’d find the status quo literally acceptable, in the sense that I’m not going to up and move to Australia. I think we could do better though.

    Enough people want to hunt, or think that a gun buys them safety, that we should give them the outlet. The law should just guide them to rational choices.

    I mentioned the North Hollywood shootout in the other thread. It was pretty much a failure in gun control that allowed those robbers to equip themselves so easily. No one needs to be armed like that for home defense, nor to hunt.

    So roll back the military derived sales as far as you can. I’m good with it.

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  38. mattb (as in the pro-gun regulation matt) says:

    @stonetools:
    I agree that for what you propose a judge would have to be involved. I don’t see how that works — whose responsibility is it to initiate the procedure? The mental health care provider? That sets up some really difficult situations. Does everyone deemed “mentally ill” (regardless of if they have access to weapons or not) have to go through the process? How does that change the relationship between doctor and patient?

    As I mentioned earlier, many mental health people are still reluctant to actually diagnose “severe depression” because it has various major implications. And that doesn’t even get the legal system involved.

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  39. mattb (as in the pro-gun regulation matt) says:

    Have to head off to Holiday related events, so I’m done for the night.

    For those who keep the season, Merry Christmas. For those who don’t, it’s still a good night to raise a cup.

    Beyond that it’s clear that we could use a little “peace on earth.”

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  40. michael reynolds says:

    Heading off to buy a tree. It’s the first day in a few without high winds and rain. The bay looks all washed clean today, sun in the sky, warm enough to write on my deck earlier. And best of all, we survived my daughter’s slumber party – 7 thirteen year-old girls. So Merry Christmas everyone.

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  41. wr says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Why would any sane person want to repeal the estate tax? If anything, we should be raising it. We do not need a hereditary aristocracy in this country. And there isn’t a single billionaire out there who will miss a penny of their wealth once they’re dead.

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  42. Trumwill says:

    As I said in Robert’s thread, I seriously find the vaguaries of “assault weapon” to be problematic when guiding policy. It comes across to me as a more political term than a useful policy term. Why should I care if a weapon was “modeled” after a military weapon if it doesn’t contain any features that the one sitting next to it doesn’t? This doesn’t seem to me to be the foundation on which policy should be determined.

    If we’re talking about specific features, like excessively sized magazine clips, let’s talk about these features. Not about whether or not they include bayonettes or just look scarier than the next gun.

    The second problem I have with the term is that we already have a term called “assault rifle” and now we’re trying to call weapons that are rifles that are not assault rifles “assault weapons.” I don’t think it’s conservatives doing the rhetorical two-step here.

    The other thing is that depending on how we define the “conversation” we either already had it or we never stopped having it. The gun question was, up until Newtown, more-or-less settled with the Democrats running scared. There’s nothing inherently wrong with re-opening the question in light of recent events, but it seems to me that some people are pretending that the conversation never occurred in the first place. People who were alive and politically aware in the 90′s should know better.

    Under a broader definition of conversation, we never stopped having it. It just happened that it wasn’t going the way some people wanted it to go.

    There is not, I don’t think, a dissonance between declining to support gun control and failing to govern. It’s merely a different idea of where and how to govern. They have a chance of stopping any gun control from occurring and that is no less governing than supporting action on this particular subject unless we’re defining “governing” as “doing what I want.”

    In closing, I would just like to say that the NRA really made an arse of itself with its speech. Whatever nascent support I may have had for the organization in this troubling time for those of us who are resistant to increased calls of gun control dissipated. I can actually support some things that would get me labeled a gun-loving troglodyte here (though I don’t own a gun), but a cop in every school is a dumb response here.

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  43. Mike says:

    Regarding the “only gun fetishists/cultists/NRA retards/*insert derogatory term for gun owners here” care about details idea, putting on my anti-gun hat, if you truly want to effectively ban firearms/firearms related stuff (as opposed to just making a political point through placating soccer moms by banning scary looking guns), you need to understand these technical details.

    I find it funny that the same people who will berate Congress for being idiots with no understanding of what they are regulating when it comes to stuff like the internet or civil liberties will proudly remain willfully ignorant when it comes to regulating firearms.

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  44. Mike says:

    Also, regarding remaining willfully ignorant, I suppose being that way also runs the risk of pulling a David Gregory and committing a felony on national TV.

    Which is hilarious to me on so many different levels.

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  45. Argon says:

    @mattb (as in the pro-gun regulation matt):
    Yeah, I’ve seen some of those. Somewhere on the internet someone posted a picture of a chainsaw that was painted pink and had ‘Hello Kitty’ stickers… and my thoughts were, ‘I want one of those’ in a Jack Nicholson, playing in ‘The Shining’, “Here’s Johnny!!!” sort of way.

    Still, mandate pink guns and overall sales are gonna drop.

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  46. @Trumwill: By “modeled after” I am speaking in terms of function, not aesthetics.

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  47. anjin-san says:

    My guess is that most caretakers of a mentally ill person would voluntarily comply, bellyaching all the time that “their” person wouldn’t hurt a fly

    You are guessing wrong. I network with a lot of people who have mentally ill relatives. I would guess 90% of them worry about violence either towards themselves or others. I know I do.

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  48. anjin-san says:

    the right kind of children were massacred this time, and thus the gun cultists can’t slough off the slaughter as being part of the “natural order of things”.

    Sad but true. Does anyone know how many black/brown kids under age 10 are shot dead each year? Society as a whole does not seem to have a huge problem with that.

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  49. Trumwill says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Fair enough. What functions, precisely?

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  50. Mike says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    That’s the issue though. I posted this video in another thread, please watch it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjM9fcEzSJ0

    It’s from a law enforcement officer, not some “gun nut fetishist cultist with a small penis” or whatever, and it clearly lays out the differences between select fire/automatic weapons that are used by the military (and of which civilian ownership of has been heavily regulated ever since 1934), and semi-automatic rifles that are “normal” guns for normal people to own (and which have not been used by a military since WWII). I keep bringing it up, by an AR-15 looks like an “evil military” rifle while the Mini-14 looks like a “good hunting” rifle, but they are identical in function….and neither one is “modeled” in function after a military assault rifle, because they are semi-automatic only, while a “military-style” assault rifle is selective fire.

    These are technical distinctions that matter.

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  51. grumpy realist says:

    Divide US into urban areas and rural areas. In urban areas, treat guns like the possession of wild animals: strict liability.

    Register all guns. You are responsible for the damage that your gun does. If you want to leave it out in plain sight and your toddler picks it up and shoots himself, you are responsible. If someone steals it, ok, we’ll give you a pass–once. Steal your gun twice, too bad, you’re still responsible for the damage it causes. (If after your gun gets stolen once you don’t have the common-sense to keep it LOCKED UP you don’t have the brains of a lobotomized goose.)

    For stupid uses of guns anywhere, strict liability. Stupid: shooting into the underbrush without knowing what it is you’re shooting at; shooting into the air without knowing where the bloody bullet is going to come down. Shooting at a wall without checking to make certain that your bullet won’t go through the wall and hit someone on the other side. (“oh, I thought it thick enough” doesn’t cut it.) Stupid stuff.

    And I include in that category gun dealers who don’t keep close track on their inventory and don’t realize that someone has walked off with a high-powered rifle until the police show up with Mr. Schitzophrenic in cuffs and holding said rifle in their hands.

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  52. Nikki says:

    @anjin-san: What makes these children, and even the shooter, the “right kind” of victims is not that they were white, but that most of them came from wealthy families.

    And that’s why we will have a national discussion about gun regulation. Because no one cares about the violence until it reaches the 1%.

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  53. matt says:

    For every murder involving a gun there was a murder that didn’t involve a gun at all. We’re a very violent nation overall. If you look at the violent crime statistics that don’t involve a gun you will find that we’re also extremely high there too. The reality is most of the gun violence in this country is linked to drugs and gangs. Legalize and regulate drugs and you’ll see a marked improvement in murders. The gang problem isn’t so easy as that’s an outgrowth of the problems of the poor and poorly educated.

    You can blame a tool all day long but even if you ban them all and somehow make guns disappear the murder and violence will still be there. You’re essentially focusing on the fever instead of the microbes that are causing the illness.

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  54. matt says:

    @grumpy realist: I agree with everything except the fact that you don’t seem to realize that a high powered rifle is a hunting rifle.

    I am all for requiring gun owners to carry insurance and to be liable for all damages from their gun. I’m also all for expanding NICS free to private sellers so they can do an instant background check on potential buyers.

    These laws won’t stop the gun violence or reduce it any but at least it’ll make the gun control nutters feel a little better.

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  55. An Interested Party says:

    You can blame a tool all day long but even if you ban them all and somehow make guns disappear the murder and violence will still be there. You’re essentially focusing on the fever instead of the microbes that are causing the illness.

    Thank you for making the case against the War on Terror and the War on Drugs…

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  56. john personna says:

    @Trumwill:

    If you were honest, you’d name them yourself. It is not that hard.

    If you want help, look at the Australian classification, to see what distinguishes between their Class B and Class C.

    Gun advocates have a stupid tactic of pretending that all weapons are the same, and some only look scary.

    That dishonesty should get zero respect.

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  57. matt says:

    @An Interested Party: You’re right I also am against the war on terror and the war on drugs. You cannot win a war against a tactic. You also cannot win a war against easily grown/manufactured chemicals that people have a huge demand for.

    My Ak clone easily fits into the class d but then again so does the majority of hunting rifles and shotguns we had on the farm I grew up on.

    Seriously they are putting PUMP shot guns in the same class as the EVIL semi automatic rifles…

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  58. john personna says:

    @this:

    Dear idiot downvoter,

    You need to take it in two passes. The Australian system is very well thought out and very rational. It is intelligent.

    Now the exact classes and qualifications for ownership may not appeal to you. You may want to adjust those. That’s something we can discuss.

    You just can’t pretend that guns are the same, and no intelligent classification is possible

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  59. john personna says:

    Oh, we should note that we functionally have a class and qualification system ourselves.

    Most anyone can buy an air riffle of .22 or lower.

    Black powder has lower restriction than cartridge guns.

    Cartridge guns are a broad class in the US.

    Finally only full-auto is broken out as separate from cartridge guns.

    (We use ‘cartridge guns’ too broadly, IMO.)

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  60. @Trumwill: Well, the AR-15, for example, was designed for the military. Military weapons have functions such as mass death in mind in their design. They were not designed for hunting or basic self-defense, their function is military in nature.

    This strikes me as part of the problem: not that citizens should be allowed guns, but that citizens have ready and easy access to tools designed for war fighting.

    This was all well and good in the late 1700s when there was no practical distinction between the two, but an Ar-15 is hardly a single load musket that takes some serious time to reload.

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  61. Skips says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Yet you do realize the AR-15 is with a woefully underpowered round? If I offered you a “Windows Style” operating system, would it be any more Windows?

    Tip of the hat to little Mikey Reynolds. Every time the phrase “gun cultist” is used, a leftist gets an extra ration of beet vodka.

    The Left now seizes on every atrocity as a cudgel to beat whatever happens to be the Right’s current hottest brand: Tucson, Ariz., was something to do with Sarah Palin’s use of metaphor and other common literary devices — or “toxic rhetoric,” as Paul Krugman put it; Aurora, Colo., was something to do with the Tea Party, according to Brian Ross of ABC News. Since the humiliations of November, the Right no longer has any hot brands, so this time round the biens pensants have fallen back on “gun cultists” (titter). Dimwit hacks bandy terms like “assault weapon,” “assault rifle,” “semiautomatic,” and “automatic weapon” in endlessly interchangeable but ever more terrifying accumulations of high-tech state-of-the-art killing power.

    Modesty and circumspection, be gone!

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  62. Trumwill says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Military weapons have functions such as mass death in mind in their design.

    But which functions? I’ll grant you the large magazines. But what else? What does “modeled after military weapons” actually mean, functionally speaking? With the exception of magazine sizes, the criteria used by the 90′s AWB are… kind of a questionable basis on which to make policy distinctions.

    The AR 15 may be a civilian knockoff of a design meant for military application, but in what ways is it more dangerous than a regular semi-automatic rifle that it warrants being banned? One of the reasons I am so averse to talks about “assault weapons” is that they seem (to me) to attempt to sidestep this question.

    Why should we talk about banning certain kinds of guns rather than guns with certain capabilities?

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  63. Trumwill says:

    @john personna: I’m not the one proposing a law banning “assault weapons”, so I’m not sure why the burden should fall on me to define the term. If I am being expected to support a ban on them, I should have a clear idea of what such a ban would entail.

    I am not saying that there is no distinction that can be made between types of guns. I am saying that the “assault weapons” distinction is faulty. Australia sidesteps this by banning all semi-automatic weapons for most people. That’s not what Taylor is saying (he’s saying that we should ban a particular type of semi-automatic).

    If it is due to some miscommunication on my part, I’m sorry you think I am not being honest. Dishonest point-scoring really isn’t my style and I believe I have a body of work on this site and at the League that demonstrates that.

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  64. Mike says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Bolt action rifles (you know, the non-scary looking “good hunting” rifles) were first designed for the military…to kill people. I’m not making this up, go and look at the history of firearms development and you’ll see that many of the innovations were first done by people developing firearms for the military, which was interested in…killing people. Most bolt action “good hunting” rifles in this country use an action that is derived from the Mauser action, which was invented by the Mauser Brothers for the German military and went on to serve as the primary rifle of the German military for over half a century, through both World Wars (as well as being adopted for the primary rifle of countless militaries the world over, including, after some patent infringement, the U.S.)

    That’s the problem here, you’re trying to separate guns into “good can’t be used for killing people” and “bad only for killing people” categories and that’s not how they work. Here’s another example – the Remington Model 8 is a semi-automatic rifle, in function it is no different from an AR-15; one pull of the trigger, one round is fired. Yet the Model 8 was one of the exceptions to what I said above, in that it was developed for the civilian market first and was never adopted by a military. Does the fact that it was never adopted by a military make it somehow “less lethal” than the AR-15? Keep in mind that both of semi-automatic rifles.

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  65. @Mike: You are, of course, correct: all guns have their basic origins in military application.

    Perhaps the issue is not the division of military application to non, since that is something of a false dichotomy (although you will have to admit that some weapons are more suitable for hunting, rather than war-fighting, whilst others more suited for home defense than battlefield application, yes?). Perhaps the issue is the degree to which a given weapon can quickly dispense death. Clearly some weapons are designed more for that than are other. A single-bolt action rifle dispenses death in a far lower rate of speed than does an AR-15.

    Lethality is the fundamental issue. (And one would not dispute, that the military tends to be more in the death dealing business, when called upon, than is the typical hunter or even the typical homeowner seeking to protect him or herself).

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  66. Mike says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “Perhaps the issue is not the division of military application to non, since that is something of a false dichotomy (although you will have to admit that some weapons are more suitable for hunting, rather than war-fighting, whilst others more suited for home defense than battlefield application, yes?)”

    I do agree, but only to a point (see below regarding the “military style sniper rifle/hunting rifle comments). All firearms are tools, some tools are better at certain things than others. To take that to its logical extreme, if I want to shoot at a distance of 500 meters, I’m probably not going to use a handgun, just like I am probably not going to choose a bolt action rifle for concealed carry. The issue that I have with banning the AR-15 because it’s “derived from” military arms/is capable of “rapidly dispensing death” is two fold.

    First, some of those same attributes (low recoil, semi-automatic capable of rapid follow up shots) make it effective for certain types of hunting, like varminting (as well as all sorts of other law abiding activity). Going along with that, the reason those rifles are in the national spotlight right now is because of a statistically insignificant (I’ll come back to that below) tragedy…if it had instead been a marksman using, say, a bolt action Remington 700 to shoot people at a distance from a clocktower (shades of the University of Texas tragedy), the national conversation wouldn’t be about banning “military style assault weapons,” it would be about banning “military style sniper rifles”…the exact same rifles that those same people are now saying are “good hunting” rifles. It’s not so much that certain firearms are good at certain intents (hunting vs military use, self defense vs murder), it’s that they are good at doing certain physical tasks; in other words, the same bolt action rifle that is capable of shooting a somewhat powerful, very accurate round at medium to long range for hunting is also going to be quite useful for police sharpshooters, as well as military snipers on the battlefield (indeed, there is considerable crossover between those three markets), and yes, also lunatics interested in reenacting the UT massacre.

    Or in the case of the AR-15, it is capable of shooting an intermediate less powerful round at a faster rate than a bolt action rifle, and is designed (through the stock, ergonomics, and a few other things) to have low recoil. Those characteristics make it useful for athletes competing in three-gun competitions, target shooters (the U.S. Army Marksmanship Team uses semi-automatic AR-15s to help instruct civilians in marksmanship, and there is an entire match at the National Games devoted to the AR style rifle), certain hunters, homeowners defending their home (not so much someone in an apartment, think more someone in a rural area…although there’s evidence that light high velocity rounds like the 5.56 typically fired by an AR-15 are less likely to overpenetrate housing structures than heavier slower typical handgun rounds like 9x19mm or .45 ACP), law enforcement, the military (although the military is going to more than likely utilize an automatic weapon, which is distinctly mechanically different from the semi-automatic AR-15s that are being vilified right now), and yes, lunatics who want to murder large amounts of people.

    Second, as I tried to point out with the Remington Model 8 example above, there is nothing specific to the AR-15 (or any other “military style assault weapon”) that makes them more capable of “dealing death” than any other semi-automatic rifle. Now, I’m intentionally setting aside magazine capacity because that is a separate debate…AR-15 rifles can be required to have a lower capacity and/or fixed magazine; hunters using AR-15s are often required to utilize 5 round magazines due to hunting regulations, “civilian hunting” rifles like the Model 8 can (and have been) modified to accept larger capacity magazines. I’m not saying I support a high capacity magazine ban, I’m just saying that it’s a different debate and if we want to talk honestly about “assault weapons” we need to separate that part out. Basically what I’m saying is that setting aside the high-capacity magazine debate, your options with banning “military style assault weapons” is don’t ban them, or ban all semi-automatic rifles. There is no in between ground that is based on function, not aesthetics. I posted this video before, but it does an excellent job of explaining the difference between a semi-automatic “military style assault weapon” and a semi-automatic hunting rifle (hint: there isn’t a difference) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjM9fcEzSJ0

    I mentioned something above about the shootings being statistically insignificant…if you look at the FBI stats on homicides (available here: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl08.xls) you’ll see that the total number of murders committed by long guns (i.e., the types of weapons that would be impacted by a “military style assault weapons ban”) is between 8-9% of all firearms homicides. Keep in mind that is talking about ALL long guns, not just the ones that would be covered under an AWB. To put those numbers in perspective, there are more people murdered by knives every year in the U.S. than by long guns (of which “military style assault weapons” are a subset). There are about the same amount of people murdered by fists/feet every year in the U.S. as there are by long guns. But wait, you say, what about the “other guns” or “firearms, type not stated” categories? The vast, VAST majority of those categories are handguns. So handguns constitute at least 70% of all firearm homicides in the U.S., and the number is probably closer to being upwards of 85% (with long guns filling in the remainder, so the number of murders committed using long guns is probably closer to somewhere around 10-15%, so the statements above about knives and fists/feet probably aren’t quite as accurate in light of these new numbers…but again, that’s all long guns, of which “military style assault weapons” are a distinct and fairly small subset).

    So if you want to do something about firearms violence in this country, focusing on “military style assault weapons” is going to do jack, statistically speaking as far as concrete tangible impact. But it will have the emotional impact of making the soccer mom demographic feel safer…I would think we could agree that emotion driven policy is generally poor policy. And just because I can see someone else jumping in and going “well then, ban handguns!” the issue is more complicated than that…most of the handgun deaths are in urban areas, and are committed using handguns that are already illegal under our current laws (either through how they were acquired, possession, or often, both.) That’s not to say that new laws/systems wouldn’t help with this…for example, going to a Canadian style PAL system where face to face transactions without a license or NICS style background check would become illegal on the federal level would (probably) help cut down on street level traffic, since it would become easier to prosecute people trafficking in illegal street guns. I’m just saying that a blanket handgun ban isn’t really the solution here either.

    Sorry about the length, but as I’ve hopefully illustrated the issue is pretty complicated from a technical perspective and really the short/simple bits that both sides use (gun control – “assault weapon = fully automatic military style death machine”; gun rights – “assault weapon != fully automatic military style death machine”) doesn’t really illuminate things all that well I don’t feel.

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  67. Mike says:

    Ugh, ignore the double negative in that last sentence.

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  68. @Mike: The bottom line is: there are some tools such as the Ar-15 with 30 round magazines, that make mass death in a brief amount of time far easier to accomplish than is the case with other tools (e.g., fists). It is not unreasonable to consider whether those tools ought to be widely and easily available. This is the debate, not what adjectives one might use to describe said tools.

    Further, we know that said tools are not as readily available in other countries, and these events are less common in those places. This provides, therefore, data to at least suggest the possibility that different policies might result in different results.

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  69. Skips says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “Further, we know that said tools are not as readily available in other countries, and these events are less common in those places.”

    Correlation = causation fallacy. There are other countries that have much stricter gun control laws that have much higher gun murder rates. Around 100 years ago, New York still had double the murder rate as London when London had virtually no gun laws, and NY had the Sullivan Act. Look at the murder rates in our own country. NYC, D.C., Chicago, California, etc, all have very strict gun control laws, yet have high murder rates. CT had an “assault weapons” ban. CA has a magazine size limit. We had an “assault weapons” ban for a decade, with little to no impact.

    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves…

    Bon fait, Mike.

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  70. matt says:

    @Skips: Yeah when I started digging into the FBI’s database one of the first shocks was that California has a high amount of murders despite all the bans and limits.

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