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Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones Dork
5/28/22 5:52 p.m.

Based on the religion thread a few months ago, I figured I'd ask if there's a chance of a non political, no name calling, educational discussion about guns, and what others believe, and why? I hope there is, so I'll start it. If it should be deleted, I understand. I think most people are frustrated by current events, on both sides. I'm curious what others see as solutions/ideas, and why those are good, or bad ideas. I'll go first.

I'm not really a gun person, but have been to the range a few times, and shoot clays at charity events. I don't feel the need to own one, and one big reason is my children suffer from depression, so I don't want any in the house. I also feel that responsible gun owners get the blame for all things gun related, and don't think that's fair at all. I'd love to see what others believe and why. I do not think there is any right or wrong answer, and this is not the thread to try and convince anyone. I hope it can stay and be discussed. 
 

Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/28/22 6:03 p.m.

It's such a difficult topic and I sincerely hope that this goes well.   I'm a former LEO, I've also been a victim of gun violence, suffering two GSWs, one in the buttocks and one upper center torso offset just to the right) That doesn't make me an expert, It merely provides perspective. 

 

One of the tricky things regarding firearms, that's also somewhat similar to motor vehicles, is that it takes experience to develop the knowledge and ability and expertise to have sound usage. Tiered licensing and ownership hurdles that come with time experience practice and usage would be sound. Think of it as if you start doing HPDEs and you have level one level two and level three. And then some people choose to go on and get their wheel-to-wheel license and go beyond HPDE. I understand that there's a difference because you can HPDE a 90 horsepower econo box or you can HPDE a 700 horsepower pony car. But there's still a graduated use program and policy within the hobby. 

 

I'm not saying or suggesting that the following policy is right or is the solution, But I would make it so someone could purchase a rifle or shotgun at the age of 18. At the age of 21 they would be able to purchase handguns. And that semi-automatic weapons would not be available for purchase to anyone under the age of 25. A large part of my methodology behind this would be that a large number of mass shootings are perpetrated by men under the age of 25 who utilized semi-automatic rifles. This would limit their access and ability to acquire those rifles will still enabling other people within the same age demographic who have a better clear sense and direction with their lives and don't suffer some of the same mental health issues to enjoy the hobby and look forward to the day that they can utilize a more capable firearm responsibility. 

 

There's also the whole mental health element and aspect to this equation. That is an issue that goes far beyond gun control and that we as a nation constantly fumble and in all honesty most of the Western world has for the past 50 plus years, other parts of the Western world are starting to make positive strides, but it's a slow go pretty much anywhere. I feel that it will be a significant amount of time until that bridge is crossed enabling a revisit of any potential policy or ideas as they pertain to access to firearms. 

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
5/28/22 6:22 p.m.

I think this topic will be different from the religion ones. With religion, there wasn't really a problem that needs to be fixed. The conversation remained healthy as long as it was about asking questions and understanding.

With guns, there is pretty obviously a problem. We're going to disagree with how to fix it. We're dealing with a situation that is legitimately an ethical dilemma with competing values.

So... maybe we can have a productive discussion. Maybe not. I'll lurk for a bit now.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa PowerDork
5/28/22 6:34 p.m.
Beer Baron said:

I think this topic will be different from the religion ones. With religion, there wasn't really a problem that needs to be fixed. The conversation remained healthy as long as it was about asking questions and understanding.

With guns, there is pretty obviously a problem. We're going to disagree with how to fix it. We're dealing with a situation that is legitimately an ethical dilemma with competing values.

So... maybe we can have a productive discussion. Maybe not. I'll lurk for a bit now.

Thing is, the majority of Americans want to fix it.   I haven't looked into the source of the statistic, who ran it, etc but there's a recent figure being quoted that says that 80% of Americans want some change to gun laws to stop this from happening.
Might as well try and talk about it

 

One of the problems with guns in America is preventing people with obvious issues from getting ahold of them.  I read that ~4 years ago the guy that shot up the school in Uvalde was investigated (or under psychiatric eval, or something similar) because he said he wanted to shoot up a school.  That's something that needs to be on a background check.
The other part of this particular situation is very obviously mental health.  No clue how that's going to get dealt with as healthcare is as touchy a subject as gun control in America.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
5/28/22 6:36 p.m.

As noted above, not a simple topic, and as such no simple answers. For example would things be different if there where effectively no guns in the US? Certainly, but that is so far out from a realistic possibility, it not remotely relevant. Guns are in the US to stay, you clearly need to start from there.  Of course, even without guns, the disturbed and twisted will find ways to kill people (e.g. dynamite used to be popular, the "mad bomber" of lore). Also of note is the popular proposed changes would not stop most any mass shootings

Would things be different if there were say, for example only shotguns and rifles? Which would probably be the extreme end of possible restrictions and still not likely and still would leave a lot of the "installed base" (especially illegal) weapons.  Certainly, a bit, but that clearly will not prevent shootings, it just might reduce the numbers involved in some of them.  So, shooting will (effectively) always be possible.

My general point is: guns are here, and are effectively here to stay, and shootings will always happen, we need to start from that perspective.

(For perspective: not a gun owner or particular enthusiast, but am reasonably knowledgeable on the subject)

I will also add that I don't think there is much point in bringing up the 2nd A.  There are certainly points of contention there, but again, it's something that is extremely unlikely to change, so no sense arguing it.  Even it is did change I suspect the farthest you could get would be my shotgun and rifle point, and we would still have effectively  the same issues.

(I am hopeful this will go well. People REALLY need to be able to discuss such things, reasonably)

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
5/28/22 6:38 p.m.

Speaking as a historian, the fundamental question to me lies in one's interpretation of the Constitution, not necessarily the precise language, but the circumstances behind it, and the intent and relevance of it 230+ years later, as well as the validity of the Anti-Federalist arguments against an organized militia. The Second Amendment, for those unfamiliar, reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Anti-Federalists argued that such a militia would be another tool of the state potentially available to impose tyranny on the populace.

It seems fairly clear that many people recognize guns as a tool for defense. While much time has passed since those arguments at the end of the 18th Century, the basic questions remain: where does the greatest need for defense lie, or put another way, what is the greatest potential threat to individual liberty and to the continuation of the social order? If one believes that the greater danger is individuals who may use guns against them criminally, then the potential solution lies in greater law enforcement presence and other state-sponsored programs to reduce the danger posed by these individuals. If, on the other hand, one believes the greater danger lies in the potential state use of organized violence (of which states possess a monopoly by definition), then the potential solution lies in greater individual ownership of guns capable of deterring state use of violence against the populace. In either case, there must realistically be an acceptance of a level of abuse, abuse that either takes the form of overzealous imposition of state power, or irresponsible use of violence by individuals. Which is the more tolerable?

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa PowerDork
5/28/22 6:46 p.m.
02Pilot said:

Speaking as a historian, the fundamental question to me lies in one's interpretation of the Constitution, not necessarily the precise language, but the circumstances behind it, and the intent and relevance of it 230+ years later, as well as the validity of the Anti-Federalist arguments against an organized militia. The Second Amendment, for those unfamiliar, reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Anti-Federalists argued that such a militia would be another tool of the state potentially available to impose tyranny on the populace.

It seems fairly clear that many people recognize guns as a tool for defense. While much time has passed since those arguments at the end of the 18th Century, the basic questions remain: where does the greatest need for defense lie, or put another way, what is the greatest potential threat to individual liberty and to the continuation of the social order? If one believes that the greater danger is individuals who may use guns against them criminally, then the potential solution lies in greater law enforcement presence and other state-sponsored programs to reduce the danger posed by these individuals. If, on the other hand, one believes the greater danger lies in the potential state use of organized violence (of which states possess a monopoly by definition), then the potential solution lies in greater individual ownership of guns capable of deterring state use of violence against the populace. In either case, there must realistically be an acceptance of a level of abuse, abuse that either takes the form of overzealous imposition of state power, or irresponsible use of violence by individuals. Which is the more tolerable?

I'm not sure I agree with your results being a binary either/or. 
I'm thinking through it and if I have something on it I'll post later.  Can probably be summed up by "life is messy, and never has a simple answer" but I'll think on it.

I have an issue with the idea that we have to have an acceptance of a level of abuse as well.  More later.

Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones Dork
5/28/22 6:51 p.m.
Beer Baron said:

I think this topic will be different from the religion ones. With religion, there wasn't really a problem that needs to be fixed. The conversation remained healthy as long as it was about asking questions and understanding.

I'm hoping this one stays as one about asking questions and understanding different views, not trying to push a "fix". 

Noddaz
Noddaz UberDork
5/28/22 6:57 p.m.

We as a group should give this a go.

2a: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

My personal belief is that while this is a right written in the Constitution people need to show that they are responsible enough to handle and own firearms.  That would mean training and re-training as required.  (Every 5 years?  Every 10 years? IDK.)  When you join the military on your first day in boot camp you are not handed a rifle and told to go out and shoot things with it.  The recruit is trained on maintenance and handling of the weapon long before the recruit is allowed to fire it.  Why should civilians be any different?

Next.

 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
5/28/22 7:40 p.m.

People act like the second amendment is some impenetrable gospel, but plenty of things were put in the constitution that turned out to be a mistake. This is one. 37,000 people a year and how many kids do we have to lose before we realize that the words of a bunch of dudes 230 years ago aren't actually infallible? (Whose are?!)

I think the Australian reaction was good. Follow their model. 

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
5/28/22 7:40 p.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

While these are valid points you have simplified this down to a yes or no situation only looking at a very small part of the problem. This is a very complicated problem that can not be solved that simply. 
 

For the record I am a gun owner. I enjoy going to the range. I don't carry in public even though I have a license to do so.  I firmly believe that there needs to be a overhaul of the ability for people to obtain fire arms.  I live in a state with some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation and I think they should be stricter with much more training and evaluation of the applicants. 
 

What happened in Texas should never been allowed to happen. Their hopfully will be a whole lot of sole searching going on and hopfully a broader look at both gun control but also the mental health side of things. There seems to be a disconnect between the mental health aspect that people seem to be unwilling to accept. Especially with teens and 20 somthing year olds.  And until this is addressed we will have problems.  Why is it that at 18 in many states you can purchas an AR at Walmart but you can not get a 6pack?  We raised the drinking age why not raise the gun licensing age?  I hope that this tragic situation will result in meaningful change across the nation. At very least bring the rest of the country up to the standards of gun control that are the law in my state of MA. I know that there will be many out there that will see this as an infringement of there rights. I get that but until we have a system that addresses the mental health of this age group head on I don't see any other choice.  
 

For those that don't know I live in MA.  We have an assault weapons ban in place as well as a very specific list of pistols that can be sold here. This combined with a licensing process that can take up to two months and a minimum age requirement of 21 for all but the most basic of firearms. This system is far from perfect but it is much better than most states.  
 

There are ways to legally obtain just about any fire arm I want but it involves a process that takes time and is a bit complicated.  This system keeps people from just going out and purchasing assault type firearms that are in the Assault weapons ban we have here in MA.   This is a really good thing!!!  
 

I wish I had the answer but I don't.  Just wrapping my head around all the interrelated issues is extremely difficult.  

Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones Dork
5/28/22 7:45 p.m.

In reply to dculberson :

That sounds more like a sound bite. I am truly interested in what your thoughts are, more than a sound bite. What's the Australian model, and could it work here?

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa PowerDork
5/28/22 7:48 p.m.
Steve_Jones said:

In reply to dculberson :

That sounds more like a sound bite. I am truly interested in what your thoughts are, more than a sound bite. What's the Australian model, and could it work here?

IIRC - they bought all the guns, destroyed them, then enacted very very strong gun laws.

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
5/28/22 7:52 p.m.

So far reading everyone's posts here I wonder if we could open a google doc and as a collective create a workable set of regulations. It would be an interesting challenge to undertake.  

barefootcyborg5000
barefootcyborg5000 PowerDork
5/28/22 8:55 p.m.
Mr_Asa said:
Steve_Jones said:

In reply to dculberson :

That sounds more like a sound bite. I am truly interested in what your thoughts are, more than a sound bite. What's the Australian model, and could it work here?

IIRC - they bought all the guns, destroyed them, then enacted very very strong gun laws.

This is not entirely accurate. Gun ownership is still very legal in Australia and there are actually more guns in the hands of civilians than before 1996. It does require a license, and a recognized reason which does not include "personal protection. That said, target practice/hobby, membership in a marksmanship club, employment in agriculture or security are all valid reasons. It is an interesting example and I'll try to find the report I read just a couple days ago and link it here. Basically, the percentage of the population that owns guns has dropped, but those who do are much more likely to own multiple. Also depending on the source, most of the numbers don't show a drop in gun related murder or suicide. The official numbers define a mass shooting as being 4 or more victims and they claim 0 events since enacting the law, but there are several cases of inter-family murder-suicides that don't seem to play into the statistics. 
 

Of note, the manifesto left by the shooter in Buffalo specifically stated why he chose to attack where he did. In NY, with some of the most restrictive laws, and he chose an area where he knew there were few guns. 
 

*edit for clarity.  What Asa posted is technically correct. It should not be read as "they banned guns", which is a common argument. 

jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) Reader
5/28/22 8:56 p.m.

This might be an ill considered post, but I'm just angry as hell about this.  I'm a gun owner that occasionally pulls mine out of the closet when I go up north.  I just don't understand the mentality of those that need to carry firearms into a suburban Walmart and think that everyone should have access to any weapon.  Fear?  Feeling that it gives them power?  Tribal identity?  What?

A well regulated Militia... How in the hell can an angry and mentally challenged 18 year old be considered part of a well regulate militia and given a weapon of war?  There's a basic problem in making firearms available to EVERYONE in that some people that you wouldn't want to have them and clearly shouldn't have them WILL have them and create yet another atrocity.  Is this rocket science?

I lived with a teacher who came home one night after a full (not a drillI) lockdown in her third grade room.  Her story of hiding in the coat room with a bunch of crying kids, one whimpering "I don't want to die" made a dent in me.  Unfortunately the event at Uvalde was not a false alarm or a fire drill and we again lost yet more children.  Firearms are now the #1 killer of kids.  How do we not see that giving incredibly effective weapons to anyone that wants one is creating this?

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
5/28/22 9:05 p.m.

I'm glad you started this thread. I was gonna, but I wasn't brave enough. 

Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones Dork
5/28/22 9:12 p.m.

In reply to SV reX :

The people that hate me here, won't hate me more because of this thread, so I figured nothing to lose

barefootcyborg5000
barefootcyborg5000 PowerDork
5/28/22 9:15 p.m.

In reply to jwagner (Forum Supporter) :

Created is not the word. Enabled. Language is important. 
 

The truck rental company in France a few years ago did not create a means for that terrorist to kill 80 people. The individual did that. Similar to the fellow who was out on bail for attempting to murder his gf by running her over then decided to run his suv into a crowd. 
 

And in case anyone is curious exactly where I stand: I'm the guy who started the boomstick thread. I own multiple firearms, from a traditional smooth bore long gun to shotguns to a .30 caliber auto-loader as my grandpa calls them. My weapons see use sporadically, usually in solitude, as a means for me to improve a skill, like having a convertible and a drag car and an autocross car and a tow pig and a motorcycle.  No, I don't need them all, but they have different purposes that appeal to me in deferent ways. I do not carry a weapon, and I don't care to. I do not keep them loaded, and they are secure. My reading of the 2a is in the context of a bunch of citizens who stood up to an oppressive government. "They we're talking about muskets," sure, but the most advanced military on the planet was using identical weapons. If you want to see the worst atrocities in human history, look no further than governments and militaries.

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
5/28/22 9:18 p.m.

(I typed a long response to this only to have it disappear with an accidental mouse click...ugh. I'll try to recapture the essence of it.)

I do not mean to suggest that the problem is simple or binary. I'm an academic, and my tendency is to try to break down a complex issue to its fundamental core, and then work up a better understanding through layers of nuance supported by evidence. Unsurprisingly, this issue generates a considerable amount of emotion in some, and while this is completely understandable, it is also not the basis for sound policy-making. That this emotional response is frequently exploited by politicians for short-term advantage ("never let a crisis go to waste") does not help. Whatever sound policy might be developed must emerge from objective evidence; continued reliance on emotional response will only exacerbate divisions without creating meaningful solutions. And even with the best possible policy in place, there will always be situations that defy prevention or solution within its framework.

I also do not mean to suggest that the Framers of the Constitution were infallible. Certainly, a number of their decisions were compromises made to contend with the issues of the day, known to be flawed even at the time, but seen as necessary to allow the Union a chance to survive in the tenuous early years of the republic. Several have been changed by amendment, a process that has existed from the beginning, laid out in Article V:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress....

Finally, my view of the nation is similar to that so eloquently expressed by Abraham Lincoln in his first inaugural address, recognizing a deeply divided nation but maintaining faith in the institutions and processes that had allowed the country to thrive and prosper as the sole means available to continue with that progress. The whole document is worth reading, but I will will simply quote one small section:

This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. I can not be ignorant of the fact that many worthy and patriotic citizens are desirous of having the National Constitution amended. While I make no recommendation of amendments, I fully recognize the rightful authority of the people over the whole subject, to be exercised in either of the modes prescribed in the instrument itself; and I should, under existing circumstances, favor rather than oppose a fair opportunity being afforded the people to act upon it.

 

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
5/28/22 9:31 p.m.

A couple of data points that I think are important...

- Only 4% of the gun violence incidents in this country are mass shootings (defined as 4 or more victims). It's sad to me that the only time this becomes an issue or is newsworthy is when kids have died. We have a problem with gun violence, and we only talk about it when it can be used for political gain.

- 74% of the weapons used in mass shootings were purchased LEGALLY.  There is something wrong with our laws.

- We have a mental health epidemic, and we are not willing to address it. The vast majority of people with mental health issues are non-violent. But it is foolish to ignore the fact that anyone who can walk into a school and kill a bunch of kids is not well. 
 

- The gun violence statistics in the US are horribly high. Like 10X or more the 2nd place country.  We have a problem, and we can't hide it behind the Constitution.

- There are weapons that no one should have easy access to.

- All politicians are wrong. The arguments they propose are designed to rile up their base, with no intent whatsoever to solve the problem. In fact, politicians LOVE conflict and dissention.  It makes them really happy when there is an issue we can all fight about. There is no better way to rile up their base.  Think of the children. 

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
5/28/22 9:33 p.m.

Oh, and a "well armed militia" does not mean every adult should have a right to as many weapons they want.
 

 I understand we are not completely sure what "well armed militia" actually means, but define it!  

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
5/28/22 9:35 p.m.

Private sales and gun shows should not be massive loopholes to sidestep the laws. If it is determined a product should be regulated, ALL sales of the product should be regulated.

There are lots of ways to do this.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
5/28/22 9:41 p.m.

Some good points.  I certainly don't disagree with any in general.

Let's just say, as seems to a general feeling, in this thread at least, that making things more restrictive is the way to go.  What is the realistic possibility of this?  What I mean, if it's just not going to happen, is there even a reason to discuss it?

The two big areas of concern with more restrictions I see are:

1- I am not sure there reasonable expectation that this would happen in the US federally, which would be the only change, since certain states (as stated) already have pretty heavy restriction.  As can be pretty easily seen, state restriction have little effect realistically.  Illinois is very strict, yet Chicago is a hot bed of gun deaths.

2- The criminal element does not follow laws obviously.  As noted there is a HUGE number of guns in circulation now. It would take a very long time to make a dent in that.

As some will surely note, the talk of "assault weapon" restrictions have a big issue. What is an assault weapon?  Realistically, the restriction would have to be semi-auto weapons with larger magazines (say 5+).  What is the realistic likelihood of that passing federally?

 

Honestly, I would like to hear from someone who is very much against any restriction... nicely of course.  Not only what their perspective is, but what is the possibility of any changes of meaning.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
5/28/22 9:57 p.m.
SV reX said:

Oh, and a "well armed militia" does not mean every adult should have a right to as many weapons they want.
 

 I understand we are not completely sure what "well armed militia" actually means, but define it!  

As noted, I don't think this is a productive line to go down.  My basic understanding of this situation (learned from a thread here actually, years ago!) is that the 2nd amendment has been heavily interpreted through various rulings etc, to end up with the current situation, so discussing that actual words in it are kind of pointless.

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