Assault weapons ban?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Yana Usdi, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. Yana Usdi Yana Usdi

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    Gun control advocates are going to miss their best opportunity for change in years if they don't get their acts together. Things such as the "assault weapons ban" are fairly pointless and the term assault weapons rarely and poorly defined. It can include things such as bayonet mounts, flash suppressors or other things of the sort which I don't remember being a real factor in the last few years worth of mass shootings. What it generally amounts to is little more than 'it looks scarey, make it go away'. That's not a basis for sound policy. The average so called assault weapon is little more than a rifle with decorative hardware and no more or less dangerous than any other rifle.

    The FBI document Expanded Homicide Data Table 11 offers some basic info on where our deaths are coming from over the last year with type of crime along the left side of the chart and type of weapon used in the homicide along the top. That should offer people a decent start for where we need to put our emphasis. And skip the stupid hammer crimes comments such as we've heard too much of on tv these days, the category is blunt objects and assuming every blunt object is a hammer is just as dumb as assuming the term 'assault weapons ban' is anything but an empty, feel good measure.

    What won't work is 'it looks scary so make it go away' legislation, what might be worth considering would be subjects such as limiting extended capacity clips, closing the purchasing loopholes such as at gun shows and with private sellers. As it stands now you can literally be on the terrorist watch list but walk into a gun show and buy any weapon you could get at a regular dealer but with no questions asked at the show. There's other things to consider as well. If this is a topic we're going to debate and legislate as a nation maybe we should also know what the fuck we're talking about as well.

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  2. Steve Cool Steve Cool

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    At the risk of being redundant, Ditto

  3. Yana Usdi Yana Usdi

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    Quick disclaimer, I don't even own a firearm at the moment and haven't for quite a few years. Got rid of them when my kids were babies and just never felt the need for one again even though they are grown now. I also have no fear of weapons, they are just tools. Not a lifestyle, just a tool that I don't feel they need for at the moment. But if we're going to write laws and restrict things I'd kinda like to know why, is it justified by the stats and will it work. Not a hell of a lot of point in this stuff if it accomplishes nothing but making someone feel like they've done something.

    The clip capacity I get, we've had multiple shootings where the shooter could only be confronted when they ran out of ammo and tried to reload. The Gabby Giffords shooting involved a 30 round clip if I remember right and that's how he was finally taken down, rushed when reloading. Background checks are obvious and shouldn't need explained. But the so called assault weapons ban I just don't see the point in.

    Most people seem to think we're talking about automatic weapons, we aren't. They are already heavily regulated at best and in most circumstances outright illegal, so much so that as of last time I checked (years ago) a legal one had *never* been used by the owner in a crime. Ever. Stolen ones or illegal ones yes but not legal, properly owned ones. Or they think they use a different and more dangerous type of ammo, or something of the sort. Try to pin them down on exactly what qualifies an "assault weapon" and it generally comes down to things such as bayonet mounts or flash suppressors which as far as I can tell have played no real part in our crime sprees and would have absolutely NO effect on the fatality count. People just don't understand weapons so assume military in looks equals military in function when that's not really the case.

    If people think there's a major difference in ammo load or something, say a .223 vs a .22 or something of the sort (the Bushmaster fires a .223) then make the case based on that and see if you can justify it. But as long as we're talking identical load, identical rate of fire, range, and so on, I really don't see how much of what we're trying to qualify assault weapon with has played a part, how restricting it would change the stats in the slightest. It doesn't become more dangerous just because it is more military in looks or style, it requires a more dangerous function as well. Preferably one that is relevant to the crimes we're trying to stop.

    The NRA and others keep telling us that all we need to do is to enforce the laws we already have. To a point that might be right, but what they aren't telling us is that the biggest thing stopping us from enforcing those laws IS the NRA and their supporters in Congress. The media is useless on the subject, too afraid of stepping on toes, for real analysis on touchy subjects we'll have to go to The Daily Show. No joke, some of the best investigative journalism still out there these days. Two clips below on the subject. New laws, even good justified ones, will make no difference if we don't fix this first.

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-january-16-2013/there-goes-the-boom
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-january-16-2013/there-goes-the-boom---atf
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  4. vvicked0471 vvicked0471

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    As you said earlier, Yana, weapons bans are a joke. As you also touched on, using the term "assualt weapon" is redundant. Any weapon ever constructed is an assault weapon. Their purpose is to injure (a.k.a. assault) people or animals. Yet another salient point you brought up is that guns are merely tools. They can't do anything by themselves. They require an operator. So what we're dealing with is not a gun problem, its a problem with a select few people who operate them.

    Some may look at gun violence stats and say that "a select few" is putting it generously. But I'd remind those people that the vast majority of legally owned weapons are NEVER used in a crime. Several news outlets have been throwing out the number 300 million as the rough total of guns owned privately in this country. Nearly one for every person in the U.S.. According to the CDC's website, in 2010 there were over 11 thousand gun related deaths (this figure is for homicide, but it's my understanding that it does not differentiate between justifiable homicides and murders). Assuming that one gun was used for each incident we are talking about far less than 1% of guns owned in this country being used by criminals to kill someone (its actually around one one thousandth of one percent). The data is available for anyone to see. And, simply put, it doesn't support that guns cause crime, that banning them will reduce gun violence, or even that we have a problem with guns in this nation.

    What we have are problems as a society. We live in a society whose media glorifies violent crimes. Rewards it, even, with nearly 24 hour news coverage. In depth coverage of those who perpetrate heinous crimes. All sorts of experts pontificating endlessly on this aspect or that. We make it sexy to be a criminal. We make it appealing to those who would otherwise never get any sort of national recognition to grab a gun, find the nearest "gun free zone" (schools, malls, government buildings, etc.) and mow people down. Then you'll know who they are. Quickly and without looking it up, how many mass shooters names do you remember? Now for the flip side, how many names of their victims do you remember? If you're like me, you'll remember a few of both. But most people, if they're going to remember anything about it, it will be the shooters name and face.

    This problem isn't one that has any one group of people to blame. The media isn't the problem here. They show what we WANT TO SEE. Take a look at the ratings when they cover stories like this, and you'll see that our society is doing everything short of begging the media to continue coverage of events like these as they currently do. Stepping away from the media aspect of it. Parents shoulder a large portion of the responsibility for this. Generation after generation we see less involvement in the lives of children. More reliance on government funded schools to teach them everything they should know. From personal accountability, to the basics of what's right and wrong. We see our social programs creating such dependency that there are some women who have children just to stay on the governments dime. What sort of life will that child have? What sort of adult will that child be? How much more likely is a child growing up in that environment (government supports you, parents dont care about you, you likely have little in the way of education, etc.) to be a criminal?

    How about the mental health issues that our ever increasing narcissistic society fosters? People aren't looked down upon for being sick and needing medical assistance to get over it. You've never heard someone with the flu being criticized for having a doctors appointment. But when it comes to mental health, we need to shake it off. Man up. Quit being a bitch. However you put it, as a society, we belittle those with mental health issues. We make it socially unacceptable to seek help for these problems. So as a result, we allow these people to reach a breaking point. Maybe they commit suicide. Maybe they lead a life of solitude because no one understands them. Or maybe they crave attention, grab a weapon, and go about seeking that attention by way of injuring or killing others. No matter what they're driven too we have ourselves as a society to blame. For creating and perpetuating an environment that discourages seeking help for mental health problems. For reacting to complicated problems and issues as if they have a singular cause, and therefore a single (read: easy) solution.

    What we're seeing right now is disgusting on many fronts. We're seeing politicians using a tragedy that we don't yet understand to advance their agenda. We're seeing a knee jerk reaction to a complicated problem that's leading to an over simplified "solution", that won't really solve anything. We're seeing a society that doesn't care to understand the problem, or if their elected officials understand it, screaming for a quick fix.

    To solve this problem we are going to have to work hard. There is going to be trial and error. We, as a society, are going to have to demand that our politicians search for the cause(s), and then plan for a solution. We are going to have to change how we interact in our children's lives. Demand better education. Create awareness about mental health issues, and erase the stigma attached to them. Make mental health experts as available to those who need it as medical experts are. There are many things that must be done before we ever see a difference in violent crime in this country. What our politicians are doing now is bound to fail. Perhaps by design, perhaps by sheer ineptitude. Either way, its unacceptable.
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  5. Yana Usdi Yana Usdi

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    Great post, Vvicked, you've been thinking about this for a while it seems. I wish I could find the video, if I do I'll post it, but not long ago I saw one that shows what you were talking about with the media and the public playing off of each other. This psychologist had been called in to advise the media on how to handle these things, mass shootings, and pretty much every thing he said not to do they all do. They make the shooter a known name, an anti-hero of sorts to some, they do wall to wall coverage of all the details and make it a real event. Couldn't do a hell of a lot more to encourage the next shooter who wants to make a name for themselves if they tried.

    But you're right, it's not just the media, or just us, or just any specific thing, it's a combination of culture and history and a whole bunch of things. Gun bans I'm totally against but gun control is another matter, depending on how we define control of course. The more I see people showing up at political protests with weapons or with signs saying "we came unarmed, this time", the more sympathetic I am to gun control. This is a nation with a history of assassination and the message they are sending is it can happen again, and as far as I can tell they are threatening to do it. Every time we have some nut job like James Yeager, the Tennessee firearms instructor and CEO of his own company, who recently threatened to go to war and start killing people if this stuff goes one inch farther the more I'm more sympathetic not to his side, but to disarming the lunatic. And I wouldn't be adverse to locking him up on charges of making terrorist threats as well.

    As far as I can tell the biggest enemy of responsible gun owners isn't the non-owner who knows little about weapons, them we can teach if the lunatics would get out of the way and let us educate the public. But as long as the lunatics are government leaders, CEO's, and others in positions of supposed responsibility the public isn't hearing us. Just the lunatics. And sympathy is growing not for their positions but for that of those who just want to live in peace without threats or fear.

    The more I see people like the above the more the argument that the founders never imagined weapons like we have today makes sense. The founders wrote that amendment in the days of single shot muzzle loaders, one person couldn't kill a whole room full of people unless they were comatose. If the gun advocates want to see gun bans instead of gun control as far as I can tell all they have to do is to keep threatening to use them on politicians or a public who just wants some control. They'll get their bans for it eventually. Responsible gun owners don't need to confront the left or the non-political public who just don't know better. What they need to confront are their own fringe elements. That's who is providing a bigger push for gun control among the public than anything the politicians could say, guaranteed.
  6. Equilibrium Equilibrium

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    Wow, great thread. I don't consider myself a well informed person on this subject, but if I saw politicians speaking to each other with even half as much logic and common sense as the above posts, I don't think i would consider them the bumbling idiots blinded by corporate lobbyists as they appear to be.
  7. vvicked0471 vvicked0471

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    Sorry for the delay. Hopefully I'm not too late to keep an interesting conversation going.

    Playing off each other is exactly right. It's difficult to tell which side started it, though at this point I hardly think that matters. Strictly looking at it from a public recognition stand point, we should be outraged with the media, and ashamed of ourselves for encouraging this type of behavior. But instead, we tune in for the next bloody headline. Talk about the decay of western society..

    Gun control, to me, is a slippery slope. That's not to say that I don't think there should be regulations, because I do. After all, we wouldn't want a convicted murderer getting out of prison and heading to the nearest gun shop to load up and relive his or her glory days, so to speak. The problem I have with it is that, inevitably, in the discussion about regulating firearms you always get back to bans. Some people just seem unable to separate the two. We all know that banning something is useless in terms of restricting access to it. Especially when what you're talking about banning is as widespread as guns in America happen to be. What we need are common sense regulations. No weapons for convicted felons. And while I don't like the idea of publicly accessible medical records, those with mental health problems should probably also have restricted access. Although I think it would be tough to define just where the line is with that particular issue (how crazy is too crazy?). Also, as we are talking about mental health, some of those issues can be resolved over time, so how would one deal with that?

    Ideally, in my opinion, we need to look at those who perpetrate the most gun crimes (adolescent males, usually in large cities, which for the most part have very strict gun regulations in place already) and examine why they are committing the crime. Which brings us full circle back to other fundamental problems we have as a society. Lack of education, lack of jobs for a shrinking middle class, a police state, private prisons and lobby groups who push for tougher sentencing on lesser crimes, no emphasis on changing the things about a person that got them to prison in the first place. As it is now, we basically put them in time out and hope they've learned their lesson when they're allowed to go play again. Does this work well for children? Not really. For criminals? The rate of recidivism answers that questions for me. No. It doesn't. As I said before, it's not the guns that are the problem. It's the people using them.

    As for nut jobs picketing with signs threatening to bring guns to their next protest, or to assassinate a public official, well, every side has their extremists. From the liberal nut jobs who throw red paint on fur coats or acid on SUVs, to the gun toting redneck who wants to shoot an elected official. They are on the fringe and always will be. How do you disarm them, especially if they haven't actually committed any crimes, without depriving other law abiding citizens their right to legally and peacefully own a weapon? Is taking a gun out of the hands of a person who probably won't act on their threats in the first place, worth potentially disarming a citizen who could use that weapon to protect their family or themselves? Essentially what that suggests is punishing the masses, for the actions of a select few. And, as paranoid as it sounds, a disarmed populace has no way of protecting themselves from a government who has become drunk with power. Quite the salient issue in today's world in light of the NSA spying on our every move, and even feeding that information to other government agencies for the purpose of prosecuting American citizens.

    I would counter this argument by saying that those who just want to live in peace, without fear, are the problem. Peace will never last without a fight. Sounds like an oxymoron, but it's true. There is no such thing as a guarantee of peace, or a guarantee that there is nothing to fear. These are things that require vigilance and great effort to maintain. One of the best quotes in Orwell's "1984" is "Freedom is slavery." This is absolutely right in that in order to remain free, you must be remain constantly vigilant against those who would seek to enslave you, whether by force or legislation or economics, quickly or over the period of decades. At this, as a society, we have failed miserably. And the mentality of wanting to live in peace, without fear, is directly to blame. At least in part.

    True, they couldn't begin to imagine the weapons we have available to us today. Though I believe they would still advocate for the individual right to bear arms, within reason. Reason being no individual citizen really needs an M1A1 Abrams tank, or explosives capable of bringing down entire buildings. I think that they would be ok with the weaponry commonly available to the average joe in this nation. Fully automatic weapons are tough to come by, though not impossible, and the other weapons available to the public aren't that outlandish. I hate to beat a dead horse here, but people are the problem, not the guns, and nothing will be solved by banning them. While I agree that the fringe elements of those who support gun ownership are the most vocal, and sound like they are the biggest threat, how many really follow through on their threats? I don't have that answer, buy my suspicion is that it's a staggeringly low percentage.

    You're correct. I think eventually it will come down to a ban. But the public support for the ban will be based off an incomplete understating of the problem. You'll get the people who want to feel safer and think that less guns equals more safety, actors will support it, politicians will demand it, and it will happen. Though it won't mean more safety. It will only mean more weapons in the hands of criminals than in the hands of law abiding citizens. It will only mean that as a population we have no means of protecting ourselves from a government that can now knock down your door based on your internet browsing history. We have precious little freedom as it is, and precious little hope of regaining any semblance of it, and we will throw away what little we have left along with our guns when then bans become reality.
  8. Yana Usdi Yana Usdi

    • Dogs best friend
    • Since: May 14, 2004
    • Posts: 3,399
    Not at all.

    "Gun control" is an empty buzzword that's used to instil fear, nothing more. You just supported several types of gun control and there are a few that I support as well such as background checks, but I'm pretty sure both of us (and most of the public in general) would oppose outright bans in most cases. To me it comes down to understanding why, such as the assault weapons ban. It makes no sense in the form most often discussed. But few people for or against that stuff could even tell you the details because BOTH SIDES are too busy talking in terms of emotional triggers or slippery slope arguments. We talk about where it could lead instead of where we are.

    The mental health angle is another one I'm not fond of. The mentally ill are more likely to be victims of violent crime than the perps, if one side needs to be protected from the other it would probably be them from the rest of us. If they are an exception to that it likely would show in school or early adult life, cruelty to animals or assaults, that type of thing. Deal with the actions, be they mentally or criminally triggered, and figure out the types of actions or crimes which would trigger a restriction. Profiling on "mental health" is more likely to be a distraction than anything in this case as it has been in others. Would a returning vet be restricted? A rape victim? etc? PTSD and such... it's a road we really don't want to explore without good reason and we don't have that.

    I skipped a lot of good stuff I'd like to have answered but this next part is likely to be long, so...

    You remember my background, vvicked0471, right? Grew up in gang areas, locked up four and a half years before I was 15, streets after that for some time then worked construction as an adult, everything from roofing to welding and steel work? I'm hardly a wilting flower. The toughest guy I ever personally knew was my stepfather, Green Beret in Nam, 68-69. You'd never know it to meet him, he'd really rather be having ice cream with the grandkids. I'd say the both of us, yes, just want to live in peace.

    There's a difference between being ready to defend yourself and looking for excuses to defend yourself. There's a difference between vigilance as you put it and just being a strutting fool. We are today a nation of strutting fools, and cowards to boot. A lot of people won't like this part, but that doesn't make it any less true.

    On 911 we lost 2,996 or so people, as bad a crime as I could imagine but we went nuts, sacrificed our civil rights, tortured, started a pair of major wars and a number of smaller conflicts, and for what? Before 911 they said there wasn't but a few thousand trained jihadist fighters in the world, within a few years we had more than that in Baghdad alone and given the drone strikes and such they are still spreading. We've lost ground in addition to giving up our rights. If you think about it you know why this happened. The same fear, and to a point many of the same tactics, drove the drug war as well. Fear does not for make sound policy.

    This article explains the "threat" of terrorism a bit. I'm not endorsing the site, truthfully I don't think much of it myself, but it's a decent article at least.

    When I was a kid the Soviets and the US had tens of thousands of warheads aimed at each other, but life went on. The concern then wasn't an attack, a few casualties or even a few thousand. It was billions, potentially all of us. But life went on, and we even laughed about it at times. Today we let fears that we wouldn't have even noticed back then drive us to distraction, not because the dangers justify it but because we let the media and the politicians manipulate us. We forgot to think for ourselves, and to remember our history. No this stuff, the gun debate or terrorism or any of the rest of it, isn't that big a deal when we get down to the details. But we don't even know the details because they've got us debating talking points instead, and we won't remember those in a year either because we'll have a whole new set of talking points to play with.

    This is getting too long so I'll skip the last part except to say that I think the idea of across the board gun bans is a wild fantasy of some on both the left and the right, but it'll never happen. Shit, look around you. Our national anthem celebrates a battle, we look at our military and to a point our police with a respect that seems to confuse or embarrass much of the rest of the world, we love action heroes, violent movies, the list goes on. It's U.S. from start to finish, that's just who we are and that's not going to change without many generations of slow adaptation if at all.

    Now something like that misguided assault weapons ban, perhaps, if both sides keep debating anything and everything other than the laws actually being proposed. Half of the left thinks we're talking about automatic weapons when we aren't and half of the right thinks we're talking about total bans when we aren't. The assault weapons ban generally restricts pointless things like bayonet mounts and other supposed military style hardware but mostly in areas that haven't impacted the crimes we're actually seeing. It's an empty, feel good measure that doesn't stop the right from having any ammo load, any rate of fire, any range or anything else other than perhaps that bayonet mount. A loss for collectors more so than for honest home defense and a gain for the left in publicity but not in safety.

    If we ever actually discussed the bills being proposed, we might get "gun control" we'd both agree with and avoid some of the stupid shit. The problems though go well past the gun debate and well into history and our own (and growing over recent decades) cowardice.

    [edited to correct typo, tends ---> tens]
  9. Yana Usdi Yana Usdi

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    I've got to get away from this place for a while, I'm way too harsh at the moment for a pot site. Not in the ideas I don't think, but probably too direct much of the time. The same things could be said in a better way.

    But, I meant what I said above about the cowardice I see in this nation right now, and it's not native to one side or another of the political spectrum. The right feared immigrants, illegals, there was a story about a supposed beheading in Arizona I think it was, fear crime, terrorists, and so on, but most of it is EMPTY fears. There was no beheading in spite of the Governors claims, it was a fairy tale and scare story. I showed above the supposed "danger" of terrorism, crime is little different. If you check our crime rates they are for the most part lower than they were decades ago. Not higher, but lower. 2011 "Murder and non-negligent manslaughter" rates were just 4.7, the lowest it's been since the year I was born, 1963. Yet we live in fear, not of anything real, but fear nonetheless. When they were blaming illegals for this non-existent crime wave I sourced the fact that "the violent crime rates in Arizona from 2006-2008 [were] the lowest they have been since 1983 There was NO crime wave, it was all fear, fantasy, and politics. ALL OF IT.

    The left isn't any damned better. When Bush was in office they were against the wiretaps, they pushed for accountability, and so on. Today they have taken drone strikes, surveillance against our own people and other things which they attacked Bush to no end for and made them all their own. The dems of today (with the exception of a number of social issues) are the repubs of 10 or 20 years ago and the supposed liberals I see out there on the web are making use of most of the same types of arguments and tactics that the "wing nuts" (favorite term of the libs at the time) used to support Bush, the Iraq war and so on. More likely to make personal attacks and tell you who you are and what you think than to actually argue a point, or even be aware enough of the details TO argue a point.

    I don't see heroes on the right, I see cowards who are terrified but can't really explain or source why, but something is out there they are sure, clinging to their guns and other aspects of power in the same way that a scared child clings to a toy pistol when afraid of the dark. Only theirs isn't a toy and all too often innocents, including their own family members, are the final recipients of their fears.

    And I don't see brave freedom fighters on the left either. I see hypocrites who dropped every value they needed to drop just to convince themselves that what's happening these days is really OK, just like the right did when it was their turn under Bush. Between the right who seem to care about one amendment and one only and the left who is busy compromising away the rest in defense of Obama and his love for big business and the surveillance state we're pretty well screwed, and both of you are doing it to us.

    Left against the right, poor and suffering middle against the moderately wealthy such as small business owners, a bit of each against the immigrants, and so on. And you know what the real joke is? While they've got us turned against each other the people who bought the media, our politicians, and consolidated business into a self serving nest of conflicts of interest and market manipulation are screwing us out of what little we've still got left. We've all got more in common with each other than we do with the wealthy users who are pulling the strings in all of this and we either don't realize that, or don't care.

    Wake up or lose it all. You CAN check a damned fact now and then instead of just read a news source that suits your bias and accept it without doubt. Give it a shot people, it really doesn't hurt as much as you might think it does. Personally, my bet is that we don't care enough. And THAT'S why I've been so angry.
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