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Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012, 08:13 am
Can We EVEN HAVE THE CONVERSATION!?

Last night's Daily Show was pretty damned amazing, as usual, but particularly the opening segment, which I really do recommend you watch. (Transcript of that segment, and selected videos from that and The Colbert Report, here.)

So. Time to have the conversation again. And, if you haven't seen it yet, I would ask that you read Jason Alexander's post from a couple of days ago. (He posted it on TwitLonger, a service which lets you... twit longer. Using the dKos page and transcript, those of you who do not Tweet still do not have to.)

How do you feel about guns and gun rights, and most importantly why do you feel that way? Points to consider:
  • Do you enjoy hunting or target shooting or just the cool mechanical aspects of guns, or something else?
  • Are/were you in the military, and how do you feel that colors your attitude toward guns?
  • Do you prefer or despise particular styles of guns (not necessarily specific makes, e.g., Colt, Glock, etc., but rifles vs. handguns vs. shotguns vs. semiautomatics vs. whatever)?
  • How do you feel about "open carry" laws?
  • How do you feel about "concealed carry" laws?
  • Do you feel there are places where or circumstances when guns absolutely should not be allowed, no matter what?
  • Do you really feel you are capable of defending yourself with a gun? I am not asking this with a snarky undertone; I'm asking if you, yourself, feel you have the training and experience necessary to use a gun for self-defense.
  • How about ammo? Are there types of ammo that should be off-limits, or quantities that are Just Too Much?
  • What rules and restrictions, if any, do you recommend to keep guns out of the wrong hands?
Have at it. Please keep it polite -- we are all friends here.

ETA: Video link fixed, I hope.

This entry was originally posted at http://filkertom.dreamwidth.org/1544494.html. You may comment there or here, although LJ tends to have a livelier conversation at this time.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 12:38 pm (UTC)
cluegirl

* I do enjoy target shooting, I do enjoy guns, historical as well as modern.
* I was not in the military, nor did my family keep guns when I was a child
* I do not particularly like the idea of assault rifles at all -- they have no use but the rapid killing of large numbers of humans, which I do not consider a valid pursuit.
* I grew up in Arizona, which has an open carry law. I feel it has its place, given the limitations it also carries.
* I am much less sanguine about concealed carry. If you won't declare your intent, then I cannot trust your intent as extrapolated, and that makes you a threat.
* Armor piercing ammo is in the category of assault rifles for me.
* Rules; all high school students must pass a gun safety course at the same grade as their driver's ed and health courses. This gun safety course will include actual trips to trauma wards where gunshot victims are brought in, so that they will see, smell, and hear first hand what the weapon can do to a human. This would relieve a lot of the glamor and mystique that guns currently have to stupid, rambunctious kids, and would also add a level of real consequence to what happens when one pulls a trigger. That would do more for lowering the risk of handgun deaths than all the attempts to un-invent or outlaw guns in the world. Educate. Educate is ALWAYS the answer.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
dornbeast

"...all high school students must pass a gun safety course at the same grade as their driver's ed and health courses..."

Going on a tangent here - Seattle won't offer Driver's Education in the fall. As far as I know, they still offer health courses, though.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 01:02 pm (UTC)
capplor: Robin's answers

Target shooting is kind of fun. I don't mind eating wild game, either, but I've never gone hunting. (Ok, I went once and someone shot a raccoon when I wasn't around.)

I was, in fact, in the military, and got the basic gun training (minimal) that anybody gets (although that was in the days when a woman was allowed to opt out of that).

I don't really know much about guns. I know a little bit about antique guns, of the Civil War era, as my father collected them. I'm more (nearly) comfortable shooting riffles than pistols.

"Open Carry" I find rather intimidating. I'm sort of ok with professionals who need to carry guns (policy, very high end security) having them.

"Concealed Carry", I can see situations where if I perceived danger I might want that. (A hypothetically abusive ex comes to mind; I've known women with that problem, though I don't think any of them did have concealed carry permits).

They search your bags at rock concerts. They REALLY should have banned guns at Kathy Gifford's political thing. Not, "You can't have a gun" but "If you want to get into this venue, leave the weapons somewhere else!"

Can I defend myself with a gun? Probably not if my performance at laser tag is any indication. Given the statistics and my general living conditions, things would have to get pretty bad before I have the potential to train to be safer with a gun than without one.

I'll combine the last two answers: They track vehicles. I don't think a similar tracking of guns and quantities of ammo is an unreasonable restriction. Too high a quantity of weapons or ammo or either acquired in too short a time should trigger an investigation. Of COURSE get rid of the gun show loophole.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
kengr: Re: Robin's answers

They track vehicles. I don't think a similar tracking of guns and quantities of ammo is an unreasonable restriction. Too high a quantity of weapons or ammo or either acquired in too short a time should trigger an investigation.

Thing is, they haven't used vehicle registration to confiscate vehicles the government didn't like. They *have* done so with gun registration.

California is a nasty example of that. The got registration for certain types of guns (similar to the "assault weapons" ban at the federal level in that the definition of qualifying weapons was based on cosmetic factors, not operational ones). And they promised that it wouldn't be used to confiscate weapons. Less than 10 years later (my have been as few as five) they *did* require that owners of said weapons "sell" them to the state for destruction. And you weren't allowed to sell them out of state. Note that for many weapons the price offered was much less than they wee worth. And a lot of collectors items got destroyed.

Basically, the governments of the various states and nations have repeatedly shown that they cannot be trusted with lists of who owns what weapons.

I'd go for having certificates of having passed a gun safety course (with said courses pushed really hard, like drivers ed, so that having a certificate doesn't map usefully to whether or not you own a gun). Requiring proof of a certificate to get a gun would be ok then.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 01:08 pm (UTC)
ann_totusek

This is one of the reasons that it is important to be able to carry, but I do agree that assault weapons are not appropriate, and training should be mandatory. I'm okay with both open and concealed carry. My intent is that you leave me alone (you generically, not personally!). I shouldn't have to carry open for you to do that.

http://share.banoosh.com/2012/07/22/shocking-california-cops-open-fire-on-men-women-children-babies/?fb_comment_id=fbc_10150977620823208_22780216_10150977970403208#f3b00921c9cadf4

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 01:22 pm (UTC)
rdmaughan

Interesting my employer's web filter blocked that and reported it as pornography.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 01:10 pm (UTC)
lemmozine

I have nothing I could say here that is either polite or inoffensive, exept this.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 01:11 pm (UTC)
jasperjones22

It's not the guns that really scared me. It was the mass amounts of explosives and booby traps that were in his apartment. And, sadly, anyone with access to a grad lab has the ability to make similar weapons without really arousing much suspicion.

I'm oddly glad one of the Dr. in my lab has GMO's now...it means there are cameras everywhere and, if people start asking the question I know will be asked "what if other grad students start doing this?" I'm at least covered.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 01:39 pm (UTC)
ladystarblade

I grew up in a military family of war veterans. In Naval ROTC, I learned how to field-strip an M16 and an M60, and I was a crack rifle shot (they called me "Deadeye") and commander of the marksmanship rifle team. I also learned how to throw a grenade and recognize a land mine when I saw one. I think those experiences and background really instilled a healthy respect for firearms/weapons and what they can do. Though I don't really care to own a handgun, I would like to be properly trained in their use so that if a situation arose when I would need to use one, I could.

That being said, I don't think there's any real reason for people to have semi or full automatic weapons. Collectors, perhaps, and I'd imagine there's a line or two of legitimate employment that use them, but one doesn't need an AR-15 and massive quantities of ammunition to hunt or defend one's person / home (unless the zombie apocalypse gets underway).

I really don't know what to say about gun control law...I just don't know how effective they'd be. Criminals don't exactly worry about that sort of thing. I do think that people will carry guns no matter what, so training and education are paramount. But unfortunately, there will always be those otherwise normal people who, the moment a weapon is placed into their hand, completely lose their minds in a false rush of 'empowerment.' A bullet should *always* be the last option.

But I don't know how to fix that. I wish I did.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
kengr

What's your objection to semi-auto weapons? Keep in mind that almost all pistols that aren't revolvers, and almost all hunting rifles are semi-auto.

Semi-automatic simply means that you don't have to recock between shots. and someone who has practiced can keep up quite a rate of fire with a bolt-action rifle.

Fully automatic weapons are already tightly regulated (takes a very thorough background check and a *big* ($500-$1000) "transfer tax" to get one. No legally owned fully auto weapon had been used in a crime until a police officer went nuts with one about 10 years back. Last I heard, that was the sole case in 80+ years.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 01:46 pm (UTC)
eglantine_br

I was shot several years ago, while fast asleep in my bed. The person doing the shooting was being robbed at gun-point across the street from me, (Same apartment complex.)

He returned fire, which came through my wall and hit me.

I am all right now. It could have been a lot worse. (My kids, for instance, had holes in their walls, but were not hit.)

The police returned the guy's gun to him the same night. The robber ran away and was never caught.

I was laughed at when I suggested that there might be a law against shooting so close to so many other dwellings. "He was defending himself," the cop said-- as I stood there, bleeding.

So... I guess I feel that guns specific to hunting are fine, if you are really going to hunt. But guns that can be concealed in any way, or do a lot of damage at once, or which are made for shooting humans, should be a very special case.

I feel that they should be only for police and military. (I mean, when you have one, you are really saying 'I want to use/play with a gun made for hurting other people.'

I know it would not fix everything. People would still get them, but there would be less of a flood if we turned the tap off.

My husband did 20 years in the Navy, during some of that time he used a sidearm. He agrees with me, but thinks such a law would never pass. He says we should get rid of concealed carry first. He feels that is more attainable maybe.

Oh, I should say, I was not shot on a Navy base. I was living in a civilian apartment complex, in Florida.

His command felt awful for me-- they gave him time off, and sent two sailors to bring me flowers.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 03:00 pm (UTC)
hanabishirecca

I am very sorry to hear that you were hit by a stray bullet. I'm glad that you are alright and nothing more serious than that occurred.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 01:53 pm (UTC)
rdmaughan

For context purposes I will state I am a Brit.

As far as I recall I have never fired a gun other than an air rifle at a fair.
I love venison and have happily tucked into game shot by one of my brother-in -laws.
Open carry is illegal for anyone outside the police, intelligence services or military in the UK, I have no problem with that.
Concealed carry is I think the same as concealed carry but might be allowed for a few other poeple who can demonstrate they are at risk. I have no problem with this.
The majority of police officers never handle a firearm except in Northern Ireland where all of them do. For the rest of the UK there are two levels of firearms training, one of which is for officers who might be required to deal with armed criminals and a higher level for firearms specialists who spend their careers dealing with armed situations.
The UK also does not have an equivalent of the Posse Comitatus Act and it is completely legal to deploy the army if needed. Outside Northern Ireland I can only think of one case where this has resulted in an exchange of fire within the last hundred years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_embassy_siege
Handguns have effectively been illegal in the UK since Dunblaine (1996). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunblane_school_massacre
Semi-automatic rifles and shotguns with more than a three round capacity have been illegal since Hungerford (1987). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungerford_massacre

Legal firearms have to be stored in a locked cabinet with the ammuntion stored separately. Guns are licenced individually except for shotguns which you can hold multiple of on one licence.

Please note I am not suggesting that the UK approach wolud work in the US. I am just putting this out for comparison.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 02:11 pm (UTC)
randwolf

Let me suggest that another problem here is a lack of treatment for mentally ill people, and a willingness to sell firearms to them. Most of the mass murderers I know of (I don't know about Holmes yet, though I have seen some early reports) give plenty of warning, are known to have problems with violence, and sometimes even have asked for help. If such signs were recognized, and the various laws against selling firearms to the mentally ill enforced, this would, at least, make it harder for the criminally insane to acquire and use firearms.

I have never, personally, been in a situation where a firearm would have been useful for defense.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 03:12 pm (UTC)
hanabishirecca

I work with individuals with mental illness and I'm going to give you a rather candid reply to this position.

I've been watching the Aurora incident closely (refusing to acknowledge the shooter's name) and can tell you that no small change in our system would have made a difference. It is still very early and information is very limited, so it is hard to make a strong judgement.

There is a systematic breakdown in this country and had we been providing more and better services in this country, this might have been prevented. It isn't that individuals with mental illness (and please try refer to individuals this way as they already carry a harsh stigma) shouldn't be prevented from access to fire arms. It is that the system prevents individuals who may or may not have mental illness from getting care.

I have depression and hopefully will be starting medical treatment soon. I'm 33 and should have started treatment when I first felt symptoms 17 years ago. I have not sought treatment because treatment is neither easy to get or affordable. I have worked with hundreds of people with nearly identical stories. They were ill, did not have anyone they could go to for one reason or another, and got worse. It was when they had a breakdown (technical term: decompensation) that they were identified as having a problem and were put into a system.

Assuming the shooter had a mental illness (which I have a theory on) it would have only made a difference if the following criteria were in effect:
1. The country did not stigmatize mental illness.
2. The country did not stigmatize speaking to someone about stress.
3. The country did not stigmatize having trouble succeeding without help.
4. The country provided affordable/free mental health services.
5. Universities raised awareness to programs and services for those struggling with classes due to stress.


If all five of these were met, it is POSSIBLE, but only slightly so, that he wouldn't have done what he did. If we add in raising public awareness to warning signs of schizophrenia, than it may have been LIKELY to have preventing what happened.

But never a guarantee.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 02:17 pm (UTC)
qnofhrt

I am against open carry laws. I would be ok with concealed carry IF the person so licensed had to take classes and demonstrate their ability to handle the weapon safely. You know, like we require for a driver's license.

There is no reason for semi-automatic anything in the civilian population. You don't need it to shoot deer. Same with large capacity clips. There may be a constitutional right to keep and bear arms but there's not a damn thing about being able to mow down an entire platoon with one 100 round clip. To give a point of reference, during the Civil war, Confederate soldiers were issued 40 rounds! For a war!

I really don't know what's become of this country. I listen to the politicians and wonder if I've wandered into an alternate reality somehow and Canada is looking better every day.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 11:06 pm (UTC)
dornbeast

There is no reason for semi-automatic anything in the civilian population. You don't need it to shoot deer.

Why not? I suppose it's preferable to kill the deer with the first shot, but very few people are that good all the time.

Now, I wouldn't hand somebody a fully automatic weapon to shoot deer - hunting deer with one of those is a waste of ammunition. But a semi-automatic rifle seems reasonable to me.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 02:44 pm (UTC)
shockwave77598

Do you enjoy hunting or target shooting or just the cool mechanical aspects of guns, or something else?
* I used to hunt with my father. I don't do much anymore, but I keep his old personal rifle in good order should I need it again one day.

Are/were you in the military, and how do you feel that colors your attitude toward guns?
* I was in the air force. I was in nuclear weapons and avionics, so no, my views on guns do not come from there -- having a gun where (I) was was a good way to be shot multiple times by the sky cops.

Do you prefer or despise particular styles of guns (not necessarily specific makes, e.g., Colt, Glock, etc., but rifles vs. handguns vs. shotguns vs. semiautomatics vs. whatever)?
* Depends on application. Sniper rifles must be bolt action (for accuracy) whereas home defense need rapid fire semiauto reloading. I treat hunting like I do sniper use and nothing but a bolt action will meet my requirements.

How do you feel about "open carry" laws?
* I don't believe the wild west model is any better than the "guns for criminals only" model we have today. Not every idiot should have a gun on the street.

How do you feel about "concealed carry" laws?
* They only work if the concealed weapons are permitted to go where everyone else goes. Having people willing to defend a room of people from criminals is pointless if those people cannot have their weapons with them.

Do you feel there are places where or circumstances when guns absolutely should not be allowed, no matter what?
* Courts of law and bars. Require them be surrendered at the door. In the old west, this was followed and worked just fine.

Do you really feel you are capable of defending yourself with a gun? I am not asking this with a snarky undertone; I'm asking if you, yourself, feel you have the training and experience necessary to use a gun for self-defense.
* Oh hell yes! I'm an avionics troop; I run TOWARDS burning aircraft to try to save my ass and those around me. You quickly learn to put panic off until after the emergency is over and deal with the problem -- there will be time enough to puke afterwards.

How about ammo? Are there types of ammo that should be off-limits, or quantities that are Just Too Much?
* Depends. If you are going to play with your Thompson at the gun range, buying 4000 rounds isn't a big deal. But that much for your SKS? Probably that should ring an alarm bell. Trouble is, there's no way anyone but the user knows what weapon it is going into and what they are going to do with it. I would probably be okay with govt. requiring you give your SSN and tracking ammo purchases, but just like the bad guys get around that with buying components for crystal Meth, so too will they get around it to buy ammo. Restrictions only apply to law abiding folks like you or me.

What rules and restrictions, if any, do you recommend to keep guns out of the wrong hands?
* Ah. That's impossible.

* What you CAN do though is have it so that the police ask for volunteers, and form an unpaid Deputy squad - folks who are clearly good citizens and not Rambo wannabes. They get classes and a background check. And most importantly, a holster with an alarm which goes off if the gun is drawn, but only the real police can deactivate it. So idiots wanting to wave their guns around will quickly lose their positions. And criminals/crazies will have no idea which people they attack will be packing and willing to shoot them dead. What you need is more guns in the field in the hands of good people to offset the ones in the hands of the crazies and criminals, because the bad guys are already packing whether you like it or not. The trick is in putting more guns into the RIGHT hands and not the wrong ones, and doing it cheaply. Hiring more police is not the answer -- making the people a volunteer police deputy force though has potential.

I do not believe that a wild west where everyone can have a gun is the answer. There are too many people I personally know that shouldn't have a hamster, never mind a gun. But I also know lots of people who would be willing to conceal carry and defend themselves and others around them, if they could carry anywhere where it'd do any good.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC)
alverant

How many times do you need to reload when defending your home anyway?

What rules and restrictions, if any, do you recommend to keep guns out of the wrong hands?
* Ah. That's impossible.

So we shouldn't try even if we can get it right 99% of the time?

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 02:45 pm (UTC)
randwolf

Here is a data-based critique of the claims of firearm effectiveness in self-defense: link. Apparently, claims of the effectiveness of firearms in self-defense are in part based on bad statistics. The whole summary of the National Institute of Justice's 1997 survey of firearms ownership and use is worth a read, link.

The point here, I suppose, is that the best reason for the very liberal firearms laws in the USA is overblown: firearms aren't very useful for self-defense. Another common claim is that firearms would be useful against an authoritarian government. The USA is sliding towards authoritarian policing: widespread firearm ownership seems to have made no difference at all. Instead, the same attitudes that lead to the popularity of civilian firearms ownership have also led to vastly over-arming the US civilian police forces, and sometimes the firearms owners support authoritarian policing, making matters worse.

Finally since defensive firearms use is so rare, yet defensive firearms ownership is so common, the risk of accidents with and misuse of firearms is very high.

More restrictive laws probably would help. Still, the USA has some extremely violent subcultures, and the violence, rather than the weapons, would also best be addressed.

Edited at 2012-07-24 03:00 pm (UTC)

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 02:46 pm (UTC)
redaxe

I had basic firearms training as a boy (<13), but have not shot since becoming an adult. I doubt that I still have any skill with one, but I wasn't a bad shot (with a .22, mostly, both long barrel and handgun) and suspect that with practice I could be again. That's different from actively defending myself, even after the practice, however.

There's no good reason for civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons with large clips, or most fully automatic weapons at all (assault weapons ban SHOULD be reinstated).

I'm on record as advocating licensing directly parallel to that for drivers, including written and practical competency exams (I go back and forth on whether that ought to include a pop-up target test or merely range accuracy). The "cars kill as many people as guns" argument comes from firearms advocates; I see no reason to deprive them of the opportunity to put their money where their mouths and pixels are.

Open carry is reasonable in most places. There are some venues that I feel should be utterly off-limits to firearms, notably any place that serves alcohol. If it impairs judgment and physical ability too much to drive, it impairs them too much to shoot. Also, many such places drive emotional reactions (everything from a sporting event to a bar, or even the opera, can get people riled up) and that only leads to tragedy.

In general, I think concealed carry leads to more trouble than it's worth, but know enough to realize that I don't have an informed opinion.

I also have problems with home storage, especially in homes with children. Too damned many accidents happen each year, and too many of those are fatal.

Nothing's going to provide perfect safety, but the world the NRA pushes and has almost achieved is just not sane.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 09:24 pm (UTC)
netmouse

As an aside, a comment in a discussion on my LJ about laws that expire has convinced me that the so-called "Assault weapons ban" that used to be in effect

A) did not actually ban assault weapons

B) instead banned several other guns or ammo, many of which are useful and not what a reasonable person thinks of within the definition of assault weapon.

Post this explanation, I am still for an assault weapons ban, but according to the military definition, not the law we used to have.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 02:51 pm (UTC)
hanabishirecca

Disclaimer:
I'm a registered independent who has voted the Democratic ticket almost across the board since legally gaining the right to vote. The rare exceptions to this are on an individual basis when a Republican has impressed me and is clearly better than the Democratic candidate. This is rare. And this disclaimer is included because my answer may leave you to feel the opposite.

I enjoy target shooting. I do not hunt. I will eat meat that has been hunted. I own no firearms and I plan to own only two in my life, my grandfather's service pistol. My grandfather was a sharpshooter and it is the only thing of his I'd like to own. And I'd also like a shotgun for home defense.

I have no preference of style of guns.

I personally like open carry laws. I understand the concerns people carry with open carry laws, but displaying a gun is not going to cause a crime to be committed and is not likely to discourage a crime from being committed. I see MOST people who exercise their open carry laws as making a statement of: "I am one of the millions of responsible gun owners." I say this because in my experience, most people who open carry ARE responsible gun owners. Most is not all.

I am in favor of Concealed Carry laws. I have a friend who is a concealed carry instructor. There has been one murder, to my knowledge, that was committed by someone with a concealed carry permit. It was a crime of passion. Getting a concealed carry permit is NOT an easy process. It gets you on a list. It requires extreme gun owner responsibility. You must disclose immediately if you have a concealed firearm when interaction with law enforcement.

While I have a right to have firearms, I do not have the right to have firearms anywhere I go. So long as a public venue offers reasonable security, that venue should have the right to restrict firearms on the premise. Private venues should have the right to restrict firearms on the premise. I have the right to sue after all. It isn't like I can't sue a company for putting me in danger and not permitting me a way to defend myself.

If I had a firearm, I would be able to defend myself in my own home. I would be uneasy about the idea of defending myself in public until I had worked on improving my skills. I'm not worried about hitting the target. I'm worried about missing and hitting someone else. This is part of the reason I do not own a firearm yet.

I do not believe in restricting owning ammo. I believe that ammo is one of the things that can and should be tracked. Special ammo should not be able to just be purchased at a store no questions asked. Special ammo should flag you with the ATF. LOTS of ammo should flag you with the ATF. Internet purchases should flag you with the ATF. But if you are buying a couple of boxes a month for a local store, it isn't an issue.

There is more I could say, but I'm worried about comment character limits, so I'm stopping here.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 06:38 pm (UTC)
alverant

I find the phrase "I am one of the millions of responsible gun owners." falls into the "no true Scotsman" logical fallacy. If someone slips up they suddenly stop being a responsible gun owner. So when that happens do they give up their guns or shrug their shoulders and continue as is if nothing bad happened?

How do they know they're responsible anyway? Because no one has been shot yet? Big deal. Someone can go speeding through a school zone bunches of times without hitting anyone. Does that make them a safe driver? Being lucky is not the same as being responsible.

Tue, Jul. 24th, 2012 02:56 pm (UTC)
nancylebov

One more angle on the question-- what do you think the cost of serious gun control would be? Not just the monetary cost, but the creation of a black market.