Useful Notes American Gun Politics Discussion

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05:36:02 AM Dec 16th 2014
Help me understand this. What's stopping an eccentric billionaire from owning a Kill Sat, a Doomsday Device, or enough Mecha-Mooks to Take Over the World twice over? Is the law really "you haven't hurt anyone yet so we can't even knock on your door"?
07:16:58 AM Dec 16th 2014
... what?
06:46:06 AM Dec 20th 2014
Maybe the denial of Weapons of Mass Destruction to US citizens is unconstitutional.

But in practice, don't they have laws against owning such weapons?
07:31:18 AM Dec 20th 2014
... yes. OP was talking gibberish.
03:48:51 PM Aug 29th 2013
Doesn't describing the British government at the time of the American Revolution in the individual liberties section as Jerkass a violation of the No Real Life Examples Please rule in the main Jerkass article?
07:33:26 AM Dec 4th 2014
Yes. It's removed now.
02:09:08 PM Mar 28th 2013
What's with the use of firearm-related deaths? That those increase with firearms is self-evident, it's the change in *overall* homicide/suicide/violent crime that's contentious.
07:33:58 AM Dec 4th 2014
'What's with' them how?
12:52:03 PM Jan 8th 2012
The article as written feels...biased (in the interests of full disclosure: I'm British and largely indifferent to firearm legislation).

The first section seems fine, just outlining the ways in which the 2nd amendment is interpreted, a bit of history and how the main political parties factor into it followed by a couple which describe the law as is, with no opinions.

However, from that point;

  • The section on gun control advocates starts with a reasonable sounding introduction (about the same length as the pro-gun organisations section above it) but then the remaining 2/3rds worryingly resembles a solid block of "this is why these people are wrong!". Particularly the last sentence, "Gun control advocates tend to get cranky, though, when you mention that things like high speed printing presses, the internet, and the Church of Happyology weren't around when the First Amendment was written either,", which apart from bordering on an outright insult doesn't seem to make much sense in the context of the preceding argument and seems more like a Take That than any attempt at being informative.
  • The paragraph at the end of the statistics section seems horribly biased with no mention of the sources for the statistics it cited, and basically reading as a series of facts calculated to portray non-American countries (with the sole attempt to introduce other arguments or possibilities being "The United States, with the most firearms per capita, also has the most homicides per capita of the nations listed" at the beginning and the remaining 7 lines being the "but").
08:43:49 PM Mar 12th 2012
edited by Severen
Sorry, but I think you're being a bit biased yourself.

One of the most frequent arguments I hear from gun control advocates about the Second Amendment is that it was written for a specific time (namely, the Revolutionary Era), and has absolutely no business existing today. They suspiciously don't have this opinion about any of the other amendments in the Bill Of Rights. Hence, when you apply the same logic to, say, the First Amendment, they do, in fact, get cranky. It's a perfectly valid point, so I'm putting it back in.

Just because the statistics are not cited doesn't mean they aren't true. The reason isn't to show that the United States is necessarily better in terms of crime, but to show that gun bans, like those in the UK, Australia or New Zealand, do not necessarily mean a safer society, which is the very basis of the philosophy of the gun control movement.

Perhaps the reason why the arguments seem to fall on the pro-gun side is because the gun control side has failed, to this day, to come up with any truly valid arguments. It's one of the reasons why the movement has largely failed to enact any lasting legislation. They simply don't have the facts on their side. We can't help it if this wiki page reflects that.
08:52:36 PM Jun 3rd 2012
As someone who is "pro-gun" by this articles lights, I agree that it is written in a rather biased way. For one thing, the debate does not break down to "pro-gun" and "anti-gun." Plenty of gun control advocates cannot be reasonably described as anti-gun. Waiting periods and background checks, for instance, do not prevent non-criminals from obtaining firearms. The issues are far more nuanced then the article lets on.

The point about high speed printing presses, the internet, and the Church of Happyology is also rather silly. The argument about muskets versus AK-47's is not about technological advancement in itself, but rather about what means are authorized under the intent of the amendment. Nobody thinks that we should allow individuals to buy nuclear weapons because they are not reasonable weapons for self-defense. The issue here, then, is where to draw the line between "should be available to all" and "too dangerous for public availability." Such issues simply do not arise with high speed printing presses or the internet, and the Church of Happyology is just another instance of the same protected class (no more or less "advanced" than any other religion).

It is by primarily dealing in straw men that those of us who seek to uphold the Second Amendment are made to look like ignorant fools by those who seek to violate it. More relevantly to this article, however, perpetuating straw men doesn't make these notes useful as much as just another useless rant. There's a lot here worth saving, but the bias really should go.
12:17:32 AM Jun 24th 2012
edited by Severen
You've created a strawman of your own with that comment.

Background checks are not opposed by the pro-gun lobby. The NRA has supported them for quite a while now. As for waiting periods, well, that's just redundant. The original point of a waiting period was to give the gun salesman time to do a background check, which took longer in those days. Now, a background check can be done in a matter of minutes. The only other reason to have waiting periods is to convince people not to buy guns. How do I know this? Because I've talked to gun control advocates who've said as much. Their hope, with waiting periods, is that potential buyers will be given time to "come to their senses", and decide not to buy a gun after all. That's the only reason why waiting periods would ever be enacted in this day and age. They're pointless otherwise.

"The argument about muskets versus AK-47's is not about technological advancement in itself,-"

I'm sorry, but it very much is an issue of technological advancement. How do I know this? Because I actually take the time to read and listen to gun control advocates. Talk to any of them, and they will tell you that that certain weapons are okay, while other, often more advanced ones, are not. Single-shot long guns, like from the old days? Fine. Assault rifles? Not okay. Handguns? Not okay. The Assault Weapons Ban is proof of this. I've heard several gun control advocates claim that the founding fathers would be horrified at the idea of people being able to own such weapons, as opposed to "muskets".

"-but rather about what means are authorized under the intent of the amendment."

You're implying that the "intent" of the amendment is nothing more than for personal self-defense? I (and many others, for that matter) would disagree with you on that. There is nothing in the amendment about the size or power level of the weapon. To say that a Kalashnikov has no place in the hands of your Average Joe is completely a matter of personal opinion, and not covered in any way by the amendment. And as for your cheap-shot about nukes (and you accuse me of creating strawmen), the amendment refers to arms, most likely meaning small arms, not weapons of mass destruction. A Kalashnikov rifle doesn't deserve to be uttered in the same breath as a nuke.

Back to the intent of the amendment: there are those of us who believe "gun control" is just a name that the anti-gun crowd chose to sound more neutral (like "pro-life" or "pro-choice"), but let's assume they do think people should be able to own guns. Still, the name implies they want everything under government control, for the sake of safety. In my opinion, this undermines the intent of the amendment. The Second Amendment, for all intensive purposes, was created as a way to keep the government in check, not the other way around (this very idea is discussed in the article). An armed populace means the government is less likely to try something they shouldn't. If the government is in control of all the guns people own, then the Second Amendment is useless. So, as far as I am concerned, "gun control" is no different than "anti-gun". If you really respect the rights of gun owners, it should be because we claim these rights for ourselves, not because the government grants them to us.

As for free speech, you're still wrong. There is very much a debate raging on whether freedom of speech should be limited in certain ways. There are rackets and pyramid schemes, for instance, that essentially get away with false advertising by hiding behind the First Amendment. And the Church of Happyology, unless we are all fooling ourselves, is nothing but an example of such a racket (more or less admitted to be so by its' creator). While more mainstream religions are no stranger to such things, these were not their original reasons for existing. So, in a way, the Church is more "advanced" than other religions. There are people out there who think the First Amendment should be limited so that these people can be shut down. There is much debate on whether or not "Hate Speech" should be legal. There is debate on what qualifies as "shouting fire in a crowded theatre". The point is, if you can re-interpret the Second Amendment based on what you think the founding fathers believed, you can do the same for the First one. And that could mean any number of things.
01:32:39 AM Jun 24th 2012
Folks, can we please stop discussing gun politics here? If there is such a discussion to do, Take It to the Forums.
01:41:34 PM Jan 20th 2011
Disclaimer: I am very progun.

That being said, I think that the article too narrowly focuses on the 2nd Amendment meaning and discussion, which misses a large part of the discussion and too favors the pro-gun side. In my experience the politics emphasize different topics of discussion. Please note, all of these arguments are highly debatable, and often debated:

Progun people: 1) We have a right to it. This is from a reading of the 2nd Amendment, which the SCOTUS agreed with in 5-4 decisions in Heller v. DC (2008) and Mc Donald v. Chicago (2010). 2) Hunting and target shooting is fun and part of our lifestyle (especially in more rural areas/states). 3) We should have a right to defend ourselves against crime. Often this includes some mention of police response times (esp. in rural areas), success rate of police investigations (<50% for D.C. murders), and an appeal to individualism/populism. With all these stats YYMV. 4) Guns decrease crimes (some statistics, YYMV). 5) National defense (e.g. Red Dawn). 6) Useful in a revolution. This can be include with Unfortunate Consequences, since extremists often call for racial violence. 7) Historical use in civil rights movement. Also historical (and present?) racial/class motivations of anti-gun people. (This not very commonly used, but was featured by several of the amicus curiae briefs in Heller.)

Anti-gun people: 1) Guns are used to kill people or animals and therefore are inherently scary. 2) Guns mean violence (e.g. Chekhov's Gun). This holds more for people who only have experienced or seen guns though stories. 3) Guns aggravate crimes (inc. suicides) and make them more dangerous and deadly. Gun crimes (crimes where a gun is used) are worse than crimes where guns are not used. Often includes statistics of some sort, YYMV. 4) Availability of guns enables crimes and suicides that would not occur. Often includes some statistics of some sort, YYMV. 5) Availability of guns allows high visibility/mass violence to occur. When these occur they are high visibility media sensations (school shootings, assassination attempts, etc.). 6) Guns in a home increase the like-hood of the guns being used against someone in the home (some study found this, although with caveats). 7) Guns makes police work and maintaining public order more difficult. 8) Guns are part of a lifestyle of the Hegelian other (e.g., rural people, gangsters, etc.). This holds true more for coastal suburbanites. 9) Guns used for self-protection is vigilantism. Vigilantism in all forms is bad. (May be part of an appeal to the authority of the state.) 10) Hunting is bad because it kills animals. Killing animals is bad, because animals are of nature. Nature is awesome. Therefore guns are bad. 11) Some interpretations, esp. by the 9th Court, of the SCOTUS decision in US v. Miller (1939). This is used less now, following the SCOTUS decisions in Heller and Mc Donald.

Hopefully I have been fair to both sides.
06:20:20 PM Jan 26th 2011
That's more or less right, though typically what I've argued in regards to viligantism is that while it sounds nice, it just tends not to work all that well.

Anyway, I think that the article could use a rewrite as well.
06:31:02 PM Jan 26th 2011
edited by Acinonyx
I propose adding that there's only an assault rifle in 13% of Swiss homes, you have to have a permit to purchase a gun that shows you're 18 and have no criminal record, and that to carry a weapon you have to demonstrate that you need to carry a weapon.

The article also claims that the fact that not many crimes are committed with guns seems to indicate that guns have little effect on crime, which doesn't seem to follow.

It also mentions that gun advocates point out that crime rose in Europe after gun control, which isn't true- the police changed their system of reporting. The BCS, which didn't, shows a decrease in crime.
07:18:21 PM Dec 15th 2011

These statistics were compiled by the European Union and the United Nations, showing most of the European countries ahead in terms of crime compared to the US. Also, British cops are rather notorious for underreporting crimes (hence the joke "In heaven, the police are British"), meaning that the new system of reporting is more accurate, and it showed that crime rates are way above Americans. Granted, there's the whole issue of Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics (for instance, South Africa might just report crimes less due to a rather useless justice system, but the point still remains.
09:42:17 AM Jan 9th 2012
edited by Bisected8
The joke "in heaven the police are British" comes from the fact that we invented the modern police force. Not everyone likes the idea of the crime going under-reported. Indeed as the commentor above you noted, the system was changed in a way that increased the number of crimes reported.

Furthermore; you're citing The Daily Mail. Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics is in full effect.
01:21:53 AM Nov 24th 2013
edited by

01:22:28 AM Nov 24th 2013
"But Police Minister David Hanson said: 'These figures are misleading. Levels of police recorded crime statistics from different countries are simply not comparable since they are affected by many factors, for example the recording of violent crime in other countries may not include behaviour that we would categorise as violent crime."

Case in point

07:38:51 AM Dec 4th 2014
edited by
Dude, that's the daily mail. As far as they're concerned, everything has gotten worse since about 1957/when we decriminalised homosexuality/when we let 'the darkies' in/when we started feeding and housing poor and old people/etcetcetc. Or as our (frankly hilarious) article on British Newspapers puts it:

07:41:15 AM Dec 4th 2014
I mean, they say 'don't shoot the messenger'/'no ad-hominem attacks' - but in this case, the messenger is a compulsive liar with a history of fraud and a well-deserved reputation for chicanery and sensationalism.
08:01:21 AM Dec 4th 2014
That post is a year old.
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