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gun control

Require concealed carry for all adults.
  (+17, -32)(+17, -32)(+17, -32)
(+17, -32)
  [vote for,

If the US would require everone over the age of 21 to be armed at all times, we would have a very polite society.(After the initial adjustment period) A formula could be developed to level the playing field in the same way a handicap levels the field in golf. For instance, people of advancing age, say 70and over, would be allowed to carry anything they can lift and fire, but healthy 21 year olds might be restricted to a single-shot .22. Obviously, this idea needs refining, but it is, after all, halfbaked.
njay, Jun 27 2000

A Basis for Ethics http://www.halfbake...04,2-11500-,00.html
Debate over the foundations of ethical theory. [Scott_D, Jun 27 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Supply and Demand http://www.halfbake...pply_20and_20Demand
Debate about economic theory. [Scott_D, Jun 27 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Critiques of Libertarianism http://world.std.com/~mhuben/faq.html
Background reading [hippo, Jun 27 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Port Arthur Massacre http://crimelibrary...l/bryant/index.htm.
Suddenly one Sunday.... [Alcin, Jun 27 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

What the anti-gunners want to deny!!!! http://www.nralive.com/index2.cfm
This is what the mass media chooses to not tell you. [HKUSP9, Jun 27 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Texas Gun Law http://www.latimes....003/t000093745.html
The record to date, problems with background checks. [Scott_D, Jun 27 2000]

Pierre Joris's Eric Mottram home page. http://www.albany.edu/mottram/
[Scott_D, Jun 27 2000]

Further Gun Control Discussion on the Halfbakery http://www.halfbake...a/Gunless_20America
[Lemon, Jun 27 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Lewis for Beretta. http://www.art-ww1....e/038text.html#back
now sod off. [lewisgirl, Jun 27 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

The Prince http://www.undergro...nce.html#para%20123
An excerpt from the book found on the web. [LoriZ, Jan 06 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Frederick the Great's rebuttal of the above linked text. http://www.undergro...antimac.html#chap12
"Machiavel's <I>The Prince</I> is to ethics what the work of Spinoza is to faith." [LoriZ, Jan 06 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Texas Gun Law http://www.latimes....003/t000093745.html
The record to date, problems with background checks. [Scott_D, Oct 04 2004]

Pierre Joris's Eric Mottram home page. http://www.albany.edu/mottram/
[Scott_D, Oct 04 2004]


       Fascinating. But, how can we, in good conscience, leave the under-21 segment of our population out of this? Perhaps requiring that Under- 21ers carry Supersoakers with them at all times... or, I always thought that the Tennis Ball-in-the-Tube Sock , a'la Homey the Clown, was a humourously effective close-range weapon.
Allrighty, Jun 27 2000

       I agree with the age problem. If you're over 18, you can join the army, you can vote, you can leave home, etc., so you should be required to carry a gun too. 12-17 year olds can carry edged weapons (sabers, foils maybe). 6-11 year olds should be required to carry a club or sap, and under-6-year-olds should have contact poison on their fingernails (or a grenade in their diapers).
wiml, Jun 28 2000

       Hey, Wiml, there's humor potential in the kid with a grenade in his diapers idea. He angrily reaches down in the back of his diapers to reveal... A GRENADE!!! Hopefully a clean one...( it may discourage the kid from getting potty trained)- or, anyone knowing a kid is packin' a grenade in there( some kids already smell like "somethin's gone off") can grab the grenade and use it in an emergency. Married couples, having large families, just for the arms advantage....
Allrighty, Jun 30 2000

       I hate to say it, njay, but you're completely nuts.
erik, Jul 09 2000

       Surely banning all firearms is a better idea? Just compare the number of shootings in the US to those in the UK...
MrTheRich, Jul 11 2000

       I agree with Mr TheRich. The only safe solution is to ban any form of armed weapon. Making them available to everyone mearly escalates the level of violence.
ccaamgw, Jul 11 2000

       ....and just watch the news from UK and OZ where guns are banned. They now have to merely stab and bludgeon each other to death. Criminals will be criminals, always and everywhere. I like the idea of everyone carrying a weapon, with a responsible attitude.The anti-gun crowd will rant and rave, until four days after all guns are removed, another Hitler arises in their hometown. Then THEY will want guns back, but it will be too late, they will have to settle for a seat in a gas chamber... Nuff said!
jetckalz, Jul 11 2000

       Uh-oh. I could see the way this conversation was heading.   

       If I was going to join in, I''d say that I'd much rather be in a crowded retaurant when a nutter goes bezerk with a baseball bat, than when one goes bezerk with an Uzi.   

       But I'm not going to join in, so I won't say that.
Lemon, Jul 11 2000

       Maybe you cant diminish people criminal tendencies by stopping them from having guns, but that's no excuse for giving people access to them.
MrTheRich, Jul 11 2000

       My wife and I have resolved our security concerns by hiring Charlton Heston to stand outside our home dressed as Moses, threatening to have God throw lightning bolts at loiterers.
Ander, Jul 26 2000

       I lived in Jacksonville Fl. for a couple of years, where at that time it was a simple matter for a non-felon to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, and I have heard that it cut the number of firearm fatalities considerably - the primary victims of murder are now, as ever, the usual guy cheating with another guys wife or the guy who ripped somebody off, and of course the police and the unsuspecting tourists whom the strong-arm artists know to be unarmed - anyone else is too risky.
Scott_D, Jul 27 2000

       This is not as simple an issue as most people seem to think it is. In Australia we have very restrictive laws about who has guns and what types of guns and to be honest we haven't seen many Hitlers down here taking over towns. Personally that doesn't seem like a realistic problem - that's why we maintain a standing army (and its not a very big one).   

       However, the idea that making guns illegal will sovle the problem is also ludicrous. We still have shootings in Australia by people who have obtained guns illegaly. Our laws have just been revised to be some of the toughest in the world, but there are more illegal guns on the street than ever before. Never forget that only law abiding people obey the law. Do some checking to see how many laws the various shooters in the US broke when aquiring their weapons.
mgaroni, Jul 27 2000

       Interesting, I just answered a vote.com survey; one question was, should all firearms be registered?   

       I answered no.   

       I expanded on this in the "comments" section at the end of the survey, and the gist was this: surveillance technology will be ubiquitous, and not just images -- scent patterns, height/weight/gait/gestures/vocal patterns, and probably others -- will be recorded. Everywhere. So anyone using a firearm will most definitely be identified and brought to justice; therefore there's no reason for registration.   

       Sure it'll help in the short term, but at the expense of the Constitution.
Thing 1, Jul 27 2000

       i'm not going to get into the banning vs keeping/concealing firearms. what i am going to say is that should a hitler come to power i am armed with the knowledge that a few bags of fertilizer and some diesel fuel will blow the shit out of a big building (say a government center?) and that a couple of pieces of pvc and some hairspray can throw alot more than a potato.
wrenchndmachine, Aug 11 2000

       A further observation I failed to mention in my previous posting, is that the ease of obtaining a concealed permit in Fla. meant that many people did carry concealed handguns, but only a practiced eye can discern who is and who isn't - this means that criminals tend to assume you are armed, even if you are not - and most seem to prefer not to play this form of Russian Roulette.
Scott_D, Aug 20 2000

       Anti-gunners scare me. Not ONE of them has EVER explained to me just how banning firearms can be called "constitutional". Elected officals take an oath to uphold the constitution, yet anti-gun laws are passed. Every time a new anti gun law is passed, my RIGHT to keep and bear arms is infringed upon. The right to arms is supposed to be an insurance policy against "hitlers", yet the anti-gunners seem to not want the American people to know this.I have a name for anti-gunners--GESTAPO. Wake up folks. The second amendment is there for a reason. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be there. Always beware when your government wants to take something from you.
HKUSP9, Aug 30 2000

       The second ammendment to the Constitution consists of two clauses, the first, an independent clause, and the second, a dependent clause - meaning that the meaning of the second clause is dependent on the first. The was a very specific rationale behind this ammendment: at the time, state armies, like Great Britains, consisted of proffesional regular soldiers augumented by mercenary troops. The Continental Congress decided, either through design and necessity, to create the Continental army on the "Militia" principle. A militia, unlike a regular, professional army, is community based, meaning that each unit consisted of part time soldiers organized in local units, each unit from the same, specific local area. A regular army, by contrast, consists of units whose personel may be drawn from widely seperated communities. The rationale behind the militia style army, was that it was considered more difficult to subvert, and that it would be harder to induce local soldiery to fire on their own friends, family and neighbors - and thus a check against tyranny. This was similar to early fuedalism, and this structure was largely maintained through the civil war, and even through the WWI and WWII until today, in the form of local National guard and reserve units - in contrast to modern private "militias" who operate without Congressional charter or regulation and are little more than proffesional armies of the type that transformed European Fuedalism into the type of tyranny that the founding fathers sought to mediate with the militia style organization to begin with.   

       One could argue that in the absence of local militia style organization, the right of the individual citizen to bear arms compensates for the presence of a profesional army, and serves as a continuing check against tyranny. There is little to support this, although the Kent State incident, and more recently, the Waco incident, among others, have not been resolved to everyones satisfaction.   

       Comprehensive gun control, would neccesarily have to begin with those who are barred from gun ownership, i.e, convicted felons, and in realistic terms, criminals. This is the NRA's argument, and it is a sound one, it making no sense to deprive a person of the reasonable right to self defence in a society where gun ownership is ubiquitous, even leaving the possibility of tyranny aside.   

       For their part, gun owners and the NRA have done little to help resolve the situation: comprehensive firearms safety training, and a real effort to keep firearms out of the hands of unsupervised children and criminals by keeping them safely locked up would be a step in the right direction, and conformity to Federal, State and local firearms dealers would also help - too often, free market considerations and profit motives serve to undermine common sense. All of this is to say that through a paranoid reaction, the NRA, and gun owners have undermined their own argument by failing to address the very real problem of firearm violence, and demand for Government regulation of firearm prodution and/or ownership will eventually be the result. A recent poll of teenagers reveals that they are increasingly in favor of gun control, tired, one suspects, having to live with firearm violence on a daily basis. Legalistic jargon, however well constructed cannot address their very real fears, or replace those who have been taken from their families.   

       I myself was raised around firearms, and have fired hundreds of thousands of rounds, through a variety of weapons - I always said that "I believe in gun control - ya gotta use both hands". This attempt at humor aside, the best firearm safety device is the mind of the gun owner, and a culture in which firearms are a sign of "manliness", idiots are certain to abound - Like motor vehicles, which are regulated and liscenced, firearms have been know to give one an inflated sense of personal power. I've personally known at least two persons who shot their best friends while showing off - one fatally, the other non-fatal by the slimmest chance,and I cannot count the number of weapons stolen - while I know of one friend who had to use a firearm to defend himself and his family. Firearm culture must be willing and able to extend social controls and mediate cultural mythology toward a safer attitude toward firearms if they are not to undermine the freedoms they are trying to defend.
Scott_D, Aug 30 2000

       Hey Scott---Whose side ya on anyway?
HKUSP9, Aug 31 2000

       Mine. Modern politics has taken on a divisive tone that I feel is not condusive to effective solutions. In this case, looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life is not my idea of fun - my stepfather was like this, and I decided a long time ago, I didn't want to live that way. On the other hand, there are no guarantees in life, and there will awlaws be those who price their ideals, needs, etc, above my life, and I like the idea of keeping my options open. I try to do this in respect to firearms, by not contributing to the negative statistics: I don't fool around with them, they are tools, not toys, and while there are certain times when I may carry one, particularly where the possibility of carjacking is high, in general, I avoid situations where self defence might be called for. Koersh, for example, largely created the situation he found himself in, and while the ATF might might have overreacted, this, this is, to some extent, understandable. I remember remarking to a friend, when it become clear that Koresh was not going to surrender - that "this thing is going to end badly" - and I was right. Abandoning the political and social process in favor of violent, anarchic paranoid extremes is certain to lead to extreme solutions.   

       In general, the uncompromising attitude of both sides of this, and other issues, prevents a dialogue that addresses these issues in the ways that our founding fathers tried to promote. As a result, abortion, for example, is debated in terms of good vs. evil, and birth control, the mature use of which could significantly reduce the abortion rate, is attacked with the same fervor as abortion itself. In gun control, NRA advocates have taken a libertarian stand that I find odious - libertarians in my opinion, are little better than anarchists from a moral standpoint and I cannot support a dogma that places purity of principle above human life as quotidian reality. Nor can I countenece the notion that self criticism is treachery - this idea has led to the current state of affairs, i.e, shallow defence of flawed ideas on both sides of the issues. Rush Limbaugh, constantly berates liberals for their "lockstep" attitudes, and yet will not tolerate any dissention from his veiwpoint, and harshly attacks anyone who steps out of line to examine conservative dogma from an objective perspective - he is, perhaps, the most dangerous man in America, as his raving passes for logic and reason, and his influence has reduced conservative thought to little more than psychopathic propoganda - trust me; there is nothing more dangerous than an idiologue. If calling for personal responsibility is interpreted as betrayal of some "side", there is no moral ideal to be upheld here.   

       The above links are to more thought in this vein, and even if you don't agree, please consider that this is based on observation and experience, not just on abstract theories - it might help you to wrap your mind around some of the "inconsistencies".
Scott_D, Aug 31 2000

       Our entire Government, including the Constitution, is predicated on the Free Market philosophy and observations of Adam Smith. The system of "checks and balances" are a sort of free market solution to politics, the theory being that monopoly is always bad, whether political or economic. By pitting the various branches of Government "against each other", in a manner of speaking, the founding fathers hoped that competing interests would result in a more balanced political system, as compromise would be the only way to reach a solution. The result, is that representitive Democracy does not work very efficiently, but it is very difficult to entirely subvert, and in fact the chief goal of both our form of Government and our economic system, is to prevent the political-economy from reaching it's logical conclusion - tyranny is the mostly inevitable result. By maintaining a constant state of flux, opportunity is created and progress is given a chance to occur.   

       I do not agree with a requirement for carrying a firearm, but I do not neccessarily disagree with allowing suitably trained and registered gun owners permits to carry concealed weapons - this provides a "balance of power" between criminals and law abiding citizens. As noted above in an earlier annotation, this creates a situation in which criminals are no longer able to act with utter impunity, as no-one is sure who is armed and who isn't. I believe this is consistent with the spirit of the Constitution, if not necessarily the letter - embodying the self regulatory features that were the intent of the founding fathers.
Scott_D, Aug 31 2000

       Scott--Please do the rest of free America a favor and go sniff some more glue. What part of "Shall NOT be infringed", do you not understand? You like to think that you have the command of many multi-syllabic words, but sadly fail to correctly interpret one small phrase.
HKUSP9, Sep 09 2000

       It's amazing how quickly and predictably a little joke will spiral into the same old arguments. (To be sure, Scott's position is surprisingly neutral.)   

       Maybe I should start an idea: "Mandatory Abortion".
egnor, Sep 09 2000

       Hey EGNOR----I like you.I really do. I have read many of your comments and responses and agree with many of them. But on the issue of gun control there can be NO mistake!! The anti's want me ( a law abiding citizen!!!), to lose my right to keep and bear arms. This I will FIGHT against. And for those who have lost the ability to read and understand plain English---The 2nd amendment is a guarantee to all who wish to keep their freedom, that they shall not have to fight empty handed. Just when did Americans forget that it is NOT the elected official that is the boss,but rather the people that cast the votes that are in charge? Wake up America,open your eyes,shut off the alarm and let your feet hit the floor! It is not hard to understand---"anti gunner" is a term for someone who will take great pains to take away your constitutional RIGHT( note that I did NOT say privilege!!!!),to keep and bear arms. I leave it up to the reader ---what do you call a person that would do such a thing?? Facist? Nazi? How about "dictator"? Sound too harsh? Think about Hitler and how he bragged about his policy of gun control. How long after was it before he started to throw MILLIONS OF PEOPLE into furnaces? I leave it to you read about in the history books.
HKUSP9, Sep 10 2000

       Does Godwin's Law only work in Usenet?
StarChaser, Sep 10 2000


       Linguistically, the entire amendment is a compund phrase, and one cannot simply single out the parts one likes, and ignore the rest, without altering the meaning and rendering interpretation arbitrary.   

       Philosophically, rights are dependent on accompanying obligations and responsibilities, otherwise you might as well promote anarchy as morality.   

       Realistically, rights are only those things that can be enforced, and alaw that cannot or will not be enforced ceases, technically, to be a right. Evading the responsibility that accompany the right to bear arms, can only erode the political and social support for that particular right. The second ammendment was designed to preserve liberty, not to make people prisoners in their own homes.   

       Although I believe that the logistics involved in confiscating firearms render your fears in this respect mostly moot, and I do not personally support such measures, I feel the biggest threat to this particular liberty comes from the firearm owning community itself, through irresponsibility, and it is to this community I address myself.
Scott_D, Sep 10 2000

       The Axis during WWII didn't seem to have much trouble rounding up guns, especially when they had all those wonderful lists of gun owners from the registrations...
StarChaser, Sep 10 2000

       Good point SC!! Scott falls into a class of people that argue for the sake of argument, mostly using large words to say nearly nothing. His ignorance of the subject at hand is embarrassing. Hopefully he will be ignored in future so that other people can debate the issue. Note to Scott: "Realistically, rights are only those things that can be enforced, and alaw that cannot or will not be enforced ceases, technically, to be a right."{quote taken from his own entry---typos included.} This is SICK thinking and you need to talk to a doctor fast!!! Even you have the right to continue living. The (6?), million Jews murdered by Hitler had the right to life also! But by your thinking, they lost that right the moment they lost their weapons!! After all, they lost their ability to say "NO" and enforce it. A right does not cease to be a right merely because it becomes "unenforcable". A law is something entirely different. You would do well to learn the difference before you trip over your tongue in public once again.
HKUSP9, Sep 10 2000

       Right 6 : GENUINE, REAL   

       You are speaking of rights in an abstract, philosophical sense, I'm talking about rights in a legal sense - what you can reasonably demand, and expect to get. The "right" of the Jews to live, being un-enforcable at that time, meant that that "right" ceased to have any meaning. You can argue that they had the moral right regardless, but they're still dead - it's not a magic wand. And you still have not explained you're creatively illiterate interpretation of the second ammendment to me - you're arguing custom, appearently, which is one leg of the law, and often considered a valid argument, but custom often changes - nobody ever complained about firearm ownership until the statistical probability of being killed by one rose so dramatically. Gun control can thus be seen as those people who feel that it's their "right" not to be shot at by people with no respect for anybodies "rights" - usually with a gun stolen from some "American Hero", like yourself. Misguided, perhaps, but understandable. I suggest that you watch too much TV - Go argue with a 240 gr. hollowpoint about your "rights" homey.
Scott_D, Sep 11 2000

       Amendment II.   

       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.   

       That's a comma after the word "State", HK, not a period.   

       Also: technically, they call it "being deprived of ones rights" - meaning that this right has been taken from you - justly or no.
Scott_D, Sep 11 2000

       First of all Scott, do me one small favor will ya? NEVER call me "Homey" again. If you do that one small favor I Promise never to either call you "JERK" or point out how many misspelled words you post in your annotations. Secondly: It is highly unlikely anyone would be able to steal any of my collection due to the fact that it is locked up in a safe the size of Texas. With the exception of the sidearm I choose to carry on any given day, of course. Also,a 240 gr.hollowpoint bullet could indeed ruin a guys day. It is also a little on the oddball side weight wise. Considering that most rifle bullets in this weight class are either round nose or of the spitzer type, I can only conclude that you are referring to a bullet fired from a handgun---lets say something around the 41 Remington magnum or larger. Kind of a big gun for someone to use in a mugging don't you think? My position on the whole big deal of gun control is this: Law abiding citizens of The United States of America have the RIGHT to keep and bear arms. If the anti-gunners don't like it, tough. They can go sit on a stick. The passing of anti-gun laws is illegal and unconstitutional. Those who willingly violate their oath of office in the passing of such laws should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If an individual decides not to exercise a particular right, it is fine by me. It is when that person or group of persons tries to take that freedom from me that I become offended and oppressed. Once again, I say to those who would take my guns from me---What part of "shall not be infringed",do you not understand. It won't be long before you hear another familiar phrase used by those who love freedom: "Don't Tread On Me"
HKUSP9, Sep 12 2000

       My, we certainly have the fetish don't we. At the risk of encouraging you further, you have no difficulty picking apart my grammer, but cannot seem to comprehend the complexities implied in the wording of the Second Ammendment. Return when you have more to back up your argument, I for one am growing tired of repeating myself. If you use these deadly tools responsibly, good for you - I long ago lost patience with idiots waving guns, and now simply leave, lest I become tempted to "accidently" start breaking fingers.   

       p.s. HK, ya misspelled "say", although I had no great difficulty in interpreting your meaning. I hunt with a pistol, and large, slow slugs cut the brush better without deflecting, although I don't use hollowpoints for this purpose. I have also lost much of my youthful fascination with guns, the mind is weapon of far less crudity, properly developed, and firearms make a poor substitute.
Scott_D, Sep 12 2000

       Then again, one has the choice to "translate" the 2nd amendment using the literal definitions of the words used to compose it. There is no "might not" or "should not" anywhere in the wording. "shall not" is,however. Nothing is "implied" anywhere. HK wonders why Scott fails to notice this. btw,Scott---Have you E-mailed Bubba his definition of the word "is" yet?
HKUSP9, Sep 12 2000

       Consider the following HK:   

       No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house   

       No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime   

       No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State   

       the Vice President shall become President.   

       No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect   

       make any sense to you?
Scott_D, Sep 12 2000

       If no one had arms, we couldn't shoot each other
AfroAssault, Sep 14 2000

       Personally I think your Second Ammendment should be ammended to;   

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

       How many people a year will be mugged/assaulted/killed with that HKUSP9? Hmm?
Alcin, Sep 14 2000

       Well now there goes the neighborhood, Scott. Had ta go and invite the anti-chri----I mean the anti-gunners didn't you. Oh well. Welcome to the rumpus room folks. To AfroAssult: Yeah thats true. Also, if we had no knives we could not stab each other---no bows and no one is killed by arrows and blah - blah - blah. To Alcin: Muggers, murderers and just plain bad people will use just about anything as a weapon. Bats, tire irons, golf clubs, knives, poisons and even cooking utensils have been used to kill. Do a little research, Alcin. You will find that "gun crime" (as opposed to crimes commited by actual human beings that need to be held accountable for their behavior), is falling in EVERY state that has passed a "Shall issue" concealed carry law.(This is a FACT that drives anti-gunners absolutely crazy!) Banning firearms will do nothing to discourage a broke crack addict from mugging anybody, but it would deprive law abiding citizens an effective means of defending themselves. Also, a pillowcase stuffed with feathers is commonly known as a "pillow". I know this type of secret squirrel stuff so just trust me on this one, ok? P.S to Scott: Come on! That last rebuttal was just plain moronic and you know it. To be quite honest, I have come to expect better from you. I know you might have become stuck by your ears--but do at least TRY to unwedge your head from its confining entrapment....mmmm k?
HKUSP9, Sep 15 2000

       And if you believe that B is even possible, you're deluded. People deride the saying as a 'redneck NRA joke' or something, but it is still true that if you make guns illegal, only people who break laws will have them. Drugs easily make their way into the country, outlawing guns will just give the same smugglers something else to profit on, while depriving honest people of the means to defend themselves.   

       Criminals know that at least some people tend to have guns and will use them to protect themselves, which makes them somewhat more cirucmspect about just randomly breaking into homes or assaulting people. If it was known that nobody who obeyed the law had a gun, crime would skyrocket.
StarChaser, Sep 16 2000

       HK, your'e really missing the point here, I hope you shoot straighter than this. If you go back to the top of this idea, you'll find that I disagree with a requirement to carry a concealed weapon, although I tenatively agree with a properly trained private citizen, being given a license to carry a properly registered concealed handgun, should they feel need for it.   

       To reiterate, this was the law in the part in Fla, I lived, and it did have the effect of reducing armed violence. Az. used to have a similar law, I don't know if they still do, with the qualification that if you were strapped and observed an armed crime being commited, and did nothing to stop it, you could be charged as an accessory. Registration, training, etc. is I believe neccessary in this case, since the weapons will presumably be being used in populated areas - police must undergo training for the same reason. This training could be handled by the NRA itself, and the weapon registered with the local police, against the eventuality that that weapon may be used in a crime. You can argue with that last part, but training, I believe is the minimum neccessary to satisfy both the Constitution and common sense. At no point did I even mention registration of firearms kept at home, which is a separate subject.   

       I am deeply disturbed by your inability to see the absurdity of selective interpretation of the Constitution in this regard, the lines in my last posting are sentences chosen more or less at random from the remainder of the Constitution, ala, NRA, Second Ammendment, style - and the last one is exactly analogous to your "interpretation" of the Second Ammendment. You asked someone to "explain" to you "just how banning firearms can be called 'constitutional' " and I have done so, the fact that you don't like it notwithstanding - it does not constitute a valid argument.   

       The Second Ammendment is considered one of the more ambiguous ammendments to the Constitution, and requires a deeper understanding of the context from which it emerged.   

       The rest of my argument consists of questioning whether irresponsible behavior of gun owners, does not in fact, contribute impetus to the gun-control movement. You respond that the Constitution "Gurantees" this "right" no matter how irresponsibly they may behave, "cause the Constitution says so", or some such - I'm here to tell you it ain't so. We currently enjoy a loose interpretation of the second ammendment, but there are plenty of valid arguments for more restrictive interpretations - it's a matter for the Supreme Court, who can tell the difference between a comma (,) and a period (.), and are not overly confused by the terms "militia" or "well regulated". In fact, in the strictest interpretation, one might construe that in the absence of a "well regulated militia", the right to bear arms is abrogated (look it up).   

       That you take joy in taunting the "opposition", many of whom may have suffered violence at the point of a gun, is obvious, and wins you no support, and your Constitutional arguments leave you looking like an illiterate idiot. You're wasting your breath with me, you've all but threatened to shoot me for disagreeing with you, and in short, you yourself are a walking, talking advertisement for gun control.   

       I suggest it you who are arguing for arguments sake - I'm a poor good typist, and don't always take the time to look words up, here in the halfbakery, my MS word program is corrupted, and unusable, and hence I have no spellchecker available- mea culpa - consequently my posings are rough draft quality - but if all you can do is make fun of my spelling, call me names, complain about having to read "big words", and having your attention span strained, I suggest you either run for office, or go circle jerk with the Libertarians. I didn't "invite" anybody else into this discussion, as far as I know, it's open to members of this site, most of whom have been here longer than you - you are entitled to your opinion, as are all the members of this site - but if you're going to try to make legal arguments, you better seek firmer ground.
Scott_D, Sep 16 2000

       The fact that I, along with millions of Americans, still own firearms and have not had them confiscated by the government is proof that the second amendment guarantees the right to bear arms. If it did not, the gun grabbers would have taken them all long ago. The fact is that "gun control" is all about taking rights away from Americans and making them a little less free. All anti gunners have the idea in their heads that it is o.k. to come into my home and steal from me. That it is O.K. to force me to register my weapons so that authorities can come to my dwelling and compell me to hand over my means of defense. The reason the gun owners in this country have guns is because it is ILLEGAL to deprive people of their constitutional RIGHTS. The whiny antis can't take the guns from us-so what do they do? They say "Lets ban magazines over 10 rounds", and "Lets ban the scary looking rifles". There is not a single person on the face of the planet that has the right to take a single gun from me. A anti gun supporter hates this fact and would like to pass a law giving him such a right. This is the only way they can try to take guns away from anybody: pass a law making it legal to commit burglary. The thing that is really disturbing is that people are putting forth gun control as an acceptable practice! Whatta ya mean you want to send a group of masked ninja in black clothes and body armor over to my house to break in my door, throw grenades in my living room and wave mp5 sub-machine guns at me all because you feel the need to take MY guns from me? Sound crazy? Got news for ya folks--thats exactly how the anti-gunners will operate. Ask any law enforcement agency. They have guys already training for just such missions. Register a firearm?? Yeah, right. One might as well mail a key to their gun safe to the friendly folks at HCI. It amounts to the same thing. And as for you, Scott, I have not made the suggestion that irresponsible gun owners are protected by the constitution. Those people will weed themselves out of any group calling themselves law abiding. There are already laws on the books dealing with the mentally unfit, felons, and others. The problem with the legal system is that shockingly few cases of gun violations are ever prosecuted. When was the last time you heard of a convicted felon going back to prison for the attempted purchase of a firearm? One hears of the many sales to felons prevented in one year by the infamous NICS system---but where are the prosecutions for those attempts? And as for dealing with the stupid and careless--what can I say? They exist and the only thing I can do about it is to be aware of my surroundings. I know that muzzle wavers are firmly told to take their guns elsewhere when discovered at my favorite range. I have even gone as far as to relieve one such idiot of his weapon and escorting him to his car. And you know what?? The round of applause I earned from the 10 or 12 off duty police officers I feel was well earned. Me as a walking talking advert for gun control? Hardly. But I do advertise that taking responsibility for ones own safety and behavior is a good habit to get into. P.S. I have never threatened you with violence, nor have I implied that I wished you harm, Scott. You should try to tone down your over active imagination a little bit.
HKUSP9, Sep 19 2000

       A commendable debate. Criminal intent, Moral Turpitude, Fraticide, Homicide, Suicide, Self-Protection, Policing, War, Hunting, Plinking, Competitive Target Shooting, Collecting. From the Worst reasons to the most justifiable, Guns are in supply and demand. From the unborn child to the elderly victim having been killed without reason. From the youth who pulled a trigger on himself or another to the couple who died together to the soldiers who lived or died there has been an interwoven tale of despair. The only good which comes of shooting another human being is indeed self-protection from bodily harm, so as to continue ones life as a contribution to society. The debate has been lively and worthy of reading. As for my personal experience, I have personally been run over by a car [perpetrator has been in prison since 1986 with 6 years to go]. Stabbed outside a store I managed[perpetrator deceased-stabbed in prison] Shot at {Found and will forever keep the .357 hollowpoint bullet} [initiator of road rage and perpetrator missed my head by less than the length of a business card and escaped off the Fairfax exit on the Santa Monica Freeway only a few months before I joined this wonderful circle of halfbaked minds]. I have shot and killed dove, pheasant, duck, squirrel, rabbit and time. I have owned rifles and shotguns [sold long ago] Pistols and Handguns [own and maintain to protect me and mine]. I have passed all the necessarry tests to legally carry and possess weapons of this nature. I had more friends die by the gun before I was even out of High School than any of us have fingers and toes. And I grew up in a very small isolated town[pop. 1,300 on a busy day] where the Sheriffs Department would arrive 45 minutes after the call. So I knew the law was in my hands as long as it was handled responsibly. I can assure you that if armed, I would honorably protect you in time of danger and can also assure you that I would run like hell should you become the danger whether or not I am armed. For those who qualify, and yes, this would require registration, concealed weapons should be permissable [read permissable, as this is a privilige and not a right-consult state and local laws-constitution or amendments notwithstanding]. Anyone who should not [again, laws] be in possession of a weapon and is-should be punished to the fullest extent of the applicable law[s]. Individuals in possession of 'Controlled substances' have gotten stiffer penalties. That is the insanity. This is not a free country. Get over it. But one must protect ones own for no one else, Government included will. Whether it concerns the debate participants, NRA, Anti-NRA, a gun-carrying thief of property or life, a thought or a Congress that is likewise bought and sold: "You can fool some of the people some of the time, You can even fool most of the people most of the time, but you can't fool all the people all of the time." Let us try to find a solution amongst ourselves which can truly iron out the wrinkles which are on our flag instead of merely waving our own banners. Eliminate that aspect of being part of the problem and we halfbaked minds may just be part of the solution which so terribly exists in our society. There is a time to have a hair trigger, a time to split hairs and a time to put our heads together in this most honorable of debates. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
thumbwax, Sep 19 2000

       Hey thanks HKUSP9, I had no idea a Pillow Case stuffed with feathers was called a Pillow. Sort of like how you seem to have no idea how to defend the seemingly indefensible without resorting to personally attacking everyone and everything you disagree with.   

       I'm not silly enough to believe that outlawing all firearms will solve the problem, but you would have to admit that in a large number of cases if the individuals did not have access to the firearms they used, an awful lot of people would be alive today.   

       Take the Port Arthur massacre in April '96 (see link). In something like 30 minutes 35 people were killed. OK the offender could have been armed with knives etc instead of firearms, and maybe even killed a few people, but 35? I don't think so.   

       There is no easy answer to this, and I imagine that it will get debated until Jutta runs out of Hard Drive.   

       On a lighter note (which was what my last comment was supposed to be!) perhaps outlawing guns is wrong. Everyone should have one. Just outlaw the ammunition.
Alcin, Sep 19 2000

       Now this is the kind of thing that BEGS to be argued, Alcin!!! Outlaw ammo?? People in here want to minimize the personal slights that are being tossed around in here and I agree that I could be a bit nicer to folks at times myself. But that last remark you made had to be intended as bait!! Lets keep the cars and ban gasoline. Keep lamps but outlaw lightbulbs. And as for the pillow thing....what can I say? You set yourself up for that one. A few passing thoughts: Just how loudly would you squeal if the first amendment was being attacked by organized and well funded groups of people that had the idea that the general public should not have the right to free speech?? What would you think of someone who wanted to tell you what you could and could not say? Should we rid ourselves of that right also? How about the entire constitution?? How many freedoms do we give up before we are once again subjects that are ruled over by a "government",instead of a free nation? These are just a few of the things that should be considered carefully before people even think about tinkering around with something that has been around for more than 200 years. After all, look what happened with prohibition.....
HKUSP9, Sep 20 2000

       Returning to the original idea of requiring nearly everyone to be armed - I've lived in several places with longstanding very high rates of gun ownership, and it's definitely not sufficient to cause a "polite society" (though also not sufficient to destroy one).   

       The main difficulty with arming everyone is that your average useful human being has to be working on something else most of the time, and the thugs can inevitably get the drop. One of the bad places I've lived in was servile, with thugs swaggering through; the other sullen, with productivity cut in half because it took about as many people to guard the workers as to work.   

       So, personally, I dislike guns because they're an innately smaller-pie solution: they can't prevent bad, they can at best spread it about more equitably. I'd rather reduce the total amount of bad, which is closely related in most places to nobody ever seeing a gun outside a range.   

       Now returning you to your regularly scheduled Godwin's Law and Heinlein...
hello_c, Sep 20 2000

       This debate ties in with several things I've been thinking about. The following gross generalizations are mostly about handguns, & guns for "self defense".   

1) Shooting guns can be really fun. I target shoot several times a month and have recently joined a local pistol league.
2) In order to avoid being a liability to yourself & passers by, you have to take many technical details into account before carrying a gun. You need a fair amount of training. (Tap rack drill, keeping other people from pulling your gun out of your waist band, etc.) You also need to do a fair amount of planning (where do I store & lock my gun when I'm swimming?). All of this can be solved by anyone willing to put in about the same amount of time as they did to get a drivers license.
3) Guns aren't a defensive weapon.
You can't block with a gun, and it doesn't react by itself. The best possible situation is to see trouble and kill it before it can hurt you. This makes the most effective gun strategy to always have a gun at hand, and be constantly on guard. If done to a degree that this is likely to actually work, it's a major leap in personal stress, and a huge stress for the people around you. It's also VERY self reinforcing. This is why I don't want to carry a gun, I'd much rather carry a pointy stick, track shoes & a cell phone.
4) Guns aren't always the best or only solution for the problems they're good at solving. Having communities where people watch out for each other, cops that arrive in less than 40 minutes, surveillence cameras, full employment, and having everybody have medical training all help.
5) If you're not actually going to shoot someone, the problem becomes how to order/convince them to do what you want (GO AWAY). This is a very different skill from being able to shoot straight. People who are good at giving orders can frequently get what they want without using a gun. This ties into the general defense of "don't look like a victim".

       After all this, I'm slowly coming to some conclusions. First, gun ownership should require some sort of test and owner's license. This could be like a driver's license, and it doesn't require that the guns be licensed, just whoever's carying the gun. Right now there are different types of license for different types of gun use. I'd like to simplify this. If you're trained, you can carry your gun.
Second, gun ownership currently takes more out of society than it gives back, since it brings the risk of gun theft, and certainly seems to encourage the development of self centered planning (ammo as Y2K planning). In exchange, the general population is only getting slightly more cautious (but possibly better armed) criminals. And venison, I forgot about that.

My half baked solution for this is the well organized militia, which requires medical, communications, and sewage treatment training of it's members. Imagine a cross between americorps, ham radio field days and the national guard, where all gun owners have to put in 48 hours a year to keep their license. Then in event of national stress, we have a group of people with useful skills, not just the ability to load & shoot a gun. The only downside I can see is that this would create a paramilitary, which is more often bad than good. Hopefully, we'd end up with a non-sexist Switzerland, where guns may be common, but they're in the hands of trained, responsible and normal citizens.
tenhand, Sep 20 2000, last modified Oct 31 2000

       Your suggestions have several things wrong with them, Tenhand. Most anti gunners would agree with you on more than one point!!! I guess the one I would have to disagree with the most is the license thing. BAD IDEA!! A right such as the second is not a priveledge to be handed out by the government. I already have the right to keep and bear arms, and telling me I need a license is the very thing anti gunners WANT!!! Give them that, then they can tell millions of gun owners: "um...geee. I don't think we will give you a license---ever. And by the way, you need to hand over the guns you already have or go to jail." What is wrong with the other gun owners in this place? You all say you own or have owned firearms,but sound like card carrying members of HCI. Either you are for the second or you are an anti-gunner. No room for fence sitters on this one guys and gals. If you think that there is room for that kinda thing--you desperately need to visit The N.R.A. website and see what the anti gun folks have done in other realms. I have added a link to NRALIVE that I think might be good for those who wish to hear the truth for a change. (please let me know if it works--this is my first attempt to link to another page.....)
HKUSP9, Sep 21 2000

       Link works. Field level. What is the basic sticking point here, licensing? And if so, what is the true solution. Ready... aim... [BTW, I neglected to mention in previous posting of my autobiography that my Mother was the Bookkeeper for 15 years at the largest wholesaler of firearms, etc. west of the Mississippi]... Fire
thumbwax, Sep 21 2000

       What a persons mother has done for a living has nothing to do with the debate whatsoever. Mine was a soldier---and I wouldn't trust her with a firearm to save my soul. And if you really want my response regarding why I disagree with you, read on: 1. A firearm is a fine defensive weapon. You have only ask any soldier who has ever seen combat in which he has been ordered to hold a position against a enemy attack. He will most likely tell you that short of carpet bombing--a rifle was his best friend. 2.The term is "Rack&Tap". Not the other way round. "Tapping" a auto pistol without first "Racking" the action will accomplish nothing except making one look foolish. This is assuming that one has experienced a stoppage while using a auto-loader. Folks that use a double action wheelgun need only to pull the trigger a second time to attempt to fire a fresh round. 3. If you are looking down the barrel of one of MY guns you are doing one of two things: you are either a bad person threatening my life or the life of my wife or children, OR you are a gunsmith inspecting your work. Giving someone an order to "go away" will not work all the time. This is why I am prepared to defend me and mine. YOU on the other hand can keep your pointy stick and cell phone. When the police get there they can clean up the mess your murderer will leave behind. "To serve and protect" is not only a catchy motto--- its A LIE!! Police can't protect squat. They only get to the scene AFTER the damage is done. Disagree? Then tell me when was the last time you ever heard of a 911 call from someone asking for help with 'the bad man who is going to be standing in my room--about 40 minutes from now, wanting to rape my wife after he stabs me and kills my children? Now tell me about defensive weapons. Forget pointy sticks---gimme a 9mm auto with 115 gr.hollowpoints over about 7.7 grs. of blue dot in a remington brass wrapper. Also: ANYTHING can be stolen. Guns are not immune from theft any more than a car or boat. SO WHAT? Does this make the person who legally owns the gun that is stolen responsible for the theft?? What are we---Canadians???? A theft is committed by: a criminal. Someone who has most likely stalked the mark and knows the safest time to steal from them. Hence the term "stolen". I do not understand your thinking---you shoot --yet you are so into the anti way of things. just how long have you been shooting league? Not to be rude or anything---but if you talked like that around any of the guys I know who shoot league---you most likely would not be asked to join. BTW---what type of sport shooting do you do? "league" is too vague......................
HKUSP9, Sep 23 2000

       Why does the fringe always CAPITALIZE and EXCLAIM???!!!!!!!!!!! Don't they know that's what the ANTI-GUNNERS want????? AAAARRRGGHH!!!! The FASCISTS are counting my EXCLAMATION points!!!!I've gotta go clean MY 9mm GUNS so when the GESTAPO shows up at MY front door, Ill be able to BLOW THEM ALL THE WAY BACK TO RUSSIA WITH 115 gr. HOLLOWPOINTS!!!! COMMIES!!! ARRGGHH!!!!!
thumbwax, Sep 23 2000

       At last! I finally caught my breath, thumbwax, now maybe I can TYPE STRAIGHT!!!!!!!   

       HK: Who and where do criminals get their guns from?   

       1.) Gun dealers?
2.) Private owners?
3.) Steal them from idiots who have to show off their toys to every asshole that walks in the door?

       Give me a hint...
Scott_D, Sep 23 2000

       I'll man the Machine GUN nest so y'all can speak Mr. HESTON, I mean Mr. 9. And don't forget about the part where MOSES came down from Mount Sinai with the SECOND AMENDMENT. Did I mention that my Granny was a BOMBardier? Yup, Enola Gay.
Keep up the good work, Scott_D-Stick to your guns as you understand the weapon [Pen is mightier than the sword and Gun ownership is what it is without paranoid delusions], the only point HKUSP9 has is a HOLLOWPOINT. I guess I'm a fence sitter.
thumbwax, Sep 23 2000

       Where a bad guy gets a firearm is unimportant. Firearms have even been stolen from police officers. Scott seems to feel that he is immune to crime. But answer me this,bub: Just how do you become immune from a determined robber? Can you guarentee that no one can get your gun? I honestly do not think you can.Not anymore than you can say that your car will never be stolen. Furthermore, I do not care how many nics you use, Scott, you still need to use appropriate language in these discussions. Keep up with the swearing and I will report you. For a man that likes to put forth a front of dexterious literacy, I am ashamed for you that you have stooped to swearing. And to Thumballina--(Scott with another nic?): Old jokes those. And still quite uneffective. I had hoped that you were the beginning of a decent debate--sadly it appears that I was mistaken. If you guys/guy? want to sling dirt that is ok by me. The anti gun crazies have not a case to stand on,but I will slog on if needed to dispell the absolute garbage and lies the likes of HCI and others spread like a cancer in this country.
HKUSP9, Sep 24 2000

       Thank you, HKUSP9. Sadly, I had to use Reverse Psychology. Me being the start of a decent debate? Scott_D is in my humble opinion able to recognize validities which are scattered throughout which are fair, accurate and much to your chagrin, impartial. I have also taken the time to read your postings admirable as they may be, but find that your 'enthusiasm' detracts from the very real concern that you have. [hence my Reverse Psychology] That said, the 'language' you refer to is nonexistent and nonthreatening. Get over the delusions of grandeur and get on with presenting a balanced, cohesive and tolerable point of view. Make no mistake about it, issues are not always black and white nor are they always any amount of shades of gray.
thumbwax, Sep 25 2000

       Following up on Mr USP9's response.
1) I think that your example of a soldier holding a line with a rifle supports my point. Leaving the gun in a foxhole by itself isn't enough (maybe it will be with next years model). The soldier can't be sleeping, they have to be awake and be the first to shoot.
2) For tap, Rack vs rack, tap I refer you to http://www.recguns.com/IVD.html. Seems like different people have different methods & opinions.
3) Your point about the police being too slow is usually true, sadly. The exception seems to be if you're rich & or live in a rich neighborhood. Now imagine if we had a social system that allowed good response times for all neighborhoods. Shouldn't that goal be worth as much effort as handgun defense? I'd much rather have people working to build Burlington than Miami or LA.
4) You're quite correct that anything can be stolen. Earlier you mentioned that you keep your guns in a safe. While your guns could still be stolen,it's a lot less likely than if you were one of the folks who keeps guns under a car seat or in their sock drawer.
5) No, I don't debate gun politics at the range, I just shoot there. I figure I'm there to learn.
tenhand, Sep 25 2000

       Rack and Tap. Always. A stoppage happens for many reasons. A few of them are: Stovepipe stoppage. Dead primer. No powder or primer. Bullet seated too high. Action obstruction / clothing,a twig,hair,ect. No amount of tapping will clear any of these without first racking the slide first. Other stoppages happen--but if one happens while you are in a defensive position------! Hey man---just rack the damn slide first.
HKUSP9, Sep 27 2000

       Man them crickets sure are loud.
Hey Kus, fetch me a beer will ya?
thumbwax, Sep 30 2000

       You are a big boy now Thumbguy--You know where the fridge is. BTW, I was away on a hunting trip and have just returned today. FYI: The bird hunting in Minnesota is terribly lousy this year. The grouse seem to be on the low side of their population cycle.If you had been planning to hunt in Minnesota this year--- bring a book. On the lighter side of the hunting story, the deer are making pests of themselves. I saw 4 harvestable bucks in one afternoon. The cheddarheads seem to be enjoying the same good fortune as far as the deer are concerned.
HKUSP9, Oct 05 2000

       After reading Thumbwax's half-baked idea of a "Theater Sniper", I will no longer respond to his remarks concerning this subject. His remarks were irresponsible and childish. That they were accepted and encouraged even in a joking manner sickens me. Shame on you Thumbwax. You have some nerve to come in here and take the offensive and then spout such crap.
HKUSP9, Oct 10 2000

       Then you won't want to check out my Redneck Peasant [dear readers, any similarities between yourself and trailer trash is purely coincidental]. It's called free speech, wonderful in tandem with sense of humor-and it's also protected by law. Kinda like Patrick McManus-you know, the funny guy.
thumbwax, Oct 10 2000

       An interesting point most people miss: a rifle is an //offensive// weapon, and a shotguns can be useful for both offense and defense, but handgun is a primarily //defensive// weapon.   

       Rifles are designed for hitting targets at medium to long distances. Their usefulness as self-defense weapons is somewhat limitted in many areas, however, by the need to avoid hitting innocent people with stray bullets (some rifle rounds can travel for miles if fired at an upward angle)Since they are rather bulky, one is unlikely to carry a rifle unless one has an expectation of using it.   

       Shotguns are extremely effective at short range and medium ranges, moreso than a rifle. While their short range performance makes them good self-defense weapons when they can be kept handy (e.g. for home-defense situations) they tend to be rather bulky (like rifles) and are thus hard to keep handy while traveling.   

       Handguns are not nearly as effective as rifles at medium to long ranges, nor as effective as shotguns at close to medium ranges. The only reason they're used at all is that if you're approached on the street by a mugger, a 12 gauge shotgun sitting at home isn't going to do nearly as much good as a 9mm which you have on your person.   

       If you know you're going to be attacked on a certain day, carry a shotgun. Much more effective than any handgun. On the other hand, carrying around a shotgun on the off chance that one might be attacked would be rather bothersome; while a handgun won't be as effective as a shotgun if you actually are attacked, it will be much less nuisancesome on the days you're not.
supercat, Oct 22 2000

       Hmm, I see your point SuperCat.
But there's that hitch around having handguns be "primarily" defensive. Because they're small, they're also really good for sneaking up on people & suddenly threatening or shooting them.
Having a gun handy also means that when someone looses control/good judgement, they can do so with lethal force. As the cliche goes, if you're carrying a gun, you know there's at least one gun in any fight you get in.

       Guns, like hammers & pocket knives are just too flexible to be termed "defensive", even if some fit the bill better than others.   

       So perhaps we need to have folks switch to shotguns, or really long barreled pistols, or red hats for people carrying small pistols. Then a certain percentage of people can get a free ride just by wearing a red hat.
tenhand, Oct 24 2000

       Why is everyone still stuck on every word of a document that was written so long ago. The second amendment is out of date. I believe that people should be allowed to possess guns, but what is the need for handguns? I HAVE had a gun pulled on me before, but I didn't need my own weapon to get out of the situation. Infact, having my own weapon would probably have ended up in one of us being shot, quite possibly me! The possibility in the US government being taken over by a Hitler-sort is quite low. That is the purpose of checks and balances within the system. Not to mention that we elect individuals in power. Plus, having one of the largest armies in the world leaves the possibility of the government being overthrown by a new Hitler sort to be low. If it were, would a bunch of handguns really help? If you want to hunt, I'm all for that. Why is it so important that all people, even unstable individuals and violent criminals, be able to purchase a gun is less than a week's time? Is it that critical to have a new gun that quick? Also, is there really a logical purpose for guns other than hunting?
billispsycho, Oct 25 2000

       I think it may be worth mentioning at this point, that Hitler did not "overthrow" the government in order to take power. He appealed to the fears and prejudices of the populace and was democratically elected.   

       It all goes to show that if you want to live in the land of the free, the most important weapon in your armoury is an unconstrained mind.
Lemon, Oct 25 2000

       No, Hitler did not "overthrow" the government. He rose to power because Germany was in shreds. He was the most willing to come forward, and lead the people of Germany into what they believed would be a time of Germany becoming a world power. That is why I pointed out that we elect our individuals in power. Leaders that were ruthless have, however, overthrown governments in history. Hitler would have been a brilliant leader if it wasn't for his callous and racist murdering. That is the reason he came into power.
billispsycho, Oct 26 2000

       tenhand: Sure, handguns can be effective on "sneak" attacks. And it may be better for a crook's morale to sneak up to someone and jam a pistol in their face than to simply walk up to them with a shotgun knowing that while their victim is well aware that someone's coming after 'em there's nothing they can do anyway.   

       In terms of effectiveness, a rifle from 300 yards is apt to be both more effective and less risky for the shooter than a short-range handgun attack. Kennedy was shot by a deer rifle; Reagan was shot with a handgun. Who survived?   

       billipsycho: If you think the Second Amendment is outdated, push to have it repealed. The framers designed the Constitution to change with the times--that's why they wrote Article V. Changes to the Constitution, however, are supposed to require 2/3 of the Congress and 3/4 of the states. The framers would be furious to know that people today think all that's needed is to appoint some activist judges.   

       Saying the Constitution is a "living document" is like saying a moth-infested overcoat is a "living garment".
supercat, Oct 26 2000

       lemon: In Israel, terrorists have occasionally gone into restaurants with machine guns and opened fire. In such attacks, usually the only people to end up dead are the terrorists.   

       Unfortunately, terrorists switched to using bombs.
supercat, Oct 26 2000

       Supercat: I'm not sure what point you're trying to make here. The UK for example. has most certainly had it's difficulties with terrorists in recent years, but despite the population being unarmed the terrorists did not use machine guns; they used bombs.
Lemon, Oct 27 2000

       I hunt, or I used to, when I hunted regularly, with a S&W 44 magnum, 8-3/8 barrel - the famous "Dirty Harry" configuration, and I learned this practice, and was given the gun, by my stepfather, and avid hunter and gun collector, and I spent much of my childhood reloading ammo, and blasting everything in sight. Anyway, a pistol is good in the brush, where a rifle can be cumbersome - sniping is boring anyway.   

       The objection to registration, and it is a very good idea, is that gun owners fear that once registered, it becomes easier for someone to track down and confiscate them - this argument is not without some substance. Europe is civilized in a way that neither America nor Austrailia has ever been, and I suspect that an attempt to get rid of handguns in America would have results similar to Austrailia's, with armed crime skyrocketing.   

       Eric Mottram wrote a rather brilliant essay on the subject, " 'The Persuasive Lips' Men and Guns in America, the West", and Mottram is, or ought to be, required reading for students of American culture. I found a collection of his essays for a dollar, at some discount store, called "Blood on the Nash Ambassador" Hutchison Radius, 1983, I think, and the price is in £ (ells, to an American). I highly recommend it, if you can find it - out of print, most likely. I've included a link to to a Mottram home page, at any rate, and I'll leave you to it - good hunting!
Scott_D, Oct 29 2000

       Nice to see you again, Scott_D. One should read point-counterpoints outside of the halfbakery instead of shooting from the hip.
thumbwax, Oct 31 2000

       Oh what use would governmental firearm registration be, really? Note that even without such registration it didn't take the government long to ascertain where the maniacs of Columbine High School got their firearms; indeed, it's already possible for the government to trace most firearms with a little legwork, and most of those that can't be traced are stolen so the most registration would do is identify from whom the gun was stolen. Given that people whose property is stolen can already call the police and report it, I don't see what good is served by having a registry of every firearm.
supercat, Nov 05 2000

       Let all the gunlesss people DIE !!   

       So physically crippled people (like me), children, elderly, or otherwise incapable people (hands full of groceries, etc) - we/ they can DIE.
gz, Apr 28 2001

       It worries me when i think there are ppl who wish gun control. It makes no sense! I am a firm belive in looking towards the past before going in to the future and if u do, u will find gun control does not work. In Germany proir to ww2 you will find that a law was passed calling for the registration of all firearms. Later Hilter gave a speech to the effect of "Now our streets will be safer, our women will be safer, becasue for the fisrt time in history a nation has had full gun registration and the other nations will follow our lead into the future." (Don`t think i`m implayying that there will be a hilter here, i don`t agree with that aguement, but if bits of the consitution are striped away (Second Amendment ) then maybe later on other bits and pices could be taken out (1st Second Amendment ) Then two years later another law was passed forbidding the Jews to own firearms, so they had to turn them in, and it was easy to find the ones who didn`t turn them in becasue they had the list of all firearm holders. I think we all know the rest. (Side point) In the middle ages a contray out lawed the crowbar thinking they had ended wars for all time. And now look at present day history beening made in the UK and down south( yes i can`t spell it) In the UK the overall firearm crime rate has gone up, not down, and the same goes for our freinds down south. One last bit of info for today my freinds, the Second Amendment was put in act for two reasons. 1) To protect the population from invaders. 2) To protect the population from a over powering goverment! So with that in mind, we should not have 22.s with 10 round clip max. we should have m16s/ mp5s/mac-10s/m-14s and lots more all with automactic fire ablity to be able to fight off invaders and a over powering goverment!
MSH_Student_Jon, Jun 06 2001

       (I know, I know, too easy, but...forgive me)   

       Ummm, if it isn't too much trouble, here at the half-bakery, (among other things I could point out) we do like to encourage members to use three letters to spell the word "you".
globaltourniquet, Jun 06 2001

       While Hitler did indeed disarm first his political opponents and later the Jews, that frequently repeated "streets are finally safe" quote has no source - that is, we don't know Hitler ever said this - and it makes no sense, since German gun registration rules were a holdover from the conditions of surrender in the Treaty of Versailles. The registration law was passed in 1928, five years before Hitler came to power, and later just modified in details.   

       Next: Albert Einstein's passionate thank you to Astrology.
jutta, Jun 07 2001

       It's curious that Scott_D's last post mentions skyrocketing armed crime in Australia, but UnaBubba has made several posts (somewhere, I'm sure) that imply that armed crime is not a problem in his country. Which is correct?
PotatoStew, Jun 07 2001

       Thank you for letting me in on this globaltourniquet , next time I will spell the word you with all three letters and maybe next time you will beable to look past the small spelling errors (not really a spelling error, just the way I write you, somtimes) and see the content of the post. Maybe if you use all your brain cells you could "pretend" that u means you, and reread the letter to see my point instead of my spelling. I`m sorry but i forgot who corrected me about Hilter`s comment, I thank you for informing me of this.
MSH_Student_Jon, Jun 11 2001

       MSH, for further gun control discussion on the halfbakery, please follow the link above.   

       In answer to your point regarding the increase of firearm crime in the UK, may I draw your particular attention to the annotation made by UnaBubba on April 17 2001 in that topic.
Lemon, Jun 11 2001

       May I open this up back towards the USA? I thought that the Second Amendment was there because in its early days, the Founding Fathers lived in very small rural communities and wrote in their constitution something to the effect that 'every man has the right to defend himself' because they were scared of the native people? At no point (if I remember correctly) is there ever any mention of guns. On the point about... oh hell, on everything HKUSP9 said: what a lot of bollocks. Thank goodness some people don't stay here very long.
lewisgirl, Jun 11 2001

       Blatant spelling errors (not necessarily typos -- aw, hell, even typos) and teen-age chat room conventions gives the readers of a person's postings in this environment the impression that the author is lacking in erudition, and is generally taken to be representative of the value of the opinion itself. To the gun control advocates in the membership you give a bad name when you underrepresent your intelligence so. Just trying to help ya there, partner.
globaltourniquet, Jun 11 2001

       You people are insane:- Next you are going to tell me that you are entitled to keep nuclear weapons incase a country threatens to take away your freedom.   

       As for the 'if they take away my right to cary guns then theyl take away my freedom of speech' YOUR INSANE. The ability to kill people and the right to speak freely shouldnt be considered at all similar.   

       I live in the UK. We havent had any hitlers spring up, we still have our freeom of speech and I dont wory about being shot.   

       Now for my halfbaked idea: ban guns and dish out fencing swords. A trained swordsman would be able to defend himself, a maniac wouldnt be able to gun down crowds as he wouldnt be able to take on more than one or two people at the same time and everybody would be happy. Note: This idea is NOT serius - I just thought it might be funny.
RobertKidney, Jun 11 2001

       oh come on kidney, where do you live? BNP, ITC, Camberwell: We do have Hitlers, we do have censorship and we do worry about getting shot.
lewisgirl, Jun 11 2001

       {I sheepishly admit to skipping much of the preceding discussion}   

       As an American who believes in a citizens right to bear arms - yet doesn't own any - I have to say:   

       A) I was under the impression that the Amendment in question was to protect the states (and their citizens) from the federal government (or is that interpretation passe?)   

       B) I don't see a problem with the required registration of weapons (if they aren't going to be used Illegally, it should be a nonissue)   

       C) I can't understand why the right to bear arms is restricted to (relatively) small caliber weapons (why can't I own a cannon? RPG? SAM launcher?)   

       D) Why does a hunter (pretend to) need an automatic weapon to kill a forest creature?   

       E) I'm proud to live in a country where we can actually have this conversation. And disagree about it.
phoenix, Jun 11 2001

       globaltourniquet if all you can do is point out gramma errors and the like, you should become a english teacher if you are not already one, yes you are right lewisgirl in that self defence was 1 of the reasons for the second amendment. And today we still need self defence. To me self defence is the ablity to protect ones or others lives by force if required. The best way to achive this is to own a firearm! To you it maybe calling 911, yes this works to an extent but the cops began to come to your house after somthing/someone has broken in! So you`d need to dance with this person intill the cops get there? Or you could pull out your firearm and protect yourself. The choice is up to you but leave my choice up to me. No the second amendment does not metion firearms, but is there a more relable means of self defence? If there was I`m sure the world leaders would be using it instead of carrying around Uzis. RobertKidney , no I don`t think the average person needs nukes, but i think Gov.s should always have enough weapons, men, bombs,mines, and yes even nukes to win a war. I think the best way to keep world peace is if every contray had enough power to win a war. If you are not able to protect your RIGHT to speak what you want, why can`t they take away it? Phoenix, yes that is one of the reasons but there are more, some of which I touched on above. But has far as registration goes there is something worng with it! UK, canada and many other contrays have started out with just registration of firearms, which then lead to the confacation of them, by means of using the lists! It was promised that registration would never lead to confaction, but it did! You can own a cannon but I`m sorry no RPGs or SAM sites to shoot down those noisey 747s. (JOKE!) RPGs and SAM sites are not able to be used for self defence/or hunting/ but would be alot of help in fighting a invader. Hunters who go hunting bears got some balls and there fore I feel merits givening them a SEIMIAUTO (FULL AUTOS ARE BANNED). I too feel it is great to live in a contray were we can all have our opinons , and the best way to ensure that we will always have one is to beable to defend our RIGHT of freedom of speech and to bear arms!
MHS_Student_Jon, Jun 11 2001

       I'm finding it hard to take seriously anything [MHS] says, partly because I don't know what 'confaction' is (possibly the same as 'confacation'). Also I wonder how realistic his intruder scenario is. An armed intruder enters your house. You disturb him, and reveal your weapon. He responds by either surrendering or leaving your property. I suggest that he is more likely to blast the hell out of you to prevent you from either doing the same to him or disarming him and calling 911.
angel, Jun 12 2001

       I'm with you angel, does anyone have any statistics regarding the number of times firearms are used in legitimate self-defence situations (eg the stereotypical armed intruder) vs heat-of-the-moment homicides (such as finding your wife in bed with someone else)?   

       Since this idea began with mandatory *concealed* weapons, do we also have any data regarding how useful such weapons are in street muggings? If the mugger already has his gun pointed at you, can you really pull yours out of its holster and cap him before he pulls the trigger? Would anyone actually be mad enough to risk it, simply to protect the contents of their wallet?   

       I tell you this folks, there is hardly a day goes by without my giving thanks that I live in a country with very restrictive gun ownership laws. If someone wants to mug me, he doesn't need a gun, he just needs to be bigger than me and maybe have a friend with him. I'll still lose my wallet, of course, but there's no danger of anyone actually getting killed.   

       In the US, gun ownership is clearly already out of hand and I don't know if the clock could ever be turned back but here in the UK, the general public isn't armed and therefore the criminals don't need to be either. I'm pretty happy with that state of affairs.
gravelpit, Jun 12 2001

       Does u gramma no what contray Robert Kidney is form?
I also cringe when I see people turning in guns for piddling amounts of State money.
thumbwax, Jun 12 2001

       ***************************************************************** NOTE from Vernon: Folks, I've hacked apart the "Anti Gun Control" page, and am posting all the gun-related stuff here. As Jutta noted, it was a duplicate idea, but perhaps some points raised were distinct enough that obvious duplications with what is already here won't bother you too much. (I will take all the population-related stuff and figure an alternate rationale to put it back in that area.)   

       ****************************************************************** Now I have arrived at the title topic. Did you know that in Switzerland every adult male is a member of that nation's armed forces pretty much for life, AND they keep such nifty toys in their HOMES as machine guns and grenade launchers? You get the idea that invaders will have a very tough time there! But the question then becomes, HOW DO THEY DO THAT? Why don't they have incidents like we did at Columbine High School? The answer is TRAINING. They have Gun Education while we have Sex Education. I think we should have both! Then (in theory!) everyone will know how to properly handle a gun, and WHY NOT require almost everyone to wear one? If there is a bank robbery, the bad guys will ALWAYS be outnumbered! And the population will go down slightly. Every time! And, with respect to the (in theory) above, those who do NOT learn how to properly handle a gun will weed themselves out one way or another. Example, the fool gets mad, shoots at neighbor, and misses -- but the neighbor doesn't miss.   

       One nice side effect is that if almost everyone has a gun, this means that women are armed, too. How many would-be rapists will cause unwanted pregnancies? How many men will acquire reputations as 'gunslingers' only to be shot by women who were in love with the gunslingers' victims? How many corporate bosses will try to keep the 'glass ceiling' in place? Not to mention continue to try to pay women less than men for equal work? HOW MUCH WILL GENERAL POLITENESS IN THE WORLD BE INCREASED?   

       Have a nice day, folks.   

       ******************************************************************* (Begin cloned annotations) ******************************************************************   

       As for Switzerland, yes and no. Every adult male is required to serve in the armed forces for 300 days over two years once he turns 20, and then 100 days during the remainder of his life. More like a reservist for life. And while a man who has completed this training is required to keep a rifle in his home, he is not required to keep the gun on his person. His ammunition pack is not to be opened except in case of invasion, and the ammunition must be accounted for. In most cantons (the regional divisions in Switzerland), gun-control laws are loose, but are still stricter than in most American states. Despite all this, the gun crime rates are much lower than the US, so it's hardly useful for population control (again, I question the superiority of being shot to death, rather than starving). Women aren't necessarily armed, are not required to serve in the military, and did not even have universal suffrage until 1991. Arming women would do little to raise their status in society, since killing your boss is not a good way to climb the corporate ladder. francois, Jun 29 2001   

       Switzerland does have Columbines, however they are generally covered up. At a conference a naturalised American from Switzerland told me of such an event and of his distaste for his former arsenal of weapons and the training required to use them. He prefered America which is comparatively demilitarised. Aristotle, Jun 29 2001   

       There was a very high profile shooting of the head of the Swiss Guard and others by another guard a few years ago, so yes, they do have Columbines.   

       francois, Jun 29 2001   


       One of my aunties had a nice little 32.20 pump-action rifle which became my first deer-hunting gun after she passed on. Different from Vernon's anti gun, though. Imho, politeness does not come from the barrel of a gun, it comes from a sense of ethics. And, oddly enough, in a gunfightin' world the more aggressive, pugnacious barstids come out on top because they shoot first. It's the old thing: Would a mugger try to make you give him your wallet if he knew you were packing heat? No, he'd shoot you in the head first and then take your wallet. The idea that guns somehow make everything better is quite a load of old bollocks. Just my opinion. Dog Ed, Jun 29 2001   

       Vernon! I thought you were dead! PeterSealy, Jun 29 2001   

       If he keeps this up, he soon will be. angel, Jun 29 2001   


       I'll attempt to reply to the above annotations in order. francois, With respect to Switzerland, thank you! -- for the more detailed information. I am aware that the Swiss do not run around carrying guns all the time. It is easy to see how all can be 'safely' armed by owning conspicuous-and-thus-closeted rifles, but not handguns. Yet the main point of my bringing up that country was to show the value of proper TRAINING in the use of guns, INCLUDING handguns. Most anti-gun people cite accidents as a major concern. Empowering people by training them is ALWAYS the best way to control them -- because then they will mostly control themselves. (And that applies to sex education, too!) And so I do agree that in the long run, carrying guns all the time will not really be a major solution to the population problem. The Wild West was quite remarkable for the politeness people exhibited whenever they WEREN'T shooting at each other (which was most of the time). In the short run, however, lots of people will get shot before any such degree of politeness again becomes the norm, and I for one think that a quick death is preferable to long slow starvation.   

       I disagree that arming women will fail to raise their status in society. You naturally tend to give more respect to the deadlier things in life, do you not? According to Kipling, women are already deadlier than men -- but since they aren't armed all the time, men mostly haven't paid appropriate attention. You can bet that that will change! Not every boss needs to get shot before the rest get the message!   

       Aristotle, the naturalized American about whom you wrote could indeed prefer this comparatively demilatarized country. I was in no way suggesting that all adult Americans be required to be part of the miltary; I was only saying that the basic weapons training and the ownership and carrying of one gun should be required. More is optional.   

       With respect to Swiss Columbines, the one mentioned is hardly the equal of children shooting children in school. And I doubt that anything that unusual will ever get covered up (successfully) anywhere. History reveals that children CAN responsibly handle guns by age ten, WITH APPROPRIATE TRAINING. So I see no reason why all trained persons should not carry guns. School bullies will not last long! And no Columbine-type body count will ever grow to a large number, before the culprits join the body count.   

       Dog Ed, obviously I disagree with your statement that "politeness does not come from the barrel of a gun, it comes from a sense of ethics". Sorry to say, most people's "ethics" comes from a sense of whether or not they will be punished for their selfish actions. Getting shot for cussing in church counts as major punishment, eh?   

       And I do agree about how the more aggressive bandits do shoot first. HOWEVER, you are neglecting the fact that if everyone was armed, the mugger has to be extremely careful about where he shoots his victims. Otherwise witnesses will see obvious murder, and THEY can shoot, too! And if potential muggees band together, how will the mugger ever find enough prey to survive?   

       Vernon, Jun 29 2001   


       Redundant. jutta, Jun 29 2001   


       vernon, you goofed. you're confusing fear and respect, two very different things. if someone were to fear for their life when they thought about murdering someone else, then the death penalty would be a good deterent. obviously that is not the case. it's respect for others we should strive for. what good is a society based on fear? remember that famous line: "fear leads to anger.anger leads to hate. hate leads to suffering."   

       what you've described (everyone carry guns) is baked anyway, in the form of the "wild west" of the mid 1800's. mihali, Jun 29 2001   


       //most people's "ethics" comes from a sense of whether or not they will be punished for their selfish actions// Yipes! Vernon, your code of ethics is pretty ugly. Remind me never to turn my back on you. Or perhaps you consider yourself superior to 'most people?'   

       Au contraire: nearly everyone experiences gut-level empathy not only with other humans but some animals as well. You see someone beating a dog and your gut clenches. It takes training (think soldiers) or a culture of violence (think Somalia) to overcome this.   

       Yeah, redundant and troll too. But it's a slow night at the orifice so I anno-ed anyway. Dog Ed, Jun 29 2001   


       //what you've described (everyone carry guns) is baked anyway, in the form of the "wild west" of the mid 1800's.//   

       Which, dime-store novels aside, had much lower levels of crime--even on a per capita basis--than the cities in the east at the time. supercat, Jun 30 2001   


       So, how *do* you control an anti-gun? Steve DeGroof, Jun 30 2001   

       ******************************************************************* End of cloned annotations. Now for an attempt to reply to the more recent ones....   

       mihali, you raise a good point about fear and respect. I will submit that you are right only when the fear is very large. Consider that the average cliff is both dangerous and not particularly threatening. Therefore you RESPECT its potential for harm more than you fear it. Now, it is a well known fact that people can get used to pretty much anything. They DID get used to carrying guns around most of the time in the Old West. Most of the time, the guns were simply THERE; they weren't particularly threatening. Therefore the people of the day generally exhibited much more respect than fear. The same could happen again, because it 'baked' well!   

       Dog Ed, please read the idea posted elsewhere here on the Halfbakery, titled, "A Basis For Ethics". I think you will find a more complete explanation for my statement that you quoted.   

       supercat, thank you!   

       Steve DeGroof, assuming the anti-gun is made of anti-steel, then the answer is: VERY CAREFULLY, with magetic fields and vacuum chambers. (That much anti-matter is really, really dangerous!)
Vernon, Jul 02 2001

       I think everyone should go to http://vikingphoenix.com/public/gchof/gchof.htm The gun control hall of fame, their hero is Hitler and it's pretty sickening I first thought it was a joke but it's serious after you read some pages there, you might feel a bit different about some hollywood stars and the stupidity of some of these Hitler worshippers. "Our founder the beloved Adolf Hitler" Is it just me or is that sentence seem wrong???!!!??
Beretta92, Jul 06 2001

       Beretta you have just fallen victim to the "better to keep your mouth shut and be thought an idiot than open it and remove all doubt." That web site is a massive trolling by gun supporters to further their extremist views about the evils of gun control. Supporters of gun control, however, tend to be intelligent enough to see through that ruse.... Are you perhaps representative of the lack of perspicacity from the other side...?
globaltourniquet, Jul 06 2001

       Well, exuse me Mr. "I know everything". I can't believe my grammar mistake, in my last sentance made it past your scutiny. I didn't realize what those "gun extremists" were up to. Although in accordance with your other posts the only perspicacity (Thanks for the new word) you show is towards other peoples grammar and spelling mistakes. It must make you feel above everyone to attack peoples intelligence. More power to ya. However our constitutional right is "To keep and bear arms." So keep your anti gun tourniquet elsewhere. Some of us like living in a free country. Remember Guns don't kill people, people kill people.
Beretta 92, Jul 06 2001

       Yup, people have been killing people for countless generations, and they haven't needed guns to do it. Murder weapons began with tree branches and rocks, and have probably included just about every gadget ever invented, including the pillow. So if we ban guns because of the number of murders that involved them, shall we ban everything else, too? Because when people want to commit murder, they will FIND murder weapons, even if it means to regressing to technology that existed BEFORE rocks joined the arsenal: bare hands and feet.   

       Now I recognize that very likely the uppermost reason for banning guns is not that they are murder weapons per se, but that they are TOO EASY TO USE to commit murder. Most other methods of killing involve considerable effort. Nevertheless the real problem is not ease of use, but self control! Training and responsible behavior, that is. If you are in favor of other people controlling themselves so as not to murder you with SOMETHING, then perhaps you should excercise similar self-control. Simple Golden Rule stuff.
Vernon, Jul 08 2001

       Vernon: //...please read the idea posted elsewhere here on the Halfbakery, titled, "A Basis For Ethics". I think you will find a more complete explanation for my statement that you quoted.//   

       Longer, but no more complete. I still don't trust anyone who thinks that self-interest is the only ethical imperative. With or without a gun. Or a rapid-fire duelling pickle. Whatever.
Dog Ed, Jul 08 2001

       Dog Ed, obviously you didn't read that other post very closely. It is NOT about self-interest as a basis for ethics; it IS about COMPROMISING self-interest as a basis for ethics. The preliminary stuff about self-interest, before getting to the main point of the need for compromise, merely tries to show that nobody is inherently superior to anyone else, when the issue is self-interest. History shows that arbitrary inequalities only cause trouble in a culture, so it is very important that any ethical system find a reason why people are perfectly equal. Thus, from the simple factual observation that humans are basically just a bunch of selfish animals, it is easy to conclude that humans are all equal to each other in that regard. Anyone who dislikes such an obvious truth is suffering from delusions of superiority, and will therefore be a troublemaker, acting as if his/her selfish desires don't need to be compromised. ALL criminals behave that way!
Vernon, Jul 09 2001

       Vernon: Yeah, you're right about not reading carefully--too much blather, I started skimming fairly early. Didn't really see anything about research into social altruism, natural empathy with other beings, etc, which is why I see your position as fundamentally incomplete. Your view of ethics doen't explain Mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela, let alone the 90% of the general population who would help out a stranger in need. Or does it? Maybe I missed that part. But your assertion that   

       //Thus, from the simple factual observation that humans are basically just a bunch of selfish animals...//   

       really doesn't make me think so. As you've gathered, I disagree with that assertion. Oddly enough, even animals are not always selfish.
Dog Ed, Jul 09 2001

       U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics   

       According to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) in 2000, 533,470 victims of serious violent crimes (rape and sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault) stated that they faced an offender with a firearm.   

       Victimizations involving a firearm represented 8% of the 6.3 million violent crimes of rape and sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault.   

       The FBI's Crime in the United States estimated that 65% of the 15,533 murders in 1999 were committed with firearms. For more information about weapons used in homicide see the Weapons Section of Homicide Trends in the United States Reported Crime   

       Since 1993, the number of crimes committed with firearms has declined, falling to levels last experienced in the mid 1980s.   

       let me see, only 65% of the murders were commited with firearms so that leaves 35% stabbed, strangled, etc.   

       Do we ban knives and rope?   

       Also in 1999 there were 41,611 fatalities in car accidents what should we do ban cars now?   

       Check this out: In 1996   

       Cause of death Number of deaths ------------------------------- ---------------- Induced abortions 1,359,145 Cardiovascular disease 948,088 Cancer (all types) 529,904 Pulmonary disease (emphysema, etc.) 101,077 Pneumonia and influenza 82,820 Infectious diseases (not AIDS) 70,143 Diabetes 53,894 Accidents other than motor vehicle 48,630 AIDS 43,652 Motor vehicle accidents 41,893 Suicide 31,102 Homicide 26,009 Liver disease 25,209 Kidney disease 23,317 About every two weeks (14.7 days) there are as many deaths due to induced abortions as there were in the entire Vietnam war (55,000).   

       I don't want to get into an abortion discussion but come on look at some of these statistics. Do a google search on death statistics if you think I'm making this up.   

       Guns are really not our worst problems people, even though anti-gunners want us to believe we would live in a utopia if only those evil guns didn't exist. Violent crime is down and according to the department of justice so is prosecution rates, how can that be explained? Some believe it's a result of the 31 states with Right to carry laws, I tend to agree.
Beretta 92, Jul 09 2001

       Dog Ed, you are not paying adequate attention to one particular word in the phrase: "humans are basically just a bunch of selfish animals" -- and that word is "basically". Synonymous to "hereditary disposition", if you will. I do fully recognize that a great many environmental factors influence humans as they grow up, and one of those factors is TRAINING. All kids resist being taught to share! But we know how important it is that they learn it, so we keep training 'em to accept it. Because what goes around comes around, and THAT is why predators and prey ignore each other at a water hole in the African dry season. (If the predators kept the prey from the water, ALL the prey would die of thirst, and then the predators would also die shortly thereafter.) So a certain amount of sharing IS hereditary, after all (just not very much, most of the time).
Vernon, Jul 09 2001

       I'll agree it's easier using a gun, but it's also easier to get caught using a gun. Think about it, with a machete you get no powder burns, no casing to get fingerprints or ejector marks, no rifling pattern on a bullet to match up. At least guns give the good guys something to work with and the killer doesn't always get away. Chop slash is quieter than bang bang. Someone else said there would be no going postal if there were no guns, of course! It would have some other name like going Walmart. News Flash some wacko in sporting goods with a machete flipped out and killed ten customers, too bad no one had a weapon to stop him. So waugsqueke I guess I must be deluded because I think that if someone wants to kill someone they are gonna try with whatever method is available. Do we outlaw gasoline because thats what arsonists use to start fires which sometimes kills people? Why change America? If people start messing around with the constitution it's going to ruin a perfectly good country, might as well change the name too.... how about Dictatorica thats got a nice communistic ring to it. There is nothing preventing anyone from relocating to a nice pleasant country where the government controls everything for you.
Beretta 92, Jul 09 2001

       First off I never said it was ok to kill people. Second what do you mean countless, from what I've read it's 65% of 15,533. Which is something like 9,414. Thats a hell of a lot less than the 41,611 fatalities in car accidents. Driving is not a right, niether is buying gas, my outlawing gasoline comment is relevant because we would save countless lives right? We have no constitutional right to buy gas, like we do to bear arms, so why not ban cars & gasoline? As far as your non-existant risk how the hell would you know? I think I hear your Big Brother calling ya.
Beretta 92, Jul 09 2001

       //You put the sacrilege of tampering with your precious document ahead of countless human lives.//   

       The number of people murdered by governments that got out of control exceeds by orders of magnitude the number of people murdered by private citizens. While some might look at this country and say "that can't happen here", I'm sure 99% of the people in the Weimar Republic would have said exactly the same thing.
supercat, Jul 10 2001

       supercat: coming from Scotland as I do, and having just read through this debate - skipping and skimming occassionally, I admit - I'd have to say that sometimes I expect exactly that sort of lunacy to break out in the US at any second. Seen from an outsider's perspective, the situation looks pretty scary to me and I'm frankly glad to live in a city that has been synonymous with 'razor gang' culture for decades. Glasgow and Glaswegians have a rep for being 'hard men', but we pale in comparison to you guys.   

       Everyone else: In fact, to my mind, there is a real threat of modern-day Hitlers rising to power in America - but not the way HKUSP9 and the other assorted patriots seem to think. Rather, I think the most fertile soil for modern-day fascism is that very bedrock of patriotic libertarianism, NRA, anti-liberal disaffection voiced so "eloquently" by the "CAPITALISE EVERYTHING - INCLUDING PUNISHMENT!!!!!" lobby. Now, before the knee-jerk "Land of the Free" reaction kicks in, please bear with me for a few points.   

       Fascism in Germany grew originally out of late 19th Century Romanticism in many ways. The past was idealised as a time of rugged individuals, noble warriors, freedom. This process of mythologisation gave them Wagner in music and Neitszche in philosophy, and many of the late Romantics in other countries (such as W.B. Yeats) were initially attracted to Fascism because it appealed to their sense of aesthetics. But in poetry, a sense of rapture is good; in politics, it leads to demagogues. I see an alarming similarity here, vis-a-vis the American tendency to glorify their national identity and history. You are not the greatest democracy in the world. You did not invent it. And, please, I'm not saying that the UK is. All I'm worried about is the inability of such as HKUSP9 to engage in debate without resort to cheap inflammatory rhetoric and jingoism. We have our equivalents in Northern Ireland, and these are dangerous people. When you see that fire light up in their eyes, you know that they might not burn a flag but they would burn any book that wasn't their particular version of the Bible. So, point one: zeal.   

       Point Two: Once the Romantic ideals had been appropriated by anti-semites such as Neitzsche's own sister, they were quickly corrupted and bastardised into a banal rhetoric aimed at the lowest common denominator. The impoverishment of Germany after WW1 was already breeding a resentment of the bureaucracy of the Weimar Republic. The old Romantic antagonism to Rationalism meanwhile helped to fuel the anti-bourgeouis and anti-intellectual paranoia of those disaffected with their own situation. "YOU CAN'T TRUST THE GOVERNMENT! YOU CAN'T TRUST THE LIBERALS!". The Jews were only the scapegoat, the hidden threat, because they were the affluent and the educated - the way the Reds were in McCarthyite America. Let's remember the Rosenbergs. But to stick to the point, I see a comparable paranoia and anti-intellectual streak running a mile wide through the American culture. Just as Hitler fostered fear and resentment amongst those who saw themselves as individually powerless in order to bring them together, so in America the voices of hate seek to demonise certain sections of the population as sub-human (c.f. the treatment of the 'criminal' in movies, tv, etc.) or as some sort of elite class, hatching their plans of liberal tyranny over the dinner table. So, point two: paranoia.   

       Following on from that - and more specifically - at this precise moment the main focus of American paranoia seems to be the federal government and its representatives. Yes, the pen-pushers have taken over. Yes, the bleeding heart liberals want to take your guns away from you. They want to enslave you with their laws and taxes. They want to teach evolution in school. They might even be atheists. Who is the enemy that these paranoid heroes see themselves fighting? It seems to me the focus of all the bile and invective is, well, the literate - those who look for solutions other than violence, solutions involving discussion, investigation, legislation. It sometimes looks like the whole of America is one big ignorant bully of a jock who feels inadequate because he can't read properly, and he's just sure that smart little geek is pulling one over on him, and maybe he should just go over and pound the little maggot into the ground so he knows that his damn fancy words ain't gonna do the nerd no good. It's by no means an exclusively American trait, but you seem to be turning it into a mass movement. So, point three: the Heroism of Ignorance.   

       Which brings me to point four, where I try to wrap all this up. Other voices have been talking about training people to use guns, within this discussion. How about training them to use their minds? But no. I mean, you guys actually have states where they teach Creationism in schools because "Evolution is just a theory". I am left literally breathless at the magnitude of this deliberate and conscious commitment to dogmatism. Do you teach the Orphic Cosmogony? Do you teach the Sumerian Creation Myth? Do you teach your children to believe in the Easter Bunny? But, I apologise; that's rhetoric and I'm trying to stay rational. It's just.... Creationism, for the Love of Randomness.   

       Anyhoo, my point is - and it feels like I've been punched in the face with it from every second annotation in this debate - many Americans seem well-suited to the blinkered dogmatism required of fascist shock-troops. Writing is just writing. It's just ideas, in words, on paper. It's not the Holy Word of the Prophet Jefferson. Leaving aside the official canon of Jewish and early Christian scriptures and apocrypha that have conglomerated around the Torah and come to be known as the Bible (a different argument for a different post), no document carries the kind of Absolute Moral Authority that some Americans have a tendency to invest their constitution with. Das Kapital, Mein Kampf, The Constitution - if you use it to rationalise and justify misanthropic hatred, fear, zeal and ignorance, then you invalidate it. I don't care how strenuously you argue, and I don't care if you stick a gun in my face. Might is not right. You invalidate it.   

       So, I apologise for all the generalisations. I don't mean to tar all Americans with the same brush. But, I think you guys live in a country made dangerous not just by gun-toting muggers or by democracy-toppling tyrants, but by the real Hitlers - the petty, spiteful, little men who feed on fear, who use accusation instead of rational argument, and who base their specious claims in abstract banalities, loaded with incendiary hyperbole, devoid of any true analysis.
Guy Fox, Jul 10 2001

       here endeth the lesson.

[Guy Fox], you've eloquently stated the views of a large tract of the intelligent part of the UK. :::respect:::
lewisgirl, Jul 10 2001

       I'm not surprised that you think this way Guy, since it was the tyranny of the UK the Constitution was written to protect us from becoming. You said this,   

       "no document carries the kind of Absolute Moral Authority that some Americans have a tendency to invest their constitution with."   

       you waugsqueke, said this //You put the sacrilege of tampering with your precious document ahead of countless human lives.//   

       I'd like to counter it with this point. Countless good men have died to protect "my precious document" and to keep the U.S. free, something I don't expect the UK to understand but those same men died saving your countries from tyranny in WW I and II. So yes I do put the tampering of "my precious document" over human lives, but it pales in comparison to the men that willingly gave their lives for what you may think of as a archaic document. I for one am not prepared to let those men die in vain.
Beretta 92, Jul 10 2001

       What absolute bollocks. A number of good men died, sure, but not all Americans who have died in battle were 'good', and without a doubt, very very few of the instances in which they died were genuinely to keep your blessed country 'free'. How many shite movies have you been watching, that keep you believing this tripe?
and not all of them *willingly* gave their lives either. Conscription, young man, something I'm sure you'd argue against if it was your neck being tagged by the government.
lewisgirl, Jul 10 2001

       Never did I say all, and almost none of my beliefs come from movies and none of it is tripe. My beliefs come from both of my Grandfathers who fought in WW II, one who stormed the beaches of Normandy. I'm not talking about police actions like Vietnam, and Desert Storm. Which I feel like we had no place being anyway. I'm talking about them leaving home and family to fight the Germans who in fact would have taken over Europe if left unchecked and then began on us in the U.S. Also in closing I'd like to say that yes I would go and fight willingly to defend my country against becoming subject to the tyranny a lot of you people think could never happen again. Frankly I find your lack of gratitude to those men, (even the ones who didn't want to fight but went anyway) full of Shite.   

       P.S. You are right at that time they weren't fighting to keep our Country free, they did it to prevent having to do it on our own soil later, it was your UK they were fighting for then.
Beretta 92, Jul 10 2001

       Waugs is spot on as usual.
p.s. I've got Grandads too. I don't need to revere their world-saving efforts on this site. Not to someone who names himself after a gun. '92' refers to date of birth, yes?
lewisgirl, Jul 10 2001

       I will say this. I have profound respect for the men and women who willingly risk their lives to fight in the wars they are told to, regardless of the political circumstances of the war itself. I think they deserve nothing less than our deepest respect and gratitude. And every honor we can bestow on them is appropriate. For instance, I find it shameful that veterans of wars should go wanting for anything once back home -- they have given lives, limbs and often even their very minds, and I can't believe we can let them just flounder after performing the duty we asked them to, right or wrong.   

       Now, having said that, let me say this. Everything Mr. Fox said. If "it" can happen here, Beretta, it will be through people who think like you seem to. The paranoid, anti-intellectual gun-toting patriot is more of a threat to my and your liberty than the staunchest liberal professor in the farthest left university in the country. You don't understand true liberalism, Mr. Beretta. The true liberal is the greatest lover of America and the Constitution and what it stands for. I submit to you that, economic issues aside, it is the left-wing that really loves America and its ideals. For instance, only when you are willing to allow an angry mob to peacefully burn an American flag in public do you truly honor what that flag represents. Freedom of expression is the single most precious ally of liberty and justice. Only when you understand why the ACLU would defend the KKK's right to peacefully assemble and shout racist paranoid propaganda do you truly appreciate what being free really means. I do love the USA. I hate many things about it, and am willing to do whatever I can to make it more free, but the fact that I can is the reason I love it. But those who would shut any mouths at all in the name of anything at all are the enemy of that liberty. But I allow them their voice, I defend their right to speak it, and I will support any effort to enforce that right. Paradox? Perhaps. But it's the most beautiful one ever implemented as a national policy and culture.
globaltourniquet, Jul 10 2001

       I could care less whether you take me seriously or not wogs, you yourself are a left wing parody with no patriotism in your blood. lewisgirl my name could mean a 1992 Chevy Beretta, but you are right it's not, it's a Beretta model 92F The civilian version of the military M9. Also I was not revering their world-saving efforts, you asked "How many shite movies have you been watching, that keep you believing this tripe?" I merely aswered, and my DOB is 1971. BTW lewisgirl refers to the famous lewis machine gun they mounted on bi-planes in WW I right? ;) Globaltourniquet I did figure you for a flag burner, a flamer at the least. Someone who proudly runs around calling others anti-intellectuals, loosen the tourniquet around your neck every few minutes your brain needs oxygen. If just because I appreciate our constitutional rights makes me a right wing extremist then so be it.
Beretta 92, Jul 10 2001

       blimey, 1971 eh? could have fooled me. See link.
lewisgirl, Jul 10 2001

       You brainless toad. You need to be slapped. Now listen carefully, young man. I would never think of burning the flag, I honor the principles it stands for and I proudly display it in my office cubicle and at home. And one of the principles it stands for is the right of any who think they ought to to burn it. If you don't honor that right, you don't honor the flag. You desecrate it worse than those who are burning it do.   

       A flag burner is a misguided extremist who has misunderstood what it truly stands for -- which is not what they are railing against. I am offended by your statement implicating me as one who would betray the flag in that way, but I am more appalled at your lack of appreciation for our Constitution.
globaltourniquet, Jul 10 2001

       Nice paintings lewisgirl. Nice photos too, party animal.   

       Brainless toad? Global, for a self proclaimed intellectual you resort quick to name calling, and as far as slapping I'm sure you are feme enough to do it. You were quick to judge my intelligence & make fun of me on my very first post, which in fact makes you look very moronic. You are the one who wishes to change the Constitution, not me. Who has a lack of appreciation for it? I like it the way it is, I don't need to add to or take away from it.   

       Sorry Wogs that was out of line. What basis do you have for this? "Beretta, your statements have become a right-wing parody of themselves, and as such it is now impossible to take you seriously."   

       When you guys run out of good arguements you start saying things like that, and Global's anti-intellectual remarks. In fact I believe Global is a very insecure person who can only feel superior to others by putting them down.
Beretta 92, Jul 10 2001

       Um... OK, but... do have any _actual_ response?
globaltourniquet, Jul 10 2001

       The thing is, you need first to grow up and then take some U.S. government courses. The Constitution has been in a state of constant change over these two centuries, the facility to change it was built into it for sound, wise reasons, and we have taken advantage of that ability many times over the years. They are called amendments -- look into them. My guess is you have never read the Constitution, you just believe the rhetoric of the NRA. I have read the entire Constitution many times. The spirit of it is brilliant, and I worry that ignorance like yours could be detrimental to that spirit.   

       As for putting people down, one can only provide you with some simple advice: don't leave yourself open. "Superiority" as you put it (I would call it greater learning) is earned. I would never resort to unfounded ad hominen without sound reasoning against the person's arguments to go with it. Not so of other present company. You are the only one who has attacked on a personal level without backing it up with reason.
globaltourniquet, Jul 10 2001

       Waugs, Global and all you true Americans: I don't mean to sound paranoid about the US, since that would make me as blinkered as the people whose ill-informed opinions I find so abhorrent. I feel that this strain of self-glorifying, self-deluding nationalism (as distinct from true patriotism, a true loyalty to one's fellow humans on a societal scale) is common to all of us. The comparison with 19th C. Germany is simply to point out what I see as the link between a romanticising falsification of the past and the dogmatic intolerance of that which challenges those "ideals". Scots are prone to rewriting history with themselves as the heroes as much as Americans, whether seeing ourselves as the brave soldiers fighting under the banner of Brittannia, or as "Bravehearts" fighting the "Evil English". In Northern Ireland, we've had nigh-on thirty years of civil war because of this sort of revisionism. You have your fruit-cakes and we have ours. (One of the big leaders amongst the Ulster Unionists is a rabid demagogue who wants to ban line-dancing because it's "sinful". It would be funny if he wasn't so bloody destructive to the tenuous Peace Process. Nevertheless, I'm with Global on the idea that these people have the right to a platform; I just think we ought to give them therapy also ;))   

       Anyway, I don't really expect the US to go crazy anytime soon; it's just that being such a cultural and political presence, and such a large and diverse country, I reckon America has to be more wary of the fear-mongerers within. Learn from the Old World's mistakes before Beretta92 and his ilk make them all over again.   

       And Beretta92: Where do I start? So you're not surprised at the way I think because I'm a citizen of the UK. Well, actually, I'm a human being foremost, a European secondly, and a Scot thirdly. No offence to the English intended, but I look forward to independence within Europe, if only so the Scots will no longer have the "Bloody English" to blame everything on (Why do we all need to have these bogeymen, anyone?).   

       So, Beretta92. Have you heard of a wee document called the Declaration of Arbroath? It was drafted in Scotland before America had even been settled by Europeans; and the founding fathers of your own nation were, as I understand, strongly influenced by it's fledgling notions of democracy. As an example, that little idea that sovereignty resides not in any monarch, but in the people themselves, was fundamental in shaping the Enlightenment philosophy out of which the US was born. The monarch is merely the representative, the figurehead, of sovereignty - rather like the role of a President in a republic - and as such is limited not just by the political machinations of powerful men but by actual constitutional legalities. I respect this "archaic document" the way all such intellectually groundbreaking works should be respected, not by enshrining it but by carrying on the tradition of liberal discourse and humanist analysis to which it belongs. Your Constitution is only one step on the long road to a just society that began in the primitive democratic assemblies of Sumerian villages, carried on through the Greek city-states, through the Roman Republic, through the formation of the English Parliament, through Arbroath and Washington and Nuremberg, and carries on to the present day, not in your spurious assertions of the Sainted Second Amendment, but in the trial of Milosevic and such-like under International Law, International Justice.   

       And, yes, Scots fought and died trying to put this into practice. Our relationship with Great Britain may have been peaceful in the last hundred years or so but it has a bloody history, and as recently as the 1920's, tanks were being sent into the centre of Glasgow because an open revolt was feared. (It was never really likely to happen, but with Russia's revolution, socialism in any form came to be seen as a dreaded alliance of the intellectuals and the mob. Whether it be anarchists, communists or liberals, it's funny how the reactionaries are so equally afraid of those two great targets - the bookworm and the criminal, the literati and the untermensch.) So, do me the justice, please, of not prejudging my opinions because of where I was born, where I live, what nation or tribe or ethnic group I belong to.   

       Moreover, the UK entered WWII when the Germans invaded another country - Poland - because the people of the day could not stand idly by and watch fascism strut across the world. They did not wait for two years. They did not wait until war was declared for them by an enemy's attack. They took a stand while the US dawdled by the sidelines. Maybe, instead of patting yourself on the back for someone else's achievements in "pulling our asses out of the fire" and basking in the reflected glory of their gallantry, you should reflect on the fact that had the US entered the war earlier, perhaps 6 million Jews and however many gypsies, gays and dissidents could have been saved from death in the gas chambers.   

       And finally... the year, 1971, coincidentally when I too was born. The same year both Charles Manson and Lieutenant William Calley stood trial for, respectively, the La Bianca / Tate Murders and the My Lai Massacre. Try reading some of the newspaper reportage of their trials someday. It's an interesting insight into minds driven by fear, hate and self-righteous indignation.
Guy Fox, Jul 10 2001

       excuse me but i have now been reading for over an hour and have not yet reached halfway down this petty squabble so i must first say that : if you do not have anything constructive to say, SHUT THE FUCK UP.   

       for one thing most of your "constitutional" arguments are pointless because under your system of "amendments" anything can be made "constitutional" e.g. alcohol prohibition was an amendment but after a few years another amendment was made that completely rescinded this (incidentally, does anyone know how many amendments there are now?)
chud, Jul 10 2001

       Serial Killers tend to not use guns. Too noisy. They have a minimum of 3 to 4 victims with a 'cooling off' period in between; The killer is usually a stranger to the victim -the murders appear unconnected or random; The murders reflect a need to sadistically dominate the victim; The murder is rarely "for profit"; the motive is psychological, not material; The victim may have "symbolic" value for the killer; method of killing may reveal this meaning; Killers often choose victims who are vulnerable (prostitutes, runaways, etc.); Some are very intelligent and have shown great promise as successful professionals.
The sickest minds choose to not use guns. Does this mean that anti-gunners have sick minds yet are more intelligent than average? Does the high-strung temperament and lack of spelling or writing/reading comprehension displayed by ardent pro-gunners in halfbakery (which is otherwise a haven for pseudo-intellectuals) indicate a lack of intelligence common amongst pro-gunners?
As for someone weilding a machete and killing 10, and too bad no one had a gun to stop him... well, there is also the argument of TRAINING as a deterrent in that instance.
Since Vernon - who is normally M.I.A. wants compromise as a basis for ethics, then obviously compromise is what gun control needs. Gun Control is based on ethical principles in a large sense, but broad banishment of weapons - (which is truly what they are) - should not be based solely on similarity of appearance, and not lethal qualities to a weapon which was used in a random 'statistical event'.
I've been stabbed with a broken bottle and I've been quite purposely hit by a vehicle. Both perpetrators went to prison, along with the 'stabber' paying a visit to a hospital after I broke his arm. I've been shot at - the perpetrator(s) got away.
What does it all mean? If it means all the proven guilty beyond a (not just) 'reasonable' doubt - deadly gun wielding criminals should be summarily and without further ado executed by use of guns and then the superfluous handguns and true 'assault' rifles melted down - then you might be on to something.
But then there's that nasty business of the serial killers. Generally, a 'vulnerable' person is one who falls prey to that sort of killer. Can't be giving these (hypothetically: profiled by Big Brother) vulnerable people knives by mandate for self-defense - they just might go off and do the same thing themselves instead of unwittingly waiting to be the next victim.
I've seen large knives pulled out in threat and anger in my lifetime, though not actually used. The threat was enough for the potential victim to do one of several things. Defend themselves by holding up a stool, or talk the knife wielder down, or wisely, do one of the first things they learned to do in their lives - Run.
thumbwax, Jul 10 2001

       actually the more i think of it the more that i seriously agree with a joke column in my paper that said that (based on the recent election) since you had failed to govern yourselves in accordance with the agreement made when we handed the country over to you, then we would reposess it.   

       it included a list of stuff for you to get used toincluding:   

       play rugby instead of what you call football. they are similar except that rugby is played in mud without body armour like great big nancy boys   

       stop insisting that there is such a thing as "US English", dont worry we will inform microsoft for you   

       and MS can also stop being such bastards as well
chud, Jul 10 2001

       I have been reading this for a while now and chud is the first person to say something smart in the whole debate.
MrGates, Jul 10 2001

       With respect to my suggested basis for ethics, involving compromise, please remember that the thing to compromise should always be selfish desires. So, if one wishes to apply compromise to to gun control, then the true thing to ask is, "What are the selfish desires of the opposing parties?" Person A might answer, "I want to keep you from blowing my head off.", while Person B might answer, "I want to have a chance to return the favor to anyone who tries to blow my head off."   

       Now, how to compromise? I'm probably not the person to answer that, since I've already shown bias in favor of Person B's desires. But I'll spout some verbiage, anyway:   

       I will deliberately assume that Person A is not worried about ACCIDENTAL shootings, because nothing can change the FACT that sufficient training always reduces accident rates to a bare minimum (in this case, perhaps the same chance as being struck by lightning). So, REGARDLESS of whether or not civilian guns are banned, everyone should still be competent at using one (if a war starts and you need a lot of soldiers fast, wouldn't you rather have a knowledgable pool already available?). Therefore, if Person A is not expecting to be shot by accident...   

       What I really want to know is why Person A expects to be a TARGET; what is Person A <<DOING>> to cause someone to want to shoot? Well, let's consider nothing more that that initial statement above: "I want to keep you from blowing my head off." From someone else's perspective, that could be very synonymous with "I want to control you." -- so I can see trigger fingers itching already! In a truly free nation, the controllees CHOOSE who will control them (didn't you choose your job?), because any other way is but a short jump to slavery.   

       Back in the Basis for Ethics post, I mentioned that the ability to make a compromise is one thing that should never be compromised. But all the control-freaks in the world seek to do exactly that to you! How do you make sure they can't succeed? By retaining an ability kill them if they try...if they don't control THEMSELVES, that is!   

       In conclusion, if Persons B, C, D, etc. all have guns, they WILL generally control themselves, because they know that any misbehavior can be quickly and severely punished. Person A wants to be able to misbehave -- and get away with it! But you sure won't find Person A admitting to that particular selfish desire....   

       Having concluded what I selfishly wanted to say about gun control (at the moment), I find I have a few things to say about flag-burning. Let's consider two identical U.S. flags, #1 and #2. Each represents the WHOLE of America, right? Is that really such a good thing? What about this:   

       #1: Represents the helpfulness of neighbors. #2: Represents gossippy neighbors. #1: Represents volunteers in times of crisis. #2: Represents hoarders in times of crisis. #1: Represents the Land of Opportunity. #2: Represents ethnic discrimination.   

       The above description could go on and on for quite a while. When done, I would cheerfully hoist and salute #1, while solemnly oiling and burning #2 -- at the same time!   

       Because #1 represents the freedom to identify AND POINT OUT problems, while #2 represents dogmatism: "How dare you point out problems in that fashion!" Well, there is an old joke about getting someone's attention with a 2x4...it's still relevant, folks.
Vernon, Jul 10 2001, last modified Jul 11 2001

       Boy, this topic sure got rejuvenated.   

       //Countless good men have died to protect "my precious document" and to keep the U.S. free//   

       Ya know what's really quite a deathbed giggle? Countless good men have died for just about every fatherland on Earth. It doesn't make the US Constitution anything special. Men died for the USSR, and China, and Ethiopia, and the UK, and so on. Endlessly. Too bad. I would rather it were not so.
Dog Ed, Jul 11 2001

       Cheers, waugs. But Beretta92 just seems to shoot himself in the foot with every pot-shot he takes.   

       Dog Ed: ditto.
Guy Fox, Jul 11 2001

       I also wish those men didn't have to die all over the world for their countries, but the topic is the U.S. and there were a number of rebuttals that led me to that sentance. As far as pot-shots, If you would actually read the posts, I think you'll find I was attacked first. But not by you Waugs, that would be why I retracted my comment to you.
Beretta 92, Jul 11 2001

       No one was attacked without substance to the attack until someone was so atttacked by Beretta. Read the posts.
globaltourniquet, Jul 11 2001

       examples of unprovoked attacks without substance:   

       //I did figure you for a flag burner, a flamer at the least//   

       (this was before the attacker had been subject to any direct attack at all, so "reading the posts" one finds that, no, Beretta, you were not "attacked first")   

       //as far as slapping I'm sure you are feme enough to do it//   

       These types of comments do nothing for the argument in question, and have no basis in reason, therefor are without substance (and by the way, although I would take no offense particularly at a true affirmation of my ability to appreciate things feminine, I personally am not "femme" in the pejoritive sense intended -- the slapping called for is a "wake-up" slap, here. Keep your homophobia out of the conversation)   

       //you yourself are a left wing parody with no patriotism in your blood//   

       An attack without substance already addressed.   

       Looking at how Beretta has been attacked:   

       //You brainless toad. You need to be slapped.//   

       Immediately followed by sound reasoning as to why you are acting brainless and deserving of a "wake-up" smack. Every time flaws in your argument have been clearly pointed out to you, you react with vitriol and offense without substance, without responding whatsoever to the points given. You can't seem to face the fact that you are wrong, and that it is so clearly demonstrated.   

       Beretta, you are the only one guilty of making frivolous attacks. It is now time to grow up.
globaltourniquet, Jul 11 2001

       What this kind of debate tends to boil down to is that people are generally content with the level of gun control in their culture. If a culture has guns then taking the guns away is just too scary for most people and if the culture lacks guns adding them is daft.
Aristotle, Jul 11 2001

       Global, if you can't figure out why I would attack you after saying directly and indirectly that I am immature and of low intelligence, then you are the one who needs to grow up. My femme comments were out of line I admit it, but no more so than your own. Like you said to me " As for putting people down, one can only provide you with some simple advice: don't leave yourself open. " You do not know me and cannot make assumptions on my intelligence based on my beliefs, punctuation or grammar.
Beretta 92, Jul 11 2001

       "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
Beretta 92, Jul 11 2001

       Vernon, you are so off base.   

       //if Persons B, C, D, etc. all have guns, they WILL generally control themselves//   

       Gotcha... so that's why guns are never used in crimes, because anyone who owns a gun is very self controlled. I see.   

       //From someone else's perspective, that could be very synonymous with "I want to control you."//   

       No, I think the people who want guns are more likely to want to control others, hence the need for guns, a means of control. Person A doesn't want to control others, person A just wants to keep others from being shot, which seems pretty reasonable to me.
PotatoStew, Jul 11 2001

       I beg to differ on some points:   

       //You are the one who wishes to change the Constitution, not me. Who has a lack of appreciation for it? I like it the way it is, I don't need to add to or take away from it.//   

       This comment evinces a profound lack of learning (which is all I ever brought into question -- your learning, or more specifically, your open-mindedness to learning, not your intelligence), and a lack of appreciation for the true spirit of the Constitution. It was written to be able to be changed over time, and I deeply appreciate that. This point was made and you remain unresponsive to it.   

       Also, your comments are steeped in meaningless cliche and substanceless reactionism:   

       //Remember Guns don't kill people, people kill people.//   

       //I appreciate our constitutional rights // (you have demonstrated that you have no particular clue what our Constitutional rights are -- again, have you ever even _read_ the Constitution?)   

       //a very insecure person who can only feel superior to others by putting them down.// (pop-psych knee-jerk cliche for which you have no substantive backing research)   

       There are scores of examples, but why am I wasting my time? I guess I'm hoping I can help you understand and maybe next time you can make a better presentation. For an example of intelligent discourse despite the fact that he's balls-wrong, read the postings of someone like StarChaser. He seems to agree with you but makes a more sound, logical, coherent argument without resorting to so much cliche and reactionism (he's still wrong, but....), which betrays a lack of thoughtful, individual consideration and intelligent rumination. You are spewing back what you have heard without a backing understanding of the elements of the arguments (such as the nature of the Constitution). It is only these things to which I have referred. I have not unjustly attacked any aspect of your person unrelated to the provided comments.   

       Also, I do believe that the point has been made that generally the gun-supporting side has tended toward the less erudite -- that includes the inability to properly spell, punctuate, and inflect, in short, to express oneself well -- which, like it or not, is a true presentation of your level of learning. It does carry weight. StarChaser alone has given that side a good name in this area -- but he's not in very good company....
globaltourniquet, Jul 11 2001

       This comment evinces a profound lack of learning (which is all I ever brought into question -- your learning, or more specifically, your open-mindedness to learning, not your intelligence), and a lack of appreciation for the true spirit of the Constitution. It was written to be able to be changed over time, and I deeply appreciate that. This point was made and you remain unresponsive to it.   

       Ok, I'll respond to it. Yes, I have read the Constitution several times. Yes, I know it was made to change over time. I just believe that certain elements in it are timeless and should not be changed if we are to remain a free country.   

       You are a self-rightous pompous ass. I will no longer post to or about you, I suggest you do the same.
Beretta 92, Jul 11 2001

       Well, I'll allow one thing. It has been rather assinine of me to have continued for so long to dignify your blathering with all of this attention. For that I apologize. I suppose I was just holding onto shreads of hope I had for your education. Self-righteous? I'm not the only one who thinks himself right. Pompous? Let's see... synonymous with   

       Arrogant: exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one's own worth or importance in an overbearing manner   

       Again, cast the first stone if you are without sin...
globaltourniquet, Jul 11 2001

<opening door>...oh i'm sorry, i seem to have stumbled onto the yahoo! message board. can anyone tell me how to find halfbakery.com?
mihali, Jul 11 2001

       PotatoStew, History is on my side in this matter. Criminals using guns today mostly have no fear of being shot themselves, simply because the average person isn't armed, and thus couldn't shoot back even if it was desired. THAT is what changes when "Persons B, C, D, etc. all have guns". For evidence, there is the late 1800's in the American West: Sure there were criminals, but MOST people DID control themselves with respect to shooting their neighbors. More! There was a FAR greater amount of politeness among ordinary citizens than exists today. For other evidence that criminals are basically cowards, there was a nasty spate of carjackings a few years ago...but in one such attempt, the driver pulled a gun and killed the carjacker. In that city, the carjacking rate dropped to zero for several weeks thereafter....   

       And so, if most people are armed, many crimes simply wouldn't occur, because the all the really cowardly criminals will decide to stop. Only the really bold ones will continue, more cautiously (and thus less frequently) than before. And where do bold criminals come from, anyway? To become criminals in the first place, they grow up being allowed to believe that their selfish desires are more important than other people's selfish desires. (That is EXACTLY like a Nazi believing he or she is more important than a Jew -- a just plain ERRONEOUS belief.) So spoiled brats become juvenile deliquents who become hardened criminals. Every time they aren't punished for excessively (uncompromised) selfish behavior, they reinforce a belief that they can do what they want without being punished -- why shouldn't they be bold?   

       As for people who want guns being more likely to want to control others, you are forgetting the overall topic here: EVERYONE should be trained and armed! Control freaks NEVER say things like that! They DO say they want OTHER people to have as LITTLE firepower as possible. When they say they want none for themselves, too, they are usually either lying, or they have some alternative equivalent force. Very few control freaks have the charisma to order anyone about, successfully, without being able to enforce their orders with threats. The punk who extorts from a shopkeeper doesn't need a gun to ruin the shopkeeper's business, for example. Arm the shopkeeper AND the customers, though, and the punk is History.
Vernon, Jul 11 2001

       Vernon: Surely the measurably lower crime rates in a country with more gun control - eg. the UK - would indicate that the have-a-go-hero deterrant you seem to be arguing is simply not the case? But I'm sure this point has been covered above, so....   

       As for making a "more polite" society: A society which exists on the basis of mutual intimidation is not more courteous - simply more cowed. To my mind, people who are polite are so because they are more aware of, and therefore more in control of, their own basic emotions - anger, fear, happiness, disgust, shock, grief, etc.. By being more aware of these emotions, we become better able to stall our immediate reactions, to think about the consequences, and act accordingly. There will always be instances where common courtesy breaks down simply because an individual loses this control, or never developed it in the first place. They do not think of the ramifications of their actions, either because they allow themselves to be overwhelmed by their selfish fears and/or desires or egoistic pride and/or shame, or because they simply lack the mental savvy.   

       As an example, I don't know how widespread the practice of carrying a gun in the glove-compartment of a person's car actually is (or how much of this is simply a misrepresentation perpetuated by the media on both sides of the Pond), but if one person habitually carries a gun, might he not then expect others to do likewise? This is the gist of your "deterrant" argument as I understand it. When such a person then finds himself involved in a Road Rage incident, by your logic, he should be more likely to step back, say to himself "Wait a minute; Do I really want to do this?" and not shoot the other person. I would argue that this is simply not the case. In fact, the atmosphere of tension, the expectation of conflict and violence, that is fostered in the society you describe will boost the adrenal response, kicking the fight-or-flight reaction to a much higher, less rational, and thereby less controllable level. Add to that the psychological crutch of the gun and the feeling of power it gives, and it is far more likely that the narcissistic rage felt by Road Rage participants will explode.   

       Further, these sort of crimes are carried out not for personal gain - i.e. selfish motives - but for reasons at once more complex and more basic. It is the anger and humiliation when someone cuts you up, the resentment and shame when someone dares to honk at you for something you will never acknowledge that you did wrong. Why should you have to? What right has HE to honk ME? Who the hell does she think she is? I'll show the little....   

       Anyway, I think you are oversimplifying human motivation and underestimating the extent to which rational judgement is a <u>cultivated</u> response to our own (complex) instinctual drives. A gun culture is no more likely to breed civilised people who interact with integrity and honour than grabbing someone by the lapels in the middle of an argument and shaking them is likely to calm them down.   

       NB. Have only quickly skim-read yer Basis For Ethics, but my immediate response is "Hmmm... get back to ya."
Guy Fox, Jul 11 2001

       //In all your discussions about everyone having guns, you completely ignore one of the main consequences of a totally armed population. The number of accidental deaths due to guns will octuple overnight. This is unacceptable.//   

       Where is this documented? I have handled firearms for 23 years and never had an accidental discharge. With the proper instruction, such as hunter's safety or concealed weapons courses, anyone can learn to handle firearms safely. As far as kids are concerned keep your guns in a gun safe, use cable locks, and lock your ammo away in a separate location. More importantly teach them to respect firearms.   

       // No. The punk, the shopkeeper, and quite likely a few customers would all be dead. //   

       Can anyone tell me why everyone believes that you have to shoot to kill? I believe the punk would drop his weapon when he sees he's out-gunned. Criminals have a desire to live too, no win situations are likely to be avoided.
Beretta 92, Jul 11 2001

       The beauty of the QWERTY keyboard is that one can have their head rammed up their ass, yet still 'see' what they are typing. Beretta and Vernon, I applaud you both for proving this time and time again.
thumbwax, Jul 11 2001

       That's like the pot calling the kettle black.
Beretta 92, Jul 11 2001

       <fiction> Pol Pot: "The Kettle Is Black".</fiction>
You either are not very old or you have not had much experience. There are greater pots than I which await your kettle. I do not know what Training you have had in weapons skills, but I will grant you that what is called education from the internal perspective looks like propaganda from the external perspective. I also don't know what your scholastic experience was, but I take it that it did not include many English Comprehension courses.
thumbwax, Jul 12 2001

       waugsqueke, I've read literally thousands of books over the years. When I find some tidbit of information that is contradicted by something else, I generally seek to discover the true tidbit. Sure, not everybody in the Old West had guns, if for no other reason that good quality weapons were (and still are) on the expensive side, while nobody in his or her right mind would trust a poor-quality weapon for survival. Nevertheless, ENOUGH people were armed, even if 'not carrying' all the time, that the average person could never be sure about the next person. And so, since it is better to be safe than sorry, general politeness follows. In my reading I have never encountered claims that the average citizen in that time and place was OTHER than MORE polite than average people are today, so I accept it as highly likely to be true.   

       Not hardly have I ignored the accidental deaths thing. In every one of my annotations that actually MENTIONS accidental deaths, you will see that I also specify TRAINING as the cure. It is extremely well known that adequately trained personnel at ANY endeavor have a lower accident rate than untrained personnel, and the same will be true for gun-handling. Mostly because the most important safety rule is so extremely simple: ALWAYS CHECK YOUR GUN. If you want to handle it as if it is unloaded, CHECK TO BE SURE. If you want to handle it as it is is loaded, CHECK TO BE SURE. From personal experience, I can honestly say that I owe my own life to that simple rule (the gun was in someone else's hand).   

       Next, when I wrote:   

       // [control freaks] DO say they want OTHER people to have as LITTLE firepower as possible.When they say they want none for themselves, too, they are usually either lying, or they have some alternative equivalent force. //   

       I was talking about control freaks. I have no doubt that plenty of non-control-freaks have said it too. They probably don't even know they are acting as minions of the control freaks, poor sods, even if their ONLY concern is fear for their own lives. In other words, the average anti-gun person probably doesn't have a secret agenda -- but the non-average anti-gun person, who is being helped by the merely average, DOES. And I had a good belly laugh about you implying that just because I think everyone should be armed, I must be a right-winger. Read the post "Supply and Demand" elsewhere on the HalfBakery, and you will see how much I actually despise most right-wingers. And as for wanting less people to die, well, haven't you noticed the strain on the planetary biosphere that is caused by the presence of more than 6 billion humans? The numbers of lives you want to preserve is utterly miniscule to the numbers that WILL die when the Population Bomb finally goes off. (Go to the "A Basis for Ethics" post, and (re)read the paragraph about Easter Island. Then go look up the male/female ratios of children in China and India these days, and think about what's going to happen when all those boys become men who want women.) So I'm all in favor of some preliminary weeding of the evolutionarily unfit (such as the fools who get guns but not training).   

       It is possible that the punk and the shopkeeper and some customers may become dead, but you are again neglecting the TRAINING issue. Not so long ago there was an attempted armed robbery of a jewelry store. Two robbers walked in and started doing their selfish control-freak thing, while none of the clerks were armed. HOWEVER, the store owner had made sure all the clerks were trained, AND that there were guns handy in various cubbyholes. Gunfire started very quickly, and stopped very quickly. The robbers died, and none of the clerks were wounded. So REMEMBER that magic word: TRAINING!   

       Guy Fox, the 'measurably lower crime rate' that you mention DOES depend on what you measure, after all. Sure, the UK has pretty strict gun control, and few gun-related crimes, while the US has lax control, minimal training, and a mostly voluntarily unarmed population. Those who want guns can get them AND get away with misusing them, all too often. But what country has a mostly armed-most-of-the-time population, for you to measure, eh? Try the Old American West, and check out the <per capita> gun-related crime rate. Those criminals were more spectacular (a spectacle for the news media) because they were UNcommon!   

       Mutual intimidation, HAH! Feelings of intimidation never last past the point that people get used to it, and people have been known to get used to lots of things. Do you pay your taxes because you feel intimidated, or because you are used to it, or because you actually believe that if you desire a decent government, you have to pay for it? I submit that most people pay their taxes because they are so used to it that they only feel any intimidation if they think about NOT paying. They have become COMFORTABLE with whatever intimidation originally existed to get them to pay! And any sense of being cowed has turned into respect for the source of intimidation. You can COUNT on the human ego making such conversions (just so it can feel better about itself)! And I've already posted earlier about respect.   

       Concerning animal passions, sure, we ARE a bunch of animals at the core. How well we behave like people and not animals is very largely dependent upon TRAINING. Those who refuse to learn, or fail to learn, will be the ones who first begin to act like animals in times of stress -- and they can be the second group to get evolutionarily weeded out, in my selfish opinion. It is sad that they will likely kill some number of human people before they are "put down" like the human animals they are, but then, in ALL OTHER instances where some dangerous wild animal is hunted down and shot, it is after that animal assaults human people. In the long run, the human people will win out over the human animals, <IF> the people are armed and trained! Because those human animals ARE outnumbered. ALSO, please note that at least SOME of those human animals, feeling fear of the consequences of their lack of training/self-control, will go out and GET the training (even medication, if necessary) they need to properly control themselves, as human people do. Which certainly you will consider to be a good thing!   

       Beretta 92, if the punk knows that everyone in the shop is armed, would he go there to commit a crime in the first place? I would say that if you think he will drop his weapon and run, then NO, he wouldn't have gone there in the first place. And if ALL shops are full of armed people, how many crimes will he commit? Not very many...one way or another.
Vernon, Jul 12 2001

       //<fiction> Pol Pot: "The Kettle Is Black".</fiction> You either are not very old or you have not had much experience. There are greater pots than I which await your kettle. I do not know what Training you have had in weapons skills, but I will grant you that what is called education from the internal perspective looks like propaganda from the external perspective. I also don't know what your scholastic experience was, but I take it that it did not include many English Comprehension courses.//   

       As far as the pot calling the kettle black, of course they are both black, that's the point. If we have our heads up there, then obviously you do too, get it? Maybe you need some courses too. I guess if you can't think of anything relevant to say about the topic, you say shit like...   

       //Duh, The beauty of the QWERTY keyboard is that one can have their head rammed up their ass, yet still 'see' what they are typing.//   

       As for my age it's 30, as for my training I've taken hunter's safety, firearm protection & retention, as well as my concealed weapon classes. I've read your other posts and you have some valid points, where did they go?
Beretta 92, Jul 12 2001

       I don't believe that everyone should be REQUIRED to carry weapons. Especially not convicted felons or mentally insane people. Pretty much the way it is now, to legally purchase firearms. I don't believe in banning rifles or handguns. I do believe we have a right to protect ourselves from criminals, and if need be the government.   

       "The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed;..." Thomas Jefferson   

       "No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." Thomas Jefferson   

       "...one loves to possess arms, tho[ugh] they hope never to have occasion for them." Thomas Jefferson in a letter to George Washington   

       "The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes....Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. Thomas Jefferson
Beretta 92, Jul 12 2001

       (I have no idea why I'm wasting my time with this, but...) Um, just to help you out there, Beretta (you are now clearly of questionable learnin'), thumbwax was making fun of you for using such a stupid, tired cliche. I was going to also, I was going to feign being impressed with your brilliance and express my amazement at the perfect mapping of the analogy to the discourse, but I like the way he did it better. He is well aware of the meaning of the analogy, and he said nothing to indicate otherwise. Do you have any idea who Pol Pot was? My earlier reference to the keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool rather than open it and remove all doubt cliche is once again applicable.   

       (Yes, I know I know. Sorry. I'll stop now.)
globaltourniquet, Jul 12 2001

       Well here I go again, wasting my time with you too, Global (who needs to wonce gain be showin me up with his fancy book learnin'. Taint my fault Pa took me outa forth grad to work the farm! Butt stay on topic cuz my lil ol brain caint andle all dis jumpin aroun ). Yes I know who Pol Pot was. Do I have to prove it? Ok. Pol Pot leader of the Khmer Rouge who got control of Cambodia in 1975 and killed millions. Still off topic, unless you are going to switch and say they might have had a chance if armed. Hmmm...
Beretta 92, Jul 12 2001

       > >Subject: Statistics.............. > >Number of physicians in the U.S.: 700,000 >Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year: 120,000 >Accidental deaths per physician: 0.171 >(U. S. Dept. of Health and Human Services) > >Number of gun owners in the U.S.: 80,000,000 >Number of accidental gun deaths per year (all age groups): 1,500 >Accidental gun deaths per gun owner: 0.0000188 > >Statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous >than gun owners. > >FACT: Not everyone has a gun, but almost everyone has at least one >doctor. > >Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. We must ban doctors >before this gets out of hand! > >As a Public Health Measure, I have withheld the statistics on lawyers >for fear that the shock could cause people to seek medical aid.
Beretta 92, Aug 30 2001

       I wonder if the statistics for accidental gun deaths include all the very deliberate shootings that take place...
-alx, Aug 30 2001

       I left an annotation up in jest/spite - The next morning - and thereafter, the wording seemed so very wrong - and I do apologize for any offense that may have been taken. I often think of that particular post and come back to look at it on occasion to remind myself to not 'behave' like that - and will leave it as such for that very purpose of reason.

Self discipline is key to having a weapon, whether it be the pen, the sword or a gun.
thumbwax, Aug 31 2001

       Now seems like a good time to trot out the old "I TOLD YOU SO!".   

       After all, if every American was almost always armed, then there would be no helpless/defenseless airline passengers who have to let terrorist hijackers crash their planes in horrible political statements.   

       Yes, I know that attempted hijackings might well lead to plane crashes anyway. But crashes deliberately directed at a target? NO WAY!
Vernon, Sep 12 2001


       I knew this issue was going to come up...
iuvare, Sep 12 2001

       I stand by what I wrote. The only reason Joe Public is forbidden to carry guns around is because the government doesn't trust Joe Public. However, the historical record is that Joe Public has much more reason to distrust the government, than vice-versa. After all, government policies failed to prevent four airplaine hijackings the other day. AND I heard on the radio words to this effect:   

       A wife received a phone call from her husband on board one of the planes. He told her the plane had been hijacked, that he was certain the hijackers intended to kill everyone on board, and that he and a couple other guys had decided to go try to do something about it. This was the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania---and DIDN'T reach the hijacker's target.   


       Joe Public, I salute you! And I wish you had been better armed.
Vernon, Sep 13 2001

       What if the Pilot had a weapon in a lock box? Certainly he could be trusted with one. I'll agree with Vernon, the Pennsylvania flight didn't hit it's target because the people on board fought, they themselves might have died, but they saved many more lives by trying. I salute them as well!
Beretta 92, Sep 17 2001

       we would only have a polite nation because everyone would be dead or in jail for murder.
mephisto, Jan 05 2002

       Interesting discussion. Suggested reading might include Chapter 7 (Citizen Forces and Mercenaries) of The Ruler, by Machiavelli.   

       A couple of quotes from the Great Books Foundation, translation by Peter Rodd, probably taken out of context by yours truly:   

       "Recent [15th century] history shows that the undelegated command of rulers and the citizen armies of republics alone have achieved success while mercenary forces have been disastrous. It also shows that a democracy in arms is less easily brought under despotism by one of its own citizens than by an alien force."   


       "The Swiss are armed to the teeth, and free as the air."   

       At this point I've probably quoted as much as is considered fair use in book reviews and such, so read the book to find out more.
LoriZ, Jan 06 2002

       If guns cause crime then matches cause arson!
Paul_Revere7, Jan 03 2003

       you would have to be a complete idiot to come up with that idea
subkat, Jan 14 2003

       Firearms have plenty of peaceful applications. From punching, knocking down, or smashing targets (typically made of paper, steel, or clay respectively), to bagging game, to convincing robbers that they should reconsider their planned attack; all of those are both considered lawful and peaceful, at least in the U.S. (I know in Britain self-defense is forbidden, even when one has the means to accomplish it, so the latter would probably not be considered acceptable there).
supercat, Jan 14 2003

       Fundamentally sound, but easily rebuttable notion 1: Why not make guns exceedingly painful to use? People would think twice about blasting away if they knew it would sprain their wrist to do so.   

       Fundamentally sound, but easily rebuttable notion 2: Make all guns needlessly large. That way, if you see someone walking toward you looking like they've got their brother Kuato under their coat, you can start running like hell from that much farther away.
friendlyfire, Jan 14 2003

       To Steve above: You say you cannot see any peacefull applications for firearms? You must come to my place sometime. You will have fun, I promise. There are MILLIONs or gun owners and BILLIONS of rounds of ammunition shot every year in the US. I shoot over 1,000 round a week actually. I'm tired of people thinking that because they do not want guns, that that means nobody else wants guns.   

       As for the topic, I must vote no, it is silly. The choice to carry whatever one wants on their person, in this case a firearm, must be an individual one. I support liscenced concealed carry! We need it in OH!
zahc, Apr 10 2003

       I'm so glad to see such a long involved debate aout the issue. i am a very strong anti-gun advocate. But i think just about anything i could say would be repetitive at this point. And i'm sure you don't want to sit through that.   

       It's already obvious that the world is not ready to just sit back and enjoy peace and harmony with eachother. So it would be unreasonable to say that by removing guns we would stop violence and so on. If someone wants to do evil things, they will, guns or no. But i'd rather see everyone carrying swords than guns.
Puresoul, Apr 13 2003

       The only reason that is even in your Constitution was because the legal philosophers of the time believed that you surrendered your individual power to the state, but retained a small part of it - your gun - just in case the state abused its power. If you surrendered ALL of your power to the state you had no right to complain if it abused you - in other words you were a mug to give up your weapon Now that the US military is so strong it is highly unlikely that the American people could ever hope to recover that power if it became necessary, even if every citizen carried a gun. Who is to say every citizen would disapprove of the regime? Many of the most revolting regimes have had majority support. Therefore it is a redundant clause that harms rather than protects the people. Your average criminal does not want to go down for murder, but he will carry a gun and use it if he feels he will be shot by the victim, bystander or police. Yes, so serious criminals, especially those involved in organised crime will always manage to get guns, but most citizens who carry a gun to protect themselves, their family and their property will never encounter such people. Besides, that type of criminal can upgrade his weapon with great ease. Who can deny that there is an arms race on the streets of America? I do not know much about how your Constitution works, but I presume it can only be amended by referendum of the people - so removing the right to bear arms can only be done by the people. If this is not the case, you might want to concern yourselves with that rather than with your right to bear arms. On the other hand, Constitutional rights can be curtailed if the exercise of that right infringes another, more important right. You cannot assume that every citizen is responsible - who is to decide if they are responsible or not - who will remove guns from those who are not responsible?
Mouche, May 27 2003

       I have NO problem with responsable gun ownership , with in limits , i see no reason for civi folks to have .50 cal guns . up to .44mag in pistols and up to .300 mag in rifels is MORE than adaquete . BUT if you just have your fire arms laying about UNSCEURED you should be at least patrly responsable if they are stolen and can be tracked to a gun related crime ,, on the other hand if you have taken reasonable precautions i don't feel any gun crimes are your fault
zippyt, May 29 2003

       I accidentally deleted myself, rats. Someone said to look at the UK and at Washington. Great idea. They are prime examples of gun control failing to do what it was uspposed to do. Banning guns will not stop crime. You know why people get shot in restraunts, stores and schools? Because law breaking thugs break the law and law abiding citizens are doing what the law wants, going unarmed, unable to fight back.   

       Suicides will not be stopped by banning guns, and the celebrities who try and run our lives live in rich worlds surrounded by security. They dont walk home at one in the morning from work watching shadows around them.   

       Do you think rapists would try and rape and armed woman? Do you think robbers plan to break into houses they know have guns? Do you think terrorists, who are the worst of cowards, would hijack planes where pilots and licensees had guns and would shoot back? Of course not. There is a reason why licensees do not become pistoleros, as they are expected to do. Licensees have clean backgrounds because as a rule, they are not trouble makers to begin with.   

       Gun control is a false idea that simply disarms the law abiding people and protects criminals. Nothing more. A gun is a tool, it has no mind of it's own. If you want to protect kids, educate them. I speak from ten years of experience.
bluebomber, Jul 08 2003

       Keep in mind who the people in the gun control hall of fame are. The world class example would be Rosie O'Donnel. Allowing for the other things wrong with her warped spych, she is all for government searches of people's homes to remove guns, and jailing their owners. I dont feel like going to jail when I'm not guilty of anything nor do I feel like having agovernment dog raid my house because he feels like it.   

       However, if Rosie baby wants to open the door on her $7,000,000 dollar mansion with private homes for her servants, which is on an exclusive island for stars, and let someone look through her things she can do so.   

       The trouble with celebs is that they travel in limos with security all around them, stay in the finest hotels, and are as far from real danger as it gets. I live five miles from a high crime neighborhood, and have shot skunks that moved in under my house and warded off a potential kidnapper with my pistol.   

       The words of some high and mighty celebrity who lives in the world of make believe dont impress me. Not unless they are going to protect my family.
bluebomber, Jul 12 2003

       I tried to avoid it but i couldn't   

       bluebomber - a couple of questions: Why couldnt you remove the skunks in a more humane way eg. a garden hose or an animal control agency? why do you think that 'celebrities' run the world?
chud, Jul 14 2003

       A firearm can only be used for defense if the person who is attacked has it in their possession at the time of the attack.   

       Anyone who knows they'll be attacked would be wise to have a rifle or shotgun in their possession, since such weapons are more effective than handguns. A handgun in the hands of a would-be victim, however, is still much better than a rifle or shotgun left at home.
supercat, Jul 14 2003

       Fair and good question. On the skunks, my original intention was to remove them elsewhere and I tried that, along with some other animals I caught and raised, then turned loose. The skunks moved into my insulation under the house, and when I tried to trap or otherwise extract them I got nailed in the face with spray. At three in the morning I was shrieking in agony and the hospital said I'd be blind. The house reeked of skunk for a week.   

       Given the fact that skunks are not endangered, I popped them, moreless an emotional decision as my eyes burned, got rid of them and barracaded the hole they had dug. Since then, no problem. Rabid skunks are often a problem here. They got a little boy sick the other day. Personally I think skunks are cute till they spray me.   

       On the celebs, they dont rule the world per se, but when you think about it their money and influence have alot of power. It was just a comment on something I read. They set trends, they start fads, and many are hot to trot to disarm. There are quite a few really cool celebs. (Sam Elliot for one)I read the words of Stalone and could not believe he called himself a loyal American. Frankly I dont have much use for anyone at all who denies logical and moral rights to other people, especially to those they cannot relate to.
bluebomber, Jul 16 2003

       I'd kill myself. and most likely so would all the other suicidal males.
davidcreede, Jul 22 2003

       I was gonna go in here and debate on the conservative, anti-gun control side, but I can't and won't for the following reasons: 1. Looks like some people on here already have the conservative side up and don't need my help 2. I can't figure out whose who and sides they're on 3. This page is too long to begin with 4. The debate keeps going off on unrelated tangents 5. There are people who are debating more about grammer then gun control 6. And finally, some of these people are not reading this for the debate, but for some other unknown reason.   

       I will add this and forgive me if it was already said above:   

       If you ban guns, the crime rate WILL skyrocket. Reason: criminals are not law abiding, they will get guns by means not pertaining to the law, and they will not be afraid to break in to your home and kill your children.   

       ***************Sub-tangent: story about California killing:   

       [Told by the grandmother of the children murdered]   

       If teachers were allowed to carry a concealed weapon to school you would see the school shootings disappear. The same is true with the citizen on the street. The reason is, these killers are cowards. You can tell by their choice of victims. They operate best where they know there are no guns.   

       Look at your child tonight and imagine him or her with their eyes jabbed out, their skulls splintered, their brains pierced, and their spines broken with the heavy tines of a spading fork. In defending her sisters to the death with the only weapon you allowed her, Ashley had 138 puncture wounds. Twenty-nine of them were on the right side of her face, five on the back of her head, and thirty-seven to her chest and lower neck. (Obviously he was trying to behead her.) She was nine years old. While committing no crime greater than sleeping in his parents’ bed, in his own house, John William, 7 years old, was stabbed 46 times, with most of them in the chest, neck, and head. Depending on the condition of your heart, you may or may not feel a small measure of the pain my family and I must endure for the remainder of our lives.   

       Now, imagine all the gun laws you can dream up and honestly admit whether or not they would have stopped such a mad dog as this. This man was a total stranger to the family, and other than a trace of marijuana, was not on drugs at the time. However, by the testimony of his wife and girlfriend, he was a drug user who became frightening whenever he used them. All your imagined gun laws will do is insure someone's children will die again. Take a drive downtown and see for yourself all the drug addled brains.   

       You may declare gun free zones, but you cannot declare killer free zones.   

       ***************Sub-tangent end   

       If you get rid of gun control, then the criminals will be afraid to enter your home because they don’t know if you’re packing a gun or not.   

       One last thing, my shirt says: “Stop gun violence; learn to use one”
tustin, Sep 11 2003

       Here's something to think on: If I told you that there was something out there that is available all over any city, innexpensive enough to be bought on an allowance, not even regular wages, and can be gotten much easier than guns, yet was extremely dangerous, what would you want to do about it?   

       Before you answer, consider this: It is far more popular than guns, does not require any license or background check, yet it kills MORE people than guns, including children, old people, teenagers, etc. It maims and destroys lives to the tens of thousands every year and is abused with reckless disregard even though the media constantly reminds us of how dangerous it can be. Would you want something like that banned?   

       If you havent guessed already I'm talking about alcahol. Just like guns it can be used responsibly, or abused. Yet it has no personal protection use, is adictive, and is used for little more than recreational use. Just a thought.
littlebrowndaug, Jan 08 2004

       Yeah, but you can only shoot someone with booze if you shake the bottle of Veuve Cliquot for aaages.
calum, Jan 09 2004

       And have you ever tried to quickdraw* a flagoon?
*Is this even a verb?
Detly, Jan 10 2004

       this is even too much halfbaked for me... go and rethink the whole thing!
dentaclause, Jan 10 2004

       I've noticed this idea a couple of times, but this was the first time I've actually tried to read it. It wa a mistake. Too many screenfuls of people who have unreconcilable opinions. I particularly enjoyed the paranoid rantings of [HKUSP9].   

       For what its worth, I shall remain neutral on this, simply because there is no real solution to the problem and, whilst not a solution that I particularly agree with, it is a courageous attempt.
hidden truths, Sep 20 2005

       Here's a story.   

       In Israel as well as in the Palestinian Authority firearms are prevalent. I had worked with a newcomer from Argentine when times for Jews went bad there, who was amazed about a light car crash in Tel Aviv that he saw. The two drivers got out of their cars and started yelling at each other. Both had handguns strapped to their belts, and didn't even think of using them. He said that in Argentine that would end in a shootout.   

       A comedy show had Ahmad Tibbi, an Arab member of Knesset seriously talk about "Fantasies" - a celebration of shooting in the air common at Arab weddings. He said: I know the guys that have guns, and I simply don't come to those weddings. If they do shoot at a wedding I'm attending at, I leave.   

       It won't necessarily make everybody polite, although it does definitely give a feeling of security. (Personally, I do not own a gun, and do not walk around with one). I think it would be better if all those guns would be exchanged for taser guns.   

       A famous joke says: A Polish man, an American, an Italian and an Israeli are in Communist Russia, when they are approached by an old man who asks: Excuse me, where do I stand in line for the meat rations? The Italian says: What's 'to stand in line'? The Polish man says: What's meat? The American says: What's 'a line'? The Israeli says: What's 'Excuse me'?   

       So we have guns everywhere, but it doesn't make any of us more polite.
pashute, Nov 12 2012


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