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Old 02-19-2013, 04:41 PM   #76
SMOGZINN
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I think in certain circumstances, there could be some truth to that, but I don't think you can make the case that it's broadly applicable to Democracy.

Else how do you explain the Western European states that have broad firearms bans but maintain democracy?
Please explain what recourse the citizens would have if one of those Western European states would simple decide that Democracy is no longer and implement a dictatorship?
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:51 PM   #77
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I have hunters in my family. My interest in the motivations of gun-owners is not to otherize them, but to actually try and understand them.

I wasn't joking with the metal penis thing. I was using comedic phrasing to try and make my point, but the point stands: I think there might be some collective weird angst tied to gun ownership and the motivations of gun owners. I get two main answers when it comes to the question of why: 1) security or 2) entertainment. I find each troubling, but one of them less so.

I don't want to lecture though and I imagine no one wants to read some long-winded treatise from me on the subject. So I try to offer some thoughts when I am inspired. I'm also certainly willing to reply to any questions (general or specific to me) that you have.


Oh, and lastly, I was only laughing at your expense because of your typo. I certainly meant no actual harm, just found it to be a delight in a otherwise dreary day.
Hahaha

That's no typo, I'm just stupid!
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:03 PM   #78
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I think in certain circumstances, there could be some truth to that, but I don't think you can make the case that it's broadly applicable to Democracy.

Else how do you explain the Western European states that have broad firearms bans but maintain democracy?
Democracy, imho, tends to be stable (not always, but usually) during good economic times. While we aren't really in "good" times right now, there is still enough money in the system (through debt but that is another thread) to keep most people happy. If there is another great depression, though.......

Also, there are arguably enough democratic governments in a small area such that democracy tends to be stable as, if you tried to seize power in any one democracy, you would be widely criticized by your fellow countrymen as well as others in nearby countries.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:33 PM   #79
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99% of people would find my position extreme, but I think a wholesale change in this countries gun obsessed culture is in order. The interlinking of freedom and guns in our cultural identity has had disastrous consequences that has made us the most violent and dangerous first world country in the world. I would like to see assault rifles, handguns, and any other firearm that is not a long barreled hunting rifle eliminated from society via an immediate halt in domestic sale and manufacture, followed up by a massively financed long running gun buyback program with an amnesty period for unlawful weapons to be sold back to the government. Immediate severe criminal penalties would go into effect for unlawful use of a firearm.

Would it be hard? Yes

Would it be a bit of a messy transition? Yes

Would roving bands of gun toting criminals be rampaging through our neighborhoods once everyone turned their guns in? That is just NRA propaganda.

Would it eventually lead to a severe reduction in gun violence and murder rates in this country? Absolutely

Am I crazy? The rest of the western world looks at us, with a murder rate magnitudes greater than our other western counterparts, like we are the crazy ones. Which is it?
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:11 AM   #80
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Would roving bands of gun toting criminals be rampaging through our neighborhoods once everyone turned their guns in? That is just NRA propaganda.
What is not NRA propaganda is the roving bands of 2nd amendment supporters that will fight against the government as they try to implement what you suggest.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:46 AM   #81
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What is not NRA propaganda is the roving bands of 2nd amendment supporters that will fight against the government as they try to implement what you suggest.
I'm actually less sure of that. I'm not convinced that it would provoke that many folks to actually act. I can imagine a couple of larger mobs/militias forming here and there, but for the most part people will still go to work and provide for their families through whatever their normal routines are, most of which do not require guns.

Though I suppose if they get some sponsorship/backing from the makers of guns, then that might take a different turn.

And that's why it (a ban) won't happen anyway, there's simply too much money at stake.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:27 AM   #82
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Please explain what recourse the citizens would have if one of those Western European states would simple decide that Democracy is no longer and implement a dictatorship?
That's a hypothetical. My contention is that with a strong democratic process, like the one we have, this is not a concern. Frankly, sometimes I wonder about how much thought has been put into this by those concerned about an some kind of government coup. Which threat to democracy should we be more concerned about, a four-star general who suddenly decides he'd like to be king, or the pernicious intrusion of corporate money into the political process?

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Democracy, imho, tends to be stable (not always, but usually) during good economic times. While we aren't really in "good" times right now, there is still enough money in the system (through debt but that is another thread) to keep most people happy. If there is another great depression, though.......

Also, there are arguably enough democratic governments in a small area such that democracy tends to be stable as, if you tried to seize power in any one democracy, you would be widely criticized by your fellow countrymen as well as others in nearby countries.
I don't see any evidence that a recession or even depression would threaten our democracy. This country has been going through them for hundreds of years. Japan is in awful economic times right now, countries like Spain and Greece have horrifying unemployment rates, but I've never seen anyone suggest it could threaten their democracies. I think to see an attempted coup you would need it to get to the point of famine and desperation.

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Am I crazy? The rest of the western world looks at us, with a murder rate magnitudes greater than our other western counterparts, like we are the crazy ones. Which is it?
The biggest thing I disagree with you on is the suggestion that the opinon of the rest of the world should be a factor in our decision. We have a unique nation in many ways. Our gun laws should reflect whatever works the best for us.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:34 AM   #83
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99% of people would find my position extreme, but I think a wholesale change in this countries gun obsessed culture is in order. The interlinking of freedom and guns in our cultural identity has had disastrous consequences that has made us the most violent and dangerous first world country in the world.
Pretty broad statement to make with nothing to back it up.

I don't see much of the real violence problem coming from the "gun obssessed culture", if by that you mean law-abiding citizens who like to own and shoot firearms. I see most of it coming from gang and drug related violence in cities, which are an entirely different culture altogether.

What percentage of homicides are committed by law-abiding citizens who are regular sport shooters or hunters? My guess is that it's rather small.

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I would like to see assault rifles, handguns, and any other firearm that is not a long barreled hunting rifle eliminated from society via an immediate halt in domestic sale and manufacture, followed up by a massively financed long running gun buyback program with an amnesty period for unlawful weapons to be sold back to the government. Immediate severe criminal penalties would go into effect for unlawful use of a firearm.

Would it be hard? Yes
Would it pass Congress? No.

Would it immediately be struck down as unconstitutional if it did somehow pass Congress? Yes.

Might as well speculate about fairies appearing and sprinkling us all with magic dust that makes us not want to hurt each other.

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That's a hypothetical.
It is, but it's not unprecedented.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:55 AM   #84
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It is, but it's not unprecedented.
Okay, what's the precedent? I'd rather discuss that than an imaginary scenario.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:00 AM   #85
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I don't see much of the real violence problem coming from the "gun obssessed culture", if by that you mean law-abiding citizens who like to own and shoot firearms. I see most of it coming from gang and drug related violence in cities, which are an entirely different culture altogether.

What percentage of homicides are committed by law-abiding citizens who are regular sport shooters or hunters? My guess is that it's rather small.
Right, but the argument is that the gun culture is primarily responsible for the laws that make guns available to the inner city gangs.

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Would it pass Congress? No.

Would it immediately be struck down as unconstitutional if it did somehow pass Congress? Yes.

Might as well speculate about fairies appearing and sprinkling us all with magic dust that makes us not want to hurt each other.
I don't see how this is helpful at all. There's nothing wrong arguing for a public policy that's unlikely to be quickly enacted. It took women more than a hundred years to get the right to vote, would you mock a 19th century sufferage activist?
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:10 AM   #86
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Would it eventually lead to a severe reduction in gun violence and murder rates in this country? Absolutely
I think this is not as sure as you think. There are many countries with a higher gun related homicide rate then ours, even though they have fewer guns per populace, and these countries all have something very important in common with us.
Those countries are: Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil.
That is right, they are all our "partners" in the war on drugs. Maybe the problem isn't with gun ownership.

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Am I crazy? The rest of the western world looks at us, with a murder rate magnitudes greater than our other western counterparts, like we are the crazy ones. Which is it?
In the US 60% of all homicides involved firearms. Many European countries have similar percent of homicide involving firearms as we do, even though they have many fewer guns (both total and by percent of population). In Switzerland 72% of all homicides are firearm related, but they only had a 80 homicides. The problem is not that we have so many guns, it is that we have so many homicides at all. Removing the guns will not remove the reasons so many people are killing each other.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:11 AM   #87
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I don't see how this is helpful at all. There's nothing wrong arguing for a public policy that's unlikely to be quickly enacted. It took women more than a hundred years to get the right to vote, would you mock a 19th century sufferage activist?
Indeed, it might take at least 2-3 generations before one party has enough political power to begin confiscating guns. Assuming voting trends stay current.

But as we saw in 1994, voting for more gun control can be politically disastrous for one party, changing voting trends for cycles at a time.

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Old 02-20-2013, 10:23 AM   #88
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That's a hypothetical. My contention is that with a strong democratic process, like the one we have, this is not a concern. Frankly, sometimes I wonder about how much thought has been put into this by those concerned about an some kind of government coup. Which threat to democracy should we be more concerned about, a four-star general who suddenly decides he'd like to be king, or the pernicious intrusion of corporate money into the political process?
I don't see our democratic process being all that strong. In fact I think on a national level it is already mostly a smokescreen for a virtual corporate aristocracy. In the United States a government coup is not going to happen with tanks, it is going to happen by declaring a certain class of citizen to important to prosecute. We are on the very edge of this right now.
Peaceful protest is not going to have any real effect on this sort of government. They will simply ignore it, or if it becomes too much of a nuisance they will use their control of the media to vilify the protesters, and then use the police to end the protests.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:48 AM   #89
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I don't see our democratic process being all that strong. In fact I think on a national level it is already mostly a smokescreen for a virtual corporate aristocracy. In the United States a government coup is not going to happen with tanks, it is going to happen by declaring a certain class of citizen to important to prosecute. We are on the very edge of this right now.
Peaceful protest is not going to have any real effect on this sort of government. They will simply ignore it, or if it becomes too much of a nuisance they will use their control of the media to vilify the protesters, and then use the police to end the protests.
on the edge? we jumped off it. I thought Enron would change things but it was a fizzle. Then the Banking collapse and nothing came of it.

IF you are in charge of a huge company you can do whatever you want without fear or jail. sure there might be 1 scapegoat but nothing real will happen.
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:05 AM   #90
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I don't see our democratic process being all that strong. In fact I think on a national level it is already mostly a smokescreen for a virtual corporate aristocracy. In the United States a government coup is not going to happen with tanks, it is going to happen by declaring a certain class of citizen to important to prosecute. We are on the very edge of this right now.
Peaceful protest is not going to have any real effect on this sort of government. They will simply ignore it, or if it becomes too much of a nuisance they will use their control of the media to vilify the protesters, and then use the police to end the protests.
There is too much corporate influence, but what you're suggesting is ridiculous.

How are we on the edge of declaring anyone too important to prosecute? Who has suggested such a thing? Is there collusion, corruption, and kickbacks, bad shit going on? Of course there is, there has been in this country for hundreds of years. Look at some of the railroad and oil monopolies that used to dominate.

My ex-gf used to work in EPA enforcement. She would walk into industrial plants all over the country and demand to see documentation and proof that they were meeting regulations. When they weren't they would get huge fines and could get shut down altogether. These were big, powerful, influential companies. No one has a free pass.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:04 PM   #91
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Okay, what's the precedent? I'd rather discuss that than an imaginary scenario.
The only one I can think of right now is what happened to Germany right after World War I. It didn't take long for the suffering of a people who had the cost of war put on their backs to turn into a very non-democratic state that decided it didn't like one part of its populous. Right in the middle of all of those democratic states and nobody wanted to get involved to stamp it out. And this was with a country that was on roughly equal footing with them militarily.

I don't see countries stepping up to the plate to take on America if we ever started moving along those lines.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:28 PM   #92
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Okay, what's the precedent? I'd rather discuss that than an imaginary scenario.
Weimar Germany.
Italy before Mussolini.
Cuba.
The Roman Empire.

There are others that are more or less debatable.

You could make a pretty solid argument that we're headed that way here in the US. Perhaps not to a single-person dictatorship, but an oligarchy that does what it wants and imposes its collective will on the people.

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Right, but the argument is that the gun culture is primarily responsible for the laws that make guns available to the inner city gangs.
Okay, but what exactly is that argument?

The "gun culture" you're talking about goes back to the founding of the country. Gang violence does not. Something happened in society to cause the latter, but it wasn't people in rural areas going to shooting ranges.

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I don't see how this is helpful at all. There's nothing wrong arguing for a public policy that's unlikely to be quickly enacted. It took women more than a hundred years to get the right to vote, would you mock a 19th century sufferage activist?
I don't see the situations as comparable:

1. It's a lot easier to get support to grant someone a right than to take one away.
2. Women, collectively, have more influence over men than non-gun-owners do over gun owners.
3. Suffrage generally cuts across party lines -- men and women are members of all parties. The gun control debate is pretty much split along party lines. Until that changes, there is no possibility of getting the necessary support among the states, even if you got it from Congress.

Want to work towards repealing the second? That's fine. But it's not going to happen in our lifetimes (IMO) and so I think the energy is better spent on more practical endeavors.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:38 PM   #93
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What I am saying is not ridiculous. It is an idea that our government is already playing with.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...ney-laundering
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Over the last year, federal investigators found that one of the world's largest banks, HSBC, spent years committing serious crimes...Those investigations uncovered substantial evidence "that senior bank officials were complicit in the illegal activity."

Needless to say, these are the kinds of crimes for which ordinary and powerless people are prosecuted and imprisoned with the greatest aggression possible....But not HSBC. On Tuesday [December 11, 2012], not only did the US Justice Department announce that HSBC would not be criminally prosecuted, but outright claimed that the reason is that they are too important, too instrumental to subject them to such disruptions. In other words, shielding them from the system of criminal sanction to which the rest of us are subject is not for their good, but for our common good.
http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/...nxI/story.html
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An Oregon Democrat, Senator Jeff Merkley, wrote to US Attorney General Eric Holder after the HSBC settlement, saying the government ‘‘appears to have firmly set the precedent that no bank, bank employee, or bank executive can be prosecuted even for serious criminal actions if that bank is a large, systemically important financial institution.’’
This is a clear example of the US government deciding not to prosecute a group of people because of that group's economic power.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:03 PM   #94
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Pretty broad statement to make with nothing to back it up.

I don't see much of the real violence problem coming from the "gun obssessed culture", if by that you mean law-abiding citizens who like to own and shoot firearms. I see most of it coming from gang and drug related violence in cities, which are an entirely different culture altogether.

What percentage of homicides are committed by law-abiding citizens who are regular sport shooters or hunters? My guess is that it's rather small.
I see this argument thrown around alot by gun advocates, and it dodges the point. I am well aware that most gun owners are law abiding citizens. You need to step back and evaluate the real world human consequences of the wide availability of these devices that allow you to enjoy your hobby. While you undoubtedly enjoy putting holes in paper targets, your desire for access to them directly enables access for the people who wish to do harm with them. There is a very human cost to you liking to "own and shoot firearms", and that cost has to be part of the consideration as to whether access at all is worth it.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:10 PM   #95
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There is a very human cost to you liking to "own and shoot firearms", and that cost has to be part of the consideration as to whether access at all is worth it.
That too sidesteps the real question. There is no doubt that firearms are used in many homicides, the question is if there were not so many guns would there be fewer homicides. The anti-gun side never gives any evidence for this. Removing the firearms is pointless if it does not stop the homicides.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:18 PM   #96
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There is a very human cost to you liking to "own and shoot firearms", and that cost has to be part of the consideration as to whether access at all is worth it.
I would argue that the human cost for us enjoying the consumption of alcohol is many orders of magnitude higher than the human cost of access to firearms.

The numbers of deaths directly attributable to alcohol are at least as high, but the amount of abuse (both physical and mental) caused by alcohol is mind boggling.

Yet we as a society chose a long time ago to allow the consumption of alcohol. The cost of firearms pales in comparison.

Think about it. 20 dead kids in Sandy Hook = tragedy of national proportions. Hundreds of thousands of physically/psychologically abused children in the hands of guardians under the influence: not even on our national radar.

Now I'm certainly not advocating prohibition. Quite the opposite: I think the needs of the many outweigh the sins of the few.

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Old 02-20-2013, 02:23 PM   #97
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You need to step back and evaluate the real world human consequences of the wide availability of these devices that allow you to enjoy your hobby. While you undoubtedly enjoy putting holes in paper targets, your desire for access to them directly enables access for the people who wish to do harm with them.
First, while I have owned guns in the past, I've never considered myself a member of the gun culture. I'm not a hunter and I don't shoot regularly.

I think you're begging the question here. You're saying in that statement that the availability of guns to law-abiding citizens leads to the problems, and that's an assumption, not necessarily a fact.

As a rather obvious example, we have outlawed all sorts of drugs in this country -- made them completely illegal -- and yet they are easily available to anyone who makes the slightest effort.

Making things illegal, by definition, only keeps them out of the hands of the law-abiding.

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There is a very human cost to you liking to "own and shoot firearms", and that cost has to be part of the consideration as to whether access at all is worth it.
Only if you can convince me that severely restricting access will actually accomplish anything meaningful.

I'm not an absolutist on gun rights by any means -- I just don't find the "ban guns and nobody will have guns" argument compelling, when we can't even keep pot out of high schools.

There are also costs to prohibiting firearm ownership, which never seem to get discussed very often.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:38 PM   #98
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Fifth, our founding fathers made it quite clear what the purpose of the 2nd amendment was. It's not so that the government has superior firepower over the people; but rather, so that the people would be able to stand up to the government if it ever came down to that.
No, it wasn't. It was because the military situation for the US - with no standing armies at all - was that state militias were the heart of defense, and the founding fathers did not want any government to pass laws that might prevent the US having a good defense. In the 20th century, especially, times change and the US developed a huge military that handles that. The 2nd amendment was made obsolete in its purpose.

Saying that, it remains in effect, obsolete or not, until it's amended.

But it's also highly vague about what 'arms' means. How about meaning what it meant when adopted - you can have muskets?

You need to distinguish between 'rights you like' and what the constitution actually says.

Why did the authors include the qualifying phrase that the right is for 'a well-regulated militia'? It's for a reason. That's the purpose and context of the right.

When the US declared war on England in 1812, founding father and President James Madison told the states to have their militias go take Canada. They failed miserably. The citizens didn't want to fight outside their states at all and were untrained and ineffective and unruly. Times changed. The idea of the right is an anachronism today.

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state..."

If the founding fathers had meant 'being necessary to protect the power of the people to overthrow a corrupt government', they could have said that. They didn't.

The 'security of the state' means security from any external enemies - such as the European powers who might have attacked them.

Colonies don't need militias - they are occupied and 'protected' by the armies of the occupying power, the British troops before the freedom of the US.

But 'free states' - states who are not such colonies - did need the protection of the militias of citizens if attacked.

Much of the constitution was directly in response to things the Americans resented from the British - things like soldiers forcing themselves to be guests in homes, or searches.

The second amendment says what it says, and has a history. As much as you might think there should be a right in the constitution for citizens to defeat a corrupt government with their rifles - a pretty absurd proposition in these times, but hey - you might have a fine point, but that doesn't make the constitution say what you want.

I've had some interest to look back at the Bill of Rights' debates to see just how much discussion there was about the 'protection from tyranny' issue, but haven't checked much.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:45 PM   #99
Craig234
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Originally Posted by Charles Kozierok View Post
Making things illegal, by definition, only keeps them out of the hands of the law-abiding.
That's a silly argument, however.

Let's take the example of Anthrax and apply your argument.

Making Anthrax illegal only keeps Anthrax out of the hands of the law-abiding.

Well, ok, so what? The question is, how many criminals' hands does it keep it out of?

The implication of the argument is that there is an infinite easy supply and passing the law is useless at preventing any from getting in the hands of criminals, which is false.

If Anthrax were legal, a lot more people would have it, and a lot more bad things would likely be done with it.

Making it illegal doesn't completely prevent crimes with it, but it reduces them.

That's the question with guns - a question which your 'only out of the hands of the law-abiding' does not do anything to help with.


Quote:
...I just don't find the "ban guns and nobody will have guns" argument compelling, when we can't even keep pot out of high schools.
That's a bad analogy. Pot is easily grown all over the place; guns are not. The issues of making them illegal do not carry over from one to the other well at all.

There ARE valid questions given we have hundreds of millions of guns in circulation, but the pot analogy doesn't help.
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:05 PM   #100
Charles Kozierok
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Originally Posted by Craig234 View Post
That's a silly argument, however.

Let's take the example of Anthrax and apply your argument.
I think your example is a lot more silly than my argument.

Anthrax is a biological weapon that has no other uses. Unless you want to try to make the argument that guns are only useful for mass murder, your analogy is wholly inadequate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig234 View Post
The implication of the argument is that there is an infinite easy supply and passing the law is useless at preventing any from getting in the hands of criminals, which is false.
No, the argument is that passing the law is sufficiently useless at preventing criminals from getting guns that it is not worth the negative impact it would cause.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig234 View Post
That's a bad analogy. Pot is easily grown all over the place; guns are not. The issues of making them illegal do not carry over from one to the other well at all.
Guns are very simple items to manufacture, and are made all around the world. They are smuggled anywhere there is a demand for them.

As just one example, Gaza is practically a police state, and is a tiny piece of land, and Israel and Egypt can't keep the guns out of there. You think you're going to accomplish that in a country the size of the US?
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