Shoot Club: Shot Club, Part One

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT
 

Shoot Club: Shot Club, Part One

My friend Trevor has just been shot. It's a Saturday and he's on the ground. Mostly we're looking down at him. We don't know what to do in a situation like this. Do you rip off your shirt and fashion a makeshift tourniquet? Do you press on the wound? Do you yell 'man down'?

Permalink

What the?!? How do grown men behave this way around a firearm? You don't just a pull a weapon out of a box and start handling it without even using the most simple common sense! You always assume a gun is loaded. And anyone who hands another person a gun for casual inspection always makes sure the weapon is unloaded and hands it to the other person in a way that demostrates that. Second at NO TIME when you handle a gun do you EVER do this "my index finger tucked around the trigger" UNLESS you are about to shoot it. My gawd, I would expect pubescent, pimple faced teenagers to handle a weapon like this, not grown adults.

1. When handed a weapon you ALWAYS, repeat ALWAYS, assume the weapon is loaded.
2. Even if you know for a fact it isn't you STILL treat it that way.
3. You NEVER point a weapon at a person unless you intend to shoot them.
4. You ALWAYS know where the barrel of your weapon is pointing.
5. A gun is NOT a toy or something to be played with.

Guns aren't dangerous. Stupid people are.

You killed Trevor! You bastards!

JS:
What the?!? How do grown men behave this way around a firearm? You don't just a pull a weapon out of a box and start handling it without even using the most simple common sense! You always assume a gun is loaded. And anyone who hands another person a gun for casual inspection always makes sure the weapon is unloaded and hands it to the other person in a way that demostrates that. Second at NO TIME when you handle a gun do you EVER do this "my index finger tucked around the trigger" UNLESS you are about to shoot it. My gawd, I would expect pubescent, pimple faced teenagers to handle a weapon like this, not grown adults.

1. When handed a weapon you ALWAYS, repeat ALWAYS, assume the weapon is loaded.
2. Even if you know for a fact it isn't you STILL treat it that way.
3. You NEVER point a weapon at a person unless you intend to shoot them.
4. You ALWAYS know where the barrel of your weapon is pointing.
5. A gun is NOT a toy or something to be played with.

Guns aren't dangerous. Stupid people are.

Yeah, but the gun sure helps.

Well, in the United Kingdom, they extensively have banned firearms, and as a result violent criminals switched to knives and swords. Scottish gangs "get medieval" with claymores in street fights. As a result, they are now moving to ban knives and swords.

Some people are violent and some people are dumb. This doesn't change based on the availability of arms. What does change is the smart, non-violent people's opportunity to defend themself.

The Escapist "right to bear arms" flame war commencing in 5...4...3...2...1....

When you say knives, swords, and claymores, all I can think of is the street rumble in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

"Brick, where did you get a hand grenade?"

"I don't know."

Out of curiosity, Archon, after all the gangs moved to knives and swords (and claymores), what happened to the mortality rate in regards to gang activity? More people maimed, but not dead? Or are they being just as effective at killing people? That would be the crux of any argument over whether the gun ban was effective or not. I don't know anyone who has argued that guns make people more violent, only that they give violent people the ability to do more damage more quickly/easily. If you look back at the times when individuals have really lost it, and gone on a killing spree, I think it would be hard to believe that they could've done as much damage with some very sharp/pointy objects. I'm not saying that swords are not lethal, just that it takes a much more skilled person to make it so in the face of adversity.

My real surprise is that I'm the only one who thought it was a little odd how impassioned JS's response to a fictional situation was. On top of that, I don't know what being a "grown" man has to do with knowing how to handle guns. Given the current factions trying to restrict the spread of gun ownership, you will come across more and more people that have never, ever handled a firearm, nor been trained in the appropriate way to handle them. It's sort of like abstinence only sex education: don't feign surprise when the kids get pregnant.

Geoffrey42:
Or are they being just as effective at killing people? That would be the crux of any argument over whether the gun ban was effective or not. I don't know anyone who has argued that guns make people more violent, only that they give violent people the ability to do more damage more quickly/easily. If you look back at the times when individuals have really lost it, and gone on a killing spree, I think it would be hard to believe that they could've done as much damage with some very sharp/pointy objects. I'm not saying that swords are not lethal, just that it takes a much more skilled person to make it so in the face of adversity.

Well, I think the real question is how effective are swords at killing innocent bystanders. The majority of violent crime, especially among inner city gangs, is directed at other inner city gangs. And honestly, gangs are going to find ways to kill each other. But it's a lot harder to miss and kill a kid 10 feet behind your intended target in a drive-by claymoring.

Archon:
Well, in the United Kingdom, they extensively have banned firearms, and as a result violent criminals switched to knives and swords.

I don't know how accurate that is. I don't think UK criminals were ever using guns with much frequency. Instead, I think they tended to do things like tape razor blades to the brims of their hats, or fold up newspapers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millwall_brick

To be more precise, prior to Britian's gun ban, violent criminals did not use a lot of guns relative to certain other nations. The recent gun ban was driven politically by a school shooting incident. Since the UK gun ban, their violent crime overall has increased, as has their violent crime using guns, and violent crime using knives and swords, with swords now being the second favorite weapon of criminal gangs.

For a sample of articles on these points see:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/glasgow_and_west/4788881.stm

http://newsbusters.org/node/12230

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/03/05/nsamurai105.xml

http://johnrlott.tripod.com/op-eds/BritainToyGunsWSJE.html

Joe, yes, gangs will find ways to kill each other. The question is whether they will find a way to kill me. Any violent criminal is going to have an edge on me in size, strength, and aggression. With a gun, I at least have a chance to defend myself (a lot more than carrying a sword, which I btw can't conceal or easily carry either). So given that gang violence is unlikely to be reduced, while incidence of self-defense are likely to increase, the weight seems to be in favor of more guns ( & fewer swords.) Britian currently has more gun laws, more guns, more swords, and more violence. Not a winning combo.

Your notion of accidental bystanders etc. has merit but the actual loss of life from gun accidents is low. You'd save a considerably greater number of lives if you left me my 9mm and banned the backyard pool.

Geoffrey, to your point that guns give violent people the ability to kill quickly and easily: Any violent persn who would like to commit mass homicide probably has the tool available in their garage right now, their car.

Mass vehicle slaughter...
2006 - A car plows thrugh Chapel Hill and injures 9.
2003 - A car plows through a farmer's market and injures 40, killing 10.
1992 - A car plows through Washington Square Park and kills 4.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_Reza_Taheri-azar

http://www.waxy.org/archive/2003/07/16/santa_mo.shtml

Modern society provides plenty of tools to the violent and evil to maim and kill and this capacity cannot be removed from them. Innocent bystanders have few tools available to stop a violent assailant. Why disarm the innocent?

Flame on!

Archon:
To be more precise, prior to Britain's gun ban, violent criminals did not use a lot of guns relative to certain other nations. The recent gun ban was driven politically by a school shooting incident.

Right, but still: were British people themselves better armed before the ban than they are now? If British people are still carrying guns around at the same frequency as before the ban, I don't see how this is causation, only correlation.

Like this line from the last article you linked: "Overall, the states in the U.S. that have experienced the fastest growth rates in gun ownership during the 1990s have experienced the biggest drops in murder rates and other violent crimes."

Gun *ownership*. Not *concealed carry* of guns.

Or this line: "Thirty-seven of the 50 states now have so-called right-to-carry laws that let law-abiding adults carry concealed handguns once they pass a criminal background check and pay a fee...Yet crime has fallen even faster in these states than the national average."

I don't know if we can go by *states* in this debate. I mean, California, New Jersey, and Michigan had a city in *both* the top 5 safest and top 5 most dangerous, so, how much insight can we get from looking at this on a state by state basis? http://www.morganquitno.com/cit07pop.htm#25

Joe, yes, gangs will find ways to kill each other. The question is whether they will find a way to kill me. Any violent criminal is going to have an edge on me in size, strength, and aggression. With a gun, I at least have a chance to defend myself...

Actually, I think the real edge criminals have on civilians is in combat experience, numbers, and the element of surprise. I don't see how a gun will help in that situation. It's not like some Predator gun attached to the shoulder--a gun has to be drawn. Chances are the bad guys are already on you by the time you start drawing your weapon.

Now, the sound of a pump shotgun in one's own home is a different matter...

Modern society provides plenty of tools to the violent and evil to maim and kill and this capacity cannot be removed from them. Innocent bystanders have few tools available to stop a violent assailant. Why disarm the innocent?

Crime prevention is not so much a matter of asking 'if MacGyver wanted to kill people...' and is more like the kind of work people in the marketing departments do. It just seems that mass murderers like using guns more than they like using cars. Probably because mass murders have a specific pool of targets in mind--classmates, fellow employees, etc. So unless there's a field trip to Washington Square Park, or they happened to work at a farmer's market, a car isn't very useful. A gun, on the other hand, is ideal for going classroom to classroom, or cubicle to cubicle.

Not to mention the fact that, well, you just completely avoided the actual question Geoffrey42 asked. I don't think he was asking about mass murderers, but rather, the average violent criminal. ;-D

I'm from Texas. Let's get that right out there. I was raised around guns, instructed in their proper care and use before I was a teenager and trained to use them safely. I am, it's fair to say, in favor of the right to bear arms.

I am also under no illusion that the 2nd Amendment serves its intended purpose; i.e. to allow for a method by which the American people can overthrow their oppressive government should they see fit. Those days are past. And yet, I think the right to bear arms is still relevant, and important.

I agree with Archon in that an effective means for self-protection is important. I also agree that outlawing a thing does nothing more than make it harder for average, law-abiding citizens to acquire it.

I'm aware that dumb people will more often injure themselves or others, unintentionally, than they will their attackers. In other words, someone untrained in the use of a weapon will most likely be unable to use it effectively. But the same can be said of cars, airplanes, baby formula and microwave ovens.

We license drivers. Make them take tests even. Some states have adapted this formula to gun laws. I do not think it's a bad idea.

I need crutches to get around. "Run away", not exactly an option for me when confronted with someone intent on doing me harm.

If presented with two choices:

A: Facing a hostile criminal when we're both armed with steak knives.
OR
B: Facing a hostile criminal when we're both armed with pistols.

I'll choose B every time. Maybe I'm a special case, but I figure the same would be true for not just the handicapped, but anyone not capable of physically matching the typical criminal thug (young, male, with enough physical confidence to provoke a confrontation).

It concerns me when the reaction to the misuse of a power is to remove that power from those who obey the law. Your return is disproportionate. While the majority of upright citizens are disarmed, you only disarm a percentage of the criminal element.

However, the fundamental issue, to me, is more basic. Criminals have always made a habit of preying on the weak. If the concern is criminal activity, "weaken everyone" seems like a really bad solution to me.

Cheeze, you seem to operate under the assumption that the default should be gun control and I have to justify gun rights. I reject that default position. With any laws, under a general rights-based libertarian view via the 9th Amendment, and specifically with gun laws, under the 2nd Amendment, the default is personal freedom. It is up to the regulator to demonstrate why our citizen's personal freedom should be violated.

Given that there's plenty of evidence that private ownership of guns is correlated with lower rates of violent crime, said reglators have a tough path ahead of them. What is the empirical evidence that the ownership of firearms by law-abiding citizens shouldn't be permitted?

Or, to ask again: Why disarm the innocent?

Archon:
Cheeze, you seem to operate under the assumption that the default should be gun control and I have to justify gun rights. I reject that default position. With any laws, under a general rights-based libertarian view via the 9th Amendment, and specifically with gun laws, under the 2nd Amendment, the default is personal freedom. It is up to the regulator to demonstrate why our citizen's personal freedom should be violated.

Given that there's plenty of evidence that private ownership of guns is correlated with lower rates of violent crime, said reglators have a tough path ahead of them.

I'm not making a legal argument specific to any country. I'm making a general argument about laws and their effect on crime prevention.

Although, I have to ask, even if we're talking about America, was the 2nd Amendment ever incorporated into the 14th? Without incorporation or a finding that the right to bear arms is a fundamental right like marriage, the *Federal* government might run up against that default, but wouldn't the states be as free to regulate guns as anything else that falls under the police power?

As for why we should disarm the innocent? If it makes the innocent safer. If it doesn't, keep them armed. The problem is figuring out what actually makes people safer by means of empirical evidence, and what's just a compelling logical argument. Since compelling logical arguments often prove to be great in theory, but terrible in practice.

Yeahhhhhhhhhhhh. The issue of whether the 2nd has been incorporated into the 14th is an Open Question. There is some historical evidence that it was "meant to be" incorporated (as much as any other rights were) but the S.Ct. has not ruled on the issue. That'll be "the big one" when that happens. Until then most states have their own version of the 2nd Amendment.

I likewise value empirical evidence but in many cases the empirical evidence isn't so clear cut as to make the "right" decision obvious. That's when our default positions matter - i.e. should the default be a presumption of government power or a presumption of individual freedom. Put another way, if we could always calculate the utility of individual acts, we wouldn't need rules (principles). Since we can't, we do....

Archon:

Yeahhhhhhhhhhhh. The issue of whether the 2nd has been incorporated into the 14th is an Open Question. There is some historical evidence that it was "meant to be" incorporated (as much as any other rights were) but the S.Ct. has not ruled on the issue. That'll be "the big one" when that happens. Until then most states have their own version of the 2nd Amendment.

So doesn't that mean that whether or not regulators will have a "tough path ahead of them" is also an Open Question?

I likewise value empirical evidence but in many cases the empirical evidence isn't so clear cut as to make the "right" decision obvious. That's when our default positions matter - i.e. should the default be a presumption of government power or a presumption of individual freedom. Put another way, if we could always calculate the utility of individual acts, we wouldn't need rules (principles). Since we can't, we do....

My default position is that asking if we have the right to bear arms is the wrong question--I think the much more important question is the right to self-defense. I think the question of guns where we have to fall back to a default position is better analyzed under a 'self-defense' inquiry than one specifically relating to guns. I think the right of the innocent to be *protected* is much more important than the right of the innocent to be *armed*.

In other words, you might say my presumption in the case of guns is for government power, and for the individual in the case of self-defense.

(And that's not even bringing in the question: what does it mean to say one has a presumption in favor of individual rights, if one individual is asserting a right to carry a gun, and the other individual is asserting the right to live in a gun-free society? In other words, if everyone is armed, I have to arm myself because now criminals are assuming I'm armed. My right not to carry a gun becomes less meaningful as a result. Giving other people individual rights diminishes the value of my individual right--it's not always a zero-sum game when talking about individual rights vs. government power.)

In a lot of cases, I think the results come out the same--a shotgun in the home is a pretty good defense against home invasion, *and* it's probably the easiest case to argue from a right to bear arms perspective. On the other hand, carrying a 9mm in a mall will wind up in very different places I think depending on whether we're talking about an abstract right to bear arms, or we're talking about a right to self-defense and how the ownership and use of those guns fits into that right of self-defense.

+++

Edit: It also means that someone like Gedrin might be allowed to carry a gun while other people aren't. Or people that work alone in remote areas, or other special cases. If the right is self-defense we can adjust the laws on a case by case basis. If the right is to carry guns themselves, we can't--either everyone gets them or no one does. I think there's a significant difference between Britain and America: that there's a much stronger argument for the necessity of guns in America than in Britain if the right is self-defense because of the differing habits of criminals. If the right is to guns themselves, everyone in every culture has an identical right and we can't adjust on a case-by-case basis.

I think the question is much more nuanced, and that in some cases guns are the answer; in others, they're not. For instance, according to this link:

http://www.morganquitno.com/cit07pop.htm#25

Half of the top ten safest metropolitan areas are all located in one state. According to this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concealed_carry

That state is also only one of two states left with no concealed carry. That's a pretty strong argument that there's no need to let people in Wisconsin carry around concealed 9mm guns. As for other areas? Well, maybe concealed carry is the answer. I just get the feeling that the debate is too...polarized, that guns are either the answer to all our crime problems or the cause of them. In reality, I think the true answer isn't so simple.

Which is why I think it's way more important to ask the question about the right to self-defense than the right to bear arms if what we're really talking about is safety, and not some abstract right to a firearm.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
Edit: It also means that someone like Gedrin might be allowed to carry a gun while other people aren't. Or people that work alone in remote areas, or other special cases. If the right is self-defense we can adjust the laws on a case by case basis. If the right is to carry guns themselves, we can't--either everyone gets them or no one does. I think there's a significant difference between Britain and America: that there's a much stronger argument for the necessity of guns in America than in Britain if the right is self-defense because of the differing habits of criminals. If the right is to guns themselves, everyone in every culture has an identical right and we can't adjust on a case-by-case basis.

Doesn't it seem unwise to start selectively disarming the populace based on things like region (maybe just disarm those in the inner city), class (gun owners with certain jobs are more likely to shoot people) or physical characteristics (my study proves that dark eyed people are more likely to kill innocents). Honestly, I'd be really hesitant to go along with the government that told me,"It's okay, we know better than you and you don't need a firearm to defend yourself."

I can understand the temptation to disempower everyone in the face of the horrid acts of a few criminals. I just don't think it's actually a good idea. I'd much rather find a way to empower law abiding citizens so that they can effectively defend themselves against the criminal element for the 5 minutes it takes the authorities to show up.

It really seems that many people are more comfortable imposing restrictions on the law abiding than they are in building an effective response to the criminal. Maybe that's because you can pass a law against owning a gun, and the law abiding will follow it, but if you pass a law against murder...criminals will still kill people. It's very easy to restrict the behavior of those who consent to follow the law. It's very hard to restrict the behavior of those who igrnore the law.

Until someone can convince me that taking away my guns will prevent people from beating me to death with a bat, I'd really like to keep them.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

So doesn't that mean that whether or not regulators will have a "tough path ahead of them" is also an Open Question?

No, you're taking the quote out of context. My quote "tough path" was with regards to my view that the presumption should be liberty and that finding empirical evidence to overcome that presumption would be tough for regulators. If regulators decide to ignore empirical evidence and just do whatever they want, they can have quite an easy time of it. I'm not under any illusions about the power of modern regulators.

And that's not even bringing in the question: what does it mean to say one has a presumption in favor of individual rights, if one individual is asserting a right to carry a gun, and the other individual is asserting the right to live in a gun-free society?

I would respond that you are conflating negative rights with positive rights. When you do that, all rights become a jumbled mush. You can play the game endlessly: "What does it mean to say one has a presumption in favor of individual rights, if one individual is asserting a right to speak his views, and the other individual is asserting the right to live in a viewpoint-free society?" We distinguish between negative and positive rights for this very reason.

(For those who have no idea what I'm talking abut, negative rights are the rights to do what you will, without anyone initiating force to prevent you from doing so. Positive rights are rights to initiate force against someone to prevent something or cause something to occur. To suggest that I have the right to bear arms is to suggest that you morally should not prevent me from doing so. To suggest that you have the right to a gun-free society is to suggest that you morallly can cause my guns to be forcibly taken from me. )

In other words, if everyone is armed, I have to arm myself because now criminals are assuming I'm armed.

Actually the opposite is true. You *don't* have to arm yourself because the criminals are aware that many people carry arms, and act accordingly.

In a lot of cases, I think the results come out the same--a shotgun in the home is a pretty good defense against home invasion, *and* it's probably the easiest case to argue from a right to bear arms perspective. On the other hand, carrying a 9mm in a mall will wind up in very different places I think depending on whether we're talking about an abstract right to bear arms, or we're talking about a right to self-defense and how the ownership and use of those guns fits into that right of self-defense.

Ultimately the right to bear arms (in its constitutional form) had little to do with the self-defense against criminals and far more to do with ensuring that military force stayed in the hands of the people, not tyrannical government. Attempting to justify the broad Framers-era defense of arms-bearing rights is ultimately self-limiting.

That said, I'm still coming at this from an entirely viewpoint as you, as I do not believe in positive rights at all, so the alleged "right to live in a gun-free zone" has as little weight to me as the "right to live in a society without The Escapist" or "right to live in a society where no one plays video games".

Gedrin:

Doesn't it seem unwise to start selectively disarming the populace based on things like region (maybe just disarm those in the inner city), class (gun owners with certain jobs are more likely to shoot people) or physical characteristics (my study proves that dark eyed people are more likely to kill innocents). Honestly, I'd be really hesitant to go along with the government that told me,"It's okay, we know better than you and you don't need a firearm to defend yourself."

I would say it seems a lot less wise to mess with a region like Wisconsin than to selectively arm or disarm by region. Is your hypothetical argument about steak knives coupled with your fear of a slippery slope so compelling you want to tinker with the conditions that put five and a half of that state's metropolitan areas in the top ten safest in the whole country?

I think it is very, very wise to think that the appropriate response to crime for Camden or Compton isn't the appropriate response to crime in Wisconsin or Brick Township. I'm quite prepared to make that debate, and deal with any slippery slope arguments--none of which I myself made, but you seem to be assigning to me--because I don't think anyone on the other side has a better answer for *my* counter argument, of why people in low-crime areas should face the risk that bringing guns into their community poses, for the sake of uniform gun laws.

I can understand the temptation to disempower everyone in the face of the horrid acts of a few criminals. I just don't think it's actually a good idea. I'd much rather find a way to empower law abiding citizens so that they can effectively defend themselves against the criminal element for the 5 minutes it takes the authorities to show up.

Me too. I am not tempted to disempower anyone. I agree with you 100 percent. However, there's the trick: *effectively* defend themselves. It seems people in Wisconsin are more effectively defending themselves. It's a much more effective defense to not have a gun and not need it than to have a gun and need it, right? Isn't the best defense not to get in an altercation in the first place?

Until someone can convince me that taking away my guns will prevent people from beating me to death with a bat, I'd really like to keep them.

Do you live in Wisconsin? Or Brick Township? I think I can convince you quite easily--don't mess with success, you know? Just have some common sense about this issue, instead of trying to manage the real world based on ivory tower hypotheticals.

Archon:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

So doesn't that mean that whether or not regulators will have a "tough path ahead of them" is also an Open Question?

No, you're taking the quote out of context. My quote "tough path" was with regards to my view that the presumption should be liberty and that finding empirical evidence to overcome that presumption would be tough for regulators. If regulators decide to ignore empirical evidence and just do whatever they want, they can have quite an easy time of it. I'm not under any illusions about the power of modern regulators.

But the presumption *isn't* liberty for regulators--at least those at the state level. The presumption is that the police power is valid, and plenty of state laws get held as Constitutional despite empirical evidence to the contrary, right? Unless I'm misunderstanding your context as 'how the law is today' and really, your context was 'how the law *should* be if Archon was in charge'.

And that's not even bringing in the question: what does it mean to say one has a presumption in favor of individual rights, if one individual is asserting a right to carry a gun, and the other individual is asserting the right to live in a gun-free society?

I would respond that you are conflating negative rights with positive rights. When you do that, all rights become a jumbled mush. You can play the game endlessly: "What does it mean to say one has a presumption in favor of individual rights, if one individual is asserting a right to speak his views, and the other individual is asserting the right to live in a viewpoint-free society?" We distinguish between negative and positive rights for this very reason.

I don't think that distinction is as clear cut as you think--I'll explain why below.

(For those who have no idea what I'm talking abut, negative rights are the rights to do what you will, without anyone initiating force to prevent you from doing so. Positive rights are rights to initiate force against someone to prevent something or cause something to occur. To suggest that I have the right to bear arms is to suggest that you morally should not prevent me from doing so. To suggest that you have the right to a gun-free society is to suggest that you morallly can cause my guns to be forcibly taken from me. )

What about a law that makes the *possession* of guns legal, but not the *sale* of guns? Kinda jumbles the whole distinction, doesn't it? It doesn't allow me to forcibly take them from you, but it *does* basically prevent you from bearing arms. How important is the positive right to bear arms, without the negative right to prevent people from keeping you from acquiring them?

In other words, if everyone is armed, I have to arm myself because now criminals are assuming I'm armed.

Actually the opposite is true. You *don't* have to arm yourself because the criminals are aware that many people carry arms, and act accordingly.

I'd agree with this to an extent--I think it would reduce the number of home invasions. On the other hand, I think it would make street criminals more violent towards all victims--can't take a chance the person will draw a gun, so you better disable her first, right?

Ultimately the right to bear arms (in its constitutional form) had little to do with the self-defense against criminals and far more to do with ensuring that military force stayed in the hands of the people, not tyrannical government. Attempting to justify the broad Framers-era defense of arms-bearing rights is ultimately self-limiting.

Exactly--that's why I think we should find it outside the 2nd Amendment, and instead find it as a free standing fundamental right. I would say that the 2nd Amendment wasn't protection *for individuals from the states* but instead was more like the 11th Amendment, a protection *of the states themselves* from the power of the Federal government. And not only that, but at the expense of the *right of individuals* to sue a state.

That said, I'm still coming at this from an entirely viewpoint as you, as I do not believe in positive rights at all, so the alleged "right to live in a gun-free zone" has as little weight to me as the "right to live in a society without The Escapist" or "right to live in a society where no one plays video games".

I wouldn't say it's an entirely different viewpoint--I think we both believe in a right to self-defense on some level. I think the difference is that you think that right justifies the right to bear arms, while I see the right to bear arms as possibly necessary to give the right to self-defense some teeth.

In short, I strongly believe in the right to self-defense, in a manner that I think you would classify as 'positive'. Maybe because I'm more concerned with how states have made innocent civilians fearful of using force--whether a gun, knife, or club--against criminals because of legal liability, than I am with the right to carry around a gun.

My context was "how the law would be if I were in charge;" or really probably even more so, just "a statement of arguments about law I personally find persuasive." I don't find it persuasive to start with the assumption that the state can do what it wants with the burden of proof on liberty; that is, I wouldn't vote that way. I can be persuaded, sometimes, that particular freedoms need be restricted but I start with the freedom. You are sadly right that most regulators are opposite...

I very strongly agree with you that the right to self-defense, which is a genuine and necessary right, needs to be strongly protected, and presently is under assault...

Archon:
I don't find it persuasive to start with the assumption that the state can do what it wants with the burden of proof on liberty; that is, I wouldn't vote that way. I can be persuaded, sometimes, that particular freedoms need be restricted but I start with the freedom. You are sadly right that most regulators are opposite...

I would agree with that. I think it's just that my viewpoint is that it's more about broad, over-arching rights than behavior-specific ones. I'd even say there's a lifestyle right, and that people should have the liberty to go target shooting if that's what they enjoy. However, when it comes to the self-defense issue, I don't see any reason to give greater deference to guns over knives or other weapons. I'd say I'm pro self-defense, and gun neutral.

Gedrin:

Until someone can convince me that taking away my guns will prevent people from beating me to death with a bat, I'd really like to keep them.

That argument is so flawed that I hardly believe you feel justified in saying it.
If someone is gonna beat you so much with a bat that you die, they pretty much mean to kill you. Its rather hard to accidentally kill someone with a bat.
If they had a gun, you'd be dead a lot faster. If you had a gun, you'd still be dead.
I don't see why you all think that a gun vs gun fight is gonna have any sort of a better outcome for you than a knife vs knife fight. Thats just crazy talk.

The only way having a gun of your own makes you any safer is if you plan on shooting first. Which makes you no better than them.

As far as the overarching issue goes, I agree with Russ that guns should be licensed. And not just the sort of license that you pay for and sign a piece of paper, there should be mandatory training with evaluation and restrictions on who can have what based on your experience and skill level. That way you can all keep your guns under your pillow to make you feel safer at night, but the overall number of guns in the community will be reduced, and the knowledge base will be increased. This will lead to better gun safety and in turn less accidents.

The only way having a gun of your own makes you any safer is if you plan on shooting first. Which makes you no better than them.

Goofonian, that's ridiculous. Han shot first, and you can't seriously put him on the same moral level as Greedo.

You need to step it up if you want to argue law with the big boys.

I think Han shooting first caused LOTS of people to put him on the same moral level as Greedo (or at least closer than Lucas wanted).

Thus we have all these crappy remakes where Han doesn't shoot first, and on and on and on. But, from what you're saying Archon, you seem to be saying that you believe in "pre-emptive strikes"?

Well I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I do believe in pre-emptive strikes, yes :-)

Archon:
Geoffrey, to your point that guns give violent people the ability to kill quickly and easily: Any violent persn who would like to commit mass homicide probably has the tool available in their garage right now, their car.

Cars have massive nonviolent utility. Guns used to, but in the general case that's no longer true. In rural areas guns certainly still have some measure of utility, though again not on the order of a car.

*

In the U.S., the illegal gun cat is well and truly out of the proverbial bag, so I don't think strict federal regulation of small arms would accomplish much in terms of reducing violent crime. Tight regulation of gun ownership only works when it actually stops people from getting guns, which isn't the case in the U.S. from what I've read. Also, there are examples of countries where guns, while regulated, are common and yet violent crime is still low. Switzerland comes to mind.

That may sound like I'm in favour of gun ownership and comparatively lax gun regulation overall, but the reverse is actually true. I just don't think regulatory solutions that might work in my native Canada can be trivially "ported" to the U.S. (note to those who follow gun regulation in Canada: that is not a reference to the Canadian gun registry, which has not particularly worked).

Ajar, your Switzerland example is only valid when you consider the details. For example, in Switzerland, a certain amount of military service is compulsory, during which young men and women are trained in the usage of their firearm. That they then carry those firearms home with them, along with the knowledge of how to use them effectively, is also relevant.

So it's true that one can compare the availability of guns in the US with the availability of guns in Switzerland, but by and large, most gun owners in the US are not trained in their use, and therefore use them improperly.

Personally, I'm in favor of licensing but against registration. Same thing with cars.

Ultimately, I think you owe it to your fellow citizens to prove you're competent enough to use a tool that's dangerous enough to kill them by way of a simple mistake. Guns, cars, heavy machinery and such all fall into this category. Really, anyone so concerned for his personal safety that he feels the need to compensate with a handgun is probably willing to take a conceal and carry class anyway, so extending the rule to competent use, if anything, makes "defensive" gun owners more competent and therefore more threatening to those bogeymen they're so worried about.

However, I get sticky on registration. There's really no reason the government needs to know what I own before I'm suspected of committing a crime. If anything, registration should be voluntary as a means of recovery from theft.

*ponders the August snowflakes in hell as he agrees with Joe*

Archon:
*ponders the August snowflakes in hell as he agrees with Joe*

Persephone! Don't look back!

Cheeze_Pavilion:
I would say it seems a lot less wise to mess with a region like Wisconsin than to selectively arm or disarm by region. Is your hypothetical argument about steak knives coupled with your fear of a slippery slope so compelling you want to tinker with the conditions that put five and a half of that state's metropolitan areas in the top ten safest in the whole country?

I don't want to mess with Wisconsin. They're welcome to arm themselves or not as they wish.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
I think it is very, very wise to think that the appropriate response to crime for Camden or Compton isn't the appropriate response to crime in Wisconsin or Brick Township. I'm quite prepared to make that debate, and deal with any slippery slope arguments--none of which I myself made, but you seem to be assigning to me--because I don't think anyone on the other side has a better answer for *my* counter argument, of why people in low-crime areas should face the risk that bringing guns into their community poses, for the sake of uniform gun laws.

If you are going to pass a law that says people in Beverly Hills can own guns, and people in Compton can't, I'd have to agree there's no slipery slope there at all. It's allready rolled down the hill.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
Me too. I am not tempted to disempower anyone. I agree with you 100 percent. However, there's the trick: *effectively* defend themselves. It seems people in Wisconsin are more effectively defending themselves. It's a much more effective defense to not have a gun and not need it than to have a gun and need it, right? Isn't the best defense not to get in an altercation in the first place?

I agree the best defense is to not get into an altercation in the first place. Please tell me how informing all criminals that law abiding citizens are unarmed discourages them from provoking an altercation.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
Do you live in Wisconsin? Or Brick Township? I think I can convince you quite easily--don't mess with success, you know? Just have some common sense about this issue, instead of trying to manage the real world based on ivory tower hypotheticals.

I don't live in either of those places. Of course, I'm not advocating that it be manditory for Wisconsonians to arm themselves. However, you appear to be advocating the change that those who have chosen to do so, must disarm. I'd like them to have the option. I don't see a compelling reason to make a law to deny the law abiding Wisconsonian the right to own a firearm.

Goofonian:
That argument is so flawed that I hardly believe you feel justified in saying it.
If someone is gonna beat you so much with a bat that you die, they pretty much mean to kill you. Its rather hard to accidentally kill someone with a bat.
If they had a gun, you'd be dead a lot faster. If you had a gun, you'd still be dead.
I don't see why you all think that a gun vs gun fight is gonna have any sort of a better outcome for you than a knife vs knife fight. Thats just crazy talk.

Perhaps it would help if I offered some examples:
115 lb woman with a kinfe vs. 200 lb thug with a kinfe : thug is better armed, woman has little chance
115 lb woman unarmed vs. 200 lb thug unarmed : thug is better armed, woman has little chance115 lb woman with a bat vs. 200 lb thug with a bat : thug is better armed, woman has little chance
115 lb woman with a .45 vs. 200 lb thug with a .45 : killing power is much closer to parity here, while the outcome is uncertain...unlike in the above situations..the outcome is indeed uncertain.
You're just not going to convince me that the typical office worker has equal chances with a muscle powered weapon as they do with a firearm when opposed by someone with the physical confidence to invade an occupied house. Further, I am CERTAIN that I stand a better chance with a ranged firearm than I do with a muscle powered melee weapon. My arguement isn't that the gun makes you safe. My argument is that there are large categories of people for whom a firearm is their only fighting chance when confronted with a potentially lethal attacker.
Of course, the examples above assume parity in arms. If you select firearm, the worst you'll have is parity in weapons against the typical attacker, and often you will be better armed. I'm guessint that the gun vs. bat situation usually resolves without the need to fire a shot.
Passing a law that notifies every criminal that those people no longer have even a chance to defend themselves seems like a bad idea.

Gedrin:

You're just not going to convince me that the typical office worker has equal chances with a muscle powered weapon as they do with a firearm when opposed by someone with the physical confidence to invade an occupied house. Further, I am CERTAIN that I stand a better chance with a ranged firearm than I do with a muscle powered melee weapon. My arguement isn't that the gun makes you safe. My argument is that there are large categories of people for whom a firearm is their only fighting chance when confronted with a potentially lethal attacker.
Passing a law that notifies every criminal that those people no longer have even a chance to defend themselves seems like a bad idea.

Well, bear in mind, most self defense classes teach to resist only if you have overpowering force. For example, if you have a gun to the attacker's knife, resist. However, if it's gun on gun, give up your wallet. So really, if you're acting according to what the experts advise, you're not much better off with a gun anyway.

Additionally, must burglars don't carry weapons of any sort, beyond a big flashlight, and have a tendency to run away when they do screw up and wake up their victim. Breaking and entering carries a significantly shorter prison sentence than armed robbery. So again, you're likely better off with a loud dog and a telephone than you are a gun, unless you happen to like shooting at people who pose minimal physical threat to you while they're standing next to your $2,000 TV.

Joe:
Additionally, must burglars don't carry weapons of any sort, beyond a big flashlight, and have a tendency to run away when they do screw up and wake up their victim. Breaking and entering carries a significantly shorter prison sentence than armed robbery. So again, you're likely better off with a loud dog and a telephone than you are a gun, unless you happen to like shooting at people who pose minimal physical threat to you while they're standing next to your $2,000 TV.

Why would anyone shoot someone who poses no physical threat to them? That's rediculous. I don't know anyone who would be willing to shoot a fleeing man in the back. I'm pretty sure that's illegal anyway.
However, if you can assure me that my family and I will only be victimized by criminals who pose no serious physical threat, I'll be happy to just go buy a dog.

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here