Linky Friday #86: Actual Hitler Edition

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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221 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    F5- I can’t see bug eating becoming a big thing in Western nations. When I was in Beijing, I saw bugs for sale at a night market. These bugs were already prepared and ready to eat but they were to revolting to look at.

    Western cuisine favors traditional domestic animals for animal protein. Any critter that’s deemed to cute or disgusting is not to be eaten. In New York City, there was a recent outcry when a Whole Foods decided to stock rabbit meat. When you combine this with the growth of vegetarianism, I can’t think of any reason why insect eating will become widespread.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    F1- This was incredibly dumb post from the long tradition of anti-pleasure scolds on the left. I’m sympathetic about the arguments concerning food deserts and people not getting enough to eat but it’s unrelated to the growing emphasis on more gourmet eating. The entire post represents all the bad parts about the left side of the political spectrum.Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Frankly, I felt a bit of the same thing with respect to the Guardian piece Mike Dwyer linked to about parenting. It’s claims are the following:
      1. Parents are spending more time with their kids.
      2. This would be a good thing, but it’s actually bad because educated parents are spending more time than uneducated parents, contributing to inequality.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to LeeEsq says:

      You mean that there was something histrionic and unreasonable published on a site called Bitch Magazine?Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

      When you take poor people food, and suddenly make it “rich people food”, and this substantively hurts people who don’t have gardens in the back of their houses, how is this not related??Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim says:

        More particularly, this relates much more to meat/eggs than it does to vegetables. But I’ll also note the price of a price-regulated loaf of bread is about $1.00. The price of a “foodie” loaf is about $2.69.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Kim says:

        To some extent this should be mitigated by the fact that a rich person spending more on food doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re eating more of the physical food that’s out there in the world. To take your example of loaves of bread, a rich person probably consumes the same amount of bread per week no matter which loaves he decides to buy, so he may be able to increase demand for a particular type of bread by 2 loaves a week, but the demand for a different type of bread will likely fall by 2 loaves a week. The vast majority of changes in food buying behavior are substitutions, not additions, especially among people who already have plenty of food.

        The bottom line is that there’s *tons* of food out there and if poor people aren’t getting enough of it, we’re not going to trace the problem back to, “Oh, rich people at all of it!”Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim says:

        tf,
        You ever heard of supply chains? Take out enough people “eating organic” and the “middle class” supply chains no longer get the economy of scale.

        Plus, as a bonus: since the richer people are less likely to eat your … “canned soup” let us say, you need to cut portions/quality more than you otherwise would (you’re now pitching to a more downscale market).

        Now, you’d be right to point out that sucking the value out of brand names is a grand American Tradition… but it really is getting worse these days.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Kim says:

        I’m trying to find a definition of “rich” that is useful in that there are few enough of them that they’re “rich” by any meaningful metric but there are enough of them that their switching over their preferences for soup can actually affect Campbell’s supply chain in any meaningful way.

        The story, “Rich people were buying tons of our cheap ass water-and-wet-newspaper canned soup and keeping the line profitable, but now that they’ve moved away from it, we just can’t produce it profitably for the few remaining poor people,” doesn’t pass the smell test. I can’t think of any products that are a staple for poor people for which rich people are sizeable enough part of the market that they could harm the supply chain by leaving.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim says:

        tf,
        We have your “Soon to be Rich” folks $100,000-$500,000 income earners (assume this is a dual income family, natch).
        But, in reality, i’m simply saying that the more choices there are, the more it sucks to be poor, because you can’t piggyback on things that they’re charging the rich people more for. [you do realize that store brand is often made at the same plant as namebrand, right?]

        There’s a rather popular, used-to-be-upscale brand of soup (not campbells), that currently is selling meat that 5 years ago couldn’t have been found commercially in North America, outside of a few places in central Mexico. Now, yes, part of this is because beef pricing has become obscene (due to “drought”). But part of it is that it’s lost a good deal of its uppermiddleclass market share, with consequential hits to the supply chain.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I have to somewhat agree with Kim here. Though I get your point about the hyperbole of the radicalness of the piece. If you take something that traditionally was a staple in poor and minority communities and make it chic, it is going to raise the price and it does take something away.

      I also think that there is a lot of moralizing on eating healthy and well and wholesome without a lot of talk about how much money and time it takes to do so especially time. And now I get to use my favorite Orwell quote:

      “Would it not be better if they spent more money on wholesome things like oranges and wholemeal bread or if they even, like the writer of the letter to the New Statesman, saved on fuel and ate their carrots raw? Yes, it would, but the point is that no ordinary human being is ever going to do such a thing. The ordinary human being would sooner starve than live on brown bread and raw carrots. And the peculiar evil is this, that the less money you have, the less inclined you feel to spend it on wholesome food. A millionaire may enjoy breakfasting off orange juice and Ryvita biscuits; an unemployed man doesn’t. Here the tendency of which I spoke at the end of the last chapter comes into play. When you are unemployed, which is to say when you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don’t want to eat dull wholesome food. You want something a little bit ‘tasty’. There is always some cheaply pleasant thing to tempt you.”Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I also think that there is a lot of moralizing on eating healthy and well and wholesome without a lot of talk about how much money and time it takes to do so especially time.

        I hear lots of talk about how much money it takes to eat healthy and almost all of it is untrue. Fast food and processed food is cheap, but it is not cheaper than the ingredients that go into it. A bag of potato chips or an order of fries from the value menu is cheap, but it is not cheaper than a potato at the market.

        Yes, it takes time and a certain amount of skill to prepare healthy food that is pleasing to the palate, but so what? Just about anything in life that is worth doing takes some effort.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        It wouldn’t take much time to prepare a good frozen dinner for $12 a plate. If people were willing to pay that much for ’em, we’d have some truly fabulous food.

        Blame human nature: it’s one thing to go out for pizza for that price, but to eat at home? nah, no way. Even if it would be better.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        JR,
        Calorically speaking, the chips are probably cheaper.

        Fast food is a different can of worms, but hell, you’re the economist, not me. How much does paying for a “living room entertainment zone” cost? Because that’s what urban poor are paying for when they hit McDs.Report

      • McDonald’s can be quite inexpensive, if we’re going by calories. Also, fast food is among the most scalable options for eating out that there is. Everything from big to small is offered a la care, and price tracks with size more than usual (with burgers and tacos, anyway)Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Calorically speaking, the chips are probably cheaper.

        Why do the thought experiment if you can do the real experiment? It looks like potato chips are roughly 7x as calorie dense as potatoes by mass. The cheapest potato chips I can find at my local Safeway cost 16x as much by mass as potatoes with 30x being a closer average. So, no.

        I understand the inclination not to cook when you’re tired, but eating healthy is less a matter of price than it is of time and effort. If you’re working a hard minimum wage job to pay the rent, that’s hard. But at the same time, if you have a choice between working an extra minimum wage job part time to cover the extra cost of convenient food and just cooking for yourself, your implied wage while preparing your food is *way* above minimum wage.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Fast food and processed food is cheap, but it is not cheaper than the ingredients that go into it. A bag of potato chips or an order of fries from the value menu is cheap, but it is not cheaper than a potato at the market.
        You need to factor in time and effort needed to (1) procure ingredients and (2) prepare the food as well as (3) account for economies of scale.

        A wholesale order for a million potatoes is gonna be cheaper, per potato, than one at the super market. And obviously it’s faster to eat at McDonald’s than shop and cook. And the more processed the food, the less time it takes to cook it on your own.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Why would you use calories as the relevant metric? Does anyone think that the poor in the Unites States are having trouble finding empty calories? That is precisely the problem.

        Unhealthy food tends to be very calorie dense; that is part of what makes it unhealthy.

        A wholesale order for a million potatoes is gonna be cheaper, per potato, than one at the super market.

        If there is a fast food restaurant selling food at the wholesale price, please let me know about it. I want to go there on my cheat days.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        tf,
        Let’s see, it’s about ~$3/lb for potato chips, and about $.50-$1.00/lb for potatoes. I’d say it about evens out, particularly considering you don’t need to cook the chips.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        jr,
        are you familiar with the studies on sleep deprivation and eating habits? Maybe thats why I pulled calorie counts…Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        If there is a fast food restaurant selling food at the wholesale price, please let me know about it. I want to go there on my cheat days.
        Goodness, did I really need to spell out that their sell price per potato might exist somewhere between wholesale and retail?

        Or were you so eager to make a point you glossed over that possibility? (And completely ignored the time investment to boot).Report

      • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @j-r As interesting as it is to hear your thoughts on what “they” should do, I’d be interested in hearing your reaction to an explanation that makes some sense to me.

        Note: I know the link isn’t new. Many of you probably already saw it.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @kim

        Those numbers appear to be pretty close to worst case scenario and they’re still basically breakeven for calories. If you’re going to go on an extreme potato chip hunt, you can definitely get potatoes for less that $0.50 a pound. But even taking those worst case numbers, given that you can microwave a potato with a few seconds of effort and a few minutes of waiting time, it’s hard to justify the claim that people are being forced into potato chips.

        Likewise for vegetables. Fresh vegetables are somewhat pricey and require decent grocery timing and management, but canned vegetables are dirt cheap, easy to prepare, and have a practically infinite shelf life. Our problem isn’t fundamental physics or economics. It’s that most people don’t do a good job of managing their grocery expenditures and food budget. I include myself in that, but being sloppy with my food budget is something I can afford to do.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Goodness, did I really need to spell out that their sell price per potato might exist somewhere between wholesale and retail?

        That doesn’t change the fact that potatoes at the supermarket are still less expensive than french fries in a restaurant, even if we’re talking about a fast food restaurant.

        (And completely ignored the time investment to boot).

        Except that I didn’t.

        Yes, it takes time and a certain amount of skill to prepare healthy food that is pleasing to the palate, but so what? Just about anything in life that is worth doing takes some effort.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        tf,
        with the exception of beans, most canned vegetables have relatively little in the way of nutrients. Oh, and spinach — spinach leeches iron from the can.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @nevermoor

        As interesting as it is to hear your thoughts on what “they” should do, I’d be interested in hearing your reaction to an explanation that makes some sense to me.

        Show me anywhere on this thread where I said anything about what “they” should do and I will PayPal $100 to Tod or any of the other blog mods with instructions to forward it to you.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Oooo! Look hard. I could use the money.Report

      • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @j-r

        Really? This was just an idle observation, not a suggestion that other people are making poor decisions? “Yes, it takes time and a certain amount of skill to prepare healthy food that is pleasing to the palate, but so what? Just about anything in life that is worth doing takes some effort.”

        Also, I’ll note that you didn’t react at all to the linked article.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @j-r

        Show me anywhere on this thread where I said anything about what “they” should do and I will PayPal $100 to Tod or any of the other blog mods with instructions to forward it to you.

        Oh I’m looking. I want to be able to charge my handling fee for facilitating this transaction.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Yes, it takes time and a certain amount of skill to prepare healthy food that is pleasing to the palate, but so what? Just about anything in life that is worth doing takes some effort.

        Time is a cost. Time is a finite commodity. If you need more time, your only recourse is to pay for someone else’s. If you ignore the element of time — time shopping, time cooking — in preparing food, you’re basically not addressing the problem. You’re addressing a subset and pretending it’s the whole.

        Pretending the poor have the same luxury of time as the middle class is silly. I have time to hit the grocery store, time to find fresh ingredients, time to cook it. Time to eat it. Time to clean up after. But then, I don’t work two jobs. I have one child, who is now 18, and frankly I make him do the cleaning up after. I have the time to eat better…

        And still, so very often, I make the choice that less preparation time is more valuable. Because I cannot make more time. I have things to do. Places to be. Work to do.

        Home-cooked meals? They’re a result of someone having time on their hands. A stay at home spouse, for instance — which isn’t terribly affordable these days.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        with the exception of beans, most canned vegetables have relatively little in the way of nutrients. Oh, and spinach — spinach leeches iron from the can.

        This is complete nonsense. And even if it were true, you can get water soluble vitamins from a supplement for very little cash. “Bad nutrition for poor people” doesn’t usually mean a lack of nutrients. It means too much of the junk food that kills you.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Time is a cost. Time is a finite commodity. If you need more time, your only recourse is to pay for someone else’s. If you ignore the element of time — time shopping, time cooking — in preparing food, you’re basically not addressing the problem. You’re addressing a subset and pretending it’s the whole.

        This is true, but if the tradeoff is the extra hours a person works at a mimimum wage job, then that’s a bad tradeoff. If you’re working for the federal minimum wage, your time is “worth” $7.25 per hour. A single parent with two kids is cooking 3 meals if they’re not bothering to cook extra for leftovers. Given the simplicity of preparing cheap food with things like canned/frozen vegetables, rice, beans and broth, it’s very hard to lose money working fewer hours and cooking for yourself at that rate, especially if you have kids. Working an extra few hours per week on your second part-time job at $7.25 and then not cooking for yourself as a result is likely a money loser.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        tf,
        http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=134
        Just to pull one example.
        But carrots give you more vitamin A if you cook them (at least a little).
        And those supplements don’t help at all (solubility of nutrients is FAMOUSLY dependent on what you’re eating them with. Calcium uptake is a bit of a bitch — protein/fat interferes, but so does oxalic acid…)
        “Calcium absorption from milk and other dairy products is about 32%, whereas calcium absorption from vegetables ranges from about 5% in spinach to more than 60% in some brassica vegetables such as broccoli. However, the high bioavailability of calcium from some vegetables cannot overcome their low calcium content. One would have to consume 2 1/4 cups of broccoli to obtain the same amount of calcium absorbed from one cup of milk.”Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @troublesome-frog

        “Bad nutrition for poor people” doesn’t usually mean a lack of nutrients. It means too much of the junk food that kills you.

        I would argue that in the case of quality protein, it does mean a lack of a quality macro nutrient. If people, for whatever reason, right or wrong, can not or will not prepare their own foods and have to resort to eating processed meats (or cheaper cuts like not-so-lean ground beef), they’re going to have few choices other than meats with either very high sodium due or very high fat content. My guess is that they’re already getting a lot of fat from other sources (especially if fast foods are being consumed).

        When I took my family on vacation, we made a pitstop in a small town. I went into the grocery store and it was clearly geared for the lower income demographic for the area. There were plenty of processed meats exactly as I described above but nothing I’d consider lean or something that I would personally eat.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @kim,

        Your link doesn’t work for me. But now we’ve jumped to calcium? Seriously? Is calcium deficiency the new scourge of the poor?

        I’m not following the argument. It seems like the claims are as follows:

        1) The poor eat unhealthy foods because they’re cheaper than healthier foods. This appears to be untrue.
        2) Canned vegetables are cheap, but they may have less of certain nutrients than fresh vegeables sometimes, so that’s no good. Might as well eat potato chips.
        3) Even though nutrient deficiency is very rare and “unhealthy food” actually means something other than “slightly less calcium than one might want,” we’re going to focus on that instead of the actual problem.

        This whole line of argumentation is a mess. It’s just a salad of semi-true or outright false factoids with nothing holding them together to make a broader point.

        My point is simple: It is inexpensive to get food that is massively healthier than cheap junky prepared food by preparing one’s own meals from easily available ingredients. The idea that a poor family’s best option is fast food and unhealthy prepared food is simply false. There may be pressures in that direction, but they’re not strong and it should be possible to overcome them with education and meal planning.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @dave

        I don’t disagree. If you don’t prepare your own food, you’re at the mercy of the people who prepare your food for you, and if you can only afford those services from the cheapest of all possible food preparers, you’re unlikely to find everything you need.

        The point the rest of us are making is that this, is a really good reason for people to learn to cook for themselves when they don’t have a lot of money. It’s a bummer, but most of the things about budgeting and being poor are a bummer.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        tf,
        damn right we jumped to calcium!
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osteoporosis

        If you want, we can move on to talking about Vitamin D, but since that’s absorbed best through Sitting Outside On Your Bum, I don’t think it’s quite relevant to Food. But it is relevant to Nutrient Deficiency, and how it affects the murder rate (among other things! Criminals get Seasonal Affective Disorder too!).

        Am I jumping around a little bit? Surely. Sorry, tangents are an occupational hazard around my brain.

        You know what the problem is, in the inner city? Not having a decent refrigerator, not having a stove, only having a hotplate. Hard to do much cooking with that. Let alone the food desert issue. Yes, if it takes you an hour each way to get to a proper grocery store, you’re going to do less cooking (particularly if you’re old and your knees don’t work so great for hauling 50lbs of food home).Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Oh I’m looking. I want to be able to charge my handling fee for facilitating this transaction.

        Please do. That was not a joke. I figure that offering cash incentives is one way to get people to respond to things that I actually said and not to things that they imagine someone with my point of view might say.

        Speaking of:

        Pretending the poor have the same luxury of time as the middle class is silly.

        Let’s backtrack here. @saul-degraw said, “I also think that there is a lot of moralizing on eating healthy and well and wholesome without a lot of talk about how much money and time it takes to do so especially time.” And I responded by saying that, yes, time is certainly a consideration, but that eating healthy food is, in fact, not more expensive than eating unhealthy food. If someone wants to demonstrate that I am wrong, I am all ears.

        As for the claim that middle class people have the luxury of time that the poor don’t, do you have a citation for that? Your claim is almost certainly not true. Anyone who works 40, 50, 60 hours a week is most likely at least lower middle class and not poor. Poor people are generally poor, because they cannot find work or because they don’t get enough hours at their jobs. And we are not in Veblen’s world of the leisure class anymore. In general, the higher up the income scale people are, the more they work and the less free time they have.

        And again, yes it takes more effort to eat healthy than it does to eat unhealthy. And again, so what? That is true whether you are talking about the poor, the middle class or the wealthy. Generally speaking, it takes more effort to be healthy than to be unhealthy. Getting takeout is easier than shopping and cooking. Sitting on the couch is easier than exercising. Are there things that we could be doing to help poor and working class people acquire the necessary skills to stay healthy? Absolutely. There is nothing, however, that we can do to change the fact that cooking healthy meals will always take a little more effort than grabbing Happy Meals.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Anyone who works 40, 50, 60 hours a week is most likely at least lower middle class and not poor
        You should study the poor more. Multiple jobs are common. I could go into the whys and wherefores, but it’s easier just to suggest you look up actual facts and studies rather than guess how much free time poor people have.

        Actual data is there, rather than guesswork.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        morat,
        and the poor people I knew tended to be “also in 20 credit hours of classes”… after working their day job.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Actual data is there, rather than guesswork.

        And yet, you present none.Report

      • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @j-r

        Love the request for citation that completely ignores mine (again).

        Are you still insisting that you don’t think poor people should cook? You sure make a lot of observations about the superiority of cooking, and you sure spend a lot of effort minimizing the costs of cooking, for one who is not trying to suggest a course of action.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @j-r

        Unfortunately, I won’t be making any money on this. 🙁Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        OK @nevermoor, I get it. You think that I am passing judgment on poor people and preaching to them about what they should do.

        Except that I am not passing judgment on anyone and am not telling anyone what they should or should not do, which is why I have no desire to respond to you.

        I disagree with @morat20, but he is actually taking issue with something that I actually said. See the difference.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        And yet, you present none
        Neither did you. You just blithely assumed that poverty = lots of spare time when confronted with the time-cost of preparing meals.

        Meth addiction is pretty common amongst the working poor. Lets them stay awake for that second job. Minimum wage doesn’t pay much, even if you get lucky and you don’t have a job where your employee insists on off-the-books and unpaid hours.

        Your argument does make a certain sense, if raw cash were the only factor. It’s not, but you want to wave away the others because it complicates — and possibly contradicts — the conclusion you want to draw.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        morat20,
        that’s Roger who says that the poor generally have more free time than the rich. He’s got stats to prove it too (noting that many “poor” are actually merely “old and living off savings”).Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @troublesome-frog

        The point the rest of us are making is that this, is a really good reason for people to learn to cook for themselves when they don’t have a lot of money. It’s a bummer, but most of the things about budgeting and being poor are a bummer.

        I would agree with you 100% here; however, when I read @nevermoor ‘s link, I read this passage:

        When I was pregnant the first time, I was living in a weekly motel for some time. I had a minifridge with no freezer and a microwave. I was on WIC. I ate peanut butter from the jar and frozen burritos because they were 12/$2. Had I had a stove, I couldn’t have made beef burritos that cheaply. And I needed the meat, I was pregnant. I might not have had any prenatal care, but I am intelligent enough to eat protein and iron whilst knocked up.

        I know how to cook. I had to take Home Ec to graduate high school. Most people on my level didn’t. Broccoli is intimidating. You have to have a working stove, and pots, and spices, and you’ll have to do the dishes no matter how tired you are or they’ll attract bugs. It is a huge new skill for a lot of people. That’s not great, but it’s true. And if you fuck it up, you could make your family sick. We have learned not to try too hard to be middle-class. It never works out well and always makes you feel worse for having tried and failed yet again. Better not to try. It makes more sense to get food that you know will be palatable and cheap and that keeps well. Junk food is a pleasure that we are allowed to have; why would we give that up? We have very few of them.

        I see at least three takeaways:

        1. Her food choices are clearly biggest bang for the buck (12 burritos for $2, healthy or not, is a hell of a lot of bang) and have nothing to do with macro nutritional content. I’m not sure that education fixes something like that for people scraping by to survive.

        2. People may not have the means to cook the way we think we would like (I say “we” because I’m in complete agreement with you in theory).

        3. People look for cheap foods that keep well. Perishables would obviously be an issue for people with extremely limited means because every penny spent on food needs to be spent on food that will be consumed.

        If people can’t cook for themselves, it almost seems academic to argue whether or not they should cook for themselves. I think that’s where our disagreement exists.Report

      • If I recall, it’s a U-shaped curve. Maybe a J.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Come on, @morat20… just when I’ve used you as a positive example of responding to what people are actually saying and not to what you assume they are saying.

        Your argument does make a certain sense, if raw cash were the only factor. It’s not, but you want to wave away the others because it complicates — and possibly contradicts — the conclusion you want to draw.

        What conclusion is it that I want to draw?

        I’ve made two definitive statements: (1) healthier food is not cheaper than junk food and (2) being healthy require more effort than being unhealthy, regardless of your income level. And I’ve made one statement of something that I believe to be true, but am ready to concede if there is evidence to the contrary: that poor have, on average, much less free time than the middle class.

        We can settle this with data. We can even wager on it. Again, I’ll forward a $100 to someone on the masthead pending the outcome. Here is my claim: the poor (the people in the bottom quintile by income) work less hours than the lower middle class or even the middle class (the people in the either of the next two income quintiles.Report

      • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @dave exactly right.
        @j-r So you’re passionately defending the superiority and plausibility of cooking but not suggesting that anyone else do this superior thing. Got it. Sorry for thinking otherwise.

        Now stop telling everyone you haven’t seen any citations for why cooking might not be plausible until you actually look at the citations I (and others) have provided. Once you do that and refute the claim in those sources that poverty often comes with no free time with something other than bare assertion. If, after that, I respond by talking past whatever you come up with, you can go back to simply accusing me of misrepresenting your views.

        Or, you know, you could just refuse to engage the substance and claim victory (again).Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        jr,
        If I read you right,you’re saying that the poor BOTH work less AND have less free time. What are they spending the time on, then?
        [Correct answers include “filling out governmental paperwork” — but I’d like to hear what you have to say.]Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @nevermoor

        I am engaging the substance. I’m just not engaging with you.Report

      • It doesn’t strike me as remotely contradictory to say:

        1) It’s better – and not more expensive – to cook your own food.

        2) People who do not cook their own food are not inferior to those who do.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @dave

        The author’s note is a very unusual case, though. As of 2011, 97.8% of US households below the poverty line had refrigerators, 96.6% had stoves and 93.2% had microwaves. I think it’s good for us to worry about the poorest of the poor, but that’s an incredibly small slice of the US population, and they seem to be a very special case. For those special cases, you gotta do what you gotta do. But otherwise, just about everybody else has what they need to cook at least some of the time.

        Transportation is a much more interesting problem. I’m totally onboard with idea that if you’re riding the bus, getting groceries in bulk is impossible and getting groceries at all is time consuming. That’s a good argument for eating at the ubuquitous McDonalds (shorter trip and nothing to carry), but not really a good one for buying crappy prepared foods at the store and hauling them home.

        If we’re going to talk public policy, I think it would be interesting to see what ideas people can come up with for making it easier for people without cars to get groceries in efficient quantities. A single shopping cart full of well-chosen staples can feed a family cheaply for a good while. If it was easier to get that cartload home, it could be a big win.

        And I’m still totally unimpressed with the Bitch Magazine article for a whole variety of reasons, not least of which are a non-proportional graph and the implication that we should be worried about the high cost of organic foods.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        http://harvardmagazine.com/2014/03/the-price-of-healthy-eating

        This is an interesting meta-study, but I’m not sure that it has much relevance to this conversation. What this finds is that if you compare various baskets of groceries on the basis of their macronutrients and price, you find that the less healthy baskets cost more than the healthy ones. I’ll have to have a closer look at the data later, but this doesn’t appear to have anything to do with cooking vs microwave burritos. What this says essentially, that it’s more expensive to eat a diet high in things like fresh vegetables, fish and high quality cuts of meat than it is to eat a diet of meat and potatoes and frozen and canned vegetables. That is interesting, but not that interesting.

        Further, much of the price difference is in meats and proteins.

        Among food groups, meats/protein had largest price differences: healthier options cost $0.29/serving (95% CI $0.19 to $0.40) and $0.47/200?kcal ($0.42 to $0.53) more than less healthy options. Price differences per serving for healthier versus less healthy foods were smaller among grains ($0.03), dairy (?$0.004), snacks/sweets ($0.12) and fats/oils ($0.02; p<0.05 each) and not significant for soda/juice ($0.11, p=0.64). Comparing extremes (top vs bottom quantile) of food-based diet patterns, healthier diets cost $1.48/day ($1.01 to $1.95) and $1.54/2000?kcal ($1.15 to $1.94) more.

        So yeah, 95% lean ground beef and chicken breasts are more expensive than 80% lean beef and chicken thighs. Eating chicken thighs and frozen vegetables instead of fresh, however, is not what makes people obese and unhealthy.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        tf,
        the other side of the problem:
        http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/11/22/2982691/hud-homeless-count/
        (bear in mind that being homeless can mean sporadically housed, as well).Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        What we need is a calorie-dense, protein-dense food that is cheap to produce, tastes good, and has birth control in it.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @jaybird

        If you believe the people who have conspiracy-level fears about the hormones used in factory farming, we are already there.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        They need to work on flavor, I tell you what.Report

      • @j-r @nevermoor @morat20 FWIW, here’s the data that j r was betting about. He will not be paying anybody $100.

        http://www.epi.org/publication/ib348-trends-us-work-hours-wages-1979-2007/Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @jaybird What we need is a calorie-dense, protein-dense food that is cheap to produce, tastes good, and has birth control in it.

        There is such a thing, but I gave up Soy for Lent.Report

      • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @mark-thompson That’s a good reference. It would be interesting to see how the numbers change if you shift the sample from “workers ages 18–64 years old with any wages” to something that would better separate the working poor from part time workers who aren’t supporting a family (e.g. summer jobs in college, almost-stay-at-home parents, retirees supplementing income, etc.) but that’s probably harder to find.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The price of cooking your own food versus eating out or buying pre-cooked food is harder to measure than many like to admit.

        Once upon a time, when I was living on $28K a year, I found a blog that promised recipes that cost less than $3. When I looked at the first one, it said, “1 tablespoon olive oil: 5-cents”. Well, sure. But I can’t buy 1 tablespoon of olive oil. I have to buy a whole jar. For like $10. And I have to buy the whole container of salt and pepper and oregano and I can’t buy just half an onion which means I need to make sure I choose another recipe with an onion that week or the cost of my onion for the first recipe doubles and onward and upward. Oh, and I didn’t have two sauté pans, which the recipe called for. There are upfront costs to cooking that are often ignored. And, sure, over time, those costs probably work out to the consumer’s advantage if they are used regularly, but not everyone can lay out those costs. And if they purchase them on credit and need to pay interest, the costs skyrocket. For whatever reason, this often seems ignored.

        Freakonomics did an interesting podcast where they discussed whether the McDonalds $1 double cheeseburger was the most cost efficient means of accessing calories. One person argued in favor and the other argued that buying beans/lentils and rice was. But the latter person ignored any costs related to actually preparing the beans and rice (including water and fuel costs, which can be quite high if you are thinking on a global level, as they are). And while access and travel to a McDonalds needed to be considered, my hunch is that is not necessarily a greater or more expensive obstacle than access to the beans and rice.

        I’m not advocating that we should just feed the poor double cheeseburgers. I’m simply pointing out that these conversations are never as easy as most people — on both sides — like to make them out to be.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @kazzy
        The price of cooking your own food versus eating out or buying pre-cooked food is harder to measure than many like to admit.

        Yes. It always seems weird that, when it comes to the poor, suddenly people assume economics stops working. Considering all the poor people that live off fast or premade food, that must make more sense for them economically to purchase, almost by definition.

        Sure, some amount of them might not be aware of other options or know how to cook, but while that’s a reasonable excuse for a tiny fraction of the population to do something ‘economically wrong’ for a few years, it’s not a very good explanation of millions of people doing something for decades. Especially when those very same people are helped by thousands of charitable organizations that, somehow, have not bothered to inform them otherwise.

        What is actually happening, as morat20 pointed out above, that poor are exchanging a small amount of their money (It’s not *that* much more expensive.) for a lot of extra time.

        With fast food, it’s often a *lot* a lot of time, as in, they do not have to make a long trip to a grocery store on their hypothetical day off, and they don’t have to go home during the day to make the food. But even with premade food, it’s probably saving more time than people think…they not only don’t have to spend any real time cooking, they don’t have to clean either, or spend time walking around a grocery store instead of just going directly to what they want.

        The working poor are, in today’s society, usually very time-poor too. I don’t know if that’s exactly a modern problem or not, but I suspect that before a certain point, poor families usually had the wife staying at home all day, so she could deal with spending hours cooking. Hence people during the Great Depression living off lentils and corn husks, or whatever. That is no longer how it can work.

        And I need to emphasize there’s a difference between the sort of poor I’m talking about, the working poor, and retired people living on small incomes, who have nothing *but* time, and often do cook for themselves, because it is cheaper, *once time no longer matters*. But for the working poor, time does matter, quite a lot.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @kazzy

        I think that people should think back to this post when they talk about the slim set of options that the working poor have for investment. To take the specific example, a $10 pan is an incredibly good investment in terms of its annual return and if used properly, it’s a fantastically good deal even if you put it on a credit card at 29% interest that will cost you ~$3 that first year. The same holds true for a pound of salt at < $1 or the $4 for a quart of olive oil. This is where investment happens when you have next to nothing to invest. It's also one of the few places where the return is high enough to justify carrying a balance on a credit card.

        I'm not sure how one can calculate global water/fuel costs being higher for producing beans than meat, so I don't know what to say about that. I'd be stunned if it was true. Personal water costs to prepare any meal are negligible.

        If you're only temporarily poor (fresh out of school and building a career, etc.), you can probably not worry about it, but if you have a long life of minimum wage slogging ahead of you, this is where you have to invest if you don't want to be nickel and dimed to death forever.Report

      • We can generally trust that poor people are making the appropriate cost/benefit analysis when it comes to their consumption habits.

        Unless they’re shopping at Walmart. Then it’s that they don’t understand that they’re paying less, but they’re buying crap that’s going to fall apart after six months.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The working poor are, in today’s society, usually very time-poor too.

        Do you have a non-anecdotal citation for this claim?

        Considering all the poor people that live off fast or premade food, that must make more sense for them economically to purchase, almost by definition.

        That is not quite not right. Whether something is economical or not is not a question of definition; rather it is a question of individual budget constraints and individual utility preferences. What you saying is akin to someone saying, “considering all the people who commit crimes and go to jail, it must make sense for them to be in jail than out of jail.”

        In one sense that is true. People with high recidivism rates have some combination of fewer non-criminal options for making money, their budget constraint, and a relatively high tolerance for doing time in jail, their utility preferences. Pointing this out, however, is just an exercise in question begging.

        I assume that the reason that we are talking about this in the first place is that we are interested in understanding why people make the decisions that they make and thinking of ways to help people make decisions that are more beneficial to them.

        And part of the problem is that a lot of you guys seem to be coming to this conversation with a pre-determined ideological outlook on poverty and the best way to deal with it. Therefore, you are reflexively pushing back against any view on poverty that you see as countering your pre-existing outlook. I imagine this is, in part, because you think that I am presenting a conservative view of poverty and attempting to blame the poor. Personally, I find the concept of blame to be fairly meaningless in this sort of conversation. What I care about are causes and interventions that work. And if you come to the conversation convinced believing that it is only appropriate to talk about one set of causes (the sociological ones), you are pretty much damning yourself to always come up short.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @troublesome-frog

        With regards to fuel and water (and other costs), that is all baked into the price of the double cheeseburger. I go to McD’s, hand them a dollar, get my double cheeseburger, and that’s that. If I go to the store and buy a dollar’s worth of rice and beans, I still need to pay for the water and the heat and the pot. So maybe I’m only really getting 77-cents worth of rice and beans. That needs to be considered.

        As to the rest of your argument, I’m not necessarily arguing that it is cheaper to not cook your own food. I’m just saying it is not as simple as saying, “I can buy a potato for 74-cents and the McDonalds french fries cost me 99-cents so obviously I should just make my own fries at home.”Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I’m still skeptical of even those rough calculations. A gallon of tap water on the high end costs less than one cent, and by my rough back of the envelope calculations, the energy costs are probably 3-ish cents. And of course, you don’t need a gallon of water to cook a single cheeseburger’s worth of calories. You’d need ten cheeseburgers to make the same type of meal you’d make with a gallon of boiling water.

        But I also don’t think anybody is suggesting that people should make the same thing they get in a restaurant if they’re looking to go cheap. I’m a pretty capable cook with a goodly budget and kitchen and it would probably cost me a decent amount of money to closely approximate a McDonald’s cheeseburger. But given the $1.00/serving budget, I could likely produce something palatable that is better for you and provides more calories per dollar. That’s the key issue.

        If people said, “These folks want a McDonald’s cheeseburger and that’s their preference,” I don’t have much to argue with. I certainly can’t say they’re wrong to have that preference, and even if it costs more, it’s their right to have a little luxury from time to time. It’s when people say, “They’re doing it because they’ve figured out the financially optimal way to allocate time and resources to get their nutrition and here’s why,” when I have to call shenanigans. That’s something that you can actually run the numbers on, and premade food is not typically a winner, especially if you’re feeding a family. It may be *close* for a single serving, but it scales very badly.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @j-r
        Do you have a non-anecdotal citation for this claim?

        http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/06/shrinking-workweeks-a-sign-of-unequal-recovery-from-the-great-recession

        The bottom quintile work 32.0 hours a week, the middle quintile work 40.1. But wait, doesn’t that show the opposite of what I said?

        Not really. Why? Because a bunch of teenage and college kids are in there. Remove them, as table 7 does, the hour go up to 35.4 a week.

        Which means if being poor costs an average of just forty-five minutes a day, the average poor have slightly less time than the average middle class.

        Things that cost the poor time: A bus ride to and from work. Visiting a laundromat because they have no washer or dryer. Having to work a weird schedule that results in extra time sleeping and being awake at times that are not actually useful to do things like shop for groceries. Having erratic last-minute hours that do not actually increase the ‘hours worked’, but do increase the ‘hours wasted’. Having to cash checks at the bank instead of direct deposit.

        There is a *lot* of stuff that non-poor people pay for convenience, to save time. It’s almost invisible. Not doing it can easily eat *hours* out of a day.

        Of course, we’re not actually talking about _all_ working poor. The problem *isn’t* the average working poor person. Even if being poor sucks 3 hours a day out of their life, that’s still plenty of time.

        But there are people working 70 hour weeks at two jobs, or extremely erratic 36 hour weeks consisting of three 12 hour shifts, one of which is during the night. They’re lucky if they have time to microwave some stuff before falling into bed. They don’t have a fridge at work to stick some sort of lunch in, or even a locker.

        And I’ll admit, there are indeed are working poor who have normal hours and work 8 hour a day, 5 days a week, and do have a car. Or 6 hours a day for 4 days and have plenty of free time, although nowhere near enough money. And I suspect those are the poor people who *aren’t* living off fast food, but who are going home to throw beans and free ketchup packets into a pot for soup.

        So I guess I’m generalizing about the working poor, but claiming the working poor eats poorly is *itself* a generalization. I’m saying those are the same groups of the working poor, that the reason a larger amount of the working poor (compared to other people) eat poorly is that a larger amount of the working poor (compared to other people) find themselves in time constraints that limit their ability to eat better, or at least eat better at prices they can afford.

        And if non-poor people find themselves in such time constraints, they *also* purchase premade or restaurant food instead of making it themselves. But they purchase *healthier* versions of that.

        If there’s some other hypothesis for why the working poor eat unhealthy more, I’ve not heard anyone present it.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        jr,
        for a quick study of transportation issues, you can look at Paris — where the suburbs are definitely the less affluent.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to LeeEsq says:

      . I’m sympathetic about the arguments concerning food deserts and people not getting enough to eat but it’s unrelated to the growing emphasis on more gourmet eating.

      Apparently you didn’t read the article, since it’s basic claims: the impact of food fetishism on food prices and growing disparities in access to things like organic foods, aren’t particularly controversial. This comment was yet another example of the reflexive anti-leftism by milquetoast neoliberals.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Chris says:

        Just wait until milquetoast becomes the next gourmet foodie fashion.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        I only buy organic milque, from free-range queows.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        The price of milquetoast is already too high for most working class families.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Chris says:

        I’m not so sure this article makes a very strong case for the claim that food fetishism increases all food prices, and the emphasis on disparities in organic food strikes me as pretty weak sauce.

        I mean…I can buy that fetishism for a particular type of food increases the cost of that particular type of food. That’s basic supply and demand, so a claim like that is not only believable but almost indisputable. But greater demand for one type of food should mean less demand for other types of food. I’m certainly open to argument that the types of food that are suddenly finding themselves in much greater demand are foods that previously were particularly popular among lower income people, but at most she gives one example of that, and she never explicitly makes that point in any event, instead arguing without citation that foodie-ism is responsible for the increased prices of food overall.

        Maybe that’s true, and I’m entirely open to that possibility, but if so, she hasn’t made that case.

        In terms of organics, I’m not really seeing how she makes the case that increased demand for organics is causing lower income people problems. What’s odd is that it would actually be a pretty simple case to make – organics have a lower yield, which means they’re replacing higher yield farmland, which means they’re lowering the overall supply of produce and thus probably are at least modestly increasing prices of non-organic produce.

        But instead, she focuses on the fact that organics themselves are more expensive, which hurts poor people who may want to buy organics. But of course organics have pretty much always been more expensive and until fairly recently very few people, much less lower income people, had much interest in them. What’s really bizarre is that, having complained about how lower income people can’t afford organics but might want to buy organics, she then talks about how their popularity is solely due to marketing (which I agree with, by the way). So she’s basically complaining that lower income people are being priced out of buying something she views as snake oil, which she calls lamentable because lower income people might want to buy snake oil.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Mark, see, that’s a substantive, non-reflexive response. It’s a shame that so many on the liberal side of the center feel so desperate to distance themselves from the left that they are incapable of such a comment.

        First, part of the point if food gentrification — and I admit I don’t like the term — is that it affects the prices of specific foods. That’s the point if discussing the rise in the price of kale and other greens. So it may be true that this means other foods show slower increases in prices because of the increased demand for trendy foods, but that doesn’t address the gentrification component (even if, again, I find that term somewhat annoying in this context, particularly given its seriousness and broadness — to include changes in the availability and cost of foods in gentrified neighborhood — in its original context).

        Second, the extreme rise in food prices over the last few years nationwide certainly accompanied the wave of foodieism. It’s worth exploring the role that food fetishism has played in that, even if many other factors (the tight relationship between both fuel costs and climate change with food costs, e.g.) played larger ones. Fuel costs and climate change are more difficult targets for most people, though, and have already been written about extensively in this context, so a few articles about the potential role of fetishism doesn’t seem like all that unreasonable.

        Also, the impact of actual gentrification on food costs in gentrified neighborhoods is not a hypothetical. We’ve seen it here in Austin, where food prices vary by neighborhood, and the newly gentrified ones on the East side have seen sharp rises as stores catering to low income residents are supplanted by more expensive chain and boutique stores. Even existing stores charge more if they don’t close.

        I’ve actually seen it go the opposite way too, in my time here. Parts of southeast Austin were once dominated by students, and served mostly by Albertsons with fairly high prices. Then the neighborhood became poor, the students left almost entirely, Albertsons left even before the company went under, and the HEB in the area quickly became the cheapest in town (with the smallest selection).

        As that area began to gentrify, or re-gentrify I suppose, so much so that it has become the center of a heated, mostly bourgeois transit debate heading into the November election, HEB opened a new store, carried more stuff, and prices rose. Oh, and they now have an olive bar, I think.

        Such is actual gentrification.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris says:

        @chris

        I think you’ve really jumbled two related but importantly different things together and made a hash of your argument. The discussion was about food gentrification–a once-not–so-hot individual food item (like kale) suddenly becoming the new toy of the nouveau riche (or whomever the food gentrifiers are). That is not at all the same thing as neighborhood gentrification, where the bulk of a grocery’s items increase in price because of new residents with deeper pockets.

        There’s a relationship, sure, in that we’re talking about people with more money pricing out people with less money, but the two have substantial differences in terms of people’s ability to substitute. If kale becomes too expensive, poor kale lovers might have to switch to lettuce or spinach. If all the food becomes too expensive, they have to substitute on all, or nearly all, their food items, which is a vastly different substitution patterns.

        As to food prices, let’s not oversimplify them by turning to handy liberal bogeymen. There are a variety of factors that play into increasing food prices. Fuel, as you note, is an important one. Another, though, is the increase in biofuels, which is diverting cropland from food production to fuel production (a policy that I think is both stupid rent-seeking and very damaging to the poor). A recent (temporary) cause has been an epidemic among swine that has driven pork prices up. That is, there are a variety of micro-causes, each specific to certain crops. Global warming is almost certainly not a significant factor (at least yet), as U.S. grain production is steady and world grain production has generally increased throughout our lifetimes, with some variation year-by-year. In the future, increased droughts caused by global warming could become a major factor, but it’s far too early to suggest that it’s an important factor right now. (I.e., we can’t attribute any particular drought to global warming anymore than we can use last year’s unusually cold winter–and this year’s expected unusually cold winter–as evidence against global warming.)Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

        @james-hanley

        You are right that the two phenomenons are not one-in-the-same, but I don’t think the difference is quite as you describe it. Especially since my understanding of the issue is that the effect is being felt largely in places where foods like quinoa and kale are staples and, thus, not easily replaced. The article here discussed America — and maybe that is a losing or very-difficult-to-win argument to make — but I’ve seen other studies of the effect of “food trends” on an international level and the issue is real. I forget what country it was, but quinoa was/is a staple crop in some South or Central American country. But because it is now far more advantageous for growers to export it to America and elsewhere, it is either unavailable or outside the budget of most locals. But there is not really anything to replace it with. The farmers are doing well (though probably not as well as the inflated prices would suggest because of middlemen and what not) but the locals who depended on cheap quinoa are suddenly scrambling to find alternatives, most of which are much worse for them than what they had been eating.

        See more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/world/americas/20bolivia.htmlReport

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        James, that was my point: actual gentrification affects food prices in demonstrable ways. That is why I don’t like the term “food gentrification,” even if it points to a real economic and cultural phenomenon (which I’m saying it may, but it’s a empirical question).Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Chris says:

        @kazzy Regarding quinoa, see here.

        I can’t see kale being a staple anywhere, since leafy vegetables are extremely low in digestible calories.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris says:

        @kazzy

        On the other hand, Bolivian farmers are making about 10 times the income they once did. And as you’d expect when the price of something skyrockets, production is increasing dramatically.

        Journalists are great at taking the snapshot in time, then pointing to the negative effect and treating that as _the_ outcome, as though from that point on everything will remain static; as though nobody will respond to the changes in other ways.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

        @brandon-berg and @james-hanley

        You both bring up good points. I’m not saying the quinoa trend is inherently bad. I’m just saying these issues are more complicated than either side tends to make them out to be. And I can’t even begin to answer the question of whether the net effect of the trend is good or bad (maybe no one can). And even if it were bad, I wouldn’t necessarily be advocating we do anything about it. I just would prefer if your on-the-ground Bolivian wasn’t subbing in junk food for quinoa because they can no longer afford the latter. But there are lots of things I would prefer to see happen that I have zero interest in enlisting the government or any other coercive force to realize.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris says:

        James,
        Have you not looked at the price of beef lately? I’d say protein is at least as important as wheat… Granted, some of that is because we’re draining our aquifers dry, but you can chalk up some of it to drought as well…Report

  3. Avatar Kim says:

    F1: I will be laughing when the organic bubble bursts because the “middle class” can’t afford it anymore.
    Never been a fan of farming with a hand tied behind your back.
    Anyone here seen organic sweet corn?Report

  4. Avatar Citizen says:

    G4:
    Speaking of bans, have you seen this “featureless” model?
    http://www.aresdefense.com/?page_id=729

    It has the buttstock look of a regular hunting rifle and with wood furniture it becomes even more nominal. It mentions interchangeable with hunting upper receivers, not sure if that indicates standard uppers would fit. If so, it opens up a lot of market, and maybe a few AR guys become a little happier.Report

  5. Avatar Pinky says:

    Weird. When I read the title of this article, I thought it said “infield fly rule”.Report

  6. Avatar Pinky says:

    “Colonizing” doesn’t seem to be the right word. If English settlers had anchored their boats off the New England coast and lived there, I wouldn’t think of it as a colony. It sounds like life on Mars or Venus would be more like if you stayed on the spaceship than if you lived in the ecosystem of a planet.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Pinky says:

      Oops – I forgot to add, we could more easily colonize Antarctica or the ocean in artificial, closed structures, and we wouldn’t have to worry about transportation, or gravity.Report

  7. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    G2 – Stuff like this annoys people like me to no end. Perhaps if police & prosecutors spent more effort on combating violent crime, we’d have less. But the reality is, a gun conviction gets no financial love from Uncle Fed, but drug convictions do; so if you are trying to convict a drug dealer who was found with a weapon, you have a powerful incentive to plead out the gun charge & get the drug charge. Likewise, when it comes to domestic violence & restraining orders. Police have tons of money for going after drug crimes, but almost none to make sure that the subject of a court order has surrendered their firearms.

    G3 – We’ve already discussed this.

    G4 – Not surprising. As I’ve said before, guns have been around for centuries, it’s easy as hell to build them in a garage with common tools & parts. There are tons of how-to manuals online that show you step by step how to make full-auto garage grease guns, complete with a shopping list for the Home Depot. 3D printers and small CNC machines that can be wirelessly controlled from your laptop lower the bar to manufacturing guns even more. Honestly, the hardest part about making a gun is rifling the barrel. Of course, if you aren’t trying to shoot someone at a considerable distance, rifling is of marginal value.

    G5 – Once again, the gun laws we have are for the most part stupid & useless & are more likely to nap people who aren’t actually causing any harm. The BATFE is responsible for the bulk of such useless & harmful rules.Report

    • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      G2. Yeah, if only our rate of incarceration was 10x Europe instead of only a wimpy 8x, then we’d really be spending “effort on combating violent crime, [so] we’d have less.” Violent crime must be out of control over there. Or, you know, not at all (this, for example, shows some European countries higher than us in some categories, most lower, nothing like an 8x difference)Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to nevermoor says:

        Except the vast bulk of our incarcerations are for non-violent crimes, and crimes in which the harm done is minimal or to the self, and only tangentially others.

        Let me put it this way. How many resources will the cops spend to nab a burglar as opposed to a low level drug dealer. How often do you hear of the SWAT raid to bust a common car thief as opposed to a guy who might have some pot in his sock drawer? We’ve had numerous discussions in these pages about how bad & messed up the drug war & it’s incentives are. My point with G2 is that these incentives mess up how we treat other crimes.

        In short, before I will entertain police & DA calls for tougher laws for gun crimes, I’d like to see more of an effort on their part to actually convict people for committing an actual crime with a gun (even if I disagree with the crime in question; I’m attacking their hypocrisy, not trying to support laws I think are unjust).Report

      • Avatar nevermoor in reply to nevermoor says:

        Certainly agree that the drug war is stupid.

        I don’t see how plea bargaining is some sort of failure of enforcement, though. Almost everything ends up pleading out, and if there were tougher laws the pled-for time would be higher.

        If you tell me felons arrested in possession of firearms aren’t facing that charge when plea bargaining or get the same plea bargain as those arrested for the same other circumstances without firearms, then we are at least getting to a place where the law isn’t being used. I’m not seeing any evidence of that in either article.

        None of this is me advocating for harsher laws. I just dispute the connection you’re making.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to nevermoor says:

        @nevermoor

        One of those two links in the post shows an example of how the incentive to get the drug conviction is damaging the end goal of getting violent people off the street.

        This is what is happening. Say a guy is pinched for a drug crime & he has a gun. The drug crime is good for a few months or maybe years in prison, the gun charge is good for a decade or two. The incentive is to get the drug conviction, because that boosts those convictions and nets more federal dollars, so dropping the gun charge to make sure the drug charge sticks makes a perverse sense. Now if the guy is just some noob without a record, I would say going for the lesser charge is valid. But if the guy is frequent flyer, or a well known violent person, then the gun charge is the right call in order to put him away, but we have a powerful incentive to not do that (federal drug dollars).Report

      • Avatar nevermoor in reply to nevermoor says:

        I think the individual circumstances are significant (and both articles show that sometimes the charge is dismissed, but other times it isn’t).

        If you have a guy with a drug charge that carries 2 years and a gun charge that carries 10 (just for example), and that guy pleads guilty to the 2 year charge in exchange for dismissing the 10, I don’t think that means the gun charge was not enforced. I strongly suspect that the same guy with the same drug charge would not plead guilty to the 2 years if he wasn’t also facing a gun charge.

        To the extent the prosecutor’s willingness to do that deal is both wrong and motivated by drug-war dollars, we should absolutely do away with the drug incentive. But it still doesn’t suggest to me that the gun law is meaningless, or that additional gun laws would also be meaningless. In that example, they helped get someone off the street for real time without the cost or uncertainty of trial. And if Milwaukee got its extra law, maybe the guy gets 3 or 5 total years instead of two, so I don’t understand the argument that more laws would be meaningless. That’s all I’m saying.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to nevermoor says:

        Alright! Let’s dump the drug war incentives & see what happens. If the stats don’t change much, then perhaps you are right & something more is needed. If the stats start climbing, then I’m right & we don’t need more laws, just different incentives. If they start dropping, then we can both scratch our heads over a beer & wonder WTF?!

        Still, such laws were passed because the threat of extra time for using a gun during the commission of a crime was supposed to reduce the number of guns being carried by criminals. If the SOP is that the first charge tossed out is the gun charge, that kind of defeats the purpose of the law.Report

  8. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    C1 – Totally doable, once we either have a space elevator, or we develop some kind of reactionless drive that can get us out of the atmosphere, or we have a permanent orbital facility that can capture & harvest raw materials from asteroids & manufacture them into useful items that we can then send to Mars or Venus.Report

  9. Avatar nevermoor says:

    G2: lets just enforce the laws we have! G5: stupid us, we enforced the laws we have!

    Also on G2, wouldn’t it be appropriate from a libertarian perspective to remove a large number of regulations and replace them with (1) a gun registration / tracking scheme like we have with cars, such that the previous owner is responsible for notifying of transfers; and (2) presumed liability for all harm caused by a gun you “own” under (1), rebutted only by proof of all of the following: (a) you stored the gun in a reasonably secure location, like a gun safe; (b) the gun was taken from that location without your consent; and (c) you reported both a and b to law enforcement before the harm occurred.

    That way, since I’m so often assured we are a nation of responsible gun owners, we can avoid this burdensome regulation everyone says they hate, but when your kid kills my kid with your gun, you go to jail.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to nevermoor says:

      @nevermoor

      G2 != G5
      G2 is about trading down violent offenses and then complaining that they don’t have the laws needed to keep guns out of the hands of violent offenders.
      G5 is purely a question of administrative/regulatory over-reach impacting a person who did nothing wrong except not exactly following rules that are often numerous, confusing, & often contradictory.

      but when your kid kills my kid with your gun, you go to jail.

      Really, is that how it happens when your kid kills my kid in an auto accident? Same with those storage requirements?

      Honestly, if guns were regulated in a manner even remotely approaching the way automobiles are regulated, most gun owners would jump at it. But people who suggest we regulate guns like cars just want to add registration to the pile, & not dispense with the massive body of laws that exist to regulate guns that would have to go to bring the two systems to something even approaching parity.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to nevermoor says:

      Assuming the article is accurate, the issue with regard to #5 was not that it was enforced, but that it was enforced in a questionable manner. They convicted someone of manufacturing guns who didn’t actually manufacture them, and of selling guns when he didn’t make money doing so. The issue is not enforcement of the law, but questionable application of it.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Will Truman says:

        Again, this is par for the course with these kinds of gun laws. Right up there with the attempted enforcement against people with the materials & means to make controlled items (like suppressors*), but no actual evidence that said person was trying to make them & sell them.

        If you have a drill press, some metal pipe, and steel wool – CONGRATULATIONS! You have the materials & means to make a silencer!Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

        MRS,
        you should see what the FBI does for computer crimes. “well, you coulda done it!”Report

      • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Will Truman says:

        “Selling” and “profiting” are different (see, e.g. Amazon.com).

        That said, if we transfer liability for gun ownership from the public to gun owners, I’d be totally comfortable relaxing regulations like these.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Will Truman says:

        @nevermoor

        The BATFE has rules (albeit vague ones) on what constitutes a firearms business. This is the question at hand. There are plenty of firearms hobbyists out there who are not in the business of making or selling firearms who see cases like this as worrying because it encroaches on their legal & harmless activity.Report

      • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Will Truman says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist

        I get it. But if there’s a rule against selling, and his defense (as I read it in the article, is that he never made money doing it), that isn’t an answer to selling. Instead, it reads to me like he sold the end-product for a low price.

        End of the day, a jury decided he broke laws currently on the book, so I found (and still find) criticism of that enforcement a noteworth juxtaposition with the call to enforce laws on the books instead of changing gun regulation laws. Although I get that the two specific laws are different, it certainly reinforces my bias that “no new regulations until we enforce what we already have” is really part of a spin on “I oppose gun regulations”.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Will Truman says:

        @nevermoor

        End of the day, a jury decided he broke laws currently on the book

        Yes, because DAs & judges never manage to convince a jury that an innocent person broke the law.

        I oppose gun regulations

        More like I oppose regulations that are badly written, confusing, and arbitrary (and thus easy to confuse a jury with). Guns just have a special significance to me. And like I said, my call regarding enforcing the laws on the books is more about exposing the hypocrisy of demanding more laws while failing in large to even bother using the ones you have that should be easy pickings.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

        Yes, because DAs & judges never manage to convince a jury that an innocent person broke the law.
        Well, for one you’re asserting — against the actual decisions made by the people most informed about the case (the judge and jury) that he did not, in fact, break the law he was convicted of breaking.

        You have to admit, claiming that as a core point requires a bit more than a “He was innocent!” claim.

        In the end, you’re still complaining about not enforcing regulations while complaining that regulations are enforced. Your explanation — the enforced regulation should have been enforced, but this man was innocent — does square the circle but only if you can demonstrate that the man was innocent.

        Which boils down to you claiming crooked judge and jury, or at least idiotic ones.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Will Truman says:

        @morat20

        Fair enough, although the article does suggest the investigation in question was less than above board. I’ll be curious to see if the guy appeals.

        That said, I have to wonder how much money was spent investigating a guy for a few regulatory violations that were unable to generate any actual evidence of more serious crimes (like making guns for felons or some such). This seems like the kind of thing that should result in a modest fine & a warning to not do that again for a first time offender, rather than felony prison time.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

        To be fair, you’re probably also being tarred a bit by association — it’s not exactly uncommon for people to say “We shouldn’t do X, we should do more of Y” knowing darn well more of Y ain’t going to happen, but pretending might stop X.

        Or, in other words, trying to block something now by saying you’ll do something later, and then not doing that thing later.

        There are a non-zero number of folks (I do not count you among them) who I suspect would happily be all for “Let’s not make new laws, just enforce these!” and then suddenly find reasons not to enforce them when the plan gets to step B.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Will Truman says:

        @morat20

        I suppose if you count my general opposition to most drug laws, I could fit into that category.

        Although I would rather change the law than just not enforce it, since ignoring a law has it’s own issues that are bad, especially if folks get used to it not being enforced, and then the political winds change.Report

    • Avatar nevermoor in reply to nevermoor says:

      Unlike a gun, a car has uses other than injuring others.

      So I’m clear, you would not support my proposal because there are different proposals you don’t like? Or for some other reason?

      (I see indications you might not want secure storage or liability, but I’m having trouble understanding why those aren’t part and parcel of the responsible gun ownership I hear so much about. especially since secure storage isn’t a requirement, just part of a defense if somethign goes wrong. My proposal wouldn’t prevent leaving a loaded gun under your pillow if you wanted to, it would just transfer the risk from others to you. Like we do with other hazardous things.)Report

      • Avatar nevermoor in reply to nevermoor says:

        Not sure why this didn’t show up as a reply to MRS 12:48. Unintentional user error!Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to nevermoor says:

        Unlike a gun, a car has uses other than injuring others.

        And your point is…?

        Let’s turn your proposal on it’s head. This is a nice bit about what it would be like if cars were regulated the way guns are. I find it instructive because most people have no clue how expansive our gun regulations are. Placing similar regulations into the context of cars is useful.

        As for storage & liability, this is simple, find me another example of a common household item where the owner is automatically held liable for the harmful use of the item by another party, and we’ll talk. IIRC, holding an owner liable is usually a civil matter and one that often requires a trial absent a clear case of negligence (e.g. the guy who left his handgun on the coffee table & went to work, so the 5 year old in the house had no trouble picking it up & putting it in his school backpack).

        Most owners practice safe storage, but what constitutes safe storage is a variable question that depends on a lot (purpose of a given gun, presence of children in the household, home security measures, etc.). It’s not something that can be clearly laid out in law. A childless couple who rarely have kids at the house do not have the same safe storage requirements that I do. Likewise the family that lives out on a ranch have different needs than those who live in dense urban or suburban areas. Now we can talk about gun owners liability insurance, as long as government avoids meddling with the pricing (I trust insurance companies to price it fairly, government not so much). That I have no issue with. But criminal liability for third party acts is another matter, and it opens up a can of worms I doubt you really want to open.Report

      • Avatar nevermoor in reply to nevermoor says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist

        Thanks for that article. It is absolutely right that I do not mean I want to regulate guns the way we regulate cars (and if I came off as saying that, I retract it). I only referenced car regulations for one purpose (the system of defining the “owner” as the last person to report ownership, so there are rarely “lost” cars).

        First, to answer your question, my point is that regulating a car (which is necessary to most people’s lives for a number of productive purposes, but also dangerous) is a different problem than regulating a gun. A gun has one purpose, to inflict harm on something. A gun also has a constitutional protections a car doesn’t. They’re simply different problems.

        Would it be fair to take from your insurance point that if we restrict my liability rule to civil penalties you would be ok? Under present law, insurance would be too cheap because gun owners don’t have liability to ensure in a lot of incidents, because those are currently characterized as no-fault accidents. I would certainly expect there to be insurers willing to enter that market, and would be totally comfortable with the “government avoids meddling with the pricing” piece so long as that isn’t broad enough to cover “requiring the insurer to comply with general insurance provider requirements.”

        And, to be clear, I’m not trying to lay any specifics out in the law. If you live in a house where it really is safe to leave a loaded gun on the mantle, for example, it won’t be used to cause harm. If you live in a house with a bunch of kids and trigger-lock/gun-safe/whatever, you’re protected if those measures are defeated. My change only applies if you THINK you’re in situation A but you’re wrong and someone gets hurt.

        Finally, on the “use by others” point, there are certainly things that are subject to strict liability. If you have a dangerous animal (most wild animals, dogs that have already bitten a human, examples vary state-to-state) you’re strictly liable for what it does even if someone else lets it out of your house. And, of course, there’s the classic, though controversial, example of an anti-trespass device.

        And, of course, the point of this transfer of liability would be to allow society to remove various complex or difficult-to-enforce regulations on the theory that gun owners will act rationally to avoid liability and thus do not need the same level of external management.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to nevermoor says:

        @nevermoor

        I would certainly expect there to be insurers willing to enter that market

        They already do, although it isn’t a specific gun owner rider, but rather just a general liability balloon policy. Tacks on another $150/year to the price (easily affordable).

        If you have a dangerous animal (most wild animals, dogs that have already bitten a human, examples vary state-to-state) you’re strictly liable for what it does even if someone else lets it out of your house.

        Is that civil or criminal liability? I can appreciate a certain degree of civil liability, I balk at criminal liability. And thanks for the link to the SCOTUS decision, that was interesting!

        And, of course, the point of this transfer of liability would be to allow society to remove various complex or difficult-to-enforce regulations on the theory that gun owners will act rationally to avoid liability and thus do not need the same level of external management.

        Rationally, I would totally agree with you. Unfortunately there are a lot of people on the gun control side who are not actually rational about such things, and would want the rules to stay in place in order to make life difficult for gun owners. The level of “othering” I face at times from such people is disturbing, to say the least.

        Would you look at us, being all agreeable & such! 🙂Report

      • Avatar nevermoor in reply to nevermoor says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist

        Crap, you’re right, we’re being agreeable. Something went wrong. Malfunction! Malfunction!

        To answer your question: we’re talking civil. You’re probably right that criminal wouldn’t be a good idea. (and, as a minor point, that case is Iowa’s Supreme Court, not SCOTUS, and it’s a fun one for first year law students to digest).

        I suspect insurers would create a more targeted product if something like this happened, since its effect would be to increase the financial risk of gun ownership, and I further suspect there would be the same sorts of discounts for training/specific systems/etc as you get with homeowners, but that would all be separate from the law, and not necessary to it.

        Also, I’m sure you’re right that it wouldn’t be uncontroversial to do this and unwind some restrictions. That said, my proposal would be an all or nothing package, not to add liabilities first, discuss removing regulations second.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to nevermoor says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist
        Let’s turn your proposal on it’s head. This is a nice bit about what it would be like if cars were regulated the way guns are. I find it instructive because most people have no clue how expansive our gun regulations are. Placing similar regulations into the context of cars is useful.

        Actually, that’s an idiotic article. It’s basically a Gish Gallop of a bunch of rules, but the thing is, we actually *do* have somewhat similar rules for most of those. Let me try this paragraph by paragraph, numbering the paragraphs:

        3) To buy… We do require adults in the car with underaged drivers. Yes, we have the age cutoff at 16 or whatever instead of 18, but that doesn’t make guns be ‘more regulated’.

        4) To buy… While we don’t require ‘sports car’ drivers to be older, we do require *commercial* drivers to be.

        5) For every… While you don’t do it for ‘every purchase’ (Which is irrelevant because people don’t run around buying dozens of cars.), to get a driver’s license, you do have to not only fill out a questionnaire saying you’re a legal resident of US and a resident of the state, you also have to, yes, attest you currently do not have a suspended licenses in another state. Lying is, indeed, a crime.

        6) New cars… New cars *are* only purchasable from licensed car dealership, and they *do* check that you are eligible to operate a car when you buy one, although they can check the handy license you already had to get.

        7) Additionally, the… The unlicensed purchase and reselling of multiple cars in a year *is* a crime (My brother is an auto mechanic who likes to buy, fix, and resell cars. He has a limit on how many he can do a year, although I don’t know it off hand.) , although I’m sure it’s a relief you don’t have to sign a dastardly ‘form’ indicating you know that. There is indeed a tax on car purchases.

        8) Federal Automobile… This is a joke, right? Or does the author expect us to be unaware of the fact this, statistically, never happens?

        9) Then you… Rules about driver’s licenses do vary by state. Many of them do require some sort of educational class, and all of them require a test to demonstrate knowledge, which I am not sure any gun license requires. And you do need to be aware of the driving laws of each state. Speed limits are not the driving laws of a state, they are the driving laws of a *short stretch of road*. Some communities do not allow motorized vehicles.

        10) To have… Two words: Tinted windows. Don’t want to have to deal with the various state laws, don’t have tinted windows.

        11) Additionally, superchargers… It is illegal to own a car without air bags made after 1998, at least not without special import paperwork. And a whole bunch of other rules and cutoffs. (The difference here is, auto companies actually stopped *making* such cars when they became illegal, whereas gun companies kept selling them overseas.)

        12) Imported sports… Look, I’m sympathetic to the fact ‘assault weapon’ laws are complete nonsense, based more on random things than actual property of the weapon. But the fact, there are all *sorts* of classes of vehicles with special rules. Motorcycles, commercial vehicles, ATVs, etc. And even more classes of vehicles that *can’t be sold at all*. The fact that ‘assault weapon’ is a stupid classification doesn’t mean that vehicles are somehow less regulated than guns.

        13) Repairs may… I don’t even know what this is pretending to be talking about. Repairing weapons is entirely legal. The only ‘repair’ of weapons I’m aware of that can result in criminal charges is to turn it into a fully automatic one, possession of which is a crime. For a stupid car analogy, ‘repairing’ your car into having police lights and sirens will result in criminal charges too. And repairing your Sudafed into meth will also result in criminal charges.

        14) Be aware… Is this person completely unaware there *are* rules and regulations about emissions for cars? No, you don’t need ‘permission’…because you just can’t get it. You’re just flat out not allowed to build a muffler and put it on a car and drive that car around, end of story.

        15) Converting a… Meanwhile, converting your car into another type of car is probably going to result in a car that is not, in fact, street legal, and cannot be driven anywhere. The difference is car owners do not do this.

        16) There is… Except that when you sell your car to someone else, you are *required to register it with the state*. The wrong people do not own cars, period. Gun owners are completely opposed to having to register anything, so we’ve come up with an incredibly convoluted system to stop the wrong people from owning guns.

        17) Some vehicle… The first part of this paragraph is almost exactly how the laws currently operates. Except, of course, because car owners do not randomly modify their cars, they rarely are found in violation of the law by operating non-street legal cars. And I have no idea what the last sentence is going for…it is not illegal for people with felony convictions to be next to people with guns.

        But, to be fair, that paragraph does point out the first *actual* imbalance in the law, namely, that you can’t lose driving privileges from violating other laws. That, indeed, a reasonable point.

        18-21) The last of these are complete bullshit in article that claims to be about how guns *have* more regulation. None of them are about actual regulations in the present.

        Meanwhile, let’s see some major laws that apply to cars that *don’t* apply to guns, but should:

        1) You have to register them with the government.

        2) You cannot transfer ownership of them without informing the government, and the new owner has to register them.

        3) They can all be identified if something illegal is done with them.

        4) You have purchase insurance in case you harm someone with them.

        5) You have to have a license to operate any dangerous motor vehicle. (Both groups have exceptions, like ATVs or mopeds, or rifles or shotguns, but the difference is the motor vehicles you can operate with a license are specifically the ones it is very hard to injure other people with. Wheres shotguns and rifles are just as lethal as handguns.)

        There’s probably more, but that’s the stuff I can think of off the bat.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to nevermoor says:

        I do feel you’re right — you could simply gun regulations ENORMOUSLY by simply stamping them with a serial number and requiring registration, which alllows instant determination of ownership of a gun. (Yes, I’m aware legacy guns and such would present special cases. However, we manage to register kit cars and custom builds and restored cars. It’s manageable).

        However, we can’t do that because something something freedom something. I dunno. It varies. Half the time it’s “they government will know and they’ll come right for me when they confiscate all the guns”. I mean I don’t even know how to reply to that. You’re already so screwed if that happens, what does it matter? Having a universal gun registry will make absolutely no difference in how that goes down. In the meantime, it’ll make life easier for everyone — gun owners included.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to nevermoor says:

        @morat20
        do feel you’re right — you could simply gun regulations ENORMOUSLY by simply stamping them with a serial number and requiring registration, which alllows instant determination of ownership of a gun.

        For an analogy with cars (ha), what we should do is put a serial number on that and record it when the gun is transferred (like a VIN) and also, if it makes sense for that type of gun, fire the gun and record ballistics, so we can identify it remotely if it’s used in a crime. (Sorta an analogy to a license plate.) And I’d suggest tagging the gunpowder, also, but that always devolves into a discussion about the weird urban myth the gun manufacturers spread about how reformulating gunpowder is too complicated and dangerous, despite the fact it happens every couple of years, so let’s just skip that for now and get ballistics.

        Half the time it’s “they government will know and they’ll come right for me when they confiscate all the guns”. I mean I don’t even know how to reply to that. You’re already so screwed if that happens, what does it matter? Having a universal gun registry will make absolutely no difference in how that goes down. In the meantime, it’ll make life easier for everyone — gun owners included.

        There are basically four groups of civilians with relations to guns in the US. The first group has a hunting rifle or a shotgun and they grew up hunting, some of them still hunt, some of them don’t but they have the gun still. The second group is in a dangerous area and has bought a handgun or shotgun under their bed for protection. The third group wants nothing to do with guns and demands they not be in the house at all.

        As customers, the first group might, maybe, buy a new extra gun, but this group is shrinking. The second group will replace their gun but only if they lose it, as they only need one. The third group will never buy any guns at all, and they’re getting bigger all the time.

        This…is not a sustainable market for the gun companies.

        So the gun industry (Via the NRA) has create a fourth group, a group of paranoid ravers, people who already own multiple guns, who are deathly afraid someone is going to take their guns away. (And a fifth group created by over-demilitarizing the police and giving them excessive guns, presumably to help them take away the fourth group’s guns. And a sixth group of criminals, I guess.)

        It doesn’t matter how ‘easy’ things are for the fourth group. The entire purpose of the fourth group is to actually have someone who buys large amounts of guns, and the way to get them to do that is to make them violently (And I’m not entirely speaking metaphorically.) opposed to any law about any guns at all. Because the gun laws are currently a mess, someone will always be trying to changed them, which means that group will *always* be violently opposed to something, which means they *always* need to buy more guns.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to nevermoor says:

        @davidtc

        OK, let’s take it by the numbers…

        3) a child can legally buy & operate a car, as long as it is not used on a public road (I grew up in farm country, I had friends who legally owned their trucks that they bought as scrap & got working again).

        4) For this to hold, the rule for guns would have to have something to do with carrying a gun for your occupation (cop, security guard, etc…). I suppose the closest rule would be training requirements for carry permits.

        5) Again, not equivalent, unless my Carry Permit served to bypass the background check (it doesn’t, the most it does is bypass the handgun waiting period). Which, of course, is crazy since my carry permit involved a much deeper background check than a simple NICS check. Also, how deep is the background check for a drivers license?

        6) Depending on the state, I can buy a Tesla from Tesla, not a licensed dealership. Dealership rules are state by state protectionist crap from a bygone age, not federally mandated laws. Different kettle of fish. Finally, if I bought an assembled kit car, it probably would not have to go through a dealership (depending on the state).

        7) And do you get to spend 30 years in prison if you buy & sell cars like that? Is that a federal law, or another bit of the state dealership rules?

        8) This depends on if your business is located on the same property as your home. I will concede this point is a bit hyperbolic. However, the BATFE is well known for playing fast & loose with the rules, especially if the inspectee is not on the ball with his lawyers number. See here. But I have to ask, do car dealerships have to face such inspections?

        9) From my own experience, some states require training for carry permits, some do not. Likewise some states require training for DLs, most only require it for underage drivers, AFAIK all require a skills test and a written test. As for laws that vary from place to place, those signs are the big difference. If the Speed limit changes, there is a sign telling me so. In almost every place in the US, the rules of the road are reflected in the roadside signage. If gun laws change, there is usually no sign.

        10 & 11 & 12) Weak, not even close, not even in the same county. Try again. Note that he is talking about Suppressors & full-auto weapons. Also, again, what happens to the guy using an illegal turbocharger, or improperly tinted windows? You get a vehicle defect warning & maybe a misdemeanor citation. Gun owners get a decade or more in federal prison. Regulation is not just the number of rules, it’s also the penalty for violating those rules.

        13) I’ve had to send a gun in for repairs, yes the rules are that ridiculous.

        14) You are missing the point here. And again, violations result in drastically different penalties.

        15) Car owners do this all the time. I’ve seen cars converted to trucks, kit cars, tuners, etc. What constitutes street legal is a pretty short list (muffler, lights, signals, mirrors, etc.).

        16) Again, wrong. Operating a car on a public street requires me to register it with my state. I can own as many unregistered cars as I want. When I sell a car, I have no legal obligation I am aware of to notify the state of the change of ownership. It is assumed the new owner does this by registering the car so they can drive it on roads. If they buy it for scrap, and are not running a scrap yard, AFAIK no one will care if the car is never registered again, as long as it is not caught on the road.

        The riding point is that if a person is convicted of a felony, anyone they live with must remove all guns from the residence.

        17) Again, tuners. Many car owners modify cars for improved performance, etc. These cars are still street legal as long as they are not racing on public streets (with the one exception being NOx systems).

        And finally, the major point of all is, as I said in point 10 is this: Regulation is not just the number of rules, it’s also the penalty for violating those rules. Car owners, makers, and operators rarely face anything more than a modest fine for violating any automobile regulation that does not result in harm to another. Even driving without a license is pretty tame compared to what happens if you carry without a permit. There are very few gun laws & regulations where the penalty is a misdemeanor & modest fine. Almost every single one is a felony with large fines &/or serious prison time.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to nevermoor says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist
        3) Yes, and a child can legally operate all sorts of guns in areas set up for that, too. They apparently can even legally operate an actual Uzi!

        4) Or *motorcycles*, which I point out below also have specific different rules.

        5) This was not *about* a background check in the first place, this was about filling out a questionnaire. Which you have to do for buying a gun, for getting a gun permit, and also for getting a license and buying a car. And, yes, with both cars and guns you have to indicate whether or not you have a certain criminal acts in your past, and it’s illegal to line on the form. The process is *completely identical*. (Except there’s no laws really barring you from owning a car, so there’s no questions about that when you buy a car.)

        6) I fail to see the difference between buying from Tesla and buying from a dealership, or actually how this is supposed to be relevant at all. You can only buy new cars from new car stores, and laws prohibit random people from importing and selling them. *Exactly* like guns. As for a car kits, while you *don’t* have to buy them from a dealer, you *do* have to spend a hell of a lot of work actually registering them with the state. As opposed to gun kits, which you can just…use. (I am slightly baffled as to why where you have to *buy* something is an infringement on anyone’s rights except the people who want to sell them.)

        7) This paragraph was about the dastardly *form* you had to fill out notifying you of the law, not the actual law itself.

        8) The BAFT is also well known for *not actually doing any inspections at all*. The amount of inspections conducted every year vs. the amount of licensed dealer is so low as to make the odds of any individual dealer *ever* being inspected very small. And that link does not demonstrate otherwise. Meanwhile, yes, car dealerships are indeed inspected. In fact, *all* of them are inspected, *before* they open, as far as I’m aware, although that might vary by state. (But this is state government, so apparently somehow doesn’t count.)

        Now, I’m not actually sure of what circumstances any *additional* inspections may be conducted, but the sheer fact that car dealerships get inspected at least once before they open means they, statically, have more inspections than firearm dealerships.

        9) You are incorrect about the rules of the road, period. There are all *sorts* of variations between them that are not reflected in the signage. In fact, the mere existence of signage demonstrates how often the rules change, because signage is to inform you of rule changes that are in effect for literally 100 feet. That’s the only notification you get. The actual state laws you get no notices of at all.

        And you seem to think there’s this huge amount of gun laws that people need to be entirely up on. No. There are not. Basically, the question is whether or not you can take your gun with you into that state at all (Which is easy enough to check in advance.), and whether or not you can carry it around with you to any specific place. (And that will have signs). This is a much simpler, binary question, than the multiple of driving laws and whether or not you can pass on the right or can turn left on red.

        And it’s much easier to follow, by simply *not bringing the gun*, which is much easier to do than not *driving*.

        10-12) ‘Regulation is not just the number of rules, it’s also the penalty for violating those rules.’ This statement is completely silly. Regulation is essentially how complicated the rules are to follow. The fact that gun laws have harsh penalties than auto laws is irrelevant.

        13) And now I’m confused. By ‘send a gun in’, do you mean *mailing it*? Because that’s not a gun thing, that’s a postal thing.

        I assure you, it’s just as hard to mail in a car for repairs. In fact, it’s much much harder. (And I’m not just being sarcastic. Even if you actually *wanted* to pay to mail a car, you could not, legally. At minimum, you’d have to remove the battery, gas, and oil.)

        14) No, you are missing the point. How regulated something is based on how easy it is to stay within the rules. The rules about guns are often fairly capricious (As I said, the idea that ‘assault weapons’ vary from normal guns is delusional) and are fairly harsh too, but they are actually *much easier* to understand and follow than for cars. Namely: Stop fucking trying to modify the gun to make it ‘badass’, and the owner already have a license, because they checked when it was bought, and, tada, the gun is totally legal.

        Cars you actually have to *do things* with. You have to maintain them, you have to replace parts, you have to have them tested. And you have literally hundreds of rules to follow, instead of trivial ‘Here’s the license rules, here’s the locations you can’t have them’.

        Whining and bitching that *modifying a gun illegally* will get you in trouble ignores the fact that *no one has to modify a gun*. At all. And once we remove idiotic gun modification, the rules and regulations for owning and operating a gun are a million times easier than with a car.

        I have no sympathy at all for people complaining ‘If I make my gun into an illegal gun, it’s illegal!’ No shit, Sherlock. Why’d you do that? It wasn’t shooty enough before?

        15) Firstly, I suspect most of those cars are not actually street legal. I owned a car that wasn’t technically street legal because I took the middle brake light out. Secondly, your short list is actually much much longer, and it’s certainly much longer than the list of things you are not allowed to do to firearms.

        16) Erm, no. I wasn’t talking about *getting the tag*, which is something else entirely. I mean, to transfer ownership of a car, you must transfer the *title* of the car. Which you have to do via the government.

        17) No, those cars probably aren’t street legal at all.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to nevermoor says:

        Sorry this is later, busy day…

        Re: registration of firearms

        I described a potential solution to that some time ago. Basically, the true concern is not that the federal government is going to engage in a massive weapon confiscation program*, it’s that such a database would not be secure, and would be used by local or state officials to unjustly target gun owners (remember that both CA & CT (and I think a few other NE states) have engaged in gun confiscations in recent memory, not whole sale, but piecemeal by declaring specific models illegal based upon political whim; hell, CA does it quite regularly).

        So, encrypt the registry, and make it so the only way to search it is with a warrant & a specific name or serial number. That way if it is hacked or someone attempts to abuse it, they’ll be stymied. Keep in mind police & other officials abuse access to databases like the DMV all the time. Honestly all such databases should be encrypted and have tight search restrictions on them.

        *A wholesale confiscation program would never survive absent other glaring signs that we are all in a handbasket & it’s getting uncomfortably warm.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to nevermoor says:

        A wholesale confiscation program would never survive absent other glaring signs that we are all in a handbasket & it’s getting uncomfortably warm.

        I’m going to be cynical here — the reason these people believe a wholesale confiscation program is coming is because they’ve heard a steady drumbeat about it for years. The reason they’ve heard that has nothing to do with politics or elections, but because scared gun owners paranoid about the government buy more guns.

        Universal registration is used as proof of this because fear needs reinforcement if you want to keep them spending their disposable income on guns.

        There’s frankly no reason whatsoever to cater to their beliefs, because they’re a tiny (and shrinking) number of Americans. We should just go ahead and make a program designed properly so we can identify who owns any gun used in a crime, and so civil liability and compliance with simple regulations on who can own guns can be done without a million complicated steps and make life easier for law enforcement and gun owners.

        Because the “Goverment’s coming to take my guns” crowd will never, ever, EVER believe any steps you take to safeguard such a program (because it’s worth an awful lot of money to the gun industry that they don’t) so you might as well design it solely with an eye towards regular use — like, say, the way we handle car registration.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to nevermoor says:

        @morat20
        We should just go ahead and make a program designed properly so we can identify who owns any gun used in a crime, and so civil liability and compliance with simple regulations on who can own guns can be done without a million complicated steps and make life easier for law enforcement and gun owners.

        Yeah, it seems somewhat ironic that gun ownership is, indeed, slightly more complicated than the car ownership to deal with…because the gun lobby flat out refuses to have any sort of sane registration system.

        Thus you have to pass a check and fill out a form *DRAMATIC CHORD* stating you’re still legal every time you buy a gun, instead of the way it works with cars, which is that you just get a license for a class of motor vehicle and state you’re legal during that…and you can trivially prove you’re legal whenever you need to, so no need to recheck.

        Likewise, we’re apparently in a universe where unlicensed gun sellers can get in trouble for reselling guns (Despite the fact that this seems to happen all the time at gun shows)…whereas private auto sellers, while not having to check the buyer’s license (Because we don’t ever bar people from owning cars.), do have to actually register the sale with the government, via a title change, or the sale isn’t even real. (And if we did actually bar people from owning cars, we’d check it there.)

        That seems somewhat *more* intrusive in my book, but if gun owners want to switch from ‘background checks that, by law, get deleted after a few months’ to ‘having to permanently register all sales and transfers with the government’, hey, fine with me. In fact, we wouldn’t even care about ‘straw purchasers’ if that was the rule…but they wouldn’t exist anyway.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to nevermoor says:

        MRS,
        people are unnecessarily paranoid about government. If shit goes down, it won’t be the bloody government going after the folks with guns.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to nevermoor says:

        @nevermoor

        You may find this of interest, regarding firearms insuranceReport

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to nevermoor says:

        @nevermoor

        Like wise this.Report

      • Avatar nevermoor in reply to nevermoor says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist Thanks. I’m not persuaded by the anti-insurance guy’s description of moral hazard issues.

        My personal experience is that car insurance serves as an “oh crap, better not get a second speeding ticket so my insurance says low” not “woo hoo, I’ve purchased the right to drive recklessly… better take advantage!”

        Either way, though, these articles are focused on the current regime, not one that significantly increases gunowners’ exposure to civil liability (my modified non-criminal proposal)Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to nevermoor says:

        @nevermoor

        Yeah, I don’t buy moral hazard either, absent some empirical evidence that such occurs. I mean, there is some aspect of that with health insurance, but that is more because health insurance is mostly a payment system, not a way to mitigate the upper bounds of risk.

        It’s law review, they are looking at the current state of things. Gotta start somewhere.Report

  10. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    In terms of guns, I was thinking about posting this article to ask the legal eagles here about it:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/16/technology/gamergate-women-video-game-threats-anita-sarkeesian.html?_r=0

    So, if you have a public event scheduled and an anonymous crazy person emails you and says “I will come to your event and shoot a lot of people with my gun” is it really the case that the police can’t do anything to prevent people from bringing concealed firearms to that event?
    Can private security be brought in? Or do you just have to cancel, like they did?
    And are the laws then different for political events? It seems hard to imagine the same thing happening if, say, the governor was scheduled to speak at the university.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Rufus F. says:

      Legally I do think their hands were tied.

      That aside, this is the ultimate heckler’s veto. And it works in so many ways. If she cancels the talk, it works. If she doesn’t, it still works because people would avoid the talk to avoid the risk of getting shot by a nut job, so the turnout is lower. Even with screening, it would still keep people away (even the screening itself would). It’s a crowd, so you can’t even place lots of extra security people about the place, because the nutjob could still do his damage before any armed person could get a clear shot to stop him.

      Still, I think all in all she should have done the talk.

      And I’m curious, how often has a threat of violence against a public event that was still held ever resulted in an actual attack? My thinking is that such a thing is a rare bird indeed, so the risk is probably very low.Report

    • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Rufus F. says:

      It would depend on that state’s law. If it’s the case that there’s no permit required to open carry weapons, no exception for schools, etc. then it’s hard to see what police can do.

      No idea about Utah governors, but those of us on my side of this debate tend to find it interesting that the judges upholding these types of laws seem to nevertheless restrict open carrying in courthouses.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Rufus F. says:

      I dunno, I have a hard time imagining the governor’s staff would let him/her run the risk (however tiny it actually was) of being that idiot who insisted on giving a speech at a massacre, despite having ample warning. Way to value the sound of your own voice over the lives of your constituents!Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Rufus F. says:

      I am a bit annoyed that Sarkeesian would want to suppress the 2nd Amendment rights of others, but given the circumstances (assuming good faith that it was a true threat & not a publicity stunt), I won’t be critical of her for her request. That said…

      This I agree with! 1000%Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Um. Suppress the second amendment rights of others?

        The right to keep and bear arms does not include the right to be admitted into a non-public venue, does it? Does a bar suppress the second amendment rights of its patrons if it frisks them and denies entry to those carrying weapons in a way that’s legal in the state? Does a hospital do so when it won’t let you take your gun into the MRI machine?Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @dragonfrog

        If it was a privately owned venue, I would agree with you 100% (my house, my rules & all that).

        However, this was at a State Univeristy, so public venue, subject to existing law regarding the carrying of firearms on that public property. So she was asking for a special exception to the law.

        Again, not that I blame her. I can totally understand why she would ask such a thing, although the FBI gave such a threat a low risk. I get annoyed because in my mind, willingly being a public figure includes with it an elevated amount of risk of attracting the crazies, especially if you are actively being a lightning rod. I am loathe to grant such persons extra rights at the expense of others just because someone made a threat, especially if the validity of a threat is determined (by the people we pay to be experts in this) to be low.

        Now if she wanted to pay for a 2″ full body armor glass shield to be placed between her & the crowd, and if she hired more security to patrol the crowd, I’m fine with that. If she wanted to change venues to a private facility, I would totally support that. But she should not be able to ask for exceptions to laws protecting rights. That is no better than the hecklers veto she just gave in to.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Maybe it’s my Canadian-ness coming through, but I don’t see a problem.

        She made what seemed to her a reasonable request. It turns out that the USU campus lacks the authority to keep concealed weapons off its campus, so it responded correctly that her request was not one they could fulfill (not that it would be unreasonable for them to do were it legal, just that it would be illegal).

        It’s interesting to me how much people who were not the target of death threats have strong opinions as to what Sarkeesian should have done
        – some say she should have held the talk, because not doing would be “letting the bulleis win”
        – some say she should have immediately cancel the talk, because any feasible amount of security would still have had her putting her audience at unacceptable risk

        None of these people who know for sure how Anita Sarkeesian should have acted in this situation, has received the barrage of threats Anita Sarkeesian has.

        Personally, if I were the director of security receiving Sarkeesian’s request, and assuming this were in a location where it was legal to search attendees and bar entry to those with weapons, I think I would have at least strongly recommended against that approach – not out of any deep philosophical reason, but just because security checkpoints create queues outside the checkpoints: a large group of attendees of the talk, vulnerable to attack by someone who doesn’t have to go through the checkpoint to reach them.

        (I won’t even presume to say what I’d have done if I were Sarkeesian. Probably seek treatment for constant panic attacks, as I don’t have anything like her astounding courage)Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Incidentally, Sarkeesian was born and grew up in Canada, lives in California, and her degrees are not in anything that would suggest she’d be be intimately familiar with the gun laws of Utah.

        Given that the individual states interpret the second amendments in hugely disparate ways, you really can’t expect someone from out of state to know automatically which behaviours a particular state considers protected under the second amendment, which it considers privileges subject to restriction as needed, and which will send you directly to jail without passing go if you so much as hint strongly that you’re going to try it.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @dragonfrog

        It’s just a thing for me. Honestly, I don’t blame her for the request or for canceling, I just chafe at the idea that others who are expecting a given freedom should relinquish it, even temporarily, so a public figure can feel more secure.Report

  11. Avatar greginak says:

    Oh yeah on F1 it should be pointed out that organic food isn’t necessarily better for people. I know someone will sharpen their artisinal wooden stake and put it through my heart. However organics won’t have had none or less pesticides used on them, but in terms of nutrition they aren’t better.Report

  12. Avatar DavidTC says:

    Andrew Lilico is basically asking the question ‘Sure, we could spend $10,000 on a new roof, but surely everyone would rather spend $10,000 on a super cool entertainment system with surround sound and every video game console!’

    No, you twit. They wouldn’t, and that would be a stupid policy decision if they did.

    If he wants to make the argument that terraforming Mars wouldn’t cost ‘much money’ (And two to three trillion isn’t that very much at all over 100 years.) and that 100 years isn’t that long…fine. Whatever

    But we can’t spend the ‘global warming’ money on it. Not that the money is even where we can choose ‘not to spend it’ in the first place. ‘Oh, look, a hurricane messed up some bridges, guess we won’t don’t fix those.’ ‘We’ll spend exactly the same amount we were previously spending on river levies, although they’ll now fail.’ ‘Well, a crop failure caused food prices to rise, but we’ll just…somehow pay the old price for food.’ ‘We just won’t have any new regulations on coal’.

    I think he doesn’t quite understand what ‘mitigating climate change’ means. There’s not a machine we’re feeding dollars into that we can choose to stop. It’s a hundred different things that cost money in various ways. And not spending the money usually ends up costing us *even more*.

    Also, I get the suspicion he’s seeing Mars as some sort of long-term replacement for Earth. Even if, tomorrow, Mars, or even the moon, was as inhabitable as Earth, that wouldn’t help us one bit with global warming…we live *here*. It is, with any current technology or even any predicted future technology, literally impossible for the human race to move to another planet, as we are adding population several orders of magnitude faster than we could lift people into space.Report

  13. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    [G1] Oh my goodness I want one of those. So. Bad.Report

  14. Added video for G6, discussing the ramifications of the law mentioned in G3.Report

  15. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    M1 – I had to sign a binding arbitration agreement the last time I went in to sign up at a temp agency – it really annoyed the hell out of me (to say nothing of their ridiculously onerous background check protocol). So it dismays the hell out of me that the Times does it as well, though it hardly surprises me. but, as I indicated in Vikram’s post, it equally cheers me that their writers decry the practice in its pages. the fact that the company engages in the practice detracts from my being glad they criticize it literally not an iota. it only makes sense, after all: the writers and editors are the ones subject to the agreement. The only thing I’d wish for would be a statement included in the article (presumably added by editors) that the Times itself uses the tactic. That would make the journalism even better, but with or without that, the article appearing, making me (more) aware of the practice and its effects is of the same value to me whether the Times engages in the practice or not. And it’s not amusing in the least that they do. It sucks.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

      …Additionally, as a general matter, I’m not sure I support the idea that I want to add the burden of cross-referencing all critical business reporting against news companies’ business practices. first of all, that’s a burden on the reporting that I’m not sure really is valuable enough to justify the check on the reporting that it would create, given that other ciompanies can report on their practices. Second, generally there is a wall between those realms. Papers do report on themselves, but it’s touchy even when it’s just the newsroom reporting on the newsroom. When it’s reporting on the business side of the same company? I think that gets really touchy. Does the company retain the right not to just report on *all* of its internal business affairs? There’s a basic conflict. You want to make the a regular self-check feature for all outward reporting on other businesses? How about just letting business reporting proceed as it usually does – media companies report on (other) businesses in a competitive environment, and the public benefits from the competition.

      I also wonder about some of the critics of the Times for failing to do this as well… Do they really differ with me on the practicality of running an internal check on similar practices for all critical reporting on business practices. Are they in fact advocating for such internal reporting be prescribed for all critical business reporting? Or, given that’s fairly unwieldy, is what they’re really after just putting and external damper on… the Times’ critical business reporting in the first place?Report

  16. Avatar Damon says:

    G2: When I see media personalities charged for violating gun laws by waving illegal guns/magazines in front of the camera on national television, I’ll know society is getting serious about enforcing existing gun laws. Until this, it’s all smoke and mirrors, politics, and controlling the proles.Report

  17. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    @davidtc

    Damn this can all get unwieldy, I got 4 tabs open just so I can keep track of all this.

    Actually, let’s not go by the numbers again, since that is all just picking nits. I concede that car regulations are numerous, possibly more so that gun regulations. And they don’t quite parallel.

    However, in my experience as a car owner & a gun owner, gun regulations are more confusing, the forms are more complex, and the penalties for non-compliance are more severe – significantly so, & yes, that is highly relevant; you can’t just brush that off. Now perhaps you own a small collection of firearms & have more experience than I, but your confusion on a number of the laws suggests to me that is not the case. Buying a car & buying a gun are not even remotely identical processes. I’ve done both, numerous times, they don’t square.

    As with laws changing from locale to locale, a technical violation of the rules of the road that is specific to place X will almost NEVER cause you to suffer a felony indictment. A technical gun violation will almost always do so. This can not be hand waved away. Hell, a lot of times, if you are just passing through X, or are new to X, unless it is a “Traffic Trap”, such a violation of the local rules will often get you a verbal or written warning. Technical gun violations almost never get a warning. So yeah, if you travel with a gun, you have to be up on the state & local laws (usually the manner of transport, since what one state or locale considers acceptable transportation another considers a felony; but also whether or not a carry permit is valid – see Shaneen Allen).

    Inspections – FFLs get inspected once before they open, it’s known as the process for getting an FFL. You seem woefully ignorant on these things.

    Stop fucking trying to modify the gun to make it ‘badass’, and the owner already have a license, because they checked when it was bought, and, tada, the gun is totally legal.

    This is so ignorant I don’t even know where to begin. Try looking up the myriad of definitions the BATFE has for various types of weapons & tell me how straightforward they are. Because there are a lot of people (gun makers, gun smiths, etc.) much more in tune with the BATFE rules & regs who find them confusing & find enforcement of the same arbitrary & capricious. These are not people trying to make their guns “more badass”, these are people just enjoying their hobby. It’s the equivalent of people who performance tune cars, or put a lift kit on their truck. Should they go to federal prison for trying to make their cars more badass? Hell, a highly tuned car or a truck with poor sightlines in the hands of a bad driver is far more dangerous than a shotgun with a barrel 1/4″ below the limit.

    I’ve said this before, but getting rid of the BATFE & their leadership & rolling their budget & duties into the FBI would foster enough goodwill among the gun community that people might actually let something like NICS for private sales go through. The NHSTA & the NTSB don’t enjoy anywhere near the animus amongst car owners & dealers that the BATFE has among gun owners & dealers (as far as I can tell).

    Street legal – again, what happens if you are caught with a car that is not street legal? You get a misdemeanor ticket at most (excepting NOx systems, which might be a much bigger ticket, but probably still not a felony unless you were caught using it). However, street legal is just that, Legal For The Public Street! I can take a car & violate the ever living hell out of the Street Legal regs & as long as the wheels of that car never touch public pavement while the motor is running, no one is going to bother me. I can drive it on private property all I want. I have an old friend who builds & races cars on the amateur circuit. He trailers his race car to the race, drives like a demon, then trailers it home. Nobody stops him for owning an “Illegal Car”. But if I have a gun that the BATFE, or a state like CA, has decided is illegal for whatever reason, even if it never leaves my gun safe, I’m a felon.

    Listen, you can act like guns & cars are regulated all the same all you want, but they aren’t. They are numerous & often confusing, especially at the margins. And the fact that almost every violation results in a felony, even if NO ONE WAS HARMED, is the biggest reason why. That is a huge threat to hang over people’s head. And it’s a threat that just does not exist in too many areas of law that deal with items in common use.

    Roll those felony violations back to misdemeanors, at least for first or second offenses, and again, lots of goodwill earned very quickly.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      So yeah, if you travel with a gun, you have to be up on the state & local laws (usually the manner of transport, since what one state or locale considers acceptable transportation another considers a felony; but also whether or not a carry permit is valid – see Shaneen Allen).

      All states consider travelling with a unloaded, legal firearm locked in a container, or in the trunk, legal. And thus transporting firearms through them is very easy. Some states might let you do other, lesser things to secure firearms, but if you are travelling interstate, duh, don’t do that.

      As for whether or not a carry permit is valid…duh. You don’t magically get to violate the law in one state because you’re wandered over from another state.

      I’m a little baffled as to how you think this *should* work? Should people from another state be allowed to wander around armed in violation of state law?

      It’s the equivalent of people who performance tune cars, or put a lift kit on their truck. Should they go to federal prison for trying to make their cars more badass? Hell, a highly tuned car or a truck with poor sightlines in the hands of a bad driver is far more dangerous than a shotgun with a barrel 1/4″ below the limit.

      Why. The. HELL. Are. You. Shortening. Shotgun. Barrels?

      It’s amazing how much that list, and how much what you seem to dislike about gun laws, is about modifying guns and the harsh rules if they are modified into something illegal. Yes, I’m sure there are a few actual hobbyists out there that would like to be able to modify their guns for fun, with completely innocent intent, and I have sympathy, I do. But they are completely drowned out by the people deliberately making their weapons more dangerous, because of paranoid ravings they hear promoted by the gun industry.

      Laws about modifying guns are, or at least, *should be*, completely irrelevant to 99% of gun owners, just like it’s completely irrelevant to car owners whether installing a NOX booster is legal or not. That is simply not an issue that should come up from day to day. For the 1% who want to that sort of thing as a hobby (‘Hobby’, not ‘insane paranoid delusions’), they should spend the time and effort looking up the law.

      The problem is that ‘gun owners’, or, rather, a tiny minority of the vocal gun owners and the lobby egging them on, are in batshit crazy land, and, as far as I can tell, are worshipping guns, and run around on message boards talking about how they’re going to randomly modify their guns because their gun isn’t shooty enough.

      And then they whine and complain that modifying something that is legal to possess into something that is illegal to possess turns out to be…illegal. What a crazy idea!! Perhaps they could have avoided that problem by *not doing that*, especially considering they had no reason to do so.

      I’ve said this before, but getting rid of the BATFE & their leadership & rolling their budget & duties into the FBI would foster enough goodwill among the gun community that people might actually let something like NICS for private sales go through.

      I can’t tell if this is sarcasm or not.

      They are numerous & often confusing, especially at the margins.

      The reason guns are at the margins is the paranoid ravings of lunatics, so there are guns created that are millimeters from the margins, or guns created that are only legal in 21 states, or are trivially modified to be illegal and everyone does it, or whatever. This is completely insane. Those guns do not need to exist.

      In a *rational* world, full of *rational* gun owners, all the guns would be well within the ‘margins’. People could modify them to their heart’s content, because, unlike this world, half the ‘gun mods’ out there wouldn’t be designed to modify guns to illegal specs.

      In this country, in various places, it’s illegal to have knife that can be opened one-handed, either via gravity, inertia, or spring. Aka, a switchblade. In a few places, they’re illegal, other places, it’s legal, and in most places, there’s a bunch of weird rules.

      Do you know how people generally deal with this? They just don’t buy knifes that open that way. It’s simple. Most knife manufacturers don’t even make knives that do that any more.

      If you want a switchblade for some reason, you have to track down some obscure dealer (They’re illegal to mail) and buy them, and I’m sure you’ll get a little lecture. (I’ve seen them for sale at a local festival, and the dealer had a pamphlet. Here, they have to be less than five inches, or they count as weapons and you either need to open carry, or have a concealed carry permit…and the vendor didn’t sell ones over five inches unless you had a permit, because he was tired of idiot customers who would buy a knife and immediately stick it illegally in their pocket.)

      Why is this different? Because we don’t have insane paranoid knife owners that buy the ‘maximum knife’ that is legal at the time. If we did, everyone would be buying switchblades with blades of five inches right next to ten inch replacement blades for their non-switchblades that exactly fit the switchblade *cough*, we’d have non-switchblades and internet plans to insert little springs in them, etc, etc.

      In a rational gun-owning world, no weapons would even be slightly near ‘illegal’. We wouldn’t worry about whether or not you could attach a suppressor…who the hell attaches suppressors? We wouldn’t worry about half an inch of barrel on a shotgun, because well, no ever replaces the shotgun barrel, and why would anyone want a shortened barrel to start with…are you hunting from 5 feet away?

      But something like half of the guns purchased (Not half the gun owners, but these specific people purchase *way* more guns than other gun owners) are purchased by lunatics who have built a world in their head where they will need to be able to kill as many people as fast as possible, when the government comes for them.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to DavidTC says:

        What’s amazing about the internet is how everyone understands “those people” so much better than “those people” understand themselves. If that’s a general rule, then there must be people out there who understand DavidTC better than he understands himself. I wonder what they think of him?Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to DavidTC says:

        Also, you continue to dodge the larger point, in that the bulk of BATFE regs & the laws that govern them make no legitimate sense. If there is a fundamental difference between a car that is street legal & one that is not, and the only way I can get into trouble with a non-street legal car is if I operate it on public roads, then why is it any business of the government if a given gun is modified in any specific way as long as that gun is never carried in public?

        I am totally fine with laws that say your hunting rifle or carry piece must meet given parameters, but the rifle that sits in a safe & only comes out when I want to shoot beer bottles on private land? Nobody’s business but mine.

        Want laws that add harsher penalties for guns modified to be more concealable or quiet and are then used in the commission of a crime; or guns that are modified to be untraceable (assuming a unique characteristic existed before) & used in a crime, knock yourself out.

        But if I shorten my shotgun barrel because reasons, and I only use it on private property for recreational purposes, there is no legitimate (in my mind) governmental interest in that. And assuming that I would modify such a gun with the intent to use it in a crime smacks heavily to me of prior restraint.. Or should we just assume that anyone who owns a Ferrari, or who modifies a car such that it could conceivably elude police, or hell, even a tricked out crotch rocket, is someone who wants to do bad things & they should go to jail, or at least face enhanced scrutiny from law enforcement?

        I can spend all day thinking of ways to modify common items into exceedingly dangerous things (I’m an engineer, it’s why we endure all that math), and for the bulk of US law, unless I do something that causes harm to others with my modified thing, the government could not give a flying f**k about it. But if it a gun, or it it kinda looks like a gun, or it’s a piece of pastry chewed into a vaguely gun like shape, our authorities have to be all up in it.

        Back all that off, and people won’t care if there are universal background checks, or registries. The same way people don’t care about the regs & paperwork involved with automobiles.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to DavidTC says:

        I’m a little baffled as to how you think this *should* work? Should people from another state be allowed to wander around armed in violation of state law?

        This completely misses the point – there is a rather large difference between a felony and a misdemeanor and a traffic ticket. Google Shaneen Allen. Tell me you’re ok with what was happening to her until her story became such a cause celebre that the governor was forced to order the prosecutor to back down.

        And what if someone needs to stop for food at a rest stop while driving through a state? Are we really going to say that it’s simple common sense for them to leave the firearm unattended in the trunk of the car when they have a CCW permit in their home state?

        Why. The. HELL. Are. You. Shortening. Shotgun. Barrels?

        Who said anything about shortening the barrel? Why can’t it just be a slightly too-short replacement barrel? Shorter barrels closer to the legal limit are widely viewed as superior for home defense.

        Yes, I’m sure there are a few actual hobbyists out there that would like to be able to modify their guns for fun, with completely innocent intent, and I have sympathy, I do. But they are completely drowned out by the people deliberately making their weapons more dangerous, because of paranoid ravings they hear promoted by the gun industry.

        Cite please. What modifications, exactly, both make a gun more dangerous and are popular with firearms owners? How, exactly, do those modifications make the gun more dangerous?

        Fact is that there are quite a few reasons why firearms owners modify their guns – maybe they want a more comfortable or stable grip, or they want to make it easier to carry by making it more lightweight, or they want it to have less recoil, or they want to be able to fire a different caliber, or they want to make it more accurate for shooting competitions. Or maybe they just don’t want to go deaf when they shoot the firearm.

        These modifications are not “just for fun.” They’re to make the firearm more appropriate for the owner’s intended – legal – use.

        And then they whine and complain that modifying something that is legal to possess into something that is illegal to possess turns out to be…illegal.

        No. The complaint is that it’s abnormally difficult to figure out what is and is not legal, and that the consequences for being wrong are not merely a fine or a misdemeanor, but instead are being prosecuted for a felony.

        In a rational gun-owning world, no weapons would even be slightly near ‘illegal’. We wouldn’t worry about whether or not you could attach a suppressor…who the hell attaches suppressors?

        Uhh, people who don’t want to go deaf or make people near where they’re hunting go deaf? Suppressors do not make firearms completely silent or really anything approaching silent. Instead, they reduce the noise level by about 15-20%. That’s still going to be very loud. It just won’t make you deaf nearly as fast.

        Seriously, you’d be surprised at the countries where suppressors are generally legal or are no harder to acquire than firearms themselves:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SuppressorReport

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

        @mad
        unless I do something that causes harm to others with my modified thing, the government could not give a flying f**k about it.

        …unless you create something that is illegal to possess. Like meth. Or sarin gas. Or, hey, an illegal firearm.

        Back all that off, and people won’t care if there are universal background checks, or registries.

        So I’m assuming your comment above *wasn’t* sarcasm, and you actually think the problem with gun laws is some sort of inexplicable impasse, where the gun lobby would be perfectly fine with registries if we’d let people own currently illegal guns as long as they didn’t take them out public?

        I…have no idea how to respond to that. You are wrong. Really, really wrong.

        However, you’re technically right in that *people* wouldn’t care. Right now, people are in favor of universal background checks for all gun sales, and might actually be in favor of a national registry also, or at least state level registries.

        However, ‘people’ do not set gun policy in this country. The NRA sets gun policy.

        @mark
        Who said anything about shortening the barrel? Why can’t it just be a slightly too-short replacement barrel? Shorter barrels closer to the legal limit are widely viewed as superior for home defense.

        …? Replacing a shotgun barrel with a deliberately shorter barrel is, uh, ‘shortening the barrel of a shotgun’. (Despite people calling them ‘sawed-off shotguns’, actually sawing off part of a shotgun barrel has never really been that popular, AFAIK)

        And, everyone else, please noting the ‘closer to the legal limit’ nonsense, which is *exactly* the point I was trying to make. You see that, everyone? The reason people accidentally end up over the line and get arrested for it is *they are trying to dance on the damn line* and screw up..

        ‘The cops pulled me over, despite the fact I only accidentally entered the other lane…I was trying to drive exactly a quarter inch in my lane.’

        STOP DANCING ON THE LINE AND YOU WON’T FALL OFF IT.

        And, I feel I must ask, how do you guys think the law should work? Would you rather go to some sort of vague ‘the police officer think it looks too short’ rule? Or should shotguns be as short as people want them to be? Or, as it is now, should we have an exact length?

        What modifications, exactly, both make a gun more dangerous and are popular with firearms owners?

        How about replacing the barrel of a shotgun with a shorter barrel, so that it sprays wider, making it easier to shoot people (Home invaders and otherwise) inside your house?

        I hear it’s all the rage with shotgun owners.

        ‘Dangerous’ was perhaps a confusing term, and I think you thought I meant ‘dangerous to the user’. I guess a better term for what I meant was ‘more lethal to others and/or dangerous to the user’.

        But let me turn the question around. What modifications, exactly, are something that the gun owner might do to a gun that might accidentally make it illegal, and *aren’t* designed to make it more lethal?

        Fact is that there are quite a few reasons why firearms owners modify their guns – maybe they want a more comfortable or stable grip, or they want to make it easier to carry by making it more lightweight, or they want it to have less recoil, or they want to be able to fire a different caliber, or they want to make it more accurate for shooting competitions. Or maybe they just don’t want to go deaf when they shoot the firearm.

        Please point to any of those that, if done incorrectly, would risk the firearm becoming illegal. (Putting a suppressor on it so ‘they don’t go deaf’ would obviously be illegal in some states, but it’s *obviously* illegal from start to finish, not an ‘oops, we missed by an inch’.)

        Seriously, you’d be surprised at the countries where suppressors are generally legal or are no harder to acquire than firearms themselves:

        No I wouldn’t. I actually think the laws against suppressors are pretty stupid, based on a stupid idea suppressed guns can be used secretly. (Not only can you not, half the time people don’t notice normal gunshots anyway, and almost never do anything about them.)

        You want to have some sort of discussion about what modifications to guns I think should be allowed, we can have that some other day. That’s not really the issue here.

        The issue here is all these people trying to make legal modifications but somehow making illegal modifications, which some people seem to think is unavoidable and a horrible miscarriage of justice, and I’m that doctor in the punchline that says ‘Then don’t do that!’.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to DavidTC says:

        @davidtc If your point is simply that gun owners shouldn’t be upset that illegal modifications turn out to be illegal, I suppose that’s fine, but it also misses the point – these are technical violations, but they aren’t merely illegal, they’re outright felonies. And what makes things particularly difficult is that firearms are both regulated heavily in the federal context and regulated heavily in the state context. So a gun owner might try to make a modification that is consistent with federal law, but inconsistent with state law and suddenly find themselves charged not with a mere violation or misdemeanor but instead an actual felony.

        These are fundamentally technical regulatory violations. And what’s more, if you have a modification that’s legal in your home state and in your destination state, you can get charged with a felony if it’s illegal in one of the states through which you must pass to get to your destination.

        This is also fundamentally different from, say, transporting marijuana from Colorado to Washington – marijuana is illegal in each of the intervening states, period. The analogy would only work if marijuana was legal in each of the intervening states as well as federally, but some of the intervening states prohibited strains with a THC content above X%, or limited its legality to people holding permits issued by that state, etc., and made those technical violations a felony.

        While prosecuting someone just passing through with a felony for such technical violations might be constitutional and permissible, I think most people would agree that doing so would be inequitable and unfair.

        And, I feel I must ask, how do you guys think the law should work? Would you rather go to some sort of vague ‘the police officer think it looks too short’ rule? Or should shotguns be as short as people want them to be? Or, as it is now, should we have an exact length?

        The point is that guns are, in fact, regulated as much or more than cars despite the insistence from gun control proponents to the contrary, and, unlike motor vehicles, the consequence of technical violations of those regulations are incredibly severe. That gun owners dislike those regulations and are fearful of more regulations is hardly reducible to mere paranoia. You yourself acknowledge that the laws against suppressors are pretty stupid. It’s also not “obviously” illegal – ownership is highly regulated by the feds, and you need to be an SOT to do it, which involves an extensive background check. Yet someone who complies with the feds on that can easily be unaware that it’s nonetheless illegal in their particular state, or, even more likely, in a particular state through which they will be passing or to which they will be moving (the legal status of one’s firearms is not likely to be one of the first things one researches when one is moving to another state – things like jobs, schools, real estate prices, neighborhoods, moving arrangements, etc. are almost certainly going to be higher on the list). The reverse is also potentially true – one might well have to go through a separate state process to acquire a suppressor and be unaware that this does not satisfy the federal requirements.

        How about replacing the barrel of a shotgun with a shorter barrel, so that it sprays wider, making it easier to shoot people (Home invaders and otherwise) inside your house?

        I hear it’s all the rage with shotgun owners.

        ‘Dangerous’ was perhaps a confusing term, and I think you thought I meant ‘dangerous to the user’. I guess a better term for what I meant was ‘more lethal to others and/or dangerous to the user’.

        I understood your meaning. But modifying a shotgun in this manner does not actually make it more dangerous – in fact, the reason short-barreled shotguns are outlawed primarily has to do with their concealability, not their lethality. Making the shotgun theoretically more effective for home defense purposes does not make it more lethal overall – in fact, it makes it less effective for other purposes. A shorter barrel’s real effect is usually not so much to alter the spread but to make the firearm more maneuverable in close quarters.

        What’s more, it’s not as simple as knowingly trying to dance on the legal line – again, as a federal matter, you can have a short-barreled shotgun as long as you pay for the tax stamp and undergo a complete background check. But that may or may not be enough to make you compliant with state law.

        Even beyond that, the barrel length alone is not what matters – overall length can also make something a short-barreled shotgun as a legal matter. So someone can theoretically replace their 24″ barrel with a 20″ barrel that they don’t even have to worry about being close to the legal limit, but still wind up being guilty of a felony because they didn’t realize they separately needed to measure the resulting overall length of the firearm – or, if they did, maybe they didn’t measure it in the particular way that the ATF wants it to be measured.

        The point isn’t that these regulations shouldn’t be enforced at all, as you keep seeming to assume. Instead, the point is that guns are, despite the insistence of gun control proponents, heavily regulated, regulated in a confusing manner, and with punishments that are incredibly severe for their violations. One does not need to be some paranoid whacko hell-bent on looking like a bad ass to seriously object to further regulation in this context, nor to want these regulations or punishments to be scaled back.

        And it’s entirely consistent, with that backdrop, to insist that various criminal uses of firearms are not a result of insufficient regulation, that further regulation won’t solve the problem, and that ways should be found of enforcing existing regulations consistently. Simultaneously arguing that existing regulations are confusing, unfair, and impossible to enforce consistently is hardly at odds with this position.

        Indeed, all they’re ultimately saying is something akin to “enforce the laws and regulations that actually make a certain amount of sense and already exist, stop wasting resources enforcing laws and regulations that make no sense whatsoever, and if you’re not going to do that, don’t add additional laws and regulations on which to waste resources.”

        What modifications, exactly, are something that the gun owner might do to a gun that might accidentally make it illegal, and *aren’t* designed to make it more lethal?

        As noted above, shortening the barrel of a shotgun is an example- it arguably makes it more lethal for a particular, legal and defensive, purpose (though there doesn’t seem to be much evidence for even this), definitely makes it more maneuverable in that particular situation, but also almost certainly makes it less lethal for any other purpose, including even slightly less close quarters. In some regards, it may even make it less lethal even in relatively close quarters even as it makes it more effective, because it almost certainly causes a slight decrease in velocity. That doesn’t, by the way, mean that short-barreled shotguns should necessarily be entirely legal – as mentioned above, the concealability issue is legitimate – just that the purpose of the regulation has little, if anything, to do with lethality.

        Other examples – well, California for one (and the former federal AWB, for another) heavily restricts so-called “pistol grips” on rifles if they have the “capacity” to accept a detachable magazine and “protrude conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon.” What the hell does that even mean? And it certainly has nothing to do with lethality, just cosmetics. Similarly, it prohibits rifles with an “overall length” of below 30 inches, which leaves vague how overall length is to be calculated, and which, I might add, ignores that for most legal purposes, a “firearm” is defined only as the receiver, so you’ve got to apply different definitions of what constitutes a “firearm” depending on which specific law you’re talking about.

        Similarly, if a rifle has the mere “capacity” to accept a detachable magazine and has a “thumbhole stock,” it’s illegal. What the hell does a “thumbhole stock” have to do with anything?

        Or a pistol that has the “capacity” accept a detachable magazine (which is an awfully large percentage of pistols) if it has “A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel that allows the bearer to fire the weapon without burning his or her hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel.” Again – WTF?

        These all are questions of grip and weight which, if done incorrectly, would make the firearm illegal in the nation’s most populous state. Violations allow the prosecutor to charge you with a felony, although there is also an option for the prosecutor to charge it as a misdemeanor. But if you actually use the firearm for any purpose, it’s automatically a felony.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to DavidTC says:

        Mark,
        thanks for explaining. I may not be down with “lets get rid of the illegal mods laws” (it is a gun). But having ten sets of laws you have to be within? That’s just kinda dumb.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

        I will admit, the situation is a bit more complicated than I thought it was. I hadn’t realized just varying the grip of a gun or any random alterations could make them illegal. But, uh, the failure’s not where you guys seem to think it is.

        First, let me see if I can get to the heart of the problem here: Gun laws are capacious and vary wildly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction with no rhyme or reason. States are unwilling to do anything about this. Guns *as manufactured* tend to be within the limits of most states, but the slightest bit of modification, or even change in a state law, can render them illegal.

        There’s a rather obvious solution here, and I will propose it, and then we will all laugh about it: The Federal government should pick a two dozen or so *logical* things that states can regulate about weapons. Things like total long gun length, calibres, magazine sizes, etc. And states can’t regulate dumbass things like thumbhole stocks and gun color or how ‘scary’ a weapon looks, things that have literally no bearing on anything.

        Now, because firearms really are a state issue, the Federal government wouldn’t set any rules…it would, instead say ‘Here are the variables you can regulate, and here are the half dozen different values you can set each variable to’. I.e, shotgun barrel have to be at least 18 inches, at least 20 inches, or at least 22 inches, the state has to pick one. Or chooses not to have a law about that at all.

        All with rules for figuring measuring consistently and a rule that the state standards require a three year grace period to change.

        In addition, because this is all standardized, it would be trivial to create a web site that lets you put in the stats of any weapon, and see exactly what states it is legal in. And gun manufacturers would be required to distribute the stats with any new guns, and go back and measure any old lines of guns they made and publish stats for that. (So owners only have to measure personally if they change things.)

        This seems entirely reasonable, and would solve 90% of the apparent problems here. (The ‘transport’ problem is a separate issue.) There is exactly *one* problem with this plan that would cause it not to be implemented. Guess what it is?

        Yup, the NRA would almost certainly attack such a plan vehemently. Under some nonsense about Federal regulation of guns.

        You guys seem to be directing most of your ire at BAFTE, and a small portion of it at state legislatures. In reality, your annoyance should be equally divided between state legislatures, which make weird rules that are completely incompatible with each other and don’t incorporate Federal law, and the gun lobby, which *loves* the current situation.

        The gun lobby, in fact, could *already* make a website like this and keep it up to date. It would be a lot of work, but they could at least have some of the basic stuff up, where you could check a list of ‘Where is my 19 inch shotgun illegal?’ They do not, as far as I can tell by googling ‘minimum shotgun length state laws’. In fact, I can’t seem to find a list at all…I see pages summarizing each state law, but nothing that presents a table, and nothing where I can select a model of firearm from a dropdown list and see where it (unmodified) would be legal and illegal.

        I have to admit, I had assumed this was all compiled somewhere, by these hobbyists you were talking about, and people could just *check* it, and that you were saying it was too complicated and people didn’t do that when modifying guns.

        I didn’t realize that, for some baffling reason, no one has created a website about this.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      @davidtc

      You seriously need to start reading BATFE regs on what is considered a legal vs illegal modification before you keep ranting. You also need to read up on transportation requirements and how much they can vary & the range of detail that they vary by.

      You also need to stop assuming that the only people who have problems with gun laws are stark raving paranoid lunatics. Lots of perfectly normal people do perfectly innocent things that run them crosswise with gun laws & get them tossed in prison (i.e. not at the margins). I can certainly agree that they person who keeps breaking a law needs to find the penalties increasing, but there is not legitimate reason a person should face a felony for a first time technical/administrative offense.

      As for the permit, let me know when your drivers license is not recognized by the next state over & you get hit with a felony, or your marriage. Gun rights groups have been asking for universal reciprocity for carry permits for years now, and have even tried to push some through, except that a handful of NE states don’t want to have to endure the presence of licensed people traveling from places like New Hampshire or Virginia. Or do you think it’s OK for a state to deny the marriage a gay couple passing through.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Why can’t we just have national laws?
        I mean, really. a National “You’re okay to carry a gun” Permit?
        This would be above and beyond the “okay in state” permit (to keep us out of constitutional issues)…

        That way, folks could argue this together, rather than having NY say “Virginia is letting former criminals carry guns1” (discl: just an example, guys).Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Ah, how quickly State’s Right’s fades into the rearview mirror.

        Why should my state accept your state’s criteria for a gun? I can see why we’d do it with driver’s licenses (the interstate highway system is sort of BUILT for driving a car across state lines, is it not?) but why should New England accept Mississippi’s gun ownership rules?

        Should we have a national gun registry, licensing, and ownership system? That would fix it.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @morat20

        Have I ever struck you as a hard core state’s rights kind of person? I support state’s rights as long as they don’t infringe on individual rights. When they do, then the fed is obligated to intervene.

        As for permits, no, state A should not have to accept state B’s permit as valid if a person is relocating. But if they are passing through? Yes, just like a driver’s license, or a marriage license, or a HS diploma, or a college degree. There are whole sections of laws that the states respect each other on, even if they have wildly differing requirements. When I moved from WI to WA, I did not have to retake my written or road tests, I just handed over my WI license, and they handed me a WA license, complete with my Motorcycle designation. No questions asked.

        Not sure how a national gun registry would better enable this, but I’m all for a national carry permit.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Have I ever struck you as a hard core state’s rights kind of person? I support state’s rights as long as they don’t infringe on individual rights. When they do, then the fed is obligated to intervene.
        You don’t have to be one in this case.You’re basically asking that every state accept the least-most-restrictive set of gun rules (for travel if nothing else). To let, say — Utah — set policy for every other state.

        If the speed limit in Texas is 85, can I drive that in New Hampshire?

        Your basic point is that you don’t want to be bothered by a state’s rules if you’re just “passing through” and shouldn’t have to obey them. That’s…a unique point of view.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        To parallel better, if I was asking that every state respects the use of force laws of Texas (assuming Texas is the least restrictive set), then you would have a point here. I’m not.

        I’m asking that a document issued in one state be honored as a document issued in another state for purposes of persons traveling through. This is not a huge ask. States do this all the time, across a wide range of regulatory sectors.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        I’m asking that a document issued in one state be honored as a document issued in another state for purposes of persons traveling through. This is not a huge ask. States do this all the time, across a wide range of regulatory sectors.
        Do they confiscate your gun just for having it, or do they just demand you obey their laws about handling it? (proper storage for transport, not carrying if you lack that state’s license for doing so, etc?)

        Like, for instance — are you asking that New Hampshire accept a Texas CC permit and let someone carry concealed in their state? What documents are we talking here, and how exactly are they being affected?

        Are there mass gun seizures because people don’t have, say, a Maine gun permit? Or seizures because the guns are being carry or transported in a way against Maine law?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        If the speed limit in Texas is 85, can I drive that in New Hampshire?

        How about this? If my state allows tinted windows, should I be subject to a felony conviction if I drive my tinted-window car through another state?

        Alternatively, see Bibbs v. Navajo Freight Lines.Report

      • We had to investigate something similar during our cross-country move. Some states ban studded snow tires, and we had to drive through them.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @morat20
        You’re basically asking that every state accept the least-most-restrictive set of gun rules (for travel if nothing else). To let, say — Utah — set policy for every other state.

        Also as far as I know, no one *makes* any state accept any other state’s driver’s licenses. All states *do* recognize other state’s licenses, but that’s because every state decided to do so. Same with marriage licenses. If you marry your second cousin in a state that allows that, and move to a state that doesn’t, they refuse to recognize it.

        But most importantly, and the thing that MRS seems to be ignoring, it’s not like all the ‘who can own a gun and in what situation’ rules are the same. I think it’s reasonable to complain about nearly identical rules, to some extent…if someone passed, in their original state, the same background check required in the second state, and have the same qualifications, and could have easily gotten a permit if they were a resident of the second state, I agree the two states should have reciprocal agreements.

        The thing is, those states probably *do* have reciprocal agreements already. (And I certainly would have no objection to people pushing the states that don’t to add them.)

        But the states we’re really talking about, the ones that trip people up, *don’t* have such low qualifications. New Jersey, for example, has very strict rules for concealed carry, in that you specifically have to give a reason you should be allowed to have a gun, and it’s at the discretion of the state. Those are the rules *for residents*.

        The idea that they should somehow relax these rules for out-of-state people seems a little odd. If the state of New Jersey has not decided that you, personally, have a need to carry a concealed weapon in it, you don’t get to do it. Regardless of whether you’re a resident or not.

        @mad-rocket-scientist
        This is not a huge ask. States do this all the time, across a wide range of regulatory sectors.

        No, they don’t. Show a cop in Georgia your medical marijuana license to explain the pot in your car as you ‘just pass through’, see how well that works. (And you can’t even legally lock *that* up in your trunk, unlike your handgun.)

        Likewise, if you, for example, transport dangerous chemicals, you have to follow the rules of whatever locales you travel through. (There are fairly standard rules, but that’s because each state voluntarily adopted them.)

        In fact, I’m not even sure of an example of what you’re talking about.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @morat20

        Depends on the state. In the NE, a good number of those states will confiscate & hit you with a felony charge (i.e. Shaneen Allen in PA/NJ). Some might just confiscate (not sure). If my permit is honored (you can find carry permit reciprocity maps online), they usually just ask that you obey time & place restrictions as they exist (i.e. obey the speed limit as posted), especially out west. Likewise transportation requirements (DavidTC was not entirely wrong on this point, as most states have very similar transportation requirements, especially in the west; again, it’s the NE states that tend to be problematic – I’ve heard enough tales of woe from hunters passing through NJ*, NY*, MA, CT, DE, RI, MD that I’ll just never ever transport a firearm through those states).

        But basically yes. I have to travel to NY a few times a year for work. It would be nice if NY would honor my WA carry permit in the same fashion that they honor my WA drivers license. If that meant we needed a way for a NY LEO to verify my carry permit via a permit database at the federal level, I would support that.

        *Technically there is a federal law protecting gun owners who transport firearms across state lines. NY & NJ are notorious for ignoring that law & arresting hunters heading north. The cases are ultimately tossed on appeal once they hit the federal court level, but the poor schmuck has wasted how much money, etc. fighting against that.Report

      • Sometimes states have to recognize things from other states (FF&C or federal law), sometimes they do voluntarily, sometimes they don’t.Report

      • All states *do* recognize other state’s licenses, but that’s because every state decided to do so.

        This is incorrect. If a state hypothetically refused to recognize an out of state driver’s license, it would be clearly unconstitutional under the “dormant commerce clause.” (It would not be the full faith and credit clause, but that’s another topic altogether).

        States can theoretically in some instances refuse to allow someone who would be too young to drive in their state to do so even with a license, but the charge wouldn’t be “driving without a license,” it would be “driving underage.”

        Refusal to recognize CCW permits from other states probably would not be viewed as a violation of the dormant commerce clause, though that is by no means a guarantee since it’s a balancing test. But if the dormant commerce clause applied, it would be the same analysis as long as the arresting state had some form of CCW permit.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @davidtc

        I tire of this, you are stretching for things to argue about & I’m being extremely open & reasonable about a lot of this…

        Medical MJ – given the feds stance on all this, I am not surprised. It’s going to take a while for this to hash itself out.

        Also as far as I know, no one *makes* any state accept any other state’s driver’s licenses. All states *do* recognize other state’s licenses, but that’s because every state decided to do so. Same with marriage licenses. If you marry your second cousin in a state that allows that, and move to a state that doesn’t, they refuse to recognize it.

        See “Full Faith & Credit Clause” – US Constitution

        ‘who can own a gun and in what situation’ rules are the same

        Is this in reference to firearms disability (a federal definition which all states follow)? Or just, as you put it, NJs rules? Again, FF&C clause comes into play. Each state sets it’s own DL requirements, but they all manage to honor each other’s DLs. And you want to bet on marriage. Hell, a big part of gay marriage is enforcing FF&C with regard to marriages performed in pro-gay states when the couple moves to a gay-hostile state. States are very constrained in what they can & can not honor. While carry permits are currently one area where they have a lot of give, I’d like to see that constrained a bit more heavily, even if it means a federal database or more robust background checks for permit holders.

        Likewise, if you, for example, transport dangerous chemicals, you have to follow the rules of whatever locales you travel through. (There are fairly standard rules, but that’s because each state voluntarily adopted them.)

        I specifically said somewhere up above, items in common use. And usually, with chemicals, those rules kick in when large quantities are in motion. I can carry a bottle of bleach on the front seat next to me, but a 100 gallon tank probably has different rules.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @mark-thompson

        This is incorrect. If a state hypothetically refused to recognize an out of state driver’s license, it would be clearly unconstitutional under the “dormant commerce clause.” (It would not be the full faith and credit clause, but that’s another topic altogether).

        Thanks for the clarification. I was reading an edu site that said DLs are an example of FF&C.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @james-hanley
        How about this? If my state allows tinted windows, should I be subject to a felony conviction if I drive my tinted-window car through another state?

        If my home state legalizes marijuana, and another state makes possession of a certain amount a felony, should I be subject to a felony conviction if I drive the second state with that amount? Yes. Yes I should. That is how laws work.

        Some people in this discussion basically think carrying a concealed firearm without a permit should be a fine, at least the first time. I really don’t have any objections to that idea, personally. The problem is…some states disagree with that. Quite strongly. And have enacted harsh penalties.

        Saying ‘reciprocal agreements’ does not actually work as a solution. Many of these states only let specific people get a permit to start with, having much stricter rules than other states. A few states basically don’t give anyone a permit.

        This is quite deliberate on their part. This is not some weird screwup or bureaucratic accident. Those states do not want concealed weapons in them.

        Now, as a few recent examples have pointed out, strictly enforcing those harsh laws against otherwise law-abiding people will make some people blanch, so it is possible that those states could be convinced to reduce the punishment. But that’s up to the voters and legislature of each state, and it won’t happen by talking about national carry permits and reciprocal agreements, neither of which those harsh law states will agree to.

        Bibb v. Navajo Freight Lines, Inc.

        That is pretty interesting WRT to traffic laws, but I’m pretty certain none of us think that carrying concealed handguns intersects with interstate commerce. It would be a different matter if you couldn’t *ship* handguns through states, but how you can wear them is not very relevant to commerce.

        …hey, wait a second. I don’t think of these sort of things, because I have a fairly expansive view of the scope of Federal government, but how would the people who think the scope is more limited feel about a national carry permit? Is that, in fact, something the US government should be allowed to do? To override the wishes of the state and demand all states allow people to carry concealed if the US government says so? (Or to force states to accept each other’s carry permits, which is basically the same concept, with the added disadvantage of being weirder and more confusing.)

        My first instinct is to say ‘The US government shouldn’t be allowed’, but on a bit of reflection, I think they probably do have that power…they just shouldn’t use it. Or at least they shouldn’t do it in order to override what states have decided. (Might be reasonable to have a national one that states can opt into or not.)Report

      • @mad-rocket-scientist There may conceivably be some circumstances where it would be a full faith and credit issue, but by and large it would not be – full faith and credit typically only applies to the validity of documents and judgments (especially judgments), but says little to nothing about what the effect of those documents and judgments should be in the second state.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @mark-thompson

        Hrmmm, my initial reading seems to imply that it would do more than that, but I suppose there is a body of jurisprudence that I am not aware of regarding the actual limits.

        Why I try to leave the lawyering to the lawyers…Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        My first instinct is to say ‘The US government shouldn’t be allowed’, but on a bit of reflection, I think they probably do have that power…they just shouldn’t use it. Or at least they shouldn’t do it in order to override what states have decided. (Might be reasonable to have a national one that states can opt into or not.)

        They already did, but it only applies to current & retired LEOs. Which I find problematic since it grants rights to some not afforded to all (I could see the rule applying to on-duty officers traveling on official business, but off-duty & retired officers should be subject to the same laws as the rest of us. Therefore, if states like NY or NJ have no issue with that law, I fail to see why they can not come to an agreement about what everyone else can do.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @mark-thompson
        This is incorrect. If a state hypothetically refused to recognize an out of state driver’s license, it would be clearly unconstitutional under the “dormant commerce clause.” (It would not be the full faith and credit clause, but that’s another topic altogether).

        I’ll accept the correction about driver’s licenses. I hadn’t considered the interstate commerce aspect of that.

        But, unless drivers must be armed with concealed handguns while interstate transporting, I feel this doesn’t particularly apply to concealed carry permits.

        @mad-rocket-scientist
        Hell, a big part of gay marriage is enforcing FF&C with regard to marriages performed in pro-gay states when the couple moves to a gay-hostile state.

        Not that I’m aware of. The basis for fighting those laws has been pretty much ‘equal protection’. Either equal protection of sexual orientation (Which was a stupid claim.) or equal protection of the sexes (Which was much stronger basis, and what the bans have been down falling to.). If FF&C was the basis for fighting gay marriage bans, you’d think at least one state would have stuck down ‘refuse to recognize other state’s marriages’ part of the law, and yet still refused to perform their own gay marriages. None of them have.

        More specifically, FF&C has never applied to the *rights* granted in licenses and permits.

        New Jersey is required to acknowledged that Georgia issued someone a concealed carry permit, just like it’s required to acknowledge that Georgia issued someone a property deed or a high school diploma or that guy has been elected Georgia’s governor. If there’s any sort of legal dispute over whether or not Georgia did that, New Jersey is required to accept Georgia’s documentation of such a thing. (1)

        But just because said permit is *acknowledged to exist* doesn’t mean it gives someone the legal right to do anything in New Jersey. If New Jersey wants that to mean anything under New Jersey law, it has to pass laws saying it does.

        1) Yes, this seems stupid to have a rule over, but this one of the examples of where we live in a system when this is true automatically, so don’t quite understand how much it sucks otherwise. (A lot of the ‘obvious’ constitution rules are like that.) If we didn’t have it, we’d end up in a bullshit universe where people would try to call, as witnesses, state officials in other states, making them testify to trivial nonsense. Or people would dispute in one state court that another state’s court had not ruled properly, so that court needed to redo the decision. Which sounds bad enough, but imagine it in 1800s, with no communication or fast transit. Total chaos.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Final point & then I am stepping away from this:

        Every state has a carry permit system. Most are shall issue (if you are not prohibited, you are allowed), the rest have may issue (need bureaucratic permission to carry), so this is not a case of some states don’t want concealed carry, a few just want to tightly control it for their residents (we’ll leave the political favoritism that runs rampant in such systems aside for now).

        I disagree with that, but I don’t have an issue with it per se. I don’t have to live there.

        So everyone is OK with concealed weapons to some degree or another. What is left is just the details.

        I can see NY saying it will not accept a resident getting a carry permit from another state & trying to use that as a end-run around getting a NY permit, but I take issue with them deciding that the great state of WA is just unable to properly vet a permit holder who resides in that state & thus the permit is no good.

        Perhaps @mark-thompson can do a better explanation of why this isn’t the case, but getting a permit is a legal process, and it is a legal document. That seems to fall into the wheelhouse of FF&C?

        I apologize in advance if I am missing an obvious key point in this.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist
        Therefore, if states like NY or NJ have no issue with that law, I fail to see why they can not come to an agreement about what everyone else can do.

        Asking why they ‘cannot come to agreement’ is silly. The reason they cannot ‘come to an agreement’ is that their decision is ‘Not carry concealed weapons’. You might as well ask why other states don’t come to an agreement with New Jersey and stop issuing permits.

        New Jersey does not want very many concealed weapons in their state. I’m not in New Jersey, I’ve never been there, but checking their laws, and checking how many permits they issue each year, that is pretty clearly their stance. They’re unlikely to come to any sort of agreement where they allow random people with concealed carry permits elsewhere to bring them in.

        The fact they don’t appear to have fought against the LEO thing merely means they don’t mind LEOs who have them. Or perhaps they did fight against it, and they failed, and we just don’t know about it.

        Now, they *also* appear reluctant to convict otherwise innocent people of felonies who are passing through their state with concealed weapons, so perhaps they will change that part of the law.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Now, they *also* appear reluctant to convict otherwise innocent people of felonies who are passing through their state with concealed weapons, so perhaps they will change that part of the law.

        Correction, they appear reluctant to convict otherwise innocent & extremely sympathetic people of felonies in the face of massive public outrage & backlash from the governor’s own party.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @mark-thompson

        If a state hypothetically refused to recognize an out of state driver’s license, it would be clearly unconstitutional under the “dormant commerce clause.”

        Maybe I’m just being slow today, but could you flesh that out a bit for me? I mean, I know what dormant commerce clause means; I’m just not connecting the dots to failure to recognize an out-of-state driver’s license. Is there case law on this?Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist
        Correction, they appear reluctant to convict otherwise innocent & extremely sympathetic people of felonies in the face of massive public outrage & backlash from the governor’s own party.

        I’m hoping it extends a little further than that. Being unwilling to convict *sympathetic* people is not a very good justice system.

        @james-hanley
        Maybe I’m just being slow today, but could you flesh that out a bit for me? I mean, I know what dormant commerce clause means; I’m just not connecting the dots to failure to recognize an out-of-state driver’s license. Is there case law on this?

        I’m not aware of any specific case law, but I think it would probably turn out that way. Basically, what I understood Mark to be getting at is that to conduct interstate commerce, you have to be able to move goods between the states. If any state makes that meaningfully more difficult to do, they’re meddling with interstate commerce.

        At one point, I started typing a reply that such a thing would probably only apply to *commercial* driver’s licenses, because the current case law I found all seems to apply to commercial vehicles. But then I became dubious about my logic (Interstate commerce surely includes people travelling to other states to buy things, and goods are carried in ways other than commercial transport.) and just ceded the point.

        The dormant commerce clause theory confuses me a bit, now that I really look at it. I understand how the Federal government can override state governments when it comes to interstate commerce, I don’t really understand how a state isn’t allowed to do something because it ‘interferes’ with something the Federal government *could* regulate, but hasn’t.Report

      • @mad-rocket-scientist The FF&CC is pretty confusing and the jurisprudence on it outside of formal judicial awards is unclear. Even there, its application is somewhat limited outside the realm of monetary judgments – the judgment needs to be recognized as valid, but the manner of enforcing it in the other state is generally up to that other state. However, you’re correct that it’s potentially an issue in SSM, although again its application may wind up being quite limited. The one case I’m familiar with involving SSM had to do with whether Oklahoma had to recognize an adoption involving a same sex couple that had married out of state and which had been adjudicated as a valid adoption in that other state. In that case, it was determined that Oklahoma had to recognize the adoption as valid and thus had to treat the adopted child as the child of the couple. However, it’s worth emphasizing that even that case involved an actual formal adjudication. Still, it’s something of an open question of whether FF&CC requires states without SSM to recognize the validity of an out of state same-sex marriage – marriages aren’t usually adjudicated, but it seems to be an open question whether marriage falls within one of the myriad exceptions to non-adjudicatory FF&CC (which I’m not even going to try to get into, and wouldn’t even if I had a good handle on them). Even then, though, the state can theoretically try to create separate tiers of “marriage” with different benefits, although in this atmosphere such a law would almost certainly be struck down on equal protection grounds.

        I don’t think FF&CC is likely to come into play on the issue of CCW permits, though. First, it’s non-adjudicatory- particularly in “shall issue” states, it’s not the result of a potentially adversary or judicial proceeding, but instead is more or less a purely administrative issue. My hunch is that it would thus fall within one of the aforementioned myriad exceptions to FF&CC, though again I’m not even going to attempt to examine those exceptions.

        More than that, though, I’m not sure it would even matter if it was adjudicatory because a CCW permit doesn’t define your relationship with a third party but instead just defines your relationship with the issuing state. This is the same reason I don’t think driver’s licenses would be a FF&CC issue. All the FF&CC would require another state to do is recognize that you had a valid CCW permit in the issuing state.

        By contrast, a state’s recognition of a marriage largely purports to tell the world that “this couple is married,” period. Many (most?) states even go so far as to say that a marriage in that state renders the couple’s relationship res (ie, property) in that state such that a partner in the marriage can file for divorce in that state even if the couple never actually lives in that state, and there’s not much dispute that any divorce decree in that state would have to be recognized as valid in the state where the couple resided. In other words, there are at least some strong arguments that a marriage certificate is entitled to FF&&C to the extent it exists to record that the spouses have entered into a legal relationship with each other. What it absolutely cannot do, though, is be used to require that other states provide the same benefits or accord the spouses the same relationship with the state as exists in the state where the marriage was performed.

        A CCW doesn’t do anything other than set forth the terms of the holder’s relationship to the issuing state, and doesn’t purport to do anything more than provide the holder with certain rights as against the issuing state. I can think of some hypothetical circumstances where it would potentially be a FF&CC issue nonetheless, but those circumstances would be exceptionally rare and convoluted – essentially, you’d need to have a case where an element of the claim or charge could only be proven by reference to out of state actions in a state where the defendant had a CCW permit but in which his lack of a CCW permit in the forum state was nonetheless claimed to be relevant with respect to that element.

        @james-hanley David is more or less right with his explanation – the effect on interstate commerce would be huge even if its application were limited to non-commercial drivers. It’s not technically discriminatory, but like in the Bibb case – which is a dormant commerce case – you correctly cite, its effect would be hugely discriminatory. We’re left with a balancing test, and it’s basically inconceivable that a state would be able to show that its interest in requiring drivers to obtain a separate drivers license for their particular state is sufficiently strong to overcome the massive effect on interstate commerce, particularly given as its basically impossible to imagine that out of state drivers are all that much more likely to drive unsafely when the rules of the road really don’t vary all that much from state to state.

        However, @davidtc , it’s not an absolute slam dunk under the dormant commerce clause for gun regulations, either. It’s a balancing test after all, and some of the regulations would be very difficult to show as having any meaningful connection to safety at all, so even though the overall effect on interstate commerce might be fairly small, the legitimate state interest may, in the eyes of some judges with regards to some specific regulations, be even smaller. I think practically speaking the state would win all or almost all cases, but I would not characterize arguments to the contrary as remotely frivolous, and there may well be some cases where the state could lose.Report

  18. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    @morat20

    Because the “Goverment’s coming to take my guns” crowd will never, ever, EVER believe any steps you take to safeguard such a program

    Given, but that doesn’t mean a properly secured registration database should not be done. Uncle Sam is not well known for safeguarding the data it collects, so encrypting all the databases just seems like a good idea (including the DMV). And again, since some states do regularly practice gun confiscation (like CA), and there are public officials who would attempt confiscation if they thought they could get away with it, or at the very least would happily publicize private information, I see no reason why the system can’t be setup in a manner I describe. Law enforcement still has an a faster, more reliable means of doing a gun trace (I can’t imagine getting a warrant would ever be a problem for a legitimate trace), but the system would not be readily available for political shenanigans (and again, governments have a poor track record for disciplining people for such abuses).

    Acting as if it should not be protected data just because some folks are paranoid about a specific unlikely possibility is not a valid reason for being lackadaisical about it.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      Forgot to add:

      We should just go ahead and make a program designed properly so we can identify who owns any gun used in a crime, and so civil liability and compliance with simple regulations on who can own guns can be done without a million complicated steps and make life easier for law enforcement and gun owners.

      As I said above to Nevermoor, if such a registry was coupled with a global reduction in complexities & penalties, you’d get a lot of moderate gun owners on board. But honestly I’ve never even seen talk of such a compromise except in the comments here.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        But honestly I’ve never even seen talk of such a compromise except in the comments here
        Probably because anytime any sort of changes come up there’s a chorus of a million paranoid gun voices screaming “THEY”RE GONNA TAKE MY GUNS!”.

        Basically, the NRA will throw an incredibly loud, incredibly powerful fit about ANY regulation, even if the end result is fewer regulations. They have no interest in negotiation. Why should they? They’re winning. Guns are becoming more and more available and gun owners are more and more afraid (which means they buy more guns). The NRA has no interest in making gun owners happier, or their lives easier. They just want to sell guns.

        The NRA ain’t a gun owners lobby anymore. It’s a gun makers lobby. Simplifying a gun owner’s life versus making them more afraid and angry? They’ll go with the latter, every time. Sells more guns.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        NSSF is the gun makers lobby, NRA is the gun owners lobby. I agree that the fear is their tool as of late, but not because it sells more guns, but because it gets them more members & donations.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        NRA is the gun owners lobby. I agree that the fear is their tool as of late, but not because it sells more guns, but because it gets them more members & donations.
        The NRA can call itself whatever it wants, but it’s a gun maker’s lobby in practice. Bought out, lock stock and barrel.Report

      • On what basis do you make that determination?Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Their public statements. Honestly, it’s purely my opinion and nothing else. But when I compare what they said in, say, the 70s (when guns were much more tightly controlled) versus now, and they seem really, really eager to tool up every American with as many guns as they can afford (apparently to keep them safe from all the armed Americans) and far less concerned with gun safety.

        There was a time, long ago and hard to believe — where the NRA had other responses to gun issues than always and forever “The solution is more guns”.

        Basically, the NRA seems a lot less involved in training, safety, and responsible gun ownership and a LOT more concerned with a scare America with a gun on every hip.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @morat20

        We shall just have to disagree on that point. It’s not worth a debate to me.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        We shall just have to disagree on that point. It’s not worth a debate to me.
        I used to like the NRA. One of us changed. Perhaps it was me.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      And that includes places favorable to gun control. They often don’t consider reducing current laws & regs that are burdensome & of little value to the efforts of law enforcement, they are just in favor of adding more rules to the pile. Perhaps that is merely a question of ignorance, but honestly, the discussions I have attempted to start elsewhere have been met with the casual dismissals like DavidTC, or even worse (open hostility toward gun owners, in the vein of anything that makes life tough for them is a good thing).Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Passionate people are all for fixing things. But try to get them to negotiate…
        Seriously, I’m all for fixing unnecessarily burdensome laws (if your carry permit requires a background check, then you should only need to run a truncated background check before getting a gun –and that should be skippable too if you’re getting a gun within X days of your carry permit).Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @kim

        I don’t even mind them running the check everytime, but if I have a carry permit, I should not have to fill out the 4468 again. A simple phone call to a state hotline where they can check my ID & permit & make sure neither is flagged would be preferable to that damn form.

        If a secure registry would facilitate that, I’d be for it.Report

  19. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    @davidtc

    Seeing as how I am active in the gun rights movement & talk to moderate gun owners every damn day, you’ll forgive me if I find your opinion regarding what is & is not possible to be significantly uninformed.

    As with any movement, the most extreme viewpoints are the loudest, but they are not the majority. Right now, because the majority sees people facing felony charges & going to prison over what gun owners, in large part, consider to be things the government has no business regulating (even if they themselves would never do X), they are holding on to the few areas of control they have left. Background checks & registries give the government a lot more data & metadata to work with, and if you couple that with near complete felony enforcement, yeah, such things make people nervous.

    And that nervousness, rational or not, is what the NRA trades on & inflates to fear to keep everything moving the way they want it to.

    And yes, the government likes to declare things illegal that in the opinions of many people should not be illegal. Meth may be illegal, as is pot, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Do you hold such contempt for people advocating for sane drug laws & the decriminalization of use & possession, or do you save that just for gun rights advocates, because it’s fun & useful to “other” them.

    Legalize or decriminalize all the technical/administrative gun regulations & violations, save the felonies for things that cause actual harm, and not even the NRA will be able to keep their grip on that fear.Report

  20. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    @mark-thompson

    Thanks for the walk in the weeds. Learned something new today.Report

  21. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    @davidtc

    Better, almost there (I would say).

    Thing is, before the ’94 AWB, there was actually very little federal law regarding how to regulate the guns themselves. What happened is the BATFE was given the regulatory authority, little oversight, and was left to it’s own devices. IMHO, what happened after that was the evolution of a law enforcement agency that needed something to do, and in the atmosphere of both parties being all about Law & Order & Tough On Crime, it kinda went nuts & started trying to regulate everything & since it could, it made everything a felony (because Gun Crimes!). A common story you here is when a gun maker creates a new gun or feature & submits it to the ATF for approval, they eventually get a letter back saying yea or nay. The problem is that the ATF has no published testing guidelines, it rarely discusses what testing it does, and it has a habit of not only issuing conflicting rulings (two makers submit devices that are fundamentally the same thing, one gets a yea, the other gets a nay), but of also changing its mind from yea to nay when a conflict is found. Or when it gets bad publicity about something it said yea to.

    As they say, this is no way to run a regulatory agency.

    There have been attempts to reign in the ATF, but since the bulk of their abuses are against gun owners, there has been little interest from the left, and since it’s a LEA, the right has been slow to take notice that something ought to be done at some point (much like the DEA). There is also the attitude that the regulations would not be there without a good reason, even though the ATF is well known for not providing any reason (& has been criticized by the courts for such whenever one of it’s regs is challenged).

    As for gun regulation, your ideas are good, but I would add one thing. The regulation must articulate the safety &/or law enforcement rationale in regulating such a feature, and it should distinguish between features that are flat out illegal no matter what, & features that are illegal only on guns carried or used on public lands. E.g. A shortened barrel would be illegal in public, but if only used on private lands it’s OK (so no hunting with it, etc.); a suppressor would be illegal on a carried handgun, but just fine at the range. An registered full-auto weapon is illegal in public, and an unregistered one is always illegal, public or private. Etc.

    There are probably a few other safety things I could come up with, but to be honest, there are very few things commonly done to firearms that vastly affect the user safety or target lethality of a firearm, it’s all marginal improvements in comfort & accuracy, so the list of things that really should be regulated is pretty short (which is why I think the ATF went nuts – gotta have something to file charges against).

    I would also severely limit what the states could regulate with regard to firearms themselves. At the very least, I would deny states the power to make certain weapons or features illegal for the public, but allow LEAs to have/use them. In short, owning a firearm is a protected right, so the laws should not be crafted in such a way as to curtail or chill the exercising of that right.

    Finally, thank you for understanding that the concerns of gun owners with regard to regulation are not all just paranoid ravings.Report