It’s Time for Hunters to Participate in the Gun Conversation

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Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

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  1. Avatar Maribou says:

    I really appreciated reading this, as someone who was raised in a hunting culture (I read every single one of my Poppy’s Field Notes magazines until I went away to college) and who is both pro-hunting-at-least-most-of-the-time and pro-gun-control.

    Thanks, Mike!Report

  2. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    I second Maribou’s comment. I came from a rural culture, not really a gun culture per se, but a culture where a rifle was just another tool on the farm. Most pickups had a gun rack.

    The NRA of 2017 is nothing like the NRA that sponsored the hunter safety course I took in eighth grade. I don’t doubt that they still do things benefiting sportsmen and women like you, but Wayne LaPierre and Ted Crapped-my-pants-to-dodge-the-draft Nugent ain’t doing you any favors in the PR department. Perhaps you should stage a coup?

    Anyway, thanks for this and may I say that I sincerely wish folks like you and Oscar were the face of gun-rights advocacy.Report

  3. Avatar Phil says:

    People simply are not going to tolerate sweeping gun policy changes. Somebody is always going to ruin all the arguments in favor of more controls with statistical arguments showing why they either aren’t needed, or won’t have any effect.Report

  4. Avatar InMD says:

    I think the sentiments are nice, and maybe I’ve become too cynical, but I’m not sure a real policy conversation is possible. It might be in other parts of the country, but I’m in hostile territory. I was subject to a wild eyed rant from my boss earlier in the week about gun control where he exposed his near total ignorance of firearms, firearm laws, and his disdain for opposing views. You’d almost think we didn’t live in a state that enacted a bunch of the items on the gun control wish list after Sandy Hook (no discernable impact on gun violence of course).

    As usual I sat there quietly and let him assume I agreed. And for the record I’m sure there are plenty of people out there in red America who have seen the mirror image, which I think is just as dumb and unpersuasive.

    I’d like to be able to have a reasoned conversation. There are a number of policy changes I’d concede to under the right circumstances, where the very limited impact legislation would have might be worth it. But the last thing I need is people assuming I’m crazy or dangerous. I’d like to think there are others who agree but the entire issue has gotten so wound up in tribal divisions I don’t know where we go from here.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to InMD says:

      So what are some policy ideas you would consider agreeing to @inmd ?Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Closing the gun show loophole, tightening up the NICS system into a real universal background check, tiered licensing and training schemes (free of charge or cheap and available for any citizen over 18), civilian oversight of some kind (law enforcement can’t be trusted). I’d also be open to some type of gun club requirements where you have to show your face periodically.

        Depending on the kind of concessions I could get in exchange I might even go farther but there would need to be trust building along the way.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to InMD says:

          I still have no idea what the gun show loophole is, and I go to gun shows.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to George Turner says:

            It’s really an outdated/inaccurate term. It’s referring to lack of federal regulation over transfer of firearms between private individuals in the same state. Maybe this once was something that happened at gun shows but like you I’ve never been to one where sellers weren’t FFLs.Report

            • Avatar Damon in reply to InMD says:

              And that’s why the “gun show loophole” in 99.8% BS. It’s really about putting the fears into the soccer moms.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Damon says:

                I don’t disagree but I still think it’s bad policy. Mike asked for good faith discussion and for the types of reforms I would consider. If getting rid of it stopped the Brady campaign from insinuating that out back behind every event some guy is passing out guns to psychopaths it’d be worth it.Report

          • C’mon @george-turner… I feel like you know the answer here. I’ve bought and sold guns at shows that were never documented. Several were to guys that had a table full of guns but were technically a private sale because they weren’t a licensed dealer.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              That hasn’t been fixed because the solution is to allow everyone to run a federal background check on anyone they might want to sell a firearm to, which is any neighbor, acquaintance, or anyone who wants to date their daughter. That’s worse than the problem.Report

              • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to George Turner says:

                This is very easy to fix.

                Gun seller needs an id code(like a public key in encryption) that they give to the purchaser.

                Buyer enters the public key & their information including their “private key” or PIN number privately on the form. Check gets processed and results are sent to the seller they had to authorize.

                Seller checks photo is to match you to background check and completes the sell.

                There now only the seller you chose can see the results.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to TrexPushups says:

                One problem is that the buyer and seller are both in their 70’s and the person handling the government end used to work at the DMV.

                The second problem is that it’s easier to just give the buyer the gun in return for cash or some other gun in trade, or a combination thereof.. This has gone on for so long that a huge number of guns do not trace to their current owners, and in some cases are five owners off from their paperwork, which might date to the 1970’s. Why give the government an update on something that’s none of their business? That’s just stirring up potential trouble.

                Now, you could say it’s a new legal requirement, but the assault rifle registration in Connecticut had dismal cooperation. Of an estimated 350,000 rifles, only 50,000 got registered, and of an estimated 2 million high capacity magazines, about 40,000 were registered. It seems most Connecticut gun owners are willing to be felons rather than complying with a law they view as unconstitutional.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to George Turner says:

                It seems most Connecticut gun owners are willing to be felons rather than complying with a law they view as unconstitutional

                And now you know how criminals get their unregistered guns.Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to J_A says:

                Yeah, this doesn’t seem that complicated to me. If you are selling/trading weapons and don’t comply with federal laws regarding licensing then you should be arrested and go to jail.
                I understand that’s not how the culture has operated in the past, but it’s a pretty crazy thing to tolerate if you’re starting from zero.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Scott says:

                How do you intend to get a conviction?

                Bud sells a rifle to Joe. The police find the rifle while searching Joe at a traffic stop.

                Q: “Where’d you get the rifle?”
                A: “Some guy left it at my house.”
                Q: “Who?”
                A: “No idea. Never seen him before. We’d been drinking in a bar and swung home after it closed.”
                Q: “Why did he leave the rifle?”
                A: “Don’t remember. We was awfully drunk. Might’ve been a bet.”

                The police check the serial numbers and the rifle traces to Fred.

                Q: “Did you give a rifle to Joe?”
                A: “Who is Joe?”
                Q: “They guy who had your rifle.”
                A: “What rifle?”
                Q: “This one, serial number 12873”
                A: “Oh, I sold that thing twenty years ago.”
                Q: “Who to?”
                A: “Some farmer from Iowa. Don’t remember the name.”Report

              • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to George Turner says:

                Tie liability to registration. Problem solved.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to George Turner says:

                It makes one wonder how the private sale of a registered car is ever successfully completed.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                The government has no idea that I own a house, because I bought it at a home show.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                I love it when the 5th amendment nutters come out of the woodwork.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Marchmaine says:

                I like to think he’s a 3rd amendment nutter.

                “Registering home ownership is just the first step on a slippery slope of the government quartering soldiers in them!”Report

  5. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    If sportsmen are anything like me, I’m betting part of the reason they aren’t such an active part of the conversation is sheer mental/emotional exhaustion.

    I got these guys to the left screaming at me about loving my guns so much I’m OK with kids and innocent people getting killed, and those guys to the right screaming at me about how I don’t love freedom and I want everyone to be defenseless from the vast dangers out there…

    And now I just want a Tylenol and a nap because both sides have given me a fecking headache.Report

  6. Good points, but a few decades too late.

    I’m probably as far to the “left” as any reader of this site, and I personally have exactly zero objection to hunting, and zero objection to hunting with guns. Deer are tasty!

    But that stopped being the point sometime in the last century. That a rational conversation about gun control might be productive died in the 1970s or 80s. Now it’s just a matter of: which side are you on?

    The point today is that it may come down to hunters vs. more than 30,000 gun deaths annually. I’m sincerely sorry if you lose your hobby (or have to switch to bow & arrow), but I’m not willing to sacrifice the lives of tens of thousands of people to preserve your hobby.

    Are you?Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I see no reason to believe that the War On Guns will play out any differently than the War On Drugs (if enacted, of course).

    The only thing I see happening is that the Tamir Rice shooting becomes a good shoot.

    Edit: but if banning a handful of tacticool cosmetic enhancements will make people feel better, perhaps that’s the best course of action. (It just won’t change much of anything. But feeling better ain’t nothin’.)Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

      I see no reason to believe that the War On Guns will play out any differently than the War On Drugs (if enacted, of course).

      We’ve already seen signs of that. The rationale for New York’s “stop and frisk” program was finding illegal weapons (and any other contraband was just a bonus), and sweeps for illegal guns were a recurrent theme in civil rights abuses by the Chicago PD.

      I’m half-convinced that a serious effort to get rid of guns would make gun violence in this country worse, not in a daft John Lott way, but in a breakdown of order way. It will (further) degrades trust in the police in the most vulnerable communities, leading more people to take matters into their own hands, while law enforcement becomes (even) less able to intervene effectively before the shooting starts.

      I don’t think it will do much harm to ban bump stocks and 100 round magazines and other Stupid Gun Tricks, and may even help a little bit at the margins to mitigate the atrocities, but the vast majority of the 12 000 gun homicides a year are a very different sort of problem.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to pillsy says:

        I think youre absolutely right. None of the proposals I ever hear (including mine above, which I reiterate I’d only support in certain circumstances and if concessions from the other side were on the table, which they never are) would impact the gun homicide rate much. If we tried mass criminalization of firearm possession I see no reason that would go any differently than other times we’ve tried mass criminalization of any other commodity.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

        I’m half-convinced that a serious effort to get rid of guns would make gun violence in this country worse, not in a daft John Lott way, but in a breakdown of order way.

        I agree with this 100%. Here’s something else for you to add into your “how will this play out for real?” daydreams: A judge ruled just a countable number of days ago that it was unthinkable that a heroin dealer wouldn’t have had a gun on him.Report

        • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to Jaybird says:

          If people wanted to try things other than gun control to address the violence issue that would be great.

          So for a moment table what I think on guns etc.

          Murders happen for reasons and he FBI tracks those.

          Largest reason by a huge factor? Arguments.

          Non-gun related solutions: classes on conflict resolution, PSAs, your even better idea

          As has been said biggest category of gun deaths is suicide. Make a real push with funding for prevention and an investment in mental health. I don’t know what it costs but we lose way too many this way.

          Third category: solve murders. There is more than one city where the solve rate is below 50%. So a coin flip whether a killer stays free or not. I don’t care what the penalty is knowing you can get away with the crime means it isn’t a deterrent.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to TrexPushups says:

            A gunshot is extremely loud. A smart phone can hear them. A smartphone knows its own GPS location. If it’s not out in the woods (hunting) and not on a known farm or gun range, it could automatically send a tip to police saying “Hey, I was just in really close proximity to a gunshot. Here’s the audio. Frankly, judging by my shock and motion sensors surrounding the gunshot, I think my owner might have shot somebody and then ran off.”Report

  8. Avatar aaron david says:

    Well, there are a couple of things that I feel would go a long way, mainly as they would combine things from both sides. Several states have instant check processes, like Virginia or Oregon. Adopt that nation wide and you could make serious headway with personal sales while not engaging in the business (the “loophole”) Have online, easy, instant ownership transfers. Interstate CCW reciprocity (under Full Faith and Credit.)

    But all that brings me to another point, are you sure that what you want is what hunters the nation over want? I know some who would welcome greater GC, and some who wouldn’t.Report

  9. Avatar J_A says:

    But slippery slopes sometimes being a real thing, hunters still fear new gun regulations as the first step towards taking away our sport.

    The way to make sure no one takes away your sport is taking positive action to make sure your sport is different from what happened in Las Vegas, or Newton.

    What I mean is, disentangle yourselves from your friends who like those tactical rifles with the flash suppressors and 30-round magazines. They are not doing you any favors, and you are not doing yourselves any favors by being silent, letting them monopolize the conversation, supposedly “in your name”, and giving them cover with your silence.

    I’ve arrived to a pro-hunting position from an ecology perspective. I’d be glad to see hunters sitting at the gun control discussion table. But the reason they are not represented there is not because the gun control lobby is opposed to hunters. It’s because the pro-gun lobby is not letting you speak with your own voice. They are telling everybody that they speak for you, and, apparently, most hunters are fine with this situation.

    If you truly think hunters are not sitting at the negotiating table, the first thing you need to do is to say: “You all, we are not at the table, and we want to be. No one currently at the table speaks for us. Don’t believe them when they say they do”Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to J_A says:

      What I mean is, disentangle yourselves from your friends who like those tactical rifles with the flash suppressors and 30-round magazines. They are not doing you any favors
      Here’s my question: of the 30,000 people killed every year by guns, how many are killed by these tactical rifles? How much gun crime is committed by the minority of folks who fall into the avid gun collector/assault rifle enthusiast/paranoid survivalist category?

      And more importantly, should the answers to those questions matter to how we thing about meaningful reform of the gun control laws? I ask all of this sincerely, because I don’t really see a clear strategy from the pro-gun control side.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to j r says:

        For a long time, Kentucky had only one murder with an assault rifle. A guy kept going in and out of his house, letting the screen door slam behind him each time. His wife got more and more annoyed with the door slamming and finally grabbed an SKS and shot him dead.

        In 1989 we had a famous Prozac shooting in Louisville in which eight people were killed. It seemed to be a copy-cat crime based on another shooting, and he only fired forty rounds in total.

        In 1992 we had a guy (now on death row) with warrants in Ohio who killed two police officers with an assault rifle.

        In 2009 a Hispanic used an assault rifle to spray a house in Louisville, killing a young black man and getting a 70-year prison sentence. It was probably gang related.

        So twelve total going back to the 1980’s.

        I don’t really care for tactical rifles because I’m sick of people who put the word “tactical” on anything, including pants and pocket knives. It’s a marketing fad. Tactical is about tactics, not equipment. The Vegas shooter’s tactical advantage came from his firing position and having 22,000 insufficiently armed targets to shoot at. His guns didn’t really matter that much unless you go way back in gundom.

        Going by early US Army testing, he would have hit 5 or 6 people in 12 minutes with a muzzle loading flintlock rifle or musket. He’d have hit 12 with an 1819 Hall breech loading flintlock rifle, assuming a 36% hit rate at 100 yards was maintained at 350 yards due to crowd density. Twelve hits with .525 caliber 220 grain ball (a round ball at that time) probably wouldn’t be devastatingly lethal at that range in comparison to Civil War era Minnie balls (which are bullet shaped) but it would be a mass shooting in a public space producing a dozen dead or injured, and it would have been done with a flintlock, which uses a flint striking a frizzen to make a spark.

        The rate of fire from Civil War muzzle loaders was lower than the Hall rifle, so I’ll skip those.

        With a British Lee-Enfield Mk III, originally a black powder gun from the late 1800’s, the record for aimed fire hit rate is 15 per minute, which would be 180 aimed hits in the 12 minutes the shooter was firing. Being hit by aimed .303 is very bad. But let’s assume the shooter wasn’t going to be a record setter, even though an obsessed millionaire very well could be.

        Major General Julian Hatcher, the author of Hatcher’s notebook (PDF)) relates that in tests in 1931 at 325 yards the 1903 Springfield and the M1 produced about 4 hits per minute (he gives 3.85 and 4.23 respectively). That would be about 48 hits in 12 minutes. But that’s with iron sights, which is why the M1 was not outperforming the 1903 at that range. At 200 yards the numbers were 14 hits per minute for the 1903 and 22 hits per minute for the Garand. That would be 168 hits and 264 hits, again with iron sights.

        With the modern scopes that everybody mounts, along with the planning and preparation of a psycho, along with the increased lethality of a 30-06 over a 5.56, his kill score probably would have been higher with a scoped 1903 Springfield, and almost certainly would with a Garand with a really good scope mount, which we didn’t have in WW-II.

        My conclusion: As you move forward into modern hunting rifles, not custom sniper rifles but just bolt action Bambi guns, that firing position overlooking a huge crowd for 12 minutes would’ve probably had a worse outcome in dead, but not in wounded, even with rifles from the late 1800’s, with scopes, in skilled hands..

        One part of tactics is about stacking all the cards, and he did that tremendously with his hotel room. Not so much with his choice of weapons. That looks like pretty much a wash to me. A semi-auto 6.5mm in one of several cartridges, kept on semi-auto, would’ve been quite a bit worse, and if it’s true he had an accomplice, it could’ve been twice as bad as it was even if they’d stayed with the same guns and tactics.

        But then again, if his obsession was with welding cutting blades and whirling spiked murder balls to a large truck even more people would have died. If he’d have done that then we’d be debating whether it should be mandatory for people at public events to carry assault rifles to stop suicidal maniacs in murder trucks.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to j r says:

        Here’s my question: of the 30,000 people killed every year by guns, how many are killed by these tactical rifles?

        Not many. Lumping all the “gun deaths” together as a single undifferentiated mass instead of several different sorts of problems is a continual mistake that I see from members of every side in this debate,[1] when the idea that suicides and monsters murdering dozens of people at a time are really the same thing is, to be blunt, dumb as hell.

        On the other hand, the fact that mass shootings only account for ~100 murders a year doesn’t mean they aren’t a significant issue from a law enforcement perspective or even from a public health perspective. It’s not worth turning everything upside-down to stop them, but there’s a long history of making real, if modest, efforts to address comparably dangerous problems.

        [1] I also often see pro-gun people saying, even when the subject is only mass shootings, that most gun deaths are suicides or one-at-a-time homicides….Report

      • Avatar J_A in reply to j r says:

        Here’s my question: of the 30,000 people killed every year by guns, how many are killed by these tactical rifles?

        Very few as a percentage of the total death, but most (all?) of the mass shootings. And there are more mass shootings in America than we register in our minds. Hours after Las Vegas, five people were shot in Lawrence KS (three dead)

        How much gun crime is committed by the minority of folks who fall into the avid gun collector/assault rifle enthusiast/paranoid survivalist category?

        Again, probably few in absolute numbers (“few” being in the hundreds or low thousands – lack of proper statistics that might show a problem is another problem), but a very large percentage of mass killings.

        A summary of the arguments after every similar incident seems to be:

        – Mass shootings are rare, most deaths are handgun deaths. Regulating assault weapons would do nothing to solve that.

        – Handguns are needed for home protection, you cannot regulate self-defense. Plus, responsible handgun owners are not killing anyone (yes, they are, btw)

        – Hunting is in our DNA, it’s a rite of passage, etc. The government wants to stop a centuries old tradition because city liberals. You cannot regulate rifles. It’s what the Second Amendment is about.

        – Who said the Second Amendment was about hunting. The Second Amendment is about defending ourselves from tiranny. Any restriction on gun owning, gun trading, gun carrying, puts us in the road to tiranny.

        There are perfectly reasonable measures that could be taken to reduce the impact of gun deaths generally in the USA to a “normal” level. Measures that any responsible gun owner should have no problem with. For instance:

        – Mandatory liability insurance attached to each gun.

        – Waiting periods and background check for gun purchases, which could be waived if you have a government issued “trusted gun owner” (similar to the trusted traveler program that lets you skip most of the airport and immigration checkups) certificate. I’m perfectly fine with a state issued certificate, it doesn’t have to be from the Federal government, if you distrust Washington.

        – Fines for failing to report a gun loss. Many guns used in crimes are legally purchased and then stolen from or lost by (“lost”???) their rightful owners. You don’t report the loss and the gun is found later, you get hit by a fine.

        But instead of promoting responsible gun ownership, gun rights advocates promote (successfully, btw) laws forbidding pediatricians to talk to parents the about safe storage of guns in their houses.

        That’s the advocacy group that @mike-dwyer has allowed to represent him in defending responsible hunting in America. Instead, they attack pediatricians. But @mike-dwyer is apparently ok with that, or at least, he’s not enough not ok to say “Stop. You do not talk for me”Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to J_A says:

          @j_a

          I’m not sure how you read the OP and arrived at this:

          “That’s the advocacy group that @Mike Dwyer has allowed to represent him in defending responsible hunting in America. Instead, they attack pediatricians. But @Mike Dwyer is apparently ok with that, or at least, he’s not enough not ok to say “Stop. You do not talk for me”

          Maybe try again?Report

          • Avatar J_A in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            You are right. I went sort of personal. That’s wrong, apologies.

            What I meant is that while your OP says So while I think the NRA should still have a voice, they can no longer be the only voice we hear., I don’t hear any other voice raising up.

            There’s one reason why the NRA is the only voice we hear. That’s because other voices have chosen not to speak separately. I welcome that you believe that we just need the right people, people who responsibly represent gun ownership, to talk to each other and show the rest of the country we understand their fears., but most hunters seem to be fine with allowing the NRA to be their voice.

            I take your word that the NRA might be quietly doing sensible things that benefit gun owners, but they are also loudly -and proudly- doing those things that, as you point out, draw the scorn of a large majority of people, like pushing for -and getting enacted- laws forbidding doctors to discuss gun safety with patients.

            You say -of imply- that hunters are concerned that gun control promoters will not stop until all guns and rifles are banned. But you should acknowledge that the NRA opposes every single reasonable gun regulation proposal. The NRA is as maximalist now as you seem to be afraid the gen control side will be in the future. Right now, the only side that says “there’s no compromise” is not the gun control side, it’s the NRA.

            There is people out there that claim they are speaking in your name. If they don’t, it’s important that you make that clear to everyoneReport

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to J_A says:

              @j_a

              I get what you are saying, but you’re also sort of pointing out the obvious as it relates to the main point of the OP. Hunters have been content to let the NRA defend our gun rights so we can focus on conservation and stay in the woods. The OP was intended to say that we can’t do that anymore.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to J_A says:

          Very few as a percentage of the total death, but most (all?) of the mass shootings. And there are more mass shootings in America than we register in our minds.

          That depends on almost entirely on how far you want to stretch the definition of mass shooting. Lumping the narrowly defined mass shootings with other high casualty shootings with ordinary street crime with suicides certainly helps to inflate the “gun violence” numbers. I’m just not quite clear how it helps us to understand these phenomenon better. More importantly, it would probably be much easier to get widespread agreement on the most obvious reforms if they didn’t so often come bundled with a general anti-gun sentiment that puts gun owners on the defensive.

          – Mandatory liability insurance attached to each gun.

          I don’t understand how this is supposed to work. People always make the car analogy, but car insurance only covers your liability when the car is being operated legally. If someone steals your car and hits someone, the insurance doesn’t pay. If you get liquored up and hit someone, the insurance doesn’t pay. If you purposefully commit an assault with your car, the insurance doesn’t pay. Under the same conditions as cars, liability insurance would basically cover accidental discharges. Even medical malpractice insurance has limits to coverage.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to j r says:

            More importantly, it would probably be much easier to get widespread agreement on the most obvious reforms if they didn’t so often come bundled with a general anti-gun sentiment that puts gun owners on the defensive.

            This is an interesting comment to me, particularly because it’s so often stated with slight permutations. To be honest, I’m not sure I understand it. I’ve always read these and related claims to imply that gun owners and the pro-gun rights community to actually believe, in their heart of hearts, that legislation curbing gun access is perfectly appropriate but that they won’t publicly support it until anti-gun nuts (for example) cool it with the insane rhetoric. In effect, they reject supporting policies they ostensibly agree – if we take them at their word – for what strike me as irrelevant reasons.

            One example of this sort of thing: that until liberals start using proper gun terminology GRAs won’t publicly support sensible legislation which they otherwise agree with. I’m baffled by this sort of reasoning. Am I reading it wrong? Cuz the alternative, which is my operating assumption after years of listening to this sort of thing, is that “putting GRAs on the defensive” or “I won’t talk about gun control legislation with liberals till they learn the right terms” strike me as convenient excuses for commitments they won’t change.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

              The shorter, of course, is: if GRAs support sensible legislation, then why don’t they just support sensible legislation?Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Stillwater says:

              @stillwater

              While I agree it’s not fair to draw an intellectual line in the sand before we consider reasonable policy proposals from the Left…it’s damn hard to take them seriously when they really do seem to be unable to intellectually understand guns and the culture around them. I mean, it’s not rocket science and it’s not a mystery, but every gun guy I know has a dozen stories about gun ignorance that makes me shake my head.

              Imagine that conservatives were talking about, I don’t know, new traffic rules they hoped would reduce deadly auto accidents, but they didn’t understand the difference between an automatic or a manual transmission. Even if they had good ideas, wouldn’t you find it just a little hard to take them seriously?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                A good example might be “women’s health”.

                Remember the ultrasound thing? Good times.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I don’t find that persuasive, Mike, given that the GRA argument is usually framed as a general willingness to support sensible gun legislation on its own terms EXCEPT FOR those pesky idiotic liberals who continue to screw things up. If you think certain types of legislative restrictions are legally justified and yield positive utility both within the gun-rights community and for society in general, then why not just support those policies? Why does that cohort care that liberals don’t know a firing pin from a clothes pin?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                It isn’t just that the lingo or terminology is wrong, if that was all it was, it wouldn’t be an issue. It’s the total misunderstanding or blatant misrepresentation of the physical principals involved.

                For instance, HRC put this bit on Twitter after last Sunday[1]. I’ve talked about sound suppressors before, about how on average they drop the report firearm about 30 dB, about how they do nothing for the supersonic crack of a rifle round, about how they are actually quite common in Europe because noise abatement and hearing damage. All these points are made time & time again by the GRA crowd, and yet the GCA continues to perpetuate the myth that a sound suppressor can turn a BANG! into a ‘pfft’ and that they are the tools of assassins or some other ridiculousness.

                And this is just one example of legislation being lobbied for or against based upon technical misunderstandings that the GCA refuse to accept correction for. So when technical errors, even silly, understandable ones, pop-up, there is an assumption of ignorance that has to be overcome. And to be frank, while I can appreciate that the GRA needs to be willing to politely and respectfully educate people about the technical details that matter, the GCA has an obligation to understand what they desire to regulate. I mean, if a person who was wholly ignorant of aircraft started talking to me about the need to regulate aircraft in certain, technical matters, I’m going to have a hard time taking them seriously at the start of the conversation.

                [1] FYI had the Vegas shooter used suppressors, he’d get 5, maybe 6 rounds out of the gun before he would have to stop and let the barrel and can cool down. Any more than that and he’d slag the suppressor and jam the firearm.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                So when technical errors, even silly, understandable ones, pop-up, there is an assumption of ignorance that has to be overcome.

                But not, per my comment, for the GRAs who favor sensible legislative restrictions on their own terms. For those folks, why is the ignorance of liberals relevant to furthering their own policy goals?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                Honestly, because the support for sensible changes often involves rolling back stupid technical restrictions (like suppressors) that then gets met with resistance for reasons like I highlighted above.

                I mean, legislative horsetrading shouldn’t be a big deal, but it’s hard to do when one side is largely ignorant of the technical issues, and the cultural issues. And this is not meant to ding the legislators, necessarily. I am quite certain they can be as informed as they want, but if the GCA constituents are clueless, then when proposed bills come up, and they have something that everyone has the wrong idea about, it gets shot down.

                PS There is an element of BSDI in this as well, as I see the emails from the GRA extremes; although the GRA side tends more toward hyperbolic slippery slopes rather than incorrect technical definitions.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I’m still not getting your argument as a response to mine. I’m not talking about legislative horsetrading, I’m talking about GRA advancing their own conception of sensible regulation. Your comment makes sense in a world where the GOP, the NRA and the GRAs are pushing to get things done with legislation ready for a floor vote but it’s held up by a Dem filibuster demanding more. That’s not our world.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                Your comment makes sense in a world where the GOP, the NRA and the GRAs are pushing to get things done with legislation ready for to take to the floor but it’s held up by a Dem filibuster demanding more.

                This takes us back to the OP. The NRA and the GOP dominate the conversation, and honestly, it is REALLY HARD for others to get a word in edgewise.

                Terry Gross had a guy on the other night talking about how the NRA has lobbyists who are very, very good at torpedoing the political careers of politicians who step even a smidgen out of line. The goal has to be taking back the NRA and getting them to dial it back, and I frankly don’t know if there are enough hunters out there to do it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Seems to me that, if true, that dynamic effectively confirms what I’m arguing here: all the talk about liberals needing to learn the right terms before substantive regulation can be passed is cover for institutional commitments the right has made to block any legislation that the NRA perceives as impinging on gun rights.

                The solution to this problem is found on the right because the problem itself exists on the right. And insofar folks on that side really are committed to some set of policies which they believe will make things better, seems to me it’s on them to bring those proposals to the floor for a vote. Liberals have nothing to do with it.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater says:

                Is impinging like infringing, the thing banned in the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment? Remember, the legislation has to get past Heller vs DC.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                Is impinging like infringing, the thing banned in the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment? Remember, the legislation has to get past Heller vs DC.

                Getting past Heller vs. DC isn’t that hard. That said that people had an individual 2nd amendment right for traditionally lawful purposes such as ‘self defense within the home’.

                Theoretically speaking, allowing everyone to own a single revolver, and nothing else, would probably satisfy the rules laid out in Heller.

                Now, ‘such as’ is an interesting phrase and might, for example, also include hunting, so people might also be allowed to have a rifle and a shotgun, but hunting is already heavily regulated (In addition the obvious season-based regulation, it’s regulated by different animal, barred in cities, etc, etc.) so might not even qualify anymore as ‘traditionally lawful’.

                I’ve actually argued in the past that the wording of Heller (Even if we do assume hunting counts under it.) makes a perfect premise to hang various gun control on. If the individual right to own a gun hinges on ‘lawful purposes’, that means that anything that is not usable for ‘lawful purposes’ can be banned.

                For example, large magazines. It’s impossible to make a claim that lawful hunting requires large magazines.

                And despite the fact people will try, it’s pretty hard to claim that self-defense requires large magazines either. No, not even if more than one person attacks. That sort of action movie nonsense is just that…nonsense. If the people attacking do not run away upon the first person being shot, you are almost certainly screwed, both because they are almost certainly trained killers, and because they probably attacked you at close range and you’re probably not going to have time to shot more than one of them anyway!

                If you really think multiple people are going to attack you, if you’ve pissed off trained killers or the people who hire trained killers, you need a bodyguard or two. Not, like, more bullets in your gun.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

                Then you’ll have to convince the court that the police, who are interacting with the same criminals we are, carry AR-15’s with 30-round magazines because it makes their uniform look spiffy.

                We face the same opponents they do, and thus we get to use the same weapons for our defense that they find necessary for theirs.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                Then you’ll have to convince the court that the police, who are interacting with the same criminals we are, carry AR-15’s with 30-round magazines because it makes their uniform look spiffy.

                I’d rather convince the courts that the police do not actually need such weapons either.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:

                George’s point is, to me, salient, because I’m such a fan of Peel. These days, it isn’t the tyranny of the military we should worry about, if the military is actively operating against civilian targets in the US, whether or not the Feds know I own a gun is the least of my worries.

                However, I’ve said before that the police currently set the tone for gun ownership in the US, and if the patrol units are kitted out with AR-15s and M-16s, people will want to be as well (One can make the case that the very limited set of SWAT members can have bigger stuff in their armory, but such weapons should not be part of the patrol cruiser kit).

                If we want the public to be limited to revolvers and single shot long guns, that should be the extent of the normal police armament as well.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I’ve said before that the police currently set the tone for gun ownership in the US,

                Excellent point. If trends continue the only distinction between beat cops, SWAT, and the Navy Seals will be training. This is one of those issues where the dog chases its own tail.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                This is one of those issues where the dog chases its own tail.

                Sure, but only because the dog really wants to chase it’s tail, not because it has to.

                Again, we have such a thing as SWAT. They are supposed to be the police that arrive when you have criminals that are able to outgun the patrol units or investigating detectives. But departments suddenly decided that patrol units need to be able to be armed with carbines as well, because they can imagine some rare and unlikely scenario where an officer might have to engage a small squad of armed roving criminals. Because Mad Max is just around the corner.

                Oh, and the police have to regularly release videos and photos of themselves being all tacti-cool and crap.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I wonder how long before the cops in (eg) St Louis call in air strikes to quell citizen uprisings against police abuses. Counter-insurgency is a bitch, man.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                Tear gas cluster munitions!Report

              • Avatar aaron david in reply to Stillwater says:

                I believe the National Guard was called in for the Matewan Battles, which did involve aeriel bombing, if I remember right.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to aaron david says:

                You’re thinking of the Battle of Blair Mountian which was part of the aftermath of the Matewan battle.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                A lot of the stuff from the GRA extremes is more about nutso fantasies about how if there were just more citizens carrying, mass shootings never would have happened. These reached what is, I hope, the peak of ludicrousness in response to the Vegas shooting, with people asserting, with evident sincerity, that more people should be carrying scoped rifles with them to concerts.

                Also, I do think it might help a bit if GRAs were a bit more careful about distinguishing between technical matters that are definitely important (like what suppressors do and the difference between automatic and semiautomatic), stuff that’s kind of important (the .223 round fired by most AR-15s isn’t very powerful), and stuff that’s basically irrelevant (like calling a detachable box magazine a “clip”).Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                PPS Another thing the technical ignorance represents (to me, a lot of times) is that the person I am talking to is too invested in the GCA extremist narrative. I’ve spent many a keystroke (usually on FB) patiently explaining the technical specifics to people who were wrong about them, and why some idea about legislation they were talking about wouldn’t have the effect they were hoping for; only to have them turn around a few days later and post some meme or comment or whatnot continuing to perpetuate the technical error.

                That tells me they aren’t interested in actually having a reasonable conversation with me, because they are too invested in this other narrative.

                After awhile, technical ignorance becomes it’s own signal.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Ever fresh: Representative Loretta Sanches (D-CA)

                multiautomatic round weapons are easily available, even though not in California.

                Youtube clip

                I think you could get most gun owners on board with a ban on multi-automatic round weapons. It’s a compromise worth making.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                The only round weapon I am aware of is that thing Xena throws.

                And rocks, I guess.

                Neither of them are multiautomatic, although Xena can bounce that thing off a lot of people in one throw.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater says:

                I actually think @jaybird is closest to the mark on why it’s hard to compromise with gun control advocates. The technical ignorance is frustrating from a utilitarian policy setting standpoint but the real issue is that it at least appears to tip their hands on their intent. It starts to sound like the death by a thousand cuts strategy the pro-life movement has taken thats effectively eliminated the ability for women to have abortions in large parts of the country.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD says:

                I actually think @Jaybird is closest to the mark on why it’s hard to compromise with gun control advocates.

                Re-read my comment. I wasn’t talking about compromise. The opposite, in fact: I was referring to the GRAs who claim to want sensible legislation but make it conditioned upon liberal’s (eg) learning the names of gun parts.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well, seriously, let’s go back to the ultrasound thing.

                Legislators were talking about passing a law that said that fetus-gestators considering getting an abortion had to get an ultrasound.

                Now, when they were thinking about “ultrasounds”, they were thinking about the versions of ultrasounds that one would see on Friends or, perhaps, in a Doritos commercial.

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b3uc7tg2so

                As it turns out, only, like, really late-in-the-pregnancy ultrasounds are like those ultrasounds. The ones that they were legislating? The term is “transvaginal”. (I was going to find a link but chickened out once I saw the images.)

                Personally, I don’t think that they thought they were advocating for transvaginal ultrasounds.

                I think that they thought that they were asking for the ultrasounds that look like the doctor is running an attachment to the vacuum cleaner over the fetus-gestator’s body. Like, NO PENETRATION.

                Now what does this indicate? Well, for one, that they were *HUGELY* ignorant of what they were actually trying to legislate.

                Like, ignorant to the point where they sure as hell shouldn’t have been writing bills on the subject in the first place, let alone voting on them to pass.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                If GRAs are committed to a set of regulatory provisions because they believe they constitute good policy they wouldn’t make demands that liberals change their rhetoric. My view: They don’t, so they do.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                In the case of the ultrasound legislators, there were all kinds of dynamics but here are two fun ones:

                1. The legislators were really ignorant
                2. They were so ignorant that they thought that they weren’t ignorant but that they actually knew stuff

                It’s not exactly “change your rhetoric” but “your rhetoric signals that you don’t know shit from shinola” and the not knowing shit from shinola is the deeper and more significant problem.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m talking about legislation the “smart” guys would right if they were really committed to a set of commonsense regulations. And sure, there are a few here and there (quite a few here, actually). But the idea that *that* legislation is written and would hit the floor but for the inanities of stoopid liberals is laughable. Really, it’s a debate which needs to take place on the right and doesn’t include liberals. Until GRAs are willing to back CCers advocating sensible regulations, liberals are bystanders.Report

              • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to Jaybird says:

                The difference, of course, being that there isn’t a liberal wing saying “we would be totally ok with reasonable amounts of punishment to pregnant women seeking abortions, if only those nutty GOPers could figure out how to tell the difference between different types of ultrasounds”

                Instead we say “that’s a hard enough thing already, let’s keep the government out of it”Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well, a lot of people on the pro-choice side, with more than a little justification, believed that the legislators were actually entirely aware of what transvaginal ultrasounds entailed, and believed that was a feature, not a bug.

                I don’t know if that strengthens your analogy, or weakens it, to be honest.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                Speaking for myself and myself alone:

                I had no freaking idea. I was completely and totally ignorant.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

                Whether or not they understood what it meant my suspicion is that they knew it would present a hurdle to a practice they believe should be prohibited but that they can’t ban outright.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well… I’m not saying such people don’t exist. Still my suspicion is that the dynamic has more to do with a polarized legislative environment and fear of being useful idiots for opponents who arent operating in good faith.Report

              • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to Stillwater says:

                Also, too: there are no shortage of liberals with (for example) military service. I suspect they know plenty about fire arms.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                And apologies if I’m not stating the intended point here clearly enough to respond to. It’s something I’m sorta muddling thru right now.Report

            • Avatar j r in reply to Stillwater says:

              I’ve always read these and related claims to imply that gun owners and the pro-gun rights community to actually believe, in their heart of hearts, that legislation curbing gun access is perfectly appropriate but that they won’t publicly support it until anti-gun nuts (for example) cool it with the insane rhetoric.

              Those claims are out there, but that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s not that the more gun control crowd needs to convince the gun nuts anything. I agree that they likely could not move the absolute gun rights crowd towards any meaningful compromise.

              The problem with the more gun control crowd is that they routinely overestimate the popularity of their position, which makes it very difficult to implement a winning political strategy. It’s not about winning over the gun nuts. It’s about winning over the median voter long enough to get legislative wins.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to j r says:

                I don’t really believe this is a plausible explanation, because even stuff that’s well beyond acceptable to the median voter usually founders. Now some of this is probably bad legislative strategy, but not all.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to pillsy says:

                What exactly is implausible?

                Go look at the opinion polls for yourself. They tell a number of possible different stories. But the one story that they don’t tell is that the overwhelming majority of voters want more gun control now and the only reason we don’t have it is because a small monied minority led by he NRA won’t let it happen. And yet, that’s he narrative that those most actively seeking gun control want to tell.

                There likely is a majority of voters that would get behind any number of increased gun restrictions. The problem is that to get there, you’re going to have to break a bunch of people away from the side in which they normally caucus. And to do that, you’re going to have to give those people something that they want and don’t currently have. That’s the part that’s missing from the more gun control strategy.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to j r says:

                And to do that, you’re going to have to give those people something that they want and don’t currently have.

                That’s where I’m losing the thread of your argument. According to the polls that we both agree on, the increased restrictions are something that most voters want.

                I think there are a lot of problems with this Damon Linker piece [1], but I do think he’s onto something when he talks about the disproportionate power of highly engaged activists.

                [1] Not the least of which is that it was written by Damon Linker.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to pillsy says:

                According to the polls that we both agree on, the increased restrictions are something that most voters want.

                True. But you’re not taking into account two things. One is geography. The status quo is lots of gun regulations and severely restricted individual gun ownership in some places and nearly unrestricted gun ownership in others.

                Second, and this flows from the first, it’s not so much about the specific collection of discrete opinions that an individual holds. It’s more about where they choose to caucus. Right not there are whole lot of folks, myself included, who aren’t happy with the status quo, but who aren’t likely to move in the direction of more gun control unless it comes with some assurances that the proposed measures aren’t just part of a long plan to abolish or severely restrict individual gun ownership everywhere. Those are the people that you have to win over, not the “gun nuts.” Unfortunately, almost everything I see from the gun control crowd has the effect of making sure that is unlikely to happen.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to j r says:

                OK, I definitely agree with all of that.

                I actually am not sure that such assurances are even possible, even if the gun control advocacy scene weren’t such a mess.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to j r says:

                comes with some assurances that the proposed measures aren’t just part of a long plan to abolish or severely restrict individual gun ownership everywhere.

                If Congress wants your guns, and taking your guns passes SCOTUS’ constitutional muster, then any Congress can take your guns. There is no need for a lengthy, sneaky attack on your gun rights. It might be helpful, but a Congress that wants your guns will take them. It’s not like they’ll go “Drat, we were going to, but we don’t have a universal registry so we’ll make one of those and just wait a few decades until we can try again”.

                What you’re asking for — those assurances — are utterly meaningless and impossible to comply with. No one can bind a future Congress’ will.

                I can understand the worry about it being the camel’s nose, but attaching a clearly impossible condition is basically saying “No, I won’t compromise, but I’ll pretend I’m willing to”.

                There’s no checklist required for Congress to seize your guns. No step-by-step method that requires ticking off one box before moving to the next. You can go straight to the end, and no amount of dealmaking with the people of today can prevent the people of tomorrow from deciding to go there.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

                What you’re asking for — those assurances — are utterly meaningless and impossible to comply with. No one can bind a future Congress’ will.

                Exactly. That’s why all the claims that GRAs will support sensible regulations but *only if* liberals cool it with the ignorant extremist rhetoric are nonsense. There will always be vocal pro-gun-ban liberals just like there will always be pro-individual-right-to-nukes GRAs. And as you say, assurances are meaningless given the power of Congress, and even more so because no GRA would ever believe those assurances, even if offered with all sincerity.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Morat20 says:

                @morat20 and @stillwater

                You guys are still missing the main point. Maybe I’m not explaining this correctly or maybe you’ve got a particular version of the contours of this debate cemented in your minds. Let me try again.

                It’s not about the meaningfulness of the assurances. It’s about seeing an end state that is acceptable to those people living in jurisdictions where it is relatively easy to get guns, people who would either prefer or at least tolerate more restrictions, but who presently have no reason to defect to the more gun control side. Likewise, almost all of the pressure on anti-gun control politicians is coming from outside of their constituency, which gives them absolutely no reason to change course.

                Really, what I’m getting at is that the gun control crowd’s strategy often centers around telling those of us in the middle that we better get on the right side before we end up maligned, on the wrong side, and lumped in with the gun nuts. This could be a credible threat, I guess, except… The gun nuts currently occupy the political high ground and that’s not likely to change any time soon.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to j r says:

                Again, I’m not sure why being maligned by a group of people you fundamentally disagree with is a driver in a debate about policy positions you and similar folks ostensible hold. As I’ve been saying – and obviously you disagree with this – the reason your view re: sensible regulation isn’t dominant on the right is because folks on the right, and in particular folks in positions of power on the right, reject *any* regulation whatsoever. So the fight you’re critiquing isn’t with liberals, but GRAs and the NRA, and the CCers representing those anti-regulation views.

                As long as those groups dominate the gun debate at the electoral level gripes about liberal extremism are irrelevant, seems to me. Or to say it another way: griping about liberals would make sense if GRAs and their elected reps had legislation ready to hit the floor for a vote. But they don’t. The opposite, in fact.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’m not critiquing “liberal extremism.” And I’m not griping about anything, either. My whole point is that I don’t really have anything to gripe about, which makes me impervious to the virtue signaling and petty moralizing that surrounds the gun control debate. And I think that there a lot of people out there whose position is pretty close to mine. The status quo is imperfect, but I don’t think that any of the things currently being touted as “common sense gun control” will have much of an effect on current rates of gun crime. My default position is, “come back to me when you’re ready to get serious about gun regulation and the underlying causes of most gun crime.”

                Really, I’m doing three things: (1) making an observation about the political landscape in regards to gun control; (2) making a prediction that the status quo won’t change unless the folks in the middle see some reason to defect; and (3) making a claim that the political messaging from the more gun control side is particularly inept at getting any of us in the middle to move.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to j r says:

                My default position is, “come back to me when you’re ready to get serious about gun regulation and the underlying causes of most gun crime.”

                Isn’t that what Mike Dwyer, Oscar, InMD, Road Scholar, and others are doing on this thread? Taking gun regulation seriously?

                Who do they need to persuade, tho? Liberals or folks like Damon and George?Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Stillwater says:

                They are not the people who need to persuade anyone. The middle of the road folks will ultimately end up deciding which way this debate goes, but we’re not the ones in the driver’s seat. And that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

                Get it. I’m not talking about right and wrong here. I’m not even primarily talking about good and bad policy I’m talking about the political landscape.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to j r says:

                And the political landscape you describe includes a causal relationship between ignorant liberals blabbering on about banning guns and the moderate middle’s disinclination to promote the sensible regulations they would otherwise be happy to advocate. I still fail to see how getting liberals to shut up factors into the debate or will change the minds of the folks who actually *do* control the policy debate right now, which is the folks on the right. The argument seems to be that moderate GRA’s sensible regulatory views are rendered insensible because a liberal CCer used the term “multiautomatic rounds”.

                By your lights she’s an idiot. Why does her idiocy affect what you, or anyone, view as sensible?Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Stillwater says:

                And the political landscape you describe includes a causal relationship between ignorant liberals blabbering on about banning guns and the moderate middle’s disinclination to promote the sensible regulations they would otherwise be happy to advocate.

                This may be where the disconnect is, because that’s not quite what I’m saying. It’s not that the political landscape is being caused by “ignorant liberals blabbering on about banning guns.” It’s not being really being caused by anything other than the United States’ historical relationship with guns. It’s just the status quo.

                My point is that to change the status quo would require the more gun control crowd to bring more people to their side, specifically more people in jurisdictions currently controlled by the “gun nut” side. And I see little on the more gun control side that demonstrates that they have a strategy to do this or even correctly understand the landscape.Report

        • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to J_A says:

          Waiting periods could easily help reduce suicide deaths. I believe there was a study recently but I don’t have it handy.

          It is definitely something one could study on a state or county basis before trying it nationwide.

          The idea is that by crating a waiting period you give the person more time between initial idea to shoot themselves and being able to actually do it. That time gives them time to reconsider which saves their life.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to TrexPushups says:

            Waiting periods are fine if it’s your first gun, then yes, the time represents an opportunity cost.

            If I’m buying my second… Or if I’ve gone through the trouble of getting a permit of some kind (owners permit in some states, CCW or hunting permit in others, etc.)…Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to J_A says:

          – Who said the Second Amendment was about hunting. The Second Amendment is about defending ourselves from tiranny. Any restriction on gun owning, gun trading, gun carrying, puts us in the road to tiranny.

          That line of thinking still makes me laugh. The last time it did, about a year ago or so, I had some Second Amendment fanboy drag me into a 100+ comment discussion and I got the Christian nation treatment.Report

  10. Avatar Scott says:

    Great post. I do think most proposed gun regs won’t have a huge impact on gun violence because they are so genuinely minor. I suspect the only way to reduce gun violence is to have many fewer guns around. I’m no expert, but it seems most sporting firearms are not the ones involved in homicides or mass shootings and are at least inconvenient for suicide (the largest # of fatalities in the US). Rifles and shotguns can likely serve most sporting/domestic protection needs. Then semi-autos and handguns could be restricted to use/storage at licensed recreational shooting facilities, if necessary. Obviously not a likely scenario, given popular opinion and the sheer number of weapons out there right now. But do folks feel like this might actually make a dent in gun violence?Report

  11. Avatar George Turner says:

    Well, I think one of the reasons the pro-gun side doesn’t rush to put hunters out front is that the 2nd Amendment wasn’t really about hunting, since in the Colonies that was just an assumed natural right whose elimination wouldn’t have even occurred to any of the Founders. All Native Americans were hunters. They were hunters when the cross the land bridge to get here. It’s half of being a hunter-gatherer, and being a hunter-gatherer is man’s natural state of existence. So if the Native Americans can hunt, then the Colonists certainly had the right to hunt, and they did not question it.

    The 2nd Amendment isn’t about putting a limit on government in an area where the government wouldn’t have had any say in the first place. The 2nd Amendment was a reaction to past government abuses in the Old World (and south of the US border) to maintain a complete monopoly on both military force and to make sure only the aristocracy has access to the use of effective lethal force. Many European states had early on banned peasants from owning firearms, and these bans increased with the invention of the wheel lock and flint lock because with those, highwaymen could rob the gentry. This was especially true in Italy.

    However, the English had an assumed right and duty to keep and bear arms going at least all the way back to King Alfred, and those rights became enshrined in case law in the 1100’s and then made their way into the Magna Carta. But then those rights were trampled by King James II so he could collect taxes and do all sorts of other nasty stuff. That was so unpopular that we had a Glorious Revolution and put our trust in the Dread Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. So the Pilgrims went with gun rights. King George III tried to take our guns as a form of taxes and we weren’t having any of it. We knew the common law, we knew the Bible, and we had guns. We got rid of King George, not our weapons.

    So we passed an Amendment that has the strongest wording used in the Constitution, “shall not be infringed“. The First Amendment says the free exercise of religion shall not be prohibited. They can infringe all over it. They could tax different churches at different rates. They could make people register their religion. They could refuse building permits to certain religions and make them worship in tents or people’s barns. Those would be infringements on the free exercise of religion, not prohibitions on it.

    When it came to the 2nd Amendment they got serious. No infringement is allowed. People could and did own not just cannon, but heavily armed ships known as privateers. Joining a privateer, a privately owned warship, was one way to be excused from militia duty during time of war. Admittedly, warships are expensive and using them to turn a profit is risky, so they were usually owned as a partnership or by a corporation, although an enterprising individual could gather a crew, plenty of cannon, and set sail.

    One of the requirements for getting a letter of marque and reprisal (still legal in the US) was proving to the government that the ship carried sufficient firepower to carry out the its profit-seeking mission. Unlike England, over here the ship owner didn’t have to pay a bond for the right to go raiding. Note that the government was requiring government approval and a license to go raiding in foreign waters, which is what distinguished it from piracy, but to get the license the shipowner already had to own enough cannon to do the job. No license was required for the cannon.

    So getting back to hunting, pushing the hunters to the forefront just confirms the anti-gun belief that the 2nd Amendment was about deer rifles. Those were so well assumed to be a natural right that hunting wasn’t even mentioned. The 2nd is about the people’s right to bear arms in self-defense and in defense of their state against any and all threats.

    So historically, where the compromise should be made is in what today would be considered crazyville. Prohibitions on private strategic nuclear weapons are probably okay, and perhaps short range tactical nuclear weapons (that’s a debate we could have), but SAMs, artillery, armor, aviation, and anti-tank missiles should almost certainly be protected.

    The pro 2nd Amendment crowd has obviously made a whole lot of concessions already. We’re talking about bump-stocks when North Carolina law allows store owners to use air or water-cooled belt-fed machine guns to protect their merchandise. Somehow their legislature passed that without input from store owners across the street, but there we are.Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to George Turner says:

      Well, I think one of the reasons the pro-gun side doesn’t rush to put hunters out front is that the 2nd Amendment wasn’t really about hunting, since in the Colonies that was just an assumed natural right whose elimination wouldn’t have even occurred to any of the Founders

      The same can be said for just about every type of personal property for any kind of normal every day use; however, I disagree with your take on natural rights since it was well-established that rights to property, including personal firearms, were common law rights. Natural rights may have been kept in mind but even under Lockean social compact theory, those rights are regulated as people enter into civil society.

      The 2nd Amendment isn’t about putting a limit on government in an area where the government wouldn’t have had any say in the first place.

      It most certainly is…

      Go back to 1791, strip the Second Amendment out of the Constitution and the federal government still couldn’t strip citizens of their personal firearms. With all that history behind you, I’m somewhat surprised that you’re missing out on the doctrine of expressly delegated sovereign powers – something the Founding generation knew quite well, especially the anti-Federalists.

      The 2nd Amendment was a reaction to past government abuses in the Old World (and south of the US border) to maintain a complete monopoly on both military force and to make sure only the aristocracy has access to the use of effective lethal force.

      It’s a little more complicated than that. Remember, prior to the Constitution there existing thirteen sovereign states, each with plenary control of their militias, as it is the sovereign right of any state to bear arms in its own defense, a point no one in the founding generation would have disputed given their knowledge of compacts, treaties and the laws of nations.

      A key differentiation between the AoC and the Constitution was the Constitution’s power to raise armies and call forth the state militias. Both were concerns and right or wrong, some of the anti-Federalists saw that as a means for the federal government to either disarm the miltias or let them deteriorate.

      What 2A does is demonstrate that the militia power, unlike the other enumerated powers in Article I Section 8 is shared by both the national and state sovereigns that constitute the parties to the compact, with “the people” not representing individuals in plural but rather sovereign political units.

      Worse than the butchering of text and history, proponents of the individual rights view of the Second Amendment, whether they realize or not, are implicitly rejecting the key political theories that can’t be disentangled from the Constitution like popular sovereignty and expressly delegated powers.

      Individuals believing they have a right to use force to provide a federal check on tyranny within the constitutional system itself and not as an extralegal right of secession, self defense or revolution, suggest that “We the People” as individuals are the sovereigns in the constitutional order not “We the People” as a unified political unit.

      Maybe libertarians prefer this because it caters to their worldview, but I can assure you that this is not what the Founding generation held, not even close to it.

      When it came to the 2nd Amendment they got serious

      So serious that a private right to bear arms was barely mentioned throughout the ratification process. Hell, it wasn’t even one of the primary reasons that the Federalists proposed a new Constitution and lord knows the anti-Federalists weren’t all gung ho about a centralized power protecting their liberties. They saw the states as playing that role.

      They can infringe all over it.

      The federal government or the states?

      However, the English had an assumed right and duty to keep and bear arms going at least all the way back to King Alfred, and those rights became enshrined in case law in the 1100’s and then made their way into the Magna Carta.

      The smart people that the individual rights crowd doesn’t run into very often are more than happy to acknowledge. What we demand from the individual rights crowd is to trace those rights through the Declaration through the Articles through the Constitution in a way that closely matches Founding era political thought and not through some modern day originalism theory.

      What you’ll probably find is that when the colonies declared independence from the crown, they retained sovereignty for themselves. Their state constitutions and declaration of rights included rights for both the sovereign political units “the people” and individuals (i.e. persons, men). Sovereign rights to bear arms were easily reconcilable to a sovereigns right of defense. You probably won’t find much on individual common law gun rights, as the people would have retained those rights and delegated whatever regulatory authority as they saw fit.

      All of this would have been in the realm of each of the states. The people didn’t delegate them to the federal government under the Articles of Confederation, and with a Constitution that they knew was going to be legally binding on them as a people, they were jealously guarding their liberties and weren’t going to use the federal Constitution to solve a problem that they felt best solve themselves.

      Instead, all we get is the rah-rah pom-poms nationalist living Constitution which best justifies the Second Amendment.

      If I had to time to fully flesh this out, I’d need at 20,000 words on at least six separate topics to appropriately rebut the individual rights 2A position. Not sure if I have the time so this is the best I care to do at the moment.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Dave says:

        @dave 1) I would love to read that post.

        2)”Maybe libertarians prefer this because it caters to their worldview” was… not really necessary? I don’t, personally, even know that George is a libertarian, and I know libertarians who don’t believe or prefer that.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Maribou says:

          I would love to read that post.

          Me too. But 20,000 words on six different topics would make for a very long blog post.Report

        • Avatar Dave Regio in reply to Maribou says:

          @maribou

          My comment about libertarians wasn’t intended as a backhanded slap but rather an off-the-cuff reference to how I think libertarian political and constitutional theory drive the modern 2A arguments, including a natural right of self defense.

          Wasn’t meant to be mean spirited.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dave Regio says:

            One of the fun things is that we trade away our natural right to self-defense when we enter civil society. I mean, wouldn’t it be nuts if people were allowed to shoot others if they were in fear for their lives? Especially because we have no idea if someone is “really” in fear for their life after the fact. We’d be stuck with people gaming the social convention and saying “I was in fear for my life” even though they weren’t just so they could get a freebie. That’d be crazy.

            As such, we trade our natural right to self-defense to the society as a whole and trust that society will defend us appropriately.

            Of course, at that point, libertarians probably bring up Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales, DeShaney v. Winnebago Country, and Warren v. District of Columbia but… I mean, come on. Those are blatant appeals to emotion.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

              One of the fun things is that we trade away our natural right to self-defense when we enter civil society.

              I genuinely don’t understand this. If the right to self-defense is natural it can’t be taken away. What you may lose, I suppose, is a codification of that putative right (you and I both agree there are no natural rights) in precisely the terms you prefer. (Eg, I have a natural right to nuclear weapons.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                I didn’t say it was taken away. I said it was traded away.

                As part of the social contract of living in a civilized society, natural rights are traded away to the society. Indeed, if you don’t like it, move. Somalia still uses Natural Rights.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                A natural right also can’t be traded.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Is this one of those things where I’ll swap words around until we agree on something like “in exchange for living in civil society, I will waive my ability to exercise my right to self-defense knowing that if I exercise it, the civil society will exercise its own force against my person” or something like that?

                Because I’m down with hammering out the precise wording of the concept I’m trying to get across (which, I think, is within our grasp).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Then keep working at it. It’s your argument.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Sure.

                How about something like “In exchange for living in civil society, I will waive my ability to exercise my right to self-defense knowing that if I exercise it, the civil society will exercise its own force against my person.”

                If we agree that rights can’t be taken away, and we agree that they can’t be traded away, can we agree that our right to exercise our natural rights can be waived?

                Or is that something that cannot be done either?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                If we agree that rights can’t be taken away, and we agree that they can’t be traded away, can we agree that our right to exercise our natural rights can be waived?

                No. Natural rights can’t be waived either. The codification of those rights might not align with a person’s conception of them tho.

                But again, neither you nor I believe in natural rights, so…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’m not saying “waiving the right”, I’m saying “waiving the right to exercise the right”.

                Or is the right to exercise a right a natural right as well, as would be the right to exercise a right to exercise a right, all the way down the infinite regression?Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Stack overflow. Core dumped.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                Does that mean I get to yell “Reductio!” and do a victory lap or should I link to the TMA or what?Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird I think it means you should get your woman some lunch, personally.

                (Speaking PURELY personally, of course. Since moderator intervention based on the desire to not have to go allllllll the way downstairs and make myself some toast would definitely be an abuse of powers. *wistful sigh*)Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

                I can’t believe that worked.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Wait, you’re going to yell “reductio” about your own argument?

                Why are you making it then?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                I thought that it was the whole “you can’t waive the right to exercise a right” argument that was absurd.

                I mean, we agree that rights can be *VIOLATED*, right? Now we just have to ask if people can violate their own rights, willingly, as a cost of living in a civil society.

                But maybe you can’t violate your own rights either. No more than you can trade them away. Or waive them.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                I thought that it was the whole “you can’t waive the right to exercise a right” argument that was absurd.

                JB, *your* argument is that people can waive the right to exercise a right. If you think that claim is absurd, then you think your own argument is absurdReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yes, my argument is that they can. I do not believe that this is an absurd argument.

                The argument that they can’t is the argument that I believe is absurd.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                I person cannot waive away their natural rights any more than they can waive away gravity. Even less so, actually.

                Reminder that I don’t believe they’re real. Nor do you!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Can they voluntarily choose to violate their own rights as a cost of living in a civil society or can you no more violate a right than violate a law such as gravity?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

                You can waive away your right to exercise your right to self defense, but you can’t waive away my right to self defense.

                There is of course also a ton of case law that establishes your right to self defense.

                My housemate once defended a really nice kid who was arrested for assault because he saw somebody getting beaten up and tackled and punched that person’s assailant. He figured he’d be convicted because he did technically assault the guy.

                My housemate (who was a public defender) told him. “No. What you did was not a crime. You are allowed to use force to defend yourself, your family, and any other person, even a stranger.” He says he’ll never forget the smile on that kid’s face when he realized he hadn’t committed a crime. It made practicing law worth all the hassle.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                This doesn’t sound right. I mean, I think the whole “natural rights” idea is a bit suspect, but I don’t think I’ve traded away my right to property, or privacy, or freedom of movement, or sexual autonomy, or speech, or for that matter self-defense, just because I live in a civilized society. To the extent that a civilized society is infringing on those rights, it really ought to stop.

                It seems like the proper argument here is that the natural right to self-defense is respected by the law, which allows for justification as a defense when one is charged with a violent crime.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                This doesn’t sound right. I mean, I think the whole “natural rights” idea is a bit suspect, but I don’t think I’ve traded away my right to property, or privacy, or freedom of movement, or sexual autonomy, or speech, or for that matter self-defense, just because I live in a civilized society.

                I can find you no shortage of examples of the right to self-defense *NOT* being respected by the law. (Granted, my most egregious examples are from Europe (see, for example, this one).)

                To the extent that a civilized society is infringing on those rights, it really out to stop.

                I mean, I *AGREE*, but it doesn’t seem to be playing out that way in practice. The law remains the law and one still finds oneself in a position where one has to pick between honoring one’s own right to exercise one’s natural rights and one’s right to live in accordance with the law.

                I suppose we could argue for “jury nullification” or something like that but I looked behind that door and people started talking about racism and lynching and it went in bad and dumb directions so let’s avoid that.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                I can find you no shortage of examples of the right to self-defense *NOT* being respected by the law.

                Sure. Along with rights to life, liberty, and property.

                It seems to me that having a civilized society that actually always respects those rights is an aspirational goal, and one that any real society can, at best, approach asymptotically.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                Along the way to approaching that goal, people need to collaborate and agree to not exercise their right to, for example, revenge. Or bump stocks.

                Should “handguns” be part of that, is (one of) the question(s).Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                I would question whether people have a right to revenge at all. A right to bump stocks also seems a bit on the silly side.

                Having a handgun seems to plausibly flow from a right to self-defense.

                But this is actually getting perilously close to my own problem with the whole idea of natural rights, which is that there doesn’t really seem to be a good way to sort out what is a natural right and what isn’t.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                Well, the perilously fine hair that I enjoy splitting is the whole issue of prevention of other people from doing things.

                Do I have a right to X?
                Let’s agree that the answer is “we don’t know, but leaning ‘no'”.
                Should you, therefore, have the power to prevent me from Xing?

                And it seems to me that there’s a lot of things that I don’t technically have a “right” to that you don’t have the “right” to prevent me from doing.

                Of course, we, as a society, might come to the conclusion that, yes, we *DO* have the right to prevent you from doing X (and you can find all sorts of examples that fit easily in there as well as examples that we, as a society, agreed upon a number of years ago but now we know that we, as a society, were totally wrong back then).Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                And it seems to me that there’s a lot of things that I don’t technically have a “right” to that you don’t have the “right” to prevent me from doing.

                Me personally? No, obviously not.

                Me as part of society, with all the various due process protections in place? I think so. Without those protections in place, though, it’s illegitimate, just a lawless exercise of power. Even if you don’t have a right to eat styrofoam, throwing you in jail for eating styrofoam if there isn’t a law against it is (to me) obviously bad. But if there is a law, well, it’s on you.

                The whole deal seems to be that you trade the power to decide on your own to stop people from doing stuff that they don’t have a right to do, even if them doing it infringes on your rights, in return for getting the state to do it for you. It’s not obvious you have a general right to do that, which is why it makes sense that there’s a specific right to self-defense that we talk about, which only applies to immediately prevent the most serious sorts of infringement.

                As part of the deal, you get a bunch of rights that don’t make a lot of sense in the absence of a state, like due process, the right to counsel, and the right to trial by jury.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                And when it leads to weird places like “and that’s why cancer patients can’t smoke marijuana”, you find yourself in weird places.

                “Well, that’s why we have a process to change things” would be the answer to that, I suppose.

                The answer to that?

                Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to pillsy says:

                The right to revenge was cited by Locke as an example of something a legal system is meant to short circuit. As he said, when people are left to seek justice on their own they go too far, and it often perpetuates a cycle of vengeance. So we have courts and sheriffs and such.

                The right to a bump stock doesn’t exist under the logic of either US vs Miller (1939) or Heller vs DC (2008) which considered both the use of a weapon by our military (no unit used sawed off shotguns) and what the people are popularly choosing to use to defend themselves (semi-automatic pistols and rifles). If tens of millions of people had chosen to use bump stocks they might be protected, but bump stocks are an oddity, arguably make the rifle less useful (they become full-auto all the time) and are quite uncommon, so bump stocks aren’t protected.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

                The right to revenge was cited by Locke as an example of something a legal system is meant to short circuit.

                The act of revenge was cited by Locke. He never said it was a right.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater says:

                You mean that if someone steals my wicker basket, I don’t really have a right to hunt them across an entire continent, murder their family in front of them, carve out their beating heart, and eat it?

                *rethinks that pair of hiking boots on Amazon*Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

                Sorry, dude. Locke was a buzzkill when it came to that sorta thing.Report

            • Avatar Dave in reply to Jaybird says:

              One of the fun things is that we trade away our natural right to self-defense when we enter civil society.

              We trade it away for a common law right of self defense, which sets forth the boundaries and conditions under which self defense is justified, does it not?

              I mean, wouldn’t it be nuts if people were allowed to shoot others if they were in fear for their lives?

              The answer to that question is circumstance-specific. Someone that has a gun and is a direct threat? Not nuts. A home intruder that didn’t expect you there and is running, out of your home, has his back turned to you and is 100 plus feet away? I may have an issue with that. In a state of nature, you can probably make a self defense claim, but I don’t know if common law doctrine goes that far. It’s not my area of expertise.

              As such, we trade our natural right to self-defense to the society as a whole and trust that society will defend us appropriately.

              Yes and no. You are part of the society and it’s the society that delegates powers to an agent like a government to protect those rights, pass laws for the common good, establish a police force/military/whatever, etc. You would hope that a common law right of self defense would mirror the natural right in appropriate circumstances.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dave says:

                We trade it away for a common law right of self defense, which sets forth the boundaries and conditions under which self defense is justified, does it not?

                Sure, sounds good to me.

                The answer to that question is circumstance-specific. Someone that has a gun and is a direct threat? Not nuts. A home intruder that didn’t expect you there and is running, out of your home, has his back turned to you and is 100 plus feet away? I may have an issue with that.

                I’m also 100% down with this. Personally, I’m a big fan of the Castle Doctrine and much, much less of a fan of the whole “Stand Your Ground” thing (though I understand why it would frustrate people to hear that a woman who shot a male carjacker would have charges pressed against her).

                You would hope that a common law right of self defense would mirror the natural right in appropriate circumstances.

                And if it doesn’t, you can either vote in someone who will change the common law or, tah-dah, you can move. Right?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                And if it doesn’t, you can either vote in someone who will change the common law or, tah-dah, you can move. Right?

                No, there’s always revolutionary violence.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                I see “revolutionary violence” as a failure state of civil society.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                {{You apparently forgot to mention that it’s a viable third option for disgruntled voters who don’t want to move.}}Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Sure, fine. You’ve got three options.

                Try to change it from within, exit, or press the reset button. Hey, there is also the option of defecting. Probably another couple of options as well.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

                Legislators don’t get to vote to change common law, only statutory law. Common law is the body of case law that gets handed down. What makes common law so good is that it’s not based on the whims of a politician, but on lawyers and judges trying to find the right answer in a specific case, so it tends to comport with our sense of property rights, fairness, and all that.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Dave says:

        I recently heard someone describe the 1st and 2nd Amendments thusly:

        1st Amendment: The government has to guarantee me the right to Free Speech, Freedom of Religion, etc.

        2nd Amendment: Because I said so.Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          @mike-dwyer

          I think I debated a guy here that took that Second Amendment position albeit using way too many words 😀Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dave says:

            I remember that! Great thread, great discussion.Report

            • Avatar Dave in reply to Stillwater says:

              I just went and re-read it.

              I could have done better but I couldn’t get him to understand how painfully wrong he was about “the people”. I”d push more on that now seeing as I’ve read Kurt Lash’s work on the 9th, 10th and 11th amendments.

              There’s the whole popular sovereignty thing too but let’s not overwhelm anyone.

              😉Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dave says:

                I thought you did a great job on that myself. As I recall you had to do a lot of chasing as he kept changing his definition and that ain’t easy. All the other stuff was great too.

                Do you have the linky handy? I’d like to read some of that stuff again.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Stillwater says:

                @stillwater

                There’s a lot of chasing going on here, but in this specific, I don’t think it’s one-sided. I know I’m throwing out a lot of stuff so broadly that it’s going to leave gaping holes I can’t plug without a deep dive into the details.

                For example, I’d have to address George’s comments on the Kentucky Constitution (and other state constitutions) in a much better manner than I can now, especially since 2A arguments flow from the state constitutions and the conceptions of liberty therein.

                I know I can do it, but not in a 100-word, three sentence paragraph.

                https://ordinary-times.com/2016/11/22/confession-of-a-liberal-gun-owner/Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dave says:

                Thanks for the link! That was a fantastic discussion. I’d bet you could cut-and-paste your comments into a coherent essay with only minimal editing, Dave. You wrote a lot of really good stuff there which I think folks would enjoy reading and thinking about.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Dave says:

        What 2A does is demonstrate that the militia power, unlike the other enumerated powers in Article I Section 8 is shared by both the national and state sovereigns that constitute the parties to the compact, with “the people” not representing individuals in plural but rather sovereign political units.

        The Heller decision disagrees with this reading, holding that the right to keep and bear arms is also an individual right. Under the early militia laws, each person was required to provide for themselves a specified minimum of arms deemed sufficient to let them do any basic soldiering that they might be called on to do.

        And early state constitutions bear this out, and in some cases make explicit that the right is an individual one. For example, my state constitution says “The right of the people to keep and bear arms, in defense of themselves and of their state, shall not be questioned.

        The arms here are serving two purposes. Individual self defense and collective self defense, and those purposes are being served with the same arms in both cases. My state also makes it illegal for the state government to hand out weapons to the militia, so in the past the state has just told the militias which gun stores had the best deals, even if those gun stores were located out of state. Seriously. They did that.

        My state also makes it illegal for law enforcement or any state officials to seize guns and ammunition during a crisis. They can commandeer your car, occupy your house, and take all your food, but they cannot touch your arms. Those are off limits.

        Given all that, the people have to have the right to personally keep and bear arms to fulfill their obligations to their state. If I don’t show up armed when called upon by my lawful militia commander (who is a gay Democrat), I can be hit with a $20 fine or the seizure of an equivalent value of my furniture (thanks to the Shakers who were conscientious objectors that made really nice chairs). The only exemptions I could get are if I worked as a gunsmith, in a lead works, or was involved with weighing tobacco. One the bright side, if I get wounded during militia service I get workman’s comp just as if I’d been injured in a mine. (KRS 37.285 – Amended 1974)

        As an aside, there were some very interesting legal debates just prior to WW-II about the Constitutionality of the federal draft. The Constitution says the federal government can raise an army, but nowhere does it say the federal government has the power to force people to join the US Army or Navy. So in a series of legal contortions, they held that the federal government isn’t drafting citizens, it’s just reassigning militia members who are fulfilling their obligation to show up with a gun when called, and that absent their service in the militia, they can’t be drafted by the US government.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

          The Constitution says the federal government can raise an army, but nowhere does it say the federal government has the power to force people to join the US Army or Navy. So in a series of legal contortions, they held that the federal government isn’t drafting citizens, it’s just reassigning militia members who are fulfilling their obligation to show up with a gun when called, and that absent their service in the militia, they can’t be drafted by the US government.

          I…don’t think this is right.

          I’m pretty certain the right to draft people is understood to be one of those inherent rights of a government that just exists in general.

          They can draft people into an untrained or less-trained fighting force aka a militia, they can draft them into a more permanent and trained fighting force aka a military, they can draft people for law enforcement aka a posse, they can draft people to dispense legal conclusions aka a jury, etc, etc.

          We sorta inherited a bunch of English political assumptions like that. Like the right to a writ of habeas corpus, which literally not is granted anywhere in our constitutional texts, yet still somehow exists and can only be revoked in specific circumstances.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

            The debate over the draft was occurring because the Continental Army depended on states to draft people into state units, which then provided them to Washington. They did impress some sailors, but I’m not sure we want an impressment system.

            Anyway, there are a few snags. The Constitution says “he President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.”

            The militia is where the drafting happens, and Washington couldn’t just reach down and steal recruits from the states. A federal draft does that. During the War of 1812 Congress didn’t succeed in implementing a draft, and during the Civil War it was done at the state level, but almost everybody was a volunteer anyway.

            Then came WW-I and the idea was that if England, France, and Germany were drafting everybody into national service, we would have to do the same. Then we dropped the system after the war, only to restart it in the late 30’s. Various Supreme Court rulings have found it’s okay, but the reasoning seems somewhat unsatisfactory. The framers insisted that the militia would be a check on the tyranny of a national army, but if the federal government can just draft everybody into the national army, there’s no one left to serve in the militias that are supposed to keep the federal army in check. There’s a contradiction there, and some of the practices we inherited from England are practices we wanted to explicitly get rid of. And then we hit the vagary that the Constitution says the federal government can raise an Army, but doesn’t say how it’s supposed to do that. Lawyers like to be on firm Constitutional grounds, and this question is mush.Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to George Turner says:

          @george-turner

          The Heller decision disagrees with this reading

          Well, yeah, but obviously I have more than a few disagreements, the least of which being that anyone that fancies himself or herself an originalist should recognize the Heller decision and the “originalism” behind it as an abomination.

          I want to respond to your points so I don’t want to go too far down into a rabbit hole, but for the purpose of addressing whether or not the Second Amendment protects an individual right, I’ll ask this – why the hell should we care at all about the original public meaning?

          Go back and read this. Better yet, I”ll post a quote from one of the most influential and devastating critiques of original intent originalism:

          As understood by its late 18th and early 19th century proponents, the original intent relevant to constitutional discourse was…that of the parties to the constitutional compact – the states as political entities. This original “original intent” was determined not by historical inquiry into the expectations of the individuals involved in the framing and ratifying the Constitution, but by a consideration of what rights and powers sovereign polities could delegate to a common agent without destroying their own essential autonomy. Thus, the original intentionalism was a form of structural interpretation. To the extent that the historical evidence was to have any interpretive value, what they deemed relevant was the evidence of the proceedings of the state ratifying conventions, not the intent of the framers (pp 887-888).

          Powell was critiquing the original intent originalism of the 1980’s, but his criticism applies equally to anything that doesn’t fit the structural description that I would use to argue against Heller or any other position.

          Powers were delegated to a national sovereign. How? The people in each of the states, not as individuals but as a sovereign collective unit had to consent, and if they did, it was their collective understanding, that should be sought for meaning. The best sources are the notes to the ratifying conventions as these were “the people” acting in their sovereign capacity.

          The problem for proponents of the individual rights view of 2A is that there’s almost no direct evidence that they can hang their hats on. They may be references to an armed populace, etc., but the silver bullet argument just isn’t there.

          If you want to see that real original intent originalism in Heller, read the dissent.

          Under the early militia laws, each person was required to provide for themselves a specified minimum of arms deemed sufficient to let them do any basic soldiering that they might be called on to do.

          I”m not sure why that’s relevant to an individual and CONSTITUTIONAL right to own firearms for private use

          And early state constitutions bear this out, and in some cases make explicit that the right is an individual one. For example, my state constitution says “The right of the people to keep and bear arms, in defense of themselves and of their state, shall not be questioned.”

          Three issues.

          First, define “the people”. The Declaration of Independence spoke of the “Right of the People” to alter and abolish their governments. Does that suggest that altering and abolishing a government, a right of revolution or secession are rights held by the people as as individuals plural? No. Not at all. The Right of the People is one of the cornerstones of popular sovereignty. In the founding era, “the people”, which would be used in several amendments in the Constitution including the second, did NOT mean a group of individuals plural but rather a sovereign unit.

          Second, does a sovereign people “bear arms” to hunt? To protect against personal intruders? To shoot at old whiskey bottles? No. Bearing arms in the context of a sovereign people had a military context – i.e. the militias. A free and sovereign people claiming a right to self defense predated the Constitution, the Declarations and was well-established in the laws of nations. The founding generation were well-schooled in the du Vattel.

          It’s possible that your amendment came later in the 19th Century, but it reads like the Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights. People had a distinct meaning in that era.

          Third, let’s just say a state constitution did confer an individual right. I say so what? Any sovereign people can (well, could at the time) put whatever they wanted into their own state constitutions. That’s the right of the people. However, what drives me crazy is what feels like a default position that because a right was at a state level, they would have elevated it to a federal level. Given the debates, the fear of centralized power and the debates over who protects the rights of the people from federal tyranny, such a view stands history on its head.

          The arms here are serving two purposes. Individual self defense and collective self defense, and those purposes are being served with the same arms in both cases.

          What sources are you using and when was your state constitution ratified? If you’re in the 19th Century, we have a whole other angle to discuss – the rise of nationalist constitutional theories. While I haven’t fully vetted it out, my gut is telling me that the individual rights view of the Second Amendment started to develop in earnest as nationalist theories were trying to combat the compact theory.

          Since I’m fading fast – I’ll hit one more point:

          As an aside, there were some very interesting legal debates just prior to WW-II about the Constitutionality of the federal draft. The Constitution says the federal government can raise an army, but nowhere does it say the federal government has the power to force people to join the US Army or Navy.

          This was an issue prior to the War of 1812 as well, and Daniel Webster may have referenced the Second Amendment in his response to it. I’ll have to check on that though but I do remember the discussion turning to militias.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Dave says:

            Well, there are some problems in your reasoning. The people are the same people who are protected by the 4th Amendment against abuses by the collective that might show up without a warrant.

            If they don’t have an individual right to bear arms, then they’re useless to the collective “people” because they wouldn’t have any idea which end of the gun to point, nor would they be familiar with its operation and use. Somebody has to be cleaning those things, making sure the flint is good, and maintaining all the accoutrements. Note that the people who were excempt from militia duty were the gunsmiths. They were needed to maintain everyone’s personal weapons.

            And those weapons were personal. When Kentucky sent troops to defend New Orleans against the British, they left their rifles at home. Those rifles were for defending their families against Indian attacks stirred up by the British, and of course for putting dinner on the table. Those rifles stayed with their wives and kids. They wrongly assumed that when they showed up in New Orleans the government would issue them government rifles. The government didn’t do that, and they refused to fight unarmed. This caused a bit of a stink.

            And of course if the right to keep and bear arms wasn’t an individual right then Kentucky wouldn’t be a state because no organized military units came here, just guys with guns looking to see what was here. I’m pretty sure Daniel Boone was armed. I’m definitely sure our state was okay with that, being settled by guys who came here with guns.

            If you look at the state’s own bill of rights, you’ll find that many specifically said that the right to keep and bear arms was for personal defense, such as my state constitution which says “in defense of themselves and of their state.” Those are two different things. They’re only defending their state when called up. When they’re not called up they’re not defending their state, just themselves.

            But in any event it doesn’t much matter because I’m a Browning machine gunner in what used to be the 79th Kentucky regiment, whose commanding officer is a gay Democrat. I used to hang out with the commander of Rockcastle County’s militia. A third of his swearing in ceremony is about dueling and another third is about commanding the militia. Then there’s some stuff about being a judge, probably added so people would know what job he’s being sworn in for.Report

            • Avatar Dave in reply to George Turner says:

              @george-turner

              Read the first part of the 4th Amendment and explain why people and persons are both used. They mean two different things. Would you like to go to the First Amendment and explain that “people” meant individuals when the right to assembly was typically understood as a political act and not as groups of people protesting?

              Like I said before, and I know I can’t really post a ton of links in a comments section, research on the 9th, 10th and 11th amendments lean heavily towards “the people” as a sovereign political unit. As Kurt Lash has said repeatedly, the retained rights of the people could include individual rights but also include the right to self rule. It’s not that individual rights aren’t addressed but rather HOW they are addressed. Again, this goes back to the underlying structure of the Constitution and how the idea of sovereignty drove it.

              The term collective rights is garbage and is unfortunately a term that crept into the modern lingo. “Collective” assumes rights exercised collectively by a group of individuals. That’s not the correct way to view the early Constitution. “Collective” should be more like “sovereign” and you’re in the ballpark.

              The rights retained by the people in the Ninth Amendment included those sovereign rights, as both the 9th and 10th were addressing structure and federalism as opposed to rights.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dave says:

                Well, let’s look at it:

                The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

                Seems to me that they’re using “persons” when they’re talking about a direct object and “people” when they’re talking about a noun.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                (Er, not noun. Subject.)Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Dave says:

            The founding generation were well-schooled in the du Vattel.

            I doubt that. There were only a few copies of his work in circulation in the colonies and those had only recently arrived.

            It’s possible that your amendment came later in the 19th Century, but it reads like the Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights. People had a distinct meaning in that era.

            That’s from our 1792 constitution.

            It states in Article XII:

            II. That all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness. For the advancement of these ends, they have at all times an unalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish their government, in such manner as they may think proper.

            The right of the people to abolish their state government, or the federal government, is recognized.

            XXIII. The rights of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

            XXIV. That no standing army shall, in time of peace, be kept up without the consent of the Legislature; and the military shall, in all cases and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.

            XXV. That no soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

            There they’ve worded it “the right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State.” Is that a collective citizen, or is a collective citizen a comrade?

            Then back in Article VI it says:

            2. The free men of this Commonwealth shall be armed and disciplined for its defense. Those who conscientiously scruple to bear arms shall not be compelled to do so, but shall pay an equivalent for personal service.
            3. The field and staff officers of the militia shall be appointed by the Governor, except the battalion staff officers, who shall be appointed by the field officers of each battalion respectively.
            4. The officers of companies shall be chosen by the persons enrolled in the list of each company, and the whole shall be commissioned during good behavior, and during their residence in the bounds of the battalion or company to which they shall be appointed.

            And the militia is different from the state Army. Article II on the governor says:

            7. He shall be Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy of this Commonwealth, and of the militia, except when they shall be called into the service of the United States.

            Report

            • Avatar Dave in reply to George Turner says:

              @george-turner

              Let me see if I can understand you…

              1. On du Vattel, I’m wrong because you said so based on your “doubts”.

              Let me be blunt here..your doubts don’t interest me. Your substance and ability to defend it does. Even if I concede your unsubstantiated claim about the founding generation not having access to du Vattel due to the fact that all copies in circulation were not available to them, compacts, treaties, alliances and the laws of nations were all out there during the Founding era and it all came from him.

              Do you think the Articles of Confederation and the doctrine of expressly delegated sovereign power was created in a vacuum? Do you think there wasn’t some historical basis in the southern states’ arguments about a right to secede?

              You do realize that in order to make your arguments work, you have to ignore large swaths of history, right?

              Never mind. Resolved: The founding generation knew nothing about the laws of nations because no one could find a book.

              2. Your state constitution gives you the right to abolish the federal government? That’s impossible given that it was in effect a compact involving fourteen parties, the people of each state in their highest sovereign capacity and the sovereign We the People of the United States that they created. We the People of the United States have that right. We the people of each of the states have an extralegal right to secede, something the Civil War did not change.

              Your state has all sorts of remedies in the event that you believe a law is unconstitutional, mainly interposition, but that’s really it. Otherwise, it’s secession or revolution and no longer being a party to the compact.

              3. For the rest of your state constitution, I’m going to need to know what state it is so I can read it and look at the timeline of any amendments.

              I’ll note that your highlighting the term citizen undermines your argument because nowhere is that term mention in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

              4. You’ve avoided several of my arguments. The last time I argued this subject about a year ago, my “opponent”, if I may use the term loosely, was only effective when forcing me to chase down and counter his arguments. Had I been able to drag him into a discussion about the Constitution, the compact theory and the key defenses of it, especially James Madison’s Report of 1800 and St. George Tucker’s A View on the Constitution (which the individual rights crowd attempts to hang it hat on…amusingly I may add), he would have been more finished than he was.

              If I REALLY wanted to get cute, controversial and inflammatory as hell, I would associate the individual rights view of the Second Amendment, at least its most extreme interpretations, with John Calhoun and the 19th Century nullifiers. The only person that would be more upset than modern day individuals would be Calhoun himself.

              In fact, now that I think about it, wasn’t John Calhoun’s theory of nullification, both his constitutional and political theories (compact theory on steroids and concurrent majorities) meant to serve as a federal check on tyranny, or at the very least, unconstitutional laws?

              Poor John. All he had to do was cite the Second Amendment and send the South Carolina patriots with their guns to the ports to prevent the Tariff Act from going into effect.

              Damn, can you see how much fun I can have with this?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Dave says:

                1. Vattel didn’t create international law. He was a Swiss guy who in 1758 gave his own observations about how it seemed to work. Every country already had a long history and a plethora of its own observations on how law worked, along with how citizenship worked.

                The latter is important because English citizenship was not like most European citizenship that Vattel was familiar with. He assumed that a person wasn’t an English citizen unless they were born to two parents who were already English citizens. His current popularity is due to the fact that if he was right, and if the Founders actually used him as a major reference, Barack Obama was never President of the United States. He’s a totem for the Birther movement.

                Three copies of an English translation of his book were known to have been given to Benjamin Franklin in 1775 and Washington’s name is associated with two of those. Franklin says they were popular but we don’t know which or how many founders actually read them, or read which parts, or what they thought of it. We do know they were familiar with English common law in the Colonies, along with a wide range of British statutory law.

                2. The Declaration of Independence says people have a right to alter or abolish their systems of government if those systems become abusive. Early Constitutions are just echoing that, and from that idea they derive their legitimacy.

                3. It’s the Kentucky constitution of 1792.

                Perhaps the Kentucky Constitution used the term “citizens” instead of “people” because they knew who they were referring to, and it wasn’t just the state delegates to the Constitutional conventions, nor was it slaves or illegal immigrants or any other way their meaning might be later misconstrued.

                4. The US Supreme Court takes the individual rights view.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to George Turner says:

                Point (1) doesn’t rebut my points about the laws of nations, treaties, compacts, etc. Even if I’m incorrect on the technical points on du Vattel, and I don’t think I am, it doesn’t change how the founders approached organizing a federal government under the Articles of Confederation. Tell me that wasn’t a compact. Tell me the Constitution wasn’t a compact either, at least partly. I got plenty of Madison for you to read.

                Point (2) is a “Right of the People” not the “people have a right”. Big difference. Again, you claim that the people are individuals pretty much because you say so. Fine. I don’t need to convince you, and all you’re doing is showing me your weak points. A comments section is neither the time nor place to appropriately address this.

                Point 3 is what it is and your “perhaps” tells me you’re just throwing shit against a wall to see what sticks. I’m not going to chase your mental gymnastics and goal post moving until you put own line in the sand and stick to it.

                Still, we can talk all we want about state constitutions and what they may or may not have held. You still have not come off of the default assumption “if it was in the states, surely it was intended at the federal level”. I don’t agree with that at all, and that’s a function of the 20th to 21st Century rights-centric view of the Constitution that developed over the last 60 years.

                That was not the tone of the ratification debates, and one of the reasons a Bill of Rights was added was because of a lack of a clause that expressly limited the powers of the federal government like there was in the Articles of Confederation. Much of the debate was about delegating powers, the threat to state sovereignty and certain rights that needed to be protected as a result of the new government binding the people (i.e. due process, jury trial, cruel and unusual punishment).

                There was great distrust in centralized government and the opponents of the Constitution saw it as a threat to liberty, not a rights-respecting entity. That’s why the states jealously guarded their sovereignty. That’s why the Federalists bent over backwards to explain that the states would be the protectors of the the liberties of their own people.

                As it is, under the original Constitution, absent a Second Amendment, under what power could the federal government disarm citizens? None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Reading the 2A as an individual right protected by the federal government reads like the federal government trying to solve a problem that no longer existed.

                Sure, tell me about how the British attempt to disarm the citizens and I’ll tell you the people solved that by claiming sovereignty for themselves and declaring their rights in their own respective constitutions.

                On (4), do you agree because it fits your worldview or do you agree because you have the firepower to debate me on the merits/flaws of the decision.

                If we can get you off of the number of du Vattel’s books in print and focus on the points that matter, we can get into the nuts and bolts of Heller. I’m game. You?Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Dave says:

                @dave “Point 3 is what it is and your “perhaps” tells me you’re just throwing shit against a wall to see what sticks. ” is a bit much. On the other hand, @george-turner, your point 3 is… problematic in any interpretation I can come up with, particularly as phrased it seems deliberately inflammatory at best. So I agree that it should be dropped.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Dave says:

                1. How the government was structured has little to do with the natural rights it protects. Whether we were a confederation or a union doesn’t impinge on jury trials, your right to counsel, the need for a search warrant, grand jury proceedings, or your right to bear arms, as opposed to perhaps addressing issues about the Supremacy Clause.

                2. If the people only have a collective right to bear arms, where do they get the arms they’re supposed to bear as a group? The colonists had always kept their personal rifles, pistols, and swords at home. Only cannon and large supplies of powder (that might make a big boom at an inconvenient time) were stored in public spaces. All the framers were intimately familiar with how they kept their guns and how the militia operated. The reason they emphasized organization back then was that the combat tactics of the day required large unit actions by disciplined men to stand up to massed volley fire. Better weapons made those tactics obsolete, and now we fight more like Indians or pioneers.

                In the English and especially the Colonial tradition, people supplied their own arms when called out, as opposed to looting royal stockpiles and gunsmiths and then using those weapons to storm the Bastille to get yet more weapons.

                3. Reinforces the point that the people be armed, not just as military units after being called up, but all the time. Our state government never had a vast stockpile of weapons in an armory somewhere. We had no Bastille, just some little wooden stockades where everybody initially lived, such as Fort Boonesboro. Everybody in those stockades kept their rifle at hand and they didn’t go about the land unarmed. That would be suicide because this whole place was a battleground that war parties fought over. So we said that all the citizens have a right to bear arms.

                4. Heller:

                Held:

                1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53.

                (a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.

                (b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved. Pp. 22–28.

                (c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment . Pp. 28–30.

                (d) The Second Amendment ’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms. Pp. 30–32.

                (e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.

                I cited my state constitution of 1792, which would be one of those they mentioned in (c). They go on to say that it doesn’t protect a right to unusual weapons, or to carry weapons in particular places such as court houses.Report

  12. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I return to what I often offer: make people responsible for what happens with the guns they purchase.

    If you buy a gun and maintain it safely and no harm ever comes of it, you’re cool.

    If your gun is used to harm people, you fail the “responsible gun owner” test and at the very least you forfeit your right to own guns and perhaps have some civil or criminal liability depending on the specifics.

    If your gun is lost or stolen, report it. That’s what a responsible gun owner does. That mitigates your liability. Lose too many or have too many stolen? You ain’t responsible.

    If you buy a gun in Wisconsin and it’s used in a gang murder in Chicago and you can’t account for it’s whereabouts or how it got there, you aren’t guilty of murder but you sure as hell aren’t responsible: no more guns. And if it’s found you intentionally participated in it getting there, now you’re facing criminal charges of some kind.

    What’s wrong with this plan?

    ETA: If you sell the gun legally, the sale is tracked and responsibility transfers to the new owner. A pattern of sales to future-crime-breaking buys may forfeit your rights.

    Would hunters back this? It’d likely have no impact on them beyond some paperwork to document sales and ownership. If not, why not?Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy says:

      As a Hunter, that’s not particularly a concern of mine… but I do know that guns are a prime target for theft out here; my [minor] issue would be a system that allows me to indicate that I am not in possession of my Marlin 336. I mean, if my car gets stolen, I have no idea what my VIN is… I just report my Nissan Altima is stolen. Which just leads to the whole question of a registry.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine says:

        Yes, the system would require a means of tracking guns. Knowing who owns what guns where and when is a step toward being responsible.

        If guns are a target for theft, secure them adequately.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Marchmaine says:

        It’s really only a registry if it is centralized and under government control.

        As long as Uncle Sam can’t go data mining without a narrow warrant, it’s not much of an issue.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Yes, the registry would only be intended for use by the government after a crime was commited.Report

          • Avatar DAMOM in reply to Kazzy says:

            Only after a crime? Please. My state has a registry. You think cops are going to roll up to a house, say on a domestic disturbance call, and say “i could call in and see if there are any firearms registered to this address or i can just wing it”? Nah, they are gonna call, or dispatch will have already told them.Report

            • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to DAMOM says:

              But would that really be that unreasonable a use scenario? DV calls are among the most dangerous calls cops have to respond to.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Road Scholar says:

                “unreasonable” no.

                But every thing like this as creep.

                Oh, we’d NEVER use stingers to actively monitor people’s cell phones. Until they did. Oh, we’d never use the registry when we pull you over for speeding, ’cause you might have that gun in your car.

                We’d never use lisc plate recognition sw to build a pattern of people going about their daily lives, no..just for emergencies, oh and amber alters…and oh yes, silver alerts…

                Camel nose/tent. Give them an inch, they’ll take a mile and just not tell you.Report

          • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to Kazzy says:

            You could do something wild like have the NRA run the registry and require a warrant to get the information.

            Gun owners report info on what guns they have to NRA, contact them & policeif the weapon is stolen etc.Report

            • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to TrexPushups says:

              I outlined pretty much that same idea here a couple years ago. I called it F.O.R.T., Firearms Owners Registry Trust. It would be a legal trust with a charter laying out the mission of the trust and its responsibilities to the trust beneficiaries — the firearms owners — as well as the general public. It would protect the registration data behind a picket of lawyers who would scrutinise requests (warrants) and challenge any that crossed a constitutional line. The trust itself would be vulnerable to tort actions by beneficiaries for non-performance to its charter mandate, which is essentially to protect their 2A rights in accordance with SCOTUS interpretation. If the government truly went off the rails they could simply smoke the whole thing.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          That’s a dead issue because up in New York, where registration is required, an upstate newspaper published a map of all the gun owners’ locations. Many of them were retired law enforcement officers. Outrage resulted.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner says:

            If the registry is held by private insurance companies, and the information in it is only accessible with a warrant, the FOIA has no bearing. If a reporter comes poking around for the list of gun owners All State insures, they are going to be told to go pound sand.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              Yet that would run afoul of both the 2nd Amendment and the 4th Amendment’s right to privacy. Many states have passed CCW laws, thereby acknowledging that a person has a right to carry a firearm without other people knowing that they are carrying a firearm. That is an acknowledgement of both your 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, and your right to not let other people know that you’re exercising your right to keep and bear arms.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner says:

                @george-turner

                What would? A private insurance company maintaining records of identifying information for the items they insure, or someone digging for those records without a warrant?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                My objection would be a law requiring you to give that private information to someone else. Guns are covered under a general homeowner’s policy, when insured at all. We’ve got 300 million guns and virtually none of them are covered by a special insurance policy, and nobody has complained yet. Arguing that guns suddenly have to be insured for some new reason is a stretch, especially since we don’t require ax and knife insurance.

                We do require insurance for cars, but cars are still considered a privilege, not a right, and especially not a right made explicit in the Constitution. Often the car analogy is brought up in gun discussions.

                There is an argument that in the modern age, a car should be a right instead of privilege because we’ve shaped society around cars, and without one many people can’t get to work or go to school. Basically, they’re the new horses, and the government never licensed horses or required horse insurance. A car used to be a luxury item, as aircraft are today, and that’s when the idea of taxing and regulating them took hold, but once they became a necessity for modern life, their status should’ve changed.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner says:

                An insurance requirement is not beyond the pale. You own guns, you need to have sufficient liability insurance to cover a mishap. I have a $500K rider on my homeowners in the event of an accidental shooting. Costs me $50/year, because I have a safe. My home theft coverage only requires I be able to prove I owned big ticket items I claim, so I write down the serial numbers and take photos, then email them to myself. My insurance company doesn’t have to keep that information on hand, but if one wanted copies, I would not have an issue giving it to them.

                Now, if the government insisted insurance companies keep those records, I would most certainly want to make sure such records are only accessible via a warrant, but straight up liability coverage would not require such records. All liability would be concerned with is, “do you own a gun?”. If yes, they may have follow-up questions regarding safe storage, and training, etc., but the specifics of the firearm remain irrelevant.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I don’t even see why you need to disclose your have firearms.

                I have liability on my car, my rental house, and and umbrella liability policy. Not sure the base liability on the house, but the car is 500k and the umbrella is 1m. I see no need to tell the insurance company WHY I want that level of liability. But if pressed I can say “if I hit a soccer mom with 3 kids in a SUV, and injuries result, I could be in for some major liability.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Damon says:

                I worry less about the personal disclosures of ownership (although I pretty much handle mine like Oscar – I’m a meticulous record-keeper). But I do think one of the best things we could do long term is to start getting the movement of firearms regulated. Trafficking is what is causing much of the trouble in places like Chicago.

                The mistake that the Left often makes though is when they start talking about broad documentation of all ownership. Rooting around in people’s basements and documenting every gun they own. That’s the stuff that makes gun owners cringe. Or when they say things like, “No one needs to own THAT MANY guns,” which implies they want the government to put a cap on ownership. Also a scary prospect.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I wonder if legally requiring personal sellers to maintain contemporaneous records of sales (including who the gun was sold to) without necessarily putting them in a centralized repository would be a reasonable compromise.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

                Maintaining the records at the seller is a stretch, too unreliable.

                I’d suggest the records be maintained by the local sheriff. Honestly, if I was to author a compromise, I’d say that every transaction record be maintained in an electronic database that the local sheriff runs. That way a trace would run from manufacturer to sheriff to buyer. My reason for sheriffs to hold the records is that many sheriffs are always a bit surly when it comes to federal over-reach, so should the BATFE or FBI go on a fishing expedition to hoover up ownership records, you just know there will be enough sheriffs who will make a stink as to put the brakes on it.Report

              • Avatar aaron david in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon
                Actually, it wouldn’t be TOO difficult. Right now, if you have a C&R license (FFL type 3, Collector of Curios and Relics) require you to have a Bound Book recording all transactions of firearms. In return, this allows you to mail order firearms that are listed by the ATF as C&R, along with anything over 50 years old.

                Something of this sort could be workable. If I remember correctly, you are required to keep the book for life, it is available at anytime to the ATF, etc. But you get the ability to bypass waiting periods, buy out of state, etc. This could be a solution, if there are exceptions for gun owners piece of mind.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Yeah, I read that.

                Doesn’t mean it can’t be done, we just need to find a way where the trace is doable, but wholesale data mining is not. Back in 1986, preventing computerization was the way to do that. These days, there might be a way to satisfy the GRA side while still allowing LEAs a way to complete a trace rapidly.Report

              • Avatar bookdragon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Since the folks at the warehouse in that article have to go through microfiche or reams of paper just to find who sold the gun with a given serial number and then call them to get the info on the buyer/owner, I don’t understand why just the seller part can’t be put in a computer database.

                No searchable list of names of owners that govt might come for, just serial number tied to last seller, who has to be contacted by appropriate authorities with appropriate reason to get the name of an individual current owner.

                It wouldn’t bother me at all to have a weapon’s serial number listed in that sort of searchable database. But then I’m not a hardcore GRA. What reason for objection am I missing?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to bookdragon says:

                Because once you have the computer database, you could add other searchable data fields as well, and apparently that way lies madness.

                Although to be serious, the issue isn’t about allowing limited data center updates, as such, as the fact that doing so would require a new bit of legislation, and the NRA is not interested in allowing new legislation through that could alter that status quo, because they have so firmly hung their hat on that peg that to budge on it is to risk loosing support to groups like the GOA.Report

              • Avatar bookdragon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                [[sigh]]

                I am reassured to hear that I am not simply missing an obvious argument because I grew up in a less paranoid era (back when not knowing the rules for safely handling a gun meant the community of gun owners would be the ones wanting your gun taken away until you demonstrated that you had learned).

                However, I am also deeply disheartened that I have to agree with you. It’s sad thing that an organization that I once considered a good source for gun education is increasingly one that seems to have all the credibility of the Tobacco Institute.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to pillsy says:

                I think extra special tracking for guns inflicted on private sellers may be a problem in terms of getting people to follow the law, and I especially think it’s going to be twisted by the powers that be to make purchasing firearms more difficult simply because that’s what they want.

                So how big is problem we trying to fix here, and how likely is it that it’s going to help?

                This can’t do much for mass murderers, because those cases are always solved (the dead guy with the gun in his hand did the shooting). Tracking/crime solving also isn’t an issue with suicides, and that’s two thirds of the deaths.

                Isn’t the bulk of the remaining already outside the system? Drug dealers and gang bangers killing each other with guns they’re already forbidden from having?Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                “best things we could do long term is to start getting the movement of firearms regulated. Trafficking is what is causing much of the trouble in places like Chicago.”

                Really? Seems to me that’s the same as saying “we need to start tracking narcotics transfers”. Like criminals are gong to disclose the movement of their products.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Damon says:

                The transaction of importance is when the arm moves from the legal market to the illegal one, and not because it matters for any single transaction, but in the aggregate, patterns emerge and things like corrupt dealers or straw buyers become visible.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Damon says:

                Every illegal firearm possession starts with a legal purchase by someone. That makes it much different than illegal narcotics.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Let’s assume that’s true. That’s a matter of convenience only. It’s not too hard to actually make firearms. Let’s assume that trafficking in firearms is made prohibitively difficult. Don’t think a “solution” will occur?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Damon says:

                Sure, but that will significantly raise the cost.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Damon says:

                @damon

                I refuse to believe that people will start building handguns at home if we do things like trace ammunition and document all gun transfers. Will they look for ways around the law? Sure. But I think what you are talking about is assuming too much.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                The LAW ABIDING won’t do it, except for a minority. I’m talking about the criminal element. If a crew of crooks typically get’s their guns through straw purchases and that avenue is no longer available, they’ll seek other ways. Now, those guys are probably in the drug trade, a multi billion dollar industry. Think they’ll think twice about getting some guy to make their guns? Of course they could also just break into gun stores or national guard armories too, or pay some guy to “loose” a shipment.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Damon says:

                So that circles around to enforcing the laws on the books. If all gun purchases have to be registered, then people caught with those guns go to prison. The trafficking stuff is something we should be able to do better at…and I’m saying this as someone who is adamantly opposed to the Drug War.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                The fact that guns are non-addictive will probably help. 🙂

                Also the fact that even the most ardent gun control measures leave both ranges and hunters alone, meaning if you like to shoot guns for fun, there’s perfectly legal ways to go about it.

                If you banned guns entirely, confiscated them all, then maybe you might have a black market situation.

                If instead you’re just insisting on registration and insurance, and that certain classes of guns can’t be owned without certain licenses (you know, like now) — well — the truly hard-core hobbyists will get the licenses, the dabblers will visit ranges with the licenses, and the vast bulk of owners won’t even notice because all they own is some hunting stuff or a handgun, so they just register it and move on.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Morat20 says:

                If you tried to confiscate all the guns nobody would care about gun crime because they’d just be trying to survive the civil war.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Every illegal firearm possession starts with a legal purchase by someone. That makes it much different than illegal narcotics.

                Only currently, and only because it’s easy. The market for illegal weapons exists, is well established, already used by criminals, and is more or less parallel to the narcotics trade so those criminals already have access to import/export trade routes even if they don’t currently use them much for guns.

                Close down all gun manufacturers tomorrow and by the end of the month drug dealers will be using imports. The month after that they’ll be selling guns as well as drugs.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Maybe we could put a company like Equifax in charge of it.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Oscar Gordon: As long as Uncle Sam can’t go data mining without a narrow warrant, it’s not much of an issue.

          My expectation is the list gets published on the internet.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

      I was going to put this in tomorrows Tech Tuesday, but I thought it might be applicable here.

      https://futurism.com/illinois-is-experimenting-with-blockchains-to-replace-physical-birth-certificates/

      Illinois is going to play around with the idea of using blockchain to help secure birth certificates. For those who are more familiar with the details of blockchain than I ( @davidtc , etc.), could blockchain technology be useful for creating a way to trace a gun, without creating a fully searchable registry?Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Uh…probably?

        I’m not sure what is actually trying to be accomplished here.

        I get the birth cert thing, although there’s absolutely no reason to use blockchains for it.

        Using blockchains for that means there are are exactly three options there: a) if someone loses their cert they can get another copy of it, in which case this is basically just a login, b) if someone loses their cert they can get it reissued, and the state somehow indicates the new one is the true one, in which case this is basically just a login, c) if someone loses their cert they are screwed and no longer legally exist, in which case this is really stupid.

        So I do not see any point of ‘blockchains’ over just ‘Everyone gets a login at a website that holds their records, and can grant other people access to said records’. (Which is a good idea.) But whatever.

        But anyway, WRT to guns, what are we trying to accomplish here?

        The gun store, when they sell the thing, could, instead of writing down who they sell it to, have that person make a block indicating they got ownership of it, and make sure that block gets out. (It’s slightly different than that bitcoins, where the new owner wants to make sure the transaction data gets out to prove they are the owner after that point, so the bitcoins can’t also be transferred to someone else, whereas here, the old owner would want to make sure the data gets out to prove they are no longer the owner after that point…but that works fine.)

        It’s basically replicating the existing system, where they write it down and keep the paperwork. Except with an added bonus that gun shops have to publish that documentation…which means they cannot forge or alter it later. So, I mean, sure, blockchains would basically work better in that sense. But there are a few problems with that.

        First, the problem with the current system is that it only applies to gun stores. Are we going to make individuals sign transfer blocks and distribute them when selling guns? Because right now we can’t even seem to make them do paperwork, and now we want to make them do digital signing?

        Granted, this is exactly the same weaknesses as the existing system, so whatever.

        But, hey, let’s pretend that birth certificate thing got off the ground, and we have people regularly signing things, including gun blockchains.

        And now…the government knows exactly what guns everyone has. The entire concept of blockchains is that information is signed, and then distributed to everyone, and the fact everyone knows it is what keeps people from rewinding the chain. (Which keeps a bitcoin owner from being able to transfer the same bitcoins to multiple people, and why transactions take a bit of time.)

        All the government has to do is get in the networks, and it can see each and every gun transfer and who owns them.

        Now, depending on who is issuing the starting blocks for these things, it might not know what a particular gun actually is. Maybe the manufacturers are starting the blocks. And people could even invent fake guns and trade them around to confuse the system.

        But this system seems to do exactly what the anti-gun control people don’t want.

        Honestly, if we were going to do this, plain ole locally-kept digital signatures makes more sense. Every new owner could sign that they now own the gun, and give a copy of that signature to the previous owner. We don’t need any ‘blockchains’ or anything…if I buy a gun, I fill out a digital form, with my name and gun serial, and then digitally sign it and the old owner keeps a copy of it to prove who it was sold to.

        Which makes it almost exactly the same the system works now, including privacy. Except if you did that with government-issued digital signatures, and, most importantly of all, made it apply to all gun transfers, it would be a bit better.

        Edit: Oh, and as an added bonus…if we actually had government-issued digital signatures, we could require background checks for all transfers, because right now the current sticking point is ‘We don’t want to let any random guy do a background check on anyone because he claims he might sell a gun to them’, but if people had to sign their own background check request, that problem is solved.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:

          Admittedly, it is probably long past time for me to sit down and dig into the mechanics of blockchain, but I haven’t yet, so I apologize for not being up to speed on this.

          The basics for what I see as a reasonable system is one where the information about who owns what exists, but is obscured/encrypted/protected unless the law enforcement has a serial number and make and model (and ideally a warrant). If the police have that, then they can get the whole ownership chain up to the last legal owner. The make/model/serial number becomes a public key that reveals the rest. Now the government could get all that information from gun makers, but attempting do so on a simple warrant or subpoena would attract attention from the NRA/GOA/SAF/EIEIO.

          I just don’t know if such a thing is possible.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to DavidTC says:

          Or….you could just do the equivilant of transferring title to the gun. I’m frankly happy, as a citizen, to subsidize that to make it cheap (a few dollars, tops).

          Of course, once again, sensible things like “It’d sure be nice to know who owned this gun” runs into rampant “But then the government will known what guns we have”.

          And the questions is: What possible difference do you think that will make? Has there every been, in the last century, some point where the government said “I guess I won’t arrest you, we don’t know if you have guns”?Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Morat20 says:

            “But then the government will known what guns we have”.

            I’ve never understood the privacy argument. Unless someone is spending zero time on gun-related websites, only making purchases with cash, not buying hunting licenses, not carrying a CDW, etc…Uncle Sam knows.Report

  13. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    It’s the safe that lets them know where the guns are.Report

  14. Avatar Morat20 says:

    I don’t think hunters are gonna change the gun arguments any. Last statistics I saw indicate that self-described hunters are a much smaller group than they used to be (and those that have actually hunted in the last year even smaller).

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find that hunters are a minority among gun owners.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Morat20 says:

      @morat20

      True on the declining numbers but I think in terms of dollars spent, we have a lot of clout. State wildlife departments get at least 25% of their budget from us (the other 75% potentially comes from Pittman-Robertson – and of course we also supply a % of that). I also think we get a lot more approval from the Left than the guys that run tactical rifles, for better or worse. So…put us out there and maybe we can fight above our weight class with all of that support.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        I’m sure you do. But it’s declining.

        And I’m not sure hunters have the clout to be the face of gun owners anymore. You’ve been pushed aside by the tacticool bros and the militia and that’s the best case because at least neither of them are white supremacists, the other heavily armed group.

        And frankly, you do get a lot of support from the left — only the most ardent anti-gun left has anything against hunters or guns being used and owned by hunters. (And those are, by and large, urban liberals dealing with urban gun problems and bluntly hunters are at the bottom of a long list of stuff they’re totally impotent on, so I wouldn’t fret).

        I worry less about any backlash against the tacticool types taking hunters with it than about your numbers and clout diminishing further because gun ownership becomes synonymous with, well, the idiots.

        Bluntly put: If you guys don’t put your foot down on the stupidity soon, I’m not sure you’ll be able to. Hunters lost the NRA at least a generation ago, in favor of “self defense” types that are currently morphing into some bastard child of militia sovereign citizen nutbags and outright white supremacists gearing up for the race war.

        And the NRA is the face of guns in America. It ain’t my father-in-law, hunting in the woods and teaching gun safety to his grandchildren. It’s a scared guy buying his 9th gun for “self defense” while openly fantasizing about what he’s gonna do to the “thugs” when they invade, or some moron in face-paint and camo outside a Denny’s, complaining that people get upset when he brings his AR-15 in.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Morat20 says:

          @morat20

          I don’t disagree with anything you are saying here. And that was my intent in the OP. A call to action on the part of hunters. We need to take back the conversation.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            I was mostly just agreeing with you.

            And I feel you. Speaking as a Democrat, if somehow we end up getting super-majorities and replacing SCOTUS, I’ll be lobbying to make sure gun control changes don’t impact hunters.

            Well, besides paperwork. Universal registration will probably require some forms. 🙂

            Seriously, if all gun owners were like my father-in-law and not like, well, as opposed to the two people I know with CC licenses (in a sane world, why they claim they need a CC license should be justification for not giving them one) I suspect life would be a lot more pleasant on this subject.Report

        • Avatar Maribou in reply to Morat20 says:

          @morat20 ” If you guys don’t put your foot down on the stupidity soon, I’m not sure you’ll be able to.”

          Isn’t that pretty darn close to the actual point of Mike’s post? Not sure why he’s getting so much pushback that seems to … fundamentally agree with him.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to Morat20 says:

          I worry less about any backlash against the tacticool types taking hunters with it than about your numbers and clout diminishing further because gun ownership becomes synonymous with, well, the idiots.

          The political left has been making an awful lot of bets based on the prospect of those beyond the pale of acceptable progressive opinion being considered idiots. Most of those bets don’t seem to have paid off. I’m honestly not trying to be facetious here, but maybe it’s time to try a different strategy.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to j r says:

            ’m honestly not trying to be facetious here, but maybe it’s time to try a different strategy.

            You think that’s a strategy I’m arguing for? I don’t think you read what I wrote very closely.

            If it was something I was hoping for, I wouldn’t use the phrase “I worry that….” for one.Report

  15. The National Rifle Association’s signature issue these days is the right to carry, concealed or not, a loaded short-barrel handgun in public places, many of them quite crowded. Where do you think a hunter-centric advocacy group should stand on that issue?Report

  16. Avatar pillsy says:

    The Babylon Bee posted this helpful (and surprisingly relevant) summary of pro- and anti-gun-control positions. H/T @trumwill.Report

  17. Avatar Damon says:

    The Bee forgot this part of the pro gun control side:

    “lie lie lie about not wanting to ban all guns” No we want “reasonable gun control” 🙂Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to Damon says:

      @damon Can you think of an equivalent for the anti-gun-control side?Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Damon says:

      I think this has more to do with the structure of the coalition working towards guns control than actual deliberate deception. Sure, some activists lie, obviously, but gun control advocacy is a mix of people who just want (what they see as) relatively mild “common sense” measures that leave private gun ownership largely intact [1], others who will openly they want no civilian gun ownership, and a lot of people in between.

      This means that gun control advocates aren’t generally bad, dishonest people, but it still means that the basic “if you give an inch, they’ll take a mile” logic still operates, because the people who just want limited new regulation simply can’t commit that the gun control coalition won’t go further.

      [1] This is one area where the complaints that a lot of gun control advocates don’t know anything about guns is most relevant, since a lot of rank-and-file advocates, at least, have no idea the scope of what they’re asking for.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

        I think this is where I have trouble being patient with the gun-control side. If you are someone that has reached the point of actual advocacy vs. just having a strong opinion, you need to do your homework. And as I mentioned upthread somewhere, this isn’t rocket science. It’s way easier to educate yourself on guns and gun laws than say, healthcare policyReport

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Yup. It’s especially frustrating when you come across it from people who usually spend a lot of time and effort diving into policy minutia when the subject is taxes, or healthcare, or the environment.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to pillsy says:

        This means that gun control advocates aren’t generally bad, dishonest people, but it still means that the basic “if you give an inch, they’ll take a mile” logic still operates, because the people who just want limited new regulation simply can’t commit that the gun control coalition won’t go further.

        Weirdly, for some reason despite this being true of literally every single political issue, somehow it’s only a deal-breaker for moderate laws WRT gun control.

        There are a lot of examples of this sort of conflict in politics. There is one group of people, let’s call them the pro-control, favoring regulation of something, often with a bunch of that not knowing much about what is going on and wanting things to go too far. And there’s another group of people, the anti-control not wanting regulations anywhere near that far.

        And in pretty much all cases, the anti-control people works together with the sane members of the pro-control people to come up with some sort of ‘compromise’ that isn’t really a compromise at all, as it’s the sane and rational regulations that even the anti-control people are in favor of.

        I mean, let’s look at supposedly the most extreme example…abortion. The anti-control (aka, pro-choice) side of the abortion debate seems like they could hypothetically be that, a group of people opposed to any regulation at all…except they aren’t. No one else is out there saying ‘I am anti-control, but this specific proposed law restricting abortion is reasonable. Except I won’t support it because the pro-control people have no idea what they are talking about and their rules will continue all the way until abortion is completely illegal’. (They don’t say that despite this being blatantly true.)

        And thus there are, indeed reasonable laws about abortion that pro-choice people do agree with, like only allowing doctors to perform it. (They are so reasonable we tend to even forget they exist!) The pro-control people are still pushing nonsense and extreme regulations and often do not appear to understand anything, but, weirdly, the anti-control side is not saying ‘You know, we should be demanding the right to have abortions provided by Starbucks baristas!’.

        This…does not appear be how it works in gun control, and it’s because this description has omitted the lunatic anti-control side, who want no regulation at all. Those people are completely marginalized (Even moreso than the lunatic pro-control side.) when it comes to every other issue in politics…but not here.

        I also remind people that that gun control in this county used to work exactly the way I described. We outlawed machine guns because no one was insane enough to think people should have machine guns. We outlaw shooting guns in city limits. Etc, etc, etc, until suddenly, the lunatic anti-control side hijacked the discussion.

        So the excuse of ‘There are crazy people on the pro-control side’ is just that…an excuse. Every issue that can be regulated by the government has a bunch of crazy people who want to over-regulate it…and also a bunch of crazy people who don’t want it regulated at all. And the knowledgeable and moderate people in the middle get together and work something out.

        Except in gun control, where the moderates on anti-control side have decided to pretend that the extremists on the pro-control side render them incapable functioning…despite the fact they could actually work without the support of anyone on the pro-control side at all! It doesn’t matter what the pro-control side thinks! The anti-control could say ‘We disapprove of all your dumb suggestions, and offer a counter of a magazine limit,’, and the pro-control people would leap on it and do it. No ‘deal’ is needed.(1)

        This is because, of course, that supposed reason is just a lie…the actual reason the moderate anti-control side can’t do anything is because the lunatic anti-control side is too big a threat to their political career. There is nothing anyone on the pro-control side could change to change that.

        1) And I can prove that by the way that the anti-control side is basically offering to do that for bump stocks, almost unasked. Politics doesn’t require any sort of ‘deals’, you can just offer things and they get done and everyone remembers ‘Oh, we solved that problem’ and a lot of push by the other side’s extremists goes away. There is a reason that slippery slope is listed as a logical fallacy…a lot of the time, it’s exactly the other way. Moving slightly down the slope sometimes improves your footing! It makes you seem more reasonable, and politics is mostly the art of appearing reasonable.

        Of course, the anti-control side is only offering that because the leadership of the anti-control extremist loons, aka, the NRA, got on board with it.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to DavidTC says:

          I’m not sure I will be able to do justice to every point in your long post, but I think your analogy with abortion is a good one, but it is misapplied.

          Many (the vast majority, IME) opponents of gun control are entirely content with some regulation. For example, there is very little resistance to the idea that automatic weapons should continue to be tightly controlled, to be the point of being virtually banned.

          This is not so different with the way pro-choice people are generally OK with requirements that abortions be performed by doctors, or with restrictions on abortions after the point of viability (or almost equivalently, in the third trimester).

          In both cases, new stuff is viewed as dangerous, but stuff that’s been there “from the start” gets much less resistance or pushback.

          But pro-choice people will fight like hell to avoid new restrictions. Often these restrictions are cast as reasonable, and in some senses probably are reasonable. It’s certainly the case that countries which have, in practice, abortion access that’s better than that in most of the US also start restricting abortions well before the third trimester, but pro-choice activists are (rightly, IMO) fighting like hell against restrictions on abortions past 20 weeks.

          Because when you see how those interact with motivated private anti-abortion activists and aggressive state governments that agree with them, it becomes another tool that can really hinder access, and makes the incremental benefit of throwing other barriers to delay women from getting abortions that much higher.

          You can find analogous examples of gun control that looks benign or helpful on the surface but, in practice, just turned into a way of preventing people from getting guns. For instance, a lot of people think (reasonably, IMO) that it’s a good idea to require training before letting people buy/own guns. After all, people who do stupid things with guns can be pretty dangerous.

          Unfortunately, this sensible idea has been more or less ruined (at least I think so) by governments that have basically kept the number of slots available for training very small, and they wind up going to people who have the right sorts of political connections.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to pillsy says:

            You can find analogous examples of gun control that looks benign or helpful on the surface but, in practice, just turned into a way of preventing people from getting guns. For instance, a lot of people think (reasonably, IMO) that it’s a good idea to require training before letting people buy/own guns. After all, people who do stupid things with guns can be pretty dangerous.

            Yes, you can find analogous examples in the gun control debate, things that seem reasonable but are not in the current situation. Mandatory training and short waiting periods, both would seem reasonable on their own, but they are a tool used to restrict access.

            You can also find things that seem reasonable but aren’t actually, like banning ‘silencers’ and mandatory ultrasounds, both of which are stupid ideas that only sound reasonable to people who have done no research as to what those consist of.

            But the thing is, in guns, you can also find examples that are not analogous. They have no analogy in any other political debate. They are good ideas, they have no actual objection to them, they are not part of some sort of existing restriction…and yet, somehow, the ‘reasonable’ anti-control side will not even consider them.

            For example, requiring registrations of guns. Having magazine size limits. Requiring documentation of transfers. Requiring people to get a FLL if they sell X guns a year.

            Even something like bump stocks exist because, before this point, the anti-control side were basically out-of-control in demanding that gun regulators not be allowed to bar obviously absurd and dangerous gun modifications like that without specific laws. While no one may have specifically fought for bump stocks, they only exist because Federal regulators were completely and deliberately hamstrung.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:

              2 Points: The BATFE will absolutely demand you get an FFL if you sell more than a few guns a year (I think the limit is something like 5 a year or so, but I’d have to research it to be sure).

              The BATFE has near total control over certain firearms accessories it permits unless it is specifically prohibited by law to do so. Every bump firing device on the market has to be approved by the ATF before it can be offered for sale, and they are not obligated to explain why they declined to approve your device. The reason bump firing devices are generally allowed is because the same effect can be had with a stick, or a hand with one finger hooked through a belt loop, and the thumb in the trigger guard, i.e. up to this point, the negatives of bump firing a weapon significantly outweighed the advantage of the improved fire rate. It was seen as little more than a novelty that let people have fun turning money into noise and smoke at an accelerated rate.

              But there is no law (that I am aware of) that hamstrings the BATFE when it comes to such devices.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                2 Points: The BATFE will absolutely demand you get an FFL if you sell more than a few guns a year (I think the limit is something like 5 a year or so, but I’d have to research it to be sure).

                Nope. The law says is if you are in the ‘business’ of reselling guns, you need a FFL. This is…completely undefined.

                I, personally, would be rather inclined to think that people who bring multiple guns to gun shows and rent booths in advance to sell them and have signs and prices are, in fact, ‘in the business’ of selling guns, but apparently the ATF does not think so.

                The ATF’s definition mostly appears to be if you purchase a gun for the purpose of reselling it, you need a FFL…but weirdly do not seem to think that someone maintaining purchasing 30 guns in a year and selling 30 guns of the same model (If not the same guns.) the same year is an indication that they are buying them for the purpose of reselling them…until it does think that.

                This is, weirdly, one of those vague regulations that injures gun owners and sellers, who can never be sure if they’re close to any line, and instead of an unprovable rule about ‘intent’ a much better rule would be hard and fast numbers…but nope! Because specific rules are ‘regulation’ and the NRA won’t allow that.

                You compare this to, for example, rules about used car sellers, which my brother has to live within…he sometimes purchases broken cars, fixes them, and resell them. There is a very specific number of cars he can sell a year (I think it’s five.) so he isn’t classified as operating a used car dealership. I mean, he’s not close to that number, his number is ‘maybe one’, but he knows what it is. A nice hard line.

                We could make nice hard rules about gun reselling, too. You get to average two a year, starting now. We will exempt from that total any sale where money can be proven to be lost based on purchase price vs. sale price (Because obviously gun resellers cannot operate a commercial business by making sales at a loss.) , and so we’ve exempted counting returns(1), gun buyback programs, and emergency hardship sales. Throw in an inheritance exemption also, so people can quickly sell off large collections they’ve inherited, and we’ve got a workable regulation.

                But nope. Not going to do it. It’s ‘gun control regulation’…despite the fact that the law already exists. BATFE sitting down and making it well-defined would count as ‘regulation’. So it’s just this vague ‘in the business of’ rule that they will arrest people for breaking.

                There are, of course, state laws about this. California almost completely bans sales between private individuals, other states require you to register them.

                1) I am assuming gun stores charge some sort of restocking fee, but if they do not currently, they can surely charge a single penny or something so that a person who returns a gun technically ‘loses money’ on the entire transaction, and thus it isn’t counted against their reselling total. Assuming gun stores even take returns.

                The BATFE has near total control over certain firearms accessories it permits unless it is specifically prohibited by law to do so. Every bump firing device on the market has to be approved by the ATF before it can be offered for sale, and they are not obligated to explain why they declined to approve your device. The reason bump firing devices are generally allowed is because the same effect can be had with a stick, or a hand with one finger hooked through a belt loop, and the thumb in the trigger guard, i.e. up to this point, the negatives of bump firing a weapon significantly outweighed the advantage of the improved fire rate. It was seen as little more than a novelty that let people have fun turning money into noise and smoke at an accelerated rate.

                That claim isn’t anywhere near how anyone else is explaining things.

                This is what the ATF said about bump stocks:

                The stock has no automatically functioning mechanical parts or springs and performs no automatic mechanical function when installed. Accordingly, we find that the ‘bump-stock’ is a firearm part and is not regulated as a firearm under Gun Control Act or the National Firearms Act.

                The ATF itself seems to think it has no authority to regulate ‘firearm parts’.

                You can argue it is wrong, but my point is not that they are not allowed to do so via the law, my point is that either the law does not allow it, _or_ the regulators are so threatened by the NRA that they are interpreting the law wrong.

                BATFE felt it was unreasonable for them to attempt to regulate bump stocks based on their interpretation of the current law, and by ‘their interpretation of the current law’ I mean ‘what the NRA will not sue them over’.

                But there is no law (that I am aware of) that hamstrings the BATFE when it comes to such devices.

                The BATFE is only allowed to regulate what the laws allow it to regulate.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:

                The ATF web page has a pretty good FAQ on what constitutes being in the business of selling. You are correct that the definitions are squishy (and I do hate squishy legal definitions, I really do), but a person can use the guidance as stated to avoid running afoul of the ATF.

                Also, the ATF just got done denying another type of trigger assist device called the AutoGlove. The ATF does denials like this all the time. One of the more famous ones was the Akins Accelerator. I know there have been others, but I can’t recall their names, and right now the Google is choked up with everything Vegas when you search on the general key words.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to DavidTC says:

          So the excuse of ‘There are crazy people on the pro-control side’ is just that…an excuse. Every issue that can be regulated by the government has a bunch of crazy people who want to over-regulate it…and also a bunch of crazy people who don’t want it regulated at all. And the knowledgeable and moderate people in the middle get together and work something out.

          Except in gun control, where the moderates on anti-control side have decided to pretend that the extremists on the pro-control side render them incapable functioning…

          This is a pretty good example of the kind of outlook that I’m getting at in my comments. I think it is a fundamental misunderstanding of the terrain. And that misunderstanding is part of why the more gun control side will continue to get very little traction, despite holding the dominant media/cultural position. That won’t translate into legislative victories, because Jimmy Kimmel and Andy Borowitz just aren’t that important outside of certain circles.

          For one thing, the excuse isn’t “there are crazy people on the pro-control side.” That’s your characterization of the middle position, formed in large part because you seem to want to deny that there is a middle position instead of only moderate versions of the pro-gun and anti-gun extreme positions. Personally, I think that there are many more crazy, irrational people on the pro-gun/pro-NRA side. It’s just that on the merits of the case for a so-called assault weapons ban, the crazies happen to be more right than the more gun control side.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to j r says:

            I would also argue that because of the opportunism that keeps creeping up on the Left, gun owners will remain suspicious. Case in point: the rush to get rid of bump stocks after the Vegas shooting. Feinstein decided it was better to get something taken off the market, rather than nothing…so she went for it. When gun owners see that, it doesn’t look very well thought out.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              Feinstein decided it was better to get something taken off the market, rather than nothing…so she went for it. When gun owners see that, it doesn’t look very well thought out.

              She introduced legislation banning bump stocks in 2013.

              Edit: That’s wrong. The 2013 leg. banned semiautos that could accept a bump stock.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to j r says:

            For one thing, the excuse isn’t “there are crazy people on the pro-control side.” That’s your characterization of the middle position, formed in large part because you seem to want to deny that there is a middle position instead of only moderate versions of the pro-gun and anti-gun extreme positions.

            I didn’t once say pro-gun or anti-gun. I said pro-control or anti-control. People who want some large level of restrictions on guns, and people who want less restrictions on gun. If you want I can call them more-control and less-control instead.

            By definition, two sides meet somewhere in the middle. It is a spectrum, like all normal political positions. Everyone sorta picks an amount of regulations on a topic they want, from 0 to 10, and we end up in ‘the middle’, or at least somewhere between those two, with perhaps some weird carve-outs. (I.e., instead of being 5, we might have a few parts that are 7, and a few parts that are 3.) This is not a complicated idea.

            Right now, we’re at 1 WRT guns. I’m not saying that because I think we should have more, I’m saying that because the population as a whole thinks that.

            The problem is, as I am pointing out, is that people who claim they are a 3, or 4, or even 5, refuse to let us set the dial to a 2. Which is well within what everyone is in favor of. We can argue 4-6, but we can’t really argue 2.

            Pillsy claimed this is due a bunch of people on the other side yelling for 10. That is the excuse that Pillsy just presented, not me. As I understand it. (And then he claimed that some regulations can interact in weird ways, which is true, but there are plenty of regulations that won’t.)

            And this, because this is a spectrum, I have no idea what sort of distinction you’re trying to make with the idea that there is some sort of ‘middle’ position on gun control that is somehow distinct from the moderates of two sides meeting together in the middle. The ‘sides’ are, literally, defined off the middle anyway.

            It is possible to make an argue that neither side is correct, that incorrect things are being argued over. Like we don’t need gun control, we need ammo control or bulletproof vest subsidies or something.

            But you can’t just vaguely wave your hands in that direction.

            Personally, I think that there are many more crazy, irrational people on the pro-gun/pro-NRA side. It’s just that on the merits of the case for a so-called assault weapons ban, the crazies happen to be more right than the more gun control side.

            And when the hell did we start talking about any sort of assault weapon ban?Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

              Here’s the ATF Federal Firearms Reference Guide (PDF)

              It’s 237 pages long.

              Here’s the ATF Guidebook on importation and verification of firearms (PDF). It’s 103 pages.

              And here’s the ATF explosives regulations (PDF), coming in at 112 pages.

              All together that’s about 500 pages of regulations that we have to comply with. If that’s a one I’d hate to see what two looks like.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                You do realize that having to include regulations on explosives rather undercuts your point?

                And to a lesser but still obvious extent, so does including importation rules that pretty much are incredibly complicated for literally everything anyone is trying to import. Which is why normal people do not attempt to operate import/export businesses. Forget tripping up over gun rules, at least there it’s somewhat obvious that you should have some legal documentation for that…you can get in trouble important _wood_ if you don’t know what you’re doing.

                The remaining document is mostly relevant, at least to people trying to sell guns. There’s maybe 40 page that aren’t.

                People who are just trying to purchase guns do not really need to know any of that, and certainly don’t if they go to a gun dealer, who obviously is supposed to make sure that all transactions are legal.

                Beyond purchases and sales, gun owners are pretty much limited by state law(1), not Federal. Oh, there are a few laws, but there aren’t certainly 200 pages of them.

                But let’s pretend we’re talking about gun dealers here, not gun owners.

                Is knowing ~200 pages a lot of information to require a business owner to know?

                No.

                There are ~200 pages of regulations about selling milk. (Not making it, which is a whole different set of standards. Just marketing and selling it.)

                https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2010-title7-vol9/pdf/CFR-2010-title7-vol9-subtitleB-chapX.pdf

                1) I remind everyone, once again, that the organization that supposedly cares a lot about this has not taken the obvious step of creating some sort of app or web page where people can put in a model of gun, and their current location and figure out the various state laws about them.

                Because it suits the NRA’s purpose if state laws are seen as utterly incomprehensible and random, when in reality anyone could easily keep track of the nearby state laws about the guns they actually own.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

                The explosives regulations are highly relevant. I’m into reloading (thus I have gunpowder, including black powder), high power rocketry (regulated by the ATF since the motors are explosives and the rockets are just short of being SAMs), and caving, where we sometimes uses chemistry to make small passages into larger ones. I’ve used everything from ANFO to RDX, but dynamite remains the most common.Report

            • Avatar j r in reply to DavidTC says:

              Right now, we’re at 1 WRT guns. I’m not saying that because I think we should have more, I’m saying that because the population as a whole thinks that.

              This is where you are fundamentally mistaken. And I think from where all the other mistakes derive.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to j r says:

                Do you want me to cite polls?

                http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/23/bipartisan-support-for-some-gun-proposals-stark-partisan-divisions-on-many-others/

                Note the headline there.

                77% want background checks at gun shows. 77% of Republicans, that is.

                56% of, again, Republicans, want a Federal database tracking gun sales.

                47% of Republicans want to ban high capacity magazines, which is admittedly not a majority, but in politics, we generally do what 47% of one party and 79% of the other party wants, maybe with some slight concessions.

                All those are the sort of sane and reasonable laws I have been speaking of, that have majority support, and only one of them falls barely short of majority support of both parties. That poll is from July 2017, which did not have any sort of recent major mass shooting to bump the numbers up.

                So, yes, we are, indeed, at a 1 on the dial of regulation. We can’t even implement a regulation, ‘background checks at gun shows’, that 3/4ths of one party and 9/10th of the other party wants.

                Granted, this regulation seems to be stupidly polled on. We don’t need to run ‘background checks’ at gun shows, what we need to do is stop allowing obvious and blatant gun resellers from running unlicensed gun stores at gun shows. We shouldn’t require ‘background checks’, we should require FFLs for 95% of these guys, which in turn require background checks and inventory management and other stuff. And rightly get a bunch of people who could not get a FFL due to previous unlawful activities out of the market.

                And incidentally, that dumb polling is why the complete failure of the ‘moderate less-regulation’ side is so damaging, and in fact is the cause of what some people here are nonsensically blaming Democrats for…stupid gun control laws. Those dumb laws aren’t the Democrats’ fault…they’re the Republicans’ fault.

                Not only will Republicans not support any sort of sane regulations, but by refusing to participate in any manner except to say ‘No!’ to everything, they have allowed the debate to wander into nonsense by people who have no idea what they are talking about, and thus, for example, 56% of their own voters support a dumbass assault weapon ban.

                We tend to get annoyed when people from an industry participate in regulation of itself, we tend to call it ‘regulatory capture’ and assume they are clearly working for their old bosses…but there’s a reason it happens, and the reason is that people with experience of an industry are people with knowledge of an industry, and thus are the ones best suited to regulate it. In theory.

                Dumbass gun control proposals is what you get when an industry, and people with ties to an industry, utterly refuses to participate in its own regulation. You get people doing a bunch of really stupid regulations that don’t do anything because that’s not how things work. Because they do not understand guns.(1)

                Any other industry in this situation would be stepping forward with a bunch of suggestions, carefully calibrated to not impact profits or increase costs very much, and yet calm down the people screaming for their head. Indeed, they would have proposed all the proposals above a long time ago, as none of them would significantly impact their business at all.

                Not normally the gun industry, though, because the gun industry operates, at this point, solely on outrage, paranoia, and lies…and a notable amount of illegal gun sales. Although interestingly they have, for the first time in a very long time, seemed to have noticed that the American people are collecting pitchforks and torches, and they have thrown bump stocks under the bus.

                1) It’s worth pointing out we get exactly the same sort of policies from Republicans on healthcare, complete nonsense, as they have no idea how any of that works…although that’s less from Democrats saying ‘no’ than from Republicans refusing to ask or listen to them.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DavidTC says:

                Good comment DavidTC. I’ve been saying much the same. The idea that liberals need to moderate their language or learn correct technical terms in order win over the undecided middle makes no sense given the data. That argument is increasingly perplexing to me.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater says:

                The data shows we could completely ignore assault rifles because they’re not even common in mass shootings. They disappear into the roundoff error in the homicide rate. Vastly more people are killed with hammers.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Stillwater says:

                @stillwater

                I don’t think it’s the un-decided middle that liberals need to win. They need to actually convince the pro-gun folks they know what the hell they are talking about. Because, in my experience, the undecided folks (on guns) are looking to the pro-gun folks for their opinion more than Diane Feinstein. Right now, that often boils down to, “We can’t agree much on policy, but we’re united on the opinion that liberals are clueless on guns.” So yeah, I do think language matters because it’s hard to think of another issue where liberals are this un-educated.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                You’re ignoring things like…universal registration, which polls at like 85% — including a majority of Republicans. Unless that’s some weird polling result where the 15% is the “undecided middle”…

                In any case, there is a simple proposed regulation with massive support. But it can’t be passed, and it’s not because of “liberals” or “the middle”.

                I’m with David here — saying “We can’t have regulations until liberals know what the parts of a gun are” is a cop-out at best. A bald-faced lie at worst. We can’t have regulations because a tiny minority is violently opposed to any regulation whatsoever.

                If the real problem was “Liberals don’t know enough about guns to make this work” then people who know about guns would weigh in on how to achieve it. Or why achieving it is a bad idea.

                Nobody says “Well, we have some good ideas or some real objections. But we’re gonna keep them to ourselves until you pass a quiz”.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Morat20 says:

                @morat20

                I’m with David here — saying “We can’t have regulations until liberals know what the parts of a gun are” is a cop-out at best. A bald-faced lie at worst. We can’t have regulations because a tiny minority is violently opposed to any regulation whatsoever.

                I could craft a survey tomorrow that asks people if they think the government should invest heavily in Elon Musk’s idea to use rockets for transportation on Earth and, if I worded the questions carefully, I bet I could get a very positive response. But I don’t know much about the engineering hurdles there so I would trust the rocket scientists if they told me it was a terrible idea, even if it sounds super-cool.

                If the real problem was “Liberals don’t know enough about guns to make this work” then people who know about guns would weigh in on how to achieve it. Or why achieving it is a bad idea.

                Ummmm….wasn’t that the whole point of my OP?

                Nobody says “Well, we have some good ideas or some real objections. But we’re gonna keep them to ourselves until you pass a quiz”.

                I’m REALLY, REALY not trying to be snarky there, but that feels like every policy discussion I have had with liberals for the last 20 years. Isn’t that the side of the aisle that prides itself on how smart they are?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                We can’t have gun control laws until liberals are experts in guns. Meanwhile, the actual experts in guns have nothing to contribute.

                Why is guns the one subject where the experts refuse to offer their expertise?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Morat20 says:

                @morat20

                Again, you’re making the same point I did in the OP. I want hunters (i.e. knowledgeable about guns) to step up so the uneducated GCAs don’t reach a critical mass and do really dumb things instead. If the Left wanted to educate themselves though, maybe they could actually move the conversation along themselves. The pro-gun side tends to dig in because we have been burned by liberals that don’t understand guns before. Example A would be the AWB which was a terrible piece of legislation but helped some folks sleep at night.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                So what are you proposing? See therein lies the rub — plenty of gun owners say the same thing. Very few suggest anything.

                Sometimes they day. My favorite is requiring schools to train kids to handle guns. It’s right behind “arming teachers” to deal with school shootings in terms of unseriousness.

                So by all means, I hope hunters step up. I don’t have high hopes — I suspect they’ll do what has always been done. They’ll be pro-regulation in theory for sensible regulations — except sadly, nothing proposed is ever sensible and darnit, they don’t seem to have any workable ideas themselves.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Morat20 says:

                If you’re asking me personally, I have lots of ideas, which I have shared on the site and even mentioned in this thread. Things like tracing ammo (I like Oscar’s suggestion of microdots in the powder) to documenting all purchases.

                I’m also an advocate of firearm education in schools. Not ‘training kids how to handle guns’ as you reference, but simply what to do if they encounter a gun. Follow the basic rules of gun safety and tell an adult.

                I went through gun safety stuff in the Boy Scouts and then Hunter Education when I was 17. That gave me a very good foundation for how to be safe with guns. Both my daughters have been through hunters education also, despite neither being hunters. But they like to shoot and it’s the best program I know of. So, I don’t consider that unserious at all, but actually a very good idea.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                “I’m also an advocate of firearm education in schools. Not ‘training kids how to handle guns’ as you reference, but simply what to do if they encounter a gun. Follow the basic rules of gun safety and tell an adult.”

                FWIW, Basic rules of gun safety, tell an adult, don’t touch the gun, etc., is something we were taught in school starting in first grade up in Canada. If anything it was just kind of funny for those of us who were already way more educated than that due to family stuff, but still somehow reassuring to be hearing it from school/teachers, knowing that other kids were also getting the #@%* scared out of them about the idea of ever pointing one at someone else, etc., and thus all of us were safer than we would’ve been if those city kids came across a gun and nobody ever taught them to be careful / nervous.
                I mean, it wasn’t that intense, right up there with “don’t run with scissors,” “don’t do drugs,” fire safety, and the like, but about 10X more serious.

                Not sure if they teach it here or not, but it wouldn’t be the worst thing if they did.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Maribou says:

                Ach, no. Plenty of schools teach that, insofar as it’s needed.

                No, the proposal was — I can’t remember which elected idiot or NRA spokesman floated it — was basically mandatory gun-handling and range time at schools. It was during the “arm all the teachers” phase.

                You’re Canadian, so you’re used to sensible regulation and sensible owners. I don’t think you have many influential people whose response to a school full of dead toddlers is to bemoan the fact that the teacher’s weren’t packing.

                Gun owners like to complain they can’t trust gun control advocates, but the OP here is one of the few times I’ve seen a gun owner mention that maybe gun control advocates can’t trust gun owners because their public spokesmen are often insane.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Morat20 says:

                @morat20 Just to be clear, I’ve lived in the US for most of my adult life, since 1998. I remember Sandy Hook. I remember those people making those completely bizarre proposals. I see them now (even in the comment sections of OT posts, though they are doing a pretty good job of being civil).

                But I think conflating Mike with them, or with do-nothings who don’t care about the problem (which you have done, repeatedly, as when you asked him what he was proposing) is about as sensible as it would be for me to conflate you with someone who wants a total ban on all guns and doesn’t know anything about them.

                I don’t read Mike (in the OP *or* in his comments here) as saying this is liberals’ *fault*, I read him as saying in the comments “gun owners, specifically hunters, need to clean this up, we need to take responsibility for this problem – but if you moderate liberals want to actually *work with us* it would be helpful if you educate yourselves and/or your allies first in order to help us trust you.”

                FWIW that’s actually what both sides DID do in the conservation movement, back whenever, they educated themselves about what the other side cared for. And for as long as that education-about-each-other lasted, hunters and other environmentalists were pretty good allies despite having a TON of cultural/political/etc/etc differences. And on the issues where they agreed they had a crapton of power, punching well above their weight as Mike says.

                That particular alliance in Canada was still going strong in some quarters even in the 90s, not sure if it still is or not. I get the sense the Vietnam war put an end to it here, mostly, but not everywhere or for everyone…Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                If you’re asking me personally, I have lots of ideas, which I have shared on the site and even mentioned in this thread. Things like tracing ammo (I like Oscar’s suggestion of microdots in the powder) to documenting all purchases.

                And yet….those are never introduced as legislation. Never brought up by the NRA, or pro-gun politicians.

                Instead they spend 90% of their time harping on non-existent “anti-gun” legislation. People still whine about the AWB, which expired without a sound — despite happening around the time of a bunch of toddlers getting gunned down.

                Universal registration — to bring it up again — is heavily supported. It’s not a wild, impossible idea — quite a few countries manage it. And yet, despite majorities of both parties supporting it, no one has even bothered to try. It’s a non-starter.

                And even here — so much ink on how those darn liberals just really need to understand guns. It’s more than a little condescending, not to mention an obvious excuse rather than a reason.

                (As for teaching kids about guns. Schools teach them “don’t touch it, call an adult”. Clearly you missed the fun proposals to turn schools into gun ranges with mandatory attendance. It was several mass shootings ago. )Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Morat20 says:

                “And yet….those are never introduced as legislation. Never brought up by the NRA, or pro-gun politicians.”

                @morat20 But that’s the point of the post? Telling his fellow hunters, we need to get into these conversations and start doing these things? It seems rather uncivilized to keep complaining *at Mike* for not doing the thing he is actively trying to get people doing?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Maribou says:

                Except he’s still pinning quite a bit on “the problem is clueless liberals who don’t understand guns” and how that’s keeping the middle from embracing sensible regulation.

                Which is, frankly, bullsh*it.

                Universal registration polls at 80%+ — majorities in both parties. Shutting down straw purchasers polls that highly as well. How are those dumb liberals who don’t understand guns preventing that from being enacted?

                Have they voted against it? Bottled it up in committee? Run ads against it?

                Did middle America — most of whom don’t own guns — support it right up until the point where they realized Congressmen Bob, who doesn’t own a gun, was gonna vote for it?

                I’m glad Mike’s trying to wrest control of the face of gun ownership away from the insane people. I’m glad he’s open to gun regulation in theory.

                But I’m not gonna give him a pass and pretend that the the problem is “liberals don’t understand guns”. Liberals not understanding guns (a broad brush if there ever was one) does not block anyone from offering solutions.

                If liberals kept blocking working solutions because they didn’t understand guns, that’d be a real point. But complaining you can’t support a regulation — not because it won’t work, but because some of the people proposing it aren’t expert enough for you — is so ridiculous an objection that it’s impossible to take seriously.

                It’s a weird form of ad hominem argument, at the heart of it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

                But complaining you can’t support a regulation — not because it won’t work, but because some of the people proposing it aren’t expert enough for you — is so ridiculous an objection that it’s impossible to take seriously.

                It’s even worse than that. The argument seems to be that sensible GRAs can’t support policy X because ignorant semantically challenged liberals support policy Y.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Stillwater says:

                @stillwater That’s not it at all.

                It’s more like

                “Sensible GRAs don’t want to work with the people pushing for policy X because those people also work with / are the same people as ignorant semantically challenged liberals who support terrible policy Y.”

                Most people have trouble actually working politically with people who they think are stupid and untrustworthy.

                I sure would.

                I suspect you would.

                Now, the question of why on earth those sensible people WOULD work with / put their trust in the NRA is a good one, but I think it’s one that Mike both answers in the OP and *also* is calling people to stop doing on this particular topic.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Maribou says:

                The mistrust started with Sarah Brady and Handgun Control, Inc. All the GRA’s just pointed to what that group kept saying. Everything they did was aimed as a step toward a total abolition of privately owned firearms. They really made no bones about it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

                Maribou,

                Not to get all nitpicky here, but include George as a person making the argument I paraphrased upthread: that GRAs can’t support policy X because liberals support policy Y.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Stillwater says:

                @stillwater Oh yeah, I see George making it. I just don’t see Mike making it. It seemed as though you and Morat20 were addressing Mike, not George. I wouldn’t (no offense George, but I’m basing this off your own comments here and elsewhere) put George on a list I was making of sensible GRAs, which is what you originally said the argument was. George is a fairly extreme GRA who feels very strongly about the topic and doesn’t really fit into Mike’s target audience.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Maribou says:

                Most people have trouble actually working politically with people who they think are stupid and untrustworthy.

                That’s true. That’s why I’ve been saying (repeating) the same thing throughout this thread: if Mike and other GRAs want to see what they view as sensible regulation passed then they need to write it up and send it to the floor for a vote. The hurdle he needs to clear has nothing to do with liberals and everything to do with the more extreme members of his own coalition. The logic that liberals have anything to do with conservatives/GRAs advancing their own preferred policy positions strikes me as confused.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Stillwater says:

                @stillwater It seems to me that you’re taking a post that’s 90 percent “here’s how we sensible pro-regulation conservatives should work on gun control” (ie, perhaps, writing that sort of legislation you’re talking about) and 10 percent “and if we don’t want liberals passing something we hate, we should educate the ones we know instead of fleeing into the arms of folks like the NRA who don’t actually represent us”, and comments from Mike that further pass into “well if you want to work with us, liberals, here’s what would get us to trust you more” (mostly because so many of the people here are commenting from the liberal position) and …. agreeing with all of it except the idea that liberals would want to work with moderate conservatives on shaping gun control legislation? But in a very non-agreeing way?

                I’m not sure why Mike is getting this pushback, specifically, just because he agrees that lack of information is a reason he doesn’t want to work with liberals on gun control measures. I’ll freely concede that I’ve been AFK a lot today but I’m pretty sure I’ve read all the comments, and I’m not seeing it.

                One thing I’ve noticed among a lot of commenters here (self included at times) is a tendency to lump everyone on “the other side” together and reply to one person as if they represent the aggregate of “not on my side” commenters in one piece. I think it’s important to try to tease out what each person is saying, and reply to that, rather than the aggregate effect.

                But I also know it’s hard to manage that. Seemingly for all of us.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Maribou says:

                My comment isn’t a response to the post, but to comments within the threads. It’s all there, to be read at anyone’s leisure upthread, so I won’t repeat it all here. I’ve done my best to present the view I’m critiquing more clearly, even engaging in dialogue with those commenters to better understand it! I’m not sure why you think my presentation of that argument is disingenuous or a mischaracterization of the actual words people have written. So I will say a few things about how this got started.

                Here’s j r’s comment that started the current dispute:

                More importantly, it would probably be much easier to get widespread agreement on the most obvious reforms if they didn’t so often come bundled with a general anti-gun sentiment that puts gun owners on the defensive.

                The argument, as it struck me then, was that liberal’s anti-gun sentiments put gun owners on the defensive, which is, I let’s stipulate, descriptively accurate. My response was to ask j r why gun owners, who ostensibly *want* to pass substantive regulations consistent with their aims and goals, would view liberal sentiments as being at all relevant to that project, especially in light of GRAs rejection of those views. I mean, it’d be nice to get liberals on board, I suppose, but that’s not the goal of a GRA initiated set of policies. Ostensibly, the aim is to pass socially useful regulations consistent with GRAs broader commitments regarding the 2A (no assault weapons ban!) and current law. But if that’s the case, then how can a liberal extremist make GRAs defensive about advancing their own views? Both now and then I mean that question to be taken seriously. Is it because they fear their legislation will start regulation on a slippery slope to fulfilling that liberal’s dream of full bans? If so, then they don’t actually support that legislation except on condition that liberals tone down the rhetoric which puts them on the defensive. Is it something else? Just the general offensiveness of the view? In that case, the person is rejecting their own views because they find liberals’ views generally offending. In each case, they’re rejecting their preferred policy X because liberals advocate policy Y. And so on.

                That’s the short recap, and thus, here we are!Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Stillwater says:

                @stillwater I wasn’t saying you’re being disingenuous, I’m saying it doesn’t seem to me like you’re listening to, and distinguishing between, the people you’ve been talking with, very well.

                They’re a bunch of people who agree about some things, and disagree about other things, and each have a separate perspective, not a unified debate team.

                so when you respond to mike as if he’s j r, and to j r as if he’s making a different argument than the one he’s making, etc…. it’s ineffective.

                At least I assume it’s ineffective, because I assume your goal is to increase both your own and others’ understanding of the situation.

                Rather than to frustrate the people you’re in conversation with. Or some other goal I’m not seeing. I actually do assume it’s the first thing.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Maribou says:

                I hear ya loud and clear. But there’s clearly plenty of frustration to go around and one type of frustration for me is hearing GRAs pin the lack of gun-reg progress within their own community on liberals. I’ve heard that complaint in various formulations from 5 different commenters in this thread and repeatedly in previous discussions.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Stillwater says:

                …one type of frustration for me is hearing GRAs pin the lack of gun-reg progress within their own community on liberals. I’ve heard that complaint in various formulations from 5 different commenters in this thread and repeatedly in previous discussions.

                I think it’s more that you’re hearing 5 different comments that you’re interpreting as that complaint. I’ve explained numerous times that’s not what I’m saying at all.

                For one thing, how do you make gun regulation progress within a community? Regulations happen in the legislature or by the executive as authorized by the legislature. They don’t happen in a community.

                I’m not really sure how to say this any other way, so I’ll try one more time and call it quits. There is a large population of people, some of whom caucus with the gun nuts and some of whom just sit the whole thing out who could be brought over to the side of more gun control. The thing that keeps them from either defecting or joining the more gun control crowd is that the more gun control crowd is politically ineffective at bringing those people over. The end result is that the status quo will remain the status quo.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to j r says:

                And I’ll say this again and call it quits too: the coalition preventing progress is on the right – not in the middle (the middle already agrees with lots of proposed regulatory measures) – and they hold those beliefs irrespective of anything a liberal might or might not say. They fundamentally oppose any increased restrictions on gun access. Breaking that logjam impeding legislative restrictions requires GRAs to shift their own internal power structure to one which isn’t so fundamentally rejectionist in defense of the 2A. And that strikes me as having essentially nothing to do with liberals’ ignorance of guns and gun culture.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Stillwater says:

                It has something to do with distrust of GCAs [1], because that distrust pushes away GRAs even if they come down near the GCAs on some issues. Many things motivate that mistrust, some easier to address than others [2], and of those things, sitting down and learning more about the things you’re trying to regulate is by far the easiest.

                [1] I’m a dyed-in-the-wool member of Team Blue, but I also generally oppose gun control, so.

                [2] For instance, maximalist anti-gun types are going to be part of the GCA coalition no matter what.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to pillsy says:

                Pillsy,

                Lunatic GCAs are like the poor: they’ll always be with us. (Same for lunatic GRAs.) If the argument is that I, a GRA who believes policy X would be sensible, appropriate and desirable, withhold my support because lunatic GCAs exist, then I don’t actually support policy X.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yes, and since lunatic GCAs will always be with us, it makes sense to investigate other ways to build trust. Having fewer ignorant GCAs is one approach that has some other advantages.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to pillsy says:

                I’d say the bad faith is more appropriately located in GCAs who who rhetorically claim to favor sensible regulations but oppose them at every turn. Look, GRAs are not acting in bad faith when they introduce a bill banning assault weapons. They’re acting exactly as their beliefs take them. That those measures are written ineffectively or opposed by others as too-extreme doesn’t imply that the advocate is acting in bad faith.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Stillwater says:

                Look, GRAs are not acting in bad faith when they introduce a bill banning assault weapons. They’re acting exactly as their beliefs take them.

                Right, and if their beliefs inspire them to push bad policy that will greatly annoy a lot of gun owners without accomplishing its stated goals, bad faith isn’t needed to explain opposition or distrust. I’m sure some pro-gun folks are engaging in bad faith when they say they’ll support regulation as long as it’s done right, but I’m also sure some aren’t.

                What’s the cost here? An activist movement that is, by and large, better informed about the subject of its activism even if it doesn’t help them persuade anybody?Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yes. As I’ve been saying, the gun nuts control the high ground. Which means that if the more gun control crowd wants to advance, they’re best bet is to start gaining support from the moderates. For whatever reason, however, they’ve crafted a set of messages that does more to alienate moderates than to draw their support.

                It seems that you agree with this observation, but stop short of agreeing with me because of concerns about who is culpable. And that’s fine. But the whole point of my comments is to point out that the gun control crowd has essentially decided that it’s more important to signal to each other and to assign blame than it is to actually win.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to j r says:

                My point is that liberals engaging in what you call pure signaling is irrelevant to whether GRAs believe certain types of measures should be taken to curb gun violence. They either do, or they don’t.

                But enough of this….Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Stillwater says:

                @stillwater

                You’re familiar with coalition-building…right?

                The NRA, paired with gun manufacturers, is a very powerful lobby. Hunters are not going to be able to combat them on our own. So our job is to talk to non-hunting, moderate gun owners and try to pull them over to our camp with regards to gun regs. But even that isn’t enough. So we need non-gun owning moderates that will consider reasonable new regs.

                Where we need the help of the Left is to either A) Get onboard with moderate proposals or B) Not muddy the efforts of the rest of us with nonsense proposals.

                I think better educating themselves is the key to both A & B. I also think think that if liberals and moderate conservatives were united on proposals, that would send a loud message to the non-gun owning moderates on both side.

                So while no, it’s not liberals’ fault that we can’t get new regs passed, I don’t think they are helping matters either.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Mike,

                I’m on board. Personally, I believe legislative edge-tinkering won’t do much to change the dynamics driving the violence since, in my view, we live in a culture of violence. Until that changes we’re stuck fighting a rearguard action. But I’d support any leg. that helps.Report

              • Avatar bookdragon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                So how about something that would both reduce ignorance all around and possible reduce the number of gun incidents caused by some poorly trained gun owners being stupid? Having a gun safety & training course in high school the way we have driver safety & training classes.

                I know this may be slightly off topic wrt mass shootings, bit I am frankly less worried in terms of every day safety about the maniac like Paddock than about the idiot whose negligent discharge in a coffee shop might hit my kid. (There was an incident not that long ago around here where a woman dropped her purse and the gun inside discharged, hitting a child walking by her).

                If more people learn the basics about guns and how to use them safely not only do you have fewer ignorant and/or misinformed gun owners giving everyone a bad name among non-gun owners, but even people that will still choose not to own one will have a better understanding of them. This strikes me as a win-win. Ideally it makes everyone safer, but even if it only helps dismiss the ‘magical object’ thinking surrounding guns on both sides (GCAs who just see them horribly scary and GRAs who see them as talismans or security blankets), at least it provides some common base of knowledge to start from.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to bookdragon says:

                I mentioned basic gun safety training upthread somewhere. Seems like a no-brainer to me. Unfortunately some folks consider it an indoctrination program.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to bookdragon says:

                @bookdragon I’d be fine with that as long as there is an opt-out I don’t want to touch a gun option. Some people already have plenty of experience with guns by the time they hit high school, and plenty of reason to fear them not as a magical object, but as a reminder of heartbreak.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Maribou says:

                I would never advocate making kids touch guns. In fact, I wouldn’t even allow them near one. I just want these three rules drilled into every kid’s head from 1st grade until their senior year:

                1) ALWAYS Keep The Gun Pointed In A Safe Direction

                2) ALWAYS Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger

                3) ALWAYS Tell an adult if someone is not following 1 or 2.

                We could add a few more like never touching a gun if you don’t have permission from an adult, or whatever. Point is, gun safety has nothing to do with teaching kids how guns work or how to shoot them.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                @mike-dwyer Cool. I was telling bookdragon what I thought I would be okay with based on what they proposed, and where I would draw the line – it’s a subject on which I have a lot of “give” available, but still a line at a certain point.

                I prefer what you’re saying, by far, because that’s what I literally grew up with (both in and out of school) and what I see kids being taught by my friends who own guns.

                One of the thing that frustrates me about this whole conversation in this country is that people like you and I who have very different positions on guns in general (not diametrically opposed, but pretty different), get drowned out on the topic of gun safety by people who want everybody in schools to be packing and all the kids forced to learn how to shoot, on the one hand (and I *have* heard that from gun-nuttier friends, in this country, it’s not imaginary), or who are horrified at the mere thought of kids hearing there was such a thing as a gun in school, on the other (have also heard that from very citified friends).

                In Canada, the situation is so very very different, at least in the Maritimes. Literally nobody I know back home would not want their kid taught those basic rules of gun safety, at least in the passive version of want that involves “yeah, I guess they teach them that in school, just like fire safety, etc.” and everyone with guns i *personally* know (back home or here) drills those things into their kids’ head if they have guns in their house or friends who have guns in their house.

                It strikes me as a no-brainer – and from what I’ve heard it’s something they actually do teach in many school districts – but instead it’s this big contentious thing.Report

              • Avatar bookdragon in reply to Maribou says:

                Yes. Sorry if I was unclear. I completely agree with what Mike Dwyer said below (and further above – I’m sorry I missed that Mike. My comment is superfluous).

                I absolutely would not want a school to give high school kids, esp teenage boys, an actual loaded gun and force some poor teacher to supervise. Teaching them the rules, the basics about guns and how they should be cleaned, secured, etc., Yes. Actually install a shooting range? Nope. No way.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                I will link to Popehat who put it very well a couple of years ago:

                It’s hard to grasp the reaction of someone who understands gun terminology to someone who doesn’t. So imagine we’re going through one of our periodic moral panics over dogs and I’m trying to persuade you that there should be restrictions on, say, Rottweilers.

                Me: I don’t want to take away dog owners’ rights. But we need to do something about Rottweilers.
                You: So what do you propose?
                Me: I just think that there should be some sort of training or restrictions on owning an attack dog.
                You: Wait. What’s an “attack dog?”
                Me: You know what I mean. Like military dogs.
                You: Huh? Rottweilers aren’t military dogs. In fact “military dogs” isn’t a thing. You mean like German Shepherds?
                Me: Don’t be ridiculous. Nobody’s trying to take away your German Shepherds. But civilians shouldn’t own fighting dogs.
                You: I have no idea what dogs you’re talking about now.
                Me: You’re being both picky and obtuse. You know I mean hounds.
                You: What the fuck.
                Me: OK, maybe not actually ::air quotes:: hounds ::air quotes::. Maybe I have the terminology wrong. I’m not obsessed with vicious dogs like you. But we can identify kinds of dogs that civilians just don’t need to own.
                You: Can we?

                Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Right, and as before, the argument I’m making is that GRAs claim that liberals’ inability to speak intelligibly about guns entails that they can’t advocate their own sensible policies. That liberals’ ignorance somehow precludes them from doing so.

                I mean, on the supposition that GRAs actually *want* to enact sensible policies, anyway.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Stillwater says:

                @stillwater

                I’m going to really just re-iterate what Maribou says further downthread, but it’s a point worth repeating: I personally don’t know any conservatives who are saying, “I’m not going to advocate for any new gun laws until liberals learn the difference between a rifle and a shotgun.” What I do know is that many of the conversations I have with liberals demonstrate 1) a lack of understanding of guns 2) a lack of understanding of gun laws and 3) a dislike of the people that own them.

                The OP makes it abundantly clear that I am in favor of my fellow hunters trying to take the lead in the conversation, and I have said several times in the comments that i am in favor of some new regs. But I have zero interest in working with the Left on the issue because of 1, 2 and especially 3 above. So to reiterate, I’m not looking for the left to move towards me in order to accomplish my goals…but it would be a lot cooler if you all did.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Stillwater says:

                The best argument I can make for the pro gun control side to learn the terminology and existing laws is the Assault Weapon ban.

                It generally did nothing it was supposed to do, was poorly crafted to be easily avoidable, and only inconvenienced people, not to mention that said weapons, didn’t exist.

                Pro gun control folks only seem to have one move….ban guns. I rarely see any other proposal. Wanna fix that? Try earning some trust, and get knowledgeable about the subject. You also might want to disassociate yourself from people saying that people like me should be killed for having a gun.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

                I rarely see any other proposal. Wanna fix that? Try earning some trust, and get knowledgeable about the subject.

                Damon, my argument is that if you and other GRAs want to see sensible gun regulation, then do the work and introduce a bill and put it up for a vote. Blaming liberals for a lack of progress in achieving *your* legislative goals makes no sense. I mean, I don’t get it. Why demand that liberals learn more about guns in order to write sensible legislation which you would then support when GRAs can just write that legislation themselves?Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Stillwater says:

                Because if liberals write it, it’s a signal that they know what they’re talking about and are operating in good faith, making them more trustworthy coalition partners.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to pillsy says:

                Is the 2016 Dem bill expanding background checks an example of bad faith?Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Stillwater says:

                It really didn’t help that it came hot on the heels of the “no guns for people on the No Fly List” nonsense.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                IIRC, that bill had a poison pill of banning people on the No Fly list, so no, it was not even close to sensibly written. Even if it had passed, that part of it would have immediately taken to court, where it would most likely have been struck down.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                The GOP introduced a background-check bill at or around the same time. It also didn’t pass. I don’t know what was in it or why it failed.

                But the issue isn’t whether the bill should’ve passed on the merits, but whether it constituted an example of liberals acting in bad faith.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                Here is how I view the last few attempts at moderates trying to move the ball a bit.

                GOP introduces a bill (like the 2016 bill). Hard core GRAs hate it, but that is a given. Dems pull their support for it because it doesn’t do enough/go far enough (probably because the hard core GCA lobby hates it as well, and Feinstein is unquestionably allied with them).

                WTF Dems? You haven’t been able to move ANYTHING on gun control for close to a decade, and when something comes up that has a high degree of GOP support, you kill it because it doesn’t tick all your boxes? Especially when one of those boxes is downright poison and likely unconstitutional? I don’t know about you, but that is a pretty solid signal that the hard core GCA side isn’t interested in working with moderates.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                What a f***ing shit show.

                Two bills introduced, both bills fail. Seems like there was a third bill between the two which woulda got to 60.

                I don’t know about you, but that is a pretty solid signal that the hard core GCA side isn’t interested in working with moderates.

                I think that’s a given, no? I certainly never said GCA extremists will work with moderates.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                GOP introduces a bill (like the 2016 bill). Hard core GRAs hate it, but that is a given. Dems pull their support for it because it doesn’t do enough/go far enough (probably because the hard core GCA lobby hates it as well, and Feinstein is unquestionably allied with them).

                Here’s the question I have: What the hell did that bill do at all?

                Because, reading about it, it doesn’t seem to do anything at all.

                It reauthorized funding for the Federal background check system…which is, uh, something that was going to happen anyway. (Or were we secretly at risk of the Republicans dismantling that?)

                It demands the Department of Justice explain why it’s not enforcing gun laws on the books…which is ‘Let’s play pretend that ATF has not been constantly hamstrung by the NRA’

                It bars the executive from selling guns to criminal, aka, ‘Let’s try to bring back up Fast and Furious’.

                There appears to be one actual ‘real thing’ in that bill, in that it attempts to incentives states to share mental health records with the Feds.

                That’s it. That’s the sole thing it did. ‘Hey, states, we will give you money if you tell us the insane people you know of’. Plus two attempts to deflect blame to the executive, past and present, and some normal funding.

                The entire thing was bullshit. I don’t mind any of those things, in fact, I think they are good ideas. But they are not, in any manner whatsoever, a tightening of gun control of any sort at all.

                So, yes, the Democrats would not play along and allow the Republicans to brand that as ‘bipartisan gun control’.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:

                Good job David, excellent work proving my point for me. Tell me, how far does that righteous indignation move the ball? Nothing got done, but that’s OK, the Dems sure showed those GOP guys that they can’t get away with taking baby steps.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon You know and I know there’s a less righteously indignant way to point out that David just proved your point for you. I think you can find that zone, but it’s also possible y’all have just reached your tolerance point for each other for now.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Maribou says:

                @maribou

                Sure there is, and I know what it is, but as you (correctly) note, it’s probably long past time for everyone to walk away and have a beer.

                Personally, I’m going to Disneyland tomorrow with the family for three days. Even got a room at the Grand Californian, so if I’m absent, you may all rest assured I’m having fun with my 5 year old.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Stillwater says:

                Still,

                I’m saying that the current methods aren’t working and pro control folks might want to try different tactics. And my demand that liberals learn more about guns is in keeping with my demand that ANYONE writing legislation should know quite a bit about what they are trying to regulate. That seems like common sense. I could criticize CAFE and emissions along the same lines.

                I’ll never suggest regulation because I think, in general, they are regulated too much. Yah, I’m one of those guys who thinks that, all but tactical nukes, should be freely available, assuming you can afford them. Personally I’d love to have a tank to drive around on my property and blow the shit out of things. I lack 1) the land to do so, 2) the ability to have the tank, 3) the money to do either.

                Note the above is a “moderation” of my previous position advocating that I should be able to keep tactical nukes. Consider that my ONLY move towards “sensible” regulation.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

                Note the above is a “moderation” of my previous position advocating that I should be able to keep tactical nukes.

                Progress!Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yep..now give me sound reducers and and full auto weapons with no FFL requirements.

                Compromise!Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Morat20 says:

                And how is universal registration supposed to reduce the number of homicides by even one? If the murder doesn’t drop the gun, you don’t have anything to trace, and if he does drop it he’s disarmed himself, which is even better than having a murderer running around with a registered gun.

                Secondly, it’s not illegal to run around with someone else’s gun unless you are prohibited by law from carrying a weapon, such as for felons and people judged mentally incompetent to do so. You can loan your guns to people. You can borrow guns the same way you borrow knives or grapefruit spoons.

                And, if registering assault rifles is so crucial to reducing crimes, shouldn’t we start putting serial number on knives and writing down who ones which ones? Knives kill more people than assault rifles, so surely universal knife registration should have a higher priority.

                Then try to explain to people how registering knives is going to reduce the number of stabbings. Good luck with that one.Report

              • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to George Turner says:

                Which is why that GQ article was about the sad state of government waste at a “gun tracking” facility in W.Va that never contributed anything of value to crime fighting…Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                Perhaps instead of asking others hypothetical questions, you could yourself play out about the situation you have described. Because registering a specific guns is not intended to stop any homicide that gun is involved it. It is intended to punish black market gun trafficking in general, and, by punishing it, make the entire thing more expensive.

                Let us postulate a murder that happens, one where a gun is used, but not discovered at the crime scene. Thus no registration can possibly help us find the guy.

                But after his arrest, the gun is, instead, recovered from the murderer’s house. The murderer, incidentally, is a convicted felon and not allowed to own a gun.

                In a world without gun registration, we are done. We have caught the murderer. The gun will be used to convict him, sure, but that was it.

                In a world with gun registration, where all gun transfers must be recorded, we not done. We have still caught the murderer, with no thanks to the gun registration.

                But we _also_ now have a gun that is somehow in the hands of a person who is not legally allowed to possess a gun. Whether or not they ‘own’ it is rather irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if someone lent it to them, or sold it to them, or gave it to them as a Christmas present, purposefully putting that gun in their possession was illegal.

                And with mandatory registration, we would have the ability to find out who that person was. Well, actually, we probably won’t find specifically who gave them the gun, but we will find the person who took the gun from the legal market and moved it into the black market, probably with a straw purchase to an illegal gun dealer.

                And then we arrest that person. Oh, yes, there are all sorts of niceties there, possible excuses, like claiming the gun was stolen, but we can, of course, require notification of stolen weapons, and the nice thing about gun registration we can see exactly how many guns someone is supposed to own, and if they have purchased dozens of them, never reported any of them stolen, but cannot (now that we’ve located one misplaced gun of theirs so have probable cause to demand to see the rest) produce any of them…we have a pretty good case. (1)

                And, on top of that, in my hypothetical, it entirely possible that the straw purchaser flips on the illegal gun dealer they resold to, and the entire house of cards built out of illegal guns falls down.

                But even if they don’t…we have suddenly made being a straw purchaser (Which is how ~80% of illegally-owned guns are assumed to have entered the black market.) much much riskier. Because eventually some gun will be discovered in the hands of a felon and traced back to them, and they will go to jail…it’s not really even a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ the police show up at their door and haul them off.

                Maybe a few people managed to wiggle through with good lawyers, once, but that’s the way all crimes work. I’m not worried about that.

                And suddenly ‘straw purchaser’ isn’t a real criminal job anymore, because you can’t pay people with no felony record (Which they have to be to purchase guns) to do something that is 99% sure to land them in jail with a felony record when the cops stumble across one of the guns they passed along.

                1) Actually, before the police arrest them, first they should ask if any weapons of theirs have been stolen, then they ask them to go confirm they still have them all, to let them dig themselves deeper by lying about that. And occasionally the police ask that of people they _haven’t_ recovered any weapons of but think are reselling weapons, just to see what happens. And the funny part is when you realize that they probably won’t know which weapon the police have recovered…

                We can also play out murders where the gun is discovered but the murderer is not. Now we have a gun that, _supposedly_, that guy over there owns it.

                So here are the questions for him: Does he still own it? If so, who did he loan it to? Was it stolen and he didn’t report it?

                If you are wondering how that does not happen now, because straw purchasing is already illegal and the straw purchaser will be on file at the gun dealer…the straw purchaser will claim to have sold it privately or had it stolen, and because no one is required to report theft or register transfers, and no one can even do searches asking ‘Just how many guns has this person bought anyway and can we make them produce any of them?’, them being a straw purchaser goes completely unproven. Indeed, some of them might actually have sold them legally to private individuals, and it’s those people who put them in the black market. We cannot prove anything.

                If we make them register all lawful transfers, we can point to the exact person who last had the gun legally, and say ‘You better have a damn good explanation of what happened to that gun and why you didn’t report it.’

                And slowly, the amount of guns on the black market are reduced, because the risk of moving them to the black market got much higher. Gun thefts probably go up a bit, but really those never were a big thing and kinda dangerous.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

                That would be nice, but it rarely happens that way. Unless a gun dealer is involved in a conspiracy to move guns to illegal purchasers, he’s probably not going to do jail time, and might not even lose his FFL. They did bust a gun dealer just outside of Chicago who was moving some serious numbers in the gang market, but that’s rare. Gun dealers do not like criminals. Their whole existence is pretty much predicated on killing criminals. But occasionally a bad seed slips through. Other times the DoJ decides that selling guns to Mexican drug cartels with no way to trace them, so that lots of Americans get murdered, will advance the cause of gun control.

                And yet conviction of gun dealers are rare. Why? Because it’s perfectly legal to sell guns to people with no felony convictions who pass the background check. It’s also perfectly legal to refuse to sell a gun to anyone for any reason, which is the first line of defense.

                Where could a criminal gang find people who can pass a background check in a place where the first line of defense has holes? Their new recruits who have clean backgrounds. It’s part of the duties of being a newbie gang member. The flaw in the system is that we can’t see inside people’s brains.

                Yes, gun tracing might let you eventually arrest the purchaser when one of their fellow gang members gets caught in a shooting, drug transaction, or robbery, and their gun traces to the gang member with the clean record. But you have to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the fresh faced kid, with forethought and intent, purchased a gun for members of his gang that are prohibited from possessing firearms.

                To do that you have to get his fellow gang members to roll over on him, because he’ll claim that he just knows Alvin from the neighborhood, and Alvin came over, and they was drinking beer, and he showed Alvin his new Glock. Then he passed out drunk, and Alvin, his acquaintance and neighbor, turned out to be such a criminal that he’s on trial for shooting some woman after robbing her.

                Alvin is obviously a thief and thug who wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to steal an honest man’s pistol. You have to prove that defense is false beyond a reasonable doubt, in a city where the neighborhood folks who know the truth won’t say a word and won’t testify. That is Detroit. That is Chicago. That is LA. That is part of why gangs recruit kids. The other part is that kids go to juvie if they they get caught, and that record is wiped clean when they turn adult, so they can still buy guns.

                And even if you do get a conviction, the gang picks up dozens of fresh faced new members every year. The purchasers are as disposable as the guns. The faces change but the homicide rate remains because it’s the result of a self-perpetuating system of criminal stupidity.

                If you had a 100% success rate at tracking and prosecuting Chicago gun purchases, it might not even make a slight dent in the murder rate. In only about 12% of Chicago murders do they even make an arrest of anybody. It’s always an unknown assailant or a drive-by where the shooter just leaves. No plates, no nothing. It’s quite depressing when you wade through the stories.

                That 12%, the 12% where there is a clue to go on, is already going through the legal system and getting prosecuted. A perfect tracing system might get you a few more convictions, but I don’t think the gangs are going to care.

                And you might make the problem worse by passing a law that every gun owner will disrespect and rebel against. After Sandy Hook Connecticut passed stringent gun control legislation but gun owners ignored it and preferred to become felons rather than bow to a law the regard as unconstitutional. The legislature doesn’t know what to do because all those gun owners vote. The situation just hangs in limbo. Enforce the law and trigger violent revolutionary action by formerly law and order citizens, or pretend that something was done to make Connecticut safer and hope nobody notices nothing was done?

                And the problem comes back to this. Gun registration makes little more sense than knife registration. If you’ve got the weapon you’ve probably got the guy’s finger prints, gun or knife. OJ disappears into the round off error.The non-stupid criminals know not to use a gun registered to themselves. They shuffle weapons around so nothing traces to anybody in a way that would convince a jury.

                But many of those guys couldn’t convince a jury that the sky is blue, and off to jail they go. It doesn’t seem to make a difference.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                To do that you have to get his fellow gang members to roll over on him, because he’ll claim that he just knows Alvin from the neighborhood, and Alvin came over, and they was drinking beer, and he showed Alvin his new Glock. Then he passed out drunk, and Alvin, his acquaintance and neighbor, turned out to be such a criminal that he’s on trial for shooting some woman after robbing her.

                Alvin is obviously a thief and thug who wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to steal an honest man’s pistol. You have to prove that defense is false beyond a reasonable doubt, in a city where the neighborhood folks who know the truth won’t say a word and won’t testify. That is Detroit. That is Chicago. That is LA. That is part of why gangs recruit kids. The other part is that kids go to juvie if they they get caught, and that record is wiped clean when they turn adult, so they can still buy guns.

                While young people may be used for gang members exactly so they can have their records wiped, that doesn’t work for handgun straw purchases, as minors cannot buy handguns at all.

                And let’s track what happens with registration, as you have explained what happens without:

                First of all, if his gun is stolen because he is passed out drunk, and he didn’t report it, he would be going to jail in my version. But instead of ‘passed out drunk’, let’s say it’s supposedly sitting in a place he doesn’t normally look, like a shoebox in his closet, and he claims he didn’t know it was stolen.

                So, in my universe: The police, generally, know who is in a gang, even if they cannot prove any criminal activity. Gangs, almost by definition, hang out together.

                They check the gun registry, and discover that new gang member, you didn’t give him a name so let’s call him Bert, has purchased a gun. This is entirely legal for Bert to do and nothing they can do about it.

                ..except they can. “Hey, Bert, we need you to confirm, by the authority granted to us by this registry, that you still possess that weapon you purchased. And remember if you do not possess it, you are legally required to report that.”

                Bert has handed it over the gang, so does not have it in his possess. But he reports he still has it…and the police reveal they actually recovered it last night from Alvin. Oops. Bert is going to jail.

                But wait. Instead of that, Bert just ‘goes and checks’ and ‘discovers’ it was stolen. Except…the police were screwing with him, and they _didn’t_ recover that gun. And half the point of having a gang member with a clean record was that he could carry the gun. Now, he can’t…he might legally be able to carry a gun, but he can’t carry one he reported stolen from him!

                Note both those are reasons that Bert could not possibly have gone to jail before.

                So, okay, let’s play it the smartest possible way. Bert buys it, give it to the gang, immediately reports it stolen, and then makes sure he never has possession of it. (His friends might, but as you point out, his friends are obvious criminals, and he had no idea they had stolen his gun.) He’s actually gotten away with that, and cannot go to jail.

                The gang is slightly crippled because they no longer have anyone who can legally carry the gun (Hell, it’s supposedly a stolen gun, no one can legally possess it!), but everyone mostly can carry on.

                …except that, due to Bert having his gun stolen, his right to purchase guns was revoked, and now he can’t supply any more guns. (I would imagine some sort of right to appeal that to a judge, who would be included to restore gun purchase rights to someone who had a real robbery and guns were stolen from a safe…at least the first time. Whereas they would be reluctant to restore them to a guy claiming ‘I just left it lying around and a friend of mine who is a convicted felon walked in and took it.’ Even if he’s 100% telling the truth, uh, no, he’s too lax with gun security to own a gun, and has thieving friends.)

                So even in the least ideal situation you’ve come up with for registration, the amount of guns going into gangs is reduced. Before, new, clean gang members could supply unlimited guns until they’re convicted of a felony, no matter how often their guns somehow escaped. If gangs were smart, in fact, they could keep a guy mostly out of crime merely to supply them with guns, and to legally hold the guns most of the time.

                Now, clean gang members can basically only supply guns once. Or risk going to prison when the police catch them lying about still possessing a gun.

                But wait, you say. You explained how there are new gang members all the time, so will always be the next person. So they can just keep pulling in new people.

                But that’s not really true. Gangs also purchase from black market dealers. And as purchasing them legally is cheaper than purchasing them from the black market, we are forced to assume even _currently_ they do not have an infinite supply from ‘new gang member purchasing guns’, much would be able to keep it up under registration. That system already isn’t supplying enough guns!

                It’s hard to come up with hard numbers on this, but something like 40% of illegal guns are reported to come from the ‘friends and family’ category, which your example would be under.

                And some of that 40% is probably family and ‘real’ friends (instead of gang members) who are willing to break the law now because they will never suffer any repercucissions, but if we have strict transfer rules and they are aware they are eventually going to be arrested for transfering a gun without registering that, they would probably stop.

                But even if the entire 40% continue breaking the law, they a) will get wittled down faster with registration, and b) more importantly, registration would do something about a large chunk of that other 60%, which is mostly composed of straw purchases by strangers and sales by corrupt dealers.

                Or, sometimes, both at the same time. The corrupt dealer is knowingly particupating in a straw purchase, and may in fact have a person standing there or on call to make the purchase for people who cannot legally buy guns, who will buy the gun for them at a mere 25% markup.

                This is where about half of illegal guns come from, or at least where about half of them enter the illegal market.

                And some percentage of guns in the black market, although it is small, are legitimately stolen…which this also could reduce slightly, because morons who can’t secure guns would not be allowed to keep replacing them and having them stolen again. (That’s not really the point of this, but it’s a nice side effect.)

                Basically, if we require all transfers (including thefts) to be reported, and then put some sort of strict liability on people who have guns ‘stolen’ (Or even truly stolen.) that they can’t buy more guns until they justify themselves to a judge, we will be able to notice and punish almost every single place that guns are escaping to the black market.

                And punishment means ‘more cost to put in the black market’, which means…less guns in the black market, which means less guns in the hands of criminals.

                In only about 12% of Chicago murders do they even make an arrest of anybody. It’s always an unknown assailant or a drive-by where the shooter just leaves. No plates, no nothing. It’s quite depressing when you wade through the stories.

                Again, you seem to be thinking the point of this is to solve crime. No, it’s not. It would be extremely rare for gun registration to solve a single crime, especially as I’m not proposing any sort of ballistics records. You might have a moron or two idiotically discard a gun at the crime scene that is registered to them, but, those sort of people probably livestreamed their crime on Facebook also.

                The point of gun registration is to make transferring guns to the illegal side have a much higher cost, namely, someone is probably going to jail, and, even if not, it ‘used up’ that person as a supply point. And when illegal guns are more expensive, there will be less of them. And less guns will, pretty much automatically, reduce the average amount of gun homicides.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

                It’s very hard to design a system that criminals won’t easily work around. For example, Bert buys a bunch of legal guns. Then Bert pretends to decide to move to California where he can’t have them. So he files paperwork saying he sold the guns to Harvey, an 85-year old man whose SS# was hacked from Equifax.

                Now Bert can give all his guns to his fellow gang members and Harvey is potentially in a lot of trouble, either from law enforcement or from Bert, who can shoot Harvey and rob his house to cover his tracks. On paper, Harvey bought a bunch of guns and got robbed and murdered. Or Harvey dies a natural death and nobody can figure out what he did with those guns he allegedly bought from Bert.

                And your registration method assumes that Congress would pass a law making it illegal to get robbed, or to not report a robbery, or to not realize you’ve been robbed. The odds of them passing that are close to zero, and the odds of such a law standing up in court are pretty slim.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                Then Bert pretends to decide to move to California where he can’t have them. So he files paperwork saying he sold the guns to Harvey, an 85-year old man whose SS# was hacked from Equifax.

                And Harvey, who has just had a background check run on him and guns moved into his name, gets notified by the US government. So he calls them up and say ‘What the hell is this?’, especially if the paperwork instructs him to do that if he didn’t just buy some guns.

                Or maybe he doesn’t. Maybe Bert managed to track down someone completely mentally incompetent who doesn’t have someone handling their affairs. Which means at some point, the police will ask ‘Wait, did this guy even buy these guns at all? Seems like he was pretty out of it…you know, I wonder if this Bert can even describe Harvey or where they met?’.

                Now Bert can give all his guns to his fellow gang members and Harvey is potentially in a lot of trouble, either from law enforcement

                No he’s not. The police showed up, Harvey explains he didn’t buy guns, and suddenly either Harvey or Bert is a criminal…and, weirdly, Bert has been repeatedly seen hanging out with the felon who was found in possession of the gun, whereas Harvey is just some old guy.

                Actual criminal investigation do exist. Criminals can’t get away with their crime just by claiming they didn’t do it.

                or from Bert, who can shoot Harvey and rob his house to cover his tracks. On paper, Harvey bought a bunch of guns and got robbed and murdered. Or Harvey dies a natural death and nobody can figure out what he did with those guns he allegedly bought from Bert.

                Oh, so now all gun acquisition have to involve murder? Wow, I really upped the cost of those. Win!

                And it’s a murder that, rather stupidly, involves documentation that will have the names of gang members on it. Really easy to understand documentation, when, again, the person who ‘sold Harvey the gun’ is seen hanging out with the lead suspect in the murder, and the person who ends up in possession of the gun.

                And, you are adding multiple crimes to this entire thing, from identity theft (which gangs do not normally do) to murder (which is way more serious than just illegally selling the damn guns.) to each attempt to acquire guns.

                This is way more difficult than Bert buying a bunch of guns and then later claiming he sold them to some guy in an alley, which is how it works now. And as I pointed out, gangs already can’t get enough guns by having clean members buy them. They already buy many of them from illegal dealers.

                I sorta feel like at some point you’re going to be saying ‘What about armed gangs bursting into gun stores and robbing them in broad daylight?!’.

                There’s always _some_ way to commit a crime. Crime is reduced when easier possibilities are closed off, and people have to jump through more and more hoops. It’s how all crime reduction happens!

                Right now, there is literally one hoop. Find someone who has a clean record, get him to buy the guns. Keep using him until he gets busted for some other crime.

                That it is. That is the entire thing. Amazingly, gangs are actually having trouble managing that, buying many guns from illegal dealers…and it’s only one hoop.

                Let’s make them start forging registration papers and all sorts of nonsense. We can change it where a new shipment of guns isn’t ‘Send Bert to the store’, but is ‘We need a new Bert, our last one can’t buy guns anymore. And we’ll have them forge a transfer to local stolen identity, Ted you go buy one of those, and then we’ll murder that guy, so the hit squad needs to be ready, everyone remember your mask because we don’t want this traced back to us, this will be a regular guy, not an opposing gang member…’.

                And your registration method assumes that Congress would pass a law making it illegal to get robbed, or to not report a robbery, or to not realize you’ve been robbed. The odds of them passing that are close to zero, and the odds of such a law standing up in court are pretty slim.

                I’m not proposing making it illegal to be robbed, per se, I’m proposing that people who report guns stolen lose their right to purchase new guns unless they can explain what happened and why it won’t happen again to a judge.

                But I will concede that you have a point there, in that it is not very likely that Congress is going to burden most people with reporting a crime. (Although claiming you didn’t notice the theft is for a long time is not very conducive to arguing that your right to purchase more guns should be restored.)

                So what we can do is make it mandatory to check and report the position of a registered gun when asked by the government within, say, one week. And by position, I mean ‘I have seen it in my house’, or ‘my cousin has it, and I have seen it in his possession’, not the exact position.

                And the government just did that if they either had recovered one of your guns, or thought you were planning to sell them illegally and wanted to trip you up.

                For everyone else, once a year the government sends you a form, and you have to check off that you have seen, in the last week, every gun you have registered.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

                First off, you don’t have to talk to the police – about anything, unless perhaps you hold an FFL. We have lawyers for that.

                Was it illegal for Bert to sell guns to Harvey? No, it was not because Harvey is not a felon. Do the police have any reason to suspect that the gun transfer was fraudulent? No. Everybody involved has a clean record. They have no grounds for a search warrant.

                And as soon as Bert even suspects the police might be sniffing around, he’ll file some more fake papers saying Harvey sold the guns to Steve, who lives in Ohio. At that point the Chicago police don’t care.

                Second, if we make the police go door-to-door to work leads on each gun transfer, of which there were over 27 million in 2016, and Lord only knows how many tens of millions of private transfers, they’re not going to be doing much else. They can’t even solve the 800 murder cases they’ve got, but they’re supposed to track a quarter million gun transfers in the Chicago area? Not likely.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to DavidTC says:

                @davidtc For the most part you and George seem to be arguing on the same wavelength (albeit diametrically opposed ideas) and it’s all fine.

                But you have to actually read what each other is saying, or it stops being fine.

                “Oh, so now all gun acquisition have to involve murder? Wow, I really upped the cost of those. Win!”

                is not an appropriate response to a rebuttal that names murder as one possible outcome among two given as examples, in a way that is fairly clear it wasn’t an exhaustive list.

                You cannot scoff, snark, misread, etc. at will the person you’re engaging.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Morat20 says:

                @morat20

                “I’m glad Mike’s trying to wrest control of the face of gun ownership away from the insane people.”

                While I don’t find much in common with the NRA’s core supporters as a fellow gun owner…it’s statements like that which actually push me closer to them and away from the middle. And this is exactly the kind of stuff I am talking about. You all are so far away from understanding gun owners that you simply can’t talk about some of them without name-calling. And you wonder why we all circle the wagons when you want to talk guns?Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                @mike-dwyer To be honest, I have a lot of trouble watching an ad like this one (uh, every kind of content warning probably applies)

                And not thinking of the people who thought that was a good idea as either insane, or deliberately trying to make everything worse. That ad is fricking terrifying to me.

                You aren’t like that, but I have NO idea how anyone could be pushed closer to that. I get that they are. I get that there are good, “recapturable” people who are currently strong supporters of the NRA and saw that ad as meaningful and empowering. But I can’t imagine wanting to circle wagons with … that. So I can’t really imagine why you would want to. (This isn’t an attack on your sincerity, AT ALL. I’m just literally baffled.)

                That’s an awfully big gulf. Not one I can get past any time soon.

                But I DO think we don’t have to get past it any more than non-hunting environmentalists had to decide they appreciated the kinds of robber barons T.R. Roosevelt consorted with, to be able to consort with T.R. themselves when it came to conservation.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Yeah, it’s not like I’m related to several gun owners, it’s not like I routinely shoot with them.

                Nope. Impossible, because I think the folks running around with their AR-15s in the suburbs and trying to take them to restaurants are insane. As is, bluntly, a friend of the family who carries two — TWO — concealed guns at all times in case “he doesn’t have time to reload”. A man whose entire life in a an incredibly low-crime area and has never been the victim of anything more violent than a cat scratch.

                Yes, it’s all name-calling because I certainly can’t know anything about guns because I disagree with you, eh?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Morat20 says:

                @morat20

                So then disagree without armchair psycho-analyzing people. Choose your words more carefully. Take the emotion out of the discussion.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Ah cool man. I was acting so emotionally that it made you think I didn’t know gun owners or understand guns?

                See, I don’t think you really grok this, but there’s a constant thread underlying your statements — “If you owned guns and understood them you wouldn’t disagree with me”.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Morat20 says:

                To the point where I label extremists “insane” — people you call extremists and you immediately decide I literally can’t know anything about guns or know any gun owners.

                Yeah, I think dudes carrying their AR-15s down suburban steets or city blocks are crazy. I think carrying multiple concealed weapons to go out to eat in a lily-white, crime free suburb is a symptom of mental illness.

                And I think that because I know gun owners and because I know guns.

                I’m not an expert with them. I don’t own them myself. I can’t strip one down and assemble one, I’m barely competent to clean one.

                But unlike a lot of owners, it seems, I’m keenly aware of what they are, what they’re designed for, and what they do really well.

                And it seems to me the biggest problem with guns in America is so many owners treat them like toys or fashion accessories.

                And then, of course, accuse the folks who think guns are lethal weapons that should be treated with respect of ‘not knowing gun owners” or “not understanding guns”.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Morat20 says:

                Any person who’s spent time around “gun folks” knows about the “owners treat them like toys or fashion accessories.”, so I “feel you” here.

                There’s also fanbois for makes, models, calibers, semi auto/revolver, and all the other tropes. Just like for a lot of products. Apple ring a bell?

                A gun is a tool. What’s holding the firearm can be the scary part. It’s why you get one screw up with me and no more. I don’t suffer fools and don’t associate with people who don’t understand that it’s not a toy.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Damon says:

                What drives me up the wall is these sensible gun owners seem content to not propose anything to fix the problems.

                They just kvetch that GCA’s are proposing what they think is stupid.

                Well dude, get up and fix it yourself.

                Look, either it’s a problem that needs fixing or it isn’t. If it isn’t, don’t pretend your objection is “darn liberals don’t know nothing about guns so I can’t work with them”. Admit you’re okay with the status quo. That’s fine. There’s no need to pretend.

                If you’re not okay with the status quo, get off your butt and write some proposals. If you propose sensible gun legislation, you’ve got a darn good chance of getting those no-nothing GCA’s to support you. (And god knows, they’re not going to get anything done without you).Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Morat20 says:

                @morat20

                I do think if you did own guns, you would see things differently, but people usually change their thinking, then buy the gun, not the reverse. So if you DID own a gun, it would signal to me that you had a different mindset than you currently seem to.

                With that said, if you still feel comfortable saying that you see mental illness, that’s your call. I just don’t feel comfortable labeling behaviors I don’t understand as ‘mental illness’ simply because I don’t understand them. If that was the case, I would have ordered straight-jackets for most of the liberals on this site. I choose to just accept it as ‘we are different people with different life experiences’ and leave it at that.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I do think if you did own guns, you would see things differently

                It’s not a baby. It’s a gun. Owning one isn’t a life changing thing, and by god if it was I’d be worried for my mental health.

                And for the record, I have owned a gun before. I sold it, because bluntly I didn’t need it, rarely got to shoot it, and it was of no real use to me.

                Seriously, what freaking magic do you think will happen if I owned a gun? The clouds will part and I shall be enlightened? Do you think there’s some inner mystery to gun ownership that’s only revealed after you get the receipt?

                Seriously, you make gun ownership sound a bit cult-like.

                It’s a tool.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Morat20 says:

                @morat20 I actually agree with you insofar as I don’t know how someone watches an ad like the one I linked and doesn’t think “insanity” is the kindest option to choose from when describing its makers honestly…. but you’re not reading what Mike said, here.

                He wasn’t arguing that owning a gun would magically change your mind, but pretty much stating the reverse. He said:

                “people usually change their thinking, then buy the gun, not the reverse. So if you DID own a gun, it would signal to me that you had a different mindset ”

                I suggest you either disengage, or take a few deep breaths. Because at the point in the conversation where people stop being able to read what each other is saying, it usually stops being productive.

                @mike-dwyer, in friendship, I would actually suggest something similar for you, because it seems like you’re starting to act from a cornered-emotional place a bit, based not only on your just-previous comment but on a few others you’ve made.

                I actually don’t think emotions shouldn’t come into the conversation, but at the point where they’re clouding one’s ability to see what people are saying and fairly represent one’s own views … those particular emotions are probably not helping.

                This is a hard conversation for everybody.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Maribou says:

                @morat20 @mike-dwyer

                I do think there is a difference in owning a gun and a willingness to use it in self defense. That, I believe, is a totally different mindset, one that carries a lot of responsibility.

                Going to the range and plinking is one thing. Using a weapon to defend yourself inside your house or on the street, is another. You don’t shoot to wound, you shoot to kill. You gotta be able to live with yourself and you gotta risk the legal consequences if you’re in the wrong. That is a big deal.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Damon says:

                Right but, let’s be honest. I live in a Texas in 2017. In a small town.

                I don’t live in a crime-ridden inner city in 1970. Crime rates have fallen drastically in the last two or three decades, and where I lived never had much crime at all.

                I live in modern America, with a police force that can be said to be over zealous about criminals, as long as they’re not white collar. I live in a safe town.

                And yet — and yet — I know a guy (known him my whole life) who carries two concealed weapons. He started around 2004. He’s a Boomer, been retired a long time. He’s never been so much as adjacent to a crime, much less a violent one.

                Why is he so gung-ho about self-defense to the point where he thinks he needs two guns, 24-7, in what’s possibly one of the safest places in American, and in American history? He’s not exactly an outlier — why the sudden massive, burning, belief that suddenly people need guns to protect them from falling crime rates?

                Like…if it was 1975 and I lived in certain places in New York, or even right now in certain places in Houston, I can see owning a gun for self-defense. I doubt I’d need it, but I could see a likely potential for violence and thus a need for protection.

                But I hear so much about “I need guns for self-defense”. Do you? From whom? Why do you need so many more guns, so much more powerful guns now than 30 years ago?

                Where is the fear coming from? Why is it so much more intense, requiring so much more in the way of guns, even as crime rates have fallen dramatically?

                I get hunters. I know what they need a gun for. I get sports shooters — it’s fun. I get collectors, hobbyists are like that. I even get the guy that keeps a pistol or shotgun at home “just in case”.

                I don’t get the guy that has to carry a gun to Denny’s. I don’t get the guy that has to carry his rifle on a walk down the street. I don’t get the guy in his crime free area that puts a gun in every room for “defense”. I don’t get the guy who builds an arsenal for protection.

                And you can say “That guy doesn’t represent gun owners” to which I saw “I just watched that NRA ad. They think he does.”Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Morat20 says:

                And you can say “That guy doesn’t represent gun owners” to which I saw “I just watched that NRA ad. They think he does.”

                What kind of gun owner is the most likely to donate money to the NRA-ILA, and make angry phone calls about gun control to their Congressmen? And what kind of gun owner is going to bail on the NRA and join Gun Owners of America if they think the NRA is getting too squishy?

                The NRA may purport to represent all gun owners, and its leadership may even genuinely believe they represent all gun owners, but they have strong incentives to market themselves to the dudes who go strapped to Kroger’s in case they need to fight off the Whole Wheat Bandit.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Morat20 says:

                I get you. I don’t think I’ve ever been a situation where I though “I should have a gun”.

                However, during the DC sniper days, I sure as hell was thinking about getting some body armor…until I learned the state made that illegal for non cops.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

                My favorite is requiring schools to train kids to handle guns. It’s right behind “arming teachers” to deal with school shootings

                Yeah, there’s a not-insignificant faction of GRAs who think the solution to *all* of our gun violence problems is more guns. I’m not sure how liberals can reach those people, in particular because those folks would never believe an argument from someone whose ultimate goal, obviously, is to “take their guns”. Seems like a job for moderate GRAs, to me.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I don’t think it’s the un-decided middle that liberals need to win. They need to actually convince the pro-gun folks they know what the hell they are talking about.

                So, are you saying that if an intelligent knowledgeable liberal who used all the correct gun-part terms advocated a full-on ban, gun owners would take that proposal seriously? No, the issue isn’t liberals lack of knowledge but GRAs unwillingness to restrict, seems to me. The former being cover for the latter.

                Seems to me that for the liberal ignorance argument to have any bite, GRAs would have to be introducing their own conception of what constitutes sensible regulations. And heck, on this thread alone GRAs have offered myriad policy changes which *could* be enacted independently from liberals, ignorant or otherwise. You’re basically saying that all these policies offered by GRAs, who know what they’re talking about, aren’t introduced as legislation because liberals don’t know what *they* are talking about. That doesn’t make any sense to me. The people who need to persuade GRAs are other GRAs.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Stillwater says:

                So, are you saying that if an intelligent knowledgeable liberal who used all the correct gun-part terms advocated a full-on ban, gun owners would take that proposal seriously?

                I actually think that if liberals fully educate themselves on guns AND actual gun laws, it would be very hard for any of them to actually arrive at the conclusion that banning guns was a good idea. But I don’t see that extreme position happening any time soon.

                What they could do though is partner with moderate conservatives like myself and we could have enough knowledgeable people willing to consider new regs that maybe the NRA crowd wouldn’t matter so much. And if the undecided middle sees knowledgeable liberals and knowledgeable conservatives agreeing on policy, well they might just also come on-board.

                But for the Left, a group that stereo-typically claims to value education and the minutiae of public policy, to say that they should be allowed to remain blissfully ignorant on this issue while advocating major policy changes…that’s just going to push me over into the gun nut category because at least they know what they are talking about.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I actually think that if liberals fully educate themselves on guns AND actual gun laws, it would be very hard for any of them to actually arrive at the conclusion that banning guns was a good idea. But I don’t see that extreme position happening any time soon.

                Well, a complete gun ban is not only unconstitutional, but for all of Damon’s claims about it being a real policy issue I’ve never heard or read anyone suggest it. I mean, I know they’re out there. Right next to people who think aliens created human life. An I’ve not met any of those people either.

                But I think you’re making a category mistake to think that learning about guns will incline liberals to change their views on gun regulation. It’s generally not an absence of knowledge that grounds their views, but a lack of affinity. I think they’re views are predominantly culturally and pragmatically determined. Same goes for most GRAs for that matter, on both counts.

                Having said that, I imagine there are more than a handful of anti-gun zealots who, if they went to the range and squeezed off a few rounds, would find that they enjoyed it. (Which is good. Means that target shooting may not be banned!)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                Adding: I know lots and lots of people who are liberals (in the stereotypical sense of that word) who vote Dem, advocate for serious gun regulation, and own handguns/shotguns for home protection. They don’t hate guns, they hate a culture dominated by 2A thinking.

                When I first read your post, your framing made me realize that there isn’t really a single debate about guns (unless you’re a radical GRA), but instead several: home defense, handguns for personal defense, hunting, protection to counter roving hordes during the apocalypse, the means to overthrow an oppressive gummint. I bet you’d find liberals agree with you much more, generally speaking, than you’re willing to concede. It’s primarily the last two, and the accompanying culture, that cause most of the trouble.Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to Stillwater says:

                This seems really on point regarding who and what you are talking about here.

                http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-tactical-turnReport

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to gregiank says:

                I agree with the argument and love the writing. Very good essay.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

                When I first read your post, your framing made me realize that there isn’t really a single debate about guns (unless you’re a radical GRA), but instead several:
                Home defense
                Handguns for personal defense
                Hunting
                Protection to counter roving hordes during the apocalypse
                The means to overthrow an oppressive gummint.

                {reformatted}

                @stillwater I think this is a good point… one of the reasons that everytime I start to write something as a land owner/hunter I get so twisted up with all the distinctions and caveats and this but not that stuff that I realize there’s no simple way to deal with Guns as a single category.

                For what its worth, I’d look at ammunition; the one round I have no real need for is the .223 (5.56 or .56); I get that it has some legitimate uses in some areas as a varmint round… but the main reason it is so popular is that it is a low-recoil round with good penetration and lethal tumbling upon impact; its a great anti-personnel round – and super easy to shoot, especially (particularly) semi-auto. Forcing varmint hunters down to .17 or .22LR (and variants) might inconvenience a few… and those rounds are also lethal against human at close range (so no panacea)… but hey… if I had to chose between being sprayed with a .223 or 5.56 round and a .22LR, I’d make that devil’s bargain with the .22.

                Plus, I have to admit that I have no need for more than 3-rounds per hunt. I might carry 5, but I only ever load 2 or 3. I have a multi-purpose revolver that I use around the farm (and keep locked in the bedroom) that only holds 5 rounds. Not a single weapon I own holds more than 6 of anything. I’ve never been in a situation where I thought 7 would be perfect. In fact, most of my hunting is sucessfully accomplished with a .50 caliber black-powder rifle – the ultimate 1-shot firearm; only once have I even reloaded in the field.

                But, once I take of my squire’s cap and look at the other reasons folks might own firearms; those distinctions disappear.

                So what does all this mean? It just means I have different ideas about gun control depending upon what guns and what our control aims might be. And, despite the horrors of spree killing and all I note about the .223, handguns are the primary killers in the US.

                Now, Zombies or Gummint? Well, all bets are off.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Marchmaine says:

                As far as I’m concerned:

                1) Hunting guns? Totally should be legal, with the only restrictions being sensible ones (registration, complying with hunting regulations, and *maybe* some transport ones but I’d leave that up to individual locales. I can see why cities might want you to have it in a locked cases, but rural areas wouldn’t care).

                2) Self defense guns? More restricted (frankly most hunting stuff will do fine). Concealed carry very restrictive. Open carry I’d restrict to private property, hunting areas, etc.

                3) Apocalypse preppers: Sorry, man. I get you’re worried about the end of the world, but you’ve literally just said you want the gun so you can kill lots of people very quickly. I know you said “If the world ends” but your justification remains “I want to be able to kill human beings efficiently and rapidly”. If you can’t fight them off with a deer rifle or a shotgun, you’re screwed anyways no matter how awesome that other gun is.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Forgot to link this handy Recoil Table.

                For a baseline… the smallest caliber you can use to hunt Deer in VA is .243.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater says:

                After Orlando pretty much every gun store offered free firearms training to gays and encouraged them to arm up. A great many did.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well, a complete gun ban is not only unconstitutional, but for all of Damon’s claims about being a real policy issue I’ve never heard or read anyone ever suggest it. I mean, I know they’re out there. Right next to people who think aliens created human life.

                Simply nonsense. Serious, apparently well informed, people on this site have argued to me the 2nd AM means to have access to a gun you have to be a member of a Militia, which you’re not allowed to create against the State’s will.

                The result being we “have the right to a gun” but that right is carefully structured so it’s impossible to actually have a gun unless you’re a cop or a member of the army.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Serious, apparently well informed, people on this site have argued to me the 2nd AM means to have access to a gun you have to be a member of a Militia, which you’re not allowed to create against the State’s will.

                I incline that way myself. But more importantly to what we’re talking about in this thread: did any of those people say they desire a total ban/confiscation of all firearms?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                I incline that way myself. But more importantly to what we’re talking about in this thread: did any of those people say they desire a total ban/confiscation of all firearms?

                Can you explain to me the effective difference between “a total ban of all firearms” and “in order to have a gun you need to join an organization which the state won’t allow to exist”?

                That’s like saying “You can freely have a gun on any day which ends in a Q, and it’s certainly not our fault if you can’t make that work.”Report

              • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Here’s an easy one.

                The first is a historical/legal argument about what types of bans would be unconstitutional. The second would be a policy argument about what laws we should pass.

                Saying the constitution is silent about medical insurance does not imply that no one should get medical insurance.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Simply nonsense. Serious, apparently well informed, people on this site have argued to me the 2nd AM means to have access to a gun you have to be a member of a Militia, which you’re not allowed to create against the State’s will.

                No.

                People have argued that constitutionally, you have the _right_ to have a gun if you are a member of a militia. Or, rather, that the only intent of the 2nd amendment is that the state militias cannot be disarmed by the Federal government.

                But there is a difference in saying ‘People do not have a right to a gun’ and saying ‘We should ban all guns’.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to DavidTC says:

                @davidtc

                Do you want me to cite polls?

                It’s not about the polls. I started this whole line of discussion pointing out that there is a pretty large middle ground of people who both believe in the individual right to bear arms and who would tolerate significantly more gun regulation. That’s not the contentious part.

                So, yes, we are, indeed, at a 1 on the dial of regulation.

                This is the incorrect part. If we were going to set up a gauge of the level of gun regulation where 0 represents no restrictions whatsoever on the personal ownership and use of small arms and 10 is complete prohibition of small arms, the United States is most definitely not at a 1. I’m not even sure that there is any single jurisdiction that could rightly be called a 1.

                The idea that America is some kind of free fire range where anyone an everyone can have a gun with minimal restrictions is a very common point of discussion among the more gun control crowd, but it just doesn’t line up with the actual experience of most Americans.

                @stillwater

                The idea that liberals need to moderate their language or learn correct technical terms in order win over the undecided middle makes no sense given the data. That argument is increasingly perplexing to me.

                That is not at all what I’ve been saying. That’s what you want me to be saying, because you’ve already defeated that argument in your mind. And this is precisely why, the gun control side won’t be making any advances anytime soon.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to j r says:

                @j r For the most part you’re being really patient with people who aren’t extending you a lot of charitable reading back, here. That said, if you can also avoid speculation on what’s inside people’s heads like:

                “That’s what you want me to be saying, because you’ve already defeated that argument in your mind.”

                It’ll probably be to everyone’s benefit.

                However, I get that you have patiently argued past a lot of people doing that to you by implication if not quite that bluntly (or perhaps they did do it that bluntly and I missed it! jeez you guys have been active and I have been sleeping 10-14 hours a night)…. so I’m not really chiding you?

                Just, hey. Try to keep staying on the not-telling-people-what-they-think high road, like you normally set a good role model example for all of us by doing.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Maribou says:

                @maribou

                Noted. Will find other ways to make these points that don’t speculate about individual motives.

                By the way, it isn’t really about being patient. I’m not trying to convince anybody of anything here. I’m just trying to use this discussion to demonstrate exactly the dynamic that I’m talking about.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

          the anti-control side is not saying ‘You know, we should be demanding the right to have abortions provided by Starbucks baristas!’.

          I’m good with drug store home abortion kits, IMHO the state of the technology allows for this even if the politics does not. I think it’s probably fine being sold over the counter. If Starbucks ever starts selling aspirin then I’d be fine with them also selling RU486.

          As for the rest of your post, when we have a mass murder, if someone comes up with regulations that would have stopped it, normally those regulations will pass with the support of the gun rights groups.

          What doesn’t pass is regulations that wouldn’t have worked and are clearly intended as one more step in the path towards total disarmament.

          This doesn’t seem like a defeat for “common sense regulation”.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

            As for the rest of your post, when we have a mass murder, if someone comes up with regulations that would have stopped it, normally those regulations will pass with the support of the gun rights groups.

            Again, I point to magazine size limits, which not only would make mass murder harder, but actually have passed before, in the assault weapon ban. (Only for new ones, though.)

            They were allowed to expire, and the NRA has been fighting them ever since.

            And, yes, I am aware that it is trivial to make large magazines, especially starting from an existing one. But there is a difference between ‘sold in stores’ and ‘have to machine it’, and also a difference between ‘hauling a legal gun around’ and ‘hauling an illegal gun around’.

            What doesn’t pass is regulations that wouldn’t have worked and are clearly intended as one more step in the path towards total disarmament.

            Every single gun control measure can be painted as either something that ‘won’t work’ or is ‘one more step in the path towards total disarmament’ or both.

            It’s especially not helpful that the NRA has decided that literally any additional tracking of ownership in any manner whatsoever is ‘one more step in the path towards total disarmament’.

            You assert tracking ownership would not stop mass shootings, which is correct, but it would make it extremely hard for guns to become black market.

            At this point, almost all new guns are entering the black market via straw purchases, where someone purchases a gun for someone else. The amount of people willing to do these blatantly illegal purchase is, presumably, limited, which means if we could actually track and search who was buying guns, we could notice ‘Hey, this guy seems to be buying about 100 guns a year from a dozen gun stores. Maybe we should ask him to produce a random sample of those guns he supposedly owes.’.

            But we can’t do that, even though the government, in theory, has the background checks the gun stores are supposed to be running. (Although they could have bought multiple guns at the same time, and the government wouldn’t know that.) This is because the government is flatly prohibited from searching those background checks or even putting them in a format that can be searched. But we could change that, and we could require gun stores to immediately file the forms they are instead merely required to keep as paper.

            And that’s just the information the government currently has or forces gun stores to record, yet cannot use to stop illegal gun straw purchases. This is not more paperwork, its not more work at all, it’s technically less. (As gun stores could stop having to keep paperwork around forever once they handed it over to the government. They could, in fact, enter it on a website.)

            If we additionally made people register all transfers of firearms, including those done privately, and including thefts, we could say ‘We found this gun in a crime last month, and you are the currently registered owner of it. You have not reported the sale of it, and we waited a month and you have still not reported any theft. You are under arrest unless you can produce some logical reason you wouldn’t have known about a theft…and we’ll need to confirm you still possess all your other registered guns, too.’

            And I know you claim there would be smuggling, but there are countries that have banned guns, and guns are, indeed, smuggled in…and yet criminals still have them at much much lower numbers than the US, mostly because they are very very expensive. A lot of other times, the gangs share a gun. One gun for the whole gang.

            And, interesting fact, almost all guns are smuggled into those countries from the US, which means that the US stopping guns from freely escaping the legal market would stop a lot of world-wide gun smuggling, and presumably smuggling guns into the US would be much harder than it is currently possible in other countries. They would, at minimum, have to start using ‘lawless’ countries to make guns, or parts of them, like Mexican drug cartels own parts of Mexican…and the thing about those sorts of lawless places is that they tend not to have functioning manufacturing bases.

            I am sure they will produce some guns, and I am equally sure the guns they do produce will be utter crap, just like illegal meth producers make pretty shitty and impure drugs when compared to pharmaceutical companies. Guns that jam, guns that misfire, guns that fall apart, guns made of inferior materials, guns that don’t correctly take standard ammo, just utter crap….that’s are ten times more expensive than current guns, both due to the smuggling and due to the fact they are functionally hand-crafted.

            There you go. Two regulations that could exist, one that would reduce mass shootings (By making them more difficult.) and one that reduce the total number of guns escaping to the hands of criminals.

            Why don’t we have them? The NRA.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

              Why don’t we have them? The NRA.

              The thing that the NRA has is not money to throw around, not even influence to throw around, but that they come close to accurately communicating the desires of a freakin’ *HUGE* number of voters.

              Again, I point to magazine size limits, which not only would make mass murder harder, but actually have passed before, in the assault weapon ban. (Only for new ones, though.)

              Remember what happened *AFTER* the AWB?

              The problem isn’t that the NRA does. It’s that the DNC does.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                I think you’re not giving credit to the contemporary NRA for shifting the terms of debate and shaping people’s views, myself:

                For much of the 20th century, the NRA had lobbied and co-authored legislation that was similar to the modern legislative measures the association now characterizes as unconstitutional. But by the 1970s the NRA came to view attempts to enact gun-control laws as threats to the Second AmendmentReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                When an advocacy organization successfully changes the minds of voters, I suppose I should give it credit for that.

                The NRA has, apparently, done so.

                So kudos to it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                A propaganda fan, I see.

                {{Read the linky.}}Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                As a fan of propaganda, how could I possibly resist an article in Time Magazine?

                Though I’m not entirely certain whether I ought to change my opinions due to what I’ve read… I’m not convinced that the NRA is the horse and the voters are the cart.

                The article certainly doesn’t get me to change my mind on that.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well, your view is that NRA is the cart. If so, the horse has changed repeatedly over the years. Someone’s got access to the barn.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                Castille was very informative with regard to the NRA. Their near silence on the matter gave up their game in my mind. The NRA is no longer about the 2A, as such, but rather fully and utterly invested in some kind of war on crime. So much so that when a law abiding citizen with a carry permit who was doing nothing wrong was gunned down by the police, the NRA had nothing to say. It was more important to not be seen as disparaging to the police than it was to be seen as defending a persons right to be armed in public.

                The fact that the NRA did not appear to lose massive amounts of support for that bit of conflict tells me that in general, NRA supporters are also invested in some mythical war on crime. That belief that there is some rampant crime wave in America has to come from somewhere, and as I said before, I believe the police are responsible for that belief. Not the FBI, but the big metro PDs, and the PDs in the next tier or two down. The ones who have bloated budgets[1] and pensions to fund, who need their citizens scared enough to support tax hikes, or crap like Ferguson.

                The NRA decided to perpetuate that belief because, let’s be honest, people are moving into cities and suburbs and fewer and fewer people are hunting. As much as the OP wants sportsmen & women to step up, that number dwindles every year. So the NRA decided to find new members where the people are, and the most efficient[2] way to get those people interested in owning firearms is to give them a reason to be armed.

                [1] BTW, PD budgets wouldn’t be in such a pinch if the Feds weren’t pushing military equipment to them. MilSpec gear can be a pricey bit of kit to maintain. Some battle rattle won’t impact an annual budget too much, but if you are picking up surplus vehicles, or other gear with high maintenance reqs, or expensive parts, your annual budget is going to take a hit, especially if you use the gear on a regular basis. So yeah, that big surplus truck is badd-ass looking and fun to roll out for parades or raids on the basement poker game, but how many officers does it cost to keep that thing running every year?

                [2] IMHO not the best way, just really damn efficient.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I agree. I’ve read critiques from other pro-GR folks very similar to yours.

                Add: that’s not quite accurate: those critiques are similar in thinking that the NRA’s response to Castille is an indictment of the NRA’s ostensible purpose.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

                The thing that the NRA has is not money to throw around, not even influence to throw around, but that they come close to accurately communicating the desires of a freakin’ *HUGE* number of voters.

                No. The thing the NRA has is the claim they accurately communicate the desire of a huge number of voters.

                They are, in fact, lying.

                We know this two ways…one, because NRA endorsements or opposition do not actually seem to alter elections, hell, they do not actually seem to alter Republican primaries anymore, and two, we can actually poll Americans and find out what they want, and it isn’t anywhere close to the positions the NRA takes.

                Remember what happened *AFTER* the AWB?

                I assume you are talking about the theory that it hurt Democrat’s reelection chances?

                First, we don’t have any real evidence it did vs. just being normal midterm vote-against-the-president’s-party loses, and second, if it hurt anyone, it hurt conservative Democrats in conservative districts.

                I.e., it hurt a species of wildlife that is now extinct.

                The problem isn’t that the NRA does. It’s that the DNC does.

                I wasn’t actually arguing what the Democrats should do in my post. I was arguing what, in any sane political climate, the Republicans would have done, which is get out in front of regulations that their own voters are in favor of, passing ones they can live with, getting compromises and exceptions written into law.

                I mean, I admit the current political climate is not sane anyway. But even pre-Obama, before all the current stupidity, there were reasonable gun restrictions, supported by Republican voters, that were disallowed by the NRA.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

                If NRA endorsements or opposition do not actually seem to alter elections (not even primaries) and if we don’t have any real evidence that the AWB hurt Democrats’ reelection chances (and even if it did, it only hurt conservative Democrats in conservative districts), then it’d be the silliest thing in the world for politicians to listen to the NRA.

                (Back when I held opinions, I was more of a fan of the JPFO, myself. Not squishy like the NRA was.)Report

              • Avatar KenB in reply to Jaybird says:

                [removed by author for unoriginality]Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

                then it’d be the silliest thing in the world for politicians to listen to the NRA.

                Yes. Yes is it.

                But they do anyway.

                This is the result of the conservative propaganda machine, which has convinced basically every politician (Republican and, to a slightly lesser extend, Democrat) that their district is much more conservative than it actually is. Not just on guns, but on everything.

                https://www.salon.com/2013/03/05/politicians_think_americans_are_super_conservative/

                http://www.msnbc.com/up-with-steve-kornacki/study-politicians-think-voters-are-way-more

                A quote from that article: “Nearly half of sitting conservative of?ceholders appear to believe that they represent a district that is more conservative on these issues than the most conservative legislative district in the entire country.”Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to DavidTC says:

              @davidtc

              While I am pretty much with you on the gun registrations…I’m not crazy about the magazine capacity. Playing devil’s advocate, that’s one of those items that means citizens might actually resist the government effectively. Or, if it makes more sense, how we would all help stop the zombie apocalypse…or a Canadian invasion.

              But seriously, the magazine capacity thing is almost only a problem with mass shootings, and while tragic, they still remain a tiny fraction of all gun deaths.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Yep. Magazine capacity isn’t a problem in Chicago because few people empty an entire standard magazine at a particular target. They just reload and do another shooting a week later, even if they were caught for the earlier shooting. But they’re poor black folks shooting at poor black folks, so the courts (redacted: pay a lot less attention to what happens after the first arrest than they would otherwise – maribou).Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to George Turner says:

                @george-turner I don’t necessarily disbelieve this but I’m going to need to see some VERY solid citations (multiple instances) to let it stand. In my experience courts don’t give people “a pass” in these situations, they leave them rotting in jail for months or longer before trial.

                Cite or get your comment deleted, please.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Maribou says:

                It happens all the time up there. Often the Chicago Sun Times reports the arrest of a murder suspect who was out on prior charges like weapons possession or armed robbery.

                Recently they just arrested a Chicagoan who was accidentally released on a murder conviction. Different departments blamed each other for the paperwork screw up.

                The Department of Corrections did not receive any additional documentation or information from Cook County indicating Glover should have been held beyond his release date on the armed robbery charge, spokeswoman Nicole Wilson said in a statement.

                They forgot that he was also supposed to be serving time for murder.

                Here’s another case mentioned in the NY Times on a heinous child murder.

                A report in The Chicago Tribune said the police questioned Mr. Morgan two days after Tyshawn’s killing but released him. Two weeks later, he was arrested and charged on an unrelated weapons violation and was released after posting bond.

                Arrested on weapons charges, posted bond, released, goes and kills someone.

                A lot of the gang members are in and out and in and out.

                DNA Info is a site that lists all the victims and links to news stories that reported the homicide. Unfortunately Chicago only has a 12% homicide clearance rate so you have to do a lot of clicking to find a story that lists an arrest. But in those, you usually find the young shooter has a long rap sheet.

                I’ll look for some examples.Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to George Turner says:

                This sounds just like the comments section of my local paper. The thing is almost everybody will have a chance to post bail. Suspects and arrestees aren’t convicted. Bail is not a punishment, it serves as a guarantee of getting them to come back for trial. The people in the comments section were aghast people who had been arrested could get out on bail. To them it looked like they got away with their alleged crimes.

                That someone suspected of a crime or on bail commits another crime doesn’t in any way support your contention some people get a free pass to commit more crime.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to gregiank says:

                Well, I suppose that’s true, but some of the things they post bail for would be eye-opening in other parts of the country, or at least elsewhere most people out on bail don’t do anything further and just go back to work. It seems that in some of the Chicago gang cultures, the “back to work” part is problematic because their work is criminal activity.

                Oh, and as an aside here’s an interesting sledge-hammer attack on an armored car employee. Don’t see many sledgehammer attacks. Maybe his plan B was to try to bust out the windows.Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to George Turner says:

                I have no idea about Chicago courts specfically. But that whole innocent until proven guilty thing does apply. I do know that in many places lots of poor people can’t afford the bail that is offered so they end up in the lock up for months, or over a year, waiting for trial. That doesn’t really sound like a good thing either. There has been a move in some POC activist groups to try to get rid of cash bail since it ends up keeping to many people in jail for a long time which has a significant negative effect on their lives. It also pressures them to take a plea if they think they will rot in a jail for months before even getting a trial.

                But the option to bail out of jail for everyone unless they are flight risk or a serious danger to public safety is the way it is.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to gregiank says:

                “they are flight risk or a serious danger to public safety ”

                See, the problem is, who decides who is and who isn’t one of those things? Right now a lot of courts (dunno if Chicago is among them) are so slammed that they will let just about anybody walk on bail, even if they think they are both of those things, if they have the money to pay. Someone up on a gang-related murder charge would, you think, be both of those things… and yet.

                (I agree that leaving people in lockup for months or more based on ability to pay is not the solution. I also think it puts pressure on prosecutors to go to a plea because there *are* (imo, reasonable) limits on how long they can hang on to someone without a trial. But the solution shouldn’t be “we think this person is a repeat murderer,” or “we think this person is a serial child molester,” but if someone’s willing to put up the money, we’ll risk it, because what if we’re wrong about them? It should be more money into trial courts, more money into the investigative (vs tacticool) parts of PDs, fewer very minor offenses tying up the system, faster trials, etc etc etc etc etc….)Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to Maribou says:

                Agreed. Bail is one of those things were even it works fine 99.9% of the time that .1% it goes wrong will get a mega ton of press. That might be fine but it rarely illuminates about the larger issues of the system.

                The defendant will have their attorney present to argue bail in front of the judge so they have a day( well a few minutes) in court. The people putting up the money are usually going to be bail bonds agencies who have strong incentives to see the person gets back in court. Often families and friends will be helping out with a bail bond through collateral or cash so it’s not like their aren’t other incentives for the person to show up for trial.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to gregiank says:

                @gregiank Yeah, I wasn’t so much thinking about “the press” as I was about the handful of cases I’m personally familiar with either as a victim, family of the victim, or family of the criminal.

                The relationship between “actual likelihood of flight risk and/or danger to the public” and “successfully got bail” seems tenuous at best in that handful (6? 7? I have some dissociation around these things) of cases.

                System’s so broken.Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to Maribou says:

                @maribou I know NJ has got rid of cash bail and moved towards a risk assessment model. Don’t really know how it’s going. Here in AK there was a revamping of some our CJ system last year. Predictably after every crime some blame the big crime bill for letting all those criminals walk free. Even in situations where the modification to jail/bail had nothing to do with it. Then there are the endless calls for just making punishments harder and harder and longer and longer.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Maribou says:

                System’s so broken.

                Yah. I just learned that while the US has 5% of total world population we account for 30% of the world’s female prison population. Land of the free and all that.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

                Whew. After much searching, the Chicago Sun Times maintains a list of homicide suspects.

                Clicking a few at random, we have unlawful use of a gun by a felon.

                There are so many people to check. Interesting, if somewhat horrifying, stuff though.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to George Turner says:

                OK, that isn’t “give them a pass”, but it is interesting/relevant, so I’m going to redact your original comment to reflect what actually happens and leave it be otherwise. Please be more thoughtful in how you phrase things next time.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Playing devil’s advocate, that’s one of those items that means citizens might actually resist the government effectively.

                Yes, but I’m one of the many people who have started advocating that the US government stop building drones and bombers that can be shot down with exactly 13 bullets, or tanks that explode automatically when hit with 11 bullets. That was always stupid military policy and made no sense at all. *holds finger to ear* Wait, I’m being told that it is literally impossible for any individual human, or even small group of humans, to fight off the military, as the military has large explosives that can be fired from long distances.

                Playing actual devil’s advocate, US citizens have absolutely no right to ‘resist’ the government in any coherent system of government consideration. They might have some sort of philosophical right to overthrow unjust governments, but that doesn’t mean the government has a duty to make it easier for them. In fact, it has a duty to make it harder, because, in theory, our government should believe that everyone is better off if people do not overthrow it.

                Or, if it makes more sense, how we would all help stop the zombie apocalypse…or a Canadian invasion.

                That is what National Guard armories are for. If there is an emergency where a military response is appropriate, everyone should feel free to head over to the National Guard, where they will presumably either have the option to join some sort of irregular militia, or be issued a weapon and general instructions.

                But seriously, the magazine capacity thing is almost only a problem with mass shootings, and while tragic, they still remain a tiny fraction of all gun deaths.

                Do you know how many people have died from lawn darts in the US?

                One. Exactly one person.

                Weirdly, we somehow were able to make a law about that. In fact, we banned them before that (Lots of people got injured, just not killed.), and the ban was challenged in court, and a compromised was reached that allowed them to be sold if they weren’t called ‘toys’ but were instead sports equipment.

                And then a single seven-year-old girl died in April 1987, and, tada, totally banned.

                Or, to put it another way: There is absolutely no reason not to ban extended capacity magazines. There are plenty of reason to ban them, including the biggest one: The vast majority of Americans want them banned, including what is sometimes a majority of Republicans. (Other times it dips down to 45% or so of Republicans, but I don’t think we should base our gun laws on what just one party thinks anyway.)Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to DavidTC says:

                “The vast majority of Americans want them banned, including what is sometimes a majority of Republicans. ”

                Ah, the wonders of direct democracy. Fortunately, we live in a republic…for now.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to DavidTC says:

                “There are plenty of reason to ban them…”

                Please enumerate. Because I’m not seeing it for anything other than mass shootings.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Please enumerate. Because I’m not seeing it for anything other than mass shootings.

                Drive-bys, for an obvious example. Those are usually done with handguns…often with extended magazines.

                Having a large magazine is also more dangerous in hunting…and before someone says ‘People shouldn’t hunt with extended magazines’, or even point out that’s sometimes illegal…I know that. But idiots still do. In fact, the sort of hunters who practice poor safety are exactly the sort of hunters who use extended mags because they need to be able to fire a bunch of bullets, as they are firing blindly.

                Restricting magazine size would also damage the idiotic assault weapon fetish. And, yes, I know ‘assault weapon’ isn’t a real thing. But there are entire groups of idiots buying gun solely because they look scary (Just like there are idiots trying to ban those guns for the same reason), and part of that is the giant extended magazine sticking out.

                Or, to put it another way, you point me to someone that has extended magazines and thinks they truly _need_ them, (as opposed to not feeling like reloading at a gun range), their reason will be stupid and quite likely negative justification for allowing them. (E.g. “Um, actually, you shouldn’t be shooting 15 rounds to try to kill that deer as it runs off. Where you can’t see it. But are still shooting in that direction. You do not know how to hunt. Please stop immediately.”)

                Which is incidentally why you had to go into hypotheticals to put everyone in a war environment for any sort of rational sounding situation that might need them.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to DavidTC says:

                @davidtc

                Oy! Where to start…

                Drive-bys, for an obvious example. Those are usually done with handguns…often with extended magazines.

                So enforce the laws on the books

                “Still, only 11 people have been charged in Baltimore and fewer than 100 statewide under the magazine statute. The penalties under the law are stiff. If convicted of committing a felony or violent crime with an extended magazine, defendants face a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 20.”

                Having a large magazine is also more dangerous in hunting…and before someone says ‘People shouldn’t hunt with extended magazines’, or even point out that’s sometimes illegal…I know that. But idiots still do. In fact, the sort of hunters who practice poor safety are exactly the sort of hunters who use extended mags because they need to be able to fire a bunch of bullets, as they are firing blindly.

                This isn’t really a thing. I know at least 30 hunters. None of them use tactical rifles. I mean, I’m sure you can find people out there taking poaching to the extreme of violating a bunch of different game laws, but geez, is that tiny group really your rationale?

                Restricting magazine size would also damage the idiotic assault weapon fetish. And, yes, I know ‘assault weapon’ isn’t a real thing. But there are entire groups of idiots buying gun solely because they look scary (Just like there are idiots trying to ban those guns for the same reason), and part of that is the giant extended magazine sticking out.

                And you know the psychology of these folks how? I have a tactical rifle on my wish list too. I promise it has nothing to do with how it looks and/or the big magazine sticking out…although now you’re making me wonder if I have a phallic obsession I wasn’t even aware of.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                So enforce the laws on the books…

                How on earth would an existing law that increases penalties for extended magazines used in a crime produce the same results as my proposal to _ban_ possession of extended magazines?

                Drive-bys are already illegal. Super illegal. Presumably people committing them are not concerned with legality.

                But they are also walking around with their guns, which is probably legal. They are buying legal extended magazines and attaching them. In states where they are illegal to sell, they are buying them from nearby states, and, according to this article, walking around with them attached to their belt.

                I would like to arrest all of those people, pre-emptively, before they commit murder. I would like even the people who can lawfully own guns not to own them. I would like them to become contraband.

                How you come to the conclusion that they shouldn’t be banned, how the heck you think think article supports anything but that conclusion, is a bit baffling.

                We don’t just ban killing people with cars. We ban dangerous behavior with cars, like drinking while operating them. We ban dangerous cars, like cars without headlights. We don’t just jump to the end, ban the end result, and call it a day.

                This isn’t really a thing. I know at least 30 hunters. None of them use tactical rifles. I mean, I’m sure you can find people out there taking poaching to the extreme of violating a bunch of different game laws, but geez, is that tiny group really your rationale?

                You think that claiming a _lack_ of people who break a law and use extended mags in hunting is…a reason not to ban them? If no one is using them, who cares if they’re banned?!

                You seem to be operating from an entirely different point than me, whereas I think extended magazines should be illegal unless someone can come up with a damn good justifications for them (And no one seems able to.), whereas you think extended magazines should be legal because…why? You can’t seem to explain why.

                I have listed a bunch of unlawful uses for them, and you’re just like ‘Oh, that’s not that big a problem.’ and ‘Not that many people have those.’

                Who cares? My point is that there is basically no lawful use that requires extended magazines, and it is very dangerous for bad people to have access to them because unlawful uses become much worse. The only sort of rebuttal to that I will accept is ‘Actually, there is a reasonable lawful use of extended mags, when blah blah…’. Which could be true, I don’t know all gun use scenerios. But you are not filling me with confidence.

                And while banning them will not magically get rid of existing ones or render people unable to machine illegal ones, it will reduce the amount, especially over time, especially if this time we make them actual unlawful to possess instead of just restricting sales.

                Oh, wait, that’s ‘confiscating guns’ and we can’t ever do that. Any weapon or weapon part ever sold legally in this country must remain legal and grandfathered in forever, because we are deeply stupid and gun owners would, it is claimed, probably start shooting if we tried to take them away. (Although that would, once and for all, show who could be trusted with guns and who are complete lunatics who probably shouldn’t be allowed a sharp knife.)

                And you know the psychology of these folks how? I have a tactical rifle on my wish list too. I promise it has nothing to do with how it looks and/or the big magazine sticking out…although now you’re making me wonder if I have a phallic obsession I wasn’t even aware of.

                It does seem a bit weird how you can promise it doesn’t have anything to do with the looks, but don’t appear to give any sort of alternative reason. But that’s all inside your head, I don’t know.

                I somewhat understand the appeal of a ‘tactical rifle’ as a weapon to collect, by which I assume you mean something like an AR-15. A high-velocity low-calibre rifle…or not, depending on mods. Frankly, ‘tactical rifle’ is a really vague term.

                As people may know, I have previously pointed out that high-velocity low-calibre rifles do not seem to serve any lawful purpose particularly well except a few specific types of hunting, and I don’t really like people having them…but, frankly, my largest problem with them is indeed the large quickly detachable magazines. The AR-15, if I remember correctly, comes with a 20 round magazine, and can come with a larger one.

                All the opposition to this seems to come down to ‘This would result in less people dead only in certain specific circumstances.’ Is that it? Am I summarizing it correctly? You think it will only have a small impact on the amount of dead people?

                To which I reply:

                Lawn. Darts.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to DavidTC says:

                @davidtc

                You have implied a bunch of times in the comment thread that you would kind of like all guns to go away, or at least, that’s the impression I get. So, this is one of those things where it’s hard to trust your intentions on extended mags. But I will play along…

                You cited the use of extended magazines in (mostly) illegal hunting practices as a reason we should ban them. I attempted to refute that. Now you are saying the fact that they have no use in hunting is the reason we should ban them. Seems like a bait and switch there.

                Also, the reason I would like to add a tactical rifle to the collection is because I was a Boy Scout and I live my life by ‘Be Prepared’. I don’t really worry about the government falling apart or needing to defend my home against UN troops there to take my guns…but I do worry about things like civil unrest after a major earthquake. Kentucky sits on a big fault line that could affect thousands of square miles if it goes. In that situation, my goal is to get my family out of the city until things blow over. I see a tactical rifle and lots of extended magazines as part of the bug-out plan. I’m not planning to shoot anyone and would prefer it be a confrontation-free trip, but people do crazy things in those situations. If that means I am a gun nut or have a fetish for scary-looking guns, so be it.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                @mike-dwyer FWIW, I was wondering about this too.

                And I can be conflicted about things, like, I would like all guns to go away. I would really like that. I was terrorized by my dad keeping his rifle in the kitchen all those years, even though I was properly trained in gun safety and even though I never felt any threat from my Poppy’s rifles (my dad did, though, when my Poppy was drunk and storming around the house yelling with a loaded gun) and even though I happily played bird dog for my dad (land only) when he was healthy…. having that gun in the kitchen when he was raging was bleeping terrifying and the rest of the time it was still part of the threat that kept us in line. And knowing that, having felt that fear, yep, I would honestly sometimes just wave a magic wand and leave us all, including cops and governments, gunless, if I could. (Good thing I have no magic wands!!)

                I would also, very much, like for people to be left in peace to hunt efficiently (some people still feed themselves that way, and I love going food hunting with people even though I don’t shoot – but that’s not the only reason I want hunting to be efficient, and I’m including sport hunting here even though I find it revolting – I still want people to be allowed to do it and left alone beyond questions of safety and endangered species). I also want people to safely and legally carry guns for self-defense if they want to or keep them in their homes (my friends of color and other vulnerable folks are the people I *most* want to have that right, and I know plenty of very politically-liberal people who fit that description and do carry concealed – though I also think places like schools and libraries should be able to ban concealed carry inside their buildings if they don’t want it). I most definitely want people to be able to store what they need for bug-out plans I think are overdoing it, only partly because some part of me suspects that in a crisis, I’m going to be mooching off their bug-out plans (I have barterable skills!). And I want ALL of those things to happen without undue interference from people who think they’re somehow improving the world that way, rather than messing with a bunch of people who aren’t actually harming anybody and not accomplishing much else.

                I can want both of those things. I think a lot of moderate GCAs – most of the ones I’ve encountered, which, granted, includes a lot of hunters, but hunters who are pretty far to the left of you about guns – want both of those things. I can’t speak for them generally – I don’t even A for GC other than in private conversations or at most an online discussion like this one – but for me personally, the more reasonable, education-oriented, honest/vulnerable, etc etc GRAs I encounter *are*, the more I want the latter set of things and the less I want all guns to go away.

                Which is part of the reason I liked your OP so much and also part of the reason I appreciate you being honest about your reasons even when you expect people to give you crap for it.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

                (two notes – I wrote that in a hurry:
                1) I should have said “gun owners I encounter” not GRAs I encounter, in the 2nd to last paragraph.

                2) the set of gunowners I know includes me and Jaybird. Like, I literally have guns (no ammo) in the one room in the house I consider to be my sanctuary. The gun cabinet is literally an arm’s length away from me as I lie down and type this note. Two rifles (one with a legally modified stock), and two handguns, all of great historic meaning in Jay’s family. I like having them here because it connects me to his dad, who I never met, and to history, and to my Poppy – who was a terrible father but somehow, through some strange alchemy (mostly through mostly quitting drinking, but *how* did he do that? i’ll never know), he became an amazing grand-dad… I love these guns, and I love the cabinet they’re in, and a part of me would like to learn to shoot them someday although I suspect that day is a long ways off. So when I say my feelings are conflicted, that isn’t a veil for a secret singular desire to rid the world of guns. I really am that ambiguous, as are a lot of my gun-owning friends.)Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                You have implied a bunch of times in the comment thread that you would kind of like all guns to go away, or at least, that’s the impression I get. So, this is one of those things where it’s hard to trust your intentions on extended mags. But I will play along…

                My intentions on extended mags is that people should not have extended mags.

                Or, to put it another way: Laws exist on their own merits, not hypothetical things that I might or might not think.

                Which, incidentally, is not quite right. I have no objection to hunting, and I have no objection to home defense. I do have an objection to people carry around loaded weapons in public, especially on thin ‘self-defense’ grounds.

                Basically, in my ideal world, people could own hunting rifles (As in, an individually- or clip-loaded one, no detachable mag.) and/or shotguns. (Normal ones, not crazy combat ones that I think they already can’t own.) If someone breaks into their house, by all means, they should pull out the shotgun and put some shells in it.

                And I am willing to compromise on the self-defense thing…with revolvers. People want to carry around a handgun, they get a revolver.

                In my ideal world, the average rate of possible fire of 25 bullets is about a minute, because you had to stop and reload twice, at least.

                If people want to own other weapons, I would be fine with some sort of firing range exemption, where they can keep them there and play around with them however they want.

                You cited the use of extended magazines in (mostly) illegal hunting practices as a reason we should ban them. I attempted to refute that. Now you are saying the fact that they have no use in hunting is the reason we should ban them. Seems like a bait and switch there.

                No, I didn’t say using them in hunting is a reason for them to go away. You asked what _misuses_ of extended magazines exist besides mass shootings, and I pointed out they are used by idiots in hunting.

                You tried to claim people weren’t using them in hunting, which, as I pointed out, makes objecting to their ban even more absurd.

                Either they are misused, and should be banned, or they aren’t used at all, and thus…there’s no reason not to ban them, apparently, no use has them and thus no one should care about them!

                As I have pointed out, there really is only one argument for not banning them that you can make that makes any sense: That there is some sort of lawful purpose of weapons that require an extended magazine.

                Also, the reason I would like to add a tactical rifle to the collection is because I was a Boy Scout and I live my life by ‘Be Prepared’. I don’t really worry about the government falling apart or needing to defend my home against UN troops there to take my guns…but I do worry about things like civil unrest after a major earthquake.

                That seems absurd, you can’t shoot earthquakes.

                Kentucky sits on a big fault line that could affect thousands of square miles if it goes. In that situation, my goal is to get my family out of the city until things blow over. I see a tactical rifle and lots of extended magazines as part of the bug-out plan. I’m not planning to shoot anyone and would prefer it be a confrontation-free trip, but people do crazy things in those situations. If that means I am a gun nut or have a fetish for scary-looking guns, so be it.

                Well, I don’t really want to have to point this out…but it does, in fact, sorta mean you are a gun nut, or at least you have built up a scenario that is literally never going to happen, to try to justify owning (and allowing any random person who can afford them to own) guns. That’s…that’s sorta the definition of gun nut.

                Please note the only reason you would need extended magazines, even in this scenario, is if you were going to shoot a lot of people at once. Otherwise, you could presumably just reload.

                As I have mentioned before somewhere on this page, if a person is attacked by multiple people at once, close enough to shoot said multiple people at once, and _can’t_ scare them away by shooting just one or two of them, that person is almost certainly screwed no matter how well armed they are.

                I also point out that this is scarcely any sort of lawful use of guns, so much so you’ve had to build a situation where laws break down. You can’t just shoot a bunch of people at once because they are vaguely menacing you. Self-defense is on an individual, case-by-case basis.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to DavidTC says:

                @davidtc I appreciate you putting your cards on the table and your efforts to be gentle about it, thank you.

                That said, “at least you have built up a scenario that is literally never going to happen, to try to justify owning (and allowing any random person who can afford them to own) guns” is…. not exactly a literal reading of what Mike said.

                What Mike said (and what squares with much of what he’s said here on this post’s comments, elsewhere all over the site, etc.) is that he is a “prepare for every bad thing you can” used-to-be-a-Boy-Scout guy. The earthquake –> civil unrest was the example he picked out of many such things that he sees as a reason why he might need to defend his family and to move a fair amount of ammo in a ready-to-load-quickly fashion. I’m willing to bet money he has a hundred other such scenarios, with planned out remedies, that have nothing to do with guns. That’s the Boy Scout way, in my experience. (I’ll note that the Canadian raised-on-Scouting guys I know don’t have any extended magazines in their plans, and the American planners I know mostly do. But boy howdy have they given a lot of thought to making a jillion such plans. It’s kind of astounding, really. I mean, the girl scouts expected me to be prepared for a lot of things, such as both tracking a rabbit AND gutting and cooking a turkey, but long-range future disaster planning just wasn’t high on the list.)

                I mean, there’s nothing wrong with any of the rest of your comment, that’s you guys hashing out that you disagree about something. But there are more reasons to have a bug-out-ready mentality that includes guns, even guns that some of us don’t agree are necessary or beneficial, than just trying to justify owning such guns, and you should give @mike-dwyer more benefit of the doubt on that.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Maribou says:

                @maribou

                “I’m willing to bet money he has a hundred other such scenarios, with planned out remedies, that have nothing to do with guns.”

                If you only knew… Most of the stuff I do is based on personal experiences or those of friends. So, for example, my dog got a very bad cut while hunting years ago and lost a fair amount of blood on the way to the vet. By the time we arrived I was shirtless because I had used my t-shirt to wrap the wound. Now I keep a small med kit just for him in the truck. I have also been in rough country twice and discovered that someone left the car keys at the wrong trailhead or canoe take-out. So now I have a key safe mounted to the frame of my truck. Stuff like that.

                The earthquake thing is a real concern for me. I know the scenarios to avoid in a flash flood. Tornadoes are very localized events. I’m not going to get stuck in a blizzard where I live. No forest fires. No hurricanes. Earthquakes are the one thing that could happen, with no warning, and have the potential to affect thousands of square miles. So yes, I plan for the worse. I work 25 miles from home so I have a get-home bag in my truck that assumes impassible roads and I will have to walk that distance and encounter smoke, fire, debris and maybe even looting. But you’re right that the gun is probably the least important feature in my plans.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Maribou says:

                That said, “at least you have built up a scenario that is literally never going to happen, to try to justify owning (and allowing any random person who can afford them to own) guns” is…. not exactly a literal reading of what Mike said.

                In what manner? I honestly can’t figure out what you are disputing there. Granted, ‘any random person’ should be ‘any random non-felon’…I was not trying to imply Mike thought felons should be able to own extended mags guns. (Or any guns at all.) But other than that…

                I had asked Mike to come up with some sort of lawful circumstances where extended magazines were needed, to justify their legal existence at all. Mike responded by talking about the extremely unlikely Kentucky-apocalypse scenario that was the reason he was planning on buying a gun with one.

                I mean, maybe he wasn’t intending that example as a justification for keeping extended mags legal, but it seems like a logical assumption on my part.

                I mean, there’s nothing wrong with any of the rest of your comment, that’s you guys hashing out that you disagree about something. But there are more reasons to have a bug-out-ready mentality that includes guns, even guns that some of us don’t agree are necessary or beneficial, than just trying to justify owning such guns, and you should give @Mike Dwyer more benefit of the doubt on that.

                I think I was a bit unclear there, but I wasn’t saying that there are not actual scenarios where people would need guns. That is fine and understandable. If people want guns in their bug-out kits, that seems reasonable. (Well, they need to secure them somehow, obviously.)

                I was saying that building up a scenario that is extremely unlikely to happen to justify owning a specific gun, one with an extended magazine, is indeed a bit gun-nutty.

                Especially when that scenario appears to implicitly require killing a bunch of people at once, or at least requires being _able_ to kill a bunch of people at once.

                In fact, the situation is so obviously unlikely, and the ‘solution’ is so poorly thought out, that it really does seem to be trying to reverse engineer a reason to own said gun. Which, again, is somewhat the behavior of a ‘gun nut’.

                And, look, Mike can do that if he wants. I have absolutely no objection to him taking advantage of the current law. He doesn’t need my permission anyway.

                I’m just pointing it’s a really bad justification to keep extended magazines legal.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to DavidTC says:

                At the very least, it’s an admission that the reason he wants that gun is because it’s good for killing a lot of people very quickly.

                Which means if someone wants to, say, ban or restrict it because it’s optimized for killing a lot of people very quickly they’re not making that up, or coming to that conclusion because they “don’t understand guns”.

                Own your reasoning, basically. If you think you need that gun because, one day, you might need to kill a whole lot of people at once in self-defense, admit it. Don’t dance around it with equivocations.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Morat20 says:

                @davidtc @morat20

                Question: Settler moves his family west on the Oregon Trail. They are going through territory that has hostile Indian tribes. He takes along a couple of Henry rifles, one for him and one for his teenage son, to defend themselves.

                Was he planning to kill a bunch of people, or to be safe?

                Or an easier scenario… I carry a suture kit in my bug-out bag. Am I planning for someone to get a nasty cut, or preparing to help if they do?

                Preparedness does not mean you want the scenario to happen. It means you want to be ready if it does. So I’m not trying to justify owning a rifle with extended magazines by inventing unlikely scenarios. I would also buy one tomorrow just because it would also be fun to shoot with my buddies and I like all the little gadgets you can mount on them. And I’m also a little bit lazy, so that makes range time waaaay easier since I don’t have to do a bunch of re-loading. And a friend owns some stock in Colt, so it helps him out too.

                What are you looking for here? Honest answers with serious consequences or honest answers with not-so-serious consequences?

                But I will also say that a comment thread that was polite and emotion-free all weekend (without Maribou having to intervene) has now devolved into the two of you implying that I only want to buy a certain gun because I am planning to kill a bunch of people… So that means it’s about time to shut down the thread.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Oh, I remember this one. Someone dies of dysentery, right?Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Pinky says:

                >golf clap<Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

                Yes, but after he and his buddy kill 8 well armed marauders with evil intent. Classic Hollywood bitter-sweet ending.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                @mike-dwyer FWIW I’ve been intervening, pretty subtly in most but not all cases, since the 8th of October (and that intervention was not directed at either of these two guys, nor are they the only people I’ve nudged at in the thread).

                Not that it’s super relevant to this situation, but not every intervention involves someone getting suspended, right? A lot of times people just need to be told they’re getting into dicey territory by someone who could do something about it if they don’t listen. I’m not sure politeness requires a lack of emotion, either.

                And I’m just going to take a moment to say THANK YOU to everyone who has been listening, and doing their best to be respectful, throughout the entire thread.

                That includes you, as well, Morat20 and DavidTC – I can see you trying to be civilized about this entire thing – though I think Mike’s put it more clearly than I was, that telling someone they are planning to kill people – even if you don’t *mean* it as an attack – is not a civil way to interact with them.

                And I personally think there’s a lot of daylight between “has different safety and preparedness standards than I do including stuff I don’t actually want them to be allowed to do and/or that I don’t even think would work” and “is making up scenarios where they would kill a lot of people”.

                That’s what I meant about not understanding the bug-out mentality, incidentally. Not seeing any daylight between those two things.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                If you’ve got an earthquake bug out plan for Louisville, it would be remiss to not include a raid on Fort Knox during the chaos so you can seize enough gold to barter with to get you through the dark days before power and water gets restored, which could be a week or more. For that you’ll need not just one, but several extended magazines, just in case not all the guards left to deliver relief supplies.

                You should not only put together a plan, you should write a script and walk it around Hollywood. It’s got everything: earthquake, chaos, panicked civilians, family, living off the land, and a main character with a rifle and an idiotic ad-hoc idea of pulling off an assault on the nation’s gold repository. Maybe toss in a stolen baby. Governor Matt Bevin has 10 kids. It’s not like he needs all of them.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Preparedness does not mean you want the scenario to happen. It means you want to be ready if it does. So I’m not trying to justify owning a rifle with extended magazines by inventing unlikely scenarios.

                I said: As I have pointed out, there really is only one argument for not banning them that you can make that makes any sense: That there is some sort of lawful purpose of weapons that require an extended magazine.

                You said: Also, the reason I would like to add a tactical rifle to the collection is because I was a Boy Scout and I live my life by ‘Be Prepared’. I don’t really worry about the government falling apart or needing to defend my home against UN troops there to take my guns…but I do worry about things like civil unrest after a major earthquake.

                You see, I assumed that that story about why you wanted them was intended as some sort of response to me, intending to show some sort of lawful purpose of weapons that require an extended magazine.

                No. You were just telling that story for fun, apparently, and thus I shouldn’t have criticized how absurdly improbably the situation was, and how extended mags wouldn’t help, and thus how it is nonsensical it was as a justification for extended mags. Because it wasn’t intended as any sort of serious possibility to justify anything, it was just for fun.

                So, now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s forget all that and return to: The neccessary reason we should keep extended magazines legal is…Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to DavidTC says:

                @davidtc That’s enough. “For fun” and “in response to someone questioning my psychological functioning” are not the same thing. As the questioner, you should be extra careful about that, not less careful.

                You need to back down or I’m going to back you down.

                Now.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to DavidTC says:

                @davidtc The problem I’m having is you asked two separate things.

                One was, why should I accept the legality of these? what possible reason?

                another was, what psychological reason could a person have for wanting these?

                Mike was answering the second by telling that story, your response to him answering 2 at your implicit if not explicit invitation was to treat him as if he thought 2 answered 1 and then assume from there.

                I’m saying take a step back, keep the two things separate.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to DavidTC says:

                @davidtc

                “…shotguns. (Normal ones, not crazy combat ones that I think they already can’t own.)”

                I’m not sure I know what you are talking about. So I Googled this. Still no idea why these are a concern.

                “Well, I don’t really want to have to point this out…but it does, in fact, sorta mean you are a gun nut, or at least you have built up a scenario that is literally never going to happen, to try to justify owning (and allowing any random person who can afford them to own) guns. That’s…that’s sorta the definition of gun nut.”

                I’m not sure why you think this is outside the realm of possibility. Do you think I’m exaggerating the possibility of an earthquake, the impact it would have on the population, or the possible threat this would represent for my family trying to leave the city? Because I can address all three.

                And I know a bunch of guys that would self-classify themselves as ‘gun nuts’ and none of them would group me in with them. So you’re definition is probably a bit different than most people, I think.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                A few combat shotguns are actually fully automatic, but I don’t think any of them have been adopted by any armed forces.

                The Pancor Jackhammer was one of the best guns in Fallout 2, though, so that’s gotta count for something.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to pillsy says:

                Two of my friends have Saigas. I found them…unpleasant…to shoot. Way too heavy for me.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Do you think I’m exaggerating the possibility of an earthquake,

                No. (I honestly have no idea, but if you say there could be an earthquake, I will believe you. There are lots of places in the US that are at risk of earthquakes and most people don’t know.)

                the impact it would have on the population

                If by ‘impact’ you mean ‘would be in a natural disaster’, no.

                If by ‘impact’ you mean ‘would result in the population becoming marauding gangs of thugs’, yes.

                or the possible threat this would represent for my family trying to leave the city?

                Yes. 100% yes I dispute that.

                Because I can address all three.

                You left off the fourth issue I have, which even if the situation you have invented occurs (Which it will not), an extended magazine would be _absolutely no help_.

                If you are at the point where you are having to shoot multiple people, at once, without the time to reload, you have literally already lost the game.

                Let’s work this through, what you are proposing with a gun:

                1) You might be noticeably armed, which is going to result in the hypothetical marauding gangs of thugs going after other targets. This does not require an extended mag.

                2) You will be willing to pull a gun on them, which is going to result in marauding gangs of thugs backing off. Please note that a rifle is sorta the wrong weapon to have here, a handgun would be better. But, more importantly, again, an extended mag will not help.

                3) You might actually need to shoot one of them, which doesn’t require an extended mag. This is, in all circumstances, going to either result in a fight or them running away.

                4) So if they run away, it’s over.

                5) But what if they fight?

                a) They do not have guns. Thus, if they have entered a fight with you, a person with a gun shooting them, they presumably have numbers and are very close. (In fact, they legally had to be close for you to kill them in self-defense.) You are about to kill a few more of them, and then get captured, because it doesn’t matter how many of them there are, once they physically reach you, you can no longer shoot them with a rifle.

                b) They do have guns. And now we’re at a gunfight. Except…gunfights are not real things. Almost all ‘gunfights’ consist of a single exchange of gunfire and someone is down. And guess what…if it’s you on one side and four people with guns on another, that person will quickly be you. (The sole exception is if you have fortification, but you supposedly are doing this as an escape.)

                6) Wait, didn’t you have a family with you?

                a) So it’s not just you can they can reach…they can grab your family instead.

                b) Entering a gunfight while standing next to your family is…probably not a clever idea.

                If you are attempting to escort your family to safety, and are threatened by a group of people who did not run away when you shot just one of them…you are completely screwed, period. There is a certain point in disaster preparedness where you stop, where you said ‘Maybe I shouldn’t spend any effort to try to figure out how I could escape a concrete box dropped inside molten lava, I’m pretty much screwed at that point’, and stop.

                Or, regardless if you stop or not, there is the point where everyone else says ‘That situation is completely absurd, and what’s more, extended mags do not seem to provide any benefit over other guns in that absurd situation. So, no, we will not allow people to own extended mags due to that hypothetical. ‘.

                And I know a bunch of guys that would self-classify themselves as ‘gun nuts’ and none of them would group me in with them. So you’re definition is probably a bit different than most people, I think.

                You haven’t purchased a gun yet for your absurd scenario. In fact, I kinda doubt you will, because you don’t need to.

                Teaching everyone how to handle a handgun and making sure you have enough would be much much more reasonable in that situation, and indeed, in the sort of situations that might actually happen.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

                That is what National Guard armories are for. If there is an emergency where a military response is appropriate, everyone should feel free to head over to the National Guard, where they will presumably either have the option to join some sort of irregular militia, or be issued a weapon and general instructions.

                Our National Guard armories don’t give equipment out and don’t have many spare rifles. Evans Firearms down the street has a much better selection of guns. My local NG armory has a few nifty artillery pieces, though. But mostly they just have trucks and trailers.

                It’s up to all of us to make sure everybody has enough arms and ammunition. Aside from that, LA Police gear has some of the best tactical equipment for the money. My housemate favors it.

                He has his bug out kits organized by both type of gear and type of disaster. If he was airdropped in the middle of a Honduran rain forest he wouldn’t even blink. His son, an Army doctor, actually does that kind of thing for a living, airdropping in with Special Forces units.

                My housemate didn’t have any body armor though, so last week I gave him one of my Kevlar flak jackets that will stop 9mm and .45 ACP. That made him very happy.

                It’s up to all of us to be prepared for any type of emergency. Our government tells us this all the time. Some people refuse to listen, but I’m not going to risk a $20 fine if a flak jacket, pack full of gear, MRE’s, and some AR’s with extended magazines can keep me in compliance with my legal responsibilities.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                Our National Guard armories don’t give equipment out

                Well, no it wouldn’t currently be. You have not been invaded. Unless I have missed a recent news story.

                and don’t have many spare rifles.

                …how do you know that?

                Obviously, it would depend on the units stationed there, but militaries really do tend to have a lot of spare weapons laying around, mostly because where the hell else would they be.

                …and, I was about to say this was all classified and we couldn’t find it out, but the Army Reserve National Guard apparently owned 176,407 M4s in 2016. (I am very startled to learn I am allowed to know this.)

                http://prhome.defense.gov/Portals/52/Documents/PR%20Docs/NGRER%20FY2016_Final.pdf (Search ARNG-1-7)

                They have an authorized personal size of approximately twice that, but I have absolutely no idea if that is too many or not enough rifles, because I have no idea how much of that is support.

                According to page 2-39, the rifles are unfunded by, uh, $56 million dollars…because…wait…$56 million. Are they serious? That’s pocket change for the military. Where’s all the money going? How about we buy one less F-35?

                Hey, if someone wants to tie gun control to the idea that we should arm the National Guard more in case we need them to arm citizens, I am all for that.

                It’s almost a moot point, though, because the idea that the US would be invaded by ground forces without any warning at all is a bit absurd.

                It’s up to all of us to be prepared for any type of emergency. Our government tells us this all the time. Some people refuse to listen, but I’m not going to risk a $20 fine if a flak jacket, pack full of gear, MRE’s, and some AR’s with extended magazines can keep me in compliance with my legal responsibilities.

                The government pretty specifically tells people to prepare for ‘disasters’, not ’emergencies’. They are not generally including ‘ground invasions’ in that, because, again, that’s a bit silly. They want people to have enough to live on until disaster recovery can happen, not fight off invasions.

                It’s worth mentioning that every ground invasion of a US state has been done by a neighboring country. Mexico/Spain, Mexico by itself several times, and Canada/England. And a bunch of Native Americans. And, once, kinda, the Mormons. Oh, and, duh, the Confederacy.

                We’ve never had a ground force land on our shores from over the ocean. And such a feat has become increasingly less and less possible with technology.

                And considering how tightly our economy is tied to both Mexico and Canada, it seems very absurd for them to invade us. (Probably don’t have much to fear from the Native Americans or the Mormons, either. I dunno about the Confederacy, though.)Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

                Obviously, it would depend on the units stationed there, but militaries really do tend to have a lot of spare weapons laying around, mostly because where the hell else would they be.

                …and, I was about to say this was all classified and we couldn’t find it out, but the Army Reserve National Guard apparently owned 176,407 M4s in 2016. (I am very startled to learn I am allowed to know this.)

                Civilians already own 11 to 20 million AR-15’s, perhaps more, and most of them are way better than the standard issue M4. 176,000 is just about one month’s worth of civilian AR-15 sales.

                Also, the National Guard can’t give out M4’s because it would be a felony to give them and a felony to possess them, since they’re three round burst or fully automatic (in the case of the M4A1). They would have to be demilled and the military wouldn’t do that in a crisis.

                Knowing that’s pretty much how it goes, our founders said that everybody has to supply their own guns for the militia.

                You see, since the militia is all adult males, the centralized armory plan means they’d each have to pay for a rifle (through taxes) that they don’t get to use and that they may not even like. And then every time there’s an improvement that obsoletes the old rifles (that they never got to use), they get taxed again to pay for new rifles that they also probably won’t get to use.

                Voters were never going to go for that. They’re okay with paying for rifles to equip our small standing army, but wouldn’t be okay with constantly paying for new rifles for 170 million adult males. That’s a thousand times as many rifles as the National Guard owns. Instead, the men have to buy their own military rifles. They can get in legal trouble if they don’t.

                We can also get in trouble if we don’t show up for militia meetings and drills, but I don’t think my state has had one of those since WW-II. It turns out that such meetings are a good way to irritate all the voters – who vote for no more stupid meetings.
                .
                And we didn’t have a National Guard until 1903 under the Dick Act. Congress was in a quandary over the abysmal performance of the state militias in the Spanish American War. Some units showed up with post-Civil War Alvin rifles. Few states used the same rifle or ammunition. No state had uniform training standards.

                Fixing the problem by throwing money at the state militias looked pointless, as the organized state militias were generally corrupt and mismanaged no-show affairs usually run by a governor’s relative. It looked like a bottomless pit as far as spending went.

                The other option was to create the National Guard, which is not the militia and which is often deployed overseas. Crisis planning can’t assume they’ll always be at hand.

                We’ve never had a ground force land on our shores from over the ocean. And such a feat has become increasingly less and less possible with technology.

                Except for that time an English fleet sailed up the Chesapeake, burned Washington. and blasted at Fort Sumter. Oh, and that time the Japanese invaded Alaskan islands, which was pretty minor if you weren’t an islander.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                Also, the National Guard can’t give out M4’s because it would be a felony to give them and a felony to possess them, since they’re three round burst or fully automatic (in the case of the M4A1). They would have to be demilled and the military wouldn’t do that in a crisis.

                …?

                Are you asserting that the National Guard would not receive permission to give out automatic weapons in the case of an invasion?

                Are you asserting that, in a time of invasion, we would be enforcing laws about gun ownership? (Are we also enforcing laws about murder? Because that could get a bit stupid.)

                Knowing that’s pretty much how it goes, our founders said that everybody has to supply their own guns for the militia.

                …our founders foresaw automatic weapons and the fact we’d ban them and thus be, somehow, legally unable to give them out in times of invasion? Huh?

                But you’ve wandered near to a point about the constitutional structure of what the founders intended, including an interesting point about the second amendment.

                See, the US government is legally required to fund state militias.

                Congress is supposed ‘To provide for organizing, _arming_, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;’

                That, you will notice, is part of the original constitution. And then some smart guy said ‘Hey, wait, what if Congress _doesn’t_ fund the militias? And what if it also makes stupid rules (Aka, ‘discipline’.) that the militia has to use provided guns…which it doesn’t provide.’

                And, tada, second amendment, which we must all remember, back then, only applied to the Federal government. (The 14th amendment had not happened yet.) It said that because militias were important…the Federal government cannot take away guns.

                I.e., the second amendment is probably intended as a check on the Federal government disarming (Either on purpose or by lack of funding.) the state militias. Even if the Federal government doesn’t supply arms to the militias, they still can, in fact, ‘bear arms’..their own arms. (1)

                *gasp* Did I just argue the second amendment has an individual right to gun ownership? Yes, yes I did…but only in the context of militia membership. Aaaand…see below about militias.

                1) In fact, weirdly, the second amendment doesn’t say they have to be your own arms. You can constitutionally bear any arms that just happen to be lying around, I guess. 2nd amendment trumps property rights, woo! (Note: Do not actually attempt to bear other people’s guns, they will become angry.)

                You see, since the militia is all adult males, the centralized armory plan means they’d each have to pay for a rifle (through taxes) that they don’t get to use and that they may not even like. And then every time there’s an improvement that obsoletes the old rifles (that they never got to use), they get taxed again to pay for new rifles that they also probably won’t get to use.

                The militia is not all adult males in some sort of general sense. That is one of those extremely wrong ‘common knowledge’ beliefs that is very hard to get rid of.

                A militia, historically, (Before people recently started misusing the word.) is any non-career soldiers that are in a governmental fighting force. A militia is just, basically, a type of military where people live at home and have other jobs when not fighting.

                Or, really, as militias came first in history, a military is just a type of militia where people are in full-time. Militaries are full-time armies, as opposed to the previous part-time militias.

                It is not ‘all men’….unless all men have joined it.

                Now, it is true that the government can draft people, and could, indeed, create a militia and draft all men into it, if they want. In the past, governments have reserved the right to call all men into the militia, causing this confusion that ‘the militia is all men’

                But countries are not claiming some sort of pre-existing thing called a militia that has all men in it, but are instead just asserting the right to draft any man on the fly and hand him a gun and say ‘Shoot those other guys’.

                Or, indeed, as you mentioned, the right to draft all men and just require them to train with firearms, which some states have possibly done.

                Althought I think it’s just more likely they used to require training, period, without everyone formally having been inducted into a militia. Like I said, the drafting rights of governments are incredibly broad, and requiring everyone to show up and train with weapons are entirely within their powers…as long, as the courts now require, they do it in a non-discriminatory manner, which at this point would probably mean no gender discrimination. But not back then.

                The other option was to create the National Guard, which is not the militia and which is often deployed overseas. Crisis planning can’t assume they’ll always be at hand.

                The National Guard is literally the militia. The National Guard is the permanently called-up state (and territories) militias.

                There have been new state militias created since then that are not part of the National Guard, but the National Guard is still a militia.

                [splitting post]Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

                Are you asserting that the National Guard would not receive permission to give out automatic weapons in the case of an invasion?

                Are you asserting that, in a time of invasion, we would be enforcing laws about gun ownership? (Are we also enforcing laws about murder? Because that could get a bit stupid.)

                You’ve lived here how long without realizing how screwed up government people get? An officer will give you and your friends M4’s and send you to reinforce police on the other side of the hill. Their commander will look at your M4’s and say “Arrest those civilians! They are carrying government property and in illegal possession of fully automatic weapons!” After six months in a jail your lawyer will try to get the charges dismissed, asserting a variety of defences and perhaps arguing that the UCMJ should apply. There are tons of people in prison for assuming that law enforcement would look the other way because common sense and special important circumstances.

                As for the militia, you don’t get drafted into it, but you can get drafted from it and into something worse. You joined the Reserve Militia by turning 17. Women can join by signing up with the National Guard. From there, the question is what you can do to get out of Reserve Militia duty before aging out. Getting elected to key civil posts works, as does getting drafted into the regular active duty military. But when military members aren’t on active duty, they’re subject to Reserve Militia duty again.

                10 U.S. Code § 246

                (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

                My state’s active militia is different. It’s a volunteer force commanded by the governor and which reports to either a circuit court judge, sheriff, county judge executive, or mayor.

                But there’s a problem with KRS 37.990

                Penalty.
                Any person, other than a member of the Kentucky active militia, who shall wear any uniform or insignia or badge duly authorized as a designation of an officer or an enlisted man of the Kentucky active militia, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than ten dollars ($10) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100).

                Nobody knows what the uniform looks like, so any one of us could be in violation.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                Except for that time an English fleet sailed up the Chesapeake, burned Washington. and blasted at Fort Sumter.

                England was a neighboring country during the War of 1812. I listed it as Canada/England. (Although at that point it would technically be ‘Canada/United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland’ as they had merged with Ireland in 1801.(1))

                And I’m not just making a technical point…the war effort mainly operated out of Canada, with a bit of the Bermudas thrown in as staging grounds. The invading ships came from Canada. Most combat was from Canada. You just mentioned the time they circled around the coast and attacked from that direction.

                Every war push that made it to a US state started in a neighboring country. (Even the Revolutionary War, depending on how you define ‘neighboring country’. They’d always sail to some loyalist American or Canadian port and get ready, and then attack from there.)

                1) What’s really weird is that everyone gets the name of the country the US got independence from wrong. We didn’t leave England. We left ‘Great Britain’, formed in 1707, consisting of the Kingdom of England (Which was, confusingly, both England and Wales.) and the Kingdom of Scotland. Granted, England was pretty much in charge, and we started as English colonies, but, still, weird historical error we keep making. It was the forces of Great Britain we fought for independence, not ‘England’!

                Oh, and that time the Japanese invaded Alaskan islands, which was pretty minor if you weren’t an islander.

                I cleverly specified ‘US state’. Alaska was not a US state at the time. Neither was Hawaii, to finish the list with something that was only invaded by air.

                Also if we’re listing ‘US territories invaded by other countries in WWII’, I think the Philippines win. That is, they lose, I guess. They were completely conquered by Japan, at least for a bit. They did fight and get their island back.

                Kinda weird we mostly ignored that disaster on a US territory, beyond merely belatedly sending some supplies and hoping they sorta figure everything out. But, then again, we only had that territory at all because we won in the Spanish-American war. We may have technically made them citizens, but we never really treated or thought of them as such. They didn’t speak English, they didn’t look like us, they lived on a distant island, were they really Americans?

                …of course I’m talking about the Philippines getting invaded by Japan, what else would I be talking about?

                Anyway, no foreign invader that was not, at that time, a neighboring country, has ever set foot on anything that was, at that time, a US state. Or, with less negatives: All foreign invasions that have set foot in a US state have been from countries that touched the US at the time.

                Now, the Germans did, in fact, land a few people by submarine during WWII, but ‘spies’ and ‘invading armies’ are not really the same thing. Especially in this context of civilians fighting off invading armies…we do not want civilians shooting suspected spies in a war! That way leads to madness and lynch mobs.

                And now someone should bring up the mostly hypothetical question of whether any German soldiers were involved with the Mexican forces in the Battle of Ambos Nogales, and thus some Germans may, or may not, have invaded Arizona, when it was (barely) a state, which would make me entirely technically wrong. Historic consensus is the rumored German involvement was not real, but hilariously, even if there were Germans there, they might technically not have crossed the border at any point because the battle took place at the border of the dual border town of Nogales Mexico and Nogales Arizona. It’s the Schrodinger’s Cat of military invasions…did those possibly completely imaginary Germans cross a completely imaginary line in the sand on random August day in 1918, thus technically resulting in Germany invading the US during WWI? We probably can’t ever open the box to check.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to pillsy says:

        …a lot of rank-and-file advocates, at least, have no idea the scope of what they’re asking for.

        Yes. The “common sense” thing they want isn’t a specific policy, what they want is to prevent mass murders by taking the guns out of the hand of the guys at Sandy Hook, Pulse, and/or Vegas.

        And those incidents don’t go away without total disarmament of everyone.Report

        • Avatar Maribou in reply to Dark Matter says:

          @dark-matter I’ve mostly been staying away from voicing my own opinions in this comment section, since it’s not a subject I know much about – but I disagree *strongly* that Pulse doesn’t go away without total disarmament of everyone.

          I could be wrong, of course, but I’m pretty sure Pulse goes away when we change how safe abused domestic partners (in this case, the killer’s wife) feel going to the authorities about, or otherwise seeking relief from, their abusers. And change how easy it is, societally, for one person to terrify another into following their lead no matter what.

          Now, doing either of those things in a sane way that doesn’t lead to worse curtailments of civil rights than total disarmament would probably be a lot more work even than total disarmament. But we could go a *lot* further toward accomplishing it than we have. Way, way further.

          And that might very well prevent a Pulse, specifically. No 2nd amendment violations required.

          If you look at the way violence sits at the root of most violence (I have spent some dark times wondering about how the Pulse killer’s father treated any evidence of homosexuality his son showed as a child) ….. addressing domestic violence more effectively as a society might very well prevent a number of Pulses.

          It’s off the topic of gun control, and honestly not something I’m comfortable arguing about in a great deal of depth, but it *does* matter, so I felt compelled to mention it once you brought Pulse into the conversation.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Maribou says:

            But that kind of solution just makes us wonder if Bonnie was abusing Clyde or if Clyde was abusing Bonnie, or if they both just loved robbing banks and shooting cops.

            There is no solution to Pulse because the perpetrator was armed security and his wife was helping him scope out the target. There will always be people whose relational dynamics aren’t fixed by programs. Yet the programs we have might be preventing 90% of Pulse style attacks and we wouldn’t even know it.

            Other countries have had massacres carried out by deranged policemen. Russia relaxed some firearms restrictions because the policemen were the ones acting as hit men.

            Back in 1997 an A-10 pilot wandered off with an aircraft carrying nearly 600 .30mm shells and four 500-lb bombs. The bombs have never been found. If an A-10 pilot went rogue the amount of casualties he could inflict would be simply staggering.

            There will never be absolute safety. Every now and then there is a suicidal pilots up in the sky. Every now and then somebody with a big truck will plow into a crowd. One thing most mass shooting have in common is a sea of victims who can’t effectively return fire. When they can, the mode of attack switches to suicide bombers, car bombers, mortars, and the like.

            Some people are getting a little smarter about how to react, though. After numerous school massacres, some trainers are teaching students to swarm the attacker. Hiding just gives up the numerical close-quarters advantage.inherent in one or two people trying to take on 200 people all at once.

            There are other simple steps that might have reduced the Vegas death toll.

            For example, it’s now reported that the wounded hotel security guard was shot prior to the main attack, and indeed may have in some way kicked it off earlier than planned. My guess is that the attacker, having wired the hall for video, wasn’t going to open his attack with a security guard in the hall, ready to take him from behind as he concentrated on his targets. Or perhaps he’d already knocked out his window and thought someone had reported it. In any event, there was a wounded security guard there throughout the duration.

            Perhaps he was one of the kind of hotel guards who don’t have a gun and a radio, sort of uniformed staff who handle the things that come up in a casino all the time. But he could’ve called room service and ordered a couple fifths of pure grain or Bacardi 151, stuffed rags into them, and hurled them into the room as Molotov cocktails, burning the shooter in place.

            Or, more seriously, noting that it was a night concert, killing all the outdoor lights would mess with any shooter who didn’t have night vision, especially if one stage light was left on and aimed at his window. At that point the shooter might as well be Stevie Wonder.

            That may seem as silly as the Molotov cocktail from room service, but only because nobody in event security had thought it would be a good capability to have. After Vegas it would make sense for organizers and law enforcement to have a plan to hit a set of kill switches so an entire event goes dark. They might even want to make smoke grenades as standard piece of equipment. Smoke is cover. Since we’re going to be in the copycat phase for a while, perhaps someone will bring such suggestions to the forefront so memos get dropped in inboxes, along with a note to inform concertgoers that if they here shots and the lights go out, don’t use their cellphones in flashlight mode because it will get them shot.

            You could require events with more than X number of people to pay for a few police snipers, but of course you also run the risk that if somebody sets of firecrackers one of them who’s not really ready for prime time will start popping melons, gunning down anyone whose taking a selfie because he’s shooting at the flashes.

            One easy recommendation is for women to go to Walgreens or CVS and buy some Wound Stop, a super clotting agent which was used to great effect in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’d suggest that men carry it but too many of the younger guys are so hopeless they won’t even carry a real wallet.

            Anyway, the point is that bright, well-resourced, demented people will inevitably, if infrequently, come up with a novel way to attack a soft exposed underbelly. All you can try to do is limit the damage by reacting to the attack in real time and being better as first responders. And sometimes even that won’t be enough, such as when some evil mastermind decides to roll depth charges down ramps from 20th floor apartment windows in midtown Manhattan during rush hour.

            And yet despite all that darkness, the US has one of the lowest murder rates in the Western Hemisphere.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner says:

              @george-turner

              Listen, I am all for people being able to shoot back at an attacker, but I’d much, much rather the attack never happen because someone said something and law enforcement got involved. If we can identify things that improve the ability of law enforcement to become aware of a potential attack, and we can balance that against a persons rights[1], we should.

              I mean, you are right that if a person plans quietly, and keeps those plans well under wraps, being able to halt the attack will be all that is left, but that doesn’t mean we don’t bother trying to stop the attack before it starts.

              [1] One thing we do need to be more… compassionate… about is that many times these attackers need help, not punishment, but in the US, the normal response of law enforcement when they learn about an attack being planned is to go for criminal charges, not mental health treatment. A person who is close enough to a potential attacker to know about their plans has to weigh the possibility that they are wrong and about to potentially destroy a persons life against the possible horror of an attack, that is a real tough place to put people with regard to their loved ones.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                That wouldn’t have helped in this case because the people closest to the attacker were gobsmacked about what he did. They had absolutely no clue. Most attackers are clue fountains but this guy was one of the oddest on record. It was as if he was a highly trained and disciplined sleeper agent who regarded everyone, even his own family, as government informants.

                As they say, bad cases make bad law. No conceivable law would have stopped him from doing something heinous. As I’ve mentioned, he was a multi-millionaire pilot who could’ve done much more damage doing a 9/11 attack with a business jet. He is the obsessed hermit who wanders out of a cave with a sick but brilliant plan to wipe out the unsuspecting inhabitants of Whoville.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner says:

                @george-turner

                But the Vegas gunman is quite the exception now, isn’t he? Zero warning signs, or tell tales, nothing, nadda, zip.

                That is not the case with most shooters. With most, after they dig into the person, they find that the people close to them were starting to wonder. Which is my point. Yes, the Vegas shooter was a lightning strike, and honestly should be accepted as such, unless the FBI finds something to suggest otherwise. But it is the exception that proves the rule.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                …after they dig into the person, they find that the people close to them were starting to wonder…

                Put a microscope on someone’s life, make big every mistake, every not-serious comment they’ve made. How many people fail that test? 1%? 10%?

                I think a LOT of “I was wondering” is after-the-fact armchair quarterbacking where people claim they were wiser and more perceptive than everyone else.

                With Virginia Tech this line of thought seem reasonable because the people involved actually did warn the authorities (who dropped the ball). With Pulse, his wife thought he was getting better and he actually passed vetting. With Sandyhook, apparently Aspergers hid a much worse mental disorder… it’s possible his Mom saw it coming, but she didn’t seem that tightly wrapped herself.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to George Turner says:

                It was as if he was a highly trained and disciplined sleeper agent who regarded everyone, even his own family, as government informants.

                1987 film: “The Hidden” (SF/Horror)

                From the point of view of the police: one civilian after another snaps and becomes a thrill-seeking casual-killer. Sane normal guy one day, mass murderer with a death wish the next. No motivation, no note, no history of mental illness or criminal activity. The police step in and put him down which only lasts until the next guy “snaps”.

                Great movie. What happened in Vegas reminds me a lot of it.Report

              • Avatar aaron david in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Kyle McLachlan films are fun.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Maribou says:

            If you look at the way violence begets violence (I have spent some dark times wondering about how the Pulse killer’s father treated any evidence of homosexuality his son showed as a child) ….. it might very well prevent a number of Pulses.

            @maribou

            There is tremendous social pressure for Pulse to be considered an anti-gay hate crime. People pop up insisting they were the shooter’s gay lover, or that they saw him in gay bars, and so forth. This leads to the idea that if he’d only been accepted, it wouldn’t have happened.

            However, the NYT reported the FBI thinks he wasn’t gay, or even repressed. He was a guy, ergo he watched porn. The FBI has his computer, either it has gay porn on it or it doesn’t. Similarly they’ve got his online life. He never used any gay dating services. Law enforcement has spent a lot of resources looking for this guy’s closeted life. If he was gay, or even repressed with secret desires, we would have found it.

            To the best of my knowledge we haven’t even found he was homophobic.

            He abused steroids. He watched Jihadist videos. He beat his wives. His friend was radialized (this is huge, friends often radialize friends). His first wife thought he was bi-polar (this might tie in with ‘roids).

            And he was a fully vetted professional security guard who could have worked at an airport. All of his issues, even combined, were so minor they slipped under the radar. They only look like signals after the fact with unlimited resources putting a microscope on his life.

            As for spousal abuse saving the day, this was his second wife. Wife #1 felt “safe” enough to divorce him. It seems unlikely wife #2 doing a repeat would have prevented Pulse. And btw wife #2 reports he’d treated her much better in the weeks/months leading up to Pulse.Report

            • Avatar Maribou in reply to Dark Matter says:

              “He beat his wives. ”

              That shouldn’t look like a minor signal.

              That’s my point.

              Wife #1 had a great deal of familial support that swooped in to save her from them.

              2nd wife has also said that she didn’t feel safe leaving him or reporting him. Multiple times.

              He treated her much better because she was doing what he told her to do and had stopped resisting.

              If it turns out he wasn’t at all homophobic but instead “merely” a wife beater, than my theory that we don’t take domestic abuse *nearly* seriously enough as a society isn’t weakened.

              We don’t take domestic abuse *nearly* seriously enough as a society.

              If we did, it’s entirely possible that Pulse might have been stopped.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Maribou says:

                That shouldn’t look like a minor signal.

                For being a problem? Yes.
                For committing mass murder? No.

                Roughly 2 million men beat their partners every year.
                https://www.pbs.org/kued/nosafeplace/studyg/domestic.html

                Intuitively it’s easy to guess these are linked problems, that if you’re messed up in one way that you’re also messed up in another, but that’s very much unproven. Of the mass murderers that easily come to mind, he was the only one I can think of who was in an abusive relationship.

                We don’t take domestic abuse *nearly* seriously enough as a society.

                Sure.

                If we did, it’s entirely possible that Pulse might have been stopped.

                This is close to Trump style reasoning, but he’d tie it to Muslims.

                “I don’t like X; If X didn’t exist, the largely unconnected issue Y wouldn’t have happened!”

                Domestic abuse kills roughly 1500 (mostly women) a year (far more than mass murder in every year ignoring 911). IMHO it sets the stage for creating multiple other problems, I think I recall serial killers mostly come from abusive households.

                But it doesn’t seem to be especially connected to mass murder. Just like the WoD it’s a problem in it’s own right.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I didn’t say it was especially connected to mass murder, I said that in that specific case solving that particular social problem would (probably) have stopped that particular mass murder without requiring total disarmament. (Then there was a bunch of wobbling about violence begetting violence and what else might we prevent which I do believe but which wasn’t particularly useful as part of my argument.)

                Solving (or at least going a long way toward solving) other social problems might (most likely would) stop other sources of gun violence, including for eg, stopping the WoD interfering with both gang and cop violence, stopping the stigma about mental health (and also the stupid stupid choice imo of giving lots of people drugs for depression that can include suicidal ideation as a known side effect without putting reasonable social supports in place for that side effect that won’t end up putting them in a hospital ward for a month or other disincentives – sorry! tangent!) … stopping the stigma about mental health would do a lot to interfere with gun suicides, etc etc etc

                The difference between what I’m saying and what Trump is saying is that I’m saying

                “Here is a *social problem* that we *already agree is a problem* and don’t take seriously, maybe instead of trying to treat gun violence as *a disease* we could treat it as a symptom of many different diseases, and treat those diseases, and that would save us all a lot of money and effort and also possibly work.”

                It’s only trump style reasoning if you agree that a) Pulse, specifically, not mass shootings in general, was largely unconnected to domestic violence, which I find really dubious given that at the time the wife made *a lot* of statements to the contrary that rung extremely true to me as a former victim of an extremely violent domestic abuser (who also did stuff like put strangers in the hospital, and yet could charm his way past any stupid process like the ones they have in place for security guards); and also agree that b) “I don’t like X” and “X is an already known social problem that is under-addressed” are equivalent statements.

                I don’t believe that Muslims are replaceable/analogous with “domestic violence,” and I specified that *Pulse*, which you were using as something that was *unstoppable short of total disarmament* probably had at least one other obvious variable.

                Point being not that that obvious variable is involved in all the other things, but that that obvious variable already is something we supposedly agree should be addressed, but don’t. So probably most other forms of gun violence ALSO have such obvious variables, and gun control (for OR against) is a good diversion / distraction for all of us from actually addressing them.

                I don’t want to go on some sort of poorly sourced crusade against anything that might be blamed for the problem, I just think we should, perhaps, instead of putting our energy as relative moderates into bickering about whose fault the failure of gun control is, or trying to fix a very very messed up situation, put it into other stuff that will have similar effects.

                Actually not even instead? But if you present it as “the only thing that would stop mass shootings is total disarmament,” then my reply is “every mass shooting is going to have its own weird causes but *very many of them are things we should already be trying harder to stop*.”Report

  18. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Great post Mike.

    This is only tangentially on topic, but Burt and I (and some others) were arguing it on Twitter, and this conversation here seems to be going well so I will throw this question into the mix:

    Is there a tipping point where the sheer number of guns in a country becomes so large that no gun control laws will actually work in accomplishing the intended goals — and if so, have we already passed that tipping point?

    Because I suspect the answers are yes, and yes.Report

    • Avatar aaron david in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      That doesn’t seem right. We have almost as many cars as guns in the country, with a massive amount or regulation. We eat food every day, all of us, and no end of regulation of the processing, raising, distribution, etc. of it. What we have in both those cases is a cultural agreement regarding it.

      Guns are a symbol, as @pillsy said, a symbol of a larger cultural war. And that has no agreement, @tod-kellyReport

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to aaron david says:

        As to the culture wars: For some people it is, but there are other things going on.

        People who were horrified by Las Vegas aren’t wanting to find a way to prevent a similar occurrence to stick it to Trump, any more than Mike wants to be able to hunt to really show the libs.

        As to regulating food and cars, I don’t think it’s the same. You can’t not renew your tags and drive your car around without getting caught eventually. You can absolutely keep an automatic weapon in your garage until you are going to use it for a crime with no one knowing. And if we stopped making & growing food today, we would all die of starvation. But if we stopped all sale of guns in this country starting tomorrow we would still have a fuck load of guns.

        I honestly can’t think of a gun regulation that I think would stop any of the things we want to happen happen (expect possibly put a dent in gun-related suicides).Report

        • Avatar aaron david in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          Do you remember all the hubub about pasturized milk? Or maybe Tim McVeigh and the sovereign citizens? They didn’t like license plates on their cars, being that citizens shouldn’t need them. We generally think they are fools, and we drink pasteurized milk. But, and it is big, we can drink our own raw milk and we can drive whatever we want if it isn’t on public roads. Public being the key word.

          “I honestly can’t think of a gun regulation that I think would stop any of the things we want to happen happen (expect possibly put a dent in gun-related suicides).”

          “People who were horrified by Las Vegas aren’t wanting to find a way to prevent a similar occurrence to stick it to Trump, any more than Mike wants to be able to hunt to really show the libs.”

          You are doing my hard work for me here. This is what is meant by being a culture war.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          @tod-kelly

          I really think the mass shootings are a mental health issue much more than a gun issue. It’s the impotent rage that so many white men do not know how to handle.

          As for the millions of guns, I do think there is potential to take many off the streets with a nation-wide program. It has been attempted with mixed results in certain locales. Taking it further is something worth considering.

          Beyond that, looking at the commission of crimes, I’m fully in favor of micro-stamping ammunition, documenting all sales and a 90-day waiting period on most gun purchases. None of those ideas infringe on the right to gun ownership IMO, so they should be a reasonable start.Report

          • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            @mike-dwyer

            I really think the mass shootings are a mental health issue much more than a gun issue. It’s the impotent rage that so many white men do not know how to handle.

            To be honest, this feels like a copout to me. I mean… sure, these guys are obviously mentally ill to commit these horrendous acts. So what to do about that? Increase access to mental health care? Okay, I’m down with that… But Paddock was a multi-millionaire who could afford to regularly drop $100k gambling without batting an eye. Access to care simply wasn’t an issue for him. The Virginia Tech shooter was under the care of a psychiatrist. IIRC, the Columbine shooters were on meds, so getting some kind of care.

            And getting back to Paddock, what the hell would he have to feel “impotent rage” about? He was highly successful, getting laid regularly, pretty much living his life as he pleased. He was a winner by most any reasonable account.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      One proposal I like is a universal, voluntary buyback program. I think it has the potential to take millions of guns off the street.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        I concur, because it would get a lot of old, unwanted guns off the street & out of closets. Less stray guns laying around to be stolen or for kids to find. The buybacks that GCA groups put on are typically too few and far between to make much of a dent. Additionally, I’d offer more for handguns than I would for rifles.

        As to the larger question of are their too many guns out there? Probably, and it’s too easy to import more, or make them at home. Ammo, on the other hand, is tricky to make at home. Or rather, primers and smokeless powder are. I’ve talked a lot about ways we can tackle the issue of ammunition, because although ammunition can last for years, it will eventually go bad if not stored properly, and ammo tends to get used, which means the supply of ammunition tends to be worked through much faster than the supply of firearms.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Less stray guns laying around to be stolen or for kids to find.

          Or to be used by people who kill themselves in a fit of depression.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          I keep two large boxes of primers at home and I used to reload all my brass. In parts of the Third World making primers is pretty common. You use a sharp round die to punch aluminum circles from a beer can (a Coke can in Muslim countries), or carefully cut the circles out with a pair of scissors. Then you use a punch to ram it into a cartridge’s primer pocket (the die), and then push them back out so you can insert the priming compound and a used anvil from the spent primer. There are Youtube videos that illustrate the process.

          As an aside, years ago I was playing with electrochemical milling as a simple way for people at home to drill and rifle their own barrels, along with cutting the chamber.

          ECM is a highly precise chemical milling operation where metal tool can be softer than the workpiece (you can use a brass tool to drill through titanium). The tool is grounded (the cathode) while the workpiece is held at +10 volts (the anode). A salt solution (use canning and pickling salt) is pumped through the tool to flow between the tool and the workpiece. A good pond pump would work for this. The electrical current rips atoms off the work piece and the result is a very smooth surface and a gap of less than a thousandth of an inch. There is no wear on the tool. One drawback is that it’s pretty slow and only 2% as energy efficient as conventional drilling, but that’s not an obstacle for personal production.

          They method should also eliminate a drill-bit drift problem that afflicts conventional drilling. The drift problem results in the hole drifting off center, and it goes up with the cube of the depth to diameter ratio of the hole (a columnar buckling issue), so it affects rifle barrels, requiring a subsequent straightening step that’s usually done on a big and expensive machine made by Pratt and Whitney.

          So my idea was to fire a bullet into a tank of water. That bullet contains the rifling pattern that’s being copied. Then a hole is drilled down the center of the bullet to allow the salt solution to flow through, and the back of that hole is tapped to accept threads.

          The bullet is briefly dumped into a dish of circuit board etchant from Radio Shack (ferric chloride) to chemically reduce its diameter to allow for the small gap that ECM will add. The bullet diameter can be periodically checked with a micrometer to see when the ferric chloride has done it’s work. Then the bullet is threaded onto a hollow steel rod. The other end of the rod connects to a hose coming from the pond pump, which is immersed in a plastic container of salt solution.

          A pair of jumper cables completes the circuit to a high current 10V to 12V power supply. Add a few jigs to keep everything aligned and make sure the tool rotates at the right twist rate, and you’re ready to drill a barrel.

          While that’s going on, you check a spent cartridge against SAAMI chamber specs, calculating in the extra gap the ECM process will make. The cartridge could be trimmed down with the ferric chloride solution or built up with a bit of electroplating. The spent cartridge and an unfired bullet, of course, will be used as the ECM tool to cut the chamber, along with the seat prior to the barrel’s rifling.

          The rest of building a rifle is just conventional machining operations using lathes and milling machines, or 3-D printing.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner says:

            @george-turner

            People have been building rifled arms in home shops for a very long time, and I get your point, you’ll never get rid of them all as long as the demand exists. Hell, I know how to build a full auto subgun out of the stuff I can get in a 20 minute trip to Home Depot. It won’t be rifled, but that only matters if I care about accuracy at range.

            Still, the production of primer compound and smokeless powder is beyond the abilities of most amateur re-loaders. There will always be a few who know how to do it and have the equipment, but most attempts will be like amateur meth producers, you will know them by the fireball that was once their house when they screw up that one time.Report

            • Avatar aaron david in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              I think your meth analogy is spot on, but not in the way you are thinking. Meth producers proliferate in spite of the danger, as there is a market. If there is a market for illicit powder and primers, then the making of those things will proliferate.

              Also, I remember reading about the British Raj letting the gunmaking region of AFPAK proliferate before Independence. It wasn’t that they wanted this, it was simply that they knew that if they cracked down on it, the region would simply move to importing better weapons.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to aaron david says:

                Sure, but the question is, would a cottage industry making powder and primer be able to be profitable in the US if powder and primers were still available, just more tightly regulated?

                Remember, one of my original ideas is that powder as sold in the US could be laced with microdots, which would serve as a much more reliable ammunition tracking mechanism than micro-stamping. A person could load their own rounds, or refill the cartridge with unmarked powder, but as unmarked powder was used up, only marked powder would remain, except for a handful of people who know how to make powder. Those handful could command a premium, which most killers either won’t bother buying, or would be unable to acquire. That means any remaining unmarked powder would have to be smuggled in, which again raises the price.Report

              • Avatar aaron david in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Oh, I agree with you re: powder vs. microstamping. My point was that if there is a market, there will be providers. Danger notwithstanding.Report

              • @oscar-gordon

                Re: micro-stamping the powder. I like that idea a lot. What does it do to the ballistics?Report

              • Avatar aaron david in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I am sure it would change it @mike-dwyer but, much like steel shot, everyone would adapt once the properties became known.Report

              • Steel… Ugh. I feel like I have to re-learn to shoot it every November. But yeah, we would get used to it.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Not much of anything, to be honest. At most it would add a gram or so of weight to the un-fired round, maybe less. I mean, we all know that not every grain of powder is consumed every time a round is fired, so all ballistic calculations are an average of X many rounds. If the microdots are evenly distributed, it would have a negligible impact on the ballistics, and if there was a slight drop, a bit of additional powder could be added to compensate.

                In short, most shooters wouldn’t even notice or care. Only distance shooters (hunters, long range competition, etc) would possibly see a difference.Report

              • Avatar Jason in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                And maybe not even those shooters. It’s not like the casing is crammed full of powder–there’s plenty of room for the microdots. If they affected the required powder load, the powder could be adjusted. I don’t think it would have much affects on ballistics.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        I can see that being successful in, say, you not having a gun. But honestly, you’re not someone I would say needs to not have a gun.

        Organized crime, militia extremists, Saturday night s**t-kickers, people with troubling violent mental health issues, people who may be contemplating violent crimes or acts of terror… I think they’ll all end with as many guns (possibly more?) than they have right now.

        I also suspect it will get zero support from local law enforcement officials in those areas where guns are the most dense. I think in most cases, they’ll make a concerted effort to look the other way.

        As I said, I can see it making a dent in suicides and kids accidentally shopping themselves/others. And that’s a good thing.Report

  19. Avatar Damon says:

    The good guy with a gun?

    Not quite at the same level as the pro gun control lie, but it’s “overly optimistic”.Report

    • Avatar J_A in reply to Damon says:

      pro gun control lie

      Did you read about that in the minutes of the Board of Directors meetings of the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy (US Branch)?

      Because I’m pro-gun regulations, and I am not pro “ban all guns”. I am very much against “ban all guns”

      There. I said it, on the record.

      Either your argument has been falsified, or, you might argue next, I am engaged in taqiya.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to J_A says:

        Hmmm..

        Here’s Dianne Feinstein on her more sensible gun control ideas: “Feinstein’s legislation would deny anyone who has ever appeared on a terrorism watch list, including the US government’s no-fly list, the ability to purchase firearms or explosives in the United States.”

        https://news.vice.com/article/senate-democrats-are-pushing-for-gun-control-laws-again

        And here’s she’s say she’d have gotten rid of every “assault rifle” if she’d had the votes: “If I could’ve gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them — Mr. and Mrs. America turn ’em all in — I would have done it. I could not do that. The votes weren’t here.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjHwvyNa8co

        Yeah, they just want “sensible gun control.” You know, because we are bitter and “cling to guns or religion”… “as a way to explain their frustration”

        Yeah. Sorry. Troll some anti gun sites. They want the guns gone, period. Frankly, a lot of the anti gunners don’t even mind if I was shot while my gun was being seized by the cops. It’d serve me right for owning one.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Damon says:

          Such legislation won’t pass Constitutional muster because being put on a watch list doesn’t constitute due process.

          A similar problem exists with calls to close the “gun show loophole”. The ATF knows they can’t constitutional prohibit people from selling guns to each other, or require registration. They run the background check system as a business law, and it only applies to people engaged in selling firearms as a business, which requires less scrutiny than a requirement placed directly on citizens.

          And of course an obsessed multi-millionaire with decades to plan and a pilot’s license could have done a 9/11-light with a Gulfstream IV packed with explosives he already had. There’s no way to stop that, and Feinstein knows it. An obsessed Elon Musk could do so much mayhem that people would still talk about it two centuries later.Report

          • Avatar Damon in reply to George Turner says:

            “Such legislation won’t pass Constitutional muster because being put on a watch list doesn’t constitute due process.”

            In my best Bill Lumbergh voice “yeah……..”

            I was of the same position until the SC miraculously found that the mandatory penalty fee, was a tax, contrary to the wording and the actual intent of the ACA of the written law. So, I think the ice is melting slowly under your feet.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Damon says:

              Except that half the members of the Supreme Court are probably on a watch list because some Middle Eastern terrorist once used their name as an alias.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to George Turner says:

                Nah, the only people on the ME terrorist watch list are the disposable fools. The really important bad guys aren’t cause if they were and they couldn’t travel, the intelligence community couldn’t track em.Report

  20. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Why does it matter if you can travel faster than light?Report

  21. Fascinating GQ piece here about what happens when local law enforcement asks ATF where a firearm found at the scene of a crime came from.Report

    • I’m not going to go back and read all of the new comments to see if someone has suggested it, but the one thing I want is register all the handguns, with some teeth. Make carrying an unregistered handgun outside your home or car a felony. Make failure to report if it leaves your ownership (sold, stolen, lost, whatever) a felony. Do what you want with your long guns, including your assault rifles with bump stocks and giant magazines and whatever. Just let the authorities keep track of where the handguns are.Report

  22. Mike,

    I just wanted to say I liked this post and I appreciate what you’re trying to do in the comments. I might sometimes draw certain lines about gun control regulations from the one you would, and I’m more ambivalent about guns than you seem to be. Even so, I appreciate what you’re doing here, and thanks for writing it.Report

  23. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    Hey folks! I think this conversation has run its course so Maribou and I have agreed to shut down comments. Thanks everyone for participating. I’m sure there will be much more to say on the subject in the future.Report