What Will It Take to Have Gun Control In the US?

Joe Biden on guns—horrifying for many Americans, but common sense for the rest of the civilised world

I see we had yet another gun massacre in the US on Friday, with 14 people killed in an immigration office in New York. This comes after the shooting rampage in Alabama last month, leaving 10 dead. And of course, there have been many, many more before that. Vice President Joe Biden says “we’ve got to figure a way to deal with this senseless, senseless violence”. Well I’m afraid there’s only one way, and I think Joe already knows what that is: gun control. What will it take for the US to have real gun control laws like the rest of the civilised world?

Americans don’t seem to realise that not having gun control is actually extremely unusual (perhaps even unique) for a modern civilised country. The people who support the right to bear arms in the US constitution always say that if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. On the face of it, that seems to make a lot of sense, except for the fact that in countries with stronger gun laws, there is actually far less gun related violence of all kinds. It seems that, in practice, outlawing guns makes them harder to obtain for everyone, including outlaws.

Most importantly though, this concept totally ignores the important fact that guns are not something that should just be readily available to anyone, including completely law abiding citizens. The people who committed these gun massacres were not people with a criminal record; they were just ordinary people who, for whatever reason, just snapped. Many ordinary people, if pushed far enough, can go crazy like this; the problem is that having guns readily available makes it too easy for them to act on it in the most destructive way possible. This is one example of where people really do need to be protected from themselves, otherwise they could take a lot of other innocent people down with them.

I’m sure many Americans reading this will be horrified at the prospect of not being able to “defend” themselves with their own gun, but really—the rest of the civilised world gets along just fine without this. Indeed, even in situations where criminals threaten people at gun point, there are actually far less gun related deaths and injuries in countries where normal people don’t have them, as criminals do not feel threatened by the prospect that they could be fired upon themselves. This means they will normally only use the gun as a threat, and will be very unlikely to actually fire it and hurt anyone.

I guess that supporters of the right to bear arms will now be thinking “well won’t that give criminals free reign?” Once again, as logical as this may seem on the face of it, the statistics just do not bear this out. The countries with stronger gun control laws have far lower rates of crime (gun related and otherwise) than the US. I believe this is because most crime is not actually committed by career criminals—once again, it is committed by ordinary people in anger or desperation. And once again, the ready availability of guns makes it far too easy for these people to commit the ultimate crime.

The idea that people have the constitutional right to defend themselves with their own weapons is an outdated, uncivilised, “wild west” form of vigilantism—it is an anachronism that has no place in the modern world. And the sooner Americans realise this—and amend their constitution to bring it into the 20th (let alone 21st) century—the better off they will be. Real gun control is simply a necessity.

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Sachiko: Your comment is well-written. It is refreshing to see a president who often “makes sense” to the outside world. But there are at least three problems with tackling this issue. (1) There are so many guns in America that there would be a practical problem: that of disarming the public while leaving the criminal element armed. IN certain areas (mainly big cities) that is a frightening prospect. But you are right to suggest that crimes of passion could still be reduced through legal means.

(2) Obama has so much on his plate can he risk provoking an even bigger conservative backlash on this issue? Could he be jeopardizing Democrats in Congressional elections and social security reform, etc? One should be able to regulate concealable handguns and automatic rifles, while still allowing people to buy shotguns and non-automatic hunting rifles (an important consideration in rural areas). But this is America, after all…

(3) Even if Obama succeeds politically, he could still be challenged successfully in court. But it would be a very interesting court case, and I am not sure what the current law is . It was a different world in the 18th and 19 th centuries, and guns were very different. In interpreting the constitutional right to bear arms, ( and not “bare arms”, like you do!) the Court may well make the same distinction that I just made, which would be sensible. But that is by no means certain.

  
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Sachiko,

Your respondent, Mark Crawford, states, in his second paragraph: One should be able to regulate concealable handguns and automatic rifles, while still allowing people to buy shotguns and non-automatic hunting rifles (an important consideration in rural areas).

I am unaware of ANY automatic rifle that isn’t regulated. Federal, and most state laws, make purchasing such weapons extremely diffcult and very expensive, if not impossible.

And, I have never heard of an automatic hunting rifle. Does Mr. Crawford mean semi-automatic? If so, what is his problem with semi-autos?

While the US may have a problem with gun control, to totally disarm the populace is NOT the answer. The police can’t always be where there is a problem and, an armed citizen just might be the answer. Read the column ‘The Armed Citizen’ in the NRA’s AMERICAN RIFLEMAN and you will hopefully see what I mean.

  
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I would not presume to come to Australia and tell Australians how to conduct themselves. Before you make any more comments on ‘gun control,’ I refer you to the following groups which all have websites: 2nd Amendment Foundation; JPFO; 2nd Amendment Sisters; Gun Owners of America; National Association for Gun Rights. Read Gary Kleck’s book, “Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America.” Also, Google Dr Susanna Gratia-Hupp. I know, it’s a radical idea for a liberal to actually consider another point of view, but you always struck me as someone who likes to be unique.

  
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It’s funny how when a conservative says what they think, it’s “expressing their opinion”, whereas when a liberal says what they think, it’s “telling other people what to do”. When are conservatives going to realise that liberals have just as much right to express their opinion as conservatives do? They accuse liberals of not considering other people’s point of view, while they don’t themselves!

Regarding Mark’s comments, he does have a very valid point: this is a huge practical problem that the Obama administration does not have the resources to tackle right now. But it is a problem the US will have to tackle one of these days – the rest of the civilised world already did many years ago.

  
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Oh yes: as I say in my article, no matter how much logical sounding theory the NRA may come up with, they can’t get past the simple fact that the US has far and away the most gun related crime in the civilised world, and also has the least gun control. Conservative Americans say they shouldn’t listen to the rest of the world, but they really should be paying attention to other countries, so they can see what actually works in practice. And gun control has been shown to work repeatedly, while the lack of gun control in the US blatantly does not. There’s just no getting around this simple fact.

  
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I’ll preface this with:
I don’t own a gun, and have no desire to purchase/own a gun.
However, I have known how to safely handle, operate and use hand guns and rifles from when I was relatively young. My father had quite a collection, 12 rifles and 8 handguns, but decided that it would be a better investment to sell the guns and buy a computer for me going into the 6th grade (20+ years ago) when decent computers were expensive and guns were much cheaper comparatively.

Now to the debate – The U.S. has very stringent guidelines, National Registration, 14 day waiting period, Background Checks, etc for NEW purchases of guns.

The U.S. also has very solid gun laws already. Federally people are legally restricted from owning guns if they fall under any of these or multiples of these categories (there are a few others but these are the biggest categories):
1. Diagnosed with a mental illness.
2. Have a violent criminal history.
3. Dishonorable Discharge/Military Incarceration

The U.S. also has very solid restrictions on gun capabilities and capacities:
1. Magazine/Clip/Bullet Capacities are limited.
2. Regulation on the number of bullets fired per pull of the trigger.
3. No Fully Automatic Fire options.
4. Flash Suppression Equipment restrictions
5. Noise Suppression Equipment restrictions

Concealed Carry Permit pursuer’s records are considered public information under freedom of information act, and some states even want to post on websites current Concealed Carry Permit holders.

The US laws aren’t really the problem here. It is the enforcement of existing laws, secondary, tertiary and black markets for weapons, and those issues of prohibition that the U.S. is most famous for that escalate the usage of firearms in criminal activities.

The US is also not the highest per capita gun ownership in the world, nor even the G20. The two highest are Finland and Switzerland, where 100% of the nation’s men 21-50 (55 for officers) are required for national defense to have military issued fully automatic capable weapons in their homes.

However we do have the highest population of any privately accessible gun purchasing society, which of course leads us to having the highest probability of having the most people ill equipped to handle such an important responsibility of gun ownership. Add to that the issue of criminality, and the lack of medical oversight of many mentally unstable people and now the desperation of people economically due to the this current world wide depression and you get 57 people across the entire US being killed in the past month in these shooting sprees.

Terrible, shocking, media frenzying, and moving.

3 family obliterations in Alabama in March and April.
2 incidents with guns, one used a knife and a gun – Economically driven
New York Immigration Center – Mentally Unstable
(10 year record, and yet had legally registered firearms, pushed to killing by loss of job and hatred of cops)
2 multiple cop killings – one caused by a criminal.
the other was a media frenzied mentally unstable person who was concerned about “gun grabbing” issues thanks to the conservative talk radio blabber.

Basically the U.S. needs 5 things to solve gun related violence -

1. Enforce the laws already on the books, and see how that actually affects gun ownership/out comes of gun violence, currently there are too many loopholes and grandfathering issues going on which hinder the actual enforcement of existing laws.

2. The Supreme Court should re-evaluate the relevance of the full clause included in the Constitution about Well Regulated Militias being part of the equation of gun ownership. If we mandated flexible but enforced gun trainings for legal ownership every 4 months for continued handgun ownership we could get closer to the Constitution framer’s idea of what was originally envisioned. Plus people wouldn’t probably so inclined to “play with” their guns after intoxication, as they would get three reminders a year about what proper protocols should be. This would also get people in to be seen in context to their weapons. If they didn’t come in for training, they could then be evaluated after review of their other records, without infringing on the rights of others who do actively comply.

3. Removal of most of the prohibitions which also lead to criminalization of activities that would benefit most by being in the open, or under a doctors supervision. It would also remove the economic means/incentive for guns to be so prevalent in large metropolitan marketplaces where turf wars threaten so many “civillian” lives.

4. Improvement of mental health evaluation/diagnosis/treatment/on-going support services. This will also allow those with mental health issues from legally obtaining fire arms in the marketplace.

5. Fixing the economy, getting people employed, relieves a great deal of stress from the situation, and with those tensions diffused, should stop the family obliteration/suicide issues from continuing.

I believe that the Obama administration is focused already on 1, 4 and 5.
#2 and #3 probably would have the biggest impact in the short and long runs, but will probably be longest and hardest fights to engage in, in the short run.

  
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Hi Akacra,

As usual there is much wisdom in your comments, and you are obviously very well informed. But don’t you think a constitution that enshrines “the right to bear arms” is a fundamental issue here?

  
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This issue is so complicated for U.S. Citizens compared to other peoples of the world who have spent most of their history as Subjects. I suspect the only Citizens who could even come close to understanding it from an American perspective would be the Swiss.

Unfortunately, like all political issues, this one has become a media circus for decades, with most exchanges being expressed by the lunatic fringe of both sides. My main interest would be to reduce senseless killings committed by human beings regardless of their weapon of choice: firearms, explosives, blades, clubs, automobiles.

We are always going to have a percentage of any population that “snaps”
under pressure or is criminal by nature. We cannot ever erradicate violence. It is part of human nature. The best we can do is minimalize it.
In the U.S. of today, we have so many broken systems that create public anxiety, it is no surprise to me that there has been an escalation in violence of every form: 1. Disfunctional Government
2. Disfunctional Financial System
3. Disfunctional Medical System
4. Disfunctional Legal System
5. Disfunctional Military System
6. Disfunctional Immigration System
Only when the U.S. can fix the above problems by learning from the socialist democracies of Canada, Australia, and The European Union will we see a drop in violence in the USA.

No single area creates more violence and death than legal alcohol and illegal drugs. Why do we prohibit one and not the other? In the U.S. we learned that Prohibition does not work. Imagine trying to prohibit alcohol cunsumption in Austrailia , UK, France, or Germany. Trying to prohibit legal firearm ownership in the USA would cause another revolution. American politicians know this and it is what they fear most. That is why the Founding Fathers put it in The Constitution. As an American Citizen, I want to support a new American Revolution. I would prefer it to be a nonviolent one.

  
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Those of you who have pointed to the enormous practical difficulties of tightening gun control in the US certainly have a very valid point: it is easy for me and other people to say this should be done, but is is another thing altogether to say exactly how it should be done. It will be extremely difficult.

Indeed, gun control in the US is often felt to be a lost cause, but I would like to think it isn’t. I hope that if Americans can be more aware of how well gun control has worked in other civilised countries, they will be more likely to accept it themselves. It is one of the reasons I decided to settle down in Australia rather than the US, and quite frankly, as the majority of the most militant gun owners in America are also conservative Christians, I actually fear for my life if I were to travel there now.

  
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Yes, Sachiko, while American Conservative Christians are a dangerous political lobby, as a whole they are generally a nonviolent lot. Certainly not as violent as other fundamentalists in recent times. When you discount total nutcases like Jim Jones, the great poisoner, and anti-abortion bombers and snipers, there is really not much to fear. They mainly cause aggravation, overpopulation, misuse of government funds, and stiffling of promising scientific research. In any case, if you should visit the USA, I would gladly volunteer to be your body guard and throw my arms around you to protect you from any projectiles. Although other than some demented priest trying to sprinkle you with holy water, I cannot imagine the need. This is the Land of the Free and that includes Free Thinkers.

  
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What is written in our constitution, in context with the other rights which were considered fundamental due to the times then and now actually do make sense:

Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

——————————————————————————–

Amendment 2 – Right to Bear Arms. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

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

——————————————————————————–

Amendment 3 – Quartering of Soldiers. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

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.

——————————————————————————–

Amendment 4 – Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.

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.
———————————————————————————————–
The second ammendment is there to make sure that people would be able to protect the 1st, 3rd and 4th ammendments. In fact the rest of the constitutional document is what the 2nd ammendment is basically protecting. The 18th Ammendment, which was found to be flawed and repealed by the 21st ammendment, was essentially the most violent time in American History up until that point.

Once that mistake was rectified, the second most violent time has been the modern period (1957 – present) primarily due to the ever escalating numbers of prohibitions on various mind altering substances, and the subsequent freeing from barbaric mental institutions (good) what ended up being a non-supervised release (not so good) of a sizable number of the mentally unstable population beginning in 1966.

Thus, guns aren’t the prevailing problem, it is instead that we have criminalized at least 60% of the U.S. population’s daily activities, driven these daily activities underground, and in so doing subsidized entire corrupt governments/Non-governmental Agencies.

In addition to this, for the past 50 years, the mentally unstable population has been free to do what ever they want, (somewhat good), but with no true treatments, nor much follow up care or supervision. Unfortunately many of these people end up involved with the criminal element, or end up undiagnosed in the prison system.

If we would stop waging war on the illicit substances, which in turn is funding most of the groups we don’t want around anyway (Afghanistan, Golden Triangle, Asian Gangs, South American cartels, Latin American Gangs, etc.) we could also stop waging war on the American People who in turn would probably feel less inclined to buy more guns.

Again the guns itself aren’t the problem, as they have been in our society for 400 years, and in the US today there are nearly 250,000,000 guns in private hands (only 60% of households report having guns in the household, so that is on average 4-5 guns per professed gun owning household).

I do think that the Supreme Court did get it wrong, when its most current ruling disregarded the idea gun owners as being part of a well regulated militia in today’s society, because if the country’s people are supposed to be the defenders of their free society, they better know who their neighbors are, and how to use the weapons that they are supposedly defending the rest of us with. That was the overall intent of that phrase anyway. I hate to sound like a Republican Pundit, but in this case the Supreme Court was acting against the intentions of the framers of the US Constitution.

This intent was to build a strong community militia, united against outside threats, who are well trained and committed to upholding the constitution and coinciding goverment of the United States.

Unfortunately over the past 50 years, the US has been so minced and diced by the marketers, the political analysts, the government, the poll takers, the media, the drug dealers, the skin heads, the bloods/crips, red vs blue, current latin gangs democrats, republicans, the name of your group here, that many people don’t know who they can turn for help, so they buy a gun or 4, and hunker down into their life, as that is all they can count on for their stability. When that life explodes, as those people who have no job, no house, no car, no credit are facing today, and not a lot of people offering much help or recourse and instead getting preyed upon by all of the groups above plus the stock brokers, the banks, the home mortgage scammers, the credit card agencies, collection agencies, etc. then ther is a possibility of increased violence that can certainly erupt from each of these households.

The constitution is what should bind the country together, but most people have forgotten what the constitution means or never learned it in the first place.

As for the safety of America, I have traveled 47 of the 50 United States, multiple times, by foot, bike, car, bus, train, subway, monorail, light rail, private, foriegn and domestic airlines, downtown, uptown, eastside, westside, good neighborhoods, bad neighborhoods, slums, luxury resorts, and I have never seen a gun in a civillians hand, except at shooting ranges, gun shows or in hunting seasons, and have never been in a situation where they were pointed at me or anyone else in calm, nor in anger, rage or jest.

I am pretty sure that many millions of Americans can say the same as well, so please come visit America anytime you would like, and I will bet 99.99% of the trip will be gun free, and as boring/exciting as any other trip you’ve ever taken. (0.01% remains because you might see a policeman with a gun at one of the airports or on a major city street.)

  
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Prior to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the huge influx of addictive drugs from the “Golden Triangle”, a firearm in the USA was not viewed much differently by the average US Citizen than a shovel, a hammer, a bow and arrow, or canoe. It was considered a tool or a sporting device. At the turn of the 19th and 20th century hunting, fishing, shooting, and canoeing clubs were to be found literally everywhere. These sports were engaged in by both men and women. America’s most famous female shootist, Annie Oakley, travelled the World giving exhibitions of her prowess and became enshrined as an American Icon.

Once the Drug Wars began between rival gangsters and a few high profile, elite individuals were either killed or maimed by insane individuals using a firearm, the media and the elite relatives of the slain and wounded mounted a personal vendetta of revenge against an inanimate object, because they could not fulfill their lust for revenge against the human perpetrators. If the US Judicial System had not become impotent, if our drug policy was not corrupt and counterproductive, and if the microscopic few of the power elite were not allowed so much power, we would not even be having this discussion.

I agree with everything akacra has so rationally stated.

  
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Originally Posted By Robert
In any case, if you should visit the USA, I would gladly volunteer to be your body guard and throw my arms around you to protect you from any projectiles.

Thankyou Robert. :-)

I have to say though, in spite of the very well informed comments here, I remain unconvinced that there is any necessity for a “right to bear arms” – once again (and still nobody has addressed this yet), the rest of the civilised world gets along just fine without this. Indeed, it gets along with a lot less crime – gun related, violent and otherwise. I accept the need to fix the problems so eloquently stated by Akacra, but that does not negate the necessity for gun control, nor does it mean there is any good reason for US residents to be able to access guns so easily. As Akacra’s history shows, this right was given in the context of a time of civil war, which is just totally inappropriate for today.

  
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I began my last comment with the statement that the 2nd Ammendment of the Constitution of the US defends all of the other rights of the people, individually and collectively from outside and internal violations. A knowledgable and well armed political constituency is another check in the checks and balances on the three branches of government.

Throughout the past 400 years of world history, a common thread is that those that had superior force of technology, numbers, and/or political opinion/will or combinations of those generally gained the upper hand. This has happened in civillized countries which have suffered upheaval enough that, the minorities can be targeted as a rallying cry for the majority whom are looking for scapegoats for their problems.

I would say that over the past 218 years America has been relatively stable compared to other “Civilized countries” which have gone from Monarchies, to Authoritaritan Governments to Fascist regimes, to military dictatorships, and finally to Parlaimentary governments, but I’ll just list a few of the incidents that probably could have been slowed or altogether avoided if the people of the nation had the option to be armed in the 20th & 21st Centuries.

Stalinist Russia
After Lenin died, Stalin instituted heavy limitations of firearms within the hands of the people. Then over the course prior to and then extending after World War II, a vague but huge estimates of 30-60 million russians fell either in the war, or due to the machinations of the Soviet regime.
Germany/Austria –
The “outcast classes” Gypsies, Jews, Slavs, Gays etc. were all removed from the group that could own firearms in the early 30′s, and during the Nazi regime 10,000,000+++ of these people were selected for and executed.
China’s Great Leap Forward –
Only the vaunted “Red Guard” or People’s Army could be selected for ownership of firearms, and they many times individually had the ultimate fate of 100′s of people’s work assignments or decisions of life or death. 60,000,000 people died as the result of these policies directly or indirectly.
Pol-Pot & Khmer Rouge – Kampuchea’s Killing Fields
2,000,000 slaughtered.
South Africa – Apartheid
Britain & India
If the British didn’t care about the Indian people or their own public Image – British soldiers which had opened fire on unarmed peaceful protests regarding clothing, salt taxes, and most other components.
Australians vs. Aboriginals
Serbia, Bosnia, Albania & Herzegovinia
Rwanda – Hutus and Tutsis
Aljihadeen (Muslims) vs Darfur non-muslim
Saddam Hussein dealing with the Shiite Muslims and the Kurds
Russia dealing with Azerbaijan, or Estonia, or Ukraine, or Hungary (1956), Georgia and in fact most of its satellite countries prior to 1990. Of course Aizerbaijan and Georgia are still feeling the effects today.
North Korea.

From US Constitution 1791 to 1948 UN Charter Declaration of Human Rights:
It is alluded to these fundamental Human Rights as specified in the pre-amble -

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.
&
Article 3.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

So the founders of the US thought the ability to defend oneself, community, country and constitution through the use of arms by way of a well regulated militia. By the way arms can also mean catapults, ballistae, swords, knives, shuriken, crossbows, chu-ko-nu (a 7th century repeating crossbow of the Soong Dynasty), or baseball bats, but since we are talking about modern weaponry I guess the underlying issue is guns.

The UN charter specifically speaks to the fundamental right of the individual to secure one’s self, if the nation fails to provide for the security of the individual, and even so far as to say that rebellion is not out of the question, if a government can not provide the basis for securing the other 29 articles specified as basic human rights.

So how do you initiate self protection, and also have the means for an individual to instigate rebellion/revolution if neccessary, well in this modern era, as it was in the past – weapons, money, popular will & technology.

So we went from 218 years ago, to 51 years ago, and this was after the most bloody world war fought in the history of the world. And yet these smaller atrocities of nation states killing their own people occurred, and are occurring today.

The echoes of Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Nathan Hale, and many of those other founding fathers resound in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Speaking of which, I don’t understand the hatred for the UN, and I hope that sometime soon the Obama Administration will pay our back dues for the past 12 years. I am sure that would do wonders for our international resolve to work and create allies around the world.

I hope that you can see now, why it is a fundamental right to bear arms.
It was first phrased in the Declaration of Independence, as being the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of property er… happiness.
Now it has been rephrased as “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” It seems like a personal firearm/weapon counts as part of that “security of person” phrasing.

  
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The tryanny of the well armed few can reign havoc on the unarmed many.
Example: Somali Pirates. A simplistic dramatised presentation of what akacra has so reasonably brought forth can be seen in the Cinema version of “THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN”. The reason History repeats itself is because while human nature is constant, each generation ignors the past.

  
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For once, it seems I’m really going to have to disagree with you Akacra! For one thing, by civilised countries, I mean politically stable, and under rule of law. By that I mean having a real legal system, not martial law or military control/dictatorship. For another thing, apart from your peculiar citation of “Australians vs. Aboriginals” (which is very much like white Americans vs. native Americans, with only one side having guns), you are mostly talking about situations of war or revolution. America’s civil war was one of the bloodiest in history, and since then America has enjoyed the benefits of not having any hostile immediate neighbours (as has Australia). In other words, I really don’t think what you cite has very much to do with the question of gun control in the US (and elsewhere) today at all.

And even if what you say were true, you are basically talking about consitutionalised vigilantism here. There is a reason vigilantism is illegal, as it leads to anarchy. And I do think the relatively high crime rate in the US is a low level symptom of the wide availability of guns throughout society.

  
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In response to Robert’s comments (as well as Akacra’s) – the police force is there to deal with crime, and the military is there to deal with external threats. Neither is the job of the populace, otherwise (once again) we are talking about vigilantism, which (once again) leads to anrachy.

  
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I am not talking about vigilanteeism or revolution, I am talking about if social injustice threatens a person, they should have the ability to defend themselves. The US Constitution gives Americans that right, as does the implied nature of the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights, preamble and Article 3.

Apartheid was not a social revolution/civil war. It was racism, institutionalized and sanctioned by the powers that be, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths and social domination.

India, prior to Ghandi’s civil disobedience was in a similar state, and further hampered by its Caste System, which Ghandi also repudiated.

Mao’s Cultural revolution was instituted against the population by an already stabilized government, in place since 1948. The government caused the upheaval and called it the great leap forward.

The destruction of the Congo by the Belgians was not a revolution, but their own government.

Mugabe in Mozambique is killing his country with his own government.

Latin America has military coups all of the time, and the population is primarily legally disarmed.

Armed resistance in Algeirs, freed it from France. Vietnam was occupied for 40 years by France, but their organized resistance eventually got rid of both French and US occupiers. Afghanistan and the Russians, Iraqi’s and the US.

Unless you want to narrow you definition of countries that are “civilized” world down to 12 or 13 small Northern European Countries, and Japan within the last 35 years. That is all that have made the access to handguns you are talking about as civilized. You will have to leave out Australia and the United States, as they both have very liberal gun access laws.

In Australia, you simply must be over the age of 12, and give a reasonable reason for need of use – hunting, pest eradication etc. and file some paperwork for your non-automatic firearm of choice.

That is why the Supreme Court of the US is wrong, as I would hope militias would be well regulated, and have some ability to aid as a community in times of crisis and not end up like some Red Dawn “Wolverines” idiocy http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087985/ or anything like The Survivors http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086397/

This is the real reason for the crime rates around the world, and the US is the largest marketplace for such activities, and adding our prohibition laws and you find that the more you criminalize the aeverysay actions of the populace, the more “crimes” you are going to have.
http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/back10e.htm

  
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@Sachiko – The Police Force arrives A F T E R the crime has already been committed. What good does that do the already injured or dead victim? The Military Force and the Police Force can be misused against the civilian populace such as at Kent State, The Democratic National Convention, and southern Freedom Marchers during the late 1960s. What you fail to grasp, as do most of our politicians, is that WE THE PEOPLE are as a group and individually, in charge of our own freedom, life , liberty, and pursuit of happiness. And as long as we do not try to impinge on our brothers’ or sisters’ freedom, we are guaranteed these rights, including the right of self-defense. Even The Supreme Court has ruled it so in 2008.

The reason the crime rate is so high in the US is partly due to a Judicial System that has been in a shambles for 50 years, with a revolving door policy. Taking responsibility for your own safety is not vigilantism. There are 19 US merchant marines safe with their humanitarian cargo because they took responsibility for their own self-defense.

  
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The problem with giving the populace the ability to defend itself with arms is that you are also giving it the means to attack, and that’s a very serious issue. It’s like putting people in a constant state of war. Indeed, I think this psychology is a huge contributor to all the violence in the US, as people are always under threat from the possibility that somebody could shoot them, so everyone is on edge. This also makes people less willing to help others in trouble, as they are afraid that if they do this, they will be shot. This is almost certainly why so few Americans intervene to stop crimes as well.

The police force and the military are trained to handle dangerous weapons in a responsible way; the populace is not. When you have the right to bear arms, any psycho can get his hands on guns, as all these massacres have clearly shown. Sane, peaceful people are actually far less likely and willing to use them, so by giving everyone guns, you are shifting the balance of power toward the violent and mentally unstable. And in a politically stable country under rule of law, this is totally unnnecessary.

  
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@Akacra

Once again, I don’t understand what your citations of politically unstable countries and historical situations has to do with the issue at hand. I am only talking about when a country is at peace and politically stable here. When it isn’t, the law goes out the window anyway, so it becomes irrelevant.

Regarding gun control in Australia, there are severe restrictions on the types of guns you can own – no automatics as you say, and I don’t see why anyone would need them for any legitimate purpose anyway, so they should simply be banned everywhere. It has become too easy to purchase guns in New South Wales (which is hot news down here at the moment), but it still isn’t very easy elsewhere.

  
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Originally Posted By Akacra
In Australia, you simply must be over the age of 12, and give a reasonable reason for need of use – hunting, pest eradication etc. and file some paperwork for your non-automatic firearm of choice.

I would like to make some corrections to this statement, as apparently I picked up some information prior to the 2007 tightening of the Australian Gun Laws:

Here is the current statutes:
Current Australian firearm laws
State laws govern the possession and use of firearms in Australia. These laws were largely aligned under the 1996 National Agreement on Fireams. Anyone wishing to possess or use a firearm must have a Firearms Licence and, with some exceptions, be over the age of 18. Owners must have secure storage for their firearms. The minimum age for a shooter is 12 years of age, but they can not be a fully licensed, and cannot purchase solely own a firearm or firearm licence.

Before someone can buy a firearm, he or she must obtain a Permit To Acquire. The first permit has a mandatory 28 day delay before it is first issued. In some states (e.g. Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales), this is waived for second and subsequent firearms of the same class. For each firearm a “Genuine Reason” must be given, relating to pest control, hunting, target shooting, or collecting. Self-defence is not accepted as a reason for issuing a licence, though it may be legal under certain circumstances to use a legally-held firearm for self-defence. [4]

Each firearm in Australia must be registered to the owner by serial number. Some states allow an owner to store or borrow another person’s registered firearm of the same category.

[edit] Firearms categories
Firearms in Australia are grouped into Categories with different levels of control. The categories are:

Category A: rimfire rifle (not semi-automatic), shotguns (not pump-action or semi-automatic), air rifles, and paintball markers.
Category B: centrefire rifles (not semi-automatic), muzzleloading firearms made after 1 January 1901.
Category C: semi-automatic rimfire rifles holding 10 or fewer rounds and pump-action or semi-automatic shotguns holding 5 or fewer rounds. (Restricted: only primary producers, occupational shooters, collectors and professional sporting shooters can own functional Category C firearms)
Category D: semi-automatic centrefire rifles, pump-action/semi-automatic shotguns holding more than 5 rounds (functional Category D firearms are restricted to occupational shooters; collectors may own deactivated Category D firearms).[2]
Category H: handguns including air pistols, deactivated handguns and guns less than 65 cm long. Target shooters are limited to handguns of .38″ calibre or less.
(Participants in “approved” competitions may acquire handguns up to .45″, currently Single Action Shooting and Metallic Silhouette. IPSC shooting is not “approved” for the larger calibres, for unstated reasons. Category H barrels must be at least 100 mm (3.94″) long for revolvers, and 120 mm (4.72″) for semi-automatic pistols, and magazines are restricted to 10 rounds. Handgun collectors are exempt from the laws stated above.)

Category R/E: restricted weapons: machine guns, rocket launchers, assault rifles, flame-throwers, anti-tank guns, Howitzers, artillery, .50-calibre BMG weapons, etc. (Collectors in some states only, weapons must be comprehensively deactivated. Deactivated firearms are still subject to the same storage and licensing requirements as ‘live’ firearms in many states.)
Antique firearms can in some states be legally bought without licences. In other states they are subject to the same requirements as modern firearms.

All single-shot muzzleloading firearms manufactured before 1 January 1901 are considered antique firearms. Four states require licences for antique percussion revolvers and cartridge repeating firearms but in Queensland and Victoria a person may possess such a firearm without a license, so long as the firearm is registered.

Australia also has tight restrictions on air pistols, airsoft guns, and replica firearms. Suppressors (or ‘silencers’) are extremely restricted and generally not available to most shooters.

[3]

However this is hardly a gun ban, instead it simply reduces the number of shots per magazine/clip/bullet capacity, and takes away some of the larger calibers of hand guns (Greater than .38 caliber).

Perhaps a review of 2007 gun politics is necessary prior to further discussion. Even the EU and Britain haven’t established complete bans of personal firearms, even after 2007, so even the 12 countries I was talking about, and Sachiko is considering “civilized” are currently in the “Utopian” category regarding guns. There is no place in the world currently with a complete and utter legal ban on firearms, and there is certainly no permanently inhabited society on the planet that doesn’t have firearms within access to the “civillian” population.

I like this source but the US Data for the chart is cherry picked for effect (2001 data shows 29,000 deaths (10.27/100,000) Pg 16 & 17)
However 2003 data not shown in chart form but in the text text Pg.19 is 11,400 deaths or 4.0/100,000 which would make the US come in tied with France and Austria at 5th, even though private registered gun ownership in the US is approximately 250 times that of France and Austria
(source).

Pg 17, 18 & 19.
Australia, for those that are interested is rated at 2.0/100,000 or 11th of 25 countries.

What is worse is that there is no available data (to the public for some reason), that breaks this down between legally held weapons, police officer weapons, concealed carry permits, non-registered/serialized weapons, illegal classes of weapons, foriegn weapons, self-defense weapons, or killings by weapons associated with another crime already in progress. Certainly this information is associated with the case files in the numbers of millions of cases of attempted murder, 1st degree murder, 2nd murder, Manslaughter negligent homicide that are in records and databases throughout the top 25 countries in the world.

We need real non-manipulated numbers to adequately understand what is going on. It is unfortunate that the data everyone really needs to make informed is not provided to the public. Why can’t we get police force/national statistics records regarding these issues unfiltered by the NRA and/or Anti-Gun Lobbies on line so that we can have a fully informed debate.

And Sachiko, I don’t mind that you will time to time disagree with me, that is the nature of opinion and debate. My only responsibility as a commenter is to be as informed as possible and not come forth with personal attacks which distract and devalue the process of debate. If in the end we agree to disagree, it is what it is, I only hope that both of us come away more informed on the issue than what we started off with.

  
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Just to be clear: I’m only advocating gun control, such as we now have here in Australia, rather than a total gun ban. There are legitimate uses for them, particularly in rural areas. The tightening of gun laws in Australia after the awful Port Arthur gun massacre is IMHO the one great thing John Howard did during his time on office. And of course we can agree to disagree on this issue between friends. :-)

  
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My citations of politically unstable countries is quite simple – they became unstable because of an inbalance of power by some part or parties, which then saw that they could rerout the resources of the country by force/manipulation rather than through the institutions that were constructed to maintain balance and equal access to the system.

This was the worst component of the times that has happened in the US and other countries during the past 40 years. We have had 5 major economic meltdowns in the US, and 3 of them have been due to deregulation of the financial markets – S&L scandal of 1987-8, the .com financial bust in 2000-2001, and now this latest Banking-Investment-Insurance clusterf***. The government from 1997-present attacked the US Constitution. (Obama hasn’t quite been able to resolve issues with the FISA/Wire tapping/ Search and Seizure/Detainment/Department of Homeland Security issues of the Bush Administration yet, as he and his administration wrangle with all of the other messes.) The DEA, ATF, FBI, TSA, Immigration Services, and many other Federal, State, County and City agencies all have way too much potential power over the citizens of the country than what the Constitution’s boundaries allow for. Unfortunately because of their power, and the lawful status of most citizens have become suspect (mentioned below), most cops are now taking their frustrations out on the populace – increased fine rates, more use of tazers, more use of batons, more instances of unwarranted shootings, more no knock entries, more use of SWAT teams to deal with previously routine domestic issues. Escalation is occuring.

In addition private companies “own” most of the means of production in the US, and as such they can dictate with their own social policies what they want, with much more power than most constiuent groups want to say over all aspects of community life and policies. Again the people are overridden by these interests, for short term profits over long term stability in areas including:
Health care, drug usage, public safety, power generation, economic development, market development, waste management, employment choices, marketplace purchasing decisions, advertising methodologies, music, art, etc.
Then add in the organized crime syndicates, hate groups, hate talk radio, well established religious conflicts, disruptive social trends, criminalization of the majority of the populace’s activities, through the Millenium Digital Recording Media Rules Act, RIAA enforcement, FCC enforcement, increasing drug regulations and the largest numbers of low level offenders in long time incarceration of individuals in prisons in world history.

Then the actual issues of 2.5 million soldiers being deployed on active duty or in rotation around the world, and the issues on the domestic front for friends, relatives, business owners (for the activated reservists).

Finally add the stress of roughly 60 million Americans out of work, losing their savings, their houses, their livelihoods, reputations, health care and the US soon seems to be alot like those other unstable countries.

America is not very free at this point in time, in many ways, but our system right now is holding up by the promise and potential of Obama, but many people have their rights violated on a daily basis, and many are losing their lives in hidden corners, of America due to these current issues. Some people are striking back with force. My hope is that Obama will have the alacrity and political capital to get enough done that those numbers remain small, and that the violatons/losses of rights/lives are removed from this country.

Other countries face the same dilemnas, and we have seen political assassainations, temporary invasions, coups, race/religious riots, insurgencies.

The one question I have, is, if guns in the hands of the populace are the cause of violence, why doesn’t the US act in the ways of these other countries more often? We don’t have assassaination attempts every few months, or bombings. I would like to think that it is because the common non-criminal, non-mentally unstable person in America, is inclined to use force only when absolutely neccessary, and it is that restraint that keeps America with all of its problems from devolving into the free for all that so many other countries continue to collapse on.

As far as gun control, we have a lot of guns, and for the majority of situations, the individuals who own personal firearms show a lot of control. Let the people continue to decide their own level of control, as bureacracies have a tendency to encroach beyond the intention of the legislators that empower these non-elected officials with such wide ranging powers, including enforcement.

  
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Finally I think you should read the US gun laws, as I think, you may think they are lax, but actually they are very specific in all avenues of usage, componentry, availability, and descriptions of buyers limitations and conditions. The full document is nearly 73 pages and can be found here:
http://www.nraila.org/federalfirearms.htm#TITLE%20I

However the summary is just a page or 2 (included below):

Under federal law supported by the National Rifle Association, the use of a firearm in a violent or drug-trafficking crime is punishable by a mandatory prison sentence of up to 20 years. A second conviction, if the firearm is a machine gun or is equipped with a silencer, brings life imprisonment without release. Violating firearms laws should lead to very real punishment for violent criminals, but the laws first must be enforced.

Ineligible Persons

The following classes of people are ineligible to possess, receive, ship, or transport firearms or ammunition:

Those convicted of crimes punishable by imprisonment for over one year, except state misdemeanors punishable by two years or less.
Fugitives from justice.
Unlawful users of certain depressant, narcotic, or stimulant drugs.
Those adjudicated as mental defectives or incompetents or those committed to any mental institution.
Illegal aliens.
Citizens who have renounced their citizenship.
Those persons dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
Persons less than 18 years of age for the purchase of a shotgun or rifle.
Persons less than 21 years of age for the purchase of a firearm that is other than a shotgun or rifle.
Persons subject to a court order that restrains such persons from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner.
Persons convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
Persons under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year are ineligible to receive, transport, or ship any firearm or ammunition. Under limited conditions, relief from disability may be obtained from the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, or through a pardon, expungement, restoration of rights, or setting aside of a conviction.

Acquiring Firearms

The following restrictions apply to firearms acquired through purchase, trade, receipt of gifts, or by other means.

From Dealers

Provided that federal law and the laws of both the dealer`s and purchaser`s states and localities are complied with:

An individual 21 years of age or older may acquire a handgun from a dealer federally licensed to sell firearms in the individual`s state of residence
An individual 18 years of age or older may purchase a rifle or shotgun from a federally licensed dealer in any state
It shall be unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to sell, deliver, or transfer a firearm unless the federal firearms licensee receives notice of approval from a prescribed source approving the transfer.

Sale of a firearm by a federally licensed dealer must be documented by a federal form 4473, which identifies and includes other information about the purchaser, and records the make, model, and serial number of the firearm. Sales to an individual of multiple handguns within a five-day period require dealer notification to the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Violations of dealer record keeping requirements are punishable by a penalty of up to $1000 and one year`s imprisonment.

Sales Between Individuals

An individual who does not possess a federal firearms license may not sell a firearm to a resident of another state without first transferring the firearm to a dealer in the purchaser`s state. Firearms received by bequest or intestate succession are exempt from those sections of the law which forbid the transfer, sale, delivery or transportation of firearms into a state other than the transferor`s state of residence.

Temporary use of Another`s Firearm

Provided that all other laws are complied with, an individual may temporarily borrow or rent a firearm for lawful sporting purposes throughout the United States.

Antiques

Antique firearms and replicas are exempted from the aforementioned restrictions. Antique firearms are defined as: any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898, and any replica of a firearm as designed above if the replica is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire ammunition, or uses fixed ammunition, which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels or commercial trade, any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition. (Note: Antiques exemptions vary considerably under state laws.)

Shipping Firearms

Firearms may not be mailed or shipped interstate from one non-FFL to another non-FFL. Personally owned rifles and shotguns may be mailed or shipped to an FFL in any state for any lawful purpose, including sale, repair, or customizing. An FFL may ship a firearm or replacement firearm of the same kind and type to a person from whom it was received. Under U.S. Postal regulations, handguns may be sent via the Postal Service only from one FFL to another FFL, or between authorized government officials.

A person may ship a rifle or shotgun to himself, in care of a person who lives in another state, for purposes of hunting.

Firearms or ammunition delivered to a common carrier for shipment must be accompanied by a written notice to the carrier of the contents of the shipment.

Transporting Firearms During Travel

A provision of federal law serves as a defense to state or local laws which would prohibit the passage of persons with firearms in interstate travel.

Notwithstanding any state or local law, a person shall be entitled to transport a firearm from any place where he may lawfully possess and transport such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and transport such firearm if the firearm is unloaded and in the trunk. In vehicles without a trunk, the unloaded firearm shall be in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.

Federal law prohibits the carrying of any firearm, concealed or unconcealed, on or about the person or in carry-on baggage while aboard an aircraft.The Transportation Security Administration(TSA) has established certain requirements for transporting firearms and ammunition. Firearms must be carried in a locked hard sided case. Ammunition must be declared and can be transported in checked baggage or in the same container as the firearm as long the firearm is unloaded.

Any passenger who owns or legally possesses a firearm being transported aboard any common or contract carrier for movement with the passenger in interstate or foreign commerce must deliver the unloaded firearm into custody of the pilot, captain, conductor, or operator of such common or contract carrier for the duration of the trip.

Ammunition

As with firearms, shipments of ammunition must be accompanied by a written notice of the shipment`s contents. It is unlawful for any licensed importer, dealer, manufacturer or collector to transfer shotgun or rifle ammunition to anyone under the age of 18, or any handgun ammunition to anyone under the age of 21.

It is illegal to manufacture or sell armor-piercing handgun ammunition.

Dealers

Persons who engage in the business of buying or selling firearms must be licensed by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives of the U.S. Department of Justice. A special class of “licensed collectors” provides for the purchase and sale of firearms designated by the BATFE as “curios and relics.” Class III dealers may sell fully-automatic firearms manufactured prior to May 19, 1986, and other federally registered firearms and devices restricted under Title II of the Gun Control Act, to individuals who obtain approval from the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury after payment of a tax and clearance following a criminal background check.

Violations of restrictions on Title II firearms and devices are punishable by a penalty of up to $10,000 and 10 years imprisonment.

  
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I should stress that I am not saying guns are the root cause of violent crime in the US at all – I think you have identified the real root causes very well. But the more disfunctional society becomes, the more potential there is for people to go over the edge, and once again, easy access to guns makes it too easy for them to act on that and kill other people (I don’t think it’s any coincidence that this has become worse since Bush). Gun control is simply a safety measure, like a fence on the top of a cliff.

  
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To M. McQuown: Labeling people as Liberals or Conservatives is absurd and only shows predjudicial thought prossesses on the part of the labeller.
US Talk Radio only exists because it churns out repetitive hate that panders to people who are incapable of considering a different point of view. They only listen to reinforce what they already believe. I am an Atheist, Nudist, Socialist who staunchly believes in the 2nd Amendment and freedom of expression. I don’t want anyone labelling me. I am loathe to fill out government forms which require me to choose which “race” I am. Human beings who actually think for themselves are not cloned sheep.

  
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I wish we could hear more comments on this subject from people outside the USA.

  
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Originally Posted By Robert
I wish we could hear more comments on this subject from people outside the USA.

Yes – I think it’s telling that the one person who agrees with me here is also the only non-American!

  
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And since we have agreed to disagree in a civil manner, I would like to hear more from people with your view, Sachiko. Unlike M. Mc, I would prefer to hear some opposing views to my own rather than just be told, “what I want to hear”. What a bore that would be. I would like to hear from some folks from Canada, Australia, and EU where the rule of law is respected.

I would also like to know if there is a term in Political Science(not my area of expertise) that describes nonissues(from a relatively pragmatic standpoint) which politicians seize upon to divert attention away from real world problem issues which they are too lazy or stupid to, get paid not to, or refuse to deal with for whatever reason.

  
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Unfortunately the diversionary tactics used by political agenda makers in America to reduce the efficacy of actual political progress include these topics:

Gun Control
Immigration reform
Spending Analysis of less than 0.2% of the entire budget
Abortion/Women’s Rights/Stem Cells
Creationism vs Secularism in everything
Violent Video Games/Movies/Media
Regulation of Adult Activities and Entertainment
Regulation/Usage of recreational narcotics/Enforcement/Enactment of laws on products.

These successfully divide the public into a frothy media driven furvor, with very little real (accurate and relevant) information being dissemenated by either sides of the “arguement”. It bogs down the congressional process, and fills hours of radio/TV/internet components. However, the end result is that none of the underlying issues actually get addressed.

Take the Piracy issue unfolding before us right now:
US does dramatic rescue, France does dramatic rescue, Warlord/Terrorist factions declare “revenge”, US Congressman attempting to work with Somali “government” gets shot at, except incompetence of pirate mortar operators miss/overshoot/undershoot airport and airport runway entirely and instead injure 18 and kill 9 civillians in a nearby squatter “village” locations around the airport.

Most likely this will result in a “War on Piracy” which will be added to the rest of the “Wars on insert hot topic of today that will last forever”. However it won’t address shipping policies, manifesting issues, smuggling, issues of contraband, world wide discrepancies in resource allocation, international company policies, the reason for Somalia’s failed nation status, nor much of anything else. The reasons for the piracy still exist, there are still 12 other ship crews (230 sailors) being held by the pirates, and asking for a combined 270 million dollars for the release of these crews and ships.

I guess the real answer to your question as posed at the top of this long commentary “What will it take to have gun control in the US?” is:
When the American people feel that people in authority won’t take advantage of them, the moment that they disarm themselves.
I mean that is the original movement that got most of the people over to America in the first place. French Huegenots, Protestants, Mormon’s, Irish, even the slaves came over (obviously unwillingly!) because they were essentially sold by their own people to white slave traders for trinkets. Italians, Jews, Gypsies, Eastern Europeans, Latin Americans, South Americans, in fact hundreds of thousands of people each year apply for Asylum to the US, and many thousands of them are taken in due to fear of persecution/execution in their home country. Each wave of immigrants to the US has been essentially fleeing the ravages of whatever country they were from originally.

In my community alone, I can go to a grocery store and meet people from 48 different ethnic, cultural and racial groups.
My town isn’t giant, (320,000 people in the entire county, and 240,000 in the largest 2 two cities separated by a river) but with the university, community college, the agricultural communities and a wierd mix of liberal conservatism these different groups exist relatively crime free. When I mean relatively crime free, I mean individual burglaries and minor fights make it to page 2 in the regional newspaper, and the death rate from ANY violent source for the whole state is like 700 per year. The 4-6 gun deaths per year in my town are usually related to cop/criminal interactions.
However, we have 10 shooting ranges, a military surplus store, and many stores devoted to hunting (bow/crossbow, shotgun, musket, rifle, pistol), and many gun collectors/enthuiasts. Most of the immigrants are eligible and do have an interest in purchasing personal firearms.

Again I personally don’t want a hand gun, and haven’t handled any gun in over 20 years, except an air pistol, interestingly enough in an archery/shooting range in Singapore of all places!

The real issue that affect the people will affect the will of the people to remove guns from the culture. In fact during the economic boom from 1995-2000, gun ownership went down nearly 2%, but with the .com bust, 9-11, and the wonderful paranoid culture of the past 8 years, gun ownership went back up 3%. Now due to the right wing radio broadcasts, that Obama is going to be a “gun grabber”, gun sales have spiked.

I guess America isn’t ready to give up the gun, but overall we have a death by gun average rate per capita within the ranges of the top 25 industrialized countries, and between 1/7 to 1/12 what even the most violent small failed states have.

Guess where the next wave of refugees seeking asylum are going to come from. Guess which country will probably approve the largest numbers of these asylum seekers. Guess who the next wave of gun owners are going to be voting against gun controls.

  
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Akacra,

You are one well informed person. Thank you for the very interesting comments.

  
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The Anti-Sachiko

The Anti-Sachiko’s avatar

@Sachiko – To most Americans, the right to keep and bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment is as important as the right to free speech protected by the First Amendment. Disregarding the hype, I believe our level of gun violence is low for a nation of over 300 million people. By owning a gun, I am equipped to kill people, but I am not a killer of people. Remember, Sachiko, you are equipped to be a prostitute, but you are not a prostitute, correct?

A question or three. If someone breaks into your house some night, could you defend yourself without a weapon? Do you REALLY think the police will get there in time if you call – that is, if the intruder hasn’t disabled the phone? Are you willing to bet your life for your principles? Just curious.

At any rate, I can assure you we Americans shall never do away with our Second Amendment rights. As a nation, we are citizens, not subjects as in the UK/Australia. Americans’ trust in government to protect us has never been that great and the antics of the Obama regime certainly have not increased the level of trust. So why don’t you worry about your life in Australia and we’ll take care of things here in the USA.

  
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@The Anti-Sachiko – I will address your points one by one:

1) Statistically speaking, the level of gun related crime, violence and deaths in the US is very high, even for 300 million people – no other western democracy has such a high rate on a per capita basis.

2) I never said that anyone who owns a gun is a killer, merely that more widely available guns will inevitably lead to a higher rate of gun related crime, violence and deaths, which is a statistical fact.

3) I strongly resent your equation of prostitution with killing people. Prostitutes provide a valuable service to society; guns kill people. Indeed, I strongly suspect that if prostitution was legal in the US as it is in other western democracies, there would actually be less violent crime there – when a man can’t release his sexual urges, he will often turn to violence as an alternative. Besides, the laws in the US don’t make any sense – why is selling sex in front of a camera (hardcore porn) legal, when selling it privately isn’t? And in any case, all women are equipped to be prostitutes simply because they’re women (and all men want sex more than almost all women do), but nobody’s born with a gun!

4) If the US had tighter gun control laws, there would be far less people breaking into other people’s houses at night, as they wouldn’t have ready access to the weapons that allow them to do it. This is a statistical fact too – other western democracies have far lower rates of these crimes than the US.

5) You will actually be safer if somebody breaks into your house if you don’t have a gun anyway! There’s a reason staff at stores and banks are trained not to resist hold-ups: because if you just give them what they want and let them go, you will be far less likely to get hurt than if you resist. Remember, a criminal is far more likely to be skilled with a gun than a normal citizen, and they will normally have the advantage in this sort of situation anyway, as they will obviously have their gun ready to use before you do. Insurance is far better protection for your household items than a gun is.

6) Get over this ridiculous “subjects” ignorance that many conservative Americans have. People in other western democracies have just as much individual rights as Americans do; indeed, since the Patriot act, they actually have a good deal more. You complain about Obama, yet you support the President who did more to take away Americans’ civil rights than any other President in US history!

7) Why are conservative Americans like you so hostile? You call yourself “The Anti-Sachiko”, when all I am doing is expressing concern over the level of gun related violence in the US, and offering a solution to the problem which has been shown to work many times over in other western countries.

Ultimately, one of the reasons I chose to live in Australia rather than the US is that I feel a lot safer here, which the statistics show is actually true. And gun control laws are a very big reason for that.

  
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