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I write these things and put them on Facebook, but it seems like it might be good to throw it up here.


Guns: a good-enough guide to gun regulation, Parts 1--4


I'm not trying to be right or perfect. I'm just trying to get the arguments to be less bad Smile

Part 1: We Can't Eliminate Guns

On April 29, 1996, a gun massacre in Australia precipitated a government ban on combat firearms. The government bought 643,000 weapons for $350 million.

In the US, at a population of 314 million, there are 310 million guns. Assuming price equivalency, a buy-back program would cost $170 billion.

If such a program were successful, over a ten-year period, it would cost $540,000 per life saved. (This figure assumes that the 32,000 gun fatalities per year would be eliminated; they wouldn't be.)

Because that money could be used to save lives more economically, eliminating guns in the US is not a serious option.

(Note that the seizure of guns without reimbursement would likely be severally unconstitutional and would likely incite unacceptable levels of violence.)

Part 2: Criminality

The "right to bear arms" is enshrined in the US Constitution. The intent of the framers is unclear, or perhaps even against the liberal, unregulated ownership of combat weapons, but centuries of jurisprudence and culture have vouchsafed the right.

The debate is not whether you can own a gun. That's settled, and you can.

The debate is not what you can do with guns. You can hunt in season, kill in self-defense, and engage in sportsmans contests.

Finally, there are upper bounds of weapon ownership. You can't own most types of bombs, plastic guns or guns that can't be detected, or guns without identifying markings, for instance.

Guns may be used as objects of trade, meaning that I can buy and contract to buy weapons from legal owners, subject to certain restrictions.

Guns may also be held and used by US citizens, subject to licensure and profiling requirements (i.e., guns may not be purchased and held by certain dangerous classes of citizens).

Finally, gun possession may be barred in certain localities, such as courthouses and businesses with proper signage.

With that background, it is difficult to conceive of non-deterrent regulation of weapons. That is, most regulation would work to limit total massacre fatalities, incidents of home shootings, and would aid police in locating owners of weapons discharged in the commission of crimes.

Most regulation of guns would not significantly deter the use or firing of weapons for intent crimes, such as murder, aggravated assault, and so on.

The question arises, why regulate guns at all?

Part 3: The NRA

The National Rifle Association has five million members. It raises $256 million per year and spends $254 million of that to advocate for gun ownership as a civil right and, secondarily, to train gun users (both police and others) on the safe use of guns and to sponsor shooting competitions. (Presumably, the remaining two million is held in trust.)

NRA revenues are driven by its advocacy for gun rights.

Because of that objective, the NRA's survival depends upon the belief of its members that gun rights are in jeopardy.

There are only two reasons to encroach upon gun rights: (1) to prevent civic resistance to military force and (2) to prevent civilian gun fatalities.

If only a vanishingly small number of gun fatalities would be prevented by gun reform, it becomes likely that all gun reform is designed to prevent civic resistance to military force.

Said differently, the burden on advocates for conservative gun ownership is to show that the the threat of tyranny is outweighed by the cost of gun ownership, which is an argument that runs counter to the American Revolution.

(Note: the conservative gun ownership position seeks to limit gun ownership rights. The Conservative Party is liberal regarding gun ownership rights.)

All NRA messaging obliquely incorporates that framework--that gun regulation invites tyranny--thereby training gun advocates to argue in reference to worst-case scenarios.

Most advocates of gun reform do not advocate gun abolition. For instance, in Australia, gun ownership rates are 5.2%. Nevertheless, all pro-regulation positions are miscast by the NRA as gun-abolition positions.

That mischaracterization is the central obstacle to the conservative position.

Part 4: What isn't Scotched

To rehearse, here are the bad arguments.

(1) We should get rid of guns.

(2) All conservative positions invite tyranny. (Note, again, that the conservative positions restrict ownership rights.)

(3) Meaningful regulation will prevent gun crime and gun fatalities and injuries.

But that leaves the important fourth argument open for debate, and it's the debate we should be having:

(4) Gun crime and injury is insensitive to changes in gun law.

To be pointed, position four is the only position worth discussing. Any conversation about the other three positions is largely wasted talk, and the point of these guides is to prevent wasted talk.

Here are the viable reforms, alongside their respective purposes.

(1) Replace cocking firing safeties with identifying marker safeties, such as a fingerprint, password, or "gesture." Why? To prevent unauthorized or accidental gun discharges.

(Note: a "gesture" would be, for instance, drawing a circle with the gun to disengage the anti-firing safety.)

Why? To prevent children and criminals (who frequently use holders' weapons against them) from being able to use the gun.

(2) Limit magazine capacity.

Why? Because most mass shooting fatalities are a function of magazine capacity. Smaller magazines force reloading, encouraging shooter error, providing safe windows for heroic intervention, and limiting firing duration.

(3) Increase the robustness of background checks.

Why? Background checks would prevent dangerous classes of citizens from convenient purchases. Certain subclasses of potential criminals--e.g., the acutely insane and the impassioned--would not commit crimes unless gun purchases were convenient. Said differently, delayed purchasing would discourage rage crimes and crimes that result from other immediate obsessions.

(4) Reduce weapon and ammunition force.

Why? A buy-back could effectively limit the street-presence of certain combat weapons if gun sellers were not allowed to sell such.

And, most importantly,

(5) Brand shell casings with serial numbers via the firing pin.

Why? So that firing weapons could be identified by ballistic analysis without requiring ballistics from the weapon itself.
Please stop using Australia as an argument. Carrying guns in the street was never legal here, so we could pretty easily tell that someone with a shotgun was up to no good. Did that stop criminals having guns? Of course not, that's why they're criminals. Heroin is illegal too, but junkies will always find it.

It is also illegal here to carry a crossbow, a knife (larger than a Swiss army knife), or even a slingshot in public. Can we still use these things in the right context? Sure. I grew up on a farm and learned how to shoot as a kid. I love it... but I'm sure as hell not going to demand to show off how much I love it by walking into a supermarket with a .22 over my shoulder.

I live on the Gold Coast. There are shooting murders here occasionally -- there's a big bikie gang presence (although it's slightly less now that the laws have been tightened). Thing is, we know that the only people getting shot are the ones already involved in criminal activity, and those murders are solved pretty damn quickly. Most doctors here have never seen, and will never see, a gunshot wound.


PS. Most of your points are very cogent. To most of the rest of the world, it is unbelievable that background checks are not enforced in the US, including psych evaluations. It is also unbelievable that certain elements of the population consider an assault rifle necessary to hunt rabbits.
A failed penal experiment? Fuck off.
(08-16-2014, 09:01 AM)Leanne Wrote: [ -> ]A failed penal experiment? Fuck off.

Oh, Leanne, I really think the failed penal experiment that was referenced is about prison sentencing. It would be in poor taste indeed if that line was pointed at Australia, but I just don't think it was Sad

As for using Australia as an example, I'm not sure what you mean. I was only bringing it up as a price comparison. If you look back, I'm not making any arguments about Australia's own laws regarding firearms. That said, I certainly meant no offense, and if there's a wrong fact or anything specific you don't like, I'm happy to edit it to your liking Smile that probably looks sarcastic, but it's sincere.

Trueenigma--I'm with you.
i say make every gun owner in the USA go outside and kill someone, or stay indoors and kill someone.

the 2nd amendment is the biggest load of shite ever written. abolish it, what a fuckin' waste, if the people ever want to revolt, they'll do so, almost every country in the world outside the USA has had revolts and overthrown their government or those in power and i'm pretty sure most didn't have a 2nd amendment. what i can't understand with those who complain and say i must be allowed to own gun, is that they stop there, why not a demand or take up other weapons such as explosives etc, they either want the right to defend themselves or they're sheep-like pussies who accept a crumb of weapon ownership instead of the whole cake. C4 for everyone and a couple of sam missiles to boot....oh..that's right they're banned. I wipe the 2nd amendment on my bottom.
(08-17-2014, 12:03 AM)billy Wrote: [ -> ]i say make every gun owner in the USA go outside and kill someone, or stay indoors and kill someone.

the 2nd amendment is the biggest load of shite ever written. abolish it, what a fuckin' waste, if the people ever want to revolt, they'll do so, almost every country in the world outside the USA has had revolts and overthrown their government or those in power and i'm pretty sure most didn't have a 2nd amendment. what i can't understand with those who complain and say i must be allowed to own gun, is that they stop there, why not a demand or take up other weapons such as explosives etc, they either want the right to defend themselves or they're sheep-like pussies who accept a crumb of weapon ownership instead of the whole cake. C4 for everyone and a couple of sam missiles to boot....oh..that's right they're banned. I wipe the 2nd amendment on my bottom.

I demand the right to own nuclear weapons!

just mercedes

(08-17-2014, 12:03 AM)billy Wrote: [ -> ]i say make every gun owner in the USA go outside and kill someone, or stay indoors and kill someone.

the 2nd amendment is the biggest load of shite ever written. abolish it, what a fuckin' waste, if the people ever want to revolt, they'll do so, almost every country in the world outside the USA has had revolts and overthrown their government or those in power and i'm pretty sure most didn't have a 2nd amendment. what i can't understand with those who complain and say i must be allowed to own gun, is that they stop there, why not a demand or take up other weapons such as explosives etc, they either want the right to defend themselves or they're sheep-like pussies who accept a crumb of weapon ownership instead of the whole cake. C4 for everyone and a couple of sam missiles to boot....oh..that's right they're banned. I wipe the 2nd amendment on my bottom.


I've always seen the need to own guns by Americans as a signal of the fear and loathing they live with. Not only of themselves, but of everyone. Nation of haters.

Let them kill each other all day long - kill their kids, they're killing other kids all over the world. Fuck them, I say.
wow. They spent hundreds of years trying to exterminate us when they got here (with boatloads of slaves), but even we aren't that extreme.

Or maybe that's was just Europeans in general, or colonists in general. Or anglo imperialists especially. Or all of the above, or whatever bunch of self entitled lunatics goes running around enslaving conquering and displacing indigenous people in the name of God or money or whatever works in the slogans flags and banner heads.
that's history, though it does still happen in places like the middle east. if anything there's a resurgence of imigrants overrunning most of the western world and people (the uk for one) are complaining about it, which is pretty ironic when you think of it.
(08-17-2014, 06:03 PM)billy Wrote: [ -> ]that's history, though it does still happen in places like the middle east. if anything there's a resurgence of imigrants overrunning most of the western world and people (the uk for one) are complaining about it, which is pretty ironic when you think of it.

I can't speak for the UK, but in places like Canada and the US there's always been high amounts of immigrants (since colonization). The main difference is that in the past most of these immigrants would be from places like the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Poland, etc. For instance, there were 400,000 immigrants to Canada in 1912 (when the total population of Canada was only about 7 million) compared to 257,000 in 2011 (we have a population of about 35 million).

Still, some people are frightened of allowing too many immigrants (obviously, we should try and get the best and the brightest young people) even though without these immigrants, we'd have a quickly aging population of baby boomers (all collecting old age security and using public healthcare) being supported by a shrinking work force.

But Dey took er Jebs!
(08-17-2014, 12:03 AM)billy Wrote: [ -> ]i say make every gun owner in the USA go outside and kill someone, or stay indoors and kill someone.

the 2nd amendment is the biggest load of shite ever written. abolish it, what a fuckin' waste, if the people ever want to revolt, they'll do so, almost every country in the world outside the USA has had revolts and overthrown their government or those in power and i'm pretty sure most didn't have a 2nd amendment.

By the same token, using your same supporting points, (basically people who want guns will have guns). what is the point in abolishing the 2nd amendment?

Quote:what i can't understand with those who complain and say i must be allowed to own gun, is that they stop there, why not a demand or take up other weapons such as explosives etc, they either want the right to defend themselves or they're sheep-like pussies who accept a crumb of weapon ownership instead of the whole cake. C4 for everyone and a couple of sam missiles to boot....oh..that's right they're banned. I wipe the 2nd amendment on my bottom.


There are many reasons to own a gun besides "revolting.". I cant see how owning some C4 would help you hunt deer, for example. Why should gun owners want to own explosives?

(08-17-2014, 08:03 AM)just mercedes Wrote: [ -> ]I've always seen the need to own guns by Americans as a signal of the fear and loathing they live with. Not only of themselves, but of everyone. Nation of haters.


Well, its good to see that [i]someone[\i] decided to lighten up this conversation will well thought out ideas. Nation full of haters? lol. America is one of the most diverse developed countries in the world, there are bound to be problems, but over all we get along just fine.

Its a lot easier together along when your country a vast majority of the population is of the same ethic background.

[Image: diverity-map-harvard2.jpg]

Quote:Let them kill each other all day long - kill their kids, they're killing other kids all over the world. Fuck them, I say.

[Image: Orly.jpg]