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I just posted this as a comment elsewhere, but because this issue is so important, I decided to do this as a diary. Here, I attempt to identify a middle ground on the controversial issue of gun control.

What happened today at Virginia Tech was a horrible tragedy. As someone who makes his livelihood on a campus, I never expect and never want such a horror to occur in a setting that is meant to be calm and tranquil.

Anyway, regarding the gun ussue, this may be oversimplifying matters, but here goes.

Position 1. is a position which states that the right to bear arms is an absolute, unambiguous right, and which is wary of government taking away this right. This position doesn't see guns as a problem, or gun violence as an epidemic. It believes that most citizens use guns harmlessly and that we should simply punish those criminals who use guns to commit violence. Those who hold to this position don't seem to have much of an answer for how to keep guns out of the wrong hands.

Position 2. is one which interprets only the 2nd Amendment as granting "well organized militias," and not lone individuals, as having the right to bear arms. Unlike those holding to the first position, those with this position want to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands, and therefore believe in tighter gun control and better enforcement.

Position 1, which asserts, essentially, that everyone is basically on their own for their own protection, is a form of social darwinism, and is thus, to me, rather morally reprehensible. In taking this moral/philosophical position, it also denies certain realities, such as the fact that some conflicts can be de-escalated through proper, effective intervention.Realistically and politically, however, position 2. seems very unlikely to carry the day.

It seems to me, then, that a middle ground position, which recognizes the individual's right to bear arms for self defense, but which also sees a legitimate role for government to regulate licensing and distribution, should be pursued by all parties, who need to be able to give and take a bit more. It also seems to me that mental/emotional health should be a determining factor in deciding whether or not an individual should have this right.

This is just a quick outline of a position, I realize, and much more probably needs to be said on this. But it seems to me that seeking a middle ground will get us pass the impasse in which gun violence is now a routine fact of life. It need not and should not be so in a sane, civilized society. That is what we have, I hope.

UPDATE: The NY Times is reporting the following.

Leaders in both parties voiced their sympathies, their outrage and their prayers in the aftermath of the shootings at Virginia Tech. Advocates of gun control legislation said they are hoping for something more – a reopening of the legislative debate over regulating guns.

Many of them had expected that the shootings at Columbine High School in 1999 would transform the politics of gun control; in May 2000, the Million Mom March rallied in the nation’s capital with a message of "enough is enough."

But after the 2000 election, in which Vice President Al Gore’s support for new gun regulations was widely thought to have hurt his candidacy, many Democrats showed little appetite for challenging the gun lobby.
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said, "The politicians are afraid to address this issue." In September 2004, gun control advocates lost ground when a federal ban on the sale of 19 kinds of semiautomatic weapons was allowed to expire, after intense lobbying by the National Rifle Association.

"I think after today, what we’re doing and what we want the American people to do is start asking our elected officials: ‘What are we going to do about this?’ " Mr. Helmke said. The N.R.A. said its "thoughts and prayers are with the families,’’ but declined further comment.

And a comment from New Yorkers Against Gun Violence

Roger Hayes, chairman of the group’s board, said: "The Congress just called for a moment of silence. Indeed a moment of silence is appropriate for such a devastating tragedy with such pain for families and students. But we also want a moment of noise. We want Congress to look hard at the gun issue and the fact that our country has such a high homicide rate compared to other developed countries. We want them to act on sensible laws land and stop being afraid of the gun lobby."

UPDATE 2: According to Polling Report, anywhere from 78% to 54% of the public believes that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, and only between 2 and 12% think that they should be less strict. These poll results, from Gallup, haven't been updated for a few years, though. Other polling data shows that the public is not in favor of a handgun ban.

Originally posted to Randian on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 05:54 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  too sensible (0+ / 0-)

    Those gun guys aren't about to start down some slippery slope, you know.  What we have is already too restrictive for them.  

    •  Then we need to demand it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PeterHug

      and we have a right to demand greater flexibility and accountability from them, as they do not have a consensus of the public behind them.

      Stop bitching and start a revolution!

      by Randian on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 05:57:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  demand away (0+ / 0-)

        we got a little bit of gun control after Ronnie was shot, but it had some grandfather clause I think.  Everyone with half a brain is in favor of gun control, all police chiefs I've heard, most girls, but the laws are going in the opposite direction, toward more concealed weapons, for example, isn't that great?  We have these guys who worry about the black helicopters and think we're already occupied, by the federal government, and they need to be able to protect themselves. The Iraqis felt the same, they were all personally prepared to resist occupation.  When a citizenry bears a whole lot of arms, it does make occupation rather risky.  

        •  So why don't they revolt? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          anna shane

          We have these guys who worry about the black helicopters and think we're already occupied, by the federal government, and they need to be able to protect themselves.

          It's become apparent that the Fed. Govt. is encroaching into the private lives of its citizens.  This is what the gun nuts are afraid of, and why they cling to this right of gun ownership, so why don't they stop the Fed. Government?  I wish they'd stop being pussies, grab their guns, and launch a war against the White House.
          Our Govt. wouldn't even try to stop them because gassing, or shooting, your own people is evil.  We don't allow that in our world.  So, if you revolt against your Govt. it's okay.
          We should start a petition demanding that gun nuts take the action that they claim themselves protectors of.  I would sign it (but they'd have to hold a gun to my head so I could claim Duress).  

          I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different. - Vonnegut

          by rainmanjr on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:47:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  While I don't agree with 1 per se (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slave138, debedb

    the concept that people should be responsible is not Darwinian at all, but an understanding that in the ideal world, people would act responsibly and not incorrectly.

    In its purest terms, position 1 is actually AGAINST the concept of social Darwinism because the actions taken by those who would use violent weapons in an incorrect manner would exclude them from society, preventing them from gaining material or positional advantage, and in the most traditional Darwinian sense, failing to gain on their advantages.

    While I am against the proliferation of guns, I also appreciate that if the people that own them for the most part do no harm with them, it is unreasonable to punish them for the crimes others commit.  And just for the record, gun violence is not "a routine fact of life", it is in fact much less, both in real numbers and even more so in per/capita numbers than in nearly a century of record keeping.

    •  I have never had a car accident (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      illinifan17, Uthaclena, Randian, Allogenes

      I always have nice cars which do not fall apart on the highway and do not spew smoke in to the air.  Why do I have to be punished by having to register my car and pay to have it ispected?  Why must I have a  license?

      •  Did I say that? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slave138

        I appreciate responding to the actual text, not the implied comments you think I made.

        I was more concerned with the clear and obvious errors made in logic by the diarist, in a diary that I'd otherwise wholeheartedly approve.  

        You can't just throw around vocabulary expecting people to be persuaded by big words, when you aren't correct in your basic assumptions.  The concepts of "social Darwinism" and "routine" gun violence are falsehoods, when compared to recent historical trends.  We are actually having less gun crimes than in the early nineties, at a per-capita level approaching the 50's and a violent crime rate that is nearly the lowest in a century.

        And frankly, did you not notice I'd said "I'm against the proliferation of guns..."?

        •  I disagree (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Allogenes, rainmanjr

          I don't think that I am "throwing around big words." You may not think that 10,000 + gun related homicides a year  source is routine, but to me, that's over 27 a day, or one per hour. That's not routine to you?

          And as to the social darwminism comment, it seems to me that your point would if, as you suggested, the violent gun users were excluded from society. However, they are not always. But it also seems to me that the very idea that we are, essentially, on our own as far as self-defense goes rather than to assert the idea that we should be trying to create the conditions of community which have been shown to reduce violence and violent crime, fits in with an individualist model of social darwinism, that is, an assumption that all others are potential predators (and I say this knowing that there are a number of different interpretations of darwinism for explaining human society.)

          Stop bitching and start a revolution!

          by Randian on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:35:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Out of a Population of 300,000,000 ?? (0+ / 0-)

            What does that make your chances of being harmed by a gun this year, statistically??

            What we really expect out of the Democrats is for them to treat us as they would liked to have been treated.

            by The Baculum King on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:37:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Relatively low, but compared to 911 (0+ / 0-)

              It three times the rate. Why is it that we have had to accomodate ourselves to much greater government control in the name of counterterrorism and in (somewhat knee jerk reaction) to a single event, and yet, in response to three times the number of casualties per year, the gun absolutists show extreme paranoia toward any degree of government intervention?

              It makes little if any sense to me.

              Stop bitching and start a revolution!

              by Randian on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:44:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  People who use gun violence (0+ / 0-)

            when caught are for the most part, placed outside of society in prisons.

            The rest, are frequently killed by the police, or by other's engaging in gun violence.

            In that respect, it is a terrible choice for those wishing to improve their station.

      •  Since you decided to go in that direction... (0+ / 0-)

        A couple reasons:

        1. Your right to own a car and/or drive it is nowhere in the Consitution.  Not even something similar about a right to own a horse.  Sorry - no Constitutional protections.
        1. Far more people are killed by autos than by guns.

        For a statistical analysis from the National Safety Council in 2003:

        Auto Related Deaths: 44,757
        Chances of Dying in a Given Year: 1 in 6,498
        Chances of Dying in a Lifetime: 1 in 84

        Gun Related Deaths (Accidental): 730
        Chances of Dying in a Given Year: 1 in 398,425
        Chances of Dying in a Lifetime: 1 in 5,134

        Gun Related Deaths (Intentional): 16,907
        Chances of Dying in a Given Year: 1 in 17,203
        Chances of Dying in a Lifetime: 1 in 222

        So where are all the bleeding hearts demanding bans on autos and stiffer regulation?  It's obvious that licensing and inspections aren't preventing the high death rates.

        •  But, using a constitutional argument (0+ / 0-)

          for gun ownership requires a recognition that the right to bear arms is provisional, and tied to being part of a "well regulated militia."

          And, why are you referring to those who think differently than you on this issue as "bleeding hearts," which seems like codespeak used by conservatives to put down liberals?

          Stop bitching and start a revolution!

          by Randian on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 07:17:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I use the term... (0+ / 0-)

            ... because it is the most appropriate one for people who rush at every chance to push for bans when the facts (as shown above and in other posts here) show that the problem is not as extreme as those suffering from terminal emotional response would like us to believe.  

            If you want to make a logical argument against gun ownership, you should be compelled even more to limit car ownership - it is responsible for more than twice as many deaths, afterall.  Why isn't there the emotional push then?  Because you use automated transportation?

            There are very few things I agree with the conservatives on, but this is defintely one of them.

            As for your Constitutional argument, that clause is defintely up for debate.  As a recent example:

            ...[T]he Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient for the Federalists in the First Congress as it served, in part, to placate their Antifederalist opponents. The individual right facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second Amendment’s civic purpose, however, the activities it protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual’s enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia.

            Judge Laurence Silberman, for the majority in Parker v District of Columbia (DC Cir. 2007)

            •  Judge Laurence Silberman (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              slave138

              You make some valid points, but giving a lengthy quote to Laurence Silberman is problematic, given that this is essentially a right wing hatchet man for the Republican Party.

              This is the same Silberman who, with fellow right wing justice David Sentelle, a former aide to arch-right-wing Republican Senator Jesse Helms, voided the convictions of both North and Admiral John Poindexter in 1990 in the aftermath of Iran Contra.

              Silberman's later completely reversed his position--from condemning the Independent Counsel statute when it was being used against a Republican administration, in the Iran-Contra hearing to demanding unquestioned obedience to the dictates of Kenneth Starr, when Starr was up against a Democratic White House.

              This is also the same fucker who colluding with the revolutionary government of Iran to keep 52 American hostages confined in Iran so that they could not be freed by the Jimmy Carter administration in time to influence the 1980 presidential election.

              Silberman is a partisan hack with no crediibility when it comes to interpreting law.

              Stop bitching and start a revolution!

              by Randian on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 07:47:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Very informative... (0+ / 0-)

                ... I was simply pointing out that the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is debateable.  

                Perhaps you would like another (dissenting) opinion:

                I believe that Morton Grove Ordinance No. 81-11, as a matter of constitutional law, impermissibly interferes with individual privacy rights. I join others who throughout history have recognized that an individual in this country has a protected right, within the confines of the criminal law, to guard his or her home or place of business from unlawful intrusions. In my view, today's majority decision marks a new nadir for the fundamental principle that "a man's home is his castle." It has been said that the greatest threat to our liberty is from well-meaning, and almost imperceptible governmental encroachments upon our personal freedom. Today's decision sanctions an intrusion on our basic rights as citizens which would no doubt be alarming and odious to our founding fathers.

                ...

                The right to privacy is one of the most cherished rights an American citizen has; the right to privacy sets America apart from totalitarian states in which the interests of the state prevail over individual rights. A fundamental part of our concept of ordered liberty is the right to protect one's home and family against dangerous intrusions subject to the criminal law. Morton Grove, acting like the omniscient and paternalistic "Big Brother" in George Orwell's novel, "1984", cannot, in the name of public welfare, dictate to its residents that they may not possess a handgun in the privacy of their home. To so prohibit the possession of handguns in the privacy of the home prevents a person from protecting his home and family, endangers law-abiding citizens and renders meaningless the Supreme Court's teaching that "a man's home is his castle."

                Coffey's dissenting opinion in Quilici vs Morton Grove (7th Cir 1982)

                Let me guess... Coffey's a partisan hack too?

                •  Don't know Coffey, but I trust he's honest (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  slave138

                  I was only wanting to earlier put the thinking of Silberman, anout whom I knew his background, in a broader political context.

                  As far as this later quote, I am happy to see a justice citing the right to privacy. I must admit, though, I'm not familiar with this particular case (Quilici vs Morton Grove).

                  Stop bitching and start a revolution!

                  by Randian on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 08:21:07 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  I think we're already there (4+ / 0-)

    It's well established that the government can regulate firearms. Fully automatic weapons are already heavily regulated and are prohibited for most folks. You can't own a functional machine gun without jumping through many hoops first.  I don't think you can own a fully functional tank or cannon either. These are all firearms, yet are regulated.

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:03:16 PM PDT

    •  Bingo! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Allogenes, rainmanjr

      See my post below.

      I am in favor of a complete and total gun ban, but let me add that I do feel sympathy for people who think they "need" to own a gun.  I think this is a mental illness and I am perfectly willing to support government funded treatment programs.

      So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

      by illinifan17 on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:24:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So You want to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dougymi

        repeal the Second Amendment?  If thats what you want just say it.  I would at least admire you for having the courage to say it.  On the other hand I would say you would be doomed to lose every remaining national election in my lifetime.  meanwhile the 2nd will never br repealed.

      •  I feel the same way about people... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dougymi

        ... who feel they need cars.  Bikes and walking for everyone I say!  Because if it's good enough for me, it should be good enough for everyone...

        /sarcasm (added for the dense)

  •  ...like ballistic fingerprinting? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TeresaInPa, Randian

    Or mandatory trigger locks?

    Both of these would preserve an absolute individual right to own guns, but would:

    (1) in the case of mandatory pre-sale ballistic fingerprinting, make it much easier to track down the shooter when a gun is used in a crime

    (2) in the case of trigger locks, would prevent a very large number of accidental gun-related deaths and deaths caused by people grabbing a "handy" gun owned by someone else

    Required tracking of gun ownership transfers -- so that after the fact it is easy to figure out who last had the gun -- is just as sensible and still doesn't actually prohibit anyone from owning guns.  And heck, we already do this sort of tracking for land, buildings, stocks and bonds, cars and trucks, and probably other things I'm not thinking of.

    -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

    by neroden on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:05:02 PM PDT

    •  These are certainly what I have in mind (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Boreal Ecologist

      These srike me as very sensible. Yet when I hear gun activists oppose these, as so many do, it forces me to wonder about their sincerity and about what their true agenda is.

      I wonder, with tragedies such as the one today, at what point do we say enough is enough, we need to actually address this problem rather than to allow one ideological faction to get virtually everything they want on this issue..

      Stop bitching and start a revolution!

      by Randian on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:09:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  because the right to bear arms is not issue... (0+ / 0-)

        it's the fantasy to serve in an armed militia fighting the English like George Washington, or shooting down black helicopters, or defending the Stars and Stripes and/or Bars against...something.

        Or another fantasy: if there was an effective gun registry and an enforceable chain of custody, why then, those evil Demoncrats and big-city Jews would come and pry that hunting rifle from my cold dead fingers.

        As if the darkness they fear could be turned to light by a bullet.

        Hint, Mountain Democrat gun owners: gun control does not mean anyone wants to take away your elk rifle.

        Hint, Romantic heroes: if you want to protect freedom, try voting for a change.

        It's a lousy world, Sir Magnus. A few happy fish will make it better. (Le Carré)

        by Boreal Ecologist on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:32:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Do You Know the Difference Between an Elk Rifle (0+ / 0-)

          And a sniper rifle??

          What we really expect out of the Democrats is for them to treat us as they would liked to have been treated.

          by The Baculum King on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:35:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  as a matter of fact, yes. (0+ / 0-)

            By "elk rifle" I was referring to any of a family of single shot bolt action medium calibre rifles suitable for game hunting.

            Many commenters today have alluded to the importance of fire arms to actual or portential Democratic voters in the western states, in particular the Mountain West. That's a region much like Alberta, where I lived for 35yr. Lots of hunting rifles there, and those are what I mean to discuss.

            Mine, for example, was a sporterised WWII Lee-Enfield .303 with a 10-round magazine. Not maybe the weapon of choice these days, but that was a while ago, and hey, they stopped the Boche in the Great War. The thing was sited to 1000y. As if. But you could probably kill someone reliably at 400y with practice. There were snipers in those days, as you know. So it was also a sniper rifle, if you please.

            I have never seen a modern sniper rifle, other than in movies and such.

            I do not know what weapon the killer in Virginia used. Does it really matter?

            It's a lousy world, Sir Magnus. A few happy fish will make it better. (Le Carré)

            by Boreal Ecologist on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 07:00:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  WOW! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ratador

          Oh man...

          Ok, my "Elk Rifle" is not a precious to me as my concealed pistol or my home defense rifle.  Why?  Because I do not fear a home invasion by elk, or worry about getting robbed or worse in a Walmart parking lot by an Elk.

          Now if I planned to take on the Gov't or be a really bad person, that Elk rifle is FAR more of a danger in the hands of a skilled shooter than any pistol or AK.  Ask the beltway shooter or the guy up in the clock tower taking out people at 400+ yards.

          Frankly, the two things I actually would fear most is a close encounter with a shotgun or a long range encounter with an "Elk Gun".

          That handgun that is carried by a licensed citizen of the state which never leaves it's holster unless life and limb are at immanent risk (like when a crazy guy is shooting at you and all those around you) is not only something I do not fear, it is something I would welcome in a bad spot.

          Concealed means no one sees it, and if you live anywhere outside the big cities there are people with hidden guns around you all day that never get used and pose no risk to you.   So, please, don't lecture on "fantasy worlds" when you do not know what is around you, safely, every day.

          •  you are correct in some things. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Randian

            Yup, shotguns more dangerous than a handgun at close range, cause you don't have to be a very good shot.

            Yup, rifle more dangerous at long ranges.

            You are wrong about safe handguns in my vicinity. I live in Canada, and they are pretty much illegal, and very hard to acquire legally. Most that are used illegaly are reportedly smuggled across the border, which see below

            I don't think they come in handy nearly as often, in real life, as you seem to think, but I can handle them being obtainable under strict controls.

            What I can't handle is the passionate defense of the all-but-open black markets that one reads about, in the form of unregulated gun shows.

            It's a lousy world, Sir Magnus. A few happy fish will make it better. (Le Carré)

            by Boreal Ecologist on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 07:07:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Black markets? (0+ / 0-)

              You are ill informed.  Gun show dealers are FFL's and have to report every firearm they sell.  Period.

              The only issue is when two people ATTENDING the show want to sell to each other they can do so.  Why?  Because people in the same state can sell to each other.  That is the only exception.

              Black markets?  That is funny.  You ever bought at a gun show?  Bet not.

              •  well what the recent case? (0+ / 0-)

                You know, the one in some south eastern state? I think the issue was easy purchase at gun shows facilitating smuggling in DC or something. I don't recall the details, usually don't pay much attention. There are no such gun shows in Canada, far as I know. So you correct, never bought a gun at one.

                So you're saying there is no black market that could be tightened up? Or that almost all guns used in crimes are stolen from legitimate owners. Gee, that would explain the furor over product liability.

                It's a lousy world, Sir Magnus. A few happy fish will make it better. (Le Carré)

                by Boreal Ecologist on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 07:38:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Straw Purchase (0+ / 0-)

                  What you describe is a straw purchase.  It is as illegal as it gets and puts you in jail for a long time.  You get caught the first time you sell a gun to someone and it is discovered.  You do not do it over and over.

                  Notice in your story the transfer of states, once that happens there IS NO LEGAL SALE.  Simply buying for another person is a FELONY.  The first line on the form to buy says "I am the purchaser of this firearm" and is followed by a description of the hell that will insue if you lie.  On most stores there is a sign that says "Don't Lie for the Other Guy" and dealers are in big doo doo if they have straw purchases come through their store.

                  Now as for recent cases.  Much is made of this crime recently in the efforts of big cities to claim that their failed gun control efforts are the fault of gun dealers in other states.  They love to point out gun shows.

                  But be clear:

                  You buy for someone else, you are a FELON.

                  You sell a handgun to someone in another state, you are a FELON.

                  You give a gun to someone who uses it in a crime, you are 99% gonna be found a FELON.

                  You buy in a state other than where you live, you are a FELON.

                  People who want to ban guns like to banter about a black market.  But the only real black market is the illegal guns on the street, bought illegally, carried illegally, and used illegally.  The people who buy there could care less about gun bans, except that it makes their lives easier as the likelyhood they will ever encounter an armed victim lessens.

                  •  Let me ask you something (0+ / 0-)

                    What do you think police and city officials should do in places like Camden, Philsdelphia, Hartford, the Bronx, etc. knowing that these straw purchases do occur and that most of the illegal guns in these cities originate in places like Virginia and Kentucky? Is it just a matter of it being a "failed gun control effort" in the Bronx or Hartford? Does not Virginia and places like it bear any degree of responsibility for regulating sales by rogue gun dealers? You might also want to consider this report which suggests that most of the straw purchases in Virginia occur at various gun shows.

                    Stop bitching and start a revolution!

                    by Randian on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 08:11:59 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Re-read the report (0+ / 0-)

                      That report covers 50 events in a year.  Statistically that is a drop in the bucket.  it also is clear that law enforcement helped at these events to help uphold and convict on current laws.

                      It did not call for closing gun shows.  It called for law enforcement at gun shows, which already happens (thus the report).

                      I am all for law enforcement at gun shows.  They are there all the time.  Bring more.  Great.

                      More law enforcement is a much better solution than more uninformed laws any day.

                      But to say that 50 guns in a year constitute a black market, no.

                    •  As for Big Cities ruling the states (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      slave138

                      This is a big issue.

                      Another way to phrase it would be:

                      What should rural states do about urban cities sending their crime out of state?
                      What should rural states do about urban cities trying to write their state law?
                      What should rural states do about urban cities crime problems?

                      I think rural states are happy to help, but are not ready to take the blame for urban cities.  

                      The laws are already there.  The "loopholes" do not exist that people like to titillate about.  Find the criminals, put them away.

    •  All New Guns Come With Trigger Locks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dougymi

      Most of which are immediately removed and discarded.

      Or are you suggesting mandatory use of locks on all guns?? How would that be enforced??

      And ballistic fingerprinting is of little use because guns used in crimes are rarely used by their original, lawful owner.

      Besides, it's easily defeated anyway.

      What we really expect out of the Democrats is for them to treat us as they would liked to have been treated.

      by The Baculum King on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:18:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The whole constitutional argument is nonsense, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Allogenes, rainmanjr

    unless you believe that I have a right ot have a nuclear missile in my backyard.  If you think I do not have that right, then you are saying that the government has the right to limit what arms individual citizens can own.  If that is the case, then the constitution is not at issue.  The disagreement is simply where the government should place limits, not whether it can.  I believe that in the interest of public safety, the government should ban all guns.  This position is no more or less constitutional than one which says the government should ban the private ownership of all nuclear weapons.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:20:27 PM PDT

    •  There is one difference (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ratador

      historically the law doesn't limit that which is already in the common domain.  Since nuclear weapons aren't yet at everyone's disposal, it is easy to eliminate them from the marketplace.

      People have had their own guns for nearly 600 years!  Since there had been no laws explicitly banning the ownership of most guns, the constitution can probably (4th, 9th and 10th) be used to protect existing owners.

  •  History Of "Middle Ground" (5+ / 0-)
    1. Before 1934 a 12 year old could order a machine gun via the mail or any firearm.  No school shootings happened.
    1. In 1934 people decided that regulating machine guns would end gang violence in the big cities and laws were passed.
    1. In 1967 we again passed laws regulating intrastate sales and created the BATF to look over all gun sales via gun dealers who now had to get FFL licenses.  This was to end "gun trade" and stop gun violence.  Keep in mind there still were no Columbines, but there were shootings and violence, primarily in the big cities.
    1. In 1994 the AWB gets passed with politicians promising an end to school shootings and gang violence from "automatic weapons" even though that is not what was banned at all.  In the following years the ban does nothing at all to effect school shootings which, in fact, increase.
    1. In 2006 the CDC reveals that gun legislation has had no effect at all on gun violence at all.  None.  

    So, once again, people are wondering if some reasonable law or "middle ground" can be reached that will end the problem.  This is offered as if we have not had 70 years of laws that have had no effect at all.

    What has changed?  A culture of accepted violence with seemingly lessened consequences attached to violence in the cultural eye.

    Furthermore, where have the attacks taken place?  ON SOFT TARGETS.  On places where a high body count is easy.  In places also where civilian, licensed firearm carry, has been banned.  I.E. on the places where the attackers are certain to have no opposition.

    In 2006 students at VA Tech were banned from exercising their right to carry concealed carry weapons per state law (those who were licensed to do so).  Today no one was there who could oppose the shooter.  

    In the US, the only school shootings that have been stopped in the act have been done so by armed civilians; once by a principle, once by two armed students.  In both cases the heroes had to run to their cars, get their weapons, run back to the school and only then confront the attacker.  They had to do so because of laws that "ban" to feel good, but that instead create a big juicy target for a crazy killer.

    If guns were the problem, mass attacks would happen at NRA conventions.  They do not.  They happen at schools.  Be it here in the US, or in Israel, Beslan, Germany, England, etc.  

    Should we harden schools as targets?  I dunno, but I can say that banning legally carried firearms in a concealed, licensed manner, is not really effective.  Nor are more laws that even the CDC says have not worked.

    And if any of the students shot today were ones banned from armed self protection, the legal battles will be groundbreaking.

  •  Compromising With Reality (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Randian, Allogenes

    Iself have always read the 2nd Amendment, and the (many) background discussions, as speaking to the relationship between the Federal and State regulation of militias as organized groups. However, 'original intent' aside, I do think that the reality that has evolved is that most Americans accept the idea that individuals should be able to own personal firearms. Anyone who goes up against this is likely to lose, and I'd opine that's a waste of time and effort. Besides, in a sane society, it wouldn't be an issue; guns would be used appropriately, not to settle a grudge, or because of hot-tempered tantrums.

    So the question becomes, is it a limited or and unlimited right? Survivalist fantasies of saving our country from the Commies/Trilateralists/U.N./Jihadis aside, should individuals be able to privately own military style weaponry? I would say, no, if you want to play with fully-automatic weapons, or, hades, lob in a few mortar rounds or ride around in a tank, set up a militia with your favourite gun club; be trained, registered, and pay dues for insurance purposes, and be held responsible for keeping those resources absolutely secure.

    Let's not forget that private individuals can purchase and use high explosives such as dynamite, if they're trained, licensed, registered, insured, and meet safe storage regulations.

    As far as other personal firearms... I know there's some paranoia among gun extremists that if they're registered, the guys in the black helicopters will come and confiscate your weapons before you can liberate our nation </snark> but, as a private citizen I must contend that my right to life and liberty comes before your right to a gun. These least I will compromise on is that, if you want to legally purchase a gun, you have to provide proof of training in the use, storage, and safety of firearms. Your local hunting club, or the NRA can provide that, for all I care. AND if a gun owner ever uses, or allows, a weapon to harm an innocent, well one strike and you lose your right of ownership. Forever.

    We'll never be able to stop all of the insane or planful killers from accessing and using firearms to create tragedies great and small; but I do think we need to craft a compromise to prevent the casual gun vilence that is so endemic in our society, and punishing someone after the fact is simply insufficient.

    In my opinion, of course.

  •  People often point to Canada (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Randian, Allogenes

    when the topic of Gun control comes up. Do we have laws? Yes. Are they tought? Yes. Could I go out tomorrow and buy a gun. Yes.

    You can live in Canada and own enough fire power to protect yourself and your family (if that's really what guns are all about).

    The big difference is the type of guns you can buy here.

  •  What middle ground should a parent take (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rainmanjr

    when they bury their child from a drive by shooting? What middle ground should I take after burying my brother from gun violence. Sorry, there maybe middle ground for you, not for me.

  •  There is no middle ground on this issue. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    debedb

    We gun opponents lost.  It's dead and even Jesus can't resurrect it.  See Bowling For Columbine to learn just how insidious this issue is.  Trigger happy Americans, however, will never wake up and smell the sulphur.  They want their guns and God help anyone who tries to put a silencer on them.  There will be no trigger-guards in this country.  Ever.  Doesn't matter how many people get shot.

    I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different. - Vonnegut

    by rainmanjr on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:38:29 PM PDT

    •  Practically All Guns Have Trigger Guards (0+ / 0-)

      Leaving the trigger hanging out exposed was discovered to be a bad thing several hundred years ago...

      What we really expect out of the Democrats is for them to treat us as they would liked to have been treated.

      by The Baculum King on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:40:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Guns come with trigger locks (0+ / 0-)

      I get one every time I buy a gun.  Dealers hand them out like candy.  Want 5, 10, 20 for free?  Just go to any gun store and ask for one, or 50.  

      Or do you mean that they should be used?

      If I fail to take my responsibility seriously and someone gets hurt, I do not get off scott free.  I AM CURRENTLY LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR MY FIREARM.  That is already law, and the legal responsibility is very weighty.  I know people who chose not to own firearms because of that responsibility.  Gun owners do not take this lightly at all.

      Trigger locks are all over, and law in some places.

      As for "how many people get shot".  People get shot 99% of the time from a gun being aimed and a trigger intentionally being pulled.  Shooting accidents are statistically small.  

      Trigger locks are great, I love mine.  I did up from the basic ones to nicer ones myself as do most people I know.  But they are not a super solution awaiting implementation.

      •  I meant that... (0+ / 0-)

        there will be no impediments on the peoples ability to own guns.  Any kind of guns.  The reference to trigger guards is a euphamism.  This is used fairly regularly by us writers.  Read more slowly.

        I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different. - Vonnegut

        by rainmanjr on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:58:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But you are wrong (0+ / 0-)

          I have to file a form, reported to the BATF and have a backround check done every time I buy a firearm.  

          To carry a firearm, I have to be fingerprinted, have two backround checks, have two law enforcement agencies involved, pay fees, wait months, and then I can carry.  And I live in a firearm liberal state.

          I can only carry in certain places and at certain times.  If I forget, or make an error, I can be an instant felon.

          I can only own firearms that fire once for every pull of the trigger.  Fully automatic firearms are very difficult to be cleared by the government to own and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

          I cannot own a pistol with a stock.

          I cannot own a rifle that has less than a 16" barrell.

          I cannot buy from a person in another state without an agent of the government involved.  

          I cannot accept a handgun as a gift, even from a family member if they reside in another state without an agent of the government involved.

          The list goes on and on.

          Please do not tell me that there are no restrictions, I have to go through them all the time.  If you want to say

          The reference to trigger guards is a euphamism.  This is used fairly regularly by us writers.

          that is fine, but PLEASE get your facts straight and don't assume that literary euphemism equates with legal reality.

    •  The problem with Bowling for Columbine (0+ / 0-)

      and I say this as someone who really likes and appreciates Michael Moore, is that it makes a number of specious arguments, such as that Columbine happened in part because we dropped bombs in Kosovo. Anyway, I don't think that the gun control side has absolutely lost.

      Stop bitching and start a revolution!

      by Randian on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:47:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let everyone have all the guns they want (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    david78209, rainmanjr

    And heavily restrict sales of bullets. A sales tax of  $10,000 on each individual bullet could be used to defray the cost of medical care should an 'accident' happen.

    Right now, bullets are dirt cheap. 250 for $31.00. But i would hate to see legitimate hunters and collectors be deprived of their right to  indulge their passion.  Collectors I assume don't  often shoot their guns. Hunters tend to use bullets sparingly and carefully.   My modest proposal would make your hobbies a bit more expensive, but  might make our schools and streets safer.

    •  THEY ARE NOT! (0+ / 0-)

      You are ill informed.  Ammo has risen steeply in the last two years, with monthly increases.  MONTHLY.

      Only cheap 22 is 250 for $31.  Most ammo is far closer to $.75-$1/bullet these days with ammo being swallowed up by Iraq and China right now.  Reloading is on the rise as is the use of increasingly unsafe military surplus ammo.  WOLF brand ammo out of Russia is expanding daily and we are the primary supporters of the Russian weapons industry as a result of our Iraq debacle.

      As for shooters, collectors shoot all the time.  Sometimes they use surplus ammo, sometimes commercial.  Hunters shoot less depending on who they are.  

      BUT HERE IS THE CATCH:  those who shoot least are less safe.  Practice makes safety and practice can only happen with affordable ammo.  Less ammo makes everyone less safe.

      The reality is that criminals rarely have more than a handful of ammo, most carry one clip.  The reason is that the firearms were bought illegally and criminals actually tend to avoid gun shops and other places that bring attention to their illegal firearm ownership.   No ammo tax will help touch the standard criminal element.

      As for the crazies?  Do you think that a nutball is gonna forgo his suicide rampage due to an increase in ammo pricing?  Maybe a higher gas price will keep him from driving a car to the attack to.

      Ammo increases just hurt those who practice.  Less practice = less safety.  No effect on crime, and sure would not stop any crazed killer.

    •  Short of a tax on ammunition (0+ / 0-)

      I think it would be some help to restrict sales of guns that accept ammunition clips or belts that can be changed quickly.  I doubt you need that for sport shooting or any type of hunting.  

      We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is just a setting on the dryer.

      by david78209 on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 07:06:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Again untrue. (0+ / 0-)

        I regularly shoot in competitions that require fast, accurate, and high capacity firing.  Do it once a month as a fact.

        I use 3 magazines of 14 rounds each and really could use a fourth.  I go though 150+ rounds in a single event.  

        Another event I went to recently required a rifle with 20 and 30 round clips.  It was a hoot and I spent plenty on the 300 rounds I used up in two days.

        Do you really think a criminal is going to be dissuaded by magazine prices?  I already pay $40 per magazine as it is.  Do you think a nutjob is gonna stop at $80 a mag?  Or $300?

        At the Amish school shooting they guy simply used a shotgun.  No mags there at all.

        But I will tell you that the census worker who was killed not far from my house when I lived in more rural areas could have used a firearm with 14+ rounds or even a second mag.  The pack of 15 dogs took her apart and any "nice" gun with 5-10 rounds might have helped, but it would not have been enough to even shoot each dog once.

        •  Dogs are another issue. (0+ / 0-)

          Im thinking about the 30-odd people who were the delights of their families and or friends. And now they're gone. Forever. What about the other 11,000 americans who die each year  from gun violence?  I'm afraid all of the  voices I have read or heard from the pro-gun spectrum come across as cold and selfish.

          Anti-gun control people may wish to examine the message and how its presented. Who ever you are, I have yet to be convinced why access to handguns is a good thing.

          "Freedom" to me means the freedom to conduct my daily life without fear of a deranged, angry maniac being able to procure the tools to mow down innocent lives.

          •  Ahh... so you're looking for freedom... (0+ / 0-)

            ... from reality.  I'm not sure that's Constitutionally protected.  You're free to fear unlikely occurances if you so choose.  Do you share the same fear being around cars?  You're more than twice as likely to be killed by one so that should make life pretty unbearable.  

            Freedom ≠ Safety
            Freedom ≠ Security

            •  Cars are a separate issue (0+ / 0-)

              Your remark about cars is absurd. Here's why. Cars serve a useful function--transportation. Same for buses, and planes. Their primary intent is not for killing. Of course a car can be used as a weapon, and that possibility is a trade-off we generally  deal with.
              Same for knives:  Frequently used as weapons in brawls with sometimes fatal results.Also have an interesting ancillary purpose: great for cutting cake, brownies, carrots and roast chicken.

              Insulin: Too much can be FATAL. But once in a while, insulin is actually very helpful in lowering blood sugar in daiabetics.
              Axes: Great murder weapons. Also useful for chopping woood.

              Now,  Hand gun afficionados,  help me please.  Guns are weapons, but they are also useful for (name one positive, non-violent ancillary function)_________ .I am having trouble figuring out what goes in the blank and I would  apreciate your assistance.

    •  Chris Rock fan? (0+ / 0-)

      I think someone's been listening to Chris Rock...

  •  The constitutional question (0+ / 0-)

    A little while ago, I wrote down my thoughts on how the 2nd Amendment ought to be interpreted. The key is to use a good etymological dictionary and the Articles of Confederation to understand what people had on their minds in the 1790s, and then just read what the words say.

    Greg Shenaut

    •  1790s (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slave138

      In the 1790s, the 'militia' included every able-bodied male between the ages of about 16 and 64... more or less.

      So when the 2nd Amendment speaks of a 'militia,' it is referring to the male public-at-large. It isn't talking about some 'national guard' or other body.

      I used to advocate abolition of handguns. Now, I think all liberals should be ARMED-- for the same reason conservatives used to think we should be armed, but the roles are now reversed-- to provide some sort of threat to the actions of a despotic government.

      Like we have now.

      (in the White House, anyway)


      "The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country." ~ Robert F. Kennedy

      by John Poet on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 07:33:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you read the article I linked to (0+ / 0-)

        then you'd see that in fact, it was a bit more complicated than that. Even in the 1770's when the Articles of Confederation were written, they were speaking of a "well-regulated militia" and specifying the responsibilities of the states to provide materiel. Furthermore, "to bear arms" means to act militarily, it doesn't have anything directly to do with gun ownership. And in any case, before 1776, the colonial militias were frequently commanded by British regular officers, for example in the French and Indian War, and much of the militia tradition in the colonies was a transplant from the much older system in England, so the meaning of the words in the 2nd Amendment and the Articles of Confederation have to be interpreted in that light.

        Greg Shenaut

      •  In WWI, my grandfather organized the men (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slave138

        in his community, and they went off to fight in France.  I don't know if anyone did that for WWII, but it has been fairly recently that militias were an important part of our armed forces.

        I really can't back a gun ban at this time.  We've gotten too close to a catastrophic failure of our government that seems to have been averted with the election of a Democratic Congress.  I hate to be grouped with the black helicopter crowd, but that's where I am right now.  I don't know what to do about the crazies with guns, there is no solution forthcoming as far as I can see.  I suspect that if we start confiscating guns, we will go through a period of violence.

  •  16 ppl that are having multiple orgasms today: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slave138, debedb

    Akaka (D-HI)
    Boxer (D-CA)
    Clinton (D-NY)
    Dodd (D-CT)
    Durbin (D-IL)
    Feinstein (D-CA)
    Harkin (D-IA)
    Inouye (D-HI)
    Kennedy (D-MA)
    Lautenberg (D-NJ)
    Levin (D-MI)
    Menendez (D-NJ)
    Mikulski (D-MD)
    Reed (D-RI)
    Sarbanes (D-MD)
    Schumer (D-NY)

    Bonus points if you know the basis on which I made that list.

    If there is one thing that disgusts me to no end is all of the anti-self-defense movement members who practically jump with glee every time a tragedy like this happens.

    •  HR 1022? (0+ / 0-)

      Did I win?

      Oh, and NONE of the Dem's from my state are on that list.  Why?  Because gun control is the best election gift the Republicans can possibly get at this point.

      Best ever.

      •  Nope. (0+ / 0-)

        Good try, though.

        •  Signers of the original AWB? (0+ / 0-)

          You're killin me!

          •  People who voted against the Vitter Amendment. (0+ / 0-)

            Vitter amendment was added to homeland security appropriations act, and it essentially prohibited government officials from confiscating legally owned firearms in times of disaster (Warlord Eddie Compass of NOLA did just that during Katrina, before an emergency injunction was issues to stop that madman).

            This amendment passed the Senate 84-16 (how often does that happen in the current political climate?).  The people listed above are the sixteen Dim extremists who voted against it.

            If anyone ever wondered why so many gun owners reluctantly vote Republican in every election, that's as good an answer as you'll ever get.

    •  "Anti-self defense movement"?? WTF? (0+ / 0-)

      Have you been this passionately opposed to the Patriot Act, a much truer expression of government suppression of citizen's constitutional rights than, for example, anything Ted Kennedy or Barbara Boxer ever proposed about gun ownership? If I'm wrong, please enlighten me.

      Stop bitching and start a revolution!

      by Randian on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 07:37:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was equally against the (anti)PATRIOT ACT (0+ / 0-)

        The difference is, if there was less gun control despotic regimes within our borders might be a little less enthusiastic about pulling shit like that...

      •  Hell yeah! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slave138

        And if people weren't so anti-gun they could have made effective bridges with all the people on the right who were equally up in arms, some even more than liberals.  

        But since people keep saying "disarm the gun nuts", there can be no conversation and the election goes to the Republicans even though many in the gun community hate them.  Easy win for the other team.

        Again, the two congressmen from my state who won only did so because they took guns off the table.  Otherwise we would have two less Dem congressmen in the Senate today.

        Period.

        •  That's why I posted this diary (0+ / 0-)

          because I genuinely want to find a middle ground position, and because I agree that name calling - from either side - is not generally helpful.

          Stop bitching and start a revolution!

          by Randian on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 08:13:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Then you need to understand (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            The Baculum King, slave138

            That gun owners have been asked for a middle position before, had it happen, and then got asked again when it did not work.  They have been told over and over, "This will help" and when it does not, someone just asks for more.

            It is like having a farm and being asked for just a bit more land.  You might be asking for the first time, but you do not realize that over 70 years half the farm is already gone and no problems have been solved.

            Are you willing to give and give to Bush's spy machine?  And when wiretaps do not work at all and he asks for your mail, then your business records and then your medical information?  And then if one more guy comes and says, "Can we find some middle ground between your civil rights and the chance to end terrorism?"  How will you respond?

            Not readily, I would bet!

            Start with understanding what has been taken and what has been gained.  Then ask what more might help.

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