Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

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Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Anatidaephobia » 27 May 2010, 01:23

At the beginning of last month, I was eating out with a friend in Sterling, Virginia. A group of around 20 people came in and sat down to eat dinner. Every single one of them was carrying a hand gun holstered on their hip. This was a bit surprising to me. Not alarming, just surprising. The only people you usually see carrying guns are police. Is it really necessary for civilians to be armed in public? What about armed in their homes? Should civilians even be allowed guns? Are the police fast enough the one time you might need a gun? I can see both sides of the argument. On one hand, children can get a hold of a gun in the home and a child loses his/her life. On the other hand, a women who is about to be raped could get a hold of a gun in the home and all of sudden she isn't a victim. What if someone had been carrying a gun at the mall in Nebraska where a gunman cut loose on innocent people? If people weren't allowed to carry hand guns, this woman would be alive. Is this something the government needs to control, or is it to be a personal decision for everyone to make for themselves?
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 27 May 2010, 02:33

I'm of the opinion that civilians should not be allowed access to firearms, period. I can understand it from a defensive standpoint, but it leaves far too much risk of crime influx (Namely, murder, injury, robbery, etc.). The fact that the US constitution declares fully that every US citizen should be allowed to have a firearm is completely absurd to me.
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Darkobra » 27 May 2010, 02:47

This is something I don't have a definite answer to. I have no strong feelings one way or the other. Although I have heard some interesting views.

In the newspaper here a few months back, people were debating whether we should do the same. Someone said that "Well it'd encourage assaults, murders, robberies..." and so on.

However, someone else countered "You make it sound like none of that happens now. It does, only with knives. I also personally carry a knife around just in case. It's not just a weapon but a day-to-day tool, like cutting some string off a box or some vines if wrapped around my leg."

It then went on a knife vs gun tangent.

I personally find it easier to defend against a knife and easier to disarm someone with a knife. They still have to get close to do the damage but a gun can be used at a great distance. Although I've always said "A weapon is only as deadly as the man behind it. Someone with absolutely no skill could never hurt me with a weapon they don't know how to use."

A friend of mine also has the belief of "If you're willing to take something with you like a knife or a gun, you're prepared to use it. Sometimes people will use it as a first resort rather than last resort." Although sometimes people are the opposite.

So basically, it's a tough call. The people who are intent on killing will find a way regardless. The victims may have a fighting chance with a gun but who's to say by how much?

I wish I had a definite answer for you but I don't think there is one at the end of the day.
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 27 May 2010, 02:50

I don't think "murders already happen" is much of a counter. Just because it happens already doesn't mean we should supply civilians with more methods to do it.
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Theremin » 27 May 2010, 02:51

And a gun has much more killing power than a knife.

Which is the reason most wars are fought with rifles instead of sabres...
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 27 May 2010, 02:53

I'm not even sure I'd argue killing power between them, the simply fact is: Guns have multiple rounds and can attack from a sizeable distance, making them able to kill or otherwise injure more people faster and farther away than a knife.
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Theremin » 27 May 2010, 02:55

Yes...they have the power to kill more.

You could even say they had 'killing power' :P
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 27 May 2010, 02:56

Individual shots may not kill a person outright, much as with a knife. Granted, if I pumped 6 rounds into a man he's liable to die quite certainly but the same could be said if I stabbed him 6 times with a knife.
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Theremin » 27 May 2010, 03:03

Or if you hit him six times with a car.
Or threw six grenades at him.
Or jabbed him six times with a spoon.

The point I'm making is that some objects can kill more efficiently than others.

If you're stabbed, the knife can tear flesh and sever things.

If you're shot, a bullet can punch a hole in you, break a bone (which most knives would glance off), and tear arteries, and push a big knob of flesh out of you.
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Ed. » 27 May 2010, 04:00

I'm against weapons because it raises the stakes

In the US you cant do a burglary without a gun as its a death wish in the UK deadly weapons a liability so most criminals don't carry them.

I would be surprised if any of the non US poster are massively in favour of civilians guns for self defence its a pretty unique thing.
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby iamafish » 27 May 2010, 04:04

I think we should be able to own a gun, but i think morally there is no reason to.

Just because something is immoral, does mean it should be banned.
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby sdhonda » 27 May 2010, 04:05

Ed. wrote:I'm against weapons because it raises the stakes

In the US you cant do a burglary without a gun as its a death wish in the UK deadly weapons a liability so most criminals don't carry them.

I would be surprised if any of the non US poster are massively in favour of civilians guns for self defence its a pretty unique thing.


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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Lord Chrusher » 27 May 2010, 04:16

My vision of what gun laws should be:

Only pump, bolt, lever or break action rifles and shotguns would be legal to own. Handguns as well as fully and semi automatic weapons would be illegal Limited exceptions would exist for things like museums and film production but they would be extremely tightly controlled. To posses a firearm one must have successfully completed a firearm safety course and pass criminal record and mental health checks.
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Master Gunner » 27 May 2010, 04:23

I'm a proponent of rifles, shotguns, and the like for hunting and home defense. Civilian-owned sidearms (outside of collectors items) does seem a bit useless and ridiculous (especially the high-caliber ones that would likely take off the average owner's hand if they ever tried to use it), since pretty much their only (legal) use is for personal defense, which is extremely unlikely to ever be necessary (and depending on where you are, you're more likely to be mugged by someone with a knife, in which case, carry a bigger knife (more useful, at least)).

Then again, shooting small arms can be insanely fun. My father used to own a pair of uzi's that he'd take to police range with his buddies every week.
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby sdhonda » 27 May 2010, 04:32

http://reason.com/archives/2002/11/01/g ... ed-outcome

� In 1973 a young man running on a road at night was stopped by the police and found to be carrying a length of steel, a cycle chain, and a metal clock weight. He explained that a gang of youths had been after him. At his hearing it was found he had been threatened and had previously notified the police. The justices agreed he had a valid reason to carry the weapons. Indeed, 16 days later he was attacked and beaten so badly he was hospitalized. But the prosecutor appealed the ruling, and the appellate judges insisted that carrying a weapon must be related to an imminent and immediate threat. They sent the case back to the lower court with directions to convict.

� In 1987 two men assaulted Eric Butler, a 56-year-old British Petroleum executive, in a London subway car, trying to strangle him and smashing his head against the door. No one came to his aid. He later testified, "My air supply was being cut off, my eyes became blurred, and I feared for my life." In desperation he unsheathed an ornamental sword blade in his walking stick and slashed at one of his attackers, stabbing the man in the stomach. The assailants were charged with wounding. Butler was tried and convicted of carrying an offensive weapon.

� In 1994 an English homeowner, armed with a toy gun, managed to detain two burglars who had broken into his house while he called the police. When the officers arrived, they arrested the homeowner for using an imitation gun to threaten or intimidate. In a similar incident the following year, when an elderly woman fired a toy cap pistol to drive off a group of youths who were threatening her, she was arrested for putting someone in fear. Now the police are pressing Parliament to make imitation guns illegal.

� In 1999 Tony Martin, a 55-year-old Norfolk farmer living alone in a shabby farmhouse, awakened to the sound of breaking glass as two burglars, both with long criminal records, burst into his home. He had been robbed six times before, and his village, like 70 percent of rural English communities, had no police presence. He sneaked downstairs with a shotgun and shot at the intruders. Martin received life in prison for killing one burglar, 10 years for wounding the second, and a year for having an unregistered shotgun. The wounded burglar, having served 18 months of a three-year sentence, is now free and has been granted �5,000 of legal assistance to sue Martin.
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby korri » 27 May 2010, 04:41

@sdhonda Is there no "self defense" justification in England? I mean there's one in the US (right?) Where if someone is trying to actively kill you and you hurt them or kill them, you are probably not going to be convicted. Now, I don't actually know the legal stuff and all my knowledge is from watching cop shows...
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Anatidaephobia » 27 May 2010, 04:52

korri wrote:there's one in the US (right?) Where if someone is trying to actively kill you and you hurt them or kill them, you are probably not going to be convicted.

As I do more research, I find lots of states have what is called castle doctrine. It basically means if someone breaks into your home, your are justified in killing them and won't be charged. It's on an individual state basis though. It's not a federal thing.
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Theremin » 27 May 2010, 08:31

sdhonda wrote:http://reason.com/archives/2002/11/01/g ... ed-outcome

� In 1973 a young man running on a road at night was stopped by the police and found to be carrying a length of steel, a cycle chain, and a metal clock weight. He explained that a gang of youths had been after him. At his hearing it was found he had been threatened and had previously notified the police. The justices agreed he had a valid reason to carry the weapons. Indeed, 16 days later he was attacked and beaten so badly he was hospitalized. But the prosecutor appealed the ruling, and the appellate judges insisted that carrying a weapon must be related to an imminent and immediate threat. They sent the case back to the lower court with directions to convict.

� In 1987 two men assaulted Eric Butler, a 56-year-old British Petroleum executive, in a London subway car, trying to strangle him and smashing his head against the door. No one came to his aid. He later testified, "My air supply was being cut off, my eyes became blurred, and I feared for my life." In desperation he unsheathed an ornamental sword blade in his walking stick and slashed at one of his attackers, stabbing the man in the stomach. The assailants were charged with wounding. Butler was tried and convicted of carrying an offensive weapon.

� In 1994 an English homeowner, armed with a toy gun, managed to detain two burglars who had broken into his house while he called the police. When the officers arrived, they arrested the homeowner for using an imitation gun to threaten or intimidate. In a similar incident the following year, when an elderly woman fired a toy cap pistol to drive off a group of youths who were threatening her, she was arrested for putting someone in fear. Now the police are pressing Parliament to make imitation guns illegal.

� In 1999 Tony Martin, a 55-year-old Norfolk farmer living alone in a shabby farmhouse, awakened to the sound of breaking glass as two burglars, both with long criminal records, burst into his home. He had been robbed six times before, and his village, like 70 percent of rural English communities, had no police presence. He sneaked downstairs with a shotgun and shot at the intruders. Martin received life in prison for killing one burglar, 10 years for wounding the second, and a year for having an unregistered shotgun. The wounded burglar, having served 18 months of a three-year sentence, is now free and has been granted �5,000 of legal assistance to sue Martin.


Fun anecdotes, but that's all they are. They're isolated incidents and don't prove any kind of point.
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby madrak_the_red » 27 May 2010, 08:37

Other than that the police seem to be incredibly reactionary. And stupid. And so forth. I got stopped fro having a bright WHITE plastic sword jutting out of a bag. I was TWELVE.

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Only pump, bolt, lever or break action rifles and shotguns would be legal to own. Handguns as well as fully and semi automatic weapons would be illegal Limited exceptions would exist for things like museums and film production but they would be extremely tightly controlled. To posses a firearm one must have successfully completed a firearm safety course and pass criminal record and mental health checks.


Is pretty much the law in England.
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby sdhonda » 27 May 2010, 08:38

True, but how many such incidents are there of murders from licensed firearms, as opposed to unlawful firearms?
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Dutch guy » 27 May 2010, 08:39

I support the system as used in the Netherlands. Civilians are allowed to own a firearm only for hunting or sportshooting and only if you have a license. The only way to get a license is to be a member of a shootingclub for more than a year, have a "proof of conduct" meaning you have no criminal record whatsoever and be able to store the weapon safely (Gun and ammo in separate fireproof safes) One is not allowed to carry the gun outside in a ready-to-shoot configuration, and it has to be atleast 2 steps from being able to fire. (No ammo in the mag, triggerlock in place) Fully automatic weapons are not allowed. For long weapons even semi-auto is not allowed I believe, but I'm not sure about that. If a person gets a criminal record he loses his firearm license and can no longer be a member of the shooting club.

I can understand the appeal of shooting firearms for sport. Short guns (aka handguns) are mostly used in speed-shooting. (2 rows of steel targets that have to be knocked over by hitting them from a certain distance as fast as possible.) Long guns (Rifles) are used in target shooting over longer distances. I have personally only ever shot with air-rifles but I can say that if I had the money to become a member of the local club I would join yesterday. There is something about putting on hearing protection and just focusing on the aim and the target, at that moment nothing else matters.

For the police it becomes much easier to check if someone is allowed to be carrying a handgun. If he's carrying it visibly on the streets he's atleast breaking his license but more likely it's an illegal gun.

korri wrote:@sdhonda Is there no "self defense" justification in England? I mean there's one in the US (right?) Where if someone is trying to actively kill you and you hurt them or kill them, you are probably not going to be convicted. Now, I don't actually know the legal stuff and all my knowledge is from watching cop shows...


I don't know about England but in the Netherlands there is no such thing as a self defense law when it comes to capital crimes. If you catch burglars red-handed you are supposed to just let it happen instead of defending yourself. (Atleast with any weapons. You give them a punch or 2 and nothing will happen, but grab a piece of pipe and you'll spend a few years in jail for assault)
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Master Gunner » 27 May 2010, 11:48

What if, upon you catching them, the burglers decide to attack you? Are you still not allowed to defend yourself?
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby sdhonda » 27 May 2010, 12:09

Not with fire arms or anything, no. Which means your SOL if your 80 or infirm.
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby Sable » 27 May 2010, 12:09

I lived in a place for a long time (And I will probably go back) where it was entirely possible that nature was going to kill you. I lived in Southeast Alaska, which is kind of like British Columbia without roads. It's nothing at all like Seattle.

As such, and in that fairly limited view, I'm in general proponent for gun ownership. However, I firmly believe you should be required, at the Federal level, to take a gun-ownership course the first time you buy a gun, so that you know exactly what it is that you are buying and what it does.

My dad gave me a .22-caliber pump-action rifle for my birthday when I was 12, and then took me out to the rifle range and taught me everything I ever could haven wanted to know. He taught me that you don't point a gun at anything you aren't planning to destroy. He taught me that they are very, very dangerous. He taught me how to clean and maintain it. In short, my dad didn't just give me a rifle and say "Here ya go son, hyuk" like so many short-sighted brain-dead people do in this country, but he actually gave me everything I needed to know with it.

I never hunted, and when I went hiking I tended to carry bear mace rather than a shotgun, although I have done both. I've shot giant fish from the side of a boat (because a 150-pound halibut really does not want to come along quietly), and I've gone to the range off and on for more than ten years, target shooting. I've tried skeet shooting, but I'm hilariously bad at it.

I don't think there's anything inherently bad about guns. I don't happen to like handguns very much, but I don't believe that people shouldn't have them. More than anything else, I think people should be educated, should make themselves educated, or if that fails, they should be REQUIRED to be educated, before owning a firearm. Ignorance and fear are two halves of the same coin, and when you are talking about something as potentially dangerous as modern firearms, there is absolutely no excuse in my mind whatsoever to not understand how firearms work and to know exactly what they do.

I live in Arizona now, and I left my rifles in Alaska with a friend, who I'm sure will get some good use out of them. They were too much of a bother to move, but I do find myself thinking now and then that I'd like to get another little .22 rifle to go target shooting with. I was really good, not long ago.
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Re: Can we intelligently discuss civilian gun ownership?

Postby gcninja » 27 May 2010, 13:39

i say let them have them. If you remove guns all that does is leave the bad people with a better advantage. Why? because people who shouldnt have guns still do and always will and if you take guns outta a SANE NORMAL civilians hands, the people who can and deserve to own it you throw off balance. My brother carries a handgun, why? protection. we grew up in west phx, dangerous and very unsafe. He went though military training and knows how to handle it. he knows how to keep it safe, how to defend himself and how to kill people. he doesnt let me, my mother, or his gf touch it. only my father and my other brother (both military training). people who dont think, act, or know how to handle guns like this but the stupid people should ALWAYS win should they?
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