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Justin_Case001

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[EDIT 12/12/18)

Before reading this essay, please read this preface, which I am writing about nine months later.  Of all of the blog entries I've written, this is the only one that I'm not quite certain I can still stand by 100%.  A lot of it is okay, but I would definitely change some things and make some revisions if I was to write about this topic today.  I'm not quite happy with some of the things I said, and some of the wording.  I'll be the first to admit that I am not a gun expert at all.  In fact, I know virtually nothing about firearms or the buying process of them.  I'm not qualified to write about this topic in any factual sense.  Stephen Crowder, a conservative youtuber that I occasionally watch, once said that he believes the gun debate largely takes place between gun owners and the completely uninformed.  I think that's probably spot on.  I'd wager that many anti-gun activists have never purchased a firearm, and thus know little about them.  I just wanted to give my opinions and brainstorm some suggestions about how to decrease gun violence.  But I probably made some incorrect assumptions about guns and the buying process.  I have had a bit of education since then, and I know I would change some things about this essay if I did it over again.  But the thing of it is, I don't really have the time or the motivation to do that right now.  Truth be told, I don't really want to write about this topic anymore.  It's a conversation that needs to be had, for sure, but it's not something I enjoy thinking or writing about, and I want to move on to other things.  I'm just being honest with you--I have not done the homework required to speak comprehensively about guns, and I'm probably not going to.  So, make what you will of my opinions and suggestions.  Some of them may not work.  Some may be crap.  That's okay.  I'm just brainstorming.  I'll repeat the very last thing I said in the debate following this essay--I just want to decrease the severity and frequency of mass shootings.  I'll support whatever action(s) actually leads to that outcome.

I'll briefly say what my current ideas are to decrease gun violence: I still believe we should require some type of safety training courses for gun ownership.  I believe we should put more money into the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, as well as de-stigmatize the taboos surrounding said illnesses.  Lastly, we need to support a reformation of Islam.  This is something that isn't talked about nearly enough due to rampant fears of racism and un-political correctness.  Jihadism is a massive source of violence in our world, and it won't stop until Islam sees a similar transformation as Christianity in the west, such that Muslims cherry-pick their Qu'rans and don't follow the literal violent stuff.  This can only happen from the inside.  We need to support moderate Muslim reformers such as Maajid Nawaz who speak out against jihadism.  A great place to start would be giving money and resources to the Quilliam Foundation, a group founded by Maajid to help fight Islamic extremism.

Those are my thoughts as of right now.  All in all, it's a complex topic, and unlike most of what I write about, I don't feel that confident about it.  I'm rather unsure of what the solution should be, and I remain largely agnostic about guns.  Just wanted you to know that before going in.  I did not want to make any changes/revisions to my main essay because I had a conversation/debate in the comments afterward, so I wanted to preserve the original essay as it was written.  Changing it would be disgenuine and unfair to the people who responded to it.  So, with that said, on with the show.]  END EDIT.

 

I find it extremely troubling that, in the United States, we can't even have a conversation about guns without a certain section of the population flying off the handle, outraged at the very idea of regulating their guns at all.  The US definitely has a unique love affair with guns that I find disturbing.  Some people seem to want guns to work like candy bars; go into any store, buy any kind you want, as much as you want, no regulations, no questions asked.  Some people seem to think that the second amendment gives them this right.  However, the Second Amendment, like all of the Constitution, is, after all, just words written by men trying to come up with the best rules they could at the time.  It's not the be-all, end-all, codex of ultimate wisdom.  Even if you're a religious believer, I think we can all agree that the Constitution is not the word of any god.  It did not come from the heavens on high, and yet, a certain variety of American often seems to talk about the second amendment as if it did.  Well, guess what?  Times have changed, the world has changed, our species has gained a lot of collective wisdom, and we are, in fact, capable of writing new words that work better today.  Perhaps it is time to start thinking of guns a privilege, not an inborn right.

I have given a lot of thought to the problem of gun violence and mass shooting in the US, and the following is my suggestion on what to do about it.  This is a three-part plan.

 

Part I

The first part is fairly simple: ban all assault-type weapons, bump stocks, high capacity mags, etc.  These things only serve to make offense more effective, which is exactly what we don't want.  In the hands of civilians, guns only ever need to be used for defense, and weapons and accessories that make it easier to mow down large crowds are never needed for defense.  An assault rifle doesn't help one to take down the bad guy.  These types of weapons and accessories have no place in our society.  Also, we should raise the minimum age for all guns, across the board, to 21.  That's pretty straightforward--I don't believe 18 is mature enough for firearms.

 

Part II

This part is much more robust.  Here is what I propose: form a governing body responsible for licensing to purchase firearms.  This body will henceforth be known as the Department of Firearms, or the DF.  In order to purchase a gun, one would need to obtain a license from the DF.  Here is what that process would entail: A firearm license would require the user to pass a comprehensive safety and competence test.  This would be administered by an examiner at a shooting range.  Before the test can be taken, however, the user must take a training course, also given at the shooting range.  This course would be comprehensive, covering firearm safety, usage, and maintenance (after all, a poorly maintained gun is an unsafe gun).  After passing the course, the user would then have to log a certain number of hours of shooting at the range.  The range would rent guns for this purpose, and shooting would only be done under trained supervision.  An examiner or other official would keep track of your hours. 

I propose the requirement of logging a certain number of hours spent shooting for the following reason: if one is allowed to buy a gun, then one should know how to use a gun.  This is common sense to me.  The last thing I want is guns in the hands of people who have never fired guns.  This is incredibly dangerous.  We know the statistics--people are more likely to shoot friends or family members than the bad guys.  Guns in untrained hands are a hazard to everyone around.  People should prove they can use a dangerous thing before being allowed to buy one.  After all, you cannot buy a car without having proven that you know how to drive one.  Now, one might argue that this will only serve to make the bad guys more efficient at killing the rest of us, but I don't think that that will be the effect.  Bad guys likely won't go through the proper channels to purchase a gun, anyway.  The licensing process would filter them out, and make it extremely difficult for them to acquire guns.  The requirement of competence will only serve to make the good guys better at defending themselves, and less likely to shoot friends, family, and bystanders.

So, circling back, the user would need to log their required number of hours at the shooting range, under trained supervision.  The number of hours needed is something that I would no nothing about.  We'd need to assemble some of the most experienced gun experts around and have them discuss and agree upon the amount of time an average person would need in order to achieve safe competence.  The names Jocko Willink and Scott Reitz come to mind.  So, after passing the training course and logging the required number of hours, then, and only then, would the user be allowed to apply to take the exam.  The exam would test everything they've learned: safety, usage, and maintenance.  The test would also serve to filter out the mentally unstable.  It would also include an eye exam, just like a driver's license.  Upon successful completion of the exam, the user would be given documentation as proof, which they would then take to the DF.  There would be a DF facility in every major city.  The DF would look very similar to the DMV inside.  No firearms would be allowed inside the DF.  It would not be a place for shooting--only a department for the licensing.  The user would present their test completion documents at the DF.  The DF would then run a full background check.  If all checks out, then the user would be photographed and given a temporary license.  Their permanent license would be mailed to them later.  The user could then walk up to any gun counter in any sporting goods store, ask to buy, and the clerk would say "license, please,".  They'd hand over the card, and if it's valid, then they'd get to buy their gun.

So, that's it.  A rigorous process that would surely be much to the chagrin of many gun enthusiasts, but to that I say: boo hoo.  Too bad.  With great power comes great responsibility, and guns are a great power, indeed.  They should require rigorous licensing standards.  It would be a pain, but we put up with stuff like that throughout our lives.  Going to the DMV probably makes everyone's top 5 list of the most miserable things to do, right up there with root canal and dinner with the in-laws.  But we do it anyway.  We put up with it, because we understand that it's necessary.  Guns should be no different.

But wait....there's more.  The firearm license would have an expiration date.  I don't know how long this would be.  Again, the experts would have to determine that.  Upon expiration, the user would need to renew.  In order to do this, they would need to retake the exam at the shooting range.  If they pass, they would simply mail in their certificate of completion, and the DF would mail them their new license.  If the user fails, they would be required to retake the training course, after which they could apply to take the exam again.  If they fail again, they would need to wait a designated period of time (perhaps three months or so) before taking the training course again, and then the exam.  After a third fail, they would need to wait a year before being able to try again.  I would imagine that ownership of firearms with respect to licensing would work like cars: if you own a gun(s), but you do not possess a valid license, then you can still own the gun, but you may not use it.  Just like a car--you can still keep it, but you can't drive it.  You wouldn't be allowed to take the gun to a shooting range, or hunting, etc.  Now, no one can really stop people from using their guns inside their own house, so even without a valid license, one could probably still keep the gun for home defense.  I don't foresee law enforcement kicking in doors to confiscate guns.

I should also note that when taking your own firearm to a range, you'd have to present your license.  If you're caught with a gun and an invalid license, you'd be arrested.  Also, just like a car, only licensed users would be allowed to fire the gun.  I.e. A licensed user cannot bring their son or friend to the range and let them shoot, just as you cannot let your unlicensed friend or son drive your car.  Also--and this should go without saying--but if you ever commit a violent crime, even once, you're banned for life from ever obtaining a firearm license.  Period.

 

Part III

Here's where things get more theoretical.  I propose the creation of a research and development department with a single goal: the invention of a Star Trek phaser.  I do not believe this goal to be outside of the realm of possibility.  I believe that if we made it priority one, the technology would be only decades away, not centuries.  The goal would be to create a laser-beam type weapon that has perfect accuracy, light speed, and longer range than any bullet, but is only capable of stunning.  This would be the perfect, non-lethal defense weapon.  Small, light, accurate, point it at the target, press the button, and the target instantly goes down, unconscious for several hours, but otherwise unharmed.  Licensing would be required for the purchase of phasers as well; even though they would be non-lethal, it would not be a good idea to have instant knock-out power in the wrong hands.  Once phaser costs come down a comparable level to guns and have completely permeated the market, then all guns and ammunition would be completely banned except for police and military.  Period.  Again, I wouldn't foresee law enforcement kicking in doors to confiscate guns at this point, but with all ammunition banned, it wouldn't take too long for guns to become nothing more than clubs and paperweights.

 

*   *   *

And that ends my three part plan.  Unrealistic?  I'm sure.  But I strongly believe that this is what we should do, unless I hear a better idea.  So far, the extent of our actions to end gun violence has been thoughts and prayers.  Yup.  That's really done the trick all right.  Now, I realize that the third part of my plan would undoubtedly suck for good, responsible gun owners who love hunting as a sport.  In response I say: find a new sport.  Isn't that a fair price to end gun violence forever?  But actually, it doesn't have to come to that, either.  You could still hunt.  Here's what you do: stun the animal with a phaser, then kill it with a knife.  Or use a bow and arrows.  Either way would be far more badass than a gun.  You'd have to adapt, but those are the breaks.  I think the payoff would be worth it.  But even if we just implemented parts I and II of my plan, it would improve things a heck of a lot.

It's also worth noting that my plan would be extremely expensive, even without part III.  It is, in my opinion, a necessary expense, however.  My dad suggested a great way to save money--combine the DMV and the DF.  The Department of Motor Vehicles and Firearms.  The DMVF  Since the DF would only be the licensing department, not involved in actually shooting or testing, the departments needn't be separated.  A DMV employee would already be equally qualified to look at a firearm test certificate, take a photo, and mail some stuff.  And you'd already have the facilities.  No need to construct new buildings.  The majority of the cost would come from expanding shooting ranges and hiring and training the staff to teach the training courses and administer the exams and so forth.  I do have one idea of where we could get some of this money from.  We could....just throwing this out there....we could....I don't know....say....use the money that's going to be spent on this border wall....perhaps?  Since....y'know...the border wall is just like flushing money down a giant toilet.  Just an idea.

I could add a forth part to the plan, but it wouldn't be as directly related to firearms.  I propose increasing funding for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.  This would just be a good thing to do all-around, and could only have benefits, one of them being to reduce the number of firearms in the wrong hands.

Before I close, I feel I should address one last thing--a counter argument I've seen from gun activists.  Inb4 "But a knife can kill people.  Should we have training courses and licensing to buy a fricking kitchen knife?"  This argument is a reductio ad absurdum.  Anything can be a weapon.  I could stick a pencil in a table and then ram someone's head down onto it, lodging the pencil in their brain and killing them.  (That would be quite the magic trick, eh?)  Should we require licenses for pencils, then too?  We obviously can't, shouldn't, wouldn't, needn't, and won't start regulating anything that could be used to hurt someone.  We'd be left with nothing but marshmallows.  This is a case of common sense.  No, I don't think we should regulate kitchen knives.  Yes, I do think we should regulate guns.  There's a big difference.  A gun is a highly-lethal weapon designed to kill targets swiftly and instantly from extreme distance.  Such weapons must be treated differently from a knife or a baseball bat.  People will throw statistics around such as the fact that there are more deaths from knives than guns.  This seems to me to be dodging the issue.  There's more deaths from knives because there are many, many more knives, being used inside homes, in domestic disputes, and the like.  There's also more deaths from a lot of things, but again, we can't ban everything but marshmallows.  The point is that a lone knifeman can't kill dozens of school students, or movie goers, or concert goers, or night club goers, or church goers.  Common sense, dude.

The bottom line is this: I want gun violence to end, but I'm not trying to leave good, responsible people defenseless, I'm not trying to take away your rights, and I realize that outright banning all guns would solve nothing at the moment.  The goal of my plan is to allow intelligent, responsible, law-abiding people to buy guns, while making it extremely difficult for bad guys to get through the licensing process.  The net result should be to decrease the number of guns in the wrong hands, while leaving the good hands relatively untouched.  I think it's time to stop thinking of guns as an inborn right, and start thinking of them as a privilege that must be earned.

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" Some people seem to want guns to work like candy bars; go into any store, buy any kind you want, "
" a certain variety of American often seems to talk about the second amendment as if it did"
There are no people like that.

"ban all assault-type weapons, bump stocks, high capacity mags, etc."

What is an assault type weapon? Who defines what high capacity is? 30 rounds is, in fact, standard capacity. The term assault rifle was made up to make guns sound scary. The AR 15 is the most common type of gun sold, owned by millions of people. It is semi automatic, whereas the military uses the fully automatic M4. California has a ban on assault rifles, and they have changed the definition 3 times. The real definition of assault rife is "gun I want to ban."

"Also, we should raise the minimum age for all guns, across the board, to 21."
Why can someone go to war and vote, but can't own at gun at 18? That means if a 20 year old commits a crime with a gun then they should be tried as a child not an adult. It makes no sense to say someone is old enough to be tried as an adult but not old enough to own the gun. Or they are old enough to go to war, or become a police officer.
I suggest we raise the voting age back to 21 then.

The rest of Part I was not even an argument, just name calling.  The fact is people have used and do use semi automatic rifles in self defense. The FBI crime statistics show that hands and fists are used more often to commit murder than all rifles.

Part II

"log a certain number of hours of shooting at the range."
Then why do all anti gun advocates oppose the opening of gun ranges? Here are some facts: There are no public use gun ranges in Washington DC. The Chicago city council banned the ability to open a gun range. The court struck down this ban. Anti gun people talk about "gun safety" but the never ever support any kind of safe gun use. Another fact: The NRA trains firearms instructors and has a program for children called Eddie Eagle that teaches children to not play with guns.

The problem is not law abiding citizens who are not getting training. The problem is the criminal who gets the gun illegally and does not care. All of the bureaucracy and paperwork in the world will not affect the people who bypass the law.

"After all, you cannot buy a car without having proven that you know how to drive one."
False. You can buy a car without needing a license. But you can't drive one on public roads without a license. Does this law mean that nobody ever drives without a license? THere are 30,000 car accident deaths every year in the USA, Center For Disease Control.

If we are going with the car analogy, then a driver's license is valid in all states. Therefore, a concealed carry license should be valid in all states.

I can drive my car in downtown Washington DC, New York City, or Baltmore. I can take my car to a church or school. Therefore, according to you, if I have a gun license that proves I am trained then I should be able to take my gun in these places.

" The licensing process would filter them out, and make it extremely difficult for them to acquire guns" 
Does this work in Mexico?

"It would also include an eye exam,"
So an older person with poor eyesight does not have a basic, fundamental right of self defense. If someone breaks into his home, he's basically screwed.
“The DF would look very similar to the DMV inside”
So, incompetence?

“ No firearms would be allowed inside the DF. “
This point needs special attention. There is NO SUCH THING as a gun free zone. They do not exist. A sign does not keep a criminal from taking a gun into a place. And setting up a security perimeter with metal detectors would always have armed security to enforce that law.

“It would not be a place for shooting--only a department for the licensing.”
Then let’s make the whole world a gun free zone. Problem solved.

“With great power comes great responsibility”
 I would say with great FREEDOM comes great responsibility.

“We put up with it, because we understand that it's necessary.”
No, we put up with it because, if we don’t, someone from the government, carrying a gun, will force you to do it. That is the definition of government.

“Upon expiration, the user would need to renew. “
Fact: New Your SAFE act required hundreds of thousands of gun owners, who already registered their guns, to re register. Most people have not yet re registered and are now felons. The state has decided not to round up hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, who simply failed to file some paperwork. Do you believe that the full power of the state should arrest hundreds of thousands of people? Meanwhile, there are thousands of gang members who don’t care about the law.

“just like a car--you can still keep it, but you can't drive it.”
Like I said, so you are contradicting yourself.

“I don't foresee law enforcement kicking in doors to confiscate guns.”
I remember a little incident in Lexington in 1775. I forget how that turned out.

“lso--and this should go without saying--but if you ever commit a violent crime, even once, you're banned for life from ever obtaining a firearm license.  Period.”
Great, because criminals always follow the law.

All of Part II is more of the same we have heard for years. Making more laws to make it harder and harder for law abiding citizens to exercise their basic rights. Does it really make sense to prosecute people for paperwork violations, yet allow career criminals to plea bargain their crimes? How about go after the criminals and leave the good people alone? 

The problem with these “universal back ground checks” is they are unenforceable. Nevada passed such a law but it was so poorly written that the state can’t enforce it. Even in theory, these laws mean that if you go into the woods to shoot a gun then you can’t loan that gun to a friend. It means that if you have to leave town for a while and you want your friend to hold your guns then you both have to find an FFL just to fill out some paperwork. How does any of this prevent crime? If more paperwork means less crime, then we would have eliminated crime a long time ago.

This licensing program is similar, actually more restrictive, than Canada’s licensing program. But if these laws prevent gun crime then why does the RCMP wear body armor? Shouldn’t it be impossible for a criminal to have a gun?

If you try to point to Canada’s (or pick your favorite country) gun crime is lower, then why can’t I point to Russia, Brazil, or Mexico, all of which have higher gun crime and more restrictive laws?

Part III
“then all guns and ammunition would be completely banned except for police and military.”
Just like every dictatorship in history. Brilliant.
But wait, if this phaser is so great then why do the police still get to carry a real gun?

“unless I hear a better idea”
Here’s one: “A well regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The problem is not law abiding people who forgetting to file paperwork. The problem is not going after gang members and letting criminals go free on plea deals. The problem is not allowing people to carry in self defense. I could find cases of women who were murdered by exboyfriends who they had restraining orders against. 

“find a new sport.  Isn't that a fair price to end gun violence forever?”
This idea is more unrealistic as your phaser. It is a logical fallacy to offer only one solution to a problem and declare that it will for sure work. I would just as easily, and have a better case for, saying “arming law abiding citizens is a fair price to pay to drastically increase their ability to defend themselves.” But I guess that’s not idealistic enough.

“Here's what you do: stun the animal with a phaser, then kill it with a knife.”
My god… Ok, if these were a thing, then wouldn’t a criminal do the exact same thing to his victims? What you really need is a gun that only kills animals.

“ I think the payoff would be worth it”
I also remember a gun ban for Jews in 1938 in Germany. I forget how that turned out.

“It is, in my opinion, a necessary expense, however. “
With many states already bankrupt and the national debt, how is this supposed to be funded?

“the border wall is just like flushing money down a giant toilet.”
Exactly. All we need is a sign at the border that says “Please don’t smuggle guns and drugs into this country. Thank you.” In Spanish, of course.

“Should we have training courses and licensing to buy a fricking kitchen knife?"  
The UK passed severe knife laws, and you have to be 18 to buy some kitchen knives. Yet they have a high violent crime rate. When someone is being murdered by a knife I’m sure it is no consolation to them that at least the gun crime is low.

“Should we require licenses for pencils, then too?”
By your logic, yes we should.

“ there are more deaths from knives than guns.  This seems to me to be dodging the issue”
No, these are the facts.

“he point is that a lone knifeman can't kill dozens of school students, or movie goers, or concert goers, or night club goers, or church goers.  Common sense, dude.”

33 Dead, 130 Injured in China Knife-Wielding Spree

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/33-dead-130-injured-china-knife-wielding-spree-n41966

School attacks in China (2010–12)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_attacks_in_China_(2010–12)

This is just China, should we look at other countries?

“decrease the number of guns in the wrong hands, while leaving the good hands relatively untouched.”
As it is now, the vast vast majority of gun owners are law abiding citizens. Adding more bureaucracy does not stop criminals from getting the guns illegally.

You might marginally keep a few guns from some mentally ill, but what are the unintended consequences? Are you going to put people in prison for forgetting to file paperwork? Are you going to thousands of more people to administer this? Are you going to tell police to stop patrolling the gang infested neighborhoods, and instead stake out the gun range just in case someone let their teenage son shoot their gun?

Why is it that cities and states with tougher gun laws have higher crime?

“ I think it's time to stop thinking of guns as an inborn right, and start thinking of them as a privilege that must be earned.”

Replace “gun” with “speech.” The USA was founded on the idea that human beings are free, sovereign people. Our rights come from God (or nature if you prefer) and not from government. The government only has the authority to do things that we the people give them. The government does not have the authority to do those things that an individual person can’t do, with some exceptions like war. 

You can never have a perfect society. The Soviet Union tried that. Human nature is what it is. I read your previous blog entry, and you seem to think it is possible to simply stop hurting each other. That is not the world we live in. You cannot legislate morality. What is the cost of freedom? Is it mass shootings? On the other hand, the Holocaust is the cost of gun control. I’m more worried about a tyrannical government than I am about gangs and rapists. We can go after those criminals. But remember that a government that provides everything to you is a government that can take everything away.

There is a myth that simply passing more laws will solve all out problems. Guns are used in self dense more often than to commit crimes. But you don’t hear those stories. Let us assume that sweeping gun control would reduce these high profile murders, the unintended consequence is that people are left defenseless against the “every day” crimes of rape, robbery, and murder.

States and counties that had gun guns, and had those gun bans struck down (think District of Columbia v. Heller or McDonald v. Chicago  ) these places saw a rise in people trying to get a gun license once it became legal to do so. This is also true for counties in California, where some sheriffs will issue a license, and some won’t. Similar to Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York. People know there is no point in even trying to get a gun because the government won’t issue a license. Recently, Washington DC was challenged in court again regarding their required to show good cause. The court ruled that such a cause was unconstitutional. The city decided not to challenge the ruling because they were afraid of losing at the Supreme Court level, and such a ruling there would have jurisdiction across the entire country. The city decided to take one for the team and drop their good cause requirement. This means people in DC now have the ability to apply for a gun license. Meanwhile, the criminals continue to not care.

I can site dozens of cases of people being prosecuted for mere paperwork violations. New York, New Jersey, Illinois. Do you really think the problem is not enough paperwork? What are the penalties for violating these laws? Will this really stop gang members from stealing their guns?
If I have to get permission from the government to exercise my basic human right, and if I have to go through all of this training, then does that mean I can carry my gun any place that a police officer can?
The fact is that these proposals are only a first step down the road to a total gun ban. Maybe you honestly believe that people should be allowed to own guns as long as they go through these steps, but there are people who want to ban all guns for everyone.
It seems to me that you aren’t as well versed on the subject as I am. I learn about this issue every day. I’ve heard all of these proposals before and I know why they won’t work. I could go on but I have to keep it short.
 

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10 hours ago, BronyNumber42licious said:

Maybe you honestly believe that people should be allowed to own guns as long as they go through these steps

I do.

10 hours ago, BronyNumber42licious said:

but there are people who want to ban all guns for everyone.

Yeah, but that's not me.

10 hours ago, BronyNumber42licious said:

It seems to me that you aren’t as well versed on the subject as I am.

No, I'm not.  Look, I'll be the first to admit that I know squat about this.  I've never even touched a gun in my life.  (Perhaps that will make you roll your eyes and laugh.)  These are just my ideas.  Just suggestions.  I'm not in charge (thankfully).  It's not up to me.  I'm just giving my ideas about how to improve things.  If my ideas are bad and won't work, then fine.  So be it.  My feelings won't be hurt.  I don't mind.  I'm just trying to brainstorm, here, because it seems to me that we're not trying anything, and these mass shootings seem to be increasing in frequency.  I just wish we could massively decrease gun violence in the US, and what we're doing doesn't seem to be working, so I'm just throwing out some ideas.  Don't like 'em?  Fine!  No problem.  I'm open to any ideas that will decrease gun violence.  But what scares me is the idea of every single person carrying a gun everywhere they go.  I don't want to live like that.  Surely there is some other answer besides just more guns.  I don't know what it is; I'm just thinking out loud.

Incidentally, one of my best friends in the world was in the Marine Corps for awhile.  During his time there, he excelled at firearms so much that when he got out, he worked as a range safety officer.  He's a gun enthusiast, and I would absolutely love to pick his brain about this issue and run my three part plan by him, but I haven't had a chance.  He very rarely answers my communiqués these days.  He'll briefly answer texts occasionally, but it's tough to get much out of him.  He's just one of these types of people that gets really buys, seems to drop off the radar, and is tough to get ahold of.  He's been trying to get time off for a visit for a long time now, and it just never seems to happen.  I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.  Everyone knows someone like this.  Just....life gets in the way, y'know?  But if I ever manage to find some quality time with him, I'll be very excited and interested to hear his perspective.  Perhaps I will have much to learn from him.

 

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It is not true that people aren't doing anything. There are already schools with armed teachers and more states are doing that. You don't want to live in a world where everyone is armed? I don't want to live in a world where a woman can get raped. But that is the world we live in. There is no such thing as utopia and there never will be. You have to be realistic about what can be achieved, and what the costs will be.

I know a lot about the issue and if you want to learn more I would be happy to educate.

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51 minutes ago, BronyNumber42licious said:

There is no such thing as utopia and there never will be.

Not with that attitude.  Ok, certainly things will never be perfect.  There's no such thing as perfect.  But there's no telling how good things could be in the future.  Some people (not saying you) seem to adopt the "everything sucks and always will, so don't try" attitude.  That's not how things get better.  I think it's possible to achieve a really friggin' good world that's pretty darn close to what we'd call a utopia.  It's unlikely and unrealistic, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep trying for it.

This is redundant, but I'd like to reiterate that I'm not very informed, and just brainstorming and giving my opinions.  I've spent some of today listening to Stephen Crowder talk guns, and he makes some good points.  In this video, he made an excellent point that the conversation about guns in America is predominantly between gun owners, and the completely uninformed.  I was a bit humbled by that because I had to admit that I'm the latter.  I haven't purchased a gun.  I probably don't really know what I'm talking about.  These are just my suggestions on what to do, but if they wouldn't work, well, then okay.  I will say that Stephen's videos left me feeling a bit more agnostic about the whole issue.  I still stand by my original post for the moment, but I'm open to other ideas.  Stephen asserts that self-preservation is an inborn right and cannot be infringed upon.  I agree, of course, but I don't believe that that means that any specific item or technology should be available to you as an inborn right.  (I mean, you can't purchase a nuke to defend yourself, after all.)  I believe self-preservation is a right, but I believe guns should be an earned privilege.  Just my opinion.  Could be wrong.

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Self preservation is meaningless without the real means to do it. A gun is the great equalizer. It is by far and away the most effective way to defend yourself. Nothing else comes close. No amount of karate will let a woman fend off two large men. Rights are not earned, they are inherent, and they are fought for. When self defense becomes a priveledge from the government then your life becomes their property. They decide if and when you are allowed to live. 

True story, the supreme court ruled that the police are not responsible if they fail to save you if you call 911. So the government takes away your right to self defense and doesn't claim responsibility for it either. So who is responsible?

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22 hours ago, BronyNumber42licious said:

Self preservation is meaningless without the real means to do it. A gun is the great equalizer. It is by far and away the most effective way to defend yourself. Nothing else comes close. No amount of karate will let a woman fend off two large men. Rights are not earned, they are inherent, and they are fought for. When self defense becomes a priveledge from the government then your life becomes their property. They decide if and when you are allowed to live. 

True story, the supreme court ruled that the police are not responsible if they fail to save you if you call 911. So the government takes away your right to self defense and doesn't claim responsibility for it either. So who is responsible?

Yes, that's all true.  I'm not disputing any of that.  And I'm not saying that people shouldn't be allowed to buy to guns.  Remember that.  I just personally think that one should have to pass safety and training courses and the like.  But we can disagree about that.  That's okay.  I'm also submitting that civilians don't necessarily have an automatic right to buy and possess any weapon or piece of self-defense tech simply because it exists.  Now, I'm not submitting this as a fact, just as....more like a....rumination, if you will.  Almost a question, really.  I mean....there must be a line at which it would be simply be too much power for a civilian.  I wonder, where would you say that line is?  If we invented deadlier and deadlier weapons, where would the point be at which you would agree that perhaps the public shouldn't be allowed to buy them?  (And I am absolutely not saying that guns are this line.)  But let's suppose that we invented a phaser that actually vaporized targets instantly.  So, you hit any person with it, and they instantly vaporize into nothingness, leaving no matter behind.  So, basically, people would be able to murder without leaving any tangible evidence.  Would this be too much power?  Would people have an inborn right to these phasers?  I say no.  I say it's too much power.   But I'm not claiming to have all the answers.  I'm merely suggesting that we don't necessarily have a right to any weapon that might exist.

I really do see the arguments on both sides, though.  So, for instance....okay, I've said that I think guns should require extensive safety and competence training and so forth. So, this would mean that if you're not skilled enough to pass the test, then you're not afforded the same defensive privileges as someone else.  I can see how this seems very unfair.  Someone who fails the test would undoubtedly feel like their life has been deemed unimportant, or not worth protecting, or at the very least they would feel outraged at not having the same right to defense as another.  I mean, that seems messed up.  What about legally blind grandma who can't pass the test, but she still lives alone, takes the bus to the grocery store, and has to walk through the parking lot, perhaps at night, and gets attacked?  Are we saying she shouldn't have the right to defend herself when the young, fit, viral person does?  A tough question.  But I have to ask--what if grandma mistakes me for a villain because she can't see very well, panics, and shoots me?  Are we comfortable with just anybody having a gun?  What if grandma wasn't all there mentally?  I don't know what all the rules currently are, but surely a person with dementia shouldn't be allowed to have a gun.... right?  I'm not trying to be antagonistic, here, and I'm not trying to defeat you, or catch you in a "gotcha" moment.  I'm really wondering, for all of us, what the answers to some of these tough questions are.  Do ALL people have this same right to guns?  Well....they couldn't.  I mean....I can think of an exception right now--how about a person with Downs Syndrome?  Should they be allowed to have a gun?  Apologies if that seems distasteful, and now I'm the one engaging in reductio ad absurdum, but I did so to make a valid point: you cannot let absolutely anyone have a gun.  Some people would a danger to themselves and everyone around them if they had a gun.  I'm afraid of bad guys, but I'm also afraid of getting shot accidentally by someone who is demonstrably unfit to operate a firearm.  (The latter is probably more statistically likely, though I'm not sure of the numbers.)  This is my fear of living in a world where everyone is armed.  I really don't have any problem with any mentally stable person keeping a gun inside their home for defense, but if everyone walking around in public was armed, I believe that accidental and premature shootings would skyrocket.  I'd be terrified to go anywhere.  I just don't think we should have to live in a world where that much deadly power is so close to every fingertip all the time.  I think that that would be a terrifying dystopian scenario to live in, and that's why I'm trying to brainstorm possible solutions.

But you know, at the moment, I don't live in that world.  I've never seen a gun being carried in public where I live, and I've never been close to, or connected to, any shooting incident.  I'm thankful that I feel more or less safe walking around anywhere.  But I fear that could change in the future.  And I'll also add this: if the best way to decrease gun violence at the moment is to simply do nothing with regards to gun laws, but instead do a better job of allocating law enforcement resources, making sure that cops go after the real bad guys, then so be it!  I think there's definitely something out of wack, there.  I find it troubling that a massive amount of law enforcement time, manpower, and resources seem to be wasted chasing paperwork violations and non-violent crimes, while the real bad guys seem to run amok.  I'll give you an example--I'm actually in favor of nationwide marijuana legalization because it seems to me that the only thing that would change is that cops' time would be better freed up to go after gangs and illegal weapons deals and sh*t like that--things that should be a much higher priority.  I mean, if that's all it would take to fix this, then fine.  Just do that.

So, circling back, I just think it would be better to have rigorous safety training requirements.  I don't want someone driving on the road next to me without a license, and I don't want people buying and carrying guns if they don't really know how to use them safely.  And this may have unforeseen positive....um, sort of...trickle-down effects, if you will.  So, take some of these school shootings for example; I don't know who these shooters were or how they got ahold of their weapons.  Perhaps some of them stole their dad's guns, and they were able to easily do so because the guns weren't safely locked up.  Perhaps if the gun owner had been required to pass safety courses, then the guns would have been better stored, and not ended up in the hands of disgruntled student.  I don't know--it's just a theory.  I just feel that making sure that gun buyers are trained and educated would have a bigger upside than down.

*Sigh*.  Didn't mean to write that much.  Sorry.  But I feel like it's worth it.  I think it's time well spent to have these sorts of conversations.

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Here is a fact I learned yesterday. Brazil had 15,000 murders in 2015. In Brazil it is very difficult to legally get a gun, there is no way to carry for self defense.

The NRA was created to teach people marksmanship. Today the NRA is the largest promoter of gun safety. Gun accidents are at a historic low while gun ownership is at a high. The problem is not people not knowing how to use a gun. There just aren't a lot of those stories. Making it harder for law abiding people to get a gun does not stop the criminals.

The government has already said that there are certain weapons that aren't covered by the 2nd Amendment. The 1936 Miller case, challenging the 1934 National Firearms Act, said that machine guns (which has a technical definition) are not covered. This case has a lot of back story, and the ruling itself is self contradictory and wrong. Either way, things like explosives and grenades are not covered. These are things that do excessive damage and wouldn't be useful for self defense. Although they would be useful for national defense.

"what if grandma mistakes me for a villain because she can't see very well, panics, and shoots me? "

The logical fallacy here is to make up a scenario that could happen and using that as the one and only thing to base a decision on. Is this really likely? Guns are used in self defense thousands of times a year, but you don't hear those stories. Every single day NRA news reports on a self defense story. Sure, there is some possibility that someone might accidentally shoot someone else. I'm sure you can find those stories if you dig deep enough. But how often does it really happen? Are you aware that there are many states that are "constitutional carry" or permitless carry opencarry.org where you can carry a gun without a license. I myself open carry almost every day. We were told that these places would become the wild west, but it hasn't happened.

"What if grandma wasn't all there mentally?"

There is something called due process, which is the foundation of a free society. The government cannot arbitrary take away your rights without due process, which means you have your day in court. There are different levels of standard, good cause, intermediate scrutiny, and strict scrutiny. When the government wants to curtain the exercise of a constitutionally protected right then it must do so in a very limited way. There are provisions for taking guns away from people who are deemed mentally defective, but this process still means the person has legal representation.

" Do ALL people have this same right to guns?" 

By default, yes. But you can have that right taken away if you are a criminal, or found by a court to be mentally defective.

"his is my fear of living in a world where everyone is armed."

This is the straw man argument created by anti gun people. It is not true that everyone is armed, or that everyone has the ability to be armed.

 "gun inside their home for defense, but if everyone walking around in public was armed, I believe that accidental and premature shootings would skyrocket. "

A recent court case, it might have been Heller or Mcdonald, pointed out that a person is more likely to be attacked out in the streets than in their apartment. This is not speculation, it is proven fact. Millions of people are already carrying guns in public. Some of them in states that don't require a license. Yet we just don't see the carnage that people said would happen. Go look up the rates at which legal gun owners commit crimes. It is extremely low.

"I think that that would be a terrifying dystopian scenario to live in"

Mexico, China, Brazil, Venezuela, Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, North Korea. All countries in which it is impossible or very difficult for civilians to get a gun.

Depending on the state you live in, you probably pass someone who is carrying a gun every day and don't know it.

" nationwide marijuana legalization because it seems to me that the only thing that would change is that cops' time would be better freed up"

There is a lot of money to be made by keeping drugs illegal. The government doesn't want to lose the federal money they get to fight the "war on drugs." Asset forfeiture laws mean that the government can take your property as part of a drug investigation. This is tyrannical. Government does not like to give up power. Banning alcohol did not stop crime. Banning drugs made it worse. Go look up how many deaths there are due to opium over doses. If the government can't even keep illegal drugs off the streets, then how does it make sense to give up our guns and put our lives in the hands of government?

Storage requirements don't keep guns out of the hands of bad people. The vast majority of gun owners are safe and responsible. The DC v Heller case said that the government cannot require you to lock up your gun at home, because it makes it inaccessible for self defense. Gun accidents or issues pertaining to lack of training are such a tiny problem compared to gangs and drugs. It makes no sense to create more paperwork, with the corresponding penalties to go with it.

It is easier go after the low hanging fruit and make it harder for law abiding people. Comparing this to cars, how many people are driving right now without a license? Do you really think passing a simple test one time is the whole reason why you know how to drive a car? That is saying that government is the be all and end all of what is good in the world. There are 30,000 car accident deaths every year in the USA. What if the government required more training for driving? Do you think people would be outraged?

 

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You make many fair points.  I just want mass shootings to decrease in severity and frequency.  I'll support whatever actions actually have that outcome.  I don't have anything else to add.  I appreciate your input, and it's been nice talking to you.

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