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A Bad Year for DC | Morning's Minion

A Bad Year for DC

A Bad Year for DC January 1, 2008

After numerous years of decline, the murder rate in DC jumped by 7 percent in 2007. In total, 181 people lost their lives, and 77 percent of these victims were killed by guns. Guns. Any solution to this underlying problem of pervasive violence is undoubtedly complex, and must stand at the intersection of economic deprivation, a school system that does not care, the breakdown in family structures, a depraved popular culture, and lingering racism. But still, it always comes back to guns. Had those guns not been available, it is highly likely those people would be alive today. Most of the deaths arose from passion, arising from primal conflicts over women, respect, turf etc. They occurred in the heat of the moment. For sure, a determined killer will find ways to complete his sordid business, but the presence of guns makes it so much easier. Makes it too easy, especially in the context of a popular culture that glorifies gun violence, numbing children to the effects of vicious gun death at an early age. It is worth noting that this massacre of the innocent is taking place while the pro-gun crowd is attempting to overturn DC’s gun ban in the Supreme Court. I have read these legal arguments pertaining to the second amendment back and forth, and I find them utterly irrelevant. There is no “natural” right to own a gun any more then there is a “right” to kill your unborn child. The public authorities, those who must have concern for the common good, have the right to regulate gun ownership in the name of the common good, not only in DC but across the nation. How much more blood must be spilled before people stop trumpeting a “right” that is no such thing?

Bear in mind that–shown clearly by the extensive research of David Hemenway from Harvard’s School of Public Health— the US is actually not that exceptionally violent, at least among other high-income, industrialized nations. Crimes like assault, car theft, burglary, robbery, and sexual incidents are not particularly high by OECD standards. What differs about the US is “lethal violence”. So while guns don’t induce people to commit crimes, they make crimes lethal.  The international evidence is indisputable: the availability of guns leads to greater rates of homicide and suicide, and no offset in terms of lower non-gun murders. We are talking here about a primary component of the culture of death. Let us follow the advice of the US Bishops on this one: “

“Promoting moral responsibility and effective responses to violent crime, curbing violence in media, supporting reasonable restrictions on access to assault weapons and handguns, and opposing the use of the death penalty are particularly important in light of a growing culture of violence.”

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  • jonathanjones02

    DC’s biggest problem, by far, is not the rate or amount of gun ownership but both the rate and the amount of the criminally-minded. Large sections of the city are very near no-go areas (and yes I have spent somewhat significant amounts of time there, about six months in total).

  • Policraticus

    DC’s biggest problem, by far, is not the rate or amount of gun ownership but both the rate and the amount of the criminally-minded.

    False dichotomy.

  • jonathanjones02

    I didn’t say either or. One may recognize one problem is significantly bigger than another (if gun ownership is considered a “problem”, which is itself a debatable question, but fine to assume here).

    DC, unfortunately, has quite a high crime rate. And if gun ownership were the main issue, we should expect to see a positive correlation with high ownership and high crime rates across a variety of environments.

  • James Newland

    I have a natural right to protect my natural rights against those who would deprive me of them (such as you, Minion). Thus, I have a natural right to the means of such protection. In other words, because you, for example, do not understand or respond to rational argument, I need as a last resort a gun to hold to your head in my own self-defense. This was the rationale of the anti-Federalist faction of Founders when they included the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, and it remains as cogently true today as it was then.

    Anyway, what kind of Catholic are you, Minion, who blames violent crime on guns (or poverty or whatever) when the religion you claim to revere teaches that it is the result of one thing and one thing only: sin? (That’s a rhetorical question; the answer is obvious.)

  • A fundamental question:

    Is the “right to bear arms” outlined in the Constitution an individual right? And if it is so where is the distinction explained? Supreme Court ruling?

  • WRM

    I have several guns and do not hesitate to shoot at irrational sinners who favor gun control, propose doing away with the electoral college, ridicule my wooden teeth or attempt to steal my powdered wig. I am a well regulated militia consisting of one person, Me. Just as the framers intended.

  • Morning’s Minion

    Jonathan– I very much agree with you on crime in DC, which is why I stated clearly that any viable solution will be a multi-faceted one, and wil need to engage culture as well as material conditions (note that it is both, not one or the other). But still, without the presence of guns, there would be less blood spilled. It’s really that simple. Thus a public authority with concern for the common good has a duty to regulate the flow of fire-arms into DC and other high-crime areas.

  • MM,

    Two questions:

    I — To develop a public health prevention strategy for youth violence, it is essential to grasp the root cause of the behavior. However, the methodology of social science research can only address correlations (Hemenway’s research, e.g.). Correlations, however, are not causes. They are associations. Therefore, what value does such research provide when attempting to develop a prevention strategy aimed at alleviating the root cause of the behavior and thereby reducing its incidence?

    II – To put the question philosophically: Why would you recommend that the US focus on material causation (gun control) to address the formal cause of youth violence (behavior)?

  • Morning’s Minion

    James: you may have the right to defend yourself but you do not have the natural right to unregulated ownership of firearms. Your argument is not based on the natural law, but on a Hobbesian conception of society as collection of independent individuals engaged in a “war of all against all”. This is why I have so little interest in the “true meaning of the second amendment” debate, as the starting point is simply wrong. From a natural law perspective, ownership of firearms is permissable, but such ownership is not unlimited, and can certainly be restricted in the interest of the common good.

  • James – I find your tone offensive, particularly the part about holding a gun to MM’s head. Not to mention the “what kind of Catholic are you” crap. Please tone it down. MM ain’t going to touch your guns.

  • Policraticus

    I have a natural right to protect my natural rights against those who would deprive me of them (such as you, Minion). Thus, I have a natural right to the means of such protection.

    P1 = I have a natural right to protect my natural rights.
    P2 = I have natural rights
    (P1 relies entirely on P2)
    Implied Argument is thus:
    I have a natural right to protect my natural rights because I have natural rights.

    This seems to be a flimsy argument. Logically, it begs the question (conclusion assumes what is necessary for the force of the premises). It may also be circular reasoning. Lastly, it is not self-evident that “protection of natural rights” is itself a natural right.

    Explicit argument is thus:

    P1: I have a natural right to protect my natural rights.
    P2 (implied): I need the means to protect my natural rights.
    C1: I have a natural right to the means of protection of my natural rights.

    But the conclusion does not follow from the premises. Is the means intrinsic and natural to the individual (e.g., strength, size, fighting ability)? Is the means extrinsic and adventitious (e.g., a weapon)? Is the means under direct control of the agent? Under another agent’s control (e.g., police force, militia, State)?

    Because “means” is vague and imprecise, it seems we cannot logically proceed straight to the second conclusion of the explicit argument:

    C2: I have a natural right to a gun to protect my natural rights.

    It is neither self-evident nor deducible that I have any natural right to a gun.

  • Morning’s Minion

    Gerald:

    Very good questions!

    On your first one, you are right about the limits of statistical analysis. There are highly sophisticated techniques out there deal with issues of endogeity, but at the end of the say, they remain imperfect. Still, we work with the tools we have. A healthy dose of common sense is also necessary– if we see a positive association between gun ownership and murder and suicide rates (which we do), and if we see that relation to be still valid controlling for other factors (income, inequality, demographics etc), then I think it is quite reasonable to impute a causal effect. Of course, what you are really arguing (if I understand you correctly) is that there are unmeasurable and unquantifiable cultural factors that affect the incidence of violence. I agree, but I still think empirical techniques can be useful (perhaps it’s my social science training!).

    As I said in my post, even if we do nothing to tackle the underlying problems in DC, taking guns out of the equation would reduce the murder rate; that much seems clear. That does not mean we should stop there, but I think it is a necessary first step. This, I think, touches on your second point. Let me try to develop some analogies. A case can be made under natural law teaching for not banning the use of mind-altering drugs, appealing to Murray’s conception of the proper boundary for the use of coercive law (ultimately derived from Aquinas). But if the implications for peace and public morality are considered great, then the government may regulate, or ban.

    What about alcohol? I would contend that there is a right to consume alcohol, but it is not an ullimited right. Again, if the implications for the common good are evident, regulation could be justified. Think, for example, of certain communities with broken families and broken culture, ravaged by alcoholism, which in turn leads to spousal and child abuse. Restricting access to alcohol, even though it does not tackle the underlying problems that absolutely must be tackled, can still be justified in such circumstances.

    More broadly, consider the right to private property, a right the Church has constantly stressed in its social teaching. Nevertherless, as the Magisterium makes clear, such a right is not unlimited, and the public authorities may set limits on that right (we can debate whether particular instances are just or not, but the underlying principal holds). As a hypothetical example, consider an attempt by a (hypothetical!) Latin American government to redistribute land from wealthy landoweners to the landless farmers who eek out a living from this very soil– I believe something like this can be justified.

  • Donald R. McClarey

    Apparently the murderers in DC pay about as much attention to the DC gun ban as they do to laws against murder. The idea that imposing such a ban nation wide, leaving aside the facts that such a law would be of dubious constitutionality, politically impossible to pass and completely impossible to enforce, would have have any impact on the ability of killers to get guns is completely farcial. As prohibition clearly demonstrated, in a nation as big as the US, and as free I might add, if there is a demand for a product it will be provided, especially if the product was legal prior to the attempt to ban it.

    An interesting Wikipedia article on crime in America is at the url below. I found the homicide rates by State to be interesting. If anyone can show any correlation between homicide rates and gun ban laws I would be astonished.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States

  • bill bannon

    Donald
    Interesting link. Jamaica is 6 times worse than the US and Colombia is 11 times worse than the US as to homicide rates. Years ago I landed in Jamaica alone in December to cliff dive on the west coast and within 10 minutes tops, I was offered drugs 4 times in the airport by the airport van drivers….I said no 4 times…..and then had to listen to the ring leader feel me out with his arm around my shoulder as to whether I was police or neutral. Then when he was unsure still, he left me with an implied threat that he had many eyes on the island. It’s no place for bruised reeds.

  • Morning’s Minion

    Follow the link to my earlier post on the evidence: there is a strong link between murder rates and gun ownership across countries. Absent border controls between states, looking at different jurisdictions in the US is meaningless. In DC, the guns come from Virginia.

  • Isn’t it a little misleading to speak of ‘natural’ right here? Shouldn’t one be speaking of a legal right? Also, isn’t the implied comparison with abortion a bit forced? It seems to me that the mere owning of a weapon is neutral, whereas abortion is not.

  • David Cochran

    The claim for gun control is actually rather modest. Whatever the underlying cause of violent behavior—sin, poverty, the aggressiveness of young males, culture, whatever—human beings, at least in the modern US, have proven we can’t handle guns responsibly. It is a basic harm prevention strategy. You won’t stop conflict and violence, but you will make it less lethal while you continue to examine and address underlying causes. Keep in mind that as far back as 1975, the US bishops have been advocating dramatic handgun control, calling for “effective and courageous action to control handguns, leading to their eventual elimination from our society.” Of course, as the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan noted, decades of lax gun laws means that our society has so many guns floating around that strict laws now will not have much immediate impact, which is why he suggested leaving guns legal but banning the production and sale of all ammunition (much more effective, much quicker, and no 2nd Amendment problem).

  • My previous comment doesn’t seem to have “taken,” so I’ll try again.

    Isn’t a bit misleading to talk about gun ownership as a “natural” right? Wouldn’t “legal” right be a more correct term? Also, isn’t the implied comparison with abortion a bit forced? Merely owning a gun seems to be rather neutral, whereas engaging in an abortion is not.

  • Blackadder

    I’ll grant that there isn’t a natural right to own a gun, any more than there is a natural right not to have troops quartered in your home in peacetime, or a natural right not to have your house or person searched without a warrant, etc. So what? The plaintiffs in the DC gun ban case aren’t claiming that there is a natural right to own a gun. They are claiming that there is a constitutional right to do so. Whether or not gun ownership is a natural right and whether or not banning gun ownership would be a good idea generally speaking are irrelevant.

  • Morning’s Minion

    David: do you have a reference to the bishop’s statement you quote?

    Blackadder: but what surely matters is the underlying morality, not what some 18th century text does or does not mean, right?

  • Policraticus

    I’ll grant that there isn’t a natural right to own a gun…Whether or not gun ownership is a natural right and whether or not banning gun ownership would be a good idea generally speaking are irrelevant.

    I see we are in agreement that James’ assertion is not only illogical (your post), but also irrelevant (your comment). This is a good start for us for the new year. 😉

  • David Cochran

    MM,
    It is from thier 1975 statement Handgun Violence: A Threat to Life at http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/criminal/handguns.shtml

    Some of the data is obviously out of date, but the policy recommendations still resonate.

  • Blackadder

    Morning’s Minion,

    I assure you that in a court of law, what that particular 18th century text means matters a great deal.

  • Blackadder

    Policraticus,

    One of my new year’s resolutions was to be less disagreeable online. I see that I am already succeeding. 🙂

  • David Cochran

    While not an expert on the specific legal context, I don’t believe an American court of law has ever found that particular 18th century text to mean what the plaintiffs in the DC gun ban case would like it to mean. In fact, they are asking the SC to overturn several centuries of precedent, not to mention countless laws enacted by democratically elected state, local, and national legislatures (talk about judicial activism).

  • David Cochran

    On the history of attempts to interpret the 2nd Amendment and the radical novelty, at least in constitutional law, of what the DC plaintiffs are asking, see this Sunstein review of a recent Tushnet book
    http://www.tnr.com/booksarts/story.html?id=e8997807-107b-461f-90d2-51a3ef91b508

  • Blackadder

    David,

    In recent years, both the 5th and D.C. Circuits have upheld the individual rights view advocated by the plaintiffs, while the 9th Circuit has rejected it. Earlier cases and materials supporting an individual rights view can be found here:

    http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/secondamendment2.pdf

    As for overturning countless laws enacted by democratically elected state, local, and national legislatures, it doesn’t work that way. The plaintiffs in Parker are challenging a particular D.C. law. If they win, that law will be invalidated, but other laws regulating guns (whether in D.C. or in other jurisdictions) will remain untouched. Depending of the reasoning given in the opinion, some of these regulations may be open to challenge, but that is a matter that would be hashed out in the lower courts of the coming years, and it is likely that, even if the Supreme Court does adopt an individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment, there are still a fair number of gun regulations that would be constitutional.

  • Blackadder

    What Sunstein’s review leaves out (and it’s a rather glaring omission, actually), is the role that prominant liberal law professors have played in supporting the individual rights view:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/us/06firearms.html?ei=5090&en=816e0e717146dc51&ex=1336104000&adxnnl=1&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1199250810-S/9sh2BluC0hvi7JW7RIbw

  • Jonathan

    More law controlling guns will, in the end, convert nobody, teach nobody to control their passions and improve the spiritual life of few.

    A radical national law banning guns will produce radically little effect in an individual person, and a more peaceful veneer will settle over a society with most of those who previously used guns violently nonetheless hellbound.

    In short, it allows us to sweep the real problem under the rug. Thus the problem with an evangelization that focuses on laws and the poor, rather than the Gospel and everyone.

  • David Cochran

    Blackadder,
    I actually think the individualist view is a legitimate, though ultimately wrong, interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. At least it has some connection to the text, unlike the penumbras of Roe. It just has almost no support in our constitutional jurisprudence, including none from the Supreme Court itself, so I think the DC effort is a radical attempt to change this tradition. You are correct that much will depend on the reasoning of the majority opinion and that the decision will technically only apply to DC, but since SC cases are binding on lower courts, the potential to invalidate lots of reasonable and popularly supported gun control laws is significant (which is, I assume, the goal of the activists who brought the case in the first place). Finally, the fact that some prominent liberal law professors support the individualist view is as much a count against as for it (see abortion, constitutional right to).

  • TeutonicTim

    “Some 18th century text”

    Here we go again!

    Bottom line: People in DC can’t own firearms. D.C. has the most restrictive firearms laws in the country – worse than most of europe (MM’s favorite example of gun control)

    The murder and violent crime rate has gone through the roof year after year after year there, but somehow Guns are the problem?

    Sure you can say “If only there were no guns”. You can also say “If only there was no cancer” It’s not going to happen. And Guns have many many viable uses outside of violence, not that those ignorant of guns would know.

    I’m also very, very concerned about this supposedly “catholic” idea that natural law doesn’t cover the right of a person to be secure in merely existing and defending that existence against evil.

  • TeutonicTim

    “Blackadder,
    I actually think the individualist view is a legitimate, though ultimately wrong, interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. At least it has some connection to the text, unlike the penumbras of Roe. It just has almost no support in our constitutional jurisprudence, including none from the Supreme Court itself, so I think the DC effort is a radical attempt to change this tradition. You are correct that much will depend on the reasoning of the majority opinion and that the decision will technically only apply to DC, but since SC cases are binding on lower courts, the potential to invalidate lots of reasonable and popularly supported gun control laws is significant (which is, I assume, the goal of the activists who brought the case in the first place). Finally, the fact that some prominent liberal law professors support the individualist view is as much a count against as for it (see abortion, constitutional right to).”

    The collectivist idea, even if given credence fall flatly on its face:

    311. Militia: composition and classes
    How Current is This?
    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
    (b) The classes of the militia are—
    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

    Oops, I’m a part of the unorganized militia, and part of the collective with the recognized right to keep and bear arms (the constitution doesn’t grant rights after all…)

    “Now keep your dirty paws off my guns you da*n dirty gungrabbers…” Or was it “from my cold dead hands”

  • notbeinfringed

    Hey the 20-odd guns in my safe have never killed anybody, and they’re allowed out to play all the time. Your article starts with the idiotic idea that GUNS ***GASP** GUNS!!! Oh my hide the children! Killed people. Inanimate objects are not capable of anything, guns (for the public schooled among you) are inanimate objects. They do not kill people do.

    Was your pen responsible for you failing the test?

    Is your cutlery responsible for the extra pounds you’re carrying around?

  • Tim notes that “D.C. has the most restrictive firearms laws in the country – worse than most of europe (MM’s favorite example of gun control). The murder and violent crime rate has gone through the roof year after year after year there, but somehow Guns are the problem?”

    He forgets that there are no border controls with Virginia, meaning that we need national, not local, gun control. If you look across countries, which do have border controls for these things, you will see a strong positive correlation between gun ownership and homicide and suicide rates, and that correlation is robust in a multivariate setting that controls for such factors as income, demographics, and inequality. See my older post for that analysis: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova/2007/07/19/more-reasons-for-gun-control/

  • Let me provide another example. Do people think that it is moral to sell guns to people in places like Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the DRC knowing well that these guns will be used to foment civil war, tribal violence, and terrible atrocities. Now, it is possible to argue that the problems in these countries go far beyond the availability of guns, and that the underlying symptoms must be dealth with. And that is true. But that cannot simply be an excuse to ignore the arms trade that does so mcuh harm in this part of the the world. And if this is true in Africa, why does the same logic not hold in US cities? We are talking basic common good here, not some arcane Enlightment-era individual “rights”.

  • TeutonicTim

    OK, switzerland and finland, and a variety of other countries in Europe actually have more open gun laws than the U.S. Where does that factor into your idea regarding borders?

    You’re also leaving out the people aspect. Gun crime in rural areas is generally nil. You’re also looking at the statistics and leaving in gang crime, drug crime, “good” kills (people defending themselves from a violent crime). You can’t ignore those counts because they could be prevented by stopping the root cause and not going after something you think is scary.

    I’m wondering if you really understand just how scary what you’re saying really is.

  • Blackadder

    Morning’s Minion,

    The post you link to does not appear to show a correlation between gun ownership in a given country and its homicide and suicide rates. What it shows is a correlation between gun ownership and gun deaths, which is not so surprising.

    My intuition is that if no one in the U.S. owned guns, the homicide rate would be significantly lower, while the suicide rate would remain unchanged. But we don’t live in such a country. The error of the gun controller (one of them, anyway) is in thinking that if we passed a law banning guns, then there would be no more guns in the U.S. It doesn’t work that way.

  • Jonathan

    I see a big difference there, MM, and that is involved with knowledge. When one goes to Sierra Leone, Liberia, and / or the DRC, with a large cache of automatic weapons. and a representative from a paramilitary organization, terrorist group, local “freedom fighter” or what have you, approaches and says, “I need hundreds of automatic weapons for home defense”, one has a right to be both skeptical and doubtful.

    In another case, when someone buys a pistol and ammunition from a gun dealer, saying nothing or that it’s for home defense, one may be skeptical, but can one legitimately deny the purchase based upon any assessment one could make at that point? Now, if the individual wanted to purchase multiple weapons (say 10+) of any sort, one could both legitimately deny the purchase and potentially report the individual to the authorities.

  • TeutonicTim

    MM said “He forgets that there are no border controls with Virginia, meaning that we need national, not local, gun control. ”

    How does the crime rate in Virginia compare to that of D.C.? If the guns were coming from there (meaning there are more guns in Virginia than in D.C.), wouldn’t/shouldn’t the crime rate be higher in Virginia???

  • “My intuition is that if no one in the U.S. owned guns, the homicide rate would be significantly lower, while the suicide rate would remain unchanged. But we don’t live in such a country. ”

    Shouldn’t we strive to live in such a country?

  • Tim: as I noted in the last post (where I did the simple empirical analysis), what tends to happen is that gun ownership not only exerts a direct effect on murder and suicide rates, but also an indirect effect in that it allows any underlying factors that foster violence to be magnified and thus lead to greater death. That is indeed the essence of Hemenway’s argument, when he notes that the US is death exceptionally violent– it just has a very easy outlet for that violence. And one more point about statistical analysis: pointing to an outlier does not negate the analysis.

  • TeutonicTim

    MM – I kindly defer to those who have undertaken quite large statistical analysis that disputes your own.

    It’s dangerous ground to view people’s rights as statistical outliers…

  • MM ain’t going to touch your guns.

    Should be “ain’t gonna”, not “ain’t going to”.

  • TeutonicTim

    The fact remains that he *will* be touching our guns. Every single gun control mechanism he supports will affect my ability to own guns. Registration, restriction, outlawing, confiscation.

  • Blackadder

    Morning’s Minion,

    I think that this country would also be a lot better if no one used drugs. That doesn’t mean I favor the drug war.

  • Blackadder: the apt comparison is whether you believe the public authority has the right to restrict access to drugs, which it does so now. Whether restrictions will actually work — think of not only drugs and guns, but abortion– is a different matter.

  • Blackadder

    So long as the discussion is kept on the level of what the public authority has the right to do in the abstract, you’ll get little argument from me. But law isn’t made in the abstract. It has to be made with a particular society and particular circumstances in mind.

  • TeutonicTim

    Drugs modify behavior. Guns are hunks of metal that do nothing.

  • Blackadder

    Actually, guns do modify behavior. Sometimes permanently.

  • Guns are hunks of metal that do nothing.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • TeutonicTim

    Indeed.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • TeutonicTim

    Would you please explain to me how a hunk of metal modifies behavior? Weakens one’s cognitive abilities? Impairs motor skills? Causes health problems?

    The closest thing you can say is that a person could “feel” empowered by the hunk of metal. That is a function of the person that feels that way, not a chemical introduced to the body that literally impairs or modifies behavior in the case of drugs.

    Besides, the 18th century document that enshrines my natural rights in this country does not say that drug use “shall not be infringed”

  • Blackadder

    Well, Tim, I’d say that if a hunk of metal enters one’s brain at a high speed that would modify behavior, weaken one’s cognitive ability, impair motor skills, and cause health problems all at once.

  • TeutonicTim

    Yep it would, but that hunk of metal didn’t fly into that person’s head by itself. You know I was talking about the person holding the weapon, be it a gun, a knife, a bat, their own hands, a rock, an ice pick, a brick, a car, poison, a woodchipper, a toaster in a bathtub, power tools, a bucket of water, etc.

  • Tim, you subjectivist approach to metaphysics is quite interesting. You can see whatever you want in a gun, but objectively, it is an instrument that kills.

  • Blackadder

    Actually, Tim, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I know you aren’t an idiot; that you know that a gun isn’t just a hunk of metal that does nothing, that it can be and often is used to shoot and kill things; and I assume that by feining ignorance about this you are trying to make some clever point, but what that point is is beyond me.

  • Tim, I guess, by your logic, pornography is just a piece of paper or some light flashing on a screen that does nothing that could “modify behavior.”

  • that it can be and often is used to shoot and kill things

    Correction: the gun’s explicit purpose is to shoot and kill things.

  • I wonder how many of the fatalities were inflicted using legally acquired guns and how many using illegally acquired guns. Neither side seems to know here: taking the guns into DC is illegal, but they can be legally acquired in Virginia. That is interesting, but of the weapons used in these crimes how many were actually acquired legally in Virginia?

  • TeutonicTim

    “Correction: the gun’s explicit purpose is to shoot and kill things.”

    Correction – I personally know of and have fired over 50 guns that belong to me, my family, and my friends. NONE of them have ever killed a thing. There are plenty of other lawful purposes for guns outside of what you see in hollywood. Stop the ignorance.

  • TeutonicTim

    pornography depicts acts. Show pornography to a monkey and he will react. Show him a gun and he will not know what to do with it because it is a hunk of metal.

  • Rick Garnett

    MM — you find arguments, in the context of a legal case, about the meaning of the Second Amendment “utterly irrelevant” to the question whether the D.C. gun-ban (an outlier among gun-control laws) is unconstitutional? Do you think law matters at all? Is it all just policy? Seriously.

  • I killed a Moose at about 200 yards with one shot from a .350 magnum. 50 guns and none of them have ever killed a thing? That’s a lot of paper shredding.

  • David Cochran

    I may have a hobby in which I place several baskets in my front yard and then see if I can snag any of them with a fishing pole and line. This hobby does not change the essential purpose for which fishing poles are designed—to catch fish. The essential purpose for which handguns are designed is to kill human beings. Continual improvements in accuracy, power, ammo capacity, and so on are made with this essential purpose in mind. I can’t help but conclude that this essential purpose, and a culture that celebrates it—TV, movies, video games, and so on (often with a creepy sexualized twist)—is fundamentally and inescapably at odds with the gospel. And is say this as someone who is a native of West Texas, where reverence for guns rivals that for God to the point of blasphemy.

  • TeutonicTim

    There are many, many levels of paper-shredding competitive shooting sports. Highpower, national matches, IDPA, olympic style, skeet, etc. Not to mention that plinking is just plain fun. I didn’t mention the hunting rifles we have. I was making the point that there are plenty of valid uses for firearms outside of violence.

  • TeutonicTim

    Obviously this rifle was designed for the sole purpose of shooting and killing in senseless violence:

    http://www.championshooters.com/1827-fbig.htm

    Come on now folks…

  • David Cochran

    Tim, I did specify handguns. If you want to strike a compromise—a ban on handguns and assault rifles but with an exception for licensed and specially designed target and hunting rifles (no massacre-friendly clips or armor piercing bullets)—then I’ll go for it and we will have reaced common ground.

  • Donald R. McClarey

    From my Father’s favorite Western, Shane:

    “Shane: A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

    I live in a rural county where most of my neighbors have small, and some not so small, arsenals. There hasn’t been a homicide in my town in the 22 years I have lived here. I have never been personally fond of guns myself, and I haven’t shot one since my Army days, but I find no problems with weapons in the possession of law-abiding people.

  • TeutonicTim

    David – I’ll listen only if you can define “assault weapon” with accuracy…

    It just so happens that the current winning rifles of the highpower and national matches are considered “assault weapons”…

  • TeutonicTim

    Also wanted to let you know that armor piercing rounds are not available to civilians and that the largest clip I know of holds 8 rounds. (A clip is different than a magazine).

  • Tim — Bullshit. I guarantee that a monkey will not be aroused by a Playboy. But I’ll bet you he could figure out how to kill someone if you gave him a gun.

    There are plenty of other lawful purposes for guns outside of what you see in hollywood. Stop the ignorance.

    What “other” purposes? Putting holes in cans?

    There are “other” purposes for pornography too, I guess….. like maybe wrapping grandma’s Christmas presents?

  • David Cochran

    I’ll defer to Tim’s superior knowledge of firearms. I’ll also admit that my inferior knowledge may well prevent me from seeing the wisdom of flooding the country with powerful and lethal firearms so that some people have the right to shoot paper, regardless of the incidental collateral damage filling morgues and hospital wards.

  • TeutonicTim

    Michael – bullshit. You’re such a pompous ass. I was talking about a monkey being aroused by monkeys.

    A gun without ammunition is indeed a hunk of metal, completely absent of the possibility of doing a damn thing other than being a hunk of metal. Porn digs deep into the psyche and primal instincts of humans. Guns were invented ~500 years ago. Perhaps a person gets “drugged” to the point of violence when they see a sharpened stick, a rock, a crossbow, a sling, a trebuchet? After all those were the prime method of violence once upon a time.

    David – You made my point for me. Perhaps you should just not get into a discussion about banning firearms because they look scary until you have some knowledge about them. Example: “Hunting” arms are far more powerful than “assault” weapons. In fact, “sniper” rifles are EXACTLY the same as “hunting” rifles.

    If you don’t know what it is, how then can you classify and ban it?

    Both of you: None of the examples I gave had to do with cans. It is a competitive sport, a human past time, and self defense as well. And yes, I will accept the collateral damage of delinquents killing each other so that I can keep my right to self defense from those delinquents as well as my right to use them however I damn well please.

  • Michael,

    Actually, primatologists have found that apes at least (not lower monkeys) are aroused by things like playboy and human pron videos. Pretty sick experiment to perform, though, if you ask me. I don’t approve a bit. Still, we share some vices without cousins.

    More generally,

    Why should people who generally only put holes in paper targets be allowed to own lethal weapons?

    Most of the time, we think only of the enjoyment factor. I’ve put thousands of holes in paper with a variety of lethal weapons over the years, and not only is the activity itself both enjoyable and challenging, but I’ve seldom been around a friendlier, more courteous group of people than on the gun range. While a gang banger may feel more apt to fight with a .45 shoved in his waist band, I’ve found that most people are far more cautious, polite and friendly when they know they are holding something highly dangerous.

    But at a more basic level, despite the fact that we live in a long-lived, wealthy and highly artificial society, I think that it is important for us to remain capable of functioning in a more primal situation — one that may return unexpectedly in the form of a social breakdown, natural disaster, civil war, etc.

    Having grown up in Los Angeles and been present for some of the temporary suspensions of reality to which that region is prone (three days of no power or public services after the Northridge Quake, several days of complete lawlessness during the Rodney King Riots) I for one would prefer to have the means to protect my family and neighborhood, and hunt my own food should that ever become necessary. Yes, it’s a massively long shot, and I don’t think about it every day. But should the need ever arise, I want to have those guns, and the skill and discipline to use them. Because at the end of the day, a phone only brings help and a credit card only buys meat so long as the basic assumptions of our affluent society remain stable.

  • David Cochran

    Tim,
    I had a conversation with a Ron Paul supporter yesterday that ended the same way—he was stunned that I was so stupid about basic economics that I didn’t see the need to immediately eliminate the fed, adopt the gold standard, and legalize private currencies. I’ll plead ignorance on both scores, but I can’t shake the nagging suspicion that the common good would be better served by keeping the Federal Reserve System as it is and by adopting far stricter gun control measures, especially when it comes to handguns.

  • TeutonicTim

    David – Fair enough. I know I went overboard when I get compared to a RP supporter! 🙂

    I’ll just leave it at this: I get a nagging suspicion that the world would be better without a lot of things. It doesn’t give me someone the right to try legislate that away either through fantasy (cancer, AIDS) or by taking away a right recognized by the founding documents of the country.

    DarwinCatholic hit the nail on the head. If you take away my guns, the criminals and gangbangers will still have them and will still use them. Bottom line.

  • Blackadder

    I’d just like to go on the record saying that I favor gun control for monkeys.

  • TeutonicTim

    hahahaha! Don’t tell any of my friends I agreed to gun control, but I’d have to agree with that…

  • Rick: what I meant by that comment is that I have read the different analyses of the second amendment. You will not be surprised to find out that I do not favor the individualist interpretation, but I can see how it can be argued from a positivist legal perspective. What matters, in my opinion, is the underlyingt morality, and the implications for the common good. Go back to abortion. The fundamental argument against Roe v. Wade is not that it is an unbalanced reading of the right to privacy, but that the underlying act is fundamentally immoral in itself. You can argue anything legally. This reflects my underlying problem with written constitutions– the texts can become ends in themselves.

  • TeutonicTim

    Oh boy – comparing guns to abortion? Hunks of metal/inanimate objects are immoral?

  • David Cochran

    No problem Tim. And if we ever face a Red Dawn situation, I’ll be happy to let you and DarwinCatholic lead the Wolverines (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Dawn).

  • MM,

    If restricting guns is the answer, how do you account for the fact that the highest rate of gun related crime is in a district with the most restrictive handgun control laws in the nation?

    So as you restrict guns more and more, the rate of gun related crime goes up and up. What does this tell you?

    The focus needs to be on behavior. And one way to change the behavior of the predators is to give the “sheep” teeth. Then a predator has no clue which sheep is going to “bite” him (possibly fatally).

  • If restricting guns is the answer, how do you account for the fact that the highest rate of gun related crime is in a district with the most restrictive handgun control laws in the nation?

    Well, in fairness he already answered that. DC is right next to Virginia, and it isn’t exactly an expedition to the moon to go from Virginia to DC. What I’m interested in and truly don’t know is how many of the guns used in these DC homicides were legally acquired and how many were illegally acquired. Gun control works at the level of acquisition of firearms, not their use — obviously using a gun to murder someone is illegal in every American geography – so that is precisely where data is required in order to inform any truly prudential decision.

  • TeutonicTim

    Tony – MM already blamed it on Virginia’s lax gun laws. I already questioned him pointing to the fact that gun ownership is far higher in Virginia, and that the crime rate is far lower. He simply ignores fact like these so he can focus on controlling guns because he doesn’t like them.

  • Hunks of metal/inanimate objects are immoral?

    I think a better comparison is to birth control pills, particularly abortaficient ones. Both do have legitimate uses, and yet one of the primary uses of both is gravely immoral and ought to be treated as such by the law.

  • …gun ownership is far higher in Virginia, and that the crime rate is far lower.

    That still isn’t a particularly helpful observation though. The differences between Virginia and DC are legion. Do you have statistics on how many of these particular guns used in homicides in DC were legally acquired in other places, and how many illegally? Without that data neither argument carries any real empirical punch, it seems to me, and the discussion remains on the level of ideology and intuition. (Not that there is anything wrong with that).

  • TeutonicTim

    Yes, That is a better comparison and makes one think. However, the difference will come to abortion as an intrinsic evil regardless, and gun’s “primary” use in acts of self defense, including just war (once it’s determined just of course) is not.

  • TeutonicTim

    It still is a helpful observation. If one poses the problem in D.C. as guns, determines that more guns = more crime, and then even blames it on Virginia makes that observation completely helpful.

    Even the information you’re after won’t help because it still relies on the premise that illegally acquired guns from Virginia make it into D.C. Those guns existed in Virginia prior to coming to D.C. If it’s all about the guns, why didn’t those illegally acquired guns make an equal impact in Virginia’s statistics?

  • However, the difference will come to abortion as an intrinsic evil regardless, …

    That really isn’t relevant though unless there are no important legitimate uses of (say) chemical hormones. But there are important legitimate uses of chemical hormones, not just in high doses as Plan B or whatever.

    If it’s all about the guns, why didn’t those illegally acquired guns make an equal impact in Virginia’s statistics?

    Because Virginia is not DC. The differences between Virginia and DC are legion, not just gun laws. (And I suspect it would bolster MM’s case if the guns were legally acquired in Virginia: it would imply an area where a change in law could at least prima facie reduce the availability of guns to those using them to commit murder).

  • I think Zippy is asking the really relevant question here:

    How many of the guns used in crimes in DC are legally acquired somewhere else?

    Perhaps also: How many of gun crimes are committed by people who ought to be able to legally acquire firearms under the laws generally in place or advocated (i.e. they have no criminal record, they have no record of mental illness, they are legal residence, etc.)?

    And: Of the guns used in crime that are not legally acquired, where do they come from? Were they originally legally procured, or have they been on the black market since their first sale?

    What MM seems to be arguing is that when I walk into the Sportsman’s Warehouse across the street and see a couple hundred handguns for sale, that the availability of those handguns there makes it likely that crimes or suicides will be committed with them. And what I’m wondering is: is there much data to suggest that those handguns being sold legally out of a reputable establishment are actually at all likely to ever be used in such a way?

  • M.Z. Forrest

    While not definitive for discussion purposes, my own reading suggests that guns used in criminal activity generally are acquired via the path of least resistance. If it is legal in a neighboring jurisdiction to purchase the arms, I don’t think it would be particularly remarkable that the guns were purchased in that jurisdiction. I personally don’t think gun control is a prudent course of action, but I don’t see the 2A impediments that other’s see. The simple solution would seem to be to ban the interstate sale of firearms without a license from the State, thereby limiting unlicensed retail purchases to residents of a jurisdiction.

  • TeutonicTim

    “Because Virginia is not DC. ”

    Case in point. D.C. is the cause of its own crime problem.

    “…when I walk into the Sportsman’s Warehouse across the street and see a couple hundred handguns for sale, that the availability of those handguns there makes it likely that crimes or suicides will be committed with them”

    Wrong. Those are FAR less likely to be used in a murder or a crime. Why would someone go through a FBI background check and leave a paperwork trail and pay $400 for a pistol when they can buy one illegally on the street for $150?

    “The simple solution would seem to be to ban the interstate sale of firearms without a license from the State, thereby limiting unlicensed retail purchases to residents of a jurisdiction.”

    HELLO!!!!!!!!That already is in place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With the exception being that the “state” in this context is the Federal Government! Interstate firearms sales MUST go through a federally licensed dealer (FFL). This is what I mean when I say people have to get familiarized with the current laws and the devices they are talking about.

    Since that already is in place, what makes you think that the people who according to the law – can’t buy a gun, can’t own a gun, can’t sell a gun, can’t sell it across state lines, knows the other person they’re selling it to is a criminal and can’t possess one according to the law. – could care less about the law?

  • M.Z. Forrest

    Tim,

    Sales aren’t presently limited to in-state residents. Purchases just have to be done in person. There is a subtle distinction. http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=4046068

  • M.Z. Forrest

    Researching the question some more, there seems to be some dispute on the matter. It appears Virginia gun shops won’t sell to D.C. residents without a D.C. permit. That doesn’t rule out straw buyers, which seems to be the greater complaint.

  • TeutonicTim

    I understand what you’re saying, but you’re making a distinction in something I didn’t say. You cannot purchase a gun from a “person” across state lines. It MUST go through the FFL in YOUR state, or be purchase in person in that other state and MUST be done through an FFL.

    In order to buy a gun legally, you need to follow these paths:

    Out of state:
    – purchase from an FFL face to face in that state. This requires the FBI background check and paperwork trail. This constitutes a “license” because without passing the check and filling out the paperwork, you get no gun.

    – purchase from an FFL out of state and have it shipped to an FFL in state. This requires the FFL in your state to follow the same procedure, same background check, same paperwork.

    In State:
    – FFL in state: e.g. sportsmans warehouse. You go to the store and pick the gun you want. Same paperwork, same background check, same procedure.

    -Person to person – ONLY within your same state. It is the seller’s responsibility to perform due diligence in determining if the purchase is a sound citizen. Chances the person selling had to perform the background check and paperwork when they bought the gun.

  • TeutonicTim

    Let’s not forget that straw buyers are breaking a Federal law and that requirements under state’s laws differ. I covered the federal aspect. States may be more restrictive (permits, etc.)

  • Tim: I think you may be missing the point because of the zealousness with which you are approaching the issue.

    If a specific case is to be made that new laws or regulations will reduce the supply of guns used for homicide in DC, or conversely that new laws are unlikely to have an impact on the supply of guns used for homicide in DC, we need to understand the supply chain for guns used for homicide in DC. I’m just asking if anyone on either side of the discussion has any concrete data that can help us understand that actual supply chain: not theories about what someone intuitively feels must be the case – that and four bucks will get you a latte – but actual data on the actual weapons used in the actual crimes.

    Now having that data wouldn’t end the debate, of course. Even if most or all of the guns used in homicide in DC have in fact reached those who have used them through already-illegal channels we are still left with the issue of how guns get into the black market to begin with and more broadly the impact that our positive law has on culture in general. Those are all legitimate issues, and no amount of ranting on either side will somehow magically render them illegitimate. But the basis for an empirically based policy discussion is an understanding of the actual homicide-gun supply chain.

    My own intuitive guess is that the most effective pressure point is upstream in the supply chain: that the legal market to black market crossover is where a more ruthless approach to legal sanction and enforcement might have a salutary effect. I’m less sympathetic to adding additional regulatory burdens to the individual purchaser beyond what is generally in place, and I’m sympathetic to relaxing that burden in some of its more draconian instances. But those are just intuitions, and my raw intuitions have roughly the same value as yours or MM’s, which is to say, not much.

  • TeutonicTim

    Zippy – I hear what you’re saying, but the fact remains that D.C. has a horrible violent crime rate, much higher than the surrounding areas with lax gun laws. The problem is with the people, culture, or both.

  • Gun control will never be an effective means for preventing violence and death in the US. Why? The American people will never allow universal gun control to become law. Even if it did, such a measure could never be implemented.

    Just read the responses in this thread. Such intense passions can never be overcome, no matter whether gun control is a good idea or not. Gun control contradicts too many established principles and interests. On this ground alone, gun control is not a practical response to the problem.

    Being quite familiar with the streets of DC, I know personally a gun can be gotten very, very easily — a couple hours if you’re lucky. Where do they come from? Anywhere. There’s a network out there. People know how to get them. Many are gotten from private homes — robbery.

    National gun control would make Prohibition look like a church picnic! In the final analysis, it would cause more problems than it would solve.

    If the US is intent on reducing the incidence of violence in the US, policy makers will have to look elsewhere. Like it or not, this is the practical truth.

  • Zippy & Tim,

    Since I’m sitting here waiting for a query to come back, I googled a bit on the source of guns used in crime. The main thing I found was a DOJ document from ten years back which you can view here:

    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/guic.pdf

    All stolen guns are available to criminals
    by definition. Recent studies of
    adult and juvenile offenders show that
    many have either stolen a firearm or
    kept, sold, or traded a stolen firearm:
    According to the 1991 Survey of
    State Prison Inmates, among those
    inmates who possessed a handgun,
    9% had acquired it through theft, and
    28% had acquired it through an illegal
    market such as a drug dealer or fence.
    Of all inmates, 10% had stolen at least
    one gun, and 11% had sold or traded
    stolen guns.
    Studies of adult and juvenile offenders
    that the Virginia Department of
    Criminal Justice Services conducted
    in 1992 and 1993 found that 15% of
    the adult offenders and 19% of the juvenile
    offenders had stolen guns; 16%
    of the adults and 24% of the juveniles
    had kept a stolen gun; and 20% of the
    adults and 30% of the juveniles had
    sold or traded a stolen gun.
    From a sample of juvenile inmates
    in four States, Sheley and Wright
    found that more than 50% had stolen
    a gun at least once in their lives and
    24% had stolen their most recently obtained
    handgun. They concluded that
    theft and burglary were the original, not
    always the proximate, source of many
    guns acquired by the juveniles.

    If you want a little humor with your stats, here’s a commentary on the top ten guns used in crime. (some bad language) Summary, most popular are very, very cheap, small caliber hand guns made by disreputable companies and stolen or bought used.

    A bit old, and not specific to DC, but perhaps it provides a bit of real data for the conversation.

  • In response to Zippy’s question of origin, this is quite pertinent to the strategy of New York’s mayor Bloomberg. Finding that many of the firearms on the city streets are coming from Virginia, at one point accounting for almost half of guns recovered by the police, Bloomberg decided to send in undercover agents to gun stores in Virginia to conduct sting operations. The idea is to see if gun shops will sell guns illegally, involving straw purchases, in which one person legally fills out a form and buys a gun for someone else. As a result of these operations, New York filed lawsuits against six gun shops in Virginia that sold guns illegally to undercover agents.

    So the problem does indeed seem to be Virginia.

  • TeutonicTim

    Let’s not forget that Bloomberg broke several federal laws, his “agents” committed federal offenses in performing the straw purchases, and he botched several longstanding federal cases against known rogue gun dealers.
    Good thing he’s doing his part.

  • Disagreeing with what Bloomberg did though doesn’t imply ignoring any facts which emerged in the process. Is the fact that nearly half the guns recovered by police in NYC come from 250 or so miles away in Virginia no longer a fact because of the source? It sounds like advocacy of cracking down on straw purchases – which I guess are already illegal – is a possible area of agreement, even granting that DC’s problems have more to do with DC than with the gun supply chain. Why not both/and?

  • TeutonicTim

    There is no way a dealer can know if a purchaser is a straw purchaser. If the person filling out the paperwork is who they say they are, it’s their own responsibility to be legal with the firearm after the purchase. Straw purchases are already illegal. Bloomberg’s agents lied on a federal document.

    Is it really that hard to see that D.C.’s problem can’t be solved through a ban on guns? If it could, it would have been solved in the last 30, yes 30 years the ban has been in place. It’s only gotten worse since they were made guinea pigs with the current ban.

  • If the person filling out the paperwork is who they say they are, it’s their own responsibility to be legal with the firearm after the purchase.

    So make it their responsibility. Catch straw purchasers in various enforcement operations (sting, investigative, etc) and throw the book at them good and hard, till they have binding-shaped faces. Make it a public priority. A straw purchaser whose gun ends up used in a homicide isn’t doing something any less dangerous or reprehensible than a heroine dealer.

    As for the idea of a ban on guns, I don’t support that and I’m not talking about that. I think just as a matter of intuition that DC would probably be better off without an outright ban, but with more ruthless measures against illegal supply and use.

    I would think that law abiding gun owners would be first to bat for throwing the book good and hard at suppliers of illegal guns used in homicides: would be proactive about it in order to avoid outside imposition of regulations by the ignorant. When advocacy groups (like the NRA) are not proactive in addressing real problems, the result is usually less to their liking than if they had been proactive. If straw purchases in Virginia are where nearly half the illegal guns used in crimes in NYC are coming from – if that is actually true – then I would think the NRA would be all over it. (Maybe they are and I’m just ignorant about it, in which case a better job needs to be done communicating it).

    But all I’m hearing from you, Tim, is that there is no problem and if there is one nothing can be done about it. If that is the line you are taking, you are inviting the outside imposition of regulations you won’t like.

  • TeutonicTim

    I’m not saying that at all.

    Straw purchasers are pieces of trash and are breaking the law!

    “So make it their responsibility. Catch straw purchasers in various enforcement operations (sting, investigative, etc) and throw the book at them good and hard, till they have binding-shaped faces. Make it a public priority.”

    The ATF has cracked down on more rogue dealers in the last 10 years than ever before. I’m for that.

    However, Bloomberg and his stunt cost the ATF and FBI investigations at many of these exact rogue dealers we’re talking about. Catch a straw purchaser? Throw the book at them, they broke the law.

    Enforce the current federal laws (not DC’s ban though) and keep trying to pass more legislation that does something already accomplished. Realize that people who break the law will do so regardless of if you pass more. I get impassioned when people say we need more laws, and they don’t even understand what is already on the books.

    Not a single person pushing gun control in this post understands the terms they are using or the laws already on the books. They just know that guns are “icky” and are willing to trample on others to soothe their own ignorance.

  • TeutonicTim

    Correction:
    “and stop trying to pass more legislation that does something already accomplished.”

  • So would it be fair to characterize it as your view, Tim, that everything which can be done is already being done, and everyone in the discussion who questions that is ignorant and cannot possibly be motivated by anything other than an irrational prejudice that guns are icky? That certainly sounds like what you are saying, and if that is what you are saying it isn’t clear why we shouldn’t consider your contributions to the discussion to be those of a crank idealogue.

  • TeutonicTim

    Nope, not fair.

    I didn’t say everything that can be done is being done.

    Everything people here suggested is already being done. That’s a fact. They’re the ones suggesting it without knowing it’s already in place, not me. If they don’t know it, they’re ignorant of it. Ignorance is not a bad word.

    You should consider my contributions because I’m the only one contributing to this discussion who knows the actual limitations (without looking them up on a forum that I’m a member of…) of the legal ways to obtain a gun, and the actual capabilities of the “bad” guns people like to talk about.

    If anything, I suppose I could be less cranky and try to be more educational, and that’s something I should work on. However, it’s inevitable that it will just turn into a “guns are icky and it would be a better world if we could just make them disappear” conversation all over again like it has several times already.

    In response to your other post, what you’re hearing from me is that the problem is not with the guns. If it were the guns, Virginia would be awash with gun violence. The problem is with the people and the policies in D.C. itself.

    You might want to check out other bastions of gun control in the U.S. to find very similar statistics.

  • However, it’s inevitable that it will just turn into a “guns are icky and it would be a better world if we could just make them disappear” conversation all over again like it has several times already.

    It is almost as if that were the discussion that you wish you were having right now, so that you could dismiss it out of hand.

    In response to your other post, what you’re hearing from me is that the problem is not with the guns.

    Even if what is primarily at issue is the inner city violent culture of the DC ‘hoods – and there is little doubt that that is a primary issue – it is obviously not the only issue, and it is obviously interconnected with many other issues. Cheap and easy availability of guns, among many other factors, obviously enables the violence of that culture. It is one thing to accept that fact and advocate in its context. It is another thing entirely to deny it outright, repeatedly asserting that “…the problem is not with the guns.” There is no “THE problem”. If a libertarian tells me that THE problem isn’t the drugs, it is the junkies, then I know that I am in a conversation with someone who is probably incapable of discussing the issue.

  • TeutonicTim

    It’s kind of funny. It’s the discussion I’ve had in the other 100 posts above here. You’re doing it yourself.

    “Cheap and easy availability of guns”

    OK – let’s look at the guns are part of the problem:

    These are OUTSIDE OF THE LAW! What makes you think another law will fix the problem of cheap and easily available guns?

  • You’re doing it yourself.

    I’m doing “it” – saying “guns are icky and it would be a better world if we could just make them disappear” – myself?

    I think you are having a conversation with yourself, at this point.

  • TeutonicTim

    You’re funny, and rather annoying.

    Go ahead and dismiss behavior, ignore that the presence of guns does not equate to violence, and continue to search for gun control solutions to the violence problem in D.C.

    Obviously since a complete ban isn’t good enough, we need to go for a more than complete ban and re-ban everything we think is scary because one ban isn’t good enough.

    Heck, why not triple-dog ban them? Maybe that will make criminals who shoot and murder people take notice!

  • radicalcatholicmom

    My newspaper just listed 2007’s murder victims in the City of Anchorage. 50% of those killed were killed by guns. The other 50% were victims of knives and fists. Using your logic, should we begin to regulate knives and fists. I think Jonathan is correct that regulation does not educate nor refine ones passions. Murderous people will find ways to murder regardless of any law.

  • TeutonicTim

    That’s absolutely correct, and part of the reason that people get so passionate about this.

    Guns are made out to be something they’re not. Using the gun control logic, it would make sense to ban baseball bats, pools, knives, vases, cars, etc. because they’re used to commit more murders than with guns. They’re just a convenient scapegoat for politicians who want to look like they’re taking care of something, and for people who want to “feel” safe.

  • Kevin Merck

    Strange that in a nation where 1,500,000 unborn children are killed by means of abortion every year, that we should be so concerned with “gun control”, which will probably have a minimal impact on the relatively small number of people killed by firearms annually.

    The number of people killed by firearms in the U.S. in 2002 was 28,663. (Statistics Include Gang Warfare, Self Defense Shootings and Criminals Killed by Police)

    Firearm deaths make up about 2% of total deaths by comparison.

    Let’s not worry about a “hot button Issue” like gun control. This election cycle is perhaps the most important in this long battle against abortion and we should not take our eye of the ball.

    Firearms are what gave rise to this great nation and abortion is what will destroy it.

    Kevin Merck