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Brady II: The Objectives of the Gun Control Lobby:

In the early fall of 1994, the gun control movement achieved unprecedented success in Congress. The "Brady Bill" had been enacted in November 1993, and went into effect in February 1994. After a very tough political fight, President Clinton's omnibus crime bill was passed in August 1994. The bill included a 10-year ban on so-called "assault weapons," as well as other gun controls. Handgun Control, Inc. (which later changed its name to "The Brady Campaign" promptly began to push for legislation which it called "Brady II."

Although the bill was introduced, it did not receive a hearing in the final weeks of Congress before the election. The November 1994 elections resulted in a Republican landslide; in a December 1994 interview with the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, President Clinton stated that the NRA was the reason that the Republicans had won control of Congress.

Nevertheless, Brady II is worth remembering as a roadmap for the gun control lobby's hopes for "the next step" in federal gun control. Due to the results of the 1994 and subsequent elections, HCI/BC has not been so bold in its declared legislative agenda. It would be interesting to know which, if any, items from the Brady II bill are rejected today by the Brady Campaign or the political candidates which it has endorsed.

Arsenal licensing

Any person who owns 20 or more firearms or more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition or primers (e.g. two "bricks" of rimfire ammo) would be required to get an "arsenal" license. To obtain a federal arsenal license, a person would need to be fingerprinted, obtain permission of local zoning authorities, and pay a $300 tax every three years. Her home would be subjected to unannounced, warrantless inspection by the government up to three times a year. "Arsenal" owners would also have to obtain a $100,000 dollar insurance policy.

"Brady II" redefines "firearm" to include magazines and "any part of the action" (such as pins, springs, or screws). Thus, if a person has two Colt pistols, three Remington rifles, and four magazines (of any size) for each gun, then he own an "arsenal." Or if he owned two guns, six magazines, and a box of disassembled gun parts that contained five springs, five pins, and five screws, then he would own 23 "firearms" and would have to obtain an "arsenal" license.

Licensing

Every handgun buyer would be required to obtain a state handgun license. The license would be good for no more than two years. No-one could obtain a license without passing a state-controlled "safety" course. The fees for the license and the safety course would have no limits. The fees could be set far in excess of the state cost of providing the license and the course; instead, the fees could a source of general revenue.

Nothing would prevent licensing authorities from taking months or years to issue a license. And nothing would prevent the authorities from making the "safety" test so rigorous that almost no-one except an expert shooter could pass.

That an applicant had been shooting handguns for 50 years, or was an NRA certified safety instructor, or a proficient competitive target shooter would not exempt him from the requirement to pay for the government "safety" class.

Every handgun transfer (including one's adult son an old revolver) would be subject to these restrictions. In addition, every handgun transferred would have to be registered by make and serial number.

The late Pete Shields, the chair of HCI, in a 1976 interview, explained his strategy for using registration as a way-station to handgun confiscation:

"The first problem is to slow down the number of handguns being produced and sold in this country. The second problem is to get handguns registered. The final problem is to make possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition--expect for the police, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors--totally illegal."

(Richard Harris, "A Reporter at Large: Handguns," New Yorker, July 26, 1976, p. 58).

The Brady Campaign currently denies that it wants to confiscate handguns. But, to the extent that the promise is sincere, is it more likely to be kept than the group's earlier (and broken) promise "our organization, Handgun Control, Inc. does not propose further controls on rifles and shotguns. Rifles and shotguns are not the problem; they are not concealable." (Pete Shields, Guns Don't Die--People Do, Priam Press, 1981, pp. 47-48).

Taxes

Currently, the price of guns and ammunition is increased by an 11% federal excise tax, revenues from which go to improve hunting habitat and to fund the development of target ranges. Brady II would increase the taxes to 30% on handguns, and 50% on ammunition. So a $500 pistol would cost $650, and a $20 box of ammunition would cost $30.

The tax revenues, instead of being spent on the shooting sports, would be spent on health care.

Persons Barred from Gun Ownership

The list of persons banned by federallaw from owning any gun would be expanded. A person who got into a bar fight 20 years ago, and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor third-degree assault, would be barred (ex post facto) for the rest of his life from owning any gun. (And subject to a mandatory five years in federal prison for a violation.) Any other crime, no matter, how petty, that involved the use or threatened use of force would likewise become a lifetime prohibition.

Possession of handguns or handgun ammunition by a person under the age of 21, or possession of any guns or ammunition by a person under the age of 16, would be illegal. Leetting one's 15 year old nephew borrow a single-shot .22 rifle to go target-shooting on one's own farm would be a federal crime. Gun possession under immediate adult supervsion would still be allowed.

Gun and Magazine Bans

All magazines which hold more than 6 rounds would be outlawed. Possession of existing magazines with a larger capacity would be allowed under the same terms as currently applicable to possession of machine guns: a 10-point FBI fingerprint; an expensive federal tax; and possession only allowed if a letter of authorization from the local police chief is obtained.

"Saturday Night Specials" would be outlawed. They would be defined as:
1. A handgun with any parts made of zinc alloy.
2. Any handgun that uses .22 short ammunition. Many guns that use .22 long rifle can also use .22 short, and would thus be banned.
3. Any revolver with a barrel less than 3 inches.
4. Any semi-automatic pistol with combined height and length of less than 10 inches.
5. Any seme-automatic pistol without a "positive manually operated safety device."

Other Provisions

It would become a federal crime to buy more than one handgun a month.

A permanent 7-day waiting period would be imposed on all handgun transfers (including gifts between family members).

All firearms would have to be "properly stored" is prevent access by anyone under the age of 16.

Gun shows would be destroyed, since licensed firearms dealers would not be allowed to sell guns at the show.

If "Brady II" had become law, what would have been the key to "Brady III" or "Brady IV"? Mrs. Brady has already told us.

She wants a "needs-based licensing" system, under which no one could own any gun unless the local police chief decided that the person "needed" to have the gun. (Erik Eckhom, "A Little Gun Control, a Lot of Guns," New York Times, Aug. 15, 1993, p. B1).

Ownership of a gun for protection would not be considered a legitimate "need." Says Mrs. Brady "To me, the only reason for guns in civilian hands is for sporting purposes." (Tom Jackson, "Keeping the Battle Alive," Tampa Tribune, Oct. 21, 1993.)

The Brady Campaign's current rhetoric is much milder, and the group claims not to oppose defensive gun ownership.

Update: Here is a link to the bill itself, H. R. 3932, introduced March 1, 1994, by Rep. Charles Schumer. A parallel bill, S. 1878, was introduced in the Senate on Feb. 28, 1994, by Senator Howard Metzenbaum. It was cosponsored Senators Kennedy, Bradley, Lautenberg, Boxer, Pell, and Chafee.

Tony Tutins (mail):
The Brady Campaign wants you to have a handgun the way PETA wants you to have a hamburger.
9.21.2007 4:32pm
rarango (mail):
It would be easier had they just said, "turn in your handguns to the local authorities." Would have eliminated a lot of paperwork and unfunded mandates.
9.21.2007 4:40pm
Affe (mail) (www):
The times, they are a changin'...

What drivel. Unreal. Thanks Dave.
9.21.2007 4:40pm
Matty G:
Nice Post, David.

As someone who was only in junior high school in 1994, it sure is eye-opening to see where the debate on gun control stood at the time.

It's almost hard to believe that Brady II was really going to be introduced in Congress with more than radical support; the Democratic losses in 1994 are not nearly as surprising if that is true.

Was Clinton in favor of Brady II type restrictions? Is Hillary?
9.21.2007 4:41pm
vinnie (mail):
NO.

I am a gun owner and that is my simple answer. The next move is theirs.
9.21.2007 4:44pm
Randy R. (mail):
When you read the actual provisions, they seem to me quite reasonable, actually. You can only buy one handgun per month? That still allows you 12 per year. How many do you need to protect yourself? One or two should do it, right?

The tax on an arsenel seems fair too. Why would you need to stockpile weapons to such a degree? Seems strange, but hey, if you really need to, you still can. You just need to pay a little more for it.

Persons barred? Well, if you are ever convicted as a sex offender, you are labeled a sex offender for life, and you get your name published on the web. How is this any different? If you are violent person, I don't want you to have guns because you might harm innocent people!

All firearms should be properly stored so people under 16 can't get access. What could possibly be wrong with that? I thought even the NRA agreed to that.
9.21.2007 4:44pm
H. Tuttle:
Frankly, NYC's current gun restrictions are nearly at Brady Level II as things stand. No rifle (of any caliber) with a magazine capacity great than 5 rounds can be legally possessed in NYC today, and you need a permit to buy and possess long guns, which must then be registered (at no cost) with your local NYC police station. And you can pretty much forget about getting a handgun permit. So when Mayor Bloomberg disgenously brays "I'm not talking about legal guns" well, pretty much every gun, save a small set, is already per se illegal in NYC.

But having moved out of NYC three weeks ago I'm looking forward to FINALLY buying and legally owning a nice Marlin 39A for plinking and target practice.
9.21.2007 4:48pm
Russ (mail):
Randy R.,

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT be infringed."

Maybe I'm missing how your "reasonable restrictions" would not violate this.

Don't like it? Amass enough support and amend the Constitution...you know...the way it's supposed to be done.

From my cold, dead hands...
9.21.2007 4:49pm
Temp Guest (mail):
I once had an off-the-record conversation with the women in charge of gun policy in the Clinton Justice Department. She made no bones about the fact that her ultimate goal was complete confiscation of all firearms in the country--something like what has happened in the UK and Australia, only a bit more extreme. Her strategy was increasing restrictions on ownership and use to reduce the number of gun owners and users and thus break the political power of this group. When that was achieved the rest would be easy. As far as these people go mutatis mutandis.
9.21.2007 4:52pm
Russ (mail):
Here are a few other "reasonable restrictions" that should be placed on the Bill of Rights.

Newspapers cannot publish information that could hurt troops in the field during a time of war. What "hurt" is defined as should be left vague so it could be properly interpreted.

Our moral fiber is eroding. We should force all kids to pray in school. Not "offer the opportunity," but force them. This would give them a firm foundation, even if they are atheists.

As a soldier, my barracks aren't good enough. I would like to be stationed in a private home w/o the owner's permission. Just think of the savings for the taxpayers!

Large protest gatherings are dangerous to all involved. People should only be able to gather for redress of grievances in properly designated "protest zones" so that no children get hurt.

Lawyers cannot charge more than $500 per case. Hey, everyone is entitled to representation, and so lawyers should just lower fees to make that better available to all.

It shouldn't matter if a lawyer is present during questioning. I mean, if you admit to a crime during interrogation, isn't it reasonable to assume you did the crime? Lawyers are unnecessary for this.

Come on - who else can come up with a few more "reasonable restrictions?"
9.21.2007 4:55pm
rarango (mail):
Randy: you have put your finger on the appeal of the provisions to a non-gun owner: individual provisions seem reasonable. The devil will be in the details; eg, precisely what constitutes safe storage? a bolt on the the wall gun safe like I use? or a much more expensive safe with electronic safeguards (that undoubtedly the authorities would prescribe). And these are not cafeteria provisions--they are taken together and the total package is onerous to gun owners.
9.21.2007 4:58pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Randy, one sporting goods store here used to have an annual gun sale so good we would wait all year for it. It was a four-day sale, with amazing savings and selection. Factory reps came in to help explain the features. Reloading experts gave seminars on how to reload. The front parking lot was full of gun safes.

California's one-handgun-a-month law killed it off. Instead of buying a Beretta for yourself and a Glock for your wife, and two Buckmarks for your kids to use plinking at the range (going through a brick of 22LR in three months or so), you could buy at most one handgun. No way to aggregate your one a month to twelve at a time. Realize that stores reported any purchase of two or more handguns to the BATF.
9.21.2007 4:58pm
WHOI Jacket:
I can think of several instances of where someone would want to purchase more than one pistol a month. Like a sale or something? Or a nice matching set that I saw in the Ruger's catalog.
9.21.2007 4:59pm
pete (mail) (www):
"It would become a federal crime to buy more than one handgun a month."

So no one is allowed to buy antique handguns that come in pairs or a set.

"more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition or primers (e.g. two "bricks" of rimfire ammo) would be required to get an "arsenal" license"

And many shooters go through a 1000 rounds of ammunition in one day at a range. So no saving money by buying ammo in bulk that you are going to use over the course of several weeks or months.

"All magazines which hold more than 6 rounds would be outlawed."

I would guess that would outlaw the vast majorities of magazines in existence in this country, including almost all of the ones used by police.
9.21.2007 5:03pm
Andrew Janssen (mail):
Any one of these things doesn't sound unreasonable; it's when you see them all together at once that you realize just how large the constitutional problem is.

I'm no fan of the NRA, but Brady II would be too much.

(While typing this, I just realized that I am the only living person in my immediate family who's ever fired, let alone seen and handled, a gun. YMCA father-son camp, when I was six, target shooting with a .22 rifle. Most fun I ever had in the outdoors, although now, at 27, the thought of six-year olds with rifles seems a bit odd.)
9.21.2007 5:09pm
WHOI Jacket:
I mentioned this to my father over AIM, and his response was "You d@%! right we have an "arsenal".

For the record, my father hasn't purchased a firearm in over 10 years. We have 3 shotguns, 6 rifles (of which 3 are antique pieces) and 2 revolvers. Adequate amounts of ammo for each of them.
9.21.2007 5:09pm
Mycin (mail):
Randy R. wrote:

...How many do you need to protect yourself?...
...Why would you need to stockpile weapons to such a degree?...
...if you really need to, you still can...

Is that the new criteria before exercising a right, showing a "need"?

Let's try some more, just for fun.

"Why do you need to have a late-term abortion? Why not have it earlier in the pregnancy?"

"Why do you need to marry your gay lover? What's wrong with shacking up?"

"Why does the NY Times need such a big printing press?"

"Why does the city need so many TV news programs? They all present pretty much the same information. Let's shut down a couple."

"You don't really need to attend church to worship God. You can do it at home. We're going to shut some of them down."

"What do you mean, you want to use a P.A. system at your anti-government rally? You don't need one to speak. Just talk louder."

This is easy.
9.21.2007 5:15pm
martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

These proposed rules seem like a good idea to me. Then again, what do I know, I've never wanted to shoot anybody in my life...
9.21.2007 5:30pm
Muskrat (mail):
Ummm.... what possible relevance does the description of a thirteen year-old piece of failed legislation have today? Is there some move afoot to bring it back? What evidence is there of such an effort? (No, the fact that you suspect -- heck, you're just sure -- that Hillary is secretly planing to throw all gun owners into a re-education camp is not proof of anything). While we're sweating out our fears of things from 1993, can I raise the spectre of the return of the sitcom "Dave's World"?
9.21.2007 5:32pm
JB:
That's the problem with divisive issues like this. There are many restrictions on gun ownership that are reasonable in and of themselves--the problem is that they can, once in place, easily be used to push for further steps toward a gun ban, and that that's the goal of the people pushing them.

The same's true for abortion, only the sides of the aisle are reversed.
9.21.2007 5:33pm
johnmilk (mail):
"Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech" and yet I could be arrested for shouting fire in a crowded place! The nerve! It's time we got our still-legal arsenals together and took over!
9.21.2007 5:34pm
pete (mail) (www):
"I've never wanted to shoot anybody in my life"

I've never wanted to shoot anyone either, but I have had my home burglarized twice and want to be able to protect my family if it happens agains. I do not want to shoot anyone, but I am willing to shoot someone if they threaten me or my family. Please show some respect for those of us who do not want us or our families to be victims. You can be as unprotected as you want and it is fine with me.
9.21.2007 5:39pm
The NJ Annuitant (mail):
The historical record presented here affirms my practice of never voting for a Democrat for anything.
9.21.2007 5:45pm
Virginian:
We (thankfully) did not hear much about new gun controls for the past 6 years. Now that the dems are salivating about regaining the white house, we are beginning to hear about it again. Apparently the dems already forgot the lesson they supposedly learned from the 2000 election (that gun control is bad politics in flyover country).
9.21.2007 5:47pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
"Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech" and yet I could be arrested for shouting fire in a crowded place!

I'm for reasonable gun restrictions like that: I don't think people should discharge firearms in a crowded place.
9.21.2007 5:48pm
govols:
Russ,

You and Justice Black would make good friends (I mean that as neither insult nor complement). You'll have a difficult time finding an ABSOLUTE right in any of our important bill of rights rights. The First? The Fourth? The Confrontation Clause? etc.

Even if the Courts recognize the 2nd amendment as an individual right, rather than a "collective" one, there will still be "reasonable restrictions" or balancing tests on gun possession, such as not bringing guns on planes. Would you argue otherwise? If not, good luck with that. If so, have fun watching Justice Kennedy parsing out what these reasonable restrictions can be.
9.21.2007 5:53pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I like the licensing requirement, and think it should be more widely applied. For example, to prevent child abuse, every prospective parent would be required to obtain a state baby license. The license would be good for no more than two years, because people will forget how to raise a child properly if not reminded. No-one could obtain a license without passing a state-controlled "childrearing" course. The fees for the license and the childrearing course would have no limits. The fees could be set far in excess of the state cost of providing the license and the course; instead, the fees could be a source of general revenue. Mandatory child limits are under review; after all, nobody needs more than two children.
9.21.2007 5:55pm
bittern (mail):
What's the theory on how-many-guns? I mean, I have only ten potential trigger fingers. How many guns could I possibly use at once?
9.21.2007 6:03pm
stormy (mail):
"Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech" and yet I could be arrested for shouting fire in a crowded place!

Are you saying we should ban mouths? Think about your analogy.
9.21.2007 6:03pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
bittern: good analogy. I hope you own just one pair of shoes (no flip-flops, no tevas, no hiking or work boots), and, if female, no more than two purses (left shoulder purse and right shoulder purse)
9.21.2007 6:06pm
Smokey:
My wife is a Principal at a middle school. Last year she called 9-1-1 to report a gang fight at her school. No police showed up. 15 minutes later, she called 9-1-1 again. No cops. She kept calling 9-1-1. Finally, after 4 1/2 hours, two cops showed up. But the gang members were long gone by then. Luckily, no one was hurt in that incident.

Every single one of these proposals is aimed directly, and only, at law abiding citizens. Brady II is just another step toward the confiscation of all lawful guns from honest citizens. It does zero with regard to the issue of criminals with guns.

But maybe if Brady II is passed, the cops will show up a little quicker next time you need them.
9.21.2007 6:12pm
Waldensian (mail):

and yet I could be arrested for shouting fire in a crowded place!

Well, only if there were no fire. I always thought that distinction was obvious, but I learned otherwise here at the VC. It turns out it's important to make the distinction, because otherwise the "fire in a crowded place" principle can be applied too broadly and sloppily in debates over free speech.

But I digress.

The problem with firearms regulations, as someone here pointed out a while ago, is that people proposing "reasonable" firearms regulations often are not doing so in good faith. Instead, they often are doing so as part of a larger agenda to simply ban the ownership of firearms. Now, we can quibble about how MANY people really want to ban, as opposed to reasonably regulate, firearms, but I submit that this overall point is just obviously true.

Such people engage in this end-around, this subterfuge, because they can't muster the political resources necessary to amend the federal (and a number of state) constitutions, which of course recognize the fundamental right to keep and bear arms.

By the way, I think that protecting a citizen's right to own an "arsenal" is EXACTLY what the framers of the US Constitution had in mind. The Second Amendment is not about hunting.
9.21.2007 6:19pm
Morat20 (mail):
We (thankfully) did not hear much about new gun controls for the past 6 years. Now that the dems are salivating about regaining the white house, we are beginning to hear about it again. Apparently the dems already forgot the lesson they supposedly learned from the 2000 election (that gun control is bad politics in flyover country).

As far as I can tell, I'm "hearing about it" not from Dems, but well -- places like this.

I haven't heard even the slightest rumblings of any sort of gun legislation on the federal level. Maybe I missed something, but frankly the gun issue appears to be arising more from desperate Republican wishing ("We need an issue to use against Dems!") than any sort of Democratic initiative.

From all appearances, the Democrats (at least on the federal level) have pretty much written off any sort of substantial gun legislation.
9.21.2007 6:21pm
Waldensian (mail):

bittern: good analogy. I hope you own just one pair of shoes (no flip-flops, no tevas, no hiking or work boots), and, if female, no more than two purses (left shoulder purse and right shoulder purse)

Solid point. And of course the Constitution doesn't enshrine a right to keep and bear shoes.

I should add that I have very few shoes, but by virtually any lay definition (i.e. short of the military), I own an "arsenal."

It's an even trade. I don't want to shoot anybody, and there isn't anybody who, once fully informed, would really want to break into my house at night. Seems fair to me.
9.21.2007 6:24pm
Kazinski:
Randy R.
The only gun I own is an 1866 Winchester replica (mine is not engraved and has a walnut stock). Its magazine holds 12 rounds. That means under Brady II my lever action Winchester rifle would be classed as a machine gun.

Does that seem "reasonable" to you?
9.21.2007 6:26pm
gab:

"Brady II would increase the taxes to 30% on handguns, and 50% on ammunition. So a $500 pistol would cost $650, and a $20 box of ammunition would cost $30."



Thanks for the math lesson Dave. Were you operating under the assumption that the people who would care about this post couldn't calculate the change on their own?
9.21.2007 6:27pm
Mark H.:
Folks, "Brady II" may be off the table (for now), but if you look at, for example, the answers Barack Obama has given on campaign issue surveys, he said YES to "Ban[ning] the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons."
9.21.2007 6:34pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT be infringed."

Maybe I'm missing how your "reasonable restrictions" would not violate this.



"A well regulated militia..."

And before the "properly operating" definition comes up, remember that a properly operating militia has regulations, discipline, training, etc.

I support the RKBA; I am afraid of those that want no restrictions whatsoever.
9.21.2007 6:36pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I support the right to abortion; I am afraid of those that want no restrictions whatsoever. Therefore, I propose mandatory counseling, a three-day cooling off period (lest in the heat of the moment, the woman do something she will regret forever), and spousal notification.
9.21.2007 6:46pm
Alan Gunn (mail):
The history of gun control in the UK is worth reading. It consists pretty much of a series of "reasonable" restrictions which led eventually to the virtual illegality of handguns (except for .22 pistols kept at all times at clubs) and to very stringent limits on rifles and shotguns. It can be found in Wikipedia under "Gun politics in the United Kingdom."

I understand that gun crime in the UK is up considerably. It seems that mostly it's the criminals there who have guns. Who'd a thought it?
9.21.2007 7:09pm
Edward Lunny (mail):
"And before the "properly operating" definition comes up, remember that a properly operating militia has regulations, discipline, training, etc.".........according to whom ?

What is your definition of "well regulated"

" I am afraid of those that want no restrictions whatsoever."......why ? Are you afraid of your neighbors ?
9.21.2007 7:13pm
Russ (mail):
Owen Hutchins,

Maybe you should try picking up a dictionary some time.

Webster's defines militia as, "the armed citizenry of a populace."

American Standard defines it as "all able bodied male citizens aged 18 years or greater."

The militia, in the framer's time, was the citizen populace itself. If Colonel Smith needed to defend an area or put down a local revolt, and didn't have enough regular troops, he would go down the street and pick up a few folks, like Farmer Bob, who would pull the gun off the mantle, fire two or three shots for God and country, and go back home, reatining his firearm.

You seem to have "militia" confused with "military." Slightly different term.

Even so, the 2nd part of the phrase says "the right of the PEOPLE." Please tell me, in lawyer speak, how the people aren't the people.
9.21.2007 7:15pm
Russ (mail):
govals,

Thanks for missing the sarcasm. I was impressed.
9.21.2007 7:16pm
martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

Yes, every time I go to the UK, I'm hoping I'll make it back alive. But seriously, I've heard this talk about the UK before, and as far as I can tell, the UK is about as safe as the rest of Europe, which, compared with the US, means pretty safe.

Despite what they say about lies, damned lies and statistics, I've found in the past that it is often useful to get some facts straight. From the Home Office:

p. 48:
• There were 839 deaths initially recorded as homicides in England and Wales based on cases recorded by the police in 2004/05. This is a decrease of two per cent on 2003/04.
• Seventy-two per cent of homicide victims were male.
• The most common method of killing at 29 per cent involved a sharp instrument.
• Shootings accounted for 9.4 per cent of homicides in 2004/05 compared with 8.7 per cent in 2003/04.
• Forty-one per cent of male victims and 70 per cent of female victims knew the main suspect.
• Overall the risk of being a victim of homicide was 15 per million population. Children under one year old were most at risk at 37 per million population, a decrease from 53 per million population in 2003/04.

p. 71:
• Firearms (including air weapons) were reported to have been used in 22,789 recorded crimes in 2004/05. This is five per cent down on the previous year, and the first fall since 1997.
• The overall fall masks a big increase in imitation weapon offences, up 55 per cent to 3,333. In contrast, air weapon offences fell by 14 per cent to 11,825. Handgun offences fell 15 per cent to 4,347.
• Less than three per cent of firearm crimes resulted in a serious or fatal injury in 2004/05. They numbered 631 crimes, five per cent fewer than in 2003/04. Within this total, there were 78 homicides involving firearms in 2004/05, up from 68 the previous year. Nine per cent of all
homicides in 2004/05 involved firearms (see chapter 2 for a full breakdown of homicides).
• The number of firearm crimes involving any type of injury has more than doubled in the six years to 2004/05: from 2,378 to 5,358. The largest rise was seen in crimes involving non-air weapons.
• Weapons (excluding air weapons) were fired in 44 per cent of firearm crimes. Handguns were fired in 13 per cent of the offences where they were involved, and shotguns in 34 per cent.
• The number of firearm robberies fell by nine per cent in 2004/05, the third consecutive annual fall. Thirty-five per cent of them were street robberies, which fell by 21 per cent to 1,316.
• Fifty-four per cent of all firearm offences (excluding air weapons) in 2004/05 occurred in just three police authorities: Metropolitan, Greater Manchester and West Midlands.
• Overall, firearms (including air weapons) were used in 0.4 per cent of all recorded crimes, or one in every 250. This proportion is halved when excluding air weapons.
9.21.2007 7:29pm
glangston (mail):
Morat 20

Rudy Courts NRA

While it may be true that the talk at this very moment is in the Republican ranks the staunch gun-grabbers like Feinstein, Schumer and McCarthy are on record as vowing to reinstate a "better" AWB. The [i]Parker[/i] case may thwart some of their zeal but it would be a mistake not to take them at their word. If Democrats end up with a more substantial majority in both houses it is nearly guaranteed that a new ban will be brought to a vote. There have already been several efforts by McCarthy and Feinstein. Feinstein attempted to pair it with legislation in Feb. 2005. McCarthy's renew the ban was more recent, 2007.
9.21.2007 7:33pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):

" I am afraid of those that want no restrictions whatsoever."......why ? Are you afraid of your neighbors ?



If they think they should have absolutely no restriction on firearms at all, yes. Do you think I should be allowed to walk up to the President with a gun? Should people be allowed to carry guns into court? Should the mentally ill be allowed to get them? Violent criminals?
9.21.2007 7:33pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):

You seem to have "militia" confused with "military." Slightly different term.

'
'
You seem to have me confused with someone else. I am quite aware of the meaning of the word "militia". Nor did I say the People could not have weapons. Nor did I say the 2nd only covers hunting. I said that a well regulated militia includes training and discipline (read up on it sometime, you could be fined if you failed to show up for drill, or screwed up).
9.21.2007 7:36pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):

I support the right to abortion; I am afraid of those that want no restrictions whatsoever. Therefore, I propose mandatory counseling, a three-day cooling off period (lest in the heat of the moment, the woman do something she will regret forever), and spousal notification.



The right to be able to have an abortion isn't unrestricted. Did you miss that?
9.21.2007 7:37pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Owen, with an annual death toll well over one million in the US, obviously abortion is not restricted enough. I only propose sensible limitations and reasonable restrictions.
9.21.2007 7:54pm
Edward Lunny (mail):
"If they think they should have absolutely no restriction on firearms at all, yes.".....are your neighbors that unstable ?........are you so unstable that you would try to approach the president with a firearm. Why do you automatically presume that the lack of firearms restrictions will inevitably lead to such occurances. Note that prior to the GCA of 1968, firearms related crime was not as severe as it is perceived to be now.


"The right to be able to have an abortion isn't unrestricted. Did you miss that?".....this is unrelated ,but, there is a physician in Kansas, I believe, whom performs abortions, on demand, regardless of the age or situation involved. No restrictions there.
9.21.2007 7:54pm
glangston (mail):
Why shouldn't we apply "strict scrutiny" to the 2nd Amendment rather than reasonable restrictions?

States like Vermont have few firearm laws and very low crime relating to the use of firearms.

We could have a good discussion on firearm safety but when one side is intent on generally banning weapons it makes that difficult.
9.21.2007 7:58pm
theobromophile (www):
Owen,

Distinguish "militia" from "troops." Generally, a militia is made up of every able-bodied free man, who was sometime required to arm himself. Discipline and training were not a necessary part thereof.

As for abortion: I have this dream of imposing the same restrictions on abortion as imposed on gun owners. Think of it - mandatory seven-day waiting periods, registration, background checks, someone to ensure that you and your boyfriend use the Pill and condoms after that, a limited number in one's lifetime (after all, does any woman need more than one?), a 50% tax levy, and a comprehensive list of people who cannot seek abortion.

Back to the Second Amendment... how on earth can you get a determination from your police chief that you "need" a gun? Is the guy psychic enough to know when your house will be robbed or your wife assaulted, but not psychic enough to stop it?

What is the idea behind this... if we just regulate people enough, we won't need to protect ourselves?
9.21.2007 8:03pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
martined: the US homicide rate at 56/million is just about the same as Glasgow's at 55/million
So let's be careful out there.
9.21.2007 8:03pm
Edward Lunny (mail):
I propose a politician and bureaucrat licensing program. Annually your finances would be audited, any unaccounted monies and/or assets would be seized and added to the general fund. A pledge of honesty would be required as an oath and signed to to campaign for and hold any office, any abrogation would mean immediate expulsion from office, seizure of all assets, and banishment from public office or liaison in perpetuity. The annual fee, 5% of the salary, would be deposited in the general fund. Nepotism would be strictly forbidden, can't have to many leaches from one family. One would only be able to hold or campaign for one postion at a time. Pay would be based on public opinion. These rules would apply to the federal, state ,and local level postions.
9.21.2007 8:11pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
When you read the actual provisions, they seem to me quite reasonable, actually. You can only buy one handgun per month? That still allows you 12 per year. How many do you need to protect yourself? One or two should do it, right?

Speaking as a very new gun owner that just purchased two within a week, no, not really. A .22LR handgun is necessary for anyone but the very richest to practice and get basic technique down -- everything else costs dimes or quarters per round, while 22LR costs pennies. It's also nearly useless for self-defense. Something above .380 ACP is necessary if you want to actually defend yourself (probably at least .357 and probably 10mm if you're limited to less than 10 rounds). A lot of people don't have two month's warning when someone's going to try and kill them.

That's assuming you never hunt, don't plan to do any target shooting (target pistol triggers are dangerous as self defense tools), don't need a 22 rifle, don't need varmit control...

Oh, and would prefer to have your name and the dates on which you've purchased a handgun in a giant database somewhere.

The tax on an arsenel seems fair too. Why would you need to stockpile weapons to such a degree? Seems strange, but hey, if you really need to, you still can. You just need to pay a little more for it.

"Arsenal" here includes 20 dollars worth of 22LR ammunition. That's two days of training ammo, maybe. Paying a 300 dollar tax, requiring a waiting period, fingerprinting, explicit permission from the zoning board (many of which are antigun), and a complete surrender of the right to protection from unlawful or warrant-less searches for 20 dollars of ammunition isn't just a violation of the 2nd, it'd fail even the rational scrutiny test.

Persons barred? Well, if you are ever convicted as a sex offender, you are labeled a sex offender for life, and you get your name published on the web. How is this any different?

Because most of us recognize a difference between raping a kid and

All firearms should be properly stored so people under 16 can't get access. What could possibly be wrong with that? I thought even the NRA agreed to that.

No; the NRA and even fairly 'normal' organizations like the Boy Scouts of America do not think so. We support the right to learn basic firearms technique, maintainance, and safety.

We don't support untrained use in any hands, or unmonitored use by young children. That's not what this law would stop.

Moreover, this law would prohibit even *showing* basic rifle or pistol skills, or simply trying to get the friggen Riflery merit badge.
9.21.2007 8:32pm
New Pseudonym (mail):
Seems to me that since just about every State defines the militia as every able-bodied male between 18 and somewhere around 50 (the 14th Amendment must have removed the "male" and the ADA the "able-bodied."), so doesn't that mean everyone of these ages has the right to at least one weapon of their choice to "keep?" Of course, when they get too old the government is required to purchase the weapon if it doesn't want to let them keep it under the takings clause.
9.21.2007 8:36pm
theobromophile (www):

and a complete surrender of the right to protection from unlawful or warrant-less searches for 20 dollars of ammunition isn't just a violation of the 2nd, it'd fail even the rational scrutiny test.

Well, it's not necessarily clear that you can require a person to waive one constitutional right in order to exercise another. The Left would throw a fit if we required criminal defendants to waive their right to double jeopardy protection in order to obtain state-funded counsel.
9.21.2007 8:41pm
Kevin P. (mail):
martinned:

Yes, every time I go to the UK, I'm hoping I'll make it back alive. But seriously, I've heard this talk about the UK before, and as far as I can tell, the UK is about as safe as the rest of Europe, which, compared with the US, means pretty safe.


We noticed you cherry picked your statistics, focusing heavily on homicide. In reality, with the sole exception of homicide, the US has a higher and rising level of violent crime than the US. You are much more likely to be a victim of home invasions and assault on the street in the UK than in the US.
9.21.2007 9:00pm
Kevin P. (mail):
Bah, that was meant to be "... the UK has a higher and rising level of violent crime than the US". I wish there was a way to edit a comment.
9.21.2007 9:03pm
Elliot123 (mail):
For the folks who oppose private gun ownership -

What is your view on self defense? Do you believe one has a right to defend themselves and their families? To what extent can they engage in such defense? Does one have the right to shoot an intruder who kicks down the front door? Does one have the right to strike the same intruder with a hatchet? Stab him with a knife? Force him to watch a Dennis Kucinich speech?
9.21.2007 9:07pm
Kevin P. (mail):
Here is a good nuanced comparison of violent crime in the US vs. the UK:

Crime in the UK versus Crime in the US
9.21.2007 9:18pm
martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

@Kevin P.: I did not cherry pick anything. From the document I linked to, I took the entire summaries for the chapter on homicide and the chapter on fire arms. There is a chapter on violent crime, too, but as long as that does not give data on both the crimes that make up that category and fire arms at the same time, I'm afraid it isn't very helpful. (It says how many violent crimes have been committed in each of six or so categories, and it says what percentage of violent crimes involved fire arms, which is what I copied from the fire arms chapter.) Ideally, one would like the percentage fire arm related and total for as many categories as possible, but the document does not provide this.

@Tony Tutins: We're comparing the city of Glasgow with the average for the entire US???
9.21.2007 9:19pm
Smokey:
Federal law already defines the unregulated militia. Of course, the Constitution trumps federal law if there is any question, and the Constitution itself doesn't limit the citizens' rights to any particular age.

And regarding Senators Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, who oppose allowing us ordinary citizens the protection of the 2nd Amendment, Schumer and Feinstein both have concealed-carry gun permits. When Feinstein got hers, she was the only non-law enforcement person in San Francisco, that oh-so-safe city, to be issued a permit.

But Schumer and Feinstein are special, doncha know. Not to mention monumental hypocrites.
9.21.2007 9:55pm
martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

@Kevin P.: Let me get this straight, the "good nuanced comparison" you're referring us to is a blog maintained by Charlton Heston's more extremist cousin. (Well, ok, I made the cousin part up.)

What was I saying about lies, damned lies and statistics? It's a definition thing, and, in many of these cases, it's also a survey setup issue. (Don't say I didn't warn you.)

Incidentally, that is one of the advantages of looking only at the murder/manslaughter/homicide numbers. These crimes are most likely to be reported, and whether the victim is dead or not is pretty objectively measurable. Not to mention the question whether a gun was involved. That leaves mainly the uncertainty about the different categories.

Just some more numbers that I happen to know by heart, because I can't be bother to google for any more: my country, the Netherlands, has a fairly stable homicide rate of about 200 a year. (30% fire arm related) Yes, that is for a whole year. Divide that over 16 million people equals 1,25 homicides per 100.000 per year. From my post above, 839 homicides in the UK for about 60 million people gives 1,4 per 100.000. Friend Tutins has 5,6 per 100.000 for the US, makes a difference of a factor 4-5. (Bearing in mind the damned lies thing, let's not try to be too precise.)

P.S. Just to get back on topic, I think it's high time the Supreme Court grant cert on a 2nd amendment case. Even though, off the top of my head, the only outlier among the circuits is the 5th (no surprise there), Miller is so long ago that many Americans seem to have forgotten what it said, so the Court should clarify whether it still thinks this is good law.
9.21.2007 9:55pm
33yearprof:
THIS is why a constant reminder that the ultimate goal of gun control is NO GUNS AT ALL is always in order. It is already occurring in the UK and Australia.

Joseph E. Olson and David B. Kopel, All the Way Down the Slippery Slope: Gun Prohibition in England and Some Lessons for Civil Liberties in America, 22 Hamline Law Review 399(1999).
9.21.2007 10:10pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
theobromophile
Well, it's not necessarily clear that you can require a person to waive one constitutional right in order to exercise another. The Left would throw a fit if we required criminal defendants to waive their right to double jeopardy protection in order to obtain state-funded counsel.


Well, normally I'd agree that's the case. The ACLU would get its panties in a twist if we required those who wanted protection from government-established religion to allow soldiers to station themselves in a home, or for women to vote also required them to give up the medical right to privacy that prevents abortion prosecutions.

But the 2nd Amendment has always been seen as "special".

The Ohio Supreme Court has, no less than three times, found the rights to keep and bear arms fundamental rights, yet goes on to subject laws which restrict those rights to mere intermediate scrutiny... and then let even those laws which would seldom pass intermediate scrutiny in other formats pass. The Massachusetts Supreme Court found that "there is nothing to suggest that, even in early times, due regulation of possession or carrying of firearms, short of some sweeping prohibition, would have been thought to be an improper curtailment of individual liberty or to undercut the militia system" in 1976, yet less than a decade later allowed sweeping prohibitions to pass. The New Hampshire constitution declares only those who have committed active rebellion as being lawful to disarm -- today anyone without a permit must be disarmed when entering a vehicle. The Supreme Court of the United States declared in Miller that the evidence or lack thereof of a militia use for a sawed-off shotgun would decide the case; today this defense would float about as well as a slab of granite.

Gun purchasers must already provide their information to the ATF, undergo a complete background check, and pay taxes. It's simply not a treated as a 'right' in the normal sense anymore.
9.21.2007 10:20pm
Dave Wangen (mail):

Let me get this straight, the "good nuanced comparison" you're referring us to is a blog maintained by Charlton Heston's more extremist cousin.


Ah, the Wonderful World of the Ad Hominem.

Here's an idea: attack the argument, not the person. "Charlton Heston's more extremist cousin" is a slur tossed out to avoid addressing the actual issue.

Are his facts correct? If so, _who freaking cares_ who made the website? And if not, state that they're not and give proof. Otherwise, it's a temper tantrum, not a debate.
9.21.2007 10:22pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Incidentally, that is one of the advantages of looking only at the murder/manslaughter/homicide numbers. These crimes are most likely to be reported, and whether the victim is dead or not is pretty objectively measurable. Not to mention the question whether a gun was involved. That leaves mainly the uncertainty about the different categories.

Except murder isn't about people being dead, or even shot. Murder is about intentionally killing someone against the law. The United States tracks and reports all killings as homicides, even those done justly by police or citizens, negligently, in a method unprovable as murder, et all. European countries, under EU and Interpol's directing, record only homicide convictions.

From what data I'm able to find, less than a third of all homicide cases result in a conviction.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics.
9.21.2007 10:29pm
Visitor Again:
Here's an idea: attack the argument, not the person. "Charlton Heston's more extremist cousin" is a slur tossed out to avoid addressing the actual issue.

Surely you'll make an exception for Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson since so many people on this board like to bash anything Sharpton and Jackson support on the ground that Sharpton and Jackson support it.
9.21.2007 10:39pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
martinned -- you are comparing the U.S. to a country with 1/6 the population, on a landmass the size of Oregon. I could cherrypick the northern tier of the U.S. to get 1/6 the population and look pretty good, because the South has always been far more homicidal than the North, or even the West. But it was easier just to pick out murderous Glasgow. I understand the U.K. is now pushing "Knife Control" as the key to driving down the homicide rate.

Being a multiracial society drives U.S. numbers higher. For example, from googling "Oregon homicide rate" I learn that the homicide rate among African-Americans (21.3 per 100,000) was nearly nine times the rate for whites (2.5 per 100,000). The homicide rate in strict-gun-control Mexico, source of 20 million U.S. immigrants, is 14.5 per 100,000. And I believe that non-whites are disproportionately homicidal in the U.K. as well.
9.21.2007 10:47pm
PersonFromPorlock:

Ummm.... what possible relevance does the description of a thirteen year-old piece of failed legislation have today?

Gun controllers have an idée fixe, so it behooves us to remember the future they'd impose on us if they could.
9.21.2007 10:52pm
Buckland (mail):
Never thought of myself as owning an arsenal before now. I own 2 guns (.12 gauge shotgun and .22 rifle). However I do like shooting clays (with the shotgun) and target practice (.22). Buying bulk ammo saves money. I'm guessing at this moment I have about 400 shotgun shells and 1,000 or so .22 shells in my safe.

Makes for a pretty wimpy arsenal if you ask me.
9.22.2007 12:11am
Gildas (mail):
Yes, every time I go to the UK, I'm hoping I'll make it back alive. But seriously, I've heard this talk about the UK before, and as far as I can tell, the UK is about as safe as the rest of Europe, which, compared with the US, means pretty safe.

You can't possibly believe that. It is true that the UK has (as it has always had, even when 5 year olds could buy a gun at the local ironmongers) a much lower murder rate than the USA. The gap is closing however.

However, just about every other crime is more prevalent there, and more widespread: you are far more likely to be a victim of crime in a leafy suburb or provincial town in England than the equivalent areas over here.

I say that as a Green Card holder who just moved over from the UK, and am greatly relieved to no longer encounter the pervasive threat of casual violence that hangs over almost all public spaces there.

How much of that is due to the gun laws versus the fact that the US actually sends criminals to prison (and keeps them there) is another subject altogether; but claiming that the US is more dangerous than the UK is flatly untrue. The average Briton endures a level of casual crime that would have most Americans (literally) up in arms.

It is also not the case that the UK is as safe as Europe. Most of the continent has lower crime rates than the UK (though higher than the US). And most of those countries (such as France or Sweden) have far more relaxed gun laws than England.

Oh, and I notice your statistical cite to the Home Office. Sadly, the British Government has thoroughly debauched its statistics of late to try to obscure the scale of the crime problem and the Home Office is mixed up in that. It should also be noted that this is the government body that has been responsible for the following recent gems:

* Advising people not to advertise that they have an iPod or cell phone (which is an interesting challenge when it rings) so as not to so tempt the muggers.

* Trying to blame the rise in street crime on the popularity of said iPods (you see if they weren't popular muggers would have nothing to steal)

* Losing track of hundreds of foreign criminals who were meant to be deported on release from jail, and then when the problem was discovered doing nothing about it for six months and thereby losing track of hundreds more!

(That is not to mention the casual incompetence, waste and mind-numbing inefficiency of the Home Office bureaucracy itself, which I witnessed when I worked on a project there for the better part of 2 years).

One final comment about the Home Office - they actually fund the British equivalent of the Brady Bunch. So can hardly be called a disinterested party. Yes, you heard that right: the government pays money to a political pressure group who then lobby the government for more laws.
9.22.2007 12:58am
Randy R. (mail):
Pretty funny, these comments. No one has said that they NEED to buy more than 12 guns in a year, only that they would like to.

So I guess the standard that everyone here would like to apply to the constitution is that whatever it is you would like, we should all accomodate it. Need has nothing to do with it.

Yet, of course, I would LIKE to marry my boyfriend, yet most of you are against allowing me that freedom. I guess freedom is only for people like you. But I digress.

Yes, I suppose there should be no limits to owning any arms at all. In fact, I think you should be able to own nuclear weapons, since the framers clearly intended any person the ability to create a war all by himself.

"If you outlaw nuclear weapons, only outlaws will own nuclear weapons."
9.22.2007 2:06am
Dave Wangen (mail):

So I guess the standard that everyone here would like to apply to the constitution is that whatever it is you would like, we should all accomodate it. Need has nothing to do with it.

Yet, of course, I would LIKE to marry my boyfriend, yet most of you are against allowing me that freedom. I guess freedom is only for people like you. But I digress.


Do you _need_ to comment on this board? No? Then the government should be able to prohibit you from doing so, right?

And MANY, MANY posters have pointed out to you that it is not about "buying more than 12 guns a year". It's being about being able to buy the guns YOU decide that YOU need, when YOU choose to.

And the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, unlike the right to marry your boyfriend, is actually mentioned _explicitly_ in the Constitution. Think that MIGHT have something to do with the difference in views?
9.22.2007 3:18am
JohnS:

So I guess the standard that everyone here would like to apply to the constitution is that whatever it is you would like, we should all accomodate it. Need has nothing nothing to do with it.

I decline to allow the government to determine my needs.
9.22.2007 4:35am
gattsuru (mail) (www):
No one has said that they NEED to buy more than 12 guns in a year, only that they would like to.

Yet someone pointed out a situation where someone's life could depend on two in a month.

Thank you for that wonderful display of moving goalposts from the actual text of the proposed law.

Yet, of course, I would LIKE to marry my boyfriend, yet most of you are against allowing me that freedom. I guess freedom is only for people like you. But I digress.

You can marry your boyfriend, legally. Even Dayton, Ohio, after the Constitutional ban on state recognition of gay marriage, can literally do nothing about a marriage ceremony or legal contract; they can only say they won't recognize the marriage.

Finding a group willing to do the ceremony is a pain, but that's a different problem.

Yes, I suppose there should be no limits to owning any arms at all. In fact, I think you should be able to own nuclear weapons, since the framers clearly intended any person the ability to create a war all by himself.

False assumption : arms even in the days of the Founding Fathers did not included crew-served weapons or high explosives.

Hell, I'm even for the pre-1990 of limitations on automatic firearms, simply so people don't end up hurting themselves. That might actually past intermediate scrutiny.

But we're not at, or even close to, that point. Even with today's 'successes' by the NRA, we're looking more at places where you have to deal with a rectal exam just for owning a firearm.
9.22.2007 11:21am
TomHynes (mail):
I'm afraid I am a few guns short of an arsenal.
9.22.2007 2:59pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I say that as a Green Card holder who just moved over from the UK, and am greatly relieved to no longer encounter the pervasive threat of casual violence that hangs over almost all public spaces there.

You are just a freaking liar. I travel and have lived extensively in England and Europe (and my parents and brother currently live in England). To say that there is a "pervasive threat of casual violence that hangs over almost all public spaces there" is an outright lie. There is no doubt that England has a serious problem with property crime and violent crime--but the vast majority of that is fueled by its very real and serious problems with alcohol and binge drinking. If you stay away from pubs where under and unemployed young men hang out, your chances of being the victim (or perpetrator) of violent crime will drop precipitously.

As for the rest of Europe, well, although they may have laxer gun control laws than England, they are certainly, on the whole, not less stringent than the U.S. And because they are Civil Law societies that generally have much more restrictive views on the right of self defense, the idea that guns are for self-defense (rather than military or hunting purposes) is almost a completely alien concept to the vast majority of Europeans (as it was to most English people even before they were effectively banned).

Most Europeans find the American attitude toward guns nothing less than insane, uncivilized and barbaric.
9.22.2007 3:10pm
rlb:
There is no doubt that England has a serious problem with property crime and violent crime--but the vast majority of that is fueled by its very real and serious problems with alcohol and binge drinking. If you stay away from pubs where under and unemployed young men hang out, your chances of being the victim (or perpetrator) of violent crime will drop precipitously.


For a second there I thought you might follow that with something about being much safer in the United States if you avoid drugs or young (minority) men-- but we're all enlightened here and we're supposed to talk about that, right?

And the European attitude toward guns comes from a long history of "gun control" imposed on their masses, first by the nobility and then later by elites fearful of revolution by the "inferior" classes. The Europeans are like abused kids who've grown up and are beating their own children.
9.22.2007 3:32pm
triticale (mail) (www):
Hell, I'm even for the pre-1990 of limitations on automatic firearms, simply so people don't end up hurting themselves. That might actually past intermediate scrutiny.

Actually, the 1986 cutoff on new fully automatic firearms entering the civilian market had exactly one effect, driving up prices. There are a quarter million NFA transferable machine guns in private hands in the United States, and the only recorded case of one being used to commit murder was when a rogue police officer used his personal weapon to take out a drug dealer. I have heard of only one person being accidentally injured by one, when it tipped over and fell on her. Once again, safety is being raised in a situation with no real danger.
9.22.2007 4:19pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I thought you might follow that with something about being much safer in the United States if you avoid drugs or young (minority) men-- but we're all enlightened here and we're supposed to talk about that, right?

Why would I need to throw in "minority". I would be just as worried walking into a biker or some redneck bar as I would where (minority) men hang out. And I am sure I would find about the same amount of drugs, alcohol abuse and irresponsible use of firearms (and possession of firearms by felons--not that you have a problem with that apparently, since any gun law is a bad one).

You might want to look into why it is now harder to buy sudafed than a gun in many parts of this country if you really think that all our crime problems are caused by minorities.
9.22.2007 4:32pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Was more referring to the registration and licensing acts that insure only people willing to think six months ahead are able to (legally) get their hands on one. Honestly got the machine gun registration ban date mixed up.

While a properly handled machine gun is no more inherently any more unsafe than a properly handled semiautomatic, revolver, or even single-shot muzzle-loading pistol, too many people aren't aware of the four rules or simply ignore them. A single poorly placed bullet is bad; five or six is much worse.
The GCA's requirements are a little overboard, but it'd be hard for them to not pass even strict scrutiny.
9.22.2007 4:37pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Six years ago, I asked an Austrian gun dealer why gun laws had tightened so much in Austria. Austrian citizens did not get the right to own firearms until 1851, in the wake of the failed 1848 revolution. He said that, basically, for decades teachers had taught school kids that guns were bad, they were useful only to kill people, and that having guns meant you were very likely to kill your family and friends.

Part of the problem in Europe is that gun ownership has been reduced to hobby status -- hunting and target shooting -- and the majority of the population doesn't care if a few geeks have to give up their hobby if it makes the rest of the population feel safer.
9.22.2007 4:41pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
it is now harder to buy sudafed than a gun in many parts of this country Try again, unless you have to do more than fill out an ATF Form 4473, and go through an instant background check, to buy sudafed.
9.22.2007 4:49pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Regarding the NFA (Prohibition-era regulation of machine guns and sawed-off shotguns): realize that Congress decided to regulate these guns under their taxing power ($200 a firearm) because they feared they could not prohibit them under the Second Amendment. Miller was prosecuted for not having evidence he had paid the tax for his sawed-off.
9.22.2007 4:55pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
While a properly handled machine gun is no more inherently any more unsafe than a properly handled semiautomatic, revolver, or even single-shot muzzle-loading pistol, too many people aren't aware of the four rules or simply ignore them.

Tell that to the 20,000 dead on the first day of the Somme. The machine gun is a weapon of mass destruction. It (or any fully automatic weapon) has no use other than its military use--that is to kill large numbers of people or cover a wide area with a lot of bullets quickly. By no stretch of the imagination could it be considered a weapon for civilian self-defense (or hunting)--or even sport, unless you consider merely expending lots of ammunition, making lots of noise and shredding things "sport". If you think that the second amendment is truly about the need to maintain a citizen's militia to prepare for the revolution when Hillary takes over, fine. But don't pretend that there is a legitimate need or non-military use for machine guns or that they are "safe" in any ordinary meaning of the word.
9.22.2007 5:09pm
Steve2:
Is there a reason to consider gun ownership a right besides that it's named as such in the 2nd Amendment? Other Bill-protected rights - the 1st Amendment ones, for instance - can be identified as rights without reliance on the constitution. A real right can even be established when the constitution flat-out denies it: the right to be free of enslavement existed prior to the 13th Amendment. So is there that sort of reason for treating gun ownership as a right, or not? I don't think I've ever heard someone advance one, unless the utilitarian arguments (they make self-defense more effective, they make it easier to protect real rights from tyrants, etc.) are rights-based arguments in a way.
9.22.2007 5:11pm
rlb:
I thought you might follow that with something about being much safer in the United States if you avoid drugs or young (minority) men— but we're all enlightened here and we're supposed to talk about that, right?
Why would I need to throw in "minority". I would be just as worried walking into a biker or some redneck bar as I would where (minority) men hang out. And I am sure I would find about the same amount of drugs, alcohol abuse and irresponsible use of firearms . . . .

Except that I said "drugs or young minority men"— just couldn't resist the race card reflex could you? Left-wing loonies are so darned predictable.
9.22.2007 5:15pm
rlb:
Oh, and to actually address the substance of the "I'm just as afraid of young rednecks" comment-- the homicide victimization rates for males aged 15-19, per 100,000 (source):

3.6 - Non-Hispanic Whites
25.1 - Hispanics
58.9 - Blacks

Of course we don't know the race of all the offenders but we do know, first, that it's about 85-90% intra-racial, and second, that significantly more interracial homicides are committed by minorities than by whites. Keep on blaming guns.

And, yeah, I know your instinct is to call me a racist (see above), but look in the mirror, buddy. You're the one with the irrational prejudices.
9.22.2007 5:31pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I know your instinct is to call me a racist (see above), but look in the mirror, buddy. You're the one with the irrational prejudices.

Well, before I called you racist, I would have to find out if you think that the admittedly shockingly higher homicide victimization and generally higher crime and incarceration rate among black Americans is because blacks are disproportionately poor, come from broken homes, have less access to adequate education, and are subject to a myriad of other disadvantages and problems that have deep cultural, historical and sociological roots that cannot be easily solved and this country is only just beginning to address. Or do you believe that over the past forty years we have bent over backwards for black folks. They have been given all the advantages and the government has spent way too much money trying to lift them out of poverty, and they have squandered them all and still welfare cheating, lazy, gang-banging violent beasts. Their inability to conform to civilized society must be genetic.

If it is the latter, well then yes, I will call you a racist.
9.22.2007 6:03pm
rlb:
What if I believe that both are true (well, to some extent...)?

But it's funny that you didn't mention "and blacks have such higher rates of gun ownership"-- because we know that's not true, don't we?
9.22.2007 6:10pm
triticale (mail) (www):
The machine gun is a weapon of mass destruction. It (or any fully automatic weapon) has no use other than its military use--that is to kill large numbers of people or cover a wide area with a lot of bullets quickly. By no stretch of the imagination could it be considered a weapon for civilian self-defense (or hunting)--or even sport, unless you consider merely expending lots of ammunition, making lots of noise and shredding things "sport".

There is in fact submachine gun target competition. Trigger control (the ability to generate short bursts) is nearly as important as aim.
9.22.2007 6:20pm
Gildas (mail):
You are just a freaking liar. I travel and have lived extensively in England and Europe (and my parents and brother currently live in England). To say that there is a "pervasive threat of casual violence that hangs over almost all public spaces there" is an outright lie. There is no doubt that England has a serious problem with property crime and violent crime--but the vast majority of that is fueled by its very real and serious problems with alcohol and binge drinking. If you stay away from pubs where under and unemployed young men hang out, your chances of being the victim (or perpetrator) of violent crime will drop precipitously.

Right back at you buddy. I haven't frequented pubs much in years, yet I regularly encountered precisely the same kind of thuggery you are alluding to by bringing up pubs, in among other places:

* the bus station I went to every day
* the bicycle paths through town
* walking to the supermarket
* in the center of town, where despite the number of shops and shoppers it was a noteworthy experience to see a cop
* outside my office building in one of the more affluent parts of London
* in my local park
* on the train
* in the street outside my house, where a derelict once took up residence and there was nothing that anyone would do to remove him, even when he started prowling around people's gardens [in fact once after he'd been arrested for drunkenness the police dropped him right back after he'd dried out]
* in the small rural village where my parents lived where no one would dream of leaving a door unlocked
I can't speak for your experience from your visits to England but I can tell you that since moving here I have lost count of the number of times I've done or seen something and then thought - "...would never have done that in England for fear of ...". It truly is liberating to live somewhere with as low a crime rate was where I now do.
You are right though to point to the relationship between drinking and the crime problem - but public drinking is far from limited to pubs.

As for the rest of Europe, well, although they may have laxer gun control laws than England, they are certainly, on the whole, not less stringent than the U.S.

Never said they did. I merely pointed out that it was wrong to claim that the UK is as safe as Europe.

...the idea that guns are for self-defense ... is almost a completely alien concept to the vast majority of Europeans (as it was to most English people even before they were effectively banned).

Yet when BBC Radio 4's Today Programme had a poll for listeners to pick a Parliamentary Bill for an MP (who had volunteered to introduce it on their behalf) they overwhelmingly voted for one which would give homeowners immunity for killing burglars. And the Today Programme is one many conservatives don't even listen to given how left-wing it is. The MP welched on the deal, naturally.

People in England have a schizophrenic relationship with guns. On the one hand a lot of them will tell you they hate guns and want them banned. On the other they are all for self defense and when from time to time someone who happens to be a gun owner shoots or scares off a villain with it they rapidly rally to their cause.

Most Europeans find the American attitude toward guns nothing less than insane, uncivilized and barbaric.

And?

Besides, I don't know about the Europeans but English people don't. As it happens a few years ago The Observer did some regional polling in England and once you removed the views of Greater London from the results it was quite startling how much more 'American' their views were. For example, most Yorkshiremen were in favor of Concealed Carry.
9.22.2007 6:24pm
Elliot123 (mail):
JF Thomas: "I would have to find out if you think that the admittedly shockingly higher homicide victimization and generally higher crime and incarceration rate among black Americans is because blacks are disproportionately poor, come from broken homes, have less access to adequate education, and are subject to a myriad of other disadvantages and problems that have deep cultural, historical and sociological roots that cannot be easily solved and this country is only just beginning to address."

So, what is it about the poor that disposes them to murder? Can you tell us the specific disadvantages faced by the average black born in the US in 1990?
9.22.2007 7:09pm
Smokey:
Visitor Again

[Responding to]: "Charlton Heston's more extremist cousin" is a slur tossed out to avoid addressing the actual issue.
''Surely you'll make an exception for Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson since so many people on this board like to bash anything Sharpton and Jackson support on the ground that Sharpton and Jackson support it.''
There, class, you have a prime example of the 'red herring' argument, which libs employ here to deliberately distract from the specific issue being discussed: the attack on the 2nd Amendment.
9.22.2007 8:32pm
Gildas (mail):
You might want to look into why it is now harder to buy sudafed than a gun in many parts of this country...

This comment intrigues me, because it offers us all a particular insight into your thinking about means to ends (irrespective of your views as to the relative importance of the two issues, which is a separate matter entirely).

Did you make this comparison because you think those laws about registering your drug purchases are a fantastic, wonderful crime-fighting tool that should be extended?

Or, do you think those laws are ridiculous and ineffective restrictions which inconvenience law-abiding folks but do nothing to stop crystal meth-amphetamine production?
9.22.2007 8:57pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Is there a reason to consider gun ownership a right besides that it's named as such in the 2nd Amendment? Other Bill-protected rights - the 1st Amendment ones, for instance - can be identified as rights without reliance on the constitution. A real right can even be established when the constitution flat-out denies it: the right to be free of enslavement existed prior to the 13th Amendment

I'd say so.

I mean, the Battles of Lexington and Concord started over an attempt by the British government to disarm the (definitely not-state) militia. Most other traits, fit.
9.22.2007 9:57pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):

I mean, the Battles of Lexington and Concord started over an attempt by the British government to disarm the (definitely not-state) militia. Most other traits, fit.



err, no. They were moving to disarm the militia of the colony, which was very much a "state" militia.
9.23.2007 12:11am
gattsuru (mail) (www):
It was two years before the Declaration of Independence was written, three years before the Articles of Confederation. The 77 militiamen of Lexington were not appointed by the Massachusetts government -- the British troops were coming from Boston, on the orders of General Thomas Gage, the military 'governor' of the state. While a good number of the stores remaining at Lexington consisted of ordinance, some privately owned arms are known to have remained, and a vast number were originally stored there.

To call it a state militia would be like calling the protesters at Tiananmen Square government advocates.
9.23.2007 1:42am
Bitzflick (mail):
I find it in-congruent that out of the First Ten Amendments, nine of them concerned personal protections for citizens and only the second concerned State's rights. I realize that the catcher is the wording "militia" and there being no organized militia now except for the National Guard. My concern is after the 2nd amendment is eroded to be mealiness, which one will the Congress go after next. Free speech?

History has proven that armed citizens can't be controlled by dictators. Crime rates have actually gone down in the States with "Concealed carry" laws and is out of control in countries like England, Australia and Canada where all firearms are illegal and have been confiscated. Good examples of uncontrollable countries because of armed citizens are like our own Revolutionary War, Vietnam, Pakistan and Iraq just to name a few. The Russians gave up after twenty years of war fighting armed citizens in Pakistan.

I've read Professor Volokh's writings and still think he is wrong on his interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. However, I realize I'm in the minority. I still feel that gun ownership gives one the feeling of power (safety). Eventually, I imagine, the gun control people will win and the citizens of the great country will disarmed and have to give up their guns. My fear is that the United States is rapidly becoming a "Police State".
9.23.2007 10:57am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Good examples of uncontrollable countries because of armed citizens are like our own Revolutionary War, Vietnam, Pakistan and Iraq just to name a few.

Ah, I see, Bitzflick looks forward to a U.S. where the conditions are similar to those in present day Iraq or the tribal areas of Pakistan. Man, that is Utopia.
9.23.2007 11:37am
K Parker (mail):
J.F.,
The machine gun is a weapon of mass destruction.
I love how you think your idiosyncratic personal definitions of terms have any relevance in a public discussion.
9.23.2007 12:33pm
Bitzflick (mail):
Ref J. F. Thomas's thinking I'm looking forward to an uncontrollable society: I'm not but.... it's not out of the realm of possibility given the divide in the country. Certainly, I will not be around when it happens (I'm seventy) but I fear for what kind of society my children are going to live in. Given the corrupt congress we have, in both parties, it just may come to it. Nikita Khrushchev was right. The East really doesn't have to do anything because the United States will self destruct on it's own.
9.23.2007 12:56pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
The point I found interesting was the funding of HillaryCare through these new taxes.
9.23.2007 1:01pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Not that gun rights supporters are looking forward to chaos, but those who believe the Second Amendment right is irrelevant to our times often argue that an armed citizenry cannot effectively fight a modern country's military. But I knew that we were going to have a tough time in Iraq when the TV news showed Iraqis stocking up on guns and ammo, in the run up to the U.S. invasion.
9.23.2007 1:58pm
rlb:
The machine gun is a weapon of mass destruction.

Next he's going to argue for machete control.
9.23.2007 2:29pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
But I knew that we were going to have a tough time in Iraq when the TV news showed Iraqis stocking up on guns and ammo, in the run up to the U.S. invasion.

But I thought dictators didn't trust their citizens with guns. What gives?

I love how you think your idiosyncratic personal definitions of terms have any relevance in a public discussion.

Sorry, but the administration is the one who has denigrated the term WMD to include weapons that are much less deadly than the machine gun. There have been two wars in this century where both chemical weapons and machine guns have been used extensively, World War I and the Iran-Iraq War. I know for a fact that the machine gun was responsible for vastly more death and injury in the WWI (and was an infinitely more effective weapon) and I daresay the same was true in the latter. Compared to the machine gun, chemical weapons are inefficient, difficult to use, extremely difficult to target, and just aren't a very effective weapon at all.
9.23.2007 2:35pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Next he's going to argue for machete control.

If me thinking that civilians should not be allowed to own machine guns makes me some kind of extremist dangerous leftist in your mind, then you are beyond reasoning with.
9.23.2007 2:39pm
rlb:
So, how 'bout it: who's more likely to live in a household with a gun- the white teenager or the poor, disadvantaged black teenager? You'll just kind go quiet about that, 'cause I think you know that the "rednecks" are about three times more likely to have a gun.

You want to take away a Constitutional right and you can't even rationalize it-- sounds like a dangerous leftist to me. Why not go after the equal protection clause instead?
9.23.2007 2:56pm
Smokey:
Next he's [JFT] going to argue for machete control.
Already a fact in the UK, where the push for knife control followed gun control like night follows day.
9.23.2007 3:28pm
WHOI Jacket:
Thomas, Civilians CAN OWN machine guns already. You have to have an ATF Class III license.

Wait, if Machine guns are WMDs, then I guess we DID find some in Saddam's army. Your logic astounds me.

What about airplanes? Lots of people died during the firebomings of Dresden and Tokyo. Is a Boeing 747 a WMD?
9.23.2007 3:30pm
NYSRPA (mail) (www):
This is old news. The goal of the Brady's has always been nothing short of total gun prohibition with confiscation to speed it along.
9.23.2007 4:21pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Lots of people died during the firebomings of Dresden and Tokyo. Is a Boeing 747 a WMD?

Actually, deliberately targeting personnel, be they military or legitimate civilian targets, with incendiaries is now prohibited under the laws of war. And strategic bombing (obviously the 747 is a civilian, not an offensive military aircraft, so that is a silly question) has been controversial since it was first envisioned.
9.23.2007 5:18pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Thomas, Civilians CAN OWN machine guns already. You have to have an ATF Class III license.

I realize this. I still don't think that my view that no civilians should be allowed to own machine guns, in and of itself, makes me some raving lunatic. Rather, I think if you took a poll on what position would be closer to that of a raving lunatic, the vast majority of sensible people in this country would say that people who believe there should be absolutely no restrictions on the ownership of machine guns are raving lunatics and that people like me would be considered quite sane.

And people on this board seem to impute all kinds of opinions to me that I simply haven't stated. I bet not one of you can actually fairly state my position on gun control (or the second amendment) and back it up with statements I have made in this thread or any other.
9.23.2007 5:25pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
J. F. Thomas:

“The machine gun is a weapon of mass destruction.”

Funny that you think of the machine gun as a WMD because of WWI. How about the shotgun? The US used the shotgun in WWI with devastating effectiveness. American military police and infantrymen brought over the Winchester Model 97 and it soon became known as the “trench sweeper.” Shotgun use was so successful that on September 19, 1918 the German government issued a diplomatic protest asserting that American use of the shotgun as contrary to the laws of war. For details see Thomas F. Swearengen The World’s Fighting Shotguns (1978), or Joint Service Combat Shotgun Program (JSCSP) as described in The Army Lawyer (October 1997).

Of course we shouldn’t compare a heavy machine gun like the Vickers, which required an 8-man team to operate to a single shotgun carried by one soldier. A more apt comparison would be to a fully automatic assault rifle (classified as a machine gun under US law). According to JSCSP

“… the probability of hitting a man-sized target with a shotgun was superior to that of all other weapons.” (Based on British experience in Malaya)

In contemporary usage the term “Weapons of Mass Destruction” applies to nuclear weapons, both strategic and tactical, chemical weapons like nerve gas and bioweapons like anthrax. That is, weapons that can be launched by a small team or even a single person that can spread destruction or a very wide area affecting a large population. Under this definition fuel-air bombs might quality, but certainly not the machine guns.

As to the battle of the Somme, you might as well classify swords as WMD. A mere 10,000 Roman Soldiers took on 230,000 Iceni in the Battle of Watling Street in AD 61, and killed some 230,000 of them (estimates vary). All this without machine guns.
9.23.2007 5:51pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
In contemporary usage the term “Weapons of Mass Destruction” applies to nuclear weapons, both strategic and tactical, chemical weapons like nerve gas and bioweapons like anthrax.

Actually, chemical weapons should not be considered WMDs. They are a battlefield weapon, not a very effective one, and a weapon of terror, but hardly a WMD. Even our most advanced nerve agents are non-persistent and even heavily contaminated areas are safe to reenter after only a few days. My point is if you are going to call chemical weapons WMDs, then machine guns most certainly are of the same class.

Biological weapons--if anyone has really perfected them--are theoretically quite another thing altogether.
9.23.2007 6:09pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
“… the probability of hitting a man-sized target with a shotgun was superior to that of all other weapons.” (Based on British experience in Malaya)

Except for a .22 rifle in Boy Scouts, I have never fired a gun. But I'll make you a bet, give me a M240 and I'll let you choose any shotgun you want. We'll square off at 300 meters. I bet I hit you first.
9.23.2007 6:16pm
glangston (mail):
Re: Machine Guns

The Vietnam era M-16 was a select fire weapons with full auto. With the present version the selector is Safe, Semi, and 3 shot burst. Wasting ammo and relatively poor accuracy and effect were the reasons.

I always wonder about people who insist that civilians shouldn't own machine guns. Swiss militia members store them in their homes. The estimate is around 400,000 Sig 550's in civilian hands.

Just what purpose does restricting civilian ownership have? Assuming of course that people meet the normal federal restrictions, not a felon, not a mental defective etc. I'm guessing it makes some people feel safer and that they have some convincing argument (other than common sense) that backs this us with facts.
9.23.2007 6:32pm
Elliot123 (mail):
J F Thomas: "I still don't think that my view that no civilians should be allowed to own machine guns, in and of itself, makes me some raving lunatic."

Of course not. There are other reasons.
9.23.2007 7:02pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
J. F. Thomas:

“Actually, chemical weapons should not be considered WMDs. They are a battlefield weapon, not a very effective one, …”

According to Wikipedia a “weapon of mass destruction” is defined as:

“… weapons which can kill large numbers of human beings, animals and plants. The term covers several weapon types, including nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) and, increasingly, radiological weapons.”
Note that chemical weapons are included in the definition. According to this article, “WMD” is actually an archaic term resurrected by Madeleine Albright and other politicians, and “They referred more specifically to the chemical weapons that were in Iraq under Hussein’s regime.”

If you go over to the Wikipedia entry on “Chemical warfare” you will this sentence:

Chemical weapons are classified as weapons of mass destruction by the United Nations, and their production and stockpiling was outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993.

Nowhere have I seen anyone classify a machine gun as a WMD. Perhaps on Planet Thomas they are, but here on Planet Earth most of don’t.
9.23.2007 7:35pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Swiss militia members store them in their homes. The estimate is around 400,000 Sig 550's in civilian hands.

And of course the idea that those militia members would even consider or be permitted to use those weapons for personal defense is a completely alien concept in Swiss society. Those weapons are for military purposes only and are strictly controlled by the government.
9.23.2007 7:52pm
Smokey:
J.F. Thomas:
"Actually, chemical weapons should not be considered WMDs. They are a battlefield weapon, not a very effective one, and a weapon of terror, but hardly a WMD. Even our most advanced nerve agents are non-persistent and even heavily contaminated areas are safe to reenter after only a few days."
Wrong on all counts. But hey, it's just JFT winging it again.
9.23.2007 9:04pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Those weapons are for military purposes only and are strictly controlled by the government."

When the weapon and ammunition are in Hans' closet at home, how does the government exercise strict control?
9.23.2007 9:21pm
rlb:
Maybe the government exercises strict control over the use of the weapons...

Imagine that!
9.23.2007 9:32pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
“But I'll make you a bet, give me a M240 and I'll let you choose any shotgun you want. We'll square off at 300 meters.”

That’s not an appropriate comparison. The M240 is fired from a tripod, it’s not designed to be carried and used by a single soldier in motion. Moreover, the shotgun is a close range weapon, not designed for a distance of 300 meters. You might as well compare it to a cannon or a sniper rifle. As I said before, compare a shotgun to a fully automatic assault rifle in terms of overall danger. The more controls we place on handguns and rifles the more criminals will turn to shotguns, increasing the danger to innocent civilians. Of course the gun control people know this, but they can’t come out against shotguns. They will do that later. The agenda is to take all weapons out of the hands of civilians.
9.23.2007 10:18pm
Ian Argent (mail) (www):
Um, how does a government exercise strict control over the use of a weapon?
9.23.2007 10:25pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
When the weapon and ammunition are in Hans' closet at home, how does the government exercise strict control?

Well, the government knows who has each and every one of those rifles and every round of ammunition as well. And if the local police show up one evening (which they will frequently) and ask to see Hans' rifle, it damn well better be under lock and key and the ammunition better be still sealed in its original container and separately under lock and key. If it isn't, well poor Hans is in a heap o' trouble.

Wrong on all counts. But hey, it's just JFT winging it again.

Wrong on what counts? Your website has several points wrong. Firstly, it is wrong that VX is commonly called VX gas. Anybody who knows anything about VX would never call it a gas, it has the consistency of mineral oil. Secondly, they have the toxicity all wrong. It is almost as deadly and quick acting through the skin as it is through inhalation--that is in a matter of seconds. Good luck trying to live for hours after a dermal exposure of VX. And although the website claims that VX is persistent, it doesn't give a time frame. Its persistence in the environment is relatively short (at least in a tactical sense). Even a heavily contaminated area will drop below background levels within a couple weeks.
9.23.2007 11:00pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
That’s not an appropriate comparison.

Well of course not, you are the one who made the silly blanket unqualified statement that started this (assuming that just because I don't own guns I don't know anything about them).
9.23.2007 11:04pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
There is a tiny grain of truth in what jft is saying, in that once you have been mustered out of the Swiss Army, in order to keep your beloved assault rifle it must be converted to semi-automatic.
9.23.2007 11:39pm
Ian Argent (mail) (www):
Got it - a government controls people who obey the law. Just checking...
9.23.2007 11:51pm
Jim at FSU (mail):

JF Thomas wrote:
*snip*The machine gun is a weapon of mass destruction *snip*


I don't think you appreciate what is meant by mass destruction, but lets not digress. You're talking about tripod mounted and emplaced medium/heavy machine guns.

Federal law covers a large variety of other weapons. Pistol caliber weapons and select fire rifles are not functionally very different from legal rifles and pistols. They can safely and appropriately used for self defense and sporting purposes. The benefit of full auto on hand-held weapons is that it makes the weapon more effective at close ranges. For there to be a benefit of full auto at longer ranges, you need to fix the weapon very solidly to the ground, usually by attaching it to something heavy.

Even so, those bigger belt fed things you are talking about are much less effective than gun-fearing morons like you tend to think. Unless you charge across an open field at a machine gun, they are not particularly effective. This was discovered DURING WWI when Americans used aimed rifle fire instead of bayonet charges to devastating effect. The weaknesses of such weapons are manifold:
1) direct line of sight for the most part, meaning that for you to hit the enemy you have to expose your head to the enemy. Helmets don't work against rifle fire.
2) extremely heavy to the point of nearly being stationary, making it easy to hit the operators of such weapons.
3) extremely conspicuous due to noise and tracers and large amounts of lead being flung- attracting enemy rifle fire to your non-moving head as in 1) and 2)

Taking out a fixed and unsupported gun position is infantry tactics 101. One group puts fire on him to make him retract his head (see above), the other flanks and shoots him. Even a lone individual without any weapons can simply avoid a belt fed machine gun because of how conspicuous they are. It only sucks when someone is ordering you to charge directly towards one.

Predictably, belt-fed machine guns have never been used in a crime, unless you count the various government sponsored crimes against the indians. And those were mostly gatling guns, which don't count as machine guns under modern law.
9.24.2007 12:06am
Jim at FSU (mail):

Well of course not, you are the one who made the silly blanket unqualified statement that started this (assuming that just because I don't own guns I don't know anything about them).


You don't, which is the source of your statement about "machine guns" (however you define that term) being weapons of "mass destruction." Many of these implements are far less awesome than you have been lead to believe. A machine gun doesn't render the user invincible. All it does is make him conspicuous.

If I were worried about an uppity populace, I would be far more worried about guys with hunting rifles than guys with machine guns. An ordinary machine gun can chew through several thousand rounds of 308 to kill a single guy. A hunting rifle in that same caliber can kill lots of people with a few dozen rounds with far less likelihood of being detected or killed.
9.24.2007 12:15am
A. Zarkov (mail):
“Well of course not, you are the one who made the silly blanket unqualified statement that started this (assuming that just because I don't own guns I don't know anything about them).”

I think you have me confused with someone else. I simply dispute classifying a machine gun (of whatever type) as a WMD. I also dispute not classifying chemical weapons as a WMD.
9.24.2007 12:43am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Taking out a fixed and unsupported gun position is infantry tactics 101.

Well gee, I guess that is why infantry tactics 101 is includes making sure your fixed gun positions are not unsupported (intersecting fields of fire and all that kind of stuff). Give me a little credit.

You don't, which is the source of your statement about "machine guns" (however you define that term) being weapons of "mass destruction." Many of these implements are far less awesome than you have been lead to believe.

My point was, if you will look above, is that machine guns have been a much more effective and efficient weapon of war (and killed countless more people) than chemical weapons ever have. And that contrary to what you have been led to believe, chemical weapons are far less awesome than advertised.
9.24.2007 12:48am
Sandro Rettinger:
"Arsenal" here includes 20 dollars worth of 22LR ammunition. That's two days of training ammo, maybe. Paying a 300 dollar tax, requiring a waiting period, fingerprinting, explicit permission from the zoning board (many of which are antigun), and a complete surrender of the right to protection from unlawful or warrant-less searches for 20 dollars of ammunition isn't just a violation of the 2nd, it'd fail even the rational scrutiny test.

Gattsuru: So does the $200 transfer tax on a $3 silencer, but that hasn't stopped the Feds from enforcing that law since 1934.

Except for a .22 rifle in Boy Scouts, I have never fired a gun. But I'll make you a bet, give me a M240 and I'll let you choose any shotgun you want. We'll square off at 300 meters. I bet I hit you first.

J.F. Thomas: There are a number of comments you've made that are worth responding to, but I'll just go with this one. I'll take that bet. Just make sure you've made a will and contacted a funeral home, first.

That said, you're right, that full-auto weapons have a primarily military purpose. And that still doesn't mean a damned thing as regards the legitimacy of restricting their ownership, with regards to the original meaning of the Second Amendment.
9.24.2007 2:28am
glangston (mail):
JF Thomas

When the weapon and ammunition are in Hans' closet at home, how does the government exercise strict control?
Well, the government knows who has each and every one of those rifles and every round of ammunition as well. And if the local police show up one evening (which they will frequently) and ask to see Hans' rifle, it damn well better be under lock and key and the ammunition better be still sealed in its original container and separately under lock and key. If it isn't, well poor Hans is in a
heap o' trouble.




So your point is that guns should be stored safely, not that machine guns shouldn't be kept by civilians?

It's well understood that this rifle was given to Hans by the Swiss government as well as a supply of ammo. However, .556 or .308 ammo is common. Hans could and would have a separate supply of this ammo for his personally owned semi-auto or bolt action rifle. Target shooting is a big sport there.

The playground mentality that all will be punished (ban civilian ownership of any particular item) for the predictable bad acts of a few is anathema to freedom and our rights.
9.24.2007 2:39pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Target shooting for the Swiss begins at ages 8 and 9, although children cannot compete with the assault rifle until they are 17.
Although you are issued 50 cartridges in a sealed can, practice is encouraged, and you must score 65 points on the obligatory shooting test at least once a year, or pay a 100 frank fine. Naturally if you can't do it, you must practice till you can.
5 shots single fire - Target Ring A5 (or better) - 5 points each
5 shots single fire - Target Ring B4 - 4 points each
1 x 2 shots rapid fire (20 seconds) - Target Ring B4 - 4 points each
1 x 3 shots rapid fire (20 sec) - Target Ring B4 - 4 pts. each
1 x 5 shots rapid fire (40 sec) - Target Ring B4 - 4 pts. each
9.24.2007 3:23pm
Elliot123 (mail):
JF Thomas: "My point was, if you will look above, is that machine guns have been a much more effective and efficient weapon of war (and killed countless more people) than chemical weapons ever have."

Swords and spears have killed many more than chemical weapons, too. Are swords and spears WMDs?
9.24.2007 4:51pm
Smokey:
J.F. Thomas incorrectly asserted upthread that:
"...chemical weapons should not be considered WMDs. They are a battlefield weapon, not a very effective one, and a weapon of terror, but hardly a WMD. Even our most advanced nerve agents are non-persistent and even heavily contaminated areas are safe to reenter after only a few days."
When it was pointed out that he was factually wrong on all counts, JFT then replied:
"Wrong on what counts? Your website has several points wrong. Firstly, it is wrong that VX is commonly called VX gas. Anybody who knows anything about VX would never call it a gas, it has the consistency of mineral oil. Secondly, they have the toxicity all wrong. It is almost as deadly and quick acting through the skin as it is through inhalation--that is in a matter of seconds. Good luck trying to live for hours after a dermal exposure of VX. And although the website claims that VX is persistent, it doesn't give a time frame. Its persistence in the environment is relatively short (at least in a tactical sense). Even a heavily contaminated area will drop below background levels within a couple weeks."
*Sigh* Absolutely wrong on all counts again, J.F. But don't just take my word for it. Other sites completely contradict your armchair opinion, too, including the website of the Center for Disease Control.

Most of us here enjoy debating issues. But when someone gives completely unsupported personal opinions, which are then proven to be flat-out wrong, and he still asserts that he is right anyway, then some of the interest in the debate goes away. As they say, it's no fair matching wits with an unarmed person. So in the interest of credibility, the next time JFT makes provably false assertions like those he made above, citations would be helpful. That way, JFT can blame his link for giving him misinformation, rather than claiming, without any support except for his uneducated, personal opinion, that the links provided by others are "wrong."

JFT's claim that his own unsupported opinions are the unarguable Truth doesn't fly here. Claiming that based on his personal opinion black is white, up is down, lies are truth and evil is good, only serves to diminish any remaining credibility.
9.24.2007 5:30pm