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25-05-2014, 08:10 PM (This post was last modified: 25-05-2014 08:59 PM by Phaedrus.)
Guns
Gun politics is a complicated subject. It is often perceived as a black-and-white issue, but I don't believe that to be the case. It is a polarizing issue. The nature of the debate splits the parties and forces them to take a side, or abstain.

In my debates on this forum I often find myself defending against arguments and accusations which have little bearing on my political belief. I find myself being forced, time and time again, to educate people on a subject they seem absurdly reticent to do any real research on. I get ganged up on, or gang up on others, with too many arguments running simultaneously for anyone to reasonably keep track of. And when tempers flare, things can turn ugly, or at best force the participants to back off to prevent that from happening.


So it's time to try something different. 1v1 debate. I don't intend this to settle the questions about gun politics once and for all. This is just my opinion, versus someone else's opinion. And hopefully a fair helping of facts.


Please reply if interested



My position:

There are two reasonable stances to have on the ownership of firearms: one can support a regulated system which ensures that only responsible, sane, law-abiding adults have access to firearms; but once granted that right there is little need for restriction beyond that. Or, one can support a near-complete ban where any ownership beyond extremely limited circumstances can be treated as a criminal matter.

I support the former stance. I think that the pros of civilian gun ownership outweigh the cons. I believe firearm homicides represent a failure of policy makers to come to a reasonable compromise, due again to the polarizing nature of the debate.

In the context of American laws my stance includes the following:
  • Citizens have the right to own firearms. That right should only be violated if they cannot demonstrate competency, or if there is significant reason to think that they might use them in an unjustified, violent manner
  • Gun ownership should be granted under license to any citizen age 18 or above
  • That license should not be denied on any grounds of race, creed, social or economic status, association, or political views
  • That license should not be excessively expensive, no more than a couple hundred dollars total; more would represent an attempt at economic discrimination
  • That license may require renewal, but I would argue no more frequently than 5-10 years; more frequently would be punitive, rather than in support of safety
  • Obtaining the license should involve a course of a reasonable length educating the applicant on the laws and legal responsibilities of owning a firearm; gun safety and storage; the basic types, mechanical function and care of firearms; a guideline of under what circumstances it is justified to use a firearm in self-defense; and a practical course involving range time with several types of guns.


The license may be denied, suspended, or revoked based on the following reasons:
  • Failure to successfully complete the course
  • Commission of a violent felony, or commission of a non-violent felony in the last ten years
  • The presence of a restraining order, warrant, or criminal charges against an applicant
  • Serious mental health concerns, a history of mental health issues or violence, or a history of such in their immediate family
  • In the latter case, the applicant should be able to appeal, and if they can pass a psychological evaluation the license should be granted



There would be additional provisions regarding concealed carry:
  • A firearms license would not grant the right to concealed carry
  • Concealed carry would be an additional rider or class of license based on completion of additional training
  • Applicants must take an additional course covering, in detail, the legal aspects of self-defense or defense of others
  • Applicant must pass much more rigorous practical shooting test



I do think that the system under which firearms are purchased needs modification.
  • I disapprove of the notion of firearm registries as they tend to be designed to be overly cumbersome for the applicants, and have been involved in breaches of personal privacy (for instance the publishing of the locations of conceal carry permit holders in New York City).
  • However, I think a basic registry which contains no more than Name, Firearm License No., and a list of Serial Nos. could be beneficial.
  • It should be possible to add, remove, or transfer firearms online, over a secure connection, given adequate verification of identity. This process should take less than 30 minutes
  • Provide way to register via mail (considered registration submitted by postmarked date) or in-person at a government office
  • Those who sell or give away a gun would be legally obligated to update the registry within 72hrs, barring a reasonable excuse for being unable to do so
  • This would close any claimed "gun show loop-holes", and could tie into the existing Form 4473 process for gun shops
  • Police would require a warrant to search the registry, and would only be granted access to the specific Firearm License No. in question and those directly tied to it by sale or transfer
  • Releasing the registry, in whole or part, to the public would constitute a federal offense with a severe punishment



I would suggest that the following restrictions on gun ownership are not reasonable regulation, but instead represent attempts at punishing gun owners or attempts at banning as many guns as possible. I would strike such laws from the books in every state:
  • Bans on specific makes or models of firearm, such as of AR-15s
  • Bans on specific firearm actions, such as semi-automatic
  • Bans on specific calibres or cartridges
  • Bans on cosmetic or ergonomic features, such as foregrips, rails, types of grips or stocks, etc.
  • Bans on firearm magazines on basis of capacity
  • State firearm registries on the basis of any of the criteria above
  • Waiting periods in excess of 48hrs; the latter being optionally implemented at a state or city level



I would also make the following changes to NFA rules:
  • I would end the 1986 ban on newly registered machine guns
  • I would increase the ATF tax stamp on machine guns from $200 to $1,000
  • I would reclassify bumpfire stocks and other mechanical assisted bumpfire devices as machine guns
  • I would remove short barreled shotguns (SBS) and short barreled rifles (SBR) from the NFA list, as they represent little more threat than regular firearms (both SBS and SBR are legal in Canada, and you don't see dozens of bank robberies with sawed of shotguns there...)
  • I would remove suppressors from the NFA list, as they are beneficial for reducing hearing loss and noise pollution associated with firearms, and are rarely used in crime, and are used effectively in crime even less often

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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25-05-2014, 10:08 PM
RE: Guns
"However, I think a basic registry which contains no more than Name, Firearm License No., and a list of Serial Nos. could be beneficial."

No. Over-reaching.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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25-05-2014, 10:20 PM
RE: Guns
Honestly I could go either way on a registry like that, the main argument for would be accountability and tracking for third-party sales, where you don't have a 4473 to check back on like you do with a gun shop. It could be very handy for tracking theft or straw purchases.

On the other hand, I can definitely see where concern over abuse of a system like that could occur. I did mention the abuse of NYC CCW permit holders. Any registry system would need extensive protection, both legal and electronic.

Like I said, I could go either way on that one.

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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25-05-2014, 11:22 PM
RE: Guns
As I see it, one of the major problems with international debates on gun politics is that it's more often than not unclear if the focus is on how things should be in the USA or if it's on how they should be ideally/in general.

You may think that this is a trivial difference, but depending on which one of the two it is, trying to judge the merit of a gun policy based solely on whether or not it would work in the United States is unreasonable at best and naïve at worst.

In Germany, for example, it takes several years to acquire a firearm and even then you cannot buy one for self-defense. I think we all know that this is never going to happen in the US for obvious reasons, one of them being that most citizens would have to return the gun(s) they already own.

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25-05-2014, 11:36 PM
RE: Guns
Well, in my case it's clearly from the standpoint of the US and possibly Canada. I wouldn't seek to impose American gun laws on Germany; and I would ask Germans to refrain from imposing their gun laws on America.

Given that the US has some 70-100 million gun owners, owning >300 million guns, not even counting police & military, I think what I outlined is a fair, reasonable way to put a dent in gun violence while being *actually* fair to gun owners. Rather than """fair""" as in fill out 80 pages of paperwork a year and submit to intrusive police investigation for the right to own a .22 rifle, and you have to submit notice 7 weeks in advance before going to the range...

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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25-05-2014, 11:41 PM
RE: Guns
(25-05-2014 11:36 PM)Phaedrus Wrote:  Well, in my case it's clearly from the standpoint of the US and possibly Canada. I wouldn't seek to impose American gun laws on Germany; and I would ask Germans to refrain from imposing their gun laws on America.

Given that the US has some 70-100 million gun owners, owning >300 million guns, not even counting police & military, I think what I outlined is a fair, reasonable way to put a dent in gun violence while being *actually* fair to gun owners. Rather than """fair""" as in fill out 80 pages of paperwork a year and submit to intrusive police investigation for the right to own a .22 rifle, and you have to submit notice 7 weeks in advance before going to the range...
I tend to agree; your suggestions are as good as they get without either violating constitutional law or upsetting the majority of gun owners.

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25-05-2014, 11:42 PM
RE: Guns
It would still upset the majority of gun owners, only the last two blocks of points would be seen as beneficial. As for Constitutional law, there would be strong arguments against it on basis of the 10th Amendment, and weak arguments against it on basis of the 2nd and 4th.

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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25-05-2014, 11:48 PM
RE: Guns
(25-05-2014 11:42 PM)Phaedrus Wrote:  It would still upset the majority of gun owners, only the last two blocks of points would be seen as beneficial. As for Constitutional law, there would be strong arguments against it on basis of the 10th Amendment, and weak arguments against it on basis of the 2nd and 4th.
I don't think I follow. The 10th Amendment states that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

I must be missing something because I don't see any connection to gun policies.

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25-05-2014, 11:49 PM
RE: Guns
It's over reaching and would not work anyway and here is a single quick example as to why it would not work.

The best work on the ways that criminals get guns was done by Wright and Rossi (1986), who surveyed over 1,800 imprisoned felons in 10 states about their guns. On page 185:

Among 943 felon handgun owners:

44% Bought the gun privately.
32% had stolen the gun
9% percent rented or borrowed it
16% Bought it from a retailer

All regulation only effect retailers (government can not track thefts or private citizen to citizen sales) and any laws that crack down on retailers will not stop that 16% from getting guns but rather force criminals to resort to 1-3, #2 in fact being even less desirable then current trends.


Now I'm just going to speak from my own point of view: Gun Control Laws always seemed extremely paradoxical to me. You can't be against gun violence and for gun control because the only way to enforce gun control...is with gun violence or the threat of gun violence.
If they are aware of it or not pro gun control always struck me as an argument that says "I as an individual believe in and support a government monopolization of the use of force" because at the end of the day that's what you get: a centralization of the ability to use coercive force in the government. A system that I should like to think history bears out as a really really bad idea.

To me though it's always come down to two fundamental questions.

1.) Does an individual have an right to the defense of their person, loved ones or property?
2.) Does an individual have a right to initiate force or to delegate to a different individual or any group of individuals the right to initiate force?

To me the answers have always been a obvious and resounding yes and no respectively, though I know there are others that will think differently. I will not be surprised if many many people here disagree with me and that is perfectly fine haha

Where I expect to get a lot of flack is in this statement: America does not have a gun problem, it has a gang problem.
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25-05-2014, 11:56 PM
RE: Guns
(25-05-2014 11:48 PM)Vosur Wrote:  
(25-05-2014 11:42 PM)Phaedrus Wrote:  It would still upset the majority of gun owners, only the last two blocks of points would be seen as beneficial. As for Constitutional law, there would be strong arguments against it on basis of the 10th Amendment, and weak arguments against it on basis of the 2nd and 4th.
I don't think I follow. The 10th Amendment states that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

I must be missing something because I don't see any connection to gun policies.

The 10th Amendment says EVERY power not explicitly outlined in the Constitution is reserved to the states. This would reasonably include the power to regulate firearm ownership. It also includes roads, education, corporate regulations, etc. etc. etc. The government gets around this by exploiting the "Interstate Commerce" clause in the Constitution. Basically, they argue that anything which effects the economies of two or more states is a matter of Interstate Commerce, a matter the federal government does have jurisdiction over.

Since everything effects the economy in some way, this allows the govt to do just about anything (and is necessary for our present government to function); as long as it doesn't piss off too many legislators and/or Supreme Court justices, in which case the 10th Amendment can be used to strike it down.

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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