Gun Control and Rights

Discussion over more serious issues and topics
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FamousAjax
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Gun Control and Rights

Postby FamousAjax » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:42 am

If you didn't already know, now you do: I live in America.

I don't know where you all live, nor do I know what gun control policies are in place. If you post about them, please write as though speaking to someone ignorant of those things, as I most certainly am.

Just for demographics... I am a 22 year old male, white, making <$30k/year, blue collar worker (HVAC), living in a fairly low crime town, close to an average to high crime city. I own one handgun, a 9mm, that holds 13 shots. I do not, at this point in time, carry it with me outside of my home.

Maybe you heard about the mass shooting in Colorado this past weekend, during the premiere of Batman. This shook me enough that I went out and bought the above mentioned handgun, and I have paperwork sitting in front of me to concealed carry it with me. Also shocking was a statistic I heard: on average, there are 20 mass shootings a year in America.

The process of obtaining a gun was pretty simple: Saturday, at 18:00, I went into a sporting goods store in my area, and asked to see one of the handguns in a locked glass cabinet. The man behind the counter handed it to me, and I held it unloaded, checked how the clip operated, felt the tension required to use some of the latches, etc. I told the man I wanted to purchase it, and he asked for my drivers license, and handed me a small stack of paperwork and a computer, and asked me to fill out all the questions. The written forms were fairly simple: last, first, and middle name, address, telephone number, social security number, drivers license number, place of employment, that address, that phone number, and answer a bunch of questions about whether or not I had ever been convicted of a crime. After filling all this out a second time on the computer, I was told it would be about 10 minutes, while someone in a call center ran all my information, and approved or denied my purchase. The salesperson called into a phone number, told the person on the other end my request number, and he informed me I had been approved, and that I could purchase the gun. I grabbed the cheapest box of 50 9mm bullets, and he rang up my purchase. I was then escorted to the door by a man who carried my gun and ammunition, handed my gun at the door, and told to be safe and enjoy my day.

I'm aware that was a long story, but... here's my question, I suppose:
To you, do the pros outweigh the cons in allowing people who have been registered, had background checks done, etc, to carry a handgun with them for potential use in self defense?

I'm not putting my arguments out just yet, I want to hear yours, and more about the policies
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Ekona
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Re: Gun Control and Rights

Postby Ekona » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:36 am

32M, white, above average income, blue collar background but white collar these days, low crime area, not really close to any high crime cities either. Never owned a gun in my life, and I've only ever shot a shotgun at clay pigeons the once. Have visited the US well over 10 times in my life so far, love the country.

There's a huge argument that, at its simplest, says that the easier you make it for people to own guns then the more likely they are to fall into the wrong hands. Certainly that's a statement that I go along with for the most part, and yet Canada and the Nordic countries disprove this with moderate ease. I guess that I don't have a huge problem with the idea of gun ownership as such, however my caveat would be that it must remain in the home or (as the law requires in the UK I believe) for the gun to be carried in a secure container when transporting it between locations i.e. to a gun range. UK law banned handguns years ago, after the Dunblane massacre in Scotland, so the only firearms that are legal to own now is shotguns or air rifles above 22ftlb. I believe RB has at least one, so he'd be the person who would know all about the law on this, but my understanding is that even then the gun must be kept in a secure locked cabinet when at home, not just left under the bed. There's also an extensive interview from the police before you're allowed a licence.

In answer to your specific question, then no, I don't agree that handguns should be allowed to be carried for self defence. Sadly I suspect that the UK and US mentality of the younger folk sitting on the cusp of the law these days means that it's just asking for escalation of situations into something no-one can control. We have a huge knife crime problem over here right now, very similar to the gun problem I suspect the US faces, and as soon as one person pulls a knife then so does everybody else and then the inevitable happens. I'm not for one moment suggesting that's what the vast majority of gun carriers are like over there, but it raises the possibility. If you are a criminal and think that the place you're about to rob may have a gun, you take one yourself and then you have the possibility of a firefight. Again, I'm not saying it always happens, but the possibility is there. Were that to happen in a public place, with two users shooting at each other with absolutely zero training, then there's a massive chance of it not ending well. I have no idea how often this happens in the states where concealed carry is allowed. The fact that you were able to walk into a shop and buy one with no training, and no interview as to why you wanted it, where it would be stored, how to look after it, or the state of your mind is the biggest concern to me.


My turn for a question, and I'll leave it very open: Why do you feel safer with a gun?
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RB
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Re: Gun Control and Rights

Postby RB » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:22 am

Here in the UK it's not a simple matter to get a firearm.

Getting a shotgun is the easiest but you need a valid reason to own one. You can't just join a shooting club then get a shotgun. You must be a member for a considerable time then get references from the club organisers. Then you must have interviews from the local police firearms officers. Then you need go have a very secure gun cabinet and a separate secure cabinet for ammunition.

Getting a rifle or hand gun is a similar but much more extensive process where the reasons for ownership that are considered valid are greatly reduced.

In both cases, any kind of criminal record means a quick no.

You are not allowed to carry weapons outside except for transport to and from an official shooting event. The weapons cannot be concealed but must be covered. This is so the police can see you are not hiding a gun but the public don't get scared by it.

I have firearms for sporting reasons. You cannot own a firearm in the UK for self defence and using one for that will usually result in you spending more time in prison than your attacker.

Although getting my firearms took about 3 years of paperwork and interviews plus a huge amount of money, I still think the process was too simple and needs to be tightened up here in the UK.

I'm torn on carrying guns for self defence. Here in the UK where guns are rare, I think it should remain illegal but in the US where guns are common, gun crime is higher than almost anywhere and disarming everyone is impossible, I think that the safest option is to arm everyone as a deterrent.
A slight majority of a statistically worthless sample size agree.

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FamousAjax
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Re: Gun Control and Rights

Postby FamousAjax » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:59 am

Interesting, thank you both for the input there.

@Ekona, I'll start with your last one first
My turn for a question, and I'll leave it very open: Why do you feel safer with a gun?


Personally, I'm aware, especially now, of how easy it is to obtain a handgun in the US. I guess the whole buying experience made my worries more real, as well as providing some peace of mind. I don't like the idea of being outgunned, or that potentially in the future, someone with malicious intent could walk up to me, carrying an implement that would take away any chance of my survival. I feel that, owning one, I have leveled the playing field, so to speak.

I suppose the incident in Colorado pushed me to this in a way, so it could be seen as a reaction to fear, however, I've noticed a little less anxiety in myself in the recent days, and I can't help but to wonder if that's a feeling of security.

@RB, that you said this is interesting to me.
Although getting my firearms took about 3 years of paperwork and interviews plus a huge amount of money, I still think the process was too simple and needs to be tightened up here in the UK.


Getting a firearm for me took about 35 minutes start to finish in a public store. The final price for the handgun with an extra magazine and cleaning kit was $399+tax. The license to carry it everywhere I go is sitting infront of me, and is a single page long. Clicky.

With that, there is a three week expected wait time, and a fee of $20.

It scares me how easily one can become armed in this country, though I benefited from it over the weekend.
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Re: Gun Control and Rights

Postby Joe » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:05 pm

28M, white, above average income, white collar, low crime area. Father of one.

My thoughts and feelings on the Aurora massacre and gun control in the US have already been laid out by commenters much more cogently than I could ever manage, none more so than here: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/if2nht

Speaking from a personal perspective, the reasons given for private firearms ownership generally seem to fall to 'self-defence' 'deterrent' or 'sport'.

If it's sport, the guns should stay at the club. If that's where the targets are, it follows that this is where the guns should be.

'Self-defence' isn't a valid reason as long as there are non-lethal alternatives that can be used without training. While knives, bats, frying pans and even a well-placed punch could fall into the 'lethal force' category, firearms rarely fall anywhere else unless you've had extensive training in how to use them in a high-pressure defensive situation. If, for example, I bought a handgun and ammunition today and was attacked later this evening, I have zero confidence that I would have the skill or presence of mind to secure a non-lethal incapacitating shot to my assailant. Most likely I would panic and fire at the torso or head, probably killing them.

The 'deterrent' reason seems to be the one you're going with, FamousAjax. In a country where gun ownership and gun crime are both extremely high I can understand the urge to want to level the playing field. As a father, I would want to know that I had the power to protect my family should the need arise.

However, I don't believe brandishing a gun is the best way to do this. 'Protection' may simply mean allowing the assailant to control the situation. I would rather let someone take all my stuff than risk the lives of myself or my family. If I pull out a gun in response then the attacker no longer holds the advantage. This reduces their choices to fight/flight. A reasonable person of sound mind might assess the risk involved and leave with their life. But we're talking about someone who bought a gun with the intention of committing a crime - chances are they're already fully prepared to pull that trigger, and you can guarantee they have less to lose than you do.

The exception to this is where you have a situation like we saw in Aurora. A guy buys rifles, handguns, kevlar protection and tear gas canisters with the intention of slaughtering a crowd of people. He's not interested in stealing their stuff or raping them, he just wants to murder on a massive scale. You might argue that this is a good reason to own and carry a gun, but it really isn't. You're not going to deter this person by pulling out your pistol. You'll most likely make yourself a target and have your life ended even faster.

Maybe you think that, in the midst of the chaos and bloodshed, you'll be able to stay cool, find a clear shot and take it, saving dozens of lives by neutralizing the threat. That's probably something like a one in a million chance. So essentially you purchased your gun for a massively unlikely event where the best case scenario is you killing someone. Doesn't seem like a great reason to me.

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Re: Gun Control and Rights

Postby siteguru » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:38 pm

I saw this thread and thought of this. ;)


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Re: Gun Control and Rights

Postby Sam » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:17 pm

We used to have shotguns and rifles (.22 I think) on my grandfathers farm, for pest control. I'm pretty sure you had to keep the shotguns in a locked cabinet and the ammunition elsewhere.

Except he kept his gun under the stairs and 2 cartridges by the house phone. The family convinced him to give them up when he was too old to be keeping them, and I'm pretty sure the licencing people are the ones who took them away for him when he didnt want them any more, which was just as well because several times he had told family members he would shoot them.

To get the licence you had to go to the police to get the form, and as RB said get references and things, and I'm pretty sure one has to be your GP. His wasn't too hard because I'm pretty sure all he had to do was renew it every year which was a piece of piss as he'd had it probably 50 years.
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Re: Gun Control and Rights

Postby Mr.Clark » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:55 pm

I will try and pull my thoughts into something longer and coherent later, but for now, having read everything above, I just want to make two points:

1) It's horrifying that you can buy a gun without having to take any sort of training in it.

2) Assault weapons. Even accepting pistols/rifles for defence/sport, any fully automatic weapon should be legally classed as "military/police only" and not made available to civilians.

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Re: Gun Control and Rights

Postby kingweed » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:39 pm

Mr.Clark wrote:I will try and pull my thoughts into something longer and coherent later, but for now, having read everything above, I just want to make two points:

1) It's horrifying that you can buy a gun without having to take any sort of training in it.

2) Assault weapons. Even accepting pistols/rifles for defence/sport, any fully automatic weapon should be legally classed as "military/police only" and not made available to civilians.


Totally with you on the first one but the latter I disagree with.

Not got time at the moment to write about it.

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Re: Gun Control and Rights

Postby Ekona » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:46 pm

FA, will you be carrying ths gun everywhere? If not, then where and why would you not?

Not trying to be picky, I'm genuinely curious. I still can't decide if I would buy a gun or not myself, and if I did where would I keep/carry it.
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Re: Gun Control and Rights

Postby Mr.Clark » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:25 pm

kingweed wrote:Not got time at the moment to write about it.

Please do at some point. I'd love to hear an argument for civilian ownership of weapons which have no function other than to spew out huge quantities of bullets indiscriminately.

Where do you draw the line? Fully automatic pistols? Submachineguns? AK-47s? Proper bipod-mounted machine guns (the sort Arnie fires from the hip)? A 50-cal mounted on your pickup?

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FamousAjax
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Re: Gun Control and Rights

Postby FamousAjax » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:19 pm

Ekona wrote:FA, will you be carrying ths gun everywhere? If not, then where and why would you not?

Not trying to be picky, I'm genuinely curious. I still can't decide if I would buy a gun or not myself, and if I did where would I keep/carry it.


I plan to keep it in my work vehicle when I'm at work, unless a location of a job is one that deems it so to put it in an inside trouser holster. It will probably go most places with me in my personal vehicle as well, though I do have a very cardinal rule about this: Anywhere where I will be drinking, PERIOD, it will not be with me, or around me.

That seems like a recipe for disaster, and the best way to avoid smelly situations is to not play in shit, or so I've been told.
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Re: Gun Control and Rights

Postby Jezreel » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:33 pm

I want a gun. I got people to kill.

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Re: Gun Control and Rights

Postby Sam » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:59 pm

FamousAjax wrote:unless a location of a job is one that deems it so to put it in an inside trouser holster.


aka, when youre in "the hood"
:-)

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Re: Gun Control and Rights

Postby MEGAHYDER » Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:21 am

I pretty much feel exactly like Joe on this matter.

He is smart


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