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eastcoastreader 1
I'd vote for you.

and "clips" haven't been used since WW II, "magazines" is the word you are looking for. we can't talk about guns unless we know about them.
Posted by eastcoastreader on December 18, 2012 at 9:56 AM · Report this
2
We also need to focus on ammunition. You should have to possess a license to acquire it, be limited in how much you can purchase at once, and only be able to buy ammo for guns that you legally own.

No online sales, no sales at Walmart.

Treat it like Marijuana. Special highly regulated stores.
Posted by giffy on December 18, 2012 at 9:59 AM · Report this
3
"I don't want to confiscate your guns, I just want to ban people from selling them too you."

Meh.
Posted by GermanSausage on December 18, 2012 at 10:04 AM · Report this
4
Guns are for overthrowing the government.
Posted by We Hold These Truths to be Self-Evident on December 18, 2012 at 10:04 AM · Report this
5
"I'm not writing legislation here, so I don't want to get bogged down in the details, ..."

The problem (as has been pointed out to you repeatedly) is that the details are what matter.
As with the previous assault weapons ban which only focused on cosmetic features of the weapons.

"Perhaps ban the unrestricted sale of all semi-automatic weapons."

That's already been ruled on by the SCOTUS.

"... banning the general sale of assault weapons and large ammunition clips."

What, specifically, is the difference between an "assault weapon" and "semi-automatic weapons"?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 18, 2012 at 10:06 AM · Report this
Skye Blu 6
See, I think the Dogbert solution is the best one-- sure you can have guns, have all the guns you want, but bullets will cost a hundred bucks apiece.

Or better yet, my own idea is simply just outlaw ammunitions! The second amendment only says that you can have weapons doesn't say a damn thing about bullets.
Posted by Skye Blu on December 18, 2012 at 10:09 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 7

I would definitely like to see some age based restrictions on guns.

As we know, the 18 to 24 year old group is by far the most likely to use weapons for homicide. And all the major rampage school shooters were in that bracket.

So we could have laws that specifically prohibit the sale, use and access of anyone under 25 to these weapons...and to make greater penalties to anyone who aids and abets access to someone under 25.

In general, 25 seems more like a milestone in adult thinking and behavior (well, for any place other than Seattle). I have sometimes thought that people under 25 should not be allowed to drive, or get married. There just doesn't seem to be enough logical or self-analytic knowledge imbued in the person before 25.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on December 18, 2012 at 10:10 AM · Report this
Posted by south downtown on December 18, 2012 at 10:11 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 9
I make all my own ammo. It's not really all that hard. That idea won't go far.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on December 18, 2012 at 10:12 AM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 10
@5: No, the details are not what matters. The details can be worked out.

What matters is the will to make changes. The will to say "Enough of this shit, let's get something done."

People like you will always quibble about the details, because that way you can prevent any meaningful action from taking place. A reasonable regulation will be proposed, and you will respond "But that won't prevent all gun deaths!" Another will be proposed, and you will respond "But that won't prevent all gun deaths!"

The fact is that no regulations will be effective in preventing every incident. That shouldn't be the goal. The goal should be harm reduction.

There are numerous comparable jurisdictions that have greater regulation over private gun ownership and lower rates of gun deaths. Not zero rates, but lower.

Carping about the details is just an excuse for inaction.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on December 18, 2012 at 10:12 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 11
Thank you for writing this one Goldy.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on December 18, 2012 at 10:13 AM · Report this
Michael of the Green 12
And measures to reverse the trend toward income inequality that correlate to (cause?) a cultural environment of fear, desperation, mental illness, crime, and generally brings out the darker parts of our nature.

As I will, so let it be.
Posted by Michael of the Green on December 18, 2012 at 10:14 AM · Report this
13
Your handguns are safe, nutters. If someone tries to ban them, point out that many women justly pack heat for safety and then declare the attempted ban a "war on women."
Posted by DisorganizedReligion on December 18, 2012 at 10:14 AM · Report this
SchmuckyTheCat 14
Liability insurance as a requirement to ownership?
Posted by SchmuckyTheCat on December 18, 2012 at 10:17 AM · Report this
15
@10
"No, the details are not what matters. The details can be worked out."

Which is why the last assault weapons ban was totally useless.
Why don't you do some research since it is obvious that you don't know anything about this subject?
Here's a start for you:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Ass…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald_v.…

"There are numerous comparable jurisdictions that have greater regulation over private gun ownership and lower rates of gun deaths."

And Connecticut has some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 18, 2012 at 10:20 AM · Report this
16
A few more concrete suggestions in addition to Goldy's....

Buying a gun should require "seconds" from two adults. That way guns are kept out of the hands of the clearly unbalanced. Pretty much any sane-seeming, non-felon can easily clear this hurdle.

Every transfer of gun-ownership should be reported to the gov. Every gun should have a title, sort of like a car. When you sell/give a gun to another private individual, you should have to report that to the government (just like a car). Failure to do that puts you on the hook for any crimes subsequently perpetrated with that gun.

A "gun census". Every few years, every person registered as the owner of a gun (see previous point) should have to produce it. If you can't keep track of your guns, fines and loss of right to own guns.

Limit the number of guns that private individuals may buy/sell to something like 1/month. If they want to sell more, become a dealer.

The main idea of all my proposals is to keep people motivated to keep track of the guns they have, and to kill the practice of private individuals selling guns to people who can't legally buy for themselves. It should be impossible to make a living selling guns illegally.

I own 3 guns. They are in a safe. I like them, and I don't want anyone taking away my guns. But how about we regulate them at least as rigorously as a god damned car?
Posted by ohthetrees on December 18, 2012 at 10:23 AM · Report this
chinaski 17
6 million posts about gun control and not a peep about how Obama is about to throw the middle class under the bus. Again.
Posted by chinaski on December 18, 2012 at 10:25 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 18
@2 No sales at Walmart? What's the weather like on the planet you inhabit?

"You're going to have to answer to the Coca-Cola company."
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on December 18, 2012 at 10:25 AM · Report this
19
How to you propose to enforce background checks on private sales? How does anyone propose to enforce them?
Posted by not so easy, is it? on December 18, 2012 at 10:28 AM · Report this
20
Regulating the ammo is a bad idea.
First, it isn't that hard to make your own. It is hard as hell to make your own gun. Regulate the more difficult/expensive item.

Second, ammo is a consumable. The government can ask some hard questions to someone who loses track of one of his guns. But asking what happened to all that ammo? "Uh, I shot it".

Posted by ohthetrees on December 18, 2012 at 10:28 AM · Report this
21
Trigger locks are a good idea, but gun safes are extremely expensive, especially if you're going to require them for shotguns and rifles which would require very large safes. State preemption is the only way to avoid the legal mess that would result from every county setting their own regulations for storage, transport, and use. Semiautomatic weapons cover a wide range of firearms, including almost all handguns. Seriously, you'd be banning more than half the guns out there, which is a problem if you're trying to convince people you're not "coming for their guns".

These days, we don't ban things anymore. Instead, we heap layer upon layer of regulation and taxes on something until it becomes too difficult or too expensive to obtain. So when you talk about Gun Control, gun owners assume you are talking about a slow, calculated prohibition, and so you get the same response from them as if you were talking about an outright ban. If you're going to make any headway on Gun Control, you must first find some way to assure gun owners that this will not happen.
Posted by Brandon J. on December 18, 2012 at 10:28 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 22
@17 I doubt it's escaped all notice. Not that he needs me to be his intern, but I sent this to Goldy a half hour ago
http://prospect.org/article/social-secur…
so maybe the turncoat pigfucker will quit wasting our time and write about that eventually.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on December 18, 2012 at 10:30 AM · Report this
23
My understanding is that the vast majority of all weapons sold in the US today are semi-automatic. So a ban on semi-automatics would be a very hard sell. You're not just talking about a niche market occupied by the most enthusiastic crazies.

Also saying you want to ban "assult weapons" doesn't convey much meaning. Every assult weapon law has a different definition. Depending on which attachments it had (e.g. scope, bayonet) it's quite possible that the AR-15 used in the Newtown massacre wouldn't qualify as an assult weapon under the expired federal law.

I also strongly support publicizing the statistics indicating that a household is, in general, less safe with a firearm than without one, particularly a household with children. Of course, it is even more dangerous to have a swimming pool.
Posted by David Wright on December 18, 2012 at 10:31 AM · Report this
seandr 24
Perhaps the best thing I've read on gun control yet. Love the tie in to social norms around DUI, smoking, and seat belts.
Posted by seandr on December 18, 2012 at 10:33 AM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 25
@15: Thank you for demonstrating my point.

"Someone passed a law once that didn't prevent every gun death. Therefore, laws to control guns are useless."

That is like saying that because over 32,000 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in the United States in 2011, all laws related to vehicle regulation are useless.

I know a few things about the subject. If we are assigning research projects, why don't you compare rates of personal gun ownership in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. Then compare rates of gun deaths in the same countries. Then compare gun control legislation in the same countries. Maybe put a couple of charts or graphs together. When you've done that, get back to us and tell me why gun regulations don't work.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on December 18, 2012 at 10:33 AM · Report this
26
@17 I'm watching. I knew it was coming. I'm hoping I'm wrong over here.
Posted by floater on December 18, 2012 at 10:34 AM · Report this
27
@19

1)Go to online website/database maintained by gov
2)Sign into your account, then type in driver's license number of buyer
3)Transfer gun from your "inventory" to buyer's. The website will tell you if you are allowed to complete the sale.

This will simultaneously be background check, and a legal transfer of gun ownership from your "inventory" to his. Easy, not technically difficult, fast.
Posted by ohthetrees on December 18, 2012 at 10:35 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 28
@19 Well, first you require universal gun registration, then you require that all transfers occur with a background check at an FFL dealer.

I'm technically in favor of this, but practically not, since at this time, the best case scenario from enacting this would be that the party that did it would be out of power for decades, and the worst case would be a series of massacres or an outright civil war.

As Goldy says, you need a long game to change attitudes about guns.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on December 18, 2012 at 10:39 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 29
@21 A safe for five rifles costs less than one average rifle.

http://tinyurl.com/cm3jbwx
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on December 18, 2012 at 10:40 AM · Report this
30
None of these provisions would have had any real effect on what happened in Newtown. There is really no reasonable (but politically possible) gun law that would have helped. I guess that's not the point here, though.
Posted by Sean P. on December 18, 2012 at 10:41 AM · Report this
31
@25
"Thank you for demonstrating my point."

I'm guessing that your "point" was that you are uninformed on this subject then.
I'm pointing out that Connecticut already has very restrictive laws.
Therefore, any new laws would have to be MORE restrictive.
At which point you run into the previous rulings by the SCOTUS.

"I know a few things about the subject."

Obviously not.

"If we are assigning research projects, ..."

You left off Switzerland.
Why did you leave off Switzerland?
Is it because Switzerland would have contradicted your claims?

The details matter. Despite your claims otherwise. The details are all that matter.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 18, 2012 at 10:41 AM · Report this
32
Goldy, how would any of what you propose help with what happened in Connecticut or in Aurora? A permit, which requires training, testing and licensing is already required in Connecticut as well as trigger locks. Neither of them purchased firearms through the 'private party loophole'. The Aurora shooter's gun jammed because of the high cap magazine he had and I'm quite sure that the Newtown shooter would have been just as effective against small children with or without high capacity magazines. You do know you can swap a magazine in about 2 seconds? Less if you practice.

The "assault" weapons ban was a piece of feel good legislature that, if anything, was a major factor in the current popularity of AR15s. In New York state, if you put a stock on a Ruger 10/22 that has a folding stock and a pistol grip, that magically turns the Ruger 10/22 which previously was an "okay" firearm into a ban firearm. Additionally, pre-ban firearms are perfectly okay in any configuration - a pre-ban AR-15 sells for about $500-800 more than a post-ban, I'm pretty sure that that cost was well within reach of either of the two situations. (Aurora had thousands of rounds of ammunition - not cheap, Newtown's mom had an income, due to alimony/child support well above most).

Furthermore, if you look at the statistics of "assault" weapons, they're used in a tiny portion of crimes. If you want to write effective legislature, take a look at 'Saturday Night Specials' and other cheap handguns - they're used in a vast majority of firearms related crimes.

That said, I think that mandatory gun training and testing should be required for ALL citizens, gun owners, wannabe gun owners and non-gun owners. Japan's licensing which requires somewhat extensive training, a safety exam, and a mental health exam at regular intervals as well as a weapons locker (with a separate locker for ammunition) is great. And I think would be effective in reducing accidental firearms injuries/deaths.

That said, I since mental health issues can be, and often are, transient, I don't think there is any functional way of screening for it. You might catch some percentage if therapists had a good way to report perceived issues, but you will probably end up with more false positives than actual cases.
More...
Posted by randoma on December 18, 2012 at 10:44 AM · Report this
33
Well, and what about requiring the purchase of liability insurance for each firearm? It seems to me that this would be a fair, equitable and productive strategy that imposes a financial cost on gun owners proportionate to the number/danger of their arsenals. The inevitable payments could be split between victems and affected municipalities, and it outsources a lot of the necessary bureaucratic hassles to those effective parasites in the insurance business.
Posted by The Shadow Blows on December 18, 2012 at 10:51 AM · Report this
merry 34
Great post, Goldy. I would support every one of your suggestions.

I get that people feel they need guns for protection. I don't agree, but I understand that need that people feel they have. What I don't understand, and what no one I've asked has been able to actually answer for me, is why people feel they need to have automatic or semi-automatic assault weapons for protection...

We don't allow folks to have cases of hand grenades in their houses for protection, or flame-throwers, or rockets, or any other mass-destructive weapon-of-war, so why do we allow what amounts to machine guns in the hands of the public? You don't need them for hunting, you don't need such excessive fire power for self-protection... Why does a private citizen need these weapons?

The answer, of course, is: no private citizen needs such weapons.

Now we only have to wait to see which one of our elected officials has the courage to stand up and speak this truth...
Posted by merry on December 18, 2012 at 10:54 AM · Report this
35
@32
I think part of the problem is fear of guns.
So that people try to ban guns instead of looking at the categories of crimes that are the problems.

1. mass shootings

2. gang violence (including drive-bys and such)

3. robbery (home or business)

4. crimes of passion

5. not a crime - suicide and accidents

Different crimes have different characteristics and require different laws to regulate. A trigger lock or a gun safe can help with #4 and #5 but not with 1 - 3.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 18, 2012 at 10:55 AM · Report this
aureolaborealis 36
@29: I was gonna say that, too. My long and short arms probably average about $700 each. Some more, some less. The 14-gun safe they're kept in cost me something like $400.
Posted by aureolaborealis on December 18, 2012 at 11:00 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 37
@19 But unenforceable, unless you have universal registration to make people account for their guns. Otherwise, you get a thriving black market. And literally a million people will lose their shit if you enact universal registration.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on December 18, 2012 at 11:02 AM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 38
@31: I left Switzerland off my list as I was listing countries that are perceived as similar to the United States in terms of language, dominant culture, patterns of ethnic origin, history, etc. - that is to say, Great Britain and several of her former colonies.

I am happy to add Switzerland. It is a popular country for opponents of gun regulation to cite, due to its relatively high rate of civil gun ownership and low rate of gun homicide. These citations rarely mention the restrictive gun regulation regime in Switzerland. Mandatory licensing, background checks, records of all sales and transfers, prohibition on private sales, safe storage requirements, etc. etc.

http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region…

You know, Switzerland is actually a damn good example. Lots of detail in their gun laws. Gun regulation at the federal level.

Maybe that is why they can have a high rate of gun ownership and a low rate of gun homicde?
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on December 18, 2012 at 11:03 AM · Report this
Ziggity 39
@31: You've been doing a lot of the asking after specifics these last few days, and I'm really curious what, if anything, you would do to a) reduce the number of deaths caused by mass shootings and b) reduce the incidence of mass shootings. So far you've only been shooting down others' ideas, and demanding they study this or that, but surely those are two things you want to see happen, right? So . . . your turn.
Posted by Ziggity on December 18, 2012 at 11:05 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 40
We could just stop making FPS games.

That would work a lot better. In FPS games, nobody hears the wounded scream, the moans, or the smell which makes you want to retch.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on December 18, 2012 at 11:05 AM · Report this
aureolaborealis 41
I think a question that's worth asking when we propose new legislation is, "would it have prevented this massacre?" Which in no way means I'm opposed to restrictions on gun ownership, but it would point out that some of the knee-jerk reactions are not necessarily the best way to get at the problem. Asking that question inevitably leads me down the path of wondering what could be done to improve our mental health care in this country.
Not the best movie in the world, but "Bowling for Columbine" pointed out that it's not the guns so much as the crazy. We are, on average, an angry, barely coping citizenry. And we have shitloads of guns, especially, it seems, those of us who are the angriest and coping the worst.
Posted by aureolaborealis on December 18, 2012 at 11:07 AM · Report this
42
The original reasoning for that passage in the Constitution occurred when there was a semblance of munitions parity: the American settlers had flintlocks and some cannon and the British Redcoats had flintlocks and many cannon, but the settlers went guerrilla on the Redcoats, who were ordered to practise the marionette military form of their day, thus giving the settlers a slight advantage. (And the American Revolution required a well-armed militia to succeed.)

The argument that we require assault rifles to protect us from a tyrannical form of government (which does exist to an extent today, true), is fallacious as there exists no parity today, with the militarized police, military, and private military companies, possessing far greater weaponry than the general populace, i.e., lasers and tasers, incredible comm. access, etc., plus a wide array of even worse munitions.

There was a recent trial (actually several) in America (one locally), involving policemen accidentally leaving a loaded Glock (which is designed with a hair-trigger) in proximity of children, with the subsequent accidental shooting and killing taking place.

Point: that firearms shouldn't be allowed in the hands of certain parties: children, the mentally ill, career criminals, the extremely hateful and violent, etc.

No, gun control probably would have no effect on those accidental police/children situations (probably arising from fatigue due to rotating shift work leading to intellectual laxness), but it would most certainly affect the other occurrences.

[Ideally, every American family would be given their very own mini-nuke to protect us against lawless British tea importers. (to paraphrase an old Douglas Adams [H2G2] joke).]
Posted by sgt_doom on December 18, 2012 at 11:08 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 43
@26 You're not wrong. The CorpraDems are planning to sell us down the river. They always have been planning that. Unfortunately, no one is willing to start a civil war, or even hold a demonstration, apparently, over Social Security cuts.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on December 18, 2012 at 11:12 AM · Report this
44
If you want to have a serious discussion about gun policy, you need to start by justifying or eliminating the various assertions revolving around the idea that guns are inherently bad, inherently a public health hazard, and inherently cause people to be less safe. We can't have any conversation, let alone a conversation which supposes to create regulation (more significantly, regulation of a constitutionally codified and historically precedented right) to solve a perceived problem, when pre-conceived notions and biases are being treated as fact.

Your prior article on this subject appears to rely heavily on a single study out of Philadelphia and draw vastly wider conclusions than said study could ever possibly support on its own. Your prior articles related to the tragedy which inspires this conversation, a rather distasteful and libelous judgement of Nancy Lanza as mentally unstable based on the incoherent rants of a few low rent British tabloids(1)(2) even despite the later appearance of more trustworthy sources(3) which refuted those unfounded rumors, do not lend you any credibility. Passing this judgement simply because of a claim that she may have held a belief, however out of mainstream, that you find strange is callous at best and a textbook illustration of intolerance at worst. Given these things, it would appear that you are dragging more than a few biases into this arena.

1. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-…
2. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/…
3. http://todaynews.today.com/_news/2012/12…
Posted by blueben on December 18, 2012 at 11:13 AM · Report this
45
@42 Uhh, the Glock has a really long trigger pull, not in any way a 'hair' trigger.
Posted by randoma on December 18, 2012 at 11:15 AM · Report this
seandr 46
Here's a gun control proposal that would work:
1) Require gun manufactures to embed RFID chips into the structure of every new non-military weapon (to make them difficult to remove)
2) Require owners to obtain a chip for older weapons
3) Enact stiff laws for possession of any gun without a chip

Detection of RFID chips is trivial and cheap. It enables instant look-ups against registration and criminal records so that law enforcement could effortlessly determine whether a given gun was lawful, stolen, etc. Put RFID systems on police cars and law enforcement can identify illegal weapons simply by driving around the city. And schools, night clubs, etc. could control guns with a simple $150 RFID system that attaches to an iPhone.

It would take some time to become effective, although this could be accelerated by providing incentives for the disposal of older guns Imagine a no-questions-asked recycling program that pays 50% of the resale price of every recycled gun - every crack and meth addict would eventually recycle every gun they could get their hands on. This would drive sales of new guns, so gun manufacturers would get behind it. You could provide further incentives to the industry by allowing them to profit from the sale of chips for older guns.
Posted by seandr on December 18, 2012 at 11:15 AM · Report this
47
@39
"You've been ... blah blah blah."

Don't strain your brain thinking about it.
Maybe the answer would come to you if you were able to provide any specific suggestions.
But you're probably not smart enough for that.

So, the condensed version is, Connecticut had very restrictive gun control laws.
Yet this shooting still happened.
Therefore, the very restrictive gun control laws do NOT WORK to prevent shootings like that.
Which leaves you with the options of:
1. LEARNING that they don't work for these incidents and focusing on what DOES work for other crimes.
or
2. Trying to make the laws even more restrictive.

Do you get it now?
Or are you still too stupid to handle the concept?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 18, 2012 at 11:17 AM · Report this
Ziggity 48
@47... Wow. Straight to personal attacks? That's disappointing. I thought from all of your posting and thinking on this that YOU would have some specific suggestions, but for some reason it's other people's responsibility to come up with them. Several have been posted in this and other threads, but you found them all wanting, so I was just curious what specific things you'd propose.

At the end of the day, it's not like the outcome will be determined in blog comments. But seriously, someone challenges you and all the sudden they're stupid? For your sake, I hope the people representing the status quo gun laws have something more than that to say for themselves.
Posted by Ziggity on December 18, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
49
@42, Tell the adhoc citizen militias of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, et al that there is no parity. By my count, a self-organized subset of the citizenry in Afghanistan has managed to draw the largest military superpower in the history of mankind into what will soon be a 12th year of combat. They can do it, but a subset of the 80 million American adults with guns can't?
Posted by blueben on December 18, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 50
@47: "blah blah blah... Don't strain your brain thinking about it... you're probably not smart enough... are you still too stupid to handle the concept?"

No answers, just ad hominem. Interesting.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on December 18, 2012 at 11:28 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 51
oops, my @37 is supposed to be directed @27
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on December 18, 2012 at 11:30 AM · Report this
52
@34, First off, there is a huge difference between a machinegun and any semi-automatic firearm. When you conflate the two, you just make yourself sound like you don't know what you're talking about.

As to "Why does a private citizen need these weapons?" Do you need a car that exceeds 80 miles per hour? Do you need a car that can go 0-60 in less than, say, 12-15 seconds? Do you need a car hat has power windows? Or one with an automatic transmission? A manual transmission is not only more fuel efficient but will also last longer, yet 90% of cars have automatic transmissions.

AR-15 type rifles are popular for a lot of reasons - they're very reliable, they can be very accurate, they're easy to work on, they're highly modifiable with all sorts of aftermarket doodads you can add-on/take-off kinda like an adult Lego set. (Everyone wants to express their individuality - that's why cars no longer come in any color you want as long as it is black.)

As far as why you'd want a semi-auto of any flavor, a semi-auto is easier to shoot. For hunting it enables quicker follow-up shots, particularly important for varmint hunting. If you are a target shooter, or shoot in competition, a semi-auto will enable you to fire multiple shots without disturbing your sight picture.

A lot has been made of the Newtown shooter's ability to fire 200 rounds in 10 minutes, however the victims all hand multiple wounds - from 5-17 from what I have read. That means that if he had had a quarter as many shots, the death toll would not have been significantly different. It is likely that he would have been just as deadly with a pump action shotgun or a pair of revolvers.
Posted by randoma on December 18, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Report this
Cascadian 53
Good suggestions, Goldy. I'm for all of them, though I realize that banning semi-automatic weapons is probably politically off-limits for now. (A ban on new production is possible, but politically unlikely. There's no way you'd ever get a retroactive ban, which is exactly coming for people's guns.)

Here's what I'd add to your list.

* Insurance requirements, which someone else already mentioned.
* A well-funded buyback program for semi-automatic weapons (even if there is no ban in new production.)
* In combination with a ban on production of new semi-automatics and a buyback program, create a new form of license for shooting and gun clubs. Allow a limited number of the licenses, which entitle the license-holder to stock an unlimited number of guns including semi-automatics, fully-automatic machine guns, and possibly even other currently illegal weapons of war. The weapons stay on the premises and members can use them for target practice or militia training on premises. This amounts to an expansion of gun availability from the present point for the legitimate uses of guns, provides a regulated environment for the Constitutional guarantee of militias that should satisfy those who believe that guns protect other rights against potential government tyranny, and provides a market for all those semi-autos that we're trying to get off the streets.

In the long run, a ban on new semi-autos that grandfathers older guns, encourages people to sell their guns to the government or private gun clubs, and gives an outlet for legitimate hunting and shooting uses that is even broader than today's environment will end most of our country's problems with guns, both the sensational mass killings and the much more common shootings associated largely with semi-automatic handguns.

Gun owners will scream bloody murder. I actually had someone on a Facebook discussion claim that he needed a semi-automatic rifle to hunt and that it saved his life once because he was able to unload multiple rounds at a charging deer. Um, yeah, right. I'll be glad to force people like that to learn how to hunt and shoot safely with traditional weapons.
More...
Posted by Cascadian on December 18, 2012 at 11:36 AM · Report this
54
@48
"Straight to personal attacks?"

I don't think you know what any of those words mean.
How many times have I asked for specific suggestions? Dozens of times.
How many times have you provided any?

"I thought from all of your posting and thinking on this that YOU would have some specific suggestions, but for some reason it's other people's responsibility to come up with them."

You're an idiot.
Even when I explained the exact problem with that you still don't understand it.
Hey, I can post it again. Because you are such an idiot.

So, the condensed version is, Connecticut had very restrictive gun control laws.
Yet this shooting still happened.
Therefore, the very restrictive gun control laws do NOT WORK to prevent shootings like that.
Which leaves you with the options of:
1. LEARNING that they don't work for these incidents and focusing on what DOES work for other crimes.
or
2. Trying to make the laws even more restrictive.

Did you get it that time you idiot? Or are you too stupid to handle the concept?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 18, 2012 at 11:43 AM · Report this
55
But mostly, we need to de-romanticize guns by challenging their popular image as symbols of masculinity and individualism

Funny, but, aside from sportsmen who use their weapons as a tool, I've always put the owners of assault rifles in the same category as people who drive Hummers. It's basically a handy-dandy micropenis detector.
Posted by Corydon on December 18, 2012 at 11:44 AM · Report this
Purocuyu 56
Okay, since we are all throwing out our ideas, here's mine:

Just like with cigarettes, we can't seem to outlaw them, but we can put a dent in who has them by taxing them heavily. How about a $1000.00 tax on ANY firearm. That doesn't mean you can't own one, it just means you couldn't afford one.

In order to buy a firearm, you must take and pass a firearm safety course, a course on ethics, and a course on civics, all three together comprising approximately a semester of college. You want to use your rights, learn about them. This is another little dent.

A mental health evaluation to prove that you are of sound mind. Another small dent.

Micro stamping of shells, yes. That will help limit the anonymity of the firearms.

Would any of these have stopped this particular attack? It might have made it more difficult to have had the guns the shooter's mother had. Little dents add up to big dents all together. Small changes in the laws are after all how we got to a place where military level weapons are in the hands of so many. I don't see one major law making a difference. I see many little laws, all helping to make sure that the gun owners of our country are either VERY educated and trained, or VERY few.
Posted by Purocuyu http://littlevictorygarden.tumblr.com on December 18, 2012 at 11:49 AM · Report this
Ziggity 57
@54: The only concept I'm getting is that you're very frustrated by a conversation you're having on the internet. Also, that you have no specific suggestions.
Posted by Ziggity on December 18, 2012 at 11:49 AM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 58
@54: Let me fix that for you:

So, the condensed version is, Connecticut had very restrictive [speed limits].

Yet this [motor vehicle accident] still happened.

Therefore, the very restrictive [speed limits] do NOT WORK to prevent [motor vehicle accidents] like that.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on December 18, 2012 at 11:55 AM · Report this
59
@57
"Also, that you have no specific suggestions."

You are an idiot.
Even when it is clearly spelled out for you, you still cannot grasp the concept.
Twice I have specifically pointed out FOR YOU that it does not work.
This is the third time.
It does not work.

What was that I had posted twice already?

So, the condensed version is, Connecticut had very restrictive gun control laws.
Yet this shooting still happened.
Therefore, the very restrictive gun control laws do NOT WORK to prevent shootings like that.
Which leaves you with the options of:
1. LEARNING that they don't work for these incidents and focusing on what DOES work for other crimes.
or
2. Trying to make the laws even more restrictive.

You still don't understand, do you?
Did you have to take the special bus to school?
Does your mommy get mad when people call you retarded?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 18, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
Ziggity 60
@59: So you have no specific suggestions about how to reduce the number of mass shootings or reduce the number of deaths in mass shootings? I'm not sure that "focusing on what DOES work" counts as specific.
Posted by Ziggity on December 18, 2012 at 12:01 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 61
@17, 26 Or you could just go read Firedoglake. They have at least four posts on the subject this morning...
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on December 18, 2012 at 12:03 PM · Report this
62
@60
"So you have no specific suggestions about how to reduce the number of mass shootings or reduce the number of deaths in mass shootings?"

This is the 4th time I'm posting this and you still have not managed to grasp the concept.

So, the condensed version is, Connecticut had very restrictive gun control laws.
Yet this shooting still happened.
Therefore, the very restrictive gun control laws do NOT WORK to prevent shootings like that.
Which leaves you with the options of:
1. LEARNING that they don't work for these incidents and focusing on what DOES work for other crimes.
or
2. Trying to make the laws even more restrictive.

Copy and paste is easy.

"I'm not sure that 'focusing on what DOES work' counts as specific."

You cannot even read to the end of a sentence.
Even when that sentence had been reposted just for you multiple times.
I bet your mommy gets mad a lot when people call you "retard".
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 18, 2012 at 12:09 PM · Report this
Ziggity 63
@62: I'm beginning to get the feeling that you're not interested in reducing the number of mass shootings or reducing the number of deaths caused by mass shootings, since you're unable to provide any specific suggestions. What is it, specifically, that we should be focusing on that does work to prevent them?
Posted by Ziggity on December 18, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
64
@63
"What is it, specifically, that we should be focusing on that does work to prevent them?"

I bet it makes your mommy cry herself to sleep when she hears everyone calling you "retard".
Here it is AGAIN!

So, the condensed version is, Connecticut had very restrictive gun control laws.
Yet this shooting still happened.
Therefore, the very restrictive gun control laws do NOT WORK to prevent shootings like that.
Which leaves you with the options of:
1. LEARNING that they don't work for these incidents and focusing on what DOES work for other crimes.
or
2. Trying to make the laws even more restrictive.

Can you read to the end of a sentence yet?
Can you do that?
Don't make your mommy cry herself to sleep again.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 18, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Ziggity 65
@64: There's a national conversation going on right now about how, specifically, to reduce the number of mass shootings and reduce the number of deaths in mass shootings. Politicians are under immense pressure to come up with hard-hitting effective legislation. Do you have any specific thoughts on how to reduce these types of shootings? What works to reduce other crimes, specifically? How do those crimes specifically relate to mass shootings?

If you're not interested in reducing these types of shootings, or reducing the number of people typically killed in the shootings, you can just say that.
Posted by Ziggity on December 18, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this
merry 66
@ 52 - I didn't "conflate the two", I used the words "what amounts to".... I'm aware that there is a difference, but I'm speaking about weapons that allow you to fire many multiples of rounds without reloading. Capiche?

You say: "AR-15 type rifles are popular for a lot of reasons - they're very reliable, they can be very accurate, they're easy to work on, they're highly modifiable with all sorts of aftermarket doodads you can add-on/take-off..." You also list ease of use, quicker follow-up shots, and not having to disturb your sight picture when target shooting.

But none of that answers my question: For self-defense, why would you NEED such a weapon? Why did Adam Lanza's mother feel that she NEEDED the M-16 knock-off, the Bushmaster, in addition to the other guns she had? Why did she feel that the other guns were not enough for home and self-protection?

Other, non-automatic guns are also reliable, accurate, easy-to-work-on, etc etc. None of what you listed seems worth the risk to me...

The bottom line is: if Adam Lanza's mother had not had that Bushmaster rifle, fewer kids would have died. The lives of children and other innocents outweigh whatever reason you think you have for needing semi-automatic military-grade weapons. Period.
Posted by merry on December 18, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
67
@65
"There's a national conversation going on right now ..."

Yes there is.
And maybe when you grow up you can participate in it.
But first you'll have to learn to read to the end of a sentence.

"Do you have any specific thoughts on how to reduce these types of shootings?"

Looks like it's time to copy and paste AGAIN because you STILL haven't been able to grasp the concept.

So, the condensed version is, Connecticut had very restrictive gun control laws.
Yet this shooting still happened.
Therefore, the very restrictive gun control laws do NOT WORK to prevent shootings like that.
Which leaves you with the options of:
1. LEARNING that they don't work for these incidents and focusing on what DOES work for other crimes.
or
2. Trying to make the laws even more restrictive.

I bet your mommy cries herself to sleep every single night and then dreams of all the other kids calling you "retard".
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 18, 2012 at 12:31 PM · Report this
68
Back in March DHS ordered 750 million rounds of hollow point ammunition. It then turned around and ordered an additional 750 million rounds of miscellaneous bullets including some that are capable of penetrating walls. This is enough ammunition to empty five rounds into the body of every living American citizen. In the war in Iraq, our military forces expended approximately 70 million rounds per year.

...Now don't you feel safer?
Posted by Spindles on December 18, 2012 at 12:32 PM · Report this
Ziggity 69
@67: What you're saying isn't specific at all, though, so I think it just comes down to the fact that you don't have any specific suggestions on how to reduce these shootings or the number of deaths that happen when the shootings do occur. Either that or you're just not interested in seeing those numbers go down.

Regardless, I imagine whatever frustration you're feeling now will be nothing compared to what you feel when the specific suggestions like Goldy and others have made are put into place because there are no specific counter-arguments beyond "that won't work" and "focus on what does work."

It's interesting how quickly your argument unraveled when questioned. Given your need for specifics, I really thought you might have had some practical, actionable ideas.
Posted by Ziggity on December 18, 2012 at 12:41 PM · Report this
Mattini 70
Some very good ideas in this post, Goldy. It's a shame that certain people (like @3) read this and still think the takeaway message is "they're coming to take away my guns!"
Posted by Mattini on December 18, 2012 at 12:43 PM · Report this
71
@69
"What you're saying isn't specific at all, though, so I think ..."

No. It's pretty obvious by now that you do not think.
As I had previously shown, you cannot even read a sentence through to the end.
Which is why your mommy cries herself to sleep.

But I can do the copy and paste thing again.

So, the condensed version is, Connecticut had very restrictive gun control laws.
Yet this shooting still happened.
Therefore, the very restrictive gun control laws do NOT WORK to prevent shootings like that.
Which leaves you with the options of:
1. LEARNING that they don't work for these incidents and focusing on what DOES work for other crimes.
or
2. Trying to make the laws even more restrictive.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on December 18, 2012 at 12:45 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 72
@66 That's exactly the kind of weapon you'd need for self defense, if you believe that your house is going to be the target of a determined attack by similarly-armed opponents.

That prospect seems fantastically unlikely (to you and I) but it must appeal to a lot of people, since the brisk sales of ARs can't all be going to guys who like to play 3-gun.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_sp…
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on December 18, 2012 at 12:49 PM · Report this
73
I had a conversation a few years back with a Texan who had a concealed carry license. And he said that they're pretty tough to get. You have to take a class and pass to get your license. And a lot of people don't pass because the cops teaching the class pick out people they think are unbalanced or dangerous or trying to get a license for the wrong reason. So in addition to needing to pass all of the requirements, which include a 10 hours worth of classes, a 50 question test, a gun range test and a background check, you need to pass the "cops don't think I'm crazy or a criminal" test. I think that's a pretty damn good idea. Also, if their conviction rates are anything to go by Texas either does a good job of weeding the crazies out of the program and denying them permits or the crazies don't even bother trying to get permits: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/rsd/chl/rep…
Posted by moosefan on December 18, 2012 at 1:48 PM · Report this
74
@66 You absolutely did conflate that two. And you say, repeatedly,

"Why does a private citizen need these weapons?

The answer, of course, is: no private citizen needs such weapons. "

No private citizen needs to eat meat. Do you realize the destruction to the planet and global population that stems from a carnivorous diet? You don't NEED lots of things. Why does "need for self defense" or need at all play into it?

The shooter's mother was a gun buff and a collector. You're making the assumption that she felt she needed it for self defense. This isn't about NEED this is about wants, just like a zillion other things that people do.

In March 2010 a man with a knife murdered 8 children in an elementary school, in May 2010 another main killed 7 children and 2 adults many more were seriously injured in other attacks. Did these attackers NEED whatever knife they wielded?

Timothy McVeigh killed over 168 people, including 19 children, and injured 800 using a bomb largely made from fertilizer. You want to talk about organic farming and whether or not people need massive amounts of fertilizer? McVeigh was well versed in firearms and definitely had access to firearms.

Saying that the Newtown killer would have killed less if only his mother didn't own a Bushmaster is ridiculous. Because you have NO IDEA what he would have/could have done. How many people could he have killed with a gallon of gasoline? You've got a bicycle, you don't NEED gas.

You want to start talking about better mental health care? You want to talk about single payer health care? Maybe it is time for 800-HELPIWANTTOKILLPEOPLE lines just like the suicide prevention centers.
Posted by randoma on December 18, 2012 at 2:11 PM · Report this
merry 75
@ 74 -

You are still not answering my central question:

What was so over-the-top wonderful about that Bushmaster rifle that made it a must have for this woman who was concerned about her personal safety?

What did this semi-automatic weapon offer that no other gun in her collection could? Just the ability to squeeze off round after round after round after round?

How many bullets does it take to feel safe from a burglar or a rapist?

Why would a person think that they ABSOLUTELY NEED a weapon like that to protect themselves and their home, when they have a bunch of guns already?

And please note, I am using the word NEED, not WANT. You've already given a lot of reasons for why somebody might WANT a gun like that, but so far, no reasons as to why some civilian might NEED one.

Still waiting.
Posted by merry on December 18, 2012 at 2:52 PM · Report this
76
@75 You are also ignoring my point. Why is NEED relevant? You NEED food and shelter, everything else is gravy.
Posted by randoma on December 18, 2012 at 3:18 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 77
So, I have and use a gun safe, and I have safety training both through both through he NRA, and The State of Washington, I also hold a WA Licence to Carry a Concealed Pistol for which I received a big time FBI background check complete with running my fingerprints against unsolved crimes.

I am glad that Goldy thinks that it is OK that I own guns.

As a responsible gun owner I support training and safety, it would be insane not to.

However I am against trigger locks, because they run a bar through the trigger guard the gun can still be fired with a trigger lock on, often accidentally. The trigger lock instills a false sense of security who may use one on a loaded firearm thinking that it can not be fired. Locks need to go trough the action of a firearm to ensure it can not be fired.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on December 18, 2012 at 3:39 PM · Report this
merry 78
@ 76 -

I'm not sure what your point is, so how could I be ignoring it?

But actually, I think you are basically answering my question by NOT answering it... In other words, there IS NO GOOD REASON for a safety-minded civilian to own one of these automatic rifles. You don't get anything from it that a regular gun won't give you, except more "YEEEEHAAAAAWWWWW".

And my point is: that's not an acceptable trade-off for public safety.
Posted by merry on December 18, 2012 at 4:05 PM · Report this
79
Goldy: I like how you think. I absolutely agree with your ideas for reducing gun violence. Keep at it.
Posted by MikeF1990 on December 18, 2012 at 4:23 PM · Report this
80
Goldy, I like how you think. The you offered appear extremely viable. I hope they find a way into the national debate in Washington, D.C.
Posted by MikeF1990 on December 18, 2012 at 4:28 PM · Report this
81
@78 but what people want matters.

We're currently coming to terms with the fact that people want drugs. They don't need drugs - they are an absolute necessity for survival. They want them.

Think about the automobile. We currently coming to terms with the effects of human caused global warming of which cars are one of the largest single contributing factors. We don't need cars. We've merely constructed a society in which they provide convenience. But ultimately we don't need them.

Handguns and large capacity military styled weapons are something people want. Most don't need them at all. Of course. But they want them.

How do we make people not want these things? Just tell them they can't have them? But the horse has left the barn. They do have them. So. What do we do?

You make them pay for it.

Humans, Americans in particular - have a terrible time understanding externalized costs. Guns, cars, meat - all these things that maybe aren't so great - we have so far accepted socialized costs for. But now that way of dealing with them is too expensive.

We can see the terrible toll unfettered access to guns is taking. We have to educate people that their unfettered wants are not needs. And their wants have consequences.

We can and should regulate high capacity magazines. Sure.

But we should also teach people to pay their taxes. To fund the institutions that provide them security and health. And once those institutions function well and with equanimity people will not "feel" they need things like guns.
Posted by tkc on December 18, 2012 at 4:38 PM · Report this
82
Oops, about drugs Insert: "...they are NOT an absolute necessity for survival."
Posted by tkc on December 18, 2012 at 4:46 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 83
@83

Actually there are many regulated and potentially dangerous and addictive drugs that are necessary for survival, you will find any emergency room or pharmacy quite well stocked.

Most people do not need a fire extinguisher and most will never need one.
Hopefully no one will ever need a gun in their lifetime, but when you do need a gun there is no substitute when it comes to survival .
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on December 18, 2012 at 5:14 PM · Report this
venomlash 84
@83: Yeah, most fire extinguishers are never needed, never used to combat a fire. But how often do fire extinguishers cause accidental fires, or are used to deliberately start fires?
Posted by venomlash on December 19, 2012 at 9:13 AM · Report this
85
@84 I like mostly how 83 is literally talking to himself.
Posted by tkc on December 19, 2012 at 9:56 AM · Report this
86
I've read through a lot of the arguments above, and I'm convinced that, in a horribly capitalist way, the best way to control guns would be through insurance. It's simple, should be able to slip past the GOP, as it's similar to healthcare at the moment, and produces the minimum outrage for the most effect.

The proposal would be simple:
1) Every gun must be insured.
2) The insurance covers not only property damage and accidental injury from the gun, but also in the event of you shooting and killing someone, the insurer pays life insurance to the family of the person shot. (possibly with costs of therapy for bystanders, etc)
3) A heavy premium is attached to the insurance. This hurts you, if, say, you loan your unhinged neighbour a shotgun and he goes and robs a store with it.

So, the knock on effects would be:
1) Anyone with mental health problems can't buy a gun. Insurance companies would
refuse to insure you, therefore no gun. Sadly, and I'm all for equality, if you have
mental health issues, ownership of a machine for killing things is something you
shouldn't have.
2) Reasonable safety would be rewarded. You buy a gun cabinet? Your premiums go
down. You attend a safety course? Premiums down. You sign an agreement to keep
ammo in the shooting range instead of at home? Premiums down.
3) Dangerous behaviour would equally be penalised, and, as the penalties are so
high, you being an idiot, if reported, is likely to loose you ownership.
3) Families of victims can get access to therapy, healthcare and anything else they
need to recover, from the payouts. Funds could also be diverted to a pot to pay for
automatic emergency care, clean-up and policing.
4) People who need guns (i.e. those who live in the backwoods) would have the lowest
premiums, as they're less likely to kill someone by mistake. Therefore, if you can
safely fire a gun, you can afford one.
More...
Posted by Wolfgang A. on December 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM · Report this
87
Hey shoppers, gun safes are tax-free in the state of Washington. This is to encourage gun owners to secure their collections. Costco sells and will deliver these very heavy items for free! Get yours today!
Posted by jackalope on December 21, 2012 at 5:44 PM · Report this
88
http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp

Just saying, but if we look at ze charts. States w/ High Gun-ownership and States with Low Gun-ownership vary on the ol' violent gun crimes metric seemingly at complete random. Some places have high ownership and high violence, and some areas have low ownership and high violence. Many place have High ownership and low violence.

Let's look at Europe, Luxembourg has completely outlawed the ownership of firearms, compared to Germany which has very high ownership for Europe. However Luxembourgs murder rate is roughly 6x that of Germany's. Those German's are obviously less safe, however, due to having guns, fact.

I guess you'll have to make up numbers to make guns-ownership dangerous. People who own weapons being 4.7 times more likely to be shot is a bullshit statistic.
Posted by trenchgun on December 30, 2012 at 11:47 AM · Report this

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