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1
There is too much logic and fact being used in this argument. We need more "Jesus says" BS if we want to reach the wing-nuts...
Posted by Random Poster on February 1, 2013 at 7:41 AM · Report this
2
As an American currently living in the UK, I've been really shocked by the difference in the level of violence as it relates to guns. In my hunt for a new flat, I was warned away from an area because it was "incredibly dangerous" having had a shooting in it the year before. The fact that an urban area having a single shooting would render it an unacceptable place to live here completely shocked me.
Posted by llamentation on February 1, 2013 at 8:01 AM · Report this
Kinison 3
My dad is a retired ATF inspector (carried a clipboard) and when my grandfather died, of the things that was given to him was a hunting rifle. Knowing the statistics about guns in the house, he promptly handed it over to my uncle (who had 2 gun safes). There was no way in hell he could trust us kids to not play with it.

Of course even with the gun safe, my uncles wife (during the divorce) took one of the gun from his collection and was eventually shot in the foot with it by her lover during a domestic dispute.
Posted by Kinison http://www.holgatehawks.com on February 1, 2013 at 8:11 AM · Report this
Lew Siffer 4
Why not move there? The assault weapons ban is dead and the second amendment isn't going anywhere.
Posted by Lew Siffer on February 1, 2013 at 8:15 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 5
Republicans are the problem.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 1, 2013 at 8:31 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 6
This is why the "tell me one law that would have stopped X..." argument is fucking stupid (among other reasons). No one law, at no one time stops anything. It takes a set of laws, applied evenly through a set period of time to start making these cultural changes.

If we ban certain types of weapons now, we do not do it for ourselves, and perhaps not even for our children. We do it in hopes that a future generation lives in an America where there are fewer guns and so less gun violence.

Of course no one law can make millions of guns disappear, but a few smart, constitutional laws that are actually enforced can make millions of guns disappear over many years.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on February 1, 2013 at 8:41 AM · Report this
7
The culture is completely different so it's not a great comparison (see also: drink driving)
Posted by Foonken2 on February 1, 2013 at 8:58 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 8
@4

How we interpret the Second Amendment is, as always, open for discussion and revision. If you don't understand that, you're in no position to lecture anybody about the Constitution.

The novel idea that the Second Amendment a rigid guarantee that anybody can have any gun on demand is a weird new concept invented by activist judges. It's something that most Americans alive today didn't grow up with. For 200 years the right to bear arms was not a national suicide pact; it only became one about 30 years ago, and that has not worked out well at all.

All of the gun nuts' tactics trace back to a single core idea: "This is not up for discussion." Every day they try to think up a fresh way to present that turd, but it's still a turd. The failed idea of cutting off the discussion is why the gun nuts keep losing.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on February 1, 2013 at 9:14 AM · Report this
Catherwood 9
I'd also wonder when was the last time you saw a police patrol officer without a gun in the US. It doesn't happen: they ALWAYS have them. In the UK, only certain squads are even allowed to carry firearms, and they have to be called out on a specified action. Your basic bobby in a panda car does not have a firearm.

The rest of the world simply does not accept guns as inevitably THERE, the way we USAians do: criminals have 'em, so cops have to have them -- and since cops have them, criminals have to have them as well, and of course, Joe Bob needs them to defend himself from both cops and criminals....their common-ness breeds more guns.
Posted by Catherwood on February 1, 2013 at 9:24 AM · Report this
10
Obviously reducing the number of guns in circulation is going to reduce the number of shooting deaths. Most murders and suicides are impulsive acts committed w/ whatever means is at hand. Probably, reducing the availability of firearms will reduce the the success rate of murder and suicide attempts because would be killers will be forced to make do w/ less effective weapons. On the other hand, how many more rapes, assaults, burglaries, and strong-arm robberies will happen as a result of law abiding citizens losing the ability to defend themselves? Simply showing that stricter gun laws result in fewer shooting deaths doesn't prove that gun control is a good thing.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 1, 2013 at 9:25 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 11
@7

Maybe the UK's culture is an outcome of the gun laws. Which were possible because of the culture. Who cares?

One thing we know about our gun culture is that we can change it, and the sooner the better.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on February 1, 2013 at 9:29 AM · Report this
12
But how will they protect freedom without guns...
Posted by j2patter on February 1, 2013 at 9:36 AM · Report this
lark 13
Good Morning Charles,
I disagree. JUST guns are not the problem. It's guns AND (pop) culture. Take a look at Paul's posting of a critique of "Bullet to the Head" on SLOG. It shows actor Sly Stallone shirtless, tattooed, angry and wielding a hand gun. I shall NOT see this film (& not because of Paul's critique). But, many many adolescent American males will. This week on the NYT website above an editorial commending Pres. Obama's initiative on restricting guns a rolling advert for the TV(?) show "The Russians" featured actress Kerri Russell and her male co-star staring, standing & holding hand guns. The effect was surreal to me. I shall not watch that show. But, many, many American male adolescents will.

Briefly, "guns sell".

Over the years, I have noticed "action" genre films promoted with an actor or actress wielding a firearm (hand gun, rifle even rarely an assault weapon). Movies, TV shows and games have all become far more gory. See an "action" film from the 70s or earlier and compare that to an "action" film today. It's a night & day difference. There is more killing (when viewing some these films we talk humorously/cynically of "high body count") and it is far more graphic. It's nothing like what our grandparents would have seen or played.

This cuts across the political spectrum of the actor or actress portraying the character. There's Stallone and Schwarzenegger both Republicans and then there is Russell and Samuel L. Jackson, Democrats that I've seen wielding weapons in move adverts. I find that irresponsible. But, apparently it's necessary for marketing the product, i.e. the film, TV show or game.

I believe America is unforunately unique in nations when it comes to gun violence. I'm not sure why we are SO violent. Could it be because of the legends of the Old West or even the New Urban? Could it be the weapons themselves which carry (dubious?) legends (Winchester, Smith & Wesson, the Peacemaker etc.). I simply don't know why. I do know it's lethal and (pop) culture has something to do with it.
More...
Posted by lark on February 1, 2013 at 9:50 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 14
@13: Even if media has gotten more violent, there is still absolutely no proof that the consumption of violent or questionable media results in a more violent society. Zero, Zip, Nada.

The U.K sees our films, plays our video games, and yet, not nearly the same problem. So the media variable seems to have no effect. The other main variables are access to social services (mental health especially) and availability of firearms. It is even hard to argue based on income disparity, because the U.K. now has a terrible problem with poverty and income gaps.

It is the easy access to guns, and the inaccess to social services, plain and simple. They feed each other like a sick feedback loop.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on February 1, 2013 at 10:01 AM · Report this
15
@7 The culture isn't as different as you think. The main cultural difference is that we in the U.S. are constantly bombarded with incitement to paranoia.

They have different races in the UK, and loads of white people carry around unacceptable levels of bigotry, but you never hear anyone talking about "race war" like you do here.

They have a goodly amount of crime, but people don't think it's their own job to replace the police. The police have a generally good reputation and presence.

They have a very large and intrusive government, but nobody sees it as "the other," to be feared and overthrown. Their electoral system, unlike ours, works fairly efficiently, and unlike here, most people participate enthusiastically.

The main cultural difference, really, is mental health. They're less fearful, more engaged, and generally more relaxed than we are. We don't have to get rid of all our guns to improve. But, we do need to get rid of some of our fears. Canada has a lot of guns, but much lower levels of fear, and consequently much lower levels of gun violence.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on February 1, 2013 at 10:06 AM · Report this
16
@13 they have fucking violent american movies and fucking violent video all over fucking japan and england you fucking gun loving morons.

obviously, canada australia Uk are:
-broadly similar in culture and government to us, and
--have achieved higher levels of safety than us, with
--stronger broader gun controls, bans and laws than us, being
--not dominiated by a bunch of fucking gun loving idiot moron fantasists who lie, buy and smear their way to political dominance.
Posted by this problem IS simple on February 1, 2013 at 10:36 AM · Report this
17
Guns are marketed as empowerment in movies/shows/games. Adolescent males are perfect breeding grounds for violent outbursts, as they swim in a stew of hormones and the feeling of powerlessness...hopelessness. They haven't made a dent in society yet in any positive way, and they are impatient. And they crave excitement. Hey, if I pick up a gun, suddenly everyone has to listen to me and do what I want! Every adolescent male should have a weekly (daily?) therapy session to get this shit out.
Posted by they need outlets on February 1, 2013 at 10:38 AM · Report this
18
The UK also has a lot less religion, for a country with an official state religion. Gun nuttery seems to be somewhat allied to the more religious states in the US. I have no idea how that works though.
Posted by originalcinner on February 1, 2013 at 10:44 AM · Report this
19
@6
"We do it in hopes that a future generation lives in an America where there are fewer guns and so less gun violence."

Except that 99%+ of the guns owned by 99%+ of the people who own guns will never be used in a crime.
You are, once again, confusing "guns" with "crimes involving guns".

Seattle ran a gun-buy-back program so there were fewer guns and then there was the first shooting of the year that The Stranger covered.
But that isn't a flaw in your "logic", is it?

"Of course no one law can make millions of guns disappear, but a few smart, constitutional laws that are actually enforced can make millions of guns disappear over many years."

So why are you so afraid of just coming out and saying that you want to ban all guns and revoke the 2nd Amendment?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 1, 2013 at 10:52 AM · Report this
20
Directly after the gun ban, in the United Kingdom, homicides increased pretty steadily for 5 years, and then began to taper downward (The UK has historically had a much lower rate of homicide per-capita). They have only recently gone below the pre-gun-ban levels. While homicides by firearm decreased significantly afterwards, homicides by other methods (blunt and sharp objects) increased significantly. Personally, I don't really see a difference in getting killed by a knife/bat or a firearm - either way you're still dead.

Reams and reams of data regarding everything you ever wanted to know about UK's crime statistics:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publication…
http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publication…
Posted by randoma on February 1, 2013 at 12:03 PM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 21
@19: Oh my god man, there is so much fallacious bullshit there, I do not even know where to start.

First, if you do not think the amount of guns circulating is a factor (not THE factor) in gun crime, you are just not paying attention, or being willfully ignorant.

Second, if you think that by my statement I meant that if you could just take 700 or so guns off the street one day you would stop crime forever, you are not paying attention, or being willfully ignorant.

Third, how is suggesting banning certain types of weapons from civilian ownership advocating the repeal of the 2nd amendment and a ban on all guns? I (technically) own a gun, and I love shooting skeet and trap. Some of my favorite childhood memories involved shooting and hunting with my grandfather.

But as a sensible person, I realize that this country has a serious gun problem and approaching the problem from many perspectives is important. One part of the solution is banning certain types of weapons, and therefore lowering the amount of guns circulating.

You and Gay Dude for Romney need to hook back up again, Slog was much better when he was a lightning rod for your immature and petulant bullshit.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on February 1, 2013 at 12:06 PM · Report this
22
@21
"Second, if you think that by my statement I meant that if you could just take 700 or so guns off the street one day you would stop crime forever, you are not paying attention, or being willfully ignorant."

Kick that straw man's ass! You can do it!
So you completely skip over the point that removing guns owned by responsible people does NOT reduce the rate of crimes committed with guns.
Fewer guns DOES NOT mean fewer crimes committed with gun UNTIL you have removed 99%+ of the guns.

"First, if you do not think the amount of guns circulating is a factor (not THE factor) in gun crime, you are just not paying attention, or being willfully ignorant."

I keep pointing it out to you and you keep skipping over the point.
Again, fewer guns DOES NOT mean fewer crimes committed with gun UNTIL you have removed 99%+ of the guns.

"But as a sensible person, ..."

Here's another clue for you. Free!
EVERYONE thinks that he or she is "a sensible person".
No matter what his or her views on any particular subject are.
So your self-declaration of sensibility just means that you are refusing to address the issues.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 1, 2013 at 12:19 PM · Report this
23
@20: with a gun you can kill lots of people quickly. With a knife or a bat, you have to concentrate on one person, giving everyone else a chance to run away (or clobber you over the head with a frying pan). I'd be happy for everyone to have guns, if all guns were duelling pistols.
Posted by originalcinner on February 1, 2013 at 12:35 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 24
don't you know that we have 3, 4, 5 violent criminals breaking and entering homes of young mothers while their babies scream?

the aesthetics of guns are all that protect these women from the marauding hordes.
Posted by Max Solomon on February 1, 2013 at 1:37 PM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 25
@22: "Again, fewer guns DOES NOT mean fewer crimes committed with gun UNTIL you have removed 99%+ of the guns."

Says who? That is a wholly unsupported assertion.

@20: "Personally, I don't really see a difference in getting killed by a knife/bat or a firearm - either way you're still dead."

Unless you aren't dead, of course. Here's a recent story from my town:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/brit…

Seven people injured, one critically, in a random mass knife attack.

Any bets on what the body count would have been if the perp had been armed with a handgun, or an AR-15, instead of a knife?

Posted by Backyard Bombardier on February 1, 2013 at 2:32 PM · Report this
26
@25
"That is a wholly unsupported assertion."

You don't know what that phrase means, do you?
Given 100 million guns currently owned in America there are not 100 million crimes committed with guns in America.
In fact, they are so rare that The Stranger covers stories of shootings from across the nation.

Let me break it down a bit more for you.
1,000 "assault weapons" are owned by 1,000 people.
999 are not used in any crime.
1 is used in a crime.
Instead of focusing on the 1 person using a gun in a crime, the dialog is about banning the 999 that are not used in any crimes.

But what if you managed to block one person from buying an "assault weapon" so that the ratio was 998 to 1?
Well you'd still have the crime committed.

997 to 1?
996 to 1?
...
100 to 1?
etc.

Do you understand it yet?
If you focus on the GUN then the odds are that the crimes will still occur UNTIL you ban all the guns.
Focus on the CRIMINAL instead.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 1, 2013 at 3:10 PM · Report this
27
@23, Okay. But the fact is that removing guns from the equation did not lower the homicide rate in the UK. It may have reduced the number of mass shootings, but it absolutely did not reduce the total number of homicides. Homicides that used to be carried out with a firearm are now done with a different implement.

Changes in per capita income and access to health care have a far great impact on overall violence (and homicides) than the number of firearms available.

@25, Here's 8 kids killed in a mass stabbing:

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapc…

Is that anymore relevant to the discussion than your incident which had no fatalities? (And yes, I am fully aware that I am cherry picking here - just like you are - a single instance is pretty meaningless in the overall scheme of things.)

The bottom line is, overall homicides, including mass shootings, did not go down after the UK gun ban.
Posted by randoma on February 1, 2013 at 3:30 PM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 28
@26: You are an idiot.

There is so little logic or sense in your statement that I don't even know where to begin to refute it.

Go away and educate yourself on the data regarding rates of gun ownership and gun violence in various countries:

http://www.gunpolicy.org

You will find data like these:

Canada
Private ownership 23.8 per 100,000
Gun homicides (2009) .5 per 100,000
Gun suicides (2006) 1.79 per 100,000
Unintentional shooting deaths (2001) .08 per 100,000

USA
Private ownership 88.8 per 100,000
Gun homicides (2009) 3.75 per 100,000
Gun suicides (2006) 5.66 per 100,000
Unintentional shooting deaths (2001) .28 per 100,000

(Years selected to allow direct comparison - there are actually much more current data particularly on the US.)

That is:

3.73 x the number of guns
7.5 times the number of gun homicides
3.16 x the number of gun suicides
3.5 x the number of unintentional shooting deaths

(What's really interesting is how closely the number of guns tracks suicides and unintentional deaths.)

Review that data, then come back and try to tell us that a reduction in the overall number of guns in a society - a reduction, not a total ban - cannot reduce - that's reduce, again, not totally eliminate - rates of gun violence and gun death.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on February 1, 2013 at 4:31 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 29
@27

The overall homicide rate in the UK is one fourth the US. Britons are killing each other with other implements, but at a fraction of the US. Because there's no gangs there? No drugs? No video games? Nobody ever gets angry? They have all that.

What they don't have is so many guns.

The same could be said of every other developed country in the world. The US is an outlier not because of gangs, or drugs, or TV, or games, or minorities, or anything else. Just because of one thing: guns.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on February 1, 2013 at 7:08 PM · Report this
30
@29, If it is all about guns then why didn't the homicide rate drop after the gun ban? While gun-related homicide rates decreased, overall homicide rates increased post-ban and have only recently decreased to pre-ban rates.

In your explanation of why Vermont and Virginia have very low (relative to other states) firearms-related crime despite having some of the laxest gun laws in the country, you said, it was due to higher-than-average per-capita earnings. So, clearly, in your very own words, it is not " Just because of one thing: guns."

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/08…

For those too lazy to follow the link, here's a quote: "A World Bank sponsored study subsequently confirmed these results on income inequality concluding that, worldwide, homicide and the unequal distribution of resources are inextricably tied."

Out of every other developed country in the world, the USA ranks among the highest for income inequality. Not exactly something to be proud of.

http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/08/news/eco…

Also, the United States provides much less government support (Health Care, Education, etc.) than most other developed countries. It is absolutely not just because one thing.
Posted by randoma on February 1, 2013 at 7:58 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 31
@30

The UK didn't have anywhere near the number of guns as the US, even before the ban. Switzerland ranks second in gun ownership after the US, and they have half as many guns per capita.

The US might be one of many countries with income inequality but it's not the worst. It is, however the one with the most guns, by a long, long shot. Twice as many as the next closest country.

You have to work really, really hard to dig up excuses for that. You have to carefully pick out certain places to make your point and leave out the whole. Like picking two of the richest states in the country to tout their low murder rate.

Oh, and again you guys always track homicide and not suicide. You hate adding in the suicide numbers because it makes it so much worse. Statistical contortions, cherry picking, and arbitrary exclusions.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on February 1, 2013 at 10:50 PM · Report this
32
@28
"Go away and educate yourself on the data regarding rates of gun ownership and gun violence in various countries:"

Switzerland.
They allowed their people to keep fully automatic rifles at home.

"Gun suicides (2006) 1.79 per 100,000"

Who cares?

"Gun suicides (2006) 5.66 per 100,000"

No, really, who cares?

"3.16 x the number of gun suicides"

You don't know what "suicide" means, do you?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 2, 2013 at 2:41 AM · Report this
33
@32 The USA has the highest murder rate of any wealthy modern nation. Liberal generally blame our weak gun laws for this problem, Ann Coulter blames black people. You reject both explanations. So why do you think Americans kill each other so often?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 2, 2013 at 10:30 AM · Report this
34
@33
You were the one who claimed that a black firefighter would be more inclined to commit a crime than a white firefighter.
So I really do not care what your opinion is.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 2, 2013 at 11:26 AM · Report this
35
@34 I've never claimed any such thing, and besides I didn't offer an opinion I asked a question. A question for which you have no coherent answer.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 2, 2013 at 11:37 AM · Report this
36
@35
"I've never claimed any such thing, and besides ..."

Yes you did.
But we can go through this AGAIN.

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…
"Perhaps middle class black commit fewer crimes because it is harder for them to get away with stuff."

So the reason that the black people who are middle class are not out committing crimes is because the cops are watching them.

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…
"I don't know about that, but living in a racist society might make him a bit resentful,"

So a black firefighter would commit more crimes than a white firefighter (if he thinks he can get away with it) because he is angry at society for treating him like someone who would commit crimes and the only thing preventing him from doing so is the cops watching him because he is black and more likely to commit crimes.
So a discussion with you about what Ann Coulter ... why don't you ask her because no one else is bringing her up in this discussion so who cares what she says?
And who cares about how you defend your racist opinion?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 2, 2013 at 11:53 AM · Report this
37
@36 Again, I'm neither offering nor defending any of my opinions. I'm asking you a question. The US has the highest murder rate of any developed country, what do you think is the cause of this phenomenon?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 2, 2013 at 12:05 PM · Report this
38
@33/35, did you read this entire thread? There is a far greater correlation between income inequality and overall violence (firearm and otherwise) than there is between availability of firearms and violence.

Ph'nglui won't admit it, but as he agrees, Vermont and Virginia, both have very lower rates of firearm related violence/crime/homicide despite having very lax gun laws - both are relatively affluent with less income inequality than most of the country.

He also has no response for the fact that the UK's gun ban had zero effect on lowering the overall homicide rate. Homicides by firearm were replaced by sharp and blunt instruments.

Male suicides in the UK were at roughly 19/100k pop in 1997 and have dropped to roughly 17/100k pop in 2010. Female suicides dropped from roughly 6.1/100k pop in 1997 to roughly 5.3/100k in 2010. However, the UK started a massive suicide prevention program in 2002, which is much more likely to have had an impact on suicide rates than simply access to firearms. (Suicide rates in 2002 where very close to rates in 1997). There have been many studies that show that the best way to curtail suicide is through mental health programs, suicide prevention programs and hotlines.

Date for UK suicides here:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/taxonomy/index…
http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/2012/09/suic…
Posted by randoma on February 2, 2013 at 12:10 PM · Report this
39
@37
"I'm asking you a question."

Yes.
A racist is asking me a question.
And I'm illustrating your previous racist comments.
The reason I'm doing that is because arguing with a racist is useless.
As shown by your previous statements.
You claim that if a black firefighter is NOT committing any more crimes than a white firefighter it is because the cops are watching the black firefighter more closely and he knows he will be caught.
You claim that otherwise he would commit more crimes.
Perfectly circular racist "logic" there.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 2, 2013 at 1:02 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 40
@28

States with large cities and serious crime problems are motivated to address the issue and that leads to stricter gun laws. Hence New York City, Chicago, California. But they have little effect because anybody can take a short drive across the border and buy anything they want.

I don't know what your accusing me of with Vermont and Virginia. Why did you pick those two particular states and ignore the other 48? They're in the top 10% highest per capita incomes in the country, and their crime reflects that. Their lax gun law have little bearing, because state gun laws make little difference. Federal court rulings limit what states and cities can do, and nearby jurisdictions are easy to get to. Only a national policy has any hope of affecting gun deaths. Only a federally-enforced national background check system can control private sales.

You can look at state-by-state levels of gun ownership. Like the abysmal rates of accidental shootings and suicides in the states with the most guns per capita: Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Idaho, etc.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on February 2, 2013 at 1:39 PM · Report this
41
@38 Even before 1997 British gun laws were considerably stricter than in the US. Also, even when it was legal for Brits to own handguns not many did. According to Wikipedia there were only 59,000 licensed handgun owners in all of Great Britain when the ban went into effect. Murder rates are driven by a multitude of factors, I'm pretty sure the availability of firearms is one of them.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 2, 2013 at 2:14 PM · Report this
42
@40, Income inequality has a much greater effect on crime and violence. That is why I keep bringing up Vermont/Virginia. Because they illustrate that, it is absolutely not "Just because of one thing: guns" (Your words). You keep harping on the fact that their crime rates are lower because of their relative wealth, which is exactly my point - income is more important than gun access.

@41 - I'm confused, whenever gun-control-nuts want to point out how gun bans are effective, they point at the UK and Australia, but when the actual data doesn't support that, suddenly it is, "Well, there weren't many guns to begin with, so you can't use that data." Bullshit. Apparently there are around 1,000 handguns (illegal) in the UK now, if they were a significant factor in homicide rates, the homicide rates should be significantly lower now. The data does not show that in any way at all.

The DoJ reported over 1 million firearm incidents in 1993 and 1994, in 2009, despite a large increase in number of guns owned, the number of incidents dropped to a little over 300,000, or 1/3rd the number from 1993. Keep in mind that these are absolute numbers, not per capita numbers - per capita, the drop is even more.

@40 again: The CDC shows a rate of 6.71 nonfatal, accidental gunshot injuries per capita in 2001. This dropped to 4.71 per 100k in 2011. Once again, despite the fact that gun ownership rose between 2001 and 2011. I know it is hard for rabid gun-control-nuts like Ph'nglui to accept, but for the zillionth time is is absolutely not "just about guns." Additionally, while suicide-by-firearm rates are higher for Alaska, Montana, Wyoming..etc., so are non-firearm related suicides. Statistically you are more likely to commit suicide, by any means, if you live in the Alaska, Montana, Wyoming..etc.
More...
Posted by randoma on February 2, 2013 at 5:24 PM · Report this
43
Violence, whether firearm related or not, is a very complex problem, and while absolute number of guns may be a factor, the data does not show this.

It is almost inconceivable that there will ever be an outright ban of firearms in the United States. Also, as Ph'nglui rightly points out, state-by-state bans on firearms don't work very well because of the porous nature of our states. Meaning, despite the best intentions of the laws, it is hard to keep firearms out of Chicago, or DC, regardless of what the laws regarding firearms are inside of Chicago or DC because access is too easy in surrounding areas.

If people are serious about reducing firearms related violence (including suicides, negligent discharges, etc..etc.) you absolutely have to look at health issues (including mental health), income equality issues, drugs (legalization and treatment) and the state of incarcerations in our country.

I realize that those are very hard things to look at, and even harder to do, and there probably isn't the instant gratification and immediate feeling of "I've done something" like Goldy apparently feels about having gotten a PVC tube, which was no more a danger to public safety than a baseball bat (possibly less - looked pretty ungainly to bash someone in the head with it), "off the streets".
Posted by randoma on February 2, 2013 at 5:24 PM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 44
@43: "Violence, whether firearm related or not, is a very complex problem, and while absolute number of guns may be a factor, the data does not show this."

The data absolutely does show that the absolute number of guns is a factor in the rate of gun deaths.

Go ahead. Review the stats I posted @28. Check out the source at my link.

Are you seriously suggesting that the fact that the US has a rate of private gun ownership almost four times that of Canada has no bearing whatsoever on the fact that the US has a rate of firearms homicide that is almost eight times that of Canada, and rates of gun suicide and accidental gun deaths over three times that of Canada?

Are there other factors? Of course. But to suggest that there is no data supporting the role that the overall availability of guns plays in this is simply willful blindness.

As for very.unbalanced... Dude, you lost me with "Who cares about suicide?" You are either a troll or a sociopath.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on February 2, 2013 at 8:18 PM · Report this
45
@44, You're being myopic in your reading. In fact, I might even say that your stance is "simply willful blindness."

Canada has much better health care (particularly for those most at risk), nearly 1/3rd as many people living in poverty (roughly 5-10% for Canada, compared to 15-20% for the USA), income inequality, based on the Gini scale is roughly .35 for Canada compared to .45 for the USA.

If you look at where the majority of violence comes from, you'll note that the vast majority of violent crimes are perpetrated by poor people against other poor people. Additionally, the majority of violent crimes are in major metropolitan areas - the USA has a lot more large cities than Canada does.

As far as availability of guns and correlation with accidents and gun related suicide.. Suicide rates in the USA have been fairly stable in the last 20 years (with a slight per capita rise, which happens to directly correlate with the rise in income inequality). From the Gunpolicy.org website: Suicide, by any means, per capita, 1999 @ 10.46 (1993 was 12.06), rising to 12.3 in 2011. An increase of roughly 15%. In comparison, gun related suicides went from 5.95 in 1999 to 6.3 in 2011 or an increase of roughly 5%.

However by the figures provided by the National Institute of Justice, in 2000 there were approximately 259 million firearms owned by private citizens. By 2011 that number had increased to approximately 320-330 million. An increase of 23%. Yet, somehow, despite there being more firearms owned by private citizens, the use of firearms for suicide went down in that period, as did the number of firearms related 'accidents'. (Violent crime in general is down despite a widespread increase in the availability of firearms in the last 10-20 years.)

I wrote about accidental injuries in @42 - perhaps you should read it.

Incidentally, I believe, although as far as I know there is no data to support it, that one of the reasons for the USA's higher rates of gun violence is the 'cowboy mentality' that pervades American culture. Canada certainly doesn't have that mentality, nor does the UK. American culture reveres the "Hero with a gun".

Furthermore, as I've stated before, I support every one of Obama's Executive Actions on gun control, while I think the majority of them are not going to help, I think some will and I don't think they'll hurt. I also support liability for negligent gun owners (if you own a firearm and it is used in a crime or injures someone due to an 'accident' you should be criminally and civilly liable) and establishing real penalties for straw purchasers. I would also support a tax, or ban, on "Saturday Night Specials" (which are used for the vast majority of firearms-related crime).

I do not support a ban on "Assault Weapons". It is a meaningless ban that impacts a huge number of law-abiding citizens while having very little impact on criminal use, and is a terrible waste of political capital.
More...
Posted by randoma on February 2, 2013 at 9:41 PM · Report this
46
@44 "The data absolutely does show that the absolute number of guns is a factor in the rate of gun deaths."

Of course, but if you take guns out of the equation won't some suicides and homicides that would have been committed w/ firearms happen anyway but by different methods? Isn't it the overall rate of homicide and suicide we should care about?

@42 I'm not a gun-control-nut, quite the opposite in fact. However, I do think the availability of firearms plays a role in the prevalence of violence in society. I think it is only one of many factors and that a change in the number of guns in circulation won't necessarily correspond to a change in the murder rate.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 2, 2013 at 10:04 PM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 47
@45: I have not suggested, and will never suggest, that rates of firearms homicide, suicide, and accidental death and injuries are simply related to levels of gun ownership. There are definitely many factors affecting these, including availability of mental health care, income inequality, training of owners, etc. etc. These factors help explain why Switzerland, for example, can have lower rates of gun death even with higher rates of ownership. (Check out how those guns are regulated some time.)

I am simply suggesting that rates of private gun ownership are one of these many factors - and the evidence supports that.

You seem to be suggesting that guns have nothing to do with gun deaths, and so steps to regulate guns will achieve nothing. A gun control measure must be capable of eliminating all deaths from guns to be worthwhile. That is a fairly common argument from anti-gun control advocates. Like @46:

@46: "If you take guns out of the equation won't some suicides and homicides that would have been committed w/ firearms happen anyway?"

Yes. Some would. Though in the case of suicide, use of a firearm is associated with very high levels of success as compared to other reasons. Overall statistics suggest that lower levels of gun ownership don't necessarily lead to fewer attempts, but to fewer completions. And as to accidental gun homicides...
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on February 3, 2013 at 10:16 AM · Report this
48
@47
"You seem to be suggesting that guns have nothing to do with gun deaths, and so steps to regulate guns will achieve nothing."

You have two completely different concepts in that sentence.
Of course GUNs have something to do with GUN deaths.
Back in the 8th century there were zero GUN deaths.
Mostly because GUNs had not been invented yet.
But there were still lots of non-GUN deaths.

Then you fail to define what "regulate" means in the second part of that sentence.
Did the "assault weapon" ban "achieve nothing"?
Of course it achieved something.
It achieved cosmetic changes for guns so that they could still be sold.
What it did NOT achieve was any reduction in the number of deaths from gun shots.

"A gun control measure must be capable of eliminating all deaths from guns to be worthwhile."

No.
But it is up to YOU to show which deaths would have been prevented and how they would have been prevented as a direct result of a proposed regulation..
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 3, 2013 at 10:32 AM · Report this
49
@47, As I stated in @45 (you may not have read the entire thing - it ran pretty long), I'm in favor of some regulation. I may even be in favor of bans where the positives outweigh the negatives. (Cheap handguns, in particular). I've never said that Gun Control needs to be perfect.

You say, "I am simply suggesting that rates of private gun ownership are one of these many factors - and the evidence supports that."

What evidence supports that? In the UK, guns were banned, homicides rose. In the USA overall gun related incidents (including 'accidents', suicides, homicides..etc.) has been in pretty stable, or a slight decline per/capita over the last couple decades, while levels of gun ownership have nearly doubled. The figures YOU cite do not support your assertion unless you make a comparison to a completely different country. If you look at trends in the United States, access to firearms (more firearms, more states allowing concealed carry..etc.) has not had a corresponding rise in firearms related incidents.
Posted by randoma on February 3, 2013 at 1:03 PM · Report this
50
@49 During the 20th century the UK consistently had stricter gun laws and fewer murders than the US.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 3, 2013 at 2:06 PM · Report this
51
@50
What year was the National Insurance Act passed in England?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 3, 2013 at 2:24 PM · Report this
52
@49 In 1929 the murder rate in the US was twenty times that of Great Britain. No doubt Prohibition and the superiority of the British Police had something to do with that. On the other hand, in the UK the National Firearms Act of 1920 had restricted sales of all firearms except smoothbore shotguns. In the US, Thompson submachine guns could be ordered by mail, no questions asked. Do you think that may have contributed to the gang violence of that era?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 3, 2013 at 3:04 PM · Report this
53
@52
"In 1929 the murder rate in the US was ..."

The question was:
What year was the National Insurance Act passed in England?

The answer is:
1911
In other words, over one hundred years ago.

No one asked whether the murder rate in the US in 1929 blah blah blah.
The point being that you refuse (as exhibited above) to address any fact that contradicts your position.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 3, 2013 at 6:08 PM · Report this
54
@52, Are you serious, or are you just deluded? Why don't you look at crime rates before and after Prohibition and then you can tell us - was it easy access to guns that made for violent gangs, or was it Prohibition that made for violent gangs? I'll give you a hint, by the time the National Firearms Act passed in 1934, the violent gangs that flourished during Prohibition were almost gone.

As far as the UK's 1920 Firearms Act can you produce any evidence that any of the UK's gun control edicts have reduced overall violence? If you look at Northern Ireland, which has much more permissive gun laws than England, you'll note that their homicide rates are almost identical. If you look at historic homicide rates you'll see very little change in trends that can be attributed to gun control.

Here's an interesting essay on Gun Prohibition in England:

http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/hist…
Posted by randoma on February 3, 2013 at 6:28 PM · Report this
55
@54 It seems to me that you are dogmatically committed to the notion that the availability of firearms is in no way related to the level of violence in a society. Do you really believe that the fact that in 1920s any kid w/ a paper route could own a tommy gun was completely unrelated to the epidemic of gang violence that swept America at that time? Come on.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 3, 2013 at 7:29 PM · Report this
56
@55
"Do you really believe that the fact that in 1920s any kid w/ a paper route could own a tommy gun was completely unrelated to the epidemic of gang violence that swept America at that time? Come on."

To determine that you'd have to look for examples where there were at least the same number of people killed but without guns similar to the Tommy gun being available. And not a military war.
Now that I have phrased it like for you that I'm sure that anyone with any decent level of education can provide multiple examples. Religious conflicts and ethnic cleansing are two examples.
Even the mass killings of Native Americans would often fit that criteria.
But that is the point.
You don't bother looking for examples to refute your claims.
You skip anything that contradicts you.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 4, 2013 at 7:14 AM · Report this
57
@56 No, FU. To determine that you'd have to look for an example where every single relevant factor except the availability of firearms was the same. Nobody is arguing that people having guns is the sole determinant of the level of violence in a society. Only that it is one factor among many. That's my racist opinion.

BTW FU you never did give me an answer as to why the US has the highest murder rate of any developed nation. If it's not the guns what is it?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 4, 2013 at 9:44 AM · Report this
58
@57
"Nobody is arguing that people having guns is the sole determinant of the level of violence in a society."

And what was that you had just posted?

"Do you really believe that the fact that in 1920s any kid w/ a paper route could own a tommy gun was completely unrelated to the epidemic of gang violence that swept America at that time? Come on."

Well it looks like that is EXACTLY what you had just argued.
But now it looks like you're arguing for the position that "randoma" had posted.
What was that I had posted before about the circular logic of the racist?

"If it's not the guns what is it?"

And now you're back to claiming that it IS the presence of guns.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 4, 2013 at 2:51 PM · Report this
59
@58 Suppose the availability of firearms was one of several causes that combined to create the epidemic of gang violence that the United States experienced in the 1920s. Then America's weak gun laws would be a cause of Prohibition era violence, but not the only cause. You see FU, things can have more than one cause. For example your double digit moron level IQ probably resulted from your overindulgence in 'medicinal' marijuana and from all the times your mother dropped you on your head when you were a baby.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 4, 2013 at 3:14 PM · Report this
60
@59
"Then America's weak gun laws would be a cause of Prohibition era violence, but not the only cause."

You'd FIRST have to show some evidence that the same level of violence would NOT happen if Tommy guns were not present.
I've shown that there are LOTS of examples of similar levels of violence in different societies PRIOR to the invention of the Tommy gun.

"... things can have more than one cause."

Except YOU are the one who keeps arguing that there is one reason and that reason is Tommy guns.
I'm saying that the reason for increased violence during the Prohibition era IS that it was the Prohibition era when Prohibition was enacted and before Prohibition was repealed.
Which is why gang-related and drug-related crimes are the ones CURRENTLY most associated with shootings.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 4, 2013 at 6:42 PM · Report this
61
@60 "Except YOU are the one who keeps arguing that there is one reason and that reason is Tommy guns."

No, I'm arguing that America's weak gun laws were one of many reasons for the high level of violence in the 1920s.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 4, 2013 at 6:57 PM · Report this
62
@61
"No, I'm arguing that America's weak gun laws were one of many reasons for the high level of violence in the 1920s."

Then you have to show a time similar to Prohibition WITHOUT the Tommy guns where the violence level was less than during the Prohibition era.
Otherwise your "one of many reasons" has ZERO effect (or at least immeasurably small).

I've already shown instances of similar levels of violence WITHOUT Tommy guns.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 4, 2013 at 7:15 PM · Report this
63
@62 So, if I could find an instance of a similar level of violence to 1920s America, but w/o alcohol prohibition, would that mean that Prohibition didn't cause any violence?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 4, 2013 at 7:36 PM · Report this
64
@62 Nowadays, the US and the UK have fairly similar drug laws, but in the UK the illegal drug trade is not associated w/ the level of violence as in the US. The UK also has stricter gun laws.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 4, 2013 at 7:40 PM · Report this
65
@63
"So, if I could find an instance of a similar level of violence to 1920s America, but w/o alcohol prohibition, would that mean that Prohibition didn't cause any violence?"

First off, correct your statement there.
Similar is NOT the same as exactly alike.
So you'd have to show:
a. the absence of restrictions SIMILAR to Prohibition.
b. a comparable level of violence.
c. the presence of Tommy guns (or equivalent).
d. NOT during a war or religious conflict or ethnic cleansing or mass killings of Native Americans (examples I have already provided).
e. And because YOU keep bringing it up, it has to be in "developed nation."
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 4, 2013 at 8:23 PM · Report this
66
@65 No two human societies are exactly alike. No two periods in history are exactly alike. The social sciences do not lend themselves to the type of controlled experiment that you are suggesting. The best we can do is compare situations that are roughly similar. For example, the US and the UK are similar in many ways, but one has a lot more guns and a lot more violence.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 4, 2013 at 9:07 PM · Report this
67
@66
"No two human societies are exactly alike. No two periods in history are exactly alike."

Now what was it that I had just posted?
Similar is NOT the same as exactly alike.
So you think you are making a point by claiming something that I just had to clearly spell out for you?

"The best we can do is compare situations that are roughly similar."

No.
The BEST we can do is to look at the FACTS instead of your racist imaginings.
And the FACTS show a sharp drop in the number of homicides immediately after Prohibition was revoked but while Tommy guns were still owned by private citizens.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 4, 2013 at 11:45 PM · Report this
68
@67 The 21st amendment to the constitution, repealing Prohibition, was ratified December 5, 1933. The National Firearms Act, that severally restricted ownership of certain types of firearms including machine guns, became law on June 26, 1934. The downward trend in the US murder rate began in 1932 and continued for over a decade. Is it possible that there were many reasons for the decline in crime in the 1930s and that the end of Prohibition and restrictions on private ownership of tommy guns both played a role?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 5, 2013 at 3:01 AM · Report this
69
@68
"Is it possible that there were many reasons for the decline in crime in the 1930s and that the end of Prohibition and restrictions on private ownership of tommy guns both played a role?"

That is possible.
But the Tommy guns were still in the hands of private citizens.
Exactly as they were during Prohibition.
So claiming that Tommy guns were in any way responsible for the level of violence DURING Prohibition appears to be contrary to the facts.
But don't let the facts stop you.
There's always some other thing you can claim when the facts contradict your original claim.

And, of course, you ignore that the violence seems to have peaked in 1933.
But instead of addressing the specific facts, you will try to over-generalize with "the 1930s"
While
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
all show a continuing decline in homicides.
Despite Tommy guns still being in the hands of private citizens.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on February 5, 2013 at 10:24 AM · Report this

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