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JoeyM
JoeyM UltimaDork
12/15/12 11:09 p.m.

Since we cannot seem to have any discussion around here that mentions firearms - even in passing - without it turning into a gun control debate, I thought I'd see if we could concentrate the debate here and keep it out of threads that are supposed to be about school tragedies, stupid sportscasters, etc. (Yes, I know about the history of the hotlink thread....asking GRMers to do anything is a bit like herding cats.)

I'm a gun owner who likes my guns, doesn't want to give them up, etc., yet I believe that anti-gun bills are likely to be voted on soon. Here are some control ideas that I've been thinking about which might be less onerous than some of the ones being discussed. Which - if any - of these do you guys think would be acceptable regulations?

1) Type certifications: We have them for aircraft, we have them (in a less stringent form) for vehicles on the roads (i.e. I can drive a car, but don't have a permit to drive a semi.) Why don't we have them for firearms? It seems silly for a CCW to require someone to demonstrate shooting proficiency with a .22, but let them carry .45 ACP. If that's going to be your carry weapon, shoot that. For people who will carry many guns of many calibers, qualify on the biggest/most difficult to handle, and you can carry anything smaller/easier.

2) Written tests: CCW permits could include a written test that covers both relevant state laws and Colonel Cooper's Four rules of firearm safety. I didn't have any written test, but I certainly would not object to having been required to take one.

[The two ideas listed above would not have done anything to stop incidents similar to our recent spree killings, but they would probably reduce accidental deaths. I doubt that many gun owners would object to these ideas.

Now, for the really controversial ideas that many gun owners may object to]

3) private party background checks: Is there any way to do this in a way that might be acceptable to gun owners? [ * ] (i.e. is there a middle ground that both gun owners and gun haters would find to be annoying, but something they could live with?)

4) safe storage requirements: Would it be reasonable to require owners of guns to have a safe or some gun locks to make it slightly more difficult for the wrong members of their households to access their weapons?[ + ] What if that was only required of families with small children or mentally unstable people in the household?

Let the debates begin


[ * ] - gun control advocates have been whining for years that there is a "gun show loophole"; as has been noted elsewhere on the forum, that's misleading, since most states don't require background checks for any private party sales, whether they are at gun shows or not. As was also noted in other threads, these sales are a tiny fraction of sales at gun shows. Here's the thing I'm wondering: Is there any way you, as a gun owner, be open to background checks for private parties? They're required in California, a state with a draconian reputation. Most of my firearms-owning friends are totally against this idea, but I'm a bit more ambivalent....if it could be done at a very low cost (say, $5, instead of California's $10 or $35), it was just as fast as a a normal check at an FFL, I might be OK with it. (Yes, I saw the scene in Red Dawn.) I'd rather have this happen, though, than have them try to ban my guns

[ + ] - some gun crimes - including the recent spree killing at the elementary school - involve weapons taken from the legal owner by members of their household. It would be of limited efficacy to do this - a household member probably knows where to find a key/code, or already has access - but it might occasionally slow down a small child or someone who is mentally disturbed. Is this teeny, tiny potential benefit worth the cost and bother it would cause gun owners?

aussiesmg
aussiesmg UltimaDork
12/15/12 11:25 p.m.

Ohio requires written tests, a range session and ia CCW must be renewed every 4 years.

The standard should be higher.

JoeyM
JoeyM UltimaDork
12/15/12 11:30 p.m.

Answering a post from a different thread.

colaboy wrote: But watch the news, barring countries that are at war, do you really see anything that remotely compares to the US? You can't say Somalia is worse, it's oranges and apples.

Good question. The UK has FAR lower gun violence than we do (2010 statistics)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_the_United_Kingdom The United Kingdom has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world with 0.22 recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants compared to the United States' 9.0 and to Germany's 1.1.[3]

but they are still an extremely violent country (2009)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/5712573/UK-is-violent-crime-capital-of-Europe.html The United Kingdom is the violent crime capital of Europe and has one of the highest rates of violence in the world, worse even than America, according to new research. By Richard Edwards, Crime Correspondent 7:00AM BST 02 Jul 2009 Analysis of figures from the European Commission showed a 77 per cent increase in murders, robberies, assaults and sexual offences in the UK since Labour came to power. The total number of violent offences recorded compared to population is higher than any other country in Europe, as well as America, Canada, Australia and South Africa.
A breakdown of the statistics, which were compiled into league tables by the Conservatives, revealed that violent crime in the UK had increased from 652,974 offences in 1998 to more than 1.15 million crimes in 2007. It means there are over 2,000 crimes recorded per 100,000 population in the UK, making it the most violent place in Europe. Austria is second, with a rate of 1,677 per 100,000 people, followed by Sweden, Belgium, Finland and Holland. By comparison, America has an estimated rate of 466 violent crimes per 100,000 population.

Meanwhile, as our gun ownership has risen in the USA, our violent crime statistics have been declining for five straight years. Of course, even gun blogs remind us that corrolation does not equal causation and that other factors may be responsible. I think a lot of this is due to the increasing age of our population.

mad_machine
mad_machine GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/15/12 11:39 p.m.

I agree with you Joey.. why would I need to show proficiency with something that could be lethal (a car) to be able to use and even own it.. and not for something that is designed to be lethal (a gun)

If you really wanted to silence the gun nuts.. make it a MANDATORY class in HS. Just like Driver's Ed and the rest.. you can opt out if your parents sign for it.. but otherwise you get a class in gun safety, even if you never pick up a gun in your life.

You would almost think the NRA would be FOR something like that

JoeyM
JoeyM UltimaDork
12/15/12 11:49 p.m.
aussiesmg wrote: Ohio requires written tests, a range session and ia CCW must be renewed every 4 years. The standard should be higher.

I don't recall a written test for my FL CCW. If there was one, it certainly was not rigorous. (It would be great if people with a CCW were required to know when it was and was not permissible to draw a weapon.) We did have a range session, but that's where my "type certification" idea is from.....this state has too many people shooting mouse guns during that session while carrying powerful guns afterwards.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic HalfDork
12/16/12 12:00 a.m.

Gun handling would be part of my proposed, mandatory, "life skills" class in HS, which will cover weapons safety, cooking, writing checks, properly berkeleying, etc. You don't make it out of freshman year not having it drilled into your head guns are dangerous in the wrong hands, and must be stored and handled appropriately. You should also have to prove a clean mental bill of health to purchase firearms. Beyond that, I see no reason why anybody should be restricted to purchase or own anything shoulder or hand fired.

You go beyond that, and its a very slick slope to all sorts of scary stuff. You go back in history and pretty much any weapons control ends up a precursor for communist dictatorships, genocide, oppression of a race, etc.

PHeller
PHeller UltraDork
12/16/12 12:09 a.m.

I find it interesting how as our nation becomes less and less enthralled with hunting, it seemingly has replaced hunting with a fascination for guns, militarism, and all things "tactical".

50-60 years ago,a kid might have looked at a gun and said "that's a good deer hunting rifle" or a "fine pheasant gun". Automatic weapons were seen as tools of the bad guys, the gangster, and pistols were what cowboys and cops carried. They may have played "war" games against the "Reds", but I'm sure they were not acting out the invincibility of body armor.

Today, our kids don't associate guns with anyone in particular. They just associate a gun with vengeance, with glory, with skill. You can play a video game and regardless which side your own, you can prove to the world just how awesome you are with a (virtual) gun. Many games now allow you to select "load outs" and different guns depending on the mission. Friendly fire is an "oops" that just results in the restart of a scenario. You cannot "holster" or "safety" guns in games. They are always up, always loaded, and a virtual kill against a challenging enemy becomes a great adrenaline rush.

I'm not sure how teaching kids gun safety will really improve this when kids still rush home to play Call of Duty and Halo. Maybe we should show kids videos of bullets going through cadavers? Should we show them the real affects of war? Or have every kid in American put a bullet through a pig/cow/chicken/squirrels head and feel the repercussions of taking a life and how bad that can feel if your don't respect that life? Or maybe tests like these would bring out traits in some childrens and young people that would immediately identify them as mentally ill?

I've started topics/conversations like this on this forum before...and I just gave up because it would never get anywhere, and this thread will undoubtedly be the same.

JoeyM
JoeyM UltimaDork
12/16/12 12:10 a.m.
Kenny_McCormic wrote: Gun handling would be part of my proposed, mandatory, "life skills" class in HS, which will cover weapons safety, cooking, writing checks, properly berkeleying, etc. You don't make it out of freshman year not having it drilled into your head guns are dangerous in the wrong hands, and must be stored and handled appropriately. You should also have to prove a clean mental bill of health to purchase firearms. Beyond that, I see no reason why anybody should be restricted to purchase or own anything shoulder or hand fired.

What you say sounds reasonable, and I'm totally behind that idea in principle. The problem is the implementation. I'm not sure a test like that could be fairly developed in a way that prevents it from being turned into a backdoor gun grab. I'm a bit worried about that, and some of my other friends are SURE it would be used as a means to disarm the population.

After all, it could easily turn into something like the erroneous psychopath tests that have been misused for years

bearmtnmartin
bearmtnmartin GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/16/12 1:49 a.m.

You guys just need to make it way harder to get guns and impossible to get the ones that fire a lot of bullets in sucession. Sorry but as a non gun owner I just don't get it. In British Columbia it is now a 3 year program to drive a car with a full liscence, and pretty much the same to get a gun, which will probably be a hunting rifle or such because even if you can get a handgun, you have to get a permit every time you leave your house with it. Background checks are standard and if you ever get into trouble with the police they take your gun and your right to own one away. Funnily enough, most Canadians are just fine with this.

bearmtnmartin
bearmtnmartin GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/16/12 1:51 a.m.

Not trying to upset anyone. I just honestly do not understand the overwhelming need for Americans to want the freedom to carry weapons everywhere.

Osterkraut
Osterkraut UberDork
12/16/12 2:10 a.m.

I'm opposed to giving the government any more control of anything. They're doing a great job dorking up what they already have.

novaderrik
novaderrik UltraDork
12/16/12 4:29 a.m.
bearmtnmartin wrote: Not trying to upset anyone. I just honestly do not understand the overwhelming need for Americans to want the freedom to carry weapons everywhere.

it's a liberty thing.. the whole purpose of adding the 2nd Amendment to the Bill of Rights was to assure that people were able to at least have as much firepower as the government that might want to subdue and control them, and that "Don't Tread on Me" attitude has become ingrained into the national consciousness.

ransom
ransom GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/16/12 4:54 a.m.

Guns don't defend homes, people do.

If you take away their guns, they'll just find some other defence.

<-- Emoticon notes that this is intended as a needling; I recognize the distinction about people being able to defend their homes with a more effective weapon and without resorting to less reliable means. Nevertheless, the underlying point I think is not entirely invalid...

By way of disclosure, yes, I feel guns should be much more tightly regulated and much harder to acquire. I also think it's clear that there are other issues at work regarding our overall level of violence, and that gun control alone won't fix things.

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
12/16/12 6:59 a.m.
bearmtnmartin wrote: You guys just need to make it way harder to get guns and impossible to get the ones that fire a lot of bullets in sucession. Sorry but as a non gun owner I just don't get it. In British Columbia it is now a 3 year program to drive a car with a full liscence

I cringe a bit at the comparison between driving and gun ownership, only because I'm afraid it will take us far off the topic, but I'll reluctantly go along with it for a bit. And understand, as a guy who teaches a teen driver safety course twice a year, I am way for making driver's licenses harder to come by.

The only gun I own is a .22 Hornet I inherited from my grandfather. I use it, as he did, for the occasional eradication of groundhogs on my property. Other than that, I have very little interest in things firearms.

However, being the Libertarian I tend to be, I want nothing to do with removing a citizen's ability to arm himself. It's part of our history, and in places where gun ownership and possession are easier (such as Texas) gun crimes aren't as rampant as they are in places with tight restrictions, such as DC and New York. The problem isn't the gun as a weapon; if a gun isn't available, fruitcakes like this guy in CT will find other means, most likely bombs, which aren't difficult to make. The gun isn't the problem; the crazy person is.

Now, having said that, we'll go back to the comparison with driving. If you want to drive a big truck, you need a CDL. If you want to own a weapon that shoots a zillion rounds per second, you ought to have an appropriate license that proves you can handle it. And, for the moment, we'll overlook all those geriatric, white knuckled pensioners driving their air brake equipped, diesel pusher RVs.

JoeyM
JoeyM UltimaDork
12/16/12 7:19 a.m.
ddavidv wrote: If you want to own a weapon that shoots a zillion rounds per second, you ought to have an appropriate license that proves you can handle it.

...and we already have that. Fully automatic weapons are already tightly controlled, and almost NEVER used in crimes.

link to gun blog (Caution: [ !!! ])

And here’s the requirements to buy a fully automatic firearm: * Have around $10,000 in cash, more for “good” guns * Submit two sets of fingerprints to the ATF for a background check * Submit two passport photos to the ATF * Fill out a Form 4 and submit it to the ATF detailing why you want the gun * Pay a $200 tax to the government * Wait 6 months for the ATF to perform the background checks and approve the purchase There’s the option in some states to use a trust instead as the legal instrument, which still typically requires $10,000+ in cash and a 6 month wait on the ATF’s approval. [inflammatory sentence deleted] for a class of firearm that has been used in exactly two crimes since the National Firearms Act was passed in 1934?

!!! - That link contains the mildly inflammatory claim that a gun control advocate was intentionally lying. I don't think that's true. I think the guy just got worked up, emotional, and misspoke.

moparman76_69
moparman76_69 HalfDork
12/16/12 7:23 a.m.

A) If you aren't allowed to own a gun because of "mental illness" then:

1) who decides your mental health status? I cite the marine who was "detained" as an example.

2) what's to stop them from stealing the gun from a friend/family member? I cite the columbine and oregon mall shootings.

B) At this point in history there are so many guns out there, then disarming the populous will only:

1) turn otherwise law abiding citizens into "outlaws" that refuse to turn over there weapons.

2) criminals who already possess a weapon, obviously won't turn them over and still use them to commit crimes. Negating the effect of a gun ban.

JoeyM
JoeyM UltimaDork
12/16/12 7:56 a.m.
moparman76_69 wrote: A) If you aren't allowed to own a gun because of "mental illness" then: 1) who decides your mental health status? I cite the marine who was "detained" as an example.

I'm not familiar with your example, but I agree that this has the potential to abuse. (...and that some of the test that might look useful - like the test to identify psychopaths - have been disavowed by the people who designed them.)

moparman76_69 wrote: 2) what's to stop them from stealing the gun from a friend/family member? I cite the columbine and oregon mall shootings.

Indeed. The elementary school spree killer at Sandy Hook (intentionally not using his name) is also in that catagory; he was using his mother's gun. Yesterday NBC said that the shooter had tried to buy a gunearlier in the week, but was unable to complete the purchase because he didn't want to go through the background check and waiting period, but now say they cannot confirm this.

My personal opinion is that gun owners who have small children or mentally ill family members should probably have a safe to make it slightly more difficult to get to the guns. (That at least shows a good faith effort on the part of the gun owner.)

The problem is that a feel good thing like a safe won't stop someone who's determined. (angle grinder)

cwh
cwh PowerDork
12/16/12 8:18 a.m.

I like guns. I have owned several, shotgun, rifle, pistols. I currently do not. Reason? We have an unstable housemate. I won't take that risk. Another point. Jamaica has British style gun control, extremely rigorous. They also have the third highest murder rate in the world.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon MegaDork
12/16/12 8:18 a.m.

I lean libertarian on issues like this as well, the government should not be able to say whethere a law abiding level headed citizen should be able to own a firearm. The problem is that the non law abiding and non-level headed citizens are not for a moment going to care about some words on a piece of paper. Gun control is nothing more than a strike at the symbol of a problem, not a strike at the problem itself. Striking at a symbol accomplishes exactly squat.

Weapon control gets out of hand; a while back in England there was a move afoot to control how big and what type of kitchen knife could be owned. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4581871.stm Cooler heads prevailed. Knife law overview: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knife_legislation#United_Kingdom

It's just as possible to kill someone with a chunk of 2x4 or a tire iron as it is a knife or a gun. This goes back to 'it's not the object that does the deed but rather the person wielding it'. Outlawing 2x4's and tire irons won't fix it, the broken people will find something else. Prison shanks are a good example of this, how about a sharpened toothbrush?

This is not about controlling firearms, it's about controlling people. That's been a fool's errand since the dawn of mankind and will continue to be so. Since so far the non law abiding not level headed types are in the minority, the law abiding majority need to be able to defend themselves. That's why I don't support gun control.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon MegaDork
12/16/12 8:23 a.m.
JoeyM wrote:
moparman76_69 wrote: A) If you aren't allowed to own a gun because of "mental illness" then: 1) who decides your mental health status? I cite the marine who was "detained" as an example.
I'm not familiar with your example, but I agree that this has the potential to abuse. (...and that some of the test that might look useful - like the test to identify psychopaths - have been disavowed by the people who designed them.)

A lot of the reason those tests do not work is that the subject becomes 'schooled' on how to 'pass' them. The test depends on honest answers and that is highly unlikely; many people who have problems like this are exceptionally intelligent and cunning. I say this from personal experience.

mpolans
mpolans Reader
12/16/12 8:28 a.m.

Interesting. I think every possible proposed gun control law should be looked at from the perspective of, "How can the state pervert and subvert this law in a way to eventually further restrict or eliminate rights?" Sound cynical? I look at California as an example. Following the Stockton massacre in 1989, CA enacted an assault weapons law that banned sale of certain weapons listed by name and required owners of the weapons to register them. The CA passed a law that said weapons with certain features were banned and current owners needed to register. As the laws could be kind of byzantine, many didn't register or didn't know they had to register. CA Attorney General offered an amnesty and many learned that their guns fell under the law and so registered during the amnesty period. Then CA decided the amnesty wasn't valid and started confiscating those who registered under the amnesty. Ever since, many politicians in CA have been trying to pass legislation to use the registration lists confiscate those that were legally registered. Here's another fun one. Around 2001, Maryland passed a law require folks buying firearms to attend a training class where they'd watch a 2 hour training video on gun safety prior to being allowed to purchase a firearm. The videos were to be made available to gun shops and firearms instructors. Sounds benign, right? The video wasn't distributed before the law went into effect. The only folks that had them for a while were state police office who tended to offer the classes at really inconvenient times (once a month on weekday at 10am or something odd like that). The lack of videos was effectively a firearms ban until enough folks started complaining and the videos were eventually made available. At the federal level, someone proposed a ban on "armor-piercing ammunition" so folks couldn't shoot through police bulletproof vests. Sounds great, right? Except the definition of "armor-piercing" was any ammunition that travelled faster than 1,000 feet per second...that would ban about 90% of ammunition commercially available.

So, onto the ones you proposed.

  1. Caliber type certificates. Caliber doesn't really matter that much; the only difference is recoil and, bullet size, and penetration, and the smallest rounds are still deadly and should still be treated as such. The fundamental rules for gun safety apply regardless of caliber and I'd hate to think you'd start having accidents by folks who started thinking that their ammo wouldn't penetrate something because they thought it was weak enough. Also, unless this is one time thing with no records kept by the State, it's a form of registration which can be used for eventual confiscation.

  2. Written tests. I think safety classes are a great idea for people to take on their own, but I'm leery of state control over them because of the potential of recordkeeping/registration and the possible misuse leading to a de facto ban ala the Maryland example above.

  3. Private party background checks. I'd love if this were available as an option and didn't have the Form 4473 and recordkeeping requirements that FFLs have to go through. I'd love it if it was as convenient as just calling up the National Instant Check System (NICS) phone number like a dealer and be able to run a background check before selling a gun to someone. After receiving the answer, I could then choose to sell or not sell the firearm. I think this would be a great idea. I do think some folks would probably worry about possible privacy issues as you'd have to find a way to keep folks from randomly calling in background checks on neighbors, ex-wives, celebrities, etc.

  4. Safe storage requirements. While I think safe storage is a good idea and folks who need them should get them, I find a law requiring them to be problematic and useless. How would such a law be enforced? Random home inspections? (Don't like that.) Who sets the standards for what kind of safe or lock? Especially for safe, if the laws change, that could be very expensive change to comply with the law. Ultimately, if someone is irresponsible enough to not want to take appropriate steps to secure their firearm on their own, what makes you think they'll be any less irresponsible when it comes to the inconvenience of using their government-mandated safe or gun lock?

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/16/12 8:33 a.m.

I'm not an American but 1 through 4 plus some form of psychological evaluation seems sensible, even without the psych. eval those would be a huge improvement and still leave the US the easiest place to get a gun this side of Somalia.

Now it's true that laws don't affect people who obtain guns illegally, but closing the private sale free-for-all would go a long way to shrinking the black market. I mean you can't have a system that lets guns sell as freely as used video games and then act surprised when they easily get into the wrong hands.

For background check fees, they should be low or free, it would probably pay for itself in emergency services savings.

JoeyM
JoeyM UltimaDork
12/16/12 9:04 a.m.
mpolans wrote: The CA passed a law that said weapons with certain features were banned and current owners needed to register. As the laws could be kind of byzantine, many didn't register or didn't know they had to register. CA Attorney General offered an amnesty and many learned that their guns fell under the law and so registered during the amnesty period. Then CA decided the amnesty wasn't valid and started confiscating those who registered under the amnesty. Ever since, many politicians in CA have been trying to pass legislation to use the registration lists confiscate those that were legally registered.

OK, that's scary. I wish you'd provided links.

BTW, thank you to everybody for keeping this discussion civil

rebelgtp
rebelgtp UltraDork
12/16/12 9:09 a.m.

Face to face transfers are not a black market. If you want a black market start banning weapons then you will see a black market. You will also an increase in violence when honest citizens can't defend themselves. You people honestly believe a criminal is going to turn over his weapons? Obviously they are model citizens that will follow the law right? Both of these last incidents the perps STOLE their weapons they went to supposedly gun free zones and killed innocent people that had no chance of protecting themselves. You want to fix the problem? Fix the people. The guns are not the problem they are tools. It is the sick society that we live in today that is the problem. People kill each other all over the planet without guns everyday they use their hands, knives, improvised clubs and other weapons, cars, poison and bombs. Honest gun owners use their fire arms to hunt, shoot sporting events and to protect their families. Oh and don't tell me "no one hunts anymore" bull crap. Every winter my woods are full of city slickers coming out to hunt and they are out here by the thousands. Every one where I live if they were raised here hunts, men women and children they all hunt.

When you can show me any gun control that has ever worked and not created vicitms then we will talk. When you can show a plan that does not infringe on my rights then we will talk. When you show me someplace that has banned guns and then one has never been used by a criminal again we will talk. This is all just a pipe dream blaming guns for the actions of men. The only reason to disarm a populace is to control them and I for one will not allow that to happen. I will fight tooth and nail for my rights and for the rights of those around me. If you are ever in an active shooter situation and your ass is saved by some "gun nut" that is legally carrying I am sure you will be happy then but go right back to trying to eliminate the rights just used to save your sorry ass.

Morbid
Morbid Reader
12/16/12 9:13 a.m.

My thoughts (as a gun owner) on this topic would likely disappoint my parents and my in-laws, and might open me up to ribbing on here, but I'm willing to take that risk.

Why not 'track' firearms in the same way we track vehicles, through titling and registration at every point of sale, and, taking it a step further, keeping ballistics data for each and every firearm as part of that process. Firearms are already test-fired at the point of manufacture as a method of quality control, so how much 'extra' time would it take to catalog the ballistics data to that weapon and it's serial number? I realize that aftermarket barrels would make this a moot point in some cases, but it would be a start. Slippery slope to more stringent tracking methods or not, I still think it's a good idea.

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