Now is not the time to talk about gun control (1 Viewer)

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Denzien

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My point was that one reason laws exist is to punish after the fact, as you stated. So saying it shouldn’t be illegal to own a nuclear weapon because there wouldn’t be a way to stop someone from building one in advance sort of negates one purpose of every law on the books.

I never made that argument though.
If he wanted to construct them illegally [...]

I originally had a much longer reply that I cut down because people don't read long paragraphs and I'm long winded.

Case in point, earlier I said:

[...] The right to self-defense is implicit in the right for citizens to own and carry weapons - otherwise, what purpose would they have? If they were meant to only be used within the context of a militia, then the right to the weapons would be constrained by that language, but it isn't.

Given this, I think it would be reasonable to argue that nuclear weapons (for instance) do not contribute to an individual's right to self-defense/defense of the person. If they are required for the defense of the state (for some reason), then the state should have permission to hold them unless it's agreed that they don't. [...]

So you should have already understood my view of nuclear weapons in the context of the 2nd Amendment if you were following along.
I understand it wasn't spelled out, but I was saying I have no problem disallowing nuclear weapons and don't find any real conflict.
(Note that possession is illegal, but that's irrelevant to the thought experiment. This is especially true given how nuclear weapons are subject to international treaties)

Nevertheless, nuclear weapons in this conversation is just a strawman argument. The intent of this particular argument is to establish that there is indeed a line - and once there's a line, the line can be moved. Am I right or wrong?

It's pretty well established that the 2nd has a duality to its nature - it preserves the right for weapons of personal protection and weapons of war for use in service to the defense of the state. Private ownership of machine guns, for example, is not federally banned in the U.S., strictly speaking.


Using your new example, drunk driving wouldn’t be illegal unless or until someone gets hurt or killed or property gets damaged. Because unless an accident occurs, theres really no problem, right?

That's an excellent question, and you're right. Drunk or not, a driver who is acting in a way that is eminently dangerous to others may be considered to be threatening others' right to life. I would consider this to be similar to waving a loaded gun around or brandishing a knife in a threatening manner - even if it may be somewhat less intentional.
I would point out that this is one reason I feel that open carry of a firearm, if avoidable, is a generally unwise thing to do in most situations even when legal ... some people will feel threatened.
Threatened people feel justified to use force even if they are legally in the wrong, so why inject yourself into a situation like that?


They haven't committed the crime of murder or destruction of property, true, but they have violated the "NAP" and action against that person for the purposes of self defense or the defense of others may be reasonable. This is generally reflected in the law where it's stated that someone who is driving impaired but whose BAC is below the legal limit may still be charged with a DUI. This communicates to me that the primary concern is not the BAC - it's the danger being posed to other drivers.

A direct threat to the safety of yourself or another may be cause for justified defensive action, if escape is not an option.
An individual engaged in behavior that may eminently result in harm should be subject to scrutiny. An impaired driver's driving privileges on public roads may be suspended or revoked. A person committing a felony gun crime (actually, any felony) will lose their 2nd Amendment rights permanently.

However, I would also answer 'yes' it is no problem de facto if the driver is able to demonstrate and maintain control, pose no threat to others, and not commit any of the injurious or destructive crimes not because the law says that it's ok and not because it is ok, but because outside of a random DUI checkpoint, they will not be pulled over. I understand how stupid that sounds, but that's real life.
 

Denzien

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[...] Otherwise, you're writing laws based on the perception of some future crime, or you're calling society a "victim" in an attempt to justify criminalizing what might be benign behaviors [...]
Using your new example, drunk driving wouldn’t be illegal unless or until someone gets hurt or killed or property gets damaged. Because unless an accident occurs, theres really no problem, right?

I feel like I should clarify something really quick - I don't think punishing an impaired driver is a "future crime" because the act of threatening others is not benign.
I do think that punishing the sole occupant of a dwelling who never has people over for 'unsafe storage' of a firearm on the premises is, because no one is imperiled. It may be stupid, but it's not a crime.
 

MT15

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I get what you are saying, but wouldn’t the person living alone who doesn’t safely store their firearm be essentially the same as the driver who is legally intoxicated but never causes an accident? Neither are likely to be charged with the crime.

I am also pretty long winded and I have a habit of skimming over, so I missed your point about the nuclear weapons. 🙂

You are correct in that I do believe that restrictions on the 2nd are proper. I tend to think of gun violence as a public health crisis. IIRC, suicide is the leading cause of gun deaths in this country. The prevalence of guns makes it so easy to act impulsively.

I read a harrowing story of a really young boy, maybe 11 or 12, who took his own life with his father‘s revolver. His father had taught the boy about guns and felt that he knew enough to be safe, but kids are impulsive and reckless. His parents don’t know if he intended to kill himself or not, they had no warning. It happened while they were at home, the boy was alone with the gun only for a few minutes. One risk factor was that the boy’s grandfather had recently committed suicide by shooting himself. They don’t know if the boy thought the safety was on and was acting out or what happened. I just cannot imagine the pain they must be going through.
 

Denzien

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I get what you are saying, but wouldn’t the person living alone who doesn’t safely store their firearm be essentially the same as the driver who is legally intoxicated but never causes an accident? Neither are likely to be charged with the crime.
Yes, in fact I think I agree with that. I suppose I was imagining the person living alone was discovered to be in violation of the law, but I didn't say that and it would be just as reasonable to assume it would never be discovered in exactly the same way a "competent drunk" might not be detected on the road.

I am also pretty long winded and I have a habit of skimming over, so I missed your point about the nuclear weapons. 🙂
Yeah, it's cool - I do the same thing and have to force myself not to go off half-cocked. I hope I didn't sound too harsh, I didn't mean it that way. I can be pretty blunt with my words. I appreciate your civil discussion.


You are correct in that I do believe that restrictions on the 2nd are proper. I tend to think of gun violence as a public health crisis. IIRC, suicide is the leading cause of gun deaths in this country. The prevalence of guns makes it so easy to act impulsively.

I read a harrowing story of a really young boy, maybe 11 or 12, who took his own life with his father‘s revolver. His father had taught the boy about guns and felt that he knew enough to be safe, but kids are impulsive and reckless. His parents don’t know if he intended to kill himself or not, they had no warning. It happened while they were at home, the boy was alone with the gun only for a few minutes. One risk factor was that the boy’s grandfather had recently committed suicide by shooting himself. They don’t know if the boy thought the safety was on and was acting out or what happened. I just cannot imagine the pain they must be going through.
Suicide is tough, and I think everyone can agree that we should never have to bury our children. I know those parents will be blaming themselves for something so preventable.

I don't know if I could bear the loss of any of my kids. The older I get, the more I imagine these scenarios, like when my 11 year old sprinted across an empty street the other day and I just imagined a car screaming down the road and crumpling his body. It's almost too much to even recall and I had to correct him on his way back.



It's probably no shock that I don't see firearms as a public health crisis in and of themselves. I feel like I understand your perspective though, and where it originates since I started on that side of the debate. I think it's easy to believe that a person who shot themselves would be alive today if a firearm was not available to them. It's almost certainly true for accidental suicides/negligent discharges, though the rate at which these occur is so vanishingly small, we could spend millions on education and probably not affect the total number. I would certainly be willing to try though.

What I tend to look at today, is that suicide rates don't really seem to be dependent upon the availability of firearms or else populations without firearms would see dramatically lower suicide rates than the U.S. Japan is (was) a notable example.

1622782887429.png

* I just grabbed this chart from Wikipedia, but these data are over a decade out of date. Many of these countries have seen significant improvement, while the U.S. has worsened a bit. The last data I remember seeing had Japan at something like 7.9 in 2019!

One might argue that comparing Japan to the U.S. for suicides is difficult because our cultures are so different, but could we not also argue that comparing homicides or gun laws in the U.S. to those of Japan is likewise difficult? I see the latter comparison all the time in other venues by people who don't seem to understand the trade-off in freedoms they experience.

I recognize that firearms make these actions a bit simpler, but most studies I've looked at are only concerned with suicide numbers by gun and completely ignore trends with other methods. This makes me highly skeptical of the whole thing. There was an article posted elsewhere that tried to make a causal link between firearms ownership rates and both murder and suicide rates broadly, though I seem to recall some of their data tables carefully omitted non-firearms related events to avoid casting doubt on their conclusions.

An Aussie commented that this (falling suicides by means of firearm) was exactly what happened when Australia passed tougher gun laws in 1996, and he was right that there was something of a correlation, even if the trends did begin before '96:

1622782506776.png


The sad reality though, was that the overall suicide rate didn't actually go down for long, and there was a really strong negative correlation between gun suicides and hanging suicides.

1622782657284.png


Source


This is not to say we should do nothing, rather that we shouldn't focus so heavily on the means of self harm if addressing the root causes can be of more benefit holistically (assuming we can actually do more) - because if all preventing a suicide by firearm does is move that suicide to a new column, did we actually accomplish anything?

There is some evidence that waiting periods for firearm purchases reduced impulsive suicide rates in some areas. I would have to dig deeper to see if it's true or just another Australia, but I can only see this as being effective for people who don't already own a firearm, aren't willing to hang themselves or take pills, and won't use carbon monoxide.
I have a hard time imagining that would be a significant number, but I don't personally see the harm in reasonable waiting periods when they are for this express purpose or for preventing a passion murder. Ultimately, these people will just have to plan ahead better :p


I don't know, man. I've been looking at these data and trends for almost 2 decades trying to find patterns and solutions. It's the only topic here I feel like I know enough about to actually engage it. I started on the other side of the argument from where I am today. Everyone with an agenda, whether right or left, tries to fit the data into their biases and exclude data that makes them look bad. As much as I try not to, I probably do it too.
I like to think that I still engage in these discussions because I want to see some real data from the other perspective. I'm usually disappointed. Mostly I just get emotional responses. Some college acquaintances I knew literally told me once, "We don't care about your stupid facts, <denzien>!" I'm not really sure what the point of discussion is after that.
 
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MT15

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You’ve done a lot more research than I have, for sure. Are accidental deaths by firearm actually a small number, I think you said vanishingly small? I didn’t have that impression.

I would like to see new studies done on gun violence. (Small point of distinction, I didn’t say guns are a public health crisis, I said gun violence is a public health crisis).

I would like to see the same sorts of scrutiny applied to gun violence that we applied to automobile crashes and commercial plane crashes. It may be that a waiting period, mandatory gun education, some sort of storage requirements, secure trigger controls - the gun only becomes active when the person using it is the owner somehow. We can do that with our cell phones, maybe we should look into something like that for our guns. Stolen guns are often used to commit crimes, make them useless somehow.

I really blame the NRA for stymying gun safety for decades, and the Republican lawmakers who did the same. It’s no surprise to find out how corrupt NRA leadership actually was all this time. We have really botched this issue badly in this country.
 
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brandon

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A less strawman-like topic
It's pretty well established that the 2nd has a duality to its nature - it preserves the right for weapons of personal protection and weapons of war for use in service to the defense of the state.
Nuclear weapons aren’t a straw man in this discussion.

You left out the third, and probably most salient reason the second amendment was originally established—to resist the tyranny of the state.

However, the only way countries have found to adequately defend themselves from a nuclear-armed country is by owning nuclear weapons themselves. Mutually-assured destruction is the only deterrent we have against a country intent on using nuclear weapons.

In your interpretation, the second amendment implies a right of self-defense. Yet, humanity has found no adequate self-defense against nuclear weapons than to own nuclear weapons yourself.

Therefore, if your interpretation of inherent self-defense implied in the second amendment is correct, and if the second amendment also implies that the state itself could be the aggressor, then the second amendment protects the right of citizens of a nuclear-armed state to own nuclear arms themselves as self-defense against the nuclear-armed state.

Yet, in reality, we restrict access to nuclear weapons. This suggests that your interpretation of the second amendment is inconsistent with actual application of the second amendment, and also returns to the table the argument that if nuclear weapons can be restricted, then other weapons can be restricted, as well.
 

MT15

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I’ve been thinking about Japan. I’m not sure we should compare suicide rates with Japan without noting the cultural aspects of suicide in traditional Japanese culture. It introduces another variable to be sure.
 

Denzien

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Nuclear weapons aren’t a straw man in this discussion.

You left out the third, and probably most salient reason the second amendment was originally established—to resist the tyranny of the state.

However, the only way countries have found to adequately defend themselves from a nuclear-armed country is by owning nuclear weapons themselves. Mutually-assured destruction is the only deterrent we have against a country intent on using nuclear weapons.

In your interpretation, the second amendment implies a right of self-defense. Yet, humanity has found no adequate self-defense against nuclear weapons than to own nuclear weapons yourself.

Therefore, if your interpretation of inherent self-defense implied in the second amendment is correct, and if the second amendment also implies that the state itself could be the aggressor, then the second amendment protects the right of citizens of a nuclear-armed state to own nuclear arms themselves as self-defense against the nuclear-armed state.

Yet, in reality, we restrict access to nuclear weapons. This suggests that your interpretation of the second amendment is inconsistent with actual application of the second amendment, and also returns to the table the argument that if nuclear weapons can be restricted, then other weapons can be restricted, as well.

I have a lot more to say, but I'll just distill it down to:
So, because an individual can't defend themselves against a nuclear weapon, the federal government has the power to restrict their magazine sizes?
How is that not a strawman?
 

samiam5211

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I have a lot more to say, but I'll just distill it down to:
So, because an individual can't defend themselves against a nuclear weapon, the federal government has the power to restrict their magazine sizes? How is that not a strawman?

I think it boils down to the fact that the government has the authority to regulate arms, irrespective of the right to self-defense.

Also, an individual's right to self-defense is mostly a new angle on the 2nd amendment, that came with the Heller decision.

The text of the second amendment doesn't really have anything to do with an individual right to self-defense, that was an interpretation made by activist conservative judges.
 

Denzien

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I think it boils down to the fact that the government has the authority to regulate arms, irrespective of the right to self-defense.

Also, an individual's right to self-defense is mostly a new angle on the 2nd amendment, that came with the Heller decision.

The text of the second amendment doesn't really have anything to do with an individual right to self-defense, that was an interpretation made by activist conservative judges.

I think that is factually incorrect. I addressed these points in another post, will you please review it and respond to that post?
 
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brandon

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I have a lot more to say, but I'll just distill it down to:
So, because an individual can't defend themselves against a nuclear weapon, the federal government has the power to restrict their magazine sizes?
How is that not a strawman?

I think it boils down to the fact that the government has the authority to regulate arms, irrespective of the right to self-defense.

I think that is factually incorrect. I addressed these points in another post, will you please review it and respond to that post?

My argument is not a straw man. It directly applies to self-defense as an argument for a lack of weapons restrictions. It clearly demonstrates, as @samiam5211 pointed out, that the government has the right to regulate arms, and does, irrespective of the right to self-defense.

I showed you how the inability to defend oneself from nuclear-armed government tyranny without owning a nuclear weapon necessarily dictates that current legal limitations on weapons (such as nuclear, but could also potentially apply to an assortment of weapons) are not inherently tied to the right to self-defense. Ergo, self-defense is not a valid reasoning for denying restrictions on weapons.
 

Denzien

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My argument is not a straw man. It directly applies to self-defense as an argument for a lack of weapons restrictions. It clearly demonstrates, as @samiam5211 pointed out, that the government has the right to regulate arms, and does, irrespective of the right to self-defense.
It is the very definition of a strawman, and Sam's conclusions are based on the incorrect premise that Miller's Collective Right was the prevailing theory from the beginning and that Heller's Individual Right is entirely new.

I provided a paper that disproves this, but no one wants to address it or give research that demonstrates that it's wrong.


I showed you how the inability to defend oneself from nuclear-armed government tyranny without owning a nuclear weapon necessarily dictates that current legal limitations on weapons (such as nuclear, but could also potentially apply to an assortment of weapons) are not inherently tied to the right to self-defense. Ergo, self-defense is not a valid reasoning for denying restrictions on weapons.
You showed me mental gymnastics. "One cannot defend themselves from a nuclear attack, therefore they have no right to self-defense". That is the beginning and end of this logical analysis.
 

Denzien

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You’ve done a lot more research than I have, for sure. Are accidental deaths by firearm actually a small number, I think you said vanishingly small? I didn’t have that impression.

I use the CDC data for this information because people trust the government. It looks like they changed the format of their reports for more recent years, so I just linked an older one from 2014 because I know where to find the information I'm looking for. The numbers are pretty similar in relation to each other in the other years I've looked at. I of course encourage you to look them up yourself if you're interested. Don't take my word for it.

Here's a screenshot from page 87:
1622830130425.png


In 2014, 461 people were accidentally shot to death. If you include Undetermined, the number could go as high as 736. The rate is somewhere between 0.1 and 0.2/100k people. 49 of those 461 were under the age of 15, so a rate of about 0.01/100k people (I don't see numbers for 15-18). That is vanishingly small.

While the absolute number of 461-736 seems high (as many as two per day or one per week for children!), compared to some other accidental deaths, it's basically nothing.

Fire/flame: 2,701-2,856
Drowning: 3,406-3,591
Falling: 31,959-32,020

We can see better resolution on the data if we separate by age (page 44):

1622830962968.png



I want to be very clear that I am not dismissing the tragedies that have occurred, I just would not characterize it as an epidemic. If one subscribes to the law of diminishing returns, they might suggest that focusing on preventing other accidental deaths might save more lives for less cost/effort.

If the number of accidental firearms deaths here is enough to spark a panic, it is absolutely dumbfounding why people are not as concerned about accidental falls, drowning, or poisoning...unless hyper exposure to this one method of death by the media makes it look like more of a crisis than it is.

Now, there is one other factor to consider here that I can think of - rather than expressing the rate for the entire population, perhaps the accidental discharge deaths could be viewed as a proportion of those with access to firearms. I don't know how we would measure that, exactly, but if we could it might be revealing. Maybe enough to change my mind about some things.

A few years ago I did try to normalize the rates to gun owning households in the U.S. and the U.K. and found the rate for the U.K. was higher than the U.S. for the years I looked at. Interesting information, but hardly useful except to maybe suggest that maybe there isn't much room for improvement. One of the obvious flaws is if the U.K. even has enough data to be considered a reliable indicator.

Ultimately, we are responsible for our own safety, especially when it comes to accidents. I can't control what other people choose to do in their homes, but I can mitigate risk in my own home.

I would like to see new studies done on gun violence.
More data is always good. Data that doesn't get recorded is lost forever.


(Small point of distinction, I didn’t say guns are a public health crisis, I said gun violence is a public health crisis).
I see - point taken. I still wonder if the implement has any bearing on the violence we see, or if there are connections to them all that would help us fine tune a response.


I would like to see the same sorts of scrutiny applied to gun violence that we applied to automobile crashes and commercial plane crashes. It may be that a waiting period, mandatory gun education, some sort of storage requirements, secure trigger controls - the gun only becomes active when the person using it is the owner somehow. We can do that with our cell phones, maybe we should look into something like that for our guns. Stolen guns are often used to commit crimes, make them useless somehow.

I really blame the NRA for stymying gun safety for decades, and the Republican lawmakers who did the same. It’s no surprise to find out how corrupt NRA leadership actually was all this time. We have really botched this issue badly in this country.
Smart gun technology has been researched for a long time, but has proven to be unreliable and easily bypassed. Perhaps one day it will be good enough. I would say that the first adopters should be police officers. If they feel comfortable enough with their reliability, then it's ready for citizens. I would be happy to adopt it then.


I’ve been thinking about Japan. I’m not sure we should compare suicide rates with Japan without noting the cultural aspects of suicide in traditional Japanese culture. It introduces another variable to be sure.

Absolutely agree - I even mentioned that when I brought them up, saying that I would consider comparing their suicide rate to ours is just as disingenuous as comparing their gun laws to ours. There are plenty of western nations that have comparable suicide rates to ours though, like France.

It is common in these discussions though, for people to compare our 'gun deaths' to those of the U.K. and Japan, compare our suicide rate to Germany or something, then cherry pick the best stats from the world in other areas to compare to the U.S. Never a holistic study.
"Japan has a very low murder rate, but their suicides are very high" is never something that is offered. Instead it might be something like, "Only 10 people were murdered in the U.K. in 2016 - compare that to 12k for the U.S.!" That is sort of indending to imply that Americans are murdered at a rate of 1,200x the rate as in the U.K., when the reality is only 4 or 5.
 

DaveXA

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I use the CDC data for this information because people trust the government. It looks like they changed the format of their reports for more recent years, so I just linked an older one from 2014 because I know where to find the information I'm looking for. The numbers are pretty similar in relation to each other in the other years I've looked at. I of course encourage you to look them up yourself if you're interested. Don't take my word for it.

Here's a screenshot from page 87:
1622830130425.png


In 2014, 461 people were accidentally shot to death. If you include Undetermined, the number could go as high as 736. The rate is somewhere between 0.1 and 0.2/100k people. 49 of those 461 were under the age of 15, so a rate of about 0.01/100k people (I don't see numbers for 15-18). That is vanishingly small.

While the absolute number of 461-736 seems high (as many as two per day or one per week for children!), compared to some other accidental deaths, it's basically nothing.

Fire/flame: 2,701-2,856
Drowning: 3,406-3,591
Falling: 31,959-32,020

We can see better resolution on the data if we separate by age (page 44):

1622830962968.png



I want to be very clear that I am not dismissing the tragedies that have occurred, I just would not characterize it as an epidemic. If one subscribes to the law of diminishing returns, they might suggest that focusing on preventing other accidental deaths might save more lives for less cost/effort.

If the number of accidental firearms deaths here is enough to spark a panic, it is absolutely dumbfounding why people are not as concerned about accidental falls, drowning, or poisoning...unless hyper exposure to this one method of death by the media makes it look like more of a crisis than it is.

Now, there is one other factor to consider here that I can think of - rather than expressing the rate for the entire population, perhaps the accidental discharge deaths could be viewed as a proportion of those with access to firearms. I don't know how we would measure that, exactly, but if we could it might be revealing. Maybe enough to change my mind about some things.

A few years ago I did try to normalize the rates to gun owning households in the U.S. and the U.K. and found the rate for the U.K. was higher than the U.S. for the years I looked at. Interesting information, but hardly useful except to maybe suggest that maybe there isn't much room for improvement. One of the obvious flaws is if the U.K. even has enough data to be considered a reliable indicator.

Ultimately, we are responsible for our own safety, especially when it comes to accidents. I can't control what other people choose to do in their homes, but I can mitigate risk in my own home.


More data is always good. Data that doesn't get recorded is lost forever.



I see - point taken. I still wonder if the implement has any bearing on the violence we see, or if there are connections to them all that would help us fine tune a response.



Smart gun technology has been researched for a long time, but has proven to be unreliable and easily bypassed. Perhaps one day it will be good enough. I would say that the first adopters should be police officers. If they feel comfortable enough with their reliability, then it's ready for citizens. I would be happy to adopt it then.




Absolutely agree - I even mentioned that when I brought them up, saying that I would consider comparing their suicide rate to ours is just as disingenuous as comparing their gun laws to ours. There are plenty of western nations that have comparable suicide rates to ours though, like France.

It is common in these discussions though, for people to compare our 'gun deaths' to those of the U.K. and Japan, compare our suicide rate to Germany or something, then cherry pick the best stats from the world in other areas to compare to the U.S. Never a holistic study.
"Japan has a very low murder rate, but their suicides are very high" is never something that is offered. Instead it might be something like, "Only 10 people were murdered in the U.K. in 2016 - compare that to 12k for the U.S.!" That is sort of indending to imply that Americans are murdered at a rate of 1,200x the rate as in the U.K., when the reality is only 4 or 5.

I'd like to see some sort of bio-tech, maybe fingerprint tech that can prevent a gun from being fired by anyone other than the owner. I dunno if that would be possible, but at least it would make it more difficult for a kid to fire a gun.
 
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brandon

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"One cannot defend themselves from a nuclear attack, therefore they have no right to self-defense".
That’s not the conclusion.

The conclusion is that the second amendment does not guarantee an unlimited right to self-defense, and therefore does not guarantee an unlimited right to arms.

There are other limits to self-defense that are more obvious. For example, there are times where you can legally use non-deadly force, but would be charged if you used deadly force.

Self-defense is not unlimited, nor is the right to bear arms.
 
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coldseat

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I'm honestly having a hard time reading it any other way, so I'm afraid I might be too biased now (I recall thinking differently when I was younger and more idealistic). Would you mind indulging me?

(ETA: I found this interesting paper that describes the "rise and demise" of the collective right interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. Of course, it plays to my biases, so if you have a competing paper you like, that would be an interesting read as well)

@Denzien, sorry it took a few days to respond to your post, but I wanted to be fair and read through the paper you posted to try and understand the salient points it was making. First, let me concede that I am not a constitutional scholar or 2nd Amendment enthusiast (I'm sure there's a better word for that), so I haven't done the in depth analysis that you and many others have. My knowledge mostly comes from the years of discussions I've had on this topic, the things I've read over that time and my own personal beliefs/bias.

In reading the paper, I think they make some very good arguments and provide a lot informative background/history. Yet I still find it to be a paper in search of a specific answer, much like the recent supreme court decision on the subject. For that reason, I won't attach another paper to counter this one, but go through some of the arguments they make and look at it from the opposite perspective.

My first counter point is why didn't the Framers of the constitution include the individual right to bear arms as it's own amendment? The paper doesn't really get into that question, but if you read the background information they provided, the answer is pretty apparent. Early on in the ratification of the constitution, there where attempts to include both the militia and individual rights as separate amendments, but sans New Hampshire, the individual rights view didn't grab hold. It was a minority view in Pennsylvania and failed outright in Massachusetts.

The debates over the ratification of the proposed Constitution begat the movement for an American bill of rights. The earliest proposals still regarded matters as a binary choice, and uniformly went with the individual right to arms rather than a militia clause. Thus the publicized report of the minority of the Pennsylvania ratifying convention called for:

[T]he people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own state, or the United States, or the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals.

The next demand came in Massachusetts, where Samuel Adams unsuccessfully proposed a guarantee “that the said constitution be never construed to authorize Congress . . . to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms . . . .”51 When New Hampshire gave the Constitution the ninth vote necessary for ratification, it requested the guarantee that “Congress shall never disarm any Citizen unless such as are or have been in Actual Rebellion.”5

What's clear is that the individual rights amendment was a minority view, while the militia amendment had broad support, but one major weakness, how do you arm and provide for state militias if Congress fails to act quickly enough? We can see that here.

The Stevens dissent in Heller sees the Second Amendment as motivated by fears that the new national government might “disarm the state militias” (i.e., by failing to provide arms or mandate their purchase) thereby threatening “the sovereignty of the several States.”67 The dissent quotes George Mason in the Virginia ratifying convention, concerned that “Congress may neglect to provide for arming and disciplining the militia; and the state governments cannot do it, for Congress has the exclusive right to arm them.”68 Since the Virginia Convention ended with a call for a bill of rights that included an obvious ancestor of the Second Amendment (“the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state . . . .”),69 the dissent suggests that this proposal, and thus the Second Amendment, was meant to meet Mason’s desire to protect State rights to arm their militias.

It seems that they attempted to address that specific concern by giving the states more control and right to arm militias, but that attempt failed as well.

A simple timeline shows, however, that Mason’s concerns did not underlie the Second Amendment ancestor, but rather a different proposal which was added to the Virginia demands after he gave the above speech, and which failed to be accepted by the First Congress. That different proposal read: “That each state respectively shall have the power to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining its own militia, whensoever Congress shall omit or neglect to provide for the same . . . .”

So why would that proposal fail? The paper doesn't really get into why it was rejected, but I think there were some real fears among the framers of armed mobs and populous movements. There is also a huge elephant in the room here. The paper basically concludes this:

Conclusion. In the Framing period, there is strong evidence of an intent to recognize an individual right to arms that is independent of militia service. This is borne out by the common law background, Madison’s reference to the English Bill of Rights, his original placement of the Second Amendment, Tench Coxe’s description of it, and the First Senate’s rejection of a proposal to allow States to arm their militias. There is also strong evidence of an intent to commemorate the importance of the militia system to freedom and security. There is, however, no evidence of any understanding that the right to arms was restricted to militia service.

But this lacks support to me, because the framers had plenty of chances to included the individual rights amendment on it's own and rejected it out of hand. So why include it in the 2nd Amendment with connection to militias? Congress had to have very real concerns about granting Sates the right to arm militias. What happens if some States build up their militia more than other and then there's conflict between States? One can easily see how that could go bad really quick. So Congress reserved the right to arm militias for themselves. But States and individuals needed protection for several reasons as outlined here:

In a world faced with attacks by Native Americans and by rival French, Spanish, and Dutch colonists, the militia concept was a practical one. It acquired intellectual underpinnings from the writings of the English Classical Republican authors, such as Roger Molesworth, James Harrington, and James Burgh.31 These argued that a universal militia was the only safe and effective defense of a free people: A professional army must either be too weak to defend a free people, or powerful enough to take over the government and private property. A militia composed of voters and property owners could be as powerful as desired, yet pose no risk to government or property, since its members were the very ones who controlled both.

Congress couldn't be trusted to act quickly enough to respond to every provocation, and as individuals and States where closer to the situation, it was apparent that they needed to have the ability to do so. Thus the inclusion of the individual right to bear arms. Buy including the right of individual to bear arms, Congress could assure that States and individuals could protect themselves from external forces in times when Congress couldn't or didn't act quickly enough, but not allow individual States the ability to arm a powerful militia. There were also concerns from citizens that linking militias and the right to bear arms could be interpreted as forcing militia service on citizens who owned arms and that was not desired either. So I think that's the reason we see the separation in the clauses. In conclusion, the framers did include and individual right to bear arms in the 2nd Amendment, but it was for a very different reality and different reason than are argued today in support of the 2nd Amendment.

Interesting enough it doesn't seem at all like personal security from each other (i.e. other citizens) was a major concern or impetus for guaranteeing an individual right to bear arms and that is often the first argument given for the 2nd Amendment. The concern for security was very much from outside forces. If we're going to have an Amendment in the Constitution that guarantees and individual right to own guns for personal protection from each other, then one of the things we should actually consider is whether the guarantee of that individual right actually provides for our security or makes us less safe.
 

MT15

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Bottom line is that guns offer, by far, the greatest lethal capacity to the general population. Whether we are talking suicide, murder, accidental, or uncategorized. There is simply no other weapon that provides the ability to kill as efficiently as a gun. It’s in society‘s interest to regulate such a dangerous weapon, while balancing individual rights. We have let this become more of a political issue, rather than a public health issue. We need to gather data and study this issue impartially.

It‘s been decided time and again that it is within the constitution to regulate firearms. Responsible gun owners largely support some regulations. I think if we apply some effort (which the NRA has blocked) to gun safety we can significantly alleviate some of the death and destruction that are annually caused by gun violence in this country. We haven’t really studied this nor have we applied the sort of problem solving capability we are capable of to this issue, largely because one party has blocked it at the behest of a corrupt organization. It’s enough. It’s way past time to cast that organization aside as well as the politicians who care more about it than their own constituents.
 

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