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Mar 19 2013

Cruz vs Feinstein: A Draw

I’ve seen a lot of people and websites commenting on the exchange between Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Dianne Feinstein about the 2nd Amendment and gun control last week during a committee hearing. Most of those people seem to think that Feinstein won the argument, but frankly I think it was a draw. Cruz’ question was badly reasoned and Feinstein’s answer was as well.

Cruz’ question was very weakly framed and almost certainly hypocritical. He starts off fine, pointing out, quite correctly, that when the phrase “the right of the people” is used in the Bill of Rights, it refers to an individual right rather than a collective one. Absolutely correct. As it is used in the 1st and 4th Amendments, it clearly refers to an individual right that may not be infringed by government. But then he leaves rationality behind when he tries to make an analogy between possible infringements on the 1st and 4th Amendments.

Would Feinstein think it’s constitutional if they were to pass a law that says the 1st Amendment applies to all books except a particular set that Congress deems are not covered, he asks as though it were some kind of stumper, but Feinstein misses the obvious response because she’s too busy making an emotional argument about seeing kids ripped apart by bullets. The answer, of course, is yes, that might well be constitutional. Not automatically, of course, but even when the Constitution says that the right of free speech may not be abridged, that does not mean that we can have no limits at all on speech. Cruz knows this, of course; he is, after all, a Harvard Law graduate.

And just as there can be narrowly drawn limits and exceptions on the 1st Amendment, even if one were to grant him that the 2nd Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms, there can also be narrowly drawn limits and exceptions to the 4th Amendment. That doesn’t mean that any proposed limit is going to be constitutional, of course. The standard for determining when a limit on an enumerated right is constitutional or not is usually the strict scrutiny test, where the government has to show that the limitation passed on the exercise of that right is the least restrictive means of achieving a compelling state interest. But Cruz is absolutely wrong to argue that if a “right of the people” is enumerated, whether free speech, free exercise of religion or the right to keep and bear arms, then there can be no limits whatsoever.

That’s the good, thoughtful answer to his question that Feinstein should have given, but she chose instead to get offended by the question and make a bunch of emotional arguments that had no bearing on the question he asked. That’s why it’s a draw. Badly reasoned question, badly reasoned answer — and a missed opportunity to educate the public on what the Constitution actually means.

105 comments

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  1. 1
    Modusoperandi

    He’s right on the 2nd Amendment. No restriction is constitution. Ever. That’s that language in the Constitution works. It’s an absolute. And the Constitution does use that same language in lesser, optional, sections of the Bill of Right (and a Bunch of Other Stuff).
    The bit that baffles me is that he doesn’t he know that there are no limits to restrictions on the 1st and 4th amendment (Free Speech zones, wiretapping, etc) as long as those restrictions KEEP US SAFE.

  2. 2
    theschwa

    I have a (completely unsupported) hunch that Scalia and the conservatives would apply strict scrutiny right off the bat to ANY law restricting the 2nd amendment.

  3. 3
    Glenn E Ross

    As a mild defense of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Ted Cruz had his argument prepared and proceeded to ‘mansplain’ the constitution to a 5 term female Senator. It looks to me that Sen. Feinstein was taken aback by Sen. Cruz’s patronizing question and took a moment to collect her thoughts. And yes, her emotions over-rode her logic.
    I have little doubt that in a formal debate on the subject, Sen. Feinstein would crush Sen. Cruz.

  4. 4
    baal

    I thought Cruz was being intentionally offensive. He’s been working on building a brand as being one who stands up for the teaparty noise and with actual intelligence (even if it’s not apparent in his idiotic public statements) and hispanic ethnicity, he sees himself as poised to quickly leap to the front of the (R) party. Feinstein could have done better but I’ve not seen that the (D) have considered how to respond to teaparty anti-constitutional messaging with appropriate pro-constitutional messages (relevant legal re-frame).

    Were I working for the (D) as a political consultant, I wouldn’t let the (D) be without training on consistently re-framing teaparty rhetorical points to something that resembles law.

  5. 5
    scienceavenger

    Shorter Feinstein: I’ve been here a long time, so I don’t have to answer your stupid fucking question. Lame.

    IANAL, but I thought the answer was obvious. The second amendment says you have a right to bear arms, not a right to bear any particular arm, whereas the first amendment pretty clearly means you can think or say anything you want, barring of coure infringement of other rights. o we can ban AR-15s, but we can’t ban Judaism or the Constitution Party.

  6. 6
    Raging Bee

    He starts off fine, pointing out, quite correctly, that when the phrase “the right of the people” is used in the Bill of Rights, it refers to an individual right rather than a collective one. Absolutely correct.

    Sorry, no, it’s not correct. The reference to a “well-regulated Militia” indicates that the right to keep and bear arms is a collective right, and subordinate to a particular collective need — not an individual right.

    As it is used in the 1st and 4th Amendments, it clearly refers to an individual right that may not be infringed by government.

    The rights set forth in the 1st and 4th amendments are not prefaced by any references to a “well-regulated” anything; which makes your comparison invalid. The 2nd amendment has explicit limiting language that very few other bits of the Bill of Rights do.

  7. 7
    Raging Bee

    Would Feinstein think it’s constitutional if they were to pass a law that says the 1st Amendment applies to all books except a particular set that Congress deems are not covered…?

    You mean like child-porn, or books containing state secrets?

  8. 8
    kyoseki

    I think you’d be hard pressed to prove a compelling interest to ban the firearms enumerated in S.150 unless you can explain why banning pistol grips makes a firearm significantly more dangerous (since ultimately that’s about all the bill succeeds in doing).

    Her classification of “assault weapon” makes no consideration of lethality, there are 22LR rifles classified as assault weapons while there’s weapons far more powerful than the AR-15 explicitly protected as valid hunting/sporting rifles – there really is no logic to it.

    … and I’ve noticed this about Feinstein’s arguments on this point, they’re almost entirely based on emotion, there’s no facts to them other than the ones she picks and chooses just to support her cause.

  9. 9
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Libel. Slander. The misappropriation of trade brands. (Hell, even just the use of brand logos on authorized T-Shirts on TV seems to be questionable.)

    Free speech is not nearly as unabridged as most would think.

    And Modusoperandi, I hope you were sarcastic about free speech zones keeping us safe. Those are a political tool used to marginalize dissent.

  10. 10
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    kyoseki:

    So far, those defending the use of things like assault rifles have not presented a logical argument, either.

    I can present one good argument against firearms of any kind: they are a tool designed expressly for killing. They have no other designed purpose. They are used by some as recreation because some people consider them fun to shoot. However, that is not their intended purpose.

    This is in clear opposition to things like knives, hammers, and vehicles, things often trotted out in defense of killing tools. It’s a ridiculous strawman argument, as all those other things are designed for purposes other than killing.

    Her argument is based on reducing the lethality of these weapons designed for killing. She uses emotional arguments to support that goal, yes; but her core argument is nothing more than the statement of a desired goal: to reduce the lethality of handguns and rifles.

    In the video, she mentions the fact we already do this with the ban on personal bazookas (among other weapons). Her argument against Cruz was one at that point. Cruz advocated for no limits based on his garbled presentation of the Constitution; but limits already exist, limits he probably accepts.

    So while her argument might be wrapped in emotion, there’s a strong core of logic. It’s there in the video, if you listen to what she says rather than how she says it.

  11. 11
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Damnit! Her argument was “won,” not “one.”

    WTF, nigel.

  12. 12
    kyoseki

    nigelTheBold

    So far, those defending the use of things like assault rifles have not presented a logical argument, either

    I can present one good argument against firearms of any kind: they are a tool designed expressly for killing. They have no other designed purpose. They are used by some as recreation because some people consider them fun to shoot. However, that is not their intended purpose.

    So firearms designed expressly as target rifles and pistols are perfectly ok then? Since their intended function is not to kill, but for recreation?

    Her argument is based on reducing the lethality of these weapons designed for killing. She uses emotional arguments to support that goal, yes; but her core argument is nothing more than the statement of a desired goal: to reduce the lethality of handguns and rifles.

    Except her bill does no such thing, it draws an arbitrary line in the sand and declares that everything on one side of the line is too dangerous to own whilst the rest are acceptable, even though the bill does not consider lethality as a dividing characteristic.

    In the video, she mentions the fact we already do this with the ban on personal bazookas (among other weapons). Her argument against Cruz was one at that point. Cruz advocated for no limits based on his garbled presentation of the Constitution; but limits already exist, limits he probably accepts.

    .. and again, you’re assuming that her bill considers lethality to be a defining characteristic of what she calls “assault weapons”. Bazookas represent a clearly more lethal weapon than any firearm, therefore they’re legislated separately (you can still own one incidentally).

    Same goes for machine guns (which you can also own), they’re FUNCTIONALLY different to semi automatic weapons, so again they’re subject to their own legislation.

    What Feinstein has deemed an “assault weapon” is “anything that LOOKS like an AR-15″, which is why it bans things like 22LR plinkers and ignores things like the Ruger Mini-14 used by Anders Breivik in the Utoya massacre.

    The Mini-14 is functionally identical to the AR-15, but because it lacks a pistol grip, she doesn’t consider it an assault weapon, since it was used in a massacre that killed far more people than ANY mass shooting in the USA, explain to me again how this bill does anything to reduce the lethality of firearms.

  13. 13
    gingerbaker

    He starts off fine, pointing out, quite correctly, that when the phrase “the right of the people” is used in the Bill of Rights, it refers to an individual right rather than a collective one. Absolutely correct.

    Sorry, no, it’s not correct. The reference to a “well-regulated Militia” indicates that the right to keep and bear arms is a collective right, and subordinate to a particular collective need — not an individual right.

    What is it going to take to help you understand that your interpretation of those phrases is not relevant?

    A forty-thousand-mile-high pen with a rainbow-haired blue unicorn eraser tip, held by God’s hand itself, writing across the heavens with gold glitter ink that:

    “The rights of INDIVIDUALS to bear arms has been affirmed twice now by the Supreme Court of the United States”?

  14. 14
    Jordan Genso

    kyoseki

    I am not well-informed on the topic, but I would venture to guess that “lethality” is a much more subjective characteristic of a weapon than what type of grip it has, so writing legislation that uses objective criteria rather than subjective criteria may be the best option available for Congress, even if the objective criteria results in some arbitrary lines being drawn.

    Or would you know how to write a piece of legislation that regulated weapons based on “lethality”?

    There’s always a reason to oppose any bill, if you want to look for a reason. But society needs to find a balance between what is possible and what is ideal. And in an effort to decrease gun violence, there is a very small window for what is (politically) possible.

  15. 15
    kyoseki

    Jordan Genso

    Or would you know how to write a piece of legislation that regulated weapons based on “lethality”?

    Do you not think that considering the cartridge a weapon fires would be a good measure of lethality?

    … because S.150 does no such thing.

    If the bill simply included “any semiautomatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine” as an “assault weapon”, then that at least would include any AR-15 and any rifle even remotely as lethal as an AR-15.

    No faffing about with pistol grips, barrel shrouds or grenade launchers of all things (grenade launchers?!?), just a blanket ban on the sale of any rifle functionally similar to an AR-15.

    … of course, this would also outlaw most hunting rifles (including the Mini 14), but since most hunting rifles are just as lethal as the guns being termed “assault weapons” at least the legislation would be consistent, even though it would stand an even smaller chance of getting passed through the legislature than it already does.

  16. 16
    Raging Bee

    … and I’ve noticed this about Feinstein’s arguments on this point, they’re almost entirely based on emotion…

    As opposed to Wayne LaPierre’s arguments, which are always based on Pure Reason.

    What is it going to take to help you understand that your interpretation of those phrases is not relevant?

    Why is your opinion more “relevant” than mine?

    The rights of INDIVIDUALS to bear arms has been affirmed twice now by the Supreme Court of the United States

    Citation please? And by “citation,” I mean, not just a name of a case or two, but also a direct quote of the part of the ruling that proves me wrong.

  17. 17
    kyoseki

    Raging Bee

    As opposed to Wayne LaPierre’s arguments, which are always based on Pure Reason.

    I’ve never been a big fan of his arguments either, but since none of my arguments above are based on his nonsense, the points still stand.

  18. 18
    Raging Bee

    Any argument about gun-control that makes any reference to the human costs of gun violence, or the desire to keep people from being killed, will, inevitably, be labelled “emotional.” That doesn’t make such arguments invalid.

  19. 19
    d.c.wilson

    I think what’s galling about Cruz is that in his teabagger arrogance, assumed that he was the only one in the room who understood the Constitution. He actually thought he was going to school a five term senator and she would just respond with, “oh I never thought of that. I guess I’ll have to drop this bill.” Yeah, her initial reaction was emotional, but give Cruz’s insulting demeanor, I cut her a little slack. If you watch the extended clip, she and other members of the committee do eventually get around to explaining to Cruz that even the first and fourth amendment rights have their limits.

    I’d have a lot more respect for people like Cruz if they didn’t want exactly the opposite of what he accuses Feinstien of: No limits on 2nd amendment rights while still having “reasonable” limitations on 1st amendment rights.

  20. 20
    Michael Heath

    If Sen. Feinstein actually took her oath to defend the Constitution seriously, she’d have immediately realized the best rebuttal to Sen. Cruz’s idiotic questions was found in Justice Scalia’s majority opinion of D.C. v. Heller. J. Scalia clearly points out Congress has the powers to do exactly what Sen. Feinstein seeks to do here.

    Obviously I don’t expect Sen. Feinstein to be able to quote those passages verbatim. But she is leading an effort to restrict gun rights. Justifiably in my opinion given her demonstrated motivation is to defend the far greater life rights of those people who are at risk from citizens who use the types of equipment Sen. Feinstein seeks to prohibit to the general public. So the proper and holding constitutional delegation of power should be in the very forefront of her mind; where liberals are supposed to use that part when conservatives like Cruz are using the parts of our brain that control our fear and hatred. Therefore the wisest course for Sen. Feinstein would have been to table the question and have an aide go get her the relevant passages of Heller, deploying the opinion of partisan justices who part of the same party as Sen. Cruz.

    I do not buy the heat of the moment excuse for one moment. Feinstein is a professional, she’s paid to know these things and react accordingly. That’s particularly relevant here because the topic is one she focuses on within her committee assignment, she’s a leader in the Senate on gun regulation. This is not an issue she takes on only when debates move to the floor but is instead chartered with providing expert and sage advice to her fellow senators, including Sen. Cruz.

  21. 21
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    So firearms designed expressly as target rifles and pistols are perfectly ok then? Since their intended function is not to kill, but for recreation?

    Hardly. The fundamental design of guns is to kill. They were invented to kill. Their basic design hasn’t changed in a long time: rapidly expanding gas drives a lead weight with enough energy to pierce flesh. Niceties like cartridges, rifling, auto-feed mechanisms, and the like have all been done with a goal to increasing lethality. That’s it. Those that are “designed expressly as target rifles” are based entirely on the original design — which was designed to kill. The fact they have adaptations to make them more suitable for target practice doesn’t change the fundamental design.

    You’d have to build some kind of “smart-gun” that only fired when pointed at a target to have a gun that was “designed expressly as target” firearms. At that point, it’d be designed to be non-lethal.

    As for regulating lethality: that’s what a lot of the legislation is designed to do. It’s not strictly about the lethality of a single round, but the reduction of the number of rounds fired per some time unit. A rifle that can only fire 30 rounds but needs a manual reload would necessarily fire fewer rounds in 10 minutes than a rifle that took a 30-round clip. That makes it less lethal. A 10-round clip will reduce the potential number of rounds fired from the same weapon used to fire a 30-round clip. And so on.

    Except her bill does no such thing, it draws an arbitrary line in the sand and declares that everything on one side of the line is too dangerous to own whilst the rest are acceptable, even though the bill does not consider lethality as a dividing characteristic.

    I’d agree with this. Absolutely. I wasn’t arguing with your assessment of the clarity of the definitions. I took issue with your claim she had no logical argument. Her rebuttal to Cruz was sufficient at the word “bazooka,” as it demonstrated there already exist limits on personal firearms, the wording of the Constitution notwithstanding. So his argument was based on fallacious assumptions.

    I agree the bill should better define the line between acceptable and non-acceptable personal weapons. Hell, I’d be happy with a full-out ban with few exceptions, modeled on those in effect in Australia, Canada, and other countries. (Yes, I know that’s not practical here in the States.)

    Really, though, the best approach would be to regulate ammunition like they regulate decongestants.

  22. 22
    kyoseki

    Raging Bee
    Fine, in addition to being emotional, her arguments (and her bill) are logically unsound.

    She is my State senator, so I wrote to her, it took her staff 2 months to send me a form email reply with such arguments as;

    In July 2012, a gunman killed 12 people and injured 58 in a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado. The gunman used a Smith & Wesson M&P15 assault-style rifle with a 100-round ammunition drum that allowed him to rapidly fire a large number of rounds before police arrived only two minutes after the first 911 call.

    … except that the rifle jammed after about 25-30 rounds, most wounds were inflicted by the shotgun and handguns he was also carrying.

    On December 14, 2012, a gunman shot and killed 20 students and six school officials at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The gunman used a Bushmaster assault-style rifle and multiple high-capacity magazines to inflict this unspeakable terror on six- and seven-year old children and school personnel.

    He was also carrying 2 handguns and had a semi automatic shotgun in the trunk of his car, are we seriously expected to believe that it was only the existence of the AR-15 that allowed him to massacre defenseless children & teachers?

    Then there’s this old chestnut:

    Military-style weapons have but one purpose: kill as many people as quickly as possible

    Then why are the police issued them?

    Is there any mandate in the police charter that calls for the slaughter of civilians under any circumstances?

    … or perhaps this isn’t actually the case?

    And we’re not just talking SWAT here, regular police patrol cars & bikes in Los Angeles carry AR-15s as a matter of course.

    … and as I say, even the bill she proposed doesn’t do what it purports to, the nature of the firearms defined as “assault weapons” is arbitrary at best, so I suspect it would fail a legal challenge on those grounds alone rather than from any Constitutional standpoint.

  23. 23
    gingerbaker


    The rights of INDIVIDUALS to bear arms has been affirmed twice now by the Supreme Court of the United States

    Citation please? And by “citation,” I mean, not just a name of a case or two, but also a direct quote of the part of the ruling that proves me wrong.

    In District of Columbia vs Heller:

    “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

    In McDonald v. City of Chicago (08-1521), the Court reaffirmed the Heller ruling, and said that the 2nd amendment:

    “applies equally to the federal government and the states.”

    Good overview from Cornell law School here:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/cert/08-1521

  24. 24
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Then why are the police issued them?

    Why would the police need them, if they weren’t designed to kill?

  25. 25
    kyoseki

    nigelTheBold

    Hardly. The fundamental design of guns is to kill. They were invented to kill. Their basic design hasn’t changed in a long time:

    The same argument applies to archery, unless you think that the guys who invented the longbow did so with the express intent of creating a fun Olympic sport a thousand years later.

    It is not the intent of the original designers of the weapon that matters, it is the intent of the operator.

    That makes it less lethal. A 10-round clip will reduce the potential number of rounds fired from the same weapon used to fire a 30-round clip. And so on.

    On the face of it, the magazine capacity limits seem like a good idea, except that in practice, all it really means is that mass shooters carry multiple firearms and multiple magazines.

    The Dunblane massacre in the UK was perpetrated with 2 handguns with 13 round magazines and 2 revolvers with well over 100 rounds fired – typical of a mass shooting, multiple firearms, multiple reloads, multiple magazines, I’m having a hard time believing that reducing the magazine’s capacity from 13 rounds to 10 would have any significant effect on casualties.

    The magazine capacity ban should really be a separate bill, but it’s worth noting that California has had a 10 round magazine size limit for well over a decade now and it doesn’t really seem to have done anything significant.

    I agree the bill should better define the line between acceptable and non-acceptable personal weapons. Hell, I’d be happy with a full-out ban with few exceptions, modeled on those in effect in Australia, Canada, and other countries. (Yes, I know that’s not practical here in the States.)

    AR-15s are legal in Canada and throughout most of Europe, where they’re considered sporting rifles (used primarily for target practice and practical shooting events like 3-gun).

    This is not to say I disagree with better regulation and background checks, far from it, I simply disagree with the idea of banning any specific type of firearm because it’s both unnecessary and ineffective.

    Really, though, the best approach would be to regulate ammunition like they regulate decongestants.

    I’m not averse to the general idea of, for example, requiring ID for ammunition purchases, but I suspect it would generate an awful lot of false positives for any law enforcement bureau tracking purchases and trying to identify prospective mass shooters.

  26. 26
    kyoseki

    nigelTheBold

    Why would the police need them, if they weren’t designed to kill?

    According to you, all firearms are designed to kill, so why are we bothering to discriminate between any particular types?

    … well, this debate just became moot;
    http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/19/17373761-assault-weapons-ban-dropped-from-senate-bill?lite

  27. 27
    Raging Bee

    Then why are the police issued them?

    Because certain criminals are known to have them, and we can’t allow our cops to be outgunned by criminals. If that’s a problem, it’s a problem caused by criminals having easy access to weapons of war.

    In District of Columbia vs Heller: “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

    In other words, the Court reaffirmed that an individual’s right to posess a firearm is restricted to “lawful purposes” and constrained by the need for collective security. (Also, didn’t the Heller ruling explicitly say it was not meant to overturn any significant chunk of Federal or state gun-control laws?)

    Oh, and from the Cornell page you cite…

    Additionally, it noted that the Supreme Court has refused to incorporate the Second Amendment against the states in the past.

    Also, I can’t help but note that all of the arguments for a “fundamental right” to posess firearms completely ignore the limiting preamble about “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.” That alone casts major doubts about their credibility.

  28. 28
    Modusoperandi

    kyoseki “AR-15s are legal in Canada…where they’re considered sporting rifles (used primarily for target practice and practical shooting events like 3-gun).”
    Well, “legal” as in “not a prohibited weapon”. Restricted is pretty restricted. In any event, they’re not banned in Canada only because the primary murder weapon is old Anne Murray albums. And good luck banning those. You can pry Snowbird from my cold, dead hands!

  29. 29
    Avo, also nigelTheBold
    According to you, all firearms are designed to kill, so why are we bothering to discriminate between any particular types?

    What does this even mean? Of course different weapons have different lethality — I thought that was the point. You seem to be attempting to argue the point that guns aren’t designed to be lethal. The fact police have a range of weapons of different portability and lethality is hardly an argument they aren’t designed and intended to be lethal.

    As for the sporting and recreation argument: one of my favorite moments in the military was on armory duty. We’d issued a few crates of grenades to some platoon for practice at the range. At the end of the day, one of the crates was only about 3/4 gone. The OOD told us to waste ‘em, so we spent the next 30 minutes taking turns throwing grenades. It was a lot of fun. Way more satisfying than target practice with any handgun.

    1. Does the recreational use of grenades negate their lethal purpose?

    2. Should citizens be allowed grenades for recreational use? How about home defense?

  30. 30
    kyoseki

    Raging Bee

    Because certain criminals are known to have them, and we can’t allow our cops to be outgunned by criminals. If that’s a problem, it’s a problem caused by criminals having easy access to weapons of war.

    Pretty much every handgun in common usage is a “weapon of war”, in that most of them are used by some form of military somewhere in the world.

    Saying that something shouldn’t be legal simply because the military use it is a flawed argument.

    Additionally, if we accept that the purpose of an AR-15 is “to kill as many people as possible in a given time period”, it still doesn’t justify the police’s use of them does it?

    The very fact that the police are issued them suggests that there is a valid defensive purpose to these guns since massacring people is not a valid police action, there must be another reason why they consider them necessary.

    … the reason, of course, is that the effective range of an AR-15 is much higher than that of a handgun, most criminals are armed with handguns, therefore the police want to engage them at ranges beyond that of which a handgun is effective (anything over about 25 yards).

    In close quarters, such as in the event of a mass shooting, an AR-15 is no more dangerous than a handgun.

  31. 31
    kyoseki

    nigelTheBold

    What does this even mean? Of course different weapons have different lethality — I thought that was the point. You seem to be attempting to argue the point that guns aren’t designed to be lethal. The fact police have a range of weapons of different portability and lethality is hardly an argument they aren’t designed and intended to be lethal.

    I think the point you’re missing is that the intent of an item has no bearing on whether it should be regulated (note that regulated is not the same as banned).

    If something can kill people if it’s mishandled, it should be regulated. Not BANNED, regulated.

    I, personally, feel that access to ALL firearms is far too easy in this country, but instead of seeing mandatory training programs being proposed, we’re seeing arbitrary and capricious bans on particular types of firearm regardless of their lethality.

    As far as I can tell, these bans are only to score political points, because there’s no LOGICAL argument in favor of them as they currently stand because none of them are concerned with lethality, only appearance.

    1. Does the recreational use of grenades negate their lethal purpose?

    At what point did I say that guns weren’t lethal?

    I have never claimed that guns are not dangerous, I’ve never claimed that they shouldn’t be regulated.

    What I have been attempting to illustrate is the ridiculousness of the idea that banning any particular type of gun will make anyone more or less safe.

    S.150 does not concern itself with machine guns, or bazookas, or grenades.

    It ONLY concerns itself with guns that LOOK like the AR-15, which is why it is a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation and I’m glad it appears to be dead, if it had been attached to the universal background check bill (something I agree with) then that would have died as well, which is a bad thing insofar as I’m concerned.

    2. Should citizens be allowed grenades for recreational use?

    Citizens are allowed to own grenades, they’re classified as a destructive device and the ATF tracks each one.

  32. 32
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    If something can kill people if it’s mishandled, it should be regulated. Not BANNED, regulated.

    The only place I mentioned complete banning was the bit where I said I wouldn’t mind seeing it. In the same paragraph, I admitted it is not practical. And I’m all for strict regulation (as opposed to banning). Recreational shooting ranges with attached armories is a good start, for instance.

    What I have been attempting to illustrate is the ridiculousness of the idea that banning any particular type of gun will make anyone more or less safe.

    As for the bans: the bans are no different than the ones that were in place for over a decade here in the United States. During the time of the ban, weapons-related deaths were down. Significantly. So the bans appear to be effective. So, yeah. Bans do make people safer.

    At least, if the trend holds as it did then in the US, and in other countries that ban guns.

    I already said, though, that regulations like those in Canada would go a long way to reducing gun-related violence. I’m more than willing to support strong regulation over outright banning.

    At what point did I say that guns weren’t lethal?

    Point successfully missed.

    You were making an argument that the primary purpose of target-practice weapons wasn’t their lethality. My point is the design of guns is strictly to kill; their secondary purpose of recreation is irrelevant. This is the exact opposite of the purpose of hammers, say. Their primary purpose is construction. The fact they can be used as murder weapons is irrelevant.

    Citizens are allowed to own grenades, they’re classified as a destructive device and the ATF tracks each one.

    Not hand-grenades such as those I helped dispose of. At least, not that I can find. The only references I can find to legal grenades are those used in grenade launchers — and those are highly regulated. But I could make the same argument with any lethal device that might prove enjoyable, such as claymores or LAWs (neither of which are legal for personal use). My point is (which you have dodged acknowledging even to the point of arguing against strawmen), the enjoyment of something that is designed to be a weapon does not negate the fact it was designed for killing.

    In any case, it’s a moo point. The US has such a strong gun fetish it’ll be a long time before we see even strict regulation.

  33. 33
    raven

    It looks like Senator Ted Cruz has the same problem as Michele Bachmann and David Barton.

    An inability to tell the truth and a complete disconnect from reality.

    He has in a few months made quite a few bizarre and just wrong claims about everything. I suppose anyone who takes UN Agenda 21 seriously as a threat can believe anything and everything. He could make himself more interesting by mentioning UFO aliens, Bigfoot, and the Illuminati once in a while.

    factcheck.org:

    Ted’s Twisted History
    Posted on March 19, 2013

    In Sen. Ted Cruz’s twisted vision of economic history, Ronald Reagan cured double-digit unemployment by cutting spending and reducing the federal debt, and Jimmy Carter was guilty of “out-of-control regulation.”

    In the real world:

    Total federal spending soared during Reagan’s deficit-plagued first term, and the national debt nearly doubled. His budget director later resigned and wrote a book criticizing Reagan’s failure to cut spending.
    And Carter signed landmark bills freeing airline, railroad and trucking rates from federal regulation, easing regulation of natural gas prices and eliminating federal regulation of interest rates paid by banks to small savers.
    These are only a few of the disconnects between economic reality and Cruz’s oversimplified, often inaccurate attempt to paint President Obama’s record as the “exact opposite” of Reagan’s. The freshman Texas Republican said during his March 16 keynote address at the Conservative Political Action Conference

  34. 34
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    kyoseki:

    Just to clarify something — the primary purpose of bows and arrows is also to kill. That’s what they were designed to do. The fact we don’t even talk about banning them (or even regulating them), while we do ban things like claymores and LAWs, shows there is a continuum of acceptability. That continuum is composed entirely of potential lethality.

    It makes perfect sense to talk about where to draw that line. The NRA attempts to short-circuit that discussion by collapsing the continuum into a duality: that which is already allowed, and that which is currently not allowed. Your argument appears to be the same, that we should treat single-shot .22 competition rifles exactly as we do an AR-15, and we should treat 10-round clips just as we do 30-round clips, in spite of the demonstrable difference in lethality.

    My argument isn’t that strict regulation isn’t as good as outright banning. My argument is that we already recognize this as a continuum. There’s no reason we shouldn’t consider outright bans on some weapons (especially when those bans demonstrably reduce gun-related deaths), and varying degrees of regulation for other weapons.

    That’s really all I’m arguing.

  35. 35
    kyoseki

    nigelTheBold

    The only place I mentioned complete banning was the bit where I said I wouldn’t mind seeing it. In the same paragraph, I admitted it is not practical. And I’m all for strict regulation (as opposed to banning). Recreational shooting ranges with attached armories is a good start, for instance.

    Has such a thing been necessary in any industrialized country that allows people to own AR-15s without anything like our level of gun crime (which, incidentally, is just about all of them).

    Why not just say “we should copy Norway/Sweden/Germany’s gun laws” and call it done?

    Why this constant need to ignore laws that work and come up with entirely arbitrary and impractical solutions such as forcing every gun range to build and maintain it’s own armory?

    As for the bans: the bans are no different than the ones that were in place for over a decade here in the United States. During the time of the ban, weapons-related deaths were down. Significantly. So the bans appear to be effective. So, yeah. Bans do make people safer.

    I think you’ll find that it didn’t.

    A huge part of the resistance to S.150 was specifically because the 94 assault weapons ban COULDN’T be shown to have significantly reduced overall gun crime, this is hardly surprising given how rarely the things are actually used.

    At least, if the trend holds as it did then in the US, and in other countries that ban guns.

    As I’ve stated, we can see from most of Europe that you don’t need to ban any type of gun to reduce gun violence – the UK never had a significant problem with gun crime even when you could buy “assault weapons”, nor did banning assault weapons stop or even reduce the body count in the next mass shooting.

    The solutions are elsewhere, the biggest of which is stopping people on either side of the debate from fetishizing the things, you can’t reduce the number of guns in circulation unless you can stop people WANTING them, that’s what really needs to change.

    I already said, though, that regulations like those in Canada would go a long way to reducing gun-related violence. I’m more than willing to support strong regulation over outright banning.

    Hallelujah, we’re finally on the same page.

    Now, is anyone in Congress or the Senate actually proposing anything along those lines? Because, to my knowledge, they aren’t. Certainly S.150 does not seek to regulate anything, it’s an outright ban on the sale of an arbitrary (note ARBITRARY) subset of firearms.

    If it proposed to ban a specific subset that could be shown to actually be more dangerous than any other type of gun (which is why legislation on machine guns and rocket launchers IS valid) then that would be something, but it doesn’t, does it?

    I know that California is proposing a metric fuckton of legislation, almost all of which is asinine and designed solely to make owning a gun so annoying that nobody wants to do it legally (and seriously, what is the goddamned point of passing statewide legislation on, say, magazines when I can just drive to Vegas and buy the bloody things there?) – the ONLY purpose for this legislation is to allow the politicos to say “see? I’m tough on guns!”.

    I’d LOVE to see mandatory training for all firearms purchases (such as we see in all European countries), but I’m not holding my breath.

    You were making an argument that the primary purpose of target-practice weapons wasn’t their lethality. My point is the design of guns is strictly to kill; their secondary purpose of recreation is irrelevant. This is the exact opposite of the purpose of hammers, say. Their primary purpose is construction. The fact they can be used as murder weapons is irrelevant.

    … and I’m still waiting for you to explain why the same argument doesn’t apply to archery.

    Longbows were originally designed to kill, were they not? Even if they’re only used for recreation these days.

    So shouldn’t longbows be subject to the same level of recreation as firearms? Perhaps archery ranges with their own armories for the bows?

    Same goes for pretty much any weapon used in association with practicing a martial art and most martial arts themselves for that matter.

    … at least, if your “item X was originally designed to kill, I don’t care what it’s actually used for” argument applies.

    … or do we, in fact, need to consider lethality and function rather than original intent?

    Insofar as the industrialized world is concerned, the primary purpose of almost all guns in private hands is recreation, whether that be target shooting or hunting, this is true in the US, it’s true in Canada and it’s true throughout all of Europe.

    It’s particularly true in Europe since self defense is not considered a valid reason for firearms ownership.

  36. 36
    kyoseki

    nigelTheBold
    You responded before I’d finished editing :)

    Just to clarify something — the primary purpose of bows and arrows is also to kill. That’s what they were designed to do. The fact we don’t even talk about banning them (or even regulating them), while we do ban things like claymores and LAWs, shows there is a continuum of acceptability. That continuum is composed entirely of potential lethality.

    Ok, but I’m not talking about LAWs or claymores, my concern is strictly with bills like S.150 that decide to draw an arbitrary line in the sand such that one type of weapon is considered “too dangerous to own” while FUNCTIONALLY IDENTICAL weapons are considered “valid sporting arms”.

    It makes perfect sense to talk about where to draw that line. The NRA attempts to short-circuit that discussion by collapsing the continuum into a duality: that which is already allowed, and that which is currently not allowed. Your argument appears to be the same, that we should treat single-shot .22 competition rifles exactly as we do an AR-15, and we should treat 10-round clips just as we do 30-round clips, in spite of the demonstrable difference in lethality.

    .. and you keep making the argument in the opposite direction by saying that “we regulate rocket launchers, so banning AR-15s is fine” whilst ignoring the fact that it didn’t do anything last time so it won’t do anything this time.

    My argument isn’t that strict regulation isn’t as good as outright banning. My argument is that we already recognize this as a continuum. There’s no reason we shouldn’t consider outright bans on some weapons (especially when those bans demonstrably reduce gun-related deaths), and varying degrees of regulation for other weapons.

    That’s really all I’m arguing.

    … and I would agree with you if you could demonstrate that an AR-15 is significantly more dangerous than any of the “valid sporting rifles” that S.150 protects, but since a number of them are a great deal MORE dangerous than an AR-15 I don’t think that’s likely to be the case.

    Remember that hunting rifles are designed to kill, the AR-15 was specifically designed to WOUND, because, in warfare, a wounded combatant requires more supplies and personnel than a dead one.

  37. 37
    kyoseki

    To further simplify my point.

    If it could be shown that a subset of firearms was significantly more dangerous than another and by banning or heavily regulating the sale thereof that the overall number of gun deaths could be significantly curbed, then YES, that legislation could well be considered a valid proposal.

    My opposition to Feinstein’s assault weapons bill is specifically that it does none of these things.

  38. 38
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    A huge part of the resistance to S.150 was specifically because the 94 assault weapons ban COULDN’T be shown to have significantly reduced overall gun crime, this is hardly surprising given how rarely the things are actually used.

    True that. They are rarely used. Only about 4.8% of gun crimes were with assault weapons (those banned by the ’94 bill) before the ban. During the end of the band, only about 1.6% were with the banned weapons. Total homicides by firearm dropped significantly during that time, but that represented a return to 1985-levels.

    (Sorry — doing a bit more research, rather than just looking at raw numbers.)

    Now, is anyone in Congress or the Senate actually proposing anything along those lines? Because, to my knowledge, they aren’t. Certainly S.150 does not seek to regulate anything, it’s an outright ban on the sale of an arbitrary (note ARBITRARY) subset of firearms.

    Do you really believe anything like that would stand a chance in Congress? Banning of certain weapons has already proven practicable. The kinds of regulations in Canada or Germany or Norway wouldn’t stand a chance.

    … and I’m still waiting for you to explain why the same argument doesn’t apply to archery.

    *Ahem*

  39. 39
    kyoseki

    nigelTheBold

    True that. They are rarely used. Only about 4.8% of gun crimes were with assault weapons (those banned by the ’94 bill) before the ban. During the end of the band, only about 1.6% were with the banned weapons. Total homicides by firearm dropped significantly during that time, but that represented a return to 1985-levels.

    (Sorry — doing a bit more research, rather than just looking at raw numbers.)

    You’re making a post hoc argument here.

    If item X is only responsible for 5% of all gun crime, then how can banning that item be responsible for reducing any MORE than 5% of all gun crime?

    Is there any logical argument that can be made to suggest that a perpetrator is thinking “well, I don’t own an AK-47, so I’m not going to shoot you with the Saturday Night Special I do have” ?

    Bear in mind that the vast majority of shootings involve a handgun with only a handful of rounds fired, an assault weapons ban or a magazine capacity ban cannot possibly have any effect on those deaths.

    Do you really believe anything like that would stand a chance in Congress? Banning of certain weapons has already proven practicable. The kinds of regulations in Canada or Germany or Norway wouldn’t stand a chance.

    California already has basic training & safe storage requirements, I don’t see that such a thing couldn’t be extended Federally.

    As far as I’m concerned, if a kid gets hold of your gun and shoots someone, you should be on the hook for manslaughter or negligence, there’s no Constitutional argument I can see against this.

    DC fell afoul of the Constitution because it mandated that ALL firearms be locked up, if you amend that law to simply state that all firearms not being actively used for the purposes of self defense be locked up and any firearm actively being used needs to be on your person, you could probably get it through.

  40. 40
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    … and I would agree with you if you could demonstrate that an AR-15 is significantly more dangerous than any of the “valid sporting rifles” that S.150 protects, but since a number of them are a great deal MORE dangerous than an AR-15 I don’t think that’s likely to be the case.

    Remember that hunting rifles are designed to kill, the AR-15 was specifically designed to WOUND, because, in warfare, a wounded combatant requires more supplies and personnel than a dead one.

    The greater rate of fire and larger capacity makes the AR-15 more dangerous in school-shooting type scenarios. The longer range, greater accuracy, and greater firepower make hunting rifles more dangerous in sniper-like situations (such as the Beltway snipers, or the guy in Ohio who killed other hunters).

    Handguns are more dangerous in close-range situations, like the Senator Giffords assassination attempt.

    Each one has its specialities in the “killing things” arena.

    I think the reason assault weapons are especially targeted for banning has more to do with the fact they have no other purpose than, well, assault. (This disregards the shooting for enjoyment, of course.) Handguns can be claimed for home protection (though you are more likely to die from gunshot if you have one in your home, so I suspect that argument). Rifles can legitimately be claimed for hunting. (I own a hunting rifle. I haven’t used it since I left Alaska, but I still own it.) Assault weapons, though, serve no other purpose. The only think you can claim them for is the enjoyment of shooting them. Hell, they aren’t even very good for competitive use.

    So I suspect that’s why they’re especially targeted for banning.

  41. 41
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    You’re making a post hoc argument here.

    No I wasn’t. I was attempting to explain my original argument conflated two statistics. I was essentially saying my original argument was flawed. That’s why I started with “true, that.” To indicate you stated a truth.

    My point that the ban was correlated with a reduction in assault weapon use indicates the ban may have been effective in reducing assault weapon use. But that wasn’t what I was doing: I was attempting to apologize and retract my original assertion about the ban making us safer.

    I didn’t make that clear due to embarrassment.

    Bear in mind that the vast majority of shootings involve a handgun with only a handful of rounds fired, an assault weapons ban or a magazine capacity ban cannot possibly have any effect on those deaths.

    Nope, But it might reduce the mass shooting deaths, rather than the single-murder homicides. (Yes, single-murder homicides make up the vast majority of gun-related homicides. So it still doesn’t address the majority case. But it’s a start.)

    I don’t think we really disagree on this as much as it seemed at first. I personally don’t see a problem banning something like assault rifles, as they serve no legitimate purpose outside of enjoyment. I’d much rather see strong regulations placed on all firearms, of course.

    California already has basic training & safe storage requirements, I don’t see that such a thing couldn’t be extended Federally.

    Any federal regulation is going to see far greater pushback than state-level regulation. Considering the resistance to something as trivial as more stringent background-checks, I don’t see any serious federal regulations being passed in the near future.

    But, the re-funding of CDC for gun-related issues might help. I definitely agree we need hard numbers, real evidence, to help direct regulatory efforts.

    Thanks for the argument/discussion, kyoseki. You made me re-examine some of my assumptions (RE: numbers of homicides vs. assault weapon ban). I have to get back to the real world, and won’t have time to fill up Ed’s comments any more.

  42. 42
    kyoseki

    nigelTheBold

    The greater rate of fire and larger capacity makes the AR-15 more dangerous in school-shooting type scenarios.

    Except that the rate of fire and capacity are no different to handguns.

    Both firearms will expend a round any time you pull the trigger and both firearms accept detachable magazines that hold up to 100 rounds.

    Yes, an AR-15 is more accurate at long range, but most mass shootings don’t take place at long range and if they do, acquisition of targets is the defining factor rather than rate of fire.

    The longer range, greater accuracy, and greater firepower make hunting rifles more dangerous in sniper-like situations (such as the Beltway snipers, or the guy in Ohio who killed other hunters).

    .. and banning AR-15s will only ensure that more mass shootings either follow the example of the Beltway sniper (who actually used an AR-15, but only fired one or two rounds at a time, so any hunting rifle would do) or the Virginia Tech shooter who only used a couple of handguns and still killed more people than any other mass shooting in US history.

    Handguns are more dangerous in close-range situations, like the Senator Giffords assassination attempt.

    Agreed, but at close range, is an AR-15 significantly more lethal than a handgun?

    I would say not, if anything, the larger holes and fragmentation left by a handgun round are signficantly MORE lethal than the small holes left by a typical AR-15 round.

    I think the reason assault weapons are especially targeted for banning has more to do with the fact they have no other purpose than, well, assault. (This disregards the shooting for enjoyment, of course.) Handguns can be claimed for home protection (though you are more likely to die from gunshot if you have one in your home, so I suspect that argument). Rifles can legitimately be claimed for hunting. (I own a hunting rifle. I haven’t used it since I left Alaska, but I still own it.) Assault weapons, though, serve no other purpose. The only think you can claim them for is the enjoyment of shooting them. Hell, they aren’t even very good for competitive use.

    The problem here is that “assault weapon” is a spectacularly ill-defined term – insofar as legislation is concerned, the definition of “assault weapon” can be reduced to “a semi automatic hunting rifle that looks scary”.

    As I’ve stated, the AR-15 is not functionally any different to a Ruger Mini-14 “ranch rifle”.

    They’re both semi automatic centerfire rifles chambered in 5.56mm, they both accept detachable magazines and they’ve both been used in mass shootings.

    Why is the AR-15 considered an “assault weapon” but the Mini 14 is considered a valid hunting/sporting firearm?

    Seriously, both are explicitly mentioned BY NAME in Feinstein’s S.150 bill, the AR-15 in the verboten category, and the Mini 14 in the “totally cool” category.

    The FUNCTION of the rifle isn’t considered, only it’s appearance, which is why it would fail a legal challenge even ignoring the 2nd Amendment.

    If you’re going to make the argument that certain firearms are too dangerous to own, why wouldn’t any proposed bill actually take the lethality of those firearms into account?

  43. 43
    kyoseki

    nigelTheBold

    My point that the ban was correlated with a reduction in assault weapon use indicates the ban may have been effective in reducing assault weapon use. But that wasn’t what I was doing: I was attempting to apologize and retract my original assertion about the ban making us safer.

    Ok, I misunderstood, fair enough :)

    Nope, But it might reduce the mass shooting deaths, rather than the single-murder homicides. (Yes, single-murder homicides make up the vast majority of gun-related homicides. So it still doesn’t address the majority case. But it’s a start.)

    Well, we have a historical precedent to go on here.

    The UK banned all semiautomatic rifles after the Hungerford massacre in 87, they didn’t just ban the sale of them, they forced anyone who owned one to turn them in, something that would never happen here.

    The only practical upshot of this was that the Dunblane massacre in 96 (basically the UK’s Newtown) took place with handguns (2 semi automatics with 13 round magazines and 2 357 magnum revolvers). The shooter still managed to kill 15 children along with their teacher, wounding another 12. If you read the timeline of events, you can see that the magazine capacity wasn’t a factor, nor was the increased accuracy or penetration that an AR pattern rifle would afford.

    I don’t think we really disagree on this as much as it seemed at first. I personally don’t see a problem banning something like assault rifles, as they serve no legitimate purpose outside of enjoyment. I’d much rather see strong regulations placed on all firearms, of course.

    We don’t agree on the first point simply because “assault weapon” is an ill defined term (actual military “assault rifles” are already heavily regulated), but I’m completely with you on the second point.

    As far as I’m concerned, banning any particular type of firearm is like trying to close Pandora’s box. There’s already millions of the things in circulation, so unless there’s a VERY good reason to ban anything, I’d rather see our efforts focused elsewhere.

    We should be regulating people and not firearms, mandatory training, mandatory background checks, mandatory storage laws, these are all things that can be applied to firearms owners rather than the firearms themselves and I think that’s where the most traction can be gained.

    Any federal regulation is going to see far greater pushback than state-level regulation. Considering the resistance to something as trivial as more stringent background-checks, I don’t see any serious federal regulations being passed in the near future.

    Maybe, I would say it depends on the legislation;
    There is very little push back on universal background checks, for example, because there’s nothing arbitrary about them – most gun owners are totally OK with the idea (I know I am), it’s only the fringes who are doing a lot of barking (and it’s helped expose La Pierre for the hypocrite he is).

    Generally good ideas don’t tend to face that much opposition, Feinstein’s S.150 is facing an uphill struggle from even moderates specifically because of it’s arbitrary nature.

    But, the re-funding of CDC for gun-related issues might help. I definitely agree we need hard numbers, real evidence, to help direct regulatory efforts.

    Again, no argument from me, better funding of the CDC and ATF are perfectly ok as far as I’m concerned.

    Thanks for the argument/discussion, kyoseki. You made me re-examine some of my assumptions (RE: numbers of homicides vs. assault weapon ban). I have to get back to the real world, and won’t have time to fill up Ed’s comments any more.

    Likewise, thanks for the debate :)

  44. 44
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    kyoseki:

    The problem here is that “assault weapon” is a spectacularly ill-defined term – insofar as legislation is concerned, the definition of “assault weapon” can be reduced to “a semi automatic hunting rifle that looks scary”.

    I know I said my last comment was my last comment, but my wife isn’t home yet, so I have a couple more minutes.

    I just wanted to say: yeah. I agree with this. The definitions used in the legislation were poorly worded, essentially to the point of incoherence.

    There is a gap between intent and execution. I am not in any way attempting to defend the legislation as written. I am defending the purported intent of that legislation. You didn’t start this by saying Senator Feinstein’s legislation was flawed. You started by saying she didn’t have a logical argument. That is, you said what she intended was not only flawed, but illogical.

    While it might be a flawed argument, it isn’t illogical. If there is a flaw, it rests in the fact that these big, news-making mass shootings are not in any way statistically significant with respect to total number of homicides involving firearms.

    Ultimately, any coherent legislation must draw distinctions between uses of weapons vs. their effectiveness/efficiency in killing. This applies to any kind of regulatory variance, whether it’s outright banning, or simply more stringent ownership requirements.

  45. 45
    kyoseki

    Fair enough, but bear in mind that Feinstein co-authored the last Federal ban, she also co-authored California’s assault weapons laws, both of which exhibit the same kind of flaw as the new ban.

    This isn’t simply a case of “ooh, I hadn’t thought of that”, her new ban is a carbon copy of existing legislation that’s already been shown to be flawed, so the question is why is she still pushing it?

  46. 46
    Michael Heath

    nigelthebold writes:

    As for regulating lethality: that’s what a lot of the legislation is designed to do. It’s not strictly about the lethality of a single round, but the reduction of the number of rounds fired per some time unit. A rifle that can only fire 30 rounds but needs a manual reload would necessarily fire fewer rounds in 10 minutes than a rifle that took a 30-round clip. That makes it less lethal. A 10-round clip will reduce the potential number of rounds fired from the same weapon used to fire a 30-round clip. And so on.

    One of the key features of the AR-15 you didn’t mention is that it has no kick. An 8 year-old can rapidly shoot an AR-15 at a target with little spread in their shots given the lack of kick; in fact I witnessed just that a couple of months ago on a practice day. So the lethality also comes not only from the number of bullets that can be fired quickly, but the lack of dispersion of your shots after you pull the trigger once to the point you’ve exhausted the magazine, even for weak inexperienced shooters.

    These guns have one purpose, to kill human beings. At the practice range, you’re effectively practicing to kill a human being, even if that’s not your claimed motivation. I point that out because contra how Sarah Palin “hunts”, conscientious hunters have the objective of killing their target on the first shot, where their confidence level is a minimum of 80% for mediocre hunters and more for better hunters. Otherwise and contra Sarah fuckhead Palin, they have an ethical obligation to not pull the trigger. I’ve been hunting deer for 39 years and have yet to pull the trigger twice to kill a deer, where I consider myself a mediocre hunter. Therefore the AR-15, given its lack of power and relatively poor accuracy on the first shot, is not a hunting rifle when it comes to harvesting (killing) animals.

    The only valid argument to not criminalize AR-15′s with big magazines is if you believe the 2nd Amendment demands the government protect your right to revolt against that very government by insuring you have the weaponry needed to take on the government.

    Unfortunately that is the incoherent holding opinion of Justice Scalia’s opinion in Heller. In spite of the fact his argument was a giant non sequitur without compelling, let alone convincing historical evidence, doesn’t extend to all weaponry needed to effectively revolt, and even contradicts this point by the majority’s opinion also protecting the power of the government to regulate some weaponry that can kill many humans quickly.

    Justice John Paul Stevens’ dissenting opinion convincingly validated the original meaning and original intent of the 2nd Amendment never meant or intended to protect the right of individuals to own and bear arms in order to revolt against the government, or effectively kill lots of people quickly.

    Growing up butchering animals – domestic and wild, it takes a lot to make me flinch. Watching a little kid shoot 30 bullets into a target within seconds was one of those gut-cringing moments. The glee this child and his dad got from this kid’s performance was also sickening. It was followed by the dad’s rhetoric about the uppity black usurper’s gall in wanting to take their guns from them. Thankfully, only one other adult of several there demonstrated any empathy for what they’d just experienced. I think most were very uneasy at how quickly this little kid, whose skills were also poor for a shooter of that age, was able to unload so many bullets quickly into a target the size of a human torso about 10 – 15 yards away.

  47. 47
    Michael Heath

    Out of the ether:

    Military-style weapons have but one purpose: kill as many people as quickly as possible

    kyoseki responds:

    Then why are the police issued them?

    Is there any mandate in the police charter that calls for the slaughter of civilians under any circumstances?

    … or perhaps this isn’t actually the case?

    Arguments from ignorance are never compelling.

  48. 48
    kyoseki

    Michael Heath

    One of the key features of the AR-15 you didn’t mention is that it has no kick. An 8 year-old can rapidly shoot an AR-15 at a target with little spread in their shots given the lack of kick;

    The problem here though is that you’re not emptying 30 rounds into a single target.

    In a mass shooting, target acquisition is more important than rate of fire, especially when you consider that a single handgun round causes a lot more trauma than an AR-15 round – as you noted, AR-15s are poor hunting rifles specifically because they do not kill on the first round.

    When every target is within 15 yards of the shooter (such as in a classroom or movie theater), factors like accuracy and recoil take a back seat to the sheer number of rounds the shooter is carrying.

    The only valid argument to not criminalize AR-15′s with big magazines is if you believe the 2nd Amendment demands the government protect your right to revolt against that very government by insuring you have the weaponry needed to take on the government.

    Let’s be honest here, the magazine size is more of a factor than the firearm itself, but even then, restricting magazine sizes is of limited practical use in real world scenarios.

    The only mass shootings I’m aware of where magazine sizes were a major factor (ie. that reloading gave bystanders a chance to tackle the shooter) were the ones where the shooter only carried a single firearm, namely Tucson & Long Island, these are typically far from the norm as illustrated by the fact that the deadliest mass shootings on record incorporated multiple firearms, most of which don’t qualify as “assault weapons”.

  49. 49
    kyoseki

    Michael Heath

    Arguments from ignorance are never compelling.

    Great, so when are the police tasked with “killing as many people as quickly as possible” ?

    If that is, in fact, the only purpose of an AR-15.

  50. 50
    lancifer

    kyoseki,

    You are fighting a grease fire with water.

    The folks you are arguing with don’t care that there is no reasonable or logical reason to ban weapons based on the way they look or how “scary” they sound. They are arguing based on emotion. To them guns are “evil” and “assault weapons” are even “eviler”.

    You keep expecting your logical and reasonable points to bring them around, but you aren’t going to lay a glove on their real objections to firearms with this kind of argument.

    The simple truth is that the majority of these people would ban all firearms if they could. They regard large magazine bans and “assault weapon” bans just as a “good start”.

  51. 51
    PatrickG

    @ kyoseki:

    Apologies for the wall of text following. This is a very dense thread. I’m attempting to respond to as much as I can, but … a dense thread. :)

    It’s hard to read this comment thread without being reminded of the numerous derails I’ve seen (here and elsewhere) where the focus is on “which guns to regulate” as opposed to the central point, which is that gun control is sorely lacking in this country. Evidence? The fact that absolutely incompetent people are allowed to own — hell, even be near — guns, risking themselves, their families, and total strangers. Gun Appreciation Day comes to mind.

    You raise some excellent objections to the wording of the legislation, so I’m not trying to accuse you of purposeful derail, but in the current political climate, how the hell do you expect any reasonably crafted legislation to pass? I’d call this a first step, but as you’ve noted yourself, this is a repeat of a first step, that was later allowed to lapse. Maybe if the assault weapons bans hadn’t expired, reasonable pro-gun advocates could have revised it.

    Mass shootings (and the shooting of a Member of Congress) are what allowed a momentary break of sanity into a discussion otherwise controlled by the NRA and their lackeys. If a repeated first step at gun control relies on emotional arguments about mass shooting, maybe that’s the best we can do, yes? Legislation doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

    And let’s be clear. This isn’t about mass shootings. This is an opportunity to bring some sanity into the discussion about guns. Much like Savita Halappanavar was an opportunity to bring some sanity into the discussion about abortion… sort of. If it takes immense tragedy to bring about even a modicum of discussion, haven’t we sort of crossed a line already?

    So you don’t like the legislation as written. What the hell do you think we should do? You’ve advocated any number of common-sense alternatives — all of which are vehemently opposed and have very little chance of passage by our current Congress (because FREEEEDOM!). Obama’s executive orders are severely hampered by lack of support/funding for the ATF, and Congress isn’t going to change that any time soon.

    I guess what I’m looking for is a further explanation of your statement above:

    Fair enough, but bear in mind that Feinstein co-authored the last Federal ban, she also co-authored California’s assault weapons laws, both of which exhibit the same kind of flaw as the new ban.

    This isn’t simply a case of “ooh, I hadn’t thought of that”, her new ban is a carbon copy of existing legislation that’s already been shown to be flawed, so the question is why is she still pushing it?

    Maybe she’s still pushing it because it passed despite incredible opposition and it might have a chance of passing again due to horrible tragedy (again).. If anything, the opposition is worse now. So what, she should re-invent the wheel in the face of blowhards like Cruz? What the hell else should she do? What legislation should she push? What do you really think can pass?

    Mind you, I’m looking at this statement by you:

    There is very little push back on universal background checks, for example, because there’s nothing arbitrary about them – most gun owners are totally OK with the idea (I know I am), it’s only the fringes who are doing a lot of barking (and it’s helped expose La Pierre for the hypocrite he is).

    Very little pushback?! The pushback has been immense. If it’s so widely supported, why hasn’t it happened already?

    Until you answer that definitively, it’s hard to take your objections seriously. Mind you, this is due in large part to people like lancifer showing up with their strawman ridiculousness. Definitely some guilt by association on my part there, so apologies if warranted.

    @ lancifer: Are you completely unaware of the Patriot movements, the various militia movements, and the propaganda that surrounds this issue? These people should not have guns. Full stop. Last I checked, violent overthrow of the government was sort of a no-no. So why the fuck do they keep assembling arsenals? Or are you going to argue they assemble their firepower illegally? More to the point, have you not noticed the many, many posts on FTB noting that gun control wasn’t in vogue until black scary people started acquiring guns? Yeesh.

    More to the point, lancifer, did you just drive by and miss the multiple other threads on FTB where gun owners comment? Hey, kyoseki’s one of them!

    And for what it’s worth, I kind of like firing guns. They’re neat! I’m heading to a firing range this Sunday for some target shooting in Somerset, KY. And I’ll never forget the nearly dislocated shoulder from that black powder rifle. Explosive gases are fun! And my partner’s lifelong dream has been to run around naked in her front yard screaming obscenities while firing a shotgun into the ground. For (carefully controlled) freedom! Thus concludes my argument from “guns are cool”.

    TL;DR: If you don’t like the legislation, fine. You appear (to me, potentially) to be trying to derail the conversation into tangential issues that obfuscate current senseless policy. If that’s not your intent, at least recognize that it is the intent of a lot of people who comment on these topics (e.g. lancifer).

  52. 52
    dingojack

    Ok call me shallow, but after 52 comments no one has noticed that a ‘shoot-out’ over gun control comes down to ‘a draw’ ?!?
    Seriously?
    Dingo

  53. 53
    lofgren

    kyoseki, your arguments are dramatically flawed.

    You appear to know a lot about guns and what makes them dangerous, but you make several illogical leaps based on inappropriate assumptions. I think the most telling quote indicating your poor assumptions is here:

    I’m not averse to the general idea of, for example, requiring ID for ammunition purchases, but I suspect it would generate an awful lot of false positives for any law enforcement bureau tracking purchases and trying to identify prospective mass shooters.

    In this and several other instances, you seem to imagine that supporters of this bill believe that they can end mass shootings forever with it. But that’s not the goal of the bill. The goal is to make it harder to acquire certain weapons and, therefore, make it harder for mass killers to kill massly.

    In fact, you affirm that the bill will be successful:

    On the face of it, the magazine capacity limits seem like a good idea, except that in practice, all it really means is that mass shooters carry multiple firearms and multiple magazines.

    Multiple magazines and multiple firearms require a greater investment in both the preparation and execution of a mass killing.

    Now, please do not misunderstand me. Your criticisms of the bill otherwise seem well-informed and reasonable. In particular, the idea of mandatory training is something that I have long advocated. It seems pretty damn clear to me, whatwith the “well-regulated militia language,” that the authors of the bill of rights expected that gun owners (just about everybody back then) would conform to some basic, well, regulations.

    Also the whole assault-rifle ban and the correlating downward trend in gun deaths drives me crazy, for exactly the reasons you state. It’s NRA-level statistics manipulation. The fact that both sides of this debate seem more than happy to just make up numbers and puke them up in random fashion makes it very difficult to have an informed opinion.

    The problem is that every alternative possibility you offer is so remote in the current climate that it would be akin to doing nothing at all.

    Sane, logical, gun control would be terrific for this country.

    But in the meantime, I’m having a hard time understanding why we should oppose a bill that actually has a remote chance of passing and would make it marginally more difficult for mass killers to do their thing. It’s not perfect. Hell, it’s not even great. But if it makes it more difficult to kill a whole bunch of people then it seems to me it’s still worth it.

  54. 54
    lancifer

    PatrickG,

    .Are you completely unaware of the Patriot movements, the various militia movements, and the propaganda that surrounds this issue?

    .

    No, but I probably have a different perspective on the issue than you.

    These people should not have guns. Full stop.

    And, though you would probably bristle at the suggestion, you appear to be the sort of authoritarian that the second amendment was designed to prevent from taking power. You do know that the 2nd amendment isn’t about hunting or target shooting right? So long as these folks acquire their guns legally, and use them legally, it is, excuse my colorful language, none of your fucking business.

    Last I checked, violent overthrow of the government was sort of a no-no. So why the fuck do they keep assembling arsenals?

    Well, as a matter of fact, the idea is that the people won’t need to violently overthrow the government if the people are armed in the first place.

    There was this crazy guy and a few of his friends that came up with the idea for the 2nd amendment. You may have heard of him.

    “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”– Thomas Jefferson

    Or are you going to argue they assemble their firepower illegally?

    .

    Nope. They are completely within the law, and their constitutional rights, to own as many firearms as they wish. Why it bothers you, is what worries me.

    More to the point, have you not noticed the many, many posts on FTB noting that gun control wasn’t in vogue until black scary people started acquiring guns? Yeesh.

    .

    Not sure where you’re going with that one, since almost all of the people advocating for gun rights are the same people that most FTB posters think want to limit the rights of “black scary people”.

    If you’re honest you will admit that the great majority of liberals would prefer that guns were only used for hunting or target shooting (if at all) and had to be locked up at all other times. Most liberals are quick to cite statistics that they claim show that you are far more likely to get hurt or killed by having a gun in your home than to use it to protect yourself, and therefor there is no good reason to have one in your home at all. Which of course completely, and perhaps purposely, ignores the entire raison d’etre for the 2nd amendment in the first place.

    So pretending that you just want some “sane, logical, gun control…” that doesn’t eventually completely ween society from guns, except as feckless pop guns or clumsy anachronisms, is disingenuous.

    Now I’d rather avoid the usual “only an idiot would think that armed citizens could stop a tyrannical US government” argument, since it is totally beside the point.

    The fact of the matter, recently reiterated by the SCOTUS,is that the constitution protects the rights “of the people” to have guns. If you don’t like it change it.

    As you probably know there exists an amendment process to do just that.

    (Also, I should note that I do not now, nor I have I ever, owned a firearm.)

  55. 55
    lancifer

    PatrickG,

    One correction, I quoted something said by lofgren in my reply to you,

    “sane, logical gun control…”

    although I didn’t attribute it to you directly.

    You end your post with,

    TL;DR: If you don’t like the legislation, fine. You appear (to me, potentially) to be trying to derail the conversation into tangential issues that obfuscate current senseless policy. If that’s not your intent, at least recognize that it is the intent of a lot of people who comment on these topics (e.g. lancifer).

    It is rather bad form, not to mention rude, to claim to know the “intent” of another person remarks. Especially to claim that they want to “…derail the conversation into tangential issues that obfuscate…”.

    Only I can speak to my intent thank you. And that intent was to “cut to the chase”. You, and the great majority of the people responding to kyoseki, would be quite happy if all guns disappeared from the hands of citizens tomorrow. In fact there is probably a Joan Baez song about just such a topic that gets you all weepy.

  56. 56
    Michael Heath

    Out of the ether:

    Military-style weapons have but one purpose: kill as many people as quickly as possible

    kyoseki responds:

    Then why are the police issued them?
    Is there any mandate in the police charter that calls for the slaughter of civilians under any circumstances?

    … or perhaps this isn’t actually the case?

    My earlier response:

    Arguments from ignorance are never compelling.

    kyoseki’s response:

    Great, so when are the police tasked with “killing as many people as quickly as possible” ?

    If that is, in fact, the only purpose of an AR-15.

    Kyoseki, your argument from ignorance is based on a red herring; which interests me not at all. I suggest sticking to the constitutional and policy implications of the proposed law being debated, which has nothing to do with how police departments are equipped but instead the competing rights of citizens, the proper delegation of government authority, and the government’s obligation to act – or not; rather than seeking to change the subject as you attempt to do here.

    lancifer does an amazing act of psychological projection:

    You are fighting a grease fire with water.

    The folks you are arguing with don’t care that there is no reasonable or logical reason to ban weapons based on the way they look or how “scary” they sound. They are arguing based on emotion.

    Wow, your lack of integrity and dishonesty is truly amazing to behold. As you’ve repeatedly been told, it’s poor form and a failure in character to not quote that which you describe in order to misrepresent it, i.e., you lie once again. And if I’m wrong, please breakdown how kyoseki’s argument here is not structurally defective as I point out; it’s freakin’ obvious to those who can think critically at even a remedial level. A level which we see here disqualifies you based on, once again, a policy that challenges your political ideology. Have some character, quote what I wrote previously, and then demonstrate how my previous arguments are based on a lack of concern and emotion alone rather than not referring to them and then lying about them as you do @ 50. You can’t do that because it’s simply not true; you are in fact and once again, lying about what others do, all in order to defend your positions without having to confront convenient facts.

  57. 57
    Michael Heath

    Me @ 20:

    If Sen. Feinstein actually took her oath to defend the Constitution seriously, she’d have immediately realized the best rebuttal to Sen. Cruz’s idiotic questions was found in Justice Scalia’s majority opinion of D.C. v. Heller. J. Scalia clearly points out Congress has the powers to do exactly what Sen. Feinstein seeks to do here

    I had time to find the relevant content from Scalia’s majority opinion in Heller:

    III
    Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. See, e.g., Sheldon, in 5 Blume 346; Rawle 123; Pomeroy 152–153; Abbott 333. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. See, e.g., State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann., at 489–490; Nunn v. State, 1 Ga., at 251; see generally 2 Kent *340, n. 2; The American Students’ Blackstone 84, n. 11 (G. Chase ed. 1884). Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of 11 (G. Chase ed. 1884). Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.26 We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.”

    It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large. Indeed, it may be true that no amount of small arms could be useful against modern-day bombers and tanks. But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.

    As I noted earlier, Justice Scalia relies on non sequiturs to falsely claim the original meaning and intent of the 2nd Amendment numerated right for citizens to own and bear arms in order to revolt against the government; whereas Justice Stevens presents compelling, if not convincing evidence no such meaning or intent existed during the drafting and ratification of the 2nd Amendment. So I’m reading J. Scalia’s concession of government power here within the accurate historical context of Justice Stevens’ dissent rather than J. Scalia’s false revisionist history.

  58. 58
    dingojack

    Uh Lance – Firstly, having a bunch of loons armed to the teeth and shooting postmen, policemen and DMV workers isn’t a government or even a revolution, it’s Somalia,
    Secondly, increasingly lax gun control doesn’t produce much reduction in the level of intrusive government (<< one standard deviation) and the level of gun control is extremely poorly co-related to the level of intrusive government That is to say having guns or not is a poor indicator of whether the government is intrusive and overbearing.
    Thirdly – ” Most liberals are quick to cite statistics that they claim show that you are far more likely to get hurt or killed by having a gun in your home than to use it to protect yourself, and therefor there is no good reason to have one in your home at all. Which of course completely, and perhaps purposely, ignores the entire raison d’etre for the 2nd amendment in the first place”.
    Huh?
    By that logic having your house knee-deep in loose asbestos is more likely to give the occupants (and those in the surrounding area) mesothelioma than deter burglars, but that’s just peachy. The government has a thing called ‘duty of care”, perhaps you’ve vaguely heard of it? It’s what the Americans claimed King George III had violated, so they were compelled to rebel. Remember?

    “So pretending that you just want some “sane, logical, gun control…” that doesn’t eventually completely ween society from guns, except as feckless pop guns or clumsy anachronisms, is disingenuous”.

    Fine, except for one tiny detail. You forgot to show that is in fact at all the case.

    “Now I’d rather avoid the usual “only an idiot would think that armed citizens could stop a tyrannical US government” argument, since it is totally beside the point”.

    Well of course you would;t, since the facts would only undermine the whole ‘having guns makes us safe from tyranny’ meme you tried out earlier in your post (or did you forget that bit?)

    Dingo

  59. 59
    lofgren

    It is rather bad form, not to mention rude, to claim to know the “intent” of another person remarks. Especially to claim that they want to “…derail the conversation into tangential issues that obfuscate…”.

    Only I can speak to my intent thank you.

    So pretending that you just want some “sane, logical, gun control…” that doesn’t eventually completely ween society from guns, except as feckless pop guns or clumsy anachronisms, is disingenuous.

    I’m so torn.

    On the one hand, I feel like I ought to defend myself, since you quoted me and then proceeded to attribute motivations and attitudes to me that I do not remotely support.

    On the other hand, these few sentences uttered so closely together are such a beautiful example of self-refutation that I feel like all of my work has been done for me.

  60. 60
    Michael Heath

    lancifer writes:

    It is rather bad form, not to mention rude, to claim to know the “intent” of another person remarks. Especially to claim that they want to “…derail the conversation into tangential issues that obfuscate…”.

    Only I can speak to my intent thank you.

    So pretending that you just want some “sane, logical, gun control…” that doesn’t eventually completely ween society from guns, except as feckless pop guns or clumsy anachronisms, is disingenuous.

    lofgren responds:

    On the other hand, these few sentences uttered so closely together are such a beautiful example of self-refutation that I feel like all of my work has been done for me.

    Well, at least one person missed it.

  61. 61
    Raging Bee

    And once again Lance shows up with his standard dose of libertarian con-artistry:

    …They are arguing based on emotion….

    To the libertarian, ALL expressions of concern for actual human welfare are “based on emotion,” and therefore “irrational,” therefore not a proper basis for policy decisions. All policymaking must be “rational,” and money = rationality, and total indifference to real human needs is the pinnacle of rational policymaking.

    I’m sure the rentboys of the Cato Institute make a pretty good profit murmuring such pleasing rationalizations into the ears of their clients.

  62. 62
    Raging Bee

    Now I’d rather avoid the usual “only an idiot would think that armed citizens could stop a tyrannical US government” argument, since it is totally beside the point.

    That used to be your central “point” — until you realized how easily we were able to debunk it. Now it’s “beside the point.” What was your “point” again?

  63. 63
    PatrickG

    @ lancifer:

    When reading your comment, I felt a great disturbance in the force, as if a billion people suddenly put their face in their palm and said “LOL”.

    It is rather bad form, not to mention rude, to claim to know the “intent” of another person remarks. Especially to claim that they want to “…derail the conversation into tangential issues that obfuscate…”.

    Only I can speak to my intent thank you. And that intent was to “cut to the chase”. You, and the great majority of the people responding to kyoseki, would be quite happy if all guns disappeared from the hands of citizens tomorrow. In fact there is probably a Joan Baez song about just such a topic that gets you all weepy.

    It’s been said already, but you can’t exactly complain about my claiming intent on your part while doing the same to me.

    C’mon, lancifer, this the best you got? And the Joan Baez comment! Pure comedy gold! Are you trying to prove my point for me? It is clear as sweet, sweet mountain spring water that your intent — nay, your purpose, your raison d’etre, your goal, and whatever other words you want to use here — is to derail, troll, obfuscate, and otherwise make an absolute fool of yourself.

    Oh sweet lancifer, you’re right when you claim I want to take away guns from some people. I want them taken away from idiots like you, because from all available data you’re likely to shoot yourself in the foot.

    In closing, it is — ahem — rather bad form, not to mention rude, to tell someone to fuck off And yet, I choose to do it anyway: Fuck Off.

    @ lofgren: I almost just wanted to quote you and say “This”, so that we could bask together in the radiance of lancifer’s towering rhetorical ineptitude. :)

  64. 64
    slc1

    Re Sir Lancelot

    I pose the same question to Sir Lancelot that I have posed to other folks who seem to believe that the 2nd Amendment is absolute and that the government has no authority to ban private ownership of any weapons (note that the wording says arms, not guns). Does Sir Lancelot claim that his interpretation of the 2nd Amendment means that the government is forbidden from preventing the private ownership of nuclear weapons? I have posed this question on this and other blogs and some have responded that, indeed, that private ownership of nuclear weapons cannot be forbidden under their 2nd Amendment interpretation.

  65. 65
    lancifer

    lofgren, Heath, Bee, slc1,

    I point out that you folks are arguing based on emotion and in bad faith and what do you do?

    Respond with bad faith, overly emotional “arguments”, if they can be called such.

    kyoseki tried, in vain, to point out why the proposed restrictions on “assault” weapons and large magazines would do nothing to stop mass shootings, or limit gun use by criminals, and you folks fashioned all manner of defective arguments that utterly failed to dislodge his points.

  66. 66
    slc1

    Re Sir Lancelot @ #65

    Excuse me, I didn’t make any argument. I merely asked a question as to what restrictions, if any, the legal system can impose on ownership of weapons. Apparently, Sir Lancelot doesn’t want to answer my question and the reason is obvious. If he says yes, the government has the authority to prevent private ownership of nuclear weapons, then the issue is no longer restricting ownership of weapons but where the line should be drawn. Sir Lancelot and his fellow extreme libertarians don’t want to draw that line.

  67. 67
    democommie

    Kyoseki:

    “So firearms designed expressly as target rifles and pistols are perfectly ok then? Since their intended function is not to kill, but for recreation?”

    More precisely, projectile weapons, below a certain bore size are designed to punch holes, at a distance, in things. If punching holes were not part of the fun, target rifles could be fitted with lasers instead of using live ammo. There is also the issue that “live fire” is necessary if one is to learn how a particular weapon will handle when used for it’s intended purpose.

    “”The rights of INDIVIDUALS to bear arms has been affirmed twice now by the Supreme Court of the United States”?”

    Please see Drec Scott decision. Also, have a gander at the 18th Amendment.

    “Pretty much every handgun in common usage is a “weapon of war”, in that most of them are used by some form of military somewhere in the world”

    So much for the “gunz are used for other stuff, ‘sides killin’”. I’ve yet to read anything about the Israeli commando units that are armed with these:

    http://www.hinterlandoutfitters.com/bond-arms-texas-defender-derringer-td44spl-special-rosewood-grips-stainless-finish-p-33825.html

    “In close quarters, such as in the event of a mass shooting, an AR-15 is no more dangerous than a handgun.”

    You are completely full of shit.

    “Has such a thing been necessary in any industrialized country that allows people to own AR-15s without anything like our level of gun crime (which, incidentally, is just about all of them).”

    Citation required. Really.

    I pretty much have to stop, at least for now, at this point. Your arguments are nonsense. They’ve all been debunked, repeatedly.

    The fact that the SCotUS is currently stacked with aeliberal judges is what keeps the laws that are rational from even getting a fair hearing.

    Nigel the bold:

    “The longer range, greater accuracy, and greater firepower make hunting rifles more dangerous in sniper-like situations (such as the Beltway snipers”

    They used a Bushmaster.

  68. 68
    Raging Bee

    Lance spouts a stupid and transparently dishonest talking point. I point this out, and what does Lance do? Respond with the same stupid and transparently dishonest talking point. Libertarians are getting as tired and predictable as a decade-old Vegas magic act.

  69. 69
    kyoseki

    democommie

    More precisely, projectile weapons, below a certain bore size are designed to punch holes, at a distance, in things. If punching holes were not part of the fun, target rifles could be fitted with lasers instead of using live ammo.

    Except that lasers don’t react to gravity or wind, do they? which is the entire challenge of learning to shoot a rifle (or a bow for that matter).

    Please see Drec Scott decision. Also, have a gander at the 18th Amendment.

    That wasn’t me, genius.

    You are completely full of shit.

    Oh really? Then explain why the deadliest mass shooting in US history used handguns.

    In fact, even the Aurora shooting primarily used handguns because the rifle jammed.

    …but hey, I’m sure that banning these rifles will stop these kinds of things, right?

    Citation required. Really.

    Just go look it up, AR-15s are legal throughout most of Europe as well as Canada and New Zealand, all countries that have much lower rates of gun crime than we do.

    If anything, they regulate handguns, not rifles.

    I pretty much have to stop, at least for now, at this point. Your arguments are nonsense. They’ve all been debunked, repeatedly.

    I’m still waiting for any actual facts from you.

    The fact that the SCotUS is currently stacked with aeliberal judges is what keeps the laws that are rational from even getting a fair hearing.

    And you stand about as likely of overturning DC vs Heller as the Republicans stand of overturning Roe vs Wade.

  70. 70
    kyoseki

    Michael Heath

    Kyoseki, your argument from ignorance is based on a red herring; which interests me not at all. I suggest sticking to the constitutional and policy implications of the proposed law being debated, which has nothing to do with how police departments are equipped but instead the competing rights of citizens, the proper delegation of government authority, and the government’s obligation to act – or not; rather than seeking to change the subject as you attempt to do here.

    I did not bring up the original talking point, namely the hyperbolic “Military-style weapons have but one purpose: kill as many people as quickly as possible” so I fail to see how I can be accused of attempting to derail the conversation by responding to it.

    The entire purpose of this bill is to attempt to reduce the lethality of firearms in circulation, based entirely on the premise that anything “military style” is somehow more dangerous than any hunting firearm.

    That entire premise is monumentally flawed and therefore so is the bill.

  71. 71
    kyoseki

    lofgren

    In this and several other instances, you seem to imagine that supporters of this bill believe that they can end mass shootings forever with it. But that’s not the goal of the bill. The goal is to make it harder to acquire certain weapons and, therefore, make it harder for mass killers to kill massly.

    Except as I’ve been trying to point out, limiting access to the weapons outlined in this bill does no such thing because it is not concerned with lethality, only appearance.

    In fact, you affirm that the bill will be successful:

    Multiple magazines and multiple firearms require a greater investment in both the preparation and execution of a mass killing.

    All of which are already common with just about every mass shooting – or do you think that mass shooters are overly concerned with their credit card balances?

    Shootings where the perpetrator only has one firearm are the exception and not the rule, it is the current state of affairs and this bill does nothing to change that.

    The only purpose of this bill is so that Feinstein can point to it and say “hey, I’m tough on guns!” because in terms of effectiveness, it is a monumental waste of time and effort.

  72. 72
    Raging Bee

    Just go look it up, AR-15s are legal throughout most of Europe as well as Canada and New Zealand…

    As has already been pointed out here, “legal” does not mean “widely available to all without restriction.” Your excluded-middle fallacy kinda puts a dent in your credibility. (Is that too emo for you, Lance?)

  73. 73
    kyoseki

    PatrickG

    Maybe she’s still pushing it because it passed despite incredible opposition and it might have a chance of passing again due to horrible tragedy (again)..

    So she’s an opportunist? This is the same kind of kneejerk legislation we saw in the UK after the Hungerford massacre – it isn’t nearly as extensive (the UK actually forced the surrender of all semi automatic rifles), but even that wasn’t effective in preventing or even reducing the casualty count of the Dunblane massacre.

    If anything, the opposition is worse now. So what, she should re-invent the wheel in the face of blowhards like Cruz? What the hell else should she do? What legislation should she push? What do you really think can pass?

    We already know this legislation doesn’t work; it didn’t work the last time it was passed, it hasn’t worked in other countries, it doesn’t work in California where it’s been on the books for the past 20 years, so why is she pushing it again?

    Very little pushback?! The pushback has been immense. If it’s so widely supported, why hasn’t it happened already?

    There’s a huge amount of shouting going on by the NRA’s top brass, but something like 90% of the public (and the vast majority of gun owners I know) support the idea of universal background checks, same goes for prosecuting gun traffickers, so both of those measures will likely pass now that there is a swing in popular opinion, but even with that swing, Feinstein’s bill doesn’t have the support of anyone who really knows what’s in it so attaching it as an amendment to the other two measures guarantees that they will fail.

  74. 74
    kyoseki

    Raging Bee

    As has already been pointed out here, “legal” does not mean “widely available to all without restriction.” Your excluded-middle fallacy kinda puts a dent in your credibility. (Is that too emo for you, Lance?)

    … and completely banning the sale of them doesn’t just mean “regulated” does it?

    I’d be perfectly OK with a tiered licensing system for firearms that puts additional requirements on ownership (handguns, incidentally, would be top of that list), but that’s not what Feinstein is proposing, is it?

    In fact, that’s not what ANYONE is proposing.

  75. 75
    kyoseki

    I wish to expand on this statement:

    If anything, they regulate handguns, not rifles.

    Rifles, even semi automatic ones, are pretty common throughout all of Europe, in fact, a lot of them are manufactured there (the M4 combat rifle in use by the US military is manufactured in Belgium, for example).

    What are far less common are handguns, which are invariably heavily regulated throughout the continent.

    For some reason, we seem to be trying the opposite approach.

  76. 76
    democommie

    “Except that lasers don’t react to gravity or wind, do they? which is the entire challenge of learning to shoot a rifle (or a bow for that matter).”

    Oh, that could never be factored into a targeting system. Have you ever fired a gun indoors where wind is not an issue? Folks do that, y’know.

    ““”The rights of INDIVIDUALS to bear arms has been affirmed twice now by the Supreme Court of the United States”?”

    You are correct, you did not say that, Gingerbaker did and will withdraw that point, re: your idiocy; there is a superabundance of teh burnin’stoopit, as is.

    “Oh really? Then explain why the deadliest mass shooting in US history used handguns.”

    unless you’re privy to a later report than the one that was released by the CT ME in the wake of the Newtowne shootings I don’t think you have better information than the rest of us. In Aurora, the pistols were not the weapons of choice; he used them because his Bushmaster jammed.

    “Just go look it up, AR-15s are legal throughout most of Europe as well as Canada and New Zealand, all countries that have much lower rates of gun crime than we do.”

    Sorry, Sonnyjim, that would be your job. Saying it’s out there is not a citation. Not providing the citation is equivalent to lying. Thanks for the update.

    BTW, bub, when you’re tonetrolling, it’s a really good idea to not get too angry at people who are just pointing out that you’re full of shit. Use the KKKristianist trick of moving the goalposts; it doesn’t work for them but it makes them feel better.

  77. 77
    democommie

    “Rifles, even semi automatic ones, are pretty common throughout all of Europe, in fact, a lot of them are manufactured there (the M4 combat rifle in use by the US military is manufactured in Belgium, for example).”

    What you have there is a nice, shiny assertion. Without a citation to some source it’s what is commonly known as bullshit.

    “For some reason, we seem to be trying the opposite approach.”

    No. Not “for some reason”, for a very specific reason. Weenie LaPutrid and the NRighttofuckingkillpeopleyoudon’tlikeA is the only genuine impediment in any movement in that direction. Well, him and that fuckhead from GOA and all the Freepers.

  78. 78
    kyoseki

    democommie

    Oh, that could never be factored into a targeting system. Have you ever fired a gun indoors where wind is not an issue? Folks do that, y’know.

    Gravity doesn’t apply indoors?

    … and indoor shooting ranges are generally only popular with people shooting handguns, since rifles don’t get interesting until you’re at least a couple hundred yards away.

    … and you’re talking about automatic targeting systems to account for windage? Seriously? They do technically exist, but they’re 10x the cost of the gun (that’s not hyperbole, a decent precision rifle is $1700, the only smart targeting system I’m aware of costs $17k).

    unless you’re privy to a later report than the one that was released by the CT ME in the wake of the Newtowne shootings I don’t think you have better information than the rest of us.

    The deadliest mass shooting in US history was Virginia Tech, not Newtown, in which the shooter used only 2 handguns, one of which was a .22

    The deadliest mass shooting in the UK was the Dunblane massacre, which used 2 semi automatic handguns and 2 revolvers, with a maximum magazine size of 13 rounds.

    So again, I would ask you to explain how a couple of handguns are less dangerous in a mass shooting scenario than an “assault weapon”, because most mass shootings are committed by people carrying multiple handguns rather than a single firearm of any description.

    In Aurora, the pistols were not the weapons of choice; he used them because his Bushmaster jammed.

    … and he still managed to shoot 70 people, didn’t he? Which rather scuppers the idea that if he hadn’t had an AR-15 that he wouldn’t have managed to carry it off.

    Incidentally, it was a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 in the Aurora shootings, not a Bushmaster, but I’m sure you knew that, right?

    These assholes use AR-15s because they look cool, not because they give them any significant advantage.

    Sorry, Sonnyjim, that would be your job. Saying it’s out there is not a citation. Not providing the citation is equivalent to lying. Thanks for the update.

    Fine, here’s the wikipedia article, you can follow it up yourself;
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AR-15#Legal_status_of_civilian_ownership

    Long story short, they’re considered sporting rifles in most countries and are generally ranked alongside semi automatic hunting rifles when it comes to regulation, because they recognize, quite correctly, that there’s no functional difference between an AR-15 and any other semi automatic rifle, something Feinstein’s bill fails to.

    In other words, they’re regulated and not banned, once again we have gun control advocates ignoring international laws and reinventing the wheel.

    BTW, bub, when you’re tonetrolling, it’s a really good idea to not get too angry at people who are just pointing out that you’re full of shit. Use the KKKristianist trick of moving the goalposts; it doesn’t work for them but it makes them feel better.

    I have remained pretty civil throughout this debate, you’re the one who started hurling insults about.

    … and if you’re going to play the condescension card, get your facts straight.

  79. 79
    dingojack

    I’ll see your Aurora and raise you Port Arthur* (also see Hoddle Street**).
    Dingo
    ——–
    * 35 dead, 23 injured. Colt AR-15, L1A1 SLR. One of the largest single person mass shootings (at this time)
    ** 7 dead, 3 injured. Ruger 10/22 (.22LR), Mossberg Pump-action Shotgun (12-gauge), M14 (7.62x51mm).

  80. 80
    kyoseki

    dingojack
    If you dispassionately compare Port Arthur to Virginia Tech (the worst US mass shooting), you find the following;
    Port Arthur (assault weapons, 30 round magazines):
    35 dead, 23 injured.

    Virginia Tech (handguns, 10 & 15 round magazines):
    33 dead, 23 injured

    We’re talking practically identical body counts, but we’re expected to believe that if a gunman doesn’t have access to assault weapons or 30 round magazines that these attacks cannot happen (that’s the entire purpose of this bill is it not?) – if a piece of legislation can be shown on the face of it to be completely ineffective, why continue pushing it? Why even bemoan it’s loss?

    Obsessing over any particular type of firearm at this point is a complete waste of time, there was a guy in Cumbria 2 years ago who was armed only with a double barreled shotgun and a 5 shot bolt action .22 rifle, he still managed to shoot 27 people killing 12.

    As long as people have access to firearms, you’re going to get mass shootings, wasting your time legislating which guns these wankers (and I can use that word, I’m British :D) can use to slaughter people with is rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic.

    As far as I’m concerned, we need to legislate people and not firearms – give me increased restrictions on firearms ownership, I’m ok with that (though you’ll need some clever wording), what I’m not ok with is banning arbitrary firearms under the pretense of making everyone safer, particularly not when lethality isn’t a consideration for the bill.

    Universal background checks and prosecution of straw purchasers goes a long way toward reducing the availability of firearms to those who shouldn’t have them (two measures that will almost certainly pass if Feinstein doesn’t insist on attaching her bullshit bill to them), and mandatory safe storage laws along with prosecution of people who leave their firearms lying around for anyone to steal/use would also help, but again, the wording will have to be written such that it isn’t ruled unconstitutional.

  81. 81
    lancifer

    kyoseki,

    You and I have discussed “gun control” in the past. I was impressed with your clear headed and fact based arguments. Even though there is considerable distance between our over-all political philosophies we managed to see “eye to eye” on this issue.

    Unfortunately ideologues and opportunists on all points of the political compass are not interested in crafting legislation that protects the rights of gun owners and institutes common sense regulations that limit the access of criminals and the mentally ill to firearms.

    That you and I can reach agreement shows that it is, in theory, possible for people with different political preferences to reach agreement on this contentious issue. Unfortunately your interaction with other liberals here on this blog shows that political philosophy may not be the limiting factor.

  82. 82
    lancifer

    kyoseki to DingoJack,

    If you dispassionately compare…

    You could have stopped right there.

    DingoJack is about as likely to follow these instructions as a sea turtle is likely to win an international chess tournament.

  83. 83
    lofgren

    Except as I’ve been trying to point out, limiting access to the weapons outlined in this bill does no such thing because it is not concerned with lethality, only appearance.

    Whatever criteria the bill uses, they are guns that will be harder for killers to acquire.

    If the bill were based on lethality, that would be great. But just because it is not does not mean that it won’t have the desired effect of making particularly lethal guns harder to acquire.

    All of which are already common with just about every mass shooting – or do you think that mass shooters are overly concerned with their credit card balances?

    Of course they aren’t. But so what?

    The best we can manage, politically, is to put a couple more low hurdles in their way. That’s the situation that we are working in, and it’s the situation that you are ignoring. As you acknowledge, every single one of your proposals would make this bill harder to pass. They are GOOD proposals. I AGREE with them. Your criticisms are not invalid either, just slightly misguided and based on some poor assumptions. But our choices in this situation are between a lame bill and no bill.

    While there are plenty of situations where a lame bill is worse than no bill, you have not convinced me that this is one of them.

  84. 84
    lancifer

    kyoseki,

    …and mandatory safe storage laws along with prosecution of people who leave their firearms lying around for anyone to steal/use would also help, but again, the wording will have to be written such that it isn’t ruled unconstitutional.

    As I said, we have agreed in the past, but I’d have to see a more detailed description of what you mean by “mandatory safe storage laws” before agreeing that this was reasonable and effective.

  85. 85
    lancifer

    Oops, that first paragraph should have been in quotes to indicate that it was said by kyoseki.

  86. 86
    kyoseki

    lofgren

    Whatever criteria the bill uses, they are guns that will be harder for killers to acquire.

    .. and as I’ve stated (and backed up with facts) numerous times, the availability of a handful of guns is irrelevant when it comes to reducing the body count from mass shootings.

    What this bill does is functionally equivalent to banning all Ferraris under the assumption that anyone who drives a Ferrari wouldn’t speed if their car was a Porsche (note that I’m not asserting that gun control is equivalent to licensing drivers, I’m merely attempting to use an analogy to illustrate the point).

    If this bill wanted to reduce the lethality of weapons, it would have to ban ALL semi automatic rifles with detachable magazines, something it’s authors know they can’t do because no-one will support it. What they’re attempting to do is drive a wedge between people who own AR-15s and people who own hunting rifles that are functionally identical, but don’t want to be associated with the “tactical” guys.

    If the bill were based on lethality, that would be great. But just because it is not does not mean that it won’t have the desired effect of making particularly lethal guns harder to acquire.

    Except that as I’ve stated, there are plenty of guns on Feinstein’s hunting/sporting list (including the one that Anders Breivik used) that are just as, if not more, lethal than a lot of the guns on her assault weapons list.

    The best we can manage, politically, is to put a couple more low hurdles in their way. That’s the situation that we are working in, and it’s the situation that you are ignoring.

    Look, let’s say you’re planning a mass shooting spree (and again, contrary to popular opinion, most mass shooters plan well ahead of the actual event, as illustrated by the fact that most mass shooters take months to acquire the necessary firearms), is the lack of availability of an AR-15 going to stop you when you can buy a functionally identical weapon that doesn’t look quite so cool?

    As you acknowledge, every single one of your proposals would make this bill harder to pass. They are GOOD proposals. I AGREE with them. Your criticisms are not invalid either, just slightly misguided and based on some poor assumptions. But our choices in this situation are between a lame bill and no bill.

    No, our choices are between wasting political capital failing to pass an ineffective bill and spending that capital on other considerations like universal background checks.

    What would you rather have? Better background checks and prosecution of straw buyers or an assault weapons ban that has zero per cent chance of passing Congress even assuming it could get through the Senate?

    Because, right now, those are LITERALLY the choices we have.

  87. 87
    lofgren

    No, our choices are between wasting political capital failing to pass an ineffective bill and spending that capital on other considerations like universal background checks.

    The democratic party does not appear to believe it has the “capital” to manage background checks, assuming that your notion of “capital” even exists. (Personally, I find the notion of “political capital” to be a construct that has little bearing on the way the world actually works. The ability to pass a bill is not a fungible commodity.)

  88. 88
    lofgren

    What this bill does is functionally equivalent to banning all Ferraris under the assumption that anyone who drives a Ferrari wouldn’t speed if their car was a Porsche

    This again illustrates your bad assumptions.

    What this bill is doing is banning Ferraris under the assumption that it is harder to acquire a Porsche than it is to acquire a Porsche OR a Ferrari.

    Is it deeply flawed? Yes.

    But if it’s all we can manage then I will take it.

  89. 89
    dingojack

    Lancey (#82) – Bwhahahahahahahaha!!! You’re soo cute. Now run along, the adults are talking.

    Kyoseki – “Look, let’s say you’re planning a mass shooting spree (and again, contrary to popular opinion, most mass shooters plan well ahead of the actual event, as illustrated by the fact that most mass shooters take months to acquire the necessary firearms), is the lack of availability of an AR-15 going to stop you when you can buy a functionally identical weapon that doesn’t look quite so cool?”

    Firstly, take a harder look at the two example I linked to, not a lot of planning there.
    Secondly, you’re assumption of being able to just pick up another gun with the same characteristics with ease, is that assumption warranted? Do you have evidence to back up this claim?

    Dingo

  90. 90
    kyoseki

    lofgren

    The democratic party does not appear to believe it has the “capital” to manage background checks, assuming that your notion of “capital” even exists. (Personally, I find the notion of “political capital” to be a construct that has little bearing on the way the world actually works. The ability to pass a bill is not a fungible commodity.)

    Then this bill is already dead in the water. If you can’t pass background checks with a 90% popularity rating, you’re not passing an assault weapons bill with a much lower popularity rating.

    .. and attaching the assault weapons bill to the background check bill guarantees they won’t pass, so it’s still your decision, would you rather have universal background checks or nothing at all?

    This again illustrates your bad assumptions.

    What this bill is doing is banning Ferraris under the assumption that it is harder to acquire a Porsche than it is to acquire a Porsche OR a Ferrari.

    No it does not, what it does is ban Ferraris BY NAME under the assumption that anyone who wants a Ferrari won’t buy another vehicle that’s functionally identical.

    At the risk of straining the analogy, explain to me how buying a Porsche is any more or less difficult than buying a Ferrari.

    Imagine this bill’s wording is “we will ban all Ferraris and any mid engined sports car that looks like a Ferrari” because ultimately, that’s really all this bill does (if you disagree with me, read the damned thing, because I have) – would that have any effect on reducing reckless driving/speeding or would prospective buyers just pick another car that’s just as fast? (obviously Porsches aren’t affected because they’re not mid engined, they’re still just as fast and around the same price, but completely ignored by the bill).

    But if it’s all we can manage then I will take it.

    Even if it means what you CAN get fails to pass because it’s saddled with a poison pill?

  91. 91
    kyoseki

    dingojack

    Firstly, take a harder look at the two example I linked to, not a lot of planning there.

    .. and this bill prevents planning, how?

    If you can get around proposed legislation simply by thinking about it for 5 minutes, then what good is the legislation?

    Secondly, you’re assumption of being able to just pick up another gun with the same characteristics with ease, is that assumption warranted? Do you have evidence to back up this claim?

    As I’ve stated numerous times, the Ruger Mini 14 is FUNCTIONALLY IDENTICAL to the AR-15, but this bill explicitly protects it’s ownership (seriously, read the goddamned thing I can give you the page & line numbers if you like) – they’re both semi automatic centerfire rifles with detachable magazines chambered in 5.56mm, same rate of fire, same reload speed, same cartridge, EVERYTHING that matters is identical.

    So yes, even if this bill passes, you can still buy a gun with the same rate of fire, cartridge and magazine capacity as the guns it bans – the ONLY difference between the two is appearance.

    I really don’t know how to make this point more clearly, from a functional standpoint they really are the same gun, they just look different.

  92. 92
    dingojack

    Since a majority of murders (and shooting sprees are within that category) are, contrary to your bald assertion (you forgot to link to your masses of evidence), unplanned* it would prevent unstable people from committing mass murder on a whim, but that would be a bad thing right?
    As to weapons bans, your solution is what? Do nothing, cross your fingers and hope for the best?
    Dingo
    ——–
    * See the examples above. Typically some man gets mad and lashes out. It’s the Limbic system doing the thinking.

  93. 93
    kyoseki

    So this is what your argument comes down to?

    Unplanned attacks with an AR-15 are more deadly than unplanned attacks without an AR-15?

    Please prove that.

    With regards to the Port Arthur attacks, the shooter apparently bought the AR-15 he used immediately prior to the attack (ie. he bought it with that specific purpose in mind) along with a significant quantity of ammunition and you’re telling me there was no planning here?

  94. 94
    PatrickG

    @ kyoseki:

    We’re talking practically identical body counts, but we’re expected to believe that if a gunman doesn’t have access to assault weapons or 30 round magazines that these attacks cannot happen (that’s the entire purpose of this bill is it not?)

    Let’s just take a moment here.

    kyoseki, until you can demonstrate that you understand the concept of harm reduction, I’m just going to call you a fucking idiot. Or more charitably, I’m going to suggest that you’re missing the point.

    Question: Is the assault ban (however badly designed) supposed to stop all gun violence?
    Answer: Of course not. What kind of myopic mentality would even suggest that?

    If anything, you’re saying the assault weapon ban doesn’t go far enough, because it doesn’t cover handguns. At least, that’s my charitable reading. A less charitable reading would be to say that because there’s absolutely no policy goals aimed at banning handguns, we can’t do anything because FREEDOM!

    And I mean c’mon, you’ve got lancifer rooting for you. Think about the company you’re keeping. Have you read his comments? The liberals are lurking everywhere, trying to nonviolently take your guns because Agenda 21. Yeah yeah, not a quote, but that’s the mentality behind that sort of bullshit. You could also try ‘the overly militarized police that liberals oppose are serving as the secret tools of liberals who want to take your guns away because Hitler liked guns and we should use guns to take away guns.’ Is that a more fair representation, lancifer?

  95. 95
    kyoseki

    PatrickG

    Question: Is the assault ban (however badly designed) supposed to stop all gun violence?
    Answer: Of course not. What kind of myopic mentality would even suggest that?

    Where have I even fucking suggested that?

    This entire bill is based on the assumption that IN MASS SHOOTINGS ONLY (because those are invariably the ONLY place that these guns show up) that a lack of access to an AR-15 or anything laughably termed an “assault weapon” would reduce the body count.

    Please, for the love of Christ, explain in very simple terms how, if you’re shooting unarmed, unarmored targets (such as in the case of ALL mass shootings), the lack of access to an AR-15 is any significant impediment to killing as many people as you can point the gun and pull the trigger at.

    Seriously, I’ve already given you a real world example of someone who had 2 handguns who did just as much damage in roughly the same amount of time as someone equipped with not 1 but 2 fucking assault weapons.

    So please, lose the condescension and stick to simple mechanics.

    Explain your argument.

  96. 96
    lofgren

    Then this bill is already dead in the water. If you can’t pass background checks with a 90% popularity rating, you’re not passing an assault weapons bill with a much lower popularity rating.

    Congress doesn’t pass bills based on popularity. That’s just not how our system works, or has ever worked. It’s been unfortunate at times, beneficial at others. But it’s the makeup of Congress and the personality and goals of its members that determine what can and can’t be passed.

    At the risk of straining the analogy, explain to me how buying a Porsche is any more or less difficult than buying a Ferrari.

    It’s not that getting a Porsche is more difficult than getting a Ferrari, it’s that getting a Porsche is more difficult than getting EITHER a Porsche OR a Ferrari.

    In the abstract logical sense, this is irrefutable.

    In the practical sense, it is certainly refutable. But as long as you refuse to acknowledge that this is the actual* goal of the bill, you’re not actually tackling the main thrust of the bill’s proponents’ arguments. This is why I am largely ignoring the quibbling over minutiae that you are engaged in with other posters.

    *To be clear, I am cynical enough to agree with you and to believe that gun control is basically (one of) the Democratic party’s gay marriage/abortion/prayer in school causes. They know they will never make significant progress, at least in the current political climate, but they know that the conflict is really good for them as whatever the blue equivalent of “red meat” is. Senator Feinsein is almost certainly trying to score some easy points with her base here. However, this goal is not mutually exclusive with actually accomplishing something, and those of us who are not Congressmen have little control over this matter. This bill is what we have. It sucks. But if it is the best we can get, it’s the best we can get, and it’s better than nothing. Or at least it seems like it is better than nothing and I haven’t seen a compelling reason to change that opinion.

  97. 97
    lofgren

    But it’s the makeup of Congress and the personality and goals of its members that determine what can and can’t be passed.

    To elaborate on this a little, popular opinion obviously effects the “goals” of our elected officials, but only as long as they feel that their job is threatened. Universal background checks for gun purchases may be popular, but unless it is something that constituents care strongly enough to vote on it doesn’t really matter how many people say they support it.

  98. 98
    kyoseki

    lofgren

    Congress doesn’t pass bills based on popularity. That’s just not how our system works, or has ever worked. It’s been unfortunate at times, beneficial at others. But it’s the makeup of Congress and the personality and goals of its members that determine what can and can’t be passed.

    That’s fair enough, but if 90% of the Senate/Congress’ constituents are willing to support a measure then the relevant Senator/Congressman will vote for it won’t they?

    Right now, my belief is that universal background checks & increased prosecution of straw buyers WILL pass.

    The high capacity magazine ban is 50/50 (I don’t think it’ll do a goddamned thing when it comes to mass shootings, but most people don’t generally have a problem with the basic idea)

    The assault weapons ban is dead on arrival and will piss off enough people that if the above measures get saddled with it, most Senators (never mind the Republican controlled House) will vote against it and they’ll have the support of the bulk of their constituents, even the Democrats.

    It’s not that getting a Porsche is more difficult than getting a Ferrari, it’s that getting a Porsche is more difficult than getting EITHER a Porsche OR a Ferrari.

    In the abstract logical sense, this is irrefutable.

    In an abstract/logical sense? Yes, but in a practical sense? No, unless demand is constantly outstripping supply.

    If ALL Ferraris & Porsches (to continue our analogy) were getting sold out regularly, then yes, banning half of them is going to halve the overall supply, but that’s not even close to the situation we’re talking about here, unless I’m misunderstanding your argument?

    What good is reducing supply by 1% if it already outstrips demand by 200%?

    Up until this bill, most “assault weapons” were collecting dust on store shelves, even after this bill, the supply of guns that are functionally identical to assault weapons (ie. just as dangerous in a mass shooting) will easily cover the demand and then some, so the argument that any reduction in supply will reduce the overall number of guns in circulation doesn’t really wash, does it?

  99. 99
    kyoseki

    lofgren

    To elaborate on this a little, popular opinion obviously effects the “goals” of our elected officials, but only as long as they feel that their job is threatened. Universal background checks for gun purchases may be popular, but unless it is something that constituents care strongly enough to vote on it doesn’t really matter how many people say they support it.

    Well, let’s put it this way, the number of people who vehemently disagree with the idea of universal background checks is tiny compared to the number of people who vehemently disagree with Feinstein, never mind her idiotic bill – and she’s my State senator, I’d much rather she spent her time on jobs instead of this bullshit (it’s entirely possible that I may be about to lose mine, or, more specifically, it’s about to move to fucking Canada like the rest of my industry).

    Senators/Congressmen can freely vote their conscience on this point (background checks) without angering enough people to make a significant dent in their next election, however, the half dozen or so Democrats who could hypothetically vote in favor of the AWB WILL lose their seats in the Senate in the next election if they do so, and what’s worse, they’ll do it for no actual gain, even assuming they could get the bill through the house, which they can’t.

    … and I actually think that we CAN push mandatory training, remember that the NRA was ostensibly founded as a training organization (and in fact for the most part it still is), I’d love to see them trying to argue that people who own guns shouldn’t have to know what they’re doing with them, the real challenge here is making sure that the training requirements are entirely sensible. DC fell afoul of this because they required a training program that wasn’t actually available within 100 miles of DC, so a quick rewrite would easily solve that problem.

    Same goes for safe storage, DC got fucked because they demanded that ALL firearms be kept in a safe, which was deemed unconstitutional. Rewrite that so that all firearms not on a person’s body (ie. immediately available for self defense) must be stored securely and I think you can get that through the courts too.

  100. 100
    kyoseki

    … and seriously, what if the DNC came out and said “hey, we’re totally cool with you owning whatever gun you want to as long as you pass the training requirements” ?

    What if Democrat/Liberal gun owners (and believe me, I consider myself a pretty fucking liberal gun owner) were better trained and better shots than the Republican ones?

    How badly do you think that would piss off both the GOP and the NRA? :)

  101. 101
    lancifer

    kyoseki,

    Rewrite that so that all firearms not on a person’s body (ie. immediately available for self defense) must be stored securely and I think you can get that through the courts too.

    That would depend on how you define “stored securely”.

    If it means that all firearms “not on your body” must be in a locked gun safe, you are telling people that they cannot have their guns in a place where they can be quickly accessed to defend themselves, or their families.

    If there are no small children in a household there is no reason that a gun needs to be in a gun safe. If a gun is in your home and an intruder breaks into your house and takes it you are not responsible for this person’s illegal actions any more than if a criminal took the gun out of your holster

    Other than that I agree with your other points.

    Sorry if that isn’t helping your cause with your fellow liberals.

  102. 102
    dingojack

    kyoseki – nope, not the way it works, YOU made the claim* that most mass shooters plan well ahead, YOU have to provide the evidence that backs up that bald assertion,
    Dingo
    ——–
    * Yours (#86) – “Look, let’s say you’re planning a mass shooting spree (and again, contrary to popular opinion, most mass shooters plan well ahead of the actual event, as illustrated by the fact that most mass shooters take months to acquire the necessary firearms)…”

    PS: I also found this bald assertion (#73) – “We already know this legislation doesn’t work; it didn’t work the last time it was passed, it hasn’t worked in other countries, ”
    Really? How many? What legislation was passed? Where there other factors at play? Has it worked in any countries? How do you define ‘worked’? And so on…
    Show working, and citations.

  103. 103
    democommie

    ““Rifles, even semi automatic ones, are pretty common throughout all of Europe, in fact, a lot of them are manufactured there (the M4 combat rifle in use by the US military is manufactured in Belgium, for example).”

    This:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AR-15#Legal_status_of_civilian_ownership

    does not mean what you think it means. That civilans are ALLOWED to own such weapons is not the same as them actually OWNING the weapons., You say they’re common, prove it. Wikipedia, btw, is not a primary source, nor is anything put out by Lott, Kleck, GOA, the NRA or any of their toadies and sycophants.

    “I have remained pretty civil throughout this debate, you’re the one who started hurling insults about.”

    Tonetrolling works like that. I’m never civil to people who like to tell lies.

  104. 104
    PatrickG

    WordPress is doing a terrible job of updating me on comments… but while it’s much later in the process, I did want to highlight this from kyoseki:

    There’s a huge amount of shouting going on by the NRA’s top brass, but something like 90% of the public (and the vast majority of gun owners I know) support the idea of universal background checks, same goes for prosecuting gun traffickers, so both of those measures will likely pass now that there is a swing in popular opinion

    If universal background checks and prosecution of gun traffickers (including straw sales) clears Congress — and no, qualified bullshit won’t fly* — I will eat my shoes, and declare you right. I’d like like to use some mustard though.

    Do let me know when this happens. Honestly. I’d be absolutely fucking thrilled. In the meantime, I’m putting my shoes in cold storage. In the (paraphrased) words of Gandalf: This shall not pass. You do know who’s in Congress these days, yes?

    I’ll absolutely admit I’m wrong if it comes to pass. Will you?

    *By which I mean exemptions (i.e. gun shows/private sales, or the most ludicrous ideas, such as criminal records can’t be counted, local judicial bypass, etc.). Give ‘em a loophole and the point is sort of defeated. Call me totalitarian if you will, but I do value people’s lives over an abstract world in which the government controls our life more than Google does. They’re reading me now!.

  105. 105
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    “The rights of INDIVIDUALS to bear arms has been affirmed twice now by the Supreme Court of the United States”?

    How many times was the “right” of individuals to buy and sell human beings affirmed by the Supreme Court?

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