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Jan 20 2013

Five more casualties

More kids gunned down by an assault rifle just last night.

Two adults and three children were killed in a shooting involving what police said appeared to be an assault rifle in Albuquerque’s South Valley on Saturday night.

If only Wayne LaPierre had been there to train the shooters in gun safety! If only even one of those kids had a Glock!

73 comments

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  1. 1
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Happy Freedom Day!

  2. 2
    anuran

    Bullshit, PZ. And you know it. Assault rifles are very difficult to get and are a vanishingly rare weapon in crimes.

    This is on the same level as saying “Look! Another crime by atheists!” when a rabbi is convicted of a crime since rabbis aren’t christian.

  3. 3
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    Go team my city…..

    Up until about two years ago, I lived in the valley. It’s the only place I’ve lived where people open fire with fully automatic rifles, into the air, for the holidays. New Years, Christmas, St Patrick’s, Thanksgiving, handguns, rifles, shotguns: you can hear them all (and stay inside).

  4. 4
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Anuran, please form a support group for the oppressed firearms.

  5. 5
    Matt Penfold

    If the juvenile is indeed guilty, this will be another example of responsible gun ownership, since we all know allowing a kid to get hold of a firearm is not irresponsible.

  6. 6
    Jaws

    No, PZ is precisely on point.

    Leaving aside so-called “firearm malfunction and operator error”, the most-prevalent cause of damage and injury resulting from intentional firearm discharge is failure of target acquisition. That is, the target that was really, really meant was not what was fired at. This can result from misidentifying a target (e.g., thinking that a hunter was a deer, to choose something less emotionally charged), or from failure to account for target movement (firing at the deer at its present location when the deer is clearly moving), or from failing to spot obstructions (the hunter’s head in the line of sight to the deer).

    This is a topic that no NRA firearms-safety program pays significant attention to. In several different hunting-significant states in which I’ve lived, I’ve been informed that this was national policy; it is, unfortunately, a logical corollary of the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” meme at the core of NRA ideology.

    The point here isn’t whether it was “assault weapons.” It is that NRA training wouldn’t make enough difference, because the organization is carefully pretending that shooting at the right thing isn’t a significant component of firearms safety.

  7. 7
    The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    From the article:

    Police said a male juvenile was arrested and charged with two counts of murder and three counts of child abuse resulting in death.

    I think this is the first time I’ve seen something like this, but I haven’t paid close attention to what the specific charges are when someone shoots children. Is it commonly prosecuted as something other than murder?

  8. 8
    Matt Penfold

    I have been told that a significant cause of people being shot out hunting is failure for the shooter to take into account where the bullet could end up if they miss the target. What Jaws has said seems to confirm that. I do know that in the UK, where safety seems to be taken much more seriously, not being able to see where the bullet could end up when you fire is grounds for loosing your licence.

  9. 9
    dobby

    I am for sensible speed limits, so I must be “anti-car”.

    I think everyone needs to get a drivers license before they can drive, so I must want to take everyone’s cars away.

    I think every driver should have to have insurance, so I must be “anti-freedom”.

    I think the causes of auto accidents should be studied, so I must be a fascist.

    I think that people should be able to sue auto manufacturers, so I must be a communist.

  10. 10
    ildi

    The difference, you see, dobby, is that driving is a privilege, not a right, whereas the 2nd amendment makes gun ownership a right not a privilege. (Funny, though, how Republicans have no problem trying to circumscribe voting rights with all kinds of requirements, but any requirements for gun ownership is FASCISM!)

  11. 11
    Matt Penfold

    The difference, you see, dobby, is that driving is a privilege, not a right, whereas the 2nd amendment makes gun ownership a right not a privilege.

    And that people are willing to make such an argument shows what a silly idea it is to ignore the changes in technology since the US Constitution was drawn up.

  12. 12
    casus fortuitus

    @anuran, #2:

    Bullshit, PZ. And you know it. Assault rifles are very difficult to get and are a vanishingly rare weapon in crimes.

    This is on the same level as saying “Look! Another crime by atheists!” when a rabbi is convicted of a crime since rabbis aren’t christian.

    Gun crime is gun crime. Atheists aren’t theists, though. I think you’re having some trouble with categories.

  13. 13
    Anri

    Bullshit, PZ. And you know it. Assault rifles are very difficult to get and are a vanishingly rare weapon in crimes.

    Which is why people aren’t ever really killed by them any more.
    Well, except for these people, but they don’t count, because…

    …well, look just because!

    This is on the same level as saying “Look! Another crime by atheists!” when a rabbi is convicted of a crime since rabbis aren’t christian.

    Um, ok, what would have had to have happened for this to actually be an instance of people being “gunned down”?
    What sort of weapon would have had to been used to this to be a gun crime?

    Or is this a case of the belief that children’s bodies produce a substance that repels bullets in the case of “legitimate” gun crime?

  14. 14
    kantalope

    PZ only objects to children taking precedence over guns because he is in the pocket of Big Education…

    I kid because otherwise I cry.

  15. 15
    jefrir

    The difference, you see, dobby, is that driving is a privilege, not a right, whereas the 2nd amendment makes gun ownership a right not a privilege.

    But why is it a right? The US constitution is not divinely inspired; it was written by humans. The things in it should therefore make some sort of sense. Having shooting stuff being a right when getting around is regarded as a privilege is fucking stupid, and that being the law doesn’t actually stop it from being fucking stupid.

  16. 16
    Matt Penfold

    The US constitution is not divinely inspired; it was written by humans.

    Well herein lies the problem. Too many Americans think that either it was divinely inspired, or regard it as some inviolable sacred text.

  17. 17
    anteprepro

    PROTIP TO FUTURE COMMENTS: ildi was joking.

    Assault rifles are very difficult to get and are a vanishingly rare weapon in crimes.

    This is on the same level as saying “Look! Another crime by atheists!” when a rabbi is convicted of a crime since rabbis aren’t christian.

    You see kids: This is your brain on guns! Where rarely-used guns are basically not guns at all!

  18. 18
    bybelknap

    I always thought the whole “driving is a privilege, not a right” was sort of bullshitty anyway. Why isn’t a right under the 9th? Just because they didn’t have cars in the 18th century?

  19. 19
    Rip Steakface

    And that people are willing to make such an argument shows what a silly idea it is to ignore the changes in technology since the US Constitution was drawn up.

    That may not be how we want to read the 2nd amendment, but it’s how we must – the Supreme Court ruled that the 2nd amendment does cover individual firearm ownership, thereby essentially changing the Constitution. We need to stop making this argument, because it only serves to hurt us.

  20. 20
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Happy Freedom Day!

    Freedom freedom freedom! Oy oy oy!

    *barf!*

  21. 21
    casus fortuitus

    @jefrir, #15:

    But why is it a right? The US constitution is not divinely inspired; it was written by humans.

    I think the most proximate reason is that the justices of the Supreme Court, in their wisdom, chose to attribute a meaning to the words of the Second Amendment that they do not strictly bear. The problem here isn’t with the Constitution, per se (although there’s certainly possible to make a case that an entrenched supreme law that’s politically impossible to amend is problematic in general), but with it’s interpretation and application by a politicised judiciary.

  22. 22
    Rip Steakface

    In other words, we’re not going to get guns banned anytime soon. We would need more than a typical sort of slight Congressional majority – we need a full on Constitutional amendment, and those are extremely hard to pass. We would have to get some 35 or so states to ratify it along with passing a supermajority in both houses of Congress and a favorable president. It would require a massive cultural shift.

  23. 23
    casus fortuitus

    @Rip Steakface:

    Yeah, absolutely. I find it difficult to imagine that any Constitutional amendment, no matter how apparently sensible and necessary, could be passed in the current polarised and contrarian environment. And you’d definitely never get anything to do with guns through.

    The other route is to get the Supreme Court to readdress the issue, but that seems just as unlikely at the moment.

  24. 24
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    The police believe the rifle in question was an AR-15: http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S2902776.shtml?cat=500

  25. 25
    Anri

    That may not be how we want to read the 2nd amendment, but it’s how we must – the Supreme Court ruled that the 2nd amendment does cover individual firearm ownership, thereby essentially changing the Constitution. We need to stop making this argument, because it only serves to hurt us.

    Dred Scott v. Sandford

    The Supreme Court has been wrong before.
    It will be wrong again.
    In my admittedly non-legal opinion, it is wrong now.

    My pretending it is right in this ruling does no one any good.

  26. 26
    machintelligence

    Mellow Monkey @7

    I think this is the first time I’ve seen something like this, but I haven’t paid close attention to what the specific charges are when someone shoots children. Is it commonly prosecuted as something other than murder?

    IANAL but it might be that the penalties are the same, however one is easier to prove than the other.

  27. 27
    Pteryxx

    We would need more than a typical sort of slight Congressional majority – we need a full on Constitutional amendment, and those are extremely hard to pass. We would have to get some 35 or so states to ratify it along with passing a supermajority in both houses of Congress and a favorable president. It would require a massive cultural shift.

    *cough* A massive cultural shift, plus preventing the GOP from redistricting popular opinion into irrelevance.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/15/16533072-the-gops-redmap-memo?lite

  28. 28
    No One

    anuran,

    Either your sarcasm is deep or you are an idiot. Here is a google search
    for AK 47:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=ak+47+for+sale&gbv=2&oq=ak+47+for+sale&gs_l=heirloom-hp.3..0l3j0i20j0l6.2563.7362.0.7657.14.12.0.2.2.1.515.2161.3j6j0j2j0j1.12.0…0.0…1c.1.AdUd4iGU6HQ

  29. 29
    raymoscow

    The weapon in such home shootings — heck, shootings in general — is usually a handgun. Because they are ‘handy’.

    I suppose it’s true, as gun-right advocates claim incessantly, that ‘assault rifles’ account for only a small percentage of shootings/murders. But hey, we have to start somewhere, and there is no defensible need for such high firepower weapons for private citizens.

  30. 30
    casus fortuitus

    @Anri

    The Supreme Court has been wrong before.
    It will be wrong again.
    In my admittedly non-legal opinion, it is wrong now.

    I’m a law student (in the UK, admittedly), and it seems to me that recent SCOTUS rulings on the Second Amendment have less to do with law, and more to do with politics. When the politics are different, SCOTUS might actually get the law right.

  31. 31
    Tethys

    anuran

    Bullshit, PZ. And you know it. Assault rifles are very difficult to get and are a vanishingly rare weapon in crimes.

    An AR-15 is an assault rifle, designed for the military. I’ts sole purpose is to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. Perhaps you know it by the name M-16?

    Sadly, they are not difficult to get, and their use to murder people is nowhere near “vanishingly rare”.

  32. 32
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    And I repeat myself. The gun was NOT a handgun. The police believe it was one of these:

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BCM_AR-15.jpg

  33. 33
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’m a law student (in the UK, admittedly), and it seems to me that recent SCOTUS rulings on the Second Amendment have less to do with law, and more to do with politics. When the politics are different, SCOTUS might actually get the law right.

    The politics would require a close look at the “well regulated militia”, which doesn’t exist except on paper. No militia, no need for gun ownership.

  34. 34
    casus fortuitus

    @The Mellow Monkey, #7:

    I think this is the first time I’ve seen something like this, but I haven’t paid close attention to what the specific charges are when someone shoots children. Is it commonly prosecuted as something other than murder?

    I’ve looked at various New Mexico cases and statutes, and it looks like child abuse resulting in death has a range of penalties associated with it depending on the age of the child and the state of mind of the offender. This flexibility of sentencing is probably why it’s used instead of murder, which usually has high mandatory sentences (in NM, 30 years to life with no special circumstances).

  35. 35
    comradebob

    Evolutionary forces vary by environment. One example is alcohol; agricultural populations at higher latitudes learned to first use it to store calories and then the group genome adjusted to its intoxicating effects. This genetic adjustment involved countless deaths, but produced a group of robust individuals. Another example is gunpowder; a compound that could only be harnessed by peoples who had developed metals. The initial death toll among these metallic peoples was ghastly but now metallic-proven humans and gunpowder can co-exist in peace and constitute the greatest hope for Truth to prevail in the world.

    Those humans who did not evolve in the presence of metal or gunpowder face a steep and bloody learning curve when those technologies are introduced among them. Take comfort in the fact that it is all Natural.

  36. 36
    Rip Steakface

    The Supreme Court has been wrong before.
    It will be wrong again.
    In my admittedly non-legal opinion, it is wrong now.

    I didn’t intend to imply the SCOTUS was right. They’re completely wrong.

    The issue is that their wrongness is currently enshrined in the Constitution unless a future SCOTUS overturns it.

  37. 37
    Rip Steakface

    @comradebob

    Whatever you are smoking, please share it with the rest of us. It is clearly of the highest quality.

  38. 38
    crowepps

    The politics would require a close look at the “well regulated militia”, which doesn’t exist except on paper. No militia, no need for gun ownership.

    You might find this article about what was meant by a ‘militia’ interesting –

    http://hnn.us/articles/real-origin-americas-gun-culture

  39. 39
    Pteryxx

    Another example is gunpowder; a compound that could only be harnessed by peoples who had developed metals. The initial death toll among these metallic peoples was ghastly but now metallic-proven humans and gunpowder can co-exist in peace and constitute the greatest hope for Truth to prevail in the world.

    Those humans who did not evolve in the presence of metal or gunpowder face a steep and bloody learning curve when those technologies are introduced among them. Take comfort in the fact that it is all Natural.

    …I’m not certain but I think that might be the most veiled and convoluted imperialist argument I’ve ever heard.

  40. 40
    kyoseki

    Investigators said several weapons appear to have been used in the shooting, including an assault-type rifle.

    The perpetrator was also 15, so none of the weapons were his.

    This is going to come down to someone not storing their firearms safely again and there is absolutely no excuse for that.

  41. 41
    kyoseki

    Tethys

    An AR-15 is an assault rifle, designed for the military. I’ts sole purpose is to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. Perhaps you know it by the name M-16?

    The M-16 has an automatic fire mode which the AR-15 does not, earlier versions had fully automatic mode, later ones fire 3-round bursts.

    No firearm available for purchase by a civilian these days fires more than one round per trigger pull.

    What we term assault rifles are basically scaled up semi automatic handguns that shoot an intermediate rifle cartridge (much smaller than a handgun round, but with a higher muzzle velocity – depending on the handgun, the overall energy supplied by this round may or may not be higher than a handgun).

    The practical upshot of this is that they’re more accurate at long range, but in close quarters, such as in the case of almost all mass shootings, handguns are just as deadly, particularly since extended magazines are available for both of them and reloading a handgun is typically much faster and easier than reloading an AR pattern rifle.

    Sadly, they are not difficult to get, and their use to murder people is nowhere near “vanishingly rare”.

    Agreed, but where I think we differ is expecting a ban to do anything to reduce the number of casualties in mass shootings because no mass shooting I’m aware of would have unfolded significantly differently if the perpetrator had been forced to use handguns with even 10 round magazines.

  42. 42
    kyoseki

    Agreed, but where I think we differ is expecting a ban to do anything to reduce the number of casualties in mass shootings because no mass shooting I’m aware of would have unfolded significantly differently if the perpetrator had been forced to use handguns with even 10 round magazines.

    Wait, ok, Tucson may have unfolded differently, but only because the shooter only carried a single firearm, whereas most mass shooters carry many and simply employ the “New York reload” whereby the drop the empty gun and switch to another one.

  43. 43
    David Marjanović

    This is a topic that no NRA firearms-safety program pays significant attention to. In several different hunting-significant states in which I’ve lived, I’ve been informed that this was national policy

    What in the fuck.

    RAEG

    The initial death toll among these metallic peoples was ghastly

    What?

    but now metallic-proven humans and gunpowder can co-exist in peace

    Riiiiiiiiiight.

    and constitute the greatest hope for Truth to prevail in the world.

    o_O

    Srsly?

    Take comfort in the fact that it is all Natural.

    Using a capital letter doesn’t make an appeal to nature not a logical fallacy.

    You might find this article about what was meant by a ‘militia’ interesting –

    http://hnn.us/articles/real-origin-americas-gun-culture

    Interesting indeed, especially in the light of this (mentioned on the other thread).

    …I’m not certain but I think that might be the most veiled and convoluted imperialist argument I’ve ever heard.

    Convoluted perhaps, but it’s not veiled at all.

  44. 44
    Marcus Ranum

    Regarding the well-regulated militia bit, there’s a pretty interesting article by Professor Garry Wills in the New York Review of Books, about the organized way the gun lobby are trying to reinforce the “well regulated militia” meme.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1995/sep/21/to-keep-and-bear-arms/
    extract:
    Over the last decade, an industrious band of lawyers, historians, and criminologists has created a vast outpouring of articles justifying individual gun ownership on the basis of the Second Amendment: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    This body of commentary, much of it published in refereed law journals, has changed attitudes toward the Second Amendment. The National Rifle Association’s lobbyists distribute it to legislators. Journalists like Michael Kinsley and George Will disseminate this school’s views. Members of it now claim, on the basis of their work’s quantity and what they believe is its quality, that scholarship on this subject is now all theirs—so that even to hold an opposing view is enough to “discredit its supporters,” according to the historian Joyce Lee Malcolm

  45. 45
    Anri

    I didn’t intend to imply the SCOTUS was right. They’re completely wrong.

    The issue is that their wrongness is currently enshrined in the Constitution unless a future SCOTUS overturns it.

    Perhaps it’s just a semantics issue, but I do not agree with:

    That may not be how we want to read the 2nd amendment, but it’s how we must

    It’s just how we understand that the current crop of Justices interpret the 2nd Amendment.
    Their interpretation is not ‘enshrined in the Constitution’ any more than the Dred Scott decision was.

    It is, sadly, the current legal climate we have to deal with, of course – you’re completely right there.

    I think saying “they’re wrong about this” is more useful than saying “That’s enshrined in the constitution now, folks”.
    Again, maybe just a semantics issue.

  46. 46
    Marcus Ranum

    Sounds almost like the Discovery Institute or other creationist crank collections, doesn’t it? Establish a bow-wave of pseudo-science (pseudo-legalism?) that can serve as a reference for further exploitation of credulous targets. Make the bow-wave big enough and lots of people start to fall for it; after all it’s saying what they already want to hear.

    So it shouldn’t come to anyone’s suprise that the gun debate has its Ken Hams and David Bartons. Except they’re liars for the gun lobby. Except for the ones that are “useful idiots” that is.

  47. 47
    tomh

    @ #45
    maybe just a semantics issue.

    It’s not semantics. If something can be changed by a simple ruling of the Court, it’s hardly “enshrined” in the Constitution. If it requires an Amendment to change then it would be enshrined. One court ruling could completely change how the US applies the 2nd Amendment.

  48. 48
    casus fortuitus

    Marcus Ranum:

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1995/sep/21/to-keep-and-bear-arms/

    Thanks for this – extremely edifying!

  49. 49
    kyoseki

    tomh

    One court ruling could completely change how the US applies the 2nd Amendment.

    This is an honest question, I’m not intimately familiar with the legal side of things, but can a Supreme Court decision overrule an existing one or is it not bound by the earlier decision barring any change in the law?

    I thought that overturning a supreme court decision was almost as difficult as enacting a Constitutional amendment?

  50. 50
    casus fortuitus

    kyoseki:

    This is an honest question, I’m not intimately familiar with the legal side of things, but can a Supreme Court decision overrule an existing one or is it not bound by the earlier decision barring any change in the law?

    Although the decisions of the Supreme Court bind all lower courts (a doctrine known as stare decisis), the Supreme Court doesn’t bind itself. This has been nicely addressed by the Supreme Court itself:

    “Stare decisis is usually the wise policy, because in most matters it is more important that the applicable rule of law be settled than that it be settled right. … But in cases involving the Federal Constitution, where correction through legislative action is practically impossible, this Court has often overruled its earlier decisions. … This is strikingly true of cases under the due process clause.”

    – Burnet v. Coronado Oil & Gas Co. (1932)

  51. 51
    indicus

    Yes, because its perfectly obvious that it was the rifle itself that shot those people and not the lunatic who actually pulled the trigger. So much easier to blame an inanimate object… especially one which is more common in this country than the Honda Civic yet somehow only winds up being used in committing 1% (or less) of all firearms-related homicides.

  52. 52
    tomh

    @ #49

    As comment #50 points out the Supreme Court can easily overrule previous decisions. It’s nothing like amending the Constitution, all it takes is a 5-4 majority. From 1789-2010, 233 Supreme Court decisions have been overruled by subsequent decisions. Sometimes it happens quite rapidly, (for the legal system), for instance, in 1986 a decision upheld a Georgia sodomy statute and did not find a constitutional right to sexual privacy. In 2003 the Court struck down a Texas sodomy law and specifically overruled the 1986 decision.

  53. 53
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    anuran

    If assault rifles are hard to get, why were there a half-dozen of them in the display case at the local Walmart? Said local Walmart being on the other side of town from where this shooting happened?

  54. 54
    terminus

    Nah, PZ, they didn’t need the NRA to help them out…they just needed to pray (Gov. Perry). I’d like to see any of these religiologues demonstrate the power of their faith by walking across I-95 during rush hour, blindfolded, with just the power of their prayer. I think they’d lose more of their constituency than they would gain.

  55. 55
    anteprepro

    Yes, because its perfectly obvious that it was the rifle itself that shot those people and not the lunatic who actually pulled the trigger. So much easier to blame an inanimate object

    GUNS DON’T KILL PEOPLE! PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE! *cough* and just so happen to be able to kill with the most efficiency using guns, an instrument that, unlike cars and knives, has no other practical purpose other than violence, but which I will compare to cars and knives anyway because I must do everything in my power to protect guns, because a set of dangerous inanimate objects are more important than humans lives and as long as I can keep pretending that people are ultimately to blame for gun crime, even if the actual guns make the crime obviously easier, and I deny this only in the context of crime while arguing in the affirmative regarding to violent power of the gun on the topic of self-defense, I will get to keep my shiny, violent toys forever *cough* YOU CAN PRY MY GUN FROM MY COLD DEAD FINGERS! THESE ARE NOT THE DROIDS YOU ARE LOOKING FOR!

  56. 56
    Koshka

    So much easier to blame an inanimate object… especially one which is more common in this country than the Honda Civic yet somehow only winds up being used in committing 1% (or less) of all firearms-related homicides.

    So what percentage of firearms homocides are Honda Civics used in?

  57. 57
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I have a laser sight on my Honda civic.

  58. 58
    anteprepro

    So what percentage of firearms homocides are Honda Civics used in?

    That’s a big fucking gun and/or a very cheap batmobile.

  59. 59
    kyoseki

    casus fortuitus

    Although the decisions of the Supreme Court bind all lower courts (a doctrine known as stare decisis), the Supreme Court doesn’t bind itself. This has been nicely addressed by the Supreme Court itself:

    Ok cool, was always curious about that, thanks.

  60. 60
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    And, for the perfect sum up, the shooter was the son of a preacher, and he shot his family.

    http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S2903132.shtml?cat=500

    Our douchebag Repub mayor has used this as an opportunity to say that, of course, no national supervision is needed–local police and treating this and other cases as isolated is just fine for him, thank you very much.

    http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S2903063.shtml?cat=516

  61. 61
    dsmccoy

    Looks like the adult male shot was some sort of evangelical minister, so it sounds like Rick Perry’s prayer solution has been proven ineffective, in case anyone is keeping score.

  62. 62
    puppygod

    @53 Improbable Joe

    anuran

    If assault rifles are hard to get, why were there a half-dozen of them in the display case at the local Walmart? Said local Walmart being on the other side of town from where this shooting happened?

    Because those are not real assault rifles, like those that military use. You see, these are totally safe, happy, sporty civilian rifles and with them you need to pull trigger thirty times to empty the magazine, unlike real, dangerous, combat military assault rifles where you need to pull the trigger ten times to empty magazine. Totes different stuff. Educate yourself, before you start spewing your vile propaganda.
    /sarcasm

  63. 63
    TheBlackCat

    No firearm available for purchase by a civilian these days fires more than one round per trigger pull.

    Bullshit. You have to jump through a lot of hoops, but it is possible for a civilian to get a fully automatic weapon.

  64. 64
    puppygod

    “A lot of hoops” consist of filing some paperwork, submiting to background check and paying 200$ tax. Frankly, I had to go through more hoops to get the simple handgun in the pinko commie Europe.

    Though I have to note that some states doesn’t allow Title II weapons at all, so kyoseki statement might be correct for some (few) of the states.

  65. 65
    thisisaturingtest

    IANAL, but the “driving is a privilege, guns are a right!” argument has always struck me as a non-sequitur (at best). So what? Rights are no more illimitable absolutes, just because they’re “rights”, and just because they’re in the Constitution, than privileges are. Free speech is a Constitutional right, protected from governmental interference by that Constitution; but anyone who thinks it’s an illimitable right needs to account for slander, libel, and truth-in-advertising laws. The point of regulation of either rights or privileges isn’t the purely semantic nature of the thing, but the effects of exercising them; harm as an effect of exercising a right is no less harmful than that done by exercising a privilege.
    I think that an argument based on seeing a Constitutional right as some sort of illimitable absolute that exists by itself, floating free of any real-world context as to their practical effects, is the the result of the same sort of fundamentalist mindset that sees the bible as “the word of god, and you can’t argue with it!!! So there!!” It’s deification of the Constitution and the men who wrote it, instead of seeing the thing as it actually was meant to be taken- a pragmatic effort of government, with its own built-in provision for change (amendment) that no bible has.

  66. 66
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Rip Steakface #37

    Whatever you are smoking, please share it with the rest of us. It is clearly of the highest quality.

    A shot of cheap racism. Link here.

    *spits*

    Comradebob is a “race-realist”.

  67. 67
    Nicholas Earwood

    “A lot of hoops” consist of filing some paperwork, submiting to background check and paying 200$ tax. Frankly, I had to go through more hoops to get the simple handgun in the pinko commie Europe.

    Though I have to note that some states doesn’t allow Title II weapons at all, so kyoseki statement might be correct for some (few) of the states.

    No new fully automatic weapons are for sale. You can only purchase pre-ban ones, circa 1986 or older. They are typically $10,000 or more. You also have to get your local police chief to sign off on it. Typically this is an interview. So yes, a lot more hoops than just signing a 4473.

    And they are Class III weapons, not Title II. Unless you are referring to something other than what I am familiar with.

    And I don’t understand the sarcasm and spite for people who point out that “Assault Rifles” are military rifles with automatic, or more commonly now, select-fire operation. They would be class III weapons.

    “Assault Weapon” is a completely political term that differs between states, if it even exists in a state. It typically describes weapons with adjustable stocks, bayonet lugs, detachable magazines, etc. It all varies between states, or federal definition.

    Yeah, sure, they are avoiding the bigger argument. But it seems the same people who are against the Discovery Institutes war on information, seem to be all for it when it comes to going against gun rights. That is, you’d rather argue without informing yourself about the things you are arguing against.

  68. 68
    Anri

    Yes, because its perfectly obvious that it was the rifle itself that shot those people and not the lunatic who actually pulled the trigger. So much easier to blame an inanimate object… especially one which is more common in this country than the Honda Civic yet somehow only winds up being used in committing 1% (or less) of all firearms-related homicides.

    Well, he tried shooting them by making a finger-gun, but it didn’t result in an acceptable level of bloodshed. For real satisfaction, he needed the kind of Dead Kids Fun only a firearm could bring.

    *barf*

  69. 69
    puppygod

    No new fully automatic weapons are for sale. You can only purchase pre-ban ones, circa 1986 or older. They are typically $10,000 or more. You also have to get your local police chief to sign off on it. Typically this is an interview. So yes, a lot more hoops than just signing a 4473.

    Yeah. They are not new. Yeah, they are not cheap either. So? Still, not more hoops than I had to go through in Europe to get a handgun. Though I admit – machine guns cost more.

    And they are Class III weapons, not Title II. Unless you are referring to something other than what I am familiar with.

    Title II refers to NFA, so the term covers all devices in this act (machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, suppresors, destructive devices etc.). Class III refers to tax class (class I – importer, class II manufacturer/dealer, class III – dealer) that FFL holder have to pay to transfer ownership of Title II weapon. Basically, you have to register as arm dealer to legally own machine gun.

    But nevermind legal intricacies – the fact remains, that civilian can legally buy machine gun in USA. It’s not cheap, but possible for anybody semi-competent in paperwork and speaking with officials.

    And I don’t understand the sarcasm and spite for people who point out that “Assault Rifles” are military rifles with automatic, or more commonly now, select-fire operation. They would be class III weapons.

    What’s here to understand? Frankly, who gives a rat ass what is the proper term or legal classification of such rifle? For all I care, they can be called Class Eleven Candy Dispenser. Whether the shooter had to pull the trigger once or five times to make a swiss cheese out of his victims DOES NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE. And pointing it out, again and again, like it would make one is silly. We get it. We don’t care. It stills dispenses 4 gram candies at more than 900 m/s that have unfortunate tendency to penetrate vital organs of sentient beings with fatal results.

    Hence, sarcasm.

  70. 70
    DaveL

    This is a topic that no NRA firearms-safety program pays significant attention to. In several different hunting-significant states in which I’ve lived, I’ve been informed that this was national policy; it is, unfortunately, a logical corollary of the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” meme at the core of NRA ideology.

    That is categorically untrue. I’ve perused my wife’s CPL class materials, published by the NRA, and they’re quite explicit about being certain of one’s target and what lies beyond.

    Frankly, who gives a rat ass what is the proper term or legal classification of such rifle?

    Whether the shooter had to pull the trigger once or five times to make a swiss cheese out of his victims DOES NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

    Then stop complaining about “assault rifles” as if your issue is with them, when it is in fact against guns in general.

  71. 71
    kyoseki

    puppygod

    But nevermind legal intricacies – the fact remains, that civilian can legally buy machine gun in USA. It’s not cheap, but possible for anybody semi-competent in paperwork and speaking with officials.

    I figured someone would pick up on that, but I couldn’t be bothered to go into the intricacies of automatic weapon ownership, since in the general case, it’s still largely a fact that most civilians can’t own them (there being all of 250,000 of the things in circulation, half of which are apparently owned by police departments) and more importantly, the ATF knows who owns all of them.

    How many machine guns (legally owned or not) have been used in mass shootings? Or in crime in general?

    The only instances I can think of are a few bank robberies that involved illegally modified weapons or foreign weapons acquired illegally.

    Legally owned machine guns aren’t a problem, so let’s drop the hysteria shall we?

  72. 72
    TheBlackCat

    @ kyoseki: Come on, no one is hysterical, and no one said, or even implied, that automatic weapons are a problem. We are simply pointing out that your statement that “No firearm available for purchase by a civilian these days fires more than one round per trigger pull” is simply wrong, as you acknowledge, and now claim to have known all along.

  73. 73
    kyoseki

    TheBlackCat
    Ok fine;
    Almost no firearm available for purchase by a civilian these days fires more than one round per trigger pull”

    Congratulations, everyone wins +1 internets for pointing out that I should have had the word “almost” at the start of the sentence – you still can’t buy these things at Walmart.

    I’m still waiting for a single person to make a coherent argument as to how the lack of an assault rifle would have prevented or even reduced the casualty count in any of the massacres where they were used.

    Despite PZ’s snide comment in the original post, gun safety training would have helped in both the case in the original post and in the case of Newtown, because all the guns would have been locked inside a goddamned safe, ideally a combination one that would only have been accessible by the gun’s owners (and that therefore couldn’t be opened if the owner had been killed or the key had been stolen).

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