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Supreme Court says U.S. Constitution gives Americans right to own guns

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The boneheads are at it again!

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Yay, guns rule.

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more guns = less crime. Join the NRA.

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Congratulations America.

Your Supreme Court has decided that the best way to battle gun crime is to give people the right to purchase and own more guns.

I hear that the next task in the U.S. Supreme Court's schedule is to rule that best way for Californians to fight wildfires is to throw fuel on the flames.

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The explantion is actually pretty simple....

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Skip, try looking at the per capita gun crime stats.....

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Yee-haw! No-body infringes on mah rights!

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Don't like US gun laws? Don't visit.

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The headline is wrong. The US Constitution does not grant the right. The Bill of Rights restricts federal government encroachment on rights recognized as inherent under natural law.

I fully support concealed carry limits, background checks and registration and training requirements, but not bans. I never understood the desire to keep a gun until a man robbed me with a boxcutter. Bans reduce the number of guns and dramatically swings the odds in the favor of criminals. Never happens? That's what I thought. A person breaks into your flat and police response times are 20 minutes plus. The only time I called police in Tokyo it was 42 minutes from the call at the empty koban until the police responded. Good luck during the wait.

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SushiSake3, please ask Washington DC residents if lower per capita numbers made them safer. Thanks.

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redmeat- what a stirring argument on behalf of your beliefs. you must be quite the intellectual giant.

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I think Justice Stevens was on the right track but--in my infinite legal wisdom--I think he missed the point. Of course the Framers would not want to make regulation of use more difficult. However, I think they might have wanted to make regulation of possession impossible.

A better question about what the Framers wanted would be whether they wanted drug-crazed teenagers carrying machine pistols some 200 years after the Constitution was drafted. My guess is that the answer to that would be "no" and that they would have seen a need to try to clarify the language of the Second Amendment. Contrary to Bush's pronouncement that it has always been clear that people have the right to keep and bear arms, the language of the Second Amendment is intentionally vague. It is even somewhat apologetic. (Er, uh, because we need a militia....)

Personally, I'm all in favor of the right to keep and bear arms, as long as "arms" means what the Framers knew as arms. Flintlock pistols and muskets--that's the ticket. I have to believe that the Framers did not intend to lock us into a sickness.

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This is a huge backward step.

Obviously, an outright gun ban would never work in a million years, but making it easier for more Americans to get more guns is just dumb beyond rational explantion.

All it does is fuel the problem.

Gun-loving Americans cheer while the rest of the world just laughs at how low America is sinking.

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When the next Columbine-style massacre happens - and it will - all gun/NRA-loving Americans can bow before this U.S. Supreme Court decision and give thanks for making it even more likely that more gun-fuelled massacres will happen.

Insanity breeds more of the same.

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Yeah. Dunblane-style massacres only happen in Columbine, America.

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One phrase of the 2nd Amendment is often overlooked: "the security of a free State".

Due to the war for independence that was still very vivid in the framers' minds they understood that a free people must have the right to bear arms in order to throw off an oppressive government - whether foreign or domestic.

I think the single greatest intent of the 2nd Amendment is to allow the people to keep government subservient to themselves rather than the other way around.

In the language of the Declaration of Independence: "it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." We the people couldn't do that without arms.

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We, the people can't do that with arms.

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"YEEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWW!" We's is won, Cletis!! We's is WON gards darnit!"

Anyone in the US or otherwise who actually think it's a 'god-given right' to own a gun is an absolute moron, bottom line. Let's look at the stats for gun-related deaths in the US, and then compare them with the same stats of countries which have bans on personal ownership of handguns... or hell, even slightly stricter gun-control laws would do. You'll see that on average the gun deaths in the US are some 2000 per cent higher.

That McCain, or any Republican, supports this issue is just more of the same old, same old. It's just so heartbreaking that it takes one of such believers' children to take a bullet from some idiots ('gawd given right to own') gun to see that... uhhh... maybe personal gun ownership is NOT such a good idea.

Then of course, you have the idiots who are even stupider than those who realize the problem after the fact: the ones who say, "Well, chortle if all the innocent people in the area had guns and started a-shootin', this would never have happened!" Anyone who actually believes that should be armed, put with all the other armed people who believe it, and sent to some prairie land where they can battle it out with their guns.

In the meantime... where's that thread of Wednesday's shooting rampage in Kentucky? or was it Kansas? there's just so damn many to keep track of where...

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We the people can't do that with arms.

First of all, I hope it never comes to that.

The rest of our conversation is hypothetical, so I'll just state my opinion that a determined majority of armed Americans could overthrow our government if need be. I don't think for a second it would be easy, painless, or quick.

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Also, my opinion that the 2nd Amendment is primarily to preserve the inalienable rights of the citizens against an oppresssive government (foreign or domestic) doesn't mean that I don't also recognize the need for individuals to be able to preserve their inalienable rights against other individuals, mobs, or organizations that might attempt to trample the individual's rights by force.

Despite the fact that we have a very good military to defend us from foreign threats and a very good police force to defend us domestically there have been periods of times when "domestic tranquility" has broken down. For example the LA riots, Katrina, and other man-made and natural disasters. Some people were able to protect their families and property from mob rule during those times because of the right to bear arms individually.

FYI: I don't advocate unrestricted access to all arms. After all, arms aren't limited to just guns. I don't argue that I or my next door neighbor have the right to store mustard gas or high explosives in our houses. On the other hand I don't advocate restricting my neighbor's right to own a hunting knife either.

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JT:"The court’s 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns and imperiled similar prohibitions in other cities, Chicago and San Francisco among them."

The Peanut Gallery:"YEEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWW!" We's is won, Cletis!! We's is WON gards darnit!"

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When the next Columbine-style massacre happens - and it will - all gun/NRA-loving Americans

And when the next Columbine-style massacre will be prevented by a gun-carrying citizen - you won't hear much about it. Some massacres have been prevented in the past.

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Anyone in the US or otherwise who actually think it's a 'god-given right' to own a gun is an absolute moron,

I doubt many people claim "gun ownership" as a god-given right, but I think many people claim inalienable rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness and the "right" to defend those rights by force if necessary. In other words, the right to bear arms is a corollary to the inalienable rights. Wakatta?

FYI: While I don't personally fall under your "god-given" right category, I still find it distasteful that you lower the discussion to the level of personal epithets.

...it takes one of such believers' children to take a bullet from some idiots ... gun to see that... maybe personal gun ownership is NOT such a good idea.

As humans, we do learn from "stories" and generalize from them. However, there are also stories that contradict your warrant: parents who lose a child to firearms become opposed to personal gun ownership.' I don't accept your warrant nor do I find it relevant to the arguement for or against stricter (or absolute) gun control for individuals.

"Well, chortle if all the innocent people in the area had guns and started a-shootin', this would never have happened!"

Here I can agree with you that there is no guaranty that more people carrying more arms in public is a deterent. However, I just don't feel I've seen enough evidence one way or that other. I don't think those who make this argument are idiots. I sense that you fear people who disagree with you.

Finally, as to many of you other arguments I find them impracticle "on the ground" regardless of any possible theoretical merit. If we didn't already have so many guns and if we didn't already have a porous border and if we already have so many criminals... If, if, if

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America is losing too many children to gun violence. Between 1979 and 2001, gunfire killed 90,000 children and teens in America. (Children's Defense Fund and National Center for Health Statistics)

In one year, more children and teens died from gunfire than from cancer, pneumonia, influenza, asthma, and HIV/AIDS combined. (Children's Defense Fund)

The rate of firearm deaths among kids under age 15 is almost 12 times higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized countries combined. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

American kids are 16 times more likely to be murdered with a gun, 11 times more likely to commit suicide with a gun, and nine times more likely to die from a firearm accident than children in 25 other industrialized countries combined. (Centers for Disease Control)

http://www.neahin.org/programs/schoolsafety/gunsafety/statistics.htm

Better than contraception for curbing the population growth. Gotta hand it to them, what a commendable job on improving society. For a nation that makes such a big song and dance about "this war on terror", its doing a pretty good job on its own without looking for someone else to blame.

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People should read the BBC article "Switzerland and the gun": http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1566715.stm

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A huge misinterpretation of the constitution. Is this cowboy spirit ever going to go away? Boys must have their (lethal) toys thing?

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I guess it does really go to show, that it is possible to have both a pacified society and widespread gun ownership at the same time.

For America`s sake the government should just admit when they cant control something properly. Then take measures to rectify the situation. Failing that, they should make every high school student serve on the front line, teach them respect for others and respect for themselves.

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This is nuts.

Here's a question for Americans on JT who support this:

Let's say some armed dude shoots and kills your Dad/Mum, etc. back home.

Would you have the backbone to stand up and admit that you are partially responsible for the death of your parent because YOU support Americans' 'unalienable' right to possess arms?

I betcha wouldn't......

No, dodging or copping out - straight answers please.

I personally support an all out ban.

Why? Look at the numbers. I would much rather live in a country where there are 'only' 1,000,000 guns floating around than one in which there are 50,000,000 guns in circulation.

That would be 49,000,000 less weapons that could be used by nutters to kill me.

Having fewer guns also makes it easier for the police to protect me without getting guned down themselves by some gun-toting headcase.

Having fewer guns also makes schools safer without kids packing heat in class.

I could go on but I think I have made my point.

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Would you have the backbone to stand up and admit that you are partially responsible for the death of your parent because YOU support Americans' 'unalienable' right to possess arms?

PFfff.. no way most people will blame it to crimes by immigrants and demand the right to possess even more arms.

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Altria - "Yee-haw! No-body infringes on mah rights!"

And that's about the mentality of the people who think this Supreme Court ruling is somehow good for America....

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Now here's an interesting table:

List of countries by firearm-related death rate

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

Total firearm-related death rate Firearm homicides Firearm suicides Firearm (deaths) unintentional

Wow, America tops the list in EVERY category.

America - leading the world yet again!

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Crimes are comitted by criminals who ONLY posses illegal firearms. No legal gun-owner will commit a crime or shoot someone.

Being sarky.

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lou3933 - "Better than contraception for curbing the population growth. Gotta hand it to them, what a commendable job on improving society."

The size of this firearm problem in the States becomes even more sobering when you realize that more Americans were shot/murdered/killed in America during the Vietnam war than who actually died in Vietnam.

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Hilarious to read what folks who have never lived in America imagine to be the real picture.

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Actually - "it's Guns that kill peopl, not people that kill people!!"

Breathless, hysterical, wild-eyed, NRA-fuelled rant over.....

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RedMeat - question for you - Let's say some armed dude shoots and kills your Dad/Mum, etc. back home.

Would you have the backbone to stand up and admit that you are partially responsible for the death of your parent because YOU support Americans' 'unalienable' right to possess arms?

Answer please.

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Zen_Builder: "Crimes are comitted by criminals who ONLY posses illegal firearms. No legal gun-owner will commit a crime or shoot someone."

Yeah.... not like that dad who heard a rustle in his closet and blasted it with a shotgun, killing his daughter who wanted to surprise him for his birthday. I guess HE didn't shoot anyone, did he? Or how about the story EVERY Japanese can recite by heart, where a young exchange student was gunned down on Hallowe'en because some paranoid freak didn't realize the kid merely had the wrong address and was walking towards the door. Guess HE didn't shoot anyone either! Or hell, what about the 4 year old boy that took his pappy's gun to school and shot another 4 year old girl? You telling me it was a cold-blooded premeditated murder? You're NUTS, Builder, if you think anyone who isn't a criminal doesn't shoot someone. You win funniest comment of the day so far!

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RedMeat - "Hilarious to read what folks who have never lived in America imagine to be the real picture."

Equally hilarious to see you don't have a case and the one you pretend to have is so full of holes I could drive a Mac truck through it :-)

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RedMeat - question for you - Let's say some armed dude shoots and kills your Dad/Mum, etc. back home. Would you have the backbone to stand up and admit that you are partially responsible for the death of your parent because YOU support Americans' 'unalienable' right to possess arms?

Answer please.

If they were stabbed to death then whose fault would it be?

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Smithinjapan.

Next time to a FULL Quote, you left out a line that sez "Being Sarky".

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I did have a case, and the SCOTUS settled in my favor. Like them apples?

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RedMeat - STILL no answers?

I'll ask again just in case you didn't spot my question for you the first time -

Let's say some armed dude shoots and kills your Dad/Mum, etc. back home.

Would you have the backbone to stand up and admit that you are partially responsible for the death of your parent because YOU support Americans' 'unalienable' right to possess arms?

No more jokes or dodging - answer please.

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I ask this of all, first of all, I could care less if guns were banned, but make sure before you win this so called argument, that you damn do something about the crime in the states that is caused NOT by legal gun owners, but by thugs who obtain them illegally. Mexico has a very strict gun law, but I can buy one there with ease. Canada has a strict gun law, but again, if I wanted to, I can get one with east in Toronto very quickly.

And, can someone provide me with evidence that banning guns is going to dramatically reduce street crime.

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Sushi, Guns don't kill people. Bullets kill people. ;-)

And I like my rifles.

Taka

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Would you have the backbone to stand up and admit that you are partially responsible for the death of your parent because YOU support Americans' 'unalienable' right to possess arms?"

Sushi, careful with your question. The person that would shoot someone like that sure as hell isn't a legal gun owner. Nope. Not unless they want to get caught.

The courts have been passing laws and striking them a lot these past few weeks. In one area, you jump for joy and shove your sinister sarcasm down alls throats and now they vote against you and you can stand it.

Now, how do you feel knowing you are responsible for the death of people by thugs who got hand guns illegally who would have been able to use their said hand gun had you not pushed for the ban.,

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Skip - "Mexico has a very strict gun law, but I can buy one there with ease. Canada has a strict gun law, but again, if I wanted to, I can get one with east in Toronto very quickly."

From what kind of dealer?

Up until one of the more recent U.S. gun massacres (I forget which one, there's been so many) you could buy a gun at Wal Mart for God's sake.

Then the company clamped down on sales.

"make sure ....that you damn do something about the crime in the states that is caused NOT by legal gun owners."

But wouldn't it be equally if not more constructive to do something about all the crimes caused by LEGAL gun owners?

"And, can someone provide me with evidence that banning guns is going to dramatically reduce street crime."

C'mon man, what would you rather be faced with - a guy with a shotgun or assault rifle, or a guy with a knife?

I'm not sure whether street crime would be reduced, but deaths sure as heck would be.

"Overall firearm mortality rates are five to six times higher in higher income and upper-middle income countries in the Americas (12.72) than in Europe (2.17), or Oceania (2.57) and 95 times higher than in Asia (0.13)

http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/27/2/214

and "According to Statistics Canada, the stereotype rings true: Canadians are far less likely to be killed with a gun than their American counterparts.

In a study released Tuesday [2005] called Deaths Involving Firearms, the agency says that in 2000, the rate of Canadian homicides involving firearms was just 0.5 out of every 100,000 people. The rate in America was almost eight times higher, or 3.8 per 100,000."

=======

Get more guns off the streets with a ban and that Deaths Involving Firearms rate would drop and no I am not Canadian :-)

<strong>Moderator: Readers, please keep the discussion focused on the U.S.</strong>

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What an excellent thread. Dealing with some of the non-Americans here is like dealing with a kid waving his first toy pistol about, imagining he is all grown up and playin' sheriff.

Bang! Bang!

Oh noooo, ya got me there, lil' fella. Ya done shot me full of holes. Oooh, I'm done for.

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That last post makes a lot of sense. Only Americans know how to handle legal guns. Specially those teens in the schools. ;)

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RedMeat - STILL no answers?? But, heck, I thought you had a case?

Seems not. Doesn't seem like you treat the issue very seriously, either.

Skip - "Sushi, careful with your question. The person that would shoot someone like that sure as hell isn't a legal gun owner. Nope. Not unless they want to get caught."

What about the p*ssed off LEGAL gun owner who gets fired then goes back to his workplace and starts shooting?

Or the LEGAL gun-owning guy who can't control his road rage and pulls out his gun and shoots when he gets tailgated?

"you jump for joy and shove your sinister sarcasm down alls throats.."

"Sinister sarcasm"? Is that what I get for trying to suggest ideas to make your country (not mine) safer?

Wow, thanks......

"Now, how do you feel knowing you are responsible for the death of people by thugs who got hand guns illegally who would have been able to use their said hand gun had you not pushed for the ban."

So, banning guns and trying to reduce the number of weapons in possession of Americans is 'bad'??

Since when?

Would you rather the market be flooded with guns so that everyone who needs to can defend themselves, even kids???????

Sorry Skip, I don't follow you here. I don't get how giving people the right to own guns, and making it easy for every Joe Bloggs in the street to buy one - helps to solve America's gun problem.

The stats absolutely crush your argument.

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RedMeatKoolAid - have you STILL got no answer to my question?

All I'm asking is - Let's say some armed dude shoots and kills your Dad/Mum, etc. back home.

Would you have the backbone to stand up and admit that you are partially responsible for the death of your parent because YOU support Americans' 'unalienable' right to possess arms?

Surely that's not a difficult question for you to answer.

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The NWO wants Americans to be ignorant and defenseless. Now, they will be ignorant and armed! If only they could be well informed and armed, then something good can happen.

BTW, why is gun crime so low in Switzerland? They have guns too, don't they? The problems with US is not guns in the hands of regular people.

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SushiSake3:

Your question to RedMeat is irrelevant to the question of Americans' constitutional right to bear arms - and silly to boot!

Get your statistics correct before positing that the US has the highest firearm this or that rates. You are aware that people know how to Google, right?

There are as many statistical examples to counter gun-control as there are to support it. Check out highly "controlled" Russia, Mexico and Brazi. These three countries have large populations, land mass, and long borders (I've never seen stats on China - surprise, surprise). Check out highly "controlled" Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago that have small land mass and oceans for borders. Finally, check out Israel and Switzerland which have high gun ownership rates.

It would seem that the issues aren't so simplified as you think. Legal access to guns generally and handguns in particular isn't the key factor. There are many factors much more significant than legal access to firearms in determining homicide rates.

...and, I can still walk into Wal-Mart and buy a gun. OMG, The SKY is FALLING!

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“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.” Let's rewrite this in modern, more logical, grammatical English.

Because (and as long as) a well-regulated militia (people's defence force, which is organized and strictly regulated, there being no standing army at present) is necessary to the security of a free state, (not country, just a small collection of states which may come under attack by Indians etc.) for this reason the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

That tells me that 1. US citizens, 2. can keep battlefield arms, 3. at home, 4. and carry them, 5. and they will also be available for the defense of the grouping of Eastern states when necessary.

(Pistols are not generally much use on the battlefield, but it could be argued that they are included here, as too Bowie knives, etc.)

It doesn't seem to address crime at all, or questions of individual defense, as far as I can see. It does not suggest free and easy possession of guns, but rather strict and precise control, carried in the words 'well-regulated'.

If gun deaths are out of control, then they are not being well-regulated, IMHO.

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sdmsec,

You brought up the need to have weapons to protect ourselves from a government gone wrong. Now you say you hope it never comes to that and your hope is one that I think is shared by almost everyone except for a handful of anarchists and other committed extremists of every stripe.

Now you say that it is your opinion that "a determined majority of armed Americans could overthrow our government if need be". To that I will say only that it is just as likely that a determined majority of armed Americans will support a bad government as will oppose it. Thus weapons that were supposed to safeguard our freedom will be used against us. Furthermore, this ruling is about handguns and I doubt that any struggle of the magnitude we are talking about here will be determined by either machine pistols or .50 caliber Smith and Wesson sling-mounted bear hunting revolvers.

As for the LA riots example, I am all in favor of "some people [being] able to protect their families". Again, however, I'm not sure why they would need to have a handgun to do that. Furthermore, there comes a time when we as a nation need to start doing the math--lives saved by handguns versus lives lost by handguns. I confess I don't know the statistics on that but I'd be really skeptical of a statistic that purported to show that lives saved comes out the winner.

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Interesting read:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

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Zen Builder, your link doesn't work for me.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

Just cut/pasted it from my browser.

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OK You need an underscore between second and amendment.

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SezWho2,

Yeah, handguns wouldn't go far in defending against any government oppression. However, there have been quite a few posts here that advocate a complete gun ban. My comments about freedom from government oppression would definitely be aimed at the "individual gun ownership" crowd.

I'd also agree that to defend my home and property I'd rather have rifles and shotguns, but there are times when citizens legitimately need "portable" protection. For example, my father fired a man at a plant who had a reputation as a "bad hombre". The man made thinly veiled threats at my father. For several months my father kept a handgun with him wherever he went, because he percieved that the threat was very real.

I want to have "portable" self-defense as I see fit. I don't advocate unlimited access to handguns (or guns generally). For example, I'm fine with doing a background check to determine criminality and mental problems. I understand and support concealed weapons licensing.

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sushi: I think you are getting me wrong. First of all, if guns are banned, then they are banned, I am not going to cry about it. With the exception of Miami, all the cities I lived in had laws against guns, so its not like I carry one all the time, but I can get one anytime and almost anywhere I want. From what kind of dealer? Well, that's my point - banning guns is not going to stop these guys I would go to get one, in fact you would be helping them, its like drugs.

Sushi, what if a bunch of dudes come running at you and your family, what are going to do, pull out a pair of nunchakus? What about if a car jacker decides to pull you out of the car?

Now, guns have been in America for a long time - correct? Why now? Why are so many people being killed by guns when we have had them for so long? Perhaps it is a break down in society? I would like to believe you that guns are the problem and getting rid of them will cure so much, but I don't. And, like you, I have no choice but to remain stubborn on this issue. Get crime down to a minimum, meaning make gangs illegal (they are not), have harsher terms for people caught in gun crimes and stop giving them second chances.

Again, ban the guns, you are only helping gangs, thugs, petty criminals; it is them who are the majority of gun offenders. The nut cases like Colin Ferguson, Columbine, and the DC Sniper were cases where they were intent on killing by any means, so they would have made bomb or even made a gun from scratch!

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I don't have a problem with guns in the home for self-defence or hunting. It's the nutters walking/driving about with them that freak me out.

And besides, does anybody actually think it's possible to do anything about the millions and millions of guns already in existence in the US?

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Sdmsec, I agree with your post mostly. I would add that a firearms safety and maintenance course should be added as well. I say that because the last time I sighted in my rifle, the man next to me used bullets too big for his rifle. Crazy sound, kind of like "fooomp" came from his rifle as the first round got stuck in the barrel. I was not alone in screaming bloody murder when he almost fired a second round. People are required to know the rules and take a test to prove they're competant to drive. I think the same should be done to buy a firearm.

Taka

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I'll never work out the reasoning of gun advocates. Guns are made to kill, therefore more guns = more deaths. It's not rocket science. Sure if they were banned you could get one illegally... or could you? I sure as hell wouldn't know where to get one from and if I did I would probably not even get close to the people in question. At any rate, things are easier in the US. Want an illegal gun to commit a crime with? Just steal the one your neighbor keeps under the pillow.

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Skip.

I get your point. Said that guns are an offensive weapon not defensive, Ask any real combat instructor. He will also tell you that in most cases the gun will not be useful as you won't have time/opportunity to draw and shoot. Concealed carry makes it harder to get at the weapon too. As do seatbelts, etc.

I lived for 10yrs in South Africa, a country with a VERY high gun-ownership and also a very high crime-rate. The guns did little to nothing for protection and reduction of crime.

I was taught if you draw a firearm you draw it to shoot, not to threaten etc. Fun thing is they taught me the same in MA, draw a weapon and USE it. This takes training, more than just hitting the shooting range and popping at a few stationary targets.

What I am saying are you prepared to carry a gun and USE it, i.e. potentially take a life(a father, son, etc to someone else).

Everybody in my country also gets firearm, etc training during their national service(compulsory). So I trust my country-men with Firearms as I know they all had training. Never mind that we need another course for actually getting the licence.

HTH.

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Addition:

I have seen the use of firearms in peace and war-time and found peace-time more revolting. Example: Watched a 10yrs old boy getting blown to pieces by .45 hollow-point for stealing a $15 ear-ring. Boy got shot in the back while trying to run away.

This is just one case but it made me question the use/purpose of civilian owned firearms.

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Skipthesong- People who own guns have an increased chance of being killed by a gun. You have just been lucky and that does run out one day.

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Everton,

When you live in the sticks, as I do, and you wake up to a van-load of pikey's on your property, I can garuantee you that strong words isn't going to get rid of them. The twelve bore however, seems to be a stronger method of persuasion.....especially when the first haggler has a back-side full of rock-salt.

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sdmsec,

I understand the example about your father. However, I still think the calculus comes down to lives saved versus lives taken.

In "The 4400", the proposition was 50/50--special abilities or death. However, if it had been 10% special abilities and 90% death, the already dismal odds wouldn't look so good. Certainly we wouldn't market a medical cure that had those chances.

The case with handguns is different in that they are mostly never used. It's difficult to judge the deterrent effect of an NRA decal on doors and windows so any statistics are going to be hard to come by and controversial. Nonetheless, I assert--granted, without proof--that handguns in America take more lives than they save. And I further assert--again without proof--that this is "well-known" in the sense that it is widely believed to be true. Actual facts may be different, but I really doubt it.

I don't like, but don't particularly have a problem with, concealed carry for law enforcement officials and other trained professionals. But we already have that. It's bad enough that I have to trust their judgment and professionalism and that they could ventilate me or my loved ones because they thought they saw one of us reach for what they thought was going to be a handgun.

So, I'm a little skeptical about extending this privilege to anyone who wants portable "self-protection" as they see fit.

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And, can someone provide me with evidence that banning guns is going to dramatically reduce street crime.

You are making a very interesting request in desperation to condone gun possession policies in the US of A. The internet is a rich source of information, we knew that already. Some simple searches tell us that the homicide rate in the US of A is in the high brackets, much higher than in countries where the possession of firearms is outlawed. But perhaps that doesn't prove anything to people who wish to stick to their own rules.

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Hey SezWho2,

I'll happlily concede that handguns are used to take more lives than they are used to spare lives, however, the same could be said of knives and baseball bats. In the complete absence of handguns (or guns generally) a person who determines to kill another person can almost always accomplish their goal.

Also, I'm don't so much advocate a handgun as a "deterent" as in discouraging crime but as a defense to kill someone who is attacking myself, my wife or my children. I would like it if someone who designed to physically harm my family decided not to because they think I might have a gun. However, my real purpose in desiring the gun would be to kill that person if they did attack.

Thanks for the your thoughts. It helps me to clarify my own thinking and where I would draw lines or not. I'd better get some sleep now.

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How many American lives saved each year because a potential robbery, rape or assault victim had a gun? I would wager it is higher than the inflated gun homicide numbers cited here, since they tend to include suicides. Adjust the figures further for race and the control freak Lefties really go wild.

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meat,

Don't go over-board matey. Americans are killing each other at an alarming rate...

...if your claims were to be true, that is to say more people are succesfully defending themselves with firearms than hurting others, then there is a pretty scarier malaise in American society than simple gun ownership.

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Adjust the figures further for race...

Why? Are some Americans less American than others? Or is this some other aspect of American society I'm not aware of?

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What's a pikey? How many of them fit in a van? Are they found only in rural areas of the US?

Is a van-load of pikey's on your property 1) scary enough and 2) a frequent enough occurrence to justify having a lethal weapon in a family home?

If I see a stranger walking up to my front door my first thought is not 'Gotta protect myself'. As Madverts says, there's seems to be a pretty scary malaise in American society. Anyone care to explain it?

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Madverts - You mean black people shooting black people doesn't really count? One more aspect of the malaise. If RedMeat means something different, I'd like him to explain.

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How many American lives saved each year because a potential robbery, rape or assault victim had a gun? I would wager it is higher than the inflated gun homicide numbers cited here, since they tend to include suicides. Adjust the figures further for race and the control freak Lefties really go wild.

Go ahead, find someone who wants to make a bet. Make your last wish as well. Inflated gun homicide numbers? You sound pretty much inflated yourself.

Nonetheless, I assert--granted, without proof--that handguns in America take more lives than they save. And I further assert--again without proof--that this is "well-known" in the sense that it is widely believed to be true. Actual facts may be different, but I really doubt it.

I very much agree.

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When people get shot, does their nationality matter? How do you 'adjust' for nationality? Does one nation get a heavier weighting than another?

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I'm sure there's a blog with an opinion he can cut and paste.... ;)

Heh, if only Strom Thurmond had been elected, America wouldn't have all these problems...

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When people get shot, does their nationality matter? How do you 'adjust' for nationality? Does one nation get a heavier weighting than another?

I just wonder if you can grasp the meaning of your own question. All responses of you I have read so far seem to prove the opposite. Adjusting according to race or nationality are not the point. The statistics clearly show that in countries (nations as you wish) homicides per capita are way higher than in nations with stringent gun control. Others in this discussion have expressed the same. OK, keep ignoring the facts and humor us with some more titillating observations to keep things lively :-)

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Cleo,

"What's a pikey?"

Gypsy. C'mon Cleo, I though you were a Brit ;)

"How many of them fit in a van?"

Heh, you wouldn't believe it...

"Are they found only in rural areas of the US?"

The US, France, the UK, Romania, Spain, Germany......

"Is a van-load of pikey's on your property 1) scary enough"

Not really, they just need a firm reply they can understand.

"and 2) a frequent enough occurrence to justify having a lethal weapon in a family home?"

Oh, yeah. Also, I know you're not in agreement, but I like to hunt - not for the pleasure of hurting cute small animals - quite the contrary, but so that the extended family can make lot's of nice stuff for us to eat in sealed jars an of course in an attempt to keep the local traditions here :D

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The statistics clearly show that in countries (nations as you wish) homicides per capita are way higher than in nations with stringent gun control.

OK, you got me. This sentence is flawed (my opinion too??). It should read: The statistics clearly show that in countries (nations as you wish)where guns are easily obtained, legally or illegally, homicides per capita are way higher than in nations with stringent gun control. My apologies.

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"The statistics clearly show that in countries (nations as you wish) homicides per capita are way higher than in nations with stringent gun control."

Perhaps, but why do nations with increasingly stringent hun control like the UK, have a frighteningly rising gun crime?

I rarely ever agree with the "God, Guns and America" crowd, but I have to say that I don't want city dwellers taking away my rights to defend my home here in the sticks, where all sorts of wierdo's and hawkers are abound.

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"stringent gun control"

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where all sorts of wierdo's and hawkers are abound.

Where do they come from? Could there be a serious social problem? A problem that has existed since the pioneer days, necessitating the supreme court's verdict, in fact admitting people need to take the gun and the law into their own hands?

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Presto,

I'm not living in the US bud. The problem of the human being has existed since the beginning of the human being. I wish to retain my right to defend myself living in the country, where you're an easy target for theives or every other red-eyed physco lurking...

...the penalties for shooting someone by accident here are pretty steep, but that said, these tragic incidents do still occur with alarming frequency.

Still, if I was to accept your theory, you'd have an answer as to why gun crime in the UK is going mad, when over the last 20 years, the gun ownership laws there have become draconian.

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Presto:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1440764.stm

A new study suggests the use of handguns in crime rose by 40% in the two years after the weapons were banned.

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Further reading;

http://www.crimeinfo.org.uk/servlet/factsheetservlet?command=viewfactsheet&factsheetid=102&category=factsheets

Banning guns has the same effect as banning alcohol.

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The point of bringing in race seems to be if controlled for (proper terminology), middle class white people have little to worry about since it's ghetto gang bangers blowing each other away that inflate American homicide statistics. Of course innocent victims are caught in the cross-fire but as long as they don't look like me, who cares?

Rather we need guns for self-defense when such types threaten us. The case is made by invoking some sort of scenario where the victim is at leisure and confronted by an armed intruder. Who can wait for the police?

I never really worried about being a victim of gun violence until recently owing to a different type of perpetrator: the aggrieved employee who, having been let go, starts to see everything he worked hard for slipping away, and wants to exact revenge. In my workplace, after having a former employee threaten to bring a gun, which resulted in a SWAT team response when he showed up, how to minimize such a possibility is now being discussed. And there's not a whole lot you can do about that.

Most such individuals probably have clean records and can pass background checks. Our work, like most of what is done in the post-industrial economy, requires a great deal of concentration. If I have to be ready to fire first on every person who comes through the door I wouldn't get anything done so the "more guns" solution won't work.

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RedMeat - "How many American lives saved each year because a potential robbery, rape or assault victim had a gun? I would wager it is higher than the inflated gun homicide numbers cited here, since they tend to include suicides. Adjust the figures further for race and the control freak Lefties really go wild."

Inflated gun homicide numbers? Feel free to prove the opposite and come back to us with some facts.

Also, I note you have failed and dodged answering my question yet again - are you just too scared to face up to reality?

If not, here it is again - Let's say some armed dude shoots and kills your Dad/Mum, etc. back home.

Would you have the backbone to stand up and admit that you are partially responsible for the death of your parent because YOU support Americans' 'unalienable' right to possess arms?

No more jokes or dodging - answer please.

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Betzee,

I feel less at risk of an intruder because in the countryside where I live, they expect you to be armed, therefore they leave you well alone and prey on old ladies or places known to be empty.

A sad fact of life - the bottom of the food chain is a really depressing thing to look at in your sum-up of the human race to which we all belong!

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Adverts,

The laid-off employee scenario has become increasingly worrisome to me. Life is much more anonymous now, leaving people lots of time to stew over perceived slights as the world takes little notice. There are few second chances if you lose a good job past a certain age, either because of poor performance or your skills are no longer required.

Shootings under these circumstances garner much more attention that gang warfare related fatalities making people more threatened than they need to be from a statistical perspective. But I don't think my workplace is alone is trying to find ways to minimize the risk to employees from gun toting former colleagues.

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"but, if you wish to be prepared like a commando for the one in a million chance you will be looking down the barrel of a gun, then we are back at square one where everyone thinks they need a firearm . . ."

Presto, it's not a million to one chance - that's exactly what I'm saying. In my yard the other day I came back early from lunch and there were four hagglers with there hands in my aluminum bin - one glance at Bertha (loaded with salt as always) was enough to get them bowing, excusing, they were lost, "please sir how do I find the road to...."

Heh, and I know for a fact not only they won't be back, but they'll have told all the other theiving gypsy mothers they hang out with not to come and pince from me.

Keeping the status quo and giving these people the only answer they understand is what I want.

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I choose not own a gun. There might be a time in my life that I might feel I should own a gun for my protection. I'm glad the supreme court has protected my own personal decision and freedom to decide for myself if I should have a firearm or not.

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It was little noticed, that as the court was getting ready to release its decision, a worker in a Kentucky plastics plant shot his supervisor, four co-workers and then himself to death.

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Betzee,

I unerstand what you're saying - I even understand what Presto is saying. I just don't want to give up my right to defend myself living in the middle of nowhere....

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Betzee,

Do you think these whacked-out individuals, like the Kentucky case you cite, wouldn't simply have found a means to snuff off their co-workers had firearms been illegal?

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Adverts,

You are right about the bottom of the food chain. My concern is people who suddenly, and unexpectedly, find themselves at the bottom of the food chain!

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Sorry, other means..

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" My concern is people who suddenly, and unexpectedly, find themselves at the bottom of the food chain!"

Heh, that's why gun ownership is necassary ;)

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Actually it would be pretty cool if someone could make the case as why Americans should be denied the right to own guns.

I like my freedom to choose if I want a gun or not, or in other words the freedom to choose as long as I obey the law in the responsible use. Before I get beat up the same thing applies to owning a car, I could plow it in to tons of pedestrians but I don't, because I drive a car in a responsible manner and have passed a test and allowed by the state to do so. What is the difference?

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Sailwind,

I don't want to appear to be a paranoid red-neck either. Sometimes, a firearm is necassary. And we all know how when rights are taken away from us how difficult they are to reclaim...

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Madverts... exactly ! Guns prevented more than 2 million crimes in the US last year. And in Japan it was the possession of a gun that stopped the slaughter at Akihabara just a few weeks ago ! Like Shane said, "guns are a tool Marian no better or worse than the man behind it." The US Supreme court, and Shane, have spoken !!!

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Salwind,

"What is the difference?"

Heh, wierd, I had a similar analargy in the pipeline. Fact of the matter is, if some nutter wants to go out and waste a load of people, (s)he will find the means to do so. Obviously firearms are just a quick and easy way.

Didn't that knife-wielding nutter in Tokyo last month first plow his truck through a crowd of civilians?

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Westurn,

I don't think we can really apply figures as to crimes that were actually prevented by guns.

But I know they do serve this function.

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Sail, The difference is, there is no test for competency to handle a firearm safely. There's only a background check. Otherwise, you and I are in 100% agreement.

Taka

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"The difference is, there is no test for competency to handle a firearm safely."

I know it isn't pertinent, but there is here. A handgun requires membership to a firing range, steel cabinet etc...

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Sushisake, I'll directly answer your question. I would not be responsible because I didn't pull the trigger. As you know from Akihabara, guns are not the only weapons available. Everyone argues the slippery slope against toleration of guns, you can use it the other way also. Curtail guns and knife murders become a national emergency, just ask the Japanese and Brits. Does a new knife ban curtail knife crime, or gun crime among criminals? Among pros, the answer is no. Among determined amateurs, the answer is find something else. Like household cleaners, or trucks, or an axe, or a stick, or rocks. Yes, let's ban rocks. How far does nerfworld go for you?

Having been a victim of violent crime, I'd rather have a gun. People who wish away crime through legislation are kidding themselves. From 100,000 feet, total gun deaths may go down with a ban, but when your life deviates from the statistical norm, god help you because gun deaths in that situation will almost never be anything other than intentional crime. Self defense has been eliminated.

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I think the Japanese have a love hate relationship with Guns. There are tons of J-Tourists that flock to shooting ranges in Hawaii.

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If I'm in a crime-ridden area, I WOULD DEFINATELY WANT A GUN. My opponents will definately have one, regardless if they follow laws or not. Without one, I am not on a equal footing to protect myself or my family.

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So, to recap,

and to explain why nobody other than RomeoRamenII is criticizing Obama for this,

the Supreme Court said that Washington D.C.'s ordinance was illegal and a disappointed Obama said that the good news in the ruling was that the Supreme Court at least did not find that there was an unrestricted right to gun ownership.

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Amazing it only took the U.S. Legal system 200 years to figure this one out. By this rate the Anna Nicole estate should be settled by 2300.

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SezWho, to the contrary, Obama's main talking point was that he has always said that gun ownership was an individual right. Any hope for red state traction will disappear if he doesn't go right on this. McCain and conservative commentators are hammering Obama to anyone who will listen for being a flip-flopper that says anything to get elected.

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BTW, gunnies are relieved but not happy with the outcome yesterday. A 5-4 margin will make this a lightning rod issue in this election, like abortion in 1992. Obama's comments to the SF cocktail fundraisers about rural folks bitterly clinging to guns and religion will be repeated ad nauseum until November.

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I like my freedom to choose if I want a gun or not, or in other words the freedom to choose as long as I obey the law in the responsible use. Before I get beat up the same thing applies to owning a car, I could plow it in to tons of pedestrians but I don't, because I drive a car in a responsible manner and have passed a test and allowed by the state to do so. What is the difference?

In addition, you are required to have liability insurance on your car precisely because it has the impact to harm others.

Do you think these whacked-out individuals, like the Kentucky case you cite, wouldn't simply have found a means to snuff off their co-workers had firearms been illegal?

Yes, but not that number. Anyway, the NRA's solution is to arm everyone to take the guy out before he managed, in this case, to kill five co-workers after an argument. I looked in vain in the above posts for an answer to my question, If we are supposed to be ready to open fire on a colleague at any moment to prevent him from getting us first, how the hell are you supposed to get any work done? Until someone can answer this, I'm entitled to dismiss this argument that more guns = greater public safety.

Adverts, I'm well aware that those who live in the "middle of nowhere" make easy targets for burglaries. I have a colleague who lives way up in the woods whose packages and mail are regularly stolen. But it happens when she's not home so I don't see how having a gun would help her.

The thing that's overlooked here is that there's a great big difference between a hunting rifle, which is difficult to conceal, and automatic weapons that seem to be the choice of those who kill as many as they can before turning the gun on themselves. In such a situation, if everyone was armed there'd be a lot of uncoordinated gun fire that would likely result in greater casualties.

The US suffers 30,000 gun fatalities a year. This is a fact. By contrast it's very hard to count things which didn't happen. Where does somebody come up with this number "2 million crimes were prevented"? I'm sure crimes have been prevented, just as innocent people have been massacred.

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"I looked in vain in the above posts for an answer to my question, If we are supposed to be ready to open fire on a colleague at any moment to prevent him from getting us first, how the hell are you supposed to get any work done? Until someone can answer this, I'm entitled to dismiss this argument that more guns = greater public safety."

Hey there Betzee, I'll bite. Although I strongly favor rules against bringing weapons to work, which any employer is entitled to enforce when inviting employees onto its premises, no one answered this because it is not the sharpest of arguments to support your conclusion. Also, automatic weapons are not the problem, and I don't think Heller cast doubt over government ability to restrict these. Handguns are the issue, for the reason you described. According to the FBI, handguns accounted for 75% of 2005 gun-related homicides, as opposed to 4% for rifles, 5% for shotguns and the rest for "unspecified." The ruling in the Heller case is limited and self-consciously invites further litigation. The Court deliberately confined this to possession at home. Concealed carry, etc. were beyond the scope of the case.

You mention gun-related fatalities. Assuming your 30,000 number is correct (which I suspect might be low), US CDC estimates that 17,002 suicides in 2005 were by gunshot, accounting for around 60% your number. (Over 2 million people die in the US each year.) I did not spend time looking for accident data. FBI stats for homicides by weapon (murders, negligent homicides) in 2005 showed that roughly 10,100 of 14,860 homicides by weapon were by gunshot. I don't know if this includes suicide (a homicide crime actually) but I assume it is not. I should also point out that in a number of studies 75% of homicide victims had a poor criminal record. 80%+ of violent crime in the town I live closest to is gang-related.

With regard to self-defense, a 1994 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that firearms were used (not necessarily fired) in self-defense between 1987 and 1990 in an estimated annual mean of 64,615 incidents of violent crime (rape, assault, attempted homicide). Victims used firearms in 0.18% of all crimes recorded by the survey and in 0.83% of violent offenses. Firearm self-defense is rare compared with gun crimes.

Finally, for those trying to paint an exceptionalist picture of the United States, you should know that data shows crime rates in the United States are similar to those of other developed countries. Other countries have significantly higher rates of firearm usage in homicides, including Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Guatemala, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Estonia, and Russia. Some if not all of these have stricter gun restrictions than the US.

Just trying to fill in the picture for purposes of clarifying the discussion. I can post the links if you need them.

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A couple more interesting factoids now that I started reading about this. Individuals in the US own around 192 million guns, with most owners having more than one. Roughly 39% of American adults live in households with guns. It is possible that one reason Scalia's opinion focused on home defense is that only 11% of gun owners in the US reported that their guns were for hunting purposes. There is a significant cultural and regional difference around the US as well. Regionally, the Northeast reports the lowest number at around 25%. The Southeast number is 60%. 1 in 6 live in a household with a rifle AND a shotgun AND a pistol. Guns are most likely to be found in households that are Republican, Southern and yes, you guessed it, affluent.

http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=234

I have to say, I was staggered by this data. 192 million guns is 2 for every 3 people. It is shocking that the suicide, accident and criminal data are as low as they are. Cut out suicides and homicides, the number of gun-related fatalities is relatively tiny. US Bureau of Transit Statistics for 2004 reported 243,023,485 registered passenger vehicles in the US and the Department of Transportation reported 43,510 driving-related fatalities, almost all of which are unintentional. If only drivers handled their vehicles as safely...

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Thank you for such a thorough response! (Two in fact.) As you can probably tell, I know nothing about guns (though I have bought ammo for a brother who likes to target shoot).

I just collected the information anecdotally, not systematically. So after reading your post I went back to check a recent news story, which introduces an emotional element since it's about a young women who, in her late teens, was left paralyzed after an argument with boyfriend. The gun he used to shoot her belonged to her father. She was shocked, several decades later, to learn he still owned guns (though that may not be a shock to gun owners). Anyway, according to her:

There are 200 million privately owned weapons in the United States, 24% of them handguns. Yet they are responsible for 70% to 90% of all fatal shootings. A gun is used for self-protection less than 5% of the time.

(You can't type below a link so if anyone's interested they can run that chunk of text through google.)

She's dealing with percentages where as you're dealing with actual numbers. The measure makes a difference in interpreting the data.

I thank you for your informative post (and will study it). But the countries you cite as "other developed countries" are not generally compared to the US. Most are in fact developing countries with corrupt and ineffective law enforcement.

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A gun is used for self-protection less than 5% of the time.

I mentioned something similar that a gun is not a good choice for self-protection/self-defense.

And agree that for home-defense a shotgun is usually a better option, as you can load it with non-lethal rounds.

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Hey Betzee, thanks for your reply. To be clear, I said that crime rates in the US are comparable with other countries. Obviously, guns play a larger role in the US than most/all of those. The list of countries with higher gun-related fatalities are not intended to be the other "developed countries." Sorry I didn't make that clearer. I agree with your characterization--it is worth noting that most of those countries have larger drug cartel and mafia presences that probably account for the bulk of their numbers. The first half of this year is not yet over and 400 Mexican policemen have been killed by drug traffickers, including the very top. A few days ago, Mexican military personnel were arrested IN PHOENIX doing a drug hit involving body armor, tactical weapons and 100 rounds fired. After drawing the cops into an ambush, they surrendered only after realizing they didn't have enough ammunition left. Scary.

Regarding the article you mentioned, some of her stats roughly agreed with mine (percentage of handguns used in fatal shootings). She doesn't describe enough about methodology to understand the 5% number, for example. That's tough to do in an interview and make it soundbite-worthy.

Have a good weekend!

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Thanks for the info, kijimuna. Maybe it will bring some clarity here.

"Finally, for those trying to paint an exceptionalist picture of the United States, you should know that data shows crime rates in the United States are similar to those of other developed countries. Other countries have significantly higher rates of firearm usage in homicides, including Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Guatemala, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Estonia, and Russia. Some if not all of these have stricter gun restrictions than the US."

Pretty mixed bag there. Have to wonder if the non-American proponents of gun control would come down as harshly on intangibles like national character in the cases of these countries. Somehow I think they'd find a way to blame the US, or American movies, or some equally absurd imaginary cause.

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Mea culpa, my second sentence should have been "crime rates in the US are comparable to other developed countries." The gun-related fatalities countries are a separate list, as indicated.

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According to a Canadian source:

It has been true for many years that rates of ‘violent crime,’ which includes a wide range of offenses, are comparable among these countries, and that the US does not have the highest rates. However, the significant impact of gun control, pointed out by scholars from around the world, is on the rates of lethal violence, or homicide. In 2001, the US had 10,130 firearm homicides. In comparison Canada had 171, England had 90, Australia had 65—and numbers have declined since then. Claims that countries that have strengthened gun laws are less safe than the US fly in the face of available evidence, as well as common sense.

Of course one would have to control for population size before using the data (as well as validating the collection methods). I don't really want to spend my weekend doing that, but it was nice to have a real exchange rather than simply reading one-two sentences which address none of the issues. Have a good weekend too!

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RMKA, I wouldn't sweat it too much. JapanToday's forum has already debated the relative rates of various countries (including that Europe's rate is higher than America's, which I haven't bothered to confirm).

It's safe to say that guns are a very useful murder tool, but not the only one in the drawer. The data doesn't show a causal relationship between guns and higher murder rates. The Swiss and Israelis have hundreds to thousands of automatic weapons at home, and low murder rates. Britain's murder rate rose after guns were banned.

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FWIW, allegedly higher rates in Europe are probably so in the aggregate as additional countries are counted in the data. It may just be that Americans are more murderous than Germans, for example.

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Thanks Betzee. I'm signing off too.

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Zen Builder, law enforcement and CIA friends have told me the same thing, that shotguns are best for home defense, partly for the spray effect, but primarily because the sound a pump action makes. (For the record, I don't own a gun--yet.)

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FWIW, allegedly higher rates in Europe are probably so in the aggregate as additional countries are counted in the data. It may just be that Americans are more murderous than Germans, for example.

This takes us away from the empirical and on to slippery territory as far as demonstrating causation. Upon reflection, I've decided not to look into this any further. It's complicated given the different types of weapons and there's too much disinformation to cut through. Plus, I've already accepted the status quo. However, if gun owners become too smug I've always got my ace in the hole, "just as the government can't do anything to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands, so it can't do much to prevent illegal aliens from taking up residence on our soil." Gotta learn to live it!

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kijimuna.

Agreed on the spray-effect, you don't need to be accurate. And, yes, that pump-action sound gets attention.

FYI, I used to carry a gun but no longer do so. I grew up with guns as my grand-father had a large collection and we are a family of hunters.

In South Africa I carried more for my japanese GF's(now Wife) protection than my own. If she had to work over-time I waited for her to call me up than head out and escort her home with me on the bike riding behind.

Myself was on stand-by 24/7 due to the nature of my work. Was mucked twice there though, just lost the wallet both times. Both times I didn't carry which was lucky as they shoot you with your own gun.

South Africa is a rough place with 8yr olds getting killed for their bicycles and hi-jackers, etc carrying AK-47's(dirt cheap about $45). Plus, the criminals work in groups of 3+.

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For the record, yes, I am a MA and teach also been in the military. What those taught me is how to react/behave correctly in just such situations.

Like one of my sensei put it. You get in a fight there are 2 outcomes: You loose, lots of hurt and possible hospital. You Win, He in pain and possible hospital but you in trouble with the Law.

Also learned(the hard way) if you fight you WILL get hurt, regardless if you win or loose. First time you know that the opponent has a knife is when it sticks in your guts.

Nuff said.

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Though I can see some constraints placed on acquiring guns, I love the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I can see the beauty behind the documents.

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Kijimuna,

Obama does believe that gun ownership is an individual right, but that is not to the contrary of him saying that the court did not find for unrestricted ownership of guns.

Yes, every politician has to believe in guns and God. Or at least they have to say they do. So in making the transition from Chicago politics to national politics, Obama has to move to the center. This doesn't stop him from recognizing that handgun possession--legal or otherwise--is a problem.

A poor decision by the Supreme Court. Perhaps even a craven one.

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Sezwho, thanks for the reply. Agreed on your characterization of Obama's situation.

I don't agree on the court's decision as being craven. The Court came within a vote of mandating a mass confiscation of those 192mn guns. This issue was probably the most important of the Court's since Brown v. Board or Roe v. Wade. It will be the kind of issue for this year's campgain that abortion was in 1992. Repubs will hammer Obama on any support for the Chicago ban. Fear over Obama's sincerity will seriously undermine red state prospects that have looked good--watch the polls over the next few weeks. Both have to promise to pick justices that reinforce an individual's right. Obama now has to suppress urban anti-gun supporters more than he does his fans among gay marriage backers and muslims. You can bet that his voting record and news quotes over the years are getting fresh scrutiny. Not saying that this is how it should be, just saying that this is where we are.

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Wasn't Antonin Scalia a Bush appointee? he he. But anyway, so what if the Americans want to bare arms ... if they want to, let them. It's their neighborhood and if it is the only way of keeping that government in check, who could honestly say it was a bad thing?

It's the matter of them exporting them handguns (with one hand on the telephone - ha!) that is much more of a concern.

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... of course if there actually were (or ever should be) gun-toting, anti-government militia in the States, guess who would lobbying for stricter gun control ... the republican right! ha! what an interesting people the Americans.

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As for the US, the right to form militias and own real guns is one of the few redeeming features of the UN constitution and bill of rights. This is the only way citizens have to keep the gov't true to the people. The fact that most US citizens don't own guns might explain the current state of affairs in the US.

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As for the US, the right to form militias and own real guns is one of the few redeeming features of the UN constitution and bill of rights.

The problem lies in the unclear nature of the wording of the Second Amendment which includes "right," "bear" and "militia". Most gun-control advocates put more stock in the "militia" as conveying the intent; but it can be read by everyone in a way which supports his/her personal position on private gun ownership.

The ruling was landmark in that it moved away from militias. It will have little practical effect on gun ownership in America. In fact it probably would have been better for McCain if it had gone the other way in terms of galvanizing the base to turn out for him. But that's just speculation....

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So in making the transition from Chicago politics to national politics, Obama has to move to the center.

Ditto for Rudy Guiliani, except he didn't make it very far.

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This doesn't stop him from recognizing that handgun possession--legal or otherwise--is a problem.

The problem is the ease with which guns fall into the wrong hands. After the Virginia Tech massacre Guiliiani's successor, May Bloomberg, wanted to highlight lax background checks in southern states which are a problem for him, in a state with tighter requirements, in that four out five guns used in the commission of crimes in the Big Apple were purchased south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Canadians also want their government to be more vocal about smuggled guns from the US which are used in the commission of crimes in their country.

While someone bent on murder can certainly find a way, the ready access to firearms on the part of those looking to harm others too often culminates in multiple deaths as opposed the number which could be killed by, say, a knife.

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The right to bear arms is aimed at giving militias and individuals in those militias the right to own real guns (big meaty nastier the better guns). Everyone is focused on the self-defense vs. murder rate issue which is besides the point.

The "tree": self-defense vs. murder rate the "forest": right to form militias and right to bear arms

Yes, a few trees are going to get wacked. But that is not the point. It's whether the forest is going to be enslaved by one tree. The forest has the right to take out the enslaving tree for the good of the forest.

OK bonus question. When the forest takes out the enslaving tree is that considered murder or killing??

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NRA: "Guns don't kill people..."

But they sure do help! Just pointing at someone and saying "bang" doesn't do much damage.

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"Supreme Court says Constitution gives Americans right to own guns"

And these people get paid for telling us what we've known for 230 years?

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With the precipitous drop in the murder rate, there is absolutely no chance of this amendment being repealed. Now, drug dealers and gang bangers shoot to maim instead of shoot to kill. Who cares about a bunch of scumbags shooting another bunch of scumbags? If you don't like handguns, stay the h out of New Orleans, Memphis, Miami, etc. We can never get rid of them because the cops are always 20 minutes late.

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knucklerap,

I'm not sure what precipitous drop in the murder rate you are talking about, but if there has been any drop at all I doubt that it has been precipitous. That's kind of like saying that the price of oil plunged to $130 a barrel.

Here's an article that claims that while overall homicide rates remained flat, there was a pronounced upward spike in gun related homicides among young males.

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/maryland/doctor/blog/2008/06/gunrelated_homicide_among_youn.html

Due to the mysteries of the JT website, the link should be punctuated as:

... gunrelated_homicide ...

and then again as

... homicide_among ...

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Thing is, look at the recent attacks in Akihabara. Still think guns are necessary to kill lots of people? I don't Guns may be easier, but other weapons are just as dangerous.

I personally like the supreme court decision. Its the right one. It didn't say people can own whatever guns they want. It didn't say governments couldn't regulate who could own guns, or require them to be registered. It just said the DC gun ban was extreme, and it was. It basically said that no one could have a gun. Not even in their own home, and if you did, you couldn't load it, and had to have a lock on the trigger.

What so many people always fail to understand, is that criminals can always get weapons. Laws only work for those who obey the law. In other words, these laws only serve to keep guns out of the hands of people who would use them to hunt, or for self defense. Criminals will get them anyway, and use them to hurt/kill regardless.

This issue, as well as the oil issue could easily sink Obama campaign for President.

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Do people really think this issue will ruin Obama's chances of winning?!? If anything, it will allow him to ignore this wedge issue. The Supreme Court has made it's decision, regardless of it was the best one for the country, and now Obama can just deflect any questioning on the subject by saying that the Supreme Court has made it's decision and there is nothing that the President of the U.S. can currently do to change that (which is ultimately true. The U.S. President has very little that he/she can do to actively change gun laws in the country.)

And as for the actual ruling, I really think it's a ridiculous decision. The Second Amendment is completely irrelevant now. A "well regulated Militia" is not needed. The U.S. has a large standing military, a National Guard, and state & local police forces to protect the "security of [the] free State." The Second Amendment is not protecting the security of the State anymore, it's protecting the hobbies and interests of gun enthusiasts. Besides, the guns that they are referring to in the D.C. cases could probably never have even been imagined by the writers of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution needs to be relevant to the present, regardless of what was intended 200 years ago.

It's also a bit ironic that these judges who were appointed by conservatives essentially ruled against states and cities rights to decide their own gun regulations. Gun-use and culture in rural Montana is completely different from people living in D.C. or Chicago, and needs to be regulated accordingly.

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The murder rate in D.C. tripled under the gun ban. Check the facts for yourself -

[http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/dccrime.htm]

26.8 homicides per 100,000 people in 1976, when the ban became law. That was the lowest it would be for the next 30 years.

The murder rate peaked in 1991 at 80.6 homicides per 100,000 people.

The rate in West Virginia for the same period was 6.9 homicides per 100,000 people. [http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/wvcrime.htm]

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RedMeatKoolAid,

The murder rate may have tripled under the gun ban. It did not necessarily triple because of it.

Washington D.C. is a troubled city. Already in 1976 it's murder rate was nearly 3 times the national rate. Comparison to West Virginia is hardly valid.

If you think the cause of the increase in Washington D.C. is because of the handgun ban, I believe your thinking would be counter to that of Washinton D.C. officials and police officials in major cities across the US. But counter is not necessarily wrong, so please explain how that works.

The problems in D.C. are basically economic. There is a huge service industry supporting the intellectually gifted and those who, on taxpayer money, are well-heeled. These problems got worse over the period in question. In Washington D.C. all the best jobs are taken--by people from out of town.

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Sezwho, I don't think he was arguing causation. I think he was arguing that the ban did little to cut homicides, especially those involving guns. The causation argument is usually pushed by those in support of such bans.

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I think he was arguing that the ban did little to cut homicides, especially those involving guns.

When you compare DC's crime rates to that of neighboring Baltimore, much more similar to DC demographically than that state of WV, one can make that claim. Over the same period their crimes rates were parallel and Baltimore never implemented such a ban.

It's very difficult, when dealing with crime, to demonstrate any type of causation in part owing to the lack of suitable control groups as well as factors like culture which are difficult to operationalize.

As Justice Breyer noted in his dissent: “The proposition that strict gun laws cause crime is harder to accept than the proposition that strict gun laws in part grow out of the fact that a nation already has a higher crime rate.”

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Yes, a few trees are going to get wacked. But that is not the point.

You might feel differently if you or yours was the tree.

It's whether the forest is going to be enslaved by one tree. The forest has the right to take out the enslaving tree for the good of the forest.

Still no answer to my question of how you are suppose to accomplish anything on the job while simultaneously maintaining a high level of alert for co-worker meltdown (as apparently happened last week in Kentucky resulting in the deaths of six people including the shooter). The forest isn't going to grow under these circumstances.

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NRA: "Guns don't kill people..." But they sure do help! Just pointing at someone and saying "bang" doesn't do much damage."

Yes, Eddie Izzard had a good point there..

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RedMeatKoolAid,

You conveniently neglect to mention that the murder rate was back down to 35.4 by 2005. Gun laws aside, most cities experienced a crime wave in the 90s that has since receded.

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Kijimuna,

You could be right about that. However given that the overall murder rate increased by about 13% during the period in question, he made no argument to explain why there was a tripling of the murder rate in DC.

Likewise he did not show what the rate would have been had the gun ban not been in existence. So I think it is impossible for him to be arguing that the gun ban was not effective. He could say only say it did not solve the problem, not that it was ineffective.

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Revolvers and automatics are vestiges of 19th and 20th century frontier life, not 21st century urban life. Like in so many other aspects of life -- such as the way they squander energy -- Americans are living in the past. Scant wonder why they're falling behind the rest of the civilized world.

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By comparing Baltimore to Washington one can conclude that both the gun was ineffective and that private citizens in possession of guns also did little to decrease crime.

I believe if one ran the numbers, such as NYC did when it determined 4 or out 5 guns used in the commission of a crime in the Big Apple had been purchased south of the Mason-Dixon Line, one might come some measures which could reduce crime while maintaining the rights of gun owners. But the NRA seems so threatened by any change that they prefer to keep it a black and white issue.

"Outlaws," however, subsumes everyone from armed drug dealers to law abiding citizens who hit a run of bad luck and decide to exact revenge. It's not very helpful in preventing specific types of crime. After a visit by the SWAT to my work complex, we're not waiting for the government but trying to find ways to minimize the possibility a disgruntled employee, or former employee, showing up armed.

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Sezwho, I agree completely that the fact are murky when trying to sift through them for conclusions about the gun ban. The cause was crack cocaine. Some feel more comfortable dealing with that by criminalizing possession of handguns by anyone, others feel more comfortable by having their own or hiring armed guards, I guess. Too bad too many retrofit those preferences with fact. Personally, the longer I'm alive and the more government workers I meet, I abhor governmental paternalism increasingly.

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Other countries too have a liberal gun policy yet there is much less gun involved crime than USA. As the saying goes it is not guns who kill people it is people who kill people and more precise it is American people. If they want to have guns and kill each other in their home turf. I do not have a problem with that. THe crime rate in US is comparable of a third world country it could be because US is perhaps a thrid world country in many ways.

List of countries by homicide rate per year per 100,000 inhabitants

USA. 5.7 Albania 5.68 Palestine 4.04 Phillipines 4.31 Canada 1.85 Japan 1.10

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_homicide_rate

firearm-related death rate per 100,000 population in one year.

USA 3.72 France 0.44 Sweden 0.18

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

Americans can have their guns and it is American people with guns who kill people.

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Tell me, how many folks could the Aussie have picked off from a water tower with that ax? Hmmmm not many......well if he were Thor then he may have gotten a few more. LOL

Only in American can ya own a high powered weapon for.....wink wink hunting...AK 47s were made fer hunting baby.....Hunting what is the question.....

As the rest of the civilized world sits in shock of the shear violence of America`s societies want for blood she just keeps killing in numbers. One click click, two click click.....how many click clicks does it take for America to wake up and see that assault weapons are not for hunting......The world may never know......

Let the fur fly is what I say mates!!!!!

So in the words of the jock strap President, bring it on.......

Brought to you by the NRA........

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I seem to've misplaced my post.

Anybody seen it chattin' with other posts elsewhere?

Anyway, JayBee, I think if you had your druthers and no alternative, you'd rather be hit with a round from these so-called "assault rifles" than one from a deer rifle.

By da by, they ain't "assault rifles". The press is dumbin' you down, mon ami.

USAR

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Who would want to change 2 centuries of tradition? I, mean, there was only dynamite and guns back then so why change now?

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Would the Gun-Advocates, pls, give me their feelings on the recent "Horn" case in Texas and if he should have gotten free.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Horn_shooting_controversy

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Needs underscores after first and lastname.

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