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Gun Control Ineffective

By Merk00 in MLP
Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 09:07:14 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

The BBC has reported that a new study has suggested that handgun crime has risen 40% in the two years after handguns were banned in the UK. The conclusion drawn by researchers was that current regulations are targeting legitimate uses of hand guns as opposed to criminals. One important thing to note is that the study was commissioned by the Countryside Alliance's Campaign for Shooting.


Gun control is a lively and emotionally charged debate that has been ongoing for many years now. While the US has a tradition of private ownership of guns, many other western countries do not. The frequent reason cited for gun control is its perceived ability to reduce crime. This study, among others, has called this perceived reduction in crime into question. The issue is far from settled with many misgivings on both sides.

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Poll
What is your position on gun control?
o Strongly In Favor 22%
o In Favor 11%
o Neutral 7%
o Against 18%
o Strongly Against 35%
o Undecided 4%

Votes: 177
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Gun Control Ineffective | 88 comments (77 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
I guess it's like that NRA quote: (4.27 / 11) (#1)
by GusherJizmac on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 01:28:20 PM EST

"Outlawing guns ensures that only outlaws have guns".

Restricting citizens individual rights is not worth any percieved benefit. I mean, if there's a curfew for all citizens, that should reduce crime, right? The ends don't justify the means. And in this case, we are finding that there isn't even a justifiable "end"

Has any study ever concluded that handgun control laws actually reduced crime? I mean, drugs are illegal and plenty of people still use them.

Plus, gun control really seems like a political thing and not a way to actually solve a problem. To do that, you'd have to consider why crimes are committed and what alternatives exist to prevent them. Then, execute the most effective solution
<sig> G u s h e r J i z m a c </sig>

It's hard to draw any conclusions... (3.83 / 6) (#2)
by SIGFPE on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 01:29:36 PM EST

...from the article. It might be that in fact nothing whatsoever has changed except that there are now more handgun laws and so more activities that were once legal are now illegal.
SIGFPE
Impressive squirm (4.00 / 4) (#9)
by dennis on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:25:29 PM EST

"the use of handguns in crime rose by 40%"...seems pretty clear to me that they're talking about number of incidents in which a firearm was used in a robbery or other violent crime, not the number of prosecutions of otherwise innocent people for the crime of owning a gun. But, heck, whatever preserves your worldview...

[ Parent ]
It always seems clear... (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by SIGFPE on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 03:06:12 PM EST

seems pretty clear to me seems pretty clear to me
It always seems clear to those who wish to preserve their own worldview.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
Because... (none / 0) (#48)
by tekk on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 06:05:19 AM EST

Because there are people who wish to preserve this worldview -- usualy those who publish this kind of 'studies'. No sociological study can be conclusive on this scale after some 2 years or so.

And as a side note -- use of handguns also risen in Poland compared to the numbers from two years ago -- except there was no change in gun owning law here... Must be those pesky Brit tourists...



-- [tek.] a brand new way to peel an orange.
[ Parent ]
Touche (none / 0) (#60)
by dennis on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 03:07:01 PM EST

But do you honestly think, when someone in Britain talks about the increased use of guns by criminals, that they really aren't talking about guns being used in the commission of other crimes? If it were simply that people are being arrested for violating the new gun ownership laws, wouldn't that be a success of the new policy - effective enforcement - rather than failure? How can that translate to "criminals are using guns more often?"

I'm not going to argue that the gun laws are the cause of the crime increase. But let's at least be willing to look at what's actually happening. If the number of reported muggings with guns is going up, that's not a fancy statistical study, that's just a simple fact, and it shouldn't be glossed over.

[ Parent ]

Been saying this for quite some time (4.40 / 5) (#5)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:11:56 PM EST

Of course, having a British study point out the unbelievable increase in violent crime England has been undergoing is new, and having the AMA, of all people, admit that the Brady bill has had absolutely zero impact on violent crime (as the NRA predicted it would), and having that article published in the *Washington Post*, I think I'm going to go home and ask my friend satan what the weather is like in hell. Do you know how long it takes to get the pilot lit on that heater?
I'm just stunned that such a liberal magazine would report another liberal magazine eating crow. Maybe there is hope...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Washington Post (3.00 / 2) (#6)
by Merk00 on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:14:16 PM EST

First of all, just an FYI but the Washington Post article is about a year old (August 1, 2000). Second, I was always under the impression the Washington Post was a conservative newspaper.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Re: WP (3.50 / 2) (#10)
by jasonab on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:28:18 PM EST

Second, I was always under the impression the Washington Post was a conservative newspaper.
The Washington Times is an extremely conservative paper owned by the Moonies. The Post is a middle-to-left paper, that usually is fairly sensible about its stances. I read it every day, and I try to watch for which way they are leaning.

[ Parent ]
You don' t understand. (4.55 / 9) (#8)
by trhurler on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:20:56 PM EST

This is step one in the process by which liberals decide that even tighter and more draconian regulations are needed; first, you show that the present ones are useless. It always looks to sane people as though you should then remove them, to eliminate their downsides, but instead, the solution is - pour more poison into that gaping wound!

At any rate, what's really amusing is that violent crime has more than tripled since they banned handguns, and criminals have been more than a bit crafty in finding non-gun weaponry to use in beating each other and others, often to death. Meanwhile, the number of handguns in the hands of people who have committed violent crimes is skyrocketing, and there's not a private citizen in sight who can defend himself against any of these people. I suppose soon they'll call for a "policeman on every streetcorner" just like Clinton did, and of course, that's silly rhetoric...

I say, we stop with this welfare shit and just use the money to give everyone huge ass handguns and plenty of ammo, worldwide. Then, we suspend all violence laws for three days. At the end of that time, the remaining human population will be much, much wiser, both in total and on average, than what we have now:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
You've got it... (4.50 / 6) (#15)
by beergut on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 03:29:03 PM EST

This is step one in the process by which liberals decide that even tighter and more draconian regulations are needed; first, you show that the present ones are useless. It always looks to sane people as though you should then remove them, to eliminate their downsides, but instead, the solution is - pour more poison into that gaping wound!

This seems to be what I would consider the "ratchet" leftists (and, really, any big-government type) use to justify their own existence and their meddling in the affairs of private citizens.

More than just a way to beat a drum and attract attention to themselves (the ignorant, churlish, useful-idiot ones do this - but they don't know why,) this is actually a tool they use to further their policies (the ones "in charge" are masters of doing this subtly.)

More attention needs to be drawn to this aspect of leftist (and, indeed, statist) dogma and encroachments on the civil rights of citizens of our republic.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Of course (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 07:10:52 PM EST

The war on drugs fails on exactly this point, as well, as has the war on alcohol and abortion, to wit: if a significant minority wants to do it, there's no way to stop it. This will always be true of any form of prohibition, from speed limits to ownership of plutonium. To think otherwise is to stick one's head in the sand.
What bothers me the most is that all of these are really an appeal to fear: FEAR your neighbors for they might have guns. FEAR your daughter's boyfriend, for he might have sex with her. FEAR your child's school, for there might be pushers. FEAR what is on TV, because it might affect the actions of your child. NEVER TRUST your own children (offspring from your genes) for they might descend into the pit of drugs, sex and rock and roll and the only way to stop them is constant vigilance (this one was running as a TV spot here in CO), despite the fact that the one way to ensure that they become rebellious is to overly control them.
All because people don't have the cojones to realise that the world really sucks, is not fair, and the only rational adaptation is one where people are allowed to deal with these things that *will* happen.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
The big picture... (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by beergut on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 11:30:49 AM EST

All because people don't have the cojones to realise that the world really sucks, is not fair, and the only rational adaptation is one where people are allowed to deal with these things that *will* happen.

That requires the ability to think for oneself. That ability, my compadre, has been most meticulously drummed out of people since the 1960s. "The powers that be", whether that's corporations, government, or some "vast left-wing conspiracy", don't want people to think.

The government indoctrination centers ... oops, I meant "schools" ... don't train people to think, merely to submit and consume. No credence is given to independence or rational thought. People are spoonfed a ration of shit, and most parents are incapable of caring. Especially today, where they were fed the same ration, and their parents did nothing to correct that problem, so they don't know a problem even exists.

It breaks down like this:

  • Government jacks up tax rates, and fiddles with interest rates, making it necessary for both parents to work. Granted, lots of women want to work nowadays, because being at home can be boring as hell. (I would suggest homeschooling for a mental challenge.)
  • Both parents now work. This may be just to "get by", or to keep up with the Jones', because we just have to have a house as big as theirs, or whatever. No matter that Mrs. Jones stays at home and raises the kids, and that Mr. Jones is a fairly successful businessman. We have to have everything, because that's how we've been trained, and we can't think for ourselves, because we've never been shown the value in, or necessity for, doing so. It would be nice, though, if the government would come along and help us out by knocking those damned Joneses down a notch... rich bastards.
  • We don't get to spend time with the kids, and raise them right. Granted, since we were indoctrinated in our youths to the same standard, we wouldn't know how or where to begin. Obviously, since we were taught that only the government knows what is necessary to the success and proper rearing of our children, we should let the government teach them whatever lessons they want to teach them.
  • What? Materialistic, useless pieces of crap who can't read despite 13 years in government schools? I'm pissed. But, it's too late. Gee, maybe we should spend more money on education. Better go and vote for that school tax hike.
Bah. I've lost my train of thought. End rant.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

No need... (none / 0) (#38)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 12:15:01 AM EST

... for a policeman on every corner when you can use cameras. :)



[ Parent ]

Yeah, right... (none / 0) (#56)
by trhurler on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 11:59:50 AM EST

Most of the violent criminals in the US get caught - and they know they're going to get caught, sooner or later, as they generally admit. The thing is, they don't care enough to stop. So, why would they care about cameras? Further, who's going to pay to keep all those cameras working, and who's going to watch all of them, and who's going to fix them when some teenage idiot smashes them up, and so on? Cameras are a great supplemental defense for a small, well defined area with controlled access and human supervision, but in any other setting, they're like door locks - they keep honest people honest, and that's all they do.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Oh I didn't mean to give the impression... (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 02:20:19 PM EST

... that I liked the line of thinking in my above post. I was just pointing out the near inevitable. "Cop on every corner" lines win big with some major voting blocks in the USA, it seems like only a short step from there to ever-present technological substitutes.

Personally, I'm already planning on some phat shades as part of my future wearable. I figure the "my wearable" development timeline fits reasonably well with the "cop cameras on every corner" installation timeline. The man wants his camera, I'll get mine too. We can all be paranoid together.

Some facepaint fashion statements might be in order for public sojourns sans said phat shades. The worlds of political protest and fashion collide... or something. :)

I'm also considering the northern neighbor solution.

I knew that if I waited long enough I could find something on which you and I can agree. It would seem to me, that what fits is the ccd. (sorry, about needless rhyming, up all night, plittering mind.)



[ Parent ]

Hehe (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by trhurler on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 02:43:02 PM EST

I knew that if I waited long enough I could find something on which you and I can agree.
Odds are that if you take either traditional liberal social views or traditional conservative economic views, whichever ones you happen to be somewhat "extreme" in favor of coincide with my views on the same subject. Most people can find at least a few of these among their own ideas. Not surprisingly, there aren't a whole lot of people out there who will publicly admit to combining conservative social positions with liberal economic ones; authoritarianism just isn't all that defensible:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
So ... (none / 0) (#61)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 03:15:13 PM EST

... would that mix assent to something along the lines of "lots of freedom and few constraints for anyone except those (real or abstract entities) with lots of power"? I'm going for common ground type stuff, so that may not have had much content.

Personally, I think I'm in the realm of political agnosticism with lots of consideration given to egalitarianism, engineering feedback loops that use the positive aspects of my fellow social primates, and wariness of unintended emmergent properties/intelligences; oh, and a little thing I like to call experimental democracy (not too far from what I thought I was told, as a kid, the states were supposed to promote). I've got some hopes for distributed governments too, but those are quite subject to change since the evidence about their practical workings is near to nill at present. Basically, I'm pro good and anti bad.

Whatever. Here's hoping the bastards don't grind you down (where I'll reserve the right to define "the bastards" later, since we all very likely need some bit of grinding down). I guess you could say that my well-wishing wasn't really given to you so much as licensed. By you reading it, I'll just assume, in a legally binding way, that you agree to the terms. :)



[ Parent ]

Well, (4.00 / 1) (#62)
by trhurler on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 04:06:02 PM EST

You've got the general bent of my ideas, but there's a specific that is key. Basically, the only entity I think should face strong limits on its freedom of action is government, except when that action would violate someone else's rights. (And when I say someone, I mean an individual, not some abstract entity.)

I'm certainly no egalitarian, and I don't really think we need experimental governmental structures; a slightly modified version of the US Constitution combined with officials willing to enforce it properly would do just fine, I think.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
How's this? (none / 0) (#63)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 05:38:09 PM EST

Humans: usa const. type rights; else minimal limits
Government: usa const. type rights; else strong limits
Corporate type abstractions: government can limit; can't limit people

Does that capture a bit more?

I pretty much ceased to think in terms of rights and such some time ago (right about the time I started formally studying political philosophy, I think). I realized that increasing the level of abstraction in that manner was just taking me further from the few things that was actually sure about when it comes to these domains of thinking, acting, and organizing.

For instance, I am pretty sure that I'm just another human. A bit lucky in where and when I popped into existance with respect to many others, I suppose. Not as lucky as some others. Thus my default to egalitarian thinking. I figure, we all happen to fall on the some set of shoulders, us lucky ones get the giants, but since it could have very easily been the next guy in my place I don't feel entitled to all that much more than him.

I'm also pretty sure that change happens, and a line from 'ghost in the shell' rings true in my head. The line about how halting one's adaptions to new conditions is slow death. Thus my willingness to have the government and society try controlled experiments in how to do things. Careful experimentation, good data collection across various types trials, all followed by some rather clever thinking... hell, it worked for the harder sciences.



[ Parent ]

States as "laboratories for democracy". (4.50 / 2) (#64)
by beergut on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 05:46:21 PM EST

This is actually an idea that I agree with.

Think about it. Don't like the tax situation in California? Move to Georgia. Don't like the welfare programs in Colorado? Move to Wisconsin. Don't like all the immigrants in Texas? Move to South Dakota. Don't like schools in Louisiana? Move to Vermont.

In this way, there is "competition" among the states for the best and brightest Americans. Those who want to live on the dole can migrate to a state with a generous welfare program. Those who want to live by their wits can move to a state where there is no welfare program, and consequently vastly lower taxation.

The distortion in what could be a grand experiment comes from the highly centralized Federal Government.

Now we have a different ballgame. Don't like exorbitant taxation? Sorry - nowhere to turn. Don't like the war on drugs? Sorry - nowhere to turn. Don't like declining education? Sorry - nowhere to turn. Don't like welfare? Sorry - ... you get the idea.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Yeah, well... (none / 0) (#65)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 12:55:39 AM EST

... I might not really advocate whole great sums of radical differences between the states. And things like businesses playing states against one another, promoting "races to the bottom" on things like environmental regulations and such could get ugly. Still, I don't see why, if some people want to try some stuff, it shouldn't be considered and tested by some experimentation. I did toss in the term careful before, and I would hope that we could agree upfront about caution with variables we don't fully understand. Oh and a willingness to take what empirical info we can manage to get as actually, you know, able to shatter some of our own self delusions. :)

I'm perfectly happy to concede that the Federal Government needs to change over time and provide a force for unity. I was the one just saying that stagnation is bad, that goes for the role of the Fed.Gov. What does bug me are those issues where they can't technically make laws about what things, so instead they do things like "well, if you states all pass these laws for us, just like we want, we will give you the totally unrelated money that you must have for your roads, which we can make laws about."

That never really struck me as being, you know, in the spirit of things.



[ Parent ]

My thoughts (3.42 / 14) (#11)
by jd on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:36:22 PM EST

First, this study seems to be by a pro-shooting group. Hmmm. I wonder why they reached their conclusion. Couldn't be through any, ummm, bias, could it?

Second, for me, the argument was settled shortly after Dunblane. Not because of the massacre, as tragic as it was, but because of the pro-shooter's reactions. C'mon! The British equivalent of the NRA was trying to label the parents of the children killed as "alchoholic", drug abusers, etc.

The former president of the major English handgun groups, the Rt Hon. Sebastian Coe (also Olympic athlete) resigned, in his utter and absolute disgust as the FUD and abuse the shooters were flinging at the families of the victims. AFAIK, they have NEVER apologised for their slander, libel and abuse.

WHY were they flinging so much FUD? Because the families launched the Snowdrop Petition, calling on the Government to ban public ownership of guns.

In short, they didn't want a referendum. They didn't want it to go to a debate. Because they knew what the answer would be. The British Public don't own guns, in general. They never have, and probably never will. The British Police don't carry guns, either, and the opposition is so universal amongst the police officers themselves that that, also, might never change.

Don't blame the Government for this one. Don't blame the families of the victims. Blame those 2-3 million people, like myself, who signed that petition. Blame the shooters for preferring some of the most perverse abuse ever to be used in England, to rational debate. If you really like, blame the British for being British, and for believing that the Pen +IS+ mightier than the Sword.

The shooters' FUD made it all too clear to me. Guns, like lies, really do murder a part of your soul.

False Assertion #1 (3.50 / 4) (#18)
by ti dave on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 03:56:07 PM EST

"The British Police don't carry guns, either, and the opposition is so universal amongst the police officers themselves that that, also, might never change."

Select elements of British Police, particularly the Metropolitan Police, do carry firearms, and many other U.K. Police Departments maintain access to firearms at the stations.
How do you suppose your "universal opposition" allowed this Police access to firearms?
Were the firearms forced upon them?

Cheers,

ti dave

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
If the The British Police don't carry guns, (4.00 / 2) (#20)
by gridwerk on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 04:15:39 PM EST

I wonder what they shot and killed this sword weilding guy with? http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,2-2001241470,00.html

[ Parent ]
If you're replying to *my* comment, you should... (none / 0) (#21)
by ti dave on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 04:22:31 PM EST

read it again.
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Yes. (3.60 / 5) (#24)
by jd on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 04:39:53 PM EST

The "select elements" (also known as the Armed Response Units) are just that. Selected. That particular division doesn't ask for volunteers. If you're in the police, and you're picked, AND you pass the various psychological and physiological tests, THEN you're a part of that unit. You don't ask to belong, and the only ways to not be involved are to either quit, or deliberately mess up on the tests.

At a national referendum of police officers, shortly after Dunblane, 98% (that's damn near universal, IMHO) voted AGAINST firearms, some citing the extremely high danger they create for officers and civilians in other countries. (More people are killed accidently by police weapons in, say, Sweden, than through deliberate usage.)

The guns at police stations are imposed by the Home Secretary, who mandates what police stations WILL have and what police officers WILL carry. The police stations, and the various Chief Constables in each area, have NO power to refuse. The police are NOT autonomous, and are ruled by absolute power. There's no vote involved.

Given the scandal of the West Midland's Serious Crime Squad (where torture was routinely used to extract confessions), it's good that guns are NOT more widely available to the police, and a sign of considerable humility. Which is good! (Humility != Humiliation. The two are VERY different.)

The =REAL= track record speaks for itself. Most of the deaths involving weapons and some form of security organization in Britain and Northern Ireland in the past 20 years, is mostly through political assassinations carried out by the SAS and RUC. I can think of only 2, maybe 3 people killed in my lifetime, in England, by someone from an Armed Response Unit.

Compare that to the United States, where gunfights with the police are an every-day thing. In theory, this should never happen at all. Guns don't just magically appear and fire themselves. American police know intimidation, fear and other forms of manipulation through power. But their knowledge of psychology is non-existant.

A police officer who knows how to disarm a situation is 99.9% towards disarming any criminal. That last 0.1% is not trivial, but it's a much smaller bite.

A police officer who is heavily-armed, and goes in, oozing barely-controlled rage, a near-psychotic hatred of anyone different (in any sense of the word), and with NO intention of taking prisoners, is going to get shot at. Sure, the criminal still has a choice, but a cornered animal WILL bite. (Well, excluding slugs, which don't have teeth.)

If you don't have a gun, you've two choices. Learn to talk, or learn to dodge. The British are natural talkers. They're naturally empathic. It's a part of that culture, right down to the archetype of the little old lady who'll offer to listen to your problems over a cup of tea.

I didn't see those officers offering Rodney King any tea.

Doesn't matter if they thought him armed, dangerous or republican. (How do you tell the difference, anyway?) The fact is, those cops did the only thing they've ever been trained to do - apply force. Violently. And lots of it.

I didn't see the police in Seattle offer any of those protestors any tea, either.

Doesn't matter if someone decided protest marches should be illegal. Doesn't even matter if some of them threw stones or molotovs. The response was something Pavlov could only have marvelled at. Sheer, unthinking, trained reactions. No "acting on life, rather than reacting to it". That was sheer animal rage that we saw.

If those police had no tear gas, no water cannons, no guns, no armor to hide behind, just a deep understanding of people, there would have been no "riot", no violence, no injuries.

"Wars do not make one great" is a very true statement. In Star Wars, the test of a Jedi was when you could face your fears, your dangers, WITHOUT the "benefit" of a lightsaber.

In the "real world", the same is true, every day of our lives. If we met every "threat", real or imagined, with ever-increasing firepower, we wouldn't live any longer. We'd just make sure that nothing round us did, either. Is that any way to live? It's so.... ....pathetic.

I will believe that America has freedom when the US Police unilaterally put down EVERY weapon they posess, and confront problems with their mind, rather than their substitute for their manhood. When arrogance is confronted with humility, when violence is fought with peace, when anger is fought with compassion... THEN you will have a country worth living in.

[ Parent ]

OT: Slugs have teeth (2.00 / 2) (#28)
by flimflam on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 06:05:45 PM EST

27,000 of them, in fact:
http://www.webelegance.com/slug/slug-diagrams.html

Of course they're on the tongue, so they still don't really bite.

-- I am always optimistic, but frankly there is no hope. --Hosni Mubarek
[ Parent ]
Aieeeeeeeeee! (4.60 / 5) (#36)
by Danse on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 08:32:45 PM EST

Your post is more full of unsupported claims than I thought possible! The mind boggles!

(More people are killed accidently by police weapons in, say, Sweden, than through deliberate usage.)

A link please? Any reference?

Given the scandal of the West Midland's Serious Crime Squad (where torture was routinely used to extract confessions), it's good that guns are NOT more widely available to the police, and a sign of considerable humility. Which is good!

I don't see the connection between torture and guns. Are you saying that if they had guns they would torture people more? That they would shoot them instead? What are you claiming here?

Most of the deaths involving weapons and some form of security organization in Britain and Northern Ireland in the past 20 years, is mostly through political assassinations carried out by the SAS and RUC.

Again, support your claim. Reference?

American police know intimidation, fear and other forms of manipulation through power. But their knowledge of psychology is non-existant.

Actually most US police do receive training in dealing with suspects which includes some psychology. However, you might want to consider that different cultures require different methods. Maybe a British criminal is more likely to just hand over his weapon and go peacefully. Maybe an American criminal is more likely to try to shoot his way out. US police have been dealing with this culture for decades. They probably know better than the British how to deal with it. Remember what happened last time the British tried to deal with pissed off Americans? (ok ok.. that was a joke ;)

A police officer who is heavily-armed, and goes in, oozing barely-controlled rage, a near-psychotic hatred of anyone different (in any sense of the word), and with NO intention of taking prisoners, is going to get shot at. Sure, the criminal still has a choice, but a cornered animal WILL bite. (Well, excluding slugs, which don't have teeth.)

Oh come on! Can you be a little more dramatic and biased please?? I really doubt it. First of all, such a cop probably wouldn't last long on the force as other cops wouldn't want to be around him. Second, most of our police are not heavily armed. They have about the same sort of weapons that the suspects they encounter are likely have. The heavily armed cops aren't called in until the negotiations have failed and something needs to be done or if people's lives are in immediate danger.

If you don't have a gun, you've two choices. Learn to talk, or learn to dodge. The British are natural talkers. They're naturally empathic. It's a part of that culture, right down to the archetype of the little old lady who'll offer to listen to your problems over a cup of tea.

Bottom line: talking doesn't always work. When it doesn't, you'd better be prepared to defend yourself. If you're a police officer you'd better be prepared to kill a suspect who is threatening to kill you or another person. They almost always try talking first. The cop doesn't want to get shot either. If he can talk someone into dropping their weapon, he'll do it. If it looks like he's about to be shot, he'll shoot first. Moral of the story, don't point guns at cops unless you want to get shot.

Now yes, cops screw up, sometimes badly. Yes, there are bad cops, corrupt cops, inept cops, etc. I don't like the thought of coming in contact with them myself. They do sometimes kill innocent people. When that happens I think they should face prosecution if it was through negligence or for some similar reason. Like those cops in New York that shot Amidu Dialla (i'm guessing at the spelling). From all the information that was made public, I thought they should have gone to jail, all of them.

The fact is, those cops did the only thing they've ever been trained to do - apply force. Violently. And lots of it.

Sorry, but what they did is not what they are trained to do. They were out of control. When things like that happen, the cops should be put in jail.

If those police had no tear gas, no water cannons, no guns, no armor to hide behind, just a deep understanding of people, there would have been no "riot", no violence, no injuries.

LOL! How can you say this??? What evidence do you have to support it? Most of the people there WERE peaceful. The cops WERE out of line and deserve to be punished for it. Those that were actually rioting and destroying shops and whatnot would likely have done it anyway. You'd still have violence and injuries. A lot more police would probably have been hurt though.

"Wars do not make one great" is a very true statement. In Star Wars, the test of a Jedi was when you could face your fears, your dangers, WITHOUT the "benefit" of a lightsaber.

Too bad Yoda isn't available to train police forces. Then they could just wave their hands and say "You don't need the weapon. Put the weapon down." Then the criminal would say "I don't need this weapon. I'm going to kick it over to you." And then all would be well.

I will believe that America has freedom when the US Police unilaterally put down EVERY weapon they posess, and confront problems with their mind, rather than their substitute for their manhood. When arrogance is confronted with humility, when violence is fought with peace, when anger is fought with compassion... THEN you will have a country worth living in.

Thank $deity you aren't in charge then. The fact is that there are violent people out there. Plenty of them. Many of them are mentally unstable. They don't see things the way other people do. If the cops did as you suggest, then those people willing to use violence would run the country because nobody would oppose them with anything but words. Words lose out when someone doesn't care to listen to what you have to say.

Personally, I only get one shot at life. I don't plan to let someone take that from me. Guns will always be available to criminals. And even if they weren't, I'm not built to defend myself against a 250 pound guy with an aluminum bat either. The police aren't there to defend me. I have to do that for myself. I can call the 911 emergency number and report a break in, but the police will never be able to arrive in time to do anything about it. If the intruder intends to harm me, I have to defend myself. Guns happen to be the best tool for the job. If I get the oportunity, I'll certainly try talking first. If talk fails, force is the only option left to defend yourself. I intend to be able to do just that.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
I enjoyed your treatise, but... (none / 0) (#42)
by ti dave on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 04:20:37 AM EST

"Most of the deaths involving weapons and some form of security organization in Britain and Northern Ireland in the past 20 years, is mostly through political assassinations carried out by the SAS and RUC."

I think it's a bit of a stretch to define the SAS as merely a form of security organization. They are, as you may well know, a military organization. The mission of the SAS in Ulster, is executed in a manner that is different than the RUC or the RMP. Same goals, just a different approach to solving the problems.

Your characterization of the Armed Response Units definately caught my attention. Here in the U.S., a police position that incurs additional risk, is usually filled by volunteers.

I had to chuckle to myself as I read your response. If you haven't noticed my .sig, I should point out that I have several years of Police experience, and many of the points you made rang true to me.

I'm particularly interested in the U.K. Police Forces, as I've spent about 3 years working with some very sharp members of the RMP, several of whom have gone in to Civilian Policing in the U.K.
I don't envy the difficult circumstances they face every day.

Cheers,

ti dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Inaccuracy (5.00 / 2) (#53)
by Merk00 on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 08:06:39 AM EST

Despite the many inaccuracies in your post, I'll concentrate on this one:
Compare that to the United States, where gunfights with the police are an every-day thing.
Where does that come from? Contrary to what Hollywood have you believe, gunfights with police are not an everyday thing in the United States. Most police officers have never fired their gun in the line of duty. Oddly enough, the last killing by police I can think of was by British police (although this did happen yesterday). As far as normal killing's by police, the last one in this area was several years ago. Police extremely infrequently discharge their weapons.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

oh come on... (none / 0) (#47)
by tombuck on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 05:52:21 AM EST

Select elements of British Police, particularly the Metropolitan Police, do carry firearms, and many other U.K. Police Departments maintain access to firearms at the stations.

Yes, the emphasis is on select. I have only once seen a London copper with a handgun - sitting outside the Red Lion pub, Westminster, having a pint, my flatmate noticed that the the copper guarding the entrance to a large, important-looking government building was wearing motorcycle leathers.
A while later, the policeman biked off slowly, and we both noticed that he had a handgun on his thigh.

To say that we were both shocked was to underestimate.

People in England aren't used to even seeing guns. I wouldn't know what sound they made other than a generic "bang". The only other time I have seen a gun was when I was in Florida - a disturbance had occured in my hotel, and a cop came round asking if anyone had heard anything. I hadn't, but I did get rather anxious after noticing the gun hanging down from under his arm.

Don't legalise guns over here - none of us want them !

--
Give me yer cash!
[ Parent ]

ignoring your opinion because of your bias (3.75 / 4) (#23)
by cory on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 04:37:02 PM EST

"First, this study seems to be by a pro-shooting group. Hmmm. I wonder why they reached their conclusion. Couldn't be through any, ummm, bias, could it?"

Yes, there could be a bias from this group which colors their conclusions. But, could it be that your own bias against guns makes you assume that anyone who is pro-gun is evil? Guess we should just ignore your opinion then?

Cory


[ Parent ]
skeptical (3.50 / 4) (#27)
by flimflam on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 05:55:36 PM EST

But, could it be that your own bias against guns makes you assume that anyone who is pro-gun is evil? Guess we should just ignore your opinion then?
The problem isn't with any group expressing their opinion, if it is labeled as such, but in opinions masquerading as scientific fact. The fact is that without knowing the methodology of this study there is no way to evaluate its accuracy, and considering that the group that funded the study has a decided stake in the outcome, it certainly seems reasonable to me to be skeptical.

-- I am always optimistic, but frankly there is no hope. --Hosni Mubarek
[ Parent ]
I modded you up (none / 0) (#88)
by weirdling on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 06:51:01 PM EST

Because I think that gun rights advocates need to understand rhetoric and politics better. The NRA, for instance, accepted the 'Standard Model' of gun control a while ago, which is where the myth that the second amendment only protects sporting arms (the one type of arm it expressly does not protect), and leading to the venemous debate we see today.

I am very sorry for the victims of your massacre. However, in the interest of sanity, is it not possible, as has happened several times here in the US, that an armed populace could have stopped the massacre? Concealed-carry penetration of just 30% would be high enough to practically guarantee that any massacre that had more than five people involved would also involve one owner of a weapon, who could effectively respond.

As to bias, it is one of the more common fallacies to assume your opponent is wrong simply because he cites sources funded by groups that disagree with you or sources that traditionally disagree with you. However, the book, 'More Guns, Less Crime' is the definitive work from a criminology standpoint, demonstrating very carefully, with full disclosure of methodology, that more guns in society does indeed mean less crime.

As to guns murdering part of the soul, I would have to disagree. Take away my guns and you will take away part of my soul, not to mention my dignity of existence. That you do not prefer to have a gun and that you believe that said are evil is fine with me, but some of us have the warrior ethos, and removing our tools of trade is like removing a painter's easel or a musicians instrument; it will result in significant unhappiness on the part of the person you have deprived.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
this is a trick article (3.00 / 8) (#12)
by zzzeek on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:45:08 PM EST

The sentence "The conclusion drawn by researchers was that current regulations are targeting legitimate uses of hand guns " tipped me off to this idea:

1. take a country that has no gun control laws.
2. last year, the country had 100,000 gun related crimes.
3. the country has 40,000 legal owners of handguns.
4. now, make a new law. Ban all handguns, to possess a handgun is now illegal.
5. Assume the previous 100,000 crimes/year rate of crime stays the same. Except, now there are 40,000 more people who are breaking the law by owning a handgun. Country's rate of gun-related crime has gone up 40% upon institution of gun control laws!

Duh! If you criminalize something that was previously legal, of course the rate of law-breaking will go up!


Not a Trick (4.00 / 5) (#13)
by Merk00 on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:49:13 PM EST

A good portion of the gun owners turned in their guns. According to the BBC, 160,000 guns were turned in. So I don't think the vast majority of the crime increase comes from owned handguns.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

this is *not necessarily* a trick article (3.80 / 5) (#30)
by eightball on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 06:24:52 PM EST

The article says "the use of handguns in crime rose by 40% in the two years ...". Use of guns in crime, not merely gun related crime.

So I guess your suggestion would make sense if all of the crime being purpetrated made handy use of handguns to keep small bits of paper (such as currency) from flying around. Now when criminals use handguns in this fashion, they get charged with another crime.. oh my..

If the article is misleading, do the homework and you will be rewarded.

I probably should have just moderated, but faulty logic is a little pet peeve of mine. sorry

[ Parent ]
Law-abiding citizens (none / 0) (#87)
by weirdling on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 06:28:32 PM EST

This is what pisses me off most about the gun-control people: they insist that I must be a criminal waiting to happen because I own a gun. You can't confuse the means with the will. Criminals commit crime; law-abiding citzens do not.

As a friend of mine once said, he put his gun on a coffee table and watched it for three hours to see if it'd kill anyone or kill him, and it didn't. It was loaded and everything.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
culture and one-time pads (4.63 / 11) (#22)
by Nyarlathotep on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 04:29:53 PM EST

First, the UK is *very* diffrent from the US culturally and politically. There is absolutly no reason to expect that handgun ownership would have the same effects on crime (positive or negitive).

Personally, I support gun ownership within the US since the US is an execptionally powerful nation with a lot of nutcases (and civil war is preferable to world war). I don't give a shit if the UK takes away all guns since they are not very dangerous to the rest of the world.

Second, there is a very simple solution to the "law enforcment vs. gun owners" debate here (I post this to every gun control story). The manufactors can attach a (difficult to alter/remove) serial number and one-time pad (random data) to every gun. If you purchas the gun then the serial number and the XOR of your identity and the pad are submitted to the government. Now the government can never find out who your were unless they physically have the gun, i.e. they found it during the investigation of a crime. The end result is that gun owners have privacy, the government can not just pass a law requiring all the people on the list to give up their guns, and the government gets to track down people who sell their guns to criminals.

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
wow ... interesting idea (none / 0) (#33)
by MoxFulder on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 07:31:22 PM EST

this encryption-based gun identification idea sounds very interesting to me. it would protect lawful gun owners' identities while punishing criminals who own guns and those who supply them. where did you hear about this idea? how feasible would it be to actually implement?

"If good things lasted forever, would we realize how special they are?"
--Calvin and Hobbes


[ Parent ]
details (4.00 / 1) (#45)
by Nyarlathotep on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 04:47:07 AM EST

where did you hear about this idea?

I came up with it myself after about 2 min. of a gun advocate explaining the real reasons why the NRA opposes registration (but it's so trivial that I doubt I'm the first one).

how feasible would it be to actually implement?

I'm pretty shure that creating difficult to remove markings is well within the current scope of our technology. The only real question is mass producing distinct markings.

The more interesting question is "How can we prevent the gun makers and resellers from giving the one-time pads to the gov. when they make the gun?" Personally, I think this job should fall to the NRA and the law should make it as easy as possible for the NRA to monitor the anonymity of production and resale. I mean lets face it the people making and selling the guns are NRA members anyway, so why not have a few secretly report when they see suspicious behavior at the plant arround the chemical douping vats. The criminals would then all buy their guns from a non-suspicious manufactur, so the gov. would get zero useful information.


Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]

Firearm registration (5.00 / 2) (#37)
by sigwinch on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 12:11:47 AM EST

I don't give a shit if the UK takes away all guns since they are not very dangerous to the rest of the world.
Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future. Britain ruled much of the world once, and there is no reason to suspect they won't do it again. The relevant question is not whether they have the will to project power today, the question is what sort of people will they be when they decide to. Will they be free men who fear neither their gov't nor any other gov't? Or will they be pawns of a centralized despotic gov't?
Second, there is a very simple solution to the "law enforcment vs. gun owners" debate here (I post this to every gun control story). The manufactors can attach a (difficult to alter/remove) serial number and one-time pad (random data) to every gun.
And what's to keep the gov't from leaning on the manufacturers and making them record the pads? Nothing. What's to keep the seller from passing your name along to the gov't? Nothing. This scheme places absolute trust in people who do not warrant it.

Moreover, this only works if the gunsmiths cooperate. A gun is just a metal tube with a fancy cap on one end. Crude pistols can be easily fabricated by just about anyone with a little time and money on their hands. Good pistols are harder, but any town of more than 20,000 people has dozens of craftsmen who can do it. Trying to outlaw guns is like trying to outlaw electric motors.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

NRA (4.50 / 2) (#44)
by Nyarlathotep on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 04:32:38 AM EST

And what's to keep the gov't from leaning on the manufacturers and making them record the pads? Nothing. What's to keep the seller from passing your name along to the gov't? Nothing. This scheme places absolute trust in people who do not warrant it.

That would be the job of the NRA. Clearly, any reasonable law would include strong public disclusure and monitoring rules for these markings.

Oh, wait I forgot that all our laws are created with a black and white view of the world, so it will always be "gun advocates win" or "gun control advocates win" never both. :)

Anyway, if your passing a gun control law with the expressed intention of keeping the list of gun owners out of the gov. hands it's not hard to go the extra mile and make it work. The problem is getting the gun control advocates to accept that anonymous gun ownership is a good thing.


Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]

culture and one-time pads (5.00 / 1) (#66)
by hadashi on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 01:49:54 AM EST

Nyarlathotep wrote:
Personally, I support gun ownership within the US since the US is an execptionally powerful nation with a lot of nutcases (and civil war is preferable to world war). I don't give a shit if the UK takes away all guns since they are not very dangerous to the rest of the world.

Speaking as a citizen of the USA (only), I can't agree with this.

The right to defend oneself, and to have the instruments and tools necessary to do this, is an innate human right.

IMHO, it does not recognize national boundary lines. I'm just as concerned about British women who are raped at knifepoint - and unable to defend themselves - as I am about a woman living in New York City who is in the same situation.
-- If the .sig fits...
[ Parent ]

Pointless excercise (none / 0) (#86)
by weirdling on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 06:23:36 PM EST

Do you know how often gun registration helps solve cases? That's right; almost never. In many jurisdictions with 100% gun registration, there has *never* been a crime solved by registration. Law-abiding citizens do not commit crime and criminals tend to use stolen or otherwise nefariously acquired guns, so any registration system is just an onerous burden on those who legally own guns and worthless to the general population, no matter how clever.

What I'd much rather prefer, were it not likely to result in aiding confiscation, is a system whereby I can obtain a reasonably-priced liscence that permits me to carry a gun *anywhere* without fear of prosecution and allows me to own *any* type of small arm. That way, if you catch me with a machine-pistol that I'm carrying concealed, I whip out my neato permit & certificate of sanity along with my competency certificate for machine-pistols, and you let me go. However, nobody is interested in compromises, so the gun lobby has grown wary of accepting anything that even remotely smells like one. Here in CO, a law has been recently passed that requires that all concealed-carry liscence holders have their names and addresses *publicly listed* just like sex offenders, so that *anyone* can find out who they are. Thanks, guys. Now, if the statewide shall-issue concealed-carry law had passed at the same time, I wouldn't be so pissed, but hey, the anti-gun people aren't interested in reducing violence; that is best done by giving people guns, not vice versa; they're interested in removing guns from society, so no compromise will ever happen there...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
gun control (3.50 / 4) (#34)
by strlen on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 08:04:25 PM EST

i think that taking away all the guns in the united states would be useless, in this case you're really going to have a situation where only criminals have gun. many european countries never had the "right to bear arms" in the first place (england is an exception), so i could see how they have a lower crime rate. a better idea would be to do what Narlyahotep suggested below using encryption.Not to mention that there would still be unsolved problems: todays private guns won't be able to effectively fight an arm, and US still maintains a cowboy mentality, so there's always the chance guns will be used by vigilantes, lynch mobs, bigots, "Patriots" to erect a perverted form of mob justice. I personally think criminals don't deserve to be shot on sight, unless it's an act of defending life or limb and I personally wouldn't be able to shoot someone who tries to steal my car or damage my property. i'd personally hate to see what sort of justice a bunch of angry rednecks will provide to "reduce the crime rate".

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
Is this really a suprise? (4.66 / 6) (#35)
by Sheepdot on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 08:10:49 PM EST

First off I'd like to comment on some comments I've been seen made here regarding handguns being banned and previous owners now violating the laws: it really appears few of you read the article.

The Centre for Defence Studies at Kings College in London, which carried out the research, said the number of crimes in which a handgun was reported increased from 2,648 in 1997/98 to 3,685 in 1999/2000.

I'm not from the UK. After reading this article I talked to a buddy I know who lives there cause this intrigued me due to a similar result after Austrailia banned guns. He told me that basically arrests of handgun owners have not been occuring, either through a lack of concern amongst local authorities, or fear of gun clubs reactions to an arrest. Ultimately, he figured that none of the "crimes" were related to soley illegal handgun ownership. You can feel free to take his word with a grain of salt.

It also said there was no link between high levels of gun crime and areas where there were still high levels of lawful gun possession.

Of the 20 police areas with the lowest number of legally held firearms, 10 had an above average level of gun crime.

And of the 20 police areas with the highest levels of legally held guns only two had armed crime levels above the average.

Well, I don't know if the author of the story knows what a "link" is, but he says there isn't one and then attempts to draw a link between lawful ownership of guns in areas that have lower crime levels.

I think it is a given that armed robberies increase after criminals realize that less citizens own guns. The results from Austrailia, where armed robberies were on a steady decline for 25 years till they banned guns and they jumped enormously, 44%, go to show that sometimes the obvious arguments really need to be heeded.

I'm not saying that gun control is a failure. After several years of banning guns, you are going to have less gun-related crime. But I *am* saying that if you want a country that values liberty over social conscience, gun control is merely a way to herd your sheep around to the way *you* see fit.

Societies with gun control restrictions look ever so much more appealing to would-be dictators like Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin.

I remind myself daily that there are people out there that are more socially adept than I, and one day, one of them may use their public relations skills to become a potential dictator. That is why I try my hardest not to give them the tools necessary to destroy my life.


This is easily explained (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by nobbystyles on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 05:20:59 AM EST

The areas with the highest number of legally held guns tend to be rural areas with lower incidences of virtually all crime wheras low numbers of legally held weapons occur in urban areas with higher levels of crime. So this statistic is nice and convenient for Ukian gun lobby.

I think the rise in gun crime in the UK is due to the increasingly fragmented drugs trade. Most gun incidents are turf arguments or about financial aspects of trade. Armed robbery has actually decreased over the course of the decade.

[ Parent ]
Firearms are half a millenium old technology, (3.00 / 8) (#39)
by calloc on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 12:57:42 AM EST

A poor man with tools from Lowes and a book, could start making firearms in his basement. Next the government will outlaw levers .... many men were killed by evil levers. Oh my, gun triggers are levers, why not just outlaw the levers, there by killing two birds with one stone ! Damn stones, they kill too, lets outlaw the evil stones !

Process, for those interested (none / 0) (#85)
by weirdling on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 06:14:23 PM EST

Take a rod of some sort, the diameter of the round you wish to fire, score rifling marks on the outside of it, cover it in grease, take a piece of metal the width of the diameter of the above rod plus a small fraction, and the length of the expected barrel, put the whole thing in a giant roll-press or hammer it around by hand, so that the metal piece wraps around the rod. Now, pound the *^&$%#$ out of the seam to hammer-weld it, put the whole assembly on a lathe and turn off the excess barrel diameter to reduce weight, put it in a press and drive out the piece of metal that formed the rifling, and you have a barrel. Machine in the receiver parts (rolling blocks are easiest), and you have a repeating rifle.

Another method: take a piece of metal the length of the barrel, but square equal to a little bit more than the diameter of the receiver. Drill out a hole about the size of the inside diameter of the expected rifling (*NOT* the diameter of the bullet), then choose between the following:

Take scree rods (rods with a very hard steel hook on them that can cut metal) and pull them through time after time to cut the rifling. This is very time-consuming.

Take a button (plug of metal that has the rifling reverse-image cut out of it) and ram it through. This has advantages in that it is less time consuming, and also cuts rifling that decreases in radius for the length of the gun, which is a good thing. However, it is hideous on metallurgy, although not as bad as cold-rolled described above. So, once done, to create a quality barrel, cryogenically freeze the barrel and let it heat up a couple of times to re-align the lattice, and you have a superior barrel.

Now, machine the receiver bits for the rifle and you're done.

Alternatively, you can make a 9MM pistol with stamped steel parts and a welded unrifled barrel relatively easily, and it can be fully-automatic (actually easier than semi-automatic), with a huge clip. Just do a search on the 'Sten' gun from WWII. Total cost of materials and assemblage: about $9 or so. Yes, it sucks, but it is a submachinegun...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
A UK reaction (4.75 / 8) (#40)
by THoliC on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 02:00:48 AM EST

Morning,

Despite being potential flamebait, I read this thread with interest - hearing different perspectives on our problems over here is always fascinating and often illuminating.

Being from the UK, I felt there were a few things I should point out - elements that have been touched on elsewhere but not clarified.

Firstly, the notion that our police are 'gunless' is more than a bit illusory. As previous posters have mentioned, the average policeman on the beat or in a patrol car does not carry a gun over here; this is in order to avoid adding unnecessary tension to perhaps already-heated situations (studies show that the mere presence of a handgun makes adrenaline levels climb and anxiety increase by many factors); It is also based on the theory that 'tooling up' the average policeman will simply be added incentive for potential criminals to 'tool up' to greater degrees than they currently do. It is also, strange as it may seem to the eyes of Americans, to do with preventing the dissemination of weapons (explored in the next paragraph). Having said all that, the British Police are actually 'armed to the teeth' - it's just that they choose not to show it. In every jurisdictional area there are a number of ARU's (Armed Response Units), which are basically cars containing a small arsenal and specifically trained officers (the theory being that they can deploy quickly and 'as needed'). I'm not a firearms expert/fanatic but I know that, unlike most american police officers, these ARU's generally carry and use the same H+K submachine guns that the SAS use, not simple handguns: I can assure you it is quite a nerve-wracking experience to even catch a glimpse of these whilst going about your daily business - I'd hate to actually be actively 'pursued' by them. On top of this there are other, even more specialised, units as well.

Secondly, our country is not in any way gun-oriented to the same degree as the USA. This is a point I feel that I have to clarify as it seems like it might have been mis-perceived in previous posts: Handguns have NEVER been LEGAL over here in the same sense that 'legal' is meant in many States of the US. Prior to this legislation, the only groups that actually used/owned handguns were a.) those involved in veterinary work, farming and agriculture and b.) gun hobbyists (who were a very small minority). Even when handguns (and I want to stress that it is only handguns that have been banned - rifles and shotguns are still legal) were 'legal' over here, you'd have to go through many reams of paperwork, credit and history checks in order to qualify for a license to use them; A relative of mine (a farmer)was once refused a 'shotgun certificate'(far more easily available than a 'firearms license' in the days of 'legal' handguns) on the grounds of being a member of Greenpeace!! - you get my point - it has NEVER been like Texas over here. (Before I get flamed, I want to point out that - Yes, I've visited and lived in the States so I have some small experience of the Country). This is also where my point about armed police from earlier comes in: In a country where it has, for decades, been incredibly hard to get hold of handguns (either legally or illegally), it is simply not a good idea to make 'assaulting a policeman' one of the easiest ways of achieving this aim. It is generally felt, over here, that for the most part shootings are confined to within the criminal fraternity. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of illegal weapons, but a.) this is generally due to many factors that have nothing to do with the handgun ban and b.) 'Handguns' (as a concept, as a right, as a topic of discussion and as an actual implement/tool) have very little impact on the general UK populace who are not involved in crime or crime prevention.

As to how this pertains to the report in question I do not know. My point here is that comparing the UK with the US on this subject (in ANY way) should NOT be done. I'm fully in favour of handguns being (remaining) banned OVER HERE - but would not feel overtly qualified to speak on the subject of banning them in the US. It is a fundamental culture difference - the seeds of which go back over hundreds of years - it would not be right, or statistically correct, for either side of the US 'gun argument' to take these UK figures as evidence for their point of view: The paradigm is simply not transferable - you must come to the decision from your own angle, with evidence completely as it relates directly to your own life experiences and your own country.

I have family in the States and even they, coming from the UK, are divided on whether handgun control would be a good thing for the US. If even they are divided, coming from a 'gun-control' country, I guess this thing will run and run when all the citizens of the USA have their fourpenne'th (or two cents worth - as is more common with you guys).
Cheers


"Wanderlust,
has got us both,
looking for a bed today..."

Additional! (4.00 / 1) (#41)
by THoliC on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 03:09:42 AM EST

Immediately after posting the last comment, I caught a BBC broadcast that said that a man who was shot dead in Brixton (South London) yesterday by one of the aforementioned ARU's turned out to be carrying a cigarette lighter in the shape of a gun (at least this is the official line at the moment). This is looking like it could turn into a media circus right now. It also highlights the dangers of a perception that illegal gun activity has increased.


"Wanderlust,
has got us both,
looking for a bed today..."

[ Parent ]
British Gun Control (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by Bad Harmony on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 06:43:10 AM EST

I wish I still had the URL handy. I read an interesting paper on the history of gun control in Britain. One of the main points was that the era of modern "gun control" started with the Government's fear of Bolshevik agitation and revolution. Gun control in Britain was a reaction to fears of Bolshevism, not street crime. Before that time, the restrictions on firearms were very loose.

5440' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

Update (4.66 / 3) (#52)
by Bad Harmony on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 06:50:02 AM EST

I found the paper on google.

FEAR AND LOATHING IN WHITEHALL: BOLSHEVISM AND THE FIREARMS ACT OF 1920, Clayton Cramer

5440' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

I hate percentages. (1.00 / 5) (#49)
by benzilla on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 06:32:24 AM EST

40% of what? After all if last year there was 5 and this year there was 7, I think percentages should always be accompanied by the numbers, otherwise how can you make any informed decision.

I live in Britain and I certainly support gun control, human beings are far too un self-controlled (especially when young) to be allowed to have such damaging weapons available. I know my self that there have been tmes when in the heat of a moment I probably would have quite cheerfully shot somebody and felt briefly justified for doing so. At least without projectile weapons the potential for damage is linited and the potential for defence is increased (running away, for example, from someone with a knife is a much more likely to be successful than from someone with a gun.

I hear too many stories of incidents where someone has been shot by some idiot in America for no reason other than an apparent heightened sense of suspicion (and then GOT AWAY WITH IT!)


__________

*BenZilla*


I hate percentages. (1.80 / 5) (#50)
by benzilla on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 06:33:16 AM EST

40% of what? After all if last year there was 5 and this year there was 7, I think percentages should always be accompanied by the numbers, otherwise how can you make any informed decision.

I live in Britain and I certainly support gun control, human beings are far too un self-controlled (especially when young) to be allowed to have such damaging weapons available. I know my self that there have been tmes when in the heat of a moment I probably would have quite cheerfully shot somebody and felt briefly justified for doing so. At least without projectile weapons the potential for damage is linited and the potential for defence is increased (running away, for example, from someone with a knife is a much more likely to be successful than from someone with a gun.

I hear too many stories of incidents where someone has been shot by some idiot in America for no reason other than an apparent heightened sense of suspicion (and then GOT AWAY WITH IT!)


__________

*BenZilla*


Bull (3.00 / 3) (#54)
by JonesBoy on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 10:31:56 AM EST

In the US, your are more likely of being killed in robberies involving knives than guns. Its a false sense of security. Believe it or not, but it is very hard to shoot a running person when you are nervous/angry and jacked up on adrenalin. I will look for stats on this... I can't find much right now. The point is that people are more likely to give run from a gun, but fight if its a knife.
Also, unlike GB, the penalties for murder are rather harsh (capital punishment), which tends to make people think twice. Also, would you be so quick to shoot if you knew the guy's friends could return fire? Or the police?




Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#68)
by benzilla on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 06:01:29 AM EST

"but it is very hard to shoot a running person when you are nervous/angry and jacked up on adrenalin"

Would you be stopping to think about armed friends or Police?

__________

*BenZilla*


[ Parent ]
Also... (none / 0) (#69)
by benzilla on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 06:06:56 AM EST

I believe there is also some debate as to the effectiveness of Capital Punishment as a deterrent to anything.

__________

*BenZilla*


[ Parent ]
and... (none / 0) (#70)
by benzilla on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 06:14:45 AM EST

http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/1995/pdf/t3156.pdf

http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/1995/pdf/t3137.pdf

and much much more on the same site


__________

*BenZilla*


[ Parent ]
and finally from the FBI (none / 0) (#71)
by benzilla on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 06:53:30 AM EST

FBI Crime stats 1999 - Circumstances, by weapon

__________

*BenZilla*


[ Parent ]
Therefore I submit... (none / 0) (#72)
by benzilla on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 06:55:32 AM EST

That your comment "In the US, your are more likely of being killed in robberies involving knives than guns" is a load of horse shit.

__________

*BenZilla*


[ Parent ]
You proved my point (2.00 / 1) (#73)
by JonesBoy on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 09:49:22 AM EST

Since you contributed the data I was looking for, lets analyize the figures.

From the FBI crime report, in the US in 1999, 738 people were killed by firearms during robberies and 105 by knives during robberies. From the U of Albany report, there were 373,362 robberies in 1999, 40% involving firearms and 8% involving knives and sharp objects. That comes down to 149,344 firearm robberies and 29.868 knife robberies.

P(death|robbery,firearm)=738/149344=0.00494
p(death|robbery,knife)=105/29868=0.00351

THEREFORE: In the US, your are more likely of being killed in robberies involving knives than guns. As stated in my original post, proven by your statisitcs.

The only horse shit is from the knee-jerk reactions of your post.




Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
OOps. (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by JonesBoy on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 09:57:31 AM EST

Funny, i did the calulations wrong on paper before publishing that! On second look, you are 0.143% more likely to be killed by the gun.

Pretty close though...


Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
So.. (none / 0) (#77)
by benzilla on Thu Jul 19, 2001 at 05:03:17 AM EST

The difference is either way neglible although perhaps shows that informed debate should in fact be the debate of facts to which you have prior proof, rather than the statement of gut feelings as fact.

__________

*BenZilla*


[ Parent ]
Guts and Fact (none / 0) (#78)
by JonesBoy on Thu Jul 19, 2001 at 03:44:37 PM EST

Everything I commented about was from facts I have seen in the past few years. I looked around for about 20 mins before posting, but couldn't find the source. It is a fact that knives are just as dangerous as guns during a crime, and it is a fact that the probability of being shot by a handgun when running is almost nil when you are farther than 50 feet. Heck, a denim jacket will nearly stop a 9mm (most popurar handgun) bullet at 100 feet. Running is almost always a good option.

Criminals will not give up their guns if guns are illegal. Take a look at your country (England, right?). Private ownership of handguns is illegal (I believe English citizens may only own shotguns, if kept at a government facility), but aren't people still robbed by them? They have only made the people defenseless. Would the colonies have ever revolted if guns were illegal? (others may disagree, but I believe that was a good thing :) )


Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
Defenceless... (none / 0) (#80)
by benzilla on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 05:09:33 AM EST

perhaps, but the aim I guess should be to remove guns completely from society, and while we in England do get armed robbery the incidence of killings by firearm (well okay unless its the police doing the shooting ;) ) is low.

However someone earlier in the thread has commented, and I believe it to be true, that comparison between US and UK is not valid, the cultures are too different.

I guess that my main point would be to look at the incidence of shootings by civilians in the US for no real good reason, or through psychological or social problems - we can all of course quote the various killing sprees by disaffected people in the US, and England has its share too, the common factor in each was availability of weapons - the guy that went nuts in Hungerford had access to guns through farming connections.

To sum up my view, allowing civillians to carry guns does not reduce gun related crime, but does increase the incidence of accidental, mistaken or psychotic related incidents.

__________

*BenZilla*


[ Parent ]
How about (none / 0) (#84)
by weirdling on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 11:39:22 PM EST

The guy that went nuts in Japan (very anti-guns) and killed a bunch of kids in a school with a knife? Killing is killing. There's the kid in San Diego State, I believe, who killed a bunch of kids with his car on purpose, showing that guns or knives aren't necessary when one flips.

Anyway, the ignoble death of beaten by blunt object is what the UK is currently famous for. You are actually far more likely to be beaten to death than I am to be shot. The fun thing is that I get to defend myself, which certainly reduces beating deaths...

The UK has, however, failed signally to reduce gun stock for criminals, as has Canada and Australia. Getting guns out of society is like abandoning nuclear weapons: a stupid way to let others take advantage of the innocent...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Gun Control and Australian crime stats (4.00 / 1) (#57)
by matthew donald on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 12:22:41 PM EST

The following comments could be seen as flame-bait, but I feel they have to be made anyway.

I am constantly amazed at the grossly inaccurate statistics quoted by many people (on both sides) when debating the effect of gun control in Australia.

Sheepdot made the following comment:
I think it is a given that armed robberies increase after criminals realize that less citizens own guns. The results from Austrailia, where armed robberies were on a steady decline for 25 years till they banned guns and they jumped enormously, 44%, go to show that sometimes the obvious arguments really need to be heeded.

This is completely wrong. Firstly, armed robberies in Australia have not been steadlily declining for 25 years (I wish they were :-) The have fluctuated both up and down over that period, with the current stats being up in absolute numbers but down on a population basis. Secondly, since the change to gun control laws in 1997, firearm crimes have hardly changed (see AusStats: Firearms and NSW Recorded Crime Statistics 1996-2000), increasing marginally since then.

The 1996 gun control measures did not aim to reduce violent crime. The aim was to prevent a repitition of the Port Arthur Massacre when Martin Bryant murdered 35 men women and children and wounded another 18, using an AR15 and a FN military weapons. The gun control measures prevent most people owing anything other than single shot rifles or double-barrled shotguns. All pump action and self loading shotguns, and self loading rifles (both centerfire and rimfire) are now banned Australia wide.

The number of weapons in the community was substantially reduced with 640,000 firearms being surrendered through a A$400m gun buy-back scheme. Annecdotal evidence (from a friend who is a gun dealer) suggests around about half of these weapons were subsequently replaced through new purchases (see the Auditor-Generals report The Gun Buy-Back Scheme for further details.)

Most criminals don't have access to firearms and the new gun control measures did not change this. The incidence of firearms being used in robberies did not change substantially, staying within the range of 6% to 10% of all robberies. It is interesting to note that the use of weapons other than firearms did increase while the use of firearms has fallen slightly (see NSW Recorded Crime Statistics 1996-2000). It would be interesting to find out if this change was statistically significant.

To summarise, historically Australia has been reasonably sucessful at keeping guns out of criminal hands. The gun control legislation of 1996 did not change this. There is no evidence to suggest that crimes increased (or decreased) due to these gun control measures.

Microcosm, again (none / 0) (#83)
by weirdling on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 11:32:49 PM EST

Maybe I just don't understand Aussie geography, but isn't New South Wales just one area?

A quick search found this, backing up the claim previously pointed out, and further, that Victoria saw a 300% increase in gun homicide rates.
I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]

Guns ineffective for self-defense (2.00 / 1) (#67)
by automaton on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 04:46:18 AM EST

I always find it funny that people would choose a gun for self defense. It is next to useless. I am a medical unit (or however this is called) in the Swiss Army and a 9mm SIG is standard issue. I keep it in a closet. The barrel and the ammo locked away in a box.
There are two likely situations in which I would have to defend myself:
  1. Someone breaks into my apartment. As I mentioned it would take about a year until I have assembled and loaded the gun. Now some might say that I should keep the assembled gun in the closet. Not a chance: I don't have kids, but nonetheless it would be crazy to keep a loaded gun around. If someone breaks in. I have a baseball bat. First I would smash his hand, wrist, arm, ellbow, shoulder, whatever comes first. Then maybe the kneecaps. See: no blood and a lot faster. (keep in mind that an appartment has a lot of corners to hide behind and start a surprise attack: and the gun is the first thing to come around the corner. Smash, a couple of broken fingers...
  2. In the streets. First of all it is forbidden (even in the US if I recall correctly) to carry conceiled guns. But lets assume you have a gun in your handbag (as the other person imagenes NY women do). Fumble fumble, where is that damn thing. fumble fumle clumsy big, how to grip that thing, now point, hotload (!!), safety off, etc.
    Instead I would do what most European women do: I'd buy a pepperspray. Yes, you heard right. Me a guy would buy a pepperspray. Because it is easy to carry, use, and most effective in close combat (I mean a menace has to be close to you, or he has a gun in which case you are fucked anyways, since it takes ages to draw your own gun.)
    Knives (at least useful ones) are also illegal, even so, they are a lot clumsier than a pepperspray and with a spray you don't even have to point!
In Europe we have a whole industry for non fatal self defense items, most of which Americans don't even know about: flashes, sirens, sprays, etc. They are small and handy and especially fast to use. Remember that you have to practice a lot to be able to use a gun correctly in close combat.

Pile of Parts Is NOT a Gun (none / 0) (#75)
by SEWilco on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 07:35:58 PM EST

Poor example. Until you assemble the parts, you don't have a gun.

People who have a gun for self-defense have it easily available (safest way is inside a fast-opening safe), and loaded or easily loaded.

In a small apartment, a baseball bat or handgun is suitable. Outdoors -- well, don't bring a baseball bat to a gunfight. And a handgun is not the proper weapon on farmland/ranchland when the opponent is an armed human or bear.

[ Parent ]

American safety (none / 0) (#79)
by JonesBoy on Thu Jul 19, 2001 at 03:57:23 PM EST

Yeah, we have all that stuff too, including stun guns and capacitors to shock people with electricity. Unfortunately, most people keep them in their pocket, and are attacked before they have an opportunity to pull them out. It happened to my friend, and funnily enough, she didn't even think about using it! It was just a keychain to her.

Not many people in New York city have concealed weapons. Don't believe the movies! If you shoot someone with one, they (or their family) will sue your tail off. Any that do would probably follow your post exactly.

I wouldn't use a gun in an apartment anyway. Stray bullets kill neighbors.


Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
Handguns (none / 0) (#81)
by Merk00 on Fri Jul 20, 2001 at 09:42:01 AM EST

First of all, concealed handguns are legal in some states in the US (North Carolina is one I know of for sure). Second of all, defending yourself with a baseball bat is all well and good until the person you're trying to defend against has a gun. Then what? He can stand 10 feet away and your baseball bat is useless.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Uninformed (none / 0) (#82)
by weirdling on Wed Aug 01, 2001 at 11:16:29 PM EST

The US has a thriving non-lethal defense industry, ranging from tasers to whistles, but none of them even approaches the statistical success of a gun. It's not for everyone, but guns are far more effective at ending confrontations than any other tool.

Now, my personal arm is loaded at all times. This is because accidental discharge deaths are statistically non-existent (220 per year in the US, vast majority while hunting) compared to defensive uses (1.7 million per year by conservative estimate), and there's plenty of evidence to show that even leaving the safety on can cause you trouble in a firefight. It's best to use a weapon that has some inherent safety, like your Sig and my Berretta does.

Also, at last count, 33 US states have shall-issue concealed-carry permits, and many Swiss Cantons do, as well. Check your local law, but if you are a rural Canton, it is likely that your gun-carry liscence will also be honored as a concealed-carry liscence.

And, to answer the other objection listed below, guns for defense in an apartment *do not* kill others in other apartments with any kind of regularity. As a matter of fact, there's thirty deaths per year in the US that can be classified as accidentally killing the wrong person in a gunfight, compared, once again, to 1.7 million defensive uses. Sorry; statistically insignificant.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Another Shooting Situation (none / 0) (#76)
by SEWilco on Wed Jul 18, 2001 at 08:03:37 PM EST

On Tuesday in a suburb just next to Minneapolis, Minnesota, a criminal with two rifles wounded a police officer. In the ensuing melee, a total of three officers, and the criminal, were injured by bullets.

I'm confident in calling him a "criminal" because in 1966 he was convicted of 2nd-degree murder due to shooting his estranged wife and her boyfriend. He was sentenced to 40 years (I'll do the math: 1966 to 2006) and served 6 years.

I'll also point out that due to being convicted of a felony, it was illegal for him to own any guns. So he already was under a gun control.

Any Minneapolis/St. Paul media has the stories today, although the 1966 conviction was not noticed until Wednesday afternoon.



Gun Control Ineffective | 88 comments (77 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
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