Wow. A lot of activity on this thread the last couple of days. The other Offtopic threads have such little participation that I’m kindof surprised this many people are still here.
The US Constitution was constructed to ensure citizens had the ability to resist an oppressive govt. There’s nothing outdated about that. The framers couldn’t have imagined the tech advances we’ve experienced though. I don’t think the right to bear arms should extend to personal nukes, for example. We have to have a threshold that gives citizens realistic security, but I think we can limit the types of weapons to what’s reasonable. We also need to take reasonable steps to ensure public safety.
I’ve been working a lot this week and don’t have time to reply everything here but I’ll hit the important points.
Malcom: Don’t underestimate a rifle. It kills people dead even if they’re sitting in a Humvee or Blackhawk.
Lo: you missed the point about criminals. I’m saying anyone who commits a gun crime is a criminal. They don’t have to be a criminal before the crime occurs.
Unladen: I said nothing about dystopian societies. We revolted against England over taxes. I’m happy you’ve got a nice country without guns and it works for you right now. Others don’t do so well. Look to Venezuela for the most recent example. Cuba, North Korea? I wonder if Tiananmen Square would have happened if Chinese citizens were all armed? You’re right we do need to do a better job keeping guns away from kids. That’s more of a societal problem though. “You are spouting nonsense with lines like ‘I need a gun because criminals can get guns too’..” I also never said that. Are you reading what I write?
Gary: I think we’re mostly in agreement.
The alcohol comparison is strong here. Far more are killed by drunk drivers than by guns and it’s totally senseless. I’ve lost family to a drunk driver myself. But we don’t ban cars or alcohol. We punish the person. Cars are just too practical to ban, but alcohol could be banned. It has little practical use. It’s just a recreational drink. We don’t ban it because people want it. Why? Because they do. And people want guns too.
TheOptician: thanks for coming back with more thoughtful comments. I’ve really enjoyed my previous chats with you and was surprised by your first post. You don’t need to be able to overwhelm a modern army. Only provide sufficient resistance. Our modern army has been in Afghanistan for 16 years and can’t control a bunch of goatherds with rifles and IEDs. But it’s unlikely the US army will even be fighting a citizen uprising anytime soon. It’s a fantastic notion in 2017. The conditions just aren’t there and we’ve got plenty of peaceful recourse before it ever got to that point. But conditions can change. The framers felt this was important and I tend to agree. Of course freedom exists in a collective. Absolute freedom, no, but that doesn’t exist anywhere. There will always be something you could have done to make the world more safe. The benefits of gun ownership outweigh the downsides though.
Prof: Yes, I agree that fully automatic weapons should be heavily controlled and this “bump stock” modification should be illegal. To your other questions: I think all gun purchases should get a background check. I think a 10 round limit is reasonable. I disagree with a no fly list ban simply because it’s too easy to land on it and too hard to get back off. We’ve had stories of folks mistakenly placed there who had real trouble. With changes though I might be ok with it. I don’t think anyone mentally handicaped or with certain psychological conditions should have a gun and I support strengthening these safeguards. As with the no fly list, my concern there is inducing any type of loophole that might allow the govt to declare people they don’t like unfit to own guns. I would also support additional rules for weapons around children. For example, a trigger lock or gun cabinet should be a requirement if the gun is kept in a home with minors.
Napoleon: I didn’t know that about the Swiss. That’s a pretty versatile arrangement that I like a lot. You know one of the side benefits that’s rarely discussed is the second layer of protection we get from invasion. The US hasn’t been under serious threat of that for a long time, but it would be a daunting task for anyone. If we use a reasonable figure like 25 million gun owners in the US and only 10 percent of them were able to shoot a member of an invading force that would be 2.5 million casualties. That’s more than China has in their entire army. Even had Japan beaten us in the Pacific it’s unlikely they could have mounted a successful invasion. Thanks for your cultural comments because I don’t think that’s what some of these other European folks are appreciating. Many hunt, many target shoot, many like feeling safe in their home, and many like knowing they do have the potential to resist if things really went south. I’m not sure your ammo limitation would have been useful against a guy like the Vegas shooter though. There will always be a black market and he was a multimillionaire. He was going to get what he needed to pull it off. But again, I would be against that anyway in the US because I want a lot of bullets.