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Member since: Sun Jan 14, 2007, 01:51 PM
Number of posts: 7,981

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Two American gun owners

Posted by SecularMotion | Fri Feb 21, 2014, 09:08 AM (9 replies)

Why Guns Per Person is the Wrong Way to Think About Gun Control


First, let’s examine the apparent contradiction between two ostensibly incongruent facts: the number of guns in the United States has been increasing, while the gun ownership rate is decreasing. This is easily explained by the fact that many if not most gun owners buy more than one gun. Not only do hunters need several types of hunting rifles to match their prey, but also a large segment of the gun-rights advocate population has been stockpiling arsenals for a while now in preparation for social unrest or government despotism (I find neither of these arguments particularly convincing myself, though I might be persuaded about the necessity of preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse).

A person owning one gun is just as dangerous and likely to commit a homicide as a person with a dozen guns, ignoring that owning multiple guns might be a proxy for other sorts of behavioral characteristics that might be related to criminality. What we see in the data is that the United States has reached a saturation point with guns. Most people who are going to buy a gun for whatever reason have already bought one, and buying a second does not increase the gun ownership rate.

Think of it this way, 100 people with one gun each is much scarier statistically speaking than 1 person with 100 guns.This is why the gun ownership rate is the statistic to worry about much more than the overall number of guns. And to further demonstrate that it is highly unlikely that the increase in the number of guns caused the decrease in the homicide rate, consider this: If the deterrence theory is correct (which I will demonstrate is not the case), a person with one gun is just as likely to stop a crime as a person with 100 guns. The extra 99 guns don’t help.

It is merely the fact that a person owns a gun, not how many, that matters with regard to the crime debate. As gun ownership has not increased in tandem with the number of guns, it is not possible for the increase in guns to have contributed to the decrease in violent crime. The only effects that can stem from this surge in guns are deleterious. With hundreds of thousands of guns stolen every year, the stockpiling of weapons only increases the likelihood that they end up in the wrong hands.

Posted by SecularMotion | Fri Feb 21, 2014, 06:27 AM (18 replies)

Common sense approaches to gun violence

Unlike some other states, Massachusetts didn’t rush to pass new gun laws in the aftermath of the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in late 2012. Instead, the state’s leaders embarked on a serious study of gun laws and gun violence in the Bay State, and with good reason. We already have some of the nation’s toughest gun laws, but there’s disagreement over how well they function. Moreover, there are unintended consequences lawmakers should avoid, especially where mental illness and gun rights intersect.

One product of that study, a thoughtful report released this week by a committee appointed by House Speaker Robert DeLeo, puts gun violence in Massachusetts in a national perspective. Among its findings:

Massachusetts gun laws have been ranked the sixth strongest in the nation as of last December by the Brady Center. They had been third strongest until some other states jumped ahead.

Massachusetts has the third lowest rate of household gun ownership in the country.

Posted by SecularMotion | Mon Feb 10, 2014, 04:19 PM (7 replies)

Debating the Gun Issue

Many Americans agree that guns are winding up in the wrong hands and being used in the wrong ways. From there discussion bursts into an array of incompatible views, posing questions with no easy answers. In balancing the individual’s “right to bear arms” with the need for public safety, should the United States

  • concentrate on enforcing existing laws?
  • enact more gun laws?
  • insist that manufacturers include safety features and that gun owners take safety training courses?
  • ban certain types of firearms?
  • abolish the right to bear arms?

There are many arguments for and against different means of gun control, and the answers to the questions that arise vary greatly depending on who has the floor and how that person interprets the information coming from the many different sides of the gun issue. But the principal arguments fall into two categories: those that center on the meaning of the “right to bear arms” and those weighing the extent to which gun possession by ordinary individuals tends to increase the risk of injury or prevent crime.

Posted by SecularMotion | Mon Feb 10, 2014, 09:11 AM (8 replies)

State's Drug Problem Is Feeding An Underground Gun Market

Law enforcement officials in Vermont and surrounding states say Vermont’s high-profile drug problem is feeding an underground market in which guns, not cash, are the currency.

The trade is fueled by the simple economics of supply and demand. Heroin and other hard drugs are cheaper in urban areas of Massachusetts and New York, while guns are abundant and readily available in Vermont because of the state’s lax gun control laws and Vermont’s culture of hunting and shooting sports.

Jim Mostyn is the resident agent in charge in the Vermont office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). He said drug dealers who come to the state quickly learn that not only is Vermont a fertile market, but it’s also an easy place to pick up a weapon. Those firearms are either stolen or bought by a straw purchaser – a buyer with a clean record who is purchasing the gun for someone else, such as a convicted felon, who may not be legally allowed to own a gun. The guns are frequently traded directly for drugs, court records show, and often end up in metropolitan areas like Springfield, Mass., Boston, or New York City.

Inter-state disparities in drug prices and gun regulations combine to form a lucrative market for these scenarios, Mostyn said.

Posted by SecularMotion | Sat Feb 8, 2014, 10:31 AM (3 replies)

Supreme Court to weigh what it means to have a right to “bear” guns

The statement at issue:

There is “a growing line of court of appeals decisions that, while stopping short of holding that there is no Second Amendment right outside the home, consistently reach the same result by deeming any right to bear arms in public to be, at best, outside the Second Amendment’s ‘core’ and then balancing it away under an anemic form of intermediate scrutiny.”

– Charles J. Cooper, a Washington, D.C., attorney for the National Rifle Association, in a brief filed at the Supreme Court on Monday, urging the Justices to strike down a law that bans minors from carrying a handgun in public, beyond the home.
We checked the Constitution and...

The Second Amendment, at its core, spells out not one, but two, rights when it protects “the right of the people.” There is a right to “keep” a gun, there is a right, to “bear” a gun. There is an “and” between the two in the text, so that might well be taken as a significant indication that these are separate rights.

The Supreme Court in 2008 made it clear that the right to “keep” a gun is a personal right, and that it means one has a right to keep a functioning firearm for self-defense within the home. But it has refused repeatedly since then to take on the question of whether that right exists also outside the home. If there is a separate right to “bear” a gun (and the Court, in fact, did say in 2008 that the two rights were separate), it has not said what that means.

Posted by SecularMotion | Sat Feb 8, 2014, 10:18 AM (20 replies)

Racism, Gun Ownership and Gun Control

Biased Attitudes in US Whites May Influence Policy Decisions

Given the importance of guns and gun-control to US public health, and the urgent need for appropriate policy to reduce gun-related harms, it is vital to examine the psychological and sociocultural reasons for the paradoxical attitudes of many US citizens and politicians to gun-control. US whites have twice the rate of gun ownership of blacks, oppose gun control to much greater extent than blacks, but are considerably more likely to kill themselves with those guns, than be killed by others or blacks. While the literature suggests that racism in whites shapes fear of black violence and support for policies that disadvantage blacks, no research has examined whether racism is related to gun ownership and attitudes to gun-control in US whites. This study investigated whether racism is related to gun ownership and opposition to gun control in US whites. We hypothesized that, after accounting for known confounders (i.e., age, gender, education, income, location, conservatism, political identification, anti-government sentiment), anti-black racism would be associated with having a gun in the home, and opposition to gun controls.

- - -

There remains considerable resistance in the US to even cursory gun controls, and the reasons for owning a gun and opposing gun reform (i.e., self-protection, safety, fear of crime) [4], [5], are not supported by the evidence on gun-related harms. Clearly, other motives and attitudes must be driving such paradoxical views on guns. Future research needs to examine other less obvious, yet influential, sociocultural and psychological influences on gun ownership and control, as this evidence is sparse. Evidence on the psychological and sociocultural drivers of gun ownership and resistance to strong controls will in turn help inform educational campaigns (e.g., social marketing) that may aid public acceptance of appropriate policies in the interest of the US public’s health, and/or allow policy makers to implement good public health policy. The reinstatement of funding for research on gun control in the US should assist in these research endeavours.

Posted by SecularMotion | Thu Feb 6, 2014, 03:46 PM (12 replies)

The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery

The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says "State" instead of "Country" (the Framers knew the difference - see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia's vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too.

In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the "slave patrols," and they were regulated by the states.

In Georgia, for example, a generation before the American Revolution, laws were passed in 1755 and 1757 that required all plantation owners or their male white employees to be members of the Georgia Militia, and for those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state. The law defined which counties had which armed militias and even required armed militia members to keep a keen eye out for slaves who may be planning uprisings.

As Dr. Carl T. Bogus wrote for the University of California Law Review in 1998, "The Georgia statutes required patrols, under the direction of commissioned militia officers, to examine every plantation each month and authorized them to search 'all Negro Houses for offensive Weapons and Ammunition' and to apprehend and give twenty lashes to any slave found outside plantation grounds."

Posted by SecularMotion | Thu Feb 6, 2014, 07:58 AM (47 replies)

More Doctors Are Talking About Gun Violence

The American Academy of Pediatrics has long advised that "the safest home for a child is a home without guns, and if there is a gun in the home, it must be stored unloaded and locked, with the ammunition locked separately."

They aren't the only health professionals advocating to protect our kids from gun violence though.

In a new editorial that will be published in the February issue of Pediatrics, "Firearms, Children, and Health Care Professionals," the American Pediatric Surgical Association, a professional organization made up of over 1200 surgeons who care for children, being at the front lines when children go to the emergency rooms with gun shot injuries:

Posted by SecularMotion | Wed Feb 5, 2014, 10:56 AM (5 replies)

De Blasio joins the gun-control advocacy group that Bloomberg founded

Forming a rare alliance with his predecessor, Mayor de Blasio is joining the gun-control advocacy group founded and funded by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Daily News has learned.

Often critical of the previous administration, de Blasio told The News he’s a big supporter of Bloomberg’s high-profile push for stronger gun control measures.

“Mayor Bloomberg took on this fight when few others would, and today we are safer for it,” de Blasio said in a statement to The News. “He built a national movement for common-sense gun control — one I am proud to join.”

De Blasio said he plans to focus on two issues once he joins the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. He wants to work with the state’s two Democratic U.S. senators, Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, in their fight to increase penalties for “straw” purchases of guns by one individual for another buyer.

Posted by SecularMotion | Tue Feb 4, 2014, 08:19 PM (21 replies)
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