Saturday, January 03, 2009

Big boys' toys

Whilst Timmy feels that he doesn't even have to make the quite valid point about correlation and causation between handguns and murder rates—although a CiF commenter named bannedbycastro happily spells it out—I wish to pick up the last paragraph of this immensely patronising article by Alex Hannaford.
Although I sympathise with Stollenwerk that the law needs clarifying, I think if people must play with big boys' toys, they should do so at a firing range or otherwise keep them under lock and key.

In which case, Alex dearest, the guns are of absolutely fuck all use in defending oneself, wouldn't you agree? I know that you are English and probably a bit dim, but how about thinking outside your somewhat pusillanimous box for a second?

Of course, if you would prefer that your friend was raped (for the lack of any defence) because her gun made you feel uncomfortable, why not just tell her that?—I am sure that both her and her gun would not trouble you again.
If our friend had turned up and put her Glock on the kitchen counter while she enjoyed dinner, I think I would have been more than a little nervous – particularly if I'd said something to offend her.

Because, of course, anyone who owns a gun is just itching to shoot someone with it, aren't they? Although, if you are as fucking annoying in person as you come across in this article, Alex, I can understand your trepidation...

95 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Because, of course, anyone who owns a gun is just itching to shoot someone with it, aren't they?"

I'd be tempted if I went round to dinner to a Guardianista CiFer's place. Wouldn't you? Be honest now.

richard said...

here's a hypothetical question - the bill of rights of 1689 apparently allows me to carry arms since i am a protestant of english birth. yet all i am "allowed" under UK law is a folding, non-lockable knife with a blade of 3 inches or less. if i had a gun (supposing i made one, and made my own black powder etc) would the state be wrong to penalise me for owning it? or would i be wrong, for ignoring subsequent acts of parliament to claim my right under the bill to carry arms? in other words, do acts of parlaiment have more weight in law than the bill of rights? any ideas?

Anonymous said...

Am I not right in saying that well heeled Gents waking out to their club or Pub or Brothel ,say 109 years ago would customarily carry a gun for their protection.

The first restrictions came in during WW1. What were the reasons given at the time? Fear of insurrection maybe. Or a Government that needed shooting?
Interested of Tunbridge Wells

Rob Farrington said...

What a complete tit. I have an American girlfriend from South Carolina and even on the first occasion that I was over there, I wasn't freaked out even in the slightest that anyone passing me in the street might be carrying a concealed weapon.

I wonder if he knows that it's possible to walk into a gun store and come out a few minutes later with an AK47 assault rifle? Only in semi-auto, of course, but...well...they're still Eeevil Military Style Black Rifles!!!!

Not only that, but his friend might well own one and keep it at home, under the bed.

I bet he doesn't - he'd probably shit himself and be on the first plane home.

Verity said...

If anyone here wants to read a blog by someone almost as angry as DK and who is armed, The Anti-Idotarian is an excellent antidote to the bland and polite. He doesn't relish pure, dismissive fury with quite DK's panache, but he's damned good. I think he is ex-British as he has the cross of St George on his site, as well as the Israeli flag. I have a feeling he lives in Texas, but don't know, but he's in the US somewhere. Anyway, he writes in a blazing fury about American and British politics. He refers to himself as the Emperor Mischa, in case you get confused at first reading.
www.nicedoggie.net

Verity said...

Ooops! The site's called The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.

Anonymous said...

I can't understand why guns are banned in the UK - its not as if criminals don't have guns - its just the public who are left unprotected - which is insane!

My grandad had a sawn off shotgun in his office which I was impressed with - I guess easily done when you are 10 years old - but cool never the less!. He taught me how to respect guns from the age of 6.

Since then, I have always looked at trying to protect my home in as illegal way as possible - and fail miserably. For this reason, I have a sword near my bed, as well as a sturdy knife in my pocket at all times and access to a crossbow if needed. There is however a canister of CS gas somewhere in the bedroom just in case!

I would much prefer to argue my case from the dock rather than from the morgue!

Seán McAllister said...

As someone who prefers to lurk on this blog rather than post comments, I have felt the need to come out of my dark corner and express my delight at reading the closing paragraph on this post - it really had me laughing. Outstanding!

richard said...

does anyone know if i can carry arms under the 1689 bill of rights?

Michele said...

I'm English and I am not stupid DK - I find that remark offensive.

And after 20 years in the army I not a 7.62mm SLR which is accurate in my hands. Can I mention again I find it offensive to insinuate that I am stupid because I am English?

PS - I am also female.

Michele said...

I can hit my target, but obviously cannot type!!

That should be "I own a 7.62mm" and yes I know the law!!

Nick said...

So you support ownership of weapons to protect yourself, but don't like it if the Palistinians use weapons to defend themselves?

rightwingprof said...

Actually, the Emperor is a Dane. And is there anything hotter than babes with guns, or is that an American thing?

Snufkin said...

Thank goodness there are some other people who can see how pointless gun bans are. When will people wise up and see that stopping law-abiding people from owning and carrying guns does sweet FA to stop criminals from obtaining and using them. No one should be surprised by this, since criminals are, after all, people who don't obey the law. Who'd have thought that!

As for people who are scared of guns, get a grip. I bet you get in a car without any form of anxiety, despite the fact that thousands more people are killed in or by cars each year than by guns. What about that big old kitchen knife you use to cut up your vegetables? Do you fret about going on a killing spree or accidentally stabbing yourself while it is in your hands?

I have been shooting since I was a kid and I have not shot anyone or myself. This isn't out of good luck, it's because I know how to safely handle a firearm. There's no need to be afraid of an object, it will only do any damage if you use it to do so, either through deliberate action or being foolish.

As for how useful a gun is for self-defence, 2 million US citizens use a legally held gun to defend themselves from a violent criminal each year and prevent themselves from becoming a victim. Only 2% of those cases result in the firearm being discharged and even less result in injury or fatality of the attacker. I'll take those odds over being completely helpless and waiting for the police to leisurely roll up a good while later to scrape up my remains.

Shug Niggurath said...

Sigh, Nick.

Predictable and boring. Shooting rockets at buildings is not defending yourself.

Although I guess many Gazan Palestinians would like guns to defend themselves from Hamas. Given that they are actively killing each other.

*link is Al-Jazeera, hardly a source of news biased against Palestine.

ENGLISHMAN said...

The bill of rights can not be repealed,you have every right to protect yourself and possess weapons "suitable to your station"to protect "life and limb"for without that right the notion of private property is meaningless as at any time someone could just take everything away from you and leave you destitute.There are many secret arsenals scattered about the country for use in the case of civil unrest,we must avail ourselves of some of them,for it is certain that very soon we will have to fight the many enemies of the ENGLISH people.

Chalcedon said...

This guy is a complete idiot. There is nothing worrying about a handgun, but plenty that is reassuring. It evens any odds.

Nick said...


Thank goodness there are some other people who can see how pointless gun bans are. When will people wise up and see that stopping law-abiding people from owning and carrying guns does sweet FA to stop criminals from obtaining and using them. No one should be surprised by this, since criminals are, after all, people who don't obey the law. Who'd have thought that!


As I see it there are two polar choices. Allow guns, disallow guns.

If you allow guns, then its pretty clear you will get the US situation. Lots of deaths from guns either accidental, criminals being shot (so what), and others being shot by criminals.

Compare that against the no hand guns rule. Here, if someone has a hand gun then you can assume they are police or a criminal. You don't need to check their license to carry. Over all the number of deaths is lower. What's needed is very harsh prison sentences for carry weapons. Not just using them. That way, if you catch a criminal with one, you don't need to show other criminal acts, you put them away.

ie. In the case of conflicting rights, yours to carry arms, mine not to be shot, the balance is pretty clear that curtailing yours is to the overall benefit of everyone.

It's like the smoking. My right to be smoke free, means I can restrict your smoking when I would be affected by your right.

ie. You can't have rights at other people's expense.


Nick

Snufkin said...

Nick,

Whilst I can understand why you might believe what you have said to be true, there are several things which you're argument does not address.

Firstly, after pistols were banned in the UK after the Dunblane Tragedy, crimes committed with handguns actually rose and continued to do so. Only recently have things started to level out, although last time I checked the figures, gun crime is still higher than it ever was before the gun ban. Simply creating a situation by which possessing a handgun means you are clearly a criminal does not automatically remove the problem. There are between two to five million illegal firearms in the UK. That's a lot of people to arrest and imprison.

Secondly, how can disarming the innocent be a good thing. We have seen that criminals are not disarmed by passing laws, only that honest citizens are. By this act, not only are the criminal elements of society ensured a defenceless target, but the weaker amongst the law abiding are forbidden the means to any self defence at all. It's all well and good to suggest that a strong young man might be able to see off an attacker with a cricket bat, but the same cannot be said for the weak, elderly and disabled. A bullet fired from a gun is just as potent when fired by a body builder as it is when fired by a little old lady. There is a reason why the American frontiersmen called the pistol 'the great equalizer'.

I can sympathise with your stance that one cannot have a right to something if that right infringes another person's rights or well being. In this case though, that does not apply. You are not going to get little old ladies taking part in gang land shoot outs, but you may get them using them to stop a violent burglary. Similarly, the gun carried by a lady to defend against rapists is unlikely to be used in a post office robbery.

I refer back to my mentioning of the two million Americans who defend themselves with firearms each year. Those who are legally carrying their weapons in public must go through proper training including safety and weapon retention (to prevent being disarmed should they draw their weapon). An important requirement of their license to carry is that they exhaust all other options for escape or deescalation before resorting to their gun. The number of permit holders who have used their weapons inappropriately is less than a handful, on my last checking of the figures. These are not violent or dangerous people. Many are women who value their safety. I can see no merit in disarming these people, especially when doing so will have no impact on criminal use of firearms.

Lastly, I would like to refer you to the fact that in the US, which is our best example for the effects of firearms ownership in society, the areas with the highest crime rates are those with the tightest gun controls such as Washington D.C., Chicago, New York and L.A. Those with permissive gun laws experience far lesser amounts of violent crime. Furthermore, even if you do not carry or own a gun in a permissive area, you still benefit from the result of others carrying guns. A criminal cannot know who is or is not carrying a gun, especially since permit holders come from an incredibly wide variety of backgrounds. As a result it is impossible for them to single out easy targets, such as the weak or elderly as they would be able to in a restrictive environment.

I hope I have been able to give you some issues to consider and I would happily discuss this topic with you further should you so wish.

richard said...

thanks Englishman.
if i can make a further comment please? i used to decry the right to bear arms, but was convinced otherwise by arguments like Snufkin's. the right to bear arms makes a citizen, because he has a choice and is elevated to equality with agents of the State. don't forget, the only disarmed groups throughout history are slaves. state agents are meant to be OUR SERVANTS! whoever heard of servants telling their masters they can't carry arms? Nick, your sentiments are noble, but criminals or tyrants don't care. i wonder if GB would be stealing people's gardens for gypsy camps or coastal paths if citizens were generally armed? or if there would be as many break-ins and assaults? no, Snufkin is right, firearm ownership as a right is a sign that a society hasn't been disarmed by it's own government, for purposes unknown. disarmament isn't enforced to keep the peace, because as we have seen, gun crime is on the up. law-abiding folk (even, incredibly, the British Olympic shooting team!) have had their hobby ruined, and are also defenceless in their homes.

Nick said...


Firstly, after pistols were banned in the UK after the Dunblane Tragedy, crimes committed with handguns actually rose and continued to do so.


That's irrelevant.

You're proposing laws similar to the US.

What's the absolute level of murders in the US that has similar gun laws?

Similarly if you look at the number of deaths in Switzerland, where even the nutters get filtered out from owning guns, the level last time I looked is 500% that in the UK.

There are between two to five million illegal firearms in the UK. That's a lot of people to arrest and imprison.


So, what you are implying is that its 1 gun per criminal.

Secondly, how can disarming the innocent be a good thing.

For the simple reason that even the inocent end up killing people by accident. You don't give children razor blades let alone guns.

Simply creating a situation by which possessing a handgun means you are clearly a criminal does not automatically remove the problem.

So your criteria is that it has to remove the problem 100%, or you disagree with it.

I can sympathise with your stance that one cannot have a right to something if that right infringes another person's rights or well being. In this case though, that does not apply. You are not going to get little old ladies taking part in gang land shoot outs, but you may get them using them to stop a violent burglary. Similarly, the gun carried by a lady to defend against rapists is unlikely to be used in a post office robbery.

You're just ignoring the point.

What's the total level of deaths under the US free for all, compared to the total level of deaths in the UK?

Come back with some statistics. How many deaths in the US from handguns in total? How many from violent attacks where it could of made a difference?

If the rate per head of populations is higher in the US compared to that in the UK, then you have to justify why you want to move to a system where you are more likely to be killed from one where you are less likely to be killed.

Good luck, because the figures are around 16,000 murders per year in the US, compared to 600 odd in the UK. Population in the US is 5 times that in the UK.

That's a huge increase in the possibility of being killed, so you can carry arms and have the opportunity of killing some, mistake or otherwise.

Snufkin said...

Nick, I'd love to come back to you with some figures and maybe I will when I have more time available. I'm a tad rushed at the moment, but I'll try to answer some of your points.

Firstly, I would ask that you acquaint yourself with US gun laws. They do have laws there and they do control who may and may not own a gun. Whilst their laws are different to ours, it can hardly be called a 'free for all'. Concealed carry laws are strongly regulated, as are laws regarding purchases by felons and the mentally ill. This doesn't stop illegal sales between criminals, but show me how that is any different in the UK.

As for the numbers of deaths involving guns in the US, your point is flawed. The US has similarly higher death rates for all weapons and unarmed assaults. The US is plain and simply a more violent country. It is wrong to assume that the sole factor affecting violence is the legality of pistols or any other weapon. Each country is very different. I would very strongly suggest you read Guns & Violence: The English Experience by Joyce Lee Malcolm, which explores the differences between gun ownership and crime in both the UK and US. If you look at the ratio of people beaten to death in the US and UK, you would see a similarly higher ratio in the US as for guns. The weapon is not the problem, whether it be a gun, knife, stick or boot.

You should also be aware that methods of recording killings are very different between the UK and US. In the US, any death caused by another person is recorded as a homicide immediately, whether it is a freak accident, legitimate self defence or crime. In the UK, a homicide is only recorded once a successful conviction has been obtained. This causes an inflated figure for US 'homicides'.

As for your comment about the 2-5m illegal guns in the UK, at no point did I mention that I thought that each was owned by one person. By your logic, I could ask you if you thought all those millions were owned by one person! I think it is safe to assume that there is a likelihood that most criminals will not have more than 10 illegal guns and that would be a lot. That leaves us with at least 500k-200k who have illegal guns. I hope that you will agree that that is quite a few people to track down.

As for me not agreeing with a policy or law because it is not 100% effective, that is certainly not the case. However, since I consider gun control in this country to be not only ineffective but detrimental to UK citizens, I do not and will never support such laws.

Once again, I apologise for not being able to answer your points in greater detail. I also hope that I have not offended or upset you with my views, since your reply seemed slightly agitated. It was never my intention to cause offence by my opinions.

richard said...

"...you have to justify why you want to move to a system where you are more likely to be killed from one where you are less likely to be killed."
by that argument any system can only be considered moral or otherwise based on the potential body-count. so do we scrap private cars and have ultra-safe public transport? you might like to be tucked safely into a rearward-facing seat, and why not? car crashes kill more people than firearms after all.
no, the real moral question, and the only justification required, is, does the State have a right to tell an adult of good character that they cannot have a firearm? i like guns, have been trained in their use, and am a harmelss, peaceful, safety-minded man. there is therefore no problem, and no forseeable problem. to say it's "irrelevant" that gun crime has increased AFTER the government confiscated lawfully-held weapons in the UK shows the futility of arguing with a closed mind.
i agree wholeheartedly with Snufkin, well said.

Verity said...

Right Wing Prof - I didn't know that! Thank you! He is great!

Chalcedon - God made man and woman. Samual Colt made them equal.

Snufkin - An armed society is a polite society.

Nick says: "You're proposing laws similar to the US." The US doesn't have any gun laws. Around 41 states allow the citizenry to arm themselves for protection or hunting. They all have different laws. In Texas, they now allow gun-owning citizens to "carry concealed" - to put them on an equal footing with criminals who always, needless to say, carry concealed. This is a Texas law. I believe there are some other states that allow carry concealed.

Texas has the death penalty by lethal injection. Wimp states like Massachusetts do not have the death penalty. Utah not only has the death penalty, but gives the deathee a choice of exit: lethal injection or firing squad.

I wish the British would get their heads round the fact that the United States is a confederation of 50 countries, all with their own legislatures and laws. Yes, there are some national laws as well.

Chris said...

"If our friend had turned up and put her Glock on the kitchen counter while she enjoyed dinner, I think I would have been more than a little nervous – particularly if I'd said something to offend her."

What sort of ill-bred oik dumps their gun in the kitchen anyway? Guns belong in the umbrella stand (if long arms), or hung on the coat rack (if side-arms).

Nick said...


As for the numbers of deaths involving guns in the US, your point is flawed. The US has similarly higher death rates for all weapons and unarmed assaults. The US is plain and simply a more violent country. It is wrong to assume that the sole factor affecting violence is the legality of pistols or any other weapon. Each country is very different. I would very strongly suggest you read Guns & Violence: The English Experience by Joyce Lee Malcolm, which explores the differences between gun ownership and crime in both the UK and US. If you look at the ratio of people beaten to death in the US and UK, you would see a similarly higher ratio in the US as for guns. The weapon is not the problem, whether it be a gun, knife, stick or boot.


I didn't distiguish between gun violence, beaten to death with hammers etc.

I just looked at the death rates. You have to explain why so many are killed in the US with guns, and why the death rate is so much higher.

I'll give you a clue. It's very difficult for your little old lady to beat someone to death with a baseball bat. However, they can easily kill someone, innocent or not, with a hand gun. Not only that, but they can with guns kill lots of people. It is possible to kill more than one person with a baseball bat, but its very hard to go on a killing spree.

Removing guns from the culture ends up protecting more people than it does introducing guns. That's the dilemma for the libertarian. When do you restrict rights and when not?

In the UK, generally we don't have gun crime. Introducing guns into the UK would be a bad idea. In the US, they've got a serious gun problem, and it's up to them what they do with it. If they did restrict guns and started removing them from society, I suspect that the level of murder would go down. ie. Remove the means, and it becomes harder to put the motivation into practice

16,000 plus deaths a year, versus 600, most of which are domestics.

Ask the US, would you like the UK set up, and they would say yes.

Ask the UK, if you want 3,000 murders a year, but are allowed to carry guns, and they will vote no.


Nick

Mr Ecks said...

Only ever one reason for gun control whatever tripe the political liars peddle: A well armed population that won't take any crap from criminal scum might just decide not to take any more crap from political scum either. That is all there is to it.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Nick,

Whilst I generally personally sympathise with your position, it is not a libertarian one. It is not libertarian to ban things because of a potential risk: yours is a paternalist position.

I have sympathy with both sides as it happens, and I rarely write about guns because I have yet to make up my mind: intellectually, I favour those who say legalise, but emotionally I side with those who say that we shouldn't.

Leaving that aside, I suggest that you look at Canada, for instance, which has a far higher per capita ownership of guns than the US, but a far lower per capita murder rate (with or without guns).

DK

Nick said...

Whilst I generally personally sympathise with your position, it is not a libertarian one. It is not libertarian to ban things because of a potential risk: yours is a paternalist position.

16,000 murders for against 3,000 (UK scaled to US population) is not potential risk, it's reality.

So lets elaborate on the real libertarian issue.

Are you allowed to have rights at someone else's expense? ie. You get the benefits, but someone else gets all the disadvantages.

Gun freedom/control and Smoking Control / Freedom being two good examples.

ie. You get the right to carry arms, I get the disadvantage that you might shoot me by mistake.

You get the right to smoke, I have to put up with the harm. Cleaning, smells, and exposure to carcinogens.

In the case of smoking, its pretty easy to me. You can smoke, you can't inflict it on me. Eminently sensible. You still get the 'benefit'. I don't get the harm.

Gun control's a little harder. You can carry it around, but if you misuse, as the US experience shows happpens regularly, then someone else gets the harm, and the harm is serious.

On the question of being armed prevents governments from doing things, they may be some truth in it. However, give the population referenda on everything, and you control the politicians. You don't need guns to get that.

Snufkin said...

Nick,

I think we are going to have to agree to disagree although I really do recommend that you have a look at a copy of the book by Joyce Lee Malcolm that I mentioned earlier, as it addresses many of the issues you raise. Her book has the figures on all violent crimes in both the US and UK, so I hope you will find the answers to your statistical queries in there.

One of these is that guns would be bad for Britain. When guns of all kinds, including fully automatic weapons until 1920, were completely legal in the UK, murder rates were incredibly low. Britain never had a problem with guns when they were legal for ownership and carry and the statistics are readily available in the book I mentioned. Armed citizens even came to the aid of the police, such as in The Siege of Sidney Street!

As for Americans wanting UK style gun control, that depends on who you talk to and where you go. There is a reason why Second Amendment Rights remain so important in US politics. If you want to know what many Americans think of the possibility of a gun ban under the coming Obama administration, look at the massive increase in gun sales since his election. Gun dealers and makers are doing a roaring trade, since many Americans think that they will not have the chance to buy new guns after he comes into office. Actions often speak louder than words and that is a pretty clear demonstration of the will of a large part of American society.

As for why so many more people are killed in the US than the UK, I have already answered that in my last post. The US is a more violent society than the UK is. These two countries are not the same, despite the similarities in language and much of our cultures. We have very distinct factors in our histories, too great to analyse here in depth, but including racial struggle, the fact that the origins of the US lie in a war for their existence and the destruction of indigenous peoples. The US has a blood stained history and no one should be surprised that their society reflects this.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Nick,

"You can carry it around, but if you misuse, as the US experience shows happpens regularly..."

I'm sorry, but none of the figures that you quote shows that misuse happens. All it shows is that more people are shot (and they don't actually show that either).

It may simply show that, in the US, more criminals get shot (as one would expect, since people are allowed to defend themselves).

DK

Verity said...

Chris, while I certainly agree with you on the etiquette of stowing guns politely in the umbrella stand or on the coat rack - and would not consider it ill-mannered to hang a gun from a holster on the back of a chair - but you have to consider that those fortunate enough to own a Glock may wish to display their gun casually, for others to admire.

DK - I agree that Nick's position is paternalistic. I tend to believe that people know best what is best for them. Are you really comfortable with Gordon Brown, Jacqui Smith, Jack Straw, Heather Blears and all the rest of the sub-humans that infest the government making life and death decisions for you? I'd rather make my own, thanks.

Snufkin, I agree with your post above. There is no comparisn between the US and Britain. There are few points of common reference.

Snufkin said...

DK is quite right and as I said earlier, only a handful of people have misused their license to carry a weapon in all the years that the laws permitting carry have been in place.

As for people getting shot 'by mistake', people who have permits are trained in target and threat evaluation, just as police are, as well as being trained not to shoot if there is a chance of a missed shot hitting a bystander.

Concealed Carry Permit holders are amongst the most responsible and law abiding citizens in the US. They depend on it to be able to have their permit. Any criminal history prevents them getting the permit and if they commit a crime then their license is revoked. The reason people get licenses is because they are the 'good guys' and the fact that they are approved for the permit is proof of this.

I suggest you do some real reading on this subject, as it is not what you make it out to be.

The devil on your right shoulder said...

I agree with Nick! People having the right to be able to defend themselves against violent assault affects my right to not be afraid of guns. So what if people suffer and die at the hands of criminals? That's an acceptable price to pay to assure Nick's and mine own peace of mind!

Verity said...

Gosh, Devil on Your Right Shoulder, of course, you're right! I hadn't thought of it in terms of what would be best for Nick's peace of mind.

Nick said...

We've got opinions on both sides.

Let me put an extreme example.

If you offend me, I've the right to kill you. After all you've infringed on my right not to be offended.

Libertarian in its extreme, and not something I would accept, but this sort of position exists in some cultures. It can even go as far as if I think you've offended my sister, I've the right to kill you.

There are plenty who believe and even act, using threats, in the UK, that if they don't have money that the government should use force and threats to take it from others. Something that's wrong. We even have Dk thinking this is a good thing when it comes to Israeli's and Palistinians.

So given these different scenarios, what general principles do you apply as to when you have general consent and the protection of the group.

For example, we have some protection from the state when it comes to property (not complete, and subject to extortion for tax). If you steal property from me, I can get the state to help to get it back. Not the case when the thief is the state.

Nick

Devil's Kitchen said...

Nick,

"If you offend me, I've the right to kill you. After all you've infringed on my right not to be offended."

We are talking about a libertarian society here: you have no right not to be offended. Full stop.

DK

Nick said...

And in a Libertarian society, you can't have rights at other's expense, n'est pas?

Nick

Call me Infidel said...

The control freaks who run Britain are unlikely to relinquish their hold on the public. I doubt we will ever get to a situation where gun controls are relaxed. I have lived in America and felt a lot safer there than walking the streets in Britain.

BTW members of gun clubs can still own black powder handguns. They are smoky and smelly but just as lethal as nitro powered firearms.

The Canadian example quoted above is interesting. Restricted firearms (handguns) can be obtained by Canadians after they have attended a firearms awareness course. They also have to show they are not criminals. To possess a handgun however you would need to be a member of a gun club or in an occupation in which a handgun was a requirement. You also need police permission to transport a handgun and hand guns need to be made inactive when stored at home which makes "home defence" rather difficult.

Gun ownership in Canada is relatively high particularly in rural areas. Not surprising given the amount of critters. I personally have no problem in an armed society and quite honestly I think taking away guns in Britain was a big mistake.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Nick,

"And in a Libertarian society, you can't have rights at other's expense, n'est pas?"

Carrying a gun is not having a right at anyone else's expense. We can quibble about whether using it is, but carrying one? -- no.

DK

Anonymous said...

Nick said:

Ask the US, would you like the UK set up, and they would say yes.

Ask the UK, if you want 3,000 murders a year, but are allowed to carry guns, and they will vote no.



Nick, you're amazing, being able to speak for so many millions of people without even asking them.

I am in the UK and would say yes to being allowed to own a firearm.

So....you're wrong then.

Verity said...

Call Me Infidel - You are so naive it beggars description. You write: " I personally have no problem in an armed society and quite honestly I think taking away guns in Britain was a big mistake."

Mistake?

Mistake?

MISTAKE?

Tony Blair? Mr Carpe Diem?

The whole "New" Labour project has been the destruction of Britain.

Let me count the ways. Or, you can probably count them yourself.

Start with uncontrolled immigration of primitive adherents of an alien belief system, according them special privileges and promoting their belief system above our own and follow the dots ...

Nick said...

Carrying a gun is not having a right at anyone else's expense. We can quibble about whether using it is, but carrying one? -- no.

---------------

The problem is that its the inadvertant or inappropriate use of the gun that's the issue. The evidence from the US is clear. More guns, more deaths, because it makes it easier to kill people.

The carrying isn't the problem, its the use thats the problem.

However, I'm more interested in the question of rights. Clearly you believe in the right to do X. I'm also interest in that as well as the right not to be exposed to X.

What criteria should you apply in the cases where a right to X, means harm to other people.

Example. Base jumping. Lots of people kill themselves base jumping. My view, its their choice. They should be allowed to.

However, do I have to carry the can and bring up their orphans as a result? Pay for them if they are in a wheelchair as a result?

If you force things on me, doesn't that give me a say in what you do?

Nick

Devil's Kitchen said...

Nick,

I don't feel that you've quite got the hang of this libertarianism thing yet...

"If you force things on me, doesn't that give me a say in what you do?"

Oh, absolutely. So, should those of us who are net tax payers (I have never claimed benefits, etc.) be able to tell those on benefits what to do? Should we be able, for instance, to make them work for us?

The answer, surely, is "yes". But bear with me whilst I address your example...

"Base jumping. Lots of people kill themselves base jumping. My view, its their choice. They should be allowed to.

However, do I have to carry the can and bring up their orphans as a result? Pay for them if they are in a wheelchair as a result?"


The answer is that, in a libertarian society, "no, you are not forced to bring up their orphans, nor pay for the jumper should he end up in a wheelchair."

First, in a libertarian society, it is up to said jumper to provide for his family, through life insurance, medical insurance, etc.

Second, in a libertarian society, any support is through charity -- proper charity, i.e. voluntary giving -- as opposed to the fake charity enacted by this government.

The guiding principle of libertarianism is the non-aggression principle: you cannot initiate force or fraud against another's life, liberty or property.

Given this principle, you have consistently failed to show that the higher rate of deaths in the US is through inappropriate or inadvertent gun usage: if people are defending themselves from someone who is initiating force against their life, liberty or property, said people are entitled to defend themselves (and to draft in others to help defend them).

DK

Nick said...

I have got the hang of it. Perhaps more so than you in some cases (Israel). :-)

Perhaps the base jumping is the bad analogy, and I should have stuck with smoking.

Your right to smoke, and my right not to smoke when going about my daily business.

Who gets to have their rights, and who doesn't?

My take here, is that since your smoking in my presence causes me harm, (cleaning, health, general foulness), that you have to curtail your right to smoke and exercise it in a way that doesn't cause me harm. ie. I can't restrict you from doing it, unless what you do impacts me.

In the case of the orphans, I agree, I shouldn't be forced to fund, and that's why its a bad example.

You haven't said what general principles apply to the right to do something, and the right not to do something get determined.

Snufkin said...

Nick: The problem is that its the inadvertant or inappropriate use of the gun that's the issue. The evidence from the US is clear. More guns, more deaths, because it makes it easier to kill people.

DK: Given this principle, you have consistently failed to show that the higher rate of deaths in the US is through inappropriate or inadvertent gun usage: if people are defending themselves from someone who is initiating force against their life, liberty or property, said people are entitled to defend themselves (and to draft in others to help defend them).

Quite right, DK. As was mentioned earlier, Nick, Canada has a high level of firearms ownership as do countries like Finland and Switzerland. They have nowhere near the level of gun violence that the US does. Please stop thinking that the only factor that causes gun violence is the presence of guns. This is not the case at all. Remove guns from society and violence will continue, either through the use of illegally held firearms or through other weapons, such as knives, bombs, cars or anything else. Removing one means of violence does not remove the will to commit the act and as we have all heard countless times, 'where there is a will, there is a way'. Bomb making is illegal, yet that has stopped neither the IRA nor Islamic terror groups in this country from employing them.

If you are worried about people with guns going on killing sprees, consider this: how affective would those killers be if their targets were all armed? All of the most 'successful' shooting sprees occur in areas where citizens are not allowed to carry a firearm. The killer is ensured a large group of targets which are unable to fight back. There have been criminals who attempted to shoot up locations where there were armed people, such as a law school in Texas. The shooter was apprehended almost immediately and surrendered when confronted by armed targets. This is not an isolated case, similar instances have occurred in other schools, churches and other places.

In case you are interested in suicide rates in countries where gun ownership is high, I would like to know where you stand on the issue of suicide. I do not believe that it matters if someone commits suicide with a gun. Once again, if that person wants to do it, they will find a way. Furthermore, I believe that it is their choice what they do with their own life. Sure, it may be selfish and cause grief to their relatives, but ultimately they are free to do themselves as they wish. Hopefully that will address another part of your concern over the number of deaths 'caused' by guns.

Lastly, I would hope that you would agree that the actions of one individual is not a reason for the collective punishment of all others. Just because one person goes on a killing spree with a gun is not a reason to punish all other people who are law abiding by removing their most effective means to self defence. The right to protect one's life is a fundamental one and a gun is the most effective means to defend oneself. A right denied a means is a right denied.

Despite the fact that car accidents dwarf gun deaths, have we banned cars? No, because that would be unfair to others who need them and who are responsible drivers. It is just as easy to go on a killing spree with a car, as a recent attack in Tokyo showed. Incidentally, this backs up my point that even in a country such as Japan, which has an incredibly small and highly restricted level of gun ownership, other means are found to kill groups of people.

Do you believe that the importance of a means to the defence of one's life is lesser than that of ease of travel? It is easy to make guns an emotionally polarised subject, where guns are instantly viewed as evil. I suggest that you divorce yourself from the emotional side of the argument, since it is unhelpful in forming a rational and clear view of the issue as it actually is.

Nick said...

Quite right, DK. As was mentioned earlier, Nick, Canada has a high level of firearms ownership as do countries like Finland and Switzerland. They have nowhere near the level of gun violence that the US does.

So why make the comparison US verus Switzerland?

Why not compare US/Switzerland etc with the UK?

ie. You've just compared armed societies and said no evidence of a difference. You need to compare armed versus not armed.

US has 5-6 times the murder rate of the UK. Switzerland has gun deaths 500% the level of the UK.

'where there is a will, there is a way'.

Quite. However, why do you want to make it easier? I want to make it more difficult, particularly for people to kill remotely, and to kill en masse. Or are you now going to tell us that you favour the free availability of gelignite?

Suicide

If they can commit suicide by other means, then restricting guns isn't restricting their rights to kill themselves, is it?

The right to protect one's life is a fundamental one and a gun is the most effective means to defend oneself.

Except that your right to carry a gun means its more likely that I get killed. It's not effective if the deaths from guns levels go up.

That's the problem. You want to get more protection, and the consequence is that the murder rate will go up, because it's effective. You can't legistilate or control the use of guns to 'legitimate killing or maiming'

Snufkin said...

Nick,

You constantly go on about how if I carry a gun, you are more likely to be killed. While I don't have the figures to hand, the US data shows that licensed carriers do not shoot innocent people. If you were to go to the US and be shot by a CCW permit holder, it is very likely that it would be due to you committing an act of violence against the permit holder. You have consistently failed to back up your claims that licensed carry would lead to innocent people being shot. In other words, you only need to worry about being shot if you are a violent criminal.

As for suicide, my reason for bringing it up is that it contributes to the figures for gun deaths. I feel that these deaths are not relevant to the gun debate, and so should not be considered with deaths of innocents, nor should those of shootings in self-defence or of criminals on criminals. I would be interested to see the figures for completely innocent people being shot by legal firearms owners if you could provide us with that data.

My reason for comparing countries like the US and Switzerland was to show that your premise the gun ownership is directly proportional to gun deaths is false. As for saying that the UK is an unarmed country, that is quite false. There are people like me, who are licensed gun owners and there are criminal gun owners. Once again I refer you to the book I mentioned earlier, which should satisfy your requests for comparison of the UK and US and show that when both countries were equally armed, there was not an equal rate of gun crime between the two.

Regarding your comment about allowing people to own explosives, that is ridiculous for several reasons. Firstly, bombs are not useful for self defence against conventional criminal attack. Secondly, your point about whether or not they should be legal is irrelevant. Just as with guns, bad guys are able to obtain or produce bombs regardless of legislation. Look at the 7/7 bombers. They don't seem to have had too hard a time of committing their bombings, despite laws against blowing people up. Your use of the bomb example is, frankly, indicative of the weakness of your overall argument since you have had to resort to such flawed attempts to undermine mine.

Nick said...

The reason is simple. It's the availability of guns that problem. Not the question of licensed holders. Even you've admitted that there are lots of unlicensed guns and that's why you are worried.

So why are you worried about them in the UK? You're argument is that anyone should be allowed to carry one to defend themselves.

Or are you now arguing that someone, probably you, gets to decide who can carry one?

ie. You're going to tie yourself up in knots as a consequence.

It's far simpler. No guns. Then you can't shoot me by mistake.

It's too late to say that hey, I'll get insurance, because I don't want the insurance pay out if dead.

firstly, bombs are not useful for self defence against conventional criminal attack.

There are plenty of legitimate uses for gelignite. Why should I be prevented from having a few sticks?

ukliberty said...

Nick, you are free to the extent where you start interfering with others - your freedom to extend your fist ends before the tip of my nose.

Any interference with freedom must be necessary and proportionate. We seem to have decided that it is necessary to interfere with the freedom to smoke, on the grounds that passive smoking causes harm - I disagree that blanket bans are proportionate.

There is no interference with others in merely owning a gun. The interference is when you use the gun to threaten or shoot people.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Just in case anyone is interested, here are some stats...

Murder by firearms per capita:

#8: United States -- 0.0279271 per 1,000 people

#19 Switzerland -- 0.00534117 per 1,000 people

#32 United Kingdom -- 0.00102579 per 1,000 people

So, yes, Switzerland does have a per capita murder rate with firearms of 500% more than ours -- but both numbers are pretty darn small.

And in Switzerland, everyone is armed. Here, no one is supposed to be. And yet our murder with firearms is only a fifth of theirs.

Not good.

Interestingly, here are the general murder rates per capita:

#24: United States -- 0.042802 per 1,000 people

"Aha!" you say: lots of murder! But see here...

#46: United Kingdom -- 0.0140633 per 1,000 people

#56: Switzerland -- 0.00921351 per 1,000 people

So, the UK has 150% the murders per capita that Switzerland does. Yet we don't have guns...

*boom! head explodes*

Is it possible that where everyone is trained in the use of weaponry and has said weaponry to defend themselves, they discourage murder?

Maybe, maybe not (there are a zillion other factors).

However, those are the statistics, gentlmen.

DK

Nick said...

Nick, you are free to the extent where you start interfering with others - your freedom to extend your fist ends before the tip of my nose.

Any interference with freedom must be necessary and proportionate. We seem to have decided that it is necessary to interfere with the freedom to smoke, on the grounds that passive smoking causes harm - I disagree that blanket bans are proportionate.

There is no interference with others in merely owning a gun. The interference is when you use the gun to threaten or shoot people.


At last someone puts up some arguments.

I'm in complete agreement on the smoking issue. I think the current state of affairs that you can't smoke in my presence if I'm going about my lawful everyday life. If it's your home, it's your choice.

I also think the advertising ban is also wrong. It shouldn't be the business of government to legistlate here.

However, I also think that smokers should pay a much higher rate of insurance costs for their habit. If you take the risk, you have to pay the cost and not pass it on to me.

So in the case of guns, the evidence is quite clear. Increased ownership of guns means increased chances of mis-use of guns.

The argument is whether or not its proportionate.

So, let me add one more bit in to the mix.

The argument about guns is really about a balance of probability. Does banning guns lead to a lower probability of being killed?

The argument being made is that if I'm armed, I'm protected more than not.

The counter argument is that if you're armed, your more likely to kill me in error, and that the criminals are more likely to kill if they think others are armed.

ie. We're in a case of balance of probabilities. Which case leads to a lower probability of being killed?

Nick

Devil's Kitchen said...

P.S. Perception of safety > Walking in the dark...

#3: United States -- 85%

Weighted average -- 76%

#12: United Kingdom -- 70%

Just sayin'...

DK

Nick said...

DK,

Perception?!!!

There are plenty of kids that believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy.

Come on. What's the reality?

16,000 murders per year in the US. Less that 600 in the UK

300 million vers 60 million

Do the maths.

What's the percentage of murders with guns in the US, compared to the UK?

ie. With guns, the little old lady can kill. They'd have a hard job doing the same with a baseball bat.

Nick said...

Lets put another twist on it and move away from guns for a moment.

Perception of risk and the reality of risk.

In the UK, perception of risk and reality of risk when it comes to knife crime. The risk has clearly gone up. The perception of risk has also gone up. [I'll still say that there is a huge gap between the two, and that people's perception is much higher than the reality]

What we have going on is a an arms race. More people are carrying knives because other people are carrying knifes. Now you want guns to combate the knife arms race.

ie. The increased carrying of knives has lead to an increased use, and a vicious circle.

However, if you accept the use and availability of guns, knives are in too.

Nick

Devil's Kitchen said...

Nick,

I. Put. The. Murder. Stats. Per Capita. In. The. Comment. Above. And I even kindly put links to the data.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother...

DK

Snufkin said...

Nick,

Firstly your bomb comment. Maybe you are operating a small quarry in your garden, I don't know. However, there is more to bomb making than a stick of explosives. My point was actually that cars have legitimate uses too, but are also used to kill people. We haven't banned them. Guns have legitimate uses in self-defence and sport, yet they are banned.

If you have a legitimate reason for owning explosives, then you can get an explosives license, go for it. The same cannot be said for handguns, even for a completely harmless use such as sporting shooting.

As for your comment about me tying myself in knots, your argument is flawed.

You say that it is the availability of guns that are the problem. Ok. We have banned handguns and there are still hundreds of thousands still in the country and they continue to be brought in illegally and used in crimes. Banning them has not worked. Licensed and honest citizens are prevented from owning handguns, criminals still get their hands on them. It could not be clearer that gun control does not work, the UK is a clear example of this!

As for who gets to choose who may carry one, I never said that I should be the one who gets to say so, so I don't know where you are getting that idea from. Since criminals will carry anyway, guns should be available to all lawful citizens to carry too with the exception of those with criminal histories or mental instability. Criminals with have them no matter what, not allowing honest people to carry too does not stop that.

You seem to be under the same illusion that the government is, that being that if you say 'Ok, guns are banned' that from then on there will be no guns. It doesn't work like that, you can't just write down on a piece of paper 'no guns' and then expect all the guns to disappear!

Look at the trade in illegal drugs, it's massive. Drugs are illegal, yet the trade continues. Quite simply prohibitions do not work!

Nathaniel said...

Question for Nick:

If I gave you a gun today and told you that you had to carry it around, and for some strange cosmic reason (on a game show, God told you to, whatever, etc) you had to obey me, do you think that you would abuse the responsibility you had been given? Do you think that you would shoot people who offended you or pull it out and wave it around every time you heard a scream? Would you fire shots at the first suspicious person you saw running from a policeman? In short, do you think the gun would make you a more violent, unpredictable person, or a more peaceful, centered person?

I ask this because in my experience, people who are uncomfortable around guns actually do not trust themselves. They think "Gosh, I think guns are so scary and dangerous, there's no way I could be trusted with that amount of power!" And, the human mind being what it it, this internal fear becomes projected onto others, so it begins to seem that it's not you, it's actually everyone else you who's untrustworthy and irresponsible.

That seems to be a good explanation for why you seem to think that my being able to carry a gun results in the possibility of you being shot. The same could be said for my right to drive (you being accidentally run over), my right to use a chainsaw (you being accidentally dismembered), and my right to own kitchen knives (you being accidentally stabbed), yet you exclusively focus on guns as the objects that pose the most danger to yourself.

You even admit that guns have legitimate purposes besides killing (target shooting, pest control, olympic practice, etc), so you can't be one of those people who yells, "But guns are MURDER MACHINES!!1!!!1!!eleven". So, in terms of the amount of fear that they engender in you, what differentiates the possibility of your being killed by a bullet fired by a legally-owned gun versus you being killed by a legally-driven car?

I would posit that this is a question you need to answer for yourself in order to understand what it is that makes you fear firearms so much.

Snufkin said...

I think Nathanial raises a very good point. I would also like to pose a question.

Nick, have you ever held or fired a real gun?

It seems to me that those who have been instructed in the proper handling and usage of a firearm do not fear them as much as those who have had the benefit of such education and experiences.

I think that much of the fear surrounding guns comes from their status as an object that few in the UK have experience of. All of those who have used guns who I know do not show any fear of them, but rather a mature respect. Quite right too, since if you know that you are able to make a firearm safe and act appropriately around them.

Personally, I was taught as a child how to safely use and take care of firearms. I am sure that such an image is abhorrent to many, but it is quite the opposite. If you learn about guns, just as you learn about cars or kitchen knives, they are perfectly safe. In my home, handling or cleaning my gun is no different to me or my family than it is to washing or driving the car or chopping up vegetables. The status of the gun as some sort of special item is not present as it would be in a non-gun owning household.

Almost all people can be taught to safely use and keep guns. They won't go around shooting themselves or others, just as they don't go around running people over or stabbing people with their kitchen knife.

Just something to consider.

Nick, I would also like to say that I can understand and sympathise with your views. Despite being a gun owner, for many years I too held your opinions. It took the efforts of others to make me see how things really are and to approach the issue with a cold and purely rational attitude. Maybe, however, I benefited from already being familiar with guns and knowing that they are not accidents waiting to happen.

The Happy Rampager said...

ie. With guns, the little old lady can kill. They'd have a hard job doing the same with a baseball bat.

Who do you imagine they'd be killing or shooting at, Nick? It wouldn't be, say, someone who wouldn't think twice about beating them to death for a tenner, would it?

And you'd have them left with only a baseball bat to combat that thug with, where they wouldn't be able to hit hard enough to so much as give their attacker a bloody nose.

So what happens then is, they get badly hurt or killed.

If you're going to come out with crap like that, Nick, you should have the balls to explain why it would be better for an innocent elderly victim to get battered than for their attacker to get shot.

Also it's interesting that you remark that people who carry guns are infringing on your rights...if'd you ban guns for self-defence, aren't YOU infringing on people's rights? Ort do only YOUR rights count?

Nick said...

Nick, have you ever held or fired a real gun?
Yes


It seems to me that those who have been instructed in the proper handling and usage of a firearm do not fear them as much as those who have had the benefit of such education and experiences.


It's irrelevant. You can still train a psycopath. What does that training do that prevents them from using them?

Personally, I was taught as a child how to safely use and take care of firearms. I am sure that such an image is abhorrent to many, but it is quite the opposite. If you learn about guns, just as you learn about cars or kitchen knives, they are perfectly safe. In my home, handling or cleaning my gun is no different to me or my family than it is to washing or driving the car or chopping up vegetables. The status of the gun as some sort of special item is not present as it would be in a non-gun owning household.

I've no doubt, but its still irelevant.

Can you train all?

Nick, I would also like to say that I can understand and sympathise with your views. Despite being a gun owner, for many years I too held your opinions. It took the efforts of others to make me see how things really are and to approach the issue with a cold and purely rational attitude. Maybe, however, I benefited from already being familiar with guns and knowing that they are not accidents waiting to happen.

Again, irrelvant.

The question is that on balance, does have an armed society mean fewer deaths compared to a society without guns? The figures from Switzerland and the US show that not having guns lead to fewer deaths from violence.

If you're going to come out with crap like that, Nick, you should have the balls to explain why it would be better for an innocent elderly victim to get battered than for their attacker to get shot.


Again irrelevant because you're asking the wrong question.

For the little old lady killed in that way, it's certainly not good.

For the 6 people killed in order that the LOL gets to kill one thug, its pretty dire news.

Also it's interesting that you remark that people who carry guns are infringing on your rights...if'd you ban guns for self-defence, aren't YOU infringing on people's rights? Ort do only YOUR rights count?

Therein lies the issue that I've been going on about.

Smoking was the easier case. You may and should have a right to smoke. However, you don't have a right to smoke in such a way that it affects me. I suspect even you would accept that.

So, in the case of guns, if on balance not having guns means fewer deaths over all, I think we have a right to restrict the rights of people to carry guns.

Back to a prior question. Can I carry gelignite around? The conclusion was no, you can't. Why not? There are legitimate uses. If I get the training that Snufkin talks about, what's the problem? So long as I'm trained that gelignite is dangerous, I should be allowed it, because there are legitimate uses. The fact that there are illigitimate uses shouldn't come into it, or should it? The conclusion here from others was that it should be resticted. I personally think that's correct. You can restict items that have dual uses if the balance is such that overall it leads to an overall benefit. ie. Lower deaths, no huge increases in costs.

Nick said...



You even admit that guns have legitimate purposes besides killing (target shooting, pest control, olympic practice, etc), so you can't be one of those people who yells, "But guns are MURDER MACHINES!!1!!!1!!eleven". So, in terms of the amount of fear that they engender in you, what differentiates the possibility of your being killed by a bullet fired by a legally-owned gun versus you being killed by a legally-driven car?


But you weren't talking about things like that.

You were talking about concealed weapons, on the street, for protection from some threat.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Nick,

"The figures from Switzerland and the US show that not having guns lead to fewer deaths from violence."

You can keep repeating the lie, but it doesn't make it any more true.

I repeat: I posted the per capita figures, Nick.

Yes, the US does have a higher per capita murder rate ("deaths from violence") but Switzerland has a far lower per capita murder rate.

Or is it that only death by firearm counts as "death from violence"?

DK

Nick said...

http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcgvintl.html

Now tell me about the death rates from guns in the UK and Switzerland again?

In the case of guns, its not the law abiding that I worried about. I'm worried about arming the nutters.

The nutters will end up killing far more than they do at the moment.

Nick

Nick said...

If you look at the previous link there is some old data.

Look at the % of households with guns as a good measure of how widespread gun ownership is in the society.

Now, you can also look at the firearm homicide rate. I would take out Northern Ireland as an odd case at the time. High gun ownership and very high gun death rate (its in your favour and against my argument to remove a high homicide rate country). In this case its down to terrorism.

What you notice is that as you increase the number of households with guns, you increase the number of homicides with guns. This isn't self defence related, it's the rate of murder.

If there weren't a trend, I wouldn't be arguing the case, but there is.

I along with other's are more likely to be murdered by firearms if there are more of them in society. Pretty logical too.

So, when you want to increase the risk to me, should society be allowed to say no?

After all, you've not stated how you're going to weed out the nutters?

Devil's Kitchen said...

Nick,

"Now tell me about the death rates from guns in the UK and Switzerland again?"

Would you please take your fingers out of your ears and listen?

You used the phrase "death from violence" not "death from guns".

OK, I shall try to spell this out for you.

As the figures that I linked to show, both Switzerland and the US have a higher gun death per capita rate than the UK.

However, whilst the US has a far higher per capita general murder rate, Switzerland has a significantly lower general murder rate than Britain.

Now, you obviously do not consider general murder to be "death from violence", which is an interesting point of view.

DK

Devil's Kitchen said...

"What you notice is that as you increase the number of households with guns, you increase the number of homicides with guns. This isn't self defence related, it's the rate of murder."

Now that, Nick, is a very tenuous leap indeed.

DK

Verity said...

Snufkin, as an addendum to what you wrote above about armed targets, in the last college campus massacre - I think it was the one with the Korean student gunman - the campus had recently banned guns. As a result, the aggressor killed around 20 - or more; can't remember - students. Had any, or several, of the students been armed, he would have been taken out immediately he opened fire.

This goes for you, too, Nick, and your naive comment just above. In an armed society, the nutters get taken out immediately by people who have a legitimate right to bear arms.

And never forget, the American right to bear arms is as a far-sighted precaution against an over-mighty government. Never forget that.

Verity said...

Nick - Your "maths" are infantile. Because 3,000 people were killed with guns does not mean 3,000 people were murdered. I would need to see it broken down into how many killings were in response to intruders in the home or violence perpetrated against the gun owner. You would be amazed to see this "murder" figure shrink before your very eyes. You are terribly naive.

Verity said...

Not just naive, but hysterical.

If you ever visit the United States, I would advise you to stick to Massachusetts and similar wimps, but you wouldn't feel safe there either, because perps on drugs, looking for drug money, or even just beer money, have guns and responsible people don't.

Nathaniel said...

Nick,

I can see we're not getting through to you. I think the problem is that you have the wrong frame of mind. You see guns as a social problem that must be solved, and your solution involves illegalizing or at least very tightly regulating the civilian possession and carrying of guns.

I think cars are a great counter-example. In the United States, an average of 44,479 people per year were killed by cars between 1999 and 2005. During that same time period, an average of 11,529 gun homicides were committed each year.

statistics available at:
http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10_sy.html

And yet nobody calls for "car control" or even tighter regulation of drivers. When some drunk commits a hit-and-run, we don't call for mandatory licensing of gasoline or regulations concerning how fast cars can go. We appropriately think to ourselves, "Man, that guy should be locked up." We correctly blame the perpetrator of the crime rather than focusing on the fact that he would not have been able to commit the crime if he had been denied access to the means (the car). We do this because cars are useful. We know that we would never drive drunk, and we know that the presence of a car does not encourage us to commit crimes, so we blame the perpetrator.

Sure, we all hate that 45 thousand people die each year by cars, and we all want that number to be lower — dramatically lower, but to a certain extent, we all accept it as a consequence of living in a society that has cars, because cars are useful.

But guns? No, they're bad! For whatever reason, many people don't accept guns as a part of society and view them as tools of violence, murder, and evil. If you did not grow up around guns in the manner that you certainly grew up around cars, or if you do not own a gun and do not know how to load and unload one, how to make it safe, or how it works, it is easy to dismiss guns as merely another societal problem rather than to see them as useful items like cars.

If this is the case for you, then you will continue to argue that guns are a plague on society until you have what I call an "aha!" moment: when you finally understand this, and you see for yourself that owning a gun can be a rational and appropriate decision for a person to make.

If you are a very logical fellow, your "aha!" moment may result from learning about how guns work internally, or talking to gun owners and seeing how they're not crazed monsters or coiled vipers waiting to kill someone (I had my "aha!" moment this way).

If you are a very emotional fellow, your "aha!" moment might come after you or a family member has been robbed, assaulted, or stalked, and you so painfully understand that awful feeling of helplessness that comes from being unarmed and unskilled in fighting when arrayed against someone who is.

But until you understand that guns are useful yet dangerous tools — like cars, or chainsaws, or butcher knives, or matches, — you will never understand people who own and like guns.

Verity said...

To Nathaniel -

All hail.

Snufkin said...

Well said DK, Nathanial and Verity!

One more question, Nick. You say that you don't want to see people being allowed to carry in public. How would you feel about allowing people to keep a gun at home specifically for self-defence from home invasions, which is not currently allowed by the UK government?

The Happy Rampager said...

Again irrelevant because you're asking the wrong question.

You mean I'm thinking about victims of violent criminals and I shouldn't be. Right. Got it.

Oh and, thanks for making it clear that you think the deaths of disarmed people is an acceptable price to pay to not have thugs killed by guns - and that you think your right to not feel afraid trump other people's right to look out for their own safety. As well as being under the impression that yes, you can infringe on other people's (rather more essential) rights because you're just that important.

So, in the case of guns, if on balance not having guns means fewer deaths over all, I think we have a right to restrict the rights of people to carry guns.

Which in effect means, since restricting the rights of people to carry guns is going to result in death for a good number of people, that you think you have the right to sacrifice people's lives on your ill-considered, fear-influenced 'utilitarian' grounds.

So where do you get the right to play games with sacrificing other's lives to reduce your fear, then? Answer, fucking nowhere.

Nick said...


One more question, Nick. You say that you don't want to see people being allowed to carry in public.
How would you feel about allowing people to keep a gun at home specifically for self-defence from home invasions, which is not currently allowed by the UK government?


I've less concerns than being carried in public. ie. Just like you have the freedom to smoke on your property, it doesn't affect me.
If the gun remains on the property, then I've less of an issue.

However, you've still got a problem.

1. How do you stop the nutters getting guns?
2. How do you stop someone taking the gun out of the home?

Think about the people you've come across in your life.
How many would you prefer not to have guns?
Do you really want all these knife wielding idiots to tool up and be armed in public?
It's blatently obvious that if they did, deaths would rise, as the evidence shows.

.
Oh and, thanks for making it clear that you think the deaths of disarmed people is an acceptable price
to pay to not have thugs killed by guns - and that you think your right to not feel afraid trump other
people's right to look out for their own safety. As well as being under the impression that yes,
you can infringe on other people's (rather more essential) rights because you're just that important.


Not at all. The question is that are more people going to be killed (armed or not) if people are armed compared
to people (not armed) killed with a gun ban.

ie. Why should you accept more people being killed as a justification for you being armed? Since armed societies
on the whole result in more deaths, then its you who are saying that more people have to die so you can carry arms.

If the evidence pointed armed societies having a lower death rate then I would accept it as being correct, but it doesn't.

So Happy Rampager, I don't want to see you rampaging with a gun, swearing your head off, getting all angry at someone
making civil points that you don't agree with. Do you really think that you're the right sort of person to own a gun? :-)

Please note the smiley!

Nick

ukliberty said...

Nick,

I also think that smokers should pay a much higher rate of insurance costs for their habit. If you take the risk, you have to pay the cost and not pass it on to me.

I'm ignorant of insurance rates for smokers but I'd be surprised if insurance companies don't charge smokers more than non-smokers. It is perhaps worth noting that UK smokers pay more than three times into the public purse than they receive in terms of treatment for smoking related illnesses (according to ASH, the NHS, Cancer Research, HMRC etc), and that the health and social costs associated with alcohol abuse are twice as much (I have no idea about revenue from alcohol, however). I know of no-one who has been beaten up or knifed because a smoker has had one too many cigarettes (or indeed a spliff or Ecstasy).

Some guns, some drugs, and smoking in particular places have been banned more because it was politically expedient to do so, rather than the real risk of harm to others, or costs to the public purse associated with the particular activity.

I do not know where I stand on guns, gun bans, and the types of gun to ban or unban. But banning guns merely prevents the law-abiding from owning them, and I think I am correct in claiming that gun related violence in the UK has increased since some guns were banned. Indeed, firearms incidents have doubled since Labour came to power in 1997, roughly a year after the Dunblane massacre, which itself prompted them to ban even more guns (something that the Cullen Inquiry into the massacre did not conclude was justified). It is difficult for me to tell from Home Office statistics what the trend is, however.

You ask, "How do you stop the nutters getting guns?" Well, only if guns weren't manufactured, but that's not going to happen is it?

Why should you accept more people being killed as a justification for you being armed?

It depends who the people are! If they are invading my home and threatening my family, presenting a gun and indeed shooting them may well seem like necessary and proportionate responses.

Snufkin said...

How do you stop the nutters getting guns?

The same way you do now, by having criminal background checks, character references from professionals and a reference from your GP.

None of these requirements changed after the two public shootings that have occurred in the UK, yet there have been no further killing sprees. The only thing that changed was which guns could be owned. If you think that a bolt-action rifle, which are still legal, is not capable of be used to kill people just as quickly as any other gun then try reading the accounts of some of the Germans in the trenches facing our boys during world war one. British soldiers were trained to fire around 20 aimed shots per minute including reload time from their bolt action rifles. So, the vetting of gun owners is no different than it was before and neither is the potential for misuse posed by the current legal weapons.

How do you stop someone taking the gun out of the home?

There is nothing stopping that happening with the current licensed guns. The only reason that it doesn't happen is that the people owning the guns are law abiding and peaceful people, a requirement of being allowed to own the guns in the first place. Once again, none of the requirements of storing guns at home have changed since either Hungerford or Dunblane.

Think about the people you've come across in your life.
How many would you prefer not to have guns?


I am lucky enough to have taught a large number of young teenagers gun handling, use and safety. You'd be surprised as to how responsible they can be when properly educated. Furthermore, most people are not criminals. Putting a gun in their hand will not suddenly cause them to be possessed by some sort of criminal spirit. I might have met people that I don't like, that is no reason to think that they are going shoot me. As others have said, just because someone has a gun doesn't mean they will use it at every opportunity, quite the opposite, it is a last resort.

As for the unpleasant, criminal elements of society, as has already been explained, they do not care about the law and will not give any regard to what it says about owning and carrying guns. There are plenty of illegal guns for them to have, so laws and bans will do absolutely nothing to stop bad people from getting and using guns.

The Happy Rampager said...

ie. Why should you accept more people being killed as a justification for you being armed? Since armed societies on the whole result in more deaths I thought DK explained to you there's NO causal factor there, then its you who are saying that more people have to die so you can carry arms.

Why should I accept ~? I DON'T. I'm not the one here proposing that such things should be decided FOR people by a higher authority. YOU are.

It's interesting that you're aware making policy that leads to unnecessary deaths is somewhat (nay, highly) discreditable. Hence your attempt to smear me as someone who'd sacrifice lives as an 'acceptable' downside to arming people generally, in exact parallel to your agreeability to sacrificing people as a consequence of disarming people generally.

Unfortunately it doesn't work, you see you're the only one out of the two of us taking the utilitarian position. You might believe people's lives have no inherent value and so it's acceptable to make policy sacrificing lives as a 'bearable' consequence.

I just find that fucking evil and wrong. I prefer to take the position that your sort of proposals are an attack on people's rights, not justifiable in any way (if you think you can justify it, try to do so and I'll show you just how wrong you are).

someone making civil points

'Breaking eggs to make omelettes' is the very opposite of civil. Did I say you were a sick fuck yet?

Nick said...

So do you think you would get your gun license when you act like that?

You've made my day.

We've had plenty of posters here who've said you have to weed out the nutters and those that lose their tempers would certainly fall into the category of those who didn't get the weapons along with criminals.

Or would you go along, have the training, and be all sweetness and light at the time?

Nick

Nick said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/4140689/Four-year-old-boy-shoots-babysitter.html

A good example of what I'm trying to prevent.

You're also clearly trying to prevent something else that I'm also against, which is violence against people.

You have to work out whether or not the introduction of guns into society means that the balance overall means less deaths.

Note, the gun was in the house.

Snufkin said...

Note, the gun was in the house.

It was also clearly left loaded, unsecured and cocked, since I have yet to meet a four year old capable of removing a shotgun from a safe, loading it, readying it for fire and being able to wield it in a way that would allow it to be lifted off the ground, let alone fired.

I have a shotgun in my home too. No child has ever shot anyone else with it. This is because it is stored according to proper safety rules, which the one in this story clearly was not.

Also, the reason that this event made the news is because it is rare enough to be newsworthy and sell papers.

You also have to ask whether the number of innocents killed by guns is acceptable when compared to the number of lives saved by allowing them to be owned. I earlier said that 2 million US citizens defend themselves with a gun each year. Not all of them would have died without it, but I am willing to bet that it those who would have died would number more than the 16,000 people (including criminals) who died from being shot.

Even if the ratio was as small as say 1.1:1, in my opinion that is an acceptable balance, especially considering that many of those on the side being shot are criminals.

Nick said...

You're comparing an armed society with an armed society.

Why aren't you comparing the US with a level of deaths 5 times the level in the UK?

What about the 'Happy Rampager'?

He's lost the rag a little in some of his posts. Would you allow a 'Rampager' a gun, concealed, in the street?

:-)

Nick

Nick said...

here's a hypothetical question - the bill of rights of 1689 apparently allows me to carry arms since i am a protestant of english birth. yet all i am "allowed" under UK law is a folding,

Was posted by richard

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/england.asp is the text.

The full quote is this.

That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law;
So, unfortunately, the government has the get out in the last bit.

The really interesting bit it this

And several grants and promises made of fines and forfeitures before any conviction or judgment against the persons upon whom the same were to be levied;

All which are utterly and directly contrary to the known laws and statutes and freedom of this realm;


Parking fines illegal anyone?

Snufkin said...

Where did I compare an armed society to an unarmed one in my last post?

I compared my gun ownership in the UK (which you still think is an unarmed country, despite the fact that there are over 600,000 of legal shotgun owners alone in the UK) to the gun in the story you cited.

I also compared the number of people saved by guns to the number killed in the US alone. I think you might need to reread what I wrote.

Why aren't you comparing the US with a level of deaths 5 times the level in the UK?

I have said this before, I will say it one final time and hope that you will listen: There is no point comparing the UK and the US. They are far too different in terms of history and culture. You still make it sound like the number of guns in a country is the only thing that affects the amount of gun crime, which is just not true. Please go over what I have written, since I have made this argument to you several times, yet you just keep making the same irrelevant points.

Nick said...


I have said this before, I will say it one final time and hope that you will listen: There is no point comparing the UK and the US. They are far too different in terms of history and culture. You still make it sound like the number of guns in a country is the only thing that affects the amount of gun crime, which is just not true. Please go over what I have written, since I have made this argument to you several times, yet you just keep making the same irrelevant points.



I agree they are different cultures. That is part of the point I'm making. Guns are part of the culture in the US. So is violence. The UK has a different culture. We don't have a culture of people carry guns hidden on their person. The problem is the importation of the US culture into gangs in the UK. By and large, that's the sort of things that I suspect you want to carry hidden guns to counter. The problem is that you can't write a law that eliminates members of gangs from getting weapons. All they have to do is get one when they don't have a conviction, or get one illegally. Legalising guns just increases the supply, and reduces the obstacles to getting one. We've one poster here who's had a case of posting rage, and yet wants to be considered as an appropriate responsible person to own a concealed gun.

I think we need to learn from the US as having an undesireable attittude to violence. ie That violence is a solution. Lets cut out the violence and the means of escalating violence.

Snufkin said...

We don't have a culture of people carry guns hidden on their person.

Yes we do. Up until the 1920's when the government became worried about a communist revolution in the UK, guns were freely available. If you wanted to carry a gun, you had to go to the post office, give them a few pennies and they would give you a carry permit. No tests, no checks. Was crime sky high? No, it was lower than it is today. The figures to back this up are in the book I mentioned, but I don't have it with me now so I can't cite the numbers.

All they have to do is get one when they don't have a conviction.

Not easy. Firstly, they need all the character references from professional people known to them for five years, medical reference, a gun safe, an interview with the police and several thousand pounds to achieve all this and then buy their gun. Any tiny problem and they won't get a license, including if the police inspector smells something fishy. If you want a rifle, it's even harder, since you either need to have land and a vermin problem or you need to be part of a government registered club. You have a probation period at that club before applying for a license and once you have the license you have to attend the club at least every three months or you are reported to the police.

It's much easier, cheaper and quicker to get an illegal gun. You need a few hundred quid and a connection to someone like a drug dealer, who will either have some himself or will be able to refer you to one of his friends who does. No police interview, little expense,no references. Very simple.

Legalising guns just increases the supply, and reduces the obstacles to getting one.

Hopefully I've already addressed this point above. Whether or not guns are legal, there will still be a free and easy illegal trade in them, just as with the £8 billion per annum trade in drugs. Only people who are already law abiding will go through the trouble of the legal route, despite the fact that they are the least likely to cause trouble with a gun.

We've one poster here who's had a case of posting rage, and yet wants to be considered as an appropriate responsible person to own a concealed gun.

Perfect case. Firstly, writing angrily does not make you an unstable killer. If it did, DK would most certainly be behind bars! Are you saying that you have never been angry or raised your voice to someone? A political debate is one thing, it does not mean that you lack the self control to own and carry a gun. I have a gun owning friend who also gets angry about certain political issues. I would trust him with my life and I have when standing next to him while he holds a loaded gun. He did not shoot me.

Furthermore, how does one person being angry lead you to think that everyone else should be stripped of protection? I must also ask if you think that the need for protection is real. The chances of being attacked are slim, but real. Do you think that the police will save you? They take time to arrive and what if you don't even have the chance to call them? The only person that you can always rely on to look after you is yourself. In those situations, you will want the best means to defend yourself; a gun. Confronted by a violent criminal bent on your death or serious injury in a situation you are unable to run from, do you plan to cower and wait to see if the police arrive before you are already dead?


I think we need to learn from the US as having an undesireable attittude to violence. ie That violence is a solution. Lets cut out the violence and the means of escalating violence.


Maybe you are a bit squeamish about things like this, but in the real world violence often is the answer to problems. If a young lady is about to be raped I hope you would agree that violence is a very acceptable solution. There are many situations where violence sorts the problem out. Animals have fought for as long as they have existed and we are no different. If you want to survive, you need to know that sometimes you have to fight.


There are two ways to convince someone to do something, reason and force. If a criminal can't convince you to do something by reason i.e. "Let's have sex, young lady", then he will do so by force "I'm going to rape you, young lady". In that case, you will most likely have to resort to violence yourself in order to avoid being a victim of that force unless you can reason your way out of the violence (unlikely) or successfully flee. Good luck reasoning with a rapist and persuading him not to rape you.

Sorry if the concept of violence being acceptable is offensive to you, but that is the cold reality of life.

ukliberty said...

[Bill of Rights tosh] Parking fines illegal anyone?Try using it and let me know how you get on.

Nick said...


Sorry if the concept of violence being acceptable is offensive to you, but that is the cold reality of life.


Let me assure that its not acceptable.

What matters is minimising it, not increasing it.

Having people committing violence is one thing. Having people being able to scale up their violence either by killing / maiming lots more people, or being more efficient at it by obtaining guns is another.

I don't think that you can stop violence. It's in human nature. What you can do is to minimise the harm that results. Once it's happened, you can also prevent recurrances by locking them up.

As for GPs giving approval etc, its just another load of Labour tosh along the lines of if we intervene early enough we can spot those that are going to criminals later in life. Here, you're telling me that you can spot those prone to violence or not.

Snufkin said...


As for GPs giving approval etc, its just another load of Labour tosh along the lines of if we intervene early enough we can spot those that are going to criminals later in life. Here, you're telling me that you can spot those prone to violence or not.


Actually it was in place before the Labour governement, not that I have any love for them. It is also not to 'spot criminals' but rather to have the individual's doctor confirm that the applicant has no mental illnesses. I never once said that it was anything to do with saying if one could 'spot' someone prone to violence.


You also speak of minimizing violence, when all that you have suggested does is minimize the violence that can be inflicted by potential victims onto their attackers. We have established that gun laws do nothing to stop criminals getting or using their guns and that giving good people guns does not make them into criminals. You consistently trot out the same argument, despite it having been thoroughly disproved by me and others.

Nick said...


Actually it was in place before the Labour governement, not that I have any love for them. It is also not to 'spot criminals' but rather to have the individual's doctor confirm that the applicant has no mental illnesses. I never once said that it was anything to do with saying if one could 'spot' someone prone to violence.


Well, I don't if you saw the recent Horizon program which repeated features of the Rosenhall experiment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosenhan_experiment

The trained psychiatrists pretty much failed. Why should GP's be any better?

ie. You're risking nutters getting the guns, and I think even you agree that giving them guns isn't a good idea. With the status quo, that's not the case. In boths cases, I agree, its possible to buy illegally.

Read up on the experiments. It's nuts and quite funny in some sorts of ways

Snufkin said...

The purpose of the GP in the application process is not to predict future mental illness, it is to provide disclosure of current or previous mental illness in the applicant's medical records.

I'll take a look at the article tonight, thanks for the link.

ukliberty said...

Nick,

Well, I don't if you saw the recent Horizon program which repeated features of the Rosenhall experiment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosenhan_experiment

The trained psychiatrists pretty much failed. Why should GP's be any better?


I'm not sure how Rosenhan proves your point. He showed that it's difficult to distinguish people who (dishonestly) claim to have symptoms suggesting mental illness from people who (honestly) claim to have symptoms suggesting mental illness. (That's rather unfair, he showed more than that, but it doesn't seem pertinent to this discussion.)

In addition, I'm not that bothered if people can't get a gun because they've claimed at some point to have symptoms of dangerous mental illness.

ie. You're risking nutters getting the guns, and I think even you agree that giving them guns isn't a good idea. With the status quo, that's not the case.

What is not the case? That nutters can get guns? (i.e. the case is that they can't get guns now?)

How do you reconcile that with the following?

In boths cases, I agree, its possible to buy illegally.

You're on to a loser with this line of argument. Your argument that we should consider whether the risks to people from banning some guns outweighed the risks to people of not banning guns was rather better. In other words, is banning some guns a necessary and proportionate response?

But now you seem to be scraping the bottom of a rather shallow barrel.

Verity said...

"How do you stop someone taking the gun out of the home?"

Jeeeeeeze. If they don't have a licence to carry concealed, they are committing a crime and can be arrested and charged. Then they would have their licence to own a gun removed and would be on a list.

Nick, you are arguing from a point of view of infantile ignorance, like a child arguing that the earth is flat because that is all he can see.

If you had lived in a state of the US that permits private ownership of firearms, (and some of them also give licences to carry concealed) you would not be so fretful. I had a gun when I lived in Texas and when I had an intruder on my property, I called the police, who were at the door within five minutes. After listening to my complaint, their first question was, "Where do you keep your gun?"

I indicated the drawer in my bedside table, and an officer said, "Well, I suggest that for tonight, you take it out of the drawer and keep it on the table top." Which I did. Then he added, "If he comes back and you have to shoot, shoot to kill."

You see? The police trust the citizens to take some responsibility for themselves. I felt much comforted by that, because I was afraid if I aimed at a moving arm or a leg, I'd miss and he'd kill me. (The reason the police in this big Texas city told me to shoot to kill is, otherwise, they get taken to hospital and possibly cured - at public expense. Few home invaders carry liability insurance.) It also means the expense of a trial, and this is where the perp inevitably claims he was asked into the house to help move a heavy couch or big piece of furniture on the promise of $20; or "The lady said she was lonely and ast me in for a drink." It just complicates things.

The Happy Rampager said...

So, Nick, when asked where exactly one can possibly get the right to pass laws that constitute an attack on people's inherent rights, meaning people who could otherwise defend themselves against criminals instead end up dead or seriously injured at their hands (a great example of what you are NOT trying to prevent), instead of answering the question, you run away hurling insults in cowardly fashion.

You were asked about how your favoured laws impact on people's rights, you choose not to answer. I suppose that indicates you don't consider people's rights to be important at all, nor the people themselves who you must think are expendable.

Your other remarks just show how badly you'd like to drag this argument down into the gutter. Wanker.

James F. said...

"You have consistently failed to back up your claims that licensed carry would lead to innocent people being shot. In other words, you only need to worry about being shot if you are a violent criminal."

Spot on. Nick's argument for disarmenment raises my suspicions. Nick, do *you* illegally own a firearm? It seems the only person so intent on ignoring rational that contradicts their beliefs (such is the case with you Nick) is one who
would have an unarmed populace for the sole intent of robbing them.

Nick I understand now why innocent law-abiding people owning firearms is detrimental to your peace of mind--your afraid of getting shot
while you rob people.

I would also like to mention that your avoiding the issue Nick. Every time you asked for answers to your questions (half-expecting your argument was too good for anyone to
counter) you were provided with solid answers.

A perfect example is the several occasions you asked "For the numbers" to which DK responded with your desired answer. And
yet instead of tackling evidence that was contrary to your argument you instead derail the debate by going off on a tangent about smoking legislation. Do you enjoy walking around with your fingers in your ears all day and night shouting "Lalalalala, I'm not listening!"?

Basically what I see is Nick treading out the same old tired
argument, mockingly asking questions that he hopes the only answer too will be a telling silence--followed by many
astute and intelligent answers and observations refuting his argument--which he completely ignores, only to drone on once
again with the same tired drivel.

Debate the issue, face the facts, but never avoid the subject Nick.

We are often so caught up in our own personal crusades that we forget to listen to the voice of reason or consider the evidence presented to us.

I must say Nick, your use of the smiley (amongst other comments of yours) is indicative of your tone. If you are allowed to remark on the tone of one poster what is to say that I cannot?

Again, your tone is not indicative of someone who is serious about the issue. And someone who is not serious about something they profess to believe is important, does not deserve to argue the issue be it their right or not.

I apologize to all the wonderful author's of the various comments on this site. I wish I had an understanding of the matter as much as all of you do--or at the least the ability to express myself half as eloquently as many of you.

Very few arguments have I encountered in my day that do justice for our right to bare arms--half-as well as the comments on this blog. Keep up the excellent work!