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"no guns allowed" signs

 
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In the past two weeks, I've been in both Ohio and Texas both of which have concealed carry laws. Illinois has the same which I saw late last year. All three states have signs in numerous places that say no weapons or no guns are allowed inside certain buildings.

For the no weapons one, I suppose it depends what they mean by weapon. Thespace center spells out what they mean by weapon:

Weapons, such as stun guns, pepper spray and chemical irritants and pocket knives or pen knives with blades longer than 4 inches or have locking blades are not permitted in the facility. Any item that is in violation of state or federal statues in not permitted.



The no guns sign puzzles me more. I saw it in tourist attractions and restaurants. I'm guessing it is routinely ignored in restaurants?

Even the rodeo, has a policy about guns:

*Pursuant to section 30.06, penal code (trespass by holder of a license to carry a concealed handgun) a person licensed under subchapter h, chapter 411, government code (concealed handgun law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun.


Does his not mean what it sounds like? Because it sounds like they are saying not to bring a concealed gun. As this event is mostly attended by people who live in the state of Texas, I'm guessing a good percentage of people there had a gun on them. Or is it a liability/cover your ass policy?
 
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In the latter case liability and cover your ass. Remember the tradition was to fill the air with lead every time anybody stays on the steer for more than 10″, and what goes up must come down, and it is only a matter of time before things go disastrously wrong.
 
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Some people with "carry" permits get a bit confused about what those permits actually allow. I'm not a great shooting enthusiast, but I do have a carry permit and I have spent a bit of time reading (for lack of a more elegant term) "gun nut" forums. Posts on those forums sometimes suggest that people with carry permits think those permits are some kind of authorization to take their guns where their guns are otherwise not allowed. This is not the case. As a general theory of law, a carry permit is simply a defense to a criminal charge of unlawful possession of a concealed pistol. If the owner or proprietor of some land or place has the legal authority to say, "No guns allowed," that carry permit does not override, trump, nullify, or otherwise supersede that authority.

However, this issue does come up and people do get confused. So, one purpose served by those laws Jeanne cited is to establish the unequivocal authority of a private party to determine whether or not guns, even guns carried pursuant to a concealed-carry permit, may be allowed on that private party's premises. Here in Virginia, that law is written in a way that precisely tracks its purpose:

ยง 18.2-308.01. Carrying a concealed handgun with a permit.
...
C. The granting of a concealed handgun permit pursuant to this article shall not thereby authorize the possession of any handgun or other weapon on property or in places where such possession is otherwise prohibited by law or is prohibited by the owner of private property.



See how that works? The permit has no effect on the legality of carrying a gun where it was already "otherwise prohibited." So, a carry permit is not a badge, warrant, or grant of new permissions. It's a defense to the charge of unlawful concealment, nothing more, nothing less.

As to the question of why post it and whether it is violated or not, well... if the police get a 911 call from someone saying, "guy sneaked in here with a hidden gun, past our 'no guns' sign," they will come, and come quick. What's the charge, when they get there? Trespassing. He was in a place without the lawful right to be there. Not much of a crime, but it is a crime, granting the police the unequivocal power to eject (and, upon their own discretion, arrest and/or cite) him. Note that, without the posted sign, there's no crime. It's not trespass if you open a place to the public, let someone in, discover he has a gun, then ask him to leave (provided that he does, leave, of course). But, if you have a sign, and someone sees the sign, ignores it, and carries their gun onto your premises in spite of it, then that person has committed the crime of trespass at the moment of entry. No question then that the police can exert control over him. (Of course, he can say he didn't see the sign; that's where police discretion comes in, but, regardless, he will have to leave.)

Yeah, probably some insurance CYA in there too, but that's how'd I'd see the legal issues, in a general sort of way.
 
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Needless to say, it's a touchy topic here in TX.

I have one friend (who makes lots of noise about being a Libertarian, but is really a conservative Republican who claims libertarianism only to distance himself from the "social-reactionary nut jobs" -- as he puts it -- but I see through that) who refuses to patronize any establishment what will not allow him to carry his weapon inside. I have been able to elicit no rational (at least to me) reason for this. Does he really think that he's going to end up in an OK Corral type of situation in Target? But he just claims "matter of principle", which I accept as his right, even if I find it without basis myself.

I'm a gun owner. I do not have a carry permit. I do not support open carry. The weapon stays at home for home defense. My partner is an ex-cop who still has his service weapon. Likewise, he never has felt a need to carry it with him when outside the home.

As a gun owner, as ex-military, as aligned with law enforcement as I am (my ex was also a cop, and I have many friends in law enforcement), I personally just do not understand the stridency and vehemence of those that insist that they must be allowed to carry a weapon everywhere at all times.
 
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:

*Pursuant to section 30.06.




Having been to Texas, I always chuckle when I see these signs: .30-06 Springfield

Bear Bibeault wrote: I personally just do not understand the stridency and vehemence of those that insist that they must be allowed to carry a weapon everywhere at all times.



One doesn't have the luxury of choosing the time and place of an encounter with the criminal element. I would expect one would be more likely to encounter a criminal outside the home rather than inside. If one wants to have an option to defend one's self in the event of a threat to one's life, one should have that defense ready at all times. You don't wear your seat belt only on days that you will have an accident, do you?
 
Stevens Miller
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Joe Ess wrote:If one wants to have an option to defend one's self in the event of a threat to one's life, one should have that defense ready at all times. You don't wear your seat belt only on days that you will have an accident, do you?


Notwithstanding that I am generally regarded as a bleeding-heart leftie, I have to confess that this point of view is somewhat persuasive to me.

However, if I misuse my seat belt, it is unlikely that such misuse will injure anyone else. People sometimes say that things would have gone differently in the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, if everyone had been armed. Indeed, I imagine it would have been very different. Instead of one person killing 12 (and injuring 70), I can easily imagine a darkened theater full of armed, panicked people, most of whom would be shooting each other, with a much higher total count of dead and injured. And, even if everyone (or even just a lot of us) were to carry pistols everywhere we went, a pistol can't save you from, say, an explosive device housed in a pressure cooker, and carried in a backpack (the Aurora shooter actually got his ordnance in through a propped-open emergency exit, leaving the theater and returning after the movie started; a backpack would have been easy).

So, I tend to say I am okay with trained, qualified, annually re-certified people carrying guns in public. Untrained people with unknown levels of competence shouldn't be carrying guns any more than they should be driving cars or operating nuclear power plants. But, there is no amendment in the Bill of Rights about cars and plants, and, further, there is no significant correlation (that I can see) between those latter two things and a basic distrust of government, while I do see such a correlation in a large part of the community that insists having and carrying guns should not be subject to any regulation. That's the part I can't stand. That is, it might actually be to the general betterment of us all if quite a few of us were armed, and we could all assume that those of us who are armed know what we are doing. But the seat belts are a really good example, because lots of people don't bother to wear them. That's dumb, right? Okay, I can live with that, because, if a person is dumb enough to misuse their seat belt, they are not putting me at risk by doing so. If that same person, however, is also dumb enough to misuse a pistol (and, I submit, one implies the other), they most assuredly can put me and people I care about at risk with that misuse.

The pro-carry community often casts the question as Joe has, in terms of the attacker and the defender. But that's not always the full context. If I am in a store, with my family, and a nut or crook opens fire, I'm going to want to get my family to cover, and hope the nut or crook will simply move on. If, while I am cowering in my craven little way, however, I see some other person or persons take out pistols of their own, and start to move into the open to get a shot or shots at the nut or crook, my worries are going to multiply by several decimal orders of magnitude, because I have no way whatsoever of knowing if those other persons have any idea of what they are doing. And, no, I do not see it as my responsibility to have my own gun, so I can be sure that things don't get out of hand, or whatever it is that someone who thinks guns solve more problems than they create might suggest I should be doing.

My problem with people carrying, then, is not with the idea of people carrying per se. It is with the utter refusal of the pro-carry lobby to compromise around reasonable qualification requirements.

All that said, however, no amount of armed theater-goers can shoot their way out of being killed by the next Tsarnaev, so even a training requirement and a world full of competent pistol-packers wouldn't be safe from crazy killers.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Stevens Miller wrote:As to the question of why post it and whether it is violated or not, well... if the police get a 911 call from someone saying, "guy sneaked in here with a hidden gun, past our 'no guns' sign," they will come, and come quick. What's the charge, when they get there? Trespassing. ...


Interesting.

Joe Ess wrote:One doesn't have the luxury of choosing the time and place of an encounter with the criminal element. I would expect one would be more likely to encounter a criminal outside the home rather than inside. If one wants to have an option to defend one's self in the event of a threat to one's life, one should have that defense ready at all times. You don't wear your seat belt only on days that you will have an accident, do you?


One difference is that there are more people around outside the home. Like cops. And that inside your house, the person is clearly trespassing. (I don't think that counters your point; just an effect). I don't have issues with concealed carry though; I was merely curious about the signs. And now, thanks to this thread, I understand.

Incidentally, the home gun situation can make a bad situation worse. I was reading about swatting where people send the police/a swat team to your house. They aren't likely to react well to someone with a gun.
 
Bear Bibeault
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Joe Ess wrote:One doesn't have the luxury of choosing the time and place of an encounter with the criminal element.


Understood, but that's not really what I was meaning to question. What I don't understand is the stridency and vehemence of demanding free and unfettered access to guns that can be take anywhere at any time. Stevens put it much better than I, but his point about making sure that people who can carry guns are qualified is on point.

I also wonder about notion that government jack-booted thugs are about to start knocking on doors and collecting legally owned firearms.
 
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Well, as a European lefty, obviously I think all you American gun-freaks are crazy!

Guns are for killing people. We carry guns to war if we have to, but not to the supermarket.

I can just about relate to the idea of keeping a gun at home for protection in a society which gives the impression of being awash in guns (although I am mystified by the insistence by many that this should be a military grade automatic weapon). But carrying the damn things around just seems to be asking for trouble. Do you carry a gun to the PTA, your kid's soccer practice, the local bar, and why?

Joe makes the point about being prepared for the need to use a gun. But are there any reliable statistics on how many people have had to use a concealed weapon to defend themselves (presumably it's no longer concealed at that point)? And on how many have simply been mugged and had their gun stolen or used against them, or how many got tanked up and started waving a gun around in a bar, or how many have simply screwed up and shot an innocent person by mistake? Outside the big cities, my impression was that most American towns are generally fairly peaceful (or at least no more violent than towns in many other countries where guns are not routinely carried), so why would you need to carry a gun around with you?

We require people to get a licence if they're going to drive a car, and we then require them to drive their car in the designated places i.e. drive down the road but not through the shopping mall. I'm inclined to think that a gun is more dangerous than a car.

YMMV, clearly!
 
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chris webster wrote:Well, as a European lefty, obviously I think all you American gun-freaks are crazy!


Keep in mind that this country was founded by people who used guns to overthrow a totalitarian government. The second amendment was create to insure that the populace always had the ability to do that again if necessary. This mindset still permeates our society, the belief that a man with a gun is a citizen, a man without a gun is a subject.

(although I am mystified by the insistence by many that this should be a military grade automatic weapon).


This is a myth propagated by anti-gun media. Fully automatic weapons are very rare and very difficult to acquire. They are almost never used in a crime because of their scarcity and expense. Most of what the media calls "assault weapons" are nothing more than guns that look scary. They are no more dangerous than a typical hunting rifle. In fact, the hunting rifle has far more power and more ability to penetrate Kevlar, for instance.

Joe makes the point about being prepared for the need to use a gun. But are there any reliable statistics on how many people have had to use a concealed weapon to defend themselves (presumably it's no longer concealed at that point)?


The best available information says 2 to 3 million times a year. That's probably low because many such incidents where a crime is stopped just by drawing a weapon go unreported.

how many got tanked up and started waving a gun around in a bar, or how many have simply screwed up and shot an innocent person by mistake?


It's very rare actually. Studies show that concealed carry holders are more law abiding than police officers.

Outside the big cities, my impression was that most American towns are generally fairly peaceful (or at least no more violent than towns in many other countries where guns are not routinely carried), so why would you need to carry a gun around with you?


Because crime can happen anywhere at any time, without warning. I live out in the country, far from any big city. I was attacked in my own yard. I stopped the attack and held him at gunpoint for the 10 plus minutes that it took the police to respond.
We have a saying in America. Order a pizza and call the police, and see which one gets there first. It will usually be the pizza. Response time for 911 calls is not fast enough to save your life. By the time the police get there, you are already a victim. They will collect evidence and do their best to find the perp, but expecting them to respond in time to stop the crime is just not realistic.

We require people to get a licence if they're going to drive a car, and we then require them to drive their car in the designated places i.e. drive down the road but not through the shopping mall. I'm inclined to think that a gun is more dangerous than a car.


On this one we agree. Licensing requirements should be far more stringent. We should all be required to take at least the same level of firearms training as the state police. But I believe the same thing about drivers licenses, too.

 
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J. Kevin Robbins wrote:This mindset still permeates our society, the belief that a man with a gun is a citizen, a man without a gun is a subject. ..


Hm... I'm not convinced that a robust attitude to one's own government necessarily correlates with gun ownership. Or indeed that the modern USA is really such a haven for free-thinking democrats. A topic for another day, perhaps.

J. Kevin Robbins wrote:The best available information says 2 to 3 million times a year. That's probably low because many such incidents where a crime is stopped just by drawing a weapon go unreported.


Thanks for that, although it's not clear how reliable this info is (it seems to be based on a study over 20 years ago). But it just raises another question: what is it about the USA that at least 1% of your entire population is forced to defend themselves with a gun every year? Given the level of gun ownership in the USA (the highest in the world at 88 weapons per 100 people according to The Guardian), this ought to result in a massive deterrent to criminals. Yet AFAIK your levels of violent crime are at least as high as in Europe where we don't all carry guns to defend ourselves. Something doesn't add up here.

Studies show that concealed carry holders are more law abiding than police officers.


Judging by the various cases of police corruption and incompetence revealed in the UK recently, we're probably setting the bar quite low there!

Because crime can happen anywhere at any time, without warning. I live out in the country, far from any big city. I was attacked in my own yard. I stopped the attack and held him at gunpoint for the 10 plus minutes that it took the police to respond.
We have a saying in America. Order a pizza and call the police, and see which one gets there first. It will usually be the pizza. Response time for 911 calls is not fast enough to save your life. By the time the police get there, you are already a victim. They will collect evidence and do their best to find the perp, but expecting them to respond in time to stop the crime is just not realistic.


Fair comment based on your experience. I guess I'll stick to living in countries where this level of threat isn't a problem in the first place!
 
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J. Kevin Robbins wrote:This mindset still permeates our society, the belief that a man with a gun is a citizen, a man without a gun is a subject.


I would put that as, "a people with power rule themselves; a people without it are ruled by others." Not the same thing.

Most of what the media calls "assault weapons" are nothing more than guns that look scary. They are no more dangerous than a typical hunting rifle. In fact, the hunting rifle has far more power and more ability to penetrate Kevlar, for instance.


Indeed. There actually is no such thing as an "assault weapon." There are "assault rifles," used by the military, but that's not what people mean, I think. They mean scary-looking guns. The fact that scary-looking guns are often the choice of lunatics who commit mass shooting tells us something. Something we need to pay a lot more attention to.

The best available information says [guns stop crime] 2 to 3 million times a year.


Whoa, whoa, whoa! You are going to have to do a lot better than cite to an article by Mr. Schulman before I accept it as "the best available information." (For those unfamiliar, J. Neil Schulman is an astonishingly prolific pro-gun writer who, among other things, has said there should be no lower limit on the age of people who can carry them.)

That's probably low because many such incidents where a crime is stopped just by drawing a weapon go unreported.


I hear that all the time. The counter might be that stolen guns are in the hands of people who shouldn't have them in much larger numbers than we know, for the same reason. But, I say "maybe" because, well, we just don't know. Saying the number is "probably" low is just guessing, in both cases.

Studies show that concealed carry holders are more law abiding than police officers.


Sounds reasonable to me. To get one, you have to be law-abiding in the first place (that is, you have to be willing to respect the law requiring the permit; other people just carry illegally, so right there, you've got a good filter). We also have something to lose, if we get arrested, more than most people.

I was attacked in my own yard. I stopped the attack and held him at gunpoint for the 10 plus minutes that it took the police to respond.


"When seconds count, the police are only minutes away." Good example of how a gun can save a life. (And so glad you came out of it okay.) Out in the country, that's a good move. Unless I know gun carriers meet qualification requirements, I wouldn't be as sanguine about that scenario in, say, a crowded shopping mall.

We have a saying in America. Order a pizza and call the police, and see which one gets there first. It will usually be the pizza.


That may depend on where you live. Takes 45 minutes to get a pizza in eastern Loudoun county (longer in the western half). Average response time for 911 calls here is about ten minutes. It varies according to what you tell the 911 operator, and also by place. For example, in New York, if you call to report a fight, the operator will ask you if you the parties know each other. "Yes" means they may not come at all. If, on the other hand, you tell the operator that an infant is involved, they will be there in an astonishingly short time.

Regardless, your point is valid: you can draw a pistol from your pocket before a police officer can reach you. Whether that means you're better off depends on a lot of other factors.

On this one we agree. Licensing requirements should be far more stringent. We should all be required to take at least the same level of firearms training as the state police. But I believe the same thing about drivers licenses, too.


Agreed, brother, agreed.
 
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Bear Bibeault wrote:What I don't understand is the stridency and vehemence of demanding free and unfettered access to guns that can be take anywhere at any time.



Libertarians are like that. Is your friend an engineer by chance? They're the worst! Ask them what their favorite color is and they'll tell you why their color is objectively best and why you are wrong for thinking otherwise.

Bear Bibeault wrote:
Stevens put it much better than I, but his point about making sure that people who can carry guns are qualified is on point.



So who decides what is "qualified"? One of my friends thinks anyone who would consider owning a firearm (much less carrying one) is mentally ill and therefore disqualified. Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Vermont and Wyoming allow one to carry a concealed firearm without a license and I haven't heard problems in those states. Ohio requires a class (NRA's Basic Pistol or Hunter Safety qualifies), then you are good for life (like a Driver's License).

Bear Bibeault wrote:
I also wonder about notion that government jack-booted thugs are about to start knocking on doors and collecting legally owned firearms.



It has happened before
lawmakers continue to talk about it
 
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Joe Ess wrote:

Bear Bibeault wrote:
Stevens put it much better than I, but his point about making sure that people who can carry guns are qualified is on point.

So who decides what is "qualified"?


People opposed seem to ask this question rhetorically, but the answer is the same as for any question about who is going to impose some requirement of law upon us: us. Well, through our elected representatives, via the power we lend them. We have no problem imposing licensing exams for countless other things, with very, very little concern over who should be composing the content of those exams. (Airline pilots, lawyers, doctors, CPAs, bus drivers, and so on, for example.)
Yes, someone would have to be given that power, and we Americans hate giving anyone power over ourselves. We do it because we think the consequences of anarchy are not preferable. I would like to, at least, give it a try. If the exam were unreasonable, I bet we could tailor it, improve it, edit it, and make it a fair and sensible test. There would always be critics, of course. (For example, you may find this hard to believe, but there are actually people who think the bar exam is a bad way to decide who gets to be a lawyer. We call these people, "law students.") But just because someone would, in fact, have to decide what "qualified" means doesn't mean no one should do it.
 
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Joe Ess wrote:
Libertarians are like that. Is your friend an engineer by chance? They're the worst! Ask them what their favorite color is and they'll tell you why their color is objectively best and why you are wrong for thinking otherwise.


Ah, you've met him.

 
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Bear Bibeault wrote:

Joe Ess wrote:
Libertarians are like that. Is your friend an engineer by chance? They're the worst! Ask them what their favorite color is and they'll tell you why their color is objectively best and why you are wrong for thinking otherwise.


Ah, you've met him.


Heh. I have noticed this about engineers. Then again, before I became a lawyer (and was making my living as a computer programmer), my non-programmer friends told me that all computer programmers seem to think their preferences are not just personal choices, but rather reflect objectively provable facts. Later, when I did become a lawyer, my close friends and acquaintances (who were not lawyers) helped me realize that engineers, computer programmers, and attorneys are all bound together by the common fiber of their certainty in such things as which is the best car to drive, the most cost-effective cable package to have, and the tastiest fast food to eat (that's Roy Rogers, btw).

Oddly, I am not a doctor, and can't understand why people don't realize that it is physicians who never admit to any doubt about the platonic clarity with which they see the universe.

Or, is that truck drivers who are that way? Movie stars? That guy who pulls the espressos at Starbucks always seems pretty sure of himself too...

I think I see a pattern forming here...
 
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chris webster wrote:But it just raises another question: what is it about the USA that at least 1% of your entire population is forced to defend themselves with a gun every year?


Ah, that's the 10 million dollar question. My opinion? We've raised a couple generations of kids that have no value for life. Why? I don't know. A loss of religion, single parent homes, violent movies and video games? The list, and the debate goes on and on. I don't pretend to have the answer to that question.

Given the level of gun ownership in the USA (the highest in the world at 88 weapons per 100 people according to The Guardian), this ought to result in a massive deterrent to criminals. Yet AFAIK your levels of violent crime are at least as high as in Europe where we don't all carry guns to defend ourselves. Something doesn't add up here.


But it's headed that way. Violent crime and gun crime have steadily headed down for the last 20-30 years while gun ownership has gone up. But if you watch the news you would think that violent crime is at an all time high. FBI statistics say otherwise, but crime makes for good TV ratings.

Fair comment based on your experience. I guess I'll stick to living in countries where this level of threat isn't a problem in the first place!


It would be great if we could all live in Shangri-la, but I love this country and wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I'd rather fix the problems here. I just don't believe that eliminating all guns (an impossible task, in my opinion) is not the solution to crime.

I once had a talk with a police officer who was checking out my carry permit. He said, "You know, it's not people like you that we're worried about. It's the unlicensed guys carrying illegal guns that keep us awake at night."
 
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In case you're curious, the data for the Guardian article mentioned above is available as a Google Spreadsheet.

Among the interesting factoids is that the homicide by firearm rate per 100,000 population in the USA was 2.97 in this data-set, higher than the West Bank and Gaza (2.95), and massively higher than other countries with high levels of gun ownership e.g. Switzerland has 45.7 guns per 100 people, but only 0.77 firearm homicides per 100,000. And France, which also overthrew a monarch by extremely bloody revolution in the 18th century, has 31.2 guns per 100 people, but just 0.06 firearm homicides per 100,000. Even the famously law-abiding Serbs, with 37.8 guns per 100 poeple, only suffered 0.46 firearm homicides per 100,000 (admittedly they have calmed down a bit since the 1990s....).

I don't know what all those stats prove (lies, damned lies and statistics....), but if gun ownership really does make people safer individually (as Kevin's experience would suggest), it doesn't seem to be working particularly well for US society as a whole when compared to other countries. Do you think high levels of gun ownership are effectively preventing even higher levels of homicide, because at least some people can defend themselves with a gun? Or do the high levels of gun ownership actually mean it's easier for the bad guys to arm themselves as well (which is the reason why here in the UK we try to limit gun ownership)?
 
Stevens Miller
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J. Kevin Robbins wrote:

chris webster wrote:But it just raises another question: what is it about the USA that at least 1% of your entire population is forced to defend themselves with a gun every year?


Ah, that's the 10 million dollar question. My opinion? We've raised a couple generations of kids that have no value for life. Why? I don't know. A loss of religion, single parent homes, violent movies and video games? The list, and the debate goes on and on. I don't pretend to have the answer to that question.


Man, that really is it, isn't it? It may be partly due to our ancestors being reactionary daredevils who fled security in wooden sailing ships to colonize a mysterious continent. It may be due, a bit, to aspects of the Turner Hypothesis. Some folks say it grew in the west when expansion lead settlers there who took ministers with them, but not the schools that had always coordinated the teachings of faith with the teachings of reason in Europe (where, for the most part, the church controlled the universities). I would agree that it's a social phenomenon of some kind. The answer may be in the reason why the local supermarket carries dozens of magazines about guns on its shelves, almost all with very wide-angled closeups of the muzzles of assault weapons scary-looking guns. Guns are, in my opinion, not things to be treated the same as, say, racing cars or model rockets. Racing cars and model rockets are exciting, and we celebrate those aspects of them (you can prove that by the number of magazines dedicated to racing cars at the same supermarkets, although the number of magazines devoted to model rockets is disappointingly small).

My guess is that the problem is not guns themselves, but our glorification of how yew-haw! exciting guns are. Don't get me wrong here. I enjoy shooting at clay pigeons with my shotgun, and have even heard myself issue a "yew-haw" now and then. I'm talking about the kind of glorification that gives the phrase "gun nut" its credibility.

Given the level of gun ownership in the USA (the highest in the world at 88 weapons per 100 people according to The Guardian), this ought to result in a massive deterrent to criminals. Yet AFAIK your levels of violent crime are at least as high as in Europe where we don't all carry guns to defend ourselves. Something doesn't add up here.


Keep in mind that 88 per 100 doesn't mean 88% of us have weapons. I have two guns (a .20-gauge shotgun and a .380 pistol). And I know some folks who own dozens, in a few cases hundreds, of guns. Overall, about a third of American households have a gun in them, with somewhat over one-fourth of Americans saying they, personally, own one or more guns.

But it's headed that way. Violent crime and gun crime have steadily headed down for the last 20-30 years while gun ownership has gone up.


Where's your data on gun ownership coming from? The total guns per capita may be up, but the number of households/individuals with guns has been going down or holding steady, depending on whom you ask:
 
J. Kevin Robbins
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Stevens Miller wrote:The fact that scary-looking guns are often the choice of lunatics who commit mass shooting tells us something. Something we need to pay a lot more attention to.


And is it related to the fact that these weapons are popular in the movies and video games? And nobody can convince me that people are not influenced by what they see on TV. If that were true, there would be no multi-billion dollar industry for commercials.

The best available information says [guns stop crime] 2 to 3 million times a year.


Whoa, whoa, whoa! You are going to have to do a lot better than cite to an article by Mr. Schulman before I accept it as "the best available information." (For those unfamiliar, J. Neil Schulman is an astonishingly prolific pro-gun writer who, among other things, has said there should be no lower limit on the age of people who can carry them.)


That's pretty insane. I didn't know that tidbit. But finding a truly independent source is difficult because everyone has an agenda. How about The CATO Institute? Bloomberg says 100,000 to 370,000 times. WND says 100,000 to 2.5 million. Bottom line, you can find a number to support just about any position. Pro-gun writers inflate the numbers for defensive uses, and anti-gun writers inflate the violent crime numbers. Like the "study" about how many children are injured by guns that counted anyone under the age of 25 as a "child". I'll conceded that the 2 to 3 million number is probably inflated, but I hold that the number is not insignificant.

Takes 45 minutes to get a pizza in eastern Loudoun county (longer in the western half). Average response time for 911 calls here is about ten minutes.


Well, I live so far out in the sticks that I can't even get a pizza delivered, so I can't say. I did talk to a local deputy once who told me their average response in this area is about 17 minutes. It's a very rural county. Caswell, NC. Seventeen minutes is a long time if you are hiding in the closet listening to someone kick your front door in. But we were talking about outside the home carry, so I'm getting off-topic.
 
chris webster
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Stevens Miller wrote:My guess is that the problem is not guns themselves, but our glorification of how yew-haw! exciting guns are. Don't get me wrong here. I enjoy shooting at clay pigeons with my shotgun, and have even heard myself issue a "yew-haw" now and then. I'm talking about the kind of glorification that gives the phrase "gun nut" its credibility.


Maybe the US constitution is the problem? Other countries (Switzerland, France, Germany, Canada) have fairly high levels of gun ownership, but much lower levels of firearm homicide. Maybe the fact that the "gun nuts" can pin their personal excitement about guns on their perceived constitutional right to have lots of guns makes it harder to have a reasoned approach to controlling guns in the USA?
 
J. Kevin Robbins
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Stevens Miller wrote:
Oddly, I am not a doctor, and can't understand why people don't realize that it is physicians who never admit to any doubt about the platonic clarity with which they see the universe.

Or, is that truck drivers who are that way? Movie stars? That guy who pulls the espressos at Starbucks always seems pretty sure of himself too...

I think I see a pattern forming here...


I once heard that all the people who are qualified to be president are busy cutting hair and driving taxi's.
 
Stevens Miller
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J. Kevin Robbins wrote:I'll conceded that the 2 to 3 million number is probably inflated, but I hold that the number is not insignificant.


And I will concede that privately owned guns have saved lives. When this debate arises, however, it tends to become a simple argument about whether or not guns save more lives than they cost. From a social perspective, that's a good way to set policy, by measuring the overall effect each of our available options has on us as a whole people.

But, that's not really what's on a lot of our minds, is it?

For the extremists, it seems to me that what's best for society isn't really what they care about.

If one is an extremist in favor of unregulated gun-ownership, one most likely thinks that all those deaths (if, indeed, the net effect of unregulated gun-ownership is a high rate of death) are someone else's problem. The extremist only cares about one thing: does he get to have his gun or not? Regardless of how many other people get killed because unregulated gun-ownership puts too many guns into too many unqualified hands, that doesn't convince the extremist that the gun in his hands doesn't belong right where it is, where he can use it do defend himself. Telling that person that he must give up his gun for the sake of everybody else is not going to be persuasive. But that's what all the statistical arguments are about, so none of them will ever convince him.

If one is an extremist in favor of banning private ownership of handguns, one most likely thinks that the lives saved (if, indeed banning guns would save more lives) are a good thing, but one probably also likes the idea of the gun nuts losing this fight. I confess, when I see the folks standing around the local convention hall during a gun show, and so many of them have their strap-on matte black gear all over them, pistols on both sides, long rifles slung over their backs, and so on, a bit of me boils, and that bit of me likes the idea of being to tell them they aren't really grown-up enough to play with such toys. When an extremist opposes gun ownership, I think it's the idea of telling all those heavily armed people that they can't pretend to be soldiers/assassins/Tom Cruise anymore that appeals to them, more so than the setting of good policy.

Yeah, if we didn't have the Second Amendment, our gun policy in America would probably be very different. It wouldn't even be meaningfully possible to talk about the notion of a "right" to a gun under the constitution, any more than there's a "right" to issue a prescription for a drug. We'd try our best to find some kind of functional regulatory structure for both. But that's not the situation we have, and, as a result, I believe it is extremists who have been allowed to take control of the debate, and who have set as our only options the choices of all-guns-all-the-time, or no-guns-no-exceptions. Those of us who think a middle ground would work pretty well and (dear God, I hope someday I find out this is true) let us move on to other pressing social questions, are not getting much of a chance to be heard.

 
Joe Ess
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Stevens Miller wrote:

Joe Ess wrote:

Bear Bibeault wrote:
Stevens put it much better than I, but his point about making sure that people who can carry guns are qualified is on point.

So who decides what is "qualified"?


People opposed seem to ask this question rhetorically



But I was not asking it rhetorically. I pointed out 3 options, two of which are currently implemented.
Why do you think an exam is necessary when it is quite clear 5 states have no problem with allowing carrying with no license? Why create a yearly recertification process (which you mention up thread)? I don't think a single state of the 42 that issue permits for concealed carry has that strict a scheme. I don't see that solutions you have prescribed would have any effect on the problem. The libertarian (notice the small 'L'!) in me sees such demands and asks if it is for public safety, or if it is just to put obstacles in the way of law-abiding citizens who have made lifestyle choices you don't agree with. When you write something like:

Stevens Miller wrote:
...that bit of me likes the idea of being to tell them they aren't really grown-up enough to play with such toys.


It sure seems like the latter.


 
Stevens Miller
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Joe Ess wrote:But I was not asking it rhetorically. I pointed out 3 options, two of which are currently implemented.
Why do you think an exam is necessary when it is quite clear 5 states have no problem with allowing carrying with no license?


I disagree that states with no license have no problem. We have a license requirement here in Virginia for concealed carry, but no license needed for open carry. There are not a lot of open-carriers in my county, but I do see them from time to time and here's the problem: my neighbors and I never know if this means we are in the presence of a law-abiding citizen, or the next Aurora Batman. Now, obviously, a nut can just as easily put his gun in his pocket and not even give us all that much warning. But that's not the problem. The problem is a culture where the battle is always between two extremes: the unfettered right to carry a deadly weapon almost anywhere I want to with no competency requirement of any kind, and those who want me to give up any option to have a weapon on me at all. Those of us in the middle find that a lonely place to be, with those who buy all those magazines that emphasize how exciting guns are winning the polarized form of the argument.

My concern is not that every single person who carries a gun is crazy. As you point out, we'd know it by now if that were the case. My concern is with a society that has let extremists frame a debate in a way that, I believe, misleads a few confused people into thinking that guns are the way to personal satisfaction. And, in my humble opinion, that's how my no-license state of Virginia got inflicted with a man named Cho. It wasn't that he didn't need a license; it was that the context in which the battle is everlastingly between two extremes that Mr. Cho somehow concluded that the problems he felt he had could be solved by shooting a lot of people.

Why create a yearly recertification process (which you mention up thread)? I don't think a single state of the 42 that issue permits for concealed carry has that strict a scheme. I don't see that solutions you have prescribed would have any effect on the problem.



Well, please note that some states actually have far stricter rules. In New York, for example, you pretty much cannot get a carry permit at all, unless you are a retired cop, ER doctor, cash-courier, or Bill Cosby. And, again, I think that's an example of the extremism that hands the debate over to two communities that are both responsible for creating the impression in a few disturbed heads that raw firepower (and lots of it) can make the hurt go away. It's not a licensing requirement that would solve the problem of the next Cho or Lanza. Rather, I think a compromise like a licensing requirement would take the heat out of so much of the argument that there'd be a lot less mischaracterization (again, by both sides) of what a gun is, what it can do for you, and what it would mean to have one and start firing it.

The libertarian (notice the small 'L'!) in me sees such demands and asks if it is for public safety, or if it is just to put obstacles in the way of law-abiding citizens who have made lifestyle choices you don't agree with.


Maybe a little of each, since, in my view, some of those law-abiding citizens are contributing to the problem, while still abiding by the law.

When you write something like:

Stevens Miller wrote:
...that bit of me likes the idea of being to tell them they aren't really grown-up enough to play with such toys.


It sure seems like the latter.



As I have mentioned elsewhere, conversation with those I don't agree with goes a long way towards finding common ground. I used to be 100% anti-gun. Total prohibition except for the police, and so on. Then I made friends with a few shooters, did some reading, and changed my perspective. But I still see a problem, and I see it being exacerbated by people who, doing no direct harm of their own, celebrate guns in a way that, to the larger society, seems to have some erratic, sometimes deadly, effects.

One fellow I know, and was friendly with for a time, is a serious firearms enthusiast. We got along for a while, but politics got in the way, so not so much anymore. Before the iron curtain came down, however, he told me all about his underground safe rooms, including a "dry room" with thousands of rounds of ammunition. He told me he has plenty of guns, hand and long, night sights, and so on. Why? He told me he believes that the world is headed for a disastrous economic collapse, that society will completely crumble in his lifetime, and that previously coddled hordes of former Safeway shoppers will be climbing the walls of his home to get a crust of bread. He wants to be ready to keep his bread.

I don't see this man as likely to be the next Cho. I think he's got some funny ideas and I disagree with his predictions about the future, but I don't think he's about to start shooting innocent people. However, I do think he is part of a culture that knowingly tolerates his level of armament, for its stated purpose, and that, by effectively just shrugging at it, creates the impression to some that Guns Are The Answer.

So, when I see a person who has made the (perfectly legal, yes) lifestyle choice to equip him or herself with what looks like the same armor and weapons a SWAT guy uses, well, yes, to me, they are part of the problem. Not because I think any one of them is particularly likely to be the next Cho. But because their open embrace of a particular unregulated asset is what I think encourages the next Cho.

I could be wrong, but, as you point out, no one has ever tried my compromise idea in the United States, so we don't know if it would help. We do know that something made Cho murder 32 people, and in a way that suggests, to me, that he had some false notions in his head from somewhere about what a gun could do for him. I don't blame the vast majority of gun-owners for that. I blame extremists for it, and I'd like my idea to get a chance to see if could take control of the issue away from those extremists.
 
Stevens Miller
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I apologize for any typos, doubled words, or other gibberish in the above. I have the flu today and my proof-reading ability is gone. I keep re-reading the above and finding more errors. I'm just going to leave it as is, and ask everyone's indulgence as I drag my ass back to bed, where it should have been all day.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Stevens Miller wrote: For example, in New York, if you call to report a fight, the operator will ask you if you the parties know each other. "Yes" means they may not come at all. If, on the other hand, you tell the operator that an infant is involved, they will be there in an astonishingly short time.


Also known as triage. Ambulances work the same way. I remember one time I got out of the subway. A Russian lady had fallen and couldn't get up. Her daughter was with her, but didn't speak English either. She dialed 911, pointed and handed me the phone. The operator had a large number of questions to discern how urgent the situation was. (Which is awkward as I didn't actually see what happened.)
 
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