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The So-Called Right to Bear Arms
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1855
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 10:28 pm    Post subject: The So-Called Right to Bear Arms Reply with quote

Okay, I guess that topic heading is kind of prejudicial.

Anyway, I'm watching Chris Rock's stand up act on Comedy Central, filmed at Constitution Hall in D.C. and, of course, he has some political humor mixed up with his urban themed humor and something occurred to me. The Supreme Court just struck down D.C.'s law that had restricted D.C. residents from owning handguns, resulting in lower murder statistics. So, now, we can all have handguns here to tote around or put in our unsecured, bedside nightstands, and yet, especially since 9/11, we can't go down certain streets here in D.C. or enter buildings without passing through jersey barriers and metal detectors. We are ultra, ultra security conscious here at the same time we are giving people in this city the right to carry handguns.

This is really screwed up because, I presume that one benefit of having guns is that, if there's a terrorist threatening our vital, national tourist attractions -- like The U.S. Capitol or the National Phallic Symbol (Better known as the Washington Monument) -- that regular, everyday DC residents could defend them, if not their own homes. However, how would they get through the pocketbook/backpack search or the metal detectors with said weapon in order to play the hero?! They couldn't. They'd have to rely on the National Park Service and their deadly rakes and hoes.

So, I say, either leave the law as it is, i.e., no handguns allowed, or take down all those ugly disgusting jersey barriers and stop making me take off my navy blue pumps every time I go through the metal detectors when I enter congressional office buildings.
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Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1669

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 9:34 pm    Post subject: The Impact of Gun Laws Reply with quote

As another DC resident, one of the interesting statistics regarding the impact of the DC gun control law that was just struck down by the Supreme Court: after the law went into effect 32 years ago, the murder rate didn't go down in the District because guns were so easy to get from Maryland and (especially) Virginia. However, what did go down was the suicide rate. It turns out that most suicides are spur of the moment impulses, and by removing guns from houses it meant the impulse was more likely to pass without people killing themselves. The same thing happened when barriers were raised on the Duke Ellington Bridge -- even though there's another bridge only a few blocks away, people didn't walk there to jump off when they found they couldn't jump from the Ellington, and the number of people who died dropped.
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Jane G



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 277
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's really interesting, Susan-- I didn't know that.

As yet another (part-time) DC resident, I was unhappy about the ruling. I live in an area where I feel very, very safe, even walking by myself at night, but at the same time I still get reminders occasionally about how dangerous it can be. A very good friend of many of my very good friends (confusing, but I don't actually know him well) was recently mugged at gunpoint, and this was in that safe neighborhood. I know there are other ways to get guns (VA and MD not the last of them), but I prefer having a ban. It's not a large point, but if even owning a handgun in DC is prosecutable, arresting and charging those who do have illegal guns could help reduce crime, in a sort of "broken windows" policing.
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LisaW



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 173

PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jane G wrote:
That's really interesting, Susan-- I didn't know that.

As yet another (part-time) DC resident, I was unhappy about the ruling. I live in an area where I feel very, very safe, even walking by myself at night, but at the same time I still get reminders occasionally about how dangerous it can be. A very good friend of many of my very good friends (confusing, but I don't actually know him well) was recently mugged at gunpoint, and this was in that safe neighborhood. I know there are other ways to get guns (VA and MD not the last of them), but I prefer having a ban. It's not a large point, but if even owning a handgun in DC is prosecutable, arresting and charging those who do have illegal guns could help reduce crime, in a sort of "broken windows" policing.


Obviously, having a ban hasn't stopped those wanting guns from having them ... all it's stopped is perhaps those who aren't going to use them for illegal purposes.

There have been several situations where communities have made gun ownership mandatory .. that is, every home and business has to have a gun. Break ins have dropped significantly in those areas. The more public the deterent, the more the bad guy chooses to go elsewhere to be bad.
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MrsFairfax



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 1069

PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jane G wrote:


It's not a large point, but if even owning a handgun in DC is prosecutable, arresting and charging those who do have illegal guns could help reduce crime, in a sort of "broken windows" policing.


How are you going to find those illegal guns unless they're used in a crime? Did the DC police regularly round up illegal weapons? Even with the ban rescinded I doubt the criminals will have legit concealed carry permits, so illegal gun charges will still be tacked on to whatever crime was committed with the weapon. I don't see what's lost.
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Kass



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 722
Location: under a cockatiel

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
There have been several situations where communities have made gun ownership mandatory .. that is, every home and business has to have a gun. Break ins have dropped significantly in those areas.

This seems highly unlikely to me. You can't order someone to purchase a gun. And break-ins are often criminals breaking in to steal a gun, which was a major problem in D.C. before their handgun ban. What is your source for this information?
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Jane G



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 277
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I would be terrified to live in a town where everyone was forced to own a gun. I don't know about you guys, but the idea of that is frightening.

MrsFairfax-- gun charges come from more than just violent crime. Anything where you are arrested or questioned by the police, even traffic stops, can lead to charges if you're carrying concealed or illegal weapons. That's sort of the idea behind broken windows policing... get them for the smaller stuff. And if they have an illegal gun on them when you do, then you deal with it fmor there.
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Cora



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 1129
Location: Bremen, Germany

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also wonder how they would enforce mandatory gun ownership. Search random homes and fine the owners if no guns are found? Have officials push guns on people who do not want them?

Moreover, even if you think private gun ownership is a good thing (which I don't), there are very valid reasons why people may not want a gun in their home, e.g. because they have small children and are worried about their safety or because they are prone to depression and suicidal thoughts and might act on them, if they had easy access to a gun.

Besides, I think good locks, doors that are not made of glorified cardboard and an alarm system (or just the impression of one, a blinking light on a window or door can do wonders, because how will a potential burglar know it's not an alarm system) are much better deterrents than the possibility that there is a gun in the house. Because most burglars are creatures of opportunity. If a house is well lit, has sturdy doors, good locks and an alarm system, the burglar is just going to go to the next house down the road, because dealing with all those safeguards is too much of a hassle. However, if burglars have to fear getting shot, they will just bring a gun and shoot first, leading to escalating violence. Besides, as Kass said, a gun is actually another valuable piece of property to steal. Plus, criminals stealing guns from poorly secured homes adds to the flood of illegal guns on the streets used to commit crimes.

I live in a country where gun ownership is highly restricted and very few people have guns in their homes (hunters and sports shooters usually keep theirs on the premises of their respective clubs). And yet our crime rates are lower (there are other factors playing into this besides gun ownership, for example we don't have the amount of gang problems parts of the US have) and burglaries - while they still happen - very rarely turn violent and end with someone dead. In fact, I can remember only one local burglary a couple of years back where someone died, an old woman who had a heart attack from the shock.
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LisaW



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 173

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kass wrote:
Quote:
There have been several situations where communities have made gun ownership mandatory .. that is, every home and business has to have a gun. Break ins have dropped significantly in those areas.

This seems highly unlikely to me. You can't order someone to purchase a gun. And break-ins are often criminals breaking in to steal a gun, which was a major problem in D.C. before their handgun ban. What is your source for this information?


Yes, a town / county can enact (and quite a number have) such a law. And, no, the majority of break ins is not to steal a gun. Only where there might be some indication a gun is readily available, the owner isn't home and attached to the gun, and the thief knows where to look for it. Most home break ins are to find loose cash, small electronics, and other items easily sold for cash.

Kenesaw Georgia passed such an ordinance ... and currently has lower crime rate to surrounding towns. What's your site for the reason people broke into houses in DC for guns? More likely, if the break ins were for guns ... they also were for drugs and cash.

Generally, these laws allow for certain individuals (conscientious objectors, convicted felons, mental, etc) to not have to own. The premise is that if you are planning to break into a house, picking one where the occupant is known to be armed makes you decide to move on down. For example, you lock your house. You know if someone really, really decides to get into your house, that lock probably isn't going to keep them out. But, the lock makes it just enough of a problem that hopefully, the bad guy will move on somewhere else.

Small point -- I have multiple large boxer dogs. During a spate of home burglaries that were happening in my neighborhood many years ago, only my house, my neighbors on either side and the 2 houses directly across the street from me were not broken into. The only difference? My very large boxer dogs. They weren't patrolling the yard, they really weren't anywhere doing anything. They Were There. And, thus, we were the few who didn't wake up to find someone had gotten into the house and stolen money and property.

There isn't a "so called" Second Amendment. It is there and for several reasons. First, because you should have the right to defend yourself, your family and your property from those who wish you ill. The other is to be able to have arms available should the government start taking a turn away from what was established from 1775-1783 and protected many times through the years. Unlike the idiot on the airplane sitting next to me who said "Oh. That can never happen here! This is the United States!" I am aware that what we have can be lost if we aren't very, very careful.
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1403

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Visit this site for a little reality to counter the NRA fantasy posted above.
http://www.bradycampaign.org/issues/gvstats/
There are thousands of deaths by gun in the USA compared to dozens or less in countries with strict gun control.
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 274
Location: Western Kentucky, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Visit this site for a little reality to counter the NRA fantasy posted above.
http://www.bradycampaign.org/issues/gvstats/
There are thousands of deaths by gun in the USA compared to dozens or less in countries with strict gun control.


Great statistics. I do not doubt them. The only problem with statistics is that their analysis has to be put into context and here the context is missing completely from your statement. If the people aren't dying by gun deaths elsewhere, are they still dying? And if so, then how?

Is the USA perfect? Absolutely not. However saying that another country has less or more of something doesn't automatically mean it's any more perfect until we investigate the whys and wherefores. They might be dying elsewhere but for completely other reasons that we certainly don't want to fall into.

So, no, statistics without context don't do it for me at all.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2510

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, the number of people killed by guns in the hands of the wrong person really isn't the question, is it? Numbers of intrinsically harmless things kill in the wrong hands--drugs, alcohol, cars, motorcycles, etc., etc., etc. The question is whether citizens have the right to bear arms for a number of reasons, not the least being that an armed citizenry is less likely to be cowed than an unarmed one--the primary reason in my thinking for the second amendment. In my day, every young man who reached the age of 18 was subject to military service and required not only to bear arms (from hand-guns to machine guns) but to learn everything possible about them, including how to use them as expertly as
possible. He was, in short, required to hold the second amendment dear. We should also.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What bothers me the most about this debate about handguns and the second amendment is the reason why people want to kill each other. What makes our society so violent that we feel the need to take another person's life?

I am shaking my head over the killing in Tennessee a few days ago. This deranged red-neck goes into a church and kills two people because he didn't like their [B]liberal/B] views. So because their stand on tolerance and love bothered him so much, he felt he had the right to kill a few of 'them liberals'.
Only in America do people feel they have the right to kill because someone is different from them. Can we talk about how screwed up some of us are and try to deal with those issues?

I personally don't have a problem with gun ownership as long as the gun owner takes proper care of his gun and is trained and knowledgeable about the use of guns. There are obvious uses for owning guns. Take care of your gun, use it properly, fine with me. But what bothers me the most is that we have this gun culture that says guns are okay to use when we need to show strength or to bully or to get our way. People who think they can solve their problems with a gun should not be allowed to own a gun and those are the folks that worry me.
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 274
Location: Western Kentucky, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KarenS wrote:
Only in America do people feel they have the right to kill because someone is different from them.


So there's no hatred, violence and downright genocide anywhere else in the world? It's all in America.

Right.
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LisaW



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 173

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Visit this site for a little reality to counter the NRA fantasy posted above.
http://www.bradycampaign.org/issues/gvstats/
There are thousands of deaths by gun in the USA compared to dozens or less in countries with strict gun control.


Of course -- less gun deaths. But then the bad guys have knives and/or swords -- don't laugh ... the UK has banned SWORDS and now they are working on any knife with a sharp point including kitchen.

The problem in this country is not too few gun laws, it's too few of the current gun laws on the books being applied and prosecuted. And, too many pleasure palace prisons (ever seen the pictures of the one in Austria? It shows up in some emails as "Cook County" ... except for the bars, might as well be in a resort!). A prison should rehabilitate ... but part of that has to make the situation such that people do not want to end up back there not the "oh well, I can do 5-10 standing on my head." It should also include so much discipline and control, the prison gangs cannot exist.

[quote=KarenS]I am shaking my head over the killing in Tennessee a few days ago. This deranged red-neck goes into a church and kills two people because he didn't like their [B]liberal/B] views. So because their stand on tolerance and love bothered him so much, he felt he had the right to kill a few of 'them liberals'.
Only in America do people feel they have the right to kill because someone is different from them. Can we talk about how screwed up some of us are and try to deal with those issues? [/quote]

Excuse me? If the perp had been black, would you have felt justified in calling him a N****r? "Redneck" is as distasteful a term as the N-word. And, do you really think this man was sane? Being conservative in religion or politics does not make anyone do what he did. There are very few in America who feel that way .. and it for darn sure isn't "only" America. Go to Saudi Arabia and try driving a car, reading a Bible or anything religious that isn't the Koran, wear pants, etc. You'll find out how fast "others" don't tolerate those who are different. Ask Daniel Pearl how tolerant others are. There are a lot of places being openly Gay will get you a governmental sentence of execution. So, thinking America is the only intolerant country is stupid at best. You want to see some intolerance? Go to Canada and make the statement "I don't think the holocaust happend." Just see how tolerant the Canadians are. Somehow, America Bashing has become the new sport. If you think America is so bad, I suggest you do some traveling to other locations, live in another country and see just how tolerant they are.

I'd love to see a world where everything is Peace and Light. That world doesn't exist ... and probably never will. Until then, there are going to be people who feel nothing about hurting someone else. A gun in the hand of someone who knows how to use it becomes the great equalizer. See this story: http://www.theindychannel.com/news/16990463/detail.html. The 67yo man was frail and ill for his age. You can see what the 17yo looked like. Armed with a gun and the knowledge how to use it, today the 67yo would still be sitting in his apartment, living with his son. If anyone was dead, it would be the 17yo. Not, IMO, a great loss.

Everyone who owns a gun should be required to take a course in its use and care. It is ridiculous to own one unless you know how to use it and are ready to do so. Trust me, someone breaks into my house and starts hurting me or mine, it will end up with the breaker getting hurt more. And I don't think I'd feel much if any remorse.
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