The political, social networking site that integrates politics with popular culture.
The political, social networking site that integrates politics with popular culture.

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Connor @johnnyutah

I do not think that public opinion is in favor of “gun-control”. It is more baffling to think that the public would support the current administrations rhetorical response to recent tragedies, not to mention the absurd weapons ban proposed by Diane Feinstein.

Over the past few years there have been a few major shootings that have received a lot of public attention and media buzz. Tuscon, Newtown, and the Aurora Colorado movie theatre shooting have all stirred up a lot of controversy surrounding gun-control. These are all terrible tragedies and I do not want to sound insensitive, but the legislation proposed to fix the problem is not going to do anything but piss off and demonize the large majority of law-abiding gun owners. There needs to be a larger focus on mental health care and an enforcement of current regulation.

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Hindy Bare @hbee

It boils down to a discussion about “freedom” (to own, carry, use weapons) vs. public safety (the right to go to public places without the worry that you or your children could be victims of gun violence)

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GianniSanDiego @gqgianni

There’s a reason why the 2nd amendment is THE SECOND AMENDMENT …. Fredom of speech was the most important thing right … then #2 … Right to Bear Arms! lol … obviously the founders would be rolling over in their graves right now, unbelievable that the government is trying to take our weapons, ammunition, and means to protect ourselves away ………. under the guise of a few mis haps, theres 300 million people in this country, what happened in that school was horrible but there are simply a small % of the population that will always do horrible things, nothing the government or anybody for that matter can do to control them, or stop, or prevent them from killing people, if someone is crazy enough to want to kill a person or people, they will do it and find a way to, its part of life .. but taking away every body elses rights because .0001% of the population is messed up in the head is ridiculous.

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Brandon Komar @brandonimpossible

Hi Hindy,

This is a good question and to be honest, I am not sure what the answer is. What I am sure of is that there is no good reason to not enact universal background checks. Not the bill but actual universal background checks. Other thsn your time what do we, gun owners, have to lose by completing a background check? Thoughts?

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kimberly @ladylibertarian

There already are background checks when you purchase a firearm. people are upset because the ONLY reason the government would EVER need a list of people who own firearms is so that they can take them away. If everyone were armed people would be far more wary about pulling out guns like idiots and thinking they could take cheap shots at those around them. Teachers in Israel literally have guns in the classroom, when was the last time some kid came in there with their dad’s firearm and shot it up? Probably never, because the teacher would just shoot the fuckhead who thinks it’s ok to bully others with their “superior weapons” when everyone else is unarmed.

Am I the only one who understand that criminals are not deterred by laws? When was the last time a thug refused to buy a gun off the street because it wasn’t registered?

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Pippyfrooty @pippyfrooty

Every time a criminal commits an act of violence with a firearm, the media should be forced to state whether or not that person committed the crime with a stolen or illegally obtained weapon. It will differentiate between thugs and responsible gun owners. Low information people just see the news headline of yet another shooting and want to support outlawing guns.

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Jacqueline @jacquelinemeyer

@pippyfrooty– I agree with your statement of the difference of thugs and responsible gun owners. People that choose to go out and use these weapons in such ways are deranged in other ways. People will always find a way to get things they want, whether it be weapons, or any other kind of object of destruction. If there’s a will, there’s a way.

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Brandon Killian @brandonkillian

The NRA continues to control political proceedings, and it’s really quite sad. People are out there being shot everyday.

Politicians only worry about their reelection. So yes, of course they are vulnerable to attack from a very powerful organization.

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@brandonkillian actually violent crime is down in the past 20 years, mass shootings are actually down in the past 30 years despite what you see on the news. as far as the so called public support for gun control its BS, that 90% figure for background checks has no statistical evidence. We already have background checks. Adam lanza (sandy hook shooter) was denied in his background check, but he just stole his gun from his mother. gun control is about controlling guns, its about controlling people… sane, law abiding people

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Isabelle Granter @issabell

@joeperticorn

the reason people advocate stricter gun control measures is to stop crazy people like Lanza from having access to guns in the first place!! Having a gun in the house actually increases chances of death for both you and your loved ones (http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2012/12/health-risk-having-gun-home ).

You have a right to risk it, and perhaps we don’t need to outlaw guns altogether, but simple measures like background checks can’t hurt any law abiding citizen! This is more than an individual rights issue, it is a public safety hazard.

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Janell Maria @janellmaria

The NRA is made up of We The People. I am a proud NRA member, and I am glad they continue to stand up for my Second Amendment rights!

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please read my brief column on this issue for a slightly different take: http://www.turningpointusa.net/current-mainstream-gun-control-debate-comprehensive-feminist-approach/

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shane @skennedy

I am 100% for the right to own a gun. But not 100% behind NRA. I think some of their views are a little out there. But I am also thankful because they help keep the government in check with b.s. gun laws.
The fact remains, criminals have guns and I have a family to protect. I see stories of home invasions in my city almost weekly. if my home is ever invaded it will cost them their lives.
I had a lot of concerns when my teenage son lived at home because, well he was a teenager. and teenagers ( like many of the shooters behind recent massacres ) can be troubled. As far as I know, he probably didn’t even know I had a gun in the home. its kept in a safe secure spot and rarely was taken out. keeping that gun out of his hands was just as important as my right to own it. I never told him I owned one and never showed him. and now that hes moved out, i obtained my permit to carry and go shooting ranges more often.
The trend i am seeing now that the government is loosing its battle to control the guns, they have resorted to controlling the ammunition. Anyone who shoots, knows that ammunition is in short supply. The government, a short while back bought up 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition for what they called “routine stockpiling” hmm.
And our government want to help supply Syria with small arms and ammunition?? So in some ways, the government is successfully keeping Americans “un-armed”
and by all accounts arming the enemy.

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Atusa @headstrong

Let’s see Chicago has one of the strictest gun control laws in force, and about the highest murder rate. and why is it all of a sudden that only guns can kill people? What about all the murders that happen with knives, and screwdrivers? Did you know that the #1 weapon used in murders is a household tool? Should we start banning those too? No, because not everyone that owns one of those is a murdereous scumbag. Not everyone that owns a gun is either. And in fact, exactly as one of the previous comments had been made- criminal activity- has actually gone down- in the states that don’t have gun control laws. There are also about 100 times as many stories, about guns saving people’s lives and families. Gun control is not effective, is not logical and makes no sense in public safety. Everywhere that has higher gun control laws, has a higher crime rate, sane people with guns have saved lives, and if guns only killed people instead of saved them- why does all of our security carry firearms? Most crimes where a gun has been use- the firearm has been illegally obtained. So create a background check, tell them they can only get certain kinds of weapons- you really think the criminals are going to listen? Because they listen so well to the law of “Don’t murder” and “Don’t steal” Gun control won’t prevent any criminal from obtaining a firearm since the majority of them already do it illegally, what it will do is prevent those law abiding citizens from being able to protect themselves efficiently from those criminals.

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Damien Christian @djc91ua

@hbee not all American constituents want greater gun control, especially where I live. I agree that something needs to be done but the right to bear arms is a constitutional freedom. In your opinion how should we solve this problem without tampering with people’s rights to own guns?

September 30, 2013

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Stuart @slava

I’m constantly amazed at how strange Americans are when it comes to guns. The rest of the first world just looks at America and the level of gun violence and just cringe. Just because something is in the Constitution doesn’t make it right people. The 20th Amendment led to Prohibition and to your credit you repealed it, but you now have to repeal the 2nd Amendment that was created when guns were muskets and not the incredibly powerful weapons that are available today. Over one million Americans have been killed by gun violence since 1980. That’s absolutely ridiculous. You’re just killing yourselves. Guns are designed to kill things and they do it far better than any other weapon. As someone said earlier, it’s as simple as personal freedom vs. societal safety. As an outsider, I think Americans need to find a better balance.

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Two Cents @twocents

@slava I understand the frustration but lets break down your argument:

You brought up prohibition. We repealed prohibition of alcohol because it did not work. We see time and time again that prohibition never works. It doesn’t work with drugs, it didnt work with alcohol, and its NOT going to work with guns. There are too many guns circulating the United States both legally and illegally, as well as circulating the WORLD to ever control the flow of gun in the US. So, if we seize guns and prohibit law abiding citizens from purchasing fire arms, only criminals will be able to obtain them.

You say guns are designed to kill people, and that is true. But there are also many other things that could be considered “designed to kill.” For example, knives, hammers, letter openers, baseball bats, automobiles. There are so many things people can kill with. In fact, more people are killed by hammer and knife every year than guns. Should we outlaw them?

Liberals always say that prohibition on drugs doesnt work. And I agree with them. I dont think prohibition on ANYTHING works. But I am a libertarian.

Just one more thing I am curious about your opinion on. Should liberals be working toward gun control in the United States while refusing told this adminstration accountable for smuggling guns and heavy weaponry to Al Qaeda through the consulate in Benghazi? To the Cartels in Mexico through operation fast and furious? And now to the Syrian Rebels that have been taken over by Al Qaeda? How can we justify providing weapons and guns to foreign nations while fighting to prohibit them here? It doesnt make sense. I will appreciate your response. Love the discussions!

What does everyone else think? @headstrong @skennedy @janellmaria @jay5 @djc91ua @jlriggs57aol-com @kevlar @grand-vizier @juliaw @joeperticone @jacquelinemeyer @pippyfrooty @ladylibertarian @gqgianni @hbee @johnnyutah

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James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@twocents, liberals work toward what their emotions tell them to do, it needs no rhyme or reason. Give guns to those who would do us harm and take away our ability to defend ourselves. To a liberal this probably makes perfect sense. Also, you can not enslave a people who have the ability to defend themselves. Take the guns, then take the freedom.

@jay5, liked your link, it gave a good look at just how much of a deterrent it would be if more women were armed to defend themselves against a rapist or mugger. These deviants of our society would think twice if a few of them had been stopped in their tracks by a smart lady with a way to defend themselves.

@slava, I find it interesting that you would say, “The rest of the first world just looks at America and the level of gun violence and just cringe.” What I find interesting about this is that, according to the FBI we have more murders and violence with knives than we do guns in this country, so why is the cringing about guns? Is there no cringing over knives? Why isn’t there an outcry for knife registration or knife bans?

Let’s say just for the sake of this discussion that we ban guns and since more violence is committed with knives, we ban them too. So now we have no guns and no knives.

Two people have a heated argument about something, they fist fight, one wins, one loses, and they go their separate ways. The one that lost the fight wants revenge so he grabs a rock, stick, or hammer then sneaks up on the other guy and bashes his brains in. So now we have to ban rocks, sticks, and hammers.

About now your probably think I’m just being ridiculous and you’re right I am. But here’s the point I’m trying to make. You can ban guns, knives, rocks, sticks, and hammers and it won’t make any difference. If someone wants to kill another person they will find a way.

Where so many people seem to be getting this whole gun thing confused is that guns are not used by the normal law-abiding citizen as a way of retaliation, if it were, we would be at about half our present population. Guns in this country are used for basic self-protection and self-preservation. The misuse of guns is done by criminals, the same criminals and guns that you find in all countries, even the countries with gun bans.

The difference is that in America, our citizens can defend themselves against those criminals and citizens in other countries can’t.

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Stuart @slava

Of course people can be killed with knives, letter openers and all of the other things mentioned. I’m not sure but I hope you guys aren’t trying to trivialise my argument by mentioning this, however I’ll play along. My point is that guns are by far the most efficient method for killing humans. The operative word here is efficiency. Knives can do many things besides kill people but handguns and assault rifles serve little purpose other than to hurt and or kill people.
Someone said that gun control doesn’t work (comparing it to prohibition), however it seems to work in just about every other country in the world including up here in Canada. We have one 10th per capita gun deaths than in the US because we have strict federal and provincial gun control . The issue in the US is that guns flow easily from state to state making gun control in large cities extremely difficult. Only strong federal gun laws and repealing of the second amendment will cure the US of it’s gun death problem.

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Phillip Shurtleff @pshurtleff

At Jiesi Zhao: I read your blog you linked here about women and the use of firearms in self-defense. Yes, yes, yes!! As a long time gun owner and user (I actually shoot mine) I find the way women are treated to be rather silly and sexist. The average woman can adequately handle most any firearm. To be sure there are a few “over the top” handguns that have more recoil than a .44 magnum but those are hard to use by most men. A well trained person, male or female, can fire a .44 magnum just fine. Maybe not all day long like one can with a .22 but certainly for several reloads.

Gun manufacturers are keying into the large number of women that are interested in self-empowerment and taking their own self defense into their own hands as much as reasonably possible. However, I think they’re a little behind the curve as they are taking standard firearms and giving pink grips and calling it a “lady’s gun.” The tactics for deploying any weapon in self-defense have no relevance toward gender. Physical strength and combat skills, definitely, but not gender. What they really need to do is advertise that women can be strong and feminine. That you can fight off a rapist without loosing your dignity as a woman.

Having taken Aikido for a number of years, some years ago, and practiced hand to hand combat with a number of women I can assure all women out there that the whole concept that women don’t hit or that it’s your inherent nature to be easily defeated is total nonsense. Even a woman of diminutive stature can keep a considerably strong male at bay with the right martial arts. I, myself, have been successful, on the mat, at defending myself against a considerably larger person.

So, yes, don’t let those promoting helplessness as gender politics fool you. You can stand strong and confident as a skill martial artist and proficient with the weapon of your choice and still be the woman you want to be.

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Phillip Shurtleff @pshurtleff

The irony of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution is that we won’t need it until it’s no longer in place. It’s not actually about firearms, especially when you consider that it says “right to bear arms,” not “right to bear muskets.” It’s about the balance between the people and the government. That balance involves the process of argumentation.

We are a nation built upon the concept of argumentation. Where reasoned debate is supposed to prevail. No matter what kind of relationship; marriage, business, governmental, friendship…., the process of exchanging ideas for the betterment of the relationship depends upon accepting a conclusion for the reasons given under one’s own thoughtful and well informed consideration and free will. It is necessarily a free will process since accepting a conclusion under one’s own free will eliminates the need for forceful enforcement and allows the idea to be explored under each individual’s unique life conditions and the results fed back to improve the experiential base of relationship.

As such, one may choose to remove themselves from the argumentation process for the most capricious of reasons. Without that ability the free will quality is lost. When a person removes his or her self from the argumentation process of a relationship, those still in the relationship can respond by isolating the person to some degree or completely: i.e. my religion, your religion, my nation, your nation, my lifestyle, your lifestyle, etc…. This is the most common reaction, we agree to disagree. Another response is to submit. Discard one’s own needs and thoughts and simply comply. Often domineering people block the exchange of ideas so basic to argumentation with the goal of forcing submission to their objectives. Refuse to submit, can’t isolate and can’t engage in a reasoning process and domination becomes the only response. That’s where the need for violence can come in. Whether it be a domestic partner defending his or her physical self or a violent revolution by the people against a despotic government.

Since there are a number of non-violent responses that can be used to topple a despotic government through non-cooperation, protest, and other methods, violence should be an option of extreme last resort but not completely eliminated. Mahatma Gandhi said “It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.” He also said “Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.”
(Source: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mahatma_gandhi.html)

Adding from another source: “I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence… I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour (sic) than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor,” and “I have been repeating over and over again that he who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honour by non-violently facing death may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden. He has no business to be the head of a family. He must either hide himself, or must rest content to live for ever in helplessness and be prepared to crawl like a worm at the bidding of a bully.” (http://www.mkgandhi.org/nonviolence/phil8.htm)

Given the much larger number of statements he made about non-violence, what he’s getting to, contrary to many a pacifist’s claim, is that violence is an option, but only as an extreme last resort. Any non-violent action that will effectively achieve the goal is to be used rather than violence. Anti-gun people try to create the false dilemma that we must engage in rampant violence or be so totally non-violent that we engage in self imposed helplessness. Neither is an ethical option.

The authors of the United States government structure understood that a government can’t be isolated away for it’s very nature is to regulate day to day affairs as well as national issues. If the power of the people to organize and forcefully dominate the government, outside the permission of the government, is removed then the only option the people have, should those in power capriciously cease the argumentation process or disregard the democratic process of our society, is to submit.

It is reasonable to reassess any law given the need to balance public safety with technological advances but the fundamental relationship of the people’s need and right to dominate the government against the will of the government has not change and is not likely to. The goal of disarming the people while not disarming the police or military is to remove from the people the power of domination should the government become despotic or fall to a despotic invader. The right to bear arms is not any more obsolete than the right of the people regain control of a formerly democratic government, national or local, by force or to defend themselves with force against criminal force. The attack on the Second Amendment has little to do with violence in the United States since violence has been decreasing for several decades while the right to carry a handgun on one’s person has increased. At best firearm ownership by responsible, law-abiding citizens contributes to a decrease in violent crime. At worst it has no significant effect either way. The arguments that strict gun control work are, at best, selective reasoning picking only what supports that assertion. Violence is a complex issue and none, I repeat: none, of the valid and adequately representative science has shown that firearms are a cause of violence. The assertion that they should be banned simply because they are designed for killing assumes that there is no reason to ever kill. A horribly simplistic line of thinking. Justifiable homicide laws exist because there are reasons to kill. We have the military because there is a reason for going to war. There is more than one nation that arms it’s citizens with fully automatic military class weapons and they have some of the lowest violence.

If the right to carry a firearm or have a firearm is not necessary for defending one’s self against criminal violence or an oppressive government then those against firearm ownership should lead the way by disarming the police and military first. If that results in a drop in violence, it will provide a solid ground for disarming the citizenry. I doubt if any anti-gun person believes that disarming the police and military would do anything except open to door to rogue nations invading at will and criminals engaging in violent crime with impunity. Herein lies their hypocrisy. A soldier or police officer is nothing more than a citizen with specific training. The continued assertion that criminal violence, one’s own defense, and the protection of the nation should be solely the concern of the police and military implies that the citizen is ineducable, and intellectually and ethically inferior to government employees. Anti-gun people are projecting their own self image upon the whole of the citizenry. The citizen is just as educable as any soldier or police officer. Denying citizens the right to bear arms and the access to the education to do so competently amounts to Jim Crow laws oriented toward gun ownership.

As our own civil war proved here in the United States, in order for a violent revolution to succeed the rebels must have a robust economic system of financing, manufacturing, information gathering and processing, and transportation to successfully overthrow a government. Since for every soldier in battle there is a small army of citizens supporting him with the manufacturing of food, arms, medical care, transport, equipment and running the rest of the economic system to win that war, a rebellion in a democracy is unnecessary because if you have the people to support a rebellion, you have the people to create and win an election. Violent rebellion is only necessary after the democracy has been ended and non-violent methods won’t work. The Second Amendment doesn’t exist to keep democracy in place. It serves to re-establish it after it has ceased to exist.

If you truly want to lower violence here in the United States then instead of punishing or ignoring the mentally ill, who often don’t know they need help, improving the health care system so that a person just curious if they have an issue (that can be first step for a mentally ill person) can seek out counseling without stigma or prohibitive expense. We waste our time debating gun control when we should instead devise an accessible mental health care system for everyone, especially the impoverished since mental health problems prevent one from holding a job. If you look at the developed nations with high gun ownership and low violence, you’ll find a sophisticated health care system accessible to everyone.

Supporters of stringent gun control often claim to be against violence but in reality they mostly just complain about violence. If you really are against violence then start teaching specific non-violent actions that will successfully address the threats that violence is used against. What is a non-violent way of addressing rape without being raped? What is a non-violent way of dealing with a violent assault without willfully being a helpless victim? Please provide real world effective answers and not ideological musings. I, a life member of the NRA, gun owner and concealed carry licensee will tell you that as far as resistance against government oppression the three volume books written by Gene Sharp titled The Politics of Non-Violent Action is a good source for non-violent resistance against governments. I’ll also guide you to the Teaching Company that offers the Great Courses, one of which is Professor Michael Dues’s The Art of Conflict Management: Achieving Solutions for Life, Work, and Beyond which teaches the kind of conflict management that prevents domestic violence. What do you anti-gun folks have to offer other than the assertion that the typical citizen is too stupid to educate and therefore should just have further restrictions on their freedoms?

The true goal of those funding the anti-gun movement is to strip the people of self-determination and to impose a more despotic rule. If the whole of the citizenry are genuinely too stupid or animalistic to be trusted with the decision of when to use violence in self-defense and to have access to the weaponry necessary for that right, then certainly the more complicated issues of choosing the best leader, what action our nation should take, and understanding the science necessary for a good decision is well beyond what the citizenry can manage. That is a direct denial of the basic nature of democracy.

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