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An Unbiased Analysis of Gun Crime vs. Gun Control? 3042

Posted by Cliff
from the personal-responsibility-vs.-public-safety dept.
lyapunov asks: "I have been trying to become more learned on the issues surrounding gun control and crime. I have had quite a time searching the internet for references about these issues. Practically everything that I have found has been written for, or is a study funded by, one of the groups that hold extreme viewpoints on the subject, e.g. the NRA or the Brady Foundation. The same holds true for references that I have found in our library. I was wondering if any of the members of the slashdot community have come across articles that are objective in dealing with these subjects, and I would also ask what ideas the members of this community have about this issue and what FACTS they can offer to support their ideas."

"Just so everyone knows where I stand, and why I am asking this, I offer the following. I enjoy guns and regularly compete in shooting matches and hunt occasionally. I am a member of the NRA, not for political reasons, but due to the fact that most competitions are closed to non-members (which I do think is screwed up). Having said this I am undecided on what a logical path for the future is. I do believe that an unarmed nation is a bad idea, but as Michael Moore pointed out in 'Bowling for Columbine' Canada has a much higher per capita gun ownership rate compared to the US and has nowhere near the amount of violent crime that the US has. All of the statistics that I have seen about countries that have altogether outlawed guns have been manipulated by those extreme groups. As such I find it hard to believe anything that either side presents.

Thanks, I look forward to reading all of your comments and the references that you provide."

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An Unbiased Analysis of Gun Crime vs. Gun Control?

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  • Delusional (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:24PM (#4846632)
    Ask Slashdot: An Unbiased Analysis

    what
  • Sorry.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:26PM (#4846652) Homepage Journal

    .. but "unbiased" and "slashdot" would be an oxymoron if used together.
  • by abh (22332) <ahockley@gmail.com> on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:27PM (#4846662) Homepage

    It should be fairly easy to find facts on gun ownership, number of shooting deaths, etc

    The problem is in drawing a conclusion from those facts. There is not a single "correct" conclusion that can be drawn, or we wouldn't have the various viewpoints that we have.

    Aaron

    • by goon america (536413) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:40PM (#4846903) Homepage Journal
      The problem is in drawing a conclusion from those facts. There is not a single "correct" conclusion that can be drawn, or we wouldn't have the various viewpoints that we have.

      I totally disagree. Normatively people don't take a look at the facts, evaluate them objectively, and then draw a variety of different conclusions. They decide what they want their conclusion to be in the beginning and then find facts to support that conclusion.

      Look at the NRA. Do you think everyone in the NRA went to the library, carefully and thoughtfully evaluated the statistics, then reluctantly decided to support gun ownership because the facts supported it? No! They decided to support gun ownership because they love guns. Facts, if any, were found afterward to reinforce the position they already had regardless of them.

      • by limekiller4 (451497) on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:27PM (#4847672) Homepage
        good america writes:
        "Look at the NRA. Do you think everyone in the NRA went to the library, carefully and thoughtfully evaluated the statistics, then reluctantly decided to support gun ownership because the facts supported it? No!"

        Thank god you spoke up. I couldn't find the place where they keep the statistics on how many violent crimes are averted because of a gun. Where do they keep this in your library? Also, where does the factbook on whether or not we'd still be a democracy without them fit into the Dewey system?

        "They decided to support gun ownership because they love guns. Facts, if any, were found afterward to reinforce the position they already had regardless of them."

        I think dismissive arguments like this are part of the problem. The NRA thinks that liberals are idiots and would like nothing more than give criminals yet another leg up (but they really do, honestly think that the world is better off with less guns). The liberals think that the NRA is a bunch of violent people who would like nothing better than to shoot another human being (when they really do, honestly believe that the lynchpin of freedom is an armed populace).

        Take whatever side you'd like but quit demeaning the other end of the spectrum. Those who commit the crime of disagreeing with you are neither de facto idiots nor liars and everyone suffers when you paint them as one.
      • by BattyMan (21874) on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:50PM (#4848025) Journal
        Look at the NRA. Do you think everyone in the NRA went to the library, carefully and thoughtfully evaluated the statistics, then reluctantly decided to support gun ownership because the facts supported it? No!

        Well, yes, this _has_ happened - to a liberal Florida State University professor named Gary Kleck, who was hired by a liberal anti-gun organization to dig up stats to prove that guns do more harm than good. The numbers he wound up with put the number of times guns are used (annually) to _prevent_ crimes at somewhere between 2 and 4 million (an admittedly _VERY_ fuzzy number, but undisputably huge), compared to about 10-15,000 criminal shootings (no cops, not self-defense, no suicides, just criminal gun use). Usually, crimes are deterred by the mere display of a firearm, no shots are fired, and the gun owner is hesitant to report the incident since his behavior (drawing a perhaps illegally carried gun on someone) borders on criminal aggravated assault in many areas.

        The organization who hired him promptly buried his raw data (which they paid for and own) so deep it'll never be found.

        Gary nonetheless wrote a book from the results, entitled "Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America" [amazon.com](unsurprisingly out of print) which many in the NRA read, nodded their heads, and agreed with. Their agreement in no way invalidates any of his information.

        Yeah, he's only one guy, but his credentials can't be impeached, and if he can be accused of bias it's clearly in the _other_ direction.
    • Guns vs. Windows (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nycsubway (79012) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:43PM (#4846962) Homepage
      From "All in the Family"

      Daughter "six thousand people were killed with hand guns in the United States last year!"

      Archie Bunker "would it make you feel any better, little girl, if they was pushed out of windows?"

  • Good Book (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rudy Rodarte (597418) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:27PM (#4846664) Homepage Journal
    The book "More Guns, Less Crime" does a pretty good job of just looking at the numbers. When you look at the numbers, the spin the other groups put on a particular incident is lessened.
  • Fact. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:28PM (#4846674)
    I'll kill before giving up my right to wield firearms. ;)

    Seriously, though. Places like Switzerland ensure that every able-bodied adult as a fully-fledged assault rifle in their closet. Places like Israel have public armories, and won't let schoolchildren on a field trip unless the chaperones are packing.

    Both of those places have ridiculously low amounts of gun violence. (Google it.) Obviously, Israel likely has more that Switzerland, but then, they've been shooting at the Palestinians for years.

    In another example, England apparently has a decent chunk of gun violence, yet strict gun control laws.

    I can't offer you statistics off the top of my head. I won't tell you that people need assault rifles to hunt today's super animals like the flying squirrel, and I won't tell you that hand guns should be restricted.

    The only thing I'll tell you is that guns don't cause violence - societies cause violence. If not guns, then swords and knives and sticks and bare hands.
    • Re:Barely a Fact. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nich37ways (553075)
      Guns don't kill people, people kill people is essentially what you are saying here.

      Although technically ture your argument is heavily flawed. If someone cannot get access to a gun and they choose a knife or a sword then their maximum scope of damage is severely reduced.
      Assuming I have a 9 bullet handgun I can kill 9 people from a reasonable distance before anyone can do much about it.

      Switch to a knife I can probably get 1 or 2 before everyone figures out what I'm doing and eith runs away or overwhelms me

      Switch to fists I'll be lucky to kill 1 person unless they are alone and killing 2 people is almost completly out of the question.

      The idea that guns have nothing to do with violence is absurd, with a gun I can kill anyone very quickly, as my choice of weapons is reduced so is my ability to unleash quick and deadly force and thus I can kill less and less.

      Please dont claim guns are completly irrelevant in how violent a society is as it is an insult to the intelligence of the people around you.

      --

      nich

    • by cpeterso (19082) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:58PM (#4847254) Homepage

      If guns were completely abolished, imagine the rap videos on MTV. Snoop and Dre rapping about how their rolled on some suckas with their broadswords and morning stars? Somehow that seems way cooler than taking pot shots at people from the safety of your convertible. :-)
  • Decide for yourself (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:28PM (#4846676)
    I submit for your consideration, John Lott's book: "More Guns, Less Crime." It's obvious from the title what his take on the issue is, but the part that I find valuable is that he includes citations for ALL of his data and sources (mostly us DOJ crime statistics). You can then look up this information for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

    For what it's worth, I tend to agree with his conclusions based on the data and his analysis of it.
    • by jamie (78724)
      "I submit for your consideration, John Lott's book: 'More Guns, Less Crime.'"

      That book has been thoroughly debunked. Some examples:

      awed gun policy research could endanger public safety [ajph.org]

      American Journal of Public Health, Vol 87, Issue 6 918-921,
      Copyright (c) 1997 by American Public Health Association

      DW Webster, JS Vernick, J Ludwig and KJ Lester
      Center for Gun Policy and Research, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md. 21205, USA.

      A highly publicized recent study by Lott and Mustard concludes that laws easing restrictions on licenses for carrying concealed firearms in public substantially reduce violent crime. Several serious flaws in the study render the authors' conclusions insupportable. These flaws include misclassification of gun-carrying laws, endogeneity of predictor variables, omission of confounding variables, and failure to control for the cyclical nature of crime trends. Most of these problems should bias results toward overestimating the crime-reducing effects of laws making it easier to carry concealed firearms in public. Lott and Mustard's statistical models produce findings inconsistent with criminological theories and well-established facts about crime, and subsequent reanalysis of their data challenges their conclusions. Public health professionals should understand the methodological issues raised in this commentary, particularly when flawed research could influence the introduction of policies with potentially deleterious consequences.

      John Lott's More Guns, Less Crime: An Alternate Q&A [bradycampaign.org]

      Many of these scholars found serious, fundamental flaws in Lott's methodology and found his claims to be unsubstantiated. These researchers include Jens Ludwig at Georgetown University; Daniel Black of the University of Kentucky and Daniel Nagin at Carnegie Mellon University; Stephen Teret, Jon Vernick and Daniel Webster, all of Johns Hopkins University; Arthur Kellermann at Emory University; and Douglas Weil at The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

      [...]

      Now, after several years in which the nation as a whole has enjoyed a declining crime rate, there is direct evidence that Lott's conclusions are wrong. A 1999 analysis of crime statistics conducted by The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence) demonstrates that allowing people to carry concealed handguns does not mean less crime. The Center found that, as a group, states that rely on permissive concealed weapons laws as a crime fighting strategy had a significantly smaller drop in crime than states which looked to other means to combat crime rather than make it easier to obtain a concealed weapons permit.

      In the 29 states that have lax CCW laws (where law enforcement must issue CCW licenses to almost all applicants), the crime rate fell 2.1%, from 5397.0 to 5285.1 crimes per 100,000 population from 1996 to 1997. During the same time period, in the 21 states and the District of Columbia with strict carry laws or which don't allow the carrying of concealed weapons at all, the crime rate fell 4.4%, from 4810.5 to 4599.9 crimes per 100,000 population. The decline in the crime rate of strict licensing and no-carry states was 2.1 times that of states with lax CCW systems, indicating that there are more effective ways to fight crime than to encourage more people to carry guns.

      Furthermore, according to the CPHV analysis, violent crime actually rose in 12 of 29 states (41%) which liberalized their CCW laws over the five years beginning in 1992, compared to a similar rise in violent crime in only 4 of 22 states (18%) which did not change their CCW laws. The disparity in the decline is even more obvious for rates of gun violence. From 1992 to 1997 (the last five years for which data exists), the violent crime rate in the strict and no-issue states fell 24.8% while the violent crime rate for states with liberal CCW laws dropped 11.4%. Nationally the violent crime rate fell 19.4%.

      [...]

      ....Lott's inability to accurately identify when states changed their carry laws

      ....small changes in the statistical models Lott uses to reach his conclusions result in large changes in his findings...

      ....a number of factors that affect crime rates, but which Lott failed to address in his research...

      ....a well known, formal statistical test that proved that Lott failed to include a number of important variables...

      ....according to the Voter News Service it is not possible to compare the 1988 and 1996 exit poll numbers on gun ownership...

      More Guns Mean More Guns: Why John Lott is wrong [reason.com]
      Robert Ehrlich

      As a gun owner myself, I was quite prepared to accept Lott's thesis that the positive deterrent effect of guns exceeds their harmful effects on society, but as a scientist I have to be guided by what the data actually show, and Lott simply hasn't made his case. Here's why:

      Lott misrepresents the data. [...]

      Lott's results are not consistent. [...]

      Lott's results cannot account for all the relevant variables. [...]

      Lott doesn't properly compute statistical significance. [...]

      Do more guns cause less crime? [unsw.edu.au]
      Tim Lambert

      The main argument of a recent book by John Lott is summarized in the title: More Guns, Less Crime [23]. There are three parts to this argument:

      1. that there were more guns
      2. that there was less crime
      3. that more guns caused less crime

      Lott's argument depends on all three parts being true. If any one of the parts is incorrect, the entire argument fails. In fact, as I will show in the next three sections of this document, all three parts are wrong:

      1. there weren't significantly more guns
      2. it is unclear whether there was less crime
      3. even if there was more guns and less crime, more guns did not cause less crime
      • by Mullen (14656) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:56PM (#4847233)
        It's funny you quoted those people in that post. It obviously shows you are a blind gun grabber.
        Every single one of those people, who are critical of John Lott are anti-gun folks from anti-gun groups. None of them are qualified to even argue against John Lott. You might as well have quoted Sara Brady herself.

        Worst of all, they use a study where they picked the data they used by excluding certain counties and dropped states. John Lott addresses this in the 2nd addition of his book, More Guns, Less Crime. He simply asks, why would anti-gun folks use a study that contains less data and data *they* select to try to debuke his study? It does not make sense.

  • by zhar (533174) <<mike> <at> <goldtwo.net>> on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:29PM (#4846691) Homepage Journal
    The Center for Disease Control [cdc.gov] keeps very detailed records of how many children die each year in the United States from firearms violence. Suffice to say, I have yet to see any organization, Brady or NRA, that gets these figures right.
    • by Detritus (11846) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:37PM (#4846863) Homepage
      Beware of statistics on children killed by guns. Usually they don't differentiate between the 10-year old who accidentally shoots his sister with daddy's pistol and the 17-year old gang banger who gets shot by the owner of a liquor store while attempting an armed robbery.
    • The Center for Disease Control keeps very detailed records of how many children die each year in the United States from firearms violence.

      Erm, why the Centre for Disease Control?

      Doctor: "I'm sorry, but little Billy has got a serious case of cranial bullet-itis. There's nothing I can do."

  • Oh boy... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Darth Maul (19860) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:29PM (#4846694) Homepage
    The problem with finding "unbiased" data is rarely does anyone with an opinion either way just decide to do a study. Think of trying to find "unbiased" studies on Linux vs. Microsoft stuff. Everyone has an agenda.

    I, for one, and a huge fan of the U.S. Constitution. And that means I think the government shouldn't be able to stop me from speaking, stop me from gathering in a peaceful manner, stop me from going to church, or stop me from owning a gun for my own self-protection. I carry a gun every day, in fact. It's MY responsibility for my and my family's safety, not the police deparment who will show up 20 minutes late to clean up the mess. I take that responsibility seriously, and in this "land of the free", nobody should be able to take that right of self-protection away. The founding fathers saw those as "God-given" (sorry athiests, but our Founding Fathers were actually believers. Deal).

    If you want some good stuff to research, try these links:

    http://www.guncite.com/

    http://secondamendmentstuff.com/

    http://stealthboy.dyndns.org/~msherman/cowards.h tm l

  • Not Possible (Score:4, Interesting)

    by macdaddy357 (582412) <macdaddy357@hotmail.com> on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:30PM (#4846704)
    The unbiased analysis you seek is just not humanly possible. Everyone has an opinion on the right to bear arms vs. gun control debate, and anyone willo become emotional defending his or her position. Here are some of my thoughts. Outlawing guns won't disarm criminals. They are criminals, and won't respect new laws any more than the ones we have now. Outlawing guns will only raise their price on the black market. Anything demanded will be supplied. That is basic economics. Even if we could create a state where only the army is armed, do we really want to?
  • My thoughts... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by craenor (623901) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:30PM (#4846716) Homepage
    Gun crime is a crime of opportunity. Guns are available, so crime with guns will occur. The number of guns already present in the United States will make gun control much less affective. Studies clearly show that most crimes are not performed with "new" guns.

    Therefore, gun control is a reactionary measure proposed by people who fail to understand the motivations behind gun crimes. They are trying to oversimplify. Guns bad...ban guns, doesn't work though.

    The biggest problem is this though...you cannot take rights away from Americans. Prohibition taught us that. You can give more rights to Americans...if it's not something we've become accustomed too, you might can take it away. But something we've lived with as a standard for years. You can't take that away.

    Craenor
  • by mesozoic (134277) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:31PM (#4846719)
    Rates of violent crimes in the United Kingdom have been steadily rising for years, while rates in the United States have been steadily falling. There is a considerable argument to be made that gun control is to blame for an increase in violence in Britain.

    The logic is simple: criminals will always find ways to get guns, whether legally or not. If the average civilian cannot own a gun for self-defense, the chances that a criminal will use a gun against a civilian become much higher.

    Reason did a very good article on this a little while ago: Gun Control's Twisted Outcome [reason.com].
    • by Malc (1751) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:39PM (#4846895)
      Define "use". Pull it out and threaten, or actually shoot? I suspect that gun toting thugs in the UK are less jumpy and trigger happy as they don't have to worry about being shot at. From what I hear, most of the gun crime there is related to drug wars and not criminals vs. law abiding people.
    • FYI: I own guns and support gun ownership.

      It can also be easily argued that it is simply due to other factors in Britan. One is the huge population density in the large cities, another might be economic issues, and so on. Remember: Correlation does not imply causation.

      This is the problem with all gun studies, for or against, that I've seen. The best they can do is find raw numbers or a correlation. Well neither of these prove causation and hence don't mean anything.
  • by 4of12 (97621) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:31PM (#4846724) Homepage Journal

    Gun ownership should demand a great deal of responsibility on the part of those owning firearms.

    Practically, though, you don't see people being held accountable when their gun is stolen, used for a crime, found by a kid, etc.

    I believe the pro-gun ownership lobby has become too extreme defending the right to own assault weapons and neglected the need to insure that gun owners are more responsible.

    They need to listen and understand their own rhetoric about "guns don't kill people, people kill people".

    Well, how the hell did those irresponsible idiots get a gun in the first place? Qualifications for owning firearms are as woefully inadequate as they are for procreation with consequences that are just as dire.

    I'm in favor of an empowered citizenry, with the right to own deadly weapons. But I'm insistent that the greater the risk of the weapon (including the highest levels where government officials control nukes, etc.), the greater the responsibility and accountability needs to be.

    • Okay, we'll never get a consensus to ban firearms in this country (although some municipalities have).

      How about this: A gun license should be as hard to get as a driver's license.

      This would mean a written exam on safty, a practical exam on basic marksmanship, maintanience, and safety.

      Gun inspections like car inspections would probably be too difficult for existing guns. But at least an inspection for new firearms, to ensure they're being sold with triggerlocks and the like. I can understand why some people wouldn't want a triggerlock on (I think they're stupid, since they're much more likely to kill a family member than an intruder, but that's a compelling fantasy for many). But I think every gun should have one, so that it has to be a proactive choice to not use one.

      I'm sure the NRA would frantically hate this idea, but I'd feel more comfortable knowing that people who bought guns legally at least demonstrated that they could pick "no" on a multiple choice test asking "is it okay to leave a loaded gun in the bedside table."
  • by NixterAg (198468) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:32PM (#4846745)
    one of the groups that hold extreme viewpoints on the subject, e.g. the NRA

    I am not a member of the NRA and have no immediate intentions of becoming one, but I cannot see how their position can be labeled "extreme". As far as I can tell, they simply want to maintain the status quo and uphold the second amendment. Their position is painted by their opponents as extreme because our culture deems a "moderate" position as being intellectually superior to an "extreme" position. Their opponents have tried all sorts of word gymnastics to diminish the NRA's interpretation of the second amendment, yet the NRA's position has remained consistent and firm.

    I remember reading that the majority of crimes were committed with guns obtained illegally (i.e. stolen or bought off of the black market) so I'm unsure what anti-gun advocates intend to accomplish (other than eventually disarming those that abide by the law).
  • by gpinzone (531794) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:33PM (#4846753) Homepage Journal
    Topics such as gun control, abortion, capital punishment, etc. are too emotionally entangled with people's perception of the issues. Most people don't own guns, nor have they ever fired one in their lives, but they sure do have an opinion on gun safety. I'm not discounting their opinions. For example, I've never owned a nuclear weapon, but that doesn't mean my concerns over them aren't valid. However, just about anyone can learn how to operate a firearm safely. Therefore, I do believe gun owners have an edge over most other individuals as far as having an opinion that counts.
  • Freedom (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) <bittercode@gmail> on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:33PM (#4846758) Homepage Journal
    A lot of people will/have ask what business this has on /.

    Personally I'm wondering too- though for what it is worth every time I read arguments about freedom in regards to softare/tech stuff I am stunned by the parallels in the gun control arena.

    Should hardware or software that COULD be used to circumvent the law be illegal? Even if there are other uses that are not illegal?

    What about personal responsibility?

    And for my opinion on the question itself. I will add what I believe to be a fact that would add a lot of reason to the debate.

    Gun control cannot work in America without the citizenry of the U.S. giving up a lot more of their personal freedoms. It is too easy for Americans to come and go as they please- to keep things private in their homes and buy/sell things in private- unregulated transactions.

    As long as this is true gun control will be unworkable. If you doubt this look at how incredibly innefective gun control has been to this point in time.

    The parallels to the war on drugs are also interesting but I've gone on enough already.

    .
  • Correlation Analysis (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Llywelyn (531070) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:33PM (#4846760) Homepage
    Awhile back I did an analysis of gun control by correlating one self-described "gun watchdog" group's grades (ranging from F to A, with +'s and -'s) on the different state's gun control laws.

    Then I took the number of violent crimes, homicides, &c per capita (FBI statistics for the same year as the survey) and put them in separate columns. Looking at the correlation matrix I found that there was no correlation (R^2 < .25) between the level of gun-control.

    A principle component analysis revealed a further lack of dependancy of one variable on the other.

    This study was by no means complete--I didn't correlate it against the years or anything along those lines, but a search on the net for other research while I was performing the research for this project indicated that other studies--using various methodologies and some of them much more formal and complete than I had been--had come to the same conclusion that I had.

    If you don't believe me, download a copy of R (http://www.r-project.org/) and check it yourself with those criteria you think would be accurate. I would be interested in the results.
  • by limekiller4 (451497) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:35PM (#4846803) Homepage
    I think the old adage of "you can make a statistic say whatever you want" basically holds true here. The issue is (generally) not whether group A or group B is giving you good data but whether they are interpreting it correctly or bending it to their own ends.

    I think the solution here is to look at whatever you can find with a skeptical eye much like you'd look at any politician and make a decision based on what you find (or don't find). Gun rights/control is just a single notch lower on the pole than, say, abortion, and I think you're probably going to find nothing on a higher level than CDC data [google.com] that isn't interpreted in some way.

    Finally, while deaths resulting from guns is certain a quanitity data is collected on, deaths and crimes that did not result due to a gun is far, far more nebulous. How do you quantify something like that?

    In closing -- and with all due respect because I'm going to assume you are sincere in your desire to get to the bottom of this -- I think you're looking for a statistical answer to a social question and you're going to wind up just as frustrated as when you began if you don't approach it at least substantially from a social angle. And approaching this socially is a tacit forfeiture of the clean answer you were looking for in numbers. But I do wish you the best of luck. If you publish anything on your findings I'd love to see what you come up with (jason at macross daht com).
  • Facts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Exmet Paff Daxx (535601) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:35PM (#4846817) Homepage Journal
    By far the most potent vault of gun facts on the Internet is GunCite [guncite.com]

    It is a wonderful source of gun information, and a far better source than even Snopes for combatting gun misinformation. Additionally, I would recomend Michael Moore's new movie Bowling for Columbine [michaelmoore.com] - if you are an American interested in learning about guns in America, you can learn more about gun advocates in the two minute Terry Nichols interview than you can in a year of attempting to decipher NRA mailings. 'There are real nuts out there!' exclaims Terry. And he is quite right.

    Despite the recent California Supreme Court decision, I think every reasonable American knows that the founding fathers designed the second amendment to allow all Americans access to personal firearms. Muzzle loaded, smoothbore, single shot flintlocks. Of course, the idea of giving a person today's concealable automatic ceramic-barreled teflon-round armed killing machines would have been complete anathema even to Patrick Henry, and it is likely that the Supreme Court will get around to upholding a ban on everything but black powder smoothbore, but until then we'll have to tolerate the nutjobs.

    • by dachshund (300733) on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:12PM (#4847436)
      By far the most potent vault of gun facts on the Internet is GunCite [guncite.com]

      I'm on the fence with regards to gun control, but I shun statistical analysis like the plague. Especially the analysis from Guncite, which is loaded with partial interpretations, spin, and all the rest of it. Don't consider it anything approaching an objective source.

      For instance, one particular graph [guncite.com] on the site contrasts the increasing number of guns in the public's hands with gun-homocide rates. Because the homocide rates don't rise with the number of guns in society, the conclusion is that gun "supply" has nothing to do with homocide rates*.

      I've thought of drawing a similar example in which I would graph kids' intake of milk on one axis and their rate of growth on the other. My conclusion? As you increase the amount of milk the kids drink to amounts like 10 gallons a day, you don't see a corresponding increase in the kids' rate of growth. Therefore, I've demonstrated that calcium intake has no effect on growth rates in kids. I'll call it the "Calcium Supply Myth".

      Of course that's a nonsensical conclusion-- I've just shown that if you're already providing enough calcium, adding excess doesn't necessarily have give you eight-foot tall kids. But if kids weren't getting enough calcium, would their growth rates slow down? Ditto for guns. Once there are enough guns in society to thorougly satisfy criminals' demands for weaponry, it doesn't matter so much how many more you add. Certainly it demonstrates that adding more guns to our already phenomenal supply doesn't seem to "turn people into murderers." But that's about all I can draw from that graph.

      What would happen if you actually reduced the number of guns in public hands to the point where criminals were going without? I don't know, and clearly neither does GunCite. Personally, I'm increasingly of the opinion that our liberal attitude towards gun ownership, combined with lack of regulation and training, does indeed result in deaths. That doesn't necessarily mean I want guns outlawed, however; there are good constitutional and moral arguments for gun ownership. But the "we can have it all" argument that our armed society comes without a price is just wishful thinking.

      * Incidentally, there are other problems with this graph: it doesn't say how the guns are distributed-- if one person buys a hundred guns, it's a little different from a hundred people each buying one gun. It also doesn't say how many guns are dropping out of supply, etc, and I'm not clear if it includes military/police purchases.

  • by jvl001 (229079) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:37PM (#4846851) Homepage
    Although Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" is a very good movie, and I would recommend it to anyone, the statistics related to gun ownership versus homicide by gun are a bit skewed. It is true that Canadians own a similar number of guns per capita as Americans. Canada suffers less than 300 homicides by gun per year compared to greater than 11000 for the US. However, handgun and assault rifle ownership is much tighter controlled in Canada than in the US. The vast majority of guns owned in Canada are of the hunting rifle variety and are limited in clip capacity.

    That being said, it is still difficult to explain the two orders of magnitude difference in homicide rate. Another interesting statistic is that in Canada's largest city, Toronto, it is estimated that 3 out of 4 hand guns involved in a crime are imported illegally from the US.

    Draw your own conclusions.

  • Ban Stones Now. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zapdos (70654) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:38PM (#4846870)
    I have read a very old story/legend/whatever that some Middle Eastern town had tried to ban stones, because they made killing too easy. In a few hundred years guns will also be outdated.

  • Facts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:40PM (#4846904) Homepage
    1. You can carry a gun all your life but choose to never use it.
    2. A gun is very safe when it's locked up.
    3. A gun is very useless when it's locked up.
    4. Statistics are other people. Statistically, they're mostly the ones watching Oprah and WWF.

    What more do you need to know? Whether you're more likely to kill someone because you carry a gun. Sure you are. Whether you're more likely to get killed because you carry a gun? Debate that all you like, but if you have it, you have the choice whether to use it.

  • Safety. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by robbo (4388) <slashdot@simra . n et> on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:41PM (#4846924)

    It's MY responsibility for my and my family's safety...


    Is your neighbourhood really that dangerous? How many times have you felt obligated to brandish your weapon to protect your family? What are you so afraid of? That someone else with a gun will randomly try to kill your loved ones? Or do you love your property so much that you would be willing to kill for it, rather than file an insurance claim? These are honest questions because I really don't understand your mentality.

    Given your past need to fend off attackers with your gun, what is the greater probability: that at some point in the future you will successfully save the lives of your loved ones with your gun, or that someone you love will be killed with it while they're goofing around?
    • Re:Safety. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by stoolpigeon (454276) <bittercode@gmail> on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:07PM (#4847370) Homepage Journal
      Truly spoken with a lack of information.

      I know as one who carries daily- I don't ever feel a need to brandish a weapon. The day I draw it will be to shoot - to kill. It is not a macho thing- it is a rational, self defense thing. What brandishing a gun gets you is jail time.

      Yes- your neighborhood is that dangerous.

      3 people died in my city last night. They were killed by some guy on a street corner shooting at cars that drove by. One was a 20 year old woman- 2 months pregnant. Her and the baby died.

      I wouldn't kill someone to protect my property but I would do it to protect my wife - my children - or for that matter you. If I am driving down the street and see someone that is presenting the threat of death to another- I will step in.

      Our constitutional rights and the responsibilities of freedom extend beyond selfish needs. They extend to what an individual can do to maintain the body politic. If more able bodied/minded citizens would stop shirking their responsibility to make this world a safe place- it would be a much safer place.

      We could go on all day I guess. I doubt I'll change your mind but the folks who desire to own and use guns are not as simple minded as you imply.

      .
  • John Lott's book (Score:5, Informative)

    by gsfprez (27403) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:41PM (#4846933)
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0226 493644/qid=1039469029/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-891185 5-5319946?v=glance&s=books

    More Guns, Less Crime is a book by a liberal that takes unbiased FBI numbers regarding what happened when concealed carry laws were passed, and other very controversial subjects..

    and he found that the more law-abiding people that had guns there were, the lower the crime rate because of the fear factor.... that is, the criminals were fearful of the well armed citizens that were ready to defend themselves.

    its not politics, its logic.

    If it were legal to carry a gun here in LA, maybe that guy wouldn't have tried to carjack me in the Tace Bell drive-thru. He saw a small, white guy in an expensive sports car. I was an obvious and easy target.

    I got away - thankfully - by hitting him with my car.

    but fsck that. I just carry a small auto now. I'm not going to hope to get lucky next time.

    bad guys.. there are a LOT of us nerds carrying now.. and we're growing in numbers. Just so you know.
  • by AndyMan! (31066) <chicagoandy@@@gmail...com> on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:48PM (#4847059)

    One important point that Michael Moore missed, is that while Canadians to have a higher gun ownership per capita then the US, they are almost exclusively long guns - rifles and shotguns used almost exclusively for hunting and protection from animals.

    It's extremely dificult to legally get a handgun in Canada. It's been like that the last 30 years, at least. Controls on handguns and assault weapons in Canada has a long history.

    Where I agree with Moore, is that Americans carry guns out of fear of people, where Canadians mostly use guns as tools against animals.

    The idea that people must carry guns to protect themselves from other people is largely unique to the US, and I think goes to the high rate of gun violence here.

    _Am
  • Opinions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Phoenix (2762) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:52PM (#4847113)
    I say it all comes down to an issue of responsibility. I've seen too many macho, knuckle-dragging rednecks owning enough guns to arm a terrorist cell but whose understanding on the proper use involves holding "grippy end", making sure the "pointy end" faces the thing you want a hole in and pulling on the little "squeezy bit" when you want the hole made. Other people buy a gun and learn how to use them from an accredited gun safty course (frontsight as an example) and
    actually know how to use, maintain, carry, and most importantly...when and how to present the weapon when it gets intense.

    Contrary to popular belief guns are no more or less dangerous than anything else you can find in a home as long as they are *properly* stored. A child running around with the turkey carving knife he pulled out of the knife rack on the counter has as much damage potential as an unsecured gun.

    Also there's the issue of guns and crime. Sure we've all heard the expression "If we outlaw guns then only outlaws will have guns" till we're sick of it, but it *is* a true saying nonetheless. We outlaw drugs and they're all over the place. We outlawed Booze once...that worked well didn't it? You can restrict and outlaw and ban all you want, but as long as there are criminals who will pay for the guns, other criminals will figure out how to get guns in from other sources.

    Guns used in crime. This is a tricky one as the facts differ from person to person. There is evidence that the "Wild West" wasn't as wild as people claim. This makes sense to me as only a fool would start something in a saloon where everyone including the showgirls are packing some sort of hand cannon. Also there are the anecdotes of the idiots who have tried to commit armed robery of gunstores (some with police officers picking up their sidarms) and the results of such encounter.

    Personaly I'd LOVE (not that I'm holding me breath) to see a law that requires everyone over 18 with no police record to start learning the proper useages of a handgun and to be expected to actually openly carry at the age of 21. It's a little harder to rape a woman who is packing heat and is trained in it's proper use. It's even harder to knock over a convience store when the clerk, the manager, the guy behind the deli counter and the guy picking up a pint of ice cream for the missus is armed.

    But that's just MY dream and my opinions

  • by Hayzeus (596826) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:57PM (#4847242) Homepage
    The real problem is lawn darts. Sure -- a lawn dart or two tucked away in a drawer somewhere may give you a sense of security, but it is a FALSE sense.

    Every hour, 645.3 children are killed by lawn darts.

    Most lawn darts are never ultimately used in the defense of a home. But they claim thousands of lives every year nevertheless. An angry spouse might turn to a lawn dart in the heat of an argument with tragic consequences. A suicidal teen reaches for the dart instead of reaching out for help.

    Worse yet, 67.3% of all lawn darts are stolen from law-abiding homes, ending up on the black market and used against innocent victims, contributing to the dark, rising tide of lawn dart violence.

    Stop the madness. Write your congressperson today and demand an end to this scourge.

  • Books (Score:5, Informative)

    by return 42 (459012) on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:15PM (#4847479)
    The first book I read on this subject is A Well-Regulated Militia by William Weir. Does a good job of debunking the extremism of both sides.

    The second one I read (but not completely, due to lack of time) is Armed: New Perspectives on Gun Control by Kates and Kleck. Kates strikes me as somewhat biased against control, but at least he backs it up with facts (though I haven't checked them yet). Kleck is much more balanced.

    Kleck's Point Blank and Targeting Guns have been cited as the definitive scholarly works on the subject. Haven't read either one myself.

    Wright and Rossi's Under the Gun is also said to be very good.

    There was an article on K5 [kuro5hin.org] about this a few months ago. Can't find it right now, their server is having trouble. K5 would probably be a better place to ask this question.

    HTH.

  • by Big G (26054) on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:20PM (#4847553) Homepage
    Police carry to prevent crime, namely injury to themselves as they try to enforce the law. So, the lawful armed citizen is a Good Thing. Laws disarm only the lawful.
  • by dfenstrate (202098) <dfenstrate&gmail,com> on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:20PM (#4847561)
    Strongly on the Pro-2nd Amendment side.
    Here are some of my offtopic threads on slashdot on the matter:

    [slashdot.org]
    Movielink Snubs DRM-less Macs
    and another:
    [slashdot.org]
    ACLU campaign challenges patriot act

    Now, I personally do not think the right to keep and bear arms should hinge on the utility of it, but you can read more on my stance in the threads linked to above.
    Literature
    It should be noteworthy that some researchers- Gary Kleck and John Lott, I think- started out their research seeking to prove gun control lowers crime, and found just the opposite. Being intellectually honest, they switched sides.
    For some good reading, with some solid factual basis & unrefuted citations, read Richard Poe's Book "The Seven Myths of Gun Control" (ISBN 0-7615-2558-0) or Chapter 10, 'Gun Control Advocates- Good Guys with blood on their hands'of "The Ten Things You Can't Say in America", a book by noted Libertarian Larry Elder. (ISBN 0-312-26660-X)



    Poe's book condenses the research of Kleck and Lott into a more palatable format, while combining it with his own research and observations. An excellent read. Lott has statistically shown that in states with more liberal concealed-carry laws, crime rates against persons drop significantly. This is offset by a slight increase in property crimes in these locations, which is only rational & definately preferable to confrontational crimes. Kleck's research shows that guns are used legally and defensively to stop crimes anywhere between 800,000 to 2 million times per year. Gun control advocates estimate around 200,000 such uses per year, which is still more than enough to show the positive impact.
    Larry Elder's writing style is a bit too conversational at times, but that stems from his main job as a radio talk show host. Although I don't agree with everything he wrote in the aforementioned book, Chapter 10 is right on target. Either way, the book is an excellent read.


    The most notable book from the Gun Control advocate side was Michael Bellesiles' (formerly of Emory University) book "Arming America", however, he has been thoroughly discredited [washtimes.com] (Note: The linked article is very tongue in cheek, but nonetheless details his downfall at the hands of his equally liberal but intellectually honest peers.)
    Now the Gun Control Advocates have nothing. Why? Because they have to lie. There are many who say in this thread, "The sides are equally valid, you can't have an unbiased analysis." This is wrong.


    Gun control advocates must rely on distortions or outright lies to prove their point, because the facts are not behind them.
    This is a harsh statement, but I will defend it anecdotally. My opinions I've formed from the aforementioned books, and from such sites as packing.org and guncite.org, and from the occasional spot check of their accuracy. If you want supporting documentation for my opinions, look to what I've already given you.

    1. Gun control advocates often cite "Gun deaths" when talking about the need to control guns. The assumption is that by removing the most efficient means to cause death, the deaths will not occur. What they don't tell you is that about half of the "Gun deaths" are suicides. While this is tragic, the dedicated suicidal person will often use the most abrupt way to end their lives available. Guns are efficient at this, so they are used often. Compare that with Japan- a nation with almost no Gun Homicides- yet three times the suicide rate of the United States. Cultural differences aside, the means available to commit suicide do not affect the suicide rate.

    2.When Gun Control advocates speak of all the children who die each year to gun violence, they include inner-city gangbangers as old as 24. While their deaths are tragic as well, they cannot be honestly compared to the suburban nuclear family with two responsible adults, actual children (ie, at most 18 years old), and a handgun for protection. If you look at gun homocides and accidental deaths for children under 14, you'll find that far more children drown in swimming pools than die to guns.

    3. With any variety of "Gun Deaths" included, Doctor's mistakes kill far many more people each year than firearms. Their utility, however, is unquestionable, so we allow their presence despite how often they kill people. The utility of guns is not so obvious, even with the 800,000 legal defensive of guns each year that Kleck estimates, because most of the time, a shot isn't fired, and it isn't reported, because the citizen is afraid of running afoul of the confusing labrynth of gun laws in any particular state- and they've already solved the situation.

    Well, I think I've written enough for now. I've cited most of my sources in this thread, or the threads I've linked to above, so don't ask me to defend them, as I already have.

    That being said, I enjoy debate and will reply promptly to any intelligent reply/challenge.

    Gun Control is hitting the bullseye

    Some groups of interest:
    Jews for the Preservation of Fire Arm ownership
    (remember the Warsaw ghetto uprising!)
    Second Amendment Sisters
    Pink Pistols
    (Gays for Gun rights. They rightfully need to defend themselves from some of the morons wandering around this nation. The Matthew Shepard incident would have been a footnote in the local police dossier if he had been armed and able to defend himself.)
    www.packing.org
    (Concealed Carry information for all 50 states)
    Sorry for no links, but you all know how google works.

  • It's political (Score:4, Interesting)

    by A non moose cow (610391) <slashdot@rilo.org> on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:29PM (#4847703) Journal
    To try to show an unbiased opinion, I will draw references from both sides of the aisle.

    As I mentioned [slashdot.org] the other day, the core of the problem is not guns, it is people. Guns have become the target because it is easier to make blanket decisions about the intermediary than to try to address the real problem of trying to figure out how to pick which people do not deserve to have them.

    On the other side, people choose to fouus on banning abortion clinics and the idea of abortion for the same reason. These are easier targets to deal with. It is more difficult to try to deal with the issue that women who decide to have abortions are the problem.

    In either of these cases the real problem is people, and ploiticians who want to "take things away" do not want to focus issues on individuals, or stratified groups, because it looks like discrimination and is bad for them politically. So they target the intermediaries... guns, or abortion, or some other soulless impersonal thing or idea.
  • References (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:43PM (#4847917) Homepage
    These are what I used to make my political decisions: A quick summary: Non-suicide gun-related deaths...
    1. are not proportional to the percentage of households that legally own handguns.
    2. are proportional to the overall crime rate
    In my opinion, it means that gun laws don't solve gun crimes, but whatever means address overall crime (education, equality, whatever) do work.
  • by maxpublic (450413) on Monday December 09, 2002 @06:08PM (#4848239) Homepage
    Guess you wanted to get the anti-gun "let's tell everyone else how to live their lives" freaks all riled up. Talk about pushing hot buttons.

    For the uninformed and the just plain deluded, here's some statistics from National Vital Statistics Report, Volume 49, No. 12, October 9, 2001. These are *facts*, unlike what most people seem to be pulling out of their hairy asses:

    In the United States, homocide ranked 15th in causes of death, down 6.5% in the last year (2000), a steady decline since 1991. Some numbers:

    homocides - 16,137
    septicemia - 31,613
    influenza and pneumonia - 67,024
    accidents - 93,592

    You are more likely to die as a result of contracting a non-specific infection during a hospital stay than you are to be murdered, by any means.

    You are more likely to die in a non-car-related accident (almost three times as likely, in fact) than you are to be murdered, by any means. This includes falls, drownings, accidental poisonings, and so forth.

    You are four times more likely to die of the flu or pneumonia than you are of being murdered, by any means. Note that the statistics for flu and pneumonia are separate from those concerning HIV-related deaths by pneumonia and infectious disease. HIV isn't to blame for these flu deaths.

    If someone does try to murder you, there's a fair chance they'll use what's known as a 'weapon of opportunity', e.g., the handiest blunt object or sharp instrument. You are much more likely to die by blunt object or sharp instrument than by gun unless you're a) a criminal, or b) a black male living in certain particularly dangerous urban areas.

    Accidental gun deaths accounted for 808 people in 2000. In comparison:

    falls - 12,604, mostly down stairs or from ladders

    drowning - 3,343, primarily in back yard pools or recreational areas.

    poisoning - 9,803

    Clearly, accidental gun deaths aren't nearly as common as falling, drowning or poisoning. If folks are so concerned about accidental deaths they should first concentrate on more primary offenders like stairs, ladders, and swimming pools, not to mention general stupidity (e.g., accidental poisoning).

    Since 1930, the number of annual fatal firearms accidents has decreased 56% while the number of privately owned guns has quadrupled and the U.S.
    population has doubled. This information has been independently confirmed by the National Center for Health Statistics, the National Safety Council, the Bureau of the Census, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

    According to the FBI the biggest purchaser of firearms during the last decade has been women, mostly under the age of 40. This makes sense given that this women of this age group are the most likely people to be victimized by a crime, especially a violent one.

    For the male dick-measurers in the crowd, you might consider the impact of banning firearms completely with respect to the safety of women. Very few women can match an average man in a physical confrontation and win; the gun completely eliminates the size and strength advantage that a man has. At worst both the man and woman will have a gun - and then at least they'll be on equal ground. Ban the gun and men are once again the winners of any physical contest, in a country where we *know* we can't protect women from violent crime. But I suppose the mysogynistic bastards among you will rejoice at the thought that you can beat your wives and girlfriends without fear of getting your ass shot, as you deserve.

    According to the FBI, somewhere between 200,000 and 800,000 violent crimes were prevented last year because the victim was armed. A 'violent crime' is defined as a rape, robbery, or murder. More than 60% of these victims were women who were carrying a concealed weapon illegally, which is why the statistics range so much (they don't report because they'll be arrested if they do). That's a minimum of 200,000 crimes that otherwise would've occurred had the victim not been armed. The firearm was actually discharged in less than 1/10 of 1% of these cases. And please note: the FBI isn't known for it's fondness of the 2nd Amendment.

    Of course, I know none of this will mean anything to the anti-gun nuts. They're so piss-scared of everything around them that they'll say and do just about anything to make sure their neighbors aren't armed. Cowards. These are the kind of folks who'd rather see a women raped and strangled with her own pantyhose than defend herself with a firearm.

    Max
  • by erik_fredricks (446470) on Monday December 09, 2002 @08:36PM (#4849803)
    I live in Kennesaw, Georgia, where the law requires every head of household over 21 to own a firearm.

    Speaking from personal experience, I can think of absolutely no gun-related crime reported here in the last eight years I've lived here. Nor have I heard of any of the "accidents in the home" that gun-control advocates trumpet as a risk of gun ownership.

    In the state of Georgia, there are very few barriers to gun ownership. Provided you're not a convicted felon and haven't been in a mental institution recently, you can buy and keep a gun in your home, car, or place of business. If you pay the fee in your county and don't mind being fingerprinted, you can get a permit to carry a concealed weapon pretty much anywhere besides a school, church, gov't building or public gathering. What's more, the police are very supportive of personal carry.

    Lest you think we have a society of trigger-happy vigilantes, the law does provide some of the stiffest penalties in the nation for crimes committed with firearms, including a mandatory, non-negotiable five-year prison term for any crime committed with a firearm. This is the right kind of gun control: let law-abiding citizens protect themselves while providing stiff penalties for those who break the law.

    Do a google search for "Kennesaw gun law," and you'll find the statistics, which pretty much speak for themselves.

  • by esm (54188) on Monday December 09, 2002 @09:21PM (#4850139) Homepage
    I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. That's a tiny little island in the Caribbean, 100 miles by 35.

    I grew up knowing nothing about guns, because they simply "don't exist" in PR. Gun control is tremendously strict, and mere mortals aren't allowed to own them.

    So why do all the houses have bars on the windows? Why is the murder rate higher than Detroit's? Why have friends of mine been mugged -- some killed in the process? Why did the PR legislature pass a law explicitly allowing you to run red lights after midnight to try to protect yourself against carjackings?

    It wasn't until I came to the US that I understood, and even then it took me a while. Criminals will get guns, regardless of the law. If they can get guns in PR (100x35 miles of border to patrol), and nowadays in the UK, how can we pretend that the criminals will ever be disarmed in the US?

    I now live in the most heavily armed county in New Mexico, Los Alamos. Guess what? The biggest crime spree in the last year was just stopped -- some kids were stealing CDs from cars, which most people leave unlocked. This made front-page news in our paper.

    There are precious few home invasions here -- criminals are cowards, and strongly prefer doing their crimes where people don't shoot at them. I've never heard of a mugging here. They sometimes happen in Santa Fe or Albuquerque, but not infrequently the criminal ends up dead.

    No, it's not the Wild West. It's remarkable how civilized we are when we know that everyone is armed. Heinlein said it well: "An armed society is a polite society". And it's not fear that keeps us polite -- it's responsibility.

    I hope never to use my weapons against another person... but if anyone ever presents a threat against me or my loved ones, I will not hesitate. And I will never give up my freedom to defend myself.

  • Personal Experience (Score:5, Informative)

    by cluge (114877) on Monday December 09, 2002 @10:06PM (#4850484) Homepage

    In truth the most compelling thing I have to offer is personal experience. I have used a fiream 3 times in my life to defend both myself and others, including a total stranger from harm. In two of the three cases the firearm did not even have to be drawn or displayed to be an effective deterrant.

    The ability to let it be known to the assailants that I was armed was enough. In each case people's lives were at stake, and I was outnumbered in 2 of the 3 instances and in every case the assailant was armed with a weapon (car, chains, and knives). In my view a firearm in the hands of a competent and level headed citizen is more effective at stopping crime than an our armed police, search and seizure laws and no knock warrants.

    cluge
  • by evilpaul13 (181626) on Monday December 09, 2002 @11:00PM (#4850972)
    A book written by someone setting out to show gun control reduces crime that discovered that the opposite was overwhelmingly true.

    Not wanting to just point you to a few conservative or NRA (or whoever's) websites and articles which will have an obvious bias, check a pretty basic and vannilla Google search [google.com] of the title and author.

    Best wishes with your research!
  • by Sabalon (1684) on Monday December 09, 2002 @11:26PM (#4851167)
    I don't care much for guns, don't own one, don't go shooting, don't really care.

    I don't care much for the NRA - I think they go a bit overboard at times.

    I think the 2nd ammendment is outdated - we have a well armed militia and probably won't need to come running out of the house to keep the King of England at bay, or even the reds.

    That all being said, I think gun control is a waste of time. Much like the copy-restrictions on cd's/software/whatever, all it does is add a degree of difficulty for legitimate people - if I go to the store to buy a gun to shoot Bambi or coke cans, I have to jump through this hoop and that hoop to do something legal...meanwhile some hood or gangbanger will be getting some black market gun without all this hassle.

    About the only place that I see stronger gun control helping would be crimes of passion - getting pissed and shooting someone. However, I think if I was that pissed to kill someone, then not having a gun would not be a deterant...there are enough heavy blunt objects in this world to help.

    I think what is needed is sticter punishments (not a fan of the death penalty):
    Shoot someone during a crime, life in a 6x6 box - no parole.
    Shoot someone during a crime of passion, life in a 6x6 box - no parole.
    Shoot someone in a drive by, life in a 6x6 box - no parole.
    Get caught with an illegal gun, 20 years in a 6x6 box - no parole.

    Instead you get infinite trials, out in a few years, and a book deal or a rap record.

    Like I said - my views are mixed...don't own or want one, but don't care if others have one.
  • by mustermark (104271) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @12:16AM (#4851535)
    I'm sure no one will ever see this tiny comment buried in all the 2000 inane, opinionated, biased, and just plain ignorant comments posted thus far, but here goes ...

    I consider gun ownership part of the culture of personal responsibility that every truly honorable society should strive for. Life is a precious gift, and the taking of life one of the most serious acts a person can take. If you feel that owning a gun is your best bet to preserve life, especially that of you and your family, then go ahead and buy a gun. But part of owning a gun is taking responsibility for its use, including education children on its proper use, keeping it away from them if they are too young for it, and knowing how to use it yourself to successfully defend your family.

    The government may try to legislate behavior on this issue, but treating the nation like children will never solve the problem. Give people responsibility, and let them learn to use it. It may take centuries or millennia, but eventually we will do it. If someone dies from illigitimate uses of firearms, well then our society is still not there yet. We can't save every person from being shot, but with some slow change we can make society safer at a more fundamental level. And of course note that we will never save everyone from accidents, just as outlawing bathtubs is not the way to save kids from drowning in them.

    There will always be powerful weapons, given the progress of science to date, so outlawing them is not the ultimate answer. Education is the key of course to cleaning up our act. But personal responsibility is the particular goal I believe that could be accomplished.

    The government ought to view passing legislation with more sincerity and try to plan for 100-1000 years hence, rather than their own re-elections. Our society has changed quite dramatically on a period of 100 years, and those nations who don't recognize the continual decay of basic humanitarianism are not going to fare well.

    So gun control is not going to work, on a fundamental human level. Whether it will prevent a few deaths or not is not really the point.

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