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Assault weapons

July 23 2012 at 2:10 PM
Nat  (Login Nafana)
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In the wake of another nut-case- should we talk about assault weapons and just why the average joe needs them?


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Brandon
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Re: Assault weapons

July 23 2012, 11:50 PM 

No, we should not. But if we must, Robert VerBruggen writing for National Review says it best:

"James Holmes passed a background check his worst prior infraction was a traffic ticket and although some of his acquaintances found him creepy, there is no evidence that he was diagnosed with any mental illness. Further, while its true that one of Holmess guns was a so-called assault weapon similar to an AR-15, this gun does not differ from standard hunting rifles in most of the important ways. Holmess rifle fires at a semiautomatic rate one bullet for each pull of the trigger, unlike a machine gun, which fires continuously when the trigger is held down and uses .223-caliber ammo. This ammo is frequently found in varmint rifles; it is on the small side even for shooting deer.

Admittedly, one aspect of Holmess arsenal does depart from standard equipment: his high-capacity magazines, in particular a 100-round drum-style magazine for the rifle. (The 1994 assault-weapons ban, which has since expired, capped magazine size at ten rounds.) Mayor Bloomberg is wrong that these magazines have no legitimate purpose I personally own an extended magazine for my 9mm pistol; it cuts down on loading time at the range if you fill a big magazine before leaving the house. But one can make the case, and many have, that high-capacity magazines make these kinds of shootings easier to pull off by decreasing the number of times that the shooter has to reload or change guns. Some shooters, including Jared Lee Loughner, have been tackled while reloading.

However, changing magazines can take less than a second here is an extreme example of a fast change and someone who takes as much time preparing as Holmes did will practice doing this. Further, Holmess choice of a drum magazine might have made him less effective there are reports that the magazine jammed, as large magazines are known to do. He might have killed and injured even more people if he had brought many smaller magazines and changed them as necessary. And at any rate, Holmess proficiency with explosives is an indicator that he could have been incredibly lethal even with no access to guns at all."

 
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Nat
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Re: Assault weapons

July 24 2012, 9:22 AM 

The reasons cited for our right to have guns is for hunting for food and personal protection. Neither of these uses requires high-capacity automatic or semi-automatic weapons. These weapons were developed for one purpose- to kill as many people as possible in as short of time as possible. It is absolutely absurd that we live in a country where if you ordered marijuana over the internet you'd have the cops knocking at your door but this guy ordered 6000 rounds of ammunition and all sorts of explosives no questions asked. And look at how often these mass shootings happen here compared to the rest of the world. Ask Marseil what the rest of the world thinks about the US- many are afraid to visit the US for fear of get shot while here. How sad is that.

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BlueTrain
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Re: Assault weapons

July 24 2012, 12:19 PM 

Many American gun enthusiasts are afraid to go places overseas because they can't have a gun along for protection. I was in London last year and felt no particular risk at being there unarmed. But you know, some of the police in London actually are armed and even carry submachine guns.

 
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Nat
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Re: Assault weapons

July 24 2012, 1:58 PM 

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence

England has 0.12 gun deaths per 100,000 people.

The US has 2.97 or 25 times as much!

In fact the US has way more gun deaths than any other advanced country.

That's the facts.

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Bob
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Does That Say More About the Guns or the People?

July 24 2012, 4:02 PM 

I did not grow up with guns around, never owned a gun and rarely fired one (th last time being during the mid-1970's). So I don't have a vested interest in this debate. But, I do have some observations.

As with so much of the violent and/or street crime in U.S., it seems to me that most gun violence is perpetrated by a small percentage of Americans. It seems to revolve around certain locales and certain activities. I can't tell you how many times people have told me, "If you aren't involved in the drug trade and if you don't hang out in places that most everyone know are bad news, you have little to worry about in terms of violent crimes." And, I think that is true. There is an element in American society, and turf they dominate, that produces most of the violent crime, including gun deaths.

I've not been to Europe, so maybe I am incorrect in thinking that European countries are different culturally/socially from the United States in a way that affects the frequency of violent crimes (beyond just gun laws). Certainly, you can ban things in U.S. and people who disregard laws will get those things anyway. If their interest is to defend their turf, their drug revenues, and ward off competitors or people who don't pay, they will get guns to enforce these things. As the old saying goes, "The only people who will be disarmed by gun laws are law-abiding people. The criminals will still get guns." I am wondering if Europe is different, in that they have tough gun laws and bad guys still tend not to get guns . . the black market for guns is not such a factor there.

If my observations are correct, that still doesn't tell us how to change the violence-prone people in U.S. so that they won't resort to lethal force to obtain their objectives. Regarding the Colorado case, radio commentators have made the point that someone as smart as James Holmes would figure out a way to obtain guns, despite any laws. Or, that he could develop explosive devices to kill and maim people with.

 
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Marseil
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Marseille

July 24 2012, 4:16 PM 

Bob writes "I've not been to Europe, so maybe I am incorrect in thinking that European countries are different culturally/socially from the United States in a way that affects the frequency of violent crimes (beyond just gun laws). (...) I am wondering if Europe is different, in that they have tough gun laws and bad guys still tend not to get guns . . the black market for guns is not such a factor there. "

In Marseille, the city where I live, there are too many people with guns. There are gangs who mainly live on drug traffic who gun each other every so often. Obviously they get guns from the black market. Don't forget ex-Yugoslavia was at war, not far from here (1000 km - 600 mi) until the early 2000's. Also, there are commercial relations with Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, all sources of weapons. The difference, is that these weapons are illegal here, and just the fact of owning them is a sufficient reason to put people in jail.

Marseil.

 
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Nat
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Re: Does That Say More About the Guns or the People?

July 24 2012, 4:41 PM 

There may be violence-prone people Bob, but without weapons like Holmes had there is only so much they can do. Imagine if he had been limited to a simple revolver (sufficient of self protection) or rifle (sufficient for hunting) he could have kill no more than a few people before he was jumped and stopped. Had his gun not jammed he could have killed even more than he did. I just don't see how there can be any justification for any civilian having automatic assault weapons.

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Marseil
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Re: Does That Say More About the Guns or the People?

July 25 2012, 2:01 AM 

What if this guy had been limited to a kitchen knife?

Marseil

 
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Nat
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Oudated Constitution

July 25 2012, 7:54 AM 

Then he would have hurt even fewer. This whole gun-rights thing is based on the most outdated and ambiguous phrase in the Constitution. When this document was written guns were one-load muskets- not automatic machine guns. The fact is the world of today is so different than the world of 1776 that the whole Constitution is so badly out of date it should be scrapped and rewritten to fit the way things are today.

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BlueTrain
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Re: Oudated Constitution

July 25 2012, 9:52 AM 

No, that won't be the answer. If the constitution were rewritten, it would be as thick as the phone book.

 
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Nat
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Re: Oudated Constitution

July 25 2012, 11:46 AM 

It will be all on a DVD, digital and instantly searchable.

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Brandon
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Re: Oudated Constitution

July 25 2012, 2:54 PM 

No, the Constitution is not the least bit dated. There is a mechanism in place to change and update it when necessary.

It has served us very well for 200+ years. Most of the Western Hemisphere has been governed by a series of dictatorships during that time period, but thanks to the Constitution, the U.S. has flourished both economically and politically.

Nothing devised by men is ever going to be perfect, but the U.S. Constitution is about as close as you are going to get.

 
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Nat
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I disagree

July 25 2012, 3:28 PM 

I disagree. The Supreme Court is constantly having to decide what the Constitution actually says about things. In many cases it's a matter of interpretations because the wording of the Constitution is ambiguous or doesn't fit the questions we are faced today- such as matters dealing with computers, mass media or the internet- things that were unimaginable in 1776. And these interpretations are just that- just the opinion of whoever is on the court at the time and subject to change at anytime.

In the case where the Constitution talks about the right to bare arms- it is in a amendment talking about "A well regulated Militia"- many people think that means that ONLY those in a government organized militia have the right to have guns. The wording of this amendment is so ambiguous no one can say for sure- so people interrupt it however they want it to be.

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Brandon
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Re: I disagree

July 25 2012, 7:48 PM 

The reason you have a Supreme Court is to interpret the Constitution. Yes, they sometimes make decisions that some people may disagree with or that we historically see is being wrong, but that is how our system works and it works better than any other.

I personally think Roe V Wade was a horrible decision. How anyone could find a right to abort babies in the Constitution is beyond me. But there is a process to remedy that situation. Those who disagree can work hard to pass a pro life amendment. I personally would be more in favor of the court overturning that decision and giving that issue back to the states where it rightfully belongs.

The current Congress can't even pass a budget. You'd actually trust any of today's politicians to come up with a new Constitution?

 
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Nat
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Dilemma

July 25 2012, 8:16 PM 

There's nothing wrong with our system except it's 236 years out of date. Would you want your doctor treating you from a 200 year old medical book?

But with your last point you got me- no, I do not trust present day politicians to rewrite the Constitution. I don't trust present day politicians to do anything. So I don't see any solution to this dilemma. sad.gif

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Brandon
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Re: Dilemma

July 25 2012, 8:35 PM 

I still don't understand what is "out of date" about the constitution.

Concepts like dividing government between a legislative, judicial and executive branch, federalism, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press etc. seem pretty timeless to me.


 
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Nat
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Not so clear

July 26 2012, 12:06 AM 

It's not so clear as that- it's often very difficult to determine what is legal according to the Constitution- like Obama's Medical Care act- half of the lower courts said it was legal, half said it wasn't. Even the Supreme Court split 4 to 5. The fact that so many Supreme Court decisions about what is "constitutional" come down to 4-to-5 splits shows just how "unclear" the Constitution is.

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Marseil
(no login)

Re: I disagree

July 26 2012, 12:47 AM 

Brandon : our system "works better than any other"

Brandon, can you tell us exactly which comparison you made that allows you to be so assertive ?

Marseil.

 
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Brandon
(no login)

Re: I disagree

July 26 2012, 1:42 AM 

I make that statement based on the longevity of the U.S. Constitution. It has endured through a civil war, depresssion, presidential scandals, world wars, incompetent presidents etc.

Our constitution is the oldest one still in use having been ratified in 1789. Norway (1814) and Belgium (1831) have the 2nd and 3rd oldest.

The governing system of France has only been in place since 1958 when the Fifth Republic came to be after the collapse of the Fourth Republic. The 5th almost collapsed in 1968 but DeGaulle was able to save it.

 
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