Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

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Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby ManaUser » Fri Jan 08, 2016 6:55 am UTC

Specifically he said "There are neighborhoods around the country where it is easier for 12- or 13-year-olds to purchase a gun, and cheaper, than it is for them to get a book."

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national ... 97281.html

I assume there are people on both sides of the gun control issue here, so would anyone care to defend that statement? Because to be it looks like one of the silliest political claims ever made.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby commodorejohn » Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:21 am UTC

Like, cheaper than bus fare to the nearest public library? Sheez, I know where I'm buying a gun next time!
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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Jan 08, 2016 8:05 am UTC

ManaUser wrote:I assume there are people on both sides of the gun control issue here, so would anyone care to defend that statement? Because to be it looks like one of the silliest political claims ever made.

Hahaha no. Are you aware of the Republican primary campaign circuit?

No, this is a small snippet of the usual speechifying hyperbole that's absolutely expected in every US political speech. Any speech of any significant length will contain at least one statement of similar nonsense content.
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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Chen » Fri Jan 08, 2016 12:50 pm UTC

ManaUser wrote:Specifically he said "There are neighborhoods around the country where it is easier for 12- or 13-year-olds to purchase a gun, and cheaper, than it is for them to get a book."

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national ... 97281.html

I assume there are people on both sides of the gun control issue here, so would anyone care to defend that statement? Because to be it looks like one of the silliest political claims ever made.


I'm sure there are SOME areas where that is true. But only those where there's really no bookstores/libraries for a really long way and I'd imagine MOST guns are still more expensive, though you could probably find some that would be cheaper than books. Funnily enough, the areas where this is more likely to be true would be some extremely rural areas rather than the inner city areas people would immediately think of when thinking about illegal gun sales.

Overall likely the usual political hyperbole, with perhaps a few edge cases that actually make it, technically true.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby EdgarJPublius » Fri Jan 08, 2016 3:55 pm UTC

I mean, lots of textbooks are more expensive than some firearms. And I can certainly imagine it being easier to buy a firearm from some guy I know who doesn't ask too many questions than to buy textbooks from the university book store at the start of a semester where I remember having to show both student ID, official course list and a copy of the syllabus for each class I needed a text for and still not being able to get some of the books I needed until a week or two later.

So yeah, there probably are places where it's easier to buy a gun than a book, but those places are college campuses, and I'm not sure that's what Obama meant.
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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby commodorejohn » Fri Jan 08, 2016 4:49 pm UTC

Although if it means he's finally going to do something about textbook price-gouging, well, it's about goddamn time.
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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jan 08, 2016 5:08 pm UTC

ManaUser wrote:Specifically he said "There are neighborhoods around the country where it is easier for 12- or 13-year-olds to purchase a gun, and cheaper, than it is for them to get a book."

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national ... 97281.html

I assume there are people on both sides of the gun control issue here, so would anyone care to defend that statement? Because to be it looks like one of the silliest political claims ever made.


I wish to have a list made of these neighborhoods, because cheap firearms are relevant to my interests.

Firearms hold value extremely well. A twenty year old firearm of a type that is utterly common and not, in any way, collectable, is going to be worth 80% of value+, at minimum. If it's at all collectable, it'll probably appreciate. If there's a pile of potential money out there, I'd gleefully like to get in on that.

commodorejohn wrote:Although if it means he's finally going to do something about textbook price-gouging, well, it's about goddamn time.


God, I wish.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby ManaUser » Fri Jan 08, 2016 6:18 pm UTC

So obviously it's true that some books cost more than some guns, but if that's all he's saying, I'm really not sure what possible point he's making. You could make that claim about practically any two items. It's cheaper to be a house than a meal. (If it's a desert shack and a white house fundraiser dinner.)

I can also believe their are places with no bookstores (though that's not the same as no stores that sell any kind of books). But since a 13-year-old either can't purchase a gun at a legal gun store either, what he must be saying is that in these neighborhoods, the average 13-year-old knows a guy who would sell him a gun. So to be fair we have to allow books on "knows a guy" basis too. Is it really plausible that the same kid doesn't know anyone who could procure him a book for the same price if he asked? Since selling books to kids is perfectly legal, I wouldn't think there would be any shortage of people willing to make a quick buck getting the kid his book, even if they had to drive into the next town to get it.

To be fair to Obama I did figure out one part of the puzzle. Some black market guns have been used in violent crime, which explains why people might be willing to get rid of them for cheap... but probably not paperback cheap.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:15 pm UTC

ManaUser wrote:So obviously it's true that some books cost more than some guns, but if that's all he's saying, I'm really not sure what possible point he's making.

I don't think that anyone's disagreeing with you that the statement is nonsense on its own. It's a soundbite. I think it's fairly obvious what point he's intending to make (that society makes one particular set of pathways more available than another to particular communities, and bad gun control laws are one part of that problem) and that it's not actually logically connected to the statement itself.
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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby HungryHobo » Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:48 pm UTC

Awaiting a "pants on fire" rating from politifact on this one.

You have to "interpret" this really really hard to make it true like assuming that only the Gutenberg Bible counts and counting water guns as "guns".

"hey man! I wanna get my hands on a book! any book! think you can hook me up?"

"No way man, ain't nobody got none of those around here for any price! I can do you a deal on this gun for 99 cent though!"

"Nah, too steep for me"
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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby cphite » Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:23 pm UTC

ManaUser wrote:Specifically he said "There are neighborhoods around the country where it is easier for 12- or 13-year-olds to purchase a gun, and cheaper, than it is for them to get a book."

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national ... 97281.html

I assume there are people on both sides of the gun control issue here, so would anyone care to defend that statement? Because to be it looks like one of the silliest political claims ever made.


It's typical Barack Obama.

That is to say, it's a bullshit statement made to deliberately mislead. And yeah, all politicians do this to some degree; but Obama has turned it into an art form.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:46 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:
ManaUser wrote:So obviously it's true that some books cost more than some guns, but if that's all he's saying, I'm really not sure what possible point he's making.

I don't think that anyone's disagreeing with you that the statement is nonsense on its own. It's a soundbite. I think it's fairly obvious what point he's intending to make (that society makes one particular set of pathways more available than another to particular communities, and bad gun control laws are one part of that problem) and that it's not actually logically connected to the statement itself.


It's...a particularly bad way to talk about it. If we're talking about communities being crime-ridden or what not, well, that doesn't really map particularly well to gun ownership. Nor can you easily draw a correlation between libraries and gun ownership. Or at least, I'm certainly not aware of any research that would support that. It's a mish-mash of associations that doesn't really stand up on the facts, even if you're taking a very generous interpretation of his actual words.

I mean, more education and more libraries is pretty much awesome, but you're not going to get there by adding more gun laws.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:28 pm UTC

You can put as many gun laws out there as you want. It won't make any difference. A quote from a Frontline report.
Responding to a question of how they obtained their most recent handgun, the arrestees answered as follows: 56% said they paid cash; 15% said it was a gift; 10% said they borrowed it; 8% said they traded for it; while 5% only said that they stole it.
The last four would be easier than than buying or borrowing a book since they involve no cash at all. The percentage is 38 percent if you are too lazy to tally. You people should get out more. It's an exaggeration and not a big one at that. Buying books involves the concept of being able to read. If you can't read, than a book might as well cost millions of dollars, since you can't use it. However getting money from selling petty drugs on the street is an easy source of cash, requiring no skills other than what is taught on the streets. You don't have to be able to read or write, you just know how to count money. And if you have money you can get guns. I've come to assume the Obama lacks the ability to conceptualize difficult concepts in ways that doesn't leave him looking like an idiot.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Chen » Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:51 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:You can put as many gun laws out there as you want. It won't make any difference. A quote from a Frontline report.
Responding to a question of how they obtained their most recent handgun, the arrestees answered as follows: 56% said they paid cash; 15% said it was a gift; 10% said they borrowed it; 8% said they traded for it; while 5% only said that they stole it.
The last four would be easier than than buying or borrowing a book since they involve no cash at all. The percentage is 38 percent if you are too lazy to tally. You people should get out more. It's an exaggeration and not a big one at that. Buying books involves the concept of being able to read. If you can't read, than a book might as well cost millions of dollars, since you can't use it. However getting money from selling petty drugs on the street is an easy source of cash, requiring no skills other than what is taught on the streets. You don't have to be able to read or write, you just know how to count money. And if you have money you can get guns. I've come to assume the Obama lacks the ability to conceptualize difficult concepts in ways that doesn't leave him looking like an idiot.


Firstly there's no pre-requisite to being able to read to buy or otherwise obtain a book. And that 38% of things? Can also be applied to books (in addition to the 56% "paid cash" for of course).

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:01 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote: I've come to assume the Obama lacks the ability to conceptualize difficult concepts in ways that doesn't leave him looking like an idiot.


*shrug* It seems to be a matter of preparation or not. If caught without preparation time, he doesn't handle it so well. This being a town hall, I'm assuming there's at least some improvisation at hand. That in mind, I'll grant a certain degree of latitude on precise wording because it's normal for people to be less accurate when unprepared.

But...one would hope that he put more thought into his rationale for why than he's giving. It's...pretty rough. And that's a really central thing, one you'd assume that would be thought about a little beforehand even if the format is sort of open.

I also wouldn't describe the fact that anti-gun organizations want to confiscate guns as a conspiracy. I mean, California literally has a gun confiscation unit that does just that. Your house is on the list, squad of armed cops visit to take them. That's...not really a secret. I don't know how you can describe it as a conspiracy in that light. How many are going to be confiscated, etc, what the precise additional restrictions are, well...that varies depending on proposal, but there's kind of an obvious goal there in general, and nobody on any side actually believes that if one more law passes, the gun control advocates will call it a day and disband.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:46 pm UTC

Chen wrote:Firstly there's no pre-requisite to being able to read to buy or otherwise obtain a book. And that 38% of things? Can also be applied to books (in addition to the 56% "paid cash" for of course).
True, in the literal sense. In truth I can buy a three phase lathe. Of course since I don't have 3 phase power, the lathe becomes scrap metal. I can't use it. I suppose I could sit around and polish it. Of course at 13 I could make hundreds of dollars a week dealing drugs, if I could avoid getting killed. And with those hundreds I could buy guns. Fairly cheaply I might add. And very easily. The dichotomy here is that the metric should be, 13, very easy to get books, impossible to get guns on your own. Rather than quibbling about which one is easier and cheaper to obtain. Are you seeing the absurdity?

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:08 pm UTC

Well, at thirteen, if you're buying guns on your own, you're already doing so illegally, so...not sure what the goal is here with regards to gun control. Make it illegal again? Up the penalties? Maybe treat the 13 year old as an adult so you can lock them away indefinitely, making certain to ruin their lives?

I'm not really sure what the goal is, but I'm not seeing an obvious solution approaching it from that angle. If you're arguing for better availability of books, nobody's really going to have a problem with that, but from a criminal perspective, even a cursory glance over the laws will indicate that all the relevant laws to a 13 yr old buying guns on his/her own have been passed some time ago, because someone already thought about this.

Bluntly, it's already illegal. A clever 13 yr old could pay a cutout to buy one for him, and lie on the relevant forms. This is also obviously illegal, for both parties. But, for some people, that just isn't a deterrent. There will always be those who break laws. Sure, sure, go out and enforce the existing laws if you want, but if you seriously believe that enforcement is so crappy that books are less available than illegal weapons...you're overlooking a SERIOUS issue with your enforcement.

And of course, the interesting question is why, as a thirteen year old, you're negotiating with an illegal arms dealer. The problem lies with how and why you got to that point. I doubt you're going to fix that by just restricting guns more. Dealers in illegal weapons give zero craps about additional laws. Instead you have to look at the culture, economic opportunities, and so on available to that thirteen year old. Are they dealing drugs because the area has jack for decent jobs? And of course, they then feel they need a firearm(probably a handgun) at that point, because if you're dealing drugs, you can't go to the police for protection. And now you have an area with a violence problem, so good luck getting more investment for jobs.

You start out with a thirteen year old that's ambitious to start doing something, and you end up by making him a felon and locking him away. That's the part that's messed up.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:17 pm UTC

That sounds rather much like the "if we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns" cliché, and I don't think it's remotely as simple as you're making it. The idea in this case is that mandatory background checks would in some part work to prevent those illegal arms dealers from getting the guns in the first place. The gun that actually trickles down that way into a street crime is itself very likely to be one of those one-in-a-thousand scenarios that really does happen, but isn't representative, of which all political rhetoric is made. (One in a thousand street crimes, I mean, not one in a thousand unregulated sales, or I doubt we'd even be having this discussion.)

You're absolutely right that the problems implied in that picture are massively bigger than gun control, though. It would take quite a bit of social services money to actually solve the problems, and we have historically preferred penalizing them instead. No argument there.
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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:29 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:That sounds rather much like the "if we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns" cliché, and I don't think it's remotely as simple as you're making it. The idea in this case is that mandatory background checks would in some part work to prevent those illegal arms dealers from getting the guns in the first place. The gun that actually trickles down that way into a street crime is itself very likely to be one of those one-in-a-thousand scenarios that really does happen, but isn't representative, of which all political rhetoric is made. (One in a thousand street crimes, I mean, not one in a thousand unregulated sales, or I doubt we'd even be having this discussion.)

You're absolutely right that the problems implied in that picture are massively bigger than gun control, though. It would take quite a bit of social services money to actually solve the problems, and we have historically preferred penalizing them instead. No argument there.


Well, the cliche is, while simplistic, founded on truth. For this scenario to work, you need someone willing to sell a firearm to an unaccompanied thirteen yr old. Anyone doing that is already, regardless of background checks, breaking a crapton of laws.

So, you pass a law, requiring more background checks. Do you think that the guy unambiguously committing a felony is going to personally fill out the paperwork to document that felony?

No, he'll just continue to not do background checks.

I mean, sure, we can talk about other scenarios, but in the one set up here(presumably to tap on the ol' "think of the children" strings), it's very difficult to imagine that anything actually changes. None of the changes proposed are going to meaningfully affect the available supply, either. An adult in this country who isn't fussed about laws will have little difficulty in acquiring firearms.

The only way you can really affect overall supply is to somehow eradicate firearms to the degree of dramatically reducing the number out there, as well as the associated knowledge and experience(to prevent them from being casually created, as per "zip guns"). I'm not sure exactly how you do that, but any particular measure to pursue that is going to end up as fairly draconian. Guns are extremely durable, and you can't really wait for them to go bad. We already have a lot of them. You can't reasonably talk about reducing supply, while also bashing confiscation as a conspiracy theory.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:48 pm UTC

Well, to be clear, I wasn't imagining the seller performing a background check on the thirteen-year-old. Sellers willing to make illegal sales would be more likely than others to have a criminal history and less likely to be eligible to legally purchase the firearms that they intend to resell, so there would be some percentage decrease in those sellers. Whether or not it's a significant one with an impact on access would be up to studies that various bodies in the US are apparently barred from performing.

I agree that the only effective plan for limiting supply would be to take a tack similar to what Australia did, rather than insisting that guns can be controlled without ever infringing any of the most trivial and persnickety conveniences of law-abiding gun owners. But confiscation is a very long way off and probably outside the lifetimes of most stakeholders in this conversation today. The political reality is that reducing access in the small ways presently available really is the best that gun control advocates can hope for; over time, that could help to enable a cultural shift that could lead to reduced supply.

And, of course, we do have the frustrating situation of a permanent two-party government and the fact that the side that opposes gun control is also the side that opposes social service spending in almost any form.

But yes, the "think of the children" appeal is obvious.

This is, realistically, still actually an improvement of focus on reality. The poor inner-city kid who's given a gun instead of an education is a lot closer to the reality of the actual common gun violence in the US than the mass shootings that actually opened the recent conversation. If we start hearing more about programs to educate and enfranchise poor kids as an alternative to gun control, rather than this nonsense about clip sizes that has zero bearing on the vast majority of gun violence and claims that we need better mental health care from the guys who will always and uniformly vote against better mental health care, we're crab-walking the conversation closer into something real and pertinent.
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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:17 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:Well, to be clear, I wasn't imagining the seller performing a background check on the thirteen-year-old. Sellers willing to make illegal sales would be more likely than others to have a criminal history and less likely to be eligible to legally purchase the firearms that they intend to resell, so there would be some percentage decrease in those sellers. Whether or not it's a significant one with an impact on access would be up to studies that various bodies in the US are apparently barred from performing.


They're not actually barred from research, merely from political advocacy. Note that this body, in particular, is the CDC, and it is for historical reasons. Because they did exactly the thing that is now banned. So, future research is going to be eyeballed pretty hard to see if they're up to their old tricks.

Other agencies, such as the FBI, routinely do produce such research. Experiments such as a nationwide assault weapon ban for ten years produced no change(Clinton era bill, expired without being renewed, because of course Bush wasn't renewing it). If *that* didn't move the needle, what will? Certainly not the far less significant EOs signed by Obama.

I agree that the only effective plan for limiting supply would be to take a tack similar to what Australia did, rather than insisting that guns can be controlled without ever infringing any of the most trivial and persnickety conveniences of law-abiding gun owners. But confiscation is a very long way off and probably outside the lifetimes of most stakeholders in this conversation today. The political reality is that reducing access in the small ways presently available really is the best that gun control advocates can hope for; over time, that could help to enable a cultural shift that could lead to reduced supply.


Confiscation that happens to their children instead of them is still confiscation, and is still something that'll be nigh-universally opposed. I mean, something you see as an essential freedom, you wouldn't sign on to have gradually diminished, and then revoked for your children, would you?

And this exact policy of "cultural shift in hope of eventually banning it completely" is exactly what the gun-rights crowd is so worried about. When they talk about confiscation, they are not only worried about confiscation today(the NRA quite explicitly and frequently discusses preserving rights for future generations). Confiscation WHENEVER is a problem. Why wouldn't it be?

And, of course, we do have the frustrating situation of a permanent two-party government and the fact that the side that opposes gun control is also the side that opposes social service spending in almost any form.


Sort of. They talk a good game, but when it comes time to slow down their spending, they still spend quite a lot. They yammer on about fiscal responsibility, but in practice, nobody is gonna actually touch the big stuff, because there are just too many votes at stake there. I get where you're going with this, but honestly I think mental health care has been highly neglected in general. By both sides. The deinstitutionalization trend took place over several administrations, from the 50s onward, so it's difficult to ascribe credit/blame to merely one side.

And hell, there likely was at least some legitimacy to a lot of that action, but...as a side effect, there are people who should be in an institution that are not. Voters on both sides sort of recognize this, I think...or at least, a lot of them do, but it hasn't percolated up to become a major political issue. The republicans are sort of talking about it, but haven't fully embraced it yet. Democrats are in a similar position.

But yes, the "think of the children" appeal is obvious.

This is, realistically, still actually an improvement of focus on reality. The poor inner-city kid who's given a gun instead of an education is a lot closer to the reality of the actual common gun violence in the US than the mass shootings that actually opened the recent conversation. If we start hearing more about programs to educate and enfranchise poor kids as an alternative to gun control, rather than this nonsense about clip sizes that has zero bearing on the vast majority of gun violence and claims that we need better mental health care from the guys who will always and uniformly vote against better mental health care, we're crab-walking the conversation closer into something real and pertinent.


Well, it'd be nice if better solutions were proposed, yes.

However, one certainly can't put the blame for proposing better solutions all on either side. And one side definitely does seize upon every tragedy to drag out the gun control arguments, however tenuously related, as you point out. So, clearly, they are less interested in advancing mental health care than they are in banning guns.

As for uniformly voting against better mental health care, that's factually incorrect. Tim Murphy(R-PA)'s been pushing such a law for years now. Including federal grants for better outpatient care and such. Now yeah, they haven't passed this, and even among republicans, it could have better traction, but it's probably one of the most, if not most, comprehensive proposals, and it's coming from the red side of aisle routinely.

But nobody talks about that. It's odd.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby cphite » Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:32 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:Well, to be clear, I wasn't imagining the seller performing a background check on the thirteen-year-old. Sellers willing to make illegal sales would be more likely than others to have a criminal history and less likely to be eligible to legally purchase the firearms that they intend to resell, so there would be some percentage decrease in those sellers. Whether or not it's a significant one with an impact on access would be up to studies that various bodies in the US are apparently barred from performing.


Most sellers willing to make illegal sales aren't purchasing through licensed dealers in the first place; at least not the product they're selling illegally. Because firearms can be traced too easily.

Instead, they're selling stolen firearms; that either they've stolen themselves or bought stolen. Or they're buying by proxy. Or, in many cases, they're buying from criminals who need to get rid of something; or from gun owners who need cash, etc.

The point is, the moment you're buying from an illegal dealer, you've essentially bypassed the background check. Adding background checks to private sellers has negligible effect on the process.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:07 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Confiscation that happens to their children instead of them is still confiscation, and is still something that'll be nigh-universally opposed. I mean, something you see as an essential freedom, you wouldn't sign on to have gradually diminished, and then revoked for your children, would you?

And this exact policy of "cultural shift in hope of eventually banning it completely" is exactly what the gun-rights crowd is so worried about. When they talk about confiscation, they are not only worried about confiscation today(the NRA quite explicitly and frequently discusses preserving rights for future generations). Confiscation WHENEVER is a problem. Why wouldn't it be?

Because I honestly don't see how the argument for proliferation of civilian small arms comes from a place of anything but selfishness. I think that people feel on a gut level that if they're armed and the bad guy is armed, then they have a sporting chance, and their odds are better than if they weren't armed, and there was a 1/100 chance that the bad guy was. But they couldn't realistically beat the bad guy and walk away 99 of 100 times. I think it's easier to understand the statistics in the abstract, when it's removed from that individual person imagining themselves in this particular scenario.

Put more simply, the logic for resisting gun control simply does not work, but I can understand why it would have an immediate emotional meaning for gun owners.

And it would certainly remain an exaggeration to say that Obama is jockeying for confiscation and leave off the "in a century or so".

Sort of. They talk a good game, but when it comes time to slow down their spending, they still spend quite a lot. They yammer on about fiscal responsibility, but in practice, nobody is gonna actually touch the big stuff, because there are just too many votes at stake there. I get where you're going with this, but honestly I think mental health care has been highly neglected in general. By both sides. The deinstitutionalization trend took place over several administrations, from the 50s onward, so it's difficult to ascribe credit/blame to merely one side.

I mean, that's exactly right, the previous institutional model was severely broken and damaging, but we didn't erect anything to take its place. But neither party is moving to do anything about it because it's a lot of money spent to help people who don't constitute a major voting bloc. That also means that those parts of budgets are more vulnerable than, say, programs geared for the elderly, etc., so I do think it's reasonable to worry that people who talk the fiscal responsibility game are less likely to take on new costs for the sake of those kinds of groups.

But again, I just don't think mental health is a part of the gun control conversation. That was always a red herring with the little front wing stabilizer things on the nosecone. Poverty, lack of education, racism, police misbehavior, everything that can disenfranchise people, that's the stuff that actually makes up the gun violence picture. If one guy is incoherently mumbling "book" and some other guy is illegibly scribbling "crazy people", I think the first guy is closer to the mark.

Well, it'd be nice if better solutions were proposed, yes.

However, one certainly can't put the blame for proposing better solutions all on either side. And one side definitely does seize upon every tragedy to drag out the gun control arguments, however tenuously related, as you point out. So, clearly, they are less interested in advancing mental health care than they are in banning guns.

As for uniformly voting against better mental health care, that's factually incorrect. Tim Murphy(R-PA)'s been pushing such a law for years now. Including federal grants for better outpatient care and such. Now yeah, they haven't passed this, and even among republicans, it could have better traction, but it's probably one of the most, if not most, comprehensive proposals, and it's coming from the red side of aisle routinely.

But nobody talks about that. It's odd.

I really don't think it's odd at all - again, two-party system. The things they want people to talk about are the things they strongly disagree on in principle but will scarcely treat any differently in practice.

I do think it's reasonable to expect the anti-gun-control side to put forward a counterproposal. In terms of shoring up their voters, all they're incentivized to say is "don't ban guns". But the US has an absolutely unique problem in all the developed world with gun violence, and also has absolutely uniquely permissive gun laws. That isn't a coincidence. The question I'd like to ask is, okay, if you want to keep your guns, how would you propose to bring our gun violence statistics down to those of, say, Australia. Politicians can't ask that, because they can't take away the guns at all. But they can start us down the slippery slope to that, and I'm all for giving things a push.
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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:33 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Confiscation that happens to their children instead of them is still confiscation, and is still something that'll be nigh-universally opposed. I mean, something you see as an essential freedom, you wouldn't sign on to have gradually diminished, and then revoked for your children, would you?

And this exact policy of "cultural shift in hope of eventually banning it completely" is exactly what the gun-rights crowd is so worried about. When they talk about confiscation, they are not only worried about confiscation today(the NRA quite explicitly and frequently discusses preserving rights for future generations). Confiscation WHENEVER is a problem. Why wouldn't it be?

Because I honestly don't see how the argument for proliferation of civilian small arms comes from a place of anything but selfishness. I think that people feel on a gut level that if they're armed and the bad guy is armed, then they have a sporting chance, and their odds are better than if they weren't armed, and there was a 1/100 chance that the bad guy was. But they couldn't realistically beat the bad guy and walk away 99 of 100 times. I think it's easier to understand the statistics in the abstract, when it's removed from that individual person imagining themselves in this particular scenario.

Put more simply, the logic for resisting gun control simply does not work, but I can understand why it would have an immediate emotional meaning for gun owners.

And it would certainly remain an exaggeration to say that Obama is jockeying for confiscation and leave off the "in a century or so".


This is simply not the motivation here. It's a rights issue. I mean, sure, self defense and all that is wrapped up in there, but describing it solely as springing from selfishness fundamentally misunderstands the motivations at play here.

One of the big ways the NRA is funded are by endowments. People arranging so that when they die, a chunk of their estate goes to fight for gun rights for the next generation. If you look though actual NRA materials, this focus is quite plain. They don't leave off that anti-gunners sometimes embrace the long game. This is explicitly stated, time and time again in their materials.

The anti-gun side sees this as selfishness, corporate interests, etc. Never mind that actual corporate donations are dwarfed by individuals, and the personal firearm corporate lobby is smaller in financial terms than say, the breath mint industry. The pro-gun side sees this as a right they need to defend for all eternity.

How much of what you know about the NRA comes from reading information published by the NRA, and how much comes from those who exist solely to oppose them?

But again, I just don't think mental health is a part of the gun control conversation. That was always a red herring with the little front wing stabilizer things on the nosecone. Poverty, lack of education, racism, police misbehavior, everything that can disenfranchise people, that's the stuff that actually makes up the gun violence picture. If one guy is incoherently mumbling "book" and some other guy is illegibly scribbling "crazy people", I think the first guy is closer to the mark.


Ie, everything that makes up "gun violence" also causes "violence". So why talk about the gun at all, if you're not trying to skew the conversational frame?

Talking about mental health actually IS trying to at least talk about a genuine cause. Maybe not all the causes, and maybe they don't yet have the momentum to get mental health solutions passed, but...it beats the shit out of rambling about books. The mental health thing actually contains things we can improve, and see actual results on. There's nothing to be gained from strange statements regarding books.

I really don't think it's odd at all - again, two-party system. The things they want people to talk about are the things they strongly disagree on in principle but will scarcely treat any differently in practice.

I do think it's reasonable to expect the anti-gun-control side to put forward a counterproposal. In terms of shoring up their voters, all they're incentivized to say is "don't ban guns". But the US has an absolutely unique problem in all the developed world with gun violence, and also has absolutely uniquely permissive gun laws. That isn't a coincidence. The question I'd like to ask is, okay, if you want to keep your guns, how would you propose to bring our gun violence statistics down to those of, say, Australia. Politicians can't ask that, because they can't take away the guns at all. But they can start us down the slippery slope to that, and I'm all for giving things a push.


But if you frame it as "violence", then suddenly it's less unique. And other contributing causes become more apparent. By deliberately framing it as "gun violence", it's an attempt to associate guns with the problem, instead of taking the time to actually establish that they are.

Australia, for instance, was always below us. Sure, they had a crime rate drop after banning guns, but...so did we, over the same period. And we kept on using guns. Hell, we have far MORE of them now. But violent crime is down for both. This does not indicate that guns are the cause, but rather that firearms are, at most, a small factor and other things are driving the crime rates.

For instance, the US is particularly big on the drug war. While sure, other countries ban drugs too, we're REALLY big on slapping people in jail over it, and this causes all sorts of ongoing issues. Banning guns won't particularly fix that.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Jan 12, 2016 6:10 pm UTC

But if you frame it as "violence", then suddenly it's less unique.

No, it isn't, it really deeply isn't. We have four times Australia's homicide rate. Crime rates are an abstraction, dead people are not. Guns make it easier to kill people. Period. That's what they're fucking for.

Talking about mental health actually IS trying to at least talk about a genuine cause. Maybe not all the causes, and maybe they don't yet have the momentum to get mental health solutions passed, but...it beats the shit out of rambling about books.

No, it really doesn't. More people are driven to violence by factors relating to class and education than any microscopic percentage of violence that relates to anything we actually treat as a mental health issue. The book is metonymic. The crazy people are flat made up.

This is simply not the motivation here. It's a rights issue. I mean, sure, self defense and all that is wrapped up in there, but describing it solely as springing from selfishness fundamentally misunderstands the motivations at play here.

Then they've elevated an abstraction above all practical reality and can't be reasoned with, and I have all the more reason to accept a disingenuous anti-smoking-like cultural approach and generally wait for them to die.
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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jan 12, 2016 7:01 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:
But if you frame it as "violence", then suddenly it's less unique.

No, it isn't, it really deeply isn't. We have four times Australia's homicide rate. Crime rates are an abstraction, dead people are not. Guns make it easier to kill people. Period. That's what they're fucking for.


No. They're not. They're for sending a chunk of metal downrange. Mostly, these are sent at targets. Sometimes, they are used in hunting animals.

The frequency with which they are used to kill people in the US is a tiny rounding error on their use. A use case that will never actually arise for the vast majority of people.

When they ARE used to kill people, it is, first and foremost, connected with suicide, not murder. Suicide is intrinsicly linked to mental health. That's not a dodge, it's just simple fact. If the quantity of suicides bothers you(which is reasonable), talking about mental health pretty much has to happen. Other stuff can be discussed too, sure, but if you're only interested in those suicides as a way to talk about guns....

Then you actually care about banning guns, not saving lives.

Talking about mental health actually IS trying to at least talk about a genuine cause. Maybe not all the causes, and maybe they don't yet have the momentum to get mental health solutions passed, but...it beats the shit out of rambling about books.

No, it really doesn't. More people are driven to violence by factors relating to class and education than any microscopic percentage of violence that relates to anything we actually treat as a mental health issue. The book is metonymic. The crazy people are flat made up.


How is suicide not a mental health issue?

I mean, sure, the mental health issues extend beyond just suicides, and also apply to deaths from means other than firearms, so it's a much bigger issue than just firearm deaths, obviously...but going down the path of "guns exist for killing" and relying on rates of causes of death, you can't very well ignore the largest one.

Social factors are also an element, to be sure. If you remove suicides and gang-related violence*, the actual risk of death in the US due to firearm is quite low. Nobody really contests

This is simply not the motivation here. It's a rights issue. I mean, sure, self defense and all that is wrapped up in there, but describing it solely as springing from selfishness fundamentally misunderstands the motivations at play here.

Then they've elevated an abstraction above all practical reality and can't be reasoned with, and I have all the more reason to accept a disingenuous anti-smoking-like cultural approach and generally wait for them to die.


If you genuinely believe the only way to a better future is through lies and the deaths of those who disagree with you, then you may wish to reconsider if you actually possess the moral high ground.

*This term usually includes drug-related violent crime. Strictly speaking not all drugs are gang-related, so while it's valid from the standpoint of criminalization begetting violence, and showing the concentration of violence, it's less applicable to discussing gangs per-se.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Jan 12, 2016 7:27 pm UTC

If you genuinely believe the only way to a better future is through lies and the deaths of those who disagree with you, then you may wish to reconsider if you actually possess the moral high ground.

If it's a legitimately better future, I don't care who has the moral high ground. (Edit: Christ, I think I said that when I said that people are more important than fucking territorial abstractions about rights.)

How is suicide not a mental health issue?

The first rule of talking about gun control is that you can talk about anything but guns.
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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:00 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:
If you genuinely believe the only way to a better future is through lies and the deaths of those who disagree with you, then you may wish to reconsider if you actually possess the moral high ground.

If it's a legitimately better future, I don't care who has the moral high ground. (Edit: Christ, I think I said that when I said that people are more important than fucking territorial abstractions about rights.)


If the actual truth is a problem for you, so you need lies, then you're not likely creating a legitimately better future. This is a solid general rule, and it applies to all manner of special interest groups.

Look, even if you dislike guns, to be able to make a persuasive case, you have to actually understand the other side, not merely refuse to acknowledge them.

How is suicide not a mental health issue?

The first rule of talking about gun control is that you can talk about anything but guns.


We can chat about guns(and have), but I note that you're not answering the question.

We can segment it down, if you like, and discuss each subset of deaths individually.

Suicide is the largest segment, and is obviously a mental health issue. The pro-gun stance on this is to improve mental health care, particularly outpatient care so that people get care earlier and sooner. Nobody wants to challenge this on the facts, because it's really hard to argue with without being caught out for blatant lies, so they divert. As far as availability goes, legal sales of firearms to folks mentally incarcerated has long been a thing. It's mostly uncontroversial, save for when a given jurisdiction doesn't like restoring rights down the road. This problem mostly still exists regardless of the details of firearm regulation. I mean, either way, you have a person feeling suicidal. That's kind of a problem, even if they don't have a gun, and they still need help.

Criminal on criminal violence. Viewed as a social problem, due to the nature of criminal conflicts being settled outside the law. Opinions range from encouraging better enforcement of existing laws(on the more strict republican side) to dismantling the criminal system indirectly via legalization, etc(libertarian side, with some support from democratic gun owners). Reasonable room there to chat about the merits of each, but the problem exists regardless of the details of firearm regulation.

Criminal on everyone else violence. We're actually getting down to fairly small numbers here. The answer here is firearms as self defense. Police should be helping here, but in practice, there are limitations on what you can reasonably expect from the police. Maybe they are far away. Maybe they view your neighborhood as poor and dangerous so they don't bother to respond. In the end, you are on the scene, and the criminal is on the scene. Giving you the power to protect yourself can't be fully substituted for by any other means for most folks.

Accidents. Small numbers indeed here. The answer is training. The NRA spends a crapton of money on training, and always has. More than it spends on politcs. Again, the gun culture is providing answers, whereas the only answer for anti-gunners is a ban, and they will dig through any number of questions trying to find one that matches that answer. Gun culture, in general, views mandated government training with distrust, due to historical use by anti-gunners to try to effectively ban or limit ownership, rather than to promote safety.

Mass shootings. Fairly irrelevant in a statistical sense, but inevitibly bring up the topic. The answer here is ALSO mental health.

We can discuss any of these in more detail, if you would like, but I'm curious to know why it is you are so certain that gun banning will lead to a better world? How do you know this?

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Jan 12, 2016 10:18 pm UTC

Well, because guns empower and enable crime. That gang system you mentioned earlier requires them to exist in the form they presently do. I mean, if the book in the original claim is a metonym for education, it kinda seems fair to me to think of the gun as representing the gang system that's the obvious implied context of the inner-city thirteen-year-old scenario.

And yes, I'm aware that crime is not the primary function of most firearms, which are largely used for sport, and sometimes to provide an illusion of self-defense from other people with guns. The latter is a result of criminal use of firearms, and the former is not really on the scale of the problem. If hockey sticks made holding up convenience stores or icingthat guy who ratted out your boss as simple and convenient as firearms do, you can bet we'd be regulating the fuck out of them and might very well ban them outright.

The scenario's a little different with, say, police officers, where the "self defense" and escalation ideas really do hold and the police officer can be trusted to be better trained than the other guy, but even there, removing all of the guns still results in safer outcomes.

You have a lot of "answers" for how to address problems that easy gun ownership presents. Frankly it's absolutely laughable on the face of it that you can imagine a functioning modern state where self-defense with a firearm is a necessity for ordinary citizens, but the main issue is that this is an apologetics game. There's nothing that necessitates firearms as a class of things. You can reduce the danger they present to an arbitrarily low cost to precisely the degree that you're willing to regulate them, monitor their use, and micromanage their owners - the training, the background checks, the flags and restrictions, the licensing, the tracking. At some point people scream "second amendment" and you stop constraining. But there's no clear benefit to having them in the first place, and all of this is a system for ameliorating the costs.

I admit that I don't actually find the suicide angle as compelling as some of the others. Partly, that's because I don't know the statistics - at a quick glance, the US is not an outlier, with maybe 20% more suicide per capita to most developed nations and fewer than Australia. My gut feeling was that a lack of firearms doesn't actually prevent suicide in the same degree that it would affect violent death, because there are other readily available avenues, and that does seem to bear out. So, yeah, I think suicide is something I can safely consider actually, legitimately not a gun issue. Of course we need to address it, but it's something that has to be treated by those broad, systematic avenues, and the simple fact that the US isn't unique in this arena does make it seem less obviously and immediately tractable.

It's just not a simple no-brainer scenario like taking away people's guns so they shoot each other less often. I definitely wouldn't compare deaths to suicide vs. deaths to violence equally or anything like that - I don't think they're directly comparable issues - but mostly, I just don't think taking away firearms actually prevents people from killing themselves.

Some of the other scenarios you presented are similar - I don't find firearm accidents very compelling, for instance. Someone choosing to play with a risky toy for sport and risking only themselves, that's a different thing from gun violence, too. I wouldn't support banning hang gliders.

If the actual truth is a problem for you, so you need lies, then you're not likely creating a legitimately better future. This is a solid general rule, and it applies to all manner of special interest groups.

I think that's generally true, but I do think there are exceptions. Again, the easy example is the anti-smoking campaigns, which have relied on precisely the kind of scaremongering and nonrepresentative sampling we're discussing here to bring about a real and consequential public health benefit. Hell, people who successfully quit smoking often do so by convincing themselves that they're disgusted by it. I don't see that correcting for habits of this kind is any different on the social scale.
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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:17 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:Well, because guns empower and enable crime. That gang system you mentioned earlier requires them to exist in the form they presently do. I mean, if the book in the original claim is a metonym for education, it kinda seems fair to me to think of the gun as representing the gang system that's the obvious implied context of the inner-city thirteen-year-old scenario.


How so? It's beyond question that they use firearms, but it's also patently obvious that gangs can and have existed without firearms, and cheerfully exist even where firearms are fairly illegal. I mean, Mexico has precisely one legal firearm store, highly restricted, but this has not solved their gang violence issue. Nor has it even meaningfully limited gang access to firearms. They have enough money and enough power that they get them anyway, through illegal means. Even in the US guns used in crime are overwelmingly purchased illegally, but we can see that even in the case where legal supply overall is restricted very harshly, it doesn't solve an existing culture of violence. Or really do much of anything to affect it.

And yes, I'm aware that crime is not the primary function of most firearms, which are largely used for sport, and sometimes to provide an illusion of self-defense from other people with guns. The latter is a result of criminal use of firearms, and the former is not really on the scale of the problem. If hockey sticks made holding up convenience stores or icingthat guy who ratted out your boss as simple and convenient as firearms do, you can bet we'd be regulating the fuck out of them and might very well ban them outright.

The scenario's a little different with, say, police officers, where the "self defense" and escalation ideas really do hold and the police officer can be trusted to be better trained than the other guy, but even there, removing all of the guns still results in safer outcomes.


Your trust in police to be better trained seems...well, dubious, at any rate. Police are generally given much more latitude to use firearms, in situations that go beyond self defense. They're also not necessarily very well trained compared to civilian marksmen. We have the odd situation where a hobbyist may practice weekly, whereas a police officer may be required to requalify only yearly, with a single target, if at all. Unless the police officer also happens to be a firearms enthusiast, it seems unlikely that they are particularly well trained.

Note that self defense issues exist even where firearms do not. In England, there is a movement to ban pointy objects because violent crimes are being committed with them. To the US eye, it looks as if ya'll have left sanity somewhere behind, and are convinced that with enough banning, you'll run out of ways for one person to hurt another. Crime does not require firearms in order to exist.

You have a lot of "answers" for how to address problems that easy gun ownership presents. Frankly it's absolutely laughable on the face of it that you can imagine a functioning modern state where self-defense with a firearm is a necessity for ordinary citizens, but the main issue is that this is an apologetics game. There's nothing that necessitates firearms as a class of things. You can reduce the danger they present to an arbitrarily low cost to precisely the degree that you're willing to regulate them, monitor their use, and micromanage their owners - the training, the background checks, the flags and restrictions, the licensing, the tracking. At some point people scream "second amendment" and you stop constraining. But there's no clear benefit to having them in the first place, and all of this is a system for ameliorating the costs.


Self defense is only one benefit, and likely not the primary reason for their existance. The man who buys twelve guns is not doing so because he believes he can wield all twelve to fend off an attack. No, he's doing it because he likes guns, and he is pursuing his hobby. It is not unlike the comic book fan who tells himself and others that all of his purchases are wise investments, as he eagerly picks up every story involving his favorite characters. Yes, yes, in theory comic books can appreciate, but that is not their primary function.

The man who hunts gains something, the man who shoots targets gains something. It may be enjoyment, it may be food for the table in poor areas. It may also be self defense.

I hold that the restrictions often do not have anything to do with ameliorating costs, but merely in posing an obstacle to ownership, as an indirect attack on the culture as a whole. One of the many ludicrous restrictions I personally am subject to, is the requirement to acquire two handgun locks with each handgun I purchase. One cable lock, one bore lock. You cannot physically use both locks at the same time. Therefore, I have a pile of cable locks, in the plastic, that have never, and will never be used. They just come in the box, and add to the cost. I suppose I might as well throw them away. The first lock, well yes, you can make a reasonable safety argument. The second serves no safety function. If they pass yet another law to make me purchase a third, well, you can imagine the frustration for yourself.

I admit that I don't actually find the suicide angle as compelling as some of the others. Partly, that's because I don't know the statistics - at a quick glance, the US is not an outlier, with maybe 20% more suicide per capita to most developed nations and fewer than Australia. My gut feeling was that a lack of firearms doesn't actually prevent suicide in the same degree that it would affect violent death, because there are other readily available avenues, and that does seem to bear out. So, yeah, I think suicide is something I can safely consider actually, legitimately not a gun issue. Of course we need to address it, but it's something that has to be treated by those broad, systematic avenues, and the simple fact that the US isn't unique in this arena does make it seem less obviously and immediately tractable.

It's just not a simple no-brainer scenario like taking away people's guns so they shoot each other less often. I definitely wouldn't compare deaths to suicide vs. deaths to violence equally or anything like that - I don't think they're directly comparable issues - but mostly, I just don't think taking away firearms actually prevents people from killing themselves.


Short term, restricting a means does affect deaths, but long term, yeah...cultural norms shift, and other avenues are used. The absense of readily available hemlock is probably irrelevant to a suicidal person's ability to self harm.

But yeah, it's a big issue, not a unique issue, but it DOES get lumped into "gun violence" numbers. And it makes up 61-64% of those deaths*. If you remove this alone as unrelated the scope of the problem greatly diminishes.

Some of the other scenarios you presented are similar - I don't find firearm accidents very compelling, for instance. Someone choosing to play with a risky toy for sport and risking only themselves, that's a different thing from gun violence, too. I wouldn't support banning hang gliders.


Strictly speaking, accidents can involve people other than the owner, but...yes. When someone does something particularly stupid and harms only themselves, I do tend to shrug and ascribe them responsibility for their choice. It's still a problem, sort of, but you cannot really solve the issue of people voluntarily taking on risk without ridiculously restricting human life. Water sports like boating, I believe, are particularly dangerous here. Risk of drowning. Banning fishing would save a far greater number of lives than banning firearms, but that doesn't really get a second look, yeah.

If the actual truth is a problem for you, so you need lies, then you're not likely creating a legitimately better future. This is a solid general rule, and it applies to all manner of special interest groups.

I think that's generally true, but I do think there are exceptions. Again, the easy example is the anti-smoking campaigns, which have relied on precisely the kind of scaremongering and nonrepresentative sampling we're discussing here to bring about a real and consequential public health benefit. Hell, people who successfully quit smoking often do so by convincing themselves that they're disgusted by it. I don't see that correcting for habits of this kind is any different on the social scale.


They sort of are, but...I honestly think they'd have been better off sticking to a more truthful approach. Granted, chemical addictions have some special challenges, but the whole problem of cigarettes in the first place exists largely because of a rather lengthy, sustained campaign of lies and deception. The damage done by such tactics is...immense.

And adopting incorrect advocacy over accurate data can cause a lot of problems for a side. It's likely that whatever lies you spread will eventually be discovered, and used to discredit you, and this will often be used to smear the entire side with a similar brush. Look at global warming. There have been a few fraudsters. Not all, or even most, mind you. But a few. You'll hear about those few for ages, used to smear the good work of many others, implying that they are also fraudsters. These folks hinder more than they help.

But, if we break it down, and you're not interested in including suicides or accidents in there...let's look at the remaining gun violence. The overt violent crime that people appear to be so worried about. A frequently used indicator is what percentage of the victims are convicted felons or other markers of a criminal record**. That's a fairly solid indicator that they are involved in crime. Not perfect, because someone with a past felony might have made different life choices(though, frankly, our system strongly disincentivizes this), or someone could be involved in crime without having yet been caught. And of course, arrests are not always of the guilty. But...as a rough barometer, this is as good as we have from the police. Milwalkee, for instance, tracks off number of prior arrests***. About 97% of shooters and victims had previously been arrested, and the average number of times the victims were arrested was 6(7.5 for the shooters).

I mean, looking at that, it's hard to argue that guns are the initial cause, but rather that on the way to deciding to murder someone, there's been an ugly path in a fellow's life****. Effect, not cause.

As a person not involved in crime in any way, discounting accidents and suicide, your odds of being affected by gun violence is remarkably small. The senseless random acts that show up on the news are mostly only noteworthy because they are unusual.

*Depends on year used. It's consistently a solid majority, though.
**Sometimes number of arrests are used instead. Police statistics are frustratingly unstandardized. It's obnoxious.
***Other fun conclusions can be drawn from the data as well. http://city.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/Groups/cityHRC/reports/2011Reportv6.pdf
****Justifiable sexism, given statistics of shooters.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby morriswalters » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:53 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:How so? It's beyond question that they use firearms, but it's also patently obvious that gangs can and have existed without firearms, and cheerfully exist even where firearms are fairly illegal.
It comes down to efficiency. Violence will always exist. What guns do is to increase the efficiency of that violence. This isn't debatable. Armies use guns for precisely this reason. Were it not so the military would still be using the long bow and swords.

The idea that gun regulation doesn't do anything positive is currently untestable since the data doesn't exist. In terms of Mexican's having one legal gun store, the point vanishes when you consider that the greatest source of guns is available next door, here. And we are watching what is coming in, less so what is going out.

Tyndmyr wrote:Your trust in police to be better trained seems...well, dubious, at any rate.
I personally don't trust police at all, they are a mean dog I keep, to keep people who would harm me at arms length. We just need better muzzles for them. and better chains to hobble them.
Tyndmyr wrote:We have the odd situation where a hobbyist may practice weekly,
You wish. Some may, others almost certainly don't. And shooting at the range isn't combat shooting. The ability to use a gun to protect yourself requires a regime that I suspect most people won't follow. Some of it having nothing to do with pulling a trigger. When you have some data point me to it.
Tyndmyr wrote:Note that self defense issues exist even where firearms do not. In England, there is a movement to ban pointy objects because violent crimes are being committed with them.
I looked this up. When I stopped laughing I asked myself how much reach this had. I draw a comparison to the flat earth society.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:48 pm UTC

Yet it's entirely uncontroversial in the several US states where switchblades are banned.

Tyndmyr wrote:Your trust in police to be better trained seems...well, dubious, at any rate. Police are generally given much more latitude to use firearms, in situations that go beyond self defense. They're also not necessarily very well trained compared to civilian marksmen. We have the odd situation where a hobbyist may practice weekly, whereas a police officer may be required to requalify only yearly, with a single target, if at all. Unless the police officer also happens to be a firearms enthusiast, it seems unlikely that they are particularly well trained.

I think it's clear from context that I was comparing a police officer to an average gun owner or even an average citizen, not a high-level competitive marksman. If those police officers are not at least competent with firearms, then that's simply another very good reason to remove firearms from the picture. I really do think they're the easiest professional use of firearms to defend, and if the professionals can't be trusted with firearms, then no one can.

Self defense is only one benefit, and likely not the primary reason for their existance. The man who buys twelve guns is not doing so because he believes he can wield all twelve to fend off an attack. No, he's doing it because he likes guns, and he is pursuing his hobby. It is not unlike the comic book fan who tells himself and others that all of his purchases are wise investments, as he eagerly picks up every story involving his favorite characters. Yes, yes, in theory comic books can appreciate, but that is not their primary function.

Both delusions do have the potential to ruin lives, but the comic collection bubble burst in the 90s, and people who buy comic books today do so to read them. Self-defense and home protection are extremely common and commonly cited rationales for gun ownership by proper grown-ups who really ought to know better, particularly ones who are interested in owning killing machines. There's no justifying the lie that these people have been sold.

The man who hunts gains something, the man who shoots targets gains something. It may be enjoyment, it may be food for the table in poor areas. It may also be self defense.

Ammunition and tags are more expensive than meat, and poverty of that degree, where it can possibly exist, is a social problem that should be addressed by social programs. If people would prefer to pretend that hunting is a necessity of their survival as a sort of game, they may as well go all the way and switch to spears and atlatls. For the rest of us, we've had agriculture for the last ten millennia, and it seems to work okay.

I hold that the restrictions often do not have anything to do with ameliorating costs, but merely in posing an obstacle to ownership, as an indirect attack on the culture as a whole.

This is true in some aspects, and precedents like the DC gun ban have made that clear. However, to reduce gun violence while maintaining the ubiquity of guns, just following your own list of suggestions earlier on, would require nothing less than the establishment of a well-regulated militia.

But, if we break it down, and you're not interested in including suicides or accidents in there...let's look at the remaining gun violence. The overt violent crime that people appear to be so worried about. A frequently used indicator is what percentage of the victims are convicted felons or other markers of a criminal record**. That's a fairly solid indicator that they are involved in crime. Not perfect, because someone with a past felony might have made different life choices(though, frankly, our system strongly disincentivizes this), or someone could be involved in crime without having yet been caught. And of course, arrests are not always of the guilty. But...as a rough barometer, this is as good as we have from the police. Milwalkee, for instance, tracks off number of prior arrests***. About 97% of shooters and victims had previously been arrested, and the average number of times the victims were arrested was 6(7.5 for the shooters).

I mean, looking at that, it's hard to argue that guns are the initial cause, but rather that on the way to deciding to murder someone, there's been an ugly path in a fellow's life****. Effect, not cause.

I think the coroner still considers it the cause rather than the effect of death.

US laws apply even to the people who break them. We don't, or shouldn't, want to have a legal system that people can simply opt out of in favor of a law-of-the-jungle badlands. People who do are also very unlikely to do so as an informed and unforced choice. I don't see that I can take solace in the fact that the people killed were already in society's wastebasket.

Again, the thirteen-year-old inner-city kid who takes the gun instead of the book is pretty clearly one of those people who is being walked into a life path that's likely to involve a criminal record. Ready access to guns can't not be a part of that.

One of your first responses to my reference to the US's homicide rate being unique in all the world was that our similarly unique gang situation makes up the difference. Later, when I mentioned that guns enable those gangs to exist, you said that you certainly can have gang violence without them. You can't really have that both ways; either US gang violence is unique or it's not. To me, it's rather laughably obvious that guns make violence and disorder easier, and the question is less a complex sociological one than it is a simple one of biomechanics.

But yeah, it's a big issue, not a unique issue, but it DOES get lumped into "gun violence" numbers. And it makes up 61-64% of those deaths*. If you remove this alone as unrelated the scope of the problem greatly diminishes.

The UNODC supposedly excludes suicide from their numbers, and they're the ones responsible for the table I linked earlier. Now, that was a chart of homicide, not exclusively those homicides committed with a gun, but the US's anomalous position can be reasonably explained by no other factor.

Obviously, crime with guns isn't limited to homicide, either - a gun doesn't have to be discharged to do its job, and any power that a firearm gives any one person over another is improper and contrary to the rule of law. Gas stations in the bad bits of town with bulletproof glass in front of the counter are a consequence of easy gun ownership, too. It's just harder to count all of the crimes enabled and precautions and protections required by ordinary people and the state and law enforcement and so on than it is to compare homicide rates. The homicide rate itself is a proxy for the disorder and crime.

How so? It's beyond question that they use firearms, but it's also patently obvious that gangs can and have existed without firearms, and cheerfully exist even where firearms are fairly illegal. I mean, Mexico has precisely one legal firearm store, highly restricted, but this has not solved their gang violence issue. Nor has it even meaningfully limited gang access to firearms. They have enough money and enough power that they get them anyway, through illegal means. Even in the US guns used in crime are overwelmingly purchased illegally, but we can see that even in the case where legal supply overall is restricted very harshly, it doesn't solve an existing culture of violence. Or really do much of anything to affect it.

The so-very-subtle difference between the War on Drugs and the cartel war is that only one of those wars is a metaphor. It's true that the US's permissive gun laws haven't helped matters and that the US government sometimes sells crates of guns to the cartels for kicks, but the more important context here is that the US is much closer to the UK's power to ban pointy objects if we feel like it than Mexico's inability to control commerce of any kind, because the US is a functioning sovereign state. I think you're trivializing Mexico's problems to even make the comparison.
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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:09 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:How so? It's beyond question that they use firearms, but it's also patently obvious that gangs can and have existed without firearms, and cheerfully exist even where firearms are fairly illegal.
It comes down to efficiency. Violence will always exist. What guns do is to increase the efficiency of that violence. This isn't debatable. Armies use guns for precisely this reason. Were it not so the military would still be using the long bow and swords.


A person with a gun has a very large edge on a person without a gun, that's obvious, yes.

But wars existed before guns, and were often incredibly bloody. Likewise crime, etc.

The idea that gun regulation doesn't do anything positive is currently untestable since the data doesn't exist. In terms of Mexican's having one legal gun store, the point vanishes when you consider that the greatest source of guns is available next door, here. And we are watching what is coming in, less so what is going out.


Full auto Ak47s and RPGs aren't going out, so it's trivially observable that we are not a sufficient explanation for their violence problem.

Gun regulation has been tried, in varying degrees. At least some data exists. The US had an assault weapons ban for 10 years, and it did jack squat. That seems like a decent test. Nationwide, even. If that doesn't have any measurable effect, we can't reasonably expect anything from lesser measures, can we?

Tyndmyr wrote:Your trust in police to be better trained seems...well, dubious, at any rate.
I personally don't trust police at all, they are a mean dog I keep, to keep people who would harm me at arms length. We just need better muzzles for them. and better chains to hobble them.
Tyndmyr wrote:We have the odd situation where a hobbyist may practice weekly,
You wish. Some may, others almost certainly don't. And shooting at the range isn't combat shooting. The ability to use a gun to protect yourself requires a regime that I suspect most people won't follow. Some of it having nothing to do with pulling a trigger. When you have some data point me to it.


Yes, well, most police do not do anything like combat shooting either. They just go to a range for re-qual. There isn't anything magical about police training that makes it special, nor do police usually follow anything like a strict regime. They may have some initial training when hired on. Some jurisdictions have little, or none, and it varies widely. Re-certification is generally an annual trip to the range at most. Turn in your target with enough holes in the right spots, you're good to go.

Hell, even the military is sort of this. Eight years in the AF, and my actual weapons training consisted of a single afternoon shooting at targets. Sure, there were the annual recertifications. Those were a online "training" that you clicked through.

The idea that all military and police are somehow highly trained is a curious one. If you want data, you're welcome to support your idea...but even larger police agencies are fairly light on training. NYPD, one of the higher-training agencies, has a 13 day initial training, and only requals every two years.

On the flip side, walk into a gun show, and you'll see people oogling various marksman schools, advertisements for various trainings, and people buying ammo by the case as routine. Hobbyists like to pursue their hobby. It's really no different for guns than for anything else.

Tyndmyr wrote:Note that self defense issues exist even where firearms do not. In England, there is a movement to ban pointy objects because violent crimes are being committed with them.
I looked this up. When I stopped laughing I asked myself how much reach this had. I draw a comparison to the flat earth society.


Well, the flat earth society hasn't gotten any laws passed, so while they're at a similar level of ridiculousness,

Copper Bezel wrote:Yet it's entirely uncontroversial in the several US states where switchblades are banned.


Unsurprisingly, firearms folks also tend to view that as ludicrous, and as some level of pearl-clutching/irrational fear. It's fair to point out that 'murrica ain't immune from acting silly, though.

Copper Bezel wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Your trust in police to be better trained seems...well, dubious, at any rate. Police are generally given much more latitude to use firearms, in situations that go beyond self defense. They're also not necessarily very well trained compared to civilian marksmen. We have the odd situation where a hobbyist may practice weekly, whereas a police officer may be required to requalify only yearly, with a single target, if at all. Unless the police officer also happens to be a firearms enthusiast, it seems unlikely that they are particularly well trained.

I think it's clear from context that I was comparing a police officer to an average gun owner or even an average citizen, not a high-level competitive marksman. If those police officers are not at least competent with firearms, then that's simply another very good reason to remove firearms from the picture. I really do think they're the easiest professional use of firearms to defend, and if the professionals can't be trusted with firearms, then no one can.


Ah, by marksman I mean "US person who shoots". Hobbyist shooter, if you like. I tried to compare rounds fired between them, but it doesn't look like police really like keeping good records on how much they shoot. Even when shooting people, but I digress. At any rate, ammo dealers have to be federally licensed and certified. We have about four times as many of them in the US as we do supermarkets. Supply shortages of ammunition due to ever increasing demand is a significant problem. The average person who likes to shoot in the US, shoots a LOT. I consider myself a fairly casual enthusiast, and I've maybe fired half a million rounds, averaging out to about 50 rounds a day(usually lumped up on range days). I know people that shoot 500 rounds a day, every day.

I think this is one of those cultural disconnects. People disconnected from gun culture see guns as something used by competitive shooters, and maybe police. We view those police with concern(save for where overlap exists), and the minimal training of many departments results in them being viewed as sort of dangerous folks given a little too much power, and being sort of dangerous. Not as professionals merely because they are a cop with a gun, no. There's nuance here, because there is of course police and military overlap with firearms enthusiasts, and that's highly regarded, but it's a very different standard than the rest of the world appears to use.

The standard sized brick for .22 ammo is 500 rounds, and very few police requal courses fire more than 50 rounds. It's probable that an average user, in a single day at the range, will fire more rounds than police are required to in their entire career.

Copper Bezel wrote:
Self defense is only one benefit, and likely not the primary reason for their existance. The man who buys twelve guns is not doing so because he believes he can wield all twelve to fend off an attack. No, he's doing it because he likes guns, and he is pursuing his hobby. It is not unlike the comic book fan who tells himself and others that all of his purchases are wise investments, as he eagerly picks up every story involving his favorite characters. Yes, yes, in theory comic books can appreciate, but that is not their primary function.

Both delusions do have the potential to ruin lives, but the comic collection bubble burst in the 90s, and people who buy comic books today do so to read them. Self-defense and home protection are extremely common and commonly cited rationales for gun ownership by proper grown-ups who really ought to know better, particularly ones who are interested in owning killing machines. There's no justifying the lie that these people have been sold.


They are common reasons, but they are fairly infrequent sole reasons. When surveyed, people almost invariably give a list of several reasons for firearm ownership.

It's not a lie. Firearms definitely can be used for self defense. It's just also true that crime is decreasing, and if you have the good fortune to live outside of certain crime-ridden areas, your odds of being a victim is vastly lower.

Unsurprisingly, the predominance of "self defense" as a listed reason is higher in those areas. Someone in a rough neighborhood probably isn't buying a handgun to go deer hunting. Their local risk simply doesn't match the overall national risk.

As an aside, I note that we routinely pick up converts due to fairly insensitive remarks towards those areas. Hell, my state reps once had a comittee hearing sort of break down because one of the anti-gunner reps described gun owners as a bunch of criminals and thugs, and some of his general allies were understandably put out by this. One rep from Baltimore left the hearing for a significant time to calm down after a bit of an outburst.

So yeah, self defense isn't always invalid. The risk might be pretty low for most people, but it's quite significant for some.

Copper Bezel wrote:
The man who hunts gains something, the man who shoots targets gains something. It may be enjoyment, it may be food for the table in poor areas. It may also be self defense.

Ammunition and tags are more expensive than meat, and poverty of that degree, where it can possibly exist, is a social problem that should be addressed by social programs. If people would prefer to pretend that hunting is a necessity of their survival as a sort of game, they may as well go all the way and switch to spears and atlatls. For the rest of us, we've had agriculture for the last ten millennia, and it seems to work okay.


Ammunition, in deer hunting quantities, is cheap. Tags usually range from $15 to $30. So, you're maybe spending $30, on average, on those things. A deer is maybe 100 lbs, field dressed. Say 75 pounds, after processing. That's a pretty good price. Some places let you harvest multiple deer, and mostly, areas where hunting is a big deal are rural areas where incomes are generally lower. It's also a cultural tradition and a pasttime...like fishing really. Some people do it purely for practical reasons, some purely for sport, and there's a big ol' range in between.

This is, again, a very pervasive tradition. The number of people that go deer hunting in single states frequently dwarfs the size of most military forces in the world. Dismissing it on the basis of agriculture existing seems odd. People have basically always hunted. I don't care for it myself, but I recognize that even in the modern world, it's a really normal and common practice, and historically, hunting has pretty much always been a thing.

Copper Bezel wrote:
I hold that the restrictions often do not have anything to do with ameliorating costs, but merely in posing an obstacle to ownership, as an indirect attack on the culture as a whole.

This is true in some aspects, and precedents like the DC gun ban have made that clear. However, to reduce gun violence while maintaining the ubiquity of guns, just following your own list of suggestions earlier on, would require nothing less than the establishment of a well-regulated militia.


Presuming that this is a reference to the text of the second amendment, by the clearly meant language of that, we already have that.

On a practical level, it is extremely difficult to pretend we can control guns. Even pro-gun folks are mostly pretty okay with existing background checks, restrictions on ownership by criminals, etc, and frequently lobby for stricter enforcement of those rules. I view them as mostly pointless. Guns last effectively indefinitely. We have them in vast quantities. The idea that we can keep them from criminals would require not only knowing who the current criminals are, but who future criminals will be. And frankly, that's expecting a lot from law enforcement.

Copper Bezel wrote:
But, if we break it down, and you're not interested in including suicides or accidents in there...let's look at the remaining gun violence. The overt violent crime that people appear to be so worried about. A frequently used indicator is what percentage of the victims are convicted felons or other markers of a criminal record**. That's a fairly solid indicator that they are involved in crime. Not perfect, because someone with a past felony might have made different life choices(though, frankly, our system strongly disincentivizes this), or someone could be involved in crime without having yet been caught. And of course, arrests are not always of the guilty. But...as a rough barometer, this is as good as we have from the police. Milwalkee, for instance, tracks off number of prior arrests***. About 97% of shooters and victims had previously been arrested, and the average number of times the victims were arrested was 6(7.5 for the shooters).

I mean, looking at that, it's hard to argue that guns are the initial cause, but rather that on the way to deciding to murder someone, there's been an ugly path in a fellow's life****. Effect, not cause.

I think the coroner still considers it the cause rather than the effect of death.

US laws apply even to the people who break them. We don't, or shouldn't, want to have a legal system that people can simply opt out of in favor of a law-of-the-jungle badlands. People who do are also very unlikely to do so as an informed and unforced choice. I don't see that I can take solace in the fact that the people killed were already in society's wastebasket.

Again, the thirteen-year-old inner-city kid who takes the gun instead of the book is pretty clearly one of those people who is being walked into a life path that's likely to involve a criminal record. Ready access to guns can't not be a part of that.


I agree, it's still a problem but looking at it in detail paints a certain picture. It isn't mere access to firearms that is causing a life of crime. Access to firearms at thirteen is actually routine in rural areas. Just, yknow, with parental permission and supervision. Personally, I don't actually remember a time before using firearms. I was given my first actual one as a birthday present at twelve, which I duly lugged to the local school for the NRA training course in the basement. It was as routine, and as much a rite of passage as getting one's driver's license. I should point out that I'm only 33, so this isn't some 'back in my day' fogeyism describing the distant past.

Same access to guns, totally different results than inner city. Ergo, describing 'access to guns' as the problem cannot be accurate. In addition, the same cultural problem exists even in cities like DC, where as you acknowledge, there have been long campaigns against ready access to guns. Now, we could both list other causes with ease, but we can't reasonably list firearms as one of them.

One of your first responses to my reference to the US's homicide rate being unique in all the world was that our similarly unique gang situation makes up the difference. Later, when I mentioned that guns enable those gangs to exist, you said that you certainly can have gang violence without them. You can't really have that both ways; either US gang violence is unique or it's not. To me, it's rather laughably obvious that guns make violence and disorder easier, and the question is less a complex sociological one than it is a simple one of biomechanics.


Our gang violence is sort of unique. It's highly unusual among first world nations. If you expand outside of that, though, you do see similar situations elsewhere. Leaving aside the fact the strange idea that two unique things in the same country MUST be related, we certainly have other fairly unique issues. Our particular history with race relations, for instance. Not entirely unique, obviously, but...fairly a big deal in the US. And of course, that's heavily tied into lack of opportunity, crime ridden areas that people seem comfortable ignoring, and so forth. We've got some pretty direct causal links there, not merely "these two things are unique".

But yeah, it's a big issue, not a unique issue, but it DOES get lumped into "gun violence" numbers. And it makes up 61-64% of those deaths*. If you remove this alone as unrelated the scope of the problem greatly diminishes.

The UNODC supposedly excludes suicide from their numbers, and they're the ones responsible for the table I linked earlier. Now, that was a chart of homicide, not exclusively those homicides committed with a gun, but the US's anomalous position can be reasonably explained by no other factor.

Obviously, crime with guns isn't limited to homicide, either - a gun doesn't have to be discharged to do its job, and any power that a firearm gives any one person over another is improper and contrary to the rule of law. Gas stations in the bad bits of town with bulletproof glass in front of the counter are a consequence of easy gun ownership, too. It's just harder to count all of the crimes enabled and precautions and protections required by ordinary people and the state and law enforcement and so on than it is to compare homicide rates. The homicide rate itself is a proxy for the disorder and crime.


If we look at homicide, even without firearms...the US kills each other a lot. Yeah, firearms are obviously a common method(about 69%), but say all firearms vanished tomorrow. Our murder rate would STILL be high. We don't have a guns problem, we have a homicide problem.

Same same with general violence, vs gun violence. I'm okay with using proxies, but there's a huge gap between being aware of the high rate and claiming that guns are the source. How do you know that?

Copper Bezel wrote:
How so? It's beyond question that they use firearms, but it's also patently obvious that gangs can and have existed without firearms, and cheerfully exist even where firearms are fairly illegal. I mean, Mexico has precisely one legal firearm store, highly restricted, but this has not solved their gang violence issue. Nor has it even meaningfully limited gang access to firearms. They have enough money and enough power that they get them anyway, through illegal means. Even in the US guns used in crime are overwelmingly purchased illegally, but we can see that even in the case where legal supply overall is restricted very harshly, it doesn't solve an existing culture of violence. Or really do much of anything to affect it.

The so-very-subtle difference between the War on Drugs and the cartel war is that only one of those wars is a metaphor. It's true that the US's permissive gun laws haven't helped matters and that the US government sometimes sells crates of guns to the cartels for kicks, but the more important context here is that the US is much closer to the UK's power to ban pointy objects if we feel like it than Mexico's inability to control commerce of any kind, because the US is a functioning sovereign state. I think you're trivializing Mexico's problems to even make the comparison.


Exactly. Mexico has other causes behind this. The fact that they have only a single legal gun store is, in the end, irrelevant. They could open thousands more, and the gangs would not be significantly affected. They already have access to any degree of firearms they wish, to include things that are not commonly traded or legal in the US. Their more dramatic example serves to illustrate the similar case here.

I mean, sure, the whole drug and crime industry ends up being a glaringly obvious cause in both cases, but I see no reason to believe that this is significantly hindered by the existence of firearms banning. In the more peaceful european countries, it seems as if they've just not had the same issues with crimes and drugs for a number of reasons.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby morriswalters » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:29 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:But wars existed before guns, and were often incredibly bloody. Likewise crime, etc.
But the point is how do guns make gangs more dangerous
Tyndmyr wrote:Full auto Ak47s and RPGs aren't going out, so it's trivially observable that we are not a sufficient explanation for their violence problem.
It isn't a question on why violence is rampant, it's how guns get into a state with severe restrictions. Fully auto AK's don't need to go out, kits are available at gun shows to do the conversion. However I never said that all Mexican guns came from here. The Wiki entry suggests that 70 percent come from the US. And RPG's are a distraction, there is no legal source for Non Government entities.
Tyndmyr wrote:There isn't anything magical about police training that makes it special, nor do police usually follow anything like a strict regime.
I never said there was. However, judging by how many people the police shoot, you have to believe that they come to each interaction with the public believing they might have to shoot. And anyone who believes that, will end up shooting someone, sooner or later. Police or not.
Tyndmyr wrote:Hobbyists like to pursue their hobby. It's really no different for guns than for anything else.
Of course not.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:56 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:[Stuff]

Man, I don't know what to tell you, except that you've successfully won your argument by attrition. This topic is a joke book where every joke has the same punch line - or two, rather; guns obviously aren't a factor in [thing], and gun control can't possibly control guns.

If by some magic it were true that guns did not in fact influence violent crime, that would itself be a paradox requiring explanation, like discovering that a proliferation of cheese slicers had no effect on the slicing of cheese.

That guns make violence easier and more convenient is obvious on the face of it. No one could possibly argue that point, and I don't believe that you are. That logically necessary truth is, to me, sufficient cause to remove them, and the experience of every other developed nation on the planet shows that it is, in fact, possible to do that.

Your apologetics are also disjoint with the pro-gun advocacy that actually keeps guns from being banned; the Second Amendment thumpers are not defending a hobby. Their defenses are selfish, ideological, and logically broken; yours are simply trivial on the scale of the problem. The cost of this hobby to human lives and the rule of law is simply too much to maintain it. If the hobby item in question were instead model rockets, racing go-carts, anime figurines, or custom Android ROMs, the conclusions would be the same.

But feel free to cleverly repeat yourself again, and I'll see myself out.
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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:41 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:But wars existed before guns, and were often incredibly bloody. Likewise crime, etc.
But the point is how do guns make gangs more dangerous
Tyndmyr wrote:Full auto Ak47s and RPGs aren't going out, so it's trivially observable that we are not a sufficient explanation for their violence problem.
It isn't a question on why violence is rampant, it's how guns get into a state with severe restrictions. Fully auto AK's don't need to go out, kits are available at gun shows to do the conversion. However I never said that all Mexican guns came from here. The Wiki entry suggests that 70 percent come from the US. And RPG's are a distraction, there is no legal source for Non Government entities.


That is incorrect. Statisics such as these are based on the number of guns submitted to the US for tracing, which is a minority of guns seized by the Mexican government. Actual number is around 36%(2006, 2007, ATF. Factcheck.org has a decent breakdown of how this came to be mythologized)

Conversion kits that make something fully auto are regulated accordingly. So, no, you can't just buy stuff at a gun show and mash the parts together. Not legally, not without going through the full auto process(which is fairly slow, expensive, rare and obscure).

Sure, a gun is just made of metal bits and such, so you can just mill your own parts, and no law can really prevent access to someone bent on making their own, but existing laws already cover the "buy the gun in pieces" dodge otherwise.

The point is that significant numbers of their firearms cannot possibly have come from legal US sources. Even if you think, for some reason, the Mexican government or the ATF are lying to you, there's clear evidence of a large supply of firearms from non-US sources.

Tyndmyr wrote:There isn't anything magical about police training that makes it special, nor do police usually follow anything like a strict regime.
I never said there was. However, judging by how many people the police shoot, you have to believe that they come to each interaction with the public believing they might have to shoot. And anyone who believes that, will end up shooting someone, sooner or later. Police or not.
Tyndmyr wrote:Hobbyists like to pursue their hobby. It's really no different for guns than for anything else.
Of course not.


There are issues with policing in the US(albeit not universal issues, because police standards vary immensely). However, actual shootouts with the police are still fairly rare. We hear about them more now, because crime as a whole is down, so the police issue seems bigger by comparison, but it's not new. Similar issues happen with tazers, etc. I do not believe it is because police are genuinely fearful...I believe that fear is merely a convenient legal defense to make a shoot seem justified. The problem seems to be in using violence to require immediate, unquestioning compliance, or otherwise for essentially authoritarian ends. This attitude is really pervasive among police.

Copper Bezel wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:[Stuff]

Man, I don't know what to tell you, except that you've successfully won your argument by attrition. This topic is a joke book where every joke has the same punch line - or two, rather; guns obviously aren't a factor in [thing], and gun control can't possibly control guns.

If by some magic it were true that guns did not in fact influence violent crime, that would itself be a paradox requiring explanation, like discovering that a proliferation of cheese slicers had no effect on the slicing of cheese.


Banning cheese slicers would merely be annoying because folks would have to use knives to slice cheese instead. This is similar. Crime predates the gun. Yes, including violent crime.

I've shown evidence for my claims, do you have evidence of yours? Anything beyond "well, it MUST work that way"?

Copper Bezel wrote:That guns make violence easier and more convenient is obvious on the face of it. No one could possibly argue that point, and I don't believe that you are. That logically necessary truth is, to me, sufficient cause to remove them, and the experience of every other developed nation on the planet shows that it is, in fact, possible to do that.


If you seriously think that people decide not to kill others, simply because it means walking up to them, and that's too much effort, then I have to question how you view violence. I don't think convenience is a strong reason people kill folks. Rage? Sure. As a solution to a conflict? Yes. Out of fear? Sure. But the whole reason why criminal gangs exist is because...those folks don't generally have a ton of other options. If dealing drugs pays, and nothing else in your neighborhood does, you deal drugs. When someone steals drugs from you, you can't very well go to police. So, problems get handled personally, via violence. The same conflicts and the same social patterns exist without guns.

And frankly, criminals are going to get guns anyways. Even if you can somehow limit supply enough to get them out of financial range of poorer criminals, they just start using improvised firearms. Zip guns and the like. Long history of this. They're stupid simple and cheap. If someone really feels they need a gun, they can get a gun.

Copper Bezel wrote:Your apologetics are also disjoint with the pro-gun advocacy that actually keeps guns from being banned; the Second Amendment thumpers are not defending a hobby. Their defenses are selfish, ideological, and logically broken; yours are simply trivial on the scale of the problem. The cost of this hobby to human lives and the rule of law is simply too much to maintain it. If the hobby item in question were instead model rockets, racing go-carts, anime figurines, or custom Android ROMs, the conclusions would be the same.


It is a rights issue, sure, because it's an amendment. Same as speech or anything else, you can't expect people to NOT bring that up.

But, what cost? You have not actually demonstrated a delta here. Show me how the existance of the hobby costs actual lives that the banning of it would save. You just keep insisting that it MUST, ergo we should ban the thing. That's it. There is no more.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby morriswalters » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:22 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Factcheck.org has a decent breakdown of how this came to be mythologized)
Since you didn't link it you made me work. :D 36 percent isn't isn't likely a good number either.
Given the lack of hard data from Mexico, we can’t calculate a precise figure for what portion of crime guns have been traced to the U.S. Based on the best evidence we can find so far, we conclude that the 90 percent claim made by the president and others in his administration lacks a basis in solid fact. But we also conclude that the number is at least double what Fox News has reported, based on its reporters’ mistaken interpretation of ATF testimony.

Whether the number is 90 percent, or 36 percent, or something else, there’s no dispute that thousands of guns are being illegalIy transported into Mexico by way of the United States each year.
Tyndmyr wrote: So, no, you can't just buy stuff at a gun show and mash the parts together.
Really? The internet seems to disagree with you. I could link to the kits and video's, but I won't.
Tyndmyr wrote:The point is that significant numbers of their firearms cannot possibly have come from legal US sources. Even if you think, for some reason, the Mexican government or the ATF are lying to you, there's clear evidence of a large supply of firearms from non-US sources.
Even taking your 36 percent number as gospel, 36 percent is non trivial. In any case your dancing on this one. All guns originate from legal sources. It is an open question about when they move from the legal realm into the illegal. I've already linked to the Frontline report. They also cite the ATF.
Tyndmyr wrote:There are issues with policing in the US
Tons of them. What has that to do with my point?

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:38 pm UTC

It is a rights issue, sure, because it's an amendment. Same as speech or anything else, you can't expect people to NOT bring that up.

Man, there's a reason for the right to free speech and press. We don't generally put hobby industries in the Constitution, and we wouldn't have one in there now if not for circular justifications of historical accident.

But no, you're right, I can't myself magically remove every working firearm from the US to demonstrate beyond all doubt that there is or is not a causal connection between guns and violence in the United States in the precise historical moment we occupy. I still don't think it would be a bad experiment to run, for those with the means to do so. Failing that, you seem to have a cardfile of counterarguments for every possible analogy, precedent, and example from any other state or historical moment that illustrates the painful and glaring obviousness of the claim, and I'm done querying it.
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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:41 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote: All guns originate from legal sources.


Leaving aside your vaguely sourced "the internet", this statement here is definitely incorrect. A firearm can be made by an illegal manufacturer. Not a huge problem in the US, save for exceptional times and places, because, well, we have a number of them already. The aforementioned zip guns are one of those things that originate from a legal source only in that you cannot really ban all mechanical parts. They do not originate with legal firearm owners.

Australia now has a bit of an issue with mass manufacture of silenced submachine guns for criminal use. Those are definitely illegal from cradle to grave there. The AK-47 is made in pretty much every country on earth. It's a tent industry in some parts of the world. So, this is definitely not a requirement. Stopping all legal sources does not dry up supply entirely if something is sufficiently easy to make.

If it's something like a nuclear bomb, okay, yeah, you can probably mostly stop that from proliferating. Mostly.

If it's something like booze, well, we tried that. It went poorly.

We've been trying to ban drugs for ages, but even that...yeah, you can find drugs basically anywhere in the US if you want.

Banning things that people want, and are easy to make, is just really hard.

Copper Bezel wrote:
It is a rights issue, sure, because it's an amendment. Same as speech or anything else, you can't expect people to NOT bring that up.

Man, there's a reason for the right to free speech and press. We don't generally put hobby industries in the Constitution, and we wouldn't have one in there now if not for circular justifications of historical accident.

But no, you're right, I can't myself magically remove every working firearm from the US to demonstrate beyond all doubt that there is or is not a causal connection between guns and violence right now in the United States and in the historical moment we occupy. I still don't think it would be a bad experiment to run, for those with the means to do so.


There are indeed rights issues associated with it. Like, stopping those pesky English from rulin' us. But this particular thread isn't really about that, but instead about crime and opportunity, so I pretty much just addressed that on a practical grounds instead.

What sort of experiment would you consider sufficent?

Or hell, what convinced YOU that firearms are a problem? How did that happen?
Last edited by Tyndmyr on Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:49 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Obama says it's easier to get a gun than a book.

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:43 pm UTC

...

I already have an experiment I consider sufficient. It's called "every developed nation that isn't the US".
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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