Interesting. I think most people here on HN also believe in gun rights (as a fundamental right, not that they actually own a gun) and so the saying "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" probably goes over well here.
BUT don't most people here also wish that nuclear weapons could be un-invented? Isn't that the general feeling among those that participated in the development of that technology, that they wish they never did it?
What about the responsible disclosure of zero-days? Don't we agree that those are things we don't want floating around so that anybody can potentially use them before it can be patched?
Or what about an intentional backdoor into an encryption system? Is it only bad if people use it? Or is it bad in of itself?
It is obviously more complicated than "never blame the tool". Some knives are designed for cooking, some knives are designed to inflict maximum damage and pain to human flesh.
I think most people here on HN also believe in gun rights
What makes you think that?
If I had to guess, I'd say ~30-40% of people on HN support the US concept of "gun rights". "Gun rights" support probably around 50% in support in the US, but 80-90% against outside the US. Given the large international audience HN has I think that would move the average significantly.
> says in the US 44% support the status quo and 11% support less strict [gun] laws.
A solid majority don't know what the laws are so "support the status quo" is interesting.
They tend to believe that the laws are less restrictive than they actually are. When you quiz them about specific "proposals", which happen to be current law, you find that those proposals are significantly less popular than the status quo.
Two examples of this are wrt concealed carry and automatic weapons. On the former, very few people think that police should have complete and arbitrary discretion wrt CCW, yet they do in the jurisdictions with the majority of the population.
> assuming the US Citizens on HN reflect public opinion
They're not a very acccurate reflection. For one, their demographics are very different.
> then that would reduce support on HN even further than I estimate above.
Reduce support for what? My claim suggests that the more folks know about US gun laws, the less they support current law and the more they support less strict laws, and I didn't even address the folks who want more strict gun laws. (When you ask them the same questions, many of them have the same reaction as "status quo" folk. They want "more", but they don't want things as strict as they already are.)
BTW - That's why the whole "assault weapon" campaign is political genius. The guns in question are "military" in the same sense that the cars that you can get at a Chevy dealer are race cars (that is, not at all). It plays on ignorance.
Then again, a large number of folks think that "tactical vest" means "bullet proof". (It means "lots of pockets"; think fishing vest, only black or camo fabric.)
Agreed. I don't mind saying I'm wrong on that; I admit I have a typical American bias. I would say that HN is probably much more libertarian-leaning than the average US citizen but probably not enough to warrant my claim of a majority (of HN users). Can I claim my point is still valid though (re: guns as tools)? :-)