The author refrains from espousing an opinion in the piece, but only just, and frankly I disagree with him. The rifles created at build parties don't cause crime. Violence in general is falling, and "gun crime" with it. Occasional, prominent tragedies are emotionally shattering, but making policy based on emotion has served us poorly for decades.
Relevant previous discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3019586
I'm still on the fence as to whether the increased discussion is helping or not. On the one hand it opens peoples eyes to what has always been the case, and sometimes that reduces fear but sometimes it increases it.
The prevailing argument of gun advocates, at least in the US, is that "it's not our guns. it's those other, bad people's guns". It would probably help their case if they stopped arguing that owning a potentially deadly piece of gear is some universal human right not subject to regulation like, say, owning a car.
Most car owners cause approximately no deaths. All drivers need a license and insurance.
The compromise is there to be had - own whatever gun you want, but take a few steps to convince the rest of us that you can do so safely.
But the raw facts speak for themselves; off the top of my head, the latest available numbers are 33,000 or so vehicle accident fatalities per year, 600 with guns.
Lots more car owners accidently kill than gun owners, and as I've mentioned elsewhere, the proper analogy to a drivers license is a concealed carry licence, and I'd add for hunting a hunting licence, which nowadays requires proof of taking a hunter's safety course (unless you're an old guy like me and are grandfathered).
As far as "convincing" "the rest of us", we simply don't have to do that any more than I have to convince you that I can use a printing press without prior restraint, its an enumerated Constitutional right. Want to change that? The Constitution has a mechanism.
And what about considering the opposite end of the stick, e.g. that firearms are used 2.25 million times per year in self-defense (which I figured some time ago was about twice as many times as they are used in criminal offense).
There's also Japan, just in the top10, which was claimed to have a lower suicide rate than the US because of lack of guns, in fact has a suicide rate just short of twice that of the US.
Incidentally, all muslim nations are reporting suicide rates that I just can't believe are accurate, or they're just not present at all. I know multiple stories about suicide from people in Kuwait, and I've never been (just work with consultants that have been there). Presumably they only report suicides amongst Kuwaiti, not the 80% immigrant population, and even then it seems on the low side.
There's reasons for suicide, but merely having an easy means to do it (guns) doesn't factor in at all. Looking at that list, clearly the cold is the main factor, with a close second bad economic conditions, and then we move on to lack of freedom. I wonder if you were to check suicide rates in parts of the US if this pattern would hold. Most in the poor northern states ?
Yep: http://www.suicide.org/suicide-statistics.html#death-rates (not sure if it's a good reference)
Alaska comes out on top, with only New Mexico as a southern state in the top-5.
So here's the theory from those statistics.
1) cold (maybe lack of sunlight ?) is a big cause of suicide
2) barring that, bad economic conditions
3) after that, bad government will do it
The research on this is very good and very clear. Access to effective means of suicide increases rates of completed suicide. Guns are very effective means of suicide, thus access to guns increases rates of completed suicide.
You're making a mistake to compare rates of suicide among different nations. That's tricky because of the different ways suicide is reported (or not reported), but it's also not relevant.
What we really want to know is what the rate of completed suicide would be in the US with guns available and with guns not available.
Once you have that information you then decide whether it's significant enough to warrant restricting guns.
I'm trying to ignore my own strong anti-gun sentiment. My kneejerk reaction is to say "ban all guns!". My considered response is something like "increase availability of mental health treatment! Provide rapid access to crisis and home treatment options! destigmatize mental illness! Persuade men to get treatment for illness, especially mental illness! Start a discussion in the gun owning community about locking guns up, and about getting treatment for mental illness".
Your comments about treatment of elderly people in the Netherlands feels odd. Please, do you have a cite for that?
Stopping treatment or prescribing drugs that will shorten the patient's life is also being done in the US, so if you want to inflate the suicide numbers, you have to do it for all.
Don't they have health insurance ? Well, yes, but the Dutch government unilaterally changed the terms of national health insurance to no longer cover any treatment that isn't likely to "significantly" extend life, on average, and measured in percentage (and not for a particular patient). Of course significantly extending life is measured as a percentage, and if you're 80 ... Basic cheap treatment like dialysis is stopped at ~69 years old. And while it is true that it's unlikely to extend a patient's life by 10% from that point, stopping that treatment will be fatal in ~48 hours in some cases, and it'll be a painful death.
The operative words in "concealed carry license" and "hunting license" is "license", which was exactly my point.
The number of printing press deaths in the US, and likely worldwide is probably quite small.
And in most states (outside of the most infringing states -- my home state of NY is a great example), a Conceal Carry license is "how" you can carry a handgun on your person - and not the ability to own one.
I had my hunting license early, so I really take it for granted.
The An Lushan Rebellion, for example, is thought to have possibly killed 15% of the human population of the entire planet. Hitler and Stalin couldn't dream of such levels of mass murder.
The statistics he listed were also for accidental deaths, in both cases.
One wonders, why? At least in the case of licenses and insurance, we see folks all the time (anecdotally illegal aliens doing work, though I'm curious how well statistics actually back that supposition up) drive with neither, usually to no ill effect.
Insurance usually doesn't seem to help very much in the case of a totaled car, and mostly just seems to be a captive market for insurance providers. Drivers licenses are more for glorified identification than a seal of approval of your driving prowess--look at the highways near any major city.
And yet, here we are, with millions of firearms owned and honestly not that much death and dismemberment because of it, all without licensing and insurance.
We don't need a compromise--it's a solution in search of a problem.
Driving licenses are "a seal of approval of your driving prowess" in many countries other than the United States; American drivers frequently can't drive for shit. (Sorry, but I live in the UK, with approximately half the per-capita adjusted road death/injury rate to the US, and a driving test that's notoriously hard.)
As for "not that much death and dismemberment" because of the easy availability of firearms in the US, it's noteworthy that the level in question is a couple of orders of magnitude higher than in the UK, where firearms ownership is rare and tightly licensed. I wouldn't argue for a total ban -- if nothing else, North America is full of interesting and exciting wildlife, to which many people live in close proximity -- but there's no obvious need for city dwellers to own semi-auto rifles and handguns, and requiring those who do to carry third-party insurance in case an accidental discharge ends up injuring someone is an absolute minimum.
The thing here is that accidental discharges don't happen if you properly maintain your weapons and ammunition, and if you handle them properly.
As an example, I wouldn't store any weapons with a round chambered, wouldn't store weapons loaded, and wouldn't use any rifle or pistol rounds in an apartment for self-defense because of over-penetration concerns. The case where you have an accidental discharge and it hurts someone or something is entirely preventable using common sense, and so I don't believe that we should require insurance against what is honestly improper and unsafe tool usage--that burden should rest on the person who caused the accident.
(On the other hand, if you're as sensible as you say, I have three words for you: no claims discount.)
Quick searching is not instructive as to pricing, but I guess some homeowners policies cover gun accidents, and such insurance is not particularly expensive.
I'll just mention ratios, that I'm a USAA customer who's father was in the military (eyesight kept me out, but they have a special category for us because we're better risks), that I don't have very many guns, have a monitored alarm, and no longer get the no claims discount (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Joplin_tornado).
All that said, I pay 4 times as much for the extra protection needed to cover loss of my guns as I do for the liability insurance that's an enumerated part of my renter's policy, and the single instance liability they're on the hook for is 35 times greater than a total loss of my listed guns and scopes.
I don't think it's merely a solution in search of a problem because we seem to spend an enourmous amount of political energy on the topic in the way we don't on 'who gets to own a Ferrari'. Ferrari owners pay the exorbitant insurance fees for the privilege. You're a firearms enthusiast who would like to own a .303 British? More power to you. Pay up.
This isn't possible if one side's position is 'I get to have whatever I want, because'. You can't buy a thing that plugs into your wall socket that isn't UL certified, what exactly, is so uniquely special about firearms, of all things.
No, you don't. There is such a thing as exposure to risk. Otherwise anyone would have the liberty to build a toxic waste processing plant by your back yard because, hey, that's not hurting you. Yet.
Strangely, this is not the established way of things in any actually functional society.
"Do you know how many felonies you just committed? Just because you are a reporter doesn't make you immune to these multiple CA felonies:
1) Owning a semi-automatic w/ a pistol grip
2) At 1:20 you can clearly see that the magazine lock is mounted too far back, allowing the magazine to be detached without the use of a tool.
3) You perform an improper disposal of the gun and leave it for the garbage collector. By CA law, that's an illegal transfer since he didn't go through an FFL.
I hope you get shafted by those strict laws you support, idiot."
How would you have preferred to see this reported?
Is it just that Mother Jones published it? Is it something he said? Is it the fact that he destroyed the gun afterwards?
There's also zero context of how the author got to the build party, etc. From a pure interest standpoint (as opposed to a political one), I wish he would have included that.
What "this"? That somebody built a rifle from a kit is not exactly newsworthy.
But, sure, you could see a piece in Vanity Fair about my trip across the country in my hand-build automobile, why not. What we have here is this article coming out in the midst of a huge argument about how to reduce traffic fatalities, noting especially how there is absolutely no oversight over hand-assembled vehicles. (Okay, those have to pass inspection, but leave that aside.) Where hand-assembled vehicles account for roughly no traffic fatalities. Surely you can see how that article in that context is rather disingenuous, to put it charitably.
Or you think that any misleading effect is regrettable, but not a reason to alter the tone of the article?
The facts of this report should be a part of our conversation, as a great many facts should be that are not. I only worry that this article seems written to imply the opposite of its facts.
I personally find the article to be very narrow and factual. It seems to go out of its way to refrain from implying much of anything, and just tells the story.
It's odd that gun advocates are coming out of the woodwork to criticize it despite that. One gets the impression that gun advocates find straight facts to be problematic.
> I think someone who didn't know a lot about the facts could easily read TFA and come away with the idea that there exists some connection between our gun violence problem and some or all of rifles, military rifles, AK-47s, kit-build rifles, bump-fire stocks, build parties, or armslist.com.
...then we likely don't have much to discuss. I agree that the article doesn't imply much of anything, which as I've said is what I find misleading. Because it should imply that these rifles and kits and parties and people are harmless, because that's true.
My worry is that reporting about these "legal, untraceable" rifles which doesn't include a note to the effect of, "But in practice, it's just a hobby, this really isn't dangerous at all," baldly factual though it may be, will have only the effect of spreading FUD about harmless rifles, which since they also happen to be the very coolest and frankly most Second-Amendment-appropriate guns will only further radicalize gun owners and drive us further from compromise on legislation that will really save lives.
If that makes me a "gun advocate" in your eyes... Well then I'm not sure what that makes you.
If that's correct, then you're right, we don't have much to discuss. I cannot even remotely fathom that attitude.
If the rest of the parts were not legal to purchase, they could be built from scratch too. A skilled craftsman can make an entire AK-47 replica in ~one day. An unskilled one following plans on the internet working from what's procurable from any hardware store and using cheap tools from the same source can make (a much shoddier one) in a few weeks.
Making guns is not hard. They are, in their basics, very simple pieces of gear, and can be built from the same materials with same tools as any other metalworking project.
In conflict zones where gun imports are successfully blocked, the locals invariably build their own. These weapons range from AK-47 replicas to zip guns  that make 15 minutes to make. I'd argue that for crime, the zip gun is the more practical one.
What's interesting to me is not that a gun can be built by an individual, but that this particular kind of gun can be built legally by an individual in the US without informing anyone.
People build their own airplanes, for example, but at the end of the day they have to get them inspected and registered before they can legally fly them. That one can build an AK-47 without any such controls, and still be completely within the law, is interesting.
How many of them do you think understand what a receiver is, or what the difference is between an automatic and semi-automatic?
If you genuinely think this is information that more people should not know then say so explicitly.
There is a debate about guns going on in the US, whether you like it or not. The question is whether you want people to make informed decisions or not.
Order... hundreds of thousands? Millions, maybe? It depends how you define a kit, I guess. It's quite common to put together uppers and lowers and barrels and triggers et cetera when building a rifle, and I imagine most of those who do so understand the rules that govern it. Frankly building an AK from parts isn't a lot harder than that, you can do it with hand tools.
> How many of them do you think understand what a receiver is, or what the difference is between an automatic and semi-automatic? ... If you genuinely think this is information that more people should not know then say so explicitly.
Has this information been removed from Wikipedia? It's all public, that's the point.
> There is a debate about guns going on in the US, whether you like it or not. The question is whether you want people to make informed decisions or not.
I don't believe this will help anyone to make an informed decision (unless they want to build an AK, maybe). As has been noted elsewhere in these comments, we do not have a problem with rifle violence in the US. We just don't. It's not worth having a national discussion about.
But people on both sides want it to be about rifles, because that's where the political hay gets made. The anti-side loves to hate rifles because they're scary looking, while the pro-side loves to love them because, well, same reason. They're talking perfectly past each other, and can likely continue to do so indefinitely. But while this debate is going on, while this very article was being written to make whatever point it will be used to make, our children continue to kill themselves and each other with cheap, legal, store-bought handguns.
Let's fucking talk about that.
Irrespective of who's right on that point, there is a cultural issue here. People who have not lived with/around fire arms, and who do not hunt, have essentially no reason to ever encounter a fire arm. It is, save for violent crime, just not relevant to their lives.
Expecting them to be informed about firearms kind of isn't reasonable is it? So even if the information is out there, they've had no cause, nor frame of reference for figuring out how guns work.
So, when an explainer like this pops up on how easy it is to put together a gun, it's worthwhile to point out that turning some sheets of metal into a gun is really freaking easy, and banning all guns (even if it were legal) would be from a practical standpoint really really hard.
> As has been noted elsewhere in these comments, we do not have a problem with rifle violence in the US. [...] Let's fucking talk about that.
Dude, I could not agree with you more. But despite that, having even the most basic explainer on firearms is still a good thing.
So, anyway, how do we stop handgun deaths, deliberate or accidental? :P
He bought it, he built it, he fired forty rounds through it and then he found it so distasteful that he didn't want it in his life, so he destroyed it. Even after mentioning how much it might have sold for, he didn't sell it. He didn't even give it away to one of the hobbyists he met, which he would have no difficulty finding takers for.
Imagine you help someone buy and put together their first computer. Not a monster machine, but a nice solid, balanced build. Later you learn that they booted it up once, played thirty minutes of World of Warcraft, and didn't like it, so they smashed all the parts with a hammer and left it out with the trash. How does that make you feel?
To a normal person, whatever, that might be a bit of an overreaction. But an enthusiast is shocked, confused, dismayed. Why? Why did you do that? I could have taken it off your hands. I could have paid shipping.
And that's the lethal problem: The author of the article, himself, could not or did not come to an understanding of how and why it is that these hobbyists feel safe and comfortable with what they do. He didn't understand them, from the sound of it he didn't really try to, and he still doesn't.
And if he doesn't understand it himself, what can he possibly hope to teach anyone else?
I'm reminded of the recent incident in the US Southwest somewhere (Arizona?) where a city started a gun buyback program with the intention of destroying the guns, and the NRA sued them to prevent them from destroying guns that they had legally purchased from willing sellers.
The world is mad, I tell you.
To be honest, it's exactly the point I think the article missed so closely. It's different when you're an enthusiast. You see a mass-produced object worth what it will cost to haul away; I see a unique work of art, low born perhaps but with a history and a soul, with countless beautiful features and imperfections. (Mind, this isn't guns for me personally.) Yes it's yours, but it shouldn't be destroyed, that's disgraceful!
All that being said, it is unfortunate that so many of the most vocal gun advocates seem to have so little respect for people who don't like guns.
It would need to be a legal sale under CA law, meaning I guess it would need to be serialized and registered by an FFL. Mind you this is all subject to the capricious opinion of the ATF, which has pretty broad discretion over who gets to go to jail-- but even if transfer were utterly illegal, that's something hobbyists have been dealing with for decades.
All he would need to do is remove the receiver -- the folded sheet metal, the only part he "made" -- destroy that, destroying the firearm, and give away the rest as so much unregulated junk. As soon as he cut that receiver in half, he was holding a legal, untraceable nothing in the eyes of the law. Then he says he cut the parts into pieces. He really, really did not have to do that.
And what I reduce this to is-- you're right in that transferring this firearm could be a huge hassle that might lead the average person not to bother with it. So this is a journalist researching a story, and he turned down an opportunity to find out first-hand just how burdensome these regulations are on hobbyists. That's an entire missing half of this article. Why? Because it was hard? I'm not trying to question his motives, but it really seems like he didn't even try to understand.
Book burning used to be seriously reprehensible, because it was a potentially effective way to destroy or deny information. If you were burning Bibles in the 14th century or whatever, you were making it vastly harder for locals to find out what was in a Bible. A successful book-burning program could seriously alter the information available.
Today, though, book-burning is pointless except in some rare cases. It's definitely pointless to burn Bibles or anything else that exists in multiple copies. Yet we still find it to be reprehensible. Why?
I think part of it is just history. We remember that it used to be really awful, and we're slow to catch up.
But part of it is the symbolism. We know that it's not really destroying information or impacting anyone's access to it. But that's still the intent. By burning books, you're declaring that you want to deny people this information, even if you can't. Well, sometimes you are. Other times you're just disposing of paper and ink to no ill effect. It can be hard to tell them apart.
I think the AK-47 here is much like burning a widely available book. There are tons of AK-47s out there, so destroying one won't impact its availability in any meaningful way. It ultimately does nothing to destroy one. On the other hand, it may be symbolic, saying that you want to deny people to these guns, even if you can't. Or maybe it's just pragmatic. Hard to tell exactly which one applies here.
Basically, <3K children per year for 2008 and 2009.
...and the estimated total child population:
Around 74 million at that time.
So, this is whitenoise from population standpoint; .004% of the population of kids.
I'm not going to suggest giving up access to pistols for the nation because of statistical outliers.
Mother Jones is a known Liberal magazine and despite the approach to not insert the authors opinion, you can clearly see the point of the article is we need to have the ability to register guns with the government.
I'm constantly shocked at how uninformed gun control advocates are.
Here is Mother Jones publishing an article which gets to the heart of how difficult gun control is as a practical matter, and what is your reply?
Oh they're a "known Liberal magazine" (as if it mattered).
And you're "shocked at how uninformed gun control advocates are".
Here are your avowed Liberal gun control advocates, making the case that gun control is difficult and impractical, and what are you doing? You're chastising them. No attempt to assuage their concerns, no attempt to highlight the points that make gun control challenging. Nothing except a cultural appeal to people who already agree with you.
Way to move the discussion forward.
And another thing, why is it gun patriots never give a fig about the other rights in the Constitution, like freedom of speech, religion, and assembly? I think you guys just like to play with guns.
It takes a cold dead hand...
Cars however...30,000ish accidental per year. (USA numbers)
"In 2007, there were 613 fatal firearm accidents in the United States, constituting 0.5% of 123,706 fatal accidents that year" 
In Milwaukee, 76% of homicide victims had prior arrests/citations, and 90% of suspects had priors. Source: http://city.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/Groups/cityHRC/report...
Note the year before, it was 606, which is where it's been for a while. It wasn't as high as 851 in the early 80s, when the population was nearly 1/3 lower as well as the number of guns owned.
Something is wrong with one of these two statistics. Besides the discontinuity, I seriously doubt we in the gun community wouldn't have noticed a 30% increase in the number of accidental gun fatalities.
Note, I'm not saying this preliminary 2011 number is wrong, just that I suspect something other than the real rate of accidents changed. Hmmm, there's not even any external event that would account for a 2010 to 2011 increase (i.e. the major spikes in purchasing were after Obama was first elected and after Newtown, things were back to something like "normal" in 2011 although sales just kept going up and up year to year each month).
ADDED: As those major increases in population and guns owned occurred, we worked really hard to get the accident rate down. Mandatory hunter safety courses, a general emphasis on safety in the now larger self-defense area, etc. etc. etc. The rate is still down due to the population increase, but....
On average, 33 gun homicides were committed each day for the years 2005-2010 -- WISQARS Injury Mortality Reports, 1999-2010
Deliberate murders involving guns outnumber accidental killings some 36 to 1.
Note however that accidental automotive killings outnumber deliberate willful homicides using firearms. Odd that somehow the former garners little public concern.
EDIT: I did once meet a militia member at a non-gun civil rights event.
And we're most certainly interested in other civil rights, ranging from freedom of speech (Citizens United, McCain hates us with a passion and were were one of the groups he and Feingold aimed to silence), to the abuses of SWAT raids. Read our stuff and you'll find your opinion to be ill founded.
Start standing up for porn, flag burning, video games, and pastafarians and I might take you for some one serious about civil rights. Liberty is not about being able to do the things you like, it is much bigger.
If you do stand up for the other civil right, thanks! But I see no evidence in tone or content of this.
I'm pro-second amendment and I care very much out our liberties. In fact I believe that the same arguments made for and against the second amendment can also be made for and against the others you've mentioned.
Are those in favor of gun control also in favor of controlling speech, religion and assembly?
I own a few firearms and don't play with any of them.
If these Obama-worshippers would pause for a moment in the adoration of their "Saint", they might see that he and his administration (DoJ) are responsible for the largest power grab and human rights violation in the history of this country.
The Second Amendment is not a "suggestion" or "subject to interpretation" (aside from a constitutional amendment). It is part of the bedrock of this nation that was founded on a profound distrust of arbitrary government power, and a belief that "We The People" must keep our government small, scared, and subject to the will of the governed, not the other way around.
The history of the country is a long time. Pretty sure slavery was a bigger human rights violation.
But even talking within the last hundred years, pretty sure that would be the Patriot Act along with Homeland Security, TSA, and the rest of the perma-war apparatus wielded against citizens at home.
Those freedoms are more useful on a daily basis to many more of us.
And the Second Amendment was founded for two purposes -- so that this nation would be able to defend itself against an outside force that sought to destroy the U.S.'s independence, and so that this nation would be able to defend itself against an inside force that sought to destroy the U.S.'s independence, i.e. the government.
I'm constantly amazed at how few moderates and independents exist. There seems to be an intense dichotomy with regards to politics; you're either blue or red.
The indoctrination towards either party must stop.
I certainly do not want to kill anyone, but my safety comes first. If my safety would not be any more in jeopardy (aka, same stopping power), I'd be fine with it. My only concern is ME living.
I'm sure most pragmatics would feel the same way.
Agreed with travisby, and in fact, we and the police are only legally allowed to use lethal force to stop, not to kill per se (internally, killing is reserved to the judiciary). We just don't have anything even on the horizon that comes close to the stopping power of firearms without also bringing its own dangers to life. In fact, pretty much all of those instruments of force are called "less lethal" to underline that using them might result in death, e.g. pepper spray and allergies or asthma. The very connotations of the word "force" tell you a lot.
The other gun owning members of my family wouldn't, they're all hunters first and foremost, and we don't bow hunt in part because we don't consider that humane. There's also issues with wildlife pretty much every place we live.
And why should some some 18yo kid in the army have that right but not a middle aged adult? Because some other army guy yelled at him for a few weeks and gave him a uniform?
You mention a father could go crazy and kill you for sneaking in to screw his daughter, but what if you were a rapist sneaking in to rape his daughter? Might be nice to have way to defend your home in that situation. That being said, I don't believe that assault rifles should be legal though.
"Assault weapon" is a made up term used to try to discriminate these civilian rifles on the basis of the cosmetic features that make them seem frightening to non-gun-owners. When we talk about a semi-automatic civilian "AK-47" like this, it's really just called a rifle.
And for you fans of enterprise solutions:
Your moral reasoning needs practice, kid.
Good luck convincing us to willingly give up another inch on this issue.
Heh, I'm < 25 yrs old and a coder at a top software company with a six figure salary. And I've only been coding for a couple of years. I give you advice, kid.
You do realize that your point there is exactly the same that most gun-control opponents make? If we are to accept your point, you need to accept theirs.
What do you work on, out of curiosity? Maybe it's something you're actually qualified to give me advice on--I'm always up for learning. :)
I mean, courts will try them afterwards, but that's no consolation to your corpse.
Yes I am aware that the parents example would probably fall under "crimes of passion". The man would still want him dead for more than long enough to make it reality.
The idea that you can go around getting people so angry that they want to kill you more than a few times without ill effect is silly.
I worded my last post incorrectly it seems. Let me be clearer.
When you get people angry enough, they try to kill you. This is usually the wrong thing for them to do. But people do it anyway. Police and courts have nothing to do with it. People are still very much able to kill you without a gun, and they have a decent chance of succeeding.
If you continually do things that result in people trying to kill you, the chance of you becoming a homicide statistic rapidly approaches one. If you want to dispute this, you can argue with the 506 homicides in Japan in 2009. (Where weapons are virtually nonexistent.)
In other words, please don't get yourself killed under the mistaken notion that men without guns are somehow incapable of it.
Constructing an argument that leans on the courts and police to protect you is entirely specious.
Contrary to the mantra that is often plastered on the side of every patrol car, the police have no duty whatsoever to protect you. And likewise, the courts or police cannot nor will not protect you from threat even if that threat is imminent and certain. The only duty of our justice system is to investigate and apprehend criminals, not to protect your person or property.
1. Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981)
2. DeShaney v. Winnebago Cnty. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 489 U.S. 189 (1989)
3. Leidy v. Borough of Glenolden, et al., 277 F. Supp. 2d 547, 561 (E.D. Pa. 2003)
Seriously, you can either live your life afraid of every damn thing, or accept that while there are dangerous devices out there the odds of ending up on the wrong side of one can be mitigated--unless, you know, you go looking for trouble.
Don't be such a scaredy-cat.
Every point you make is wrong:
I'd have a decent chance of getting away from a car, I wouldn't from an AK-47. A car has other legitimate uses. Guns outside of the police and hunting, don't imo.
I wouldn't say being afraid of firearms counts me as having no spine and afraid of "anything". I just think you're kinda full of crap and would cry the most if you actually had a gun in your face.
I wouldn't say guns are just a means of force. A good punch, a knife is. A gun is just an automatic KO for me. So yes, I don't think the average person should be able to have a gun - something that serves no means other than give him the ability to kill people at will.
Are you afraid of cars? Of lathes or mills? One misstep with those and you're going to lose a digit, more likely than not.
Weapons are tools, and you can't go through life being afraid of tools. You respect them, you treat them carefully, but you shouldn't be afraid of them.
Why is the idea of someone else being able to kill people at will so distressing to you? It shouldn't be an issue, right, if you haven't put yourself in a position to deserve it--after all, that's the position you're wishing on those who would go against the military or police.
Again every point adds nothing to the debate:
Guns are tools for killing. I'm pretty afraid of that, and I think so are lots/the majority of other people, so that settles that.
Because there is the police and courts for trials. I don't want to be tried by some dude with shit judgement and there - my life is over.
You really are hopeless case. The whole world laughs at the stupidity of US gun control laws and it's just agonizing debating with someone on the other side. You know, the Boston bomber shouldn't have done that. He should've just assembled one of these and killed a couple hundred in the crowd, and you should be there.
An AK-47, as used throughout the planet, is a machine gun. A fully-automatic machine gun. You hold down the trigger, and the gun begins firing at a high rate until you remove your finger from the trigger, or run out of ammunition.
He did not build that.
He built a semi-automatic rifle that is functionally equivalent in pretty much every way to a hunting rifle you can buy at your local sporting goods chain store.
This harkens back to the "assault rifle" issue, which sees a type of rifle that is in every way equivalent to a semi-automatic hunting rifle labeled as an "assault rifle" because it looks more bad-ass than grandpa's deer rifle.
I'm kind of ruefully laughing at myself here, as after three years of reading Hacker News, this is the topic that got me to angrily dive to my keyboard to make an account and comment. This from a total urbanite who gets nervous at being more than three blocks from a taxi stand and a wet bar, and who would probably need counseling if confronted by any woodland creature larger than a mid-sized rat.
In the U.S., the legal use of assault rifle has not been particularly confused (it's always meant guns with automatic fire capability), just the sloppy and/or misconstrued use of the term in media and advocacy.
Edit: Second paragraph is wrong, see link down thread.
I think this is an important point, because when you cut through the furor, that really is the only effective distinction. And it's a heck of a lot more minor a distinction than the more common blending of "fully automatic machine gun" with a semi-auto rifle that merely looks bad ass, is covered with Tactical Stuff (TM), and uses a composite stock instead of wood.
Also, when I looked up the number for post ban magazines, I realized that I was wrong about assault weapons and full automatic. Wikipedia has a summary of the federal ban:
IE, show them this: http://i.imgur.com/XZmPlGQ.jpg,
and the response will be "Yeah! Ban that! Nobody should be able to own that!"
Show them this: http://i.imgur.com/a916R.jpg,
however, and the response will be much more muted, perhaps with a bit of "I think my Dad had one like that for hunting or something..."
Of course they are functionally equivalent rifles, each semi-automatic. But one looks scary/bad-ass, one looks like Dad's hunting rifle.
I don't mean this all argumentatively or semantically. I think this issue really matters. If we are going to pass laws based on the outward appearance of something, then that's the kind of law - and legal process - I am very wary of. If, instead, we have an honest and reasoned debate on the issue, going through a process of deciding if, say, semi-automatic weapons should able to be owned by citizens; and if there should be a limit of the number of rounds in a magazine - or if people should be able to own a rifle that accepts a magazine; then that's the kind of process I can get on board with.
I think it's dishonest to ask a voter, "should we ban assault rifles?" I think it's much more honest to ask, in effect, a series of questions about firearms, to get at the meat of the matter in a way that is sensible.
But I don't think I'm going out on a limb here when I say that as it stands, people want to ban scary looking guns, and that is the depth to which they evaluate the entire issue.
8,583 - Homicides by firearms (all types)
323 - Homicides by rifles
1,694 - Homicides by sharp objects (knives, etc)
496 - Homicides by blunt objects (clubs, etc)
Other guns 97
Firearms, type not stated 1587
My only caveat is bodies found without a recovered bullet; almost all centerfire rifles have greater energies and sectional densities than normally used handguns, so the bullet is more likely to exit. To get a handle on this we'd need breakdowns on where they happened (e.g. city, almost certainly a handgun, rural, a rifle is more likely, if only because of concealment issues). Or talk to coroners, the wounds will be somewhat different.
It's "good" that rifles are used to kill fewer people than other weapons, and we should choose our battles accordingly.
That doesn't change the fact that I want to make it as hard as possible for crazy people or people on a power trip to be able to fashion machines designed to efficiently kill people like me. That seems like a simple principle.
Maybe the best way to achieve that here is to let these things stay in obscurity. Maybe not.
I would worry more about cars, corporations, and governments. :)
I don't know if people just want to start a interesting conversation, or if they feel like disparaging government somehow refutes my point. I hope it's the former, because it doesn't. If you understand why I don't want people to have access to tools designed to kill people like me, but consider government to be an existential threat, it should still be pretty obvious that the list of priorities is something like 1. handguns, 2. rifles, ..., N. governments.
The stakes, for you and yours, are terribly high if you're wrong, now or in the future.
Our government was explicitly designed to be "inefficient" at doing anything internally (externally the President/Executive has a much freer hand), but I do believe that we armed citizens can stop it from mass murder (I am making certain assumptions about the culture of the military and who goes into it WRT to nuclear weapons, of course). If you aren't familiar with the maxim "Amateurs discuss tactics, professionals logistics", you should check that out before seriously considering the overall issue. Or just note that all those 20th century mass murders were preceded by disarming the targets, those governments certainly thought guns made a difference.
But it's undeniable that governments are an existential threat to their peoples; if you learn nothing else from 20th century history you should learn that. And to take my country as an example (are you one of the few foreigners who has a benign view of it???), our current President launched his political career in the house of two '70s "revolutionaries" who, while fecklessly bombing and killing people, estimated that they'd have to kill around 10% of the population after they succeeded, that many would be totally resistant to reeducation.
I'm not trying to say so much about Obama above as I am about our ruling class, which celebrates such figures, rewards them with professorships in higher education instead of reading them out of polite society, or in one very special case, the man (Bill Ayers) with a big picture of him stomping on an American flag on 9/11/2001 in our preeminent "paper of record" newspaper (!!!; a singularly ill timed article in the New York Times).
We know what such people would try to do if they gained enough power, and we have throughout this nation's history made very sure they wouldn't get very far. Heck, do you believe in insurance? I didn't expect to make a big claim when it first started paying renters insurance decades ago, and even if I hadn't (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Joplin_tornado) I'd still be paying.
And, BTW, rifles are the alpha and omega here, handguns have never made much of a difference unless that's all you had and you needed them to procure better arms.
Government is an amplifier, nothing more.
In places where you can walk down the street with a rifle and not draw attention, and the markets are flooded with kalishnakov based designs are very prevalent though, and were the market to get flooded, then they would be more common.
I don't think enough people are going to hand build these to make that the case in LA though.
It also opened my eyes to the simple arguments "I like shooting guns" and "it's not the government's business", which I had dismissed so easily it's scary. I like to think the experience improved my ability to seriously consider opposing arguments.
EDIT: Obviously the problem is with circumventing the DRM - but in the context of the post I'm responding to (people home building machines with no DRM) I thought I was obvious.
Homebuilt PCs are completely legal everywhere I know. Not including any DRM-related software or hardware does not constitute a crime, as PC has no parts that are mandatory by law.
On the contrary, homebuilt firearms are illegal to create and/or possess in some jurisdictions (but completely legal in others, laws on this matter vary from country to country).
"Homebuilt PC without DRM" [...] pretend it was written in 2023
The implication is that the machine is built to circumvent DRM, not just to avoid using any DRMd media. Obviously avoiding DRMd media is legal. But using something to circumvent DRM is illegal.
To directly answer your question: Licensed software and permission from rights holders.
There's nothing illegal about not having licensed software on your computer.
Here's the anti circumvention article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-circumvention)
The problem is in circumventing the DRM, not just having a machine with no DRM on it. But that's the implication in a dystopian future-story where people home build machines with no DRM.
The situation is completely analogous with automobiles. The government ensures people granted driver's licenses are cognitively capable of safe operation of their vehicle. More importantly, the government tracks vehicles to ensure just compensation for parties injured by the operation of a motor vehicle.
The only reason a similar institution has not been built for firearms is a) gun culture represents a small and decreasing minority of Americans and b) legislative capture by the munitions industry.
>A lot of people interested in gun culture have severe inefficiencies in their cognitive abilities.
First off you start off insulting a large group of people, painting broad strokes of assumption. You've already lost the majority of all your credibility (what little you had that is) at this point.
>gun culture represents a small and decreasing minority of Americans
There are more guns in circulation and owned and in the hands of americans than there has ever been in history prior to this date. Practically all your opinions on gun control and gun ownership are false.
I'd tell you to go out and do some ACTUAL research on the subject, but judging by the fact you open your opinion insulting a vast majority of americans for no good reason at all, its falling on deaf ears.
I guess I can finish saying that for ignorant people like you, it would be best if you said nothing at all, you are embarrassing yourself.
I don't have figures, and most of academia was delighted to celebrate a fraud who claimed very very few owned guns in colonial times (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arming_America) so data is probably hard to come by, but I wouldn't presume that at all.
Driving or owning an automobile is not an enumerated Constitutional right.
Owning an automobile is not a highly regulated activity. An analogous comparison would be legal concealed carry .... which is highly regulated outside of Vermont, Alaska, Wyoming, and Arizona.
"The only reason...." In addition to the above is that there are a very large number of gun owners in this country, possibly a majority of the nation's households, and we vote. Politicians aren't in thrall to the manufacturers organization, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), they're scared of the gunowners organization, the National Rifle Association, which even at 5 million members is only a fraction of gun owners and serious voting gun owners.
Every year Obama has been in office Americans have bought 10 million new guns (we have good numbers on that due to taxes and regulation). Think about that....
I personally enjoy living in a city that bans knives and guns. I find it comforting to know that it's not likely for someone I pass to have a gun. I also can't go a single day without passing a dozen cops. However, there is plenty of data telling us there isn't enough data to make arguments one way or another about gun laws - no consistent, comprehensive studies exist that clearly point to legalizing or banning guns that will make an impact in either direction. I believe in funding studies that can give us an answer to that very problem.
I did a little research and it seems that Pell City, Alabama has taken Chicago's crown:
Sec. 13-25. - Weapons — Carrying off of one's premises.
It shall be unlawful for any person to carry off of his premises any knife or
instrument of like kind or pistol within the city; provided, on the trial for
such offense the defendant may give in evidence that at the time of carrying
such weapon or pistol he had good reason to apprehend and attack, which may
be taken in mitigation of the offense by the judge in trying him; provided
further, this section shall not apply to persons who are permitted to carry
such weapons by the laws of the state.
Do you live in Pell City? I would love to hear if you ever see any ramifications of this ordinance in daily life.
Sadly, the gun lobby does not believe in funding such studies. That fact alone is extremely suggestive.
If you're neutral on the subject, you shouldn't want junk science to be funded.
Who do you suggest?
WRT to donations, I made 5 sets of political donations in the last year or so, and 3 of the 5 were "successful" in that the politician or cause succeeded, and in the case of the politicians they're doing exactly what I want ... aside from asking me for more money this calendar year ^_^.
I also think there is a restriction that pertains to open carry versus concealed (even if concealed means a spyderco clipit hanging inside your pocket).
http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/LAWSSEAF.cgi?QUERYTYPE=LAW... seems to indicate that gravity knives are legal but perhaps there are other laws that apply. http://www.akti.org/action/new-york-city-knife-code doesn't seem to indicate any others though.
You can also do this with AR-15 receivers, there used to be a couple of places that would sell you an 80% aluminum casting and you would finish the machining yourself.
If you don't want to go to the trouble you can always buy a stripped lower receiver from a dealer (this is the part that carries the serial # and is considered the gun by the BATFE) and assemble the rest yourself. I wrote an article on this back in 2000 - http://www.brianlane.com/build-an-ar-15-rifle.html
As it turns out, people who don't want to follow the rules, will find a way to not.
Sure a serial number will tell who the original purchaser of the firearm was, but that in itself does not necessarily prove that the original owner is the one who committed a crime.
The background check issue is a red herring according to the US-NIJ studies.
You may not know this if you've never bought a gun at a gun store, but they call in your identifying information, they say nothing to the Federal government about the gun or guns to be bought except if they include handguns as I recall.
There are forms to be filled out that do include recording the serial number, but that came long before the national background check system (1968 vs. mid-90s).
Mag locks serve no purpose in crime prevention because they don't have some sort of magic anti-criminal switch, they just annoy people trying to obey the law and criminals ignore the law so they don't bother.
Plus or minus that age you have to also start "gun proofing" them, teach them how to handle guns safely, not to do it unsupervised, avoid the lure of the forbidden fruit, etc. etc. My father started with all of us at age 3, when he'd start taking us out for the safer types of hunting (not quail, where you're moving around a lot, albeit that would have exhausted us way too quickly). Don't remember when he started explicitly teaching it, but he did it by example starting then.
Ignoring the issue is just bad, we figured that out a long time ago with sex education, not teaching your kids about the things you may or may not have in your house is dangerous.
3% means there are more than 9.4 million assault rifles in US homes. Are they expecting an invasion?
(that being said, foreign invasion is probably not a large motivating factor for most civilian gun owners in the US, but your question was rather silly)
The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusetts? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The past which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive; if they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13 states independent 11 years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & What country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is its natural manure.
Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William S. Smith (13 November 1787).
Could you provide at least ONE scientifically accurate source actually proving this obviously biased opinion? Can you provide even one?
Or is this just the standard liberal, pulling information out of your own ass to further your own viewpoint style of thought so common with your type and others on ycombinator.
Also your own words contradict themselves. You open your statement with, "most gun ownership is motivated by...". And then finish your statement with, "A small minority turn to...". Absolutely fascinating you couldn't even go more than a paragraph without contradicting yourself.
Secondly, the supposed contradiction you identified is not a contradiction at all, the first quote was talking about most gun owners the second about a minority of the entire population (who, the poster was arguing, makeup the majority of gun owners). Perhaps your reply would have benefited from you taking a few seconds to allow your masculinity to recover before you started hammering the keyboard in anger.
Thirdly, 30 seconds on google scholar will find you plenty of articles about the links between masculinity and gun ownership.
Stroud, Angela. "Good Guys With Guns Hegemonic Masculinity and Concealed Handguns." Gender & Society 26.2 (2012): 216-238.
In most states in the U.S. it is legal to carry a concealed handgun in public, but little is known about why people want to do this. While the existing literature argues that guns symbolize masculinity, most research on the actual use of guns has focused on marginalized men. The issue of concealed handguns is interesting because they must remain concealed and because relatively privileged men are most likely to have a license to carry one. Using in-depth interviews with 20 men, this article explores how they draw on discourses of masculinity to explain their use of concealed handguns. These men claim that they are motivated by a desire to protect their wives and children, to compensate for lost strength as they age, and to defend themselves against people and places they perceive as dangerous, especially those involving racial/ethnic minority men. These findings suggest that part of the appeal of carrying a concealed firearm is that it allows men to identify with hegemonic masculinity through fantasies of violence and self-defense.
Seriously? Go visit some gun forums or any generic conservative forums. Fantasising about how some criminals "picked the wrong guy to mess with" and "weren't ready for my $massive_gun" is commonplace. It's so common that it's a well established meme: http://i.imgur.com/TJUNFCg.jpg
As for your dismissal of a scientific article just based on worlds you don't like the look of and findings you don't agree with, well I think that speaks for itself.
That's a fantasy of violence not a fantasy of self-defense.
> As for your dismissal of a scientific article just based on worlds you don't like the look of and findings you don't agree with, well I think that speaks for itself.
I'm assuming you meant words not worlds (I'm not picking on your spelling just making sure I'm haven't misunderstood what you've written). The article is behind a paywall. The citation is pretty damning and doesn't look impartial at all. These aren't words I don't; like these are words that indicate a bias and I think I made it clear that I cannot disagree with the findings because I have not read the article. I'm assuming that you have read the article because you're calling it science.
The fact that you don't see these words as a warning sign and that you've made this personal tell me something as well.
Look, I've attended a CHL course. The course was a sham, there were people that had never used a firearm before and I did not have a high regard for the intelligence of the people attending. On the other hand I know plenty of people, who do have a CHL, who are responsible, who do not look forward to having to use a firearm and who carry a firearm solely because they see it as a tool, that one day, might help in the defense of themselves or others.
> It's so common that it's a well established meme: http://i.imgur.com/TJUNFCg.jpg
The image you linked to doesn't, as far as I can tell, depict a self-defense fantasy (again what is that). You'll notice the comic is far from, "the civilian with a handgun in a chaotic shootout." Instead it's riffing on the fact that active-shooter situations are hard and the misconception that the act of self-defense will not result in injury to bystandards. Call it a fantasy of self-defense if you'd like; not a self-defense fantasy.
For example, you mention the AK-47. I consider it to be a fully automatic, with selective fire, machine gun. You hold down the trigger, and the gun rapid fires until you remove your finger from the trigger, or you run out of ammunition.
Interestingly, and as far as I can tell, the author of the article did not make that. He assembled a semi-automatic-only version, based on the type that is available to gun enthusiasts. IE, not a full-auto machine gun.
But anyoo, just to be clear, you would term the following rifles to be assault rifles, correct?
Generally I agree that using this sort of thing to get a 'gotcha' moment out of it is a waste of time. The problem is that context doesn't help me understand what a person means when they say assualt rifle. I've had someone describe an assault rifle as anything that's specifically made to kill people.