Atheists are a small minority in the U.S.  Advocates of gun control might be a minority in America as well. In light of the recent shootings in Aurora I am curious as to how atheists in this network view the lack of gun restrictions.  There are probably divergent views.

I have trouble believing that both presidential candidates are steering away from any call for reform after the horrific mass shooting. In my opinion it is insane to allow citizens access to assault weapons that can kill scores of people in a few minutes.  It was even more shocking to hear on a news show that a family had to raise money to pay for the immense hospital bills for one of the victims while they were already crippled with medical bills from the mothers fight with breast cancer.

As a Canadian I came to stand with my U.S brothers for the reason rally and freedom from religion.  I would be willing to come down to the capitol and march for two other important causes.  Gun control and universal health care.

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Changes to existing laws should be, to the greatest extent possible, rational rather than emotional. This would seem reason enough for lawmakers to tread lightly during the heat of a highly charged recent event. The PATRIOT act is an example of opportunistic policy shapers manipulating an emotionally vulnerable public and their representatives. I favor greater regulation of firearms, but don't want to see it shoved through for irrational reasons even if that might be a win for "my side". At minimum, we need general consensus on legitimate research to understand whether legislation is likely to achieve the desired effect. Then we various contingents can argue from firm footing over the desirability of the effect.  There will of course be issues founded primarily in morality – abolition of slavery for example – that are not amenable to a purely rational cost/benefit analysis.  In these cases we can still rationally asses the basis of these moral assumptions.  Authoritarian arguments along the line of “God’s law” are obviously insufficient in a modern free society, and so are claims of libertarian gut feeling (often misidentified as “natural law”).  Both belong to our discarded past of unsophisticated tribalism, though vestiges are still force-fit into our ongoing experiment in civilization.


Ted and Edward this site needs a 'like' button function, some great points in those posts. Edward you mentioned the cold medication regulations, I can't tell you how many times in recent years I have gone to the drugstore feeling absolutely horrible (allergies exacerbated by colds and flu) and had to jump through those ridiculous hoops all the while cursing under my breath while showing my license and signing their idiot screen... all because they want to control what we 'choose' to ingest, rather than control the things which cause mass environmental harm or have the potential to be used as WMD' about your knee jerk reactionary legislative decisions....

"legitimate research to understand whether legislation is likely to achieve the desired effect"

That research has been done.. by the rest of the developed world.


And all the graphs in the world demonstrate that anti-gun laws do not change already diminishing crime trends. I realise it seems counterintuitive to people, but there are simply no such examples.

Yes and no. There have been mass school shootings in every decade in the USA since 1765. So if we are not going to have this discussion when emotionally involved, when will we have it? That is the argument of the NRA.

Yet we have all sorts of political discussion during politically charged events. Watergate. Katrina. 9/11.

So if not now, when? When will we have a discussion about guns? Australia, after a particularly brutal mass murder some years ago, used a federal buy back programme to remove as many guns as possible, other than for those that needed them. No mass murders there since.

So when will we have this discussion?

I hope, now?

Naomi's Shock Doctrine anyone?

I like rational legislation, too.  One problem with a democracy is that voters elect leaders they would like to have a beer with, and polls tell elected leaders what their voters want every ten minutes.  Keeping up with the issues is a full time job that demands nuanced thinking and awareness of history, but not that many people have the time or interest or ability to make themselves educated citizens, and in the US anti-education and anti-intellectual sentiments have led to the death of expertise and to the resentment of the so-called "elites" unless those elites are numbskulls like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Trump, and Pence).  I am writing six years after your comment, and I think we've had enough mass murders now so we can stop worrying about "knee-jerk" responses like the PATRIOT act and the war on drugs.  I agree that God's law is irrelevant to the policies of a secular state, and that "natural law" isn't natural at all, but rather just a label to dignify the GUT and perhaps an indication that uneducated people should stay away from ancient Greek philosophy.

So given the proliferation of mass shootings in the past six years, what do we do?  How do we keep bad guys from getting guns and bombs without wholesale violations of good guys' rights?  If the rest of us are expected to risk our lives so gun enthusiasts can go armed whenever and wherever they wish, what are gun enthusiasts prepared to do to help solve the problem? 

It's not a problem of guns.  It's a mental health problem.  Google "knife attacks in China".  If you take away all the guns in the world, the ones who are in this frame of mind will find other weapons such as knives.  If you take guns and knives away, they will use explosives.  If you take explosives away, they will used cars and trucks, as we've seen in the last year, or two.  I don't know the solution, but I do know that taking guns away will not solve the problem..

During the centuries of conflict between England’s House of Commons and monarchs, the claim “natural law” was metaphor.

I did much research on English parliamentary history and saw Commons use the term to warn monarchs that revoking a right might result in resistance and/or armed combat.

The people we call scientists were once known as natural philosophers and they used the term “natural law” to refer to what they studied.

I am pretty liberal on most things. But when you start getting super restrictive on weapons, you end up with weapons in the hands of criminals, with the law abiding citizen unprotected. I'm not saying that one day everyone is gonna get shot by a criminal with an AK. But gun control doesn't work. It just puts more criminals into our already over-inflated prisons. I think that the regulations we have now should suffice. Maybe a longer wait period. I live in Colorado. This is an open carry state, which means that if I wanted to carry 2 six shooters on my hip like the old west and walk around, I could. To buy a rifle or shotgun it takes 15 mins. They run a background check to make sure you aren't a felon. That's it. 

I read this article in the scientific American. It's pretty long but it explains a lot.

"But when you start getting super restrictive on weapons, you end up with weapons in the hands of criminals, with the law abiding citizen unprotected."

I'd like to ask where your proof of that is. Australia banned semi-automatic and Automatic weapons decades ago and today you don't see criminals shooting innocent people with AK47's. If a gun is used in a crime its more likely to be used on another criminal than a member of the general public.

Guns are used, if rarely, in street crime but it will typically be a pistol. More likely it will be a knife and I know I'd rather take my chances against a knife than a pistol let alone a assault rifle.

Yes nut-jobs like Anders Brevik still had access to these sort of weapons in a highly regulated gun control society but laws like the US has makes getting them ridiculously easy and such acts as his are exceedingly rare which cannot be said about the US.





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