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.
I am speaking of "the right to bear arms". There are other countries that have strict gun laws or they have banned guns all together and the gun violence there is low. We have so much gun violence in this country it is an epidemic. That's all that I meant.
I grew up with a houseful of guns, and I know full well the difference between an automatic and a semi-automatic weapon. People--even hunters and other gun owners--sometimes refer to guns as automatic when they are actually semi-automatic, for example, to differentiate between a pump action shotgun and a semi-auto. The confusion of terms has very little to do with the debate, and if a state legislature or Congress writes a legal definition for an assault weapon, then that's what it is for legal purposes. My 700cc motorcycle is "high performance" because the insurance companies say it is, even though it's a turtle compared to my 1000cc bike and bike enthusiasts would never consider it "high performance." So the generic use of "automatic" for a semi-auto is not an indication that gun control activists know nothing about guns. Some of us know plenty.
The Second Amendment states that guns are necessary because a free state needs a "well regulated militia." A militia in the 18th century was not a bunch of rednecks playing soldier on the weekends in preparation for a race war or for fighting off the government agents who come to collect long overdue grazing fees. Militias were arms of the government, formed to defend communities against attacks, chiefly by native Americans. In Massachusetts, they were called "trained bands," and in some colonies men of property were required to be members. (Guns were expensive, so no matter what we see in the movies, not everyone had one, even in the Wild West.) These trained bands were under the control of the communities' leaders. Military technology has left the volunteer force far behind, and the US militia has been the National Guard since the 1930s, so there is no national security need for the citizenry to carry weapons.
Since my Dad was a hardcore gun nut who hunted everything that moved, practiced target shooting obsessively (I spent many days "pulling targets" for him), loaded his own ammo to get exactly the right weight of powder in each cartridge, competed on the New York State National Guard rifle team, and taught hunter safety classes required by the state, there's no pro-gun argument you can make that I didn't hear from my Dad fifty years ago.
So here is what I suggest.
Background checks for everyone. I know some people will get around this, but nobody, and I do mean nobody, believes that everybody will obey every law. Every law gets broken, but we don't get rid of good laws because some folks break them.
No ceramic guns. They can't do anything a steel gun can't do except slip through metal detectors. They have no advantage for the individual, but could pose a threat to society.
No 3-D printer guns. Ditto.
Ballistics tests at the factory stored in a national database. This would help police track down perpetrators of gun crimes.
Ban on hollow point bullets, cop-killers, etc. Jacketed rounds only.
Guns with safety chips. Wear it on your wrist so you can activate it--literally--in your sleep or leave it deactivated if an intruder gets your gun or if the gun is stolen.
Mental health evaluations. I know most gun owners are safe, law-abiding citizens; if they care so damn much about safety and the law, they should no problem being evaluated for gun ownership. I have to have a medical exam to continue flying so I don't have a heart attack and crash into the 4th of July parade. Why shouldn't you have some sort of psych exam before walking among us armed to the teeth?
Liability insurance. My car serves a purpose other than killing, but it can also kill, maim, and cause property damage. The law in every state says I have to have liability insurance in case I do cause death, injury, or damage, just as I have liability insurance in case my dog bites someone or the mailman slips on my steps. These laws do not infringe upon car or home ownership, so why shouldn't you have insurance on your guns?
There's not one person in ten thousand who will respond appropriately when the gunfight starts. Read about the clusterfuck that resulted in the death of Pat Tillman. Well trained members of the finest military in the world shot the shit out of each other. Tillman took three beautifully placed rounds in the forehead from a SAW gun. Good shooting, terrible judgment. Trained soldiers, police, and FBI agents make mistakes when the bullets start flying, and sometimes their bullets fly first.
I think there should be a reasonable compromise between the individual's rights and public safety. Personally, I would like to have a helicopter gunship, a couple of rocket launchers, and three or four .50 cal machine guns. Plus a doomsday machine. When the guvmint comes after my backyard pot plants, the revenooers will be under fire all the way, and when they win it will be a Pyrrhic victory.
I agree with your assessment, Freethinker.
Craig, as usual, you make a lot of sense. I am afraid of guns, and I do not deny it. I do not own one and will not because I don't want to have a gun near me or others to have guns who live with me. I can live with your recommendations. Your rationale for registration, background checks, mental health exams, and insurance acknowledges the concerns I have and provides reasonable safeguards. I realize that gun lovers may not agree with this, however, if I can compromise this far, there should be some give on the arms-owners part. I realize illegal guns continue to exist; that is beyond my control and probably beyond the government's ability to control.
I would like to have a drone to two and hone in on some nasty characters in town.
Do you want those drones armed?
Yes! Armed with cow chips and turkey droppings with a little bull pee, just to cause it to have a good splatter effect! If I miss my target, at least I will be contributing to the quality of their sand. Perhaps I should put some seeds in the bomb as well. Start a little garden.
I'm not actually afraid of guns; I'm afraid of people who feel the need to carry them everywhere they go.
A few years ago a man carried his AR 15 quite openly through the terminal at the Atlanta airport. If, as the NRA says, the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, would I not have a citizen's duty, knowing that I am a good guy, to tase the guy in the ass and take his gun away? That way, the good guy would have the gun, not the nutjob who thought it was a good idea to carry arms into a busy international airport terminal. Walking around with a gun for no reason might be a clue that one is up to no good. I hope none of my black friends ever try this.
I agree with you. I grew up in a "gun culture" household and used and handled guns frequently. Quite frankly, my family's love for guns is just as batshit as their love for their invisible friend in the sky.
A. Noni's "right" to own a dangerous weapon ends at the point where my personal safety is concerned. A Christian's "right" to be a bigot ends where the rights of homosexuals and minorities begin. A Muslim's "right" to wear a burqa ends at the entrance of the local bank. A person's "right" to smoke ends at my nose and mouth. Your "rights" end where the public's right to safety and equality begin.
At this point, no one would advocate the right to keep and bear RPGs. We already agree upon that limitation to the second amendment. All I would ask is that we considering expanding those restrictions a bit more. A competent hunter doesn't need huge clips or certain types of ammunition. That would be a logical place to start.
We are told that driving a car is a privilege because of how dangerous cars can be. They are not designed to kill people, but can still cause great bodily harm. We go through extensive training and must pass driving tests in order to gain and retain the privilege to drive, but due to America's quasi-religious gun culture, any yahoo can simply walk into a store and buy a gun, an instrument designed to cause bodily injury. State laws vary, but it's still easier to gain access to a gun than it is to get a driver's license.
Due to the religiosity of gun nuts, I think we're likely to see gun control in America roughly the same time we see peace in the Middle East. It's that same non-thinking adherence to tradition, just in another form.
@Moose, re facts:
The AR15, AK47 civilian model, and similar weapons have big clips that can be changed quickly. Semiautomatic hunting rifles are loaded through the receiver into an internal magazine, usually 5 rounds. So yeah, you can shoot them fast, but you can't do that much damage per second.
Also, the calibre of the bullet is only part of the damage equation, and you know it.
I support gun rights, and agree that your guns are your business, but please don't spread misinformation among the scared ill-informed populace.
Larry, I have an AK-47 civilian model, and I can use it for hunting. The clip I have for it holds about 10 rounds, but I was offered a clip (drum style) that holds 100 rounds from a friend. I also have a lever-action hunting rifle that loads into the receiver as you stated. I can use both for hunting, and if I were mentally ill, I dould do a lot of damage before the police arrived. with the semiautomatic hunting rifle,
Is reason the opposite of a "knee jerk liberal party line". What is so bad about liberal reasoning? Until Bernie Sanders came along that reminds me how an American would win an argument by saying the word Socialist with the implication that it meant Communist and all Americans knew that would not do. Of course that would ignore the very happy people in Socialist countries who had universal health care, low tuition, and still had a competitive business model.
Positive gun use statistics? What is wrong with the statistics that show when a developed country makes gun ownership more difficult the murder rate is way lower. That sounds convincing to most of us outside of the U.S. A gun is a tool that uses violence to achieve an end. Does everyone need a gun? An atomic bomb was used as a tool that used violence to achieve an end. Does every country need an atomic bomb?
What is wrong with a professional police force with weapons? The question is - how well trained is that police force. If you compare countries, some police forces are not shooting their citizens with a hair trigger. Unfortunately some are. Maybe those police are a little nervous because so many people are walking around with guns. Or maybe it is just poor training and poor screening of applicants.
In the U.S. there is a distrust of the system. I sympathize with the Bernie Sanders calling out of big money and the rigged Democratic primary. There is no evidence that the actual election will be rigged. Donald Trump is saying if Hillary wins Pennsylvania then cheating occurred. That ignores what the polls are saying but fits in with his second amendment gun carriers who have bought into the use of guns to right a so called wrong. He also made a reference to stopping an elected Hillary Clinton making a supreme court nomination. If i were an American, I would feel safer with less guns being available in my country being used for personal or misguided political ends. This article is chilling - more so because so many crazy people have easy access to weapons.
Russell, I'm a progressive, way out to the left of liberals.
Because I want employees to own the companies they work for, I tell people I am a collective capitalist.
I see those I know best as between progressives and conservatives. They've tended to be socially progressive and economically conservative. and politically rather naive.