Nutcan Debate Series: Volume One - Gun Control

01/25/2013 11:03 am
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In an effort to liven things up here a bit (and we could use it, I mean its the end of January and Jeremy hasn't even switched out the Christmas theme yet), I decided to try and stir the pot a bit.

Anyway... The topic is gun control. My quick take: Most of the gun control proposals being talked about would have very little effect on stopping future mass shootings. They are just rehashes of the same old proposals that are being pushed forward so that politicians can look like they are doing something. Furthermore, as with other things the government has banned (drugs/alcohol/etc.), the "bad" guys will still have access to the banned items and will have no compunction about violating the law. So really, you would just be infringing on the rights of mostly law-abiding citizens, and preventing them from gaining the benefits of the banned guns/magazines.

Oh yeah, there is also that little thing called the 2nd Amendment, which puts the legality of many of these proposals into question.

Your thoughts?
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
01/25/2013 @ 11:56:41 AM
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My opinion on the matter mostly stems from a couple basic premises.

1) The most ardent NRA member would probably agree citizens having nukes is a bad idea. Probably the same for intercontinental missiles, military equipped helicopters, fighter jets, submarines, etc as well. We virtually all agree there should be SOME line, and all this debate is is where to place it. Which side of that line do these other "arms" that are solely designed to kill a massive amount of people in a short amount of time belong on. Are these things automatically "untouchable" in terms of the 2nd amendment just because they're handheld? Just because they fire bullets? To frame it, as many do, as "any line violates the second amendment" is intellectually dishonest, because 99.99% of people believe there should be some line and the "law-abiding citizens" argument would apply to any one of these arms.

2) Regardless of which side of the line you feel like those weapons belong on, it seems reasonable that it should probably be harder to get your hands on a weapon capable of ripping a group of people into pieces than it is to get a cell phone, and probably less of a right to "privacy" than is required of a fishing license.

However, I don't think it's something we should worry about a whole lot for a few mostly pragmatic reasons. (Although I fail to see how doing anything short of handing them out to passers by no questions asked is some sort of violation.)

1) Forget the "if you outlaw [assault weapons] only outlaws will have [assault weapons]" boogeyman. A ban almost can't work. Make the ban about number of rounds and they'll release a clip that has that number minus 1. Make it about rounds per minute, and they'll make a version imperceptibly slower.

2) Mass shootings aren't a problem: They're horrific events, to be sure, but you're almost certainly 1000000 times more likely to kill your kid in a car accident on the way to school than they are to be killed in a school shooting.

Although this is less about assault weapons, and more in general: I've said before on here that if I have a personal "issue" with guns it's that I feel they're a losing bet. An accidental death, or the gun providing a finality to a heated moment that it not being there wouldn't, is, in my mind, so so much more likely than the average person being in a situation where you, genuinely, need to defend yourself or others*, that it seems weird to me more people don't come to the same conclusion.

Perhaps my biggest problem with "gun people", and maybe this is an unfair caricaturization, is that if I had a magic wand, and I had the ability to make it so all situations where you would need to defend yourself from someone/something will go away, but the catch is that only, actual, hunting rifles, remain. (Which can't be used to cause harm to a human.) All other guns vanish. I'm not sure what percent of them take that deal. I feel like a lot of them feel like their right to own guns to protect themselves from nothing is the most important aspect in the "protecting them and theirs from harm" equation.

*Because even if, say, your house is getting robbed AND they have a gun, they might have had no intention of using it, until they see yours, and now bullets are whizzing around the house that never would have been in the air, any one of which could hit you or your family. Even in most situations, which are themselves rare, where people would claim a gun "saved the day" I'd look at and say "the way I see it you endangered your family to save your TV"
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Jeremy perfected this 7 times, last at 01/25/2013 12:13:42 pm
scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
01/25/2013 @ 11:57:30 AM
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Here's one thing I don't get about the debate about the 2nd amendment: even pro-gun advocates may reasonably agree to certain regulations about the types of guns that should be available to the citizens of this country, but then when you get to a certain line the debate halts abruptly and suddenly it's a clear violation of the 2nd amendment. Example? I was listening to Sean Hannity the other day and someone brought up that we have to draw the line somewhere about what types of guns are legal. And Hannity seemed to agree to a certain extent at least that fully automatic weapons, grenade launchers, bazookas, what whatnot seemed reasonable, but then when you got to what was being classified as an "assault weapon" that it was completely absurd and that it infringed on gun rights. So we've decided that certain types of firearms shouldn't be allowed. And since that has been allowed, then furthering that discussion isn't any more in violation of the 2nd amendment than limiting bazookas. Now there may be a discussion about the right to privacy regarding registering firearms (although the same people that are saying that have also said that there is no constitutional right to privacy in other cases), but I don't think that the 2nd amendment says anything about privacy. My point is that if we can have a discussion about making illegal a fully automatic 50 cal. machine gun, then why can't we also have a discussion about placing limitations on the amount of bullets a gun can hold, or the ease in which the design of a gun makes spraying crowds with those bullets.

I do like how you used the phrase "mostly law-abiding citizens", since I pointed out in an earlier post that at least in Wisconsin, you can break all sort of laws and still qualify for a conceal-carry permit. (even domestic battery in Wisconsin has some questions about it) The only limitation is being a felon.

Basically, I'm in favor of debating policy, and frankly I'm not actually sure which side of this debate I fall into entirely (I'm surprising myself a little bit, but I'm not sure if banning "assault weapons" really would do anything, since they would have to grandfather existing ones it wouldn't reduce the number that is already out there, and even that's assuming that it would be effective anyway). What gets me upset is when a debate or a policy is written off as unconstitutional when it's seems clearly not. If it's bad policy, argue that. Declaring everything unconstitutional suggests to me that the person hasn't really thought it through, and they think that any policy regarding a firearm must violate the oft-misunderstood 2nd amendment.
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Scott screwed with this at 01/25/2013 12:03:39 pm
scott.jpgScott - On your mark...get set...Terrible!
01/25/2013 @ 12:08:41 PM
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I've heard a stat (although I haven't looked into it), that although Great Britain has a ban on guns (or whatever the ban actually is), that in GB, a much higher percentage of home invasions occur when the residents of the home are actually home, whereas there is a much lower percentage in the US. In other words, in GB (if that statistic is correct), a home invader can be more assured that whoever might be home won't be able to do anything lethal, while in the US, the threat that if the home is currently popluated the residents might have a gun is much higher, and thus a deterrent.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - No one's gay for Moleman
01/25/2013 @ 12:12:11 PM
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There is almost definitely a "herd immunity" type effect with gun ownership and crime. I just don't know if, at the end of the day, it's worth it.
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scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
01/25/2013 @ 12:13:32 PM
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Another point, the NRA VP made some comment about supporting more background checks, but then blasted the idea of universal background checks. Someone would have to do some research on it, but how is doing a background check a violation of the constitution? We already do them for some gun sellers, why can't we do them for all gun sellers? Again, if there is a reason why the policy is stupid, fine, but explain to me how doing a check to make sure a gun buyer doesn't have 7 outstanding warrants for arrest for murder is a violation of the 2nd amendment? "if we make buying guns illegal for people who are criminals, only people who are criminals will buy guns illegally?"
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - I hate our freedoms
01/25/2013 @ 12:24:54 PM
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About the only actual thing I can think of, other than maybe because it essentially puts the gov in a position to decide whom can have a gun when the point of the amendment was so people could be armed if they needed to overthrow the gov (but who are we kidding at this point), is that the people who might indeed actually have the odds tipped in their favor as far as it being legit protection might tend to be from sketchier backgrounds. Like some guy who has some crime in his past, who's family has to live in a neighborhood where crime isn't a statistical windmill, who now can't, or has a hard time, getting a gun.

But otherwise, you need 2 tests and a live demonstration test, to get a licence to drive, I really don't see how there can be THIS much resistance to "maybe we shouldn't give assault weapons to crazy people" or "maybe we should close loopholes to rules we already have", especially since, for the most part, we're talking specifically about military grade assault weapons lately.
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Jeremy messed with this 2 times, last at 01/25/2013 1:05:52 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 3354 Posts
01/25/2013 @ 02:17:52 PM
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1. The term "assault weapon" is virtually meaningless, and attempts to ban them end up focusing largely on cosmetic features (i.e. they look scary), rather than any performance issues. Case in point...

2. The gun involved in most of these discussions is the AR-15, which is the civilian model of the military's M-16, but without the fully automatic or selective-fire capabilities. They are semi-automatic only. So for rate-of-fire, it is basically the same as any other semi-auto handgun, rifle, or shotgun (even the non-scary looking ones). As for power/damage, my understanding is that these are less powerful than most deer hunting rifles, and a single blast from a shotgun will do much more damage than a single shot from an AR-15 (granted the rifle will have a longer range than the shotgun).

From what I've read, what makes the AR-15 popular, though, is that it is a good all-around rifle. It's lightweight, adjustable, accurate, easy to handle and capable of performing well as a target shooting rifle as well as for home-defense, and hunting.

So, in the end, you have a popular gun with many legitimate uses, that is not really any more "lethal" than other types of guns, but it looks scary, so we should ban it.

3. On the topic of banning high-capacity magazines: There are too many work-arounds to make this effective. Besides the fact that there are literally millions of them out there, they could easily be manufactured by any criminal who wants one (they are basically a metal box with a spring. If idiot criminals can cook meth, they can find a way to fabricate magazines). Even if criminals were to abide by the ban, they could just bring extra magazines, or extra guns. So, again, you're not really preventing bad guys from doing what they want, but you are preventing good guys from using them for their legitimate reasons.

4. What "arms" does the Constitution cover? Like it or not, we have the right to keep and bear arms. Like other rights we have, the government can only infringe upon those in certain cases, and the rights are understood to be broad and, for the lack of a better phrase, given the benefit of the doubt. There should be a heavy burden on the government if they want to infringe on these rights. You could probably make that case for nukes/tanks/etc. Less so for automatic weapons, and even less so for what amounts to the vast majority of firearms in this country, especially since many of those weapons are the most effective way for people to exercise their right to self-defense.

That said, the best argument I've heard for where to draw the line, is that the citizens should be able to carry the same weapons that are standard for a police officer or infantry soldier to carry. Basically, the same way that the citizenry formed the militia with their own arms in the Revolutionary War (think the Minutemen at Lexington and Concord), the people now have the same rights. In this guy's view, fully automatic rifles would be legal, and I lean towards agreeing, though I'm not as committed to that line as I am for semi-autos.

5. Beyond hunting, sport, and self-defense, the ability to keep arms for defense against a tyrannical government is a valid reason to protect that right and was a reason that the 2nd Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights. Yes, it is extremely unlikely that a scenario like that would come into play anytime soon, but 50 years from now? 100 years? Who knows. History is full of good governments going bad, and some even in the not too distant past. To pretend it could never happen is short-sighted and wrong. Moreover, if you concede your rights away in good times, why would you ever expect to get them back in bad times, when you may actually need them.

6. To Scott, on the background check thing... First thing, you can be against a policy without it having to be unconstitutional, so whether they are or not, you could still be against them for other reasons. That said, I'm not sure of his exact argument, but like Jeremy said, part of it could be that more harm than good can come with the government having that info, and that there is the danger that people who need a gun for self-defense would be denied based on small mistakes in their past. One other problem with universal checks is that, what if you or I wanted to trade guns. Are we going to have to run dual background checks on each other? How much will that end up costing?

7. Finally, for now at least, to Jeremy. We've had the whole discussion of "should people own guns" before. And I don't think you were getting at this, but I'll say it anyway, even if it's not smart to own a gun, that doesn't mean that the government should, or even has the power to, ban guns. That said, I do think that people should know and understand the risks of owning a firearm before they get one, and when/if they do get one, they should always be responsible with the guns, especially when there are children involved.

As for whether or not it worth it to own a gun, one problems with the studies on the subject is that they overestimate the dangers and underestimate the benefits. For example, some of them include suicides when discussing injuries to people in the home. Also, the data is sketchy on crimes deterred, not only by the herd effect you mention, but also in cases where the act of showing your weapon causes the attacker/burglar to run away.

In the end, it really depends on each individual case. People need to judge their own situations and decide for themselves whether the potential benefits outweigh the potential costs. They may make the right decision, they may make the wrong decision, but I would say it's impossible for outside people to make that decision for them.
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Matt messed with this 3 times, last at 01/30/2013 12:04:55 pm
newalex.jpgAlex - I don't need to get steady I know just how I feel
01/25/2013 @ 11:17:13 PM
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Yeah, pretty much what Matt said. Also the answer to #6 is the government loves creating costs. It's kind of their thing.

Just to highlight one point again, most fully auto or burst weapons are already illegal or have special rules applied. So "assault" weapon doesn't mean anything, and any new rules would be targeting semi-auto weapons (for sure, some rules could apply to even slower rate of fire weapons).

And high-capacity magazines would affect even handguns. In a mass shooter scenario, is it really any harder for someone to carry four 10 round magazines instead of two 20 round magazines? I say no, if anything the smaller magazines would be easier to handle and conceal. So in fact we should be banning low capacity magazines because they are too easy to conceal, hold with one hand, and swap in the weapon. If you want to carry a gun, you have to lug around 100 bullets with it too.

Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 12:12:11 PM
There is almost definitely a "herd immunity" type effect with gun ownership and crime. I just don't know if, at the end of the day, it's worth it.

If there's a doubt, keep the government out.

Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 11:56:41 AM
2) Regardless of which side of the line you feel like those weapons belong on, it seems reasonable that it should probably be harder to get your hands on a weapon capable of ripping a group of people into pieces than it is to get a cell phone, and probably less of a right to "privacy" than is required of a fishing license.

The government gives out free cell phones, so it's not that hard.

Also agree with your second set of 1) and 2) in that post
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Alex screwed with this at 01/25/2013 11:19:17 pm
matt.jpgMatt - 3354 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 12:34:02 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - 01/25/2013 @ 12:24:54 PM
But otherwise, you need 2 tests and a live demonstration test, to get a licence to drive, I really don't see how there can be THIS much resistance to "maybe we shouldn't give assault weapons to crazy people" or "maybe we should close loopholes to rules we already have"


There is a significant number of people and politicians who think that all guns should be banned, and nobody should be allowed to have one, or at least be severely restricted in doing so. Therefore, I don't think its crazy to be skeptical that calls for new "sensible" regulations will be soon followed by more and more regulations. I imagine that if there was a similar push to outlaw driving/cars, people would be more skeptical of any additional regulations put on driving as well (and this is without even getting into the differences in the constitutional protection of cars vs. guns).

Another thing, is that while it is agreeable that "we shouldn't give guns to crazy people", actually finding a way to do so is not that easy to do. If you feel that a proposed solution to this (or any other problem the government tries to solve) won't actually fix anything, and will most likely only harm "regular" citizens, then you should be against those proposed laws. The government does, after all, have tendency to pass good sounding laws that end up not really solving the problem, but do put an unnecessary burden on the people. Then in a few years, politicians will express shock that the problem is still a problem, and will repeat the whole thing all over again. The end result is bad law on top of bad law on top of bad law, ad infinitum.
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Matt edited this at 01/30/2013 12:37:24 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Nutcan.com's MBL
01/30/2013 @ 12:45:57 PM
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Here is an article that deals with why the proposed bans on "assault weapons" are/should be unconstitutional:
http://washingtonexaminer.com/gun-control-fails-rationality-test/article/2519971


And here is an article by David Mamet that I enjoyed (you guys might not, but I'll post it anyway):
http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2013/01/28/gun-laws-and-the-fools-of-chelm-by-david-mamet.html

Oh yeah, and third prize is you're fired.
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Matt screwed with this 3 times, last at 01/30/2013 12:46:46 pm
scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 01:15:31 PM
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It does seem that people that talk about banning assault "assualt rifles" don't realize, or don't care, that the gun isn't actually the same firearm that is used by soldiers in the field. It's not quite as powerful and fires a smaller caliber bullet (at least I think it does). And the problem that they are trying to solve seems moreso to be mass shootings, not gun crimes in general. It isn't hard to find stats that show that rifles, or long guns, make up a very small percentage of gun crimes compared to hand guns.

But at the same time, I'm hard pressed to believe that the features of an AR-15 are purely cosmetic. If the form of the rifle was simply for show, why would the US Military use essentially the same model, just with added power? The phsyical features and shape of the gun, firing mechanism, stock, etc. obviously plays some role with out well an individual is able to control the weapon and have precision in firing. My strong bet is that gun enthusiasts, the ones that want to own firearms for the purposes of self-defense, zombi apocolypse, or government dissolvement would want something that serves a function rather than something that simply looks cool. I've never held a rifle with a pistol grip, but I do know a thing or two about firing techniques. The pistol grip, compared to straight stock, would allow you to hold the firearm tighter against your shoulder (if for no other reason that the pistol grip is more ergonomic), giving you a better point of contact both at your hand and your shoulder, not to mention taking pressure off your front hand. In other words, you are able to hold the rifle more securely with slightly less effort. So it's not simply cosmetic. There is a functional advantage to some of the features that define the so-called "assualt weapon". If it didn't, the US military would have found a better design by now.

My biggest objection to the whole thing is the irrationality on both sides. I've heard this type of rant from people I know on both sides
pro-gun person: you can't have a conversation with an anti-gun nut. They are so blah blah blah blah blah
anti-gun person: you can't have a conversation with a pro-gun nut. They are so blah blah blah blah blah.

I'm for reasoned discussion. I don't even join in a discussion that starts out like one of the above, which, unfortunately, I've been around one too many times.
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Scott edited this 4 times, last at 01/30/2013 1:25:49 pm
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - I hate our freedoms
01/30/2013 @ 01:27:17 PM
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The time to resist unreasonable proposals are when the proposals are unreasonable, not when the proposals themselves are reasonable enough to, at the very least, be worthy of a discussion because theoretically someone might propose something unreasonable someday.

Take a simple example, the speed limit on some road. Lets say there's a road in town that is 25, but circumstance, or whatever, have changed, and someone proposes making it 30. 30, is reasonable, or not, even if it's a fact that "once we make it 30 someone will want it to be 35, and then 40, and the next thing you know someone will want to have the autobahn in front of the school!" Each one of those steps is worthy, or not, all on their own merits. Making it 30 isn't less reasonable a proposal because someone might ask for 45 some day, and the idea of making it 45 is reasonable, or not. Someone trying to make it 45 might indeed argue that "it's already 40mph", but to me that is backwards from what makes a slippy slope something to "fear". Saying "it's already 40mph" is really only to the point of people who would be arguing the point as if the speed limit was currently 20. 45 might indeed to too high, over some threshold, a bad idea for budgetary reasons, or whatever, but arguing against it as if it was some drastic change would be inaccurate, and arguing against it because you're really arguing against the "inevitable" 80mph speed limit is, IMO, stupid.

Things can sometimes feel like a "slippery slope", I suppose, but that probably stems more from public sentiment actually moving that way. So, like for gay marriage, I'm sure there will be people that said "see, we gave an inch and 5 years later they're taking a mile", when in reality what happens is 5 years ago there was support to take the inch, and now there's support to take a mile. If one was any sort of a building block, it was only demonstrating to a small group of people that "see, the world didn't end," but for the most part it wasn't really a "building block", in the sense that many people would spin it. Public sentiment might change over time, but any given proposal still passes a merit test, or not. Yes, incremental changes are probably "easier", but that isn't, in and of itself, a "give an inch they take a mile" style slippery slope looking back on it, and IMO, certainly a stupid reason to argue looking forward.

Perhaps more succinctly, a speed limit of 45 might be easier to pass if it's already been changed to 40 sometime in the past, but 45 is too fast, or not, regardless of that fact, and 45 certainly isn't "too fast because 60 is too fast."

tl;dr: IMO the "slippery slope" argument ranges anywhere from "not a reason" to "not even a thing"
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Jeremy messed with this 5 times, last at 01/30/2013 1:49:43 pm
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 01:36:59 PM
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Matt Wrote - 01/25/2013 @ 02:17:52 PM
5. Beyond hunting, sport, and self-defense, the ability to keep arms for defense against a tyrannical government is a valid reason to protect that right and was a reason that the 2nd Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights. Yes, it is extremely unlikely that a scenario like that would come into play anytime soon, but 50 years from now? 100 years? Who knows. History is full of good governments going bad, and some even in the not too distant past. To pretend it could never happen is short-sighted and wrong. Moreover, if you concede your rights away in good times, why would you ever expect to get them back in bad times, when you may actually need them.


I disagree, if for no other reason that because if the "pro gun" side gets to play the "guns are so trivial for criminals to get anyway!" card as some sort of be-all-end-all to any sort public discussion about if we should attempt to be cautious about dangerous things, then it's asinine to me to bring up what the policy of the government these people are arming up to overthrow is regarding their guns.

If 100 years from now we reach a point where enough Americans agree that the government has to be overthrown via a bloody civil war, they won't give two shits that the government they're violently attempting to dismantle frowns on their assault weapon.
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Jeremy messed with this at 01/30/2013 1:38:05 pm
scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 01:47:45 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 01:36:59 PM
Matt Wrote - 01/25/2013 @ 02:17:52 PM
5. Beyond hunting, sport, and self-defense, the ability to keep arms for defense against a tyrannical government is a valid reason to protect that right and was a reason that the 2nd Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights. Yes, it is extremely unlikely that a scenario like that would come into play anytime soon, but 50 years from now? 100 years? Who knows. History is full of good governments going bad, and some even in the not too distant past. To pretend it could never happen is short-sighted and wrong. Moreover, if you concede your rights away in good times, why would you ever expect to get them back in bad times, when you may actually need them.


I disagree, if for no other reason that because if the "pro gun" side gets to play the "guns are so trivial for criminals to get anyway!" card as some sort of be-all-end-all to any sort public discussion about if we should attempt to be cautious about dangerous things, then it's asinine to me to bring up what the policy of the government these people are arming up to overthrow is regarding their guns.

If 100 years from now we reach a point where enough Americans agree that the government has to be overthrown via a bloody civil war, they won't give two shits that the government they're violently attempting to dismantle frowns on their assault weapon.


Not that I'm making a counterpoint, but this made me think of this line from the Declaration of independence:

and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed
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Scott screwed with this at 01/30/2013 1:58:09 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 3354 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 01:49:13 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 01:15:31 PM
But at the same time, I'm hard pressed to believe that the features of an AR-15 are purely cosmetic. If the form of the rifle was simply for show, why would the US Military use essentially the same model, just with added power? The phsyical features and shape of the gun, firing mechanism, stock, etc. obviously plays some role with out well an individual is able to control the weapon and have precision in firing. My strong bet is that gun enthusiasts, the ones that want to own firearms for the purposes of self-defense, zombi apocolypse, or government dissolvement would want something that serves a function rather than something that simply looks cool. I've never held a rifle with a pistol grip, but I do know a thing or two about firing techniques. The pistol grip, compared to straight stock, would allow you to hold the firearm tighter against your shoulder (if for no other reason that the pistol grip is more ergonomic), giving you a better point of contact both at your hand and your shoulder, not to mention taking pressure off your front hand. In other words, you are able to hold the rifle more securely with slightly less effort. So it's not simply cosmetic. There is a functional advantage to some of the features that define the so-called "assualt weapon". If it didn't, the US military would have found a better design by now.


Yeah, like I said before, they are popular in part because they are good performing guns, and form/cosmetics does play into that somewhat. And if you were going to a range to shoot a few hundred rounds of ammo, it would probably be easier on you with an AR-15 than other types of rifles, because of how its built. The point is though, that in a close-quarters mass shooting event (or really, most other shootings with a rifle), these features are not the turning point between the rifle being deadly or not, or between a tragedy and a non-tragedy. They are, in effect, cosmetic.
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Matt messed with this at 01/30/2013 1:50:54 pm
jeremy.jpgJeremy - I hate our freedoms
01/30/2013 @ 01:57:29 PM
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Though, having said all that, just in case it hasn't been made clear, I don't think we should be too worried about it. If there's a path to a clear/easy solution, such as background checks that don't allow people with certain medical conditions to own them, then I'd support that. If not, I won't lose sleep over it. They're not a problem. Hand guns are the problem, and there's nothing that can really be done there if we wanted to.

Having said that, I do however feel that, while the bill of rights says what it says, it's clear to me they intended that to be a living breathing document. I know it's not actionable until it doesn't say what it says anymore, but I'm not so sure if they intended, and would be pleased it still exists in all its vagary as written, for something written in an era of one round a minute rifles, one shot pistols that fired a bullet slightly harder than Randy Johnson could chuck it at you, and a fledgling government, to apply to an era of established democracy, dozens of round handheld guns, and suitcase nukes.
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Jeremy perfected this 4 times, last at 01/30/2013 2:05:15 pm
matt.jpgMatt - 3354 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 02:10:09 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 01:27:17 PM
The time to resist unreasonable proposals are when the proposals are unreasonable, not when the proposals themselves are reasonable enough to, at the very least, be worthy of a discussion because theoretically someone might propose something unreasonable someday.

Take a simple example, the speed limit on some road. Lets say there's a road in town that is 25, but circumstance, or whatever, have changed, and someone proposes making it 30. 30, is reasonable, or not, even if it's a fact that "once we make it 30 someone will want it to be 35, and then 40, and the next thing you know someone will want to have the autobahn in front of the school!" Each one of those steps is worthy, or not, all on their own merits. Making it 30 isn't less reasonable a proposal because someone might ask for 45 some day, and the idea of making it 45 is reasonable, or not. Someone trying to make it 45 might indeed argue that "it's already 40mph", but to me that is backwards from what makes a slippy slope something to "fear". Saying "it's already 40mph" is really only to the point of people who would be arguing the point as if the speed limit was currently 20. 45 might indeed to too high, over some threshold, a bad idea for budgetary reasons, or whatever, but arguing against it as if it was some drastic change would be inaccurate, and arguing against it because you're really arguing against the "inevitable" 80mph speed limit is, IMO, stupid.

Things can sometimes feel like a "slippery slope", I suppose, but that probably stems more from public sentiment actually moving that way. So, like for gay marriage, I'm sure there will be people that said "see, we gave an inch and 5 years later they're taking a mile", when in reality what happens is 5 years ago there was support to take the inch, and now there's support to take a mile. If one was any sort of a building block, it was only demonstrating to a small group of people that "see, the world didn't end," but for the most part it wasn't really a "building block", in the sense that many people would spin it. Public sentiment might change over time, but any given proposal still passes a merit test, or not. Yes, incremental changes are probably "easier", but that isn't, in and of itself, a "give an inch they take a mile" style slippery slope looking back on it, and IMO, certainly a stupid reason to argue looking forward.

Perhaps more succinctly, a speed limit of 45 might be easier to pass if it's already been changed to 40 sometime in the past, but 45 is too fast, or not, regardless of that fact, and 45 certainly isn't "too fast because 60 is too fast."

tl;dr: IMO the "slippery slope" argument ranges anywhere from "not a reason" to "not even a thing"


I'm neutral on slippery slope arguments, by themselves they are not argument winners, nor are they completely useless, they're just one more way to look at things and may hold weight or not depending on the issue/arguments.

That said, I was responding to your comment about why people seem opposed to even the "easy" things. And the view that if you let the government take an inch, they will take a mile is a valid opposition, even if the government should rightly take that first inch. Think of it this way, even if the benefits of the first inch outweigh the costs of that first inch, what if by giving up that inch, you are increasing the likelihood that inches 2-5 will also be taken, where the costs now outweigh the benefits. So then the equation becomes the costs of inch 1 + increased probability of costs of inches 2-5 vs the benefits of the same.
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Matt perfected this at 01/30/2013 2:11:04 pm
scott.jpgScott - On your mark...get set...Terrible!
01/30/2013 @ 02:16:22 PM
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I agree with Matt somewhat on his last comment. Going back to Jeremy's speed limit example, I can oppose going from 25 to 30 for the reasons that 30 makes it slightly more easy to get to 35 or 40, which is too fast. So I'm judging 30 on the merits that 25 seems ok as it is, and I don't want to make it any easier to get to 35 or 40. Saying that you must judge each item on its own merits seems to suggest that each item exists in a vacuum which it doesn't. Opposing 25 to 30 because 80 is too fast is more ridiculous because the likelihood of 80 even ever being considered is farfetched. The context of the two scenarios, both of which might be justifiably considered "slippery slope" arguments, does have some merit as it pertains to each item in question.
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matt.jpgMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
01/30/2013 @ 02:20:41 PM
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That's actually a good way to put it Scott. In a vacuum we would stop on the "right" spot and go no further. We wouldn't have to worry about a slippery slope, but the government does not act in a vacuum, and therefore we do have to pay it some consideration.
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Matt screwed with this at 01/30/2013 2:21:00 pm
scott.jpgScott - You're going to have to call your hardware guy. It's not a software issue.
01/30/2013 @ 02:24:41 PM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 02:20:41 PM
That's actually a good way to put it Scott.


I couldn't disagree with you more. Moreover, that is the worst argume........oh, nevermind. Force of habit. emoticon
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 02:25:35 PM
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But that's stupid, if you agree it should be 30. Argue against it being 40 when someone proposes it being 40. Changing it to 30 didn't magically grant some avenue/process toward 40. Whatever debate/process/proceedings led to the proposal of 30mph being "officially" considered, 40 still as to go through. The process is the same, it's warranted or not. It only makes it "easier" on the most absolute superficial level, except in cases where some meaningful precedent is actually established.

Also, the "extreme" is the point when you're talking about slippery slope arguments, since that's most of the cases when people make them.
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scott.jpgScott - Resident Tech Support
01/30/2013 @ 02:28:56 PM
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Maybe I don't want 30. Or maybe I think 30 would be ok if I knew that it would never go above that. You said that if it's 35 and someone argues 40, calling it a drastic change isn't accurate. So if it goes from 25 to 30, then 30 to 35, now my argument that 40 is too fast falls on deaf ears because "hey, it's only an extra 5 miles an hour", even if I was voting against the increase of 25 to 30. Now I'm just a guy out of the mainstream because I won't allow some marginal change to a law that might have some public support behind it.

But then again, if we make it illegal to drive over 25, then only the criminals will get to work on time.
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Scott screwed with this 3 times, last at 01/30/2013 2:32:10 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Nutcan.com's MBL
01/30/2013 @ 02:34:38 PM
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I guess the way I see it is the Government is like an alcoholic. Sure one drink won't hurt an alcoholic by itself, but it will greatly increase the odds that he takes drinks 2-10, and those will do damage, so we preach to alcoholics not to take that first drink, however good the reason is to do so.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 03:03:55 PM
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Well, if you don't want 30, then you don't want 30. If 30 would have obvious benefits to a vast majority of people, and you do agree with it, and want it, then, IMO, voting against it because you don't want it to maybe be 40 some day, as if voting for 30 grants some automatic path to 40, is, in my mind silly. (Though I can see the reasoning.) But again, the point of the analogy and the slippery slope isn't 40, it's 80. It's "we do anything to try and curtail the number of assault rifles that wind up in the hands of mentally compromised criminals, and next thing you know Obama will be going door to door taking our knives, and replacing our forks with spoons." "We allow gays to marry, and the next thing you know we'll have to allow people to simultaneously marry their dog and car", when, in reality, polygamy, interspecial, and inter-animate, marriage are their own issues, with their own merits, their own debates, and if we arrived there as a society we probably would have independent of gay marriage.

Maybe someday the speed will go past what you think today is "too fast". You might not even think that when the time comes, and besides which, I know this is semantics at this point, I don't even consider that a "slippery slope". Might each incremental step be easier? I suppose. But the speed limit isn't going to wind up at 80, against the will of everyone, for no reason other than "because someone could", which even if true, probably wasn't established by changing it from 25 to 30. Intertwined with the notion of a slippery slope is this cynical, and IMO inaccurate, idea that "the government", as if it's a thing, which somehow didn't have the power before, will automatically run roughshod over the will of the people, and all of a sudden have some power, just because you budged. (And it can never ever be undone, even if all that does come to pass.)

Maybe voting for 30 makes it easier to make it 35, and 35 makes it easier for 40, which you think is too far, but it's not going to wind up at 40 just because it got made 30, the actual avenue to get there remains the same, and the arguments for and against 40 being a good idea or not remain the same regardless if whether or not the speed limit is 35 or 10. I guess you could accuse me of acting too much like every step is in a vacuum, but 30 is still proposed, and 35, and 40, and so on, via the exact same process, so, while I can see being said to be too much of an "idealist" I object to the basic thinking that voting for 30 builds some sort of automated conveyor belt to "too fast", if for no other reason than the laws, and speed limits, we have had to have been settled by similar means at some point already. If "the government", or society, having the ability to set/change the speed limits automatically led to them being "too fast" then why aren't they already?

If if if.
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Jeremy edited this 15 times, last at 01/30/2013 3:51:10 pm
scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 03:10:54 PM
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Matt, for your next volume of the NutCan debate series, you can just copy about 50% of these comments and we'll start our debate from that point. Clearly, we've established a lot more than conclusions about gun conrol.
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matt.jpgMatt - 3354 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 04:03:53 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 03:03:55 PM
Intertwined with the notion of a slippery slope is this cynical, and IMO inaccurate, idea that "the government", as if it's a thing, which somehow didn't have the power before, will automatically run roughshod over the will of the people, and all of a sudden have some power, just because you budged. (And it can never ever be undone, even if all that does come to pass.)


To the part I put in bold: The worry is more that the will of the majority (or a vociferous minority) will infringe upon the constitutionally protected rights that we have, after all, that's why they put in the bill of rights.

To the rest of the quote: The last 80 or so years of history would beg to differ.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - Broadcast in stunning 1080i
01/30/2013 @ 04:05:41 PM
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In summation, since I really should actually do something this evening, my objection to slippery slopes, though I acknowledge Matt wasn't making one himself is two fold:

1) I think many examples of it happening in the past isn't really what happened. It wasn't society "budging" on something small/obvious that "snowballed" to total change, we just usually start with the "most wrong" thing, and then society changes their mind, and we move, mostly together, through each step, over time. As it stands a majority of americans about proportional to the number of americans that would agree "puppies are cute" think something should be done to curb assault weapons. I think some of our best laws protect the minority from the majority, so this isn't in and of itself cause for change, but it's unfair to spin anything happening now as "government ignoring the people".
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Jeremy edited this at 01/30/2013 4:19:43 pm
jeremy.jpgJeremy - Robots don't say 'ye'
01/30/2013 @ 04:17:16 PM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 04:03:53 PM
Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 03:03:55 PM
Intertwined with the notion of a slippery slope is this cynical, and IMO inaccurate, idea that "the government", as if it's a thing, which somehow didn't have the power before, will automatically run roughshod over the will of the people, and all of a sudden have some power, just because you budged. (And it can never ever be undone, even if all that does come to pass.)


To the part I put in bold: The worry is more that the will of the majority (or a vociferous minority) will infringe upon the constitutionally protected rights that we have, after all, that's why they put in the bill of rights.

To the rest of the quote: The last 80 or so years of history would beg to differ.


I wanted to post point 1 to demonstrate I had made a similar point in it already re:majority/minority. As for your "jab", other than it being a pithy anti-gov sounding tidbit, can we have any actual examples?

^^^
2) I think a slippery slope effect is largely psychological, more than it is some "real" thing people always treat is as. It's only easier to go from 35 to 40 than it is to go from 20 to 40 because there are fewer unknowns about the effects, which is actually a valid reason, and because, psychologically we like "it's only ___ more". In actuality 40 should still stand or fall on its own merits. (So in actuality I think much of our above commentary was our usual confusion between "this is true vs. no it's not." vs "this is real vs. to the extent it's true it's trivial, to the extent it's supposed to be something big, I think it's stupid." debate.) I agree the slippery slope is a real psychological effect, I just think it's stupid we do that. I disagree that every policy change automatically builds some precedent bridge to more, and furthermore, inevitable, and probably extreme, change.
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Jeremy messed with this at 01/30/2013 4:22:13 pm
jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 04:33:01 PM
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To drop the metaphor and turn the debate around: Liberals have been "taking guns away" for about as long as I can remember. If this is true, and the tyrannical government has all this power, then how are we still talking about, at least 30 years on, maybe, putting limits on some of the most dangerous versions of them? I understand that everything needs a beginning, and takes some time, but shouldn't we be well past semi-auto assault weapons, and be talking about crossbows, on our way to steak knives, by now?
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matt.jpgMatt - 3354 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 04:37:56 PM
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Maybe because people have been fighting back against government's efforts to take them away all these years?
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Matt screwed with this at 01/30/2013 4:39:51 pm
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - I hate our freedoms
01/30/2013 @ 04:39:32 PM
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Exactly.

Edit: Well, I think the degree to which liberals are portrayed as "trying to take them away", or could if they wanted to, is absurdly overblown, so I don't think that that's the only reason, but the point is there is a process by which people can, as you say, "fight back". (And it isn't because they have the guns. emoticon)
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Jeremy edited this 3 times, last at 01/30/2013 4:43:35 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 3354 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 04:40:04 PM
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Exactly what?
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - Always thinking of, but never about, the children.
01/30/2013 @ 04:47:23 PM
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The government is this out of control tyranny that does what it wants, rights be damned, or we the people can alter the proceedings when we think things have gone too far. (Even if those proceedings are the process of it gaining more power.) It can't really be both things, especially on one issue.

Edit: Although I recognize that things get tricky when it comes time for the government to protect people from people, but that's a some what different debate.
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Jeremy perfected this 4 times, last at 01/30/2013 4:55:43 pm
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - The pig says "My wife is a slut?"
01/30/2013 @ 05:02:21 PM
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Here's another question:
1) Do you think that everything in the constitution/bill of rights is on equal standing, or are some "granted" and others more "self-evident"?
2) Do you think they're all, at their core, forever unassailable?
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Jeremy perfected this at 01/30/2013 5:16:53 pm
matt.jpgMatt - 3354 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 05:03:52 PM
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I'm not sure how you came to that statement from my arguments, but whatever.

Yes, the will of the people can stop the government from going to far... if the people are paying attention and if the majority of people are the ones who are being oppressed, rather than being the oppressors. The gun rights crowd has done a good job on being proactive, and so far keeping a tight majority, but I don't see why that means that because they've done well up to now, that there is no danger moving forward.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 05:13:43 PM
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I'm not really saying "you made the argument", just that if giving anything ever is a slippery slope, and everything is so "easy" once it's done, and so on, and we've supposedly been on this "unstoppable freight train" for decades, shouldn't things be way far gone by now? We're still having pretty much the exact same conversations, sometimes something comes of them, sometimes not, sometimes the somethings that came get undone, or are left to expire. We banned assault weapons once. Not only did we not move on to hand guns, and get them banned too, we let the assault rifle ban expire. Nearly 20 years later and the talk is back on assault rifles, and mostly about background checks, not bans.

I just think there's a level of paranoia here that there's little evidence to support is based in reality.
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matt.jpgMatt - 3354 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 05:16:20 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 05:02:21 PM
Here's another question:
1) Do you think that everything in the constitution/bill of rights is on equal standing?
2) Do you think they're all, at their core, forever unassailable?


1. The Constitution is the law of the land and each part of it should be treated as such. I may think certain parts or protections are more important in certain aspects than others, but that doesn't mean that they are any less binding, or that we should play fast and loose with some parts because they are "outdated" or whatever.

2. They are unassailable unless abolished or amended through the process laid out in the Constitution (or I guess by total overthrow of the government).
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - The pig says "My wife is a slut?"
01/30/2013 @ 05:20:58 PM
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Well, I wasn't really asking that. I wasn't asking "are some ignorable".

I'm asking, in your view, are some "granted" and others more "self-evident", and/or even if that's the case, does it matter.

For example, though maybe to don't agree with this exact example, but only the gist of what I'm really asking: Do you think the core fabric of this country would be more altered by an amendment that makes free speech illegal than an amendment that axes the right to bare arms?
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Jeremy perfected this 3 times, last at 01/30/2013 5:22:28 pm
matt.jpgMatt - Ombudsman
01/30/2013 @ 05:22:12 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 05:13:43 PM
I'm not really saying "you made the argument", just that if giving anything ever is a slippery slope, and everything is so "easy" once it's done, and so on, and we've supposedly been on this "unstoppable freight train" for decades, shouldn't things be way far gone by now? We're still having pretty much the exact same conversations, sometimes something comes of them, sometimes not, sometimes the somethings that came get undone, or are left to expire. We banned assault weapons once. Not only did we not move on to hand guns, and get them banned too, we let the assault rifle ban expire. Nearly 20 years later and the talk is back on assault rifles, and mostly about background checks, not bans.

I just think there's a level of paranoia here that there's little evidence to support is based in reality.


You seem stuck on the slippery slope argument of if A then always, inevitably to Z. My argument is that with how government actually works its more of if A, then B is more likely, then C is more likely, etc. Sure it may stop after A, or B, but it may not. And it may not be a quick move through the alphabet, it may be slow and meandering. But the point is that to fight off B-Z, sometimes it makes sense to draw the line at A.
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Matt perfected this at 01/30/2013 5:29:22 pm
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 05:25:07 PM
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I agree and disagree. It "makes sense" from a strategic sense, I just think it's stupid/sad, and often the effect is way overstated.

Also, I wasn't really talking about your point about it, just what other people seem to think is/will happen. If giving "anything", even things that made sense, on the gun issue, automatically led to [some mostly absurd extreme], IMO we'd be well on our way there already, so while people might "fear" that, there's really no particular rational reason for that fear to exist. We've been stalemated on this "issue" for decades, and if anything, it's pretty much in spite of to how things have actually been going, depending on how you look at it.

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Jeremy edited this 5 times, last at 01/30/2013 5:38:45 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 3354 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 05:43:19 PM
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It is stupid and sad, but I have a feeling we think so because of different reasons.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - No one's gay for Moleman
01/30/2013 @ 05:48:52 PM
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So, do you think that some rights we have listed out in our various documents are more "agreed upon" whereas others are more fundamental or "self-evident" rights of a human being?
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Jeremy screwed with this at 01/30/2013 6:01:25 pm
hoochpage.JPGSarah - So's your face
01/30/2013 @ 06:52:17 PM
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You guys ever work?
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 3354 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 07:06:18 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 05:48:52 PM
So, do you think that some rights we have listed out in our various documents are more "agreed upon" whereas others are more fundamental or "self-evident" rights of a human being?


To be quick and short (hopefully), all the rights are ours by the right of being born. Essentially we have the right to be free. To help protect these rights we jointly institute a government, which only has the powers we choose to give it. Our Constitution tells the government what powers it has and what powers it doesn't have. The Bill of Rights is basically things the founders made sure to point out that the government has no power over.

The problem nowadays, seems to be that the view is that the government has all the power, except what we denied it in the Constitution, but really, it should be the other way around. The government has only the powers we explicitly gave it, in the Constitution.

I know that's probably not what you wanted, but I'm short on time and its the best I can do for now.
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2887.gifAlex - 3618 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 11:27:44 PM
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At the risk of duplicating something in the 25 responses below this that I haven't read yet, here goes nothing

Scott Wrote - Today @ 01:15:31 PM
My strong bet is that gun enthusiasts, the ones that want to own firearms for the purposes of self-defense, zombi apocolypse, or government dissolvement would want something that serves a function rather than something that simply looks cool.


You are so, so, so wrong on this one. So wrong. A basic .22 for shooting rabbits in the garden is like $100, $150 with a cheap scope. People are willing to pay 5, 10 times, maybe more for "military" looking .22s that are tricked out with holographic sights and laser beams, but are essentially the same usefulness for shooting rabbits in the garden and in fact use the same ammo.

Scott Wrote - Today @ 01:15:31 PM
If it didn't, the US military would have found a better design by now.


Never assume that the government is paying a fair price for the best design. That one's been debunked ad nauseam.
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newalex.jpgAlex - Refactor Mercilessly
01/30/2013 @ 11:36:38 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 02:25:35 PM
But that's stupid, if you agree it should be 30. Argue against it being 40 when someone proposes it being 40. Changing it to 30 didn't magically grant some avenue/process toward 40. Whatever debate/process/proceedings led to the proposal of 30mph being "officially" considered, 40 still as to go through. The process is the same, it's warranted or not. It only makes it "easier" on the most absolute superficial level, except in cases where some meaningful precedent is actually established.


This is correct, assuming that people would discuss and think logically about the situations. But too many people are illogical, so the logical thing to do is to expect people to be illogical. Savvy?
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newalex.jpgAlex - Refactor Mercilessly
01/30/2013 @ 11:40:48 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 02:28:56 PM
So if it goes from 25 to 30, then 30 to 35, now my argument that 40 is too fast falls on deaf ears because "hey, it's only an extra 5 miles an hour", even if I was voting against the increase of 25 to 30.

Not only is it just an extra 5 miles an hour, it's only a 14.2% increase instead of a 16.7% increase like 30 to 35!

Scott Wrote - Today @ 02:28:56 PM
But then again, if we make it illegal to drive over 25, then only the criminals will get to work on time.

True story
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newalex.jpgAlex - 3618 Posts
01/30/2013 @ 11:53:59 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 05:20:58 PM
For example, though maybe to don't agree with this exact example, but only the gist of what I'm really asking: Do you think the core fabric of this country would be more altered by an amendment that makes free speech illegal than an amendment that axes the right to bare arms?


I believe the general argument is that, without the right to bare arms, what's to stop the government from taking away the right to free speech or any other right?
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - Always thinking of, but never about, the children.
01/31/2013 @ 09:58:42 AM
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Alex Wrote - Yesterday @ 11:53:59 PM
Jeremy Wrote - Yesterday @ 05:20:58 PM
For example, though maybe to don't agree with this exact example, but only the gist of what I'm really asking: Do you think the core fabric of this country would be more altered by an amendment that makes free speech illegal than an amendment that axes the right to bare arms?


I believe the general argument is that, without the right to bare arms, what's to stop the government from taking away the right to free speech or any other right?


I don't believe you, or many others, truly believe this. First off, it falls victim to the thing I already stated, where if there came a time where enough people wanted to overthrow this government, and by force was the only avenue, no one will care what that governments policy on guns is. (Well, I was going to shoot a bunch of people, and put a gun to the right politicians heads to get them to abdicate, but I'm not supposed to have this gun, so, shucks.)

Secondly, if people think that, still, if even ever, that the only thing* stopping "the government", from taking something like free speech is that "they're" scared of "our guns", then that's just a crazy level of delusion.

*Or any meaningful part of the equation, for that matter.
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Jeremy edited this 2 times, last at 01/31/2013 10:07:40 am
scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
01/31/2013 @ 12:34:34 PM
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Here is a question. With all the talk about background checks, what kind of, if any, success rate is there on a background check catching someone who "shouldn't" be buying a gun? According to the FBI's website, "More than 100 million such checks have been made in the last decade, leading to more than 700,000 denials." That's preventing .7% of all would-be gun buyers (from places that actually run a background check) from getting a gun. I'm not sure how to interpret that data, or if the existence of background checks would/have reduced crime/murders, but as we've seen in the debate, that might not be a factor for some people. However much something reduces crime or murders is irrelevant to some people if it "infringes" on a the right of a non-criminal/non-murder. So even if crime fell 20% in an area because they severely tightened up the background check system, it wouldn't matter because a handful "good guys" have something on their records that shows up on a background check. The point might bet that the current background check system is virtually non-existent. 0.7% isn't a whole lot, or maybe it's that the population of the US as a whole is generally pretty law-abiding.
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scott.jpgScott - No, I did not change your screen saver settings
01/31/2013 @ 12:47:06 PM
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Here's a real life example about something that actually tends to run counter to my gut reaction to the issue of gun control. The example is of a recent, somewhat high-ish profile case where a monther was home with her kids and heard someone invade their home. She hid with her kids in a crawl space or a closet, holding a revolver. I don't think the guy was armed, but I guarantee you that the mother didn't know one way or another. Somehow they guy found where the family was hiding, and the mother fired off 5 or 6 shots hitting the invader several times before he fled the house.

Now who knows what the man's intentions were. The mother didn't know if was armed, but didn't know that he wasn't armed either. So I can't blame for one second the women thinking the worst was about to happen and being prepared for it. There is a line in the Declaration of independence (not a legally binding document, so this is certainly more of a philosophical argument) about the unalienable rights, one of those of to "Life". She was excercising her right to life by acting against a man who was breaking the law by breaking into the house. She wasn't defending her television, she wasn't worried about what he might steal. She was worried first and foremost (I can only assume) about the safety of her kids and certainly of herself.

Is this the norm? Is this a freak case? Does it matter if this only happens a few times a year in the entire united states since the right to bear arms is an essential part to excercising one's right to "Life"? And is the right to bear arms indeed essential to excerise the right to bear arms? I don't know if I can answer the third and fourth questions with any certainty.
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matt.jpgMatt - 3354 Posts
01/31/2013 @ 02:25:55 PM
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Here are two more:
http://www.click2houston.com/news/Home-invasion-suspect-arrested-after-woman-opens-fire/-/1735978/18331728/-/format/rss_2.0/-/s329rz/-/index.html
http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/crime-law/fairborn-police-investigate-shooting-on-victoria-a/nT8pZ/
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matt.jpgMatt - 3354 Posts
01/31/2013 @ 03:14:59 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 09:58:42 AM
Alex Wrote - Yesterday @ 11:53:59 PM
Jeremy Wrote - Yesterday @ 05:20:58 PM
For example, though maybe to don't agree with this exact example, but only the gist of what I'm really asking: Do you think the core fabric of this country would be more altered by an amendment that makes free speech illegal than an amendment that axes the right to bare arms?


I believe the general argument is that, without the right to bare arms, what's to stop the government from taking away the right to free speech or any other right?


I don't believe you, or many others, truly believe this. First off, it falls victim to the thing I already stated, where if there came a time where enough people wanted to overthrow this government, and by force was the only avenue, no one will care what that governments policy on guns is. (Well, I was going to shoot a bunch of people, and put a gun to the right politicians heads to get them to abdicate, but I'm not supposed to have this gun, so, shucks.)

Secondly, if people think that, still, if even ever, that the only thing* stopping "the government", from taking something like free speech is that "they're" scared of "our guns", then that's just a crazy level of delusion.

*Or any meaningful part of the equation, for that matter.



Yeah and we can let the government control the media, because when the time comes, we'll still have pirate radio and samizdat.

I don't think anybody's objection to gun bans, in regard to tyranny, has been that when the time for revolution comes, we'll be bound by gun laws and thus call the whole thing off. The point is that an unarmed populace is easier to oppress than an armed one. Yes, if the time came, we could smuggle in guns just like criminals do now, but there is no guarantee that you could get what you need when you need it. Not to mention that, over the years, knowledge and proficiency could decline, and other such factors. Better to not let them take the arms in the first place, especially since the fear of an armed populace might prevent a government from overstepping their bounds in the first place.

That leads into the second part of your post... Guns might not be the only, or most likely thing that prevents the government from taking our rights, but it most certainly may be the final one.
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jon.jpgJon - 2847 Posts
01/31/2013 @ 10:20:41 PM
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I'm not posting this as my official take or anything like that. But, as far as defenses of the 2nd amendment go (or arguments against "gun control" or however you want to phrase it), I've always found Condoleezza Rice's take compelling. Here's a portion of the transcript from her interview on Larry King in 2005.

KING: We have a Second Amendment. People can own guns. By the way, what do you think about gun control?

RICE: The way I come out of my own personal experience, in which in Birmingham, Alabama, my father and his friends defended our community in 1962 and 1963 against White Knight Riders by going to the head of the community, the head of the cul-de-sac, and sitting there, armed. And so I'm very concerned about any abridgement of the Second Amendment.

I'll tell you that I know that if Bull Conner had had lists of -- of registered weapons, I don't think my father and his friends would have been sitting at the head of the community, defending the community.

KING: So you would not change the Second Amendment? You would not...

RICE: I also don't think we get to pick and choose from the Constitution. The Second Amendment is as important as the First Amendment.

KING: But doesn't having the guns, while it's protection, also leads to people killing people?

RICE: Well, obviously, the sources of violence are many, and we need to -- to get at the source of the violence. Obviously, I'm very much in favor of things like background checks, and you know, controlling it at gun shows. And there are lots of things we can do.

But we have to be very careful when we start abridging rights that our Founding Fathers thought very important. On this one, I think that they understood that there might be circumstances that people like my father experienced in Birmingham, Alabama, when in fact, the police weren't going to protect you.

...
source http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0505/11/lkl.01.html
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2887.gifAlex - 3618 Posts
02/01/2013 @ 12:03:06 AM
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Jeremy Wrote - Yesterday @ 09:58:42 AM
Alex Wrote - 01/30/2013 @ 11:53:59 PM
Jeremy Wrote - 01/30/2013 @ 05:20:58 PM
For example, though maybe to don't agree with this exact example, but only the gist of what I'm really asking: Do you think the core fabric of this country would be more altered by an amendment that makes free speech illegal than an amendment that axes the right to bare arms?


I believe the general argument is that, without the right to bare arms, what's to stop the government from taking away the right to free speech or any other right?


I don't believe you, or many others, truly believe this. First off, it falls victim to the thing I already stated, where if there came a time where enough people wanted to overthrow this government, and by force was the only avenue, no one will care what that governments policy on guns is. (Well, I was going to shoot a bunch of people, and put a gun to the right politicians heads to get them to abdicate, but I'm not supposed to have this gun, so, shucks.)

Secondly, if people think that, still, if even ever, that the only thing* stopping "the government", from taking something like free speech is that "they're" scared of "our guns", then that's just a crazy level of delusion.

*Or any meaningful part of the equation, for that matter.


I don't actually expect armed resistance against our government to be necessary in the future. But there are places in the world right now where the people with the guns are making all the rules, whether it's a military ruling class or insurgents that take over large territories or secret and/or federal police forces that oppress the citizens. So while at first glance it may seem somewhat ridiculous and "out there" for those of us that have lived in peace and harmony during our lives, a global perspective (and as Matt said, a historical one) may be cause to think twice. I don't want to be the "it'll never happen to me" country.

Plus there's the personal protection side of the coin.
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scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
02/01/2013 @ 09:06:28 AM
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I feel like I've been "softening" up on this issue over time. But one thing that does seem clear is that Wayne LePierre does seem to be out of touch with his own supporters, or at least the people whom he is actually the Vice President of. There is overwhelming support for universal background checks, or at least expanded background checks, even from NRA members and NRA households. But LePierre is now almost completely against it. It leads some people to believe that he cares more about representing the firearm manufacturers than he does about the members of the NRA.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - As Seen On The Internet
02/01/2013 @ 02:24:28 PM
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I don't know what he's arguing, but it's always possible there's a subtle nuance that changes things. For example, the government does, or doesn't, have the right to require background checks, and you could be vociferous in your conviction that the government doesn't, and never actually be addressing the merit of the idea, and certainly not the popularity of it. 99% of people could be 100% for it, if the government still doesn't have that right it doesn't have that right, and it doesn't make it a good idea even if it did and 99% of people were for it. We're pretty stupid for being so smart.
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Jeremy perfected this at 02/01/2013 2:25:53 pm
jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
02/01/2013 @ 02:47:02 PM
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As I said 1000 posts ago, my main problem with these debates is that even raising the conversation about what side of the line something belongs on is seen as some hyper-liberal attack as if the very concept of having a line is a direct attack on their right to exist, or based on some concrete obvious division point. When, in reality, we virtually all believe in some line, and by nature of the world we live in that line is going to be blurry, wavy, and possibly inconsistent.

Most people believe the average man on the street shouldn't be able to have a nuclear bomb. All people believe owning a baseball bat is fine. Somewhere between those two points of things that could fend off someone should the need arise we will draw a line. The things just on one side of the line, and the things just on the other side of the line, probably aren't going to be all that different. However, in order for there to be a line, which we pretty much all agree should exist, the line has to be somewhere. Much like seating at a stadium, sometimes the lines, such as upper deck and lower deck, are obvious. Many times it's not, but we understand that the nosebleeds are going to be priced differently than the middle rows, even though that means at some point there's going to be seats that are 1% different in view and 60% different in price.

If we want to section off one thing from another, which we pretty much all agree we SHOULD, even if just in theory, be doing with the vague term of "Arms" in the 2nd amendment, (perhaps indeed "If we're currently even allowed to" is open for debate) then that's probably going to involve a point at which a line is, seemingly arbitrarily, drawn. It will probably be that way no matter where we put it, but let's have THAT debate as a society, and spare all the Orwellian talk about government needing to, literally, fear us, any curtailing of arms meaning it will all be curtailed, "only criminals will have ____", and so on.

Edit: And obviously there doesn't have to be "a line", there can be many, such as things we don't care about at all, things we loosely track, things we loosely regulate, things we heavily regulate, and things you're not allowed to have. The point remains that each of those lines is going to be fairly arbitrary, and maybe even silly, when you look at which things are just on one side of the line and which are on the other, but if you want to categorize things on a macroscopic level, you probably have to use a pretty non-distinct unobvious line on a more microscopic level.
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Jeremy messed with this 11 times, last at 02/01/2013 3:52:41 pm
matt.jpgMatt - Ombudsman
02/01/2013 @ 04:07:55 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 02:47:02 PM
As I said 1000 posts ago, my main problem with these debates is that even raising the conversation about what side of the line something belongs on is seen as some hyper-liberal attack as if the very concept of having a line is a direct attack on their children, or based on some concrete obvious division point.


Well, there is raising the conversation, and then there is writing/passing bills to ban a large segment of guns (and then there is writing the laws when you know nothing about guns in the first place). And it's not just the pro-gun side that can short change the conversation. I'm tired of the view that if you're against the "assault weapons" ban (or any other gun law), you are some wild Ruby Ridge gun nut who doesn't mind that children are dead, as long as you can have your toy (which, like a sports car, is really just compensation for a small penis, don't you know). The hyperbole and incivility does go both ways.


Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 02:47:02 PM
If we want to section off one thing from another, which we pretty much all agree we SHOULD be doing with the vague term of "Arms" in the 2nd amendment, then that's probably going to involve a point at which a line is, seemingly arbitrarily, drawn. It will probably be that way no matter where we put it, but let's have THAT debate as a society, and spare all the Orwellian talk about government needing to, literally, fear us, any curtailing of arms meaning it will all be curtailed, "only criminals will have ____", and so on.


How are those things you mentioned not arguments about where to draw the line? You can't say, "let's have a debate" and then declare certain arguments that are relevant to that debate, off limits. In fact, thinking about those "Orwellian" types of things might, in my opinion, help us come up with a place to draw that line that is not so "arbitrary".
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - Cube Phenomenoligist
02/01/2013 @ 04:20:44 PM
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If you ban nuclear weapons only criminals will have nuclear weapons.

They're "off limits" in my mind because they don't inform anything. They're not arguments, and to the extent they are, they apply equally well to everything. They're bumper sticker nonsense and "don't take medication because something something big pharma" paranoia, not an honest conversation about what we're actually doing.

Edit: Besides which, that's going a little farther than the context I meant anyway. If those types of things can be constructed in a way that informs where to put the line, that's completely different than lobbing them in there like a grenade to blow up the debate while pretending that we fundamentally disagree on the whole concept of a line, which most people actually don't disagree on.
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Jeremy perfected this 4 times, last at 02/01/2013 4:54:09 pm
jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
02/01/2013 @ 04:29:05 PM
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Alex Wrote - Today @ 12:03:06 AM
Jeremy Wrote - Yesterday @ 09:58:42 AM
Alex Wrote - 01/30/2013 @ 11:53:59 PM
Jeremy Wrote - 01/30/2013 @ 05:20:58 PM
For example, though maybe to don't agree with this exact example, but only the gist of what I'm really asking: Do you think the core fabric of this country would be more altered by an amendment that makes free speech illegal than an amendment that axes the right to bare arms?


I believe the general argument is that, without the right to bare arms, what's to stop the government from taking away the right to free speech or any other right?


I don't believe you, or many others, truly believe this. First off, it falls victim to the thing I already stated, where if there came a time where enough people wanted to overthrow this government, and by force was the only avenue, no one will care what that governments policy on guns is. (Well, I was going to shoot a bunch of people, and put a gun to the right politicians heads to get them to abdicate, but I'm not supposed to have this gun, so, shucks.)

Secondly, if people think that, still, if even ever, that the only thing* stopping "the government", from taking something like free speech is that "they're" scared of "our guns", then that's just a crazy level of delusion.

*Or any meaningful part of the equation, for that matter.


I don't actually expect armed resistance against our government to be necessary in the future. But there are places in the world right now where the people with the guns are making all the rules, whether it's a military ruling class or insurgents that take over large territories or secret and/or federal police forces that oppress the citizens. So while at first glance it may seem somewhat ridiculous and "out there" for those of us that have lived in peace and harmony during our lives, a global perspective (and as Matt said, a historical one) may be cause to think twice. I don't want to be the "it'll never happen to me" country.

Plus there's the personal protection side of the coin.


So the ticket to avoid being a place that's constantly in flux and controlled by whichever mob has the most firepower at any given time is to make sure the mob has enough firepower to overthrow the current leadership at any given time?

Sounds both circular, and like a place I don't want to live in. emoticonemoticon
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Jeremy perfected this at 02/01/2013 4:29:31 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Nutcan.com's MBL
02/01/2013 @ 05:09:09 PM
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Or you could look at it like:

Bad guys with guns + good guys without guns = bad guys win most of the time

Bad guys with guns + good guys with guns = bad guys win some, good guys win some.
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matt.jpgMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
02/01/2013 @ 05:46:51 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 04:20:44 PM
If you ban nuclear weapons only criminals will have nuclear weapons.

They're "off limits" in my mind because they don't inform anything. They're not arguments, and to the extent they are, they apply equally well to everything. They're bumper sticker nonsense and "don't take medication because something something big pharma" paranoia, not an honest conversation about what we're actually doing.

Edit: Besides which, that's going a little farther than the context I meant anyway. If those types of things can be constructed in a way that informs where to put the line, that's completely different than lobbing them in there like a grenade to blow up the debate while pretending that we fundamentally disagree on the whole concept of a line, which most people actually don't disagree on.


Yeah, they're cliches, and cliches can be annoying, but they are also, usually, shorthand for a more detailed argument. I agree, it would be better to give the full argument (if time and space allows), but it's not fair to say that when one of these lines comes out, that there is no real argument behind it.

Furthermore, it's not like its that hard to find the more in depth arguments from the pro-gun side. The debate you want is out there.
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