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Since Cinemark has taken it upon themselves to disarm their customers, please consider boycotting their business. At the very least, send them a message that their policy only harms their customers.

Cinemark.jpg

I would like to specifically address the point made in this cartoon. I understand it's addressing the theatre specifically, but others make a similar argument. They say - "if you regulate guns you are just regulating people who obey the law, criminals will still own guns". I disagree. If guns were as tightly regulated as nuclear material, no common criminal would be able to obtain a gun.

Who is going to argue otherwise?

PS - if anyone is going to argue otherwise I expect you to come up with a reason why terrorists haven't been able to obtain parts for a nuclear weapon. This discussion would be fun if it weren't so tragic and depressing :s

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Kate, there isn't much nuclear material in the world, it can be easily tracked (it's radioactive), it requires an extremely high level of technical knowledge to use, and there are relatively few alternatives. Compare that to a firearm, which in its modern form is basically 19th century technology (maybe more reliable, but hey, the Batman shooter's gun still jammed). The materials are readily available, and can be constructed in a machine shop with the knowledge/skill set that tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of people have. There are more reasons to doubt this comparisson (demand, for instance), but I don't think I need to go on. I really am trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but it's hard for me to regard this comparison of yours as serious.

By the way, Kate, I don't remember anyone challenging your statistics on the grounds that they came from biased organizations; only that you've used them to come to conclusions that the statistics don't justify. It's interesting to me that you are the only one thus far who's indicated that she wouldn't be open to the opposing side's statistics (I'll quote you if you want me to). So feel free to keep the statistics coming, I'm open to them. But like I said, there is a more fundamental question at hand. I asked you about the morality of someone preventing me from using self-defense tools, and you haven't responded. Please respond.

Edited by FeatherFall
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Kate, there isn't much nuclear material in the world, it can be easily tracked (it's radioactive), it requires an extremely high level of technical knowledge to use, and there are relatively few alternatives. Compare that to a firearm, which in its modern form is basically 19th century technology (maybe more reliable, but hey, the Batman shooter's gun still jammed). The materials are readily available, and can be constructed in a machine shop with the knowledge/skill set that tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of people have. There are more reasons to doubt this comparisson (demand, for instance), but I don't think I need to go on. I really am trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but it's hard for me to regard this comparison of yours as serious.

By the way, Kate, I don't remember anyone challenging your statistics on the grounds that they came from biased organizations; only that you've used them to come to conclusions that the statistics don't justify. It's interesting to me that you are the only one thus far who's indicated that she wouldn't be open to the opposing side's statistics (I'll quote you if you want me to). So feel free to keep the statistics coming, I'm open to them. But like I said, there is a more fundamental question at hand. I asked you about the morality of someone preventing me from using self-defense tools, and you haven't responded. Please respond.

Your freedom would be curbed, but it would not be immoral since the rights of non-gun owners would be furthered. I don't want to be near people with guns who can shoot me. I don't care if they are the most moral person in the world, I should have the right not to be near people who can take my life by touching a button.

Regarding the nuclear comparison, I am saying that it is possible to very tightly regulate guns out of existence:

If you gave a punishment of life in prison for anyone privately building a gun, the only people who would build them would be the government. Each gun would be electronically tagged and gps tracked. Then government truly would have a monopoly on the use of force. Any country found to be harbouring gun manufacturers who deal in non-tagged guns would be the subject of severe economic sanctions. Criminals would not be able to obtain guns under such a system. And the few that did would find themselves facing an arsenal of military might just the same as if they possessed a nuclear weapon.

Do you realise that not even police carry guns here in England? They are largely not needed to keep order. The times when a criminal does use a gun, a special section of police has to come specially out to deal with it. You should think about the freedom that this gives the general population. The freedom to not be around killing machines.

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Michelle, you’ve made some interesting and good points which I’d like to address.

Are handguns necessary for self-defense?

This is probably the best question I’ve seen from the pro-gun control side of this thread. It’s good because it questions a fundamental premise of ours and does so in a way that doesn’t invite an easy answer.

It is a flight of fancy to pretend that we (humans) are capable of preventing other, more violently aggressive humans, from obtaining the things this man found and improvised. So, I’m going to start from the point of view that we need some sort of tool to combat an attacker armed with the same stuff that the Batman shooter was armed with. I am also going to limit my selection to things that a movie-goer would reasonably be able to carry with them. The theater could have put in some sort of improved door or armed guard, but the costs are prohibitive so I will leave that alone for now. So, what tools are appropriate, cheap and available?

This is the list I came up with; Feet (running), Bare hands, Thrown Weapons/distractions, Collapsible Batons, Knives, Pepper Spray, Tasers, and Handguns. The Batman shooter had ample space between himself and most of his victims, so I’m going to rule out anything without the appropriate range (hands, batons, knives). He attacked his victims in an area where mass retreat would lead to a “bottleneck,” leading to more casualties. Running toward the victim or throwing stuff at him to create a distraction while you close the distance is either too risky or requires more cooperation than can be expected of relaxed theater-goers. This rules out feet. Pepper spray is usually an excellent close-range defense against an attacker armed with a firearm, but even a shooter without a gas mask could fire blindly at a crowded theater and still hit someone. Because the shooter had both a gas mask and a crowded theater, I’m ruling out pepper spray. We are left with firearms and Tasers.

The shooter was wearing armor. I am not intimately familiar Tasers, but I have no reason to believe they won’t function when someone is wearing armor. Armor does reduce the effectiveness of many firearm projectiles, especially when fired from a handgun. The barrels are rarely long enough to effectively capture the pressures needed to propel a projectile fast enough to pierce armor. Some handguns do, in fact, create such speed. An example of such a handgun round is the .38 Super – a small bullet packed with lots of powder. Combined with a fully-jacketed projectile (no hollow-points), a .38 Super could have killed the Batman shooter.

We have two effective self-defense tools. Which one is better? I think it depends on the person. The Taser has a limited range and can only be fired a small number of times, but can be more effective if it hits a non-vital part of the body. A handgun has more range and can be easily reloaded, but requires more training to deal a killing (thus incapacitating) blow. So, I believe the answer to your question is, “yes,” depending on the person.

The second point that should be addressed is that a firearm’s primary design is for killing. I’d agree with this, but I’d like to point out the differences in firearm/projectile design that lead to different “secondary” functions that are so great they may have to be considered “primary functions” depending on the context. A .22 comes out fast, has a relatively straight trajectory and packs a very small relative punch, and so it is not a good tool for self-defense, but rather is great for short/medium range target practice and hunting small game. A handgun has a short barrel, which limits the amount of powder that can be effectively utilized to propel the bullet – long range killing is out of the question. Rifles are the ultimate long-range personal weapons because they have long barrels and heavy projectiles with lots of inertia, but fail at close-quarters because their long-barrels become cumbersome. Shotguns are unparalleled medium-range killing tools, and can be shortened to minimize the drawback of a long barrel for close-quarters fighting.

In the military, when they issue a weapon to combat troops it is almost always a rifle. Sometimes it is a sub-machine gun (basically a big machine pistol), or a shotgun. These are for the troops who’s primary job is to kill enemy soldiers. For the officers who, if everything goes well, don’t see combat, they issue pistols. The reason is that pistols are more easily kept at hand for self-defense in case something goes wrong and a combat troop or spy gets close to the higher-ranked officers. This is evidence that the handgun is a better self-defense tool than killing tool.

Finally, but not unimportantly, Michelle, is your point about being uncomfortable when sitting next to an armed person. I understand how you could feel that way, but please also be aware that I feel the exact opposite. I have worked in retail environments where co-workers were almost always carrying a firearm. I live in Wisconsin where the occasional person would carry openly even before our concealed-carry law was passed. I have always felt safer when I saw it, because none of the people carrying exhibited threatening behavior. In general, I welcome armed strangers – but only when they appear respectful, competent and sober. As long as they maintain proper etiquette, there is no reason to be fearful of an armed person. Generally, you are safer when you are in the company of armed strangers.

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Kate, I am aware that some police units in the UK do not carry guns. I'm skeptical that it's a good decision, but as long as they remain effective at their jobs I don't object. This, however, is irrelevant to the morality of preventing me from using self-defense tools.

I believe the first sentence of your last post to be the most important part if it, because it represents a contradiction in your thinking about rights ethics:

Your freedom would be curbed, but it would not be immoral since the rights of non-gun owners would be furthered.

The Objectivist view of rights is that conflicts of rights are impossible. It would be one thing to claim that I have no right to tools of self-defense. It would be another to claim that my right is trumped by someone else's rights. Rights are inalienable; Any view of morality that entertains a conflicts of rights views rights not as inalienable, but rather as inconsequential. Rights become, under such a view, merely words that represent how strongly you feel about something.

I encourage you to review the Objectivist idea of rights. This community is a good resource, so is the Ayn Rand Lexicon. In a nutshell, rights are moral principles governing freedom of action in a social context. They protect your ability to act on the product of your thought. Such a view is inconsistent with the idea that you could have a right to not be near people with certain abilities. It is also inconsistent with the global police state you described in your last post.

Edited by FeatherFall
grammar, spelling
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I would like to specifically address the point made in this cartoon. I understand it's addressing the theatre specifically, but others make a similar argument. They say - "if you regulate guns you are just regulating people who obey the law, criminals will still own guns". I disagree. If guns were as tightly regulated as nuclear material, no common criminal would be able to obtain a gun.

Who is going to argue otherwise?

PS - if anyone is going to argue otherwise I expect you to come up with a reason why terrorists haven't been able to obtain parts for a nuclear weapon. This discussion would be fun if it weren't so tragic and depressing :s

Because terrorists can't make the parts for nuclear weapons in their basements after a trip to Home Depot. Because there aren't countries around the world producing millions of guns every year and releasing them into white and black markets. Because there aren't already hundreds of millions of parts for nuclear weapons in the world in the hands of pretty much anyone who really wants them. Because a ban on civilian manufacturing of nuclear parts would not cause the United States to explode into anarchy (read Ayn Rand's "Don't Let it Go"). England may be happy to jump right into dictatorship but America will not.

If you think it's possible to regulate something anybody can create in their basement to the same level as something that only the most well funded and sophisticated scientific operations can create, you are delusional. Do you think that all that would be required to win the war on drugs would be greater regulation (regardless of whether you think it should be fought or not)?

Edited by oso
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Michelle, you’ve made some interesting and good points which I’d like to address.

Are handguns necessary for self-defense?

This is probably the best question I’ve seen from the pro-gun control side of this thread. It’s good because it questions a fundamental premise of ours and does so in a way that doesn’t invite an easy answer.

It is a flight of fancy to pretend that we (humans) are capable of preventing other, more violently aggressive humans, from obtaining the things this man found and improvised. So, I’m going to start from the point of view that we need some sort of tool to combat an attacker armed with the same stuff that the Batman shooter was armed with. I am also going to limit my selection to things that a movie-goer would reasonably be able to carry with them. The theater could have put in some sort of improved door or armed guard, but the costs are prohibitive so I will leave that alone for now. So, what tools are appropriate, cheap and available?

This is the list I came up with; Feet (running), Bare hands, Thrown Weapons/distractions, Collapsible Batons, Knives, Pepper Spray, Tasers, and Handguns. The Batman shooter had ample space between himself and most of his victims, so I’m going to rule out anything without the appropriate range (hands, batons, knives). He attacked his victims in an area where mass retreat would lead to a “bottleneck,” leading to more casualties. Running toward the victim or throwing stuff at him to create a distraction while you close the distance is either too risky or requires more cooperation than can be expected of relaxed theater-goers. This rules out feet. Pepper spray is usually an excellent close-range defense against an attacker armed with a firearm, but even a shooter without a gas mask could fire blindly at a crowded theater and still hit someone. Because the shooter had both a gas mask and a crowded theater, I’m ruling out pepper spray. We are left with firearms and Tasers.

The shooter was wearing armor. I am not intimately familiar Tasers, but I have no reason to believe they won’t function when someone is wearing armor. Armor does reduce the effectiveness of many firearm projectiles, especially when fired from a handgun. The barrels are rarely long enough to effectively capture the pressures needed to propel a projectile fast enough to pierce armor. Some handguns do, in fact, create such speed. An example of such a handgun round is the .38 Super – a small bullet packed with lots of powder. Combined with a fully-jacketed projectile (no hollow-points), a .38 Super could have killed the Batman shooter.

We have two effective self-defense tools. Which one is better? I think it depends on the person. The Taser has a limited range and can only be fired a small number of times, but can be more effective if it hits a non-vital part of the body. A handgun has more range and can be easily reloaded, but requires more training to deal a killing (thus incapacitating) blow. So, I believe the answer to your question is, “yes,” depending on the person.

The second point that should be addressed is that a firearm’s primary design is for killing. I’d agree with this, but I’d like to point out the differences in firearm/projectile design that lead to different “secondary” functions that are so great they may have to be considered “primary functions” depending on the context. A .22 comes out fast, has a relatively straight trajectory and packs a very small relative punch, and so it is not a good tool for self-defense, but rather is great for short/medium range target practice and hunting small game. A handgun has a short barrel, which limits the amount of powder that can be effectively utilized to propel the bullet – long range killing is out of the question. Rifles are the ultimate long-range personal weapons because they have long barrels and heavy projectiles with lots of inertia, but fail at close-quarters because their long-barrels become cumbersome. Shotguns are unparalleled medium-range killing tools, and can be shortened to minimize the drawback of a long barrel for close-quarters fighting.

In the military, when they issue a weapon to combat troops it is almost always a rifle. Sometimes it is a sub-machine gun (basically a big machine pistol), or a shotgun. These are for the troops who’s primary job is to kill enemy soldiers. For the officers who, if everything goes well, don’t see combat, they issue pistols. The reason is that pistols are more easily kept at hand for self-defense in case something goes wrong and a combat troop or spy gets close to the higher-ranked officers. This is evidence that the handgun is a better self-defense tool than killing tool.

Finally, but not unimportantly, Michelle, is your point about being uncomfortable when sitting next to an armed person. I understand how you could feel that way, but please also be aware that I feel the exact opposite. I have worked in retail environments where co-workers were almost always carrying a firearm. I live in Wisconsin where the occasional person would carry openly even before our concealed-carry law was passed. I have always felt safer when I saw it, because none of the people carrying exhibited threatening behavior. In general, I welcome armed strangers – but only when they appear respectful, competent and sober. As long as they maintain proper etiquette, there is no reason to be fearful of an armed person. Generally, you are safer when you are in the company of armed strangers.

First of all, it doesn't matter whether or not handguns are necessary for self-defense. Lack of neccessity does not justify curbing freedom. Just because I might be able to defend myself with a rifle doesn't mean that you have the right to force that inconvinience on me by banning handguns. Second, concealable weapons really are necessary for self-defense because when you openly carry, you become the first target of anyone dedicated to killing indiscriminantly.
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First of all, it doesn't matter whether or not handguns are necessary for self-defense. Lack of neccessity does not justify curbing freedom. Just because I might be able to defend myself with a rifle doesn't mean that you have the right to force that inconvinience on me by banning handguns. Second, concealable weapons really are necessary for self-defense because when you openly carry, you become the first target of anyone dedicated to killing indiscriminantly.

The reason you have the freedom to own a gun in the first place is because, as a human, you have the right to defend yourself. If you accept this notion, then it definitely does matter whether guns are necessary for self-defense or not. If they aren't, then your freedom to own a gun is morally void.

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We have two effective self-defense tools. Which one is better? I think it depends on the person. The Taser has a limited range and can only be fired a small number of times, but can be more effective if it hits a non-vital part of the body. A handgun has more range and can be easily reloaded, but requires more training to deal a killing (thus incapacitating) blow. So, I believe the answer to your question is, “yes,” depending on the person.

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I understand your position, but I'm not confident that the majority of people who buy and carry guns do it with self-defense in mind. You've said you grew up in Wisconsin and have been around respectable gunhandlers your whole life. That's cool. I grew up in LA 10 years after you, and have rarely seen a gun in the hand of a respectable man. I have nothing against owning a legal weapon in your own home, but in public, I think that the majority of the responsibility should be placed on police and security officials. Realistically, there's a ton of rapes and murders each day. I definitely think that it's necessary to have some sort of weapon to defend yourself against potential threats. So my position is that if there is any other weapon you can use to defend yourself, you should use it.

The bolded part of your paragraph reminded me of this question: where does self-defense end and immoral behavior begin? That's probably for a separate thread, but your response makes it seem that only a killing blow can be incapacitating. I also wonder whether or not you believe that criminals should be tried, found guilty, and persecuted, rather than being killed on the spot. I know context matters a great deal, but I think these points are the root of our disagreement.

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The reason you have the freedom to own a gun in the first place is because, as a human, you have the right to defend yourself. If you accept this notion, then it definitely does matter whether guns are necessary for self-defense or not. If they aren't, then your freedom to own a gun is morally void.

No, the reason I have the right to keep and bear arms is that I have the right to liberty. It doesn't matter whether I'm using it for self-defense or hunting or as a mantle piece. As long as I'm not violating anyone's rights with my guns, I have the right to own them regardless of the issue of self-defense. The right to self-defense is the reason the right to keep and bear arms is so important, but it is not the reason it exists.

Also, I was referring to handguns in that post. Guns are obviously necessary for self-defense but one could say that handguns aren't necessary because even if handguns were banned, one could still defend themself with long guns. However, just as lobster not being necessary for survival does not make your freedom to capture and eat them morally void, handguns (hypothetically) not being necessary for self-defense would not mean that the freedom to own them is morally void.

Would you say that, because heroin isn't neccessary for survival or happiness, that your freedom to own and use it is morally void?

Edited by oso
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The right to own guns is not based on the second amendment. If there were no second amendment in the U.S. Constitution, one would still possess a right to own a weapon of self-defense, which in today’s context, means a firearm, i.e., a gun. The right to own a firearm, is based on the right to self-defense, i.e., the right to those means to defend oneself against those who wish to destroy one’s life. The right to self-defense is itself is a corollary of the right to life (a corollary is here defined as a self-evident implication of a general principle)."

I believe this is the Objectivist view, but correct me if I'm mistaken.

Edit: This position doesn't deal with the issue of owing a gun for recreational purposes (ie: hunting or decorating your house).. in which case, I don't think the matter is morally questionable at all.

Edited by Michele Degges
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Thanks for your thoughtful response. I understand your position, but I'm not confident that the majority of people who buy and carry guns do it with self-defense in mind. You've said you grew up in Wisconsin and have been around respectable gunhandlers your whole life. That's cool. I grew up in LA 10 years after you, and have rarely seen a gun in the hand of a respectable man. I have nothing against owning a legal weapon in your own home, but in public, I think that the majority of the responsibility should be placed on police and security officials. Realistically, there's a ton of rapes and murders each day. I definitely think that it's necessary to have some sort of weapon to defend yourself against potential threats. So my position is that if there is any other weapon you can use to defend yourself, you should use it.

The bolded part of your paragraph reminded me of this question: where does self-defense end and immoral behavior begin? That's probably for a separate thread, but your response makes it seem that only a killing blow can be incapacitating. I also wonder whether or not you believe that criminals should be tried, found guilty, and persecuted, rather than being killed on the spot. I know context matters a great deal, but I think these points are the root of our disagreement.

Self-defense ends and immoral behavior begins when you use force, not to defend yourself, but to dole out justice. Only the government can properly do that and when it does so, it can't be morally done in the heat of the moment, such as with self-defense, but it must be procedural and objective (self-defense must be objective too of course). The line is not whether people get killed or not, it is whether it is reasonable force for the purpose of self-defense or force for the purpose of justice. Edited by oso
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Michele, if LA is that bad, maybe it isn't a safe place to live. Just a thought. It sounds like "gun culture" there is very different than here. A full exploration of those factors may be interesting, but off-topic.

where does self-defense end and immoral behavior begin? That's probably for a separate thread, but your response makes it seem that only a killing blow can be incapacitating.

US legal systems generally excuse lethal force when a person fears great bodily harm to himself or another. I think this is an appropriate point of departure from normal behavioral scruples. You need not assume the assailant is trying to kill; you need only be certain of his intent to cause great harm. Great harm is itself a risk-factor for swift death and therefore a clear, direct, and total violation of your right to life. That's why I think a lethal response is certainly justified. But is it best?.

I would personally prefer non-lethal means, all other things being equal. Sadly, I don't know of any that I'd trust as much as a firearm. I don't know how well Taser batteries stand up to the cold of a WI winter night, for example. There are other questions I've got, but I don't feel a great need to answer them because I have a solution that I am comfortable with at the moment. As far as guns go, they cause traumatic wounds, so any use of a gun is likely to cause a mortal wound. Shoot someone in the arm, leg, belly, or similar non-vital spot and they are likely to bleed out. But that takes time, during which they are still capable of causing harm. A shot to the heart, spine or brain will cause instant death, which removes the threat of harm.

This probably goes without saying, but all of this assumes that you are acting on an immediate threat to you or someone else's life. There is no hunting someone down because they threatened or harmed someone in the past. At least, that is a job for the government, not the individual.

Edited by FeatherFall
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I answered your first point already, but again: other weapons aren't as efficient in regards to range, power, and speed.

Range, power and speed are irrelevant. Distance, armor and ability to evade are not the things that protect you from being killed. Consequences are. That is why no one is going to kill you, not because they're not close enough, strong enough, or fast enough. Most people are plenty strong and fast, and can get close enough, to kill you with any tool. The reason why they don't is because they would have to pay later.

What if it accidentally went off and killed someone? Or someone stole it from my purse and used it against me? No.. a gun is not a good defense mechanism.

A gun shouldn't be kept in your purse, and when properly holstered and handled, they don't go off accidentally.

Instead of having everyone under the sun arm themselves like they're going to war

Straw man.

Edited by Nicky
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Kate, I am aware that some police units in the UK do not carry guns. I'm skeptical that it's a good decision, but as long as they remain effective at their jobs I don't object. This, however, is irrelevant to the morality of preventing me from using self-defense tools.

No policeman on patrol carries a gun in Britain. Some (maybe 2% of police) are trained to use a gun and are part of specialised armed response units. We have the same drug problems yet the police aren't armed. The criminals largely are not armed either. If they do arm the armed police are called in. You should reflect on the freedom that living in a place free from guns provides. It's literally a barometer of civilisation.

I believe the first sentence of your last post to be the most important part if it, because it represents a contradiction in your thinking about rights ethics:

From the lexicon:

A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context.

Here's my first sentence:

"Your freedom would be curbed, but it would not be immoral since the rights of non-gun owners would be furthered."

Freedom is not a right. Eg you don't have the freedom to pee on others property. What you do have are rights which define and limit your freedom where appropriate (as per the lexicon's definition). You should review those Objectivist theories of rights you recommended to me!

My guns don't affect your rights. So there are no rights to further by banning them.

Yes they do. I'm getting slightly frustrated by having to post this again and again. You guys are meant to be the O'ists yet I'm the one who is quoting Ayn Rand at you. Ayn Rand says that "giving you the privilege to kill people at whim" is NOT something that should be done:

Ayn Rand Answers:

What is your attitude toward gun control? It’s a complex, technical issue in the philosophy of law. Handguns are instruments for killing people–they are not carried for hunting animals–and you have no right to kill people. You do have the right to self-defense, however. I don’t know how the issue is to be resolved to protect you without giving you the privilege to kill people at whim.

NB to all:

Ultimately I'm not interested if you think taking guns away from people is immoral (you are wrong but you are entitled to your opinion). I would like to stick to the indisputable fact that countries like England exist where gun control is tight and guns aren't prevalent among criminals, and less people die as a result. It's an intuitive concept and it actually exists in reality. Engage with this fact.

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Yes they do. I'm getting slightly frustrated by having to post this again and again. You guys are meant to be the O'ists yet I'm the one who is quoting Ayn Rand at you. Ayn Rand says that "giving you the privilege to kill people at whim" is NOT something that should be done:

I don't have the privilege to kill someone at whim. Furthermore, I never killed someone at whim. I don't expect to do so in the future.

Ultimately I'm not interested if you think taking guns away from people is immoral (you are wrong but you are entitled to your opinion). I would like to stick to the indisputable fact that countries like England exist where gun control is tight and guns aren't prevalent among criminals, and less people die as a result. It's an intuitive concept and it actually exists in reality. Engage with this fact.

It's not a fact, it's an unsubstantiated claim that you made up and keep repeating despite having been proven wrong.

A fact is that there are several US states with widespread gun ownership, with lower violent crime rates than in England. That's a fact, and you are the one who is ignoring it.

Edited by Nicky
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Kate, like I said, I was already familiar with that aspect of British law enforcement. You're free to continue giving me information I already know about, but I'd rather you help me to understand how British law enforcement and drug "problems" are relevant to this thread. Moving on for now...

Your Rand quote doesn't mean what you seem to think it means. Rand is saying she hasn't thought about the issue at length and doesn't know the answer. She's explicitly refusing to answer the question. Her quote, aside from defining two basic principles and pointing out what she sees as an unresolvable contradiction, is useless. Rand's choice not to come to a conclusion about this issue is no reason for the rest of us to avoid it. Her quote illustrates a pitfall in giving off-the-cuff replies; she didn't have time to check the premises that lead to her perceived contradiction. She draws a false distinction between "protecting you" and giving you "the privilege to kill people at a whim." I certainly wouldn't hold her, you, or anyone else to that alternative. It's absurd.

Now back to rights. I misunderstood your statement to mean you thought I had a right to act, but that it was being curbed. So, ok, you do not seem to think that rights can conflict with each other. Never the less, your advocacy of gun control maintains such a conflict. Rights protect the freedom to act in ways that don't interfere with another's freedom to act. So long as I remain civil, my firearm does not interfere with your freedom to act. Your jailing of gunsmiths, regulation of manufacturers and unnecessary weapons embargoes does, in an omnipresent and grossly totalitarian manner, violates my freedom to act.

By the way, and not that it bears on the questions of morality or rights, can you explain to me why, as of 2002, the reported rates of assault victimhood and rape victimhood in the UK were more than double those in the US? Because it seems to me that denying women the tools to defend themselves will invite these brutal crimes.

Edited by FeatherFall
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  1. Over 30,000 people die in the USA each year from guns, so it is not difficult to see how banning them would save lives and help reduce those 7000 daily deaths. The only other rich country which has a problem with guns is Finland and surprise surprise, gun ownership is high there too.

These charts tend to be very misleading in that they tend to only list murders in the gun control countries with everything lumped together in the USA.

The stats you are quoting are from 2010 I believe.

The whole picture of that is that out of the 30K gun deaths almost 20k of those were suicides.

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These charts tend to be very misleading in that they tend to only list murders in the gun control countries with everything lumped together in the USA.

The stats you are quoting are from 2010 I believe.

The whole picture of that is that out of the 30K gun deaths almost 20k of those were suicides.

So in perspective, 10k non-suicide gun deaths each year, compared to: 17k due to drug abuse; 20k due to STDs; 35-45k due to car accidents; 50k-100k due to medical errors in hospitals; 55k due to toxins, particulates and radon; 75k due to infectious diseases; 85k due to alcohol; 110+k due to obesity and heart disease; 400+k due to tobacco use.

Edited by brian0918
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I just want to point out that if you want anyone to take your ideas seriously, you need to post less-argumentative and less-aggressive responses.

I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings by pointing out that you're dead wrong and uninformed. But you are, and you deserve to be told about it.

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I may have been wrong about handguns. This story shows that I discounted a handgun's non-lethal capacity; they seem to be good instruments of coercion. I wonder how successful the hero of this story would have been if he was wielding a Taser or a knife.

This analysis of Australian data suggests that gun control can affect the tools used for suicides, but not necessarily the suicide rate itself. This is just one example of how difficult the statistics are to untangle. "Firearms death rate" includes criminals killed mid-crime (by police and civilians), suicides, accidents and murders. The best analysis would have layers of data, isolating each of these stats and more. It would be easily searchable, and it would explain differences in reporting methods for each agency/group that gathered the data. If anyone finds such a unicorn, please grab me by the shirt, slap me in the face, and put the report in my hand.

Edited by FeatherFall
grammar
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So in perspective, 10k non-suicide gun deaths each year, compared to: 17k due to drug abuse; 20k due to STDs; 35-45k due to car accidents; 50k-100k due to medical errors in hospitals; 55k due to toxins, particulates and radon; 75k due to infectious diseases; 85k due to alcohol; 110+k due to obesity and heart disease; 400+k due to tobacco use.

yes, my point exactly

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@FeatherFall & Nicky

On second reading, my post was a little premature. It was not a direct response to either of your posts as much as it was an attempt to prevent the direction I thought the thread was taking (and has since taken with Kate's posts and responses to her).

My point is that the principled (and only meaningful or relevant) argument against gun control is that it violates rights. Discussing what-ifs and alternatives is fine, but cannot stand as an argument for or against gun control. When gun rights advocates argue at the statistical, anecdotal, or practical level, they concede to gun control advocates that there is no principled reason to protect 2nd amendment rights, and thereby make it an unfortunately typical pragmatic contest of who has the best statistics or the most shocking real-life story.

An analog would be arguing about taxation by showing that it negatively impacts the unemployment rate, economic growth, etc. It doesn't matter. Such an investigation is a great way to remind oneself that there is no theory-practice dichotomy, but the principle is that compulsory taxes violate the right to property - 'nough said.

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