Re: Vegas - WTF???
Posted by: JMac ()
Date: October 03, 2017 11:18PM

Totally agree with Peter - saying that it's not worth doing because "criminals will always find a way" is not a strong or well-reasoned position.

Why wouldn't you want to curtail easy access because the 100% certainty of absolutely no access is an impossibility? All policies in every realm of government policy are only perfectible, and never perfect.

When you restrict access, it doubtlessly has a wide-ranging impact. Many of these folks - from the Vegas shooter who had 20+ automatic or semi-automatic weapons to the teen who slaughtered children at Sandy Hook - are not sophisticated criminals with access to underground networks. They just had easy access. When you can buy a couple dozen automatic weapons with no one batting an eye or being immediately flagged in a database, there's an issue.

In a nation where *over half* of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations, it's just not acceptable to shrug and say, "criminals will get them anyway".

Uderground, black market networks are often surveilled by the FBI and other authorities anyway (especially after the Patriot Act and such), decreasing your chances of acquiring one, and making it significantly harder. Access to the underbelly of the black market is a complicated thing, and even for those who do have access, the fact that there is a black market at all means that a high-powered automatic that costs, say, $3,000 will now cost $40,000. So there is even a price restriction to it too, and that will logically impact the proliferation of such weaponry - especially amongst ordinary wackos like the ones I just mentioned, plus the Orlando shooter, the Virginia tech guy, etc. You're keeping it out of the hands of ordinary citizens. Also, in this case, you wouldn't have to DO anything with it to get in trouble; simple possession of such a weapon would be enough to go to jail.

Of course, restriction at this point will have a variety of problems, not the least of which is that the genie is out of the bottle. Without a nationwide buyback program, its effect would be more limited, WHICH DOESNT MEAN IT ISNT WORTH DOING OR WONT HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ANYWAY, especially long-term. I believe Australia melted down something like 600,000 have a similar impact in the US, proportionally, would mean melting down about 120 million weapons. That's not going to happen.

You could always argue that people with murderous intent will buy handguns anyway. So? The destructive force and speed and capacity for instant mass death of a handgun or hunting rifle compared to an automatic or semi-automatic assault weapon, which frankly should be monopolized exclusively by police forces and the military, is day and night. The Vegas attack touched the lives of 500 wounded or killed people - five hundred!! - in, what, 10 minutes? People who had guns at the venue didn't know where to return fire, and some were terrified of pulling out their guns for fear of being mistakenly ID'd as the aggressor and being shot.

The fact that the Vegas shooter passed a background check with flying colors tells you that background checks aren't at the heart of the issue (which doesn't mean that they don't play a very important role all the same). And yet, we had the Trump administration lift the gun ban for people on the No Fly List, which boggles the mind - why would any American, even staunch supporters of the 2nd Ammendment, be in favor of such a thing? If the government doesn't think it's safe to let you on a fuc.king plane, why would they let you buy an automatic assault weapon?
And just this week, Congress was set to de-regulate the use of silencers. Again, why?!? Why are we trying to allow our citizens to kill silently, secretly?

I know sweeping generalizations about "rednecks" and NRA gun nuts aren't helpful, though there is a correlation between this specific problem and what has been going on at the conservative end of the spectrum over the past few years. And it's important to own that, just as I admit to some of the problems at my more liberal end of the spectrum, from the hysterical, "regressive" left that sometimes tries to tamp down basic free speech, thinks it's ok to punch someone unprovoked just because they're spouting anti-semitic nonsense, always responds to legitimate concerns regarding Muslim extremism with kneejerk cries of "Islamophobia!" - although that does exist - while openly deriding Christian-influenced policy (I am not religious in either direction, FYI), or favoring an obtuse amount of political correctness.

If it were up to me, I'd ban guns across the board, of any kind, except for police and the military, period. I know that's an unreasonable pipe dream in the US, and not logical at all for many reasons - the gun culture, hunters, folks who think they are needed "to defend against tyranny" in some hypothetical future, or people who plain old like them for sport and are marksmen and require them in rural settings, etc. Not to mention the fact that it's codified constitutionally. Got it.

So you know what, I'll be flexible and won't demonize all gun owners. That's not fair, it doesn't help and would be short-sighted and unproductive of me. By all means, buy a few rifles and hanguns and cool weapons if you want to.

But can we at least agree about the no fly list, the silencers, the many background check loopholes that exist, and automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles, and guys who buy 20+ automatic assault rifles being at least automatically & speedily investigated? Isn't that a good common ground where we can all meet?

Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 10/04/2017 12:33AM by JMac.

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