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Gun Control

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Gero Posted: Thu, Jul 26 2012 3:05 AM

So this recent shooting has kicked off another gun control debate, a subject that has not seemed to get much discussion here. I don’t want this thread to be strictly about the Aurora massacre. I want it to be broader.

I believe in being allowed to own Ak-47s, any machine gun you can think of. You could use it to defend yourself against a common criminal, against a group of criminals, during a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina, during a manmade disaster like a citywide riot, and during martial law. There is a use for automatic weapons. This doesn’t mea I believe the ordinary citizen should be allowed to buy a tank. Walter Block said, in the book Building Blocks, “What is the libertarian position on the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution? At first blush, this philosophy is not compatible with any gun control legislation at all, since the mere ownership and possession of a rifle or pistol do not constitute an uninvited border crossing, or invasive violence. Nor do they even amount to a threat, for surely we must distinguish between the case of brandishing a weapon in a bellicose manner, on the one hand, and, on the other, with keeping one locked up in a drawer at home or in an auto, or with peaceably walking around with one safely holstered at the hip or even concealed, as in a shoulder harness. The former act violates the nonaggression axiom, while the latter two do not. Yes, there is a potential danger involved in private gun ownership and use, but if we were to prohibit all such occurrences, we would have to ban autos, knives, scissors, letter openers, arms (for boxers) and legs (for karatekas), etc. Then there is the slippery slope objection; that if a pistol is not a rights violator per se, then neither is a rifle, a machine gun, a bazooka, a howitzer, a tank, a battleship, a jet fighter plane; nor, for that matter, a nuclear bomb. The libertarian response to this is predicated upon the issue of whether it is possible to use these weapons in a purely defensive manner; if so, there can be no objection to them per se. Consider a bazooka, for example. Can the power of this implement be confined to those at whom it is aimed? Yes. Therefore it can be used purely for purposes of selfdefense, and its possession is not an ipso facto violation of the libertarian code. If it is not possible to limit, to its intended targets, the physical harm created by a weapon but, rather, this must necessarily spill over onto innocent parties, then such an implement must be eliminated from legitimate arsenals. When viewed in this manner, it is clear that all of the weapons mentioned above, except for the thermonuclear device, do allow for pinpointing namely for confining their destructive power to the “bad guys.” Therefore, it would be licit to own any of the former, but not the latter. This, then, is a fair summary of the consensus libertarian position on gun control, as it now exists. However, it is subject to criticism, when we take a wider perspective. Contemplate the possibility of meteors causing great damage to the Earth, and being blown up, defensively, by nuclear power, as in the movie Armageddon, or alien creatures attacking us, as in the book by Robert Heinlein (1959), Starship Troopers, and the movie of the same name. In this astronomical context, not limited to the Earth, the hydrogen bomb, or even many of them all together, can be used purely defensively, or appropriately, e.g., to blow up a meteor before it hits us, or to kill giant enemy alien bugs on distant planets, who have already attacked us.”

Here are some other sources related to the recent shooting defending the pro-gun view:

Is the Lesson of the Aurora Shooting That We Need Better (Or More Compulsory) Mental Health Services in the U.S.?

Lone gunmen, quiet and unremarkable, have always been difficult to spot before they act

Ice-T: From “Cop Killer” to Second Amendment Hero

The Aurora Shootings

Did I cover all the objections directly or by link? I doubt it. I just found this objection: retired cop Michael A. Black said, “We register automobiles and require proof of driving proficiency before granting driving licenses. Is it so unreasonable to consider a national or state-by-state registry for firearms? While I’m not totally opposed to concealed carry laws, why not require comprehensive background checks, psychological screening and training?”

I’m sleepy, so I doubt this will be thorough, but I dislike this argument. Say, I one time a couple years ago committed an armed robbery. Should that mean or the rest of my life I can never own a gun? That isn’t proportional punishment.

As for psychological screening, if you are too dangerous to be given a gun, maybe you’re too dangerous to be freely walking around.

Training is helpful, but it should not be required. If you harm another person unjustifiably, you should be liable, period.

I think this whole gun debate just periodically occurs after shooting incidents (not when the U.S. military kills people either by drones or other means. That is somehow just peachy). As the Washington Post article linked to above notes, you can’t stop every lone gunman. This is like the nirvana fallacy. There isn’t complete safety. Even the cops have killed people. There is risk in life. I prefer to be armed to deal with it, not be a sitting duck in shooting gallery.

For other thoughts, see the links to various pictures I posted in another thread.

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Their argument: "A man in colorado walked into a movie theater and killed several people by spraying bullets into the crowd, therefore we should outlaw guns/have stricter laws on purchasing or possessing guns/ have mandatory training for gun owners/have mandatory psychological screenings for gun owners."

The argument no one will put forward: "A man in colorado walked into a movie theater and killed several people by spraying bullets into the crowd, therefore we should eliminate all laws restricting the right to purchase GUNS because if we did, then perhaps a few more people in that theater would have been carrying and could have put that bastard down, saving many lives in the process."

You make some great points Gero. I especially like the point you made about the exception to the nuclear weapon rule. I had never thought they could be used peacefully but the mentor example is a good one. Can any science nerds on the forums back up any validity to this use? Is that method of meteor removal simply an invention of hollywood with no actual truth in it?

Also, about the psychological screenings, I think this could be a dangerous path because it could be tailored to conclude that owning a gun, or perhaps even wanting to own one, might automatically fail you. At least, I think the test could eventually be used that way. The government pulls these tricks all of the time where they use an existing law and contort it to get their way in an indirect, de facto manner later on. This would be similar to the Patriot act or like before prohibition, when the state simply taxed the hell out of liquor, rendering it virtually unaffordable; a de facto prohibition.

It seems like psychological screenings could eventually go like this: "Oh, so you want to own a gun? According to our test, only dangerous, murderous psychopaths want to own guns. You fail! Now follow us to our state-run Asylum for the criminally-insane, you sick son of a bitch." All the state would have to do is contract the services of some slightly well-known, intellectually flippant psychologist willing to conduct a mock study concluding whatever conclusions the state wished for, and *vuala* they have a great justification for de facto gun bans. Sure, it's not technically illegal to own a gun, you just need to prove you are psychologically sound enough to own one. You are free not to take the test as well, but be warned: taking it is a sign of gun ownership desire which is highly correlated to sadistic psychopathy. So, if you take it, you are insane. If you don't, no gun. Its kind of like in the Chinese one party system; they have open elections. You are not forced to be part of the communist party. Hell, you can even vote for whichever party you want, however the only party allowed to run is the communist party.

As for the Aliens, why not assume they are peaceful until they prove to be otherwise? Lets say a ship just shows up and starts attacking, what if innocents are on board against their will? Dont know why they would be, but it makes for an interesting moral dilemma. This also begs another question I have never thought of (I will warn you of the unlikely nature of such a hypothtical but still it is interesting). Lets say a van full of men are cruising around doing drive-by shootings. This puts you in danger, so you fill the van full of bullet holes killing everyone in the car. Upon inspection, you find a small child in the van whom you have also killed. I would assume the men holding the child in the car would be responsible for the death, but perhaps you could potentially be charged with negligence. Am I wrong? If they are all dead, who do you prosecute for the girls death?

 

"If men are not angels, then who shall run the state?" 

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Ancap66 replied on Thu, Jul 26 2012 4:14 AM

Here is a data comparison of gun homicides per 100,000 people in the US, Switzerland and Japan.

Despite similarly loose gun regulations in the US and Switzerland, the US rate is about 6 time higher. In Japan, where gun regulations are much more restrictive than either country, gun homicides are scarce.

Guns should be regulated by private security firms. They will make their own cost-benefit analyses to decide to what extent gun owners should pay higher/lower premiums for increasing/reducing risks. Private owners of roads, parks, shopping malls, etc, will decide how they want guns to be transported on their property, if at all.

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Bogart replied on Thu, Jul 26 2012 10:00 AM

Any argument using the Constitution as the limiting or unlimiting concept is pointless as the Constitution gives the government the ultimate out of any limitation on its power, that being that 9 bureaucrats decide what the Constitution means not you, me or anybody else, the recent Kelo and Healthcare decisions support this.  The Founders wrote this into the document just to make government power unlimited.

As for gun control, in a truely free society there should not be any.  If the activities of a person do not harm others then those activities are fine, so if that person has bunch of assault weapons and does not interfere with my property by using them or threaten me with them then that is the persons business and not a crime. 

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xahrx replied on Thu, Jul 26 2012 10:09 AM

"As for gun control, in a truely free society there should not be any. " - Bogart

Not true.  Like all other things, it would simply be voluntary based on existing contractual agreements.

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Wheylous replied on Thu, Jul 26 2012 10:18 AM

TTT, the theater had its own gun restrictions. They didn't allow guns.

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Lady Saiga replied on Thu, Jul 26 2012 10:55 AM

This is all the answer this thread requires, thank you Wheylous.  It's too bad there weren't people in that audience with the foresight to be prepared to defend themselves against aggression.  That was their right, of course, but I don't go anywhere unarmed. 

Creating a law that restricts ownership of any weapon simply forces the business over into the black market anyway.  It then sets up the process by which the government systematically strips all other rights away from its citizens.

By denying a person their right to use whatever means they require for personal defense, you deny their essential freedom and you do not give them any measurable benefit in return.

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DD5 replied on Thu, Jul 26 2012 11:13 AM

xahrx:

"As for gun control, in a truely free society there should not be any. " - Bogart

Not true.  Like all other things, it would simply be voluntary based on existing contractual agreements.

 

Exactly!  but maybe stated more accurately, the problem of gun ownership is a problem of property rights and nothing more.  There most probably will be gun control in the free society.  It seems that many qasi-libertarians are making a Conservative type argument in favor of guns.  It is painful to watch.

 

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Lady Saiga replied on Thu, Jul 26 2012 11:31 AM

Such gun control would only be rational in groups made up of 100% willing members.  Nobody would deny a person's right NOT to own a gun.  But as soon as you make it compulsory on unwilling individuals, you become an aggressor.  Furthermore, those consenting and unarmed individuals leave themselves wide open to be victimized by the inevitable aggressive minority unless they contract with other individuals who ARE willing to utilize weapons, for their defense, or unless they break their own rule in times of trouble.  So universal control of any weapon ownership is impossible as well as unethical.

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Whats wrong with owning a tank, or a howitzer in my back yard if i can own an Ak 47?

A tank kills people, wayy more people than an AK47, but an AK47 kills people, wayy more people than a pistol or a knife....

Its not WHAT you own its WHY you own it.

If you can own a knife but you cant own a machette, arent you compromising a principle?

If you can own a pistol, but cant own a howitzer, arent you compromising principle? (after all, all a howitzer is is a huge gun).

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Seraiah replied on Fri, Jul 27 2012 12:23 AM

Under the same conditions that a person could build a nuclear reactor in your neighborhood are the same conditions that would be required for someone to have a nuclear weapon in their possession.

Anyone can own anything on their own property as long as those who are put at risk of damage are compensated to their satisfaction.

Ancap66:
Here is a data comparison of gun homicides per 100,000 people in the US, Switzerland and Japan.

Despite similarly loose gun regulations in the US and Switzerland, the US rate is about 6 time higher. In Japan, where gun regulations are much more restrictive than either country, gun homicides are scarce.


Those figures are virtually meaningless. Gun laws are not the only differences between the United States, Switzerland, and Japan.
Japan has a very high population density. Lets see you get away with shooting someone when there are 5 strangers 10 feet from you at any given time.

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Despite similarly loose gun regulations in the US and Switzerland, the US rate is about 6 times higher. In Japan, where gun regulations are much more restrictive than either country, gun homicides are scarce.

What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?  Homicides in general are far lower in Switzerland and Japan by comparison to the U.S..  Obviously the underlying issues have little, if anything, to do with the gun.  Economic conditions, family conditions, cultural factors (such as attitudes towards crime and willingness to report criminals/criminal activity), these all play a role, a much bigger role than guns.

Guns should be regulated by private security firms.

Guns should be regulated by the owner's choices.  If they contract with services that would tend to charge them more or deny certain services for possessing guns, or are unable to contract for desired services for possessing guns, and these factors cause them to relinquish their gun ownership, so be it.

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Just bring up the Akihabara Massacre and Osaka Massacre

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akihabara_massacre

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osaka_school_massacre

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xahrx replied on Fri, Jul 27 2012 10:00 AM

"Exactly!  but maybe stated more accurately, the problem of gun ownership is a problem of property rights and nothing more.  There most probably will be gun control in the free society.  It seems that many qasi-libertarians are making a Conservative type argument in favor of guns.  It is painful to watch." - DD5

Yeah, but I understand it so for me it's not too painful.  For example, I still get irked whenever I hear liberals bitch and moan about Fox News.  It takes a minute for the knee jerk reaction to subside before I realize I too can't stand Fox News or most any other news outlet; they all suck for the same reason, big government bias.  Whether it's leftist or rightist doesn't matter because I disagree with both.  But, because as a libertarian more often than not I get lumped in with conservatives of all stripes, I react irrationally and find myself taking offense to statements I actually agree with more often than not.  It's just the way of the world.

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xahrx replied on Fri, Jul 27 2012 10:06 AM

" Anyone can own anything on their own property as long as those who are put at risk of damage are compensated to their satisfaction." - Seraiah

Exactly.  And I see no reason why any private HOA couldn't have some catch all clause for their members, and for inter HOA contracts for neigboring areas, simply stating any activity with the potential to harm or kill your neighbors has to be approved by said neighbors.

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What u also have to consider about crime rates, some actions that are considered crimes in the US may not be crimes in switzerland or japan.

smoking weed is a crime here, but in other countries it isnt.

 

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It specifically lists "gun homicides." Well, of course, in a country with a fewer guns "gun homicide" will probably be lower than countries with more guns.

What about the general homicide rates of those three countries?

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