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Old May 15 2013, 12:47 PM   #256
MacLeod
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Re: 5 year old given rifle as gift, kills 2 year old sister

Stoo wrote: View Post
Just because some dangerous item will never amount to a large proportion of killings, doesn't mean it should be legal.

I mean an eccentric millionaire could conceivably own a howitzer, if it was legal. But we probably shouldn't let them.

[edit]I'm interested in the description of assault rifles as Poodle Guns, since it reminds me of the dismissive attitude towards relevance of clip size. Why did anyone bother developing such things, then? Should we go back to giving all our soldiers bolt-action rifles?
One argument which could be put forward is. If banning guns (or certain types of guns) would save even one life is it worth it? What if that life was yours, a family member a friend?

Of course now will come the counter argument that banning guns cause murder rates to go up.
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Old May 15 2013, 02:51 PM   #257
J.T.B.
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Re: 5 year old given rifle as gift, kills 2 year old sister

gturner wrote: View Post
Any chart ever made of US per capita murder rates. Back around the time of Constitutional ratification, when everyone had to murder with flint-lock muzzle loading pistols, the US homicide rate was about 28 per 100,000. The Colt revolver got that down to about 8 to 12. Switching from revolvers to high-capacity semi-automatics dropped it down to about 5.

The European homicide rate prior to the wide adoption of the flintlock usually ran somewhere between 20 to 100 per 100,000.

Homicide trends in America: 1850-1950 from Carnegie Mellon.

Long term trends in US homicide rates

Long term trends in violent crime, going back to the 1300's.
Do those studies show causal links between homicide rate and type of firearm? If so I can't find it.

gturner wrote: View Post
Assault rifles are the lowest powered rifles the American military has ever used since the development of the brass cartridge. When introduced they were dismissed as squirrel or poodle guns. Many states don't allow them for deer hunting because they're not deadly enough for a clean kill.
That's a red herring; assault rifles are better than hunting rifles or earlier military rifles at causing numbers of human casualties, and have been perfected to that end. The intermediate cartridges were developed to be more controllable under rapid fire, to have low recoil in a lighter weapon, to allow larger magazine capacity and to allow more ammo to be carried on the person.

gturner wrote: View Post
You could instead go after the deadly threat presented by legally owned fully automatic FFL weapons. A lot of my friends own those. Heck, even I have belt fed Browning. Yet the murders committed with those is listed as just 2. Not 2 per 100,000. Not 2 per year. Just two - in the entire database.
And yet, the destructive potential of those weapons is such that the people of the US have decided their ownership should be federally regulated, and those of more modern manufacture not legal at all for private ownership.
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Old May 15 2013, 05:18 PM   #258
Zaku
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Re: 5 year old given rifle as gift, kills 2 year old sister

MacLeod wrote: View Post
Now of course the truth is far more compex than that, some countries have more relaxed gun laws and few murders and/or incidents of violent crime. i.e Switzerland.
What? Switzerland have relaxed gun laws?!?
from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_pol...e_1999_Gun_Act

To purchase a firearm in a commercial shop, one needs to have a Waffenerwerbsschein (weapon acquisition permit). A permit allows the purchase of three firearms. Everyone over the age of 18 who is not psychiatrically disqualified (such as having had a history of endangering his own life or the lives of others) or identified as posing security problems, and who has a clean criminal record (requires a Criminal Records Bureau check) can request such a permit.
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Old May 15 2013, 06:56 PM   #259
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Re: 5 year old given rifle as gift, kills 2 year old sister

J.T.B. wrote: View Post
And yet, the destructive potential of those weapons is such that the people of the US have decided their ownership should be federally regulated, and those of more modern manufacture not legal at all for private ownership.
Thermonuclear weapons have caused fewer than 400,000 intentional human deaths since the very first atomic bomb was tested in the deserts of New Mexico in July of 1945, but we sure as hell have regulations and laws about those now don't we? How many Americans have been slain on our own soil with guns since the end of World War II?

And we're not supposed to at least minimally, sensibly regulate them and who can legally get their hands on and operate them? This isn't a Second Amendment issue and it never has been. It's a common sense safety issue dealing with devices specifically designed to smash, destroy and kill things and with rapid, lethal efficiency.
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Old May 15 2013, 07:53 PM   #260
gturner
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Re: 5 year old given rifle as gift, kills 2 year old sister

Stoo wrote: View Post
Just because some dangerous item will never amount to a large proportion of killings, doesn't mean it should be legal.

I mean an eccentric millionaire could conceivably own a howitzer, if it was legal. But we probably shouldn't let them.

[edit]I'm interested in the description of assault rifles as Poodle Guns, since it reminds me of the dismissive attitude towards relevance of clip size. Why did anyone bother developing such things, then? Should we go back to giving all our soldiers bolt-action rifles?
Some people own canons (usually muzzle loading).

In general, possession of their ammunition was banned as destructive devices (they're really bomb hurlers), and then sometime after WW-II we banned anti-tank rifles, which were becoming popular with collectors. I'm pretty confident that the number of homicides committed with canons or anti-tank rifles is zero.

In any event, to address your edit, virtually every military had settled on rifle cartridges in the narrow ballistic range of the 7mm Mauser, .303 British, to the .30-06 (a slightly upscaled 7mm Mauser). All of them had two or three times the kinetic energy of Civil War muzzle loading rifles, but most nations were pretty sure such cartridges were required for modern combat. That was probably in part because smokeless powder and better bullet shapes made such guns very effective at much longer ranges, and if naval combat and artillery were proper examples to go by, out-ranging your opponent would produce victories.

By WW-I we were making fully-automatic rifles to fire such high-power cartidges, such as the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) which had a 20-round magazine. However, physics being a bitch, such guns have to be quite heavy to be controllable with full-auto fire.

BAR math, or full-powered automatic rifles are heavy.

The BAR weighed close to 20 pounds. Full-auto weapons also eat a lot of ammunition, and full-powered rifle ammunition is heavy, too. Standard .30-06 ammunition weighs about 17 rounds per pound, and armies liked soldiers to carry 200 or 300 rounds of ammunition, which would weigh 12 to 17 pounds, respectively, even without magazines, boxes, or pouches. The empty BAR magazines weigh about a half pound each (and hold 20 rounds), so the all-up weight if you wanted to carry 300 rounds fully loaded into combat would be: 20 pounds for the gun, 17 pounds for the cartridges, 7 pounds for the magazines, or about 44 pounds. Add pouches for the magazines and would hit 50 pounds. That works great if other soldiers carry the BAR gunner's tent, socks, flashlights, insect repellent, and whatnot, but if all the soldiers carried BARs they would need gun bearers following along behind them.

****

Better mechanical designs can lighten the gun, but lightening the gun starts making it uncontrollable in full-auto fire, since conservation of momentum combines with human anatomy to cause high-powered light full-auto guns to spray nothing but the sky. In late WW-II, in a desperate need to stop massive Soviet advances, the Germans got around this problem the only way the problem can be solved, by coming up with a wimpy, low-powered cartridge that doesn't have as much recoil. The cartridge was the 7.9mm Kurz (short), and it was in between a pistol cartridge and a rifle cartridge. The low powered cartridge allowed the full-auto rifle that fired it to weigh only 10 pounds instead of 20. Hitler called the rifle "Sturmgewehr" (assault rifle) because he wouldn't admit that it was a desperate measure to try and stop advancing Soviet armies that were rolling toward Berlin.

Meanwhile the Soviets made the same innovation, coming up with the 7.62x39 (still wildly popular) in their SKS rifle. Some say they found the 7.92mm Kurz and adapted it for .30 caliber barrels, but of course the Soviets invented everything, so they'd never admit such a thing. They might even be right about that. Both cartridges fire a 125-grain bullet at about 2,200 feet per second. (There are 7,000 grains in a pound, if you want to crunch numbers). A standard battle cartridge like the .30-06 fires a 150 to 170 grain bullet at 2,700 to 2,900 feet per second. Using the formula for kinetic energy (KE=1/2mv^2) shows that the assault rifles have to fire a bullet that has only half the ballistic energy of a regular rifle cartridge.

The US military was never going to do something like that, and insisted that only a full battle cartridge would be acceptable. When it came to coming up with a standard rifle round for NATO, they shortened the .30-06, very slightly reduced its muzzle velocity, and introduced it as the .308 Winchester. It's a little shorter than the .30-06 so machine guns can cycle faster (less bolt travel). Then they tried to make a regular-weight full-auto rifle for it, to replace the M-1 Garand, and failed spectacularly with the M-14. At the demonstration in front of a reviewing stand full of generals, the soldier firing the M-14 landed flat on his back with the barrel aiming straight up.

So the US still didn't have an answer to the Soviet AK-47. Eventually an inventor came up with a very light weight .22 caliber rifle firing a modified .222 cartridge (normally used for hunting rabbits and foxes). The gun was small and light so the Air Force adopted it as a gun their aircrews could use if they bailed out. It was fancy, looked high-tech, and used lots of aluminum, the Air Force's favorite metal, so they bought lots of them. Someone showed it to President Kennedy and he thought it was nifty. The US Army despised it. They worked for Kennedy, and he told them to adopt it, so they did, after trying everything in their power to keep using a real combat rifle.

Then Vietnam heated up, and even though the rifle was thought wholly inadequate for the European battlefield, it would probably do well in close-in jungle combat. So we tried it out. The guns jammed all the time and lots of American soldiers died as a result, to the extent that Congress had to conduct hearings on the gun's worthlessness. The Army made fixes, lots of them. But even today, the gun jams a great deal of the time, and the .223 cartridge is still so underpowered that the military and industry spend a lot of time pushing for its abandonment. Almost anything you read about combat rifles will center around the question of what cartridge the military needs to use instead of what it's using.

But they're fun and cheap to shoot, so they're wildly popular for target plinking.

ETA: Oh, and there's a fascinating story about why the US Army wanted a full-auto rifle. During the war some PhD justified his existence by claiming he was doing "battlefield research", and wrote scholarly looking papers showing that US soldiers simply would NOT fire back at the enemy unless they had real machine guns. He claimed he was doing on-the-scene post-action interviews with them, using questionaires and all the other tools of modern psychology, and that soldiers who only had ordinary rifles felt that they simply couldn't contribute anything toward success because their guns weren't awesome enough, so they'd just sit there and do nothing.

The Army brass fell for it hook, line, and sinker, and became adamant that whatever new rifle was developed, it had to be full auto or soldiers wouldn't bother pulling the trigger. The belief became so pervasive that it overrode consideration like having an effective bullet.

Much later it turned out that the PhD had made the whole thing up. He'd never gone to any battlefields, he'd never conducted any interviews, and his conclusions were completely wrong. Subsequent checks with people who were actually in the battles he claimed to have studied said the American problem was that soldiers would open up with everything they had on anything that moved. Even enemy soldiers complained about it. One German noted that if he fired one shot, the whole US front would erupt in a wave of gunfire and artillery that would take forever to die back down.

So the whole full-auto thing was a red herring, and newer M-16 derivatives don't even offer full-auto fire. So really all we've done is junk the M-1 Garand and give everyone the rough equivalent of M-1 carbines, a lightweight rifle that fired basically a pistol cartridge, used for tank crews and such because it was small and could fit behind a seat.

Last edited by gturner; May 15 2013 at 08:07 PM.
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Old May 15 2013, 09:27 PM   #261
J.T.B.
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Re: 5 year old given rifle as gift, kills 2 year old sister

gturner wrote: View Post
So the US still didn't have an answer to the Soviet AK-47. Eventually an inventor came up with a very light weight .22 caliber rifle firing a modified .222 cartridge (normally used for hunting rabbits and foxes). The gun was small and light so the Air Force adopted it as a gun their aircrews could use if they bailed out. It was fancy, looked high-tech, and used lots of aluminum, the Air Force's favorite metal, so they bought lots of them. Someone showed it to President Kennedy and he thought it was nifty. The US Army despised it. They worked for Kennedy, and he told them to adopt it, so they did, after trying everything in their power to keep using a real combat rifle.
Two different guns there. The Armalite AR-5 was the aircrew survival weapon, a lightweight, collapsible bolt-action in .22 Hornet. The first M16 was the Armalte AR-15, by that time owned by Colt, approved by Curtis LeMay for USAF base security forces.
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Old May 15 2013, 10:51 PM   #262
gturner
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Re: 5 year old given rifle as gift, kills 2 year old sister

Oh, good catch! I hadn't realized that the aircrew Armalite was different from the base security Armalite.

cooleddie74 wrote: View Post
And we're not supposed to at least minimally, sensibly regulate them and who can legally get their hands on and operate them? This isn't a Second Amendment issue and it never has been. It's a common sense safety issue dealing with devices specifically designed to smash, destroy and kill things and with rapid, lethal efficiency.
And we already do all that, with hundreds of pages of regulations that have to be complied with, along with the maintenance of a federal database of prohibited persons (which anti-gun states often don't seem to bother updating). In case you've not noticed, pro-gun people really, really don't like criminals, much less armed ones. But every time the anti-gun crowd gets fired up, they try to pretend that we don't have any regulations yet. Even politicians do this, often making themselves look insanely stupid.

The new regulations are always claimed to be "sensible" no matter how daft they are, or how onerous they might be. Heck, we're already past the point where very few liberals can buy a firearm without violating federal law, because almost all of them have used illegal drugs at one time or another, and like most crappy legislation written in a crisis to appease emotional needs, the wording is vague.

Among the recent bill's proposed amendments were ones that would've prohibited people who'd ever taken anti-anxiety medications or anti-depressants, along with intrusive medical record checks, which would probably have permanently barred gun ownership to any woman who'd ever had a baby, a miscarriage, or a worthless boyfriend. Apparently that qualifies as "sensible" in some circles.

Another proposal was to ban the private transfer of guns, defining transfer so badly that going on a one week business trip while leaving your gun in the same house as your spouse could get you both a five year stay in federal prison. Barrack Obama and his entire security detail would probably go to jail for the first Hawaiian vacation they took after Barrack signed the bill, because they probably don't take all their guns with them on every trip. That also was claimed to be "sensible."

There are limits to how effective any such system of regulations can be because criminals don't obey the law. If they did, our streets wouldn't be flooded with illegal drugs, often smuggled in from foreign countries. There are limits to how effective mental health screening can be because many of the violent episodes occur before any big warning flags manifest.

Now, why should things that cause fewer deaths than swimming pools or hammers be the focus of so much attention? Is it a desperate attempt at distraction? Is it some sort of tribal thing? Going after assault rifles would have the least productive effect on dropping homicide rates of just about anything that could be done, so why was so much time and effort and political capital wasted on it? Why was virtually nothing suggested toward things that might reduce the homicide rate, or at least specifically try to reduce the number of mass murders in public areas like schools?

We know who's committing most of the homicides, and just about all of them (and in many cities about 80% of their victims) have a long chain of prior arrests. Heck, in some cities would cut the homicide rate in half just by keeping the obvious victims-to-be in jail so they don't get murdered on the streets. Perhaps that wouldn't be "sensible" but it would be highly effective.

Most homicides involve alcohol or drugs, so there's another area where we're not focusing. (It might be really interesting to compare a graph of US alcohol consumption, or some good metric for alcohol abuse, with the decline in the homicide rate, while making an allowance for the explosion in crack murders in the 1980's.) And those aren't just gun homicides, they're also knife and hammer homicides.

The increase in school killings seems to be driven by a copycat effect, so decreasing the amount of press coverage, or at least somehow the press coverage kids are seeing, should help. For example, the Newtown shooter was obsessed with the coverage of the previous school shooters. "Obsessed" as in newspaper clippings covering his wall, with circled parts and everything, just like in TV detective shows. So what did we do? We had PBS broadcast a two-part Frontline biography of the shooter! You can bet that a half-dozen school-shooters-to-be were glued to their televisions, watching it in fascination as light bulbs went off in their heads.

Despite the ratings and public interest, the media should probably stop doing so much of that. If some future psycho kid realizes that guns are really a poor choice for inflicting mass casualties in a concentrated area, and instead uses a homemade flamethrower (which are oddly legal and useful for clearing brush), the media should just shut up and lie their little asses off because there's no way on Earth to stop any kid from making a homemade flamethrower, so let's pray they never start, and that the hobby remains just a harmless but awesome Youtube genre.

BTW, one of the largest public mass killings (32 dead), and the largest killing of LGBT people in US history, was done with nothing but a single bottle of Ronsonol lighter fluid. UpStairs Lounge attack
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Old May 16 2013, 12:05 AM   #263
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Re: 5 year old given rifle as gift, kills 2 year old sister

Once again

"No Act of Parliament or Law passed by congress will ever prevent an incidnet from occuring, it can however reduce the risk of such an incident occuring."

No one is saying banning a gun would ever prevent say another school shooting from occuring, but it could reduce the risk of such an incident occuring. Or would you disagree with that?
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Old May 16 2013, 12:12 AM   #264
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Re: 5 year old given rifle as gift, kills 2 year old sister

Not that any assault weapons ban is going to be passed by a congress that can't even get background checks through.
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Old May 16 2013, 12:33 AM   #265
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Re: 5 year old given rifle as gift, kills 2 year old sister

And what harm would there be in a background check? esp. as most Americans support backgrounds.

And of course just because a member of the electorae votes a certain way doesn't mean they support all the policies of the party/person they voted for.
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Old May 16 2013, 02:55 AM   #266
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Re: 5 year old given rifle as gift, kills 2 year old sister

MacLeod wrote: View Post
No one is saying banning a gun would ever prevent say another school shooting from occuring, but it could reduce the risk of such an incident occuring. Or would you disagree with that?
Predicted reply:

"Freedom! Plus, people in Vanuatu regularly kill one another with sharpened tropical fruits. Ergo, a hundred times more violent than America even during our Civil War.

Why do you hate the Constitution and want tyranny?"
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Old May 16 2013, 03:00 AM   #267
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Re: 5 year old given rifle as gift, kills 2 year old sister

cooleddie74 wrote: View Post
people in Vanuatu regularly kill one another with sharpened tropical fruits.
They should hire John Cleese as a drill instructor to cure them of that.

"First of all, you force him to drop the banana! Then, you EAT the banana! Thus, disarming him! You have now rendered him...helpless!"
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Old May 16 2013, 03:38 AM   #268
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Re: 5 year old given rifle as gift, kills 2 year old sister

gturner wrote:
All rifles combined, not just assault rifles, are virtually irrelevant in homicide statistics, and many of those used are by drug cartels (sometimes armed by the branch of the federal government charged with enforcing gun laws). More people are murdered with clubs and hammers than rifles, and about twice as many are killed with bare hands. About four times as many are murdered with sharp pointing things, and five times as many are killed with "other weapons" (probably frozen turkeys). More people are also murdered with shotguns than all rifle types combined.
There are thousands of children killed every year at the hands of adults. It is VERY unfortunate and there's little we can do to stop it. Often the warning signs are not there until the crime is ultimately committed.

So yes, there are more homicides committed by other means. But it's not about the overall quantity of deaths that the ban concerns. It's about the number of deaths in a single incident. Most homicides involve people who know each other. But when a death is caused at random, no "personal cause" at hand, it angers people the most. These assault weapons make it very easy to just kill a bunch of people all at once. It empowers the killer to murder many at will. THIS is what the ban is all about. Because if we don't do anything to stop it, the fear (and right so), is that more people will seek to do the same thing. Troubled, desperate people who see this as an effective means to vent their anger.
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Old May 16 2013, 03:55 AM   #269
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Re: 5 year old given rifle as gift, kills 2 year old sister

MacLeod wrote: View Post
And what harm would there be in a background check? esp. as most Americans support backgrounds.
Obviously none.
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Old May 16 2013, 04:19 AM   #270
gturner
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Re: 5 year old given rifle as gift, kills 2 year old sister

MacLeod wrote: View Post
And what harm would there be in a background check? esp. as most Americans support backgrounds.

And of course just because a member of the electorae votes a certain way doesn't mean they support all the policies of the party/person they voted for.
Again, we already have background checks. They are usually quite thorough, to the point where tens of thousands of people have to go through extra scrutiny just because their names just happen to match other people, even though their drivers license and Social Security numbers are different.

You comment is yet another example of pretending we don't already have regulations so you can argue that we should have at least some regulations. Nobody on the pro-gun side is buying it, because we're the people who have to deal with all the regulations that do, in fact, already exist.

What would you think if half the nation ran around claiming that airline pilots should at least have to be tested for flying skills, and then writing bills that had nothing to do with flying ability, hoping the "pilots should have to be tested" line would convince enough semi-retarded idiots to support whatever was in the unseen bills?

Of all the previous spree shooters, the Aurora shooter was ignored by psychologists, even as he sent a letter saying what he was going to do. The Tuscon shooter was a walking signboard for paranoid schizophrenia, but he too was ignored and would've passed any background check we could devise. The Virginia Tech shooter passed the background checks because Virginia wasn't updating mental health exceptions in the interests of violent crazy people, or some such, and the Newtown shooter didn't need to pass any background checks because he didn't buy a single gun that he used.

After Newtown, Obama came out with a big list of things that he could do as President if Congress didn't act, which amounted to "do my job. do my job. tell the states to do their jobs. tell my AFT chief to do his job. tell the FBI to do their job. do more of my job." In theory, the laws Congress has already passed should be working. In reality, the number of criminal gun prosecutions has plummeted because everybody in the executive branch is off doing something else, like harassing Tea Party members or bugging reporters. If they won't do the jobs that Congress asked them to do, no amount of legislation will accomplish a darn thing.
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