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Gun laws

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Bealzybub
834989.  Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:27 pm Reply with quote

Actually, I was under the impression the poster I was replying to was in Australia. Thats where I'd be in a heartbeat were it not for the gun laws.

So far as the statements I made, personally I consider them both statements of facts, not opinions. I was just wondering how or which could be confused as an opinion.

Its all good.[/img]

 
nitwit02
835025.  Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:06 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Yes, it most certainly is. Its my belief that here in the USA one of the major problems is political zeal. "Major problems" could be replaced with "biggest issues", they both fit. In that my meaning is that when one commits a crime with a gun here that carries, say, a 10 year jail sentence, some up and coming deputy DA's with political aspirations will settle for any conviction he/she can get in the interests of their political career and just to get a check in the win column. So a person that should be spending ten years in jail gets pleaded down and is back out on the street in 9 months knowing that the next time it will only be the same. All the while most of those with those political aspirations are advocating for stricter gun laws for those that have never comitted any type of crime whatsoever.


An interesting point is raised here. In Canada and the UK, prosecutors, judges, police chiefs, dog-catchers etc., are appointed rather than elected. This is a much better system as the law is followed, and political aspirations do not come into the picture.

 
exnihilo
835068.  Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:29 am Reply with quote

I'm confused now, what about Australia's gun laws puts you off? As has been said it is still possible to legitimately engage in sporting shooting in Australia.

 
Neotenic
835145.  Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:16 am Reply with quote

FWIW, I think there are certain parallels between US gun control laws, and the British monarchy.

If one was designing a brand new, utopian sovereign state from scratch, then you probably wouldn't include either a hereditary system for the head of state, or the absolute right enshrined in law for private citizens to possess the means to blow each others heads off from the comfort of a rocking chair on the porch.

However, in both cases, the situation is so deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric of the nation through historical precedent that trying to completely excise them would probably leave both states in a worse position than they are in now.

So, the idealism of the republic advocate or the anti-gun campaigner has to be tempered by pragmaticism. After all, making guns illegal in the states would just turn millions of people into criminals in an instant, and there are simply too many weapons out there to turn it around now.

 
rewboss
835150.  Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:02 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
making guns illegal in the states would just turn millions of people into criminals in an instant, and there are simply too many weapons out there to turn it around now.


That's not quite how it would be done, if at all; it would be a long-term project, because you'd want to ensure that the objection raised by critics of gun control -- if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns -- doesn't come horribly true.

And it's been done before. The right to bear arms was enshrined in English law right up to the start of the 20th century. The first steps towards regulating arms was the Vagrancy Act of 1824, which gave police the power to arrest people if they were carrying a weapon with intent to commit a crime. The first attempt to restrict the sale of firearms was the 1903 Pistols Act, which was virtually completely ineffective. Then came the 1920 Firearms Act, which basically introduced gun licences, the 1937 Firearms Act, which slightly tightened up the 1920 Act (e.g. by raising the minimum age from 14 -- yes, fourteen -- to 17) and banned automatic weapons, the 1968 Firearms Act which consolidated all existing laws into one statute and tightened some of them up, the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 which banned outright a whole range of weapons in response to the Hungerford Massacre, and finally the 1997 Firearms Act which is so strict, special dispensation had to be granted to allow shooting events at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and has had to be granted for the 2012 Olympics. Most recently of all, the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 has placed strict controls on the sale and transfer of airguns.

Basically, it's taken about a century to get from complete liberty to an almost complete ban.

 
RLDavies
835155.  Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:31 am Reply with quote

I wish the blanket ban on handgun ownership was relaxed. Colin and I got a lot of enjoyment from target pistol shooting.

The ban on handguns was introduced in 1997 as a knee-jerk reaction to the Dunblane massacre of 1996. The Dunblane murderer, Thomas Hamilton, was an unstable character well known to the police, and should never have had a firearms licence.

The law as it stood at the time, if enforced correctly, would have seen Hamilton's firearms licence revoked and his guns confiscated, probably as early as the 1970s or 1980s. Instead, his licence renewals were waved through. As a result, he cracked and shot up a school, there was a public outcry, and now no-one is allowed to own any type of handgun for any purpose. (Not that the ban bothers criminals, of course.)

 
suze
835203.  Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:14 am Reply with quote

RLDavies wrote:
Colin and I got a lot of enjoyment from target pistol shooting.


Then take up archery or something of the kind. There can be no justification for the possession of a firearm unless it is absolutely essential for the exercise of your trade or profession, as with a soldier or a gamekeeper.

No, you're probably not going to go around shooting people. But suppose your weapon were stolen?

 
Arcane
835321.  Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:17 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
RLDavies wrote:
Colin and I got a lot of enjoyment from target pistol shooting.


Then take up archery or something of the kind. There can be no justification for the possession of a firearm unless it is absolutely essential for the exercise of your trade or profession, as with a soldier or a gamekeeper.

No, you're probably not going to go around shooting people. But suppose your weapon were stolen?


I'm in complete agreement suze. There is no "need" for a gun, unless as you said, were a soldier or a gamekeeper. We don't live in the Wild West, we don't have to keep marauding animals at bay and I don't understand any country which tells their citizens in this day that they have the "right" to bear arms.

Australia doesn't appear to have the gun culture that other countries have however - firearms crimes are generally still newsworthy. We have also been largely free of major mass shooting sprees - in fact, suicide by gun accounts for the highest percentage of shooting deaths. There were incidents of shootings at Port Arthur, Strathfield, Hoddle Street and Queen Street, but these are years apart. After Port Arthur there was a nationwide gun amnesty/buyback, and 643000 guns were handed in, which is an amount in a country of at the time fewer than 20 million people actually astounds me.

Port Arthur remains Australias worst mass shooting and amongs the worlds worst. The Wiki story of the event is harrowing. I won't link it here.

Australian regulations on gun ownership:

http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/Firearmsregulation_Firearmsregulation

http://www.ema.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/Firearmsregulation_Frequentlyaskedquestions

I will never be convinced that broad based gun ownership is a good thing. Being threatened with a gun or by someone who knows how to use it, and people who keep guns in a house in defiance of the gun laws where there are small children present defy belief.

 
soup
835377.  Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:52 am Reply with quote

Arcane wrote:
I don't understand any country which tells their citizens in this day that they have the "right" to bear arms.



Sure it has something to do with, "the people" can oppose their government ( Something about maintaining militias?).

Can see rural Alaskans being attacked by marauding bears, but the heart of New York city...

 
rewboss
835400.  Fri Jul 29, 2011 4:56 am Reply with quote

soup wrote:
Arcane wrote:
I don't understand any country which tells their citizens in this day that they have the "right" to bear arms.



Sure it has something to do with, "the people" can oppose their government ( Something about maintaining militias?).


The Second Amendment to the US Constitution begins: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state..."

When the Bill of Rights was being drafted, standing armies and police forces pretty much didn't exist. Since the US now has a standing army and police, you could argue (and many people have done so) that the need for a well-regulated militia no longer exists and that the Second Amendment no longer applies.

The courts see it differently, though. In 2008, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second guaranteed the right to bear arms even when not actually serving in a militia at the time, and that a militia is any group of people supplying their own arms and acting in concert together.

 
exnihilo
835406.  Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:11 am Reply with quote

It's the "well regulated" bit that always seems to fall by the wayside.

 
Sadurian Mike
835435.  Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:01 am Reply with quote

rewboss wrote:
a militia is any group of people supplying their own arms and acting in concert together.

Armed robbers for example?

Terrorists?

Both essential for the security of the state?

 
rewboss
835464.  Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:28 am Reply with quote

Sadurian Mike wrote:
rewboss wrote:
a militia is any group of people supplying their own arms and acting in concert together.

Armed robbers for example?

Terrorists?

Both essential for the security of the state?


Well, quite. Far be it from me to tell other countries how to run themselves, but you've put your finger on what I see as a flaw in that particular ruling.

 
Jenny
835477.  Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:59 am Reply with quote

Automatic weapons aren't needed by anybody outside the military as far as I can see.

 
exnihilo
835483.  Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:19 am Reply with quote

Almost every day during the hunting season you see at least one item in the newspapers about somebody who has shot somebody else, under the impression that he was a deer with a red hat perhaps, maybe a large flesh-colored squirrel. At any rate, it seems to me that this marks an encouraging new trend in the field of blood sports, and deserves a new type of hunting song which I present herewith. - Mr Tom Lehrer


YouTubery.

 

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