Will gun laws change in the USA?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by iStudentUK, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

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    #1
    I inadvertently started a discussion in another thread about gun control in the US, so I thought I'd start a new thread about it here. Basically, I suggested that gun laws in the US would eventually bring themselves inline with countries at a similar level of development, much like homosexual partnerships and the death penalty.

    (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1096953 but please don't steer that thread more off course!)

    Obviously my perspective is from outside the US, so I'd be interested in what my cousins on the other side of the pond think.

    To me having the "right to bear arms" seems really silly in the 21st century. I know there are restrictions (background checks, waiting times etc) but that doesn't change the fact that many people can get a gun if they like. Here, you have to have a good reason to have a gun and different licences are required (for example a farmer could quite easily get a shotgun but not a hand gun, but average Jo public can't have anything).

    I am aware that guns are a big part of American culture, and I am not pretending that anything is going to change soon. However, looking at the legal history the restrictions on gun ownership seems to be changing rapidly-

    http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa092699.html

    Although the issue remains complicated-

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1818325,00.html

    It seems to me, given the previous trend, that gun laws are only going to get tighter and tighter. Will they eventually be on a similar level to European countries, even though it may take another 50-100 years? I think so, but of course it is not a one-way street (here in the UK I can see more and more 'specialist' Police Officers carrying fire arms appearing over the next few years).
     
  2. 184550 Guest

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    #2
    The above is what I asked in the aforementioned thread.

    Given the OP in this thread, it is safe to assume that it was merely an observation/ opinion?

    Like I said above, I don't mean to be confrontational, I was just curious as to what the previous statements were based on and I think the OP makes clear it was just an observation/ opinion.
     
  3. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #3
    I think the right to own a gun is a good thing. That said, I'd love for there to be laws pertaining to mandatory registration of guns (you can just sell guns immediately at gun shows in many parts of the country) and for anyone who buys a gun to have to partake and pass a safety & handling class before they can have their gun.
     
  4. iStudentUK thread starter macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

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    #4
    It is mostly observation, but not without some sort of precedent. I'm not well enough informed on the subject!

    I suppose the best I can say with any certainty is that the future is far from certain! It seems to me that the logical conclusion is what I mentioned above, but it could take 10 years or 1000 (when it would be renamed laser-gun control :D).
     
  5. barkomatic macrumors 68040

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    #5
    I take issue with you seeming to lump all these issues together. As if in order to support gay rights, one should also support banning guns and the death penalty. Additionally, you say that these issues correspond to a certain "level of development" which implies that if one disagrees with any of the issues in the "package" that one disagrees with them all and resides at a lower level of thinking.

    This has always been a weakness with politics in my opinion. That is, that very different issues must be lumped together with a unified opinion on all issues.

    I'm all for equal rights for gay people -- marriage and all since its only fair-- but I'm against guns being banned and I don't think that corresponds to any "level of development". It's as if you are trying to advertise your *lack* of freedom to have a gun as some type of higher level.
     
  6. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #6
    The NRA constantly cites the latter phrase in the second amendment, glossing over the preceding phrase:
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

    There are several things going on in this text. In the first place, Thomas Jefferson has said that its aim was in part to prevent the state from establishing a standing army, which could be used by a tyrannical government to oppress its citizens. Thus, the main point of this amendment was not to make sure anyone could have a gun, but that to maintain a citizenry ready to mobilize for the defense of the nation.

    Thence comes the phrase "well regulated". In the language of the day, this does not refer to the regulation of the guns themselves but of the militia members. In this context, it actually means "well trained". Thus, the constitution literally mandates weapon handling and safety training.
     
  7. iStudentUK thread starter macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

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    #7
    I'm not suggesting that you have to support all three or nothing. What I mean to say is that countries of a similar level of development often have similar civil liberties.

    I'd consider the USA, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan (and a few other countries) as at a similar level of development. Now look at the countries that still have the death penalty- the USA and Japan really stand out. I'm suggesting that these countries will then bring themselves inline with others. However, even in countries without the death penalty many people will want its reintroduction.

    Many countries have odd characteristics that stand out- why doesn't the UK have a written constitution? Why hasn't Japan ratified the Hague convention? Why is homosexuality illegal in Barbados and Jamaica?
     
  8. torbjoern macrumors 65816

    torbjoern

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    #8
    I hope they won't change. We need more incidents like teh ones at C'bine High and V-Tech. RIP Reb & V.
     
  9. torbjoern macrumors 65816

    torbjoern

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    #9
    In countries full of Rihannas, homosex is certainly a crime against nature.
     
  10. Eraserhead, Feb 15, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011

    Eraserhead macrumors G4

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    #10
    What about Singapore? EDIT: And Taiwan and South Korea.

    Given the number of countries with the death penalty is so small I doubt there's a correlation between death penalty usage and economic development.
     
  11. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    #11
    Trends are not always related. There is also a huge relation between the abortion rate and the crime rate...
     
  12. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #12
    To begin with, I believe that every nation is a discrete and unique case when it comes to the development and promulgation of law. Some nations may be very similar to certain others, but even similar nations are not exactly identical, and no two nations have exactly the same laws. National tradition is always unique, and plays a large role in determining cultural values that in turn influence law. It follows from this that there is no one set of regulation concerning any particular thing that can be applied universally.

    In terms of the future of gun laws in the US, I suspect that we will preserve a gun-owning tradition much longer than most other "developed" nations, but I also feel that the legal trend will very slowly move towards increasing regulation. Some of the guns I own now are legal here but 100% illegal to own in the UK these days, and might fall under increasingly restrictive legislation here in a generation or two. But such processes will take much longer here than most other countries.

    It sounds over-simple to some, but another factor here is the sheer number of guns - over 200 million legally owned weapons. Even the most foam-at-the-mouth anti-gun activist is aware that you can't simply legislate away 200 million+ guns worth perhaps more than 100 billion dollars (a vague guess). The laws in this country are generally structured to protect private property. A firearms surrender/buyback program would be a totally unprecedented piece of legislation and frankly I don't think it will ever happen. To me, the most fruitful approach in this country is to stop fighting over whether people should be able to own guns at all, but to seek better ways of reducing gun-related crime. I support gun ownership, but I also think a lot of work needs to be done to make gun owners and the general public more educated about safe firearms ownership and use, and to try and reduce the amount of political double-speak and weasel-words in use by both pro-and anti-gun ownership groups.

    The whole debate over the widespread use of guns for self-defense or as a bastion against government tyranny is a much murkier and bitter one. I don't reject the use of guns for self defense per se, but I believe that the vast majority people who carry or keep guns for self-defense do so with inadequate training and harbor a false sense of security. Most people who do it are not anywhere near as safe as they think they are.

    As for the notion that private gun ownership will protect us against government tyranny, I find that to be absolute bunkum. The Egyptian people just demonstrated that unarmed protest is a society's most powerful weapon against tyranny, and at any rate an unarmed populace bent on revolution generally has no trouble quickly arming itself in the even that a revolution turns violent. In the case of a more authoritarian state willing to use military force against civilians (think Hungary 1956 or Tiananmen Square), pistols and rifles will serve little purpose against tanks and machine guns. So that civilian-owned guns are either largely unnecessary or totally inadequate.
     
  13. StruckANerve macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I think the current regulations we have in place are perfect. We don't need any more or any less gun control. The Brady law has been fairly effective at preventing homicides.
     
  14. Lord Blackadder, Feb 15, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011

    Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #14
    Enforcement is spotty, The Virginia Tech and Tucson shooters (for example) would have been refused in their attempts to buy a gun (and authorities woiuld have been alerted) if the system worked as advertised. Part of the reason for the failures is an unwillingness on the part of states to cooperate so that people with criminal histories and/or mental problems are properly logged in crime databases.

    I think it's a basically sound system that is nevertheless in need of improvement and is often poorly executed.
     
  15. dscuber9000 macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    I don't care if someone responsible has a gun. The problem is all the crazy people that end up with guns so easily, accidental shootings, stray bullets, etc. that worry me. The system is clearly broken when someone like the Tucson shooter can get a gun so easily. And not just some crappy gun, but one with a huge magazine (if that is the right term) and can kill several people all at once. Throwing more guns into the equation is not the solution, actually enforcing the system in place is.
     
  16. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

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    #16
    well said ... enforcement is just not strict enough
     
  17. citizenzen Suspended

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    #17
    I think you're basically right.

    Just like I believe civil rights (especially women's rights) in fundamentalist Muslim countries will eventually bring themselves inline with countries at a similar level of development.

    In either case, patience is recommended.




    Edit: anybody care to guess how long before torbjoern's banned?

     
  18. StruckANerve macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Those instances have no bearing on the gun control laws. They both "unofficially" had a history of mental illness but neither had any kind of criminal record beyond misdemeanors. I completely agree that our Public Health and Law Enforcement systems failed to report two dangerous people that resulted in the deaths of innocents.
     
  19. neko girl macrumors 6502a

    neko girl

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    #19
    Denying citizens the ability to legally own firearms is not more civilized. I'm sorry but I completely disagree with you.

    I'm against the death penalty, and against discriminatory laws such as the kind against same sex marriages.

    I do believe than an armed populace is the best and last line of defense against a corrupt government. If you don't think those exist, take a look at Egypt. This is the primary reason why firearms are protected, and your feeling of safety against firearms has nothing to do with citizens legally owning firearms as it is more relevant regarding criminals illegally owning them.

    Finding something to be "really silly" isn't much of a good argument.
     
  20. neko girl macrumors 6502a

    neko girl

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    #20
    Not sure why you believe this, and if you don't.. maybe you're just posting it to inflame someone.
     
  21. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #21
    Of course it bears noting that Egyptians used nonviolence to secure their revolution.

    Maybe the rest of us need to take notes...
     
  22. citizenzen Suspended

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    #22
    They'd rather take shots instead. :rolleyes:
     
  23. neko girl macrumors 6502a

    neko girl

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    #23
    Good thing media and social networking was there en masse to check counter-violence.

    People in China can tell you that it doesn't work.
     
  24. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #24
    Do you really think it was social networking that saved the day, or the fact that the Egyptians were genuinely working together (I reference the image of Christians encircling Muslims as they prayed)?

    Even if it was social networking that saved the day, do you really think the Chinese government would care?

    [​IMG]

    This was a while ago, but the Chinese government hasn't really softened when it comes to dissent.
     
  25. neko girl macrumors 6502a

    neko girl

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    #25
    I'm not sure whether someone can really flat out say whether an armed society or an unarmed nonviolent society can specifically be more effective against injustice or not. Technically, we have a lot of shining examples in favor of non-violence, but I think the afterglow of press coverage and positivism is a little heavy on these stories.

    Was MLK more effective than the Black Panthers? Sure. Would the same nonviolent movement 100 years before MLK be as effective? I don't know. Gandhi is another great example, and to me he is an amazing man, the one person I'd say is my hero. But at the same time, India's British invaders stuck around for so long without fear or reprisal because they essentially had an unarmed populace in their hands. Gandhi's tactics were ultimately effective, and gained international attention and support, but you will also see massive schisms in India itself during the revolution that a lot of people don't agree with. In the case of what happened when the British did decide to pull out, the nonviolent agenda maybe was not as effective - compare the heavily armed American population and how it dealt with the Civil War - you didn't end up with two or three separate countries (ie: Pakistan, Bangladesh).

    I don't know the answer to a lot of the questions raised in this thread but I do know that, if there was something to be done against a corrupt government, most likely I would choose a path of nonviolence. But, I do have training in firearms, and I don't think that denying citizens the right to defend themselves against oppression, against the invasion of their homes, against illegal searches and seizures, against misbehaving public servants, against a lot of bad things that can happen in the name of truth and society - i don't think taking people's gun rights away from them is a good thing.

    We have to have better enforcement, but all this can't come at the cost of rights we have. We have to be able to retain the right to defend ourselves. I think it's essential.
     

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