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ERDoc

Gun control, the constitution and you, let's keep it civil.

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I'm also from outside of the US, in a country with stricter gun control laws.

I don't understand why this is a bad time to talk about gun control or the mental health system, or violence in society in general. Isn't this the perfect time? Wouldn't it be more disrespectful to the dead or the grieving not to have difficult discussions in the aftermath of something as horrific as this?

Unfortunately I don't think there's a good answer here. Personally, I don't understand why a basic bedrock of US culture is the right to walk into a department store and purchase an assault rifle. But, as an intelligent individual, I also know that it's possible to commit similar acts with a handgun, e.g. Dunblane, 1996. Or that a single-shot rifle, legal with little more than a driver's licence in my country, could be modified to full-auto, or used in just as deadly a manner with single, aimed shots. If I was an American citizen, something like this might make me support a federal ban on assault weapons, but as a rational human being, I can't believe that that would be sufficient to prevent it from happening again.

Approaching this from the mental health angle presents the issues that ERDoc has already eloquently described. A fair percentage of society has simple depression. A large number of people have major depression, and a fairly large number of people have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, many of whom are poorly medicated. Yet the overwhelming majority of these people don't go around shooting up schools. If being restricted from purchasing an AR-15 at Walmart is an unacceptable infringement on your liberty, I can't understand how allowing the random detention and arrest of the mentally ill is going to be considered acceptable.

Everyone's an expert after these events happens. Every second-rate news anchor can postulate a host of reasons why Anders Behring Breivik should have been arrested before he shot up Utoya, or how people should have predicted what Klebold and Harris were going to do. But these shocking events, by their nature, are unpredictable.

The violence in society issue is even more problematic. I'm not convinced that this is a solely US problem, either. But its hard to identify the root causes, and produce a reasonable plan to address it.

This whole event is utterly tragic. No one would think badly of any of the responders if they descended into a spiral of alcohol and depression -- yet we have a ton of 6-7 year old children who survived and witnessed these events. How will they recover? Where will they be in 20 years?

As an aside, I share Jake's fear of the random armed stranger sitting next to me. I trust my cops to (mostly) not do stupid and thoughtless things with firearms. But the average citizen? They scare me. I'm not convinced that the widespread availability of firearms prevents crime, and wonder if rather it acts as a multiplier?

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Living in an area where we do alot of hunting and fishing I have to ask the american people why do they feel the need to have assult rifles? I do truely understand the right to bear arms but if this ammendment is not working in this day and age maybe it is time for it to be changed.

I do not think that it was guns that killed these kids, it was the person that was pulling the trigger, but with that being said if there were no legal guns in his house would this tradgety happen? I think we could beat this to death Ya or Nay on guns but what has to happen is that people have to take responsibilty for their actions. In Canada if you have guns you are suppose to lock them up in a secure cabinet. You have to have a FAC license in order to buy ammo. There are some safe guards that can be put in place.

Im not personally afraid of guns and truely dont look at people and think are they carrying a gun, and are the going to shoot me. I was in the military and my father was a hunter so I have been taught to handle guns with respect. My children have been taught to shoot guns and treat them with respect even the pellet gun had many lessons attached to it.

I looked at our elemntry school where the my sons went to and the good thing is that evey classroom has an exit door to the outside. I know that this is not possible eveywhere but maybe someone should look into getting an escape route for each class.

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Whenever this debate pops up, people bring up other objects that can be used as deadly weapons such as the ones Mike mentioned. The difference is these other objects have nonlethal purposes. The only purpose of a gun is to kill, whether it be for hunting, personal protection or a killing spree.

One argument that I find laughable in these debates is the one that a person should be able to protect themselves from the government. First, the government can't pull off something as simple as breaking into a hotel room to spy on someone. There is no way they are ever going to be competent enough take control over an entire country. This plan also depends on the members of the military to be conspirators in the whole thing. There is no way you would every get that many soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to turn against their own countrymen. The final thing, if this take over ever did get successfully organized, the battle was lost years ago. A person's AK-47 or whatever semi-automatic they prefer is no match for tanks, bombers, fighters, submarines, etc. The government had you outgunned decades ago and if they really wanted to kill you, they could have done so already.

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I'm with other non-US citizens here. I just don't get the whole gun thing. To get a gun license here in NZ is such a rigorous process. It takes a long time and you need to get vetted by the Police and pass background checks, a face-to-face Police interview and have references. Then you get a license that allows you to buy only hunting type rifles and shotguns. If you want a handgun you need to get an endorsement on your firearms license to allow you buy one and this endorsement process is even more rigorous than getting the actual license. If you do not keep your guns unloaded with ammunition separate then you can be prosecuted. If you have a handgun and are caught with it on your person or in your car or you found not to have a gun safe in your house, you are prosecuted. As a consequence we have maybe 1-5 people murdered by guns each year, a lot more with knives. What does this tell me? It tells me that logically if less people have guns then less people get killed by guns. But if we had looser gun controls here would more people be killed by guns and less by knifes? Who knows.

Our police do not carry guns or tasers on their person. We have had a handfun of NZ police murdered in the past 10 years. None of them would have lived if they had access to a gun. It was total random unforeseen violence that got them killed.

In countries that have strict gun control do you see people go on school stabbing rampages? No. Sure there might be some isolated examples but it's pretty difficult to kill a lot of people with a knife before you would be stopped by someone. With a gun you can kill a person every few seconds. Therefore to me it seems that the argument that people will use other weapons if guns are better controlled doesn't work, because the reason people use guns in mass killings is combination of efficiency and ability to easily access.

Just my two cents worth. I'm from a country which has strict gun control so I would never change my mindset to one of a US citizen who loves their right to bear arms, so my debate is totally one sided to my point of view. Are people on the opposite view from me going to change their minds. Probably not.

Edited by HarryM

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Agree 150% with everything the non US people are saying and I couldn't say it better without getting angry about it.

As for mikes comment about knives and other potential weapons...how many innocent kids would have died had he walked into the school with a knife as opposed to a gun?

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I think my comments are being taken out of context. My point was that to address only the tools of destruction and not the person weilding those tools is folly. Want to prevent this from happening again? Address the problem affecting the person and the tools, no matter what they may be, become less relevant.

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One thing I have learned throughout my world experiences is that making judgements about one culture based on the values of your culture can create many pitfalls. Sometimes, a certain amount of cultural relativism must exist if you want to attemtp to see a point of view from somebody elses eyes. I certainly learned a thing or two when I lived in Afghanistan. The bottom line is that guns have been an integral component of the culture and life of both historic and contemporary United States. The citizens took up arms to overthrow Birtish rule, arms were taken up during the Civil War and guns have seen this country through the industrial revolution to the quantum revolution. Guns are even part of the sports scene in the form of recreational persuits, competitions and contests. Guns have been part of our society for hundreds of years.

Therefore, I am not sure it is reasonable or even productive to apply or force a world view onto something that is so well engrained into another society. We see how well that is working when applying "Western" ideals to traditionally non-western nations. However, where real progress may occur is in the form of productive dialogue and reasonable legislation with goals that look at the safety related, constitutional related and logistical aspects of the problem that we face. I simple do not believe berating us and saying you cannot believe or understand our culture is productive or helpful. However, the first and perhaps biggest step is for all parties involved to recognise that a problem exists and that problem has not imporved under our current system of policies and procedures.

If we can begin to agree on common ground, we can begin to put the hyperbole away and perhaps once we move on in this productive exchange, begin to look at what other countries are getting right and perhaps how these notions can be integrated into a system that protects the rights of our citizens.

Edited by chbare
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to think.... this is the subject im going to post on for my first post in a few months.....

You are all well aware of the knee jerk reaction that the government took here in the wake of the port arthur massacre in 1992. Firearms ownership is not illegal, but is quite restricted. Semi automatic refiles are banned, firearms are legal provided you are a member of a sporting club and compete 'x' number of times per year. Hunting is a reasonable excuse for ownership but you have to hold permits to shoot on publuc land and letters from landholders for private property

The regulations on storage and transport is strict, the penalties heavy.

Self defence is not a legitmate reason for ownership

The bleeding hearts here will try and tell you that after the new legislation came into effect, firearm related homicides are down, so is firearm related suicides. Pro gunners will say since "disarmament" violent crime is up. The statistcs say though that suicide rates have increased with the method of suicide being substituted. I recall an article form the ?? crime institute, saying that suicide by firearm reducing had more to do with the cessation of a decade long drought than the new firearms laws. In anycase the firearm related suicide had been reducing for 5 years befor the new laws came into being

Fire arm related homicde was decreasing before the new laws came into effect. Academics have pointed out many times hat the homicide rate was to do with gang and drug related crime, and periods of economic depression when crime increases. Statistical differences in reducing homicide by gun was linked heavily with breaking up of major crime and drug syndacates and had little to nothing to do with the fire arms laws. homicide rates have actually increased but the method is subtituted. There is also an academic article floating around saying that in the vast majority of homicides the outcome would have little to no change should the deceased have been carrying a firearm in the circumstances of their death.

Given our experience, I dont honestly believe that removing any particfular type of firearm will ultimately change the situation. If the desire is there then the method will be substituted. Mcveigh didn't use a firearm and he still killed a lot of people. The same or similar method could be used in any of the recent massacres.

Interestingly when a person starts shooting people the the media calls it a massacre. When the deaths are caused by explosives the media calls it a "bombing"

I have no opinion on fire arms for self defence, the only thing i will say is that i dont believe it is a step that is necessary in Oz at this time

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The only thing that bothers me about a lack of gun control, is who can own firearms, with no control. I was in a local business, a typical rural establishment. They sell everything except the kitchen sink, but they could probably order one in two weeks. At the counter, I observed an individual whom I've known most of my life. I've also transported the individual numerous times..to the psych ward of a specialty hospital. The individual is prone to violent outbursts, is bipolar, schizophrenic, and is prescribed at least two dozen medications for mental health disorders, a list I can't frankly remember under "past history". The individual was buying shells for the Smith & Wesson fifty caliber handgun (a popular tool among bear hunters) that was casually brought in to show off, and is permitted to carry it anywhere.

All that I could think was... This is a person that should neither have the right, nor privlidge to own any kind of firearm, much less something that could blow the head of a human to a mist of fine bone and liquified tissue.

Certainly millions of people suffer from mental illness, as defined, depression, etc.. and most of them are perfectly stable. But there are some whom are not, but can go right in, fill out a form, and buy any sort of gun the want. Whether its to hunt, or go on a psychotic murdering rampage. It's not like they're going to tell the arms retailer what they plan on doing, and since a background check doesn't include a medical history, they'll never know.

Edited by Chief1C
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