Atheists are a small minority in the U.S.  Advocates of gun control might be a minority in America as well. In light of the recent shootings in Aurora I am curious as to how atheists in this network view the lack of gun restrictions.  There are probably divergent views.

I have trouble believing that both presidential candidates are steering away from any call for reform after the horrific mass shooting. In my opinion it is insane to allow citizens access to assault weapons that can kill scores of people in a few minutes.  It was even more shocking to hear on a news show that a family had to raise money to pay for the immense hospital bills for one of the victims while they were already crippled with medical bills from the mothers fight with breast cancer.

As a Canadian I came to stand with my U.S brothers for the reason rally and freedom from religion.  I would be willing to come down to the capitol and march for two other important causes.  Gun control and universal health care.

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

Umm... read this. It's always the guns fault, the video games fault, the devils music, or some other lame excuse for the actions of crazy people.

Attributing actions of people entirely to mental illness or personality characteristics instead of situational factors is called the fundamental attribution error.

If the only explanation we give for unusual acts is that the actor is crazy, we can overlook crucial contributing factors such as the availability of firearms or the unavailability of help.

Right, so let's forget all this mental illness hoo-doo and blame the culprit:  guns.  We don't want to push some sort of knee-jerk agenda, now do we? :)  Blame the guns!  Baaaad bullets.

You seem to be attributing to me an argument I have not made and your sarcasm suggests you lack a cogent argument of your own.

And one would note no one has come forth and said "he is my patient and he was under treatment." Or "he was my family member and he had thus-and-such."

Slinging around the mentally-ill argument with no evidence of it is dangerous to the mentally-ill, the most assaulted group of people in the USA. More than blacks. More than gays. More than children.

Yes, blame the guns. The experiment has been run. In the civilised world, where gun restrictions are much greater, the murder rate is much lower. Do all murders end? No. Have they been significantly reduced? Yes.

Beyond comparing culturally different countries, and irrelevant numbers, the thing to look at as atheists, is long term graphs of trends. Trend charts simply fail to demonstrate that anti-gun have any significant effect. Shouldn't atheists be concerned with statistically numbers and not ideological opinions? Yes armed people kill, No anti-gun laws are not effective. As countries, we're different, because we're culturally different. 
Here's a graph showing TRENDS in homicides, demonstrating that since 1990, they're falling faster in USA than Canada, yet our changes in laws is not the cause. This is the only type of graph that is valid, comparative trends over time.

There are problems with your graph and comparisons between the United States and Canada.

1) Homicide is a general term that includes both firearm homicides and non-fire homicides. Your graph seems to deal with all homicides and not just firearm homicides.

2) In the U.S. firearm homicides account for about 2/3 of all homicides while in Canada, they account for roughly 1/3. Consequently comparing total homicide rates for the two countries gives a false impression.

3) The firearm homicide rate in Canada is about 1/5 th of the rate in the United States.

You've not presented a valid comparison at all, but chosen one that you think favorable to your argument.

Sorry to repeat myself... Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn... about HOW they die, I care about how many die in total, and how many are maimed in total. I hate cherry picking, and insisting on counting only gun homicides is cherry picking.

The gun homicide rate in Canada has always been lower than in the USA, no laws have changed that. My argument is not about whether guns are cool or not but whether making laws to remove then are effective. I hate guns, but I don't let my personal sentiments get in the way of numbers and rationality.

James, you don't mean Dobson's mother was killed in those shootings?  She would be, what, in her 90s?  Kind of old to be at the school.

I assume you mean the shooter's mother.   Just checking.  

I am a former military man too.  I did not swear to uphold the constitution and defend my Sanyo microwave.  As microwaves go, it's not worth the trouble.  Courage is doing what you must do, even though you are afraid.  I would say cowardice is the opposite of that.  

Actually, a life for a microwave seems to me, really perverted.  Even a really good microwave with a carousel and a temperature probe.  The courage thing is to let the thief have the damn thing and tell your wife that you could have shot him, but didn't.

http://www.goddiscussion.com/105364/dr-james-dobson-joins-ranks-of-... With video link on Dobson's comments, and the claim his mother was killed. I do note I am having trouble finding another reference for it. I cannot find an obituary for Myrtle Dobson (mother of Dr. James).

Yes it is the guns. High capacity magazines and military-style weapons only have a purpose of killing large quantities of human beings rapidly.

On the Bath School issue, I grew up only a few miles north of Bath.

The fellow in question shot his wife, burned his farm, stacked legal explosives purchased in several hardware stores in the school and blew it up (half of it anyway as the timer failed on the other half), in a tax protest.

Immediately afterward, the explosive in question (used by farmers nationwide) was pulled off the market by the governent. The same arguments arose (we need the explosives, there is too much available to effectively control, &c). Guess what? It worked, that method of mass murder is no longer available for anyone to buy from a hardware store.

Anyone who really needs explosives can get a permit and buy them. Regulating those explosives did not put a halt on agriculture.

When the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was blown up, the government banned large purchases of fertiliser without a permit. The same arguments went up.

Not surprisingly, agriculture has not suffered.

When the government cracked down on drunken driving, the same arguments went up. Drunks used to kill about as many people as guns every year. But after a generation of indoctrination, drunken driving is now socially seen as unacceptable. Do drunks still kill people? Yes. Do they kill as many? Only about a third.

When the government instituted seat belt laws, the same arguments came up (can't enforce it, no one will do it, &c). The point was to reduce the number of deaths and horrific injuries in accidents.

After about a generation, the death rate came down, while additional safety features went into cars. Did they end deaths by auto accident? No. Did they substantially reduce them? Yes.

The argument of "It's too hard so we shouldn't try" is a cop-out. Good thing science doesn't work that way. Religion, on the other hand does, and the NRA is awfully like a religion, worshipping an ancient unchanging text handed down from on high.

Moreover, we do not know the fellow was "crazy." (My mother, a psychologist, points out that crazy is a technical term for use by professionals only.) We do not know his motivations; no psychiatrist or physician has come forth and said "he was my patient and a loon he was."

But atheists in particular should be avoiding the idea "he was crazy" without evidence, as atheists in the USA are familiar with stigma.

The mentally ill are eleven times more likely to be the victims of violent crimes than non-ill (according to the Department of Justice). Latest information indicates one-fourth of severely mentally ill have been victims in the last year.

http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2005/08/mental.html

Painting the mentally ill with the brush of "that guy must have been crazy" with no evidence perpetrates stigma.

Important point about the safety of people who are mentally ill.  Thank you. Also, people with bad judgement, or drunk, or high, or just politically / socially obsessed with something like survivalism, may not be mentally ill.  Just misguided or alternatively-thinking.

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