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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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.

If most of the adults in that school had been carrying a gun, and knew how to use it effectively, would there have been anywhere near as many children killed?  I don't think so.  

If those that want to kill large numbers of people knew there were no gun-free-zones, would that drastically reduce their activities?  I think so.

It appears to me that the mass killings are usually in gun-free-zones.  Schools, universities, and malls.  The nutters know where they will find the least opposition to their plans.  So, why not get rid of gun-free-zones?

My idea would be to phase-in plans to eventually have all adults in schools well-trained and carrying.

We have armed police officers at our public schools in Texas. 

I hope they teach gun management and appropriate use of guns, better than they teach critical thinking, math, science.....

Good one :)
I took my first ever gun ethics and handling course last year after feeling jittery upon seeing my friend's lady pistol (I hadn't seen a gun closeup in 35 years). I'll confess that gun handling is a much smaller teaching task than critical thinking, math, science, those require a entire life of academia :)

All the schools I sub in have 5-10 possible entrances that could be shot open, and hundreds of windows that could be shot through...

Agreed Viking Don, but I think we have to go a step further and put limits on how much ammo can be purchased by one person on one I.D. at one address in a specified period, the same way we regulate fertilizer materials than can be used to create bombs.

We could use a system already in place like the one we use for cold medications that contain compounds that can be extracted to make meth. The system is there, the software is in place, we would just need to reconfigure the systems for use at shops that sell ammo to use the UPC codes on ammo boxes and a little different tracking/notification system so that they couldn't just go from store to store buying up ammo on the same I.D. It would be easy to implement now with software already in place, it's just getting the location to location notification down and tracking the purchases in a national database, databases already set up for tracking other items could be modified to track large purchases of ammo and of course we'd have to set limits and set exclusions, but it can be done. Then no one feels like they're being too infringed upon, it will just be a minor inconvenience like when I'm trying to buy good cold medication for a sinus cold, it will give them something to complain about but that is what they live for anyway ;) No one solution will stop every madman but we can slow it down to a trickle by making it highly inconvenient for them to buy.

I am also of the opinion that we should have to obtain permits to buy all firearms and not just handguns and that those requirements should include a profile sort of like the MMPI. We're much stricter with CCW's and we should be more stringent across the board. 
 

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