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.
Changes to existing laws should be, to the greatest extent possible, rational rather than emotional. This would seem reason enough for lawmakers to tread lightly during the heat of a highly charged recent event. The PATRIOT act is an example of opportunistic policy shapers manipulating an emotionally vulnerable public and their representatives. I favor greater regulation of firearms, but don't want to see it shoved through for irrational reasons even if that might be a win for "my side". At minimum, we need general consensus on legitimate research to understand whether legislation is likely to achieve the desired effect. Then we various contingents can argue from firm footing over the desirability of the effect. There will of course be issues founded primarily in morality – abolition of slavery for example – that are not amenable to a purely rational cost/benefit analysis. In these cases we can still rationally asses the basis of these moral assumptions. Authoritarian arguments along the line of “God’s law” are obviously insufficient in a modern free society, and so are claims of libertarian gut feeling (often misidentified as “natural law”). Both belong to our discarded past of unsophisticated tribalism, though vestiges are still force-fit into our ongoing experiment in civilization.
Ted and Edward this site needs a 'like' button function, some great points in those posts. Edward you mentioned the cold medication regulations, I can't tell you how many times in recent years I have gone to the drugstore feeling absolutely horrible (allergies exacerbated by colds and flu) and had to jump through those ridiculous hoops all the while cursing under my breath while showing my license and signing their idiot screen... all because they want to control what we 'choose' to ingest, rather than control the things which cause mass environmental harm or have the potential to be used as WMD's....talk about your knee jerk reactionary legislative decisions....
"legitimate research to understand whether legislation is likely to achieve the desired effect"
That research has been done.. by the rest of the developed world.
And all the graphs in the world demonstrate that anti-gun laws do not change already diminishing crime trends. I realise it seems counterintuitive to people, but there are simply no such examples.
Yes and no. There have been mass school shootings in every decade in the USA since 1765. So if we are not going to have this discussion when emotionally involved, when will we have it? That is the argument of the NRA.
Yet we have all sorts of political discussion during politically charged events. Watergate. Katrina. 9/11.
So if not now, when? When will we have a discussion about guns? Australia, after a particularly brutal mass murder some years ago, used a federal buy back programme to remove as many guns as possible, other than for those that needed them. No mass murders there since.
So when will we have this discussion?
I hope, now?
Naomi's Shock Doctrine anyone?
I am pretty liberal on most things. But when you start getting super restrictive on weapons, you end up with weapons in the hands of criminals, with the law abiding citizen unprotected. I'm not saying that one day everyone is gonna get shot by a criminal with an AK. But gun control doesn't work. It just puts more criminals into our already over-inflated prisons. I think that the regulations we have now should suffice. Maybe a longer wait period. I live in Colorado. This is an open carry state, which means that if I wanted to carry 2 six shooters on my hip like the old west and walk around, I could. To buy a rifle or shotgun it takes 15 mins. They run a background check to make sure you aren't a felon. That's it.
I read this article in the scientific American. It's pretty long but it explains a lot.
"But when you start getting super restrictive on weapons, you end up with weapons in the hands of criminals, with the law abiding citizen unprotected."
I'd like to ask where your proof of that is. Australia banned semi-automatic and Automatic weapons decades ago and today you don't see criminals shooting innocent people with AK47's. If a gun is used in a crime its more likely to be used on another criminal than a member of the general public.
Guns are used, if rarely, in street crime but it will typically be a pistol. More likely it will be a knife and I know I'd rather take my chances against a knife than a pistol let alone a assault rifle.
Yes nut-jobs like Anders Brevik still had access to these sort of weapons in a highly regulated gun control society but laws like the US has makes getting them ridiculously easy and such acts as his are exceedingly rare which cannot be said about the US.
I'd like to see proof that criminals mostly kill other criminals. Read my link please.
I read the link and I don't see anything that disputes my assertion.
I am talking about the reality in my country Australia. Street crime is rarely accomplished with a gun. see http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lawlink/bocsar/ll_bocsar.nsf/vwFiles/...
That study shows gun crime statistics from 1995-2005, a period that includes the 1997 gun buy back where semi-automatic and pump action style rifle where banned and bought back by the government.
It shows that while guns where involved in 20.3% of all murders and 46% of all attempted murders it was only involved in 5.9% of robberies and 0.3% of assaults.
At the same time knives where involved in 36.7% of murders, 26% or attempted murders but 21.5% of robberies, or about 15% less than guns.
In another study (http://www.aic.gov.au/documents/A/D/3/%7BAD36E187-1F6F-426D-9E58-B6...) explores the use of handguns in crime. I'd like to quote the following;
"Arguments over money or drugs represented the primary alleged motive behind handgun homicides, and accounted for almost three in 10 homicides committed with a handgun.
Domestic altercations also contributed to a sizeable proportion of handgun homicides (almost one-quarter) but much less so than for frearm and other homicides, where it was the most important identified motive."
My point is that in a society than is not heavily armed a criminal does not expect to need to use a gun and therefore does not carry one. The exception for this is where he or she expects the other party to be armed.. as in other criminals.
As such effective gun control, at least in the Australian experience, means you are unlikely to be the victim of a gun crime. Domestic violence still does happen with a gun, but since the majority of the population is not armed it is thankfully still very rare.
Finally I'd like to add one more link. This time from the comedy website cracked.com who i think actually put forward some of the best arguments for gun control i have seen for a while. Please read http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-4-most-meaningless-arguments-agains...
Dr. Clark is correct. As Michael Moore has eloquently put it (and I've differed with him over the years, but there's no faulting his sincerity and love of country), "Guns don't kill people -- Americans kill people." The US accounts for 80% of all gun deaths in the 30 richest countries (combined!). Other countries have moved past their violent history, he notes -- why can't we?
And (still paraphrasing Moore), what the hell are we so afraid of? Why do gun sales spike after a shooting? More broadly, why send 100,000 troops into Afghanistan (home to a just couple hundred al Qaeda fanatics) or launch a trumped up war against Saddam Hussein, who had no WMDs and nothing to do with 9/11?
Is America the land of the brave? Apparently not.
We could argue this ad infinitum. No, people don't "need" automatic weapons (or plutonium, for that matter). But banning them is like closing the barn door after the horse is already in the next county. I also note in passing that the drug war has vastly multiplied the number of illegal firearms in the US. Guns are legal, but marijuana isn't. It's bizarre.
Also worth noting: if someone is bent on mass murder, he'll find a way to do it. The largest body count was achieved not with firearms but with fire itself: an angry guy splashed a nightclub doorway with gasoline; dozens died. Who "needs" to be walking around with a gallon of gasoline? The Aurora shooter could have achieved much the same goal by setting a fire in the theater. The tragedy might have been even worse.
I also agree with Tammy. She suggests some important and meaningful changes. There is such a thing as responsible (no quote-marks) gun ownership.