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Thread: Guns and Voters

  1. #1
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    Post Guns and Voters

    I was reading an article discussing the current US election, specifically on the Clinton Obama debate aired on CNN, and two things were raised that caught my attention.

    Firstly was the issue of guns, and gun licensing in America. Both Clinton and Obama seemed to tip-toe around this subject providing suitably vague strategies and ideas on it's relevance to the American public:

    Clinton - 'I believe we should have a summit where everybody comes together, all sides of the issue. And lets figure out how we can be consistent with the second amendment'

    Obama provided no further clarification on the subject:

    'There is an individual right to bear arms, but it is subject to common sense'

    True words of wisdom. I understand the need for these candidates to promote the right to own a gun in order to gain crucial votes, but statistics compiled by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center shows that the number of households with guns dropped from a high of 54% in 1977 to 34.5% in 2006. Do these statistics reflect a declining public interest in owning firearms or is there movement of individuals who are speaking out against owning guns?

    There's a large proportion of North Americans on these forums and I was wondering what your position is on the right to bear arms in the United States? Do we have an members of the NRA?

    Secondly I'm concerned by candidate soap opera. The emotional brainwashing of citizens of not only America, but recently demonstrated here in Australia in the 2007 Federal election. Unlike the United States Australian citizens (over the age of 18) are required by Federal Law to vote, even if you cast a dud vote you must attend your local voting booth. This becomes problematic when papers like "The Daily Telegraph" (Tabloid Journalism) produce articles extravagantly depicting emotionally overcome people hugging John Howard and praising him for all his good will, on the page opposite, you'll find the 10 reasons not to vote for his opposition. The number one reason being Howard's been in longer, therefore he's clearly a better candidate, despite the empty promises, despite the highest interest rates in over 20 years.....uh, don't get me going.

    My point is I see similarities in the US election and it makes me wonder who's out there buying this? Sure it humanizes Clinton, and it makes policy driven debates a little more entertaining, but are there really people basing their entire political beliefs on these seemingly innocuous acts?

    What do you think?

  2. #2
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    Re: Guns and Voters

    I'm not a member of the NRA, but I fully support the right to bear arms, including assault-style weapons and other guns.

    As for how Americans vote, everyone votes like idiots. As Aristotle noted over 2,000 years ago, people like to arguments based on attacking your opponent's character and emotional appeals far above logical arguments. It's a plague of humanity.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

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    Re: Guns and Voters

    Why do you support the right to bear arms?

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    Re: Guns and Voters

    Actually, the way I like to think about all rights --homosexual marriage, abortion, et cetera-- is not "why should we allow this right?" but "Why shouldn't we allow this right?"

    I have yet to see a competent case for why guns should be restricted.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

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    Re: Guns and Voters

    Actually, the way I like to think about all rights --homosexual marriage, abortion, et cetera-- is not "why should we allow this right?" but "Why shouldn't we allow this right?"

    I have yet to see a competent case for why guns should be restricted.

    In my view, the question is whether government intervention is justified. You can call anything a "right"--the "right" to healthcare, the "right" to car maintenance, the "right" to behead those who insult Islam--but it doesn't mean that the affirmative position has no burden.
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    Re: Guns and Voters

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    In my view, the question is whether government intervention is justified. You can call anything a "right"--the "right" to healthcare, the "right" to car maintenance, the "right" to behead those who insult Islam--but it doesn't mean that the affirmative position has no burden.
    True, and some rights are taken away on the justification that they're not necessary or stupid. IE: 'right to rape' is something humans cannot be allowed to do. The right to health care I'm iffy on, so I cannot say distinctly if it is a right or not, but it seems to have some merit. Things like the right to free speech is not abrogated by the right to cut someone's head off for insulting you.

    I think the argument holds up even if you toss out the governmental intervention part, because it essentially yields the same standards.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

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    Re: Guns and Voters

    Phoenix I think the right to gay marriage and the right to own a gun are two very separate issues. As Clive said the issue is whether the government has justifiable reasoning to restrict, or ban the ownership of weapons. I believe that there are justifiable reasons to prohibit the possession of firearms.

    People in support of the second amendment frequently argue that:

    a) Guns don't kill people, people kill people.
    b) Criminals and Terrorists will still have access to guns because they're criminals...(perhaps not as justifiable)

    Firstly, point a), i concur, people do kill people, and if you want to make it easier, give them a gun.

    Secondly. There is naturally a lot of fear evoked from the word terrorist perhaps more so today with Americas presence in Iraq post-9/11. And it's this fear that convinces people they NEED to be armed to defend themselves. There seems to be the assumption that criminals will have access to weapons regardless of whether they're prohibited in US law or not. Whilst I'm sure some would be able to access such weapons, I believe that the majority would not.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/...-gunshop_N.htm

    I would doubt that this gun store was a National exception, criminals who possess guns ARE supplied them.

    http://www.holysmoke.org/sdhok/gun.htm

    This article states that 'In one ordinary week, 464 people died in America's continuing epidemic of gunfire...guns take more American lives in two years than did the entire Viet Nam War'

    It also goes on to state that in this week only 14 deaths were in self-defense. Just 13 involved law-enforcement officers.

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    Re: Guns and Voters

    True, and some rights are taken away on the justification that they're not necessary or stupid. IE: 'right to rape' is something humans cannot be allowed to do.
    That's all the argument you need? Why aren't you convinced by "right to bear arms is something humans cannot be allowed to do"?

    The right to health care I'm iffy on, so I cannot say distinctly if it is a right or not, but it seems to have some merit. Things like the right to free speech is not abrogated by the right to cut someone's head off for insulting you.

    I think the argument holds up even if you toss out the governmental intervention part, because it essentially yields the same standards.
    Depends on how you understand rights. I think something is a "right" when the government doesn't intervene to stop you. Some people think of "right" as something others are obligated to do for you--like provide food, money, or healthcare for you.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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    Re: Guns and Voters

    Quote Originally Posted by Slater View Post
    Phoenix I think the right to gay marriage and the right to own a gun are two very separate issues. As Clive said the issue is whether the government has justifiable reasoning to restrict, or ban the ownership of weapons. I believe that there are justifiable reasons to prohibit the possession of firearms.

    People in support of the second amendment frequently argue that:

    a) Guns don't kill people, people kill people.
    b) Criminals and Terrorists will still have access to guns because they're criminals...(perhaps not as justifiable)
    I would agree with both assertions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slater
    Firstly, point a), i concur, people do kill people, and if you want to make it easier, give them a gun.
    Or a knife, or broken bottle, or some fertilizer for explosives.


    You can't rid the world of violence. This is off the top of my head, but England released a survey back in 2005, after 8 years of their anti-gun legislation, that said that miraculously gun murders were down 24%. Total crime, however, was up 13%. Those aren't not very good statistics to me.

    Ridding the world of guns and hoping it'll curb violence is like taking forks away from people and hoping you'll curb obesity. It's just not realistic; as far as I can tell, the statistics support that.

    And when do the prohibitions stop? England is, as I understand it, already working on getting rid of knives. So what, what happens when the get rid of all the knives in England and then they start using something else? Ban that as well? To what end? How does this reasoning avail?

    At the end of the day we can quibble over statistics and reasons for gun ownership, but there's already a clear line of responsibility for tragedies. When I pull a trigger and shoot someone without provocation, then I've committed a crime that is worth prohibiting.


    Quote Originally Posted by Slate
    Secondly. There is naturally a lot of fear evoked from the word terrorist perhaps more so today with Americas presence in Iraq post-9/11. And it's this fear that convinces people they NEED to be armed to defend themselves. There seems to be the assumption that criminals will have access to weapons regardless of whether they're prohibited in US law or not. Whilst I'm sure some would be able to access such weapons, I believe that the majority would not.
    Heh, well, I've never made that argument, and I don't agree with citizens acting as vigilantes.


    Quote Originally Posted by Slate
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/...-gunshop_N.htm

    I would doubt that this gun store was a National exception, criminals who possess guns ARE supplied them.

    http://www.holysmoke.org/sdhok/gun.htm

    This article states that 'In one ordinary week, 464 people died in America's continuing epidemic of gunfire...guns take more American lives in two years than did the entire Viet Nam War'

    It also goes on to state that in this week only 14 deaths were in self-defense. Just 13 involved law-enforcement officers.
    Irrelevant; as the prohibition on drugs is proving, once you take away a legit supply from people, they'll just create black markets for them.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

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    Re: Guns and Voters

    Wikipedia states that when the gun restrictions were implemented into England in 1996/7 gun ownership was around 133,000 people. It then decreased by 20,000 people over a period of 5 or so years, and by 2005 had (through licensing and legal firearm purchasing) risen back to 127,000. So in favour of your argument the restrictions hadn't substantially reduced the number of firearms circulating the country. The 2005 statistics you were informed off can be linked (whether coincidence or not I can only speculate) to the increase of firearms in the country. However, crime statistics show that after the restrictions were implemented in England and Wales overall criminal offences dropped considerably.

    http://www.crimestatistics.org.uk/output/page63.asp

    And remained low.

    I'm not arguing that you can rid the world of violence, I'm merely suggesting that without firearms we may be better off.

    As cited on http://www.holysmoke.org/sdhok/gun.htm the fact remains that in a week of 464 gun related deaths only 13 were in self defense.

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    Re: Guns and Voters

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Depends on how you understand rights. I think something is a "right" when the government doesn't intervene to stop you. Some people think of "right" as something others are obligated to do for you--like provide food, money, or healthcare for you.
    I think this is important. "Rights" theories tend to fall on either one side of this or the other.
    Its turtles, all the way down.

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    Re: Guns and Voters

    Quote Originally Posted by Slater View Post
    People in support of the second amendment frequently argue that:

    a) Guns don't kill people, people kill people.
    b) Criminals and Terrorists will still have access to guns because they're criminals...(perhaps not as justifiable)

    Firstly, point a), i concur, people do kill people, and if you want to make it easier, give them a gun.

    Secondly. There is naturally a lot of fear evoked from the word terrorist perhaps more so today with Americas presence in Iraq post-9/11. And it's this fear that convinces people they NEED to be armed to defend themselves. There seems to be the assumption that criminals will have access to weapons regardless of whether they're prohibited in US law or not. Whilst I'm sure some would be able to access such weapons, I believe that the majority would not.
    Slater you will be quite naive if you think that strict laws will prevent criminals from getting guns. It might be an assumption, but one that has over the years become more and more evident of how true it really is.

    Gun laws within SA has been tightened up recently. To own a gun is not easy for the law abiding citizen. Many people who owned more than one gun had to give away or return their fire arms to the police, because the law simply does not allow you to have more than one if you are not a certified hunter.

    Still, people are being killed by means of guns now more than ever. Criminals will find ways to get hold of guns, no matter what the law prohibits.

    All what the gun law did in SA was stripping people from theie only defense meganisms. Law abiding citizens now fear for their lives and every day have to live with the expectation to be killed, no matter where you go.
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    Re: Guns and Voters

    Quote Originally Posted by Slater View Post
    Wikipedia states that when the gun restrictions were implemented into England in 1996/7 gun ownership was around 133,000 people. It then decreased by 20,000 people over a period of 5 or so years, and by 2005 had (through licensing and legal firearm purchasing) risen back to 127,000. So in favour of your argument the restrictions hadn't substantially reduced the number of firearms circulating the country. The 2005 statistics you were informed off can be linked (whether coincidence or not I can only speculate) to the increase of firearms in the country. However, crime statistics show that after the restrictions were implemented in England and Wales overall criminal offences dropped considerably.

    http://www.crimestatistics.org.uk/output/page63.asp

    And remained low.

    I'm not arguing that you can rid the world of violence, I'm merely suggesting that without firearms we may be better off.

    As cited on http://www.holysmoke.org/sdhok/gun.htm the fact remains that in a week of 464 gun related deaths only 13 were in self defense.
    As far as I can tell, if the total gun crimes were down 24%, then the fact that someone had gun is irrelevant if the crimes being committed didn't involve guns.

    That's like saying if there's black people around, then that must be why people get violent.


    However, I think you merely didn't read what I said.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

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    Re: Guns and Voters

    In any case Phoenix, those stats show a distinct drop after the gun laws were implemented. However there are A LOT of contradictory statistics on the net regarding the gun restriction acts, so it would seem fruitless to continue citing them.

    I know that the gun restriction acts implemented in Australia post port Arthur were effective in removing a large percentages of firearms in the country, and whilst this did lead to an increase in crimes involving knives or broken bottles, it did give police a greater edge in preventing crime and reprimanding criminals. Also people who were subject to attacks from knives or broken bottles weren't as frequently killed as those who were shot, they admittedly were severely wounded but unless it was the attackers intention to kill them, most survived.

    Aspoestertjie, I understand that South Africa is a violent place. My boss grew up and lived in Johannesburg until his mid 20's and he always carried two guns on him. He only ever shot a man once, but he stressed that he always carried it so it was visible and said that it saved his life many more times than he used it. It would be arrogant of me to suggest I had a better understanding of your country than you do, so all I can really say is that I believe the gun reforms in Australia to have effectively worked. Whether this means it would be effective in South Africa only time can tell, there was a 3 year spike in Australian gun-related crime before authorities were able to seize most of the weapons.

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    Re: Guns and Voters

    Quote Originally Posted by Slater View Post
    In any case Phoenix, those stats show a distinct drop after the gun laws were implemented. However there are A LOT of contradictory statistics on the net regarding the gun restriction acts, so it would seem fruitless to continue citing them.
    I got these from a British chap back in 06 who was trying to convince me that gun control was a useful thing.

    The statistic, as far as I can tell, was in fact a legit one.


    Quote Originally Posted by Slate
    I know that the gun restriction acts implemented in Australia post port Arthur were effective in removing a large percentages of firearms in the country, and whilst this did lead to an increase in crimes involving knives or broken bottles, it did give police a greater edge in preventing crime and reprimanding criminals.
    Is there any quantitative data behind this assertion, or is it mere postulation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slate
    Also people who were subject to attacks from knives or broken bottles weren't as frequently killed as those who were shot, they admittedly were severely wounded but unless it was the attackers intention to kill them, most survived.
    Again, do you have data confirming this?
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

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    Re: Guns and Voters

    Quote Originally Posted by Slater View Post
    Aspoestertjie, I understand that South Africa is a violent place. My boss grew up and lived in Johannesburg until his mid 20's and he always carried two guns on him. He only ever shot a man once, but he stressed that he always carried it so it was visible and said that it saved his life many more times than he used it. It would be arrogant of me to suggest I had a better understanding of your country than you do, so all I can really say is that I believe the gun reforms in Australia to have effectively worked. Whether this means it would be effective in South Africa only time can tell, there was a 3 year spike in Australian gun-related crime before authorities were able to seize most of the weapons.
    I don't know how old your boss is now, but laws have changed since he left South Africa. During that time people were allowed to carry their weapons on their persona, as long as it was visible.

    The government changed that to only one weapon and if you carry it on your persona, it must be concealed, so nobody else may see it. Now, I only have a shotgun, there is no way that I can carry a rifle as big as that on my persona. So I am already at an advantage with regard to that.

    This alone makes it so much easier for criminals to carry it as they please. In fact, they don't mind. Just a few weeks ago 6 men all carrying AK47 rifles robbed our local grocery store. There is really nothing we can do as the laws these days are changed to actually suit the criminal better.

    As you said, what works for Australia will not necessarily work for other countries. Other factors that need to be taken into account is the Police Force and how crime is combatted. Written legislations and gun laws, how criminals are convicted etc, it all adds up in combatting crime. If these things can not work in harmony, there is no use to alter any law. i.e. The government bring in strict gun laws, yet the Police Force does 1. not have enough man power to enforce the law, 2. almost half of the Police Force is corrupt.

    Altering the gun law alone will not work for SA, but maybe it will for America.
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    Re: Guns and Voters

    Quote Originally Posted by Slater View Post
    a) Guns don't kill people, people kill people.
    b) Criminals and Terrorists will still have access to guns because they're criminals...(perhaps not as justifiable)

    Firstly, point a), i concur, people do kill people, and if you want to make it easier, give them a gun.
    Which makes guns a good tool for good guys to use to defend themselves against bad guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slater View Post
    Secondly. There is naturally a lot of fear evoked from the word terrorist perhaps more so today with Americas presence in Iraq post-9/11. And it's this fear that convinces people they NEED to be armed to defend themselves.
    Actually, simple logic tells you that you can better defend yourself if you are armed. And crime existed well before 9-11 and plenty of people had who had been victimized would have been better of if they had been better able to defend themselves.


    Quote Originally Posted by Slater View Post
    There seems to be the assumption that criminals will have access to weapons regardless of whether they're prohibited in US law or not. Whilst I'm sure some would be able to access such weapons, I believe that the majority would not.
    What are you basing that belief on?

    I doubt most criminals get their guns through legal means so restricting the law-abiding from purchasing guns should have little effect on criminal's access to guns.


    Quote Originally Posted by Slater View Post
    This article states that 'In one ordinary week, 464 people died in America's continuing epidemic of gunfire...guns take more American lives in two years than did the entire Viet Nam War'

    It also goes on to state that in this week only 14 deaths were in self-defense. Just 13 involved law-enforcement officers.
    But then you don't need to kill someone with a gun to defend yourself with it. If you shoot but don't kill the criminal - it's effective self defense. If you don't shoot him but hold him for the police or just chase him off (which happened to a friend of mine) - it's effective self-defense. If the criminal declines to mess with you in the first place for fear that you might be armed (even if you are not) - it's effective self-defense.

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    Re: Guns and Voters

    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@....003&num=&view=

    This site shows the downward trend in firearm usage post 96 in Australia. Notably under Murder and Robbery. At the bottom of the page it also notes that:

    'A knife was the predominant weapon used against a victim across most of the other offence types, according to 2001 reported crime data (graph 11.13). For murder and attempted murder approximately one victim in three was attacked with a knife; and for robbery it was nearly one in four.'

    http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/cfi/cfi141.html

    This site also confirms the growing trend for use of knives or sharp instruments in 2005 statistics.

    So using the following statistics, note the drop in firearm deaths post 1996, compared with the minor raise in knife related deaths:

    http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/public-...unknifedth.pdf

    And also consider that the number of assaults hadnít dropped that year, in fact many statistics report a rise in common assault, whilst other offences either drop marginally or remained static.

    This would suggest that knife related incidents resulted in a lower casualty rate.

    Mican, you do raise a good point, those statistics donít necessarily address firearms used in self defence in which the criminal was not killed. If you could find some statistics showing the rate of self defence against homicide It would be good to see them.

    Iíd always felt that society gave criminals more credit than they deserved, but statistics show that most firearm related deaths are indeed with illegally owned, purchased or stolen guns. I didnít realise the black market was so accessible.

    I understand that crime existed before 9/11, I was merely emphasizing how the media reminds us that we are at constant threat.

    However, despite all this, statistics in this post, and previous posts have demonstrated a downward trend in firearm usage and casualties. Although this resulted in an increase in knife usage, the casualty rate was considerably lower. In terms of the overall violent offences committed, the statistics I cited earlier show that gun bans in England and Wales created a downward trend in overall offences which remained low.

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    Re: Guns and Voters

    Quote Originally Posted by SLATER
    There's a large proportion of North Americans on these forums and I was wondering what your position is on the right to bear arms in the United States? Do we have an members of the NRA?
    IMO
    America is built on the premise that "the people" not only should be armed but have the right to be armed. Any evil they could do is outweighed by the rights of the people.
    Simply put, crimes are committed with guns, to bad. That is the cost of freedom.
    Just like people having the privilege to drive produces vehicular deaths. People with the freedom to drink, kill people while drunk.

    I believe that an armed society is a respectful society.
    If you look at the gun crimes In America, that get everyone all upset (any school shooting), everyone of them could have been made less severe by adding more guns.

    I think the answer to all crime problems is not less guns, but more trained citizens with guns.

    Take drugs in a community. Police won't go down a particular street. Well, it's time to get your buddies together, dust off those hunting rifles and shotguns, and walk to the corner where these people are dealing drugs, and tell them "you are going to quit, or I will make you quit". It is time for people to grow a pair, and take their communities back.

    An inherent part of life is wanting to live. Good men should be willing to die for freedom. I don't expect Criminals to have the same depth of conviction. They are predictors of the weak, bullies, and thugs.
    I apologize to anyone waiting on a response from me. I am experiencing a time warp, suddenly their are not enough hours in a day. As soon as I find a replacement part to my flux capacitor regulator, time should resume it's normal flow.

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    Re: Guns and Voters

    Quote Originally Posted by Slater View Post
    Iíd always felt that society gave criminals more credit than they deserved, but statistics show that most firearm related deaths are indeed with illegally owned, purchased or stolen guns. I didnít realise the black market was so accessible.
    The black market is a reality. As long as someone can get reach out of the deal to sell it, it will be done. If I want to, I can walk into the street, from my office, make a few enquiries to passersby about where I can get an illegal fire arm, and I will be within a few minutes be in contact with someone selling it. I can even get people willing to kill for money, so I don't even to get my hands full of blood. This is scary, I know. But unfortunately it is reality.
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