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  1. #1
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    First topic for debate



    Hey look, a politics forum where every poster is in agreement and no one has flamed anyone, ever!

    That won't do.

    Let's kick things off with a question that has always intrigued me. The Constitution guarantees the rights of American citizens to bear arms. Now, in the time of our founders, I doubt they could have imagined the sort of armaments people have access to today. Nevertheless, there are no Constitutional provisions on what sort of weapons a person is allowed to have. So where do we draw the line on what sort of weapons are acceptable? DO we draw a line? Most people will agree that the Constitution protects a person's right to carry a handgun or a knife, but what about an automatic? Grenades? Shoulder-mounted rocket launchers? Chemical weapons? At what point does it make more sense to prevent catastrophe (and protect the "general welfare") by outlawing a weapon than it does to allow an individual to possess that weapon? And if you can make such an argument about any weapon, what's to stop that argument from extending to a handgun?




  2. #2
    So where do we draw the line on what sort of weapons are acceptable? DO we draw a line?
    Why draw any line?




  3. #3

    Re: First topic for debate

    My stance on the gun control issue has always been this:

    Simply making a law preventing one from owning a certain type of firearm will never deter a criminal from getting one anyway.

    If someone is hell bent on getting an AK-47 for criminal purposes, he's probably going to get one, legal or not. Imposing laws that mandate that no one can own these types of weapons will do nothing to stop murderers and psychopaths.

    Enforcing these kinds of laws would actually be counter-productive- locking someone up simply because they own a gun (or whatever) wastes resources and time that could spent on real criminals- you know, the ones who have actually harmed someone else.

    Owning a registered weapon is not and should not be a crime. It's a dangerous thing to begin punishing everyone because of the actions of others.




  4. #4
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    Re: First topic for debate

    I usually keep myself far away from politics forums because of my European point of view seldom is met with great understanding, but this topic craves my attention.

    I agree with postal on criminals getting their hands on the weapons they "need". But let me introduce a theory of what controls these needs of the criminals.

    If the general public sports knives, criminals will need hand guns to gain the upper hand. If people in general have hand guns, criminals will need sub machine guns. Or as in Sweden, were I live and any weapon is outlawed. Most criminals, at least the ones preying on ordinary people, only need a knife.

    If you accept this idea - criminals will do what is necessary to have the upper hand if voilence ensues. Banning weapons would decrease the magnitude of violence requiered for the criminals and thus probably lowering the amount of damage inflicted. This combined with the fact that it is very much harder to kill or injure someone with a knife than a gun, or at least is combined with greater risk for the assailant.

    The better weapons, the more damage. Hence it should be in the common interest not to escalate the situation since the criminals will probably always gain the advantage of quality of weapon and always have the advantage of surprise and ability to first strike.
    Last edited by Hrafn; 08-18-2006 at 05:34 AM.




  5. #5
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    Re: First topic for debate

    Well, I just spent 20 minutes typing a response to this thread and when I went to post it I got kicked out. WTF!

    Short version. You should separate the Gun issue and the Crime issue.

    Law abiding citizens should be able to buy, carry , and use firearms for recreation and PROTECTION.

    Crime would go down. The semi-novel I wrote was better than the short version.
    Last edited by Raineman; 08-18-2006 at 06:00 PM.
    SS




  6. #6
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    Re: First topic for debate

    Let me start out with saying that you can use guns for recreation and hunting in Sweden as well, but need a licence and keeping the firearms under lock.

    I don't see how the gun issue and crime can be separated. Who exactly is it you need protection from? The King's men?

    I would like for you to try to explain just how you get to the notion that crime would go down if more guns were to be put on the streets?




  7. #7
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    Re: First topic for debate

    It is very simple to separate. The issues are different. Gun licensing and registration are totally separate from enforcement of crime laws.

    Being from/in Sweden, do you understand American laws and buraecracy(sp)?
    (not being a smart ass, just finding out). As far as the "kings men", there was a little thing called the American Revolution that this would apply to.

    Much work to do today, but I'll see if I can't come up with some links for you tomorrow, including ones where crime rates have gone down due to carry laws.

    As far as your earlier statement that banning weapons would decrease the magnitude of violence. Is that like being a little pregnant? Have you been to America? If you take away our guns, criminals would have a field day.
    SS




  8. #8
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    Re: First topic for debate

    This will be a half explaining, half retreat kind of post, and might be a bit incoherent, but bear with me.
    As far as the "kings men", there was a little thing called the American Revolution that this would apply to.
    My King's men comment was meant for just that. To point out that the law is from a time where it was fully understandable that one would need a gun since there was a palpable threat from the former lords and not much of a state to secure one from it, but that this carries very little weight now and needs to have a better reasoning behind it and maybe the carry laws reasearch do just that. (More on this later on.)

    Being from/in Sweden, do you understand American laws and buraecracy(sp)?
    As far as my understanding of US laws and bureaucracy I would say it is at least decent, since the US is the dominant force in the world and I read US papers online from time to time. Never having been to the US hardly has anything to do with it, since being a tourist in a country gives you a very limited understanding of it.

    For you to understand where I was coming from, I guess I better outline what lead me to speculate in this issue.

    Practically no one in Sweden carries guns - murder rate is very low. Many people have guns in the US - murder rates are very high.

    This could of course be ascribed to more crime due to worse social security or many other factors.

    I'll see if I can't come up with some links for you tomorrow, including ones where crime rates have gone down due to carry laws.
    No need for links (unless they are excellent) as your post made me check up a bit on carry laws. The criminals are already in possession of fire arms, so passing harsher gun laws now will do little to lessen the number of criminals with fire arms.

    Further on carry laws, I must say that I'm a bit surprised, that the deterrent effect of hand guns is comparable to that of MAD during the Cold War (international relations being a field where my knowledge is greater than that of law). Not that it doesn't make sense a priori, but just a thought that had never crossed my mind.

    In spite of this I still like to maintain that in any given society the less weapons, the less violence or at least lesser concequences of violence. A more or less philosophical notion, but nonetheless.
    Last edited by Hrafn; 08-19-2006 at 11:24 AM.




  9. #9
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    Re: First topic for debate

    I'll provide a link (if I can figure it out) anyway. From my favorite website:

    http://www.nraila.org/Issues/FactShe...ad.aspx?ID=126

    Hope it worked.
    SS




  10. #10
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    Re: First topic for debate

    It worked fine but I prefer links to sites not as partisan. NRA is hardly the source for balanced reports on whether or not the right to carry fire arms is good for society.




  11. #11
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    Re: First topic for debate

    Fair enough--I'll post 'em as I find 'em.

    http://www.sacsconsulting.com/ccw_RightToCarry.htm
    SS




  12. #12
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    Re: First topic for debate

    Here is one from the LA Times:

    http://www.davekopel.com/2A/OpEds/Mo...Less_Crime.htm

    Shall I continue?
    SS




  13. #13
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    Re: First topic for debate

    No need to put in any effort, I'm fairly skilled at googling myself, and have already read quite a bit on it.

    A link I found very useful, also by Kopel.

    And wasn't clear enough in my fairly long response, I meant to say that it probably is a reason good enough for me to not question the American way of things in this regard.
    Last edited by Hrafn; 08-19-2006 at 11:50 AM.




  14. #14

    Re: First topic for debate

    Many people have guns in the US - murder rates are very high.
    Hrafn: that's a sweeping generalization. You have to dig deeper. The murder rates are significantly higher in major cities, and/or in the South, and/or close to the Mexican border, and/or among urban poor blacks, and/or where there is drug use, etc. There are many reasons, which are not really pertinent to this discussion.

    I am willing to bet you that the murder rate in the town where I live - where we are pretty well-armed - is as low or lower than the murder rates in Copenhagen or Stockholm.





  15. #15
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    Re: First topic for debate

    It is somewhat a sweeping generalization, but statistics show that there is a markedly higher murder rate in the US.

    75:13 per 1M people overall (US:SWE) and an even bigger difference when looking at murders with guns. 44:2 per 1M people (from a 1993 UN report)

    This would support the idea that gun ownership leads to more murders by way of firearms. Which is also supported by this report from the US commission on civil rights from 2003 p. 6

    We can also note in this regard the role of firearms as a contributing factor to the high murder rate in the U.S. As the only industrialized nation without strong gun control policies, guns clearly contribute to the disparity in murder rates.
    A 1988 comparison of the U.S. with England/Wales found that U.S. homicides rates were 5.6 times greater, but by excluding homicides with firearms, the differential dropped to 2.4.
    Guns are not the only cause of violence in the U.S., but they do contribute to higher rates of homicide -- essentially, it is far easier to kill someone with a gun than with a knife, fists, or other objects.

    And as far as comparison between larger and minor cities goes, it is hard to do since we don't really have any major cities here. Under 2M both of them (Stockholm and Copenhagen). But I can say that they don't differ statistically from the rest of their respective countries.
    Last edited by Hrafn; 08-19-2006 at 01:01 PM.




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