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Gun control - a suggestion
Posted: 30 March 2005 12:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]OK, of course the original post here was also a satirical bit of commentary. But I can’t tell you how we laughed when we came up with that whole idea.  The point of the test was to show the gun owner exactly how the deer or the duck or the robber feels when the bullet from your gun enters some vital bodily organs.  I still think that as a thought experiment it does serve a purpose, if only to make a potential murderer/hunter/recreationalist put himself into the place of his victim.  I was simply trying to express the seriousness of the potential results of weaponry to a gun-happy culture (as peregrine and Rasmussen pointed out so vividly).

I’m not a hunter, but I understand conservation, and hunting is much more humane than starvation and the ways nature culls the herds. Better for the animals if we’d coexist a bit less like a virus, but that’s clearly not an option (“if you can get a note from each and every prospective parent saying they won’t reproduce . . . ”—not a joke aimed at anyone, just a humorous comment . . . at least attemptedly).

If a “robber” comes into your home with you (and your family) in it, how are you going to determine his intentions? If you play the pacifist card, what do you say to the family in the next home, particularly if he turns out to be violent (which is far more likely if he’s invading an occupied home)? But ideally, in the case of a robber, you’d scare the man off. At least that’s what I’d hope. In fact that’s precisely why I keep a pump action shotgun beside my bed—“that sound” is cited in surveys as the most frightening to convicted home invaders, even more so than a growling dog.

Ideally someone invading my home would be less prone to high risk, violent behavior than it would appear and would run away. Also, if the “robber” doesn’t run away knowing there’s a shotgun in the equation (and two large dogs, which makes all this theory even less likely to ever be applied), I’ve done enough “research” to know this guy has a definite high potential for being very serious and immediate problem for me, my family, my neighbors, and a potentially very serious future problem for any other members of society he comes into contact with who abide by the social contract (and most of the applied cases of “violent crime theory” come to you compliments of the war on drugs, by the way).

Context.

Using the presumption to define the issue is very telling. In “real time” however, that he was just a non-violent robber is only knowable after the fact, and the robber of unknown disposition is responsible for putting himself, you and your family into the position in which his life and yours are threatened—in which you have to “choose” whether you’re going to place more value on your life and your family’s (and your neighbors’ and . . .) or his. He made that choice, he took that risk, and he seriously violated the “social contract” in order to do so. There’s nothing noble about trying to make sure he’s safe and secure unless you somehow know he’s not going to ever do it again to anyone else.

Unless you know he’s strictly a non-violent robber (though the willingness to harm others kind of goes with the territory), in which case hopefully he’ll get caught, and there’d be no need to use a potentially lethal means of self-defense. But I hope it’s obvious that this is all based upon things we could know only through some form of limited omniscience, so a “robber” forces you to make your decision “blind” in the case of a home invasion.

Again, context.


But, I do understand where you’re coming from. I was pretty well indoctrinated into the anti-gun “common wisdom” even after a tour of duty in the Army (for part of it as an M60 gunner, no less—the Army wanted me to stay on for 6 years to go through sniper school, in fact). It wasn’t until I went back (into the National Guard) and the only job I was okay with signing up for was medic. As a medic I would be qualifying with a handgun and I’d only fired one a few times before. Your marksmanship score is a very important part of your promotability, and I had a personal record to maintain, so I looked into practicing.

I didn’t want to keep a gun if I didn’t have to, because “everyone knows” they’re dangerous to keep in the house. It turned out that it would be cheaper for me to buy a gun to practice with rather than to rent one from the local range, and it also turned out that the local range didn’t have storage for gun owners to leave their weapons at the range, so I looked into the matter of maintaining a gun at home.

I started to find some pretty specious “conclusions” in the research I got a hold of, and it snowballed from there. It was actually very similar in “structure” to my apostasy from Christianity. What I discovered about the issue was pretty near 180 degrees off from what I’d been programmed to believe.

[quote author=“CanZen”]I certainly respect Byron and Wotansson for their positions and have greatly appreciated their excellent comments in other posts, but why all the excuses and apologetics for the gun culture and its pervasive (often deadly) effects?


Why do you presume these are “excuses” much less motivated by defensiveness about “the gun culture and its pervasive (often deadly) effects?” Again, I strongly suspect you’re presuming in the absence of having done any actual “determining” (rather than merely reacting/opining).

As skeptics (presumably) we expect those presenting us with claims and hypotheses to have taken the basic responsibility to consider the issue prior to formulating those claims and hypotheses, and to present the reasoning and data behind their conclusions—no? In this case there’s a large body of research (with a large body of problems, perhaps, but it’s still available—as is sound criticism and analysis of that research), so as a skeptic I expect nothing different from gun advocates and opponents if I’m going to consider their opinions credible and worthy of much in the way of consideration.

As I’ve pointed, that’s as uncommon regarding guns as it is regarding religion. I’ve come to expect that in general, but at the same time I expect much more responsible behavior from my fellow skeptics who presumably know better.

Byron

[ Edited: 30 March 2005 01:39 AM by ]
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Posted: 30 March 2005 01:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]Byron, I can’t believe you said this:  “But before you can even really consider guns as weapons you need to have a basic understanding of the situation.”


To be quite frank about it, I strongly suspect you “can’t believe it” because you don’t understand what’s behind it. Again, this seems very similar to how believers respond to genuine questioning of their basic presumptions and articles of faith. “I can’t believe you’d say there’s no reason to believe in God!”

[quote author=“CanZen”]To me the basic understanding of the situation all boils down to the fact that guns ARE weapons, that’s why they protect people, and avert crime, etc. - the reason that they can do all this is 100% because they are weapons. They are instruments made for killing.  Sure they can be collectibles and used in recreation, but that doesn’t in any way reduce their primary purpose of being a weapon.


Look into the basic questions I mentioned before. For starters I’ll give you one answer—statistically, your chances of surviving being shot are over 90% (higher than if you’re assaulted with a knife—has to do with the nature of the assaults these weapons are used for rather than the weapons’ effectiveness). If you want to argue with me over that point you’re going to need data. I’m not interested in blind opinion. Sorry to be so blunt, but I’m a skeptic (eh!?) and I’m not seeing anything but blind opinion, which frankly doesn’t command a great deal of respect (regarding the opinions, that is—again, I’m sure you’ve been there on other matters).

[quote author=“CanZen”]Try harder to convince me that I am wrong here.


Wrong about what, exactly?

If you’re philosophically against guns, that’s not something I have any personal stock in—that’s all yours, man. We can discuss the merits of your philosophy, but it’s a purely intellectual exercise, and your conclusions are entirely yours (no need to justify them to me or anyone else). When, on the other hand, you advocate and/or take measures to impose your philosophy upon me and others, it’s another matter—you should take the basic responsibility to understand the issues. So you need to figure out where your philosophical aversion to guns ends, and your sociopolitical understanding of them begins.

I think most civilized people are more or less in denial about their/our basic nature and the nature of violence in general (understandable, it’s quite ugly, but this willful ignorance is purely a luxury, and an irresponsible platform from which to analyze the issue with regard to others and society in general). The reason most of these discussions are so fruitless is that most people can’t get past that aversion and deal with the actual issue of violence. It’s one thing to consider a criminal (who didn’t kill or maim his victim, or simply after-the-fact), and want to see him rehabilitated. I feel the very same way, likely much more so than most of my opponents on this issue (if only that were what our justice system were really about), it’s quite another to be in the process of a violent assault (either as a “participant” or a witness) without the benefit of such hindsight . . . or any assurance that in the next moment you’ll still have the ability to experience hindsight.

People have a very hard time, it seems, separating their emotions from their analyses of that which prompts them. It’s as if people think (whether consciously or not) how they feel about reality should somehow be a determining factor in what’s good and bad and such—as if reality is somehow obliged to respond to our personal sentiments.

For example, most people don’t ever seem to recognize that dealing with violence is anything but a purely personal matter, as if they and the perpetrator are the full extent of consideration. The fact that violence has as much or more to do with society as related to the perpetrator never even crosses most peoples’ minds (“you” will most likely only deal with “this guy” once, whereas “this guy” will/has most likely force/d several others to deal with him). Most people seem to never get past the isolated case thinking (“it’s about ‘me’ and how ‘I’ feel . . . and the guy who I give the benefit of the doubt in pre-hindsight”) to understand the issue has a definite effect on others and on the larger scale, on society in general, and often a very profound effect (think globally, act locally).

According to Benjamin Hoff (“The Tao of Pooh”/“The Te of Piglet”) that’s a very western thing. Easterners (allegedly) tend to see this is very immature. I think this is what tends to happen regarding violence (and yes, again, just as it does with religion and the drug war). Once you understand and face the realities of violence, it’s typically quite an eye-opener. Hopefully more people will experience that eye-opener purely through theory rather than the hard way.

Byron

[ Edited: 30 March 2005 04:31 AM by ]
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Posted: 30 March 2005 04:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Hi Byron.  As a gun owner myself, I do understand some of the background and the foreground that you describe.  I do agree that it is precisely the stupid drug policy of Canada and America that has made us into the more violent of the Western countries. It seems like a vicious circle but movies and tv portray the violence of the illicit drug world every day in disturbing and unhelpful ways - and I’m sure those sorts of images only serve to increase the obsession with violence and weaponry in society in general.

The only point I was trying to make, obviously poorly, was that certain kinds of attitudes about guns (whether supported by statistics or not) tend to allow the “culture of violence and weaponry” to flourish.  I agree that all of your points are valid and surely important given the context of the world in which we live, but my point was only to attempt to veer the bandwagon of the gun-happy slightly off course to notice that guns are weapons, and that to accept a society where the love of guns runs free and unfettered leads to some acceptance of violence as well (even though most gun owners are totally opposed to violence).

I realize that you already understand that, but also that you are caught in that place between a rock and a hard place - a place where pacifism and non-violent action merely guarantee your death in the face of a violent attack by some maniac.  Maybe we can equate this to G.Bush’s response to the deadlly events of 9-11, America reacted with the same kind of methods that the terrorists used “kill the enemy!”  It was, essentially, a reaction in self-defense.  Were there other ways to respond, undoubtedly there were, but given the sort of militaristic stance that America has of late re-established, it is no surprise that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq followed quite quickly.  There is another context to examine and that is the mindset of the real or potential victim when faced with a life-threatening situation.

I think that all the nations of Europe have learned first hand the options that a victim must entertain.  Perhaps they have learned ways to deal with aggression and violence that are different from America because the latter has been so infrequently the victim of international violence.  Yet post 9-11, the US government has basically ridiculed most of the European suggestions on how to react when placed in the position of VICTIM.  I think that shows us that the context of the mindset of the victim is important, because until you can know or somehow understand the mindset of the aggressor (i.e., change the current drug policy) - how you react is all up to you.  Either you accept the aggressor’s stage-setting and react with violence yourself, or you work to reset the stage for a life and a community more focused on socially enhancing economics and judiciary.

Bob

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Posted: 31 March 2005 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”] . . . my point was only to attempt to veer the bandwagon of the gun-happy slightly off course to notice that guns are weapons, and that to accept a society where the love of guns runs free and unfettered leads to some acceptance of violence as well (even though most gun owners are totally opposed to violence).


I think we’d do much better to veer people toward intellectual responsibility and sound critical analyses of such matters, but I also think we’re in general agreement. I’d say “targeting guns” though (nod to Gary Kleck), is a mistake—it’s missing the target.

I’m certainly not suggesting guns aren’t a factor in violence, but that I don’t think they’re causal. The weapons we’ve used to do each other in have changed throughout history, yet we’ve always managed to do each other in pretty regularly, and more or less effectively, some cultures more, others less (which is what I think we’d really all like to get at). Something other than the weapons we create and use is obviously behind our desire to create and use them on each other offensively.

That’s what “Bowling for Columbine” was all about. Michael Moore was both pointing out that the question is deeper than most of us would like to think (we don’t want to look inside ourselves on such matters—much more comfortable to find a villian, and better yet an inanimate one), and explaining that he couldn’t really get at it himself.

I don’t think much of his audience got that.

[quote author=“CanZen”]I realize that you already understand that, but also that you are caught in that place between a rock and a hard place - a place where pacifism and non-violent action merely guarantee your death in the face of a violent attack by some maniac.


That’s a fair way to put it, I guess . . . more or less, but I don’t feel stuck at all personally. That implies far too much of a fear-oriented mentality to me.

In reality I consider carrying a weapon a bit of a hassle even though I have a very compact .380 auto. For a while I was pretty good about carrying it wherever it was legal, but I have no pertinent fear to motivate me so it was a matter of conscious discipline to do so, and I’ve gotten away from it (I was trying to develop it into a habit but there are too many exceptions to where a permit allows you to carry, so I couldn’t just treat it like a pocket knife or a cell phone or something like that).

A better way to look at it is like any other piece of emergency gear. Is the risk and hassle involved in carrying a concealed weapon less or greater than the risk of actually needing one? There’s a lot of personal preference room there. I think that’s the basic equation used by permit holders more often than not, but it seems those who have a strong negative reaction to guns can’t see any answer to this equation that’s not quite clearly and extremely on the negative side (but frankly—as I expect you know—in most cases most of the “analysis” is emotion- and/or ignorance-based).

[quote author=“CanZen”]Maybe we can equate this to G.Bush’s response to the deadlly events of 9-11, America reacted with the same kind of methods that the terrorists used “kill the enemy!” It was, essentially, a reaction in self-defense.


If we were talking about vigilantism maybe, or if we had air defense artillery on tall buildings (which has been suggested) I could maybe see their use as a relative equivalency, but I don’t see how the “war against terrorism” relates to personal self-defense.

?

Byron

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Posted: 31 March 2005 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Here is my two cents from Texas.

First off, I think we should keep our guns.  I am against making guns illegal for private citizens to own.

HOWEVER, I also thing the NRA is out to lunch.

I would propose in order to buy a gun, sell a gun or have a gun, we make it more like a car.

You have to have a license, that license requires a course no less than six weeks long, that includes first aid for sucking chest wounds.  The licenses are graded like vehicles, with further courses needed to qualify to own up to rocket launchers.  The license has to be renewed every three years, and to be renewed you have to show up with all the guns listed on the license and in your possesion with intact serial numbers.

Everytime you buy a gun, its added to your license. 

And you have to carry annual insurance on your guns, if they are ever lost or stolen and used in a crime, you are liable for all damage of that gun, and therefore all your guns need to be insured, or they can be confiscated.

Same we do with cars, makes sense to me.

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Posted: 31 March 2005 06:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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[quote author=“Iisbliss”]
And you have to carry annual insurance on your guns, if they are ever lost or stolen and used in a crime, you are liable for all damage of that gun, and therefore all your guns need to be insured, or they can be confiscated.

Same we do with cars, makes sense to me.

Rational.  I would offer up an itty-bitty modification though:  I am a big supporter of “pay-at-the-pump” car liability insurance.  I think that the same thing could easily be applied to guns, by simply taxing bullets to cover the insurance.

In this way, collectors, and so on, would not be penalized for owning guns that are never going to be used, and people who shoot their guns more often (and are thus statistically more likely to be involved in an accident) will bear a proportionate amount of the insurance burden.

Just a thought,

-Matt

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Posted: 31 March 2005 11:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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[quote author=“Iisbliss”]HOWEVER, I also thing the NRA is out to lunch.

Whatever gave you that idea?

That was a little joke . . .

[quote author=“Isbliss”]You have to have a license, that license requires a course no less than six weeks long, that includes first aid for sucking chest wounds. The licenses are graded like vehicles, with further courses needed to qualify to own up to rocket launchers. The license has to be renewed every three years, and to be renewed you have to show up with all the guns listed on the license and in your possesion with intact serial numbers.


Some of that’s in place (no much, but you have to get a special license to get a fully automatic firearm = 1 trigger pull fires more than one bullet), but if the course were for/about carrying a gun rather than simply owning one I think this is pretty much the only thing that would actually have a significant positive effect on safe gun use.

Why 6 weeks though? How about just a good, thorough course? Shorter, longer, whatever . . . (it wouldn’t need to be that long).

The problem I have with these kinds of requirements is that they can easily and have been abused. In California simple licensing has become a de-facto ban on concealed carry permits. Whether you think the permits are good or bad, I hope you have a problem with governments abusing their power.

[quote author=“Isbliss”]Everytime you buy a gun, its added to your license.


We kind of have that now as well. The paperwork on a gun purchase is a semi-registration, but they’re pretty useless really. Once a given gun changes hands (is stolen or sold <a   none; border-bottom: 3px double;’ status=‘second-hand’  return true;”>second-hand</a>) the possibility of tracing it depends entirely upon the recollection of the “change-of-hands-chain.” the only record will be who originally bought any given gun, and most guns that are being traced (used for crimes) are no longer in the hands of a legitimate owner, much less the original one.

But again, good idea, easily abused.

[quote author=“Isbliss”]And you have to carry annual insurance on your guns, if they are ever lost or stolen and used in a crime, you are liable for all damage of that gun, and therefore all your guns need to be insured, or they can be confiscated.


That’s not smart. That sounds more like sour grapes than responsibly considered policy. Insurance makes sense, but not liability for being victimized by a thief.

[quote author=“Isbliss”]Same we do with cars, makes sense to me.


Really? You’ll be held liable for damages and injuries if you’re carjacked or if your car is stolen and used in a crime?

I was with you up until that part. It’s certainly debatable whether it would be a good idea to set legal standards for safe storage of firearms, but to hold the victim of theft liable for the behavior of the thief is just getting silly. That indicates the thinking that has gun owners pegged on the edge of the criminal envelope—as if serious self-defense is borderline assault.

Keep in mind the main basis for the merits of guns is equalizing the tactical field for self-defense. That means when you think about the purpose of tactical firearms you need to think about the elderly, women, and other gourps that are “popular” targets of violent crime (unfortunately women tend to far more deeply socialized against guns—I’d really like to see more women carrying and making themselves, as a group, higher risk/less attractive prey).

Byron

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Posted: 01 April 2005 12:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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[quote author=“psiconoclast”]I am a big supporter of “pay-at-the-pump” car liability insurance. I think that the same thing could easily be applied to guns, by simply taxing bullets to cover the insurance.

In this way, collectors, and so on, would not be penalized for owning guns that are never going to be used, and people who shoot their guns more often (and are thus statistically more likely to be involved in an accident) will bear a proportionate amount of the insurance burden.

Just a thought


You don’t really want to discourage gun owners from becoming familiar and competent with their guns, do you?

If there were clearly tactical bullets vs. clearly practice bullets, and clearly tactical vs. clearly target firearms (the line on the latter is far more clear, but even that one is pretty wide and grey), then I could see taxing tactical stuff specifically, but you have to be clear about your actual goals and what the measures you advocate will actually accomplish, and if you want fewer accidents and mistakes with guns, you don’t want to discourage gun owners from familiarity and competency concerning the proper (safe) use of their guns.

The required training really is the best (maybe the only) measure that would really have a desirable impact, I think. I don’t necessarily have an issue with the insurance (makes sense for the most part), but it also seems more about considering legitimate gun owners pseudo-criminal and punishing them. In many cases it seems even more accurate to say it’s about punishing those who most strongly disagree with the advocates of this kind of policy, which is the same kind of thinking that we see so often from the religious right wing.

A fundamental problem with most gun control measures is that they completely miss the target. Those gun owners who function within the law are obviously not the problem, but they’re also the only real target most people can hit, so to speak. It’s up to law enforcement to deal with the real problem (those who use guns to operate outside of the law), but many anti-gun oriented gun control advocates are after emotional satisfaction, and police dealing with criminals who use guns isn’t personally proactive enough to achieve that, so they focus on those they can effect. In light of that it’s pretty ironic, I think, that we often hear anti-gun arguments that suggest we should trust the police to protect us (which is pure fantasy when it comes to matters of self-defense—it indicates a total disconnect from the issue).

It’s a dark irony that in the effort to find emotional satisfaction it’s not uncommon for anti-gun oriented gun control advocates to advocate counterproductive gun policy. I’m not suggesting that’s behind the suggestion that gun owners be taxed for (discouraged from) doing what they need to do to handle their guns more safely and effectively, but it’s likely indirectly behind it—much (most?) of what we’ve learned in the West as “common wisdom” regarding guns is about on par with the level of thinking behind Medieval medicine (at least as I understand it was—as it seems commonly understood).

Byron

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Posted: 01 April 2005 05:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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Byron,

Your points are well taken.  There are a few things that should be considered however:

Innocent people are injured and killed by innapropriate gun use all the time.  Often times the guilty party is not in a position to make restitution.  Gun companies will fight any attempt to place the blame on them tooth and nail.  Much of the gun crime will be comitted by criminals, who are not as disciplined as the rest of us when it comes to having proper insurance.

Given all of this, what is a sane way of making sure that people who are harmed by gun violence can be compensated?  I submit that a modest tax on bullets, which pays into a fund to address all such cases, is the closest thing to a solution that there is.  We both know that when a gang member kills a kid in a drive-by shooting that no private insurance company is going to pay a settlement out of the goodness of their hearts!

Regardless, I am a supporter of states rights on this issue.  Rural states have different needs than urban states, and they should be free to look for a solution that works for them.

Just some thoughts. . .  I don’t claim to have the answers, but honest discussion is usually a good place to start.

-Matt

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Posted: 01 April 2005 06:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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[quote author=“psiconoclast”]Your points are well taken. There are a few things that should be considered however: . . .

Just some thoughts. . .


Good ones, I would say.

The modifer “modest” (and the nature of our discussion) assured me that you weren’t suggesting a “punishing” kind of tax or de-facto ban, which is the impression I get most of the time this idea is presented (a good example of a good idea presented with too much bias, or in many cases of a good idea arrived at by invalid means in terms of reasoning). Clearly that’s not the case here, and I can’t think of any objections I would have to such a tax on bullets.

I apologize if I’m sometimes a bit hesitant or reluctant to acknowledge what appears to be a good, reasonable idea under this topic. It’s the same kind of baggage those of us who have tried to discuss religion with believers are all too familiar with. A non-religiostupidified individual can present an argument that’s perfectly sound, but that sounds close enough to the bullshit we’ve heard over and over and over or is linguistically exactly the same without the underlying contextual nonsense. I feel the need to be maybe a bit more cautious about that stuff than would be ideal.

Byron

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Posted: 01 April 2005 06:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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[quote author=“SkepticX”]The modifer “modest” (and the nature of our discussion) assured me that you weren’t suggesting a “punishing” kind of tax or de-facto ban, which is the impression I get most of the time this idea is presented (a good example of a good idea presented with too much bias, or in many cases of a good idea arrived at by invalid means in terms of reasoning). Clearly that’s not the case here, and I can’t think of any objections I would have to such a tax on bullets. Byron

I realize looking back that without qualifiers it would be easy take a program of bullet taxation and attempt to turn it into a back door ban on guns. 

The frustrating thing, for me, is that people always seem to want easy answers.  The truth, as far as I can tell, is that living together in a way that is decent to all parties involved, and properly considers future generations is just damn hard work.

-Matt

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Posted: 01 April 2005 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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Matt said:

Innocent people are injured and killed by innapropriate gun use all the time. Often times the guilty party is not in a position to make restitution. Gun companies will fight any attempt to place the blame on them tooth and nail. Much of the gun crime will be comitted by criminals, who are not as disciplined as the rest of us when it comes to having proper insurance.

Given all of this, what is a sane way of making sure that people who are harmed by gun violence can be compensated? I submit that a modest tax on bullets, which pays into a fund to address all such cases, is the closest thing to a solution that there is. We both know that when a gang member kills a kid in a drive-by shooting that no private insurance company is going to pay a settlement out of the goodness of their hearts!

I think you are engaged in some poor reasoning here.  First off, a tax on bullets would penalize first the target shooter, then the hunter who consume more bullets than the criminals and drive-by shooters. I think most will agree that target shooting and hunting are less offensive than the murderers.  Taxing bullets would seem to be a tax on the immoral much like taxing tobacco or alcohol so it would seem you must first subscribe to the immorality of firearms, which is not a prevailing attitude.  The holes in your logic would easily be used by the NRA to muster defeat for any such legislation and righfully so. A tax on bullets is far is far from the closest think to a solution there is.  Start demanding vigorous prosecution of those who use firearms in the commission of crimes.  Then demand prosecution of those who illegally trasfer firearms.  Then demand prosecution of those who keep their firearms unsecured and let them get into the hand of children. Then demand proficiency training for all those who would obtain a firearm.  Prosecutions will be far more effective than taxation or perhaps even prohibition.

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Wot

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Posted: 01 April 2005 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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[quote author=“Wotansson”]Matt said:

Innocent people are injured and killed by innapropriate gun use all the time. Often times the guilty party is not in a position to make restitution. Gun companies will fight any attempt to place the blame on them tooth and nail. Much of the gun crime will be comitted by criminals, who are not as disciplined as the rest of us when it comes to having proper insurance.

Given all of this, what is a sane way of making sure that people who are harmed by gun violence can be compensated? I submit that a modest tax on bullets, which pays into a fund to address all such cases, is the closest thing to a solution that there is. We both know that when a gang member kills a kid in a drive-by shooting that no private insurance company is going to pay a settlement out of the goodness of their hearts!

I think you are engaged in some poor reasoning here.  First off, a tax on bullets would penalize first the target shooter, then the hunter who consume more bullets than the criminals and drive-by shooters. I think most will agree that target shooting and hunting are less offensive than the murderers.  Taxing bullets would seem to be a tax on the immoral much like taxing tobacco or alcohol so it would seem you must first subscribe to the immorality of firearms, which is not a prevailing attitude.  The holes in your logic would easily be used by the NRA to muster defeat for any such legislation and righfully so. A tax on bullets is far is far from the closest think to a solution there is.  Start demanding vigorous prosecution of those who use firearms in the commission of crimes.  Then demand prosecution of those who illegally trasfer firearms.  Then demand prosecution of those who keep their firearms unsecured and let them get into the hand of children. Then demand proficiency training for all those who would obtain a firearm.  Prosecutions will be far more effective than taxation or perhaps even prohibition.

Stay Well
Wot

Unfortunately, the large number of legitimate ammunition purchasers are currently subsidising the criminals, after a fashion.  High quality bullets would not be available at such low prices if it were not for the healthy ammunition industry.  The tax is merely a way of balancing things back out, and insuring that restitution can be made to those injured by guns.  This does not, however, presuppose that guns are immoral, merely that their presence in our society does pose a risk which needs to be honestly evaluated and dealt with in a rational fashion.

-Matt

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Posted: 01 April 2005 11:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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Matt said:

Unfortunately, the large number of legitimate ammunition purchasers are currently subsidising the criminals, after a fashion. High quality bullets would not be available at such low prices if it were not for the healthy ammunition industry. The tax is merely a way of balancing things back out, and insuring that restitution can be made to those injured by guns. This does not, however, presuppose that guns are immoral, merely that their presence in our society does pose a risk which needs to be honestly evaluated and dealt with in a rational fashion.

So if we make amunition highly priced and highly taxed this should result in an unhealthly ammunition indusry and poor quality bullets to what positive benefit? So we need to balance things back out so restitution can be made to the injured?  Do we apply the taxes collected on risk items such as alcohol to the injured alcholic; gasoline taxes to those injured by motor vehicles and tobacco taxes to those made sick by cigagettes?  Certainly not. Gasoline taxes are applied to the building and maintenance of roads - at least in theory.  None of the tax funds collected go to subsidize the injured. They simply go into the general coffers. What makes you think a bullet tax would be any different? Also, these risk item taxes do nothing to discourage the consumption of alcohol,  tobacco or gasoline and would not discourage bullet consumption either. Education and laws do. The tax simply makes them more expensive and raises revenue for the government.  A rational fashion is usually taken to mean that some thought or reason has been applied.


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Posted: 01 April 2005 12:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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[quote author=“Wotansson”]Matt said:

Unfortunately, the large number of legitimate ammunition purchasers are currently subsidising the criminals, after a fashion. High quality bullets would not be available at such low prices if it were not for the healthy ammunition industry. The tax is merely a way of balancing things back out, and insuring that restitution can be made to those injured by guns. This does not, however, presuppose that guns are immoral, merely that their presence in our society does pose a risk which needs to be honestly evaluated and dealt with in a rational fashion.

So if we make amunition highly priced and highly taxed this should result in an unhealthly ammunition indusry and poor quality bullets to what positive benefit? So we need to balance things back out so restitution can be made to the injured?  Do we apply the taxes collected on risk items such as alcohol to the injured alcholic; gasoline taxes to those injured by motor vehicles and tobacco taxes to those made sick by cigagettes?  Certainly not. Gasoline taxes are applied to the building and maintenance of roads - at least in theory.  None of the tax funds collected go to subsidize the injured. They simply go into the general coffers. What makes you think a bullet tax would be any different? Also, these risk item taxes do nothing to discourage the consumption of alcohol,  tobacco or gasoline and would not discourage bullet consumption either. Education and laws do. The tax simply makes them more expensive and raises revenue for the government.  A rational fashion is usually taken to mean that some thought or reason has been applied.


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Wot

I agree that as things currently sit, the tax would simply be appropriated to the general coffers.  There is an awful lot about how things work that I would change if I could.

Also, the point of the thing was not to discourage the purchase of bullets in any way whatsoever.  It was to find a way to partially right a wrong.

Mostly, though, I was just spitballing.  Obviously any actual public policy needs to be given more thought than what I can give it in an afternoon or two.  It would take at least a weak to figure it all out perfectly.  wink

-Matt

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