I have a gun in my truck…

  • Posted: 10 July 2001 03:16 AM #16

    I thought you folks in the US already had gun licensing in some states..?

    Anyway, I live in Australia.  For those of you who keep tabs on gun law reform stuff, you might have been aware that we had a massive gun buyback scheme - all guns that were fully automatic, self-loading, rapid-fire, or otherwise deemed not really reasonable for the everyday schmo to use (definitions ‘n’ other stuff can be found here ) were immediately banned from distribution or import, and collectors had to have their guns disabled.  Also, the Government *bought*, at *market value* (not confiscated) all the guns that they wanted back.  This was in addition to the licensing programs already in place in each of the states and territories.

    There was a big kerfuffle about it.  ‘They’re taking our guns’, ‘The criminals won’t hand their guns in’, blah blah blah.  Some people got our constitution mixed up with the US’s and whined about their right to bear arms.  We have no such constitutional right.

    Fact: In the state of Victoria, all the guns that were returned accounted for only 20% of the total registered weapons (yes, we licence *and* register our firearms).  Additionally, while the buyback scheme was in place, there was also an amnesty on illegally owned weapons - and in Victoria, *18%* of the guns they collected were unlicensed (as in illegally owned).  So much for the argument that only the law abiding types would comply with the laws.

    You can have a gun if you have a licence.  In my state, you can have a licence (even if you don’t own a gun) if you’re over 18, ‘fit and proper’ - meaning not insane or a convicted violent criminal, I guess - and can prove your identity with primary documents like an extract from your birth certificate or a drivers’ licence.  That means the vast majority of Australian adults are eligible to own and operate a gun.  If it’s your first gun licence you need to take a course in weapon safety and correct handling - in some states, applying for your first gun licence entitles you to discounts on firearms training sessions at a sporting shooter’s club.

    And as for the guns that were banned?  If you look at the link I provided above, there are a number of guns that were banned which are arguably very useful to some people - say, if you’re a farmer and you’re trying to cull the rabbit population.  If you can prove that you have a purpose for one of the restricted firearms, you can have one.

    Wanna hear a secret?  In 1998 the US had 41 firearm homicides per million head of population.  Australia had just 3 per million.  Firearms are used in only 15% of armed robberies here, but the US figure hovers around 60%.  This sure seems significant to me.

    Our governments haven’t taken away all the guns, and our reforms and licensing are shown to work well while preserving the citizens’ ability to carry firearms.  The irony of it is that our country was colonised by criminals from Britain’s overcrowded jails, and the US was colonised by law-abiding religious conservatives.  I don’t know what it is we’re doing right, but I’m a hell of a lot less likely to be shot here than in the US.

    Am I pulling these figures out of the air? No.  Some reading for anyone who’s interested:
    http://law.gov.au/ncp/publications/crime/armed_robbery.htm
    http://www.vpc.org/
    http://www.aic.gov.au
    http://gun.law.gov.au/Guns/

         
  • Posted: 10 July 2001 03:18 AM #17

    Bah!! It took me so long to write that post that my cookie must have timed out.  That’s not an anonymous coward - that’s me.

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  • Posted: 10 July 2001 01:01 PM #18

    Sorry, I didn’t return soon enough to pick up on this. Bryan, you’re my feast today:

    Bryan wrote:
    Ricky, the biggest flaw with that is, once again, that only law-abiding citizens would be on that list.  Seems to be a pointless case of Big Brother to me.

    Like hell. It’s not big brother, it’s policemen who track and capture criminals. Whoever it was that suggested states control their own databases and share them with other states—you’re exactly right.

    There are very few criminals who know how to get a gun without buying it from someone who bought it from someone else who, at some point or another, bought it legally. If we know who buys guns originally, then when you identify which gun was used in a crime, you have a place to start your search. Simple. Doesn’t anyone else ever watch “Law and Order”? (Joke)

    Only law abiding citizens on the list? Not bloodly likely. Even the most deadly criminal is law abiding until he commits his crime. Guns kill people (or, for you NRA fans, they HELP kill people), and so we should know where guns are and who owns them.

    I would prefer to spend that same massive effort on teaching ethics and values (not-religiously oriented) to our kids.

    That too is perposterous. You’re worried about Big Brother? What about the government setting standards on how to teach morals to kids. That’s not scary at all. Hmph.

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    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Ricky on 2001-07-10 16:02 ]</font>

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  • Posted: 10 July 2001 01:39 PM #19

    On 2001-07-10 16:01, Ricky wrote:


    There are very few criminals who know how to get a gun without buying it from someone who bought it from someone else who, at some point or another, bought it legally. If we know who buys guns originally, then when you identify which gun was used in a crime, you have a place to start your search.

    There is currently a law suit pending against some of the gun makers because they flood the market in states that have lax laws knowing that those guns will head to states that have tough laws. I do watch Law and Order, but there the only places that they go are around New York when most of the guns used in crimes in New York are sold in the south.

         
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    Posted: 10 July 2001 08:03 PM #20

    Boy, I’ve got so much to say about the Second Amendment I could go on for hours, but I won’t, except for this:

    The individual states DO regulate the purchase, ownership and the right to carry.  The Feds aren’t involved in this at all.  Each state decides which other state’s CCW’s (Concealed Carry Weapon) laws they will or will not recognize.

    The odd man out is the State of Vermont (of all freakin’ places).  They have virtually no laws whatsoever on the right to own or carry a gun.  Is it the Wild West there?  Nope.  Are people shooting each other all over the place?  Nope.  Are the citizens of Vermont taking advantage and carrying concealed.  For obvious reasons, there are no reliable statistics, but my observation has been, Nope.

    I live in New Jersey and occasionally work in areas I would rather not - Jersey City, Newark, parts of Elizabeth, Passaic, Patterson, East Orange, well you get the idea.  I’ve had trouble too.  Scary trouble. 
    I have about as much chance of getting a CCW in New Jersey as becoming the Queen of England.  Sometimes I really want to carry (a nice black & stainless Walther P99), but I have no interest in CONCEALED.  I want it there, right on my hip for all to see and to give some, second thoughts.

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  • Posted: 10 July 2001 11:55 PM #21

    On 2001-07-10 23:03, iJack wrote:
    Boy, I’ve got so much to say about the Second Amendment I could go on for hours, but I won’t, except for this:

    The individual states DO regulate the purchase, ownership and the right to carry.  The Feds aren’t involved in this at all.  Each state decides which other state’s CCW’s (Concealed Carry Weapon) laws they will or will not recognize.

    I thought so.  Geez, I was worried you’d all gone nuts over there or something.

     

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  • Posted: 12 July 2001 12:30 PM #22

    The Constitutional right of United States citizens to keep and bear arms has been a controversy for the past 25/30 years.  Growing up in the ‘40s and ‘50s having or having access to a gun, long or short, was simply a way of life.  Owning and using a gun was just natural.

    I lived in England and Scotland for eleven years where restrictions on guns of all kinds are when not more strict than ours, are certainly different.  My arrival in Great Britain coincided with the last year of the banning of Capital Punishment.  At that time there was gun violence in the news there very similar to the news we hear in this country.  When hanging was restored, the gun violence virtually stopped.  The Crown’s approach to criminal justice is different than ours. 

    Here, we are innocent until proven guilty.  An American right.  Here we can own a gun with few or no restrictions on ownership, another American right.  I believe that these freedoms come at a cost and sometimes that cost may be excessive gun violence.  However, I cannot begin to understand how giving up any of our freedoms can take the place of   a well organized and operated criminal justice system.  Remember one of the differences in our thought process is that it is better for some of the guilty to go unpunished than to wrongly punish even one innocent.  With that as a philosophy, many innocents get wrongfully punished anyway.

    I do not agree that registering guns is anywhere close to the same as registering automobiles.  Automobiles are registered primarily for tax purposes not to determine who may own them.  However, there are by products of owership determination that are good, but ,then, there is no movement underway to put the US public afoot.  We have a movement in this country by some to disarm the citizenry.  I believe that gun registration is the first step in that disarming attempt.  I’m agin it.  If the law is someday changed by constitutional amendment, I will respect whatever change this constitutional amendment brings.  If it is done by other means, I probably will not.

    Anyhow, it is a good topic for discussion…like the air gets punched full of holes and the floor gets stomped and voices get raised and, and….

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    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dummy on 2001-07-12 22:15 ]</font>

         
  • Posted: 13 July 2001 07:40 AM #23

    I’ve always wondered what the deal is w/ your Bill of Rights… it’s such a sacred cow.  If your ‘right’ to bear arms was some normal part of legislation, instead of part of a document surrounded in patriotic fervour, I’m not sure people would get so excitable about it.

    I’m not saying the B of R (or being patriotic) is categorically bad and wrong - just that it seems most of the pro-armed debate is justified less by actual information, and more by an attitude of ‘Our forefathers died for this, how dare you touch it?!’

    Your forefathers couldn’t foresee schoolyard shootings or any other kind of irresponsible behaviour that is so common today.  The Constitution needs to be able to be changed in order to remain relevant and useful.

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Raena on 2001-07-13 10:43 ]</font>

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  • Posted: 13 July 2001 10:23 AM #24

    On 2001-07-13 10:40, Raena wrote:
    I’ve always wondered what the deal is w/ your Bill of Rights… it’s such a sacred cow.  If your ‘right’ to bear arms was some normal part of legislation, instead of part of a document surrounded in patriotic fervour, I’m not sure people would get so excitable about it.

    I’m not saying the B of R (or being patriotic) is categorically bad and wrong - just that it seems most of the pro-armed debate is justified less by actual information, and more by an attitude of ‘Our forefathers died for this, how dare you touch it?!’

    Your forefathers couldn’t foresee schoolyard shootings or any other kind of irresponsible behaviour that is so common today.  The Constitution needs to be able to be changed in order to remain relevant and useful.

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Raena on 2001-07-13 10:43 ]</font>

    The reason that Americans hold the BoR as almost sacred is that the Framers were right. They could not see school shootings, but they did see a need for guns. The need is not only protection from individuals, but also the government.

    The BoR is a contract between the people and the government. It says that if you want to rule you have to follow certain guidelines. If they do not follow those rules or refuse to let us change them then we need some way to make them follow . Guns are one way and should be the absolute LAST RESORT. There are others. The Constitution can be amended if the people were willing to give up their right to own guns.

         
  • Posted: 13 July 2001 10:24 AM #25

    Sorry, I made the last post.  I forgot to enter my username.

         
  • Posted: 13 July 2001 12:26 PM #26

    Raena,

    The problem with making changes to our original Bill of Rights is that these rights were seen as the ABSOLUTE FUNDAMENTALS by our founders. If the Second Amendment were abolished today, what is to keep the First (freedom of the press and religion) from being repealed? Or how about the Fourth Amendment (search and seizure). I could probably think of some very convincing arguments to have ANY of the Amendments of the Bill of Rights repealed, but I think it would be a very bad idea.

    Our founders didn’t throw any of the Amendments into the Bill of Rights flippantly. I take the Second Amendment very seriously because I see it as the ultimate check/balance in the system of checks and balances that was established by our founders. When our elected officials simply won’t cooperate in any other way, then armed insurrection would be the final option. I hope it never, ever has to come to that point—and I don’t think we’re anywhere close to that point now. (By the way, I don’t own any guns—by my own choice.) Also, remember that one of the first things that a totalitarian government does is disarm its own citizens—for obvious reasons.

    While that may sound radical, just remember—so were the founders of the U.S. I think today we tend to forget that these were men that broke laws, committed treason (against England), and put their own lives on the line to establish the United States. If these aren’t radical acts, I don’t know what is.

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  • Posted: 13 July 2001 01:37 PM #27

    I understand all this; I just don’t get why you can’t even suggest something as simple as keeping an eye on gun shows without someone jumping up and down shouting ‘Founding fathers!’

    Things like that don’t violate your right to keep and bear arms, or to form a militia for the purposes of ousting a dodgy government, but too often the people who want to discuss real issues are drowned out by people who use the Bill of Rights as an emotional tool to make the natives restless. (No, I am not saying anyone in this forum is doing that.)

    ...the Framers were right. They could not see school shootings, but they did see a need for guns.

    Would certain regulations - say, requiring people to store guns securely - violate the sense that there is a need for guns?  You’ve still got your guns, it just means that you have to store them responsibly.  Most of these school shootings we hear about are by kids who have just picked up a parent’s gun from the floor of the closet, or something.  Why isn’t there any room for legislation that makes gun owners more responsible?

     

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  • Posted: 13 July 2001 02:06 PM #28

    Would certain regulations - say, requiring people to store guns securely - violate the sense that there is a need for guns?  You’ve still got your guns, it just means that you have to store them responsibly.  Most of these school shootings we hear about are by kids who have just picked up a parent’s gun from the floor of the closet, or something.  Why isn’t there any room for legislation that makes gun owners more responsible?

     

    The problem with creating laws like this would be this: How would you enforce such laws? Would you randomly go to houses looking for improperly stored guns? Oops, Fourth Amendment—can’t do that! How about licensing guns, and only going to those houses where the guns are located? Well, that’s one of the big issues that people have with licensing—if the government knows exactly who has which guns, and where, then they know exactly where to go if they decide to take them away.

    The truth is, any law having to do with safe storage of guns would have to be enforced because of a crime that has already happened. For example, if a student picks up a gun from his parents’ closet and shoots someone, and in the following investigation the police discover that the gun wasn’t properly stored, then perhaps the parents should be held at least partially responsible for the crime. This sounds reasonable to me. If, however, they find that the gun WAS properly stored, but the student had broken the gun out of said storage, then no, the parents have done all they can according to the law, and they shouldn’t be prosecuted.

    There is no way you can enforce a “safe storage law” before a crime is committed without violating individuals’ rights.

    However, I am 100% behind the idea of instant background checks at the time of purchasing a gun, or the idea of having a licensing system that allows the license holder to own a gun (or not, if they prefer), much in the same way a person with a driver’s license allows someone to drive a car (or not, if they prefer), but doesn’t tell you if that person owns a gun (or not)—it would just tell you that that person could buy a gun whenever they felt the desire/need to. I also advocate mandatory gun safety training before the purchase of guns. These would all be reasonable efforts to take to help prevent criminals from purchasing guns, and help prevent gun accidents, without intruding on individuals’ rights.

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    Posted: 14 July 2001 12:03 AM #29

    You know, increased regulation and control is not the issue.  As weatherc said, the only way to administer those controls is through intrusive means.

    The solution is to teach our children ethics and to hold our citizens responsible for their actions.  Guns are not the problem; our out of control secondhanders are.

    I have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.

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  • Posted: 15 July 2001 08:05 AM #30

    Oh, no Bryan…you don’t get to repeat yourself unless I do.

    The idea of institutionalizing “the teaching of ethics and morals and responsibility” is the most revolting idea I’ve ever heard from a politician.

    The government CAN take strides that have a minimal effect on the lives of lawful gun users and that would curtail the efforts of unlawful gun users, starting with the registering and licensing of all guns with your state government in a database that every police precinct in the country can search. Simple. Effective. Nonintrusive. Just right.

    If had kids learning “the ethics of owning a gun” from a teacher,” I’d immediately remove them and send them to a private school. I’ll teach my own kids what responsibilities they have, thank you.

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