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Gun Control In Australia vs the USA


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#101 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18845

Posted 09 May 2013 - 12:01 AM

How do you figure? I agree it's not a good argument for banning guns, but this is exactly the kind of situation that makes people uncomfortable about the almost total lack of restrictions around gun ownership. These parents bought a gun, legally, and thought that their son would be able to handle it safely and responsibly so they gave it to him. They kept it out in the open, in a corner, and were obviously not careful enough to ensure that it was unloaded while they weren't around. It's a tragic accident, but the misjudgments and  carelessness of this family left a lethal instrument in reach of a kid, and now an innocent person is dead. Do you think it's unreasonable to question this family's ability to manage something as dangerous as a gun in a safe and responsible manner? Or to be concerned about similar incidents?

Be *VERY* careful about that reasoning.

 

A very central tenant in US law is the castle doctrine.  Basically "your home is your castle".  

 

It is not codified in those words, but most existing laws fall under that doctrine.  Quite a few SCOTUS rulings have cited it.  Just one of many that Justia finds: "The maxim that 'every man's house is his castle' is made a part of our constitutional law ... and has always been looked upon as of high value to the citizen."

 

If they have already violated the law, if they are convicted of a felony that is not expunged, then yes their right to own firearms is restricted in the US.

 

They made a stupid choice within their home.  But the choice is theirs to make.

 

 

Prior to becoming convicted of a felony their home is their castle. Their rights belong to them.  Only after committing the felony and having demonstrated an inability to handle freedom is the freedom taken away for the good of society.

 

Please do not forget that in the United States we hold that all rights belong to the people, and only limited enumerated rights are granted to the government by the people.  Sad history has proven that most governments forget this simple truth. Unfortunately governments (including our own) need to be frequently reminded that they are only stewards of the authority rather than the source.


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#102 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 09 May 2013 - 12:19 AM

Sad? Yes.
 
A reason for more strict gun control? No. 

 

How do you figure? I agree it's not a good argument for banning guns, but this is exactly the kind of situation that makes people uncomfortable about the almost total lack of restrictions around gun ownership. These parents bought a gun, legally, and thought that their son would be able to handle it safely and responsibly so they gave it to him. They kept it out in the open, in a corner, and were obviously not careful enough to ensure that it was unloaded while they weren't around. It's a tragic accident, but the misjudgments and  carelessness of this family left a lethal instrument in reach of a kid, and now an innocent person is dead.

 

This is definitely not the sort of incident that should cause anyone to worry. This is a case of stupid irresponsible parents. Period. This is not some systemic problem that needs to be addressed with legislation. There are far more important issues to be dealt with. 

 

I'm not necessarily against a better background check system, or requiring second hand gun sales to go through a dealer who can run the background check. However no form of gun control short of a complete ban would have prevented a situation like this.


Edited by tstrimple, 09 May 2013 - 12:23 AM.


#103 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 925

Posted 09 May 2013 - 12:59 AM

People can kill you with many other things. But its harder. Its not so easy. You can run. You can go somewhere a car can't fit. They aren't portable. Guns are. They are concealable. You can't use a car or a  knife to go on a rampage like you can a gun.

 

As far as self defense, many well known gun rights researchers are proven to have lied and distorted their results and made mathematically impossible claims.

 

http://fair.org/home/the-self-defense-self-delusion/

 

This is one good example. But there are plenty of others.



#104 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 27614

Posted 09 May 2013 - 01:57 AM

How do you figure? I agree it's not a good argument for banning guns, but this is exactly the kind of situation that makes people uncomfortable about the almost total lack of restrictions around gun ownership. These parents bought a gun, legally, and thought that their son would be able to handle it safely and responsibly so they gave it to him. They kept it out in the open, in a corner, and were obviously not careful enough to ensure that it was unloaded while they weren't around. It's a tragic accident, but the misjudgments and  carelessness of this family left a lethal instrument in reach of a kid, and now an innocent person is dead. Do you think it's unreasonable to question this family's ability to manage something as dangerous as a gun in a safe and responsible manner? Or to be concerned about similar incidents?

Be *VERY* careful about that reasoning.

 

A very central tenant in US law is the castle doctrine.  Basically "your home is your castle".  

 

It is not codified in those words, but most existing laws fall under that doctrine.  Quite a few SCOTUS rulings have cited it.  Just one of many that Justia finds: "The maxim that 'every man's house is his castle' is made a part of our constitutional law ... and has always been looked upon as of high value to the citizen."

 

If they have already violated the law, if they are convicted of a felony that is not expunged, then yes their right to own firearms is restricted in the US.

 

They made a stupid choice within their home.  But the choice is theirs to make.

 

 

Prior to becoming convicted of a felony their home is their castle. Their rights belong to them.  Only after committing the felony and having demonstrated an inability to handle freedom is the freedom taken away for the good of society.

 

Please do not forget that in the United States we hold that all rights belong to the people, and only limited enumerated rights are granted to the government by the people.  Sad history has proven that most governments forget this simple truth. Unfortunately governments (including our own) need to be frequently reminded that they are only stewards of the authority rather than the source.

So, it's legal to operate a meth lab or grow a cannabis crop in your castle, right?



#105 Milcho   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1171

Posted 09 May 2013 - 04:54 AM

This is just sad all the way around. In Kentucky, 5 year old shoots 2 year old sister with rifle.

 

So we're going by sensationalism and feel-bad stories?

 

Here's a good case not only why people should be allowed to have guns, but why people should be taught how to use and feel comfortable using guns:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_v._District_of_Columbia

 

Here's a bit of sensationalism for you:

The police failed to respond to the calls for help, and failed to do anything about the intruders.

For the next fourteen hours the captive women were raped, robbed, beaten, forced to commit sexual acts upon one another, and made to submit to the sexual demands of Kent and Morse.

 

And the ruling of the court:

The court stated that official police personnel and the government employing them owe no duty to victims of criminal acts and thus are not liable for a failure to provide adequate police protection unless a special relationship exists.

 

 

Basically, according to the decision, the police isn't there to protect you, and has no such duty.

You know who is the ONLY PERSON who can protect you? YOU

People need to understand that, and they also need to be taught not to fear guns, but to be trained to use them, and learn to defend themselves.



#106 kryotech   Members   -  Reputation: 814

Posted 09 May 2013 - 05:47 AM

Perhaps we are asking the wrong question. If we do not restrict guns, then how do people propose to lower gun violence? It may be on the decline, but it still is a problem. 

 

I'm curious to see what people propose.


Kryotech

#107 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 27614

Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:22 AM

Perhaps we are asking the wrong question. If we do not restrict guns, then how do people propose to lower gun violence? It may be on the decline, but it still is a problem. 

 

I'm curious to see what people propose.

While I'm all for gun control, the US is still special when it comes to gun violence. There's many other countries where citizens are allowed to own all sorts of dangerous handguns and rifles, yet they don't have the same levels of violence as the US, which indicates there's many underlying problems that cause people to want to use their guns in bad ways.

Personally, I see the biggest underlying cause of US violence as the massive level of inequality between citizens...



#108 Milcho   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1171

Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:45 AM

Perhaps we are asking the wrong question. If we do not restrict guns, then how do people propose to lower gun violence? It may be on the decline, but it still is a problem. 

 

I'm curious to see what people propose.

 

I think that's the wrong question.

Your question seems to imply that we should always do what results in the most reduction of gun violence, regardless of what it costs, or what situations it would create.

 

All laws take away a little bit of your freedom. As much as people deny that, it's true. Some laws seem like its worth taking away those freedoms, while other laws restrict freedoms that cost far too much.

 

In my opinion, gun restriction laws are closer to the second kind - they cost more important freedoms than the benefits they provide.

As I was pointing out in my post above, the government doesn't really take a responsibility in protecting you. They do punish those who break the law, but at the end, when faced with any situation, the only person who can protect you, is YOU. It seems ridiculous that a government would restrict your right to protect yourself, in my opinion. (edit: mind you that I'm also under the opinion that everyone who wants to own a handgun should have to go through mandatory safety and general usage training, much like you need to pass tests in order to be able to drive)


Edited by Milcho, 09 May 2013 - 06:47 AM.


#109 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18845

Posted 09 May 2013 - 09:43 AM

So, it's legal to operate a meth lab or grow a cannabis crop in your castle, right?

No, just like it is not legal to have a child shot in the face.

 

However, allowing the police to violate that castle requires one of two things.

 

One option is a police warrant.  An officer prepares an affidavit, presents it to a judge swearing the truthfulness. In theory the judge is supposed to cause the facts to be investigated but in practice this step is ignored. The judge then approves it (or rarely denies it) and his signature makes it valid.  

 

The second process involves going to a grand jury, basically a bunch of citizens whose job is to hear cases by police and the government and decide if there is enough evidence to proceed.  Since they gained immunity and protections from (mis)using warrants most of the time police and prosecutors avoid this unless required by law.

 

 

The first of those processes became broken and severely abused with police, prosecutor, and judge immunity from civil suits and the frequency of settlements. There have been quite a few investigations on the topic and police lying under oath is a problem across the country.  Locally we just had a series of cases where officers were discovered lying under oath.  There is an ongoing investigation; officers have been fired, many ongoing cases have been thrown out, thousands of convictions and pleas are being reviewed with many overturned, and more.

 

 

 

 

While I'm all for gun control, the US is still special when it comes to gun violence. There's many other countries where citizens are allowed to own all sorts of dangerous handguns and rifles, yet they don't have the same levels of violence as the US, which indicates there's many underlying problems that cause people to want to use their guns in bad ways.

That is partially correct.  There are other underlying issues.

 

Firstly, the actual numbers are important.

 

I've occasionally mentioned the Bureau of Justice Statistics annual reports on gun violence and on violent crime, both here on this site and on some news and legal sites I frequent.

 

Both gun violence and violent crime have dropped almost every year since 1993.  

 

Violent crime rates have dropped down to 1950's levels.  The levels are back down to rates seen before the civil rights spike, when there were frequent bombings of churches belonging to blacks and various racially-motivated violence, followed by the anti-war protesters of Vietnam in the late 60s and early 70s, followed by the street-gang drugrunner problems seen in the early 80s.

 

Many of these underlying issues are basically resolved, which brings us to the second point...

 

 

Secondly, the numbers tell an important story both in raw volume and also in per-capta results.

 

 

Don't forget that Australia has 22 million people, the US has 311 million.

 

So all other things being equal we will have 14 times the number of violent crimes.

 

Comparing the BJS statistics with the Australian Institute of Criminology's numbers  our trends and our per-capita numbers over the last decade are both similar to yours.  Different, yes, but similar.

 

 

 

Thirdly, the media has a large part to do with the public perception.  The news has turned into a continuous cycle of repeating the worst events over the past day or two, with particularly bad items (such as shootings) grabbing the headlines for many days.

 

As a few media sites recently picked up, the trend lines have been declining for twenty years and we are back to the same levels as the "Leave It to Beaver" years, yet public perception is that we are at an all time high.

 

The incorrect public perception can be laid squarely on the shoulders of the media.

 

 

 

While I feel that ANY violent crime is bad, it is not quite a big of problem as many people believe it to be.


Edited by frob, 09 May 2013 - 09:46 AM.

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#110 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 09 May 2013 - 09:43 AM

I can't quote well on my phone, but:

@frob: the castle doctrine (and using the word "doctrine" overstates its legal significance) would indeed address this particular case but does not address the underlying point. The arguments in favor of unrestricted guns tend to assert that the responsibility of gun owners will resolve the inherent dangers posed by guns.

Every time there's an unjustifiable gun incident (by that I mean not even arguably self defence) it undercuts that idea. I'm not conceding that this incident was irrelevant because it killed their kid in their home, but even if I were to do so it's not as if the danger was limited to their home anyways. A bullet can blow right through a wall or window, does a person's "castle" privelege to not secure a gun in their home cover a passerby getting shot on the sidewalk"? If this same situation happened in the apartment below mine, except thr bullet hit me through me floor, what then?

I'm not in favor of restricting random activities overall. But guns are extremely dangerous, and it's not that rare for people to expose others to that danger via their own inability to use guns safely.

Also, the castle doctrine doesn't cover things like the police telling you to turn your speakers down if you're blaring music at three in the morning, bullets should be no more permissible.

@tstrimple: true about nothing short of a ban preventing the tragedy. But this family has shown that their judgment regarding gun safety is lacking, and as much as it was an accident it was also a coincidence that the toddler was killed rather than someone walking their dog in front of the house at the last moment. An unsafe situation was created through carelessness, and the danger was, in this case, realized.

There aren't going to be any legal consequences for this family. That would also likely be the case if it had been a jogger outside killed instead. If the five year old shot a passerby and paralyzed him, the family would also face little to no responsibility of any kind.

That's bullshit. The prevailing attitude and current legal approach enshrines nearly unlimited ability to own and operate guns whle refusing to ascribe any reponsibility for the damage they can cause. That's not the case for cars or really anything else. Why are guns the only liability-free category? How can that be justified?

#111 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2094

Posted 09 May 2013 - 10:32 AM

 (edit: mind you that I'm also under the opinion that everyone who wants to own a handgun should have to go through mandatory safety and general usage training, much like you need to pass tests in order to be able to drive)

 

Another stupid question from me:

 

Isn't that what "gun control" means? Or "restricted" gun ownage?



#112 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 6789

Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:08 AM

The car example was brought up earlier in this thread and I'd like to point out one thing; no, I don't trust the idiots I see driving around in cars so why would I trust them with a weapon?

People are stupid; these are facts.
People drive along talking on a phone (not even hands free) and think they are safe... I mean wtf? And I'm meant to trust these people with a gun? Ugh...
People drive without even a basic understanding of how the human visual system works which leads to accidents (protip: if you scan your eyes, without stopping, from near to far you don't see anything in that gap, your brain is just making shit up!)

A couple of weeks back I saw the dumbest near miss ever; a white van stopped in the road to make a right turn (UK, so he is on the left of the road), clearly positioned to indicate his direction, but he could see up the road and could see another vehicle coming so was waiting. Another car came racing up behind him and without stopping tried to go around the stopped van on the side he was pointing (to his right) and nearly hit the oncoming car which he didn't see until he pulled out around it... oh, and this was done somewhere in the region of 50mph, blind.
(I was walking long the road futher up the hill, I didn't see the approaching car so I no there is no way the driver could have either. I watched it all play out and for a moment thought I was going to be having to stop to be a witness for the two guys who fault it wasn't.)

So, yeah.. having seen people drive and the stupidity which that causes I don't trust them and nor do I trust them with a weapon.

#113 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18845

Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:21 AM

So, yeah.. having seen people drive and the stupidity which that causes I don't trust them and nor do I trust them with a weapon.

Yet they ARE trusted with a drivers license.

 

Per capita many more people are killed by cars than by guns, but somehow you don't see people calling for bans on automobiles.


Edited by frob, 09 May 2013 - 11:21 AM.

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#114 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2094

Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:47 AM

Per capita many more people are killed by cars than by guns...

 

 

In the USA? Or in the World?



#115 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 09 May 2013 - 01:33 PM


So, yeah.. having seen people drive and the stupidity which that causes I don't trust them and nor do I trust them with a weapon.

Yet they ARE trusted with a drivers license.

Per capita many more people are killed by cars than by guns, but somehow you don't see people calling for bans on automobiles.
I

But you do see lots of people demanding heavier restrictions on driving, particularly for people who have demonstrated that they shouldn't be trusted with a 2+ ton machine that can travel at 100 miles per hour. Plus, there are more restrictions on driving (liability insurance, mandatory training and provisional licensure, maintenance of licensure, possible temporary or permanent revocation of a license, registration of vehicles, regular checks and enforcement, and so on) than there are on gun ownership. And there are legal liability issues that apply to cars but not guns-- you can be charged with vehicular manslaughter, for example, but manslaughter with a gun is just manslaughter.

I personally would want more restrictions preemptively (before you can get a driver's license), but the last century of US city planning make cars a virtual necessity for a lot of people. Without massive upfront investments auto restrictions would produce serious obstacles for people to live and work. Guns are just not as integral in the practicalities of everyday life as cars are, and so there are different constraints around restrictions of each, fair or not.

#116 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 09 May 2013 - 02:28 PM

Perhaps we are asking the wrong question. If we do not restrict guns, then how do people propose to lower gun violence? It may be on the decline, but it still is a problem. 

 

I'm curious to see what people propose.

 

I have already answered that with a few things which would likely result in less violence and crime across the board, not just gun related.

  1. End the War on Drugs
  2. Fix education
  3. Free (and easy access) birth control for everyone

Edited by tstrimple, 09 May 2013 - 02:28 PM.


#117 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 09 May 2013 - 02:36 PM

@tstrimple: true about nothing short of a ban preventing the tragedy. But this family has shown that their judgment regarding gun safety is lacking, and as much as it was an accident it was also a coincidence that the toddler was killed rather than someone walking their dog in front of the house at the last moment. An unsafe situation was created through carelessness, and the danger was, in this case, realized.

There aren't going to be any legal consequences for this family. That would also likely be the case if it had been a jogger outside killed instead. If the five year old shot a passerby and paralyzed him, the family would also face little to no responsibility of any kind.

That's bullshit. The prevailing attitude and current legal approach enshrines nearly unlimited ability to own and operate guns whle refusing to ascribe any reponsibility for the damage they can cause. That's not the case for cars or really anything else. Why are guns the only liability-free category? How can that be justified?

 

I haven't said there shouldn't be consequences for their action, but that is a separate issue from gun control. I would say they are guilty of criminal negligence if not negligent homicide. However consider the ramifications of such an outcome. Is the surviving child really better off if one or both of his parents are imprisoned? Is society safer because his parents are behind bars? I also wouldn't say the parents got away lightly. They have to live with the knowledge that it is their fault that their child is dead. Many would consider that punishment enough.



#118 kryotech   Members   -  Reputation: 814

Posted 09 May 2013 - 07:43 PM

Perhaps we are asking the wrong question. If we do not restrict guns, then how do people propose to lower gun violence? It may be on the decline, but it still is a problem. 

 

I'm curious to see what people propose.

While I'm all for gun control, the US is still special when it comes to gun violence. There's many other countries where citizens are allowed to own all sorts of dangerous handguns and rifles, yet they don't have the same levels of violence as the US, which indicates there's many underlying problems that cause people to want to use their guns in bad ways.

Personally, I see the biggest underlying cause of US violence as the massive level of inequality between citizens...

 

I think Frob explained the overall reason for gun violence being higher in the US as compared to other countries where guns are legal pretty well. The underlying reasons are hard to get at. The NRA tends to blame media, while liberals point at guns. The fact is that neither has better proof than the other. We can look at examples that seem to disprove both. Many countries have the same media that the US does, yet violent crime is not as high. At the same time, there are countries that have freely available guns, as you pointed out, but not nearly as high a violent crime rate. The truth is that much of the gun crime is gang related, and the reasons people join gangs...I'm no real expert there.

 

It may be simplest to make guns illegal in urban zones while letting them remain legal in less urban areas. I think someone suggested this earlier in this thread. The more urban areas do not have the same need for guns that people may have in more rural settings. In more rural areas, I can see why people would want to keep guns, even though I personally do not like the idea of freely available guns. 


Kryotech

#119 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 925

Posted 09 May 2013 - 09:48 PM

The number of gun deaths in America each year is actually about equal to the number of vehicle deaths. Most of them are accidents though and caused by things you can't control plus we use cars far more than we use guns.



#120 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 10 May 2013 - 07:09 AM

I think something that's being missed is that the rate of gun violence is declining. It seems like a knee jerk reaction to try to fix something that is working and getting better already just because a handful of shitty things happen. Considerring that and the fact that we're the closest first world country to most of the countries that rank higher than us in Gun violence, I don't know what else could be asked.

I'm all for lowering gun violence, but passing crappy legislation so people can feel good about themselves is almost always a bad idea.

The number of gun deaths in America each year is actually about equal to the number of vehicle deaths. Most of them are accidents though and caused by things you can't control plus we use cars far more than we use guns.

Just to back this up, in 2011 they were close enough to be pretty much statistically equal. The death rates for both were 10.3/100,000. I just looked an apparently in 2009 cars got way better. I found that interesting that there was like a 20,000 death drop in a years time. Good job auto industry o.o

edit: I just checked something and apparently 60% of our gun deaths are suicides. Not really sure how that affects things.

Edited by way2lazy2care, 10 May 2013 - 07:12 AM.





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