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View Diary: NRA stays silent as momentum continues to build for changing gun laws (95 comments)

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  •  There are lots of bogus "founders' qoutes" (6+ / 0-)

    out there on the pro-armed-to-the-teeth sites.  Some of you may have some Facebook or email back-and-forth on this issue with your more reason-challenged friends or family.  They will point out that Thomas Jefferson said

    The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.

    ... except that, no he didn't.

    Or that Washington said

    Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. The church, the plow, the prairie wagon, and citizen's firearms are indelibly related. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable. Every corner of this land knows firearms, and more than 99.99/100 percent of them by their silence indicate they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference; they deserve a place with all that's good. When firearms, go all goes; we need them every hour.

    ... which doesn't even sound 18th-century, does it, with it's prairies, pilgrims, and percentages.  Because it isn't!

    Or that John Adams said,

    Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion in private self-defense.

    ... when what he really wrote was,
    To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, countries or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws.
             ---John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States (1787-1788)

    And so forth and so on.
    Now, I am not arguing that this debate should be fossilized in the real or purported views of the 1780s and 1790s.  But if you do get "quoted at," please do ask your opposite to provide the source.  If it sounds like you're reading Thomas Hobbes' recipe for how to lead a "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" life rather than the soaring communitarian principles of liberty of John Locke --- then you are probably not reading a Founding Father.

    Just wanted to provide that in case you may run into this...

    If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. Thomas Paine

    by WestCider on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:54:52 AM PST

    •  There's a huge propaganda war going on (0+ / 0-)

      that's one of NRA and gun culture in general's weapons.

      They pull the full weight of the Constitution on their side and yet it's only one misinterpreted archaic phrase taken out of context of one amendment that is legally used to justify the proliferations of guns and guns carried everywhere.

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:08:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Remember, the First Amendment... (0+ / 0-)

        ...is only "one Amendment" also.

        The SCOTUS has spoken - that is the new reality and that's not going to change.

        However, nothing in Heller implied that the Second Amendment is an unlimited right -- just as the First Amendment does not protect yelling "Fire" in crowded theater (that is not on fire!), slanderous speech, or death threats. As such, the battle is on finding where the limits are on the Second Amendment.

        Obviously limitations that substantially interfere with self defense (esp. in one's own home) will be struck down under Heller.

        In that context, for example, owning weapons useful in protecting oneself against a home invasion robbery by multiple assailants (which really does happen) is probably protected. A pretty good model probably is to recognize that police officers carry sidearms primarily for self protection so whatever they carry is likely constitutionally protected for all citizens (the frequency of the threat is not relevant -- anymore than a ban publishing posts calling for a return to slavery would be accepted just because "that view would be expressed so infrequently that protecting it is not necessary"). The same can not (under Heller at least) be said for machine guns, bazookas and small nuclear bombs (which have no obvious realistic role in immediate self defense).

        •  The stats reveal that keeping guns in the home (0+ / 0-)

          is a danger to those living in the home.

          ❧To thine ownself be true

          by Agathena on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 03:06:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Care w/Statistics (0+ / 0-)

            It is important to understand the "stats" -- unfortunately, this is difficult to do without any references (if you're referring to a particular analysis, it would be helpful to reference it so it can be discussed).

            Note, first, that when dealing with Constitutional issues, "the most effective" answer is not always the "constitutional answer". For example, in high crime areas, if police could stop and search people freely or enter and search homes and businesses unannounced without a warrant, it's very likely that crime (assuming properly behaving police, but that's the assumption about the imposition or enforcement of any government mandate) would go down. However, in spite of this expedient solution, we don't even consider allowing police to do so due to the pesky Fourth Amendment. So, even if keeping guns in the home is a net danger to those living there, the Heller decision would disallow the wholesale banning of guns from homes (that is, almost exactly, what Heller was all about!).

            Obviously it is true that a proliferation of loaded and improperly secured firearms in households with small children would result in injuries and deaths that otherwise would not have happened. It is likely that under Heller, reasonable restrictions on storage of loaded guns would be allowed as long as they didn't delay access to the gun by an authorized user. This would not require eliminating guns from the home environment, merely insuring that they were properly secured.

            Even if one is willing to ignore constitutional issues and make a decision solely on "stats", let's look at deaths in the US (preliminary for 2011).

            We see (table 2, page 41) that there were only 851 deaths by accidental discharge of firearms (compared, for example, to 26,631 deaths due to falls and 3,555 due to accidental drowning or submersion). I think we can be fairly comfortable saying that the vast majority of these deaths would not have happened at the time or in a similar matter if there were no guns in the U.S. Although, note that this includes accidental deaths outside the home (such as hunting accidents) so eliminating guns completely from the home would not have prevented all of these.

            We see (table 2, page 42) that there were 19,766 suicides by firearms. We also see however that suicides are fairly easily achieved in other ways as almost as many people (18,519) accomplished the same goal without firearms. We also know that Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in industrialized countries - almost 2.5x the rate of the US (26 per 100,000 vs. 11 per 100,000 in 2009). We also know that Japan has strict gun control laws that make it illegal for most Japanese to touch a gun. As well (IMHO) it is a fundamental human right to commit suicide (under the same theory that it is a fundamental right to refuse medical care or even have an abortion). For these reasons, I discount statistics about "safety of guns in the home" without considering this, the largest class of firearm deaths, differently than accidental firearms death or those caused by a criminal act.

            For comparison, we see (table 2, page 41) that alcoholic liver disease killed 16,634 people in 2011. These, are of course "self inflicted" and we don't often hear calls for eliminating access to alcohol to prevent these deaths. To me, a similar attitude is appropriate for the suicide deaths by firearms.

            Considering homicides, we see (table 2, page 42) that almost 70% (11,101 out of 15,953) were by firearm. Obviously many of these were not in the home. As well, obviously some number of those that were in the home would have been carried out by other means (knives, blunt force trauma). It's hard to judge how many, but of those that were in the home, I suspect many of these would have been avoided (and some deferred) if there had been no firearms around.

            For perspective, we see (again, table 2, page 42) that there were 37,275 "transport" deaths in the US in 2011 - mostly motor vehicles. Some of these were criminal (drunk driving), a few were likely homicides, and some were likely suicides - some identified as such and some not.

            What, one must ask, is the positive value of firearms in homes and private citizen's hands? Undeniably, at least one crime has been averted by the presence, or anticipated presence, and responsible use of firearms. It is difficult to get accurate statistics on this though. Many attempted crimes are never reported and those that were deterred by the victim exposing a gun are likely to be particularly under-reported as the individual defending themselves is, understandably, hesitant to put themselves under the police microscope and run the risk of running afoul of some gun control law. In addition, it is difficult to determine how many criminal acts never happen, esp. in the home, by a robber or intruder, because a prospective criminal decides not to risk their life. It is clear from interviews with some criminals that this IS a factor at least in their decision on who to target and, in some case, IF to commit a particular crime.

            Any statistics that ignore all the "crimes that didn't happen" and acknowledge the difficulty of getting accurate statistics on such matters are lacking value.

            •  The Risk of keeping a gun in the home (0+ / 0-)

              PROBLEM:  Keeping a gun in the home increases the risk of injury and death.  Gun owners may overestimate the benefits of keeping a gun in the home and underestimate the risks.   

              DID YOU KNOW?   Where there are more guns, there are more gun deaths.
              Gun death rates are 7 times higher in the states with the highest compared with the lowest household gun ownership. (Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Injury Control Research Center, 2009).

              An estimated 41% of gun-related homicides and 94% of gun-related suicides would not occur under the same circumstances had no guns been present (Wiebe, p. 780).  

              Household gun ownership levels vary greatly by state, from 60 percent in Wyoming to 9 percent in Hawaii (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2001).

              DID YOU KNOW?  Keeping a gun in the home raises the risk of homicide.
              States with the highest levels of gun ownership have 114 percent higher firearm homicide rates and 60 percent higher homicide rates than states with the lowest gun ownership (Miller, Hemenway, and Azrael, 2007, pp. 659, 660).

              The risk of homicide is three times higher in homes with firearms (Kellermann, 1993, p. 1084).

              Higher gun ownership puts both men and women at a higher risk for homicide, particularly gun homicide (Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Injury Control Research Center, 2009).

              DID YOU KNOW?  Keeping a gun in the home raises the risk of suicide.

              Keeping a firearm in the home increases the risk of suicide by a factor of 3 to 5 and increases the risk of suicide with a firearm by a factor of 17 (Kellermann, p. 467, p. Wiebe, p. 771).

              The association between firearm ownership and increased risk of suicide cannot be explained by a higher risk of psychiatric disorders in homes with guns (Miller, p. 183).

              DID YOU KNOW?  A gun in the home is more likely to be used in a homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting than to be used in self-defense.

              Every time a gun injures or kills in self-defense, it is used:

              11 times for completed and attempted suicides (Kellermann, 1998, p. 263).
              7 times in criminal assaults and homicides, and
              4 times in unintentional shooting deaths or injuries.

              DID YOU KNOW?  Many children and teens live in homes with firearms, including ones that are loaded and unlocked.

              One third of all households with children younger than eighteen have a firearm (Johnson, 2004 p.179).

              More than 40% of gun-owning households with children store their guns unlocked (Schuster, p. 590).

              One fourth of homes with children and guns have a loaded firearm (Johnson, 2004 p.179).

              Between 6% and 14% of firearm owning households with a child under 18 have an unlocked and loaded firearm (Johnson, 2004, p.175).

              In almost half of unintentional shooting deaths (49 percent), the victim is shot by another person.  In virtually all of these cases, the shooter and victim knew each other (Hemenway, p. 1184).

              DID YOU KNOW?  Parents may underestimate their children’s access to guns in the home.  Women may not know about guns in the home or be unable to assure safe storage, despite wanting it.

              Among gun-owning parents who reported that their children had never handled their firearms at home, 22% of the children, questioned separately, said that they had (Baxley and Miller, p. 542).

              For unmarried mothers, when an adolescent boy reports a handgun in the home, nearly three-fourths of the mothers say there is no handgun in the home (Sorenson, p. 15).

              Of youths who committed suicide with firearms, 82% obtained the firearm from their home, usually a parent’s firearm (The National Violent Injury Statistics System, p. 2).

              When storage status was noted, about two-thirds of the firearms had been stored unlocked (The National Violent Injury Statistics System, p. 2).

              Among the remaining cases in which the firearms had been locked, the youth knew the combination or where the key was kept or broke into the cabinet (The National Violent Injury Statistics System, p. 2).

              Among married women living in gun-owning households, 94 percent believed in safe gun-storage practices but 43% of those households stored their family’s gun unsafely (Johnson, 2007, pp. 5, 8).

              Women are less likely than men to own the guns in their homes (Johnson, 2007 p. 4).

              Women are less likely than men to report a gun’s presence in the home (Johnson, 2004 p. 180).
              SOLUTION:  Without stronger, sensible gun laws, thousands upon thousands of people will continue to die and be injured needlessly each year.  The Brady Campaign fights for sensible gun laws to protect you, your family, and your community.

              Sources
              http://www.bradycampaign.org/...

              ❧To thine ownself be true

              by Agathena on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 04:24:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  How (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Agathena

        does anyone convince themselves that George Washington, among others, would cheer at the chance for everyone to own a 30-round magazine?

        And why isn't their "well-regulated militia" required to be regulated?

    •  Thank you! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WestCider

      Thanks for sharing that. You are not arguing that the debate be "fossilized", but plenty of people are. I appreciate the information.

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