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    Here's a question that I've asked my second amendment supporting friends to help my slow and addled brain to understand.  I'd like them to explain the analogy that they love to throw on the table between regulating guns and knives (and whatever other potentially dangerous objects you choose.)  It always comes in the form of a suggested equivalency such that if we regulate guns, we might as well regulate knives and bats and whatever else we can potentially kill each other with.  One friend in particular recently instructed me to go and look up crime statistics before making my flippant comments regarding gun issues after I noted that the recent knife attack by that lunatic in Texas resulted in 14 injured people, but no deaths.  Well, I did, and the results are right here.

    According to the FBI's 2011 nationwide crime statistics, there were 8583 murders committed with some type of firearm that year and 1694 murders committed with knives and other cutting instruments.  Before we continue to make any more false equivalencies about knives being just as dangerous as guns, we also have to look at their ownership levels with respect to the overall population.  Keep in mind that guns are found in approximately 40-45% of all American homes (depending on which survey you look at) whereas knives and other sharp instruments are found in... I believe the statistic is roughly 99.99% of homes.  If I'm doing my math correctly, I think that percentage would indicate that knife ownership is slightly higher than gun ownership.

     If we analyze the two instruments a bit deeper, we will quickly conclude that knives, as compared to firearms, do not go off accidentally, it is a tremendously rare event for someone to kill themselves while cleaning a knife, and it takes a circus performer or highly trained Ninja to kill someone from 30 feet away with a knife.

     As for weapons of choice by crazies, I am not reading many stories regarding a rock killing epidemic in our country, lunatics don’t tend to wander into school yards with a duffel bag full of bats and start swinging away, and I’ve yet to hear of a nut job climbing a tower and flinging knives at the people below. My question is simply why is it so hard for second amendment supporters to look at firearms as the unique machines that they are? The muskets and rifles that the founders were writing about don’t come close to the power of modern day weapons, yet we still use their words to frame today’s argument.

     So, if someone can help me understand the meaning of this analogy that I'm missing, I would be forever grateful.  I suspect there are reasonable arguments to be made regarding gun ownership (for or against). I just want to understand the logic of this comparison and why it has such legs.

Originally posted to tsm63 on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 11:20 AM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well-written diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, 88kathy, phonegery, TheFern

    The knife/gun equivalency is absurd for so many reasons. A key one being that when knives are used properly, it is for a non-lethal purpose, namely cutting meat.

    When guns are used properly, a human being is maimed or killed.

    The knives/gun equivalency is truly demented.

  •  Looking in the other direction... (5+ / 0-)

    Most people don't have trouble with limiting access to weapons more deadly than guns.  Few people think that civilians should be able to own rocket propelled grenades, for example, or helicopter gunships with chain guns.  There is clearly a continuum of deadliness with modern weapons, and the further towards "atomic bomb" you get on the continuum, the more reasonable regulations and outright bans are.  

    In the end, the question is where you draw the line, and not everyone agrees where that should be.  But the fact that people can be killed by other weapons than guns doesn't mean that guns aren't more dangerous and worthy of regulation.

  •  Crossbows. ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt

    Should they be illegal?

    It's the exact same concept as a gun.  A projectile (bullet, arrow, BB, dart, etc) is loaded in a device that contains an energy source (black powder, compressed air, bow and string).  (Bullets often have the energy source packed in a shell, of course).

    A crossbow can be "go off" accidentally just like a gun.  Should they be banned?

    What If I got a tube, a large spring, a trigger mechanism, and a knife.  Say hello to my knife gun.  Illegal?  Actually sounds like a fun weekend project...

    My so has a nerf gun that can go off accidentally.  Should that be illegal?

    Where do you propose we draw the line?  I say we ban any gun related video game, oh and rock and roll music.

    "So what if a guy threw a shoe at me!"

    by FoodChillinMFr on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 11:55:54 AM PST

    •  For the most part, Democrats aren't advocating (5+ / 0-)

      an outright ban for guns (unfortunately, in my opinion). So you're jumping too far anyways. Most Democrats are proposing greater regulation, to at least get gun permits on par with, say, driver's licenses.

      But beyond that, your nerf gun analogy is a joke, obviously. No one is getting killed by an accident nerf gun fire. Not sure if serious?

      And your video game and music analogy, yeah, again, not sure if serious? When a song about violence is played on the radio, the listener's internal organs aren't shredded. That does happen if the person receives a bullet through the body. So once again, great analogy dude.

    •  When a crossbow comes with an extended (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tsm63, Sir Roderick

      magazine, then we'll talk.

      Ditto on your knife gun.

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 12:04:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A crossbow should be regulated in the same way (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero

      firearms are. Why not? There was a guy in my hometown who killed his wife with a crossbow.

      The whole point of the exercise is to point out that guns aren't magically deserving of a special status - what they are is lethal. And anything else that is potentially lethal should have sensible rules as well!! (like motor vehicles, for instance.)

      Rick Perry - the greatest scientist since Galileo!

      by Bobs Telecaster on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 12:19:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There was a long time ago the argument (4+ / 0-)

    cars don't kill people , people misusing cars kill people . The argument was that when cars are used properly no one gets hurt , that the problem wasn't the car , fix the driver and the car is fine , the problem was with drivers . Enforce the laws , get people to use cars as intended , don't force good drivers to spend money for safety when they are not the ones causing the problems , etc etc etc

    We got rid of that argument and forced improvements onto cars / car makers .

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

    by indycam on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 12:12:28 PM PST

    •  And the results (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero

      When we did that deaths per mile went down by about two-thirds.  We did other things as well such as improve highways and emergency services.  The improvement in emergency services worked for guns as well.  Without that the gun death rate would be even worse.

  •  Are you a fool? (0+ / 0-)

    Muskets are more capable of taking your arm off then current day rifles, because of the size of the bullet! It's current day medicine that has ended the high chance of death due to musket shooting.

    The 9mm is just about .35 caliber. Musket and shotguns are about .75 caliber, or 19 millimeters.

    Compare the two. Muskets are DOUBLE WIDE. Draw a circle about 3/4 of an inch in diameter - that's the musket. Draw a circle slightly larger than 1/3 of an inch diameter - that's the most common handgun bullet on the planet, manufactured in over a hundred countries.

    You think muskets were weak compared to today's stuff? That is bullshit. Today's guns are weaker compared to the blasts that those small cannons that were in the hands of the general population of the colonial era.

    We have largely tamed the land on which our cities stand, and so the guns don't need to be able to shoot anything that we can fit in a barrel in order to take out a bear that is trying to break in the cabin door. THAT is why the guns of today are weaker.

    •  Are you? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tsm63, TheFern

      Capable of making a comment or joining in a conversation without being offensive or insulting?

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 09:28:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for your kind civility, Jay. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheFern, coquiero

      On a bullet per bullet comparison, you may have a point, though I'd like to see some research on that first.  But more importantly, I'm afraid you've missed the bigger picture here.  How many shots can you get off with a musket in one minute compared to an automatic or semi-automatic weapon?  How does their accuracy compare with modern weapons?  It's the volume of damage that's at issue here, not individual wound size.

      •  I'm tired of the superficiality. (0+ / 0-)

        Rate of fire is an oft-mentioned thing.

        Guess what? Not only did the people who fired muskets IMAGINE higher rates of fire, they WANTED  to be able to just throw a bullet every second. In fact, the base form of firearm warfare at the time was constructed primarily to negate the slow rate of fire and the inherent inaccuracy.

        Remember, they shot in volleys. Why a bunch of people shooting all at once? Because muskets were shitty at shooting straight. So they compensated by shooting fifty 3/4 inch wide bullets all at once.

        Remember, those volleys shot in stacked lines. Why a bunch of people waiting to shoot one after another? Because the muskets too so damn long to reload! They NEEDED to shoot faster than the then-current state of the art could provide!

        WHAT! THE! FUCK!

        Shooting in volleys and in successive lines - these are things that are learned in a KINDERGARTEN level history lesson!

        You have a problem with the capability of modern guns, and your argument stands on the technology of the colonial era, and that argument is destroyed with kindergarten level history? That is completely worthy of scorn and ridicule.

        Every drop of scorn and ounce of ridicule that can be scraped up is rightly handed to you for making an argument that is knocked down by a history lesson for children that have not yet even learned to read. This is why I asked if you are a fool.

        Do better. Shit like your diary and subsequent kindergarten level arguments make the rest of us look bad.

        •  Sure as hell glad I didn't go to your kindergarten (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          coquiero, TheFern

          If only they had taught you how to read and comprehend, you might be able to follow a train of thought coherently.  This discussion is about crime, not warfare.  Maybe if I type slower next time... ahhh never mind.  You're not worth wasting pixels over.

          Merely a flesh wound!

          by tsm63 on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 02:25:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Being called an idiot by someone (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tsm63, coquiero

        As detatched from reality as much as this poster is seen by most here as a good thing.  This one likes to light his hair on fire and claim his views are correct by virtue of his burning hair.  Neither of his comments above had anything to do with the matter you discussed in your diary, and should be ignored.  The reason he strikes such a vile tone is because he knows that otherwise he would be ignored.  Like a kindergartener.  His tantrums are well known here.

        "Goodnight, thank you, and may your God go with you"

        by TheFern on Sat Nov 09, 2013 at 02:17:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Rate of fire does not translate into volume of (0+ / 0-)

        damage. You have to actually hit what you're aiming at to cause damage.

        The North Hollywood bank robbers fired over two thousand rounds, most of it full-automatic fire, during their firefight with police. Only eighteen people were injured (possibly not all of them due to gunfire). No one was killed but the robbers themselves.

        The Clackamas Mall shooter burned through half of an AR-15's 30-round magazine as fast as he could fire, in a packed crowd. He hit three people. Only one was killed.

        By contrast, the Navy Yard shooter was able to kill twelve of the fifteen people he shot with a standard Remington 870 pump shotgun.

        The Cumbria shooter in the UK, using only a double-barrel break-open shotgun and a bolt-action .22 rifle, was able to shoot 23 people and kill 12 of them. That's more than half of his victims. There is also little indication that he missed anyone he shot at.

        The Texas Tower shooter killed and wounded most of his 49 victims with a bolt-action hunting rifle, with some of the fatal shots made from a distance of 1/4 mile or greater.

        None of the shooters in the last three examples used any firearm of a design or function more modern than anything available during WWII.

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