Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Should there be sensible 'gun control'

Following a discussion on this topic - over at Mr Cranky's (initial discussion here) then via email. Mr Cranky left this comment on my last post and I thought it would be good to pull it out and put it in it's own post for (polite & respectful) discussion:

Julie, I lost your email address, I think I owe you some answers re gun control in the US.

According to my friend a semi-expert I could buy an AK47 today in less than an hour (except currently there has been a run on them and the supply is very low). A pistol might take me 2 weeks.

My expert once worked at a sports store that sold guns. One day a person came in wanting to buy a gun. He was very upset and clearly looking for revenge on someone who had beat him up. My friend could not talk him out of buyung a gun and could not turn him down legally. He informed me that he was able to sell him a gun with the wrong ammunition and thinks he saved someones life by doing so.

Personally, living in a country with very strict "gun control" and seeing that it really doesn't make a shred of difference - there are shootings here weekly across the country - I do not see the benefit of it.  Other than it makes it harder for those who choose to follow the law.

Would I be concerned that someone could buy a fully automatic gun over the counter?  Not really.
Would I be concerned that a gun shop employee HAD to sell a gun to someone that was obviously going to use it to kill someone?  Yes, because AFAIK no one HAS to sell anything to anyone.  Shop owners / employees always have the right to refuse a sale.

Maybe that's different in the US?


Jay G said...

I know MANY gun store employees who can and have refused sales because it just didn't feel right. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Is it possible the person went to another gun shop and bought a firearm? Certainly.

But they could also run down to the corner where drugs are sold and find someone to sell them a gun, too.

Or they could use a knife.

Or a car.

If that person is angry and hell-bent on hurting another human being, what the hell difference does it matter what tool they use?

Jay G said...

Oh, and the part about the AK47 is misleading.

First off, a real AK-47 is a fully automatic rifle and is not only incredibly strictly regulated, but legal AK47s are selling for well over $10,000. There's a great deal of Federal regulation involved in legally purchasing a machine gun.

If they mean an AK-47 style rifle - a semi-automatic variant that is functionally no different from a Ruger Mini-30 or an SKS - then the over the counter part is fairly simple in most of the US.

You need a clean criminal record. You will fill out a form 4473. Your information will be called in on a NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) check. If you are prohibited from owning a firearm - you're a felon or mentally unstable, the gun store cannot legally sell you the rifle.

Period. Full stop.

Under the BEST of circumstances the process will take an hour.

Which is about 59 minutes longer than it takes to buy a gallon of gas or a kitchen knife or a baseball bat or a machete or a chain saw or a hatchet or...

Sean D Sorrentino said...

Mr. Cranky is full of it. A seller can refuse a sale for any reason or none.

Sean D Sorrentino said...

He can also call the police and ask them to intervene.

Freiheit said...

For reference here is the Form 4473:

Whenever a licensed gun dealer (an FFL) in the US sells or transfers a firearm one of these forms is filled out. When this is done the dealer calls the NICS (National Instant Criminal System I think) and checks on the buyer. Most permits to carry firearms concealed are considered a substitute for the NICS check and no call is necessary. NICS responds with go, no, or delay. Go means sell it. No means no. Delay means that unless a denial comes up in 3 days the buyer can take possession.

A current hot topic in the US is that private sales (in most places) do not have to involve a licensed dealer. I can sell my neighbor a pistol or a rifle and no paperwork is necessary. The anti-gun crowd seems to think that this is how most criminals and mass murderers get their guns. That is false, most criminals cannot legally possess firearms because of prior convictions and get their guns on the street from the same people that sell illegal drugs and hookers.

The crux of it is that criminals More gun control just makes harmless gun owners jump through extra hoops or is an effort to make them criminals through some paperwork mistake.

Freiheit said...

Quite frankly I feel that anyone, selling anything remotely dangerous, where a buyer is acting fishy who doesn't refuse the sale is a coward.

Right and wrong are not the same as legal and illegal.

joeh said...

Well since crooks will buy guns legal or illegal, then lets just stop all laws. How about shoplifting, do laws stop criminals from shoplifting, shoplifting exists so apparently not. Do people drive without a drivers licence. Hell why bother with any laws. Heck thats how to get rid of criminal atcivity repeal all laws.

Go ahead everyone beat me up. I think some gun control (and I never suggested taking away guns) would keep some guns out of the hands of some criminals and a little inconvience should be easy to tolerate. WHat controls? I don't know, why don't all you gun owners make some suggestions instead of the same old knee jerk reactions to any suggestion that maybe we could make crazy people using guns a little bit more difficult.
Guns don't kill people, people kill people...guns just improve productivity!

Thank you,
Cranky Old Man

Julie said...

Thanks for commenting guys. Mr Cranky please don't take anything the guys have said personally.

I think they have clarified a lot of the legal information regarding gun sales in the US and it seems to differ from what you have been told.

Regardless, I take your point that gun owners seem to have a 'knee-jerk' reaction when anyone mentions 'gun control'. And from our side of the fence this is understandable - mainly because we don't see guns as the issue and don't feel that tightening legislation will solve the problem.

The minute we start to engage in 'positive' (pro) discussions we are limiting ours or someone elses hobby for (as we see it) no real benefit.

I think this is the main source of difference between us.

Thank you for engaging in this discussion.

Sean D Sorrentino said...

No Mr. Cranky, take it personally. Your info about our laws is, at best, completely wrong. You don't know what our laws are and I don't see any indication on your part that you care. Couple that supreme indifference to the truth with a burning desire to meddle in affairs not your own, and we come to your completely silly attempt to conflate "let's not pass stupid, ineffective, and counterproductive laws," with "we should have complete anarchy." Stop embarrassing yourself.

Let me clue you in on the purpose of law. It isn't to stop the criminal from committing crimes. It's to prevent ME from seeking private vengeance. If someone murders a member of my family, I have a right to seek what we call justice. It's gone by many names in the past, but we now refer to it as justice. In the past it was considered perfectly normal to seek out the person who did it and kill him. Private vengeance worked for some, but we have decided as a society that the downsides outweighed to good.

We have agreed in Western society to forgo private vengeance in favor of public justice. The law makes no distinction between murder and murder out of vengeance. The law doesn't stop the original murder, but it gives the public justice system a way to deal with the crime while simultaneously deterring me from seeking my own vengeance.

In short, because I care about following society's expectations I follow the law. The criminal does not. The criminal gets punished, I live on.

Demanding that I give up my natural right to arms does not give me anything while taking much. It does not deter any actual crimes, nor does it increase anyone's safety. The people who would be a problem will still be a problem while the people who wouldn't are denied their rights.

The only "benefit" is that people like you, who hate the idea that I have deadly force available to me, are comforted by the fact that it's been taken away. Too bad. I don't exist, and my rights don't exist, to make you feel comfortable.

And Julie, firearms are not a "hobby." They are a human right, equivalent to any other human right. We will not trade it for anyone else's comfort.

Erin Palette said...

Mr. Cranky, there is a concrete difference between anti-theft laws and gun-control laws.

The former protects property owners by allowing them to press charges against thieves and regain their stolen property. The only rights they infringe are the "right" of the criminal to ply his trade, which is no right at all. They also protect the right of the property owner to retain his property.

Law-abiding citizen: 1
Criminal: 0

Now look at gun-control laws, which only affect the law-abiding, because criminals (by dint of being lawbreakers) will ignore these regulations too. Thus, lawbreakers are infringed not one whit, whereas citizens who wish to be law-abiding must, to some degree or another, lose their personal property (their firearm)and face restrictions on how best to protect themselves and their families.

Law-abiding citizen: 0
Criminal: 1

And just for the record, it's already illegal for the criminal and the mentally ill to own firearms. No new legislation needs be passed on that front, nor am I arguing against the repeal of these laws. What I object to is the notion of "Someone might misuse this, so no one is allowed to have them." Following that logic, we could argue that men need to have their penises highly restricted, if not completely removed from birth, because some of them might be used in a future rape.

Let's enforce the laws we already have on the books, thanks, before we start passing new ones.

TomcatTCH said...

The reason we don't make some suggestions for gun laws is easy, we have enough gun laws.

You are asking us to suggest more laws concerning behavior that is already illegal multiple times over.

How would making murder illegal again, making assault more illegal, passing another law against theft, do anything productive?

Anonymous said...

I will also point out that a gun store employee is not required by law to make a sale that they suspect is a problem. The store is a private institution. If the purchaser makes indications that they are intent upon mischif, the gun store employee or it's owners can tell the potential purchaser to sod off.

I have seen it myself, first hand. The guy wanted ammo "for 4th of July". Given that he couldn't' even make a clear statement of what sort of ammo he wanted it was very likely his intent was to fire the gun in the air, in and of itself irresponsible and a minor crime. If it hits someone its then a major crime. He was sent on his way with no ammo.

In addition to that point Mr Cranky is also incorrect on most of his other points as explained above. Thus, Mr Cranky, please, use facts, not incorrect ones. It's not proper.

Crucis said...

I don't believe the story. There is NO place where an employee "had" to sell a firearm. It's just BS.

In addition, there is no such thing as "sensible gun control."

Erin Palette said...

In addition, there is no such thing as "sensible gun control."

Using both hands while shooting? ;)

joeh said...

Fine, stick you head in the sand and watch while the real Liberals do try and take away your guns.

You are all right I don't really have a dog in this fight other than I would like to find a way to reduce gun violence without infringing on the rights of responsible citizens. Apparently that is not possible.

Oh Sean, I don't take offence..but you are the kind of a scary dude that will drive Liberals to strip you of what you are so protective of. And that is not what I would want.

10 4

Sean D Sorrentino said...

So I tell you to stick your attempts to take away my rights into your left ear and I'm scary? Maybe you need some counseling to deal with your paranoia.

Sendarius said...


There are a couple of issues with your analogy.

Do laws prohibiting shop-lifting stop shop-lifters?
Demonstrably not, as the charge is distressingly common in our courts.
The point that you are missing is that they were never intended to STOP shop-lifting; they were intended to PUNISH shop-lifting, and, consequentially, through the fear of that punishment, reduce the incidence.

Let's be plain. Laws themselves do NOTHING to stop crime. The effect on crime is due to the fear of punishment under the law. If the perpetrator assesses that the likelihood of getting caught is small while reward is high, and/or does not fear the punishment, then they break the law.

Where the gun laws are DIFFERENT is that they do not even purport to punish a crime. They instead are intended to make the actual criminal act itself IMPOSSIBLE, by removing the TOOL, through criminalisation of the ownership of that tool. They rely on the fear of punishment for breaking the malum prohibitum law being enough to reduce the ownership of guns to such an extent, that the ability to commit the malum in se act is reduced.

The obvious problem with this is that the people prepared to commit the malum in se act don't give a toss about breaking the malum prohibitun law against possession of a tool.

Instead, we see people who are the LEAST likely to offend (the law-abiding) do what they do most often - abide by the law. Result? No benefit.

Julie said...

Thanks for everyone's input :)

Suldog said...

Let me start with three statements.

1) I believe everybody who wants to own a gun should be able to do so.

2) I've run for public office in the US, and stated the above explicitly while I was campaigning.

3) I know Joe H., from multiple good interactions with him on the 'net, and he's a good fellow.

Having said those things, let me now explain why I'm commenting here. It's not to argue for or against gun control. It's to chastise some of you for the way you've handled this conversation. If there's one thing I've learned in life, it's that being all self-righteous and calling the other fellow names will NOT win that person, or anyone else, to your way of thinking. Sure, use reason. Make your point in a logical manner. But there is never any reason to call into question someone's honesty, intelligence, or motives, unless your objective is to make yourself feel good and send most of the undecideds even further away from your position.

OK, I've had my say. Thanks.

Old NFO said...

Jay beat me to it, but BOTH of his posts are exactly correct... And if it was a 'real' full auto AK47, it would take 6-7 months to actually take possession of it.

TOTWTYTR said...

As JayG and others have said, Mr. Cranky is full of, well cranky.

Any merchant can refuse to sell anything to anyone provided that he is not basing that refusal on race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual preference.

Many dealers have refused to sell firearms to people that met the legal requirements, but that the dealers were not comfortable with.

Mr. Cranky is either woefully ignorant or purposely trying to dupe you with bad information.

I don't care if he takes that personally or not.