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Posted by X_Digger in Guns
Wed Mar 02nd 2011, 10:46 AM

NYC Mayor Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) consists of 578 current mayors pushing for various gun control measures.

Here are eight current or former members:
Shiela Dixon, Baltimore, MD
Gary Becker, Racine, WI
Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit, MI
David Delle Donna, Guttenberg, NJ
Samuel Rivera, Passaic, NJ
Will Wynn, Austin, TX
Larry Langford, Birmingham, AL
Jeremiah Healy, Jersey City, NJ

What's so special about these eight? Well, they've been convicted of crimes- fraud and perjury, sexually assaulting a child, extortion, bribery, and tax evasion to name some.

So, what's the rate for conviction in Bloomberg's group? 1384 per 100,000.

What's the rate for conviction for Texas CHL holders? 25 per 100,000 (2009*).

Bloomberg's group is 55x more likely to be convicted of a crime than TX CHL holders.

*calculated from:
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Posted by X_Digger in Latest Breaking News
Fri Jan 21st 2011, 03:00 PM
"It doesn't however, limit the scope of the right."

I'm not sure how you made that assertion, but mind-reading or the cherry-picking that pro-gun websites did for you and that you parroted in the next few paragraphs, doesn't prove a thing.

This is a concept rooted in the heart of western democracy- that rights flow not top-down from the government, but from the people up. Hell, it's right there in the Declaration of Independence-

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Do you understand those sentences? Governments are created to protect individuals' ('men' in 18th century vernacular) rights. All government's powers derive from the people ('the governed').

I've given you examples of other court decisions (Cruikshank, Presser) demonstrating this interpretation in practice. Where are your counter-examples?

If the Bill of Rights were the be-all and end-all limit of people's rights, there would be no need for the ninth and tenth amendment, would there?

"That's because the courts have interpreted them"

Now you're ignoring the fact that all along I've been talking about what the Founding Fathers wanted, not what some courts said. I'm pretty sure that has been REAL clear in all my posts. Thus, you're STILL ignoring that important point. And the excerpt that you copied:

You have provided nothing to support your (borrowed) position that the framers thought of 'the people' as different in practice from 'persons'. Previous drafts of the second amendment had 'citizens' and 'person', as well. There is no commentary to indicate that the two were not analogous- unless you care to provide it?

"the people" seems to be a term of art used in select parts of the Constitution, and contrasts with the words "person" and "accused" used in Articles of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments regulating criminal procedures. This suggests that "the people" refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community."

actually BACKS UP my (thanks again baldy) point. Do you read the clips that you copy from guncite or any of the other dozens of NRA-sponsored websites that you read?

Perhaps you should read closer, yourself.. "This suggests that "the people" refers to a class of persons"- individuals. Not 'the state', not 'the government', not 'the militia'. People. A grammatical shorthand for 'a class of persons'.

I guess you must've read it, even though you posted it, since you added "There is no legal precedent saying they have any difference." I bet you checked ever single legal opinion ever rendered on the subject to make that sweeping statement! Am I right?

Found a single one that says differently? I made a claim, backed up by evidence. It's your job (should you choose to accept it) to find something that supports your view.

Finally, you say "That's unsound logic, but let me turn it around- if they wanted a collective right, why didn't they just say, "the right of the militia..". I don't know why they used the sentence construction they did. Maybe (once again, repeating a point I've already made) because the people had the guns. But I'll try to help you understand why you're wrong.

First of all, it's not unsound logic. Your assertion to the opposite is just because you didn't agree with it. It is logically sound. In addition, if it WAS unsound logic, then your counter-"argument" to it would be equally unsound. Thus, you made a big error in logic. I guess all those pro-gun websites with their "unbeatable" arguments don't prepare you for logical inconsistencies in your own "arguments".

I put no credence in your logic, I merely applied your illogic to flip it around. What you did right there, with the 'because the people had the guns'? That's a 'circular cause and consequence' logical fallacy.

Were there ever laws passed in any american period that said that only militia members can own firearms? If their intent was (as you claim) to only provide arms for the militia, why weren't laws passed making it so? Do you think they intended it to be that way, but they just never got around to passing laws making it so?? Codswallop.

Secondly, your counter-"argument" does not have equal weight to my original point. WHY did they mention militias at all if the only purpose for mentioning guns was to allow unlimited (not really, just what the NRA wants) ownership? There is an infinite number of ways to talk about guns without bringing militias into it.

Yes, they mentioned why the right was protected. If I say, "I'm completely out of soda, I'm going to the store."-- you wouldn't assume that stores only sell soda, correct? Or that I was only going to buy soda?

Nobody mentioned 'unlimited'-- that's a straw man of your own making.

THIRDLY, your OWN point destroys your OWN "argument"! Here's why. They didn't want unrestricted gun ownership, they wanted it for the service of the well-regulated militia. You were expected to be a part of a well-regulated militia if you owned a gun. That is why they didn't state it in any other way.

You're making a bald assertion with no evidence- "they wanted it for.." -- without substantiation. Your repetition, sans evidence, does not make it so. Now you're getting into the territory of an 'argumenum ad nauseam'.

Of course, gun ownership isn't unlimited - it is limited to what the NRA wants their members to whine about, and what they want to bribe/threaten Congress about.

Nobody said the right is unlimited, any more than the right protected by the first amendment is unlimited. I can no more legally perform a human sacrifice under the auspices of the first amendment than I could legally kill a random person with a firearm under the auspices of the second.

That is a straw man of your own making, if you're asserting that I took that position. The rest? A red herring.

Sorry for all the rofl. Your post made me laugh so hard that I must thank you for lightening up my day. And, as always, even though I am actually arguing against hundreds of websites whenever I engage a gun-lover (because they all just repeat those "airtight" arguments they find there), it is STILL easy to show what the Founding Fathers actually wanted.

I'm running out of time replying to all the websites you use for your arguments. In the future, can you just provide the URL of the argument that you're copying?

My research is my own. I've spent a fair amount of time reading the house debates on the bill of rights, the english bill of rights, early virginia law, various court cases surrounding the second amendment, the fourteenth amendment, historical websites, and books on various topics.

I won't apologize for being more informed than you on the subject. Your ignorance on a particular subject is not my problem to resolve.

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Posted by X_Digger in Guns
Tue Sep 28th 2010, 11:59 AM
"well regulated" at the time, and in this context meant 'well functioning'-

In Item 1, Anne Newport Royall commented in 1822 that Huntsville, Alabama was becoming quite civilized and prosperous, with a “fine fire engine” and a “well regulated company”. I suppose one could make the case that the firefighters were especially subject to rules and laws, but the passage is more coherent if read, “They have a very fine fire engine, and a properly operating company.”

William Thackary’s 1848 novel (item 4) uses the term “well-regulated person”. The story is that of Major Dobbin, who had been remiss in visiting his family. Thackary’s comment is to the effect that any well-regulated person would blame the major for this. Clearly, in this context, well-regulated has nothing to do with government rules and laws. It can only be interpreted as “properly operating” or “ideal state”.

In 1861, author George Curtis (item 5), has one of his characters, apparently a moneyhungry person, praising his son for being sensible, and carefully considering money in making his marriage plans. He states that “every well-regulated person considers the matter from a pecuniary point of view.” Again, this cannot logically be interpreted as a person especially subject to government control. It can only be read as “properly operating”.

Edmund Yates certainly has to be accepted as an articulate and educated writer, quite capable of properly expressing his meaning. In 1884 (item 6), he references a person who was apparently not “strictly well-regulated”. The context makes any reading other that “properly operating” or “in his ideal state” impossible.

Secondly, let's look at the preamble to the Bill of Rights-

The Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.

The Bill of Rights was intended as a 'the government shall not' document- "to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers"- not a 'the people can' document. Rights aren't limited by the bill of rights; rather the scope of protections of certain rights are set. If the Bill of Rights were a listing of all a person's rights, there would be no need for the ninth and tenth amendments ("The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." and "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." respectively.)

And finally, let's look at the second amendment itself-

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Who does the right belong to? The militia? No, the people. See US v. Verdugo-Urquirdez for the salient definition of 'the people'.

Grammatically this can be broken down into two clauses- a prefatory clause and an operative clause. Similar wording can be found in other writing of the time, though it's fallen out of favor these days. For comparison, see Rhode Island's constitution, Article I, Section 20- "The liberty of the press being essential to the security of freedom in a state, any person may publish sentiments on any subject..". That construction- '{reason}, {statement}' exists today, but we usually swap the clauses- "I'm going to the supermarket, I'm completely out of soda." or we add in a 'because' or 'since'- "Since I'm completely out of soda, I'm going to the supermarket." or "I'm going to the supermarket because I'm completely out of soda."

I know that complex English is lost in today's twitter-ful and facebook-y terseness, but it really does pay to read older documents when you want to analyze what a sentence from that era actually means.

So with the point from the first section, the second section in mind, and rearranging the clauses per the third would yield a modern restatement of the second amendment as-

"Because a well functioning militia is necessary to state security, the government shall not interfere with the right of the people to be armed."


"The government shall not interfere with the right of the people to be armed because a well functioning militia is necessary to state security."

Nothing in either of those statements says that arms are only for militia service, rather the ability to raise an effective militia is _why_ protecting the right to be armed is protected. Since we know from the preamble (and the 9th/10th amendment) that the bill of rights is not exhaustive, we have to look outside the bill of rights itself to see if the founding fathers expected this right to extend beyond militia service.

State analogues of the second amendment that were adopted in the same timeframe give a clue- (sections rearranged by me)

The present-day Pennsylvania Constitution, using language adopted in 1790, declares: "The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned."

Vermont: Adopted in 1777, the Vermont Constitution closely tracks the Pennsylvania Constitution. It states "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State.."

Kentucky: The 1792 Kentucky constitution was nearly contemporaneous with the Second Amendment, which was ratified in 1791. Kentucky declared: "That the right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State, shall not be questioned."

Delaware: "A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use."

Alabama: The Alabama Constitution, adopted in 1819, guarantees "that every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state"

Arizona and Washington: These states were among the last to be admitted to the Union.* Their right to arms language is identical: "The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men."

Illinois: "Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."**
(footnotes removed)

So from analagous documents created by many of the same founding fathers or their peers, the individual right unconnected to militia service is fairly well laid out.

* Admittedly, not analogous in time to the others, but still demonstrates the point.
** same

You should read other cases such as US v Cruikshank ("This right is not a right granted by the Constitution . . . neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.") or Presser v Illinois ("the States cannot, even laying the constitutional provision in question out of view, prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms, as so to deprive the United States of their rightful resource for maintaining the public security and disable the people from performing their duty to the general government.")

Both the Heller and McDonald decision shed more light on the subject.
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Posted by X_Digger in Guns
Sun Sep 26th 2010, 09:48 PM

Perhaps that's just an aberration though, right?

Well, not really..

It's not just about race though. Bloomie should be familiar with the New York's Sullivan Act..

NYT Editorial in 1905:

"{The proposed gun control} measure would prove corrective and salutary in a city filled with immigrants and evil communications, floating from the shores of Italy and Austria-Hungary. New York police reports frequently testify to the fact that the Italian and other south Continental gentry here are acquainted with the pocket pistol, and while drunk or merrymaking will use it quite as handily as the stiletto, and with more deadly effect. It is hoped that this treacherous and distinctly outlandish mode of settling disputes may not spread to corrupt the native good manners of the community."

It's not even just anti-immigrant. It's also those 'damnable communists and socialists', too. I'm sure some of his California mayors could refresh his memory on the 1934 longshoremen strike, and the gun control that followed.

Or some of his southern mayors could tell him about the civil rights riots of the 60's, and the legislation passed in their wake, making having a gun in 'a declared emergency' illegal..
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Posted by X_Digger in Political Videos
Tue Aug 31st 2010, 09:06 PM
Show me a knife that can kill from 500 yards

How many people are shot from 500 yards? According to the latest figures from the FBI ( ), all rifles account for 2.6% of all intentional homicides.

This doesn't begin to compare with the "recent spate" of gun violence in the US, which costs thousands of lives each year. It seems like every day, some wacko whose "rights" you are defending here violates the rights of his coworkers, family, and random strangers by taking their lives.

I mentioned the CN killings in direct response to your statement that, "With sword and black powder weapons it would be quite difficult to walk into a public place and kill 10 unarmed people within the space of a minute."-- which shows that your statement is not actually correct. (Okay, 90 seconds versus a minute.)

I love how you would place the right to own firearms above the right to pursue happiness.

That's a false dichotomy. Who says you can't have both?

Voting and speaking are not like owning firearms. The comparison is not actually valid to people with an ounce of common sense. Firepower isn't political speech (unless you're Lee H. Oswald). My voting right doesn't kill you, nor does my protected speech. You don't vote or speak with bullets. Your gun only has one actual put holes in living things. How can you seriously argue that you are being materially harmed when you are asked to wait a week before taking posession of the weapon? Or limit the number of guns you purchase in a month? How many guns do you need to have before you feel safe?

How many books must you have to feel educated? How many times must you vote? You've made your allotted posts this month, you have to wait til tomorrow to make any more. Sorry, you have to wait to send a letter to your congressperson, you already sent one this week.

Rights are rights. There is no Department of Need to determine whether or not a person gets to exercise a particular right. All rights are inherent and cannot be removed save through due process.

In answer to your question, re "How can you seriously argue that you are being materially harmed when you are asked to wait a week before taking posession of the weapon?" -- my younger sister went through a nasty divorce a couple of years ago. When she told her then-soon-to-be-ex that she was leaving him, he flipped out. He dislocated her collarbone, bruised her liver, and cracked one of her teeth. She filed a restraining order while he was cooling his heels on a domestic assault charge. Within three days, he was out on bail. He repeatedly violated the terms of the restraining order, threatening her and their then five-year-old son with murder. He always took off within minutes of my sister calling the local constable. Thing is, she lives over a thousand miles from me in North Carolina, and about four hundred from our parents. You would ask that she wait a week to be able to protect herself and my nephew? Living in BFE, NC, constables took anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour to show up.

What societal good does a waiting period serve? Now balance that against the danger to people like my sister. You do the math and tell me waiting periods are more important.

I'm not sure if you're aware, but the Brady Bill (1994) originally included a waiting period, to be removed when the electronic instant background check was implemented (1998). According to DOJ figures, there was no net affect on crime due to waiting periods, for two reasons- criminals don't typically go through FFLs to acquire firearms, and over half of all people who purchase firearms already have one in the home.

I am referring to the gun show loophole, which allows "occasional sellers" (undefined) to make sales without background checks. I am also picking on gun shows because it is well known that illegal gun sales take place at these shows on a regular basis. The federal government needs to step in here, because guns can and are purchased at gun shows by out-of-state residents and then immediatley transported across state lines. This negates the states' ability to legislate effectively and makes it an interstate affair. Sorry!

How many guns used by criminals come from gun shows? 0.6% -

You might wish the federal government could step in, but they do not have the power to regulate intrastate sales. Nothing short of a constitutional amendment will give it to them. Sorry!

Look, I'm not a gun nerd; if you want to play around with the definition of semi-automatic, that's fine. I'm sure you know a great deal more about technical definitions of these things, but I'm really not all that impressed by that knowledge. My definition is a rifle that fires a round each time the trigger is pulled, can be fitted with a large magazine, and can be modified to be fully automatic.
(emphasis mine)

That's a myth. Guns produced after 1983 have to be specifically made so as not to be able to be easily converted. The BATFE treats any gun that can be easily converted as though it already had been, which makes it fall under the tight restrictions of the 1934 NFA.

You don't need an ar-15 to hunt deer. A bolt-action rifle is about as much technology as you could possibly need. If you need more capability, then you aren't really a sportsman. I'm rooting for the deer anyway.

Like 80% of gun owners, I don't hunt. I don't give a shit what guns people use to hunt. I only mentioned it as one of the 'in common use, for lawful purposes' criteria mentioned in Heller. Funny, though. If you think the second amendment is only about militias, why 'protect' hunting? Of course, if I were in a militia (and according to US Code, I am, as part of the 'unorganized militia'), an AR-15 would be closer to an appropriate weapon to bear than a hoary old bolt-action.

Competition? Your desire to play with guns as if they were toys doesn't trump the rights of your fellow citizens to live in safe neighborhoods.

Again, mentioned as merely another 'in common use, for lawful purposes'. You're not going to make it over that hurdle, not with them being such popular rifles.

Want to know what the 1994-2004 "ban" did for AR-15's?

The first uptick in 1988 corresponds to California's 'Roberti-Roos' "ban". By the end of the "ban", over 8.5 MILLION AR-15's had been sold during the ban. Sales have continued apace since then. That train has left the station.

I know that having a gun does not in fact offer "protection" to anyone in my home. It only puts them at risk.

Really? The number of defensive gun uses based on multiple surveys has been estimated at between 800,000 and 2.5M per year. More than the number of crimes committed with guns. Gallup, Time/CNN, LA Times, etc. (Northwestern University School of Law, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, vol. 86, issue 1, 1995.)

Your 30-gun collection is more likely to be stolen and used against me than it is to protect your home. Just recently in my area a man (who owned a gun) opened his door and two criminals busted in, punched him in the face and ransacked his home. What's your remedy here...should he answer the door with an ar-15 rifle on his shoulder each time?

Who said that having a gun offers perfect protection? *looks around* Nobody around here.

Not having one definitely precludes using one in self-defense, however.

My position is supported by language of the 2nd amendment, which certainly can be read by a judge to restrict gun ownership to "a well-regulated militia." As for the 5-4 McDonald decision, you have a right wing court right now, which renders awful decisions on all fronts (or maybe you think corporations are people). When the pendulum swings back, you will have lost people like me who were ready to make compromises on several points, because you weren't ready to make sane, sensible compromises yourself for the good of your fellow citizens, preferring instead to take extremist positions. When that day comes, you will have only your unreasonable ("firearms = free speech") attitude to blame.

And we come full circle. "I'm out of soda, I'm going to the store." Do stores only sell soda?

You still haven't explained your problem with my interpretation, nor offered support for your interpretation.

Let's look at the preamble to the Bill of Rights:

The Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.

Restrictive clauses against whom? The government.

The Bill of Rights was intended as a 'the government shall not' document- "to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers"- not 'the people can' document. Rights aren't limited by the bill of rights; rather the scope of protections of certain rights are set. If the Bill of Rights were a listing of all a person's rights, there would be no need for the ninth and tenth amendments ("The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." and "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." respectively.)

Let's look at the second amendment itself-

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Who does the right belong to? The militia? No, the people. See US v. Verdugo-Urquirdez for the salient definition of 'the people'.

Grammatically this can be broken down into two clauses- a prefatory clause and an operative clause. Today, we'd normally swap the clauses or add a 'because', or 'since'. I know that complex English is lost in today's twitter-ful and facebook-y terseness, but it really does pay to read older documents when you want to analyze what a sentence from that era actually means.

A modern restatement of the second amendment might read like-

"Since a well functioning militia is necessary to state security, the government shall not interfere with the right of the people to be armed."


"The government shall not interfere with the right of the people to be armed because a well functioning militia is necessary to state security."

Nothing in either of those statements says that the right to arms is only for militia service, rather the ability to raise an effective militia is why protecting the right to be armed is protected.

Even left-leaning legal scholars like Lawrence Tribe agree:

{The Second Amendment's} central purpose is to arm "We the People" so that ordinary citizens can participate in the collective defense of their community and their state. But it does so not through directly protecting a right on the part of states or other collectivities, assertable by them against the federal government, to arm the populace as they see fit. Rather the amendment achieves its central purpose by assuring that the federal government may not disarm individual citizens without some unusually strong justification consistent with the authority of the states to organize their own militias. That assurance in turn is provided through recognizing a right on the part of individuals to possess and use firearms in the defense of themselves and their homes--not a right to hunt for game, quite clearly, and certainly not a right to employ firearms to commit aggressive acts against other persons--a right that directly limits action by Congress or by the Executive Branch and may well, in addition, be among the privileges or immunities of United States citizens protected by Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment against state or local government action.
(emphasis added)
Laurence H. Tribe, 1 American Constitutional Law 902 n.221 (3d ed. 2000)

Tribe was almost 100% right, McDonald used substantive due process (rather than privileges or immunities) to incorporate the right against infringement by states and localities.

eta: forgot to add- you're in a distinct minority with your 'collective' interpretation-

And that percentage has only gone up since then-

Most people in the United States interpret their Constitution’s Second Amendment in the same fashion, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 81 per cent of respondents believe the Second Amendment means that individuals have the right to keep and bear arms.
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Posted by X_Digger in Political Videos
Tue Aug 31st 2010, 12:08 PM
I'm thinking of the recent spate of killings of school children with knives in China -,8...

Before that, there was Akihabara in 2008-


When I questioned whether gun ownership was an absolute right, it was not a strawman, it was my belief this was your position.

No, no rights are absolute. Judicial review and the attendant level of scrutiny are applied to determine what is proper and what is not. While the recent McDonald decision didn't explicitly state a standard of review, Heller took 'rational basis' off the table, and McDonald's 'fundamental' language points us toward strict scrutiny.

Let me break down your next section into individual pieces:

If the right isn't absolute, then it may be sensibly abridged. Your right to own a gun shoudn't be allowed to infringe on other people's right to life, liberty and happiness. For example, a state or city should have the power to make laws demanding background checks and waiting periods for the purchase of firearms.

One small quibble, there is no right to happiness, merely the pursuit of. I won't be pedantic and note that that statement is from the Declaration of Independence, and as such doesn't have force of law. It's a well established social expectation, and as such it could best be described as an 'unenumerated' right.

Background checks? Valid constitutionally. The dicta in Heller explicitly endorsed them as presumptively constitutional.

Waiting periods? Never tested. My guess is that such restrictions will be unconstitutional. Could you see the same restriction applying to voting? To political speech? The comparison is valid (legally) because these other rights have been ruled 'fundamental' as well.

They should be able to assert that firearms can only by legally purchased at a licenced dealer which follows those laws and is accountable when they aren't followed (not a traveling gun show).

States can do this, but the federal government does not have the power to regulate the sale of property between two in-state residents. That would be intra-state commerce, rather than interstate commerce. I can't tell if you don't know that a dealer with an FFL must do a background check wherever and whenever he sells a firearm. (There are always some folks who incorrectly think that federal firearms laws don't apply at gun shows, I don't know if you fall into that category.)

They could also assert that since modern handguns can do so much damage, the owner must be licenced.

Abridgments of rights have never been balanced against the relative damage of exercising them. This was most recently discussed in McDonald:

The right to keep and bear arms, however, is not the only constitutional right that has controversial public safety implications. All of the constitutional provisions that impose restrictions on law enforcement and on the prosecution of crimes fall into the same category. See, e.g., Hudson v. Michigan, 547 U. S. 586, 591 (2006) (“The exclusionary rule generates ‘substantial social costs,’ United States v. Leon, 468 U. S. 897, 907 (1984), which sometimes include setting the guilty free and the dangerous at large”); Barker v. Wingo, 407 U. S. 514, 522 (1972) (reflecting on the serious consequences of dismissal for a speedy trial violation, which means “a defendant who may be guilty of a serious crime will go free”); Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436, 517 (1966) (Harlan, J., dissenting); id., at 542 (White, J., dissenting) (objecting that the Court’s rule “in some unknown number of cases . . . will return a killer, a rapist or other criminal to the streets . . . to repeat his crime”); Mapp, 367 U. S., at 659.

Lastly where it concerns weapons of war, such as an ak-47, they should be able to assert that these weapons be restricted to those persons who are members of a local militia (as the 2nd amendment does).

Two things-

What do you mean when you say 'ak-47'? Do you mean the actual rifle capable of full-auto fire? If so, then they're already heavily restricted via the 1934 National Firearms Act, and the 1986 McClure-Volkmer act that closed the registry to new civilian entry.

If by 'ak-47', you mean any semi-automatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine, then you're out of luck. No army uses semi-automatic weapons, so they are not 'weapons of war', and Heller already precluded such bans. They presume that other such bans on weapons 'in common use, for lawful purposes' would also be swept away. AR-15's and rifles derived from the same technology are used in hunting, for competition, and self-defense in the home. They're also one of the best-selling rifles on the market.

I like how you stuck your unsupported assertion there on the end, that the second amendment only protects use my a militia. I almost didn't catch it the first time around. Nice try, but no.

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Posted by X_Digger in Guns
Thu Aug 12th 2010, 06:49 PM
Figured I'd drag this one from the archives, original discussion here-

We've often heard the statement that just having a gun in a house makes one 2.7 times more likely to be the victim of gun violence.

The root of this statistic is a 1993 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Arthur Kellermann et al

The conclusion reads in part:

Despite the widely held belief that guns are effective for protection, our results suggest that they actually pose a substantial threat to members of the household. People who keep guns in their homes appear to be at greater risk of homicide in the home than people who do not. Most of this risk is due to a substantially greater risk of homicide at the hands of a family member or intimate acquaintance.

Here are the problems that many have noted-

The authors note that "One or more guns were reportedly kept in 45.4 percent of the homes of the case subjects," This implies that no guns were kept in 54.6% of the households. No study was made of how many were killed by guns kept in the home versus those brought in by a perpetrator.

Five years later, Kellerman revised himself (quoting ):

A subsequent study, again by Kellermann, of fatal and non-fatal gunshot woundings, showed that only 14.2% of the shootings involving a gun whose origins were known, involved a gun kept in the home where the shooting occurred. (Kellermann, et. al. 1998. "Injuries and deaths due to firearms in the home." Journal of Trauma 45:263-267) ("The authors reported that among those 438 assaultive gunshot woundings, 49 involved a gun 'kept in the home where the shooting occurred,' 295 involved a gun brought to the scene from elsewhere, and another 94 involved a gun whose origins were not noted by the police.") (Kleck, Gary. "Can Owning a Gun Really Triple the Owner's Chances of Being Murdered?" Homicide Studies 5 <2001>.)

Secondly, no correlation was made between "independent" factors that actually may have been factors related to each other- they treated illicit drug use, having an arrest record, living alone or not, renting, having a gun, and a history of domestic abuse as independent variables without any relationship to each other. No collateral multivariate analysis was performed. The correlation to each control was not predicated on other factors, just gun ownership. They gave the same weight to a gun death in a household with someone with a previous arrest as to a gun death in a household where an intruder brought their own gun to a home invasion and shot the occupant (each weighting was independent, not cumulative). No correlation was explored for similar situations with the only difference being gun ownership.

Thirdly, there were significant differences between the study participants and the control. There was a 30% difference between home ownership vs renting between subjects and control, and a 15% difference in living alone or not. Only 48% of the control subjects were interviewed in person. Never mind that there were more users of illicit drugs, alcoholics, and persons with a history of violence in the households of the case subjects than in the households of the controls.

Finally, correlation doesn't equate to causation. They state in one place, "keeping a gun in the home was strongly and independently associated with an increased risk of homicide". "Associated with", not "causally related to". The possibility of why a gun was kept in the home was not explored nor accounted for- so a person who lives in a high crime neighborhood who may already be at higher risk of homicide death was treated the same as a person shot in a "nice" neighborhood.

Further reading (some are related to Kellermann's previous work on the subject, just to show how tortured his conclusions are): -- this one is an especially good article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association

quoting the above:
This association was at least partly attributable to confounding factors that are known to be strongly associated with both gun ownership and homicide victimization, such as dealing in illicit drugs (but not drug use) and membership in a street gang. Either of these confounding factors alone is associated strongly enough with gun ownership and homicide victimization to produce a spurious odds ratio of 2.8,<14> and neither factor was controlled by the researchers. Indeed, most factors that increase the risk of homicide victimization in a way that is evident to the subjects are likely to also motivate some of them to acquire a gun for self-protection.<15> Thus, a positive gun-homicide association is expected even if gun possession had no impact whatsoever on homicide risk.


Here are some other threads discussing problems with methodology w/r/t studies of this kind:
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Posted by X_Digger in Guns
Thu Aug 05th 2010, 10:33 PM
What's your first memory of a police officer? Mine is from a coloring book as a kid. Farmer, fireman, doctor, police officer, construction worker- those were the archetypal figures I remember. The farmer had a straw hat and bib overalls, the fireman had a hat with a shield and a hose, the doctor a lab coat and stethescope, the police officer had the belt and badge, and the construction worker had a hard hat and hammer.

During the first year of school, I remember classroom visits from some of these professions. I remember the navy blue uniform with slate gray stripe of the Virginia State Police officer, his straight brimmed hat, and his crew cut. I recall feeling safe knowing that if bad people ever wanted to hurt me, he'd come and rescue me. I was tempted to have him haul off some of the bullies at school, but somehow I resisted the temptation. Just knowing he was there was enough.

It's funny how childlike ideas tend to persist until reality rips them away. No, the animals on the farm don't crowd around the farmer, gazing adoringly up at him. No, the doctor tends to spend more time doing paperwork than actually saving lives. No, the fireman doesn't actually get kittens out of trees with his cool ladder truck. And no, the police officer doesn't usually pull up when bad guys are threatening you.

As of 2008, there were about 700,000 police officers across the United States in the field (1). There are approximately 310,000,000 residents of the US (2). If you assume three shifts, and 10% are out sick, on vacation, in court, in training, or desk duty for one reason or another, that means that there is one officer for every 1476 people.

Assuming that "your" officer isn't busy with one of the other 1475 people, average response time from 911 to flashing lights is about nine minutes nationwide, but if you live in a city like Detroit, the average is 24 minutes (3); Chicago often has times as high as 26 minutes (4); in New York, ten minutes in 1999 (5). According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, most violent crime is perpetrated in under eight minutes. (6)

With a ratio like that, and response times like those, it's a practical necessity that the person most responsible for your safety is you.

But what the heck, let's assume we had one patrol officer per person, shadowing you at all times. He or she would be obligated to protect you from harm, right? After all, the slogan on the side of the car says "to protect and serve". Right?? RIGHT??? No, not really.

In multiple states, at the local, state, and federal level, police have not been held accountable for failing to protect individuals. Let's examine some of the cases.

Riss v. City of New York

Brief Fact Summary

Plaintiff was harassed by a rejected suitor, who claimed he would kill or seriously injure her if she dated someone else. Plaintiff repeatedly asked for police protection and was ignored. After the news of her engagement, the plaintiff was again threatened and called the police to no avail. The next day, a thug, sent by the rejected suitor, partially blinded the plaintiff and disfigured her face.

Rule of Law and Holding

The municipality does not have a duty to provide police protection to an individual. It has a duty to the public as a whole, but no one in particular.

Keane v. Chicago, 98 Ill. App.2d 460, 240 N.E.2d 321 (1st Dist. 1968)

Silver v. Minneapolis, 170 N.W.2d 206 (Minn. 1969)

Hartzler v. City of San Jose, 46 Cal. App.3d 6 (1st Dist. 1975).

Sapp v. Tallahassee, 348 So.2d 363 (Fla. App. 1st Dist.), cert. denied 354 So.2d 985 (Fla. 1977); Ill. Rec. Stat. 4-102

Jamison v. Chicago, 48 Ill. App. 3d 567 (1st Dist. 1977)

Wuetrich V. Delia, 155 N.J. Super. 324, 326, 382, A.2d 929, 930 cert. denied 77 N.J. 486, 391 A.2d 500 (1978)

Stone v. State, 106 Cal.App.3d 924, 165 Cal Rep. 339 (1980)

Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C.App 1981)

In the early morning hours of Sunday, March 16, 1975, Carolyn Warren and Joan Taliaferro who shared a room on the third floor of their rooming house at 1112 Lamont Street Northwest in the District of Columbia, and Miriam Douglas, who shared a room on the second floor with her four-year-old daughter, were asleep. The women were awakened by the sound of the back door being broken down by two men later identified as Marvin Kent and James Morse. The men entered Douglas' second floor room, where Kent forced Douglas to sodomize him and Morse raped her.

Warren and Taliaferro heard Douglas' screams from the floor below. Warren telephoned the police, told the officer on duty that the house was being burglarized, and requested immediate assistance. The department employee told her to remain quiet and assured her that police assistance would be dispatched promptly.

Warren's call was received at Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters at 0623 hours, and was recorded as a burglary-in-progress. At 0626, a call was dispatched to officers on the street as a "Code 2" assignment, although calls of a crime in progress should be given priority and designated as "Code 1." Four police cruisers responded to the broadcast; three to the Lamont Street address and one to another address to investigate a possible suspect. (This suggests that when they heard that there had been a burglary, the police must have felt that they had a promising lead on a culprit.)

Meanwhile, Warren and Taliaferro crawled from their window onto an adjoining roof and waited for the police to arrive. While there, they observed one policeman drive through the alley behind their house and proceed to the front of the residence without stopping, leaning out the window, or getting out of the car to check the back entrance of the house. A second officer apparently knocked on the door in front of the residence, but left when he received no answer. The three officers departed the scene at 0633, five minutes after they arrived.

Warren and Taliaferro crawled back inside their room. They again heard Douglas' continuing screams; again called the police; told the officer that the intruders had entered the home, and requested immediate assistance. Once again, a police officer assured them that help was on the way. This second call was received at 0642 and recorded merely as "investigate the trouble;" it was never dispatched to any police officers.

Believing the police might be in the house, Warren and Taliaferro called down to Douglas, thereby alerting Kent to their presence. At knife point, Kent and Morse then forced all three women to accompany them to Kent's apartment. 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.
The Court, however, does not agree that defendants owed a specific legal duty to plaintiffs with respect to the allegations made in the amended complaint for the reason that the District of Columbia appears to follow the well established rule that official police personnel and the government employing them are not generally liable to victims of criminal acts for failure to provide adequate police protection. This uniformly accepted rule rests upon the fundamental principle that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen.

Chapman v. Philadelphia, 290 Pa. Super. 281, 434 A.2d 753 (Penn. 1981)

Bowers v. DeVito, 686 F.2d 616 (7th Cir. 1982)

Davidson v. Westminster, 32 Cal.3d 197, 185, Cal. Rep. 252; 649 P.2d 894 (1982)

Morgan v. District of Columbia, 468 A.2d 1306 (D.C.App. 1983) (Only those in custody are deserving of individual police protection)

Morris v. Musser, 84 Pa. Cmwth. 170, 478 A.2d 937 (1984)

Calogrides v. Mobile, 475 So. 2d 560 (Ala. 1985); Cal Govt. Code 845

DeShaney v. Winnebago County, 489 U.S. 189 (1989)

In 1980, a divorce court in Wyoming gave custody of Joshua DeShaney, born in 1979, to his father Randy DeShaney, who moved to Winnebago County, Wisconsin. A police report of child abuse and a hospital visit in January, 1983, prompted the county Department of Social Services (DSS) to obtain a court order to keep the boy in the hospital's custody. Three days later, "On the recommendation of a "child protection team," consisting of a pediatrician, a psychologist, a police detective, the county's lawyer, several DSS caseworkers, and various hospital personnel, the juvenile court dismissed the case and returned the boy to the custody of his father." The DSS entered an agreement with the boy's father, and five times throughout 1983, a DSS social worker visited the DeShaney home and recorded suspicion of child abuse and that the father was not complying with the agreement's terms. No action was taken; the DSS also took no action to remove the boy from his father's custody after a hospital reported child abuse suspicions to them in November, 1983. Visits in January and March, 1984, in which the worker was told Joshua was too ill to see her, also resulted in no action. Following the March, 1984, visit, "Randy DeShaney beat 4-year-old Joshua so severely that he fell into a life-threatening coma. Emergency brain surgery revealed a series of hemorrhages caused by traumatic injuries to the head inflicted over a long period of time. Joshua did not die, but he suffered brain damage so severe that he is expected to spend the rest of his life confined to an institution for the profoundly retarded. Randy DeShaney was subsequently tried and convicted of child abuse." Randy DeShaney served less than two years in jail. He currently resides in Appleton, WI.
The court opinion, by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, held that the Due Process Clause protects against state action only, and as it was Randy DeShaney who abused Joshua, a state actor (the Winnebago County Department of Social Services) was not responsible.

Furthermore, they ruled that the DSS could not be found liable, as a matter of constitutional law, for failure to protect Joshua DeShaney from a private actor. Although there exist conditions in which the state (or a subsidiary agency, like a county department of social services) is obligated to provide protection against private actors, and failure to do so is a violation of 14th Amendment rights, the court reasoned "The affirmative duty to protect arises not from the State's knowledge of the individual's predicament or from its expressions of intent to help him, but from the limitation which it has imposed on his freedom to act on his own behalf... it is the State's affirmative act of restraining the individual's freedom to act on his own behalf - through incarceration, institutionalization, or other similar restraint of personal liberty - which is the "deprivation of liberty" triggering the protections of the Due Process Clause, not its failure to act to protect his liberty interests against harms inflicted by other means." Since Joshua DeShaney was not in the custody of the DSS, the DSS was not required to protect him from harm. In reaching this conclusion, the court opinion relied heavily on its precedents in Estelle v. Gamble and Youngberg v. Romeo.

Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005)

During divorce proceedings, Jessica Gonzales, a resident of Castle Rock, Colorado, obtained a restraining order against her husband on June 4, 1999, requiring him to remain at least 100 yards from her and their three daughters except during specified visitation time. On June 22, at approximately 5:15 pm, her husband took possession of the three children in violation of the order. Gonzales called the police at approximately 7:30 pm, 8:30 pm, 10:10 pm, and 12:15 am on June 23, and visited the police station in person at 12:40 am on June 23, 1999. However, the police took no action, despite the husband's having called Gonzales prior to her second call to the police and informing her that he had the children with him at an amusement park in Denver, Colorado. At approximately 3:20 am on June 23, 1999, the husband appeared at the Castle Rock police station and instigated a fatal shoot-out with the police. A search of his vehicle revealed the corpses of the three daughters, whom the husband had killed prior to his arrival.
The Court's majority opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia held that enforcement of the restraining order was not mandatory under Colorado law; were a mandate for enforcement to exist, it would not create an individual right to enforcement that could be considered a protected entitlement under the precedent of Board of Regents of State Colleges v. Roth; and even if there were a protected individual entitlement to enforcement of a restraining order, such entitlement would have no monetary value and hence would not count as property for the Due Process Clause.

Justice David Souter wrote a concurring opinion, using the reasoning that enforcement of a restraining order is a process, not the interest protected by the process, and that there is not due process protection for processes.

Regardless of what the oath they take says, police cannot be held liable for protecting you, John Q. Public from harm. Even from a well-defined threat. Even from a threat for which you obtained a protective order. This isn't new doctrine, either.

See also sovereign immunity and qualified immunity.

(1) - 900k total, 700k who are not detectives, supervisors, managers, fish and game wardens, or transit and railroad police.
(3) /
Read entry | Discuss (116 comments)
Posted by X_Digger in Guns
Thu Jul 22nd 2010, 03:14 PM
We saw it in the wake of Heller. Now we're seeing it in the aftermath of McDonald.

So much spin that someone's looking for an old priest and a young priest.

A little background on Heller- Dick Heller was a licensed special police officer in DC who carried a gun in federal buildings as part of his job. Living in DC in a rather bad part of town with rising crime, he wanted to be able to keep a handgun in his home. Along with five others, he filed suit against the DC code that said that handguns not registered before 1975 could not be kept in a person's home in the district. The District Court dismissed the lawsuit, but on appeal, the Court of Appeals overturned the decision, but said that the only one with standing was Heller.

From their decision:
To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad).

Notice the 'such as'. Heller was seeking to keep a gun in his home, so the decision is narrowly focused in that regard. However, the court, in giving reason as to why it ruled the way it did, opened the door for further challenges not inside the home.

Fast forward to June 26, 2008

From the majority opinion when the SCOTUS ruled on the case:

The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

Again with the 'such as'- what follows being one example of a traditionally lawful purpose. Not the extent, not the 'only' traditionally lawful purpose. In this, the SCOTUS is giving guidance to lower courts as to how they should interpret the decision and apply it henceforth. No, they didn't set a standard of review, and they made sure to mention that this decision "should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms." At face value, they are likely to also hold unconstitutional other restrictions that severely burden (or outright ban) other 'traditionally lawful uses'.

Then comes the spin.

First, the VPC says that that semi-auto handguns can still be banned:

The Court's ruling today does not appear to affect the District's ban on "machine guns," which under DC law includes any gun "which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily converted or restored to shoot semiautomatically, more than 12 shots without manual reloading." This definition would include virtually all semiautomatic handguns. As a result, the District's ban can remain in force for those types of handguns, commonly known as pistols. In essence, the Court's ruling for the most part will only affect revolvers and derringers.

Then the Brady group jump on the bandwagon (or is that ban-wagon?):

For years, the gun lobby has used fear of government gun confiscation to thwart efforts to pass sensible gun laws, arguing that even modest gun laws will lead down the path to a complete ban on gun ownership. Now that the Court has struck down the District's ban on handguns, while making it clear that the Constitution allows for reasonable restrictions on access to dangerous weapons, this 'slippery slope' argument is gone.

In the run up to the McDonald decision, the SCOTUS's text in Heller was stretched to great lengths, and in a few cases, was snapped..

In addition, the Heller right applies only to self-defense in the home, not to carrying guns in public.

Even some respected law scholars took that tack, but not all, by any means:

Plaintiff Dick Anthony Heller only challenged the District’s gun laws as applied to home possession and use of firearms. Accordingly, the Supreme Court did not have to address directly the validity of those laws as they may be applied in public. How should the Court resolve the public possession question, in a case that squarely presents it? Commentators who think, as I do, that the Court erred in Heller, would likely hope that the Court limits the damage by holding that the home is different. But is there a principled basis for doing so?
internal citations removed

Here's the same relevant text from the McDonald decision:

JUSTICE ALITO delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II–A, II–B, II–D, III–A, and III–B, concluding that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment right, recognized in Heller, to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense.

Then after McDonald we got the same spin- /

We are pleased that the Court reaffirmed its language in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment individual right to possess guns in the home for self-defense does not prevent our elected representatives from enacting common-sense gun laws to protect our communities from gun violence. We are reassured that the Court has rejected, once again, the gun lobby argument that its 'any gun, for anybody, anywhere' agenda is protected by the Constitution. The Court again recognized that the Second Amendment allows for reasonable restrictions on firearms, including who can have them and under what conditions, where they can be taken, and what types of firearms are available.

All this, based on the court saying,

We made it clear in Heller that our holding did not cast doubt on such longstanding regulatory measures as "prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill," "laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms." We repeat those assurances here. Despite municipal respondents’ doomsday proclamations, incorporation does not imperil every law regulating firearms.
internal citations omitted

In a way, it makes me smile to see them backpedal and scramble to hold on to any shred of a perceived 'win' based on a certain reading of the decision- aka, "AHA! It's not as bad as this straw man I built up said it would be, and THAT'S A WIN!!!11!! It's HUGH!1!!!1"

It only underlines how marginalized they have become.

eta, forgot one link.
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Posted by X_Digger in Guns
Mon May 10th 2010, 09:31 AM
In the last month, we've had posters claim that it's okay for some people to be armed or have armed guards because they're rich, they're politicians, they're famous, or they deal with large amounts of cash or valuable property (jewels, drugs, bonds, etc).

My question is, how much "value" (financial or political) must one attain before it's "acceptable" that these people can protect themselves?

Here's a scale. Please tell me where you draw the line:

-dog catcher
-city/county clerk
-city council / alderman
-state appointed position (solicitor general, comptroller, etc)
-state representative
-state governor
-federal appointed position
-federal judiciary
-federal representative
-federal senator
-executive branch

-joe six pack
-convenience store clerk
-store manager who makes deposits
-bank teller / jewelry store clerk / drug store clerk
-bank manager / jewelry store owner / pharmacist

I thought about making this a poll, but it's not a 'pick one' kind of question.

Personally, I believe that everyone has the right to defend themselves with the most effective tools available, so my answer would be 'all of the above'.
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Posted by X_Digger in Guns
Mon Feb 15th 2010, 10:52 AM
We hear quite frequently in the gungeon that gunz are so bad because they're 'designed to kill'.

In any listing of causes of death, or accidental injuries, firearms are listed alongside motor vehicles, drownings, falls, or heart disease. There's no asterisk beside firearms with a footnote saying, "Because guns are designed to kill, we ranked them higher."

When discussing public safety and the methods used to kill or injure people, someone will inevitably bring up the stat that more people are killed by cars than firearms. The typical response goes something like, "But cars are for transportation, guns are designed to kill!" From a public safety standpoint, the intent of the designer has no bearing on the discussion IMHO, merely the incidence of harm represented by the indicated means.

So please, enlighten me. Why does the 'original intent' of any tool have any bearing on the relative safety of the tool? I would assert that if we're going to talk purpose, it's not the intended purpose of the original designer that is important, rather the purpose to which the tool is actually applied.

Then we can discuss the different purposes to which firearms are applied, and compare the relative incidence of usage, one purpose to another (use in crime vs self-defense vs target shooting) or incidence of one purpose of guns versus other tools for that same purpose (guns vs knives in crime).
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