Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A New Concept for Gun Control

My good buddy AD has a post today about gun control and the Second Amendment in which he references a post by another good buddy of his, Mule Breath. Between the two of them they wax rhapsodic on the Rights of Americans to own guns, and blast any attempts at gun control with slippery slope arguments about "first they ban these guns, then those, etc." The point is also made that laws apply only to the law-abiding -- by definition, in fact -- and will not deter the criminal element in their quest to obtain and use firearms. This is true.

There appears to be an assumption that the essence of "law-abiding" as applied to gun ownership refers to the concept of "time and place." There are safety rules at shooting ranges, are there not? If you're not allowed to shoot in the lobby, doesn't that "limit your rights"? They have posted hours of operation, do they not? I notice that you don't get all hot and bothered at the idea that your "rights" are limited by the hours that the range is open. Time and place, fellas; time and place.

I would like to propose a new approach that should pass muster even with the most die-hard of you 2A supporter-types. Instead of regulating the "who" and "when" (background checks; gun licenses) and the "what" (which guns) how about simply restricting the "where."

How about this: No guns allowed within the city limits of Philadelphia (New York; Los Angeles; whatever municipality you wish.)

The fact of the matter -- frequently overlooked/ignored by gun proponents -- is that firearms are responsible for a truly appalling amount of urban carnage in cities all over the United States. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has been quoted responding to those protesting gun control by saying, "I have the right not to be shot." Frankly, in the context of urban living, I believe the right not to be shot trumps the rights of every Tom, Dick and Rasheem to own enough firepower to subdue Mogadishu.

Make all guns illegal within city limits. All guns; all gun shops; no guns in the city, period. It may not work right away, but it turns out that perilously few urban shootings are actually the result of law-abiding gun owners using firearms to "protect" themselves against bona fide criminal activity. Over a very short time the carnage would fall dramatically.

Want to shoot? Keep your guns at the range -- outside the city. Don't like it? Move. Simple as that.

There is ample precedent for such local ordinances. Want to contract legally with a prostitute? Only in Nevada. Gambling is similarly regulated. Why the big deal over firearm control on a geographic basis?

It would be inconsistent for 2A whack jobs proponents to object to this idea while accepting other limitations on gun use. AD, wouldn't you be upset if someone left a handgun lying around at KatyBeth's school? (I know that KB knows better than to mishandle it, but can you say the same for every kid in the school? How about the spawn of the idjit that brought it in the first place?) You all seem to accept that gun ownership comes with responsibilities. You even pay lip service to the fact that not every gun owner fulfills those responsibilities. I believe the creation of geographic areas where guns are not allowed would create an acceptable balance between the rights of gun owners and users, and those who prefer not to be exposed to the dangers of the misuse of firearms.

There is absolutely no chance of any slippery slope argument with this approach either. There is no way any of these gun-free zones would ever be expanded one millimeter beyond where the inhabitants want them, because all of the gun nuts law-abiding gun-owning citizens regularly elect like-minded legislators. That's the problem in Pennsylvania at the moment. The pro-gun legislators in the middle of the state have passed laws prohibiting municipalities such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh from passing any such laws. After all, it's not their children being gunned down on the way to school.

So there you go: a rational attempt to balance the right to own guns with the right not to be shot. After all, what's the difference between a hunting license and prohibiting guns within a certain geographic? Reasonable regulation.

39 Comments:

At Thu Feb 05, 12:30:00 PM, Blogger GeorgeH said...

"How about this: No guns allowed within the city limits of Philadelphia (New York; Los Angeles; whatever municipality you wish.)"


How is this different from NYC, Chicago or Washington DC today? It's a law obeyed only by the honest.
Are the people there safer in any way than those in Atlanta, Houston, or Miami?

 
At Thu Feb 05, 12:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't live in hunting country, do you? Where are hunters supposed to keep their guns?

I know a fair number of people (living in a city) who provide most of their family's meat "needs" through hunting. Should they just turn to tofu? (And if they do, what will you say to farmers whose crops are significantly damaged by deer overpopulation?)

(I totally support gun regulations, but I don't think geographic regulation would work in practice.)

 
At Thu Feb 05, 01:04:00 PM, Blogger Ambulance Driver said...

"Make all guns illegal within city limits. All guns; all gun shops; no guns in the city, period."

Um... you're kidding, right?

Please tell me this is just a momentary glitch in an otherwise sharp mind, that allowed an inelegant troll to somehow slip past your logic filter.

They've tried such a thing before, Dino. It was called Prohibition. How did that work out?

In fact, one might even say the first legislative restrictions on firearms came about as an unintended consequence of that misguided government attempt to ban something bad for you, except that it was - wait for it - criminals killing other criminal with Thompson submachine guns.

And it certainly didn't keep those criminals from obtaining more weapons, any more than Prohibition kept people from drinking.

As afr as total gun bans, they've tried that as well. Chicago. Washington, DC. New York. Massachussetts. California.

All with severely restrictive gun laws, or outright bans. DC vs Heller nullified that particular gun ban in the nation's capitol. Chicago still clings to theirs in defiance of the Supreme Court.

And before you say that those draconian gun bans didn't ban *all* guns under *any* circumstances, I'll say you're right.

Problem is, short of erecting a magic barrier that vaporizes all guns upon entering the city limits, how do you propose to enforce such a ban, in such a way that denies *all* people access to guns, not just the law-abiding?

The answer is, you can't. It's not even within the realm of wishful thinking. It's never going to happen. Gun bans will not keep criminals from obtaining guns, and thus will be ineffective at reducing gun violence.

Let's couch your argument in more familiar terms - like your support for a smoking ban. Now expand that smoking ban to include the privacy of a person's home. All tobacco becomes illegal within the city limits of Philadelphia.

That's reasonable, right? After all, smoking and alcohol abuse kill far more people than guns, both directly and indirectly. It's for the public good, right?

Now tell me how to enforce such a ban without trampling all over the rest of the Constitution.

Mayor Nutter is right in that he has the right not to be shot. But it does not trump the rights of every Tom, Dick and Rasheem to own enough weapons to subdue Mogadishu, provided Tom, Dick and Rasheem aren't actively trying to use those weapons to subdue Mogadishu.

They already have laws against that kind of thing, you know. And the beauty is, that law can be applied to guns, knives, rocks, sharp sticks, motor vehicles, poison or what have you.

Wish as you may, banning a thing is not going to work, and laws against the act are already on the books. Enforce them.

I'm not one of those 2A whackjobs who stands on the street corner screaming "shall not be infringed!" bedecked in full militia regalia. I'm a reasonable man. I've never harmed another person in my life, other than in self defense.

The problem is, whenever someone proposes reasonable restrictions on firearms ownership, their definition of "reasonable" isn't up for debate. They are usually rather unreasonable in their demands.

 
At Thu Feb 05, 01:18:00 PM, Blogger Peter said...

Dinosaur,

If you ban legal possession of handguns in cities, such as Chicago, then only the law-breakers will have the guns. Chicago has had the handgun ban for decades, but it is now the murder capital of the United States.

It is precisely the illogical notion that banning guns gets rid of guns which has caused so much danger and fear in Chicago.

 
At Thu Feb 05, 01:35:00 PM, Blogger #1 Dinosaur said...

Okay, AD; try this:

You claim that geographic bans don't work.

Fine.

So prohibiting guns in schools is unconstitutional.

Same principle; larger area.

I'm not talking about banning guns; just restricting where they can be. I'm not addressing enforcement either. Of course it would be difficult. No more difficult than trying to enforce the current laws against the illegal use of guns. The problem with places like Philly is neighborhoods held hostage by bad guys with firearms who go out and shoot anyone who dares testify against them. Kinda hard to talk about enforcing laws when doing the right thing gets you killed.

By the way, I'm not the one supporting the smoking ban. That's HH's meshugas.

Prohibition failed nationally, but it's alive and working quite well on smaller scales (think "dry" college dorms, etc.)

One size doesn't have to fit all. Why is prostitution legal in Nevada and not elsewhere? Last time I looked, the same Constitution applied to them as to the rest of us. You can argue Constitutional law until you're blue in the face while real children are dying every day on the streets of Philly for the "crime" of going out to get a pizza and getting caught in the crossfire on the way home.

There has to be a middle ground. Just because it's hard to find does not mean we have to option of not trying.

 
At Thu Feb 05, 01:53:00 PM, OpenID crankylitprof said...

Prohibition failed nationally, but it's alive and working quite well on smaller scales (think "dry" college dorms, etc.)

You're kidding, right? While. Another "good in theory/on paper" idea, but NO campus is dry.

Hell, we had a dozen freshmen sickened by smuggling their booze in in laundry soap containers!

It's not working at all, and it's a damn-near unenforceable ban.

 
At Thu Feb 05, 02:06:00 PM, Blogger #1 Dinosaur said...

CLP: I didn't say "Campus", I said "dorms." There are small enclaves where the inhabitants prefer to exclude certain activities. Note the emphasis on "the inhabitants." There are also "quiet" dorms where people can congregate who are serious about their studies, and "party" dorms where others can go.

It's all about self-rule.

Cities are unable to pass ordinances that fit their needs because folks who don't live there (and whose children aren't being shot walking to school) get their diapers in a bunch. No municipal handgun restrictions are going to take one gun out of the hands of any hunter.

 
At Thu Feb 05, 02:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly Dino - It's all about self-rule.

Not gov't imposed rule.

The problem with the world is the people. NOT the stuff(guns) in it. Safety only comes when individuals take responsibility for themselves. And that's something you unfortunately can't mandate. That's what survival of the fittest was all about.

 
At Thu Feb 05, 04:55:00 PM, Blogger Lazlo said...

First off, I am a gun owner, a supporter of gun rights, and generally a staunch supporter of the constitution.

That said, I do sort of agree with you. Although I'm generally in awe of the perceptiveness of the authors of the US Constitution, I'd have to say one of my little gripes is that I believe if anything, the first amendment should say "shall not be infringed" and the second should say "congress shall pass no law", although after the 14th amendment, it doesn't really matter much anyhow. I understand that there are people who want safety at any cost. Others want freedom at any cost. It would be really nice to make it so that they each had places to go to live.

The one issue I have is practicality. Schools can mostly keep guns out. They also have strict controls. Unlike Philadelphia, not just anyone can wander into a school. Many of them also do searches (or at least metal screening) on students (and presumably teachers?) on their way in. Although I'd be perfectly happy for Philadelphia to put up a fence, post armed guards, and do searches at the city entrance, I don't think it's particularly practical to do so. I wouldn't be so happy if they did that where I live, because then I'd have to sell my house, which would really suck in this market. Although, maybe if they did it, there'd be such a demand for land here from anti-gun activists that I'd be able to move easily.

On a smaller scale, it'd probably be easier. There already exist gated communities. Add a gun prohibition, and a guard at the gate, and you'll be in better shape. If that "community" is big enough to support its own school, then the inhabitants don't have to worry about their kids walking to school (at least, when it comes to guns. Cars, knives, fists, lightning, salmonella, and global thermonuclear war are still a danger.) Make it even bigger, and it could include enough retail that you wouldn't have to worry about guns on the way to the store. Eventually, make it the size of a city, or of a state. Hopefully not a nation. In theory, as these areas enlarge, anti-gun proponents and pro-gun proponents become segregated from one another and concentrated until they reach a nice equilibrium where they both make up a strong majority in their own region. That's worked well with prostitution, gambling, and motorcycle helmets, not so much with drugs, religion, and speed limits.

Personally, I'd be pretty happy if all of PA was walled off and made completely gun-free. Hopefully local gun opponents would react more favorably to being told "Why don't you just move to PA?" than they do to being told "Why don't you just move to UK or Canada?" or any of the other countries with much more strict gun control. If it turned out to be safe, I'd probably even visit now and then, and leave my guns at home.

 
At Thu Feb 05, 05:45:00 PM, Anonymous Adam said...

I really like your blog, but I think you wrong on this one. You put up an interesting argument, but you failed to address the fundamental question about how this keeps guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them. People intent on doing others harm don't give a damn if it is "banned". Crack and marijuana are banned in geographical areas, but people who want it can get it. Guns aren't that different. There are so many guns in this country that it just isn't possible to keep them out of the hands of people who want them. In theory, your argument is sound, but practically, it's DOA.

 
At Thu Feb 05, 09:56:00 PM, Blogger Lazlo said...

I do think this is interesting. It kinda ties together two of my strong beliefs. On the one hand, I'm strongly against gun control, but on the other I'm also very strongly against monoculture. Much as the best test of a commitment to the freedom of speech is ones desire to permit speech that one finds abhorrent, so I see that my desire for diversity is put to the test when confronted with suggestions such as yours. Fortunately, I do not find it wanting.

 
At Thu Feb 05, 11:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that declares "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.

Now what part of the second amendment of the US Bill of Rights don't you understand dino?

 
At Thu Feb 05, 11:28:00 PM, Blogger Sevesteen said...

I have a license, and carry a gun legally almost every day. You can control me with laws. If gun possession is a felony in an area, I won't have a gun in that area, even if the likelihood of being caught is effectively zero.

Armed or not, I'm not the kind of people you have to worry about. Most of us with licenses are similar--our rate of serious crime is statistically 5 to 10 times lower than average, and even somewhat lower than police. If the problem was with the guns, we wouldn't do nearly as well.

The people you do need to worry about are already ignoring existing laws. A drive-by shooting in Ohio violates a huge number of laws, even before the first shot is fired--It is illegal to touch a gun while in an operating motor vehicle, illegal to have a loaded gun in a vehicle without a carry license, illegal to conceal a gun without a license, illegal for a felon to touch a gun at all. Most of these crimes are felonies.

In most cities there are a very few people responsible for most of the gun violence. Quit sending the police after petty drug crimes, and concentrate on tracking these people down.

 
At Fri Feb 06, 08:58:00 AM, Blogger #1 Dinosaur said...

What never occurred to the Founding Fathers, who all spoke and understood Latin, was how quickly a classical education would fall by the wayside. The grammatical construction of the Second Amendment states clearly that the bearing of arms (the kind that should not be infringed) was in the context of a well-regulated militia. All this kerfuffle about gun ownership stems from willful ignorance of this fact.

 
At Fri Feb 06, 09:13:00 AM, Anonymous Vetnurse said...

I do not speak latin but what l understood about the constitution is in the last comment about militia and right to bear arms during war.

It seems to me from an outsiders point of view that the "we will carry guns" are not willing to discuss anything but. The "unwilling to carry guns" are willing to discuss and compromise.

UK used to have sensible laws until Dunblain then they went the other way and now they have the 'alcohol prohabition problem'. More illegal guns than there was legal and no control.

 
At Fri Feb 06, 09:34:00 AM, Blogger Sevesteen said...

I'm ignorant of many things, but not willfully. In modern language, what does the second amendment protect? I cannot think of a militia or "collective rights" interpretation that leaves anything significant protected, let alone enough protected to be part of the bill of rights.

 
At Fri Feb 06, 10:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're a doctor, you should know how to properly evaluate the evidence. Go do some research on the effects gun control laws have. There is absolutely no evidence that any gun control law ever reduced crime at all. The debate among economists is whether allowing concealed carry reduces or has no effect on crime, with the majority of the evidence pointing toward reduction. Even the CDC under Clinton couldn't find any data to support the notion that gun control reduces crime.

 
At Fri Feb 06, 10:43:00 AM, Blogger Ambulance Driver said...

"The grammatical construction of the Second Amendment states clearly that the bearing of arms (the kind that should not be infringed) was in the context of a well-regulated militia."

And in the day that amendment was drafted, Dino, the well-regulated militia was...the citizenry.

That would be us, since the document predates the formation of, or even the concept of, the National Guard.

The Founding Fathers intended an armed citizenry, and the 2008 Supreme Court has affirmed that.

And while I decry the decline of classical education like you do, don't you think that nine Supreme Court Justices, all with juris doctorates and decades of experience in jurisprudence, are capable of interpreting a linguistic nuance or two.

Hell, they're lawyers, Dino. That's all they do.

 
At Fri Feb 06, 12:44:00 PM, Anonymous Satanam in computatrum said...

"UK used to have sensible laws until Dunblain then they went the other way and now they have the 'alcohol prohabition problem'. More illegal guns than there was legal and no control."

This is something to consider, Dino. The UK is an island...much easier to control what gets in and out than a city, I would think. And yet, "More illegal guns than there was legal and no control" is their result from implementing a policy along the lines of what you propose.

Likewise, we don't have to theorize on the results of gun control like what you describe. There are ample historical records of what happens when the government has all the weaponry (whether guns, swords or whatnot). And this is what would be created, just on the scale of Philadelphia instead of a whole nation. Tell me - how do those historical records skew? Not well for us plain folk, I believe.

Human beings are violent, often predatory, animals. Banning their tools will not change their nature, or erase the innocents hurt by it. It merely renders the sheepdogs toothless against the wolves. Personally, I put far more value in protecting the right of the 5'4" 100 lb female college student who might successfully use her gun to protect herself from her 6'5" 300 lb male attacker than I do in passing yet more laws for the gangbangers to ignore.

 
At Fri Feb 06, 09:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the militia act of 1903 specifies who in the US is the militia. Every male age 17-60. So, only the adult males (and every adult male is armed. Works for me.

Glorfindel

 
At Fri Feb 06, 10:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two questions for the conversation -

1. What do you folks propose for controlling illegal access/use of guns?

2. Are there any significant statistics on the use of fire arms by private citizens in successful self-defense/rescue of unarmed civilians against armed assaults?

Having lived in a major city I understand the desire to limit weapons (note: not specifying type of weapon). No school kid should have to go through a metal detector at the entrance. Having lived in an area with lots of hunters and recreational shooters, I can see why those folks are loathe to give them up.

What is a good solution? Or a good direction in which to move? This question isn't going to go away, so what can be done that improves the situation for everyone?

R

 
At Sat Feb 07, 12:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said ambulance driver what dino and his classical education did consider was the era the second amendment was written.

 
At Sat Feb 07, 01:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry "did not"

 
At Sat Feb 07, 04:11:00 AM, Anonymous Vetnurse said...

The thing everyone seems to miss is that it was written a what couple of hundred years ago. Time has moved on.

The people that wrote it would probably be horrified at what is happening today and how, what was done in dangerous times to protect when there was nothing no law enforcement, has been justified and the outcome of deaths and misuse of their words that there is today.

I wonder what the people that wrote it all those years ago would wrote if they wrote it today.

I now await either sensible comments or screams of outrage.

 
At Sat Feb 07, 01:54:00 PM, Blogger Pink said...

My husband is a huge proponent of his right to bear arms. He talks with a lot of folks about this.

One interesting conversation he had was with a lawyer. This lawyer stated that it isn't the guns that are going to be regulated, it is the bullet. Each bullet is going to be etched with a unique identifiable serial number.

 
At Sat Feb 07, 03:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The thing everyone seems to miss is that it was written a what couple of hundred years ago. Time has moved on."

The fallacy of your argument is the simple fact that the US Constitution is a document that CAN AN IS changed via the amendment process. Is it easy..no. Nor is it meant to be. It requires 2/3 vote by congress and agreement of 3/4 of state's leg. But witness the end of slavery and universal suffrage. It is not a perfect document, but it is the best we have and in the grand scheme of things the insight of those often slave-holding wealthy white males of 1787 is rather awesome.

 
At Sat Feb 07, 03:44:00 PM, Blogger Sevesteen said...

Vetnurse:

Time has moved on since the entire bill of rights was written. Doesn't make it less valid, and there's been time to change the constitution, too.

I suspect that the authors would have clarified along the lines that the average citizen had the right to the arms of a common infantryman.

Pink:

There are proposals to put serial numbers on bullets--Most have been pushed by the company that has a patent on the method. Luckily none have come close to passing.

This is an example of a law that would affect the law abiding far more than criminals. It is trivial to defeat--Every hardware store has the tools needed to disassemble, remove the serial number and reassemble ammo. Current ammo would become illegal, and there's a really good chance that many if not most gun owners would have a round or two in a corner they have forgotten about.

 
At Sat Feb 07, 09:15:00 PM, Blogger Bram said...

"Common sense" regulations, as defined by the Brady's actually make no sense.

It isn't the legal gun owners that are problem, yet those are the ones who are regulated. Gun free zones, better known as Criminal Empowerment Zones (CEZ), only serve to prevent the law abiding from having the means to protect themselves and ensuring that criminals have the upper hand. As mentioned above, CEZs such as Chicago, Washington DC and Virginia Tech shouldn't have had any gun crimes, yet they do. Clearly big "No guns allowed" signs aren't going to stop gun crime.

Instead of new legislation, how about better enforcement? It is already illegal to conduct Straw purchases, sell to felon or someone under 18, carry without a license (in most states), plus more. Why not add significant penalties to these crimes and step up enforcement efforts? The NRA has actually spearheaded efforts in this regard, especially in Chicago. This way we target criminals and not the law abiding.

 
At Sun Feb 08, 07:41:00 AM, Blogger scalpel said...

I'm more saddened and disappointed by this post than I was after seeing the picture of Michael Phelps with the bong.

 
At Sun Feb 08, 02:04:00 PM, Blogger Shay said...

Dear Dino: Way to generate some dialogue!

We badly need to rethink our position on firearms in this country. There's a common-sense middle road here that must be found. Arming everyone is not the answer any more than dis-arming anyone is (although it would be interesting to see what effect draconian gun laws have had on violent crime in the UK and Australia...anybody got any reliable stats?)

 
At Mon Feb 09, 08:32:00 AM, Anonymous James Wilk M.D. said...

Own a gun! See how fun it is when your kid accidently shoots his little sister! The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has reviewed the current medical research on the subject and concluded that if you have children, it is safer not to have a gun in your home. http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;105/4/888

When researchers studied the 30,000 accidental gun deaths of Americans of all ages that occurred between 1979-1997, they found that preschoolers aged 0-4 were 17 times more likely to die from a gun accident in the 4 states with the most guns versus the 4 states with the least guns. Likewise, school kids aged 5-14 were over 13 times more at risk of accidental firearm death in the states with high gun ownership rates. The findings indicate that gun availability is associated with accidental death by shooting ( Miller, M, Azrael, D and Hemenway, D. Firearm availability and unintentional firearm deaths. Accident Analysis & Prevention 2001; 33:477-484).

Being a physician is not consistent with advocating for the right to own firearms, for the ownership of firearms.

What's wrong with America?! We go ape-s**t over Vioxx but don't care a bit about the death of children from firearms?! What's wrong with people????

 
At Mon Feb 09, 12:16:00 PM, Blogger Sevesteen said...

Dr Wilk

Lots of problems with the statistics in the link. Many of the "children" are teenage gang members or drug dealers.

The "43 times more likely to kill someone known to the family" is particularly flawed. It includes criminals with guns, responsible for the majority of the deaths. It only counts killing an attacker as "success", ignoring the 98% of the time when a criminal leaves when faced with a gun. It includes defending yourself against someone you know.

I've followed up on recent "child gun death" cases that I've become aware of. In virtually every case, there are other severe risk factors reported--Felons living in the house, history of domestic violence, drugs, or an unemployed boyfriend babysitting a child not related to him.

If you have the common sense of a turnip, you can safely have guns and children in the same home. Guns MUST be locked up whenever they are not in the direct physical control of a responsible adult. Period. Unloaded is not good enough, hidden is not good enough, a high shelf is not good enough, a trigger lock is not good enough. If you cannot do that, then you should not have either guns OR children.

 
At Mon Feb 09, 06:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr Wilk:
Ever heard of a gunsafe or a triggerlock? Please don't tell me what a doc can or cannot do in your socialistic world-view

 
At Tue Feb 10, 08:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, these 0-4 year-old children are gang-bangers and drug dealers. Got it. It all makes sense to me now. Thanks.

 
At Tue Feb 10, 06:27:00 PM, Blogger . said...

Dr. Wilk, did you read the study that you linked to? It summarizes the costs of access to firearms to society but does not even mention the benefits. If you read a medical study that only addressed the costs, but not the benefits, of a medication, would you consider that a valid study? The "study" reads more like a political statement.

You should look at the data in Gary Kleck's book, Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control. The data supports the idea that almost all of those accidental firearm death occur in a small subpopulation of people with criminal histories and other risk factors.

In fact, while the death of any child is a tragedy, the scope of the problem is vastly overstated.

If you compare accidental firearm deaths to accidental drownings in pools, the risk of owning a pool is many many times more than the risk of owning a firearm.

The amount of kids under 5 killed my cars is in the thousands, if not tens of thousands, most years, while the amount killed accidentally by firearms is far far lower, usually in the low tens.

You need to do an honest evaluation of the data before linking to what appears to be a politically driven study in which the data do not support the conclusions.

 
At Tue Feb 10, 07:17:00 PM, Blogger Sevesteen said...

Anon:

The overwhelming majority of "child gun deaths" are teens of gang age. The total number of gun deaths among children 4 and under is around 60 per year, according to the CDC, split between those ruled accidental and murder.

If you investigate further, you will find that the 0-4 gun death rate is very nearly zero among law-abiding middle class families. Poverty and crime are far bigger risk factors, and not just in this age group.

 
At Fri Feb 13, 02:08:00 AM, Anonymous Nathan said...

All of these arguments supporting gun control seem to be based on anecdotal evidence and emotions or politics. I have a simple challenge for anyone who supports gun control.

Can you show me proof of any gun control law, that restricted the access of average citizens to handguns, and caused a demonstrable increase in safety or decrease in crime?

 
At Sun Mar 01, 06:55:00 PM, Blogger dr_dredd said...

"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."

When it comes to the 2nd Amendment, it seems like we're neglecting something important. We're arguing about the context of the right to keep and bear arms and what the meaning of militia is.

But what about the "well-regulated" part?

It seems to me that this gives support to a wide variety of gun control laws. (Including a total ban on assault weapons. No one would suggest that an individual army unit have total control of a nuclear weapon, so what's the problem with deciding a certain type of firearm is off limits?)

It would fit with Dino's notion of geographic restrictions. Different locations can decide for themselves what "well-regulated" means.

(Disclaimer: I have not read the full text of DC v. Heller, so for all I know, this could have been addressed there.)

 
At Mon Mar 02, 03:34:00 AM, Anonymous Nathan said...

In the language of the time, well-regulated meant well-trained or well-disciplined troops. It has nothing to do with restrictions on the right of the people to keep & bear arms.

I don't think many people think that the right to keep and bear arms extends to nuclear weapons. "Arms" in that context generally refers to weapons that can be carried.

But if you support the assault weapons ban, you obviously are not very knowledgeable about firearms. "Assault weapons" as defined by the assault weapons ban are not functionally different from hunting rifles. The only differences are cosmetic. Even the CDC under Clinton couldn't find any evidence that the assault weapons ban lowered crime.

You should read the amici briefs, they are truly enlightening.

 

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