Be sure to vote, I am curious where most atheists stand on this issue.

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There is no question that guns are dangerous, as are knives and a number of other substances and devices. There is also no question that the introduction of such into the home or the community increases the number of injuries and deaths accordingly. These all have been the subject of previous study and statistical analysis both in the U.S. and internationally. It has also been shown that these items are often easily made, often with surprising quality and effectiveness by otherwise unskilled individuals and the knowledge to do so is ubiquitous making effective control of the distribution of such often difficult or impossible. 

In the case of guns in the U.S. is a particularly interesting example of this. In this nation the number of the guns per capita is currently the highest in the world (at least according to Wikipedia). Based on the currently available international data gun deaths in the U.S. are also among the highest in the world (though certainly not THE highest). What has not been presented so far is the ratio of gun deaths to the number of guns in a particular nation. What little statistical data I have personally seen reflects a rather tiny portion of the U.S. causing a disproportional number of gun deaths. Currently available data indicates the vast majority of U.S. citizens who are also gun owners are typically law abiding and not given to extreme violence. It is this group that is the source of social and legal push-back on gun control for the simple reason that the feel that they are being punished for the misdeeds of the very few. "Gun control" is not actually directed at the guns themselves but at the people who currently own, or may own in the future, firearms.It's a simplistic and emotional response to a complex social problem that ignores other civil rights of the persons affected. It violates a fundamental principle of American law that U.S. citizens are not the subjects of the state (yes, this principle has been, and often continues to be violated, but that does not create any justification for doing it). The currently presented gun control paradigm as a means of reducing the number of needless deaths needs to be re-examined and an alternative solution developed (absolute prevention of such is likely a fallacy). Such a solution would have to accept the presence of guns ownership by a large portion of the population. This may not be the desirable for some people but it is a legal and social reality at the moment.  

I just heard in KY, some 5 year old got a rifle as a gift and shot his 2 year old sister dead. What fool would give a real rifle to a 5 year old?

Here's the Link 

Sad and tragic.

I'm trying to remember when I first shot a gun...I was probably 6 or 7 years old...I got my first rifle while I was still in grade school.  It was a single shot 22, similar to the one this 5 year old boy had. I didn't shoot my sister with it, so I guess my parents must have taught me gun safety.

The parents apparently said they didn't know the gun was loaded. 

Well, gee, I wonder who loaded it if one of them didn't? I'm suppose it's possible the 5 year old did, but I doubt it. 

Who gives a 5 year old a real rifle for their birthday. Well, I saw a view of the kid's home. It was a mobile home, which brings out every "trailer trash" stereotype in my mind. The dad and mom probably entertain themselves by shooting beer cans off each other's heads. Or...maybe off their kids' heads. Hmm...maybe the boy didn't do it at all!

I took an oath years ago as a U.S. Federal officer to support the Constitution (per Article VI, Clasue 3) and as a consequence I've spent nearly 30 years studying the U.S. Constitution and related case law. I've done peer-reviewed analysis of the same. My formal conclusion as to gun ownership is that it is protected by more than just the Second Article of Amendment of the United States Constitution (yeah, that's it's full name). This involves some advanced law but in the simplest form our government per the first U.S. Supreme Court (whose members included two members of the Constitution Convention, one of whom was a signer of the Declaration of Independence) our nation is supposed to be something called a "popular sovereignty". Technically every U.S. citizen, separately and individually (according to the ruling of our first Chief Justice, John Jay), were sovereign and more so than our state and Federal goverments. The speculation among professional legal scholars is that the reason this issue has rarely come up in court is that it's so radical, but it has been brought several times over the centuries by the courts themselves. U.S. citizens as a consequence have sovereign rights, not merely common law rights or constitutional rights (but the last two are part of their general legal protections). As a matter of fact this June I'll be presenting this as an argument in a civil case (and I can take all the encouragementa and positive advice I can get right now - this is a scary argument to present!). The 2nd does mostly exist to protect the existence of a popular militia even though the language of the amendment does not restrict it soley to that purpose. 

Often times people will point out abuses of the right of gun ownership/possession as the justification for regulating such and ignore the fundamental legal and other errors for that position. They seek to make the ends justify the means. The fact that human beings can, and will, abuse their liberties does not justify removing them. Once you begin trying to find a way to end or limit any right or legal protection of any U.S. citizen or class of such then you have begun to do precisely that - to justify the ending or limiting of any right or legal protection of any U.S. citizen or class of such. This is a VERY dangerous step no matter how compelling the reason might seem at the moment.

Richard,

Thank you for introducing reason to this dogmatic-belief-versus-dogmatic-belief discussion.

Hm-mm, dogmatic-belief-versus-dogmatic-belief discussion. Isn't that the kind of discussion religious folk have?

Folks, it's been fun. I'm going to stop following this discussion. Ya'll be kind to y'selves.

Actually driving is NOT a privilege :) That's a common legal fallacy. SCOTUS has said that the use of the common right-of-ways by commonly available means is actually a right. There is something else going on legally with a "driver's license" that has nothing to do with your use of the roads with a vehicle.- Richard E. Robertson

In common usage the word driving generally means motoring, which is not a right at all, but a revocable privilege. I think that's the way it was intended and used here: not as driving but as motoring. And motoring is not a right by a long shot. Not under the US Constitution anyway. 

Travel is a right. Using the roadways for travel is a right. All motoring is driving, but not all driving is motoring.

For instance, in some states (such as Massachusetts) a bicycle is legally considered to be a vehicle and operating it on a public way is legally considered to be driving. In other states, (such as New York) legally a bicycle is not considered to be a vehicle (it's a "device") and operating one isn't considered to be driving. Yet in both states a cyclist has the right to travel and use the roadways.

Ah, the bicycle. No license, insurance, registration, inspection or myriad special conditions of maintenance that must be met. No forms to fill out down at the Department of Motor Vehicles to get all of these things. You've already got everything you need to ride a bicycle.

I didn't confuse the issue or the terminology. "Commonly available means" means just that. Car, bicycle, motorcycle, scooter, tricycle, walking, running, wheelchair... Trying to qualify that as "motoring" is an attempt at compartmentalization. Now if you distinguished between private and commercial usage then you would have an argument, but I should have clarified that I meant it was a fallacy with regards to private activity and not as part of a business activity (which IS subject to direct regulation).

I didn't confuse the issue or the terminology.

Of course you did.

I was the first to suggest a comparison between the responsibilities of firearm ownership and driving in this thread. I referred specifically to driving motor vehicles. It's been mentioned several times since then. If you actually thought this referred to runners, wheelchairs and tricycles-- which I find difficult to believe, but whatever Richard-- I assure you: you couldn't possibly be any more confused about the issue or why I raised it.

The courts, including the Supreme Court, use the word driving in numerous rulings as understood to mean driving a motor vehicle, although they do generally specify it (as I did).

Here is a quote from MILLER v. REED, which references the Supreme Court cases DIXON v. LOVE, MACKEY v MONTRYM, and BELL v. BURSON all of which established driving (a motor vehicle) is privilege not a right.

"Miller does not have a fundamental 'right to drive.' In Dixon v. Love, 431 U.S. 105, 112-16, 97 S.Ct. 1723, 52 L.Ed.2d 172 (1977), the Supreme Court held that a state could summarily suspend or revoke the license of a motorist who had been repeatedly convicted of traffic offenses with due process satisfied by a full administrative hearing available only after the suspension or revocation had taken place.   The Court conspicuously did not afford the possession of a driver's license the weight of a fundamental right.  In sum, Miller does not have a fundamental right to drive a motor vehicle, and the DMV did not unconstitutionally impede his right to interstate travel by denying him a driver's license."

To clear up any additional confusion: I meant driving to mean driving a motor vehicle. I believe the others who have mentioned driving in this thread meant it in the same way. And driving a motor vehicle is a revocable privilege not a right. There is no distinction made between driving for private and business activity. 

@Gregg - I just feel so sorry for people like this. It makes one wonder, what has happened to them. Maybe they didn't get a smiley face on the back of their hand, or maybe they were bullied at school, and got a wedgie.

I think this person and I may just have to wait for New Years Eve, and see if a ball drops.

Why else would this sad man need so many guns. Major, major appendage extension.

At least he is ready for said masked marauder to come into his home.

Maybe that is it - he wasn't allowed to be Batman as a child.

Do meet with this man Gregg, maybe you can find out what has gone wrong in his life, what childhood trauma he has suffered, let's hope he just doesn't grunt. I wonder if he also wrestles 'gators.

I do know there are a few people like this sad man in Australia, who has slipped through the cracks, and feels it is imperative to have this many guns.

People keep saying we have evolved etc. etc. but obviously not enough. Men have a misconception that having a gun or lots of guns make them more manly, when in fact, intelligent, the truly evolved male, knows, that to get a lot of women, all they have to do is make them laugh. Why are there so many male comedians than female, ''cause that is the true challenge to men - to have a sense of humour, put on earth to entertain the female.

There is the man who doesn't need extensions to his manhood to drool over and polish, constantly.

And of course, he will also have it made if he has a Harley. He may have to keep a stick by his side to keep the women away, no need for guns :)

@Suzanne Olson-Hyde;

LOL that was funny, thanks I needed a chuckle. :D

Suzanne, I now dub you The Queen of Stereotypes. You just love dropping generalizations about Americans, about men, about gun owners, and about many other things I'd be able to name if I knew you a little better.

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