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Wed, April 18th, 2007   #1
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Default I predicted this...

Chow from the Virginia Tech shooting had a background in a mental institution and was not eligible to even purchase a hand gun!! He was classified by the Virginia board of health as a danger to him self and others.

But stupid Salem dumb shit had to sell him a gun anyway.. I'm predicting now the 10 or so people in this town with half a brain are going to hang Mr. gun store clerk up Jesus style. I for one and getting my spear ready..
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Wed, April 18th, 2007   #2
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That's not true actually, he had gone to the mental institution willingly, and only involuntary institutionalizations make you unable to buy handguns in Virginia.
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Wed, April 18th, 2007   #3
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That may be true, but at the institution declared that he was a danger to himself and even though it isn't a law he shouldn't have been allowed to have a gun.
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Wed, April 18th, 2007   #4
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Originally Posted by A Black Falcon
That's not true actually, he had gone to the mental institution willingly, and only involuntary institutionalizations make you unable to buy handguns in Virginia.
In 2003 he was involuntarily committed by a counselor at Virginia tech who had concerns about the safety of students and staff and to him self. While involuntary committed and undergoing treatment he was legally deemed a treat to himself and others making the purchase of a hand gun illegal.

Source: Breaking News NPR Public Radio
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #5
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The judge didn't order him institutionalized though, he was put on out-patient because he didn't deem him to be a threat.
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #6
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He didn't buy from a gun shop, he bought from a pawn shop. Pawn shops need to be licensed to sell guns, and I'm assuming that license will be revoked following this, but you know pawn shops are. If you have money, and what you want is there, it's yours.
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #7
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NRA's arguing that the gun control laws are strong enough as they are. I guess the words "WORST SCHOOL SHOOTING IN AMERICAN HISTORY" have no effect on them. It's not so much that we need more laws--we just need stronger enforcement of the existing ones. I mean, there's obviously a law against killing people, but as we've seen, people can break laws. Selling a gun to Cho Seung-Hui should have been considered illegal as he was, in fact, deemed dangerous to himself and to others, and as it turned out, he killed 32 others and then himself. The signs were there that he was dangerous, his background should have been more thoroughly checked, and the guns should not have been sold to him. It both saddens and angers me to see that so little was done before it was too late.
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #8
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The judge didn't order him institutionalized though, he was put on out-patient because he didn't deem him to be a threat.

And that's the key difference that made it okay for him to buy guns.
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He didn't buy from a gun shop, he bought from a pawn shop. Pawn shops need to be licensed to sell guns, and I'm assuming that license will be revoked following this, but you know pawn shops are. If you have money, and what you want is there, it's yours.

I haven't heard anything to suggest that what the pawnshop did was illegal, though... it should have been (I fully support gun control -- hunting weapons should be legal, and nothing else), but it wasn't...
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #9
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As already discussed, there are a few problems with gun laws. They take guns out of the hands of common citizens in an attempt to stem it from a source that does not obey the law to begin with. Given our culture and history, and the black market's ability resources, it would take a LOT to really stem gun possession, just from the years we'd have to spend confiscating and restricting all guns from common citizens. Gun control is necessary, but a completely illegal status just isn't practical.

Plus, there's no proof that gun control laws in the USA coincide with less violence. In many jurisdictions where concealed carry has been legalized, violent crime even goes down. I'm not a gun owner myself, but I agree with many advocates.
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #10
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Originally Posted by Sacred Jellybean
As already discussed, there are a few problems with gun laws. They take guns out of the hands of common citizens in an attempt to stem it from a source that does not obey the law to begin with. Given our culture and history, and the black market's ability resources, it would take a LOT to really stem gun possession, just from the years we'd have to spend confiscating and restricting all guns from common citizens. Gun control is necessary, but a completely illegal status just isn't practical.

Nor is it possible, as that would be a blatant disregard for the Second Amendment. "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." I'm a hunter, as was my grandfather and father before me. Not only that, but my father has been involved in the sport of practical shooting for longer than I've been around. I've been around guns all my life, and they are not simply the machines of death that they are made out to be. A person with a gun is as like to kill someone with it as if they had a knife, pipe bomb, or baseball bat.

Guns are just as bad (or good) as the people who pull their triggers.
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #11
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Guns are just as bad (or good) as the people who pull their triggers

Agreed.
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Nor is it possible, as that would be a blatant disregard for the Second Amendment.

True, but the 2nd amendment existed during a time of militias, which doesn't apply today. I support the right to own a gun, but given the intent of the amendment and its dated importance, it's not the best argument.
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #12
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True, but the 2nd amendment existed during a time of militias, which doesn't apply today.

A common misconception, the 2nd Amendment exists not for the militias, but for the people. The right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms. To fight back against an oppresisve militia, be it from the government or a gang of thugs looting houses.

As it's core, it's meant to keep the government from becoming too powerful, by allowing citizens the means to fight back.
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #13
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Too bad that even if you give them guns they have no better a chance of fighting back TODAY'S army than with a frickin' pocket knife.
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #14
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Originally Posted by EdenMaster
He didn't buy from a gun shop, he bought from a pawn shop. Pawn shops need to be licensed to sell guns, and I'm assuming that license will be revoked following this, but you know pawn shops are. If you have money, and what you want is there, it's yours.
He bought one of the guns at a gun shop, Roanoke Firearms, right here in my town. I passed by it yesterday.

The points aside of his commitment to an institution, no record of it appeared on the background checks the proprietors of Roanoke Firearms undertook. If anyone failed here, it's the state of Virginia for making legal such allowances. Any commitment to a mental institution should appear on a background check and should at the very least be a serious impediment to a firearms purchase.
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #15
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Originally Posted by EdenMaster
A common misconception, the 2nd Amendment exists not for the militias, but for the people. The right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms. To fight back against an oppresisve militia, be it from the government or a gang of thugs looting houses.

As it's core, it's meant to keep the government from becoming too powerful, by allowing citizens the means to fight back.

That's not completely true. At the time (that the amendment was written), people could indeed own weapons, but also all the men were also expected to be a part of the local militia; gun ownership and membership in the militia weren't really separate things, I believe. Here's an interesting quote from Wikipedia, from an early 1800s US Supreme Court justice:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second...econd_Amendment
Quote:
The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them. And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burthens, to be rid of all regulations. How it is practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization, it is difficult to see. There is certainly no small danger, that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our national bill of rights.

and this (from the same guy)
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It is difficult fully to comprehend the influence of such objections, urged with much apparent sincerity and earnestness at such an eventful period. The answers then given seem to have been in their structure and reasoning satisfactory and conclusive. But the amendments proposed to the constitution (some of which have been since adopted) show, that the objections were extensively felt, and sedulously cherished. The power of congress over the militia (it was urged) was limited, and concurrent with that of the states. The right of governing them was confined to the single case of their being in the actual service of the United States, in some of the cases pointed out in the constitution. It was then, and then only, that they could be subjected by the general government to martial law. If congress did not choose to arm, organize, or discipline the militia, there would be an inherent right in the states to do it. All, that the constitution intended, was, to give a power to congress to ensure uniformity, and thereby efficiency. But, if congress refused, or neglected to perform the duty, the states had a perfect concurrent right, and might act upon it to the utmost extent of sovereignty. As little pretence was there to say, that congress possessed the exclusive power to suppress insurrections and repel invasions. Their power was merely competent to reach these objects; but did not, and could not, in regard to the militia, supersede the ordinary rights of the states. It was, indeed, made a duty of congress to provide for such cases; but this did not exclude the co-operation of the states. The idea of congress inflicting severe and ignominious punishments upon the militia in times of peace was absurd. It presupposed, that the representatives had an interest, and would intentionally take measures to oppress them, and alienate their affections. The appointment of the officers of the militia was exclusively in the states; and how could it be presumed, that such men would ever consent to the destruction of the rights or privileges of their fellow-citizens. The power to discipline and train the militia, except when in the actual service of the United States, was also exclusively vested in the states; and under such circumstances, it was secure against any serious abuses. It was added, that any project of disciplining the whole militia of the United States would be so utterly impracticable and mischievous, that it would probably never be attempted. The most, that could be done, would be to organize and discipline select corps; and these for all general purposes, either of the states, or of the Union, would be found to combine all, that was useful or desirable in militia services.

As you can see from these quotes EM, you're confusing things -- the militia is the brake against the government, not the oppressive force itself. The Anti-Federalists were afraid of too much national power, and defense of militias (more local and probably state-controlled) were one of the things included in the amendments to make them happier about the new constitution.

Clearly the original intentions are completely outdated. Most importantly, we have a huge, strong military, and no civilian militia could ever provide a counterbalance for it if it decided to be tyrannical without some large-scale insurgency like you see in Iraq or something, and that was what I'd say was the primary original goal of the amendment. Could a popular revolt truly defeat the US Army, as the second amendment suggests and existed for?

This is also interesting...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second...econd_Amendment

And this (quote below). Madison's quote here has nothing in common with current reality... the Constitution was intentionally written with vague language. We have to re-interpret the words more appropriately for modern times sometimes; we have in many other aspects of the document, of course...
Quote:
Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops.[7]

And in addition, there's certainly no control over people who own guns and no militias these days.

Oh yes, I'm not saying that the Constitution was written saying that guns should be illegal for anyone outside of the militias; obviously, it wasn't. I'm saying that you could interpret the amendment more narrowly, allowing gun control of things such as handguns and assault weapons without breaking the second amendment. Though I'm sure any such bill would go up to the Supreme Court, and with the current conservative control of that court, they might not agree...

Oh yes, as for 'we can't ban them, too many people have them and criminals wouldn't give them up', I consider that to be a classic defense by people opposed to gun control -- it's deceptive and not really true. Would some criminals still have guns? Of course. But if handguns were illegal, everywhere in the country, like is true in many other first-world nations, while some criminals would still have guns, many fewer would. When it's harder to get something, and the things are confiscated when they are found, the number of guns available for violence would go down! It's such a simple fact... it's like with drugs, in a way: make drugs legal and more people would do them. If guns were harder to access, there would be less gun violence. Sure, there would probably more stabbings and such, but attacks such as those are much less likely to cause high death tolls like gun violence can...
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #16
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Would some criminals still have guns? Of course. But if handguns were illegal, everywhere in the country, like is true in many other first-world nations, while some criminals would still have guns, many fewer would. When it's harder to get something, and the things are confiscated when they are found, the number of guns available for violence would go down! It's such a simple fact... it's like with drugs, in a way: make drugs legal and more people would do them.

It's interesting that you bring up drugs, because making them illegal has not stemmed drug use. We have just as many problems with illicit drugs as we always have (even slightly worse). And if the gun control laws do not demonstrate evidence to lowering violent confrontations, why just say, "Oh, well we'll do it anyway, because that just makes sense"?
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If guns were harder to access, there would be less gun violence. Sure, there would probably more stabbings and such, but attacks such as those are much less likely to cause high death tolls like gun violence can...

Many things in life are counter-intuitive. Consider this: if you gather 50 or so random people, the laws of chance tell you that you'll get at least one person who has a birthday in each of the twelve months, right? Actually, as any statistician or mathematician will tell you, there's a much greater chance that you won't. I know this must sound slightly like rationalization for what you consider craziness or naivety, but I'm just trying to point out that you can't always rely on intuition.
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #17
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Banning guns in America would accomplish everything that banning alcohol did ninety years ago: Taking the firearms industry out of the hands of legal corporations and handing it on a silver platter over to underground criminal organizations. Guns are already so massively proliferate in America. Banning sales and possession now would serve to prevent the law-abiding from owning them, but it would do little to harm the black market arms trafficking that exists so profligately. It's as meaningless as the Brady laws, which serve mostly to prevent accidental firearms injuries. The Brady laws do nothing to stop a thug or gang-banger from buying a Glock on the cheap from some alleyway dealer, avoiding all those pesky background checks and waiting periods.

Here's the brutal truth of being pro gun: unlike the anti-gun side, that can simplistically claim that society will be so much better and more peaceful without those nasty guns, the pro gun side has to accept the sad fact that as a consequence of what we advocate, people will die. There's no ducking that. I'm not any happier about it than anybody here. But the inverse fact is that removing the most effective means of self-defense from the citizenry at large makes them easy victims of the sort of criminals and mental defectives like this guy who are already going to disregard any regulatory system put in place. If anything, the anti-gun crowd is the enabler of such tragedies, the cyclical result of using every gun-related incident as a soapbox opportunity.
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #18
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It's interesting that you bring up drugs, because making them illegal has not stemmed drug use. We have just as many problems with illicit drugs as we always have (even slightly worse). And if the gun control laws do not demonstrate evidence to lowering violent confrontations, why just say, "Oh, well we'll do it anyway, because that just makes sense"?

True banning drugs hasn't stopped their use, but it certainly has reduced use well below the level it would be at if it were legal. As for the second part, I'm not sure what you mean -- if there were fewer guns, even if there were violent confrontations, since guns would probably not be involved, they would be less deadly...
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Many things in life are counter-intuitive. Consider this: if you gather 50 or so random people, the laws of chance tell you that you'll get at least one person who has a birthday in each of the twelve months, right? Actually, as any statistician or mathematician will tell you, there's a much greater chance that you won't. I know this must sound slightly like rationalization for what you consider craziness or naivety, but I'm just trying to point out that you can't always rely on intuition.

I'd say that the fact that nations with gun restriction laws are safer than America is is a good piece of evidence...

Of course you're right, part of it is cultural, but we don't exactly seem to be doing a good job of reforming American society...
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Banning guns in America would accomplish everything that banning alcohol did ninety years ago: Taking the firearms industry out of the hands of legal corporations and handing it on a silver platter over to underground criminal organizations. Guns are already so massively proliferate in America. Banning sales and possession now would serve to prevent the law-abiding from owning them, but it would do little to harm the black market arms trafficking that exists so profligately. It's as meaningless as the Brady laws, which serve mostly to prevent accidental firearms injuries. The Brady laws do nothing to stop a thug or gang-banger from buying a Glock on the cheap from some alleyway dealer, avoiding all those pesky background checks and waiting periods.

I already addressed this in my last post by saying that it's just not true, it's just hype pro-gun people invent to try to fight against gun control. Of course there is going to be less gun violence if guns were mostly illegal. It doesn't affect criminals at all? I'd say you are wrong. For one thing, police would be armed. Criminals would have a harder time getting guns though if they had to get them underground, and would be subject to losing them if the authorities ever found the ones they had. Of course it's not perfect -- look at the occasional gun violence in England or Japan -- but it's a heck of a lot better than the situation here, that's for sure... but no, that "point" is just ridiculous.

One other argument I've heard is 'well Washington DC has/had a handgun ban and it's violent' to which my response would be 'well, when you surely get one easily in Virginia or Maryland...'
Quote:
But the inverse fact is that removing the most effective means of self-defense from the citizenry at large makes them easy victims of the sort of criminals and mental defectives like this guy who are already going to disregard any regulatory system put in place.

Pro-gun people always talk about this, but seriously, how common is that really, compared to the huge numbers of people killed because of non-defensive gun violence? Pretty rare, to say the least... and if it were harder for the perpetrators to get guns too (no, not all people who attack people with guns are already convicted criminals or insane), then the 'I need a gun to defend myself because "they" (whoever 'they' is) have them too' just wouldn't be as valid anymore... seriously, the number of lives saved by the removal of handguns would be, I'm sure, far, far larger than the number lost because of not having guns to protect themselves (I'm not going to try to pretend that if we ban guns suddenly no one will kill people with them, but it would become less common for sure. And as for the 'criminals' thing, well, isn't that what the police are for, really?)... and also, this is something you'd have to phase in, and a big effort would definitely have to be made to get guns away from criminals as part of it. While I doubt you'd ever get rid of all guns from this country, we could greatly, greatly reduce gun violence, and that would be a very good thing.

People may get guns for self-defense, but I'm sure that if you look at actual casualty totals, the actual deaths are probably much more likely to come from disputes (family or whatever) or accidents, not as a result of protecting yourself. By a huge, huge margin.
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #19
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Enough rhetoric!

The only way to decide this is cold hard numbers.

The numbers we need to gather? The number of lives saved because someone was able to protect themselves with a gun vs the number of lives lost in violent crimes due to guns.

That seem a fair way to finally decide this thing?
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #20
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Any total of 'lives saved' could be little but hypothesis and dependent on so many factors.

It's very possible that if even one other Virginia Tech student in Norris Hall had been carrying a gun, fewer people would have died on Monday.

The major failure of the anti-gun crowd is that they offer no solution for the problem of the major black arms market in America, where anyone wishing to circumvent the law can get himself a gun as long as they have the money and they know where to look.

And of course, as said before, the idea that banning guns will make society safer and more peaceful is oversimplistic, because guns aren't a root cause of violence, and believe it or not, but violence and the crime of murder predate the advent of gunpowder. Hell, marksmanship used to be a course you could take in school. Perhaps if proper firearms training was something easily accessible, a lot of accidents would be prevented.
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Thu, April 19th, 2007   #21
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That's all well and good, but to find out of any of that has any merit, let's collect statistics. I'm not even asking for anything major. Just a basic pruning of various car jackings, holdups, home invasions, and so on where the presence of a gun turned things around. I'd expect each case to have to decide that anyway as the courts just plain get involved whenever someone is shot by someone else. Oh, the threat of a gun would also be a deterrant, sans violence. At any rate, we can collect these statistics.

I'm merely saying we should simply place human lives in a numerical system to determine the worth of these two viewpoints that way. Seems fair to me.
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Tue, April 24th, 2007   #22
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Sure DJ... I'm sure those numbers would be hard to find, but on the other hand, I'd expect with like 99+% certainty that they'd show I'm right.
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