SteveH wrote:Hmmm... ok, there may be something in what you say.
That's fantastic. Seriously. We've gone from "madness" to "there may be something in what you say." That may be the most progress in changing a viewpoint I've seen on the internet in ages and reflects real open-mindedness on your part. Really. I am not just being a wise guy.
However, insisting on a background check before a gun can be sold couldn't do any harm, surely?
Probably not if it were left in reasonable people's hands. So often things that seem like common-sense fixes to problems turn out otherwise when actually implemented. In this case, there are certain decisions to be made: what disqualifies a person from owning a gun? I could elaborate, but the bottom line is that is the people who win elections who end up making that decision. You may not have seen a county-by-county map of the last two presidential elections. I need not link to one. If you are interested, you can easily google them. The upshot is that Republicans win about 77 percent of the counties and lose the election because the population density in the "blue" areas is so high. You can imagine how we in reddest-of-the-red-states Oklahoma feel about our political enemies deciding which of us should be allowed to own guns.
Then you have to decide how to allow the results of those background checks to infringe on the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms. I am not trying to advocate for the right of lunatics to carry weapons, Steve, but it is a sticky problem. The wording of the Second Amendment is actually crystal clear, as anyone having read Madison's explanation of the nature of a well-regulated militia in THE FEDERALIST, or the voluminous literature of the period, will know, despite the pitiful attempts of some in our political minefield to pretend otherwise. Inherent in the concept of background checks is the idea that some people will not be able to bear arms. Trying to do this without actually violating the Constitution is no easy problem to solve and more than a few think it is not actually capable of effective resolution and that the attempt to do so creates problems worse than it solves.
And it should be remembered that it doesn't always help. In Newton, for instance, my understanding is that the guns' owner HAD passed all the required checks. But the shooter wasn't the owner! He had stolen the guns and the checks didn't help the situation at all.
At any rate, allowing guns in schools and churches is absolutely insane...
Steve, I think you are given to a bit of hyperbole.
There have been times in our history when it was not at all unknown to carry firearms to church. And even now, you will realize that the instant retort is "You prefer that schools and churches should be defenseless?"
I often think that to a lunatic, a potential mass shooter, seeing a "gun-free zone" sign on the door effectively announces, "Defenseless victims here! High body count assured!"
You may possibly find this one amusing. Seriously. It's funny.
will individual churches or schools or bars be allowed to continue to ban guns from their premises...
As long as there are property rights, yes, you can say what is allowed on your premises. Individuals, of course, can make their own decisions on what establishments they choose to patronize.
...it is certainly true that you can't go on a mass-killing spree with a knife the way you can with a gun.
Steve, I have to admit that the statement just floors me. Take a minute and google "mass stabbings china." Here is one result:
I have, incidentally, calmed down and disarmed someone waving a kitchen knife around and threatening people, though I think it was all bluster - he had no intention of actually stabbing anyone.
It nevertheless shows considerable fortitude on your part!
The youtube video is a one-to-one situation. Usually, there'd be other people around, and he could be grabbed from behind, since he can't face all ways at once. There have been a few knife tragedies in the town I live in, usually at pub-chucking-out time, but never more than one murder at a time, presumably either because the knife-wielder high-tails it out of the crime scene, or because other people overpower them.
To be sure, I'd feel a lot more comfortable trying to deal with a knife-wielding maniac if I had half a dozen stout fellows working with me. Granted. But it is by no means easy. The point of the video, as I'm sure you realized, is to make people aware that simplistic solutions--in the case of the video, "I'd just pull my gun"--to the problem of someone with a knife may not always come off as well as we would like. Some people would do as you suggest. Some people will panic. Sometimes, before people are half-aware of what's going on, multiple people are dead or dying.
http://globalnews.ca/news/1283187/suspe ... ppearance/
The fundamental point here, that restricting access to guns by no means eliminates mass murder, is probably clear. Yes, it is easier to kill large numbers of people with a gun, but nothing short of the Second Coming is going to completely solve the problem.
You seem like a reasonable man, Steve, your propensity toward hyperbolic assessments aside, and I frankly have gotten far more of a concession out of you than I expected or ever encounter in cyberspace. I am immensely pleased and have enjoyed the conversation, but I think I'm going to drop this now and get ready for work.