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Minas Tirith Forums » The Prancing Pony Archive » Question for Americans (Page 1)
Author Topic: Question for Americans
The Swordmaster
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I've just been watching the news, and of course the Virgina shooting is a big story on the news over here as well, and one of the things that keeps coming up with a lot of reporters and things is, why was it so easy for this man to get a gun/s.

So my question is this, and I'm asking because I am geniunely interested in the answer, do you ever think that they will make it illegal for people to carry a gun?

One of the things that always shocks me is how easy it seems to be to buy a gun in the States.

I know that it's a firmly entrenched 'right', but do you think that in light of this sort of thing, any American Government will change the law?

I'm just interested, and look forward to finding out what people say.

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Roll of Honor Lillianna
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Oh boy.

Well, here's the thing. States have their own variations of gun laws. In the constitution, you have a right to bear arms. That's unlikely to change anytime soon. Per Virginia State Law, it was perfectly legal for the guy to purchase a gun with a valid Green Card, which is what he had. Also, his parents had been living in the US for 14 years, so were not just FOB. Also, you have to wait a month in Virginia before you can purchase a second gun, so he also followed that law. Also, the guy who sold him the gun said that he doesn't sell to people who look really suspicious, or whose background seems shady. This guy had nothing on him. As far as the merchant could tell, the kid was a clean cut college kid (remember Cho was over 23....so an adult).

I can't remember what California's gun control laws are...but I know they're more strict. Probably a limit as to how many guns one can have, when you can buy them, and how they must be stored.

[ 04-18-2007, 06:21 PM: Message edited by: Lillianna ]

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Roll of Honor Adulithien
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Also, relative to the shooter's status as an adult... you'd think that if something was going to change, the Columbine shootings might have appalled people enough to merit a change. Or any number of other school shootings. Or the snipers in DC or AZ. Basically, I'm just saying that (to the general populace/lawmakers/etc.) this event does not exactly matter in the context of gun control, and neither did any of those other incidents. I'm not sure anything matters in the context of gun control. That seems to be one of those sacred cow thigns that will never ever change without a serious slugfest.

In fact, there are even people who believe this could've been prevented if other students weren't denied their right to carry weapons while on campus.

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Amárië
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Actually, I heard on NPR today that he didn't, in fact, buy the gun legally, because he lied on the form about being involuntarily committed to a mental institution. Said he hadn't been, turns out he had been.

But that's beside the point.

Personally, I believe that the 2nd Ammendment has been grossly misinterpreted by gun nuts:

quote:
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.
The NRA tends to ignore the dependent clause at the beginning - a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state... I interpret this as referring to the National Guard. I don't see the second ammendment as granting every Tom, Dick and Harry the right to have an arsenal in their basement. I interpret it as meaning that we have the right to have an armed militia - and the equivalent of that right now would be the National Guard. Notice also that it says a well-regulated militia. They're thinking something organized here. Times have changed, and the meaning of the second ammendment has changed with them, but unfortunately, everybody wants their guns.

I hate guns. I would feel better if they were illegal. Granted, violence still could have occurred had the shooter not been able to buy the gun. But I can't see him stabbing to death thirty-two people.

[ 04-18-2007, 07:08 PM: Message edited by: Amárië ]

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Roll of Honor Lillianna
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I liked someone's idea of making bullets REALLY damn expensive. Like $1000 bucks a pop. That'll make people use them carefully. []
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Snöwdog
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quote:
So my question is this, and I'm asking because I am geniunely interested in the answer, do you ever think that they will make it illegal for people to carry a gun?
Not in the forseeable future. It would be politically impossible. With 100 senators from 50 states, and well over half, if not three quarters of them, are overwhielmingly pro gun-rights. Hense, an outright nationwide ban would require a constitutional amendment to either repeal or seriously modify the 2nd Amendment. And to pass a constitutional amendment, I believe it takes a 66% majority approval of both the House and Senate, then its sent to the legslatures of all 50 states to approve or reject, and 3/4 of the states (38 of them) have to approve it.

Every time some cracked head does something like this, the emotional hysteria cries out for every legal gun to be taken out of the hands of the people. In light of the "protection" the police gave the victims of the second round of killing by this guy, one shouldbe asking the second half of the quuestion always brought up by the gun-banners... "Where's the police protection from these psychos?" in this case, after the initial shootings the campus should have bene locked down until it was deemed safe. It wasn't, which was a law enforcement and university administration failure. No, the cries are out to ban all guns again, though the ngun-banners are keeping mum on their folow-up statement. I have to agree with a statement made that if teachers & adult university students were allowed to pack concealed weapons (after being tested and issued a Concealed Carry Permit of course), a few rounds sent the other way would either kill the psycho gunner, or will cause him to retreat from the scene because he wasn't facing unarmed targets. Also, in this case, baraccading oneselves in the classrooms was likely more of a hindrance than a help, for if the psycho-gunner was inside the classroom, somebody may have had a chance to pounce him when his first clip ran out.

From: In the Shadows of Annuminas | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
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There was another shooting in Virginia in 2002. Someone killed a dean, a teacher, and a student. Two other students ran out to their cars to get their guns, ran back in and pointed their guns at the murderer, who was re-loading (presumably in order to kill more people). He dropped his gun and ran.

The lesson we should take from this tragedy is that the Gun Free Zones only serve to make sane rule-abiding people defenseless. The campus gun laws in Virginia need to be relaxed.

[ 04-18-2007, 08:34 PM: Message edited by: Neytari Took-Baggins ]

From: California ainrofilaC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Silmahtar
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quote:
In fact, there are even people who believe this could've been prevented if other students weren't denied their right to carry weapons while on campus.
Damn right. I don't know about prevented, but at least some could defend themselves and others, and possibly mitigate the bloodshed. And if Cho knew students and faculty permit holders were allowed to carry their handguns on campus, he might have thought twice about conducting his killing spree.

I was at the Knob Creek Gun Range over the weekend. There were TONS of weapons and ammo. Heavy military grade stuff, too: .50 caliber machine guns, Uzis, Miniguns, assault rifles, M-60s, you name it. And everyone was friendly and polite as I've seen at any large gathering. I'd say more so. These were normal men and women, not loner "gun nuts", either.

e: Neytari is referring to the shooting incident at Appalachian School of Law (also in Virginia) in 2002. The heroism of the two students who subdued the gunman went largely unmentioned by the MSM.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachian_School_of_Law_shooting

Although the Commonwealth of Virginia has few restrictions on handguns, several public universities -- such as Virginia Tech -- have been allowed to institute campus-wide bans on firearms.

[ 04-18-2007, 10:18 PM: Message edited by: Silmahtar ]

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Roll of Honor Mahanaxar
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Gun laws won't stop people from being psycho.
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Amárië
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No, they won't.

But guns make it a lot easier to have a large body count when you do go psycho.

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Roll of Honor Silmahtar
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quote:
But guns make it a lot easier to have a large body count when you do go psycho.
But the key is to compare total murder rates from state to state, not just one-time isolated incidents of people committing mass murder. In states like Virginia, it's much lower than in New York, where there are more restrictions on gun ownership.
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Faramir Ranger Captain
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[] to Neytari, Snowdog, and Sil.

Amarie, you said:

The NRA tends to ignore the dependent clause at the beginning - a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state... I interpret this as referring to the National Guard. I don't see the second ammendment as granting every Tom, Dick and Harry the right to have an arsenal in their basement. I interpret it as meaning that we have the right to have an armed militia - and the equivalent of that right now would be the National Guard. Notice also that it says a well-regulated militia. They're thinking something organized here. Times have changed, and the meaning of the second ammendment has changed with them, but unfortunately, everybody wants their guns.


I can understand if you dislike guns, because of the violence associated with them. However, please don't try to plead the "National Guard" card on the 2nd Amendment. At the time of the Constitution's ratification, who was the militia? The People. And the People owned, kept, and maintained their own firearms. Does the National Guard let their members take their machine guns home? I don't thinks so; therefore, your comparison is irrelevent, because the Militia of that day and age did not perform, act, or maintain in a manner similar to today's National Guard. Regardless, the weaponry of the two times are so different it's impossible to realistically compare their use and maintenance. Thus, if we are unable to really compare the Militia of old and today's National Guard, we will have to resort to taking the Constitution's wording at face value, being: the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. You said that the wording of the second half of that statement was entirely dependant upon the wording of the first, and you asserted your belief that the National Guard would be the equivalent of the mentioned militia; but even assuming your beliefs to be true, the Militia still were clearly given the right to keep and bear their own arms. And furthermore, who technically constituted the Militia? By law, every man of military age was to enroll in his area's militia, and was to respond when summoned in time of crisis. Thus, the Militia represented all of the People, especially considering that this was when only free men had the vote. I understand, these were different times; that's exactly the point: you can't really make the assumption that a government-maintained secondary-defense group is the exact equivalent to the Militia, which is the only entity -besides the People in general- that the Second Amendment reffers to.

And if I were to assert my own opinion, the second half of the vital statement in question is not at all dependant upon the first; the first half is merely in explanation of the extreme necessity of the second, main half.

I feel terribly for the people affected directly by the murders on the Virginia Tech campus. And I think it should be clear to everyone now, that, had ONE person had a firearm on them, they could have saved multiple lives, and saved many people alot of pain. Secondly, if laws barring firearms were relaxed a little, do you think that Mr. Cho would have been so keen to attempt the murders on a campus containing armed citizens? I don't think so. I realize that Neytari already said something to this effect, and I agree with her 100%.

If this were a perfect world, we could just say, 'Nobody should have guns besides Law Enforcement, the Military, ect.' However, it's NOT a perfect world, and it's not going to be in my lifetime, so we need to come to grips with reality and realize that no matter how hard you try, if a 'bad guy' such as Mr. Cho wants to get a gun, he will eventually somehow get a gun. And then you're given the following situation: a university campus packed with students, and one psychotic nut with a gun (or two). Time to panic. All it would have taken, is ONE person with a weapon to defend him/herself, and stop this guy from murdering THIRTY-TWO PEOPLE in cold blood. So, am I wrong in saying that the Virginia Tech campus would have been MUCH safer had a few students carried concealed weapons?

Sorry for the long post.

[ 04-18-2007, 11:45 PM: Message edited by: Faramir Ranger Captain ]

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Amárië
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First of all, I am not arguing constitutional law with a sixteen year old.

Secondly, I am retiring from this conversation. I'm getting angry and remembering why I don't participate in political discussions.

[ 04-18-2007, 11:50 PM: Message edited by: Amárië ]

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Angathas
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We keep hearing that we have to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. That may be a good idea. However, in just about every case of these rampage shootings, the shooter was a regular person without a criminal rap-sheet. They may have been disturbed but those are facts found out after the shootings. When this Korean monster bought his guns, he passed the background check. In other shootings, (Amish school, Columbine) the shooters were not hardcore criminals. They were average citizens with clean records.

I don't believe criminals abuse guns the way these regular people do. Criminals carry guns to carry out their crimes, but they are not as careless as you might think. Mostly, criminals carry a gun the way police do. They only take it out when they have to. Criminals are not always psychotic either. They know that if they commit burglary and then murder that, when caught, they'll be sent away for harsher sentence, perhaps including the death penalty.

The murdering shooters have an almost romantic notion of death. Their murder spree is a grand scheme to validate and justify their deeds and existence. They don't care about any death penalty. They often shoot themselves and spare the nation a trial. When it comes to guns, I would trust the criminal more than the average joe who'll turn it on any one.

[ 04-19-2007, 12:12 AM: Message edited by: Angathas ]

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Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
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I think the average Joe has more in common with the criminals you speak of than the psychopaths [] Most gun-owners realize that just owning a gun is a heavy responsibility, to say nothing of carrying.
From: California ainrofilaC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Snöwdog
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quote:
I am retiring from this conversation.
Typical of gun-banners who get caught in the hysteria of the moment but rational thinkers enter the discussion. Faramir Ranger Captain, Good post! Note the 2nd Amendment was crafted from a Virginia State constitution clause, and was part of the first ten 'Bill of Rights' Amendments to get enough ststes to ratify the Constitution. Of course, Federal encroachment and court ruling have slowly eroded them away since (What ever happened to the 10th Amendment?). And there is a reason the 2nd Amendment came right after the 1st.
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Amárië
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No, Snowdog, I'm not retiring because I can't defend myself. I most certainly can. I'm retiring from the conversation because I don't like the way I act when I get angry about political matters. I'm not going back to the way I was three years ago, where this board made me miserable. It was a mistake for me to post in a political thread at all, and I'm not going to keep it going.

That's the truth, think whatever you like.

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Roll of Honor Adulithien
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quote:
In states like Virginia, it's much lower than in New York, where there are more restrictions on gun ownership.
There are also a whole lot more people in New York.
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Roll of Honor Athene
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Hi.
[]

Question for pro-gun-carriers:

You cited the (very good) example of the episode where a body count was kept down because two other students drew their own guns on the shooter before he had a chance to do any more damage. How many deaths do you think there would have been if neither the shooter nor the other students had guns? Do you think he would have found some other way to kill those people, stabbing being the obvious alternative? Or do you think he would have found some way to obtain a gun through the black market?

Gun crime in the States has always been very high compared to over here, but that is changing now. The vast majority of illegal gun smuggling in the UK comes from America. Our laws haven't changed and neither have yours. So why the increase? Is it because:
a) smuggling is easier now due to the internet
b) demand is increasing due to cultural changes
c) our government is becoming crapper at stopping smuggling?

I'm guessing all of the above to some degree.

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Roll of Honor Freya
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I'd suspect it's mostly b Athene. Though I read recently that many of the guns on the UK streets are converted replicas. Carrying a weapon seems to be a fashion amongst the UK school kids, and I can't see how anyone can doubt that their greater availability through the black market has led to the highest level of gun killings in London of one per month this year.

To draw another comparison, handguns were available at the time of the Dunblane massacre in 1996 but banned very shortly afterwards. There hasn't been a mass killing since. That could of course be a coincidence but it would be much more difficult for a lone psycho in the highlands to traverse the Brixton criminal networks and purchase a black market gun now than it was when he just needed good ID and a mail order brochure.

Back to Virginia though, which is a totally different situation because there are already 80 million guns in the US. I must admit when I first heard the suggestion that college kids be allowed concealed carry of firearms I thought it was, frankly, bizarre. The idea of college kids with concealed semi-automatic weapons and their tendency to get drunk, fight one another, bully etc sounds terrifying. BUT, you’re starting with a situation where there are lots more guns and to take them out of the population’s hands is totally unfeasible. Better law enforcement and systems to protect against the psychos would be the best response IMHO.

E: had to comment on this post:

quote:
We keep hearing that we have to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. That may be a good idea
May? Is there a situation when it isn't?

[ 04-19-2007, 04:06 AM: Message edited by: Freya ]

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Roll of Honor Athene
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Agreed, and there are of course many questions being asked about how the college/police handled it. It's not just a question of why he had a gun in the first place.
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Inc'
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*hopes noone said that yet, even though he's read the thread*

I'd just like to add I've just learnt that in Virginia you could legally buy a gun from the age of 12. [] []

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Artaresto
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[] @ Inc'

In Norway it's illegal to carry a weapon, unless it's hunting etc. And you know what? It works fine!

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Prince Imrahil
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That sounds about right here in VA. I could have bought a gun before learning how to drive, or voting, or drinking. Stellar.

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From: Dor-En-Ernil, Belfalas (by way of VA) | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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quote:
[T]here are already 80 million guns in the US.
More like 250 million, I believe. (E: And I believe - maybe someone can correct me - that's only legally owned guns.)

Advocating gun control is basically political suicide in the U.S. Many people believe that Gore lost his and Clinton's home states (Tennessee and Arkansas) in 2000 - if he had won either he wouldn't have needed Florida - because he was perceived as pro-gun control.

[ 04-19-2007, 09:27 AM: Message edited by: Wandering Tuor ]

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