Monday, June 28, 2010

The Constitution comes to Chicago

"Liberal anti-gun groups are already fuming" says Raw Story's report of the Supreme Court's decision that the Second Amendment constitutes a restraint on State and local government's ability to abridge the right to keep and bear arms.
"People will die because of this decision" says Washington, DC's Violence Policy Center, but the question is really about how many died because of the blanket ban on hand gun ownership, isn't it? Perhaps since suicide is the leading cause of handgun death, some will choose Beretta over barbiturates or the window or driving the wrong way on the expressway.
"It is a victory only for the gun lobby and America's fading firearms industry. The inevitable tide of frivolous pro-gun litigation destined to follow will force cities, counties, and states to expend scarce resources to defend longstanding, effective public safety laws. The gun lobby and gunmakers are seeking nothing less than the complete dismantling of our nation’s gun laws in a cynical effort to try and stem the long-term drop in gun ownership and save the dwindling gun industry."

I don't know about the authoritarians we keep insisting on calling "liberals," but I'm starting to give off some steam here myself. If there is in fact a long term drop in gun ownership, it's a surprise to me, seeing as there are lines outside of gun shops and sales of guns and ammunition are booming. Prices of ammunition are soaring. If the domestic arms industry is suffering, the lawsuits by cities like Chicago are certainly part of it and the ability of foreign makers to sell more cheaply has hurt every American industry.

If these long standing blanket handgun bans have made the few cities that enacted them safer, it's never shown up in any statistics that I've seen. In fact as gun laws have liberalized nationwide, gun related crimes have decreased.

Yes, I've seen the posters, heard the slogans, listened to the blather: show me the numbers. I suggest that just as there was a lot of sound and fury and learned diatribes about the bloodbath that would follow the demise of the National Speed Limit, the facts contradicted that idiot's tale quickly and continue to do so. Facts however, are the enemy of zealots; whether they're anti scary-thing activists or the profiteers who perpetuate the War on Drugs that never worked and which has been responsible for the majority of violent murders.

Show me the effectiveness of the Chicago or Washington DC handgun bans. Show me that these cities have been any safer than cities without them. Tell me I'm part of a gun lobby, tell me I'm trying to dismantle gun laws -- it may convince the choir you preach to, but you certainly are stretching the truth with the intent to deceive. Nothing less than dismantling all gun laws? Hell no, I don't want minors to own guns. I don't want to remove most of the restrictions on where you can carry them, where you can display them openly how you can transport them and certainly not on where and when you can use them. Call me cynical, but in the years since you told me someone was going to "shoot the Avon Lady " if we allowed someone to shoot an armed home invader, invasions have decreased and the Avon lady is still alive and well. It's all been a pack of lies you told to generate revenue and get votes -- and sorry, if you're attacking my freedom, you're sure as hell not a Liberal and if you disagree, you don't speak English very well either. Call me cynical, but it's you willing to ignore the constitution for your own ends, not me.
" We know the facts prove the opposite and that areas of the country with the highest concentration of gun ownership also have the highest rates of gun death"
34,000 gun deaths? What about the fact that 83% of the gun deaths in households containing guns are suicides. Why aren't you mentioning that most of the 'people who will die' if Chicagoans can keep a gun at home are just as likely to have died otherwise. Why is that a danger to me or you? Perhaps the incomplete facts support the argument, but the complete facts suggest that banning rope or prescription pain killers or alcohol or windows that open or razor blades will be as stupid an exercise and of course none of those can protect your life, now can they?

Since the handgun ban never had any effect on the gangsters who use handguns in crimes, except to make burglars a bit bolder, restoration of rights to home defense just isn't going to create that bloodbath, but proof of failure has always been seen as evidence for success and a demand for continuation of policy by authoritarians.


Doc Häagen-Dazs said...


I don't want to remove most of the restrictions on where you can carry them, where you can display them openly how you can transport them and certainly not on where and when you can use them.

Leads me to ask:

1) Should guns be registered as closely as automobiles?
2) How do you feel about open/concealed carry?
3) Is it okay to wear fire arms to political rallies?

Capt. Fogg said...

Thanks for your comment.

Since it's virtually certain that guns owned by those with criminal intent will not register guns; that those who own them illegally will not register guns, and that there is no evidence whatever that gun registration reduces gun crime and plenty that says it doesn't, why bother? I can't hide a car in my pocket can I?

The hidden assumption and the erroneous assumption is that banning something makes it go away. Ask Elliot Ness if that's true.

I think open carry is acceptable in some areas - the wilderness, for instance and on hunting trips for sure, or at shooting ranges. If I'm in grizzly country, I'm not going to hide a rifle in my drawers anyway. Again, there are quite a few open carry states in which very few people actually do. It looks pretty creepy in most cases and most places.

I am absolutely in favor of there being places and events that should be off limits to concealed weapons or weapons of any kind and that's how it works in every state I know of - police stations, schools, polling places, etc. Taking a weapon to see the President is an outrageous national security risk, of course. making holes in paper targets at my local outdoor range is not, nor is it when locked up in my closet.

And finally I'm in favor of state level restrictions as long as they are reasonable, but the issue is a blanket ban which is, in my opinion, the opinion of a majority, I think and in the opinion of the courts, unconstitutional.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

I don't get:

I can't hide a car in my pocket can I?

I'm curious as to whether you can/might claim statistically that (more) unregistered guns reduces crimes of violence.

I think most police officers (and Eliot Ness) would agree with me that banning something makes its possession or sale an arrestable offense.

I find you and your arguments to be basically reasonable. America is a vast and diverse society, geographically and demographically. I might agree with you that if you are a businessman in Miami, you should/could be permitted a loaded side arm in your automobiles as long as it was registered. I would want my county and municipal capable of regulating where loaded weapons were permitted. In my opinion, I should be able to shoot to death anyone I find breaking into my house or boat. I just need to be able to prove the break-in.

Capt. Fogg said...

I want to point out that my support of the right to own guns is fairly new found and I came to it slowly and no I'm not part of any lobby or group.

What I mean is that if someone commits a crime with a car, the license number is visible, it's not with a gun. Unless you're stopped and forced to display the weapon, nobody can know whether it's registered or not and it's a bit useless except as a revenue source. If someone is shot, the registration number certainly doesn't show up on the bullet. On the whole it serves as a nuisance to the law abiding and no restraint to anyone else. It simply hasn't ever been shown to prevent crimes.

By the way, a couple was slain by an armed home invader in Jupiter, FL just last night. They didn't have a gun. Several armed home invasions were thwarted by armed homeowners in this small town last year. I'm not talking about slums either - nice upscale neighborhoods.

A few years ago, BTW, they would have been prosecuted for murder for defending themselves or their spouses if it could be shown that they could have jumped out the window! We were warned of the horrors of that legislation but I'm still waiting in vain.

We don't register guns in Florida - it's illegal to do that actually, but we do register and fingerprint those who wish to carry a concealed weapon of any sort and make them take a safety course. And yes, Florida gun crime rates have been declining steadily as they have elsewhere although, yes, there was supposed to be a bloodbath after the bogus "assault weapon ban" expired.

Arrestable offenses as a way to control things or substances have totally failed to control anything and historically have created huge crime waves. Organized Crime in the US had it's biggest years when we made beer an arrestable offense and it spurred a wave of alcohol abuse. We're consuming vastly more drugs since we started making them illegal right after Prohibition failed and the increase continues despite the billion dollar "war."

The fact that the few places that ban handguns and require registration of firearms have generally higher levels of gun offenses is proof enough for me, and now that most of the country does allow concealed carry, the violent gun crime rate continues to fall and at worst to remain unchanged. But the ball is not in my court. For those who demand more and more of what has been abandoned for not working, it's obligatory to show results - and they cannot.

How many bans have we had? The "assault weapon ban" that was redundant because real automatic weapons have been banned since the 1930's and which only banned civilian arms that looked like military guns? Remember when it was all about " Saturday night specials" We passed that gem and nothing changed -- same with the three day waiting period. Same with Chicago's hand gun ban. Crime continues to track drug gang activity and little else. Of course those things are illegal too.

It's all about emotion. New Jersey for instance falls hollow point hunting ammunition "cop killer ammunition" while elsewhere it's recommended as being more safe.

It's also about ignorance -- millions thought that we actually banned things we didn't ban and there never was a shortage of what they tried to ban.

d nova said...

well, u got a lot on da plate. no comment on bans, but on gun control i will say homicide rates have dropped dramatically almost every year since brady law passed. death penalty never had that effect.

Baltazar said...

Those with the guns rule and before guns, swords and spears..I think this "gun stuff" is very unreal.

Capt. Fogg said...

Post hoc ergo propter hoc is of course a primary fallacy. Crime rates overall have been declining since the 1980s and in my state have declined most dramatically since we began allowing concealed weapons. The Brady Bill does in fact not apply to most gun sales here.

Home invasion rates have declined - and they were high because of an elderly population - since one no longer has to flee an attacker in one's own home or be faced with homicide charges. That was so rationally argued against as the "kill the Avon Lady" law. How can I argue with such idiocy?

Remember when they said the highway death rate went down after the 55 speed limit and used that as an argument for it? Sure enough when they removed it, it fell even more.

Guns are indeed unreal to many urban Americans and that's because all they ever hear of them is from movies and propagandists. Sorry, being on the left side of the Aisle, is no guarantee of honesty or lack of a concealed motive or even sanity.

The unreal thing here is that the total lack of proof that handgun bans and gun registration schemes have any net positive effect on public safety is either invisible to some people or unworthy of discussion.

Before guns, the biggest, meanest and most hostile ruled. Sam Colt changed that. Once again, I do not own firearms for protection, but more than once this decade I have had to face angry groups of big young men prowling around my property looking for trouble, carrying sticks and clubs and threatening me and my wife while all communications in the county were out for a month. Just what the fuck would I do if I lived in one of those States that forbade me to defend myself or forbade me to own a firearm? I'd be at the mercy of anyone younger or bigger and meaner and so would my wife, thank you vary much.

What's most unreal is the idea that one is safest when most helpless and almost as unreal is the idea that what is seen as a gentleman's recreation in much of the world causes so much hysteria in the US.

d nova said...

i cn see why it looks like post hoc, but check out DoJ's graphs on gun crime n homicide by weapon:

note peaks in '93 n unprecedentedly long periods of decline after. also note little change in homicide by other weapons.

what happens in one or a few states may look interesting, but a national trend is not only bigger but likely to be more meaningful.

what was that stuff about states forbidding u 2 own a firearm? what states do that? i know some are highly restrictive toward handguns, but even new york city doesn't ban rifles n shotguns, tho i think u need a permit there.

try this:

i think the hysteria u mention is on the NRA side. gun cntrol advocates look mostly rational to me. with perhaps a few fringe exceptions, they don't want to overturn the 2nd amendment or take arms away fro sane law-abiding citizens, but the gun lobby types fairly consistently claim otherwise.

Capt. Fogg said...

It's hard for me to see where the Brady waiting period comes into this and what it looks like to at least one book on the subject is the effect of a population bubble. What it looks like to me is the cocaine wars of the 80's and early 90's that made cities like Miami a murder capital. Miami is no longer the murder capital but has liberal gun laws. It's my thesis that criminalizing handguns and registering guns has not been a significant factor in crime rates.

Note too that the graphs end in '05 and crime has continued to decline since then. What the statistics do not show is that ordinary people when allowed to own firearms become likely criminals and ordinary people allowed to keep a pistol in the closet do not become street gang members, drive by shooters, hold up men, bank robbers or anything else in particular.

Chicago became world famous for gun crimes in the early past century, but it wasn't taking guns from the pubic that changed that, it was the end of prohibition. Ending the war on drugs will do more to reduce gang crime than anything else could and again, I think that crime bulge has mostly to do with drugs, gangs, economics and lots of 18-24 year olds in the population than useless bans.

By banning, I meant banning concealed carry. Whether or not permitting it by nearly every state has reduced crime isn't as important as noting that it hasn't increased it.

Yes, indeed The NRA is all about hysteria and hyperbolic predictions and general fear mongering. That's why I don't belong to the NRA. That's why I don't want us to become like them.

My final argument is that allowing handguns in Chicago homes is not going to return Chicago to what it was 25 years ago despite the noise.