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April 19, 2007

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Brian

There is no good use for the weapons—a 9 millimeter semiautomatic and a .22 caliber handgun, two of the most popular guns in violent crime—used in this incident other than to kill people.

Sure there is - a .22 makes a dandy target shooting pistol.

Lee

Brian, that can be said of any handgun (or gun, period), but you hardly need a semi-automatic to enjoy target shooting. My objection isn't to guns for people with a legitimate interest in them: people who enjoy target shooting as a hobby, hunters, cops, armed forces personnel, homeowners in dangerous or isolated areas. But we ought to at least make it a requirement that people take gun safety classes (like drivers ed), increase the waiting period and thoroughness of background checks, and stop making some of the armor piercing ammo available to civilians. We don't let just anybody behind the wheel of a car, which can be an equally deadly weapon. Why are we making truly deadly weapons so easily available? (Rhetorical question. . . .)

Brian

I have no problem with obtaining a gun being on par with operating / owning a vehicle.

I'm also not a die-hard gun owner; I feel about that like a New Yorker might feel about car ownership - I don't need one in my daily life.

My real problem with gun control is practicality and handing power to the State. Ain't no sense passing a law if you can't enforce it, and we should all know that we can't give any power to the State without them wanting more.

Lee

There has to be a model in Europe for gun control that we can use as a starting point. And like you, I'm not keen on handing over a lot of power to the state either (especially this one, which is already power-mad). That's one of the reasons for the right to bear arms clause to begin with. But it's completely out of hand in this country, so we need to start somewhere. Not a perfect solution, but at least a start to a conversation, perhaps.

I grew up with hunters and Air Force people, so I'm not unfamiliar with guns. But I wouldn't have one in my house. The thing about guns is that once there's one around, the only two things you can do with it are use it or break it. And it's way too tempting to use it.

Brian

There has to be a model in Europe for gun control that we can use as a starting point.

Maybe. But by the time you get done bashing and painting what you've got will be heavily modified for local conditions.

Lee

That's true even if we start from scratch, states' rights being what they are here. But we need to start somewhere.

Brian

But we need to start somewhere.

Or do we? I think the guys (and I except you from this*) yapping about 'more gun control' or 'more guns' miss the point. Stuff happens. If this mutt had been unable to obtain guns he might have blown up a building. Or used his car to mow down pedestrians. Whatever; assume he was one disturbed individual. He would have gone off the rails - it could have been worse and it should have been better.

Bad cases make bad laws, they say.

*because you're asking and looking for conversation. Zealotry is a vice.

Lee Kottner

Brian, I agree that bad stuff happens, but I think we should make it as difficult for that stuff to happen as possible, in the case of obtaining weapons. And I do think we need a dialogue on it. You're right that extremism in either case does no one any good. It would be nice if the NRA could take a step back from their "Any gun for anyone" stance and if the other side would make some concessions too. We need a reasonable policy on gun ownership that's compatible with the Constitutional right to bear arms. There's no other way to get one that to sit down and hash it out. I'm not saying this is a good case for making new laws with. It's the perfect opportunity to put gun control on the table in a serious fashion though. That's all I'm asking.

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