PDA

View Full Version : FAQ's on Gun Control and Shooting Incidents.


SilverTauron
07-20-2012, 11:26 AM
My goal in this thread is to offer some counterpoints to common questions ive been asked here and in person over the short time ive been involved in the shooting sports. I dare not assume I know everything, so constructive contributions from other members here is welcome. This can serve as a one-stop place for newcomers and curious ones to see why us so-called "gun people" think and act the way we do regarding policy and laws, especially after incidents like Aurora Co.,Seal Beach,and other shootings after which people could wonder about why our stance is what it is. Part of the reason I am posting this is to honor the victims of such incidents, so that their memories are not used by a slanted agenda to advance questionable policies.

Let us begin.

Q:Wouldn't 10 round magazines reduce the lethality of a firearm, since its capacity would be much less than a 20 or 30 round magazine which could be used to kill more people?

A: This is a reasonable assumption to make for those unaware of how firearms work. The nature of marksmanship is that the quality of the shot is worth infinitely more in deadliness to the quantity of shots available in one sitting. Someone who has a 10 round magazine and the skill to get deadly hits with each round is much more dangerous than another criminal who gets two hits in 10 for lack of skill. In that situation an unskilled criminal with a 30 round magazine isn't as deadly.

Reloads are fast enough with modern weaponry, that changing magazines is no obstacle to sustained fire.Moving quickly I can change a magazine in my pistol in approximately 4 seconds. That's not enough time to rush someone or to attempt a hand-to-hand disarm of the shooter. Under the adrenaline dump of a stress reaction a reload can be even faster than that.Given those facts, a 10 round magazine limitation poses no obstacle to an attacker with functional thumbs.

In addition not every handgun made has 30 round magazines available, and certain brands do not work reliably on account of the magazine design. This in fact happened in Tucson- Jared Lee Loughner's 30 round Glock magazine malfunctioned, creating an opportunity for the bystanders to disarm him.



Q: I read in the news the theater shooter had an AK47. Why should we allow people to buy such military type rifles when they were designed for killing in war?

A: Because the premise for regulating them is flawed. Since we have defined lethality as being dependent on the shooter and not necessarily the magazine capacity or features of the gun, we now can evaluate why regulating the AR15/AK47 and derivatives makes no sense as public policy. The AR15 and AK fire shorter versions of full power rifle cartridges. This is not to say that those rifles are not deadly;but those weapons are chambered in smaller cartridges compared to full power rifle loads such as .308 Winchester, 30-06 , and the large bore rounds such as .338 Lapua and so forth. This is done so that troops on the move can more easily carry ammunition and supplies for fighting a war. A magazine which holds 10 .308 Winchester rounds can carry 20-30 AR15 or AK rounds. As such, the AR and AK shoot rounds which are in fact ballistically weaker to many hunting rifles on the market!

AH, but bolt and lever action guns are harder to shoot people with than quick-firing AKs and ARs yes? Well, again,this is not necessarily the case. The fact that the rifle loads the next round all by itself is fine and dandy, but its a useless feature if the shooter cannot properly aim.No one died because a rifle necessarily loaded the next round quickly, but plenty of people are killed because the shooter, for good or ill, used the sights. A criminal with a .308 bolt gun and the practice to use it well will be much deadlier than a thug armed with a 30 round AK 47 who can't hit a barn from the inside with.Since it is impossible to regulate the skill level of criminal shooters, regulating specific hardware types accomplishes nothing except excessive and expensive paperwork which angers citizens,wastes the precious time of Law Enforcement, drains the public funds and accomplishes nothing in the way of preventing crime or saving lives.


Q:What changes do we need to make to the national background check system to prevent this tragedy from happening again?

A: Shutting down the national system would be a great start.

SACRE BLEU! What insanity is that? Then any pervert, moron , and crook could buy a gun! What narcotics am I doing to suggest such a concept?:D

Just bear with me. I promise there's a logical reason I suggest that course of action. No, it has nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment at all.

The problem with a background check is that its a human run system. As such, there will always be flaws. Its the nature of human life. People accept that out of 10 packages they mail one or two of them might be late. Its normal to expect that if Amazon says it takes 3 days to mail something, one should not freak out and call the company on day 4. If one buys a cell phone and after a week it crashes and never boots up again, one simply acknowledges the fact that its a lemon and gets it exchanged.

With a background check, however, for it to effectively prevent crime it must be 100% accurate, 100% of the time. If its 100% accurate , but 1 in 100 checks are wrong, ordinary citizens could be negatively impacted. A denied background check can be considered a CRIME in certain districts of America. Remember, an erroneous denial has to be resolved through an expensive and lengthy appeals process which wastes the citizens' and governments' time proving what both parties already know-that the applicant was completely innocent and was, through a mistake, treated like a criminal.

If a background check system is flawed -even by 1%-ordinary citizens can be treated like criminals, and crooks get a free pass to buy a gun and cause mayhem much like Seung Hui-Cho did in Viriginia Tech. He purchased his guns legally and passed his national background check due to that "1% inaccuracy". The consequences of that error are known now, far too late for those 32 who died that day. Whats worse is , there's no way to prevent it from happening again. Some state agencies are so backlogged on files and maintenance that it will take decades to transfer the records to the nationwide FBI database.


Compounding the problem is local time lag on documents. Say a man is listed as a DV subject in a temporary restraining order. Legally this means he cannot buy or own guns in some states , but because of bureaucracy its very possible someone in that status could walk into a store, buy a gun, and pass their background check. Why? Because the local court which filed the DV document didn't send it to the FBI, so it never made it into the database.

Thus, the national background check system can be accurately described as a marketing scheme. It presents the appearance of a gatekeeper safeguarding the population from crooks getting guns, but due to human error and bureaucratic reality its all but a paper tiger. Investing more money won't solve the problem, because there's no way to instantly inform the FBI of legal changes in status without impacting false positive risk. One misplaced digit or misspelled name and an ordinary citizen becomes a criminal , and he must then prove his innocence to the government to have the error corrected.

Q:The Brady Campaign/Violence Policy Institute believe more gun control laws help safeguard the public. Why do gun owners disagree with this approach?

A:The problem is not the motivation, but the means. The Brady Campaign and the pro-gun advocate who likes armed people drinking at Starbucks in fact share the same goal-a safer America for our kids. There is little doubt both sides are passionate about that goal, and I daresay its one everyone can identify with regardless of their station in life. The problem I and many gun owners have with the Brady Campaign, is that instead of pursuing laws which increase public safety they only seek laws which CONTROL GUNS. This is not necessarily the same thing, and that confusion is why there is such controversy. More gun laws do not equate to a safer society, any more than more vehicle laws will reduce the number of speeding tickets. People speed in California as much as they do in Texas, even though cars are regulated much more stringently in CA. Policies which have a factual basis in increasing public safety are generally accepted by gun owners, while rules which only exist to advance political careers and look good in the press are justly despised. Hence the philosophical divide. It doesn't help that similar to what the NRA is accused of doing sometimes, the Brady Campaign tends to exaggerate gun violence with the goal of increasing the power of its own organization.Statistically,more people in America die from car crashes ,heart disease,and alcohol consumption than firearms year after year. To hear the Brady Campaign say it, America's more dangerous than cartel-violence plauged Mexico.This is factually not the case.


Hopefully this short FAQ addresses some common inquiries newcomers and anti-gun people have regarding the shooting sports.

JeremyKX
07-20-2012, 11:48 AM
I am going to take counter-point on the third question and ask what would you replace the national background system with?

The system does decline many people every year because they can't legally own guns. It seems you prefer that there not be a system to make sure a person is eligible. Using your stats, it is 99% correct. I don't think you will ever get something that is 100% correct but is that not good enough of a threshhold to keep the system?

SilverTauron
07-20-2012, 12:00 PM
I am going to take counter-point on the third question and ask what would you replace the national background system with?

The system does decline many people every year because they can't legally own guns. It seems you prefer that there not be a system to make sure a person is eligible. Using your stats, it is 99% correct. I don't think you will ever get something that is 100% correct but is that not good enough of a threshhold to keep the system?

The problem is that a national background check system must be 100% to work effectively at preventing crime.The official numbers are 95% effective from the Congress' stats on the Brady System, so that's 5% of criminals who are being allowed firearms at point of sale. Considering that even one firearm can last 20 years or more and are small enough to change hands easily, just one guy who can buy weapons due to a hole in the system can put 10 guns on the street, which in turn find their way onto the black market never to be seen again. Any of those weapons can be used one day against me or you. If even 20 guys out of a nation of 300 million are capable of buying guns despite being criminals, there's literally no point in even bothering to maintain the system. Judging from the government stats, the number of bad guys who get though the Brady system are much more than that.

This doesn't cover the straw purchase problem, which all but dooms even a successor system. On paper a straw purchase is exactly the same as a legitimate purchase, since both parties have clean records and answered all the right questions on the 4473. Catch is , unless you polygraph everyone who fills out a 4473 there's no way to catch who's lying and who isn't. A criminal penalty for lying on the form isn't a deterrent to someone willing to risk a charge for illegal gun possession, especially when there's money to be made from someone being an accomplice to straw purchasing. Combine the fact of system imperfection and the fact of criminals' mommas, fathers, girlfriends and wives lying on the background check form for someone else to get a gun, and the Brady system-and any successor system to the NICS-is doomed to failure. We are no safer now than we were before the Brady system was established, except that we are much poorer for wasting taxpayer funds on maintaining the database.

creekside
07-20-2012, 4:48 PM
Q:Wouldn't 10 round magazines reduce the lethality of a firearm, since its capacity would be much less than a 20 or 30 round magazine which could be used to kill more people?

1) Higher capacity magazines are used in military applications with select fire or fully automatic fire, where more than one bullet is fired with each pull of the trigger. These select fire / full auto firearms are Federally regulated Class III firearms, de facto prohibited in some states (California!) and requiring special and expensive permitting in the states which allow them. The select-fire and fully automatic firearms are rarely used in crime and beloved by collectors, despite their frequent appearance in Hollywood shows.

2) The effectiveness of larger capacity magazines is something that is hotly disputed among firearms experts. For example, some police officers and security guards still carry six shot revolvers instead of ten round semiautomatic pistols.

Unskilled shooters tend to fire repeatedly given more ammunition capacity, and neglect simple basics such as aiming. Ten round magazines give three times as many aiming opportunities as thirty round magazines, and arguably a higher likelihood of injury or death for those targeted.

California restricts magazine capacity to ten rounds for civilians, and many police carry fifteen to seventeen round handgun magazines and twenty to thirty round patrol rifle magazines. It is not clear that this gives police any significant advantage over criminals -- who have ready access to high-capacity magazines regardless of the laws.

It is always true that a bullet that you hit with is more effective than any number of bullets you miss with. Accuracy trumps volume.

3) Skill in reloading trumps magazine capacity. Novice shooters may fumble or jam while reloading, especially under combat stresses.

4) A larger magazine, especially if overloaded, can be more likely to jam.

Q: I read in the news the theater shooter had an AK47. Why should we allow people to buy such military type rifles when they were designed for killing in war?

1) All firearms are potentially lethal and most types were used at one time for killing in war. So were swords and knives, bows, and crossbows.

2) Hunting rifles are high power, long range firearms superior in ballistics and performance to the AK and AR series rifles. A skilled rifleman with a hunting rifle is a fearsome opponent. This is highly desirable in deer hunting to avoid animal cruelty, and utterly necessary in rural ranching for pest control. Rural and boating self-defense situations also can call for a higher-power, longer-ranged rifle which is why hunting rifles are so common in American society.

Twenty percent (20%) of the population lives in eighty percent (80%) of the land area, and the reverse. This rural-vs-urban divide drives much of the debate around gun control.

3) The so-called "assault rifle" or to use police terminology "patrol rifle" is a compromise between weight, accuracy and stopping power. The AK series of rifles (AK-47) and AR-series of rifles (military M-16 or M-4) are lighter, shorter-ranged, and are more likely to inflict wounds than fatal injuries.

As such it is favored by police as it provides a more effective firearm than a handgun with less likelihood of over-penetration, especially in urban areas. These are the same qualities that make an AK or AR series rifle more suitable than a hunting rifle for home defense.

The patrol rifle is a safer firearm than the hunting rifle in a densely populated urban area.

4) "Black rifles" look scary in a way that wood-stock firearms do not.

This question should best be turned on its head. "Why should people be forbidden to buy rifles, whether hunting rifles or evil looking carbines?"

For every rifle used in crime or atrocity, there are hundreds that are lawfully kept for hunting, sporting, target practice and self-defense.

Q:What changes do we need to make to the national background check system to prevent this tragedy from happening again?

It is always possible to unlawfully obtain firearms in the United States. The question assumes that the national background check system is effective, which it is not.

1) Manufacturing firearms, particularly semiautomatic pistols and rifles, is quite possible for a skilled metalworker. Any machine shop can turn out a pistol, rifle or machine gun -- especially if most parts can be purchased instead of made from blanks.

A non-functioning firearm can be much more easily restored to working service than manufacturing the same firearm from scratch. Northwest Pakistan has had a flourishing small arms industry for over a century, starting with captured British firearms.

2) There is a large black market for illegal goods throughout the United States, and firearms are no exception to market economics. The firearms trade into Mexico is widely known to be a two-way trade -- stolen or smuggled military small arms from Mexico into the United States, and quantities of "cool looking" rifles and exotic handguns from the United States into Mexico. If there is this much smuggling through a supposedly tightly secured border, imagine how much more smuggling can take place between American states.

3) There are hundreds of millions of existing firearms in the United States. Even in countries where they are tightly restricted, firearms remain in the civilian population for many years after the purchase of new firearms is banned. Even if a complete firearms ban were to go into instant effect all across America simultaneously and without warning, firearms would remain accessible for at least the next century.

4) For a variety of political, logistical and technical reasons, a unified scheme of registration for long arms is very unlikely to occur in the United States ever. In the absence of such a registration scheme, a background check before purchasing long arms only deters the law-abiding prohibited person -- not the criminal.

5) Illegal diversion of firearms from military stocks, National Guard and police armories, and private collectors is known to take place now. If other means of acquiring weapons are banned, such illegal diversions will only become more common. Note that this is despite the highest levels of security and audit precautions.

6) Banning private sales only drives these sales underground. It is better for example to allow private sales at gun shows where they can be surveilled by law enforcement, or to set up an instant phone background check where law-abiding casual firearms sellers can easily verify the status of a buyer.

7) Last but not least, a person must be found guilty of crime or adjudicated as mentally ill before becoming "prohibited" to obtain firearms by lawful purchase. Even if prohibited, they can still obtain firearms by any of the means above.

RuskieShooter
07-20-2012, 5:06 PM
The problem is that a national background check system must be 100% to work effectively at preventing crime.

I'm not certain that I agree with the premise that a background check system is either 100% effective or it is not effective at all.

Example 1: A manufacturing quality control process screens for defects and catches 95% of all defective products before shipping. Because the process does not catch 100% of all defects the company should scrap its quality testing? I have been an electrical engineer working in manufacturing for over 12 years and I can tell you no quality control process is 100%.

Example 2: Our justice system sometimes convicts innocent people and allows criminals to walk. Because it is not 100% accurate we should just give up arresting/prosecuting criminals?

Most processes/systems are not perfect, but many times the ones put in place are the best available. To say that if a process is not 100% accurate then it is not useful is not being realistic.

-Ruskie

SilverTauron
07-20-2012, 5:25 PM
I'm not certain that I agree with the premise that a background check system is either 100% effective or it is not effective at all.

Example 1: A manufacturing quality control process screens for defects and catches 95% of all defective products before shipping. Because the process does not catch 100% of all defects the company should scrap its quality testing? I have been an electrical engineer working in manufacturing for over 12 years and I can tell you no quality control process is 100%.

Example 2: Our justice system sometimes convicts innocent people and allows criminals to walk. Because it is not 100% accurate we should just give up arresting/prosecuting criminals?

Most processes/systems are not perfect, but many times the ones put in place are the best available. To say that if a process is not 100% accurate then it is not useful is not being realistic.

-Ruskie

Manufacturing is a process of building things. That's very different from determining whether or not someone is a threat to public safety. Ensuring that Joe Felon doesn't get a gun, and that Joe Citzen can is inherently much more critical than building consumer goods and yes, even the justice system, because if its wrong people die. A malformed product can be recalled. A bad verdict can be remanded on appeal. But those who are killed due to failure of the Brady System to ID a prohibited person stay dead.

Imagine if the President woke up and was told 95% of Secret Service agents are loyal. I figure the POTUS wouldn't find that stat acceptable, even though in manufacturing that's quite an achievement. Society, for better or worse views a national background check as a public equivalent to Secret Service protection in that its meant to stop bad guys from doing bad things. That's a job which demands no errors;certainly no one would think THEY would be in the 5% who gets to be assaulted by armed felons, but someone out there will be. They have the same right to security as anyone else, unless you believe the horror of homicide and death is an acceptable "collateral cost" for some and not for others.


I don't support the shutdown of the Brady System for mere kicks and giggles.If a strategy doesn't work, we need to recognize it and change it instead of beating our heads against the wall because it feels better than facing a cold truth.

Extra411
07-20-2012, 7:20 PM
I have several issues:

1) Just because a system isn't 100% perfect does not imply that we should remove the system. So long as we have not found a more effective system, then such system should remain in place. The founding fathers of America knew democracy isn't perfect, but it's still better than a lot of systems out there. Would you also consider it a waste of time for them since it isn't the optimal solution? Even the judicial system isn't perfect, and the founding fathers all knew this. They knew some innocent people would be put in jail and some criminals would walk free. They did the best they could and took calculated risks. Either having perfection or nothing at all doesn't work in this world.

Furthermore, I always say that it's easier to criticize a system than to propose a better system. It's easier to say "democracy doesn't work" than to construct something better. And IMO, the "100% accurate background check system" is as much of a naive fantasy as Utopia.

2) Gun control has always focused on the lowest common denominator. They aren't targeted at elite ex-spec ops snipers who have 100% hit ratings. They are targeted at morons who hold their guns sideways and lucky that they haven't shot themselves yet. It's from this perspective that they pursue gun control laws - banning guns means your average moron criminal can't as easily get a gun by burglarizing a couple houses. They understand that you can't effectively prevent criminal access to ALL guns - only that it will take more effort to get those guns, and perhaps eliminating a large percentage of the moron criminals' access to guns.
It is also from this perspective that they propose these limited mag-capacity laws. You hand a moron criminal a gun with 10 round limit, they will make less hits than if he had a 30 round mag. Likewise, if a moron criminal has to change mags often, it'll slow him down, because the basic assumption here is that these criminals are untrained and unskilled.
Firearms have changed the landscape of conflict since its inception - previously the strongest fighting forces were mounted knights, who had to train vigorously (not to mention possess certain natural talents) to become dangerous warriors, then with the invention of firearms all of a sudden the average peasant who had zero training or talent could potentially slay a knight. The so called "assault weapons" are just an extension of that process - it makes even the dumbest and most untrained criminal a dangerous threat.

I feel it's important to understand the anti-gun side thoroughly, because not only can one not make effectively counter-arguments without doing so, but also there's certain value in their arguments (let's face the facts, there's certain truth to both sides in just about any debate).

My biggest issue with gun control laws is the fact that while it may curtail a certain percentage of criminals' access to guns, it will prevent ALL law abiding citizens' access to guns. The cost is simply too great. Of course this isn't my only issue, but it'll take too long to discuss them in detail.

RJohnson
07-20-2012, 7:27 PM
it appears to be more a problem of not going far enough. One would think that the advocates of gun control would be smart enough to ban off the list lower receivers, bullet buttons, and magazine repair kits that easily allow for the construction of these weapons of mass destruction.

taperxz
07-20-2012, 8:04 PM
it appears to be more a problem of not going far enough. One would think that the advocates of gun control would be smart enough to ban off the list lower receivers, bullet buttons, and magazine repair kits that easily allow for the construction of these weapons of mass destruction.

You need to understand things better. To do what you say would be the same as asking CA to completely change all gun laws in CA

RuskieShooter
07-20-2012, 9:15 PM
Manufacturing is a process of building things. That's very different from determining whether or not someone is a threat to public safety.

I think you missed my point. Manufacturing is a process, the justice system is a process, and the background check is a process. While I will concede that some processes are more tolerant of failures than others, it doesn't change the fact that they are all processes, and to say either a process is 100% or its a failure is not being very realistic. NO process is 100%.

You can improve the process but at some point the process hits a point of diminishing returns. Are you willing to pay $10,000 and wait six months while the government conducts a background check each time your purchase a firearm? If so, I would bet the system will be a lot more secure and much closer to 100%. Unfortunately it will also be too expensive and time consuming and still won't be 100%.

Ensuring that Joe Felon doesn't get a gun, and that Joe Citzen can is inherently much more critical than building consumer goods and yes, even the justice system, because if its wrong people die.

Tell this to the soldier who's weapon fails, the pilot whose instruments fail, the diver whose oxygen regulator fails, or the executed prisoner who is later found innocent after he's executed or spends a long time in a very unpleasant place (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrongful_execution).

-Ruskie

SmallShark
07-20-2012, 9:28 PM
Criminals dont give a crap about laws.