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View Full Version : Regulating handguns vs long guns


CALawyer
07-24-2012, 9:24 PM
My facebook is blowing up with people still commenting about the shooting in CO, and about banning ARs/AKs.

I was talking about the above with my (very pro gun) friend, and I started thinking. If anything needs regulation, it's handguns, not long guns.

Here is my reasoning:

1) Handguns are connected with most gun crime.
2) Long guns have a historical/constitutional purpose associated with individual sovereignty/defense from tyranny.
3) Long guns are harder to conceal for (illicit) offensive purposes.
3) Long guns are (more often) tools with a purpose other than just killing people.

Now, I am not saying that there should be a ban on handguns. But, I think it should be easier for someone to get an AR than a Glock 19, not the other way around. In fact, at least for urban areas, I would probably be OK with a license and even some sort of periodic re-certification with handguns, but I think I would oppose such a thing for long guns.

What do people think about all of the above?


Edit: http://blogs.reuters.com/gregg-easterbrook/2010/07/01/supreme-courts-best-decision-ever-for-gun-regulation/ This article makes a similar (but not identical) argument.

hoffmang
07-24-2012, 9:28 PM
Handguns are the arms protected under the Second Amendment. Pre-Heller, there was an argument that they might be regulated more tightly than long arms. Post-Heller, there is no reasonable argument that they will not be treated equally with long arms.

So far the only distinction that has survived - so far - in Federal Courts is that long guns can't be registered under the historical-categorical test. I'm dubious that that survives for the reasons Judge Kavanaugh cited in his dissent in Heller II.

Constitutional law doesn't change because one mentally ill lunatic shoots some people.

-Gene

CALawyer
07-24-2012, 9:40 PM
Handguns are the arms protected under the Second Amendment. Pre-Heller, there was an argument that they might be regulated more tightly than long arms. Post-Heller, there is no reasonable argument that they will not be treated equally with long arms.

So far the only distinction that has survived - so far - in Federal Courts is that long guns can't be registered under the historical-categorical test. I'm dubious that that survives for the reasons Judge Kavanaugh cited in his dissent in Heller II.

Constitutional law doesn't change because one mentally ill lunatic shoots some people.

-Gene

Well, the argument I am making is not really a legal argument. I am more asking what would be "reasonable" pro and con arguments for regulating different classes of firearms, and I guess I am putting forth a hypothetical argument in favor of regulating handguns more and long guns less (at least in CA).

hoffmang
07-24-2012, 10:03 PM
Well, the argument I am making is not really a legal argument. I am more asking what would be "reasonable" pro and con arguments for regulating different classes of firearms, and I guess I am putting forth a hypothetical argument in favor of regulating handguns more and long guns less (at least in CA).

As a pure public policy matter and ignoring the Constitution, the risks are higher to possession and carry by the unlicensed of handguns. Licensees are however exceedingly non violent and safe. Under that argument the last thing you can regulate, register, or ban are AR-15s as semiautomatic centerfire rifles with pistol grips are used in like 3% of street crimes and that's US DOJ data.

However, the Bill of Rights actually does mean something in this debate now and handguns are protected. If the arm that is present in 40%-70% of street crime is protected, then surely long arms, that are present in a lot less crime, are protected.

-Gene

hoffmang
07-24-2012, 10:05 PM
But PS: I've always thought that the felon bar on all arms isn't responsive to something you're getting at. Barring felons for life from handguns makes a lot of public policy sense - especially if they were allowed to own/possess long arms. That was Alaska's public policy until Federal law complicated it.

-Gene

Dreaded Claymore
07-25-2012, 4:05 PM
Well, the argument I am making is not really a legal argument. I am more asking what would be "reasonable" pro and con arguments for regulating different classes of firearms, and I guess I am putting forth a hypothetical argument in favor of regulating handguns more and long guns less (at least in CA).

When people are talking about firearms and public policy, and you hear the word "reasonable," run away. In this context, "reasonable" is actually a code word for its opposite: emotionable.

Nick Justice
07-25-2012, 4:14 PM
And another one succumbs to the deadly fumes of gun control. :(

Texas Boy
07-25-2012, 4:21 PM
I agree with Gene 100% - you can't ignore the Bill of Rights and recent SCOUTS rulings in this debate.

But setting that aside, the OP does have a point - it is ironic that there is more discussion about controlling "assault weapons" than handguns, when long guns in general, and "assault weapons" in particular are only used in a tiny fraction of all crimes, and by their nature are much harder to use in crime. I think this just points out how emotional and irrational the gun grabbers are. They want to "do something" even if it is stupid and destroys personal liberties.

mag360
07-25-2012, 4:31 PM
I finally had to end the discussion with some gun haters with "thankfully due to heller i wont have to be defenseless because you find guns scary"

Connor P Price
07-25-2012, 4:41 PM
OP, you're right that handguns are used overwhelmingly more in crime than other types of arms. What you don't acknowledge is that they are also used incredibly frequently in self defense by law abiding citizens both in their homes and out. So looking strictly at the public policy side and ignoring the constitutional problems with your idea it still doesn't seem like a good plan.

Criminals will continue to commit crimes and wont care at all about further handgun regulation. Law abiding citizens would be presented with further obstructions keeping them from being able to successfully defend themselves from attackers with the most useful tool to do so, a handgun.

Where is the public policy benefit? Unless I'm missing something this idea is all bad.

MindBuilder
07-25-2012, 5:11 PM
Why should there be licensing and certification? is there any evidence that those things have any significant impact on gun crime or mis-shootings? Do we have a plague of defenders missing their targets and hitting bystanders? I'm sure it has happened but I'm not sure if I've ever even heard of a specific incident of it. Criminals hit bystanders often enough, but that is because they don't care. A license isn't going to make them care. If a license holder wants to comit a murder do we want to be sure he is a good shot? If a license holder doesn't care if he can shoot well then it is his problem and his choice unless it is shown that missing is causing a problem for the rest of us. I don't think that has been shown at all. If the person is prohibited from getting a gun then licensing and certification won't help nearly as often as it will deter people from aquiring the tools to defend themselves. There are many states where people can buy guns from private parties without even an instant background check, and many of those states have some of the lowest crime rates. So what's the benefit of the regulation? It is not needed. The murderers will ignore it anyway.

All licensing and certification do are add expensive paperwork and obstacles to increasing the number of gun owners and increase the number of people who will lose their lives because it was just a little too inconvenient or expensive to buy a gun.

The only exception I might not object to is a writen test at purchase *without* the requirment for a class or shooting test and with a requirement that the test be easy enough that 3/4 of test takers can pass it on the first try. I might not object to a live fire requirement but only if it was allowed *after* taking the gun home, so that it would not be a blocking factor to getting the gun and there would be flexibility of finding a shooting range and instructior. It could be required within say 60 days.

CALawyer
07-25-2012, 5:24 PM
OP, you're right that handguns are used overwhelmingly more in crime than other types of arms. What you don't acknowledge is that they are also used incredibly frequently in self defense by law abiding citizens both in their homes and out. So looking strictly at the public policy side and ignoring the constitutional problems with your idea it still doesn't seem like a good plan.

...


This is a good point. I guess I might argue that shotguns could replace handguns for home defense for most people. But I do see your point.

Connor P Price
07-25-2012, 5:40 PM
This is a good point. I guess I might argue that shotguns could replace handguns for home defense for most people. But I do see your point.

The majority of rapes, murders, aggravated assaults and other violent crimes occur outside the victims home. Shotguns are great for home defense, but most defensive situations happen outside the home where the use of a handgun is much easier and more important to protect.

leadstorm
07-25-2012, 6:03 PM
OP: The focus you present is on the gun and determining a priori who should and shouldn't be allowed to have access to the gun. Taking additional measures on licensure, additional qualifications for ownership, making them "harder to get," applying additional regulation to classes of guns which are "more dangerous" than others, etc, is fruitless if your end goal is stopping illegal posession and violent gun crime.

Now, having very clear and straightforward laws for what's legal and illegal when it comes to gun posession and use, and subsequently making truly scary penalties and enforcement policies for illegal use/posession of a gun...that would get you somewhere towards your goal.

What do you suppose would happen if the penalty (if convicted under swift due process)for firing a gun at someone in offense was death?

Aside form personal morals, which vary widely, a high likelihood of getting caught coupled with a real fear of the subsequent consequences is what keeps normal people from doing bad things. Right now we have lackluster enforcement and pathetic consequences.

The nutjobs and truly evil zealots? Not much you can do about them - they'll find a way and don't care what happens after.

Capybara
07-25-2012, 6:34 PM
I disagree with your assertion "if anything needs regulation, it's handguns, not long-guns". If you are an attorney, than you are well aware that there are already too many gun laws on the books and the hardly any of them work because the people inflicting the damage are criminals who don't obey the laws in the first place.

It's a tired trope but still true, enforce the laws we have more effectively and you won't feel the need to add more laws/regulation. Gun rights = civil rights and besides gun civil rights, all of our other civil rights are slowly eroding in this country.

dantodd
07-25-2012, 6:47 PM
This is a good point. I guess I might argue that shotguns could replace handguns for home defense for most people. But I do see your point.

And with a hack saw and 5 minutes time they could also replace handguns in most illegal use of force situations too.

A-J
07-25-2012, 7:21 PM
Whenever something like this happens, there are always the Brady and Brady wannabes that scream for more gun control. What needs to happen is to stop blaming the guns and start blaming the people. Now, if the shooter should have been unable to buy the gun but still got it through legal channels, then you have to find out where and how that system failed, not make the system more complicated. If the shooter got the gun or guns illegally then you need to STFU. JMO.

sharxbyte
07-25-2012, 8:27 PM
Handguns are the arms protected under the Second Amendment. Pre-Heller, there was an argument that they might be regulated more tightly than long arms. Post-Heller, there is no reasonable argument that they will not be treated equally with long arms.

So far the only distinction that has survived - so far - in Federal Courts is that long guns can't be registered under the historical-categorical test. I'm dubious that that survives for the reasons Judge Kavanaugh cited in his dissent in Heller II.

Constitutional law doesn't change because one mentally ill lunatic shoots some people.

-Gene

Is the age limit for purchase from FFL not federal?

hoffmang
07-25-2012, 8:49 PM
Is the age limit for purchase from FFL not federal?

It is federal and it's only a bar on commercial sale - not private party transfer in most states. Surviving a district court isn't surviving a Court of Appeals.

-Gene

SilverTauron
07-25-2012, 8:49 PM
I was talking about the above with my (very pro gun) friend, and I started thinking. If anything needs regulation, it's handguns, not long guns.

Here is my reasoning:

1) Handguns are connected with most gun crime.

It must be stated first that murder and crime is murder and crime. The tool used to commit such acts isn't relevant. Shall we deem the crime of speeding as "car crime"?

In any case, handguns make for poor assasination tools. Gavrilo Princip aside people who are serious about their intent on murder and mayhem use long arms for the job.



2) Long guns have a historical/constitutional purpose associated with individual sovereignty/defense from tyranny.


The gun that killed Libyan dictator Gaddafi wasn't a rifle.



3) Long guns are harder to conceal for (illicit) offensive purposes.
3) Long guns are (more often) tools with a purpose other than just killing people.


False on both counts. The AK-47 and AR15 were both conceived to be general issue battle rifles on the field of war.By definition the point of a war is to kill people.

As far as concealment goes, a folding stock Sig 552 or AKM underfolder fit in many general purpose backpacks without much drama. There's always the long-coat option also if you're one for style.






Now, I am not saying that there should be a ban on handguns. But, I think it should be easier for someone to get an AR than a Glock 19, not the other way around. In fact, at least for urban areas, I would probably be OK with a license and even some sort of periodic re-certification with handguns, but I think I would oppose such a thing for long guns.

What do people think about all of the above?

.


Your entire concept is unfounded. Using history as a guide, "The Government" cannot stop a determined criminal from murder any more than it can stop the sunrise.