The Atlanta Atheists Meetup Group Message Board › Assault weapons ban - what is the rationalists view of this?

Assault weapons ban - what is the rationalists view of this?

A former member
Post #: 24
Here I go again, but I love these discussions. From a rationalists view, should assault weapons be banned? Now the rules. You must provide sited statistics from recognized sources for your argument for or against. Just saying "because they are bad" or "because it is my right" is off limits.

This should be interesting!
A former member
Post #: 25
Ok, let us start with a direct quote from Sen. Dianne Feinstein:

What we are trying to do is overall see that weapons ... are in the hands of responsible citizens, that they are used legally, not illegally, that they do not fall into the hands of gangs.

So, will banning assault weapons and limiting magazine sizes for everyone accomplish this goal and how?

Here is the text of the proposed bill
Judith M.
Fayetteville, GA
Post #: 20
I see no reason why guns should not be regulated for individual and societal safety, just like many other consumer products. Our legislatures should not be subject to elective blackmail by gun manufacturers when they debate what those regulations should be. While the NRA is not the only industry lobbying group which is unduly influencing our governments, it is one of the most effective in protecting its economic interests without regard for the public welfare.
Personally I could be satisfied with required training prior to licensing and registration for gun ownership.
user 31134972
Atlanta, GA
Post #: 4
Interesting question. Not sure it's relevant, but i think more children die in the US of hand guns than of assault weapons. Regardless of the method, both the mass killings and individual killings are hideous. The biggest problem with assult weapons is they are weapons designed for war and in our country there are mentally ill people who want to wage war on innocent humans. So my personal (not speaking for rationalists) view is that assult weapons should be completely banned for individual ownership. I don't have a problem with a company that is regulated setting up a shooting range and/or traing facility for assult weapons. As long as individuals can't take these weapons home.
user 65540172
Atlanta, GA
Post #: 1
I think the trouble with any gun control debate is that the evidence currently available is weak and unclear:­

That leaves us debating the underlying values that lead us to our poorly supported opinions and, while this can be valuable, it leaves rationalists out in the cold.

(This one's a little more detailed, for those with the time and the interest:­)
A former member
Post #: 28
The facts - so far have not seen any facts to back up any of the claims so far, nada.

So, here are some hard facts from reliable sources.

According to the FBI, 73% of violent crimes are without a weapon. 22% with a weapon. 8% with a firearm, 6% with a knife and 7% other.

That is, 15% of violent crime is not using a firearm, 8% are. How do we deal with the 15%????

Also, according to the us doj, The overall rate of firearm violence declined from 2.4 to 1.4 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older between 2000 and 2009.

A 1997 US Department of Justice put the number at 1.5 million crimes prevented by legal gun owners annually.

This site provides crime stats:­

More than 80% of crimes with firearms are committed by illegally obtained weapons. Passing laws will not impact that. Considering the number of weapons out there already. Banning new sales does very little.

There is information available for rationalists, we just have to know where to look.
Roswell, GA
Post #: 113
So by your own admission, Allen, 20% of crimes with firearms are committed with legally obtained weapons. What is your plan to stop that? And how many of the illegally obtained weapons were sourced in the US? And from what source? What is your plan to stop this trade? And what about the 'legally' obtained weapons that are sold into Mexico by US residents?

Moreover, according to the same source that you cite, the number of law enforcement officers killed in the last 10 years was 543, of which 500 were killed by firearms and 35 by vehicles. I am sure that the partners, children and friends of these people would love to know that stiffer regulation of firearms would have no effect!
user 65540172
Atlanta, GA
Post #: 2
I don't disagree that there is a lot of information out there. What I was asserting is that this information is not compelling evidence.

Allen's "...1.5 million crimes prevented..." illustrates my point about why gun statistics are so problematic (skip to page 13):­

Now try this:

The rate of firearm crimes and legal gun licensing tends to correlate over time.
This suggests that curbing legal gun ownership would increase public safety, but this is also bad evidence, as correlation does not imply causation.

I've used all manner of firearms (including assault rifles) and I enjoy shooting, but I don't own firearms because, as this Harvard meta-study shows, owning a gun is far more dangerous than not owning a gun:­

This study is excellent research, and it helps inform my personal choices, but it only speaks to the risks of gun ownership on gun-owning families, and does not imply an increased safety risk to the public at large.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that none of us want to restrict freedoms, none of us like when innocent people are killed, and most of us are probably willing to bow to evidence. The evidence we require to make informed decisions about restrictive firearms legislation (much less an assault weapons ban) requires complex research that, by and large, is not even being conducted.
A former member
Post #: 33
Danny, I was not making any claims, just providing factual data. Please try to stick to a rationalist viewpoint rather than emotional reactionalism. I am looking for factual evidence showing that the bill either will or will not accomplish the stated goals.

As Joel pointed out, the causality is not proven by data either way as far as I know. I would 100% support the bill if a rational argument can be made that the stated goals will be attained. I am going to have to follow up on what Joel pointed out and see if I can find any evidence to support a causal relationship either short or long term

Right now I have no factual evidence that the bill will or will not attain the stated goals, so I have an open mind.
Roswell, GA
Post #: 115
Which part of what I said was not rational, Allen?
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