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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?

Christy B.
user 24364922
Conyers, GA
Post #: 17
As a physician, I agree with Joel here. A gun in the household is more likely to kill a family member, spouse or children than a home invader or robber. A waiting period will not deter criminals but may deter suicides since these acts are usually impulsive ( especially with guns). We will know more about factors contributing to gun violence now that the "gag" order has been lifted from the CDC ( in terms of freeing up funding).

However, this is about assault weapons.

Unfortunately there really only has been 1 good study looking at the effects of banning assault weapons. "The Law Enforcement Act of 1994 mandated a study 30 months after it was enacted. “Impact Evaluation of the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act of 1994.” That evaluation was updated in 2004 but no more comprehensive study was done." The one big confounding variable was that assault weapons and large-capacity magazines manufactured before 1994 were “grandfathered” in for sale and distribution. Which means, early in the study period, any benefit may have been mitigated by these "grandfathered" assault weapons exchanging hands, and they never did do the followup. I will post the link.

From a public health standpoint it is disingenuous to say that since A only causes X% of morbidity and mortality we don't need to control A to reduce X%. WHO promotes male circumcision since that simple, one time act decreases transmission of AIDS virus by 20%. That doesn't seem like much but multiply that with the number of people say in the African continent and we are talking the difference between having enough HIV drugs or a critical shortage.If legally obtained assault weapons kill say X% of violent crime victims, then I say we regulate that variable, because when applied to a large population, it is not negligible. Then, work on laws to limit illegal assault weapons.

Christy B.
user 24364922
Conyers, GA
Post #: 18
here is the link to the study


A former member
Post #: 4
I am a federal agent and one of my primary duties involves the enforcement of federal firearms laws. I have interviewed countless of gang members and other violent offenders, as well as spent hours in an undercover capacity purchasing both firearms and narcotics from them in furtherance of federal investigations.

The issue of "assault weapons" is not easily clarified, but its important to note that the term itself has no clear definition in legal circles. The 1994 assault weapons ban (now lapsed) defined it in a particular way, but that definition is by no means unanimous or commonly accepted. Senator Feinstein's bill changes the old definition and makes it more restrictive, but also provides for a number of specific exemptions.

"Assault weapons" are rarely used in street crime, and 72% of murders in America are committed using a handgun. Shootings like Newtown, Aurora, and VT garner major media coverage and are often the impetus for change. Of the 165,068 murders committed between 2000-2010 (data excludes FL), nearly 50 percent of the victims were black, and almost all were males between 12-39 years old. These stats from the Wall Street Journal, and the interactive graphs, provide a wealth of data about real street crime, and consequently the type of violence that--depending upon your perspective-- new gun laws might be better served to target.

WSJ Murder Data

Another important factor often confused in this discussion is that "assault weapon" does NOT mean fully automatic. The legal sale and transfer of automatic weapons in this country is already highly regulated, and the use of automatic weapons in street crime is even more rare than the use of semi-automatic "assault weapons." None of the legislation introduced or discussed thus far mentions automatic weapons. For instance, there are 22,081, legally registered machine guns in Georgia, and none have been used in a crime. Full data here on weapons requiring registration under the National Firearms Act, along with data by state: ATF Firearms Data

Lastly, here's a link to a number of my other comments regarding gun control and assault weapons that were relevant in another meetup: Gun Control
user 28113052
Atlanta, GA
Post #: 2
I don't think that these laws prevent any crime at all for one very important reason. Criminals do not obey laws and they will not obey gun laws. You cannot prevent crimes by passing laws that only cause law abiding people to obey them because law abiding people are not criminals to begin with. I should also have the right to defend myself against a criminal who attacks me (example: home invasion robber). You also need to remember something else. If guns are outlawed, then a genocidal government can kill defenseless civilians much more easily because unarmed people have a harder time defending themselves. Governments that become genocidal can and do kill millions of people and that is much worse than the crime rate that we have now. Is that what you want to have? I strongly deny that is what you want to have. Please use some common sense because the genocidal war between north and south Sudan was horrible and it lasted for almost 22 years in Africa. I detest the genocide that happened over there.
Atlanta, GA
Post #: 46
I ain't got no statistics, but I do have some ideas about both statistics and weapons legalization.   

I tend to be distrustful of statistics because when big money is behind something, statistics to match whatever big money wants, soon follows. 

Damn lies and statistics, Samuel Clemens.

This first part sounds like I'm a conservative (which I am not).   My feelings on legalization of weapons are because of the reasons below. 

If I trusted the government, I would say ban all weapons..  But the reality is governments tend to be corrupt, inevitable in a decade, or a generation.   I believe this is because kooks tend to rise to the top of political structures for some unfortunate reason.   

Now for part two, it is conservatives that allowed america to become fascist, by removing so many regulations (that were originally put there for  reason).  So ironically, the biggest danger in america is not gangs or individual thugs, rather it is conservatives that allowed america to become fascist.   The future I see is either violent revolution, or America will continue to decline until we mirror the model of Mexico.

Economic violence kills a lot of people (thru poor diet, stress, and lack of health care).  And of course yet another reason disparity of wealth causes suffering and death, is that a poor economy leads to increased religion, increased violence, and increased addictive behavior (alcohol and cigarettes).   

NO ONE EVER TALKS ABOUT THIS (the above point relating extreme income disparity to a violent society, something should be done about this maybe it's more important to ban income disparity then to ban guns..   because then far fewer people would want to shoot other people..  

Society creates its own criminals, through income disparity. And I mean extreme income disparity, I am certainly not saying that everyone should make the same amount of money no matter what they do or contribute.   

Meanwhile we have big money controlling the outcome of the elections (fascism).  I believe america supplies weapons to the rest of the world for profit. I remember Reagan's administration selling weapons to the enemy, presumably for profit..  

And I remember Clinton's cigar and where he might have put his penis was more important than selling weapons to the enemy..  And politics got much worse over the decades that followed. As Carter recently said America is a non-functioning democracy (and I agree)..  And big money combined with mixing religion and government, is the reason.

As the American founders said, a violent revolution may be necessary from time to time (I don't have the quote, but I believe this is the gist of it).  

So for the very reason the founders laid out, I can't bring myself to support banning weapons.  Because with adjusted income, America is experiencing the worst disparity of wealth since Imperial Rome.

Everyone should benefit from technology but instead we see the one percent becoming billionaires instead of millionaires, and the 99 percent of us..  millions of us, are losing our homes and are unable to retire from our jobs. Also young people cannot get jobs because old people are not retiring.  

Key regulations put in place after the Great Depression have been removed over the last few decades of Reaganomics..  Due to the influence of corporate money, both Democrats and Republicans have been working to remove these regulations or modify them to benefit only big businesses control politicians like puppets, and therefore are able to write the legal text of new laws, that benefit big money only.. So even though we still have a regulatory agency, there are little or no regulations in any meaningful sense.

So today, with so many regulations removed, real life is like a big game of Monopoly in America today. And we have one winner, and the rest are losing their homes and unable to retire from work. 

I believe this was the very reason the game of Monopoly was invented after the Great Depression, was to teach people this lesson so that it would never happen again. And here we are again due too conservative economics opening the door big money taking over. We have no government really. Rather our government is practically a cog in the wheel of big businesses profit making engine.  

OK I forgot what I was writing about.  

Oh.. I know that a handgun or rifle is not the equivalent of bearing arms in the sense of when the Constitution was written, but the underlined wisdom is still valid.   also a few handguns can never match nuclear weapons in tanks and rocket launchers that arms has developed into overtime. But if a violent revolution were needed some day, guns will still make a difference.

I do support the idea of background checks, and even some sort of mandatory training program such as people have to do in order to drive a car.  And I do support an assault weapon ban, because crazy people shooting at a mall can kill far too many people (at least this should curb the numbers they can kill when it happens again and again)..  

But it gets a little fuzzy when weapons need to be registered, because every fascist dictatorship make guns illegal and then when around confiscating guns before committing mass genocide on people.. this has happened many times in history, how can it not happen again. So I did not see gun owner ownership politics as having anything to do with hunting, or criminals using guns. It's about the bigger picture.  

Although I admit I am close to being on the fence on this issue..  
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