Limit the gun types and not gun owners

I don't object to the principle of owning a gun. I don't even think the right to gun ownership should be linked to 2nd amendment. In the USA you have the right to something unless it is explicitly taken away. What I do object to is ownership of a gun type that has no reasonable civilian use. If you want to hunt then you can get the rifle or shotgun agreed upon for this purpose. If you want to range shoot then you can choose between the handguns agreed upon for this purpose. If you want to defend your family and homestead then, again, you have a limited choice. Every other type of weapon is unnecessary and should be unavailable. Our government limits a lot of stuff and, more often than not, they are useful limits. I want my government to limit the types of guns and, far less so, limit who can own guns.


Matt Caron said...

The issue with this is that the types are not clear cut. For example, the new NY "assault weapons ban" banned my deer rifle and two of my target rifles, which were all legal under the old ban. The kicker here is that, by merely changing the stocks to less ergonomic models, they become legal again. So, I'd love to know exactly what types you'd ban. I'd speculae that, if not you're careful, you'd end up banning the top selling rifle pattern for about the past decade, which is a bit of a legal sticky wicket. But, feel free to propose, I'd love to discuss it.

Andrew Gilmartin said...

A significant difference is that I am for the explicit authorization of specific gun designs and not banning of specific gun designs. When you ban a specific design then it will very likely come back again in another guise. For example, if you set a maximum magazine size then this will likely spur the design of a faster magazine replacement. The ban's intention is effectively DOA.

I do not doubt that selecting the design of purpose specific weapons will be difficult. How is deer hunting unique to hunting other large herbivores? Is hunting carnivores significantly different from herbivores that it would require a wholly different weapon design? I think none, but I have no expertise in these areas whatsoever. Having been around the development of other kinds of standards I know that it can happen - and also know that not everyone will be pleased with the standard.

Aside: Weapon manufacturers are no different than any other publicly owned company. They need to (at least) maintain sales and they do so by expanding their customer base or offering new products to their existing customer base. The cost of selling to a new customer is far more than the cost of selling to an existing customer. And so there is a natural tendency to make new products even if they only reach niche or boutique markets within their existing customer base. Removing new civilian product development will significantly alter the economic viability of weapon manufacturers as public companies. I have no doubt, however, that they will find a way to survive and continue to provide value to shareholders.

Matt Caron said...

My issue with the "explicit authorization" approach you posit is that it essentially takes the free market out of it, stagnating progress and improvements in firearm technology. It's also going to be a very grey area as to what constitutes part of those designs. I mean, we already have this problem with the "you can't make machineguns", but you can make semi-autos which shoot so fast they might as well be machineguns.

Your questions do belie a lack of familiarity with this field, which is likely why you think your proposition seems reasonable. You are not alone in this regard, I note - the various Assault Weapons Bans, for example, are essentially the equivalent of banning low profile tires, spoilers, and racing stickers on cars, because they share commonality with those on race cars and therefore the cars could be used for street racing. All the while, there is no limit on engine size or horsepower - which is what would possibly make a difference.

Oh, and as an aside, for all the "high powered" rifle talk on the news, they're not. They're actually about the LEAST powerful centerfire rifle cartridge in common use. The real heavy stuff is used for hunting.

So, anyway, on to the specifics of what is used for what.

Matt Caron said...

== Hunting ==

For really small game, you're generally going to use a rifle in .22 or .223. .223 is good for stuff about coyote sized. There's probably an even split between semi-auto and non-semi auto rifles in this market. If you're talking some markets, like folks who shoot prairie dogs, long range ARs in .223 pretty much rule this market segment.

For the next size up, you're talking your more medium-sized game, including deer, antelope, and maybe even Caribou, and you're starting at stuff around the various .270 calibers, and probably topping out at your various .30 caliber cartridges. In common use here are: .30-30, .308, .30-06, and various .300 Magnum calibers. Bolt action rifles tend to dominate here, because they're light and good value for the money. Less common are lever action rifles and semi autos. I used to use a semi-auto rifle (AR-15 pattern in .30 Remington AR, which is somewhere between .30-30 and .308 in power level) due to superior ergonomics. The new ban forced me to change it to make it very uncomfortable to shoot in order to remain legal, so I bought a cheap .30-06 bolt action rifle. It's not as comfortable to shoot as the original configuration of the .30 RAR, but it's more comfortable than the current configuration. It's also about 50% more powerful.

The next size up is for your big stuff, like your elk, buffalo, etc. For that, you're talking really heavy stuff - .30 caliber and bigger, and generally a magnum. So, .30-06 is about the floor here. .300 Winchester Mag and .300 Weatherby Mag are probably the most common, and then there's more esoteric stuff. Here, boltguns pretty much rule, because there are very few semi-autos which can handle these power levels without being ungodly heavy for the field.

There are also odd specialty cases. For example, Liz had been hunting deer in NY with a 7mm-08 (.308 necked down to .270) with good success, but when she went hunting Dahl's sheep above the arctic circle, she had to buy a .270 Weatherby Magnum. Essentially, the same bullet, travelling twice as fast. The reason is that your shots in NY are about 300 yards max, but you're talking 1000 yards when hunting various mountain sheep.

Matt Caron said...

Now, all of the above is for the stuff we consider to be *not* dangerous. As a general case, they're far away from you, and are extremely unlikely to charge you. You need power projected at a distance. Dangerous game is generally the opposite. Note that they don't necessarily need to be carnivorous - just dangerous. There are a lot of territorial herbivores which are likely to charge you if you make them angry (I'm looking at you, Cape Buffalo).

In these markets, double rifles used to rule. It's like a double-barrelled shotgun, except the barrels are rifles. You got two shots, and if that didn't drop it, you were likely dead. Risk was somewhat mitigated by hunting in a group, and/or having gun bearers to give you another gun. Key points here were low powered or no scopes and VERY powerful cartridges. Fast target acquisition, with about 100 yards maximum range.

In more modern times, the doubles have ceded ground to large-bore semiautos. They're accurate enough out to 100 yards and are fast-handling. A common setup for hunting the various feral hog varieties which inflict significant crop damage in the south is an AR in something like .450 Bushmaster with a day/night scope because they often hunt at night and need night vision gear. If the hog charges, you need to shoot it repeatedly until it stops, else it will lay you open with its tusks. Carrying a backup (a 1911 in .45ACP is traditional) with a flashlight which you can transition to in the case of a stoppage or a series of misses is a common practice (where legal to do so - some jurisdictions let you only carry one firearm).

Aside: There are calibers commonly used in Africa that are not commonly by used by Americans even when in Africa, because they we seriously restricted (effectively banned) by the 1934 National Firearms Act.

Aaand, shoguns. If you take it from waterfowl hunting (typically ducks), volume is more important than precision. What I mean by this is that, instead of one well-placed shot dropping a deer, you're looking at several reasonably well-placed shots (less well-placed because the shot spreads) attempting to drop several ducks. In this market, whatever shoots the fastest has always been king. Double guns, pump guns, and now semi-autos pretty much rule. Semi-autos with pistol grips are increasingly common because of how much more easily they handle and how comfortable they are to shoot.

Aside: Semi-auto rifles and shotguns with pistol grips are banned in NY state. Remove the pistol grip and they're totally legal.

Now, when you go from ducks to turkeys, you don't need to shoot that fast, but rather than buy two guns, you're likely to use the same gun for turkeys as for ducks. As a general case, you *might* change the barrel, but only if your duck gun barrel is excessively long.

Some folks hunt deer with shotguns with rifled slug barrels, mainly because hunting deer with rifles is banned in their locality.

Oh, almost universally, hunting regulations limit the number of rounds your magazine can hold, typically 4. I think an exception is made when hunting with revolvers (as they can hold 6, and limiting them to 4 is not practical), but can't say for certain.

Matt Caron said...

== Target Shooting ==

For this, I'm going to include all shooting sports, because you may not be familiar with them.

For general plinking, anything goes. You use whatever you feel like.

IDPA/IPSCC are shooting games designed around handgunnery. IDPA is based off production guns (like weekend car races where you race your daily driver) and IPSCC is based off the same thing.. kind of like NASCAR is. They guns bear a vague resemblance to something factory, but are otherwise super optimized and slicked up. Anyway, these are pretty well dominated by semi-autos in 9mm and .45 ACP., typically with as large magazines as can be fitted.

3 - Gun is typically a pistol/rifle/shotgun competition. Pistols are as per IDPA, shotguns are generally semiautos (like the duck guns), but with extended magazines (so you need to reload less) or AK pattern SAIGA shotguns. Rifles are almost exclusively ARs. You could try to use a non-semi-auto, but you'd never even place because it's a timed event.

Cowboy action shooting are like 3-Gun but based off cowboy guns. Revolvers, lever action rifles, and pump or lever actions sh0toguns. No semi-autos because they hadn't been in common use yet (Magnificent seven notwithstanding).

Long range shooting - here you're talking heavy calibers (.338 Lapua and .50 BMG) at 1000 - 1500m. No particular action of rifle rules here, just caliber, quality, and accuracy.

Matt Caron said...

== Protection ==

When you're not at home, your best strategy is to carry the most powerful gun, holding the most ammo, that you can. Pragmatism rules here, because it depends on what you're worried about. In someplace like Alaska, you want a very heavy revolver (we're talking about twice as powerful as Dirty Harry) because, you know, bears. In someplace a bit more civilized, a 9mm, .38Spl, or .45 ACP will work just fine. These are all over the place. I'd say semi-autos have a pretty hefty majority these days, and some folks carry lighter calibers than mentioned above, and a few carry heavier. I have a revolver in .38 Spl and a semi-auto in .45 ACP, but my license is restricted, so I basically am only allowed only carry to and from the range (lest someone try to jump me and take my firearms which are locked up in a box in the car, so I can't stop them from doing so).

When at home, and portability isn't really a problem, then it becomes an exercise in engineering tradeoffs. Firstly, handguns and handgun ammo sucks. A common axiom is that "handgun bullets are like aspirin - it takes several to do the job and they take awhile to work". An overwhelming majority of people shot with handguns survive because, aside from the aforementioned nutty Dirty Harry calibers, they're all pretty anemic.

Now, that said, irrespective of all laws, what I would say would be the best home defense gun pattern was a pistol-caliber short-barreled rifle. Think the old Tommy Gun, but semi-auto only (I'll have notes on machineguns below). The issue with this is that the barrel is too short and therefore that one has been heavily controlled since the 1934 National Firearms Act. So, they had to extend the barrel by like 6", which makes it not as handy for close combat.

The reason for choosing pistol ammo for home defense is because, as I said, it's pretty weak. If you get hollow point or, even better, frangible rounds, it's less likely to go through walls if you miss. You need lots of ammo because, when you have bag guys, you need to shoot them a lot. It's more controllable and easier to shoot well than a pistol.

The next best thing is likely a shotgun, either pump or semi-auto. This is still less likely to penetrate (like pistol ammo), but is more powerful, and therefore a little harder to control. You also will get very few shots as compared to a pistol caliber carbine or rifle, unless you're talking something exotic (and likely unreliable).

The final thing, which is actually the best thing if you don't have any neighbors, but the most likely to send rounds sailing through all your walls and off into the night, is a semi-automatic rifle (aka an "assault rifle"). It's rifle caliber, and therefore powerful, and you can generally get a lot of rounds in the magazine. A short-barreled version would be best, but, again, they're heavily restricted after 1934.

For what it's worth, my primary home defense gun is an AR-15 in .300 Blackout, which is better out of a 16" gun than .223, and hit harder at sub 100m (and if you need longer range than that, it's not really a home defense gun). But, then again, I don't have neighbors nearby.

I should also note that pretty much all of the above, but especially home defense guns, are better off suppressed, because otherwise you're going to have a hell of a ringing in your ears, and no one will be able to hear you. Rifle discharges in an enclosed space are no fun. Of course, suppressors are, you guessed it, restricted by the 1934 National Firearms Act.

Matt Caron said...

== Machineguns ==

These aren't really super useful. Oh, they're a load of fun, but even the military has been moving away from fully-automatic modes on general infantry rifles, because they waste ammo and you are sending more shots less accurately down range. Semi-auto rifles are emerging as the best balance, and automatic fire modes are being saved for dedicated squad automatic weapons and submachine guns. Personally, I have no issue with machine guns, or even with people owning machine guns (also heavily regulated by the 1934 National Firearms Act), but you're only good with the guns with which you train, and I can't afford the ammo bill of training with machine guns. So, a semi-auto gun is really the best balance, I think.

So, that's the state of all the "market segments" (for lack of a better term) at the moment. I look forward to learning what of the above designs you would approve and what of them you would deny.

Andrew Gilmartin said...

That is the best set of comments I have ever read on understanding weapons and their use. I can't thank you enough. It will take me a little while to absorb this all. I have posted a long to this on my Facebook page so others will know about it and read it. (I am not optimistic, however.)

Matt Caron said...

And I thank you for actually engaging in rational discussion on this topic rather than just ZOMG SCARY!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. The worst I can say is "I don't know".

I also avoided differences in laws in different states. I talked a little bit about federal laws and a bit about assault weapons bans, but you have to realize that it varies wildly depending on in which state you reside. If you have questions on that, I'll answer what I can.

Matt Caron said...

Oh, I'm also going to condense what I wrote and lay it out on my blog, if that's alright with you.

Andrew Gilmartin said...

Please do share our discussion in whatever way you think will reach folks.

Hasdrubal said...

Then there's the whole segment of the population who tinker with their guns like road racers tinker with their cars. You can build a gun like you build a computer: Trigger from A, Receiver from B, barrel from C, stock from D, etc. Load your own ammunition (and sometimes convert the brass/cartridge from one type of round to another because what you're shooting isn't even produced commercially.) You've got benchrest shooters who exclusively have custom built rifles with things like triggers that have a 1oz pull weight (most guns have a trigger pull between 3-5 pounds) and no safety because that's what it takes to hit five shots within a thousandth of an inch from each other at 100 yards. But you've also got IPSC shooters with custom pistols built to do nothing but shoot FAST. They go to the extreme of drilling vent holes on the top of the barrel to counteract the natural rise as it's shot. Or even the hobbyist who wants their own matrix of features (even as simple as colors, left handed, and sized properly to fit their physiology comfortably.)

Andrew Gilmartin said...

It had not occurred to me to until Matt and Hasdrubal mentioned it that of course there had to be custom/bespoke gun development. How do you align explicit authorization of specific gun designs with customized design? Customized design should be allowed and controlled. The restrictions placed on pharmaceutical development might be a useful model. That is, you can get a license to develop custom guns for use on your property. This is akin to preclinical research. Should you want to use it in public then very restrictive rules come into play like as happens in with clinical research. More to mull over.

Matt Caron said...

FWIW - Here is the federal law as it stands now. I am ignoring the conflicts with state laws. We're talking about living in a free state, like, Vermont.

- Making your own guns is legal, unless you're prohibited from owning them in the first place (convicted felon).
- You need to make sure to comply with all laws and not make a gun federally regulated under the National Firearms Act (so, you can make a rifle with a 16" barrel, and a pistol, with a 6" barrel, but not a short barrelled rifle (with, say, a 10" barrel) because that's somehow bad/scary.
- You can never sell these guns, they are for your use only.
- If you want to make guns for sale, you need to get a Federal Firearms license.
- However, if you buy a pre-made receiver (the serial-numbered part of the gun) by going through the standard background check, etc. you can then build whatever will fit on top of that receiver and can sell it. This is what most people do, because it's the least likely to cause you legal hassles.

Just as a benchmark, I:
- Have built my own AR pattern rifle
- Have changed stocks on several different guns, to optimize ergonomics for the shooter.
- Have changed scopes on a bunch of stuff (but those are so simple it's not worth mentioning)
- Have changed trigger assemblies to put in a better trigger (adjustable, crisper, less slop, etc.)
- Have polished actions, triggers, etc. for better reliability, function, and the like.

I also load my own ammunition in order to optimize for specific guns thus increasing accuracy. For example, my latest .30-06 went from 3" 3 shot groups at 100 yds with factory ammo to them all touching. Ammo makes a huge difference in the system.

I also do it to save cost, and to reload scarce ammo. For example, I cut down .223 cases and reform them to make .300 blackout because the former are easily available and thus cheap, the latter not so much.

Andrew Gilmartin said...

In an earlier comment Matt said that restricting gun design would limit manufacturers ability to innovate. I don't see this happening for several reasons. I am only concerned with limiting gun types for civilian use and so military innovation will continue. (I have no idea as to the size of the US civilian and military markets and so don't know if innovation is cost effective in the military market alone.) The "current" specific gun designs is not set for all time. There has to be a way to both fix problems and to make safety and efficacy improvements. This is done with standards all the time. A new standard obviates an older one.

The question now becomes how do you replace one design with the next? Do guns have planned obsolescence and so you need to replace it each year? Do you link gun design with ammunition design and ban the older ammunition design with the introduction of the newer design? Both of these strike me as kinds of licensing models and I am fairly sure is not the direction gun users want.

Matt Caron said...

The military market, while a cash cow if you can get it, is so speculative that very few companies bet the farm on it. Look at Colt - they're in and out of bankruptcy because they focus on military, where S&W and Ruger do well because they focus on the civilian market. The civilian market is where all the innovation happens. The military adopts a design and keeps it for decades.

Planned obsolescence won't fly. Even if it was workable, there's a tradition of them being heirlooms.

Andrew Gilmartin said...

Sometimes you have to "kill your darlings." The tradition of passing down guns might need to end or that the guns become reclassified as bespoke guns with all their concomitant regulations.

Matt Caron said...

That's a heck of a personal property rights violation. I mean, essentially what you're arguing is that we need to seize everyone's computers and replace them with approved models which "age out" after a time because, you know, that free speech thing can be used to inflame passions and urge people to criminal activity, terrorism, etc. Or, even worse, HACKERS!

Frank Ch. Eigler said...

"What I do object to is ownership of a gun type that has no reasonable civilian use."

Please establish the existence of such a gun type.

Chip and Andy said...

Nicely done.

I, however, reject the very premise of your article.

The limits you suggest do not align with the ideas of having laws. The limits you suggest, while sounding reasonable, are still arbitrary and presume the tool controls the craftsman. Limiting the people to a smaller subset of a tool does not minimize in any way the potential for misuse of that tool.

We use laws to define what is criminal so we can assign fault and then punishment after the fact. All suggestions of gun control assign blame before the fact, which is a violation of the very core of our legal system.

Sevesteen said...

If you want me to take gun restriction proposals seriously, I at least want bang for the buck--a probability of reducing crime and misuse by enough to justify the restrictions, and a willingness to eliminate existing restrictions that have little benefit.

I don't know any good statistic on 'assault weapon' rifle misuse, but FBI stats say that rifles of all types account for under 3% of all gun murders, less than hands and feet or blunt objects, far less than knives. The probability of being murdered by a spree shooter is less than death by lightning--and spree shootings occur extremely disproportionately where there are restrictions on legally carried guns. Spree shooters have used a variety of guns, there is little significance to a spree shooter using what is probably the most common type of rifle in the US. If anything, 'assault weapon' rifles are under-represented in crime.

We worry a lot about very rare gun crime where a bunch of white people are killed at once, but not much about the steady trickle of murder in Chicago, where gun laws are strict. (Or to be fair in Detroit, where gun laws aren't particularly strict) If we want to save lives, far more could be saved if we extended the 21st amendment (and state equivalents) to all mind altering drugs, not just alcohol--we don't have liquor store turf wars. Save room in prisons for violent offenders, leave more time for the police to investigate violent crime.

Matt Caron said...

Jeez.. will all you guys stop leapfrogging my carefully laid plan to convert Andrew! :-)

Andrew - these guys are all right.

Frank is right in that one could reasonably argue that every man-portable firearm (and possibly some crew-served ones) have a reasonable civilian use. Perhaps the ultimate challenge to this is "what about Bazookas?" To this, I answer "look up "The Killdozer" on the Google". If defense of home and property is a valid use of force, and the assailant is a homebuilt tank with laminate armor, then your best weapon for this is something designed to take out tanks. The dozer was stopped when it got hung up on some foundation and it still took 12 hours to cut it open. If someone had managed to blow a track off the dozer, then the damage to the town would likely have been much less. Sure, it's a pretty rare scenario, but I think the number of people who would actually buy a bazooka is pretty rare too. I know I wouldn't. I have better places for my money to go.

Chip and Andy is (are?) right because, if you assume that the ability to defend one's life and property and have tools for same, are part of the inherent natural rights of free people (as was what was the logic before the constitution; the second amendment merely writes down an existing right), then removal of those rights should be subject to the strictest of scrutinies. Removing them without cause and proper adjudication is antithetical to the idea of a just society. (Aside: this is also the problem with removing firearms from people on the no-fly list. It is created in secret and not auditable. Hardly an appropriate bar for removal of civil liberties; I'd argue including flying.

Matt Caron said...

Sevesteen is right, and I'd like to expand on it a bit. Using the 2013 CDC numbers (as the most recent I can find), on page 22, you can see that 21,175 people died by firearms suicide, 11,208 by firearms homicide (out of 16,121 murders, so about 70% of murders are committed with firearms), and 505 by firearms accident (out of 130,557 total accidents, so 0.3% of all accidents)

For some perspective, a random search on the internet says that the population of the US was 316.5 million people. This means that, assuming my math is correct, that's 1.6 accidents per 100,000 people, 35 murders per 100,000 people, and 67 suicides per 100,000 people.

Going to the FBI data for 2013, pulling the Excel file and doing some sums, they claim 12,253 murders (quite a bit less than the CDC), 8,454 by firearms, which is 69% - so the ratio is the same, and we'll run with it. Now, of these, they don't know what type of firearm was used for 2,079 of these murders, but handguns accounted for 5,782 of them, rifles for 285 of them, and shotguns for 308 of them. Even if ALL of the unknown were rifles, this means that handguns are used in twice as many murders as rifles. Assuming the "known" ones represent the standard distribution, then rifles are used in 4.5% of firearms homicides.

This, of course, begs the question (which I've not found the answer to) which is why do do crack down on "assault weapons" and not handguns? I have some crazy theories, but nothing really which could be rationally construed as plausible.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to quickly locate data on the causes behind the various murders (likely because I'm not looking in the right place), but I have to think that a lot of it is gang and drug related. This also speaks to Sevesteen's point of, essentially, if you want to reduce crime (*all* crime, not just murders with firearms) treating our drug problems as public health rather than criminal issues is likely a better approach.

Also likely worth watching is The Truth About Gun Control where the host presents additional numbers.

Andrew Gilmartin said...

I have been quiet because I have been trying to reconcile the evidence with my proposition. I was hoping that a small load, pump action rifle and shotgun would naturally rise to the surface as a gun suitable for reasonable civilian use. All other gun types would be illegal. Matt has shown me that there is paradox between guns for hunting and guns for homestead defense use. When hunting and being charged by an animal you need a short range weapon with absolute stopping power. It must be lethal. Homestead defence also needs short range weapon, but its user can accept a limited stopping power as killing the intruder is not the goal. And accidentally killing or otherwise injuring other homestead occupants due to bullets going through walls or traveling great distances is a real danger.

So you can't have none or even just one short range weapon. You are always going to need the availability of rifles, shotguns, and handguns with all variety of ammunition calibre. There is even no objective decision that can be made about capacity limits. Is 100 too numerous when being attacked by a pack of wolves, a rival gang, or a renegade SWAT team?

So I am left with the same problem I started with when I came to my proposition. I do want to limit the availability of guns in this country. I do think having fewer guns in aimless circulation will reduce gun violence. Hunters and homesteaders hold on to and legally transfer guns. I do not want to take away their right to own and use guns.

Thank you Matt, Hasdrubal, Chip and Andy, and Sevesteen for your help in helping me better understand gun gestalt.

Matt Caron said...

And that, my friend, is the issue with which we all struggle.

To be honest, I could actually be sold on requiring background checks for firearm purchases if only to verify that you are not in violation of existing law. Here's what I mean:

Bob is a convicted felon. As a convicted felon, he can't vote, and he can't own a gun. He has ceded his rights as a citizen because he violated societal norms, right? Well, if he goes into a gun shop, how does the gun shop know he's not a convicted felon? Sure, there's a checkbox on the form, but he might (gasp) lie! So, on its face, having some out of band source of truth for "is Bob a convicted felon" makes sense.

There are a few issues with this which give me pause, however:

1. The list has had other data sources added to it which were populated *without* judicial oversight. So, you're stripping someone of rights without a fair trial.

2. What if there is a mistake? There's basically no way to get off the list once on it. The appeals process is long, costly, and the BATFE is notorious for dragging their feet, largely crying poverty along the way (congress cut our funding so we only have one person who handles those things because we laid off all the rest).

3. If you want all transfers to go through this check, what constitutes a transfer? If I loan my father in law my rifle because he dropped his and the scope broke, is that a transfer? The law in most places says that if I am not present when he has it, that's a transfer and may be unlawful. However, I know he's not a convicted felon, and he already owns guns. Since gun dealers charge for the validation service (which is reasonable as you are taking up their time), it's $25 (or whatever they charge, this is common in my area) for me to give it to him, then $25 for him to give it back after hunting season is over.

The above are why I am always cautious about supporting any extension of gun laws, however reasonable, because they have a tendency to get added to or subtly changed over time. However, LawDog's Cake Analogy says it better than I ever could. (I apologize for his font selection in advance).

Kirk Parker said...

All this talk, interesting as it is, about the particulars.... but what about the horrendous nature of the premise itself?

Andrew, you want to turn us from sovereign citizens into subjecst, even more than we already (wrongfully) have been. No, no, a thousand times no! There are plenty of nations around the world--most of them, actually--that are set up on that basis. I strongly object to making the US Yet Another Rights-Are-Granted-By-Government Nation.

FP said...

"Customized design should be allowed and controlled. The restrictions placed on pharmaceutical development might be a useful model."

Not really. The pharma industry is rather corrupt and owns the FDA or it is controlled by whichever political party has control of the bureaucracy at the time. Look at cholesterol drugs, that 100 billion dollar industry has kept the heart-lipid hypothesis alive as most are afraid to challenge medical science authority. All despite a metric ton of anecdotal and scientific evidence against it.

It would be insanely easy to corrupt the gun industry in that system. It would be very little different from the ATF now, who can often just make a bureaucratic ruling on some gun part being legal or not, see the ar15 arm braces. Those are legal so long as you do not rest them against your shoulder, then it becomes a stock and a controlled NFA item, a short barreled rifle. Oh, but you can rest them like a stock on your cheek. Go figure.

Look at that industry from the state gov side too. Here in Oregon, the state legislature in their great goal of fighting local meth labs in 2007 made it a requirement to get a prescription for sudafed type cold meds. That instantly meant the average Oregonian was paying $50-100 more for cold meds. These days, it means I either drive 70 miles (each way) to Washington to buy it over the counter with just my ID (fed law) or I go without. Even with gas at $3.50/gal it was cheaper than going to my local clinic/doctor, whether cash or via insurance.

Needless to say, I have not bought sudafed in Oregon for 8 years. I just mainline vitamin C and might stay home more often. How much has that cost the economy of Oregon in lost wages/work time? Maybe reduced the spread of colds/flu though. In the end, it is a stupid idea, as meth is still imported from outside the state/nation.

Andrew Gilmartin said...

I like the Cake Analogy, but it is flawed in my world view. I consider the protection of the public space as important as the protection of the private space. The compromise is that I am willing to weaken my protection of the public space so you can continue to protect your private space. LawDog says he is left with only crumbs. Unfortunately, the rest of the cake has become moldy and worm ridden. The compromises made by all parties were the wrong ones and we all lost.

Kirk Parker said...

Andrew, can you expand on what you mean about private- vs public-space protection? Surely you can't really think that restricting guns from civilian hands is going to make public space safer, can you? (Only an overwhelming police state could do that, and at the moment its a bit unaffordable even if we were so minded.) But that seems to be the only way I can read your statement, so please help me out.

Matt Caron said...

Andrew, your comment hits on two key topics, I'll address them in reverse order.

First, it seems as if you are saying that we tried a bunch of gun control laws and they were very costly in terms of civil liberties while not delivering on the promised reduction in crime. Essentially, a "poor return on investment". If that is indeed what you are saying, I agree with you, and I wish we both had some data to look at, but, unfortunately, there's not much scholarly research on this topic. (Basically, the gun lobby has consistently attached a ban on using tax money for research into the effectiveness of gun laws, something which I oppose. I want actual, scholarly, peer reviewed data.) So, if we're both saying that, then maybe a good step forward would be repeal of the vast majority of restrictions on firearms and an evaluation and discussion of what to keep and what new ones to enact. That would be "compromise". What is currently being proposed by the government is "more of the same", which we've just agreed, likely isn't effective.

If I misunderstood what you said, I do apologize.

Now, the second thing you mention (and plays in to what Kirk said) is likely to veer this conversation off into left (okay, wait, wrong term.. it's not left, it's not right.. is it, perhaps center? Bah! My sportballgame analogy sucks). Anyway...

You say that you "consider the protection of the public space as important as the protection of the private space". Some years ago, I would have agreed with you, stating "even under a very limited government, one if its responsibilities is to administer the commons".

The issue is, as time has gone on, I've begun to realize that the government sucks at this. You yourself realize this, at least on some level, hence your advice that I should send my children to public school. I mean, do you really think that government can fail to horribly at educating children (every indicator says that quality of education has been going down, despite the creation of the department of education and increasing amounts of money being spent on schooling) and yet maintain the delicate balance of security and civil liberties? I think one can be optimistic that maybe they'd get it right this time, but history does not seem to suggest that they will.

I mean, essentially, if government was a private company, and had the record of success which they do, they would be bankrupt. But, somehow, someway the government gets special treatment. After all:
- Monopoly is bad, unless you're the government (Monopolies on post office, courts, police, roads).
- Stealing is bad, unless you're the government (Taxes and civil asset forfeiture)
- Aggression is bad, unless you're the government (US sponsored coups, offensive wars, preemptive strikes).

And, on top of all of that, the worse they do, the more money we give them. Bad schools? More money! Bad social welfare systems? More money! Bad roads? More money! Gun control laws don't work? More laws, more money!

And so it continues.

Andrew Gilmartin said...

I am going to close the commenting on this blog posting as has begun to shift direction outside of its original intention. If someone wants to continue with the discussion's new direction elsewhere I will be happy to contribute. (Although, it seems you are far more conversant with the details than I am.)


Matt and Kirk, public vs private space is about the commons and especially the tragedy of the commons.

Matt, yes, I do think that the current set of Federal and State gun laws need to be replaced with a uniform code. It would be better for all parties to address what they want and not want they don't want. Break bread -- hum, cake -- together.

All, every organization as it grows beyond the scope of one man to know its operation ultimately collapses by its own weight. Governments just tend to collapse a lot slower pace than do corporations.

Matt, I would never encourage anyone's children to go to public school for an education vis-a-vis academics. They are good places to learn about people & groups, about friendships & enemies, and about managing your own stuff. Academically they currently are horrible places. My kids went to private elementary school precisely because it was about the whole child and child as not as content sponge. My kids now go to public high school. I am very glad they have engaged parents, because the kids that do not are floundering. (And so my interested in School Boards.)