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By gzt (Thu May 29, 2014 at 01:45:03 AM EST) gzt, nra (all tags)
I was just thinking about some argument about gun rights and wanted to put it out somewhere before I forgot.

One thing that the NRA and people who argue whatever talking points the NRA disperses to them say after all of these shootings is that we don't need comprehensive gun control or other related reforms, we need some kind of mental health overhaul or something and, as far as I understand them, prevent people with certain types of mental illness from acquiring firearms.

But then they do a few things. First, they work very hard to prevent any type of usage of any kinds of records at all to prevent any sale of firearms. Second, they protest very heartily against anybody put up for Surgeon General who wants to discuss guns as a public health issue. Third, they celebrate the idea of not telling doctors whether they own any guns if asked (see previous bit about Surgeon General). In some states, they manage to prevent doctors from discussing guns with their patients.

And the slightly related coup de grace, but not directly: the political party most aligned with this political stance doesn't really like the idea of funding any sort of public health care, and mental illnesses generally fall into that bucket since people with mental illnesses, on average, may have problems earning much money.

And then they also say that we should enforce current laws, and until we do that, nothing else should be done, but work very hard to prevent current laws from being enforced.

And then, without some sort of database tracking who owns what guns and without doctors knowing that patients have guns, how would information that somebody probably should not have guns get translated into some sort of action to separate somebody from their guns? But the NRA is opposed to databases tracking this information, doctors talking to patients about guns, and anybody ever having guns confiscated. So how would this work? Do they want people involuntarily committed more frequently? Do they know how barbaric that is? How much worse, how much more traumatizing that is than, I don't know, tracking who's buying guns, who has guns, who's selling guns, maybe not selling guns to certain individuals, and putting everybody who buys a gun through a comprehensive background check?

I don't like the idea of confiscating guns from the mentally ill, either, since it would often require many of the terrible parts of involuntary commitment and then you have to figure out what you're going to do with the guns until the guy is stable enough for them. Or something.

Anyway, the short story is that they don't want anything to happen. Ever. Except selling more guns. Preferably to white people. Black people with guns can only be talked about as a reason to sell more guns to white people. At least, historically for the NRA. Another thing they've been used for, historically, is support by the NRA for gun control, but they're never going down that road ever again.

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here is a fantastic article from the economist by gzt (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu May 29, 2014 at 01:47:40 AM EST
which discusses several things i didn't, which is to be expected, since this was off-the-cuff and the economist is The Economist:

it's almost as if by clover kicker (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu May 29, 2014 at 09:39:58 AM EST
they weren't completely sincere about the things they say.

[ Parent ]
yeah, i don't think these shootings show by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu May 29, 2014 at 10:15:51 AM EST
that gun control is particularly needed for the mentally ill. i think they show that it is impossible to meaningfully restrict anything on the basis of the types of mental illness exhibited by the people who end up becoming crazed suicide murderers. i mean, this dude was/is very far from the only one on youtube posting creepy videos about how everyone hates him, he hates everyone, women won't screw him, etc. (most people like this probably never go public with it in the first place, or get a therapist, or ...)

if you take a broader view of the phenomenon of people flipping out and shooting people, events are not telling us that we need to be working harder to identify crazy people before they go crazy. the picture is something more like: 1) lots of these crazy people aren't that crazy until they go crazy and shoot someone, 2) the horrible crimes we're talking about are committed by fairly normal people in many instances (not as much in this case, but this kid was no jeffrey dahmer), 3) the only thing that's really suspicious about these people is their interest in stockpiling and/or carrying firearms, 4) the real issue is unlimited availability of weapons, unrestricted rights to stockpile them, and lack of sensible criteria and mechanisms under which weapons can be confiscated by authorities.

You know this site is hosted in England by georgeha (4.00 / 3) #4 Thu May 29, 2014 at 11:04:12 AM EST
and King George's agents of perfidious Albion are just drooling at the thought of Americans disarming.

Canada's gun registry by marvin (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu May 29, 2014 at 02:05:05 PM EST
The gun registry in Canada had a lot of support from urban areas and a majority of parliament in the 1990s. After a decade of escalating costs, I view it in some regards as a drawn-out Canadian forerunner to the national fiasco of the US health care exchanges.

I think the total cost was over a billion dollars by the time it was killed. In the end, the registry cost a significant proportion of the capital cost of the firearms it monitored for a few short years. We could have bought a decent $500 rifle in 2002 for one out of every fifteen Canadians with that much money.

With the non-restricted registry dead, I no longer have to register my long rifles such as my stainless Winchester Model 70 .30-06 and my old Lee-Enfield. Hunting rifles are not really the go-to guns for most criminal activity anyways. I still require a license to acquire and possess any firearms, which has to be renewed every 5-10 years. While I have a license which allows me to legally purchase restricted firearms such as handguns (which are still registered), it would be a world of expense and inconvenience to do so, even apart from the registration aspect. My recollection is that I would need to belong to a range, can only transport it from house to range and back, no other stops, etc.

Many, if not most of the firearms used for criminal purposes in Canada are stolen or illegally imported anyways. A registry costs a ton of money for limited benefit in my view, and with advances in 3-d printing (including metals), registration is becoming increasingly pointless.

I kind of like Canada's current licensing system, with handguns and other restricted firearms still registered. I'm not really sold on the cost/benefit of universal registries for deer rifles and duck guns.

Even with a registry, cops cannot be certain that there will be no firearms in a house they visit on a 911 call. It's safer to always assume they might be present.

The NRA are a nasty piece of work though. I'm glad Canada has no equivalent organization with that level of influence.

I think... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:28:44 PM EST
"I kind of like Canada's current licensing system, with handguns and other restricted firearms still registered. I'm not really sold on the cost/benefit of universal registries for deer rifles and duck guns."

...this idea makes sense since, yes, deer rifles aren't what gets used for crime or mass shootings. It's mostly handguns. Licensing should be a reasonable thing and a more restrictive license for handguns. But, again, this is anathema.

[ Parent ]
Mentally ill and guns by Phil the Canuck (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu May 29, 2014 at 04:21:22 PM EST
You can't force someone into treatment for mental illness, generally unless they've already done something fairly awful.  So the people who would end up having such a law (such as NY SAFE) applied to them are those who self-report as mentally ill and wish to seek treatment to improve their lives.  If they are a gun owner, this leaves them with the choice of keeping their guns or getting treatment.  So you end up with people who would otherwise have sought treatment opting out of the system.  Leaving us with untreated mentally ill people with guns.

yes, this puts another wrinkle in things. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu May 29, 2014 at 04:45:20 PM EST
it seems best to tackle this all at the source, at the guns, but that's not an option because freedom (and, more to the point, 300 million guns already out there). but it definitely puts a wrinkle in the NRA talking points.

[ Parent ]
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