Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Cultures and violence

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  • Gareth Ward, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    What about that assault weapons ban Bush repealed, then?

    Democratic Sentator to reintroduce it to both Senate and House on the first day of Congress apparently. Will be intriguing to see how it plays...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Danielle,

    What is it about the ways in which we construct masculinity which allows this to happen? How do we change THAT?

    Not labelling feelings as exclusively feminine would help.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Am looking forward to seeing a Senator introduce a bill to the House.

    Heller and progeny are the issue, but you know, Heller is a 5-4 ruling. You can turn those with the right program of judicial appointments.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The US doesn't have to repeal the Second Amendment, just enforce it - "a properly regulated militia".

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    What about that assault weapons ban Bush repealed, then?

    To be pedantic, he didn't repeal it - it just wasn't extended. It had a sunset-clause in it from day 1.

    Still, I believe certain states (California?) and a few cities have their own bans on assault weapons.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sacha,

    A Guardian article expands on my point.

    At the heart of the issue has been a deliberate effort by the gun lobby and the US right, beginning in earnest in the mid-1970s, to redefine the second amendment of the US constitution and recast a provision designed to provide collective defence in the shape of "well-regulated" militias as a modern and absolute individual right.

    ...

    For most outside observers the answer to America's gun problem appears self-evident. It needs to begin with a reinstatement of the ban on ownership of military assault weapons that have no business being in private hands.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    The only way a gun ban of any sort could be imposed by the US Federal government is by amending the constitution ...

    That is not true. The 2nd amendment does not define "arms". It would relatively little political effort to make handguns and semiautomatic weapons of any sort illegal. Leaving hunting rifles and single action shotguns as the only legal "arms".

    The whole point of the 2nd amendment is to allow a regulated militia to exist to defend against a corrupt government. One could argue quite logically that such a militia should have access to armoured vehicles and helicopter gunships and surface to air missiles since the expectation is the militia would have to fight against the (corrupt) government armed forces (hey they might need tac nukes too). Since the "regulated militia" does not have access to such silly weaponry there is no reason to allow them access to handguns (pointless in any uprising against a government anyway) and semiautomatic weapons (also pretty much useless against artillary and air power c.f. Syria).

    Again it is worth noting that many states already have strong restrictions on the "arms" you can bear. Those restrictions have stood up against NRA lawyers in court.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    just enforce it - "a properly regulated militia".

    LOL, yeah if they had to do a boot camp every couple of weekends, with territorial training, then put their firearms under lock and key at the barracks when they go home, it might be a whole lot less popular. Especially if during wartime they could be called on to do a tour, any time the engagement has gone on too long and the regular army needs a rest.

    On the other hand, that might just encourage it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    I guessing that saying “here’s the DATA!” isn’t working for you.

    American violent crime rates are going down.

    American gun-ownership is either holding steady or going up.

    This gun debate might just be an irrelevent media beat-up, where a tradegy is being transformed into a trend by a group of ratings driven talking-heads. Not that that could ever happen in American media.

    PS. - American non-believers are increasing in number and this suggests less religion equal less crime.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Danielle,

    Why are these shooters pretty much always dudes?

    Testosterone. The same wonderful hormone that allows me to reach the top shelf and take the lids of jars also cause my brain to consider violence as a reasonable action.

    It takes a lot of work to defeat that hormone.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    here’s the DATA

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/01/the-geography-of-gun-deaths/69354/

    And while correlation is not causation who the F cares when an action like forcing people to use gun safe will reduce (directly or indirectly) gun deaths.

    One really interesting part of that data is there is no significant correlation between mental health (difficult to measure) and gun deaths.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    That is not true. The 2nd amendment does not define “arms”. It would relatively little political effort to make handguns and semiautomatic weapons of any sort illegal. Leaving hunting rifles and single action shotguns as the only legal “arms”.

    Your understanding on US Constitutional law is mistaken. It simply doesn't work like that.

    This first amendment doesn't define speech, but that doesn't mean that the Congress is empowered to say that flag-burning is not speech and therefore not protected.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    training

    Balancing out the technical ability to use weapons with the deep restraint and ethics that have been part of warrior training throughout history would help. Harder and less likely than just banning military weapons in private hands.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Also, the second amendment does not include the word "properly".

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    allows me to reach the top shelf

    that's just height, dude :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    On a somewhat related note, a lawyer in the Philip Cottrell case invokes the “video games defence” yet again.

    And Karl du Fresne, in one of his Jekyll-and-Hyde journalistic moments, basically wrote that video games made Anders Breivik do it – with no mention at all of Breivik’s political extremism. I simply couldn’t remain silent about it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5442 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    then US sources are mis-quoting their own constitutional documents

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Also, the second amendment does not include the word "properly"

    No, it's "well".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Meaning_of_.22well_regulated_militia.22

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Your understanding on US Constitutional law is mistaken. It simply doesn’t work like that.

    This first amendment doesn’t define speech, but that doesn’t mean that the Congress is empowered to say that flag-burning is not speech and therefore not protected.

    No. It isn't mistaken. Congress et al can and has at various times defined what reasonably constitutes "arms". Nobody in the US is allowed to own an attack helicopter fully loaded with all the weaponry, they are not "arms" for a well regulated militia.

    Such a law could be challenged and eventually the supreme court would rule on it. Since in this case the supreme court has already ruled that numerous state laws controlling guns are legal it is fairly safe to say that congress et al could enact gun control laws that would not breach the second amendment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Your understanding on US Constitutional law is mistaken. It simply doesn't work like that.

    Only a select few Americans (vetted by the ATF) are allowed to buy a full-auto machine guns.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Ana Simkiss, in reply to Sacha,

    The US doesn't have to repeal the Second Amendment, just enforce it - "a properly regulated militia".

    unfortunately the Supreme Court's view (5 vs 4 anyway) is that that part of the provision does not modify the right of the individual to bear arms for historically lawful purposes. I.e. Heller means that the 2nd amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia.

    I've not read the whole decision but the majority opinion sure smells like Scalia.

    Freemans Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    No. It isn’t mistaken. Congress et al can and has at various times defined what reasonably constitutes “arms”. Nobody in the US is allowed to own an attack helicopter fully loaded with all the weaponry, they are not “arms” for a well regulated militia.

    I am not claiming that no regulation of arms is constitutional.

    I am asserting that the fact that the second amendment doesn't define arms is not a basis for concluding that the Congress can do whatever it wants.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Just found out the country with the tightest gun control laws in North America is Mexico.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    Just found out the country with the tightest gun control laws in North America is Mexico.

    Also the country with a deadly Drug War, which kills tens of thousands of people a year.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I am asserting that the fact that the second amendment doesn’t define arms is not a basis for concluding that the Congress can do whatever it wants.

    My point is simply that because the definition of "arms" clearly includes some weapons and excludes others then Congress et al could enact a gun control law that excluded semi automatic weapons from 2nd amendment protection. Very similar to several such laws that already exist in several states. Such a law would be challenged of course and eventually find its way to the supremem court where based on previous decisions it would probably stand.

    Hence it is not true to say the 2nd amendment prevents Congress et al from enacting gun control laws.

    Note this is the kind of argument you get in Texas. It is a complete distraction from the point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

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