Fake Gun Store

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Paul in Saudi
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Fake Gun Store

Postby Paul in Saudi » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:21 am UTC

I hope this forum can handle what is often a hot-button topic with Americans.

An gun-safety group set up a fake gun store in New York City. (There seems to be only one real gun store in the city, due to local laws.) People came in an were told by the fake clerk of the history of the guns, "this is the gun used in the Sandy Hook Massacre" and so on. The result has been posted on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nAfWfF4TjM

It is good prank that has produced a powerful video. But for amusement, it is hard to beat the pro-gun people who are outraged that New York's gun laws seems to have been violated. (They weren't.) They are calling for investigations and prosecutions.

Here is text-based outrage: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/03/19/nra-affiliate-is-so-scared-of-this-gun-safety-v/202962

Here is video-based outrage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02rz6UOJUgs

I like the idea.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby elasto » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:36 am UTC

Here's my opinion in a nutshell:

The US would be better off if virtually noone was armed, just like how the UK has lower levels of accidental and deliberate deaths than the US due to both the police and the public mostly being unarmed.

However, you can't put the genie back into the bottle. Because most criminals in the US are armed, others need to be as well.

It's like nuclear weapons: The world would be safer if noone had them, but would be less safe if only the Russians and North Koreans had them.

With both issues we have to proceed from where we are now, not where we'd wish we were at.
Last edited by elasto on Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:41 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Paul in Saudi
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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Paul in Saudi » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:38 am UTC

Nobody proposes disarming America, if only because it is impossible. No elected national leader has ever advocated such a move. Americans want better controls on who can have what sort of gun.

But in truth, I was attracted to the video mostly because it, and the reaction to it, amuses me.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby elasto » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:43 am UTC

Paul in Saudi wrote:Nobody proposes disarming America, if only because it is impossible. No elected national leader has ever advocated such a move. Americans want better controls on who can have what sort of gun.


Well, if you're not proposing removing guns, everything else is just shifting chairs on the titanic. It's like saying NK can have small nukes but not big ones. Doesn't make any material difference to the threat.

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Paul in Saudi
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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Paul in Saudi » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:49 am UTC

Well, politics is (are?) the art of the possible. We want to do all we can. Getting rid of all the guns is simply impossible.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Mokele » Sat Mar 21, 2015 2:02 pm UTC

But there are places with many more guns per capita than the US, without nearly the same levels of gun violence (of all sorts). I'm generally on-the-fence about the whole issue, but I do think that a large part of the problem isn't the guns, but that the US is a deeply, pathologically violent culture (and I say that having spent 99% of my life here). Yes, guns make killing easier and accidents and suicides deadlier, but the extent to which our culture embraces, elates, glorifies and even worships violence make it hard to believe that the tool is really the problem. Mix in a hefty dose of paranoia andistrust about all of our fellow citizens, three centuries of racial oppression, widening class divides and rigid, toxic gender roles, and we'd be seeing broadly similar results if we were just using crossbows.
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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby elasto » Sat Mar 21, 2015 2:24 pm UTC

Personally I'd say it's less to do with the US glorification of violence (plenty of other cultures do that too), and more to do with a breakdown of social cohesion.

The US has 90 guns per 100 residents but Switzerland has 46, and Sweden and Norway have 32.

Why do Northern European countries have such low levels of violence despite pretty high gun ownership? I'd argue it's the higher quality of life index due to better social safety nets and a lower differential between rich and poor.

There's much more a feeling of 'all being in it together' rather than 'everyone out for themselves' - the latter encouraging a small number to turn to violence out of desperation.

The UK has a much lower level of gun ownership (7 per 100) but higher levels of violence than Northern Europe because we have a greater breakdown of social cohesion (though less so than you have suffered).

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Paul in Saudi
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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Paul in Saudi » Sat Mar 21, 2015 2:50 pm UTC

I keep track of mass-killings in the US. (You got to have a hobby.) While shootings are the most common form of such crimes, I am gobsmacked by the number of stabbings, beatings and other forms of mass slaughter. There is simply a lot of violence in US culture.

Further it is commonly cited that more than half of all fatal shootings are suicides. If you take those out... But on the other hand should we consider those separately? Why?

But as I said, "getting rid of guns" is not even a serious proposal in the US. It hardly rates talking about.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby ucim » Sat Mar 21, 2015 5:38 pm UTC

elasto wrote:The US has 90 guns per 100 residents but Switzerland has 46, and Sweden and Norway have 32.
A quick misread of this elicits "oh noes! Nine tenths of my neighbors are armed!" But 'tis not so. I suspect the numbers are skewed by individuals who own lots of guns. One neighbor with a thousand guns and all the rest unarmed, for example. But that one neighbor can only use one (maybe two) at a time. So, 998 of those guns serve only to allow one statistic to mislead by standing in the place of another.

Other countries also have gun collectors, no doubt. But without knowing to what relative extent, the given statistic is largely meaningless.

I think another contributing factor is the disparity within American culture - I suspect (but do not know) that European countries are more homogeneous. The US is a melting pot where not everything has melted. So, there are more differences available to cause conflicts. Interestingly, conflicts resolved by guns seem to generally be within a single culture [citation needed], but the existance of outside conflict may make people more prone to it internally.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby elasto » Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:12 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
elasto wrote:The US has 90 guns per 100 residents but Switzerland has 46, and Sweden and Norway have 32.
A quick misread of this elicits "oh noes! Nine tenths of my neighbors are armed!" But 'tis not so. I suspect the numbers are skewed by individuals who own lots of guns. One neighbor with a thousand guns and all the rest unarmed, for example. But that one neighbor can only use one (maybe two) at a time. So, 998 of those guns serve only to allow one statistic to mislead by standing in the place of another.

Other countries also have gun collectors, no doubt. But without knowing to what relative extent, the given statistic is largely meaningless.


I don't think it's meaningless because I was making the point that gun ownership correlates very poorly with violence.

But, for the sake of accuracy, the statistics do not seem to suffer from the flaw you fear:

Wikipedia wrote:In 2005 over 10% of [Swiss] households contained handguns, compared to 18% of U.S. households. In 2005 almost 29% of households in Switzerland contained firearms of some kind, compared to almost 43% in the US


ucim wrote:I think another contributing factor is the disparity within American culture - I suspect (but do not know) that European countries are more homogeneous. The US is a melting pot where not everything has melted. So, there are more differences available to cause conflicts. Interestingly, conflicts resolved by guns seem to generally be within a single culture [citation needed], but the existance of outside conflict may make people more prone to it internally.


I don't think this is directly relevant as a great deal of violence in the US is 'black on black'. It's probably even more accurate to call it 'poor on poor'.

My conjecture is that when societies are more equal, and the poor feel less hopeless, they are less likely to turn to crime and violence to get a leg up. And there's no reason that less homogenous societies can't have strong social safety nets and progressive taxation.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Tirian » Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:15 pm UTC

ucim wrote:I think another contributing factor is the disparity within American culture - I suspect (but do not know) that European countries are more homogeneous. The US is a melting pot where not everything has melted. So, there are more differences available to cause conflicts. Interestingly, conflicts resolved by guns seem to generally be within a single culture [citation needed], but the existance of outside conflict may make people more prone to it internally.


I think there's something to this, and it's not just racial and ethnic diversity. Even in New York State, where this took place, it's hard to negotiate a single set of laws that is appropriate for downtown Albany and rural regions an hour away where wolves are a real thing. And the rural folks are justifiably skeptical that a statewide solution wouldn't significantly impact a generations-old culture of safety and respect for firearms.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby elasto » Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:24 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:Even in New York State, where this took place, it's hard to negotiate a single set of laws that is appropriate for downtown Albany and rural regions an hour away where wolves are a real thing. And the rural folks are justifiably skeptical that a statewide solution wouldn't significantly impact a generations-old culture of safety and respect for firearms.


I nearly made this point in my first post (but didn't).

In the UK, most people would get a police response within minutes if they called to say there was an armed invasion. Not everyone of course, but most.

In the US, there is a much higher proportion who wouldn't get a response for perhaps even half an hour - simply because the US is so big and loves its suburban and rural sprawl.

Originally I took the view in gun debate threads that gun ownership should be illegal. I am now persuaded that that is unreasonable to disallow that section of the population who cannot depend on the police in an emergency from defending themselves.

(Yes, I am a rare example of someone having changed their mind as a result of a debate on the internet!)

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Thesh » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:06 pm UTC

elasto wrote:However, you can't put the genie back into the bottle. Because most criminals in the US are armed, others need to be as well.


I suspect that is overstated. Besides, there isn't an unlimited supply of guns on the street. Let's say the US instituted a complete handgun ban, first off you would have a reduction in "heat of the moment" murders from your non-hardened-criminal, and people could still own a shotgun to protect their home, whereas gang members cannot walk around the street with a shotgun without being noticed. Over time, as arrests are made the number of handguns on the street would decline without an easy source of new guns, and the homicide rate would drop faster than had their been no ban. Criminals rely heavily on burglaries, straw sales, and corrupt gun dealers to obtain their firearms.
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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby KnightExemplar » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:10 pm UTC

Paul in Saudi wrote:But in truth, I was attracted to the video mostly because it, and the reaction to it, amuses me.


The 'Gun Culture' in my area seems relatively safe. As in, if you buy a gun, you're expected to keep it in your safe locked up, with a combination that your children don't know about. Keep weapons and ammo separate until you're on the range, etc. etc.

I haven't looked up the rates of accidental deaths / injuries with guns however. But I do think that a combination of thinking about the dangers of guns... and working with gun owners to ensure the proper-level of safety is paramount. Some people really like and want their guns, they're gonna get them and it is frankly their right to own them. So... we need a proper education system and "proper gun culture" to ensure that unnecessary injuries are prevented.

I personally will probably never carry a gun. Although I've contemplated a cane-sword before, cause that's kinda cool. Lol. But cane swords are illegal (but concealed carry is legal. Wtf). I'd feel like the things that I'd use a gun on are more or less taken care of by a good stick or sword: Like a big dog, coyote, and wild cats. Guns are a good self-defense weapon against other humans... but I'm not exactly comfortable with escalating a fight to that level. I've given it though about how I'd react to a bad situation and a gun would be useful, but I can't imagine any of them ending very well. I can imagine that a smaller or weaker person would feel more comfortable with a gun however, especially with wild cats attacking bikers on occasion. Guns are smaller and easier to carry as well.

Oh, and I have shot guns on a range before. I'm talking outside of the "sporting" gun events.... more about the people who feel like carrying a gun is necessary for their own self defense.
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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby ucim » Sun Mar 22, 2015 3:46 am UTC

elasto wrote:I don't think this is directly relevant as a great deal of violence in the US is 'black on black'. It's probably even more accurate to call it 'poor on poor'.
More like "disenfranchised". It may correlate with poverty, but I think the thing that alienates people from society is not poverty, but the lack of respect society has for their particular peer group, be it black, gay, Muslim, poor, Irish... people that can be "safely ignored" by those in power.

To the extent that they are disenfranchised, they need guns. But also, to that same extent (but for different reasons) they may be more likely to resort to violence. (yeah, [citation needed]). And therein lies the dilemma.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby elasto » Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:06 pm UTC

ucim wrote:More like "disenfranchised". It may correlate with poverty, but I think the thing that alienates people from society is not poverty, but the lack of respect society has for their particular peer group, be it black, gay, Muslim, poor, Irish... people that can be "safely ignored" by those in power.

To the extent that they are disenfranchised, they need guns. But also, to that same extent (but for different reasons) they may be more likely to resort to violence. (yeah, [citation needed]). And therein lies the dilemma.

Jose

Yup. I think you've hit the nail on the head. After all, 'poverty' is a confusing concept: Many of America's poor are much richer than the poor elsewhere, and also richer than the poor of America's past.

I agree totally with your nuance: Through whatever means, the poor in Scandinavia don't feel disenfranchized/hopeless/abandoned/used in the way US poor feel, and so don't turn to such desperate measures.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Paul in Saudi » Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:45 pm UTC

Which oddly, turns the NRA slogan "Guns don't kill people; people kill people" from silliness to great wisdom.

Better to fix the software, the reasons for violence, than the hardware, the guns. Not easier, but better.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby elasto » Sun Mar 22, 2015 3:01 pm UTC

Paul in Saudi wrote:Which oddly, turns the NRA slogan "Guns don't kill people; people kill people" from silliness to great wisdom.

Better to fix the software, the reasons for violence, than the hardware, the guns. Not easier, but better.


Indeed, but then we come back to your thought of politics being the art of the possible: Changing a whole culture (in both directions - both the privileged's attitude towards the disenfranchised and vice-versa) is probably no less intractable a problem than 'merely' trying to disarm it...

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Alexius » Sun Mar 22, 2015 3:35 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:I personally will probably never carry a gun. Although I've contemplated a cane-sword before, cause that's kinda cool. Lol. But cane swords are illegal (but concealed carry is legal. Wtf). I'd feel like the things that I'd use a gun on are more or less taken care of by a good stick or sword: Like a big dog, coyote, and wild cats. Guns are a good self-defense weapon against other humans... but I'm not exactly comfortable with escalating a fight to that level. I've given it though about how I'd react to a bad situation and a gun would be useful, but I can't imagine any of them ending very well. I can imagine that a smaller or weaker person would feel more comfortable with a gun however, especially with wild cats attacking bikers on occasion. Guns are smaller and easier to carry as well.


I don't think a sword is actually that useful for defence against large dangerous wild animals. You would have to be very good with a sword to have the advantage at close quarters, and even if you were there's a reason why boar-spears exist- even if you fatally wound the animal, it might do quite a lot of damage to you before it dies.

A stout, heavy stick probably is useful against snakes, though again it requires you to get close enough that if you miss you're in trouble. People actually worried about venomous snakes often carry pistols loaded with "snake-shot".

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Mokele » Sun Mar 22, 2015 3:43 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Paul in Saudi wrote:Which oddly, turns the NRA slogan "Guns don't kill people; people kill people" from silliness to great wisdom.

Better to fix the software, the reasons for violence, than the hardware, the guns. Not easier, but better.


Indeed, but then we come back to your thought of politics being the art of the possible: Changing a whole culture (in both directions - both the privileged's attitude towards the disenfranchised and vice-versa) is probably no less intractable a problem than 'merely' trying to disarm it...


True, but small steps can help a lot - a modest expansion of the social safety net, ending gerrymandering, better quality schools for poor areas, better treatment of workers, etc. all would help, and all are achievable enough to be actively under debate (even if not achievable right this moment).
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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby ucim » Sun Mar 22, 2015 3:56 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Indeed, but then we come back to your thought of politics being the art of the possible: Changing a whole culture (in both directions - both the privileged's attitude towards the disenfranchised and vice-versa) is probably no less intractable a problem than 'merely' trying to disarm it...
However disarming society exacerbates the problem of the disenfranchised, while solving the problem of the disenfranchised does not exacerbate the problem of unjustified armed violence.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby elasto » Sun Mar 22, 2015 6:08 pm UTC

ucim wrote:However, disarming society exacerbates the problem of the disenfranchised

Only in non-democratic societies.

The disenfranchised could 'easily' solve their problems through the ballet-box by forming and then voting in a 'party of the people'. Or they could pressure the existing parties by consistently voting in representatives from progressive wings. There is no need for violent revolution.

Other countries - even ones with two-party systems - have far more progressive political parties and policies than the US. The US is an outlier even amongst Western nations: US 'progressives' are often more right-wing than UK 'conservatives'... There's no reason other than cultural and political inertia why the US couldn't become more moderate.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby ucim » Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:40 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
ucim wrote:However, disarming society exacerbates the problem of the disenfranchised

Only in non-democratic societies.
I strongly disagree. "Disenfranchised" means "safe to ignore"... not only politically but socially, in the workplace, at the other end of a police call. The disenfranchised would be easier prey for criminals, since they know nobody will come help their victims. Maybe the police answering machine will say "your emergency is very important to us. Next election is Wednesday November 3. Don't forget to vote. And bring two forms of photo ID, one of which is your passport. Register in person at the state capital at least two years before election."

It's not about violent revolution. It's that the disenfranchised have to fend for themselves. This exacerbates the problem of the disenfranchised. (or perhaps I should have been more precise - this exacerbates the problems of the disenfranchised.

elasto wrote:There's no reason other than cultural and political inertia why the US couldn't become more moderate.
... or that the majority of US voters voting don't agree with your political stance.

Jose
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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Derek » Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:37 pm UTC

Paul in Saudi wrote:Which oddly, turns the NRA slogan "Guns don't kill people; people kill people" from silliness to great wisdom.

Better to fix the software, the reasons for violence, than the hardware, the guns. Not easier, but better.

How is this odd, and when was the slogan every silly? That is exactly what the slogan means: Guns are not the cause of violence, they are merely a tool used by already violent people, and the solution to violence is to solve it at the source, not gun control.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Vahir » Mon Mar 23, 2015 2:36 am UTC

ucim wrote:
elasto wrote:
ucim wrote:However, disarming society exacerbates the problem of the disenfranchised

Only in non-democratic societies.
I strongly disagree. "Disenfranchised" means "safe to ignore"... not only politically but socially, in the workplace, at the other end of a police call. The disenfranchised would be easier prey for criminals, since they know nobody will come help their victims. Maybe the police answering machine will say "your emergency is very important to us. Next election is Wednesday November 3. Don't forget to vote. And bring two forms of photo ID, one of which is your passport. Register in person at the state capital at least two years before election."

It's not about violent revolution. It's that the disenfranchised have to fend for themselves. This exacerbates the problem of the disenfranchised. (or perhaps I should have been more precise - this exacerbates the problems of the disenfranchised.

elasto wrote:There's no reason other than cultural and political inertia why the US couldn't become more moderate.
... or that the majority of US voters voting don't agree with your political stance.

Jose


Give someone a gun and tell him to "fend for himself", and you'll have a corpse. Guns are instruments of death, meant to kill.

The only valid reason for civilians having guns in my opinion are protection against wildlife.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby ucim » Mon Mar 23, 2015 3:44 am UTC

Vahir wrote:Give someone a gun and tell him to "fend for himself", and you'll have a corpse. Guns are instruments of death, meant to kill.
The question being "his own, or his attacker's?". Because if you don't give him a gun, you may still have a corpse, but there will be no question as to whose.

The thing is to not say "fend for yourself". That is, to not disenfranchise him in the first place.

Vahir wrote:The only valid reason for civilians having guns in my opinion are protection against wildlife.
Guns can be entertaining too. Not all gun entertainment involves killing people. Guns can be used with relative safety if the desire is there.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby sevenperforce » Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:06 am UTC

ucim wrote:Interestingly, conflicts resolved by guns seem to generally be within a single culture [citation needed]...

Citation needed indeed, because I believe that this is a myth, or (at best) a general truism which maintains its popularity by political expediency rather than by statistical merit or significance.

Tirian wrote:
ucim wrote:I think another contributing factor is the disparity within American culture - I suspect (but do not know) that European countries are more homogeneous. The US is a melting pot where not everything has melted. So, there are more differences available to cause conflicts. Interestingly, conflicts resolved by guns seem to generally be within a single culture [citation needed], but the existance of outside conflict may make people more prone to it internally.


I think there's something to this, and it's not just racial and ethnic diversity. Even in New York State, where this took place, it's hard to negotiate a single set of laws that is appropriate for downtown Albany and rural regions an hour away where wolves are a real thing. And the rural folks are justifiably skeptical that a statewide solution wouldn't significantly impact a generations-old culture of safety and respect for firearms.

Indeed. It's a case of the 5% ruining it for the 95%. Or the 15% ruining it for the 85%. Or the 30% ruining it for the...okay, at what point does this become less convincing? I really don't know. And that's my honest assessment, because I actually don't know what exactly I think ought to be done about reducing gun crime in the United States.

elasto wrote:In the UK, most people would get a police response within minutes if they called to say there was an armed invasion. Not everyone of course, but most.

In the US, there is a much higher proportion who wouldn't get a response for perhaps even half an hour - simply because the US is so big and loves its suburban and rural sprawl.

Originally I took the view in gun debate threads that gun ownership should be illegal. I am now persuaded that that is unreasonable to disallow that section of the population who cannot depend on the police in an emergency from defending themselves.

(Yes, I am a rare example of someone having changed their mind as a result of a debate on the internet!)

I'm a similar example of someone who changed his mind as a result of debates on the internet...evolution/creationism specifically, though it took nearly a decade.

But yes, the suburban sprawl issue is a very troubling one. I'd wager that for every hardened, armed career violent criminal, you have at least a dozen suburban homeowners who have a healthy respect for handgun safety, who have a generational tradition of owning and using handguns safely, and who own firearms specifically because they are in the category of citizens who would face a 30-40 minute police response time in the event of an armed home invasion. On top of that, it could likely be argued that because the "hardened, armed career violent criminal" class is more likely to obtain its guns illegally, you'd need to disarm many dozen of the "suburban homeowners" class in order to make it prohibitively difficult for a single solitary member of the "hardened, career violent criminal" class to arm himself. At what point does the right of the many law-abiding individuals to necessarily lethal self-defense override the legitimate need to reduce access to firearms among criminal types?

The NRA answer, of course, is a purely idealistic one: given any specific example comparing one legal firearm owner to one career criminal, it's better to give them both guns legally, therefore there should be no gun control whatsoever. Hopefully, everyone here recognizes the tragedy of the commons at play here: serving the self--defense interests of every law-abiding individual results in an untenable level of criminal access to firearms. The invisible hand always seems to be holding a Glock and pointing it in a less-than-justifiable direction. But taking the total-opposite approach seems equally inadvisable.

Thesh wrote:Let's say the US instituted a complete handgun ban, first off you would have a reduction in "heat of the moment" murders from your non-hardened-criminal, and people could still own a shotgun to protect their home, whereas gang members cannot walk around the street with a shotgun without being noticed. Over time, as arrests are made the number of handguns on the street would decline without an easy source of new guns...

I think the argument of gun rights advocates would be that the level of immediate death, destruction, and violent crime would render such a solution deeply, deeply problematic long before it would ever become difficult for your average gang member to obtain new guns.

I think that this argument is demonstrably correct. Does this mean all gun control measures are doomed? No, but it means that any aspirations for total, immediate gun bans are dead in the water.

KnightExemplar wrote:Some people really like and want their guns, they're gonna get them and it is frankly their right to own them.
Not necessarily, but convincing people otherwise is a long, long process.

Cane swords are illegal (but concealed carry is legal. Wtf). I'd feel like the things that I'd use a gun on are more or less taken care of by a good stick or sword: Like a big dog, coyote, and wild cats. Guns are a good self-defense weapon against other humans...

Unless you're packing a very, very large-caliber semi-auto pistol loaded with exceptionally well-designed expanding hollowpoints, your chances of stopping a large dog, a coyote, a wolf (yes, those can be quite common in semi-forested suburban areas nowadays), a big cat, or a dedicated uninhibited angry human are all pretty much nil. If the dedicated uninhibited human is wearing body armor, your chances become definitely nil unless you happen to be carrying a large-caliber semi-auto loaded with poorly-named "cop killer" rounds. Carrying a cane sword is not going to significantly increase your chances of survival in comparison; as Alexius's post suggests, stabbing the damn creature through the heart from a few feet away is the only useful approach, and only if the structure of the weapon itself is able to arrest and redistribute the momentum of the charge so that you're able to hold the attacker there until it/he/she expires.

Your chances of piercing an eye and scrambling the brain are effectively zero. A sword will not be able to penetrate the skull of any dangerous attacker unless you're exceptionally skilled. So your best chance is to pierce the heart or one of the major cardiac arteries, thus reducing blood pressure to the brain. But reducing blood pressure to the brain will take 3-4 seconds before your opponent is rendered effectively comatose (and, subsequently, dead), during which time you might very well sustain mortal injuries.

Guns are smaller and easier to carry as well.

This is probably the critical issue. If you can increase your chances of survival in a live-or-die-horribly situation by 10%, simply by carrying a small jacketed-barreled explosive device...well, that's a pretty easy decision for most bikers, if not most people.

elasto wrote:The disenfranchised could 'easily' solve their problems through the ballet-box by forming and then voting in a 'party of the people'. Or they could pressure the existing parties by consistently voting in representatives from progressive wings. There is no need for violent revolution.

Other countries - even ones with two-party systems - have far more progressive political parties and policies than the US. The US is an outlier even amongst Western nations: US 'progressives' are often more right-wing than UK 'conservatives'... There's no reason other than cultural and political inertia why the US couldn't become more moderate.

The United States has two parties: the Not-Progressive Party, and the Even-Less Progressive Party. No other party has a sundae's chance in hell at changing anything. And therein lies the rub.

Vahir wrote:Give someone a gun and tell him to "fend for himself", and you'll have a corpse. Guns are instruments of death, meant to kill.

On the other hand, one could argue that the sudden lethality of guns make them instruments of fear, meant to intimidate and dissuade. Dissuade would-be lethally-violent assailants, that is. And I think that's more-or-less accurate. But do brandished legally-owned guns dissuade more would-be lethally-violent assailants than they assist? That's a good question. The good question. The main question, I think.

ucim wrote:
Vahir wrote:Give someone a gun and tell him to "fend for himself", and you'll have a corpse. Guns are instruments of death, meant to kill.
The question being "his own, or his attacker's?". Because if you don't give him a gun, you may still have a corpse, but there will be no question as to whose.

Sometimes I disagree with ucim. Sometimes I agree heartily. This is a time I agree heartily.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Zamfir » Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:05 am UTC

There are plenty of generic gun threads. Talk about the OT, otherwise the thread gets locked.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby mathmannix » Mon Mar 23, 2015 3:20 pm UTC

OK, so the thread topic.

Isn't there [/shouldn't there be?] something illegal about having a fake store? False advertising or something. If people wanted to still buy a gun, they would have to be told, "Haha, the joke's on you, this is just a prank video." Seems like there's something not right going on there.

Also, if there is only one legal gun store in NYC (I couldn't verify if that was true), then wouldn't that open them up for more penalty? Or is it legal to open up a store with a big sign that says "Brothel" and say, "oh didn't you know that prostitution is illegal, and also causes women to be degraded and enslaved, go away." (Or say "Oh, this is a soup kitchen. Did you think 'brothel' meant something else?")
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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Mokele » Mon Mar 23, 2015 3:38 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:OK, so the thread topic.

Isn't there [/shouldn't there be?] something illegal about having a fake store? False advertising or something. If people wanted to still buy a gun, they would have to be told, "Haha, the joke's on you, this is just a prank video." Seems like there's something not right going on there.

Also, if there is only one legal gun store in NYC (I couldn't verify if that was true), then wouldn't that open them up for more penalty? Or is it legal to open up a store with a big sign that says "Brothel" and say, "oh didn't you know that prostitution is illegal, and also causes women to be degraded and enslaved, go away." (Or say "Oh, this is a soup kitchen. Did you think 'brothel' meant something else?")


I think that only becomes an issue if you actually take anyone's money (and then fail to deliver the promise product service). Otherwise, I think it comes under "performance art" or "advocacy" or other free speech grounds, since you're not defrauding them, just wasting their time.
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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Grop » Mon Mar 23, 2015 3:51 pm UTC

I want (well not really) to see the full video, showing the customers who didn't change their mind after listening to the history part.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby mathmannix » Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:35 pm UTC

Mokele wrote:
mathmannix wrote:OK, so the thread topic.

Isn't there [/shouldn't there be?] something illegal about having a fake store? False advertising or something. If people wanted to still buy a gun, they would have to be told, "Haha, the joke's on you, this is just a prank video." Seems like there's something not right going on there.

Also, if there is only one legal gun store in NYC (I couldn't verify if that was true), then wouldn't that open them up for more penalty? Or is it legal to open up a store with a big sign that says "Brothel" and say, "oh didn't you know that prostitution is illegal, and also causes women to be degraded and enslaved, go away." (Or say "Oh, this is a soup kitchen. Did you think 'brothel' meant something else?")


I think that only becomes an issue if you actually take anyone's money (and then fail to deliver the promise product service). Otherwise, I think it comes under "performance art" or "advocacy" or other free speech grounds, since you're not defrauding them, just wasting their time.


Another point - did they think that people looking to buy handguns would not be good targets for infuriating time-wasting?
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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby cphite » Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:50 pm UTC

First off, the video starts with the statement that owning a gun increases your chances of suicide, homicide, or accidental death... the implication being one of causation; that somehow, the average person is suddenly more likely to take action to kill themselves, or someone else, merely by fact that they own a gun. Certainly there may be an increased chance of accidental death; but the claim that murder or suicide was increased seems suspect.

If you owned a gun, would you be more likely to murder someone simply because it was in your possession? Would you be more likely to deliberately kill yourself? OR... do you suppose that someone with an inclination to kill someone (or themselves) might be more inclined to go find a gun with which to do so?

Or to look at it another way... it is a fact that, statistically, people who buy life preservers are more likely to drown than other people. Is this because life preservers cause drowning? Or is because people who spend time on the water boating, fishing, or whatever - where drowning is a potential threat - are more likely to buy life preservers?

If you look at violent crimes (including homicide) and suicide involving firearms in the USA over the past several decades, and compare those to the overall rates of violent crime, homicide and suicide over the same period of time, the numbers line up almost exactly. As violent crime goes up, violent crime involving guns goes up; as violent crime goes down, violent crime involving guns goes down. This seems to indicate that gun violence is simply a subset of violence, and not necessarily a cause of violence. Or to put it more simply, people aren't violent because they have guns; people have guns because they're violent.

So in that respect, I disagree with the video. They're implying a causation that doesn't fit with reality when it's looked at objectively. They're pointing out that "this is the gun that was used at Sandy Hook" and implying that there is something about that gun that make Sandy Hook happen. They're implying that these various violent monsters - like the one at Sandy Hook - was violent because he had access to a weapon.

The fact that "pro-gun people" are expressing concern about laws being broken is no surprise whatsoever. As someone who has spent a great deal of time around guns and around people who own guns, I can tell you that gun owners (legitimate ones, as in non-criminals) are generally very strict about following laws regarding guns. In no small part because we know that not following laws gives anti-gun advocates something to harp about. It does not surprise me at all that pro-gun advocates would want people prosecuted for any perceived violation of local gun laws in the video.

In short, it's a cute premise; but it's also a fairly transparent attempt to push what is, in my opinion, some falsehoods about gun ownership.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Jave D » Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:01 pm UTC

cphite wrote:If you owned a gun, would you be more likely... to deliberately kill yourself?


Yes. When it comes to suicide, few methods meet my requirements for a method of suicide as the gun method. When I was making my attempt, I was saved a lot by the fact that I didn't know which pills in which quantities would suffice, and the time in having to find and deploy them was just enough time for, well, an intervention. Had I a gun with me, the moment of decision would also have been the moment of the act, and that would have been it for me.

It's a tool, like an axe. It's absurd to attribute causation to an axe, but if I don't have an axe, am I going to chop firewood? Of course not. Of course I could use other tools instead, or just buy some at the store, but I'm going to try to use the best available tool for the job. Availability is the key here.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:04 pm UTC

Paul in Saudi wrote:It is good prank that has produced a powerful video. But for amusement, it is hard to beat the pro-gun people who are outraged that New York's gun laws seems to have been violated. (They weren't.) They are calling for investigations and prosecutions.


Not sure if this goes in the general gun control thread or whatever, but anyway, here's my take on this.

1. Fake stores that lead you on, then don't let you have the stuff you want seem generally frustrating. That'd annoy the crap out of me no matter what I was shopping for. Hell, people get angry plenty in retail over stupid stuff, actually realizing the entire store is a fake that exists to make fun of you seems more legit than most things.

2. NYC retail space ain't cheap. This is a lotta money being burned on this project. One that will probably do fairly little outside of

3. They're fake guns, so, mostly, real gun laws won't apply to them. But replica laws should. NYC has some pretty stringent laws on toy and replica firearms, in addition to the usual federal laws. I don't see any orange tips. It is entirely possible that some laws are being broken here. However, I'm not a lawyer. Also, I think they'd probably be less serious laws than firearms laws tend to be.

4. This will probably change nobody's mind, really. Pro-gun people will see this as obnoxious, while anti-gun people laugh away. It's just preaching to the choir.

Paul in Saudi wrote:Nobody proposes disarming America, if only because it is impossible. No elected national leader has ever advocated such a move. Americans want better controls on who can have what sort of gun.


Senators and the like certainly have(Easy citation: Feinstein, '95)

Also, what "americans want" seems to be lacking in evidence. Some want that. Quite a lot do not(and indeed, do not see such controls as better at all). Thus the controversy.

Paul in Saudi wrote:I keep track of mass-killings in the US. (You got to have a hobby.) While shootings are the most common form of such crimes, I am gobsmacked by the number of stabbings, beatings and other forms of mass slaughter. There is simply a lot of violence in US culture.

Further it is commonly cited that more than half of all fatal shootings are suicides. If you take those out... But on the other hand should we consider those separately? Why?


*shrug* Depends on context. From a prevention context, surely preventing suicides involves somewhat different factors than preventing mass killings, as they are not exactly the same scenario.

Now, I agree that "get rid of all the guns" is unlikely to be a successful political project in the US...in fact, significantly less ambitious gun control attempts have been political suicide. But it's a goal of some people. And that goal, possible or not, informs their actions. They're pursuing things in support of that goal, rather than goals such as "will THIS action increase safety".

ucim wrote:
elasto wrote:The US has 90 guns per 100 residents but Switzerland has 46, and Sweden and Norway have 32.
A quick misread of this elicits "oh noes! Nine tenths of my neighbors are armed!" But 'tis not so. I suspect the numbers are skewed by individuals who own lots of guns. One neighbor with a thousand guns and all the rest unarmed, for example. But that one neighbor can only use one (maybe two) at a time. So, 998 of those guns serve only to allow one statistic to mislead by standing in the place of another.


More like 47% of families are armed, in the US(Gallup, 2012). Still, guns/residents is a reasonable proxy for determining how armed a given nation is. Even if NOBODY in switzerland, sweden and norway owned multiple guns per family, we'd still have more armed folk than them by percentage.

Still, the point that you don't see a good connection between gun ownership and violent crime is well taken. Norway does still have a lot of guns by european standards, but is not a very violent culture. This is a good indication that the significant causes are to be found elsewhere. I believe we're mostly in agreement on this.

elasto wrote:I don't think this is directly relevant as a great deal of violence in the US is 'black on black'. It's probably even more accurate to call it 'poor on poor'.

My conjecture is that when societies are more equal, and the poor feel less hopeless, they are less likely to turn to crime and violence to get a leg up. And there's no reason that less homogenous societies can't have strong social safety nets and progressive taxation.


Eh. It's very much about the eternal drug war, the prison state, and so forth. The aforementioned european places generally tend to be a wee bit more inclined towards rehabilitation rather than punishment. So, we have a lot of recurrence in our violence because now, you have angry violent people have been to prison, have MORE difficulty finding employment, and the cycle just keeps going.

Race is a factor to a degree, though. Bloomberg made an unfortunate statement about this recently. Admitted that gun control was about getting guns out of the hands of minorities. Probably more of a paternalistic mindset than based on hatred, but still, advocating targeting minorities for legal restrictions is...ehhh. Pretty uncomfortable. And he's a HUGE backer of the anti-gun community...to the point where they'd be a shadow of their existing power without him.

Thesh wrote:
elasto wrote:However, you can't put the genie back into the bottle. Because most criminals in the US are armed, others need to be as well.


I suspect that is overstated. Besides, there isn't an unlimited supply of guns on the street. Let's say the US instituted a complete handgun ban, first off you would have a reduction in "heat of the moment" murders from your non-hardened-criminal, and people could still own a shotgun to protect their home, whereas gang members cannot walk around the street with a shotgun without being noticed. Over time, as arrests are made the number of handguns on the street would decline without an easy source of new guns, and the homicide rate would drop faster than had their been no ban. Criminals rely heavily on burglaries, straw sales, and corrupt gun dealers to obtain their firearms.


Existing sources reflect the existing system. Change the laws, and behavior changes too. We've dabbled with different sets of laws in the past, and zip guns have gained criminal notoriety when handgun supplies were low. Technically, a firearm just isn't that challenging to make. So, you can only really impact supply so much.

Analogies to the war on drugs, or prohibition, are easy, of course. Just because something is banned doesn't guarantee it goes away. If it's something easy to make, and in demand, it just goes underground, where regulations are entirely ignored.

I personally will probably never carry a gun. Although I've contemplated a cane-sword before, cause that's kinda cool. Lol. But cane swords are illegal (but concealed carry is legal. Wtf).


A few such bans exist. Switchblades, sword canes, whatever. Mostly due to associations with crime in a similar fashion. Realistically, I do not think we would see any significant difference in deaths if sword canes were legal. Still, England is revisiting adding more restrictive knife laws of late, because hey, if something didn't work in the past, let's keep trying it!

I'd feel like the things that I'd use a gun on are more or less taken care of by a good stick or sword: Like a big dog, coyote, and wild cats.


Or bears. Yeah. Hitting one of those is not guaranteed to stop one. Likewise, cougars and what not. Once they are in melee with you, you're probably screwed, stick or no. They hunt every day of their lives. We mostly surf the internet instead. I suspect they're a wee bit better at a struggle than I. Stick or sword is probably better than nothing, but still...I'll take a gun over a sword any day.

elasto wrote:
Paul in Saudi wrote:Which oddly, turns the NRA slogan "Guns don't kill people; people kill people" from silliness to great wisdom.

Better to fix the software, the reasons for violence, than the hardware, the guns. Not easier, but better.


Indeed, but then we come back to your thought of politics being the art of the possible: Changing a whole culture (in both directions - both the privileged's attitude towards the disenfranchised and vice-versa) is probably no less intractable a problem than 'merely' trying to disarm it...


It *is* quite difficult. But a worthy goal, and one that many groups are pursuing in one form or another. And progress does happen, even if it is far slower and more difficult than we would like. I'm happy to say that society seems to be MUCH more accepting of gay folks than when I was younger. I recall people treating "don't ask, don't tell" as something horrible, and got to see when it was finally retired in favor of full acceptance. HUGE improvement. More room to go? Sure. But it's not impossible.

So, how do we change a culture of violence? Drug war and prison/justice system seem obvious places to start, of course.

elasto wrote:
ucim wrote:However, disarming society exacerbates the problem of the disenfranchised

Only in non-democratic societies.

The disenfranchised could 'easily' solve their problems through the ballet-box by forming and then voting in a 'party of the people'. Or they could pressure the existing parties by consistently voting in representatives from progressive wings. There is no need for violent revolution.

Other countries - even ones with two-party systems - have far more progressive political parties and policies than the US. The US is an outlier even amongst Western nations: US 'progressives' are often more right-wing than UK 'conservatives'... There's no reason other than cultural and political inertia why the US couldn't become more moderate.


Eh. Leaving aside the left/right thing, even you put quotes around 'easily', as you're aware of all the obstacles that exist in practice. Yes, more education and more voting are to be encouraged, but these are areas in which we already see problems. They don't really justify further disenfranchisement.

sevenperforce wrote:
ucim wrote:Interestingly, conflicts resolved by guns seem to generally be within a single culture [citation needed]...

Citation needed indeed, because I believe that this is a myth, or (at best) a general truism which maintains its popularity by political expediency rather than by statistical merit or significance.


Criminal culture perhaps?

Correlations between various demographics and violent crime DO exist, and are quite significant, but we must be very careful to seperate out correlation and causality. Demographics that are generally criminalized, impoverished, or disenfranchised are much more likely to behave violently. This is true...basically everywhere, so there's little reason to even frame it as simply a US thing. When lines are drawn, and one side is to be treated much worse, conflict will arise. It's just human nature.

A better solution would be to work on those divisions, of course.

But yes, the suburban sprawl issue is a very troubling one. I'd wager that for every hardened, armed career violent criminal, you have at least a dozen suburban homeowners who have a healthy respect for handgun safety, who have a generational tradition of owning and using handguns safely, and who own firearms specifically because they are in the category of citizens who would face a 30-40 minute police response time in the event of an armed home invasion. On top of that, it could likely be argued that because the "hardened, armed career violent criminal" class is more likely to obtain its guns illegally, you'd need to disarm many dozen of the "suburban homeowners" class in order to make it prohibitively difficult for a single solitary member of the "hardened, career violent criminal" class to arm himself. At what point does the right of the many law-abiding individuals to necessarily lethal self-defense override the legitimate need to reduce access to firearms among criminal types?


Significantly more than a dozen. The 47% gallup number ridiculously dwarfs firearm violence incidents, and thus, you'd get a very high rate of restricting folks who have done nothing to inconveniencing crooks for any sort of ban.

The NRA answer, of course, is a purely idealistic one: given any specific example comparing one legal firearm owner to one career criminal, it's better to give them both guns legally, therefore there should be no gun control whatsoever. Hopefully, everyone here recognizes the tragedy of the commons at play here: serving the self--defense interests of every law-abiding individual results in an untenable level of criminal access to firearms. The invisible hand always seems to be holding a Glock and pointing it in a less-than-justifiable direction. But taking the total-opposite approach seems equally inadvisable.


They view it as the criminal will have access to firearms regardless, as criminals are obviously more willing to break laws than non-criminals. So, it's mostly a question of if the defender is armed or not.

Pretty much everyone politically seems to be okay with banning violent criminals from owning guns, but in practice, this just doesn't really do much. It's been the status quo for ages, and there's little evidence it does much of anything. The NRA isn't really out to change that law, and nobody is really that motivated to lobby FOR the rights of convicted folks, really, but even such uncontroversial laws may not actually be doing anything except further stigmatizing criminals. Which...is worrying, since our culture does kind of a lot of that already.

So, to connect this back up with the OP, stigmatizing/trolling is what this is all about. I kind of view this like I view various "prank" videos wherein people scare the bajeezus out of random passersby by faking something. Kind of dickish. You're basically annoying people solely to laugh at them/film them so others can laugh at them. As this shop is funded by "States United To Prevent Gun Violence", an organization that lobbies for gun banning, I think the motivation here is pretty clear. It isn't some dude's art project for college, it's a political project to bash the opposition. I think it's in pretty poor taste, myself, and will only attract further opposition to their cause due to perceived jackassery.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Mokele » Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:38 pm UTC

cphite wrote:If you owned a gun, would you be more likely to murder someone simply because it was in your possession? Would you be more likely to deliberately kill yourself?


Yes, easily, for a simple reason - guns are MUCH more effective at inflicting lethal injuries than pretty much anything else most peoplke have access to. Not using a gun makes it more likely to be "attempted murder" or "attempted suicide".

While this does correspond to your general point that guns don't *cause* violence (against self or others), it is worth noting that guns make any given violence much more likely to be lethal. The physical effect of a bullet hitting flesh produces damage that is much harder, on average, to survive and to repair, than just about any other physical weapon.
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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby Diadem » Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:29 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:The 'Gun Culture' in my area seems relatively safe. As in, if you buy a gun, you're expected to keep it in your safe locked up, with a combination that your children don't know about. Keep weapons and ammo separate until you're on the range, etc. etc.

This is one thing I have never understood. I can understand the "Guns are great for self-defense" argument (I don't agree with it, but I can understand it). Similarly I can understand the "Guns are perfectly safe if you store them well" argument. But surely you can't argue both at the same time? If you store your guns in a locked safe, and your ammunition in a different locked safe, then how the heck are they useful for self defense?

I'm not trying to start an argument here, but I am curious. Are these points generally argued by the same people, or are these two distinct pro-guns groups? I suppose there's plenty of people who own guns primarily for hunting or sports, not self-defense.
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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby KittenKaboodle » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:44 am UTC

Mokele wrote:- guns are MUCH more effective at inflicting lethal injuries than pretty much anything else most peoplke have access to. ...


Except, of course, automobiles.
However this prank wouldn't work so well with automobiles, no one wants a car that has been in a collision in any case, they probably won't even listen long enough to hear that the collision killed some adorable little kid.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby ucim » Tue Mar 24, 2015 3:19 am UTC

Diadem wrote:I can understand the "Guns are great for self-defense" argument (I don't agree with it, but I can understand it). Similarly I can understand the "Guns are perfectly safe if you store them well" argument. But surely you can't argue both at the same time?
You don't store the gun you want for self defense in the safe. But you do store the gun you bought for WWII re-enactments, target practice, your awesome collection, hunting, and general entertainment in that safe. They're not the same gun.

But which type of people would be swayed by the fake gun store? If I'm buying a gun for self defense, and they tell me "This is the gun that killed Osama", then maybe I'm thinking "That's the gun for me!" And if I'm buying one to hunt wabbit, I don't care what other well-known victim fell to its discharge. I just want Bugs in the pot.

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Re: Fake Gun Store

Postby sevenperforce » Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:05 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:This will probably change nobody's mind, really. Pro-gun people will see this as obnoxious, while anti-gun people laugh away. It's just preaching to the choir.

Seems to be the rule with these sorts of issues.

So, to connect this back up with the OP, stigmatizing/trolling is what this is all about. I kind of view this like I view various "prank" videos wherein people scare the bajeezus out of random passersby by faking something. Kind of dickish. You're basically annoying people solely to laugh at them/film them so others can laugh at them. As this shop is funded by "States United To Prevent Gun Violence", an organization that lobbies for gun banning, I think the motivation here is pretty clear. It isn't some dude's art project for college, it's a political project to bash the opposition. I think it's in pretty poor taste, myself, and will only attract further opposition to their cause due to perceived jackassery.

Ditto.


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