Gun Control

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Re: Gun Control

Postby Riles » 25 Feb 2018, 06:34

Jegpeg wrote:Countries like Switzerland and Finland have much more respect of the rule of law in general than Mexico, Russia and Brazil and I don't think that is down to the number of guns they have. It would make more sense to compare Finland and Switzerland with the countries in Western Europe with the lowest levels of Gun ownership, the Netherlands and Ireland both have lower levels of Homicide than Finland and Switzerland though probably not at statistically significant levels.

Finland and Switzerland have significant levels of people who hunt and Switzerland also has a large militia, guns are generally locked away most of the time and only become accessible when, for example, going hunting. In the USA many people feel a need to carry a gun for their own protection but this creates an arms race between the criminal and the potential victim. Generally speaking a house breaker in the UK will go unarmed, if confronted, most will attempt to run away. In the US the victim is likely to have a gun so the house breaker realises if they try to run away they are likely to get shot, they therefore need a gun in order to have a chance of getting the first shot in, and they need a powerful gun to ensure the house holder is in no position to shoot back if they are hit and a rapid fire mechanism in case they miss or there are more than one people confronting them and so on.

I would also point out that Americans in favour of the second amendment would find both Finnish and Swiss gun laws completely unacceptable. In Finland a license is required for every gun and that will only be granted alongside proof for the need, if it is for hunting you would need to show a valid hunting permit, if it is for sport you would need to show you are active in gun sport (with further restrictions for hand guns), self defence is not an accepted need. In Switzerland it is almost impossible to be granted permission for concealed carry.


I agree that the "2nd amendment Americans" would find their gun laws unacceptable, as they would for probably most any other country (although what the 2nd amendment is actually supposed to protect is its own century old debate). The culture in America is definitely different in terms of the extent that the home defense arms race has progressed. However, supposing that you dial back the "self-defense" owners, would that dial back the criminal element? If criminals having weapons was a necessary reaction to their potentially armed victims, then hopefully dialing back the "necessary" aspect would disarm at least some of the criminals as well (hopefully most would rather not be armed). However, there will certainly be a (hopefully small) element that will realize that their advantage just increased if the home owner is much more likely to be unarmed.

Jegpeg wrote:I would also challenge your assertion that we all want the police to carry guns. In the UK very few police are allowed to have fire arms, the majority have to rely on items such as speed cuffs and batons. In the year 2015/6 in England and Wales only five bullets were fired aiming at people (i.e. excluding shooting at things like tyres or dangerous animals), I would not say the criminals rule the streets over here and I think limiting police access to firearms to a select groupl of extremely highly trained officers is the correct balance between type I and type II errors.


I had taken for granted that police with guns was a good thing and something that would be difficult to argue against. The fact that there are places with relatively few armed officers is not something that I knew existed. I'll have to research it more as that's an interesting new nuance to how I think about this.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Jegpeg » 03 Apr 2018, 14:24

However, supposing that you dial back the "self-defense" owners, would that dial back the criminal element? If criminals having weapons was a necessary reaction to their potentially armed victims, then hopefully dialing back the "necessary" aspect would disarm at least some of the criminals as well (hopefully most would rather not be armed). However, there will certainly be a (hopefully small) element that will realize that their advantage just increased if the home owner is much more likely to be unarmed.


Just realised you raised this issue.

I am not someone who says the USA should necessarily make gun ownership illegal, I was more explaining the problem more than proposing a solution. Outside of the military and the police in most countries where rule of law is accepted people who own guns have them to shoot things (e.g. targets or animals) there are only a few of the worst criminals who have them to to shoot at people. The USA is the exception in that a large proportion of gun owners have them to shoot people, even if it is usually to prevent themselves being shot (either a bad guy, someone who catches me doing criminal acts). While in most countries the odds of being victim to someone with a gun are minuscule in the US it is a fair bit higher. Questions remain however as to whether your survival chances are increased if you have a gun (an armed robber would probably prefer not to add homicide to there crimes if they can avoid it but may feel it necessary if his victim has a gun) and whether the increased risk of getting shot while defending your property is worth the increased chance of preventing the theft.
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Re: Gun Control

Postby willie23 » 25 Apr 2018, 20:57

I wanted to ask:

The gun laws in the UK are extremely restrictive, right? Is it at all possible for a regular citizen to purchase and carry a handgun or a rifle? I also heard that knife violence in the UK was horrific. I haven’t been to the UK, so I don’t know. But it would be nice to get input from actual English people.

Thanks,
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Re: Gun Control

Postby Jegpeg » 28 Apr 2018, 18:53

willie23 wrote:I wanted to ask:

The gun laws in the UK are extremely restrictive, right? Is it at all possible for a regular citizen to purchase and carry a handgun or a rifle? I also heard that knife violence in the UK was horrific. I haven’t been to the UK, so I don’t know. But it would be nice to get input from actual English people.

Thanks,
Willie


Certainly compared with Arizona gun laws are extremely restrictive. Hand guns are not allowed (although an except was made for pistol events at the London Olympics the British team have to train abroad). Rifles are allowed providing they are not semi or fully automatic and a licence is obtained. Obtaining a licence requires you to have a legitimate reason (e.g. sport, or collecting, self defence is not a valid reason) and that they can be trusted not to be a danger with it. The later requires two referees who have known the applicant at least two years, approval by the applicants doctor an inspection of where the firearms will be stored and an in depth background check by the police. The licence is only for the gun(s) listed on the licence and lasts 5 years. A limit to the amount of ammunition that can be held at any one time is also included.

Knife violence is a problem in the UK, especially in London and has risen sharply recently, it is the most common type of homicide in the UK accounting for 35-40% of the total. Overall homicide rates in the UK are considerably 0.92 per 100,000 people which compares with 4.88 for the USA.
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