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Old July 26, 2012, 07:48 PM   #114
Bartholomew Roberts
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Join Date: June 12, 2000
Location: Texas and Oklahoma area
Posts: 6,889
Originally Posted by BigMikey76
The alternative is a society without laws. What are laws, after all, but the government foreseeing ways that people might misbehave and making rules in advance to disallow those actions. You might as well say that because there is a law against stealing, the government is treating you like a thief by imposing that law on you regardless of whether you are a thief or not.
A law that says theft is punishable by fine or imprisonment is a law that holds someone responsible for their actions. A law that forbids people to own a crowbar because they used by thieves or forbids sacks of a certain size because they can be used to gather stolen goods is a law that treats all people as potential thieves regardless of their past behavior. Do you understand the distinction in the context of my original statement?

My question to you is this: Can you say with absolute certainty that waiting periods do no good? How can any of us know whether some potential spree killer was disuaded from killing because he was given a few days to calm down and think things over? There is no study that can quantify this, since there is no way to count how many times something did not happen. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Even if the prevention methods don't work every time, who is to say that they don't work at all?
That is an interesting standard to apply to determine whether a law violates a right enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Can you imagine what our country would look like if that same standard applied to the First Amendment? Unless you could say with "absolute certainty" that a law would do no good, the law must be allowed because it could in theory prevent a crime or two. That sounds like a very scary society to me... the standard you propose is arguably even less strict than the rational basis test that is applied to most government regulation and it seems you are proposing this for an enumerated right in our Constitution?

I can say that I am not aware of any spree killer who bought his firearm within 5 days of the shooting. I can say that it didn't prevent any of the 9 school shootings from 1995-1998 (though a principal with a .45 in his car did bring one of them to an early end).

On the other hand, I can point to Wisconsin woman Bonnie Elmasri. She had a restraining order against her husband and tried to purchase a firearm. Wisconsin had a 48-hour waiting period at the time. Her and her two children were dead within 24 hours, so she never got her gun. During the Los Angeles riots, citizens also tried to buy guns but were foiled by the 15-day waiting period. In Charlotte, NC, Catherine Latta face a situation similar to Ms. Elmasri, after being robbed and assaulted by an ex-boyfriend several times, she attempted to buy a handgun - at the time North Carolina required police permission as our friend pgdion advocated, she was told the wait was two to four weeks. Ms. Latta chose to purchase a handgun illegally, which came in handy five HOURS later when her boyfriend attacked her outside her house. (See for more examples of people dead due to waiting periods on firearms)

I am not, by the way, a proponent of waiting periods or background checks for ammo purchases, or any of the other restrictions being discussed. I am simply saying that these things are not violations of our rights and should not be treated as though they are.
Waiting periods most certainly are a violation of our rights. The people in the above links were so inconvenienced they DIED. You don't get your rights violated much worse than that. Background checks for ammo purchases are just stupid - we tried it for 18 years. It wasn't like we just dabbled in it.

Wow, now we are really off topic. Poll taxes, along with literacy tests, grandfather clauses, and quite a few other Jim Crow laws were enacted as a specific attempt to keep "undesireable" voters from excercising their rights to vote.
So in that sense, it has a great deal in common with most gun control proposals, including several you listed.

Waiting periods, thorough background checks and paperwork do not keep you from purchasing firearms, they just add steps to the process.
A poll tax is just an added inconvenience, it wasn't like they were charging $1000 to vote. It just made it a little more difficult for people who were already in a tough spot to vote. Just like the 4 laws you described as "not completely bad" make owning a gun that much more difficult. If you want to see how that works in actual practice, read some of Emily Miller and other D.C. residents experiences in trying to get a firearm there - waiting periods, extra thorough background checks, safety lessons, all kinds of "reasonable gun control" in actual practice. This is a city that once again led the FBI UCRs in homicide - having a homicide rate 5 times that of the nearest STATE. Read those stories and tell me if you think the problems these people face are useful in keeping that rate lower.

The end result of poll taxes and other Jim Crow laws was people being denied their right to vote. The end result of a waiting period is that you end up owining a gun a few days later than you wanted.
Bonnie Elmasri sure got hers a few days later than she wanted, eh?

Perhaps I should have been more clear. Since this thread originated as a discussion of the speech the President made yesterday, I was engaging in debate based on that context.
Why just that context then? If I talk about guns for 20 years and say a single sentence today, is it wrong to infer meaning to that sentence based on what I have said in the past?
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