Gun Control

If you don’t understand why you are harming your own points, I don’t know what to say. You are ignoring the clear and direct evidence that what you are saying isn’t true and doesn’t work.

So I must confess I’m not completely sure what you’re asking for here. If you want studies showing that guns save lives or that there’s not enough evidence to whether they save more lives than they take, they’re not hard to come by. This is one of the most researched subject in America with powerful interests trying to influence policy. Here’s a few to show that:

The reason I’m confused here is because contradicting your data isn’t something I’m interested in. I basically agree with your data. I’m fully aware that the mere presence of guns is a dangerous thing regardless of context. I recognize that all the training in the world can only ever be mitigation.

My issue isn’t with your data, it’s with the conclusions you draw from it. Major scientific studies say guns are dangerous regardless of context so you say, “we should fully ban guns and it doesn’t matter how”.

If I may be hyperbolic, I view this as similar to major scientific studies saying the sun is responsible for climate change so you say “we should fully block out the sun and it doesn’t matter how”

If you’re asking for data showing that allowing only the cops to have guns while the rest of the civilian population remains unarmed is a bad thing, worse than the current state of affairs. I’m not sure what data I could possibly offer to show you that. I’ll try my best in the next paragraph but in the interest of being fair, could you give me data showing the opposite? Substantiate with data that disarming the cops but not everyone else would be bad.

I could hand over wikipedia’s list of military dictatorships or police states. I could point to the history of labor relations in the united states. I could even point out this recent survey of experiences of violence and gun homicide in California, which was unexpected to have something so recent from the United States. I can even find the UN agreeing with me that you have to reduce the civilian and state stockpiles at the same time (Point 1 of their 4 point plan)

What I can’t do is give you data showing that disarming American non police civilians and changing nothing else would be bad. There’s not a data set that can show that. It’s a judgement based on history, not data. When it comes to how countries act in nutty circumstances there’s just not enough data to say anything conclusively.

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Totally regardless of where civilian gun laws stand, I don’t see an even remotely plausible scenario in which the US federal govt, police, etc will do any standing down on their gun issuance and deployment within the next, I dunno, half-century. Even if in the next 10 years civilian gun ownership is more-or-less banned they have another 20 years of cleanup to deal with, and then another 30 years of slowly diminishing returns on firearms issuance and training so that most officers loose that ability. It seems other places have been able to pull it off quickly, but as a country/culture we’ve had a lot longer time at this with modern arms than almost anyone else in the world, so it’s hard to say what worked in those places could happen within a similar timespan here. I wouldn’t say it’s impossible but it’s a big project.

That’s assuming over the next 50 years or so things more-or-less ride the line of the current paradigm. I’m imagining within the next 20 we see a major upset that sort-of resets the whole debate, and it could go any number of ways.

Good discussion on gun control.

We seem to actually agree on most things here.

We’re both in agreement that it’s cool if everyone gets rid of their guns simultaneously, if that’s somehow possible.
We’re both not cool if the government gets rid of their guns first, because domestic terrorists will rise up.

The only disagreement seems to be that I’m also ok with the citizens being disarmed prior to the government being disarmed, and you are not.
I would also find a scenario where the citizens are disarmed, and the government is never disarmed, as preferable to the current status quo. You clearly are not.

The threat you are worried about, a military dictatorship, a police state, the end of democracy, these are real threats that we are all concerned with in the US and elsewhere. Even Bill Clinton of all people is worried about it, and he said so yesterday.

But those threats already exist today. We have plenty of guns today. Are guns the reason we haven’t lost democracy yet? No. No amount of guns in the hands of the citizens can do anything to protect democracy in the year 2022. Citizens having guns is not the reason we haven’t been successfully coup-ed yet. Us getting more guns in the hands of citizens will do nothing to change the coup calculus. Those would-be autocrats who want to end democracy are not being held back by thoughts of armed citizens. Their methods can not be countered with guns. Even if we all load up on guns and ammo, it will not matter. Whether democracy is protected or not will not be determined by guns in the hands of citizens.

If we disarm all the citizens, but leave the government armed, will those threats exist? Yes. They will exist exactly as they do today. The only difference is that we will all be safer and more prosperous with less guns out there.

I would go on to say that I believe that having more guns in the hands of the populace, regardless of which citizens have them, actually increases the risk of losing our democracy. Perhaps that is why anti-democratic forces in the present era are pro-gun, where as historically they have been anti-gun? I have no evidence for this, but the logic goes something like this. If there are more guns, there are more shootings. That leads to more fear of crime, societal upheaval, and unrest. Those feelings in a democracy lead people to vote for more conservative tough on crime candidates while democracy still exists. And if fear persists, it can lead to people actually being totally ok with something like martial law being declared. Less guns, less death, less fear, less chance of that happening. I have no numbers to support this last paragraph, though. Just a logical train of thought that is somewhat slippery slope-ish.

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I do feel like there’s some kind of middle ground where the people give up 20% the cops do 20% and so on. This kind of solution is what I started out by asking for. I genuinely think there could be some great solutions here that don’t include what I see as quite a bad thing.

If I haven’t convinced ya to try and shoot for that at least I’ve hopefully shown I want the same stuff just don’t trust cops more I suppose.

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I’d be very happy if that worked. I agree it’s very preferable to citizens being the only ones disarmed.

But having citizens being the only ones who disarm is very preferable to the status quo, and it’s more realistic to accomplish it. And even that much is still very very difficult to achieve given the current state of things, at least here. If that’s all that’s on the table, I’m not going to say no to it and maintain the status quo just because I couldn’t get the cops to disarm at the same time.

I’m trying hard in all areas of life to not let the perfect become the enemy of any amount of improvement whatsoever.

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Well as I think I mentioned, we have a first principal we disagree on. The axioms we start with are not the same. I prefer the status quo (bad as it may be) to the uncertain future where all is the same but regular folk don’t have guns.

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There are many countries around the world where there is very strong gun control, but the government still has guns. Japan obviously the first that comes to mind. Are you afraid to go to those countries? Do they appear to be at risk of some sort of autocratic takeover?

Those countries or areas suffer from my favourite image of a plane:


Survivorship bias

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The countries with strict gun control could accuse the countries without it of survivorship bias as well. “How is it possible to have a country survive where citizens are mass murdering each other frequently? Well those countries managed it somehow.” Except wait, the countries with the mass murders have a lot more social upheaval, unrest, and instability than the ones that don’t. Hmmm.

Anyway, let’s compare two scenarios.

Scenario 1: Your worst fear comes to pass. We take away guns from the civilians, but not the government. Then democracy ends and we live in a police state.

Scenario 2: We maintain the status quo. Guns are all around as much as they are today. Then democracy ends and we live in a police state.

Please explain to me how you imagine life in scenario 2 will be better than life in scenario 1.

Remove all guns by all means.


This is real bad.

I put good odds on even the new paltry gun control bill that’s in the Senate being overturned before too long (if it’s even passed).