Monday, April 27, 2009

The Militia Effect?

The Lipstick Effect is a well-known phenomenon in the financial world - wherein women can't afford to buy designer purses and shoes during economic downturns and instead get their kicks on cheaper splurges like lipstick. Now, we have the perfect storm of a liberal president and economic downturn resulting in my newly-coined "redneck-militia-joining gun effect." Gun sales are at record levels as these Jimbos can't afford a new Hummer and instead settle for guns guns and more guns in an effort to stick it to the man.

Have a better term for these morons?

Their "logic" is that they must stock-pile now before laws come into place which will prevent them from buying these particular guns or as many as they might need in the event of an apocalypse.

My solution? No more ridiculous grandfathering and laws like allowing you to buy a gun from someone else and adopt their grandfathered license. It'd be too far to simply confiscate these new guns when stricter laws are inevitably put into place, but I recommend a system similar to eminent domain. We reimburse these gun-obsessed freaks for their purchases and then hand the guns over to the police - where they belong.

For the record, I think it's perfectly fine if someone wants to have a gun or two (safe-guarded) in the house for self-defense in the case of emergencies or to go hunting during deer season, but the Poplawski's of the world must be stopped.

To Rendell and Ravenstahl, please do not listen to these wingnuts and continue with your proposed legislation banning assault weapons.


jaredmclaughlin said...

I was shocked to see your commentary. I am not certain you have thought this through. It seems as if you are reacting on an emotional level.

I think you make a great assumptive leap in believing that these arms are being purchased for some future apocalypse, or that it has any relation to militia training. There has been an upswing in purchases, but not in organized training.

Banning certain classes of arms in the United States seems foolhardy and impractical. I cannot see how you intend to overcome alot of the legal and practical snags in having these weapons confiscated. A public good argument would be tenuous at best.

How would you propose this confiscation of firearms proceed? What legal mechanism would you use to validate it? Who would collect the arms and how? How would you handle illicit manufacturing like that which occurs in the Phillipines and Pakistan? Keep in mind those arms are produced with hand tools and machine tools are readily available in the United States.

EdHeath said...

Actually, if you go back and re-read Illyrias’ post you might note that she said "It'd be too far to simply confiscate these new guns". I believe she was calling for people to voluntarily turn in assault weapons and be reimbursed for them. Of course, she might not get a lot of cooperation by calling them "gun-obsessed freaks".

Look, we all know that there was an assault weapon ban from 1997 to 2007 (I believe). It was not confiscation type ban, simply a ban on sales of new assault type weapons, and I believe some types of new magazines. It was apparently reasonably easy to get around the sales ban, and in any event I believe private individuals could sell used assault-style weapons between themselves.

I myself would argue that confiscation is the only way to have effective gun control. In my opinion, all handguns and semi automatic rifles should be confiscated; handguns because almost all serve no other purpose besides killing people, and semi automatic rifles because there is no difference between the mechanisms of hunting rifles and assault-type rifles, and semi automatics are not necessary for hunting. Except that a broad confiscation is almost certainly a violation of the Second Amendment, and thus currently unfeasible. Besides, it is probably not possible to get every handgun or rifle, and the kind of people who would hide them away are probably the type of people who would later take them out and take their revenge on everyone.

I don’t know if you live in Pittsburgh, if not, you may not know that three police officers recently died at the hands of a man using a semi automatic AK-47. Already the Pittsburgh police have a plan to have several police cars carry an AR-15 type (semi-automatic) rifle. I believe that is being done to make a show that something is being done, and by itself it is not likely to do too much harm. But the events of the last few weeks all across the country are likely going to push the Federal legislature towards some kind of gun control law or (more likely) local governments towards having police officers wear heavier body armor, helmets and carry AR-15’s or the like full time. Which will no doubt spur some guns rights proponents towards claims that the government has become corrupt and oppressive, and there will (possibly) be more people exercising what they see as their right of resistance. I can never understand why anybody might want that.

jaredmclaughlin said...

Sounds like an imaginative scenario. Let us put Second Amendment arguments of the side burner, for the sake of simplifying the argument.

Studies like the Milgram experiment suggest that a voluntary turn in would more than likely be effective; the individuals in question would have a high probability to respond to authority. The fact that there is a spike in sales seems to suggest this. Consider, if you are an individual who views this possible legislation as an impediment to acquisition of such firearms, then it means you are operating under the assumption that you will acquire such arms in the normal way; through a licensed dealer who performs a background check.

You seem to ignore the fact and repeat the fallacy that there are no uses for semiautomatic rifles and handguns beyond killing people. This in itself belies your ignorance of the issue at hand. There are large differences between the mechanics of semiautomatic rifles and hunting rifles. The taxonomy at work here is even different. In one case the object is described by the operating system, and in the other case by the use. There are semiautomatic hunting rifles, and there are also non-semiautomatic non-hunting rifles.

One of the most severe arguments that could be tendered against such confiscation is the affect it would have on the advancement of the state of the art. Each engineering discipline has its respective specialists and developments. The design of arms does not exist in a vacuum. One of the key motivators in arms development is the civilian market in the United States. If that market is removed, there will be a decrease in advances in the field. The national security issues of just that aspect are something to be contended with. There is much to be said for a butterfly effect in firearms legislation and arms ownership.

I ask you only to take the long view, and look at the picture from a broader perspective.

Der Geis said...

Poplawski apparently owned four guns. I own that many. My father owns more than that. My trap-shooting granfather owned more that that. Hardly an arsenal. What made Poplawski dangerous was his being a mentally unbalanced wingnut, not the number of guns that he had.

Jerry said...

Hey Jared, if you're gonna try to impress us all by spewing a pointless maelstrom of ten-dollar words, learn the difference between "affect" and "effect," OK?

Lacking in all your tendentious verbiage is any explication of the reason why someone needs an AK-47. I mean, let's say the government threatened to outlaw Nehru jackets. I wouldn't run out to the Nehru jacket store to buy an arsenal of Nehru jackets, because I don't anticipate needing one.

So, presumably, all these folks running out to get their AKs before Barack HUSSEIN Obama outlaws them need one, right? So what do they need them for?

Jerry said...

What made Poplawski dangerous was his being a mentally unbalanced wingnut, not the number of guns that he had.True, but a mentally unbalanced wingnut with an AK-47 is infinitely more dangerous than a mentally unbalanced wingnut without an AK-47. You can't pretend that there's not a risk inherent in selling assault weapons to people who may or may not be mentally stable.

EdHeath said...

Jared, you are apparently new to this debate. Gun rights advocates would never put the Second Amendment on the side burner.

Also, somehow, I think the spike in gun sales is not an indication that the buyers of guns would just as readily turn them in if asked by authority figures, Stanley Milgram non-withstanding. Actually, just the opposite, I think the spike in gun sales is being caused by the expectation that the sale of assault weapons will be prohibited, so the purchasers better get them while they can. These are not people who will turn around and sell them back, even at a profit (which isn’t likely anyway).

My suggestion to confiscate all semi automatic rifles is driven by the contention of gun rights advocates that the mechanism of a military style rifle is no different from a civilian semi-automatic hunting rifle. This statement is used by gun rights advocates to demonstrate the uselessness of banning only assault weapons. So I say ban and confiscate them all. But I also said I don’t think that would work, and the people who worked the hardest to hide guns would probably be the people who would later take them out and use them.

Obviously almost all rifles, even an AK-47, can be used for hunting. The same can not be said for handguns. Handguns, easily concealable and often fairly powerful, can not reasonably used for hunting. Yes, you can shoot targets with them (targets frequently shaped like a person), but basically handguns are designed to shoot other people, mostly in an urban environment. But perhaps you have some longer perspective.

Look Jared, in the real world you are going to get what you want. No effective gun control is possible, and no gun control is likely to be attempted. Thousands of people in the US will continue to be shot, many killed. But perhaps they all deserve it.

Bram Reichbaum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shadow said...

Banning guns is an idea which I think approaches valueless. I think we should ban "crazy". Then the problem becomes "who can you trust to evaluate that?"

We're doomed. @bender(Dooooooooomed!)

jaredmclaughlin said...


I say put the Second Amendment to the side because of the fact that it is an over discussed and never agreed on point of the debate.

Certainly firearms enthusiasts are buying up all the semi automatic rifles they can before an anticipated ban. I reiterate that this seems to indicate that these are individuals who are intent on complying with the law. There would be no rush if they intended on ignoring a ban. This demonstrates that they already show a propensity for legal compliance.

True, the mechanism of certain hunting rifles used for certain types of hunting is identical to the types of arms these bans tend to restrict. Mechanically, they are the same rifles. Quite often they are the very same rifles. I think this is part of where the difficulty in actually constructing effective legislation that seeks to limit the damage to the sporting aspects of firearms. Legislation is difficult enough without requiring an engineering degree to comprehend the differences in mechanisms.

I would think that banning semi automatic rifles has a possible opposite outcome. The rifles in question are a median point in utility when it comes to killing people; they are not excellent as rifles nor are they excellent as sub machine guns. That is to say, they are middle point between up close and out far usefulness.

Two weapons it would be difficult to ban are also the most ideal for both situations; the shotgun and the bolt action rifle. These are the most commonly used hunting weapons, and the most deadly weapons you can purchase. Bolt actions rifles are much more powerful than common semi automatic rifles, and are effective at much greater ranges. Shotguns have a devastating usefulness on short range targets, and are also quite useful for taking small game in the field. I would almost rather that crimes be committed with common semi automatic rifles than with these weapons.

Also, handguns can be used for hunting. I am not certain where you are getting your information. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania even goes as far as to regulate which calibers and types of handguns are legal for hunting.

jaredmclaughlin said...


My guess is that these individuals need the riles for shooting.

Jerry said...

Nice non-answer. Let me suggest a better one.

Assault rifles are good for two things: Assaults and practicing for assaults. Specifically, assaults designed to kill multiple people.

So you are going on and on in defense of your right to kill multiple people. We can debate whether that's Constitutional or not, but let's just be honest about what we're debating.