Gun Confiscation Reference April 2018

April 2018
[Reverse chronological order]
April 4, 2018
Observer: Is It Time to Repeal the Second Amendment?
Is It Time to Repeal the Second Amendment?

Apr 3, 2018
Vox: Why an assault weapons ban can’t address America’s gun problem

April 02, 2018
Miami Herald Repeal the Second Amendment — it’s not a crazy idea

April 22, 2018
Emma González [March for our Lives]: Removing the assault and semi-automatic weapons from our Civilian society

Other Items:
April 18 2018
What if all guns disappeared?
Take the politics out of it. By the numbers, what would we gain – and lose – if all firearms suddenly were wiped off the face of the planet?

Is It Time to Repeal the Second Amendment?
By Donald Scarinci • 04/04/18
While the marches and rallies across the nation demanding stronger gun control laws have increased in the wake of the tragic Parkland shooting, they will not amount to much without petitioning for a constitutional amendment.

The protests will achieve legislative reaction in some states like New Jersey. Unfortunately, state laws can provide only mere tweaks to the bigger problem of gun ownership in heavily populated areas. The sole way to solve the problem is to repeal the Second Amendment.

Without federal constitutional protection, states would be free to decide for themselves what restrictions, if any, to place on gun ownership. Less populated states would be free to have liberal gun ownership, including the right to carry. More populated states would be free to create more rigid restrictions on gun ownership and even ban guns completely.

Abolishing the Second Amendment

Most recently, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens lent his support to the repeal of the Second Amendment.

“[D]emonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment,” Justice Stevens wrote in The New York Times. “Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment… Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century.”

Why an assault weapons ban can’t address America’s gun problem
There’s not much empirical weight behind the ban, although experts say it could reduce mass shooting deaths.
By German Lopez@germanrlopez Apr 3, 2018

The assault weapons ban is one of the top policy proposals from March for Our Lives and other gun control advocates. But it’s also one of the gun control measures with the least supportive evidence behind it.

The typical argument for the ban: Weapons of war have no place in American communities. These high-velocity, high-capacity weapons are particularly deadly, even more so than other semiautomatic firearms such as handguns. They have also been used disproportionately in mass shootings. And they aren’t needed for hunting or self-defense. So they should be banned altogether.

All these claims have a certain intuitive sense behind them. What they don’t have, however, is a whole lot of empirical evidence, based on my discussions with gun policy experts and researchers. Studies on assault weapons bans have generally ranged from inconclusive to unfavorable toward a ban.

That doesn’t mean an assault weapons ban would have absolutely no effect. Consider the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas. In that case, the gunman parked himself on the 32nd floor of a hotel near a country music concert and fired indiscriminately into the crowd with assault weapons — which were also retooled with bump stocks to mimic the firepower of machine guns. He killed 58 people and injured hundreds.

Bump stock or not, it stands to reason that the shooting would have been much less lethal if the shooter didn’t use an assault weapon and used, say, a more conventional handgun instead. The bullets would have had shorter range, and those that hit would have had lower velocity and therefore caused less damage. In a shooting with such a high casualty count, that could’ve translated to potentially hundreds of injuries averted — although the shooter also could have changed his approach without access to assault weapons.

Still, it’s worth putting this in context: This kind of violence is already relatively infrequent. Mass shooting deaths make up less than 4 percent of gun homicides in the US, while shootings with rifles, including assault weapons, make up less than 3 percent. So pushing assault weapons out of circulation wouldn’t have a big impact on overall gun violence in America, even if it has an outsize impact on some particularly awful tragedies.

These are just some of the complications that limit an assault weapons ban’s effectiveness. So while the policy may seem intuitive, there isn’t much evidence to support it — and in a world with limited political capital for gun reforms, those gaps in the research need to be taken seriously.
Previous bans had no significant effect on gun crime

The most cited review of the evidence is a 2013 analysis by researcher Christopher Koper on the effect of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban, which lawmakers let expire in 2004.

The analysis concluded, “The ban did not appear to affect gun crime during the time it was in effect, but some evidence suggests it may have modestly reduced gunshot victimizations had it remained in place for a longer period.”

That was partially, Koper wrote, because the 1994 ban was riddled with loopholes.

To understand why, consider a surprisingly tricky question in this discussion: What is an assault weapon, and how do you define it? For lawmakers, these questions have posed a challenge over the years.

People might have a vision of an assault weapon in their heads — say, a semiautomatic rifle like an AR-15 — but defining what makes that an assault weapon can be difficult. Is it that it’s semiautomatic? Well, there are semiautomatic handguns and hunting rifles too. Is it the high velocity and long range? Traditional hunting rifles can also have those features. Is it the pistol grip? That offers an easy way around the law then — if someone could just remove a pistol grip, then it’s no longer an illegal assault weapon.

Ultimately, the 1994 ban settled on a definition of assault weapons that included, among other features, “pistol grips on rifles, flash hiders, folding rifle stocks, threaded barrels for attaching silencers, and the ability to accept ammunition magazines holding large numbers of bullets,” as well as some specific guns by name and “copies or duplicates” of them, Koper wrote. That captured some handguns, on top of the rifles that people might typically think of as assault weapons.

But the ban was still easily bypassed, Koper noted: “Relatively cosmetic changes, such as removing a flash hider or bayonet mount, were thus sufficient to transform a banned weapon into a legal substitute. In this sense, the law is perhaps best understood not as a gun ban but as a law that restricted weapon accessories.” Gun manufacturers took advantage of this, producing modified versions of previous weapons to make them legal — blowing a big hole in the law.
A young boy fires an AR-15 at a shooting range. A young boy fires an AR-15 at a shooting range. Ryan Houston via Getty Images

Plus, guns made and owned prior to the ban were grandfathered in, making them legal to own and transfer. That comprised at least 1.5 million assault weapons in the US at the start of the ban, according to Koper.

This gets into another tricky aspect of banning assault weapons: Do past guns get to stay around, or are there efforts to take those out of circulation through, for instance, a buyback program or a mandatory registration-and-tax scheme (similar to current laws for automatic weapons)? The 1994 ban took the former approach, but March for Our Lives has called for the latter with a new ban.

The 1994 ban was also attached to a ban on high-capacity magazines that carried more than 10 rounds, which Koper suggested was arguably the law’s “most important provision.” That’s in part because this ban also affected the firearms that weren’t covered by the assault weapons ban, so it could affect a much broader level of gun violence. Indeed, a study from February by Koper suggested that high-capacity magazines may be involved more often in typical shooting deaths than previously thought.

But at the end of the day, Koper found that the 1994 ban had no significant effect on gun crime — although it may have had some modest effects if it had been allowed to stay around for longer and over time pushed more assault weapons and high-capacity magazines out of circulation.

Koper’s analysis had two big gaps: It didn’t look at the 1994 ban’s effect on mass shootings, and it didn’t analyze state laws.

For that, the best review of the evidence is an extensive report by the RAND Corporation released in March, which looked at US studies on gun control, including assault weapons bans at the state level.

Here, too, the news is not good for an assault weapons ban. RAND found that the available studies were often contradictory. Focusing specifically on the most rigorous studies, RAND found the evidence for bans’ effects on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines on mass shootings and violent crime in general to be “inconclusive.”

“None of [the studies] provided what we considered to be any kind of conclusive evidence,” Andrew Morral, the head of RAND’s gun policy initiative, told me.

“The studies are pretty weak,” Morral said. “Also, a lot of these bans have been pretty weak” — noting many of the same loopholes that the Koper analysis did.

But what if an assault weapons ban wasn’t weak — and really took these guns out of circulation? The US could, for example, follow Australia’s lead and ban a much broader category of semiautomatic rifles and institute a mandatory buyback program — basically, a firearm confiscation scheme. Would that have a significant effect?
A ban would have little effect on overall gun violence but maybe some on mass shootings

Experts said that even a more effective ban on assault weapons likely wouldn’t have much of an impact on overall gun violence in the US.

That’s because only a small percentage of overall gun violence involves assault weapons, with the great majority of firearm homicides involving more conventional handguns. And Morral said there’s no reason to believe an assault weapons ban would have any effect on suicides, which have in recent years made up around 60 percent of all gun deaths.

In a country with so many gun deaths, cutting even a percentage point or two of overall gun deaths could still save hundreds of lives a year. But in terms of addressing America’s overall gun problem, it just wouldn’t have a big impact.

Still, experts said that an assault weapons ban may have a significant effect on the lethality of mass shootings.

Assault weapons’ “functionality is really most relevant in the context of a public mass shooting,” Daniel Webster, the director at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, told me.

The research still isn’t good in this area, in large part because there is no single accepted database for tracking mass shootings and what weapons they involve. But there are some analyses that can be drawn on.

Repeal the Second Amendment — it’s not a crazy idea
By Christopher M. Norwood April 02, 2018
Gun control will never get around the Second Amendment. We can dance around it like Muhammad Ali, perhaps jab at it with policy like Sugar Ray. But we will never Tyson TKO gun control without amending — or completely repealing the Second Amendment so that individual states can determine for themselves how to regulate personal gun use.

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens agrees. He recently challenged young activists to take it a step further and, “Seek more effective and more lasting reform … demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.”

We’ve never held an Article V Constitution Convention. Why not a Constitutional Convention to discuss gun control among other proposed changes? I think individual states in today’s world should decide this issues. Shootings kill more than 36,000 Americans each year; every day, there is a average of 96 deaths and 222 injuries by gun violence. Of all firearm homicides in the world, 82 percent occur in the United States. African-American children have the highest rates of firearm mortality overall; they are 10 times more likely to be killed by guns in a country where African-Americans make up 14 percent of the population.

Florida should be leading an effort for a U.S. Constitutional Convention. The country is under assault because Democrats and reasonable Republicans will not address racially charged appeals with big ideas that bring people together. But big ideas win elections.

Christopher M. Norwood, J.D. is spokesman for the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida and a Democratic Executive Committee member for Miami-Dade County.

April 22, 2018
Emma González [March for our Lives]: Removing the assault and semi-automatic weapons from our Civilian society

Other Items:

What if all guns disappeared?
Take the politics out of it. By the numbers, what would we gain – and lose – if all firearms suddenly were wiped off the face of the planet?
By Rachel Nuwer
18 April 2018

But what would happen if that debate was suddenly and irrevocably put to rest – because there were no guns at all? What if all firearms in the world suddenly disappeared with no way to get them back?

Guns obviously cannot just magically vanish. But this thought experiment allows us to remove politics from the equation and rationally consider what we could gain – and lose – should we ever actually decide to have fewer guns around.

The most obvious effect of such a disappearance is simple: no gun deaths. Approximately 500,000 people around the world are killed by guns each year. In terms of developed countries, the biggest losses are in the US, where citizens own 300 to 350 million guns in total. There, gun homicide rates are more than 25 times higher than the combined rate of other high-income nations.

No more guns would likewise mean safer conditions for police, Miller adds. More than half of the people killed by police in 2016 were armed, and many were exchanging fire with officers when they were shot.

Guns were used in just 10% of terror attacks but accounted for 55% of deaths

Deadly mass attacks by domestic terrorists also would decline. A 2017 study of more than 2,800 attacks in the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand revealed that guns are by far the most lethal way to kill as many people as possible – even more than explosives or vehicular strikes. Guns were used in just 10% of attacks but accounted for 55% of deaths. In the US, terrorists also prefer guns: out of 16 lethal terrorism-associated attacks since 9/11, all but two involved firearms.

Improbable peace

History shows that violence is ingrained in human nature, however, and guns are by no means a prerequisite for conflict. “Think of the Rwandan genocide,” says David Yamane, a professor of sociology at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. “There was tremendous violence, much without firearms.”

Even when we take the thought experiment to its extreme and imagine all guns disappearing off the face of the Earth, war and civil strife would continue. But rather than revert to more primitive weaponry like spears, swords or bows and arrows, modern nations would likely shift to other forms of killing, including explosives, tanks, missiles and chemical and biological weapons. (Nuclear war, however, would likely remain unappealing given its extreme destructiveness, Gabor says.)

There would likely be a modest net economic gain if guns disappeared

In fact, there would likely be a modest net economic gain if guns disappeared. Gun death and injury-related expenses add up to direct losses of around $10.7 billion (£7 billion) per year, and more than $200 billion (£140 billion) when other factors are taken into account. “In the US, if you look at all the financial costs of gun violence, it’s not just direct medical costs and rehabilitation for people who are shot, but costs to the justice system and lost income of victims, and even quality of life costs,” Gabor says.

Many would be able to breathe easier with guns no longer in the picture, but some gun owners would experience the opposite effect and feel more vulnerable without their weapons. “There are people in the defensive gun world who arm themselves against others – whether that’s larger people, people with knives or others with guns – to equalise the situation,” Yamane says. Removing guns “would definitely leave people who are potential victims of violence unable to defend themselves against stronger, more forceful attackers,” he says.

Removing guns would leave people who are potential victims of violence unable to defend themselves against stronger, more forceful attackers – David Yamane


Author: Torcer

Differential equations teaches us that one can use the initial conditions of the present to extrapolate events in the near term balanced with the knowledge of the past. The interaction of technological advances and the march of history is fascinating. History can inform those willing to listen as to what will happen in the future because the laws of human natural are as immutable as the elegant equations of Newtonian physics.

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