You speak of the urgency of this issue. But what if I told you that violent crime was down and coverage was up
I would argue that in a civilization that is supposedly as advanced as ours we should no longer be killing ourselves and each other with weapons that do have constructive uses. Some exceptions will always remain, of course - legitimate accidents, misfires, hell I don't even know how many things could possibly go wrong mechanically, not to mention legitimate self-defense shootings. But the idea that we have even one instance of an Aurora or Sandy Hook means we have not come as far as we like to think, but we know there is room for improvement. And that is why media coverage has intensified - we cant tolerate this, if we are to be as advanced as we wish we were. That's one reason they are highlighting it, so that hopefully we can fix the issues that cause the problems - whatever they result from, be it socioeconomic factors, mental health factors, whatever the cause is.
Indeed, I think even you said at one point that "One gun death is too many," or something to that effect.
You know as someone who is fairly fiscally conservative I've always been nervous about these programs. But as I've studied the issue of crime over the past 15 years, I've become convinced that social programs are necessary. We need to figure out how to make them more workable. But that is another discussion!
I'll agree, conditionally. At the high school level, this is certainly true. ...Here's one of the things about the college shooter...I think there is a fundamental error in socialization that happens probably around the 6th-10th grade. This carries over into the 11th and 12th grades when people tend to 'grow-up'...these kids get left behind. This isolation and lack of social skills carry over to college.
I don't think I'm fear mongering. I have training in the tactical use of firearms through the military, as an USAF emergency manager making sober and realistic threat assessments is another thing I've been trained to do. So when I speak of self-defense, I speak of realities and possibilities. I'm not telling you that you need to fear your neighbor.
I would invite you to look in the mirror with that statement.
Possibilities don't speak to probabilities. Fact is, violent crime (taken as a whole) is down as you mentioned. So far down that you have a .0043% chance of being involved in a violent crime, according to the per capita violent crime rate in 2010. And that says nothing of this hysteria that we need these weapons to be able to violently overthrow the government. I'm sorry but AR-15's have nothing on a 3,000lb bunker buster, or whatever force the government might use to quell a violent uprising here in the states. The question of whether or not such a 'militia' could win would certainly not hinge on whether or not they had an AR-15. I saw an image on Facebook to this effect not too long ago, depicting Ted Nugent and his whole "I want to go to war with Obama" thing. The other part of the image featured some sort of heavily armed, menacing helicopter, with the caption... "No, you don't, you really don't."
* When I lived in St. Louis I was living in an old house and that was the first time I experienced a home invasion. The door was one of those old solid wood. If the guy would've actually tried to get to me and my 4 mth preggo (now ex) wife...a 12 guage or Sig (I don't like Glock! lol) would be unable to shoot through it.
At the time it was the only handgun example I could think of, I don't even know what a Sig is. LOL.
One of the criteria the court uses when evaluating whether a government infringement on a right that basically says that if there are other alternatives that are substantively similar (in this case, substituting a Mossberg or Glock instead of an AR-15 in a home invasion scenario as you mention), then some government regulation of that right may be constitutional if it serves a compelling state interest.
On ethical grounds, some courts use a standard in deciding whether a self-defense shooting was justified of "least lethal level of force." In other words, the amount of force you use in self defense should be just enough to overcome your attacker. Anything beyond that and you could potentially face civil, if not criminal, liability, even for a justified shooting (barring psychological breakdown / duress / something similar). This is also why police officers will try to shoot to wound, rather than kill, if at all possible.
So while yes I do have a 'slippery slope' concern...it is not an over-arching theme of my argument. Nor do I think what I am articulating is unreasonable.
Let's review, shall we? The SCOTUS has already tossed a DC Handgun ban, articulating the uncommon and unusual doctrine when it comes to weapons. I think we can all agree that the weapons handed to soldiers in Iraq would be uncommon and unusual, which is why we don't have civilians with access to them. But handguns have a legitimate self-defense function and are common and usual, so those won't be going away anytime soon. I have no problem with shotguns, either, and nor would the court. They are common in many areas in the country, and I'm sure they serve a legitimate purpose somewhere (even if I can't think of one, I am sure one exists!). Rifles (I'm thinking like a 30.06, 30/30, or the chipmunk .22 I had when I was a kid) would also fall into this category.
At this point on the AWB, I am waiting to make any decisions. Constitutionally its dubious, which is why we need to see what the final statutes look like if indeed an AWB can make it out of Congress and onto the President's desk (which is a tall order, from what I am gathering so far). Until then, it's pointless to make any arguments about its constitutionality because depending on how the statute is justified and what it covers, it may be enough for a court to uphold it, and I stress the may.
Based solely on the principle of the second amendment, though, I am still ambivalent it. The text of the amendment is pretty clear, and while they are some instances where limitations are justified (which is why we don't have fully automatic weapons flooding our streets), expanding those limitations must be done with great care and only if absolutely necessary.
Under current law, the FBI provides background checks for 30-something different states. Other states do the background checks through state agencies. The FBI background check system would get everyone on the same page. But it would require more staffing for the FBI.
I have no problem with that.
there is nothing that suggests that this is the case
I am thinking more along then lines of "Hey Bub, I can't pass this background check, but here's the cash, can you buy me a [insert gun name]?" You are thinking wills/estates.
Many of my fellow servicemembers do not seek help for their PTSD because there is this urban myth that if they do...they will lose the ability to buy a gun.
I am sorry to hear that. To respond substantively, I am still not entirely convinced people with mental illness of a degree to disqualify from gun ownership should be given that right back. There is a saying amongst addicts that is useful here - Once an addict, always an addict. The same is true with mental illness, once that door is opened, it can never be fully shut. However, you do make some convincing arguments, so what I would like to see, if it happens...