There are not nearly enough gun debates on the SDMB, so let’s have another.
Let me say that I’m personally ambivalent about guns. But I find the enthusiasm of both sides to be very interesting, and sometimes carry this stuff to work.
I was having a very civilized conversation with Mike, a friend and an avid 2nd advocate, and expressed my very slight concern about stray bullets fired in self defense.
Here’s kinda how it went;
Me: Probably rare, but it could happen.
Him: Not my problem. You should have stronger walls if you’re worried about that.
Me: What! Forget walls. What if I’m just driving by, or walking? Body armor, for crissakes?
Him: Sure, if you’re in the way. If I’m defending myself or my property, I can’t waste time worrying if someone’s in the way.
And so it went for a few minutes. Always friendly, and sometimes jocular. I’m sure he just got carried away a little, but do some of you self defense folks really think this way?
BTW; A couple of other gunners who were there agreed with him.
He wasn’t very diplomatic in the way he was putting things. If someone attacks me and I retaliate rightfully with deadly force then the initiator of the attack is to blame for stray bullets. He’s right that if I’m defending my life from an immediate threat then I can’t possibly take the time to think about stray bullets.
On an ethical note I’d feel horrible if I ever accidentally shot someone and I’d take some pains to ensure that they received compensation.
mangeorge, your friend is (mostly) wrong and pretty irresponsible. While it’s true that if you (“you” being “the person shooting”) miss what you’re shooting at, the bullet will go somewhere else, there is no excuse for not being sufficiently trained in the use of your firearm that you’re not at least peripherally aware of your backstop. Firing blindly is for the movies, not the real world.
As to the “get stronger walls” argument, what if you live in an apartment? There aren’t a lot of complexes that will let you do structural upgrades, nor would most people want to.
For my home defense shotgun, I use #4 shot. It’s small enough that it won’t penetrate most walls (certainly not my exterior block walls), but heavy enough to penetrate heavy clothing, which smaller shot sizes sometimes won’t do.
In my sidearms, I carry frangible ammo. While this has the benefit of greater stopping power than full metal jackets (it expands on impact and creates a larger wound channel); it is also far less likely to go through a wall or ricochet.
Please tell your friend to do his research, get his training and keep his yap shut if by opening it - even in jest - he’s going to make every person who takes the time and responsibily to provide for his or her own safety with a firearm sound like a foolhardy cowboy by association.
Unless I could see an innocent person behind the target, I don’t think I would take the background into consideration in the heat of the moment.
That being understood, I have taken it into consideration in advance.
We keep the shotgun loaded with #6 shot and keep the pistol loaded with Glaser (frangible) rounds). We live away from other houses, so I have a pretty high confidence level that our shots won’t end up in someone’s livingroom.
If someone innocent got hurt, I would feel horrible. However, I think the blame for their injury lies with the attacker.
IMO, Absolutely. Even if not legally accountable, you are most certainly responsible to do everything in your power to minimize the possibility of it happening, especially if living in an apartment complex, attached condos, duplexes, etc… If you don’t know your weapon and it’s ammo, you have no business firing it. There are bullets and loads (some of which were mentioned, like shotshell loads and Glaser slugs) for nearly all firearms made specifically to minimize the possibility of penetratrating hard targets which includes walls. For the few types of weapons that do not have ammo like this on the commercial market, there are places which will handload ammo that is “safe” for home defense (soft frangible projectiles with subsonic loads). Anyone who would willingly shoot a firearm in their home with ammunition that can easily go through a wall, is someone who gives gun owners a bad name. If you don’t know if your ammo will or not, ask any gunsmith or dealer and they will be happy to help. Granted, there are things like windows, which won’t matter, but anyone who claims to be a responsible gun owner, will do all things possible to help mitigate a stray bullet.
I think the shooter is liable, and any insured property he is defending, along with the gun manufacturer for selling a potentially defective defense mechanism. I would advocate that all guns be sold with insurance bonds. If someone is caught with an uninsured gun, then they are fined or their weapon is impounded. All guns can be sold with original policies. If someone is responsible, then they should have reasonable rates. This would cover alot of spinal cord injury victims, which cost federal and local gov’t over 8 billion dollars a year (1995, USNews). Under this plan, we wouldn’t need gun registration, just private insurance.
Defective in the sense that it lacks specific target limits and explodes outwards for hundreds of yards towards anything in its path, uncontrollably. A car would be likewise defective if one couldn’t contol where it went or when to stop it.
Imagine the gun as a legally crafted piece of machinery that sends a group of projectiles into space. It becomes destructive each time it is used, even if one is only shooting a can. So, it is designed to be destructive, but then this design is offered in concealable and miniature configurations that force the shooter to fire it many times from shortened barrels with arguably defective (minimal) sights, and thereby is a defective bullet delivery mechanism (from strays) but is sold accordingly. We allow bars to sued when they serve too many drinks, why not gun makers when their guns serve too many bullets? Too make matters worse, the gun is most often used in defective ways, as an offensive weapon, or accidently while stored.
I realize there are arguments for allowing defects in machinery, but when the harm is more than the safety is affords, it becomes a public safety issue. I am always amused when defective tires get so much publicity for “killing” a few dozen people. Of course, some people like me think that guns are a specially designed supply-side social hazard or social factor, used in class warfare to enforce elitism and allow an armed police state (but I’m a rationalist, not a romantic). The evidence for this is in the fact that the NRA argues for guns to combat tyranny, but then advocates that people go to prison immediately for carrying a gun to protect oneself during, say, a drug transaction, which technically is a law made against someone’s personal freedom by someone in authority. So, the NRA is using a prison program to argue for freedom to have guns, when they clearly sponsor the contradiction of going to prison for having a gun to protect against police or legal tyranny. So, when do laws become tyranny? The NRA is mum because they represent arch-conservatives who advocate the blending of church and state, a Jeffersonian tyranny.
There’s so many things wrong with this I don’t know where to start.
Since it’s a hijack anyway, I won’t.
To the OP:
ManGeorge: hand Mike one of your hand-rolled specials and tell him to chill, he’s being an asshole and giving us other gun nuts a bad name. We’ll revoke his secret decoder ring and pull his NRA stickers off his auto.
Like others have said, you consider your anticipated environment before you even purchase the weapon, and plan accordingly. Frangible is the best (I would say only) way to go in an urban environment, quite possibly a suburban one as well. Only in a rural environment would I consider using full-power loads for home defense.
That applies just as well for self-defense concealed carry, IMHO.
It gets even worse: The only way to pay for the damage caused by guns is to not only insure them, but tax bullets too. It’s only fair. I see a legal, ethical, and implementation problem in registration, bans, and government restrictions and limitations. Why not at least make it cost what it really costs?
Go to a shooting range. Point the gun at the target. Pull the trigger. Hit the bulls-eye.
Sounds pretty controlled to me.
Same with fire. Ban matches!
How, pray tell, can it be “defective” if it does exactly what it’s supposed to do?!?
A gun makes bullets go really, really fast. Usually in just one direction. I imagine that very few firearms DON’T do that.
This is what really threw me. Let’s just say that I wish this was in the Pit right now.
Mr. Bunnyhurt, we allow a lot of things in this society. When someone ingests alcohol, that has an immediate (relatively) and definite effect. When someone purchases a bullet, that has an INdefinite effect (who are we to predict when a bullet will be fired?). A bullet may or may not cause harm. Too much liquor WILL DEFINITELY cause harm. If you can’t see the difference 'tween booze and guns… well… I want what you’re smoking, pal, 'cuz it sounds like good shit.
Please address how it is considered a “defect” when the gun goes “Bang!” when it’s trigger is pulled. It is nearly impossible to make a gun go “Bang!” without pulling the trigger. You can even drop the gun and it won’t go “Bang!” Since the only way to make it go “Bang!” is to pull the trigger, it’s not the gun that’s defective, but rather the hand-eye coordination and/or the common sense of the person handling the gun.
(Jeez, I feel like I’m talking to a Rugrat or something).
Again, GUNS ARE NOT DEFECTIVE. THEY DO EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE DESIGNED TO DO.
The tires killed because they did something that they were NOT supposed to do. That is what made them defective.
If the total might of the people is greater than the total might of the “police” (military), how can it become a police state? 100,000,000 lightly armed people vs. a few hundred thousand heavily-armed (relatively) soldiers… hmmm… 100,000,000 vs. 100,000…
Man… I suuuuuuure wish this was in the Pit…
Oh no! Heaven forbid that the NRA advocate punishing people who ::gasp:: BREAK THE LAW!!!
Whether you like the law or not is immaterial, pal. It’s still a law, and you will follow it.
Wrong. The NRA advocates OBEYING THE LAW. In their mind, the law clearly states that “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. Also, the law clearly states “don’t buy crack”.
How is that so hard to understand?
The smart people will let you know.
Y’know, Brian, you are, like, the Anti-Fact. Not a single Fact in your whole post. The NRA represents people who recognize that guns themselves are not “evil” or “horrible”. The NRA and the Religious-Right are two separate groups (although I’m sure there’s some bleed-over 'tween the two). That’s like saying that Greenpeace and PETA are the same group. They’re not.
It’s about making an emergency landing on a highway, and one of the points discussed was: When a human being is in mortal danger, the rest of us are obliged to accept somewhat higher risks than normal if it can save his/her life.
Likewise: If your neighbour is defending his life with a gun (I’m not going to accept the idea of using deadly force to protect “property”), innocent bystanders are obviously at risk. However, people in mortal danger are legally (and, IMHO, morally) allowed to take risks that would otherwise be criminal.
Obviously, smart gun owners think this through and arm themselves in a way that minimizes the risk to other people. And there’s probably a case waiting somewhere where a guy defending himself will get his ass sued off for not using his head in this manner.
Posted by Brian Bunnyhurt
>It gets even worse: The only way to pay for the damage caused by guns is to not only insure them, but tax bullets too. It’s only fair. I see a legal, ethical, and implementation problem in registration, bans, and government restrictions and limitations. Why not at least make it cost what it really costs?<
Ok Brian and while we are at it taxing things how about matches. They are the leading cause of arson if you use your logic. Hey why stop there cell phones are supposed to cause cancer so can I tax them and force all people using them to get a bond. How about your home phone or the computer you are using. Computer hacking and phone fraud are huge drains on national interests. “Why not at least make it cost what it really costs?”
Posted by Brian Bunnyhurt
>Just remember, when guns bring in enough money annually to satisfy their cost to society, no one will ever want to get rid of them–it would be too expensive otherwise.<
There are things much more valuable to a culture/society than monitary gain. Your freedom was purchased by men with guns and a willingness to use them. Was it worth it, do you enjoy it? In the state I reside in guns are a necessity of life to a large part of the poulation for defence from nature! Bears don’t share your rather narrow view of how the world is. If you are in their trritory you are lunch, and every year we have at least two incidents of bears having to be shot in downtown.
Posted by Brian Bunnyhurt
>The evidence for this is in the fact that the NRA argues for guns to combat tyranny, but then advocates that people go to prison immediately for carrying a gun to protect oneself during, say, a drug transaction, which technically is a law made against someone’s personal freedom by someone in authority. So, the NRA is using a prison program to argue for freedom to have guns, when they clearly sponsor the contradiction of going to prison for having a gun to protect against police or legal tyranny. So, when do laws become tyranny? The NRA is mum because they represent arch-conservatives who advocate the blending of church and state, a Jeffersonian tyranny.<
Ok, I can see where this came from. First of all that law does not just apply to drug offences. If you use a firearm in the commission of any crime you go to jail. Rob a bank with a gun go to jail. Commit rape with a gun go to jail. Beginning to get the picture here. If you want to carry a gun to a drug deal and not go to jail for it make them leagal. As for the “Jeffersonian tyranny” I beg to differ, the primary focus of the NRA is and allways has been the protection of your second amendment rights and education of both gun owners and the populace at large. I’m a jew and they could care less.
Posted by Spiny Norman
>Likewise: If your neighbour is defending his life with a gun (I’m not going to accept the idea of using deadly force to protect “property”), innocent bystanders are obviously at risk. However, people in mortal danger are legally (and, IMHO, morally) allowed to take risks that would otherwise be criminal.
Obviously, smart gun owners think this through and arm themselves in a way that minimizes the risk to other people. And there’s probably a case waiting somewhere where a guy defending himself will get his ass sued off for not using his head in this manner<
Thanks Norman, I agree with you whole heartedly. If the owner of a gun using it to defend himself shows negligence of foresight then he should be punnished. I have never met an educated gun owner who did not make sure he was using the right tool for the job. The problem with weapons in our soceity is a lack of education and training, not bennifits to the populace at large. I’m sorry to say this Brian but at this point you seem to be a prime example of this.
Personally I wouldn’t want to use sub sonic ammunition for a firearm I was depending on to save my life. I would imagine that quite a few semi-automatic pistols might have trouble cycling to the next round with sub sonic ammunition. I try to practice with the same rounds that I’d use for defense in my home if possible. It’d get awfully expensive getting custome made aummunition every time I went to the range. That and I really hate to use handloaded ammunition for my semi-automatic pistols. In fact doing so voids my warranty for them.
I think I take reasonable precautions to ensure that a stray bullet doesn’t hit my neighbor. I use a Colt .45 ACP loaded with 230 grain FJH Hydrashock with a muzzel velocity of about 850 fps for home defense. I’m reasonably sure it isn’t going to pass through a wall if I accidentally fire it.
I also use 10mm Federal Hydrashock bullets in my Glock which I use as my carry piece. I’m reasonably sure that I won’t have any over penetration problems since the barrel is so short and the bullet is designed to expand upon impact with a soft body. Of course if I accidentally hit someone then I’ll probably end up doing more damage.
Trust me, very few gun owners relish the notion of possibly having to use deadly force on someone. But when it comes right down to it, I’d rather stay alive and the guy trying to kill me dead.
With regards to “flying bullets”… I don’t see how this isn’t another one of those “costs of being part of a society”. We have cars, jets, drugs, electricity, knives, pools, and who knows how many risks in society. If you want to eliminate all risks… well, good effin’ luck, pal.
Some may argue that guns aren’t worth the risk (first person to mention the number “43” in reference of the evilness of guns is REALLY going to get it). I disagree. First off, we can never get rid of guns. Once they’re here, they’re here to stay. Sorry if that violates someone’s idealistic sensibilities, but that’s just a cold, hard fact. Second, there are always going to be people who don’t care who they hurt to satisfy their own desires… some people want to hurt others simply for the sake of causing pain. Someone intent enough on doing this WILL do it. And there are very few ways that you can protect yourself from someone with enough desire to hurt.
With that in mind, I find a gun to be the best, most-efficient means of defending yourself from the hypothetical possibility of facing someone intent on hurting you. After all, they can’t hurt you if they’ve got a bullet in their head.
Thusly, the risk of stray bullets is a side-effect of the best, cleanest solution to a very real, very likely, and very difficult to prevent possibility. Kind of like how car accidents are a side-effect of the best, easiest solution to the problem of transportation.
Sorry to say this, but I’ve never met an educated gun-carrying owner, and your confusing people with bears proves my point that many gun owners are unstable, insecure and confused and need someone to demonize always to justify their irrational fears.
The only gun toters I know are racist rednecks and worried criminals. I know of one guy who carries a gun with him to intimidate people, perhaps you think he is enlighened. He was arrested for getting out of his car during a road rage incident holding a gun, and got off with a warning. The right tool for the job? I know people who have loaded semi-auto rifles with thirty rounds for home defense. The bullets they commonly use are copper jacketed around a steel core, and could fly through three people and a door before they fragmented and injured someone else. Have you ever known anyone injured by bullet fragments or ricochets? I do. He walks with a limp, but is free to walk with a cane if wants to. As for your freedom speech, the record scratched when you imagined that the US (with the highest prison population per person in the world), was a free country. I suppose you think Norway is communist. Of course, I define freedom differently than the NRA, namely freedom from crime and ignorance and hunger and disease and bad ideas and stray bullets, etc. Maybe you think you are only free when you have a gun in your pocket, which means you are really a prisoner of your fears.
Your analysis of committing a “crime” with a gun begs the question. What if the crime is merely a civil disobedience, such as simply smoking pot in your living room with a gun? Such actions guarantee more legal hassle and you don’t seem to care. Where is your freedom speech now? And as for the right tool for the job, that is a criminal’s mindset.
As for you being a Jew, so what? NRA supporters recognize Judaism as a protected religion, unlike other religions and non-religions. And, what’s this about gun-owners being responsibile? I can show you hundreds of target trash pits all over the West caused by practice shooters. I’ve seen dead animals too, legally shot as unwanted vermin by the cattle lobby mentality. Bears? They’re long gone. I’m just glad I’m not a marmoset or rattlesnake minding my own business.
We can’t compare matches or computers with guns, because contrary to your imagination, the bullet that directly hits a bystander was caused by the gun being aimed directly at them. Fireworks are regulated in most states for the same reasons you suggest. If other people’s cell phones gave us cancer, you can bet they would be banned, obviously.
Conclusion: Logic works better than guns to back up laws, but it requires education to comprehend.