How could gun control reduce gun violence in the United States?

Ok, this thread is to debate a very specific point.

  1. Assume for the sake of the thread, that reducing available guns enough would reduce gun violence. (and, implicitly, total crime and violence, but this thread isn’t to debate that. Assume, for whatever reason, you believe, for the sake of the thread, that less guns is a good thing)
  2. The country in question is the United States only.

Anyways, one of my gun enthusiast friends was ranting yesterday about how all the news media, after the latest mass shooting, are talking about gun control and taking away people’s guns.

His main point was : what’s the point? There are almost as many civilian owned firearms as citizens in the United States. What possible government policy would make a hill of beans difference and restrict gun availability to the point that it made any difference?

If it’s impossible to make any difference, then liberals shouldn’t be filling the media with rants saying we should take the guns away, because we physically can’t. There are too many and few records of who has them. Even if it is a good idea, it can’t be done.

So, what’s the point? How could you take enough guns away to matter, assuming for the sake of argument that you should

Door to door searches of every household and business. Think of all the other kinds of things that law enforcement would find while searching for guns. It would be a boon!

Start now, then work the problem aggressively for 75 years. Or more. It would not be a quick fix.

The challenge with such a policy is that the real payoff would only appear after half or 2/3rds of the weapons were gone. Which is so far downtrack that the effort would have to have proceeded on almost blind faith and nothing more for 30 or more years before they’d have much to show for it. Like Prohibition, the ills the effort would spawn would be early and obvious, while the purported benefits would be far-off, nebulous, and only hoped-for. Can you say “Epic Fail” 4-6 years later?

All of this is arguendo; taking Habeed’s OP at face value as the complete scope of the issue.

Canadian here. I don’t know why the government couldn’t do something like Canada has.

If you want to own a rifle or shotgun you need to take a course, pass a test and apply for a Possession and Acquisition License. At this license application stage the RCMP (national police force) does a background check and checks references (that you provide upon application). Rifles and shotguns are classified as “Unrestricted” firearms.

If you want to own a handgun, you have to take another course, pass an exam and apply for your restricted firearms license. When you own a hand gun you are only allowed to transfer it from your primary residence to a gun range.

If you get caught with a handgun outside of these parameters, you are charged, your handgun(s) gets seized and you’re done.

The exception to this is if you are in the natural resource industry and work in the wilds of Canada, you can apply for a special carry permit that allows you to wear a handgun as a side arm.

In Canada owning automatic rifles, automatic handguns etc are prohibited. As well as buying high capacity magazines. Because really who needs a magazine that holds more than 10 shots? Or shoots fully auto?

There’s probably a similar amount of firearms per person in Canada as there is in the US, and yet gun violence is exponentially worse in the United States.


People already own 300 million guns here. That train has left the station.

Most people who own guns for self-defense or home defense have never and will never use them for such, and would think themselves exempt from this.

See above re: 300 million.

Removing enough guns will dry up the supply for criminals, both the US and across the western hemisphere; the US is the armory for the criminals of the Americas.

If guns are less common criminals are less likely to want guns in the first place, a phenomenon seen in other nations. Guns escalate things.

If guns are less common then cops will be less prone to kill people because they *thought *the person was armed.

If guns are rare then impulsive gun violence will be far rarer than now.

If people respond to guns being restricted by hiding them away that’s almost as good as destroying them; a gun hidden in the basement is a gun that* isn’t* being used to shoot anyone.

I’m not sure if it counts as gun violence or not, but guns being rarer will greatly reduce the number of people killed by accident with them; including by idiots who do things like point “unloaded” guns at other people as a joke. Or children who get hold of a gun and play around with it.

If guns are largely forbidden that makes it obvious that someone carrying a gun is likely a threat, and they are more likely to be caught and stopped. Something I saw brought up during the recent terrorist attacks in Europe; that was one of the response of Europeans to Americans insisting they need guns.

Der Trihs, we’re not talking “why” here. We’re talking “how.”

That is “how”.

From the OP:

Yeah, I’m not debating whether or not taking the guns away would be a good thing. I personally think the evidence at least leans in the direction of “it would be a good thing”, but that’s not part of this thread. It’s “how do you take the guns away in the United States”?

If it can’t be done (without starting a civil war which defeats the point of taking guns away to reduce violence), it’s pointless to debate whether it should be done.

this is one of those “Feels good, does nothing” sentiments. I’ve never taken any tactical training, but I can drop a magazine and slap in a new one in like three seconds. And what’s with the magical “10 round” limit? Is 10 rounds somehow a natural cutoff point which makes things “safer?” Why is 10 rounds OK but 11 verboten?

besides, it’s not like magazine capacity limits did anything to stop or slow down Seung-Hui Cho. All he did was bring along more loaded magazines.

We all try to do LOTS of things that can’t be done 100% or all at once.

A think (this is IMHO) that many espousing nihilism about “drying up” the supply of guns are being intellectually dishonest. They are mostly saying, I don’t want gun ownership restricted, so the horse is out of the barn, so shut up already.

If guns were restricted as they are in Canada (detailed up-thread), it would take a long time to significantly change the supply, if otherwise law-abiding citizens were determined to flout the law (fail to test, fail to report or modify unpermitted weapons). Many would be turned in (as they were in Australia). Perhaps many would not. Over time, these weapons (which couldn’t be legally sold) might be passed in through various amnesty programs by their owners or descendants. Some would be sold illegally, which might or might not result in additional criminal actions, any of which would permit law enforcement to confiscate the gun in question, and possibly others.

As strongly as people strain to defend large capacity magazines, I would have thought it was a major hassle to change them. Your telling me that 3 seconds out of your life every now and then is all it costs you? Why does that bother you?

When you restate this using a figure we can all agree is “large capacity,” then your question will have meaning.

that’s not what I’m getting at. if you want to pass laws restricting or banning something, then you goddamn well better show me how those laws will actually have a measurable benefit. It’s incumbent on you to demonstrate why “10 rounds” is the correct limit. It’s not on me to justify why I “need” more than 10.

you’re basically saying “I think 10 round magazines are all anyone should have, prove me wrong.” and I’m saying “horseshit, it’s not my job to make your argument for you.”

First- OP posited that we assume reducing/restricting guns was a good thing, not that I should tell you how many rounds a magazine should hold.

Second- I believe ten-round magazines are a common manufacture, hence a common selection of that number. I believe in Canada, they vary the designation of “high capacity” magazine with the specific gun manufacture.

Third- there are numerous instances where some number is selected (on a relatively arbitrary basis) upon which to regulate. Speed limits, weight limits, possession limits. As a society, we could spend an eternity discussing each and all of them, coming around again to “why 10, why not 11”.

Fourth- this is where I call intellectual dishonesty again- IMHO, this is just a tactic to indefinitely postpone action, not an earnest desire to determine what is a reasonable limit to magazine size for any reasonable consideration of sport shooting (or even self defense).

Well I think first you have the govment offer buy back programs which is bascially us giving ourselves money since the government only has the money we give it. It will be expensive as many people that collect guns have old and rare ones that would fetch thousands for one gun. My stepdad has several he had appraised that he could sell for $3-4000.

After several years of that when people stop turning them in for cash you could start fining people who the gov knows has a gun. Since there is no national registry I guess you have the gun stores turn over all of there sales records. Fine people once a year at tax time.

After however many years of that the gov could threaten to start giving out jail sentences to people who they know have guns and tell the people the second they hand over the guns they are free to go.

But I don’t know how the gov could get the guns from people who they don’t know have guns like gang members who own guns illegally and there is no record of them ever having a gun.

The gov going house to house doing forceful searches would cause chaos. I think enough people would put up a fight and them or the cops getting shot would eventually turn even anti-gun people off of the idea. I’m sure the anti-gunners wouldn’t care if gun owners got shot or killed but if after a couple of years and several thousand cops are shot or killed they may get turned off. Especially if after a militia group gets all friendly with Pakistan and gets nukes and they start nuking gov sites.

I wasn’t responding to OP, but a different poster who specifically asked “why do you need more than 10 rounds?”

nonsense. the capacity of an autoloading handgun is a function of what can fit inside the grip. My single-stack Colt Commander .45 holds 7 rounds. The double-stack .45 caliber Glock 30 I traded in for it held 10 rounds. The 9mm Glock 17 can hold 17 rounds. All of these without the magazine extending past the bottom of the grip. So what makes 10 rounds a common, natural number?

Bull. at least in the US, speed limits are supposed to be set at the 85th percentile speed on any given roadway. The only real “arbitrary” speed limit was when the federal government got a hard-on for capping highway speeds at 55 mph, and that was (supposedly) for fuel-saving reasons.

again, this is bullshit. look, I’m a gun owner. I am also not an absolutist. there are any number of “gun control” proposals which I would be willing to support. But if you’re going to propose them, then it’s on you to demonstrate why they will help. You don’t get to just squat down and drop a turd in front of me, then demand I explain why it doesn’t stink.

Absolutely nothing we do will make a difference for at least three generations, that doesn’t mean we should not do something. In fact it means we should do something as soon as possible.

For that “something” to be more than lip service, it has to be pretty “extreme” by current standards.

Pretty much “no handguns for anyone who isn’t police or military. No rifles that aren’t bolt action and only if you have a hunting lease. Getting caught in possession of a firearm is automatic felony, multi-year mandatory minimum prison sentence.”

So you institute a policy like this. The pushback would be extreme. People might go on shooting rampages instead of going to prison like a bitch. Military members might defect to join them, entire national guard units might take up arms and openly rebel. (remember, the policy above is basically unconstitutional)

So you can’t even do it for a decade, much less the 75 years it might take.