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bitmasher's picture
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Sniper attack, gun restrictions

Do any of you have thoughts on what the sniper attacks in the D.C. area will do to gun laws, if anything?

I have read one article that says the anti-gun lobbies are gearing up for another gun restriction push, in the wake of this attack.

Apperently, the Bushmaster used in the attacks was purchased in Maine, but the sniper shouldn't have been able to obtain the gun because he had a restraining order (assuming a background check was done at a registered dealer) at the time.

expatriate's picture
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Sniper attack, gun restrictions

I'm no expert on knee-jerk liberalism, but if I had to guess, we'll see calls for the following (not necessarily in order):

1) Ballistic fingerprinting (regardless of validity, it has a catchy name that looks good in the media and sounds like you're doing something)
2) Expand the assault weapons ban to put bipods in the same category as bayonet lugs
3) Renewed vigor to ban .50 BMGs

That's the most likely list. Item #1 already exists in some states so it's not a stretch to think it'll expand. Item #2 could be passed off as a tweak to what's already on the books. Item #3 was already introduced by Diane Feinstein and was tabled by the Senate Finance Comittee -- currently chaired by Montana Democrat Max Baucus, who's up for reelection.

Of course, the die hard anti-gunners will attempt to cast the sniper team as victims of some sort of social injustice or other. Thus, their anger was caused by society and would've been contained if we had the right laws in place to keep them from venting it. I hate to think anyone would stoop so low, but I've seen enough to think it might happen.

[ This Message was edited by: expatriate on 2002-10-27 23:44 ]

bitmasher's picture
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Sniper attack, gun restrictions

Hey Expatriate welcome!

I think you are dead on with #1 and #2. I have read articles already calling for both.

I'm mixed on ballistic fingerprinting. In and of its self, I don't think it would limit rights, although correct me if I'm missing something on that.

Regarding #2, yes, I have read specific calls by groups saying that because the Bushmaster XM-15 was a semi-automatic with a quick change clip, it is "obvious" that the automatic weapon ban needs to be expanded to cover most if not all semi-automatics. Of course this misses the point (as some gun lobbyist have already pointed out) that the sniper only fired one shot.

Now on #3, do you think this will just be thrown in like #2? I guess I don't see how .50 BMGs have anything to do with the sniper case.

Oh and I was wrong, above, the Bushmaster in question was sold by a distributor in Maine to a dealer in Washington, the gun was then purchased in Washington.

At any rate, I was at a lose for words at the callousness of the sniper attacks.

[ This Message was edited by: bitmasher on 2002-10-29 22:28 ]

expatriate's picture
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Sniper attack, gun restrictions

Actually, I think it's highly likely that you'll see .50 BMGs attacked. Feinstein and crew made a run on them awhile ago, but it got tabled due to a lot of lobbying that pointed out such things as the fact that 50s have NEVER been associated with a single crime, the legislation as written would've banned Sharps rifles as well, etc. And of course, Democrats figured out after the last election that gun control advocacy is dangerous in an election.

But give it time. Rifles like the Barrett look pretty ugly on TV, and Feinstein threw out a bunch of rhetoric like saying a .50 has as more energy at a mile than a .44 mag up close, goes through manhole covers, etc. The legislation specifically refers to them as "sniper" rifles, and it's probably only a matter of time before they crank up the rhetoric about how much damage the duo could do with a Barrett.

I reckon as things calm down and the election passes, Feinstein and crew will turn up the volume on this and use current events to scare people into supporting the ban -- especially if the Democrats hang onto the Senate.

It's sad to see knee-jerk policies enacted. Yet it's particularly offensive to see people focus on small arms in the midst of debate over possible attacks by chemical, biological, or radiological weapons. My personal belief is that an armed citizenry would give terrorists and snipers pause, whereas a disarmed citizenry would embolden them.

[ This Message was edited by: expatriate on 2002-10-30 00:53 ]

cob
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Sniper attack, gun restrictions

Expatriate, I agree with you. I live in a small town with a very low crime rate. My opinion on why its low is because everybody owns a gun, and I think i speak for the majority when I say, if somebody broke into my house I wouldn't hesitate to shoot them.
If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.

expatriate's picture
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Sniper attack, gun restrictions

I used to live in Virginia, held a concealed carry permit, and carried frequently. During the sniper attacks I wanted the guys to get caught, but given the way things were happening I half expected a citizen with a permit to be the one to end the spree.

I really have to wonder: how do you think the press would've handled the story if a citizen with a permit and a handgun had shot Muhammad and Malvo at the scene of an attack? I can only fantasize about a reporter with integrity putting Sarah Brady on the spot following such a scenario and asking her for a statement. Would she dare to back her stance about how handguns endanger society? Would she condemn the citizen's actions? In such a case, she'd have to either abandon her position or else tell the public that she'd rather have innocent people shot every day than have a gun in the hands of a responsible citizen. But of course, I can't see today's media having the guts to make that confrontation.

bitmasher's picture
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Sniper attack, gun restrictions

Quote:


how do you think the press would've handled the story if a citizen with a permit and a handgun had shot Muhammad and Malvo at the scene of an attack?

It would have been first rate comedy (truly!) to hear them try to babble their way out of the paradox created by this situation. However I doubt the press would have even caught the paradox and put any of the leading lights of anti-gun law on the spot. Certainly they would never hear the end of it from the NRA though...

I hear you on the 50 BMG's, when a crime catches this much attention and involves a firearm, anything is fair game in the eyes of the anti-gun lobby...

bitmasher's picture
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Sniper attack, gun restrictions

Your right Cob. Urban cities with lower gun ownership tend to have more crime. While rural, towns with higher per capita gun ownership have lower crime rates. Occam's Razor (the simplest answer is usually right) would suggest that higher per capita gun ownership means lower crime.

expatriate's picture
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Sniper attack, gun restrictions

Bitmasher, there's also a corollary to that that says fewer people = less crime per capita. Having lived in rural areas and big cities, I can attest that as populations go up people start seeing groups instead of individuals. When the value we place on individual humanity decreases, crime rates climb. Consider yourself lucky, Cob, 'cause as I'm sure you realize, you're in the best place to be.

bitmasher's picture
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Sniper attack, gun restrictions

Yeah the kicker is the "per capita". I.E. per capita crime and per capita gun ownership. I don't know that the per capita crime rate is lower in areas with higher per capita gun ownership. I think it is, but, frankly, I may be talking out my a$$...

Good point on the population density. Probably the 3 factors effecting crime rate in order of first to least importance.

1.) Employment Rate (Direct)
2.) Population Density (Direct)
3.) Gun ownership per capita (Inverse)

Direct = UP UP
Inverse = DOWN UP

At least that is what I would guess...

expatriate's picture
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Sniper attack, gun restrictions

Yeah, back in '84 rumor had it that Babb, MT was the murder capital of the nation. Somebody had been shot in recent memory, but there were only something like 35 people living there, which really made the homicide rate per 100k quite impressive.

I have no idea if this was true, but Babb was about the only place that sold beer between St. Mary MT and Waterton, Alberta. So it had to be important for something.

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