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Guns in America: Is the Sandy Hook Shooting a Point For Change?

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Through the decades and numerous tragic shootings, the 2nd amendment has protected the right of almost any american to bear arms. Despite the constant onslaught of opposition and gun violence, powerful lobbyist groups and right-wing america have preserved this right. That being said in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, political analysts say that change is in the air. Do you agree or disagree?

Edited by Luka Petrovic

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I really would like to say yes...I really would, but I don't think it will.

Coming from Aus, I don't exactly know what the mood is in the states, but I think that, as we have seen similar shootings many times before, with responce, but nothing done. An example is Columbine and virginia Tech. Both provoked a responce, but no action. I can't really compare the media responce, but to me, it seems similar.

I think the differnce that could make a change, this time, is that the leader of the country actually cares, and isn't scared to discuss the issue, using the words 'gun controll'.

The problem will be the congress and public opinion, which always seems to be shadowed, by a few wealthy people, with enough money to buy peoples opinions, and essentially, politician's votes.

Having said this, I hope I'm wrong.

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Knowing enough Americans, I would say categorically that the answer is no. A ridiculously huge number (by the standards of a non-US 1st world society) of americans have extremely strong convictions about lethal firearms. For some reason they feel that a gun is necessary to protect yourself - somewhat overlooking the fact that if nobody had guns, then you wouldn't NEED to protect yourself. Which I'd say most people would infinitely prefer. I mean I'd rather not be threatened by somebody with a gun than just know that if somebody DID attack me with one, I could attack them back. I have literally no desire to try and kill anybody.

I think there's also a big cultural sense of 'cool' around being able to shoot a gun in the USA, versus an aversion elsewhere. In the UK, for instance, guns are the realm of the army, special armed units of the police and 'posh tossers' who go out shooting pheasants or whatever at the weekends. All of those are either non-civilian or just not cool.

Also I think Americans are enamoured with all of their amendments and constitutional things. Not to the point of actually taking the one about religion seriously, but the idea that everybody has some kind of right to carry a gun somehow makes carrying a gun into a NECESSARY act.

The idea that "it's not guns that kill people, it's people that kill people" is also pretty rife. In my opinion it's stupid for 2 reasons. Number 1, it's a no-brainer that nobody can act on. If we knew which people were going to try to kill other people and could arrest them in advance, then perhaps. Unless we somehow do a psychological screen of the entire country (which wouldn't pick up 100% of these gun-wielding psychopaths anyway), then it's not going to solve the massive social issues - such as the fact america has the highest rate of gun-related deaths in the world by some ridiculous number, even when compared with countries in civil war. Also, a lot of people who would be considered 'normal' for the USA e.g. the killer of Trayvon Martin, would pass the test because actually being prepared to use a gun to shoot an unarmed teenager for 'looking suspicious' actually qualifies sufficiently for self-defence in the USA that the guy was never even convicted. I know there's supposedly also a racial element (which I also suspect) - but still!! You would be convicted just for using disproportionate violence to defend yourself in the UK if you were being attacked, let alone killing somebody for more or less zero provocation. So yeah, it's not guns that kill people, it's the PEOPLE that kill - but the most practical answer is to prevent people and guns from ever being united in the first place. Secondly, guns DO kill people. That's pretty much why they were invented. If you didn't want to potentially kill or harm somebody, why would you own a gun in the first place? You're hardly likely to use it for anything else. Especially handguns, machine guns etc. - about the only legitimate uses relate to farming, country life and so on, and for that you need a totally different kind of weapon and (as in the UK) you can licence these weapons.

Anyway. In conclusion my opinion is that nothing about the US will change. They have such massive entrenched conservative ideas which don't seem to budge when faced with reasonable argument, and also which hinge on things like 'freedom' (despite being nothing to do with it - in fact it's better without guns because then you're free FROM being assaulted by guns, which is surely a preferably situation compared with being free to assault others). This sort of stuff wakes up a passion in people which is unaffected by reason, seemingly. I personally think that they're crazy to continue this way, but then I think an awful lot of american things are crazy. There'd have to be some massive cultural and value shifts in order for the situation to alter, and in my opinion the murder of all these innocent children is still unlikely to be sufficient evidence for the people from the national gun lobby.

EDIT at a later date: and oh look, I was right. The NRA's solution was "give the "good guys" guns so we can shoot the bad people who are shooting us". Good guys presumably in this case meaning absolutely everybody until AFTER they've murdered somebody, at which point they too become eligible to be murdered.

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Big applause to @Sandwich! However, guns don't kill people, but it increases the ease at which one person can kill another by 100000000 and thus it should be banned.

Edited by dniviE

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Knowing enough Americans, I would say categorically that the answer is no. A ridiculously huge number (by the standards of a non-US 1st world society) of americans have extremely strong convictions about lethal firearms. For some reason they feel that a gun is necessary to protect yourself - somewhat overlooking the fact that if nobody had guns, then you wouldn't NEED to protect yourself. Which I'd say most people would infinitely prefer. I mean I'd rather not be threatened by somebody with a gun than just know that if somebody DID attack me with one, I could attack them back. I have literally no desire to try and kill anybody.

I think there's also a big cultural sense of 'cool' around being able to shoot a gun in the USA, versus an aversion elsewhere. In the UK, for instance, guns are the realm of the army, special armed units of the police and 'posh tossers' who go out shooting pheasants or whatever at the weekends. All of those are either non-civilian or just not cool.

Also I think Americans are enamoured with all of their amendments and constitutional things. Not to the point of actually taking the one about religion seriously, but the idea that everybody has some kind of right to carry a gun somehow makes carrying a gun into a NECESSARY act.

The idea that "it's not guns that kill people, it's people that kill people" is also pretty rife. In my opinion it's stupid for 2 reasons. Number 1, it's a no-brainer that nobody can act on. If we knew which people were going to try to kill other people and could arrest them in advance, then perhaps. Unless we somehow do a psychological screen of the entire country (which wouldn't pick up 100% of these gun-wielding psychopaths anyway), then it's not going to solve the massive social issues - such as the fact america has the highest rate of gun-related deaths in the world by some ridiculous number, even when compared with countries in civil war. Also, a lot of people who would be considered 'normal' for the USA e.g. the killer of Trayvon Martin, would pass the test because actually being prepared to use a gun to shoot an unarmed teenager for 'looking suspicious' actually qualifies sufficiently for self-defence in the USA that the guy was never even convicted. I know there's supposedly also a racial element (which I also suspect) - but still!! You would be convicted just for using disproportionate violence to defend yourself in the UK if you were being attacked, let alone killing somebody for more or less zero provocation. So yeah, it's not guns that kill people, it's the PEOPLE that kill - but the most practical answer is to prevent people and guns from ever being united in the first place. Secondly, guns DO kill people. That's pretty much why they were invented. If you didn't want to potentially kill or harm somebody, why would you own a gun in the first place? You're hardly likely to use it for anything else. Especially handguns, machine guns etc. - about the only legitimate uses relate to farming, country life and so on, and for that you need a totally different kind of weapon and (as in the UK) you can licence these weapons.

Anyway. In conclusion my opinion is that nothing about the US will change. They have such massive entrenched conservative ideas which don't seem to budge when faced with reasonable argument, and also which hinge on things like 'freedom' (despite being nothing to do with it - in fact it's better without guns because then you're free FROM being assaulted by guns, which is surely a preferably situation compared with being free to assault others). This sort of stuff wakes up a passion in people which is unaffected by reason, seemingly. I personally think that they're crazy to continue this way, but then I think an awful lot of american things are crazy. There'd have to be some massive cultural and value shifts in order for the situation to alter, and in my opinion the murder of all these innocent children is still unlikely to be sufficient evidence for the people from the national gun lobby.

To play devil's advocate, you can make the argument that if you want to harm someone, guns aren't needed. There is a wide array of different mechanisms in which to hurt someone. For example, the world's biggest school massacre wasn't with a gun. Crazy people are crazy, and you can't stop these horrible incidents regardless of whether you restrict weaponry or not. Some news that hardly anyone knows in the wake of this tragedy is that around the same time as this incident, 23 students were stabbed in China. Reiterating what I said before, you don't need guns to cause widespread damage.

That being said, no. American gun laws will not really change because guns are readily available and owned throughout as it stands, and unfortunately, such an incident will do little to restrict gun laws and in some cases, fuel pro-gun arguments.

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Nothing will change.

Gun control debates are always brought up when such shootings happen. Americans like their right to bear arms and if that was contested then many many people would oppose that. After all, it shouldn't take one person to take away or limit the rights of the large majority. (that's debatable, but whatever)

However, my main problem is: why does mental health take a back seat here? It's always guns that people want to limit instead of treating mental health problems. It might help prevent people like this from owning guns if they were properly diagnosed.

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Well, it's more like: Why is mental illness always brough into the picture when things like this happen? They always blame or are able to associate some mental illness with the perpetrator.

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I'm American and I'd like to put my ideas forth if I may.

Not all Americans like guns. Not all of us are conservative and run around preaching the Bill of Rights. Over the years there have been several attempts to introduce new firearms legislation that would cut back the number of firearms sold to citizens, increase the number of background checks, etc. I don't really like guns. In fact, I hate guns. I don't know why you would need to carry a gun around with you in public, why you'd like having ten guns displayed on a shelf in your home, or understand why you would feel that the only way to protect yourself is to have a lethal firearm. That being said, powerful lobbyist groups have long influenced legislation, blocked bills from being passed, etc. I think their reasoning comes from their belief in individuals, that the government should occupy a minimal role in a citizen's life and people should be allowed to do as they see fit so long as they're following all the rules, and if owning guns is what they want to do, then so be it.

However, the second amendment was passed when the United States was forming way back in the eighteenth century. The original purpose of the second amendment was to ensure that in the event that citizens were needed for an uprising and a militia was to be formed, each citizen would have weapons (firearms, etc) to do this. However, the United States has a formal army. And navy. And the marines. And an air force. And a coast guard. Should the United States need to enter an armed conflict, citizens do it through enlisting in one of the armed forces branches. I've yet to recall any event since the civil war, which took place in 1860, where regular citizens took place in armed conflict in America and we needed masses of citizens to break out their weapons and fight. And I don't see one happening soon.

I also am from Virginia. I was here during the Virginia Tech massacre and this tragedy hit my state hard. I have friends that go there right now, and if something bad happened to them in a similar way I'd be devastated. The situation really could have been avoided from the start had authorities at the university had intervened earlier or someone had noticed something wasn't exactly right with the gunman, yet why did the gunman have guns in the first place? He shouldn't have, and the whole thing could have been avoided entirely had he not had access to these weapons.

I don't think things are really going to change. There have been several shootings recently and over the years, and every time they bring on a big heated debate about gun control/gun bans. This lasts for a few weeks, and then everything goes back to normal. There are always little things enacted, such as bringing in police officers to schools to monitor them, locking school doors, etc. But that's not going to do anything major in my opinion.

What I think needs to happen to avoid more tragedies like this is a two-part process. One, the country needs an update in the current way that we control firearms. We don't need to give everyone a gun. We don't need to give everyone two guns, three guns, etc. Normal citizens do not need high-fire assault rifles and other things like that. Save these for the military and other special forces who actually may have a use for these kinds of things. Second, the country needs an update in its current mental health system. While not all shooters are mentally ill or insane, the recent trend is that several of them have been. We don't give enough support to them. We just give them a prescription and send them home to get better, hoping that they take their medications and avoid situations that could set them off. Until the United States does both of these in a way that makes sense and actually works, I think more shootings are going to happen. I hope we wake up soon, because I don't want to see more people die. It's sad.

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Well, it's more like: Why is mental illness always brought into the picture when things like this happen? They always blame or are able to associate some mental illness with the perpetrator.

If you've interpreted my point as me portraying people with mental illnesses as negative, I'm not. Apologies if it appears that way.

My point isn't that people with mental illnesses are bad and always commit these heinous crimes. I just think that the early identification of mental health problems will reduce the chances of such shootings. This is because some people just shouldn't be allowed guns, regardless of the 'right to bear arms' thing. Not everyone is stable enough to be responsible with them.

Moreover, focusing on this would do more good than complaining about gun laws probably won't be further restricted in the near future.

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people have mentioned that if no one had guns, people wouldn't need them. This sounds excellent on paper, but considering the number of weapons in the US and the demand for them both by civilians and criminals, that would be very difficult. In sweden in the 1990's they made it very expensive and difficult to get cigarettes. The black market flourished, I could see the potential for such a situation. the perfect place for criminals to enterprise in the arms trade. In addition what do we say to the americans in counties where they have no police responders? or the police are not willing to respond to break-ins. We see very little of that side of the story in the media. That being said, I'm a fan of self-defence, but that by no means necessitates the ownership of an automatic firearm or a firearm at all in many cases. As said before I agree that it is a cultural issue, when we have movies, games etc that glorify vigilante acts, death and firearms, you are bound to have problems...

I also wanted to add that the point of the second amendment was to protect the people against tyranny, as the armed forces are under order of the government, an armed and self-reliant population is a democratically safe population as if they don't like their leader's increase in power, breach of rights etc, they can oust him 1776 style.

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I feel if the remove the use to bear arms,wel in this case is gunbs, people will use other materials instead of guns. Like knives, etc.

Well, is as easy to harm someone lethally with a knife as it is with a gun? Let's see:

With a gun you can attack at a distance and you don't necessarily need any more skill than to point the gun and pull the trigger to hit someone with the bullet, harming them lethally. You can even stand several metres away and still be able to shot them.

With a knife you firstly have to be close to harm someone lethally. I mean, you can't damage someone with a knife at the same distance as you can harm someone with gunshot with the same amount of skill. In order to do that, you have to be a knife thrower of skill which most of us aren't.

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I feel if the remove the use to bear arms,wel in this case is gunbs, people will use other materials instead of guns. Like knives, etc.

Well, is as easy to harm someone lethally with a knife as it is with a gun? Let's see:

With a gun you can attack at a distance and you don't necessarily need any more skill than to point the gun and pull the trigger to hit someone with the bullet, harming them lethally. You can even stand several metres away and still be able to shot them.

With a knife you firstly have to be close to harm someone lethally. I mean, you can't damage someone with a knife at the same distance as you can harm someone with gunshot with the same amount of skill. In order to do that, you have to be a knife thrower of skill which most of us aren't.

To further this, with a gun you can kill multiple people in a very short space of time. You can't kill dozens of people, in anywhere near as short a space of time, with a knife. Potential victims have the opportunity to run away from the attacker, if he is only brandishing a knife. It also gives other people some chance to defend themselves from the attacker and not being hit.

The slower time also allows for a potential interception of the attack by authorities, if they are properly managed.

If nobody in a country owned a gun then nobody would need a gun to defend themselves with.

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If the law is changed against weapons in one country, the war in middle east etc would be pointed towards and US is going to be blamed. I don't see how this can affect anything where thousands of people are killed in places like Iraq and it's not being argued about.

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If the law is changed against weapons in one country, the war in middle east etc would be pointed towards and US is going to be blamed. I don't see how this can affect anything where thousands of people are killed in places like Iraq and it's not being argued about.

What? Way to go offtopic. It doesn't have anything to do with this topic. I am not saying that the people being killed in Iraq, Afghanistan or any other country for that matter, doesn't matter. It is a very important topic, but it is not relevant to this discussion.

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Can I just say that I really don't think banning guns is gonna do anything? Honestly, look how well banning marijuana works out. (And no, I'm not comparing the two at all other than the fact that if you ban them people will still have them.) Am I for commonsense legislation on who can have a gun and who can't? Absolutely. But even that...the guy at Sandy Hook killed his mother and stole her gun. I just don't think banning guns is going to do anything and I quite frankly think it's naive to say it will prevent people from having guns.

As for better mental health access, absolutely. I think that's important for us to have if we want to make a dent in anything.

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Kids are bringing guns to school.... Teenagers are shooting people. Why don't we start with taking away assault weapons and see what happens?

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We could try that, but define "assault weapon". Aren't all weapons technically "assault weapons", even weapons that are not guns?

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