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Thread: Revisiting Gun Laws in the U.S.

  1. #801
    Interesting article in the Times today regarding suicide and guns.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/14/us...ml?ref=us&_r=0


    DAYTON, Wyo. — Craig Reichert found his son’s body on a winter morning, lying on the floor as if he were napping with his great-uncle’s pistol under his knee. The 911 dispatcher told him to administer CPR, but Mr. Reichert, who has had emergency training, told her it was too late. His son, Kameron, 17, was already cold to the touch.


    Guns are like a grandmother’s diamonds in the Reichert family, heirlooms that carry memory and tradition. They are used on the occasional hunting trip, but most days they are stored, forgotten, under a bed. So when Kameron used one on himself, his parents were as shocked as they were heartbroken.

    “I beat myself up quite a bit over not having a gun safe or something to put them in,” Mr. Reichert said. But he said even if he had had one, “There would have been two people in the house with the combination, him and me.”

    The gun debate has focused on mass shootings and assault weapons since the schoolhouse massacre in Newtown, Conn., but far more Americans die by turning guns on themselves. Nearly 20,000 of the 30,000 deaths from guns in the United States in 2010 were suicides, according to the most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The national suicide rate has climbed by 12 percent since 2003, and suicide is the third-leading cause of death for teenagers.

    Guns are particularly lethal. Suicidal acts with guns are fatal in 85 percent of cases, while those with pills are fatal in just 2 percent of cases, according to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.

    The national map of suicide lights up in states with the highest gun ownership rates. Wyoming, Montana and Alaska, the states with the three highest suicide rates, are also the top gun-owning states, according to the Harvard center. The state-level data are too broad to tell whether the deaths were in homes with guns, but a series of individual-level studies since the early 1990s found a direct link. Most researchers say the weight of evidence from multiple studies is that guns in the home increase the risk of suicide.

    “The literature suggests that having a gun in your home to protect your family is like bringing a time bomb into your house,” said Dr. Mark Rosenberg, an epidemiologist who helped establish the C.D.C.’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Instead of protecting you, it’s more likely to blow up.”


    Still, some dispute the link, saying that it does not prove cause and effect, and that other factors, like alcoholism and drug abuse, may be driving the association. Gary Kleck, a professor of criminology at Florida State University in Tallahassee, contends that gun owners may have qualities that make them more susceptible to suicide. They may be more likely to see the world as a hostile place, or to blame themselves when things go wrong, a dark side of self-reliance.

    Health officials in a number of states are trying to persuade families to keep guns away from troubled relatives or to lock the weapons up so teenagers cannot get them. Some of those same officials say the inflamed national gun control debate is actually making progress harder because the politics put gun owners on the defensive.

    “You just bump up against that glass wall, and barriers go up and the conversations break down,” said B. J. Ayers, a suicide prevention specialist in southeast Wyoming.

    Seeking to lower death rates, health departments in Missouri, Wyoming and North Carolina are giving out gunlocks. In New Hampshire, about half the gun shops put up posters and give out fliers alerting gun owners to the warning signs for suicide and suggesting ways to keep guns from loved ones at risk of harming themselves. A coalition of firearm dealers in Maryland is now planning a similar program.

    “This is an issue whose time has come,” said Keith Hotle, state suicide prevention team leader for Wyoming, the state with the highest suicide rate. A state advisory council recently bumped firearms safety to the top priority in a new report to the governor on suicide prevention. But Mr. Hotle cautioned that in Wyoming, where guns are like cars — just about everybody has one — direct arguments against them simply will not work.

    “The framing is important,” he said. “It’s not about taking away people’s guns. It’s about how to deal with folks in a temporary crisis.”

    Kameron’s crisis was, by all accounts, temporary. He was a popular football player with adoring parents and no history of depression. He worked after school at the only corner grocery store in Dayton, a tiny town in northeastern Wyoming with tidy, tree-lined streets and a park at the base of Bighorn National Forest. He liked to drive students around in his Pontiac Grand Prix, and he always bought multipacks of gum at Costco so he could give out sticks in pretty blue wrappers to girls at school.

    “If someone had a hankering for a hamburger, he’d be off,” said his mother, Cara Reichert, an administrator in the local school system.

    The event that preceded his death in 2008 seems like the mischievous scrape of a teenage boy. Out one night in the town park, he was caught with a package of cigars by local police officers.

    His parents are still tormented over the bad luck that followed. The officers searched him because they were training a new colleague. Then a clerk at the local court told him — incorrectly — that his parents had to be present to pay the fine. His parents punished him by taking away his cellphone, though they left him his car.

    “If just one little piece of this story would not have fallen into place,” Mr. Reichert said, his voice breaking.


    Suicidal acts are often prompted by a temporary surge of rage or despair, and most people who attempt them do not die. In a 2001 study of 13- to 34-year-olds in Houston who had attempted suicide but were saved by medical intervention, researchers from the C.D.C. found that, for more than two-thirds of them, the time that elapsed between deciding to act and taking action was an hour or less. The key to reducing fatalities, experts say, is to block access to lethal means when the suicidal feeling spikes.


    The chances of dying rise drastically when a gun is present, because guns are so much more likely to be lethal, said Dr. Matthew Miller, associate director of the Harvard center. Guns are used in more than half of all suicide fatalities, but account for just 1 percent of all self-harm injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms, a rough proxy for suicide attempts, Dr. Miller said. Overdoses, which account for about 80 percent of suicide attempts, are responsible for just 14 percent of fatalities.

    “If you use a gun,” Dr. Miller said, “you usually don’t get a second chance.”

    One common argument is that the suicidal person would have found some other way to kill himself, even if no gun was available. That is the belief of Sharon Wells, the adoptive grandmother of Kyle Wells, a 16-year-old in Cody, Wyo., who shot himself with her pistol in October.

    “It’s not the guns, it’s the person,” Ms. Wells said.

    Kyle was born into a world of problems that began with fetal alcohol syndrome, and continued throughout school, where he was bullied relentlessly for his small stature, she said.

    If he had not used a gun, she said, he would have used something else.

    “Yes, many may find another method,” said Catherine Barber, director of the Harvard center’s Means Matter public health education campaign, “but will it kill them?”

    Citing statistics from emergency rooms and death certificates, she said, “Nearly everything they substitute will have lower odds of killing them, sometimes dramatically so.”

    Reducing access to lethal means has worked in other countries. An intervention in Israel preventing soldiers from taking their guns home on weekend leave, a time when many soldiers’ suicides occurred, helped reduce the suicide rate among them by 40 percent.

    Michael Richins, a coroner in Lincoln County in southwest Wyoming who lectures on suicide prevention, contends that it is gun owners, not the government, who will bring down suicide rates. Gun control, which is about restrictions imposed by government, will only turn them off, he said. “You have to use an approach that’s palatable to people,” he said. “You’re not victimizing, you’re empowering.”

    After Kameron’s death, his father could no longer stand to have the gun his son used in the house, so he gave it to his brother. Still, he cherishes his gun collection, and strongly opposes talk of gun control in Washington.

    “I will always believe in guns,” he said.

    He has sought solace in comforting others, reaching out to other families in the area who were going through a similar trauma. His life is still a fog of unanswerable questions: What if he had not punished Kameron by taking away his cellphone? What if he had locked up the family guns?

    His daughter, Kassidy, a high school senior, tries not to ask such questions. Sometimes she feels angry at her brother, but mostly she misses him.

    “It hurts even more to think what could have happened,” she said, “because it’s not going to change anything.”

  2. #802
    Quote Originally Posted by southparkcpa View Post
    Why do you live in the sticks anyway?
    Sticks? Nah. The biggest problem we have is the "pretty people" who want to stop the cruise industry here. Brings in Yankees and other northern types.

  3. #803
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    Quote Originally Posted by palmetto defender View Post
    Sticks? Nah. The biggest problem we have is the "pretty people" who want to stop the cruise industry here. Brings in Yankees and other northern types.
    Im coming down this summer...... Ill let you know when and you can buy me a beer.

  4. #804
    Quote Originally Posted by Demosthenes9 View Post
    Might help to understand what Jefferson was talking about in that private letter to the Danbury Baptists. Hint, it doesn't mean what you think it means, nor does it mean what the Vinson court interpreted it to mean.
    You're obviously much more knowledgeable about Tim Tebow's ballbag than Constitutional Law.

  5. #805
    Quote Originally Posted by detjetsfan View Post
    You're obviously much more knowledgeable about Tim Tebow's ballbag than Constitutional Law.
    Go ahead and try me on it sunshine.

  6. #806
    Quote Originally Posted by southparkcpa View Post
    Im coming down this summer...... Ill let you know when and you can buy me a beer.

    Good to meet.

  7. #807
    Quote Originally Posted by Winstonbiggs View Post
    Interesting article in the Times today regarding suicide and guns.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/14/us...ml?ref=us&_r=0
    Excellent article. There is a lot of ignorance when it relates to suicide.

  8. #808
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    Quote Originally Posted by intelligentjetsfan View Post
    Excellent article. There is a lot of ignorance when it relates to suicide.
    Im going to the Charlotte gun and knife show this weekend...can I pick you up an AK?

  9. #809
    Quote Originally Posted by southparkcpa View Post
    Im going to the Charlotte gun and knife show this weekend...can I pick you up an AK?

    LOL. I actually carried an AK in combat a couple times just to understand the weapon.
    My 16 was better and had better killing power plus I could carry more ammo.
    An AK is EASY to maintain. Good for morons in the Third World.

    Here they have the gun and knife show this weekend. They expect a record turnout. The gun store I go to sold out of AR15s.

  10. #810
    Quote Originally Posted by Winstonbiggs View Post
    Interesting article in the Times today regarding suicide and guns.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/14/us...ml?ref=us&_r=0
    I'm not all that concerned with suicide rates. Much more concerned about people hurting others as opposed to themselves.

    Here is an interesting factoid. Most gun murders are committed by repeat offenders. Increase penalties and mandatory sentences for people that commit crimes using guns and you will absolutely save lives.

  11. #811
    Quote Originally Posted by chiefst2000 View Post
    I'm not all that concerned with suicide rates. Much more concerned about people hurting others as opposed to themselves.
    Exactly they are mutually exclusive.

  12. #812
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefst2000 View Post
    Increase penalties and mandatory sentences for people that commit crimes using guns and you will absolutely save lives.
    So you disagree with A) people who say laws won't deter criminals, and B) anyway, all we have to do is enforce the laws that are already on the books?

  13. #813
    Quote Originally Posted by chiefst2000 View Post
    I'm not all that concerned with suicide rates. Much more concerned about people hurting others as opposed to themselves.

    Here is an interesting factoid. Most gun murders are committed by repeat offenders. Increase penalties and mandatory sentences for people that commit crimes using guns and you will absolutely save lives.
    If we are talking percentages, as for you using the Conn family murders as your reason for arming yourself, I wonder what your defense will be to not be struck by lightning or winning the mega millions? Odds are odds.

  14. #814
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    Quote Originally Posted by BushyTheBeaver View Post
    So you disagree with A) people who say laws won't deter criminals, and B) anyway, all we have to do is enforce the laws that are already on the books?
    If I may...

    A) I agree with the people who say the criminals will continue to be criminals.

    B) I know from experience that the aforementioned criminals rarely get the max sentence for the "already in the book" gun related crimes. That is as big of a problem as the guns.

  15. #815
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    Quote Originally Posted by southparkcpa View Post
    Im going to the Charlotte gun and knife show this weekend...can I pick you up an AK?
    If I can break away from the office this weekend Im gonna go. I have heard nothing but stories of how guns shops are out of stock and out of Ammo.
    Nothing like government creating fear in people.

    I am NOT a proponent of civilians with ARs AKs etc... but I heard these shows are pretty strange.

    I'm looking for another small carry piece.

  16. #816
    Quote Originally Posted by palmetto defender View Post
    LOL. I actually carried an AK in combat a couple times just to understand the weapon.
    My 16 was better and had better killing power plus I could carry more ammo.
    An AK is EASY to maintain. Good for morons in the Third World.

    Here they have the gun and knife show this weekend. They expect a record turnout. The gun store I go to sold out of AR15s.
    AK47s and AK74s are good weapons. I will submit to you that certain M4s and M16 variants are crap.

    The AK is the "Glock" of the assault rifle world. Very reliable. The accuracy is not as superior as an M4, but most untrained people don't know how to operate the weapon properly.

    In the hands of a trained operator, the AK47 is an excellent weapon in combat.

    A civilian owning one leads me to many questions. I'm not against them having it, if they know how to use it.

    Does anyone know what round an AK47 uses? People don't even know it's a 7.62 x 39 round instead of a 5.56 that an M4 uses.

    If I could purchase the one I want, I would, but I could just go to the armory and shoot one any time I want. It's not worth owning for many reasons. It's a novelty because of its "cool" factor.

  17. #817
    Quote Originally Posted by John_0515 View Post
    AK47s and AK74s are good weapons. I will submit to you that certain M4s and M16 variants are crap.

    The AK is the "Glock" of the assault rifle world. Very reliable. The accuracy is not as superior as an M4, but most untrained people don't know how to operate the weapon properly.

    In the hands of a trained operator, the AK47 is an excellent weapon in combat.

    A civilian owning one leads me to many questions. I'm not against them having it, if they know how to use it.

    Does anyone know what round an AK47 uses? People don't even know it's a 7.62 x 39 round instead of a 5.56 that an M4 uses.

    If I could purchase the one I want, I would, but I could just go to the armory and shoot one any time I want. It's not worth owning for many reasons. It's a novelty because of its "cool" factor.
    The AK47 was so widely produced because it was intended for idiots to use.
    It has limited range vs. a 16 an its current varients. It has better stopping power as it's a 7.62 but the 16 has much better killing power because of muzzle velocity. The 16 allows its user to carry way more ammunition as the round is smaller and lighter.
    I carried an expert rating with a rifle, carried both in combat with my a$$ on the line and no comparison. The AK is easier to maintain, BUT the 16 etc was not THAT hard. Better by far than previous U.S. rifles.

  18. #818
    Quote Originally Posted by palmetto defender View Post
    The AK47 was so widely produced because it was intended for idiots to use.
    It has limited range vs. a 16 an its current varients. It has better stopping power as it's a 7.62 but the 16 has much better killing power because of muzzle velocity. The 16 allows its user to carry way more ammunition as the round is smaller and lighter.
    I carried an expert rating with a rifle, carried both in combat with my a$$ on the line and no comparison. The AK is easier to maintain, BUT the 16 etc was not THAT hard. Better by far than previous U.S. rifles.
    I'm not saying the AK is worthless, and the version many opposition forces (to the U.S. forces) use today is an older version that is still able to be operated despite its age.

    The original AK47 was designed towards the end of WW2, and has many German STG44 components, like the gas system, and was done so because of the STG's superiority at the time. At one point, it was the dominant assault rifle of the entire world.

    Right now, there are advanced versions of AKs which are used by Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, etc. Spetsnaz Forces.

    Without any training, the AK is the better weapon to give someone. With training, and support, I'd take an M4 analog any day. Point is, an AK is not just meant for the less than able.

  19. #819
    Quote Originally Posted by John_0515 View Post
    I'm not saying the AK is worthless, and the version many opposition forces (to the U.S. forces) use today is an older version that is still able to be operated despite its age.

    The original AK47 was designed towards the end of WW2, and has many German STG44 components, like the gas system, and was done so because of the STG's superiority at the time. At one point, it was the dominant assault rifle of the entire world.

    Right now, there are advanced versions of AKs which are used by Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, etc. Spetsnaz Forces.

    Without any training, the AK is the better weapon to give someone. With training, and support, I'd take an M4 analog any day. Point is, an AK is not just meant for the less than able.
    Pretty much agree. Your last point - better for someone with no training - quite valid. As for main stream- hey, you use what you are given. My first Army assignment I had an M14. Initially trained with an M1.

  20. #820
    Quote Originally Posted by palmetto defender View Post
    Pretty much agree. Your last point - better for someone with no training - quite valid. As for main stream- hey, you use what you are given. My first Army assignment I had an M14. Initially trained with an M1.
    When the M16 was introduced, soldiers were trained to charge the weapon with their right hand. That was because the M14 has a charging handle on the right side. As modern warfare developed new skills, custom charging handles are made with the releasing mechanism on the left side of the charging lever. This indicates that people keep their hand on the pistol grip and charge with their left hand (assuming a right handed shooter). This is an example of the evolution of firearms handling.

    Today, people who charge an M16 or an M4 with their right hand (unless left handed) are considered behind in terms of when/where they were trained.

    I find evolutions such as these very interesting.

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