Not Quite a Miracle on 34th Street (Macy's Shooting)

I have a fear that one day I'll snap and go on a shooting spree... and not kill anyone. How embarrassing would that be?

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Wonder if he took a cue from Rampage and put his mask and gear on someone he shot and got away. WE MAY NEVER KNOW!

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Csonicgo said:

Now can we talk about gun control?


Pointless. Just watch the rampant crime stats in Greece, which has one of the strictest gun control laws in the EU: ordinary citizens are banned from ever getting their hands on anything more than a hunting shotgun, while most spree killings and serious shootings are perpetrated either by Albanian gangsters with AK-47s, more "subtle" gangsters with handguns, and even cops going apeshit (or turning out to be corrupted). All categories which don't give a shit about gun control or are "trusty" enough to be exempt from it.

I'm mentioning this because usually the term "gun control" refers to legislation regulating legal ownership of guns (usually making it all but impossible), not to measures to fight illegal smuggling, arms trafficking or ownership. Once a crook gets his hands on a gun, it becomes a matter of terminal ballistics, rather than regulations, to pry it away from his hands.

Edit: then again in the USA you can buy shotguns from convenience stores without even showing an id card...perhaps way too "convenient".

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I ruffled too many feathers in the Colorado cinema shooting thread to get into another discussion with people about guns and gun control. Suffice it to say that I have a liberal attitude towards guns, especially for a Briton, where we have extremely strict firearm legalities. Guns are just pieces of metal with some mechanism inside which forces a projectile out of a tube. It's the people that wield them that are the problem.

Maes said:

Edit: then again in the USA you can buy shotguns from convenience stores without even showing an id card...perhaps way too "convenient".

Is it THAT straightforward? I find it hard to believe that you could buy a gun even in somewhere like Texas without some kind of identification and background check to show that you're not a mass murderer on the loose.

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Maes said:

Edit: then again in the USA you can buy shotguns from convenience stores without even showing an id card...perhaps way too "convenient".

I'm not sure what stores you're referring to, because if you're buying from a dealer, this statement is patently false.

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It's the people that wield them that are the problem.


I'd be down with imprisoning every gun owner in the world, but I'm not sure most pro-guns people would go with that.

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Maes said:

Edit: then again in the USA you can buy shotguns from convenience stores without even showing an id card...perhaps way too "convenient".


I agree with most of what you said, generally stricter firearm regulations will only impact those that want to legally own firearms. Criminals don't really give a shit.

I do want to point out this quote, if it was either sarcasm on your part, or for people who might not understand the regulations. Yes, you have to provide a valid photo ID to buy a firearm from an FFL licensed dealer. If only to prove that you are of legal age to purchase the firearm, 18 for long guns and 21 for hand guns where I live. They also have to perform a NICS check on you, which is run by the BATFE so blame them if there's problems with it. This is true of any store that sells firearms, any business selling firearms has to have an FFL. If it's an online store, they have to ship the firearm to an FFL dealer in your area, and that dealer has to perform a background check. I've never seen rifles or shotguns for sale at a convenience store, but I have been to a few that have hunting shops in the same building, but you can't grab a shotgun off the rack, grab a six pack, and pay at the convenience store checkout. The check has to be done, and most dealers really don't want the BATFE crashing down on them due to not performing background checks, every serial # of every gun in and out of the shop has to be recorded and sent in.

There are exceptions to the background check, such as private sales. If an individual sells a firearm to someone else, then there's no background check required. However if you sell a firearm to someone who's a felon, or is otherwise legally unable to take possession of that weapon due to age restrictions, mental illness, drug addiction, then there are severe penalties, including jail time. If you buy a firearm from a licensed dealer in order to give that firearm to someone who would not legally be able to possess it, that's a straw purchase. And that is a federal crime. Unless of course the purchase was actually set up and encouraged by the BATFE apparently.

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Bloodshedder said:

I'm not sure what stores you're referring to, because if you're buying from a dealer, this statement is patently false.


Maybe it's not quite like that anymore, or it's partially true:

  • I saw portrayals of firearms (mostly hunting shotguns) being sold at convenience stores in several movies (which were also a plot device, as usually they were stolen and used against the owner). Assuming that there's at least SOME truth in that (e.g. that any kind of store can be licensed to sell them), that's still 100 times more liberal than anywhere else in the world.
  • Being an avid reader of Italian weaponry magazines in the past, I followed legal/licensing issues with interest. Many readers reported on the comparatively liberal -practically free- gun ownership in the USA, contrasting to the Italian situation where you needed to be no less than a Noble with a political nomination, to be able to get a handgun carry. They also mentioned wide availability at least of hunting arms (smoothbore 12 gauge shotguns were quite more deregulated than handguns), and the lack of need to show an ID card, again, at least for hunting shotguns.
  • Of course, all of that was in 1999/2000, so pre-9/11, and before many more clamorous shootings (though after Columbine). Things might have changed since then, but still, the USA is VERY liberal compared to anywhere else regarding legal gun ownership.
  • The situation in the USA cannot be compared to the compulsory ownership of an assault rifle as in e.g. Switzerland or some Greek National Guard members: in those cases, you are formally charged with keeping a gun, just like a service soldier is, and you can't use it for sport or fun: on the opposite, you're charged with securely keeping it and also maintaining it (it gets officially inspected regularly, like a service soldier's). Also, you are generally not issued ammo to keep with it, unless called for service.
So there.

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Maes said:

I saw portrayals of firearms (mostly hunting shotguns) being sold at convenience stores in several movies

No /rolleyes big enough for this.

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Quast said:

No /rolleyes big enough for this.


So, was it never, ever real, not even in the worse deep-south backwaters, once in a blue moon? I'm not suggesting they did the same in all convenience stores around the USA, up to the most hip neighborhoods of Wall Street, but as someone mentioned, as long as the shop owner was able to get a dealer's license, in theory, it could be done, right?

Edit:

Not quite a convenience store, but it's apparently entirely possible for a place like Walmart to sell actual guns, not just hunting or shooting accessories. The most "weapony" thing I've seen in an European mall or hardware/everything kind of store, was survival gear, camo uniforms, maaaybe a pistol cleaning kit and oil, but no actual guns.

Edit 2:

ZOMG PWWWWWWN. OK, maybe you can dismiss that one as being indeed some deep-south backwaters, right? It even sells "Southern" food[/sarcasm]

Edit 3:

Yup, apparently even grocery stores can sell guns, if they get the proper license. This is a 100% America-only thing, or an "Americanata" as they would call it in Italy. Truth in television? ;-)

Edit 4:

Even Edwards Food Giant sells guns!. OK, it's getting kinda old and I could keep posting examples all day. As far as I'm concerned, it's entirely legally possible and not unheard of, at least in the USA [insert big rant about how the USA is not all the same, and that Texas or Arizona isn't like downtown Manhattan here].

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Maes said:

So, was it never, ever real, not even in the worse deep-south backwaters, once in a blue moon? I'm not suggesting they did the same in all convenience stores around the USA, up to the most hip neighborhoods of Wall Street, but as someone mentioned, as long as the shop owner was able to get a dealer's license, in theory, it could be done, right?

No, I'm laughing that your understanding of this comes from 'several movies' and you thought one need not show id. But yes, as long as you get the proper license for whatever firearms you're selling and are willing to wrangle with the lengthy ATF paperwork of every single purchase you are involved in, you're good to go. In real life however, 99.9% of 'convenience stores' don't bother.

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Quast said:

No, I'm laughing that your understanding of this comes from 'several movies' and you thought one need not show id.


For the first part, I call upon "Truth in Television". I also know that "niggaz" carried boomboxes and smoked crack in "da ghettoz". Isn't that true, too?

The fact that something is portrayed in a visual medium doesn't make it automatically true or false (it might be exaggerated, that's another story), but the plausibility or not needs to be complemented by some other sources. Both in the cases of the "niggaz" and the guns in convenience stores, I had other sources of confirmation as well: relatives and people who had lived or visited the USA attested both to the existence of run-down ghettos with high crime rates, as to lax weapon laws and wide availability. So when I see the "convenience gun store" in a movie, I have no reason NOT to believe it.


As for the ID thing, I recall that the introduction of compulsory ID during gun purchases was somewhat of a "big change" introduced only relatively recently (perhaps after the columbine massacre, so that would be the late 90s). I might be wrong about that though, and the complexity of the USA's federal system and individual state laws might mean that such an adoption was not universal or concurrent everywhere. Feel free to correct me though.

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Maes said:
Pointless. Just watch the rampant crime stats in Greece, which has one of the strictest gun control laws in the EU: ordinary citizens are banned from ever getting their hands on anything more than a hunting shotgun, while most spree killings and serious shootings are perpetrated either by Albanian gangsters with AK-47s, more "subtle" gangsters with handguns, and even cops going apeshit (or turning out to be corrupted). All categories which don't give a shit about gun control or are "trusty" enough to be exempt from it.

Greece apparently has other problems, such as a lack of civilian supervision over the police and military, growing poverty and a neoliberal dog eat dog environment, as well as being on the periphery of Europe, bordering poorer neighbors. You can't narrow armed violence down to gun control laws, but that doesn't mean it's a pointless factor.

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myk said:

GYou can't narrow armed violence down to gun control laws, but that doesn't mean it's a pointless factor.


This has been discussed to the death. The general consensus seems to be that gun control laws may prevent the occasional office drone/nerd pushed over the edge/suffering a nervour breakdown from easily killing others, but won't prevent a determined militant a-la Breivik or organized criminals from doing their thing.

Some people here on DW even suggested that they felt safer with guns in the hands of criminals rather than in those of ordinary citizens, with the rationale that criminals know how to use them "sparingly", with "caution" and only "for a good reason", while "ordinary" people are more likely to be random/unpredictable in their use of guns, and thus more dangerous.

In hindsight, I wonder if gun control laws could have really stopped Columbine-like events: their perpetrators actually planned them for months and had all the time to stock up on weapons and plan for alternative supply channels, just like Breivik did. If they were determined to go down guns-a-blazing, what did they care if the weapons were purchased legally or obtained after dangerous dealings with real criminals (unless said dealings got them in so much trouble as to thwart their plans)? Sure, there are totally unplanned "grabbed granpa's gun from the closet while in a fit of anger because the other kids bullied him" kind of shootings as well, but even those would hardly been preventable with gun laws applied a-posteriori.

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In hindsight, I wonder if gun control laws could have really stopped Columbine-like events: their perpetrators actually planned them for months and had all the time to stock up on weapons and plan for alternative supply channels, just like Breivik did.


Breivik is a thirty years old man. You have some misconceptions about teenagers if you think every single one who participated in a school shooting would have had the resources to find their way to a gun in countries where such weapons aren't legal nor common. Quite often their lack of social skills is often the reason they get on a shooting spree to start with.

I'll give you that nowadays, the Internet has made it easier than ever to acquire weapons illegally, but a mere decade ago?

It's no coincidence there are more school shootings in the US than in all of Europe combined, and while there are probably other factors at work (much like myk suggested, it works both ways), you can't deny greater availability is an enabler.

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DoomUK said:

I ruffled too many feathers in the Colorado cinema shooting thread to get into another discussion with people about guns and gun control. Suffice it to say that I have a liberal attitude towards guns, especially for a Briton, where we have extremely strict firearm legalities. Guns are just pieces of metal with some mechanism inside which forces a projectile out of a tube. It's the people that wield them that are the problem.

I'm sick of this stupid rationalization. Guns are too dangerous and people too stupid. Only qualified ones should have them. Stop equating it with the right to have a mouth.

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Heh, typical DW gun thread. I always expected that a game that revolves around, well, shooting guns, would have more real-life gun aficionados, if anything, purely for the technical part. Instead we get a disproportionate (IMO) amount of salon moralists...go figure.

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They used to sell long barrel guns at Walmart, but they stopped doing that probably close to 6-8 years ago in most places. I don't think you didn't have to show id, pretty sure they complied with whatever gun laws were active in the state they were selling in.

Also if it makes you feel better, I'm all for guns! And I definitely agree with that cliche old saying "outlaw guns and only outlaws have guns." I don't necessarily think it's a good idea to carry one around for protection (though this would probably depend on what kind of job and perhaps what kind of area you live and/or work in), but we should have the right to own them.

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Basing your debating tactics on Hollywood movies isn't any better than basing your gun ownership opinion on Hollywood movies. I, for one, have no deep ethical problem with guns themselves - else, as you point out yourself, why would I be playing first-person shooters? You're making an irrational attack, and you confuse this with your attackers being irrational.

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Nomad said:

Also if it makes you feel better, I'm all for guns! And I definitely agree with that cliche old saying "outlaw guns and only outlaws have guns.".

I didn't say "OUTLAW the guns", I said that not everyone should be allowed to use them! I mean that there should be a licence requirement to have them, and not a birthright.

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printz said:

I'm sick of this stupid rationalization. Guns are too dangerous and people too stupid. Only qualified ones should have them. Stop equating it with the right to have a mouth.


So are cars, which cause a lot more deaths. Are you gonna go protest in front of your local RMV?

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Alas, the urge to reply overpowers my restraint.

Phml said:

you can't deny greater availability is an enabler

Maybe, but I could certainly argue that being able to buy a gun with minimum hassle doesn't automatically turn people into murderers. Most people are not murderers, otherwise prisons across the world would occupy entire continents.

The intent to kill or cause harm is always the prerequisite, not the tool with which the crime is executed. If, say, every legal or illegal civilian-owned gun in North America evaporated into dust this moment, I can guarantee within a few weeks there would be a surge in knife crime and other more "inventive" atrocities. It's not a pleasant thing to think about but there's a plethora of ways to kill someone, many of which have existed long before firearms became the "ad hoc" way of doing it.

printz said:

I didn't say "OUTLAW the guns", I said that not everyone should be allowed to use them! I mean that there should be a licence requirement to have them, and not a birthright.

On what criteria should someone be allowed to own a gun?

If you mean to say that only military and law enforcement personnel should be allowed to possess them, you've effectively outlawed them. If you mean that people should have to undergo a stringent application process, that's been done already and people still get murdered by other people - often with guns.

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DoomUK said:
Maybe, but I could certainly argue that being able to buy a gun with minimum hassle doesn't automatically turn people into murderers. Most people are not murderers, otherwise prisons across the world would occupy entire continents.


But it makes it easier for those exactly with that desire.

DoomUK said:
The intent to kill or cause harm is always the prerequisite, not the tool with which the crime is executed. If, say, every legal or illegal civilian-owned gun in North America evaporated into dust this moment, I can guarantee within a few weeks there would be a surge in knife crime and other more "inventive" atrocities.


Gun is still the most effective. Making it more difficult for somebody to kill can be a lifesaving obstacle. A knife requires approach, which can be one of those obstacles. Being unable to obtain gun as easily is as well.


DoomUK said:
It's not a pleasant thing to think about but there's a plethora of ways to kill someone, many of which have existed long before firearms became the "ad hoc" way of doing it.


There was this quote I read somewhere - when primitive people discovered fire, the first thing they wanted to do with it was use it against people they didn't like.

You won't change human nature. We always wanted to kill each other. However, I doubt free tools encouraging this very behavior are solution for anything other than, well, enouraging this behavior.

DoomUK said:
On what criteria should someone be allowed to own a gun?


Why exactly should there be any sort of privilege to own a gun? Hypothetically, what exactly would be a downside of prohibiting gun usage globally? Besides that it would be harder to kill people we don't like, of course.

To answer your question - nobody should be allowed to own a gun. We don't have the right to stop existence of anybody. Yeah, so much for idealising.

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Mr. Freeze said:

So are cars, which cause a lot more deaths. Are you gonna go protest in front of your local RMV?

DoomUK said:

On what criteria should someone be allowed to own a gun?

If you mean to say that only military and law enforcement personnel should be allowed to possess them, you've effectively outlawed them. If you mean that people should have to undergo a stringent application process, that's been done already and people still get murdered by other people - often with guns.

Blah, it feels like talking to tin cans.

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