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Armed and ready to shop

Mark Mardell | 01:27 UK time, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Elm Grove, near Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Other customers stare as Nik Clark and Kim Garny do their weekly shop at a large upscale supermarket. It's hardy a surprise as a TV camera is trailing behind their trolley. But people would do a double-take even if the BBC weren't in tow. In some ways Nick wants them to look.

There's a revolver amid the ravioli, an automatic among the avocados.

Like cowboys out of Westerns, the couple carry handguns on holsters on their hips. She has a Smith and Wesson .38 special with a cute pink grip that makes it look almost like a toy. He has a rather more chunky Glock.

KIm Garny 's Smith and Wesson .38Wisconsin Open Carry. Groups like this have been springing up all over the States in the last year and they've been making an impact in the last week or so, getting Starbucks in California to agree people should be allowed into their coffee shops carrying guns. The groups are made up of people who want to make a point about the Second Amendment right in the Constitution to bear arms, by bearing them openly. Some want to make a point and test whether or not private firms like shops and restaurants recognise that right.

The movement is slightly different in the state of Wisconsin where concealed guns are banned. Nick says wearing a gun in a visible holster is the only way he can carry a weapon legally and he wants others to be aware of their rights: he doesn't want to confront but to convert.

"You have a right to self defence and open carry is a great deterrent. It's about personal protection," he says.

He's a beefy guy, with bulging muscles, so I ask: Isn't he rather intimidating when he's armed as well?

"I've been open carrying for about a year and most people don't notice, or some might make a comment. It's a demonstration I am a law-abiding citizen, you have nothing to hide. Criminals never open carry."

He says that his group respects property rights and if a shop doesn't want their custom and they are asked to leave they are happy to do so: they don't want to patronise that business. But he says most big companies know the law and have a policy that allows them to shop armed.

Kim says for her it is all about self protection: "I can guarantee if I am going to my car late at night and someone sees me carrying a gun they won't make me a victim."

Nik Clark and Kim Garny shoppingBut Nick says he is also making a point: "I want people to see me and have a level of comfort, to know that if they are out walking their dog it is OK to carry a gun, if they are walking to their car after work it is legal to carry a firearm."

When Obama was elected many gun enthusiasts expected the tightening of laws. Many of those in favour of controls expected Obama to increase regulation. As a senator he had always been in favour of restrictions on guns. But it seems thing are rather going the other way.

Last year a ban on carrying concealed weapons in national parks was lifted. In Virginia politicians are likely to change the law and allow people to buy more than one hand gun a month.

The supreme court is pondering whether to declare the 28-year ban on handguns in Chicago unconstitutional. They will take months before coming to a decision but observers who've watched the case carefully believe they will rule against the ban, with huge implications all around the states.

In Wisconsin, Open Carry is taking legal action against the rule that bans handguns within a quarter of a mile of schools. The supreme court judgement could have a bearing on that.

Still, when I meet around 30 people from Wisconsin Open Carry over lunch at a big restaurant there is a feeling that their rights need protecting. There are grandparents and mums and little children, and all the adults are armed.

Most tell me that this is mainly about protection but what they refer to as civil rights comes a close second. A couple of people tell me it is the other way around: the politics comes first. One man, whose name I don't catch, says he doesn't feel very threatened in suburban Wisconsin but it is about resisting the encroachment of the last two administrations, it's about not giving in to big government.

Matt Slavic, sitting next to his little granddaughter, observes that outside the United Nations is a sculpture of a gun, its barrel twisted in a knot. "The Second Amendment gives teeth to the rest of the constitution, it keeps tyranny at bay. I do feel it is under threat, not just from within the USA but from the UN - their small arms treaty would restrict hand gun ownership in the United States."

Several people tell me the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, underpins the first, freedom of speech. One of those eating with a gun at their side, John Laimon, goes further: "It's not about guns, it's about civil rights. It's growing because of the plain fear about inadequate politicians. They cut down guns but they've got bodyguards. Our rights are under fire."

If you're in the UK, you can see more in my report on BBC News at Ten on Thursday evening.

Comments

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  • 1. At 02:04am on 11 Mar 2010, HabitualHero wrote:

    America would be a much nicer place if their constitution insisted on the right to arm bears instead.

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  • 2. At 02:07am on 11 Mar 2010, HabitualHero wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 3. At 02:11am on 11 Mar 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    Thanks, for the information from Michigan in the United States regarding the "armed" and ready to do the weekly shopping.....I am not going to remarked about my own opinions about gun ownership rights!


    (D)

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  • 4. At 02:17am on 11 Mar 2010, David wrote:

    Even as an American with some liberal leanings, I can tell you that this gun culture is deeply rooted in our country.
    The scholars that I've always respected the most are those during the Enlightenment and the American Revolution. Almost everything these men said made complete sense and are practically undebatable. When this country was given the right to bear arms in it's constitution, it set a path for itself that nobody else has a right to change. Criticism is welcome, but we may or may not care.
    I'm one that happens to not care about the "gun-toting redneck" stereotype. We may have odd movements like this every now and then, but I'm from Kansas and I'm used to people being able to own firearms for hunting, defense, etc... Most of them use their weapons responsibly, and if they wanted to use them for evil, then written laws certainly wouldn't stop them from acquiring them.

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  • 5. At 02:19am on 11 Mar 2010, DavidH wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 6. At 02:20am on 11 Mar 2010, Michman wrote:

    Last week I saw a man with a gun in a holster at a rest stop in Georgia. I have to say the first time I saw it, outside of a gun range, was kind of disconcerting. Hard to believe but at one time in US history carrying a gun was probably the norm.

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  • 7. At 02:24am on 11 Mar 2010, DavidH wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 8. At 02:35am on 11 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Mark:

    Good article. I'm familiar with the issue, and I think you captured well.

    I take it you now understand why we're not terribly concerned about these people.

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  • 9. At 02:38am on 11 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    No surprise, but I don't get the logic:

    " Criminals never open carry."

    But if everyone was allowed to (and did) carry a loaded firearm openly, that wouldn't be true, would it? Everyone would look like a "law-abiding citizen".

    And: " "I can guarantee if I am going to my car late at night and someone sees me carrying a gun they won't make me a victim."

    Well, logic compels me to suggest that if I were a car thief with a gun, or just wanted to grab the shopping, and I saw someone carrying a gun to the car along with the cornflakes, I'd just shoot first.

    (I'm not going to write a word about the idea of a twisted gun meant to suggest hope for an end of war being a symbol of the UN as a 'world government' taking people's rights away.)

    [Shakes head.]

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  • 10. At 02:39am on 11 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 6, Michman:

    "Hard to believe but at one time in US history carrying a gun was probably the norm."

    Never.

    Our gun laws are looser now than they were in the Old West.

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  • 11. At 02:45am on 11 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    What kind of person considers the grocery store a place where you need to carry a gun?

    Here, we have the same sort of phenomenon with young men who have large stereo systems in their cars, and feel the need to announce it to the world by rolling down the windows and turning the volume up as loud as it will go.

    Utterly bizarre.

    Deeply insecure.

    A menace to his neighbours.

    We've already done this topic, many times.

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  • 12. At 02:49am on 11 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Wy85eA-DV8

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  • 13. At 02:53am on 11 Mar 2010, Andy wrote:

    Interestingly enough, Chicago, where handguns are banned, last summer there were over 125 shot dead, which was about double the number of Soldiers killed in Iraq (or Afghanistan) over the same period. Want to talk about a civilized country?

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  • 14. At 02:58am on 11 Mar 2010, kre8tr wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 15. At 02:58am on 11 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    I suppose you recognise who isn't the 'law abiding' gun carrier after he or she opens fire in a school, museum, or a shopping mall, and after several innocent people are dead?

    Makes you feel so much safer when you go shopping, or go to catch a plane, does it? Especially if it was "Hello Kitty" pink?

    If I ever go shopping in Wisconsin, the first item in the trolley had better be a Kevlar jacket, I think, and the second a nice big, hard helmet. . .Oh, and I think I'll be needing to hire an armoured personnel carrier to get there, instead of a people carrier.

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  • 16. At 03:06am on 11 Mar 2010, diamondmedows wrote:

    Some don't want public health care and some want to carry guns to make you more safe.. no comprendo you sometimes America...

    I think the idea that carrying a gun make you more safe is a bit flawed. It has been shown that having more firearms available around children resulted in an increased number of deaths from suicide and homicide, specifically: "A statistically significant association exists between gun availability and the rates of unintentional firearm deaths, homicides, and suicides. The elevated rates of suicide and homicide among children living in states with more guns is not entirely explained by a state's poverty, education, or urbanization and is driven by lethal firearm violence, not by lethal nonfirearm violence." (The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care: February 2002 - Volume 52 - Issue 2 - pp 267-275)

    Also the idea that a firearm is a MUST just supports the whole culture of fear that is very obviously being pushed by some media and politicians in America. Not a good combo.

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  • 17. At 03:07am on 11 Mar 2010, Harrison Pitts wrote:

    The problem I see is that such widespread use of guns means its much easier to procure guns and then sell/use them illegally. Whereas in a place like Australia where stealing a bunch of hand guns or rifles means pretty much breaking into a police station, a petty thief in America could just break into a household and make off with the same weapons.

    It's nice to believe that open and widespread sale of firearms will enhance protection, but it really just hands out the very weapons you want to protect against.

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  • 18. At 03:10am on 11 Mar 2010, Phaedra wrote:

    I don't know how common bear and mountain lion attacks are in the rest of the world, but in Colorado and other states, it's a frequent danger, even if you're in town. People want to bear arms against bear arms as well as arms bearers.

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  • 19. At 03:12am on 11 Mar 2010, Mark wrote:

    The logic "criminals wouldn't openly carry" is flawed because it disobeys Kant's rule of universality: If weapons are allowed to be "open" then we can imagine a world in which all persons are walking around with open weaponry. Criminals would have to need to conceal the weapons.

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  • 20. At 03:15am on 11 Mar 2010, Jumper wrote:

    Year and a half ago, here in Columbia, SC, a woman walked across the WalMart parking lot and got into her car. A man walked up to her car with a weapon. She popped open the glove box, pulled out her revolver and opened fire when he tried to force her out of her car. He lived but was apprehended.

    A year ago, a pizza delivery fellow was walking to a house with a pizza. He was jumped by four young men who wanted to rob him. He ran and they followed him. He turned, pulled out his pistol and shot one pursuer. He died. The robbers ran but were later apprehended.

    We'd had problems with parking lot assaults and with delivery robberies before those acts of self-defense. We've had none since then.

    We've also had two women killed by their drug-deranged husbands.

    Although I'm an engineer and computer programmer, I typically work until about 2 AM. That's the way I am. Although I live in a gated apartment complex, I worry about the walk from my car to my apartment and have considered purchasing a gun for protection on that walk. The local police have recommended that, along with the training required.

    Is it the UK or is it Scotland that has started a training program for young inmates about to be released to teach them of all the legal problems they can encounter by carrying knives? The amount of knife crime in the UK is a reminder that taking away the guns isn't going to stop the violence.

    Scotland is very special to me. The number of deaths by knife up there is disturbing, disheartening and sad. Guess not everyone had a good Scottish grandmother who'd take them firmly by the arm when they misbehaved and remind them they were a Scot and they had something to live up to.

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  • 21. At 03:16am on 11 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Europeans don't understand anything about America, why should they understand this? Every time this subject comes up it's a waste of time trying to explain it to them, they just don't get it. They are basically submissive people who will do whatever their government dictates to them and there are no dangerous wild animals in their environments. Of course that doesn't keep criminals from getting them and it doesn't stop them from killing each other with knives. There are plenty of knifings often by gangs, some fatal in the UK in some areas.

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  • 22. At 03:19am on 11 Mar 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    HabitualHero wrote:

    "America would be a much nicer place if their constitution insisted on the right to arm bears instead."

    How does our right to bear arms affect you if you are not American?

    We also have plenty of bears, and other wildlife, in America, unlike where you are likely from.



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  • 23. At 03:19am on 11 Mar 2010, DavidH wrote:

    #13 - over 125 shot dead in Chicago last summer? OK, and the way to fix that is to have more people with guns on the street?

    I'm as libertarian as anybody when it comes to an individual's choice of life-style but carrying a killing machine does not fit in that category for me...

    Philosophy 101 - what's the difference between a libertarian and an anarchist?

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  • 24. At 03:19am on 11 Mar 2010, Eric wrote:

    Sigh... I've lived in the US for 4 years now, and whenever this whole "right to bare arms" non-sence comes up I ask the person(s) in question one simple question:"What does the 2nd amendment state?"

    Few can answer correctly, most answer "the right to bare arms".

    Everybody has quite hapily forgotten about the first part "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State" followed by "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    So yeah sure you can keep a weapon to protect the State in case of attack by powers foreign or domestic...

    I'm still baffled by the obsession so many Americans suffer from when it comes to owning their guns. I'm sure in time the US will grow out of it...

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  • 25. At 03:23am on 11 Mar 2010, KY_Red wrote:

    The real issue with guns is simply that IF you lose your temper AND have a gun you are likely to severely injure or kill the other person. In most countries people don't carry guns and so while they also lose their temper the end result is far less likely to be serious injury or death.

    I'm English and live in the US and guns are an integral part of the culture here I'm afraid. They aren't needed and they are dangerous but the right to bear arms apparently trumps everything else...

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  • 26. At 03:30am on 11 Mar 2010, Zzarchov wrote:

    Complaints about private citizens carrying guns always boils down to the same root cause: You don't trust the average citizen with the kind of power a firearm grants.

    Which is fine, a bit cynical but I won't say wrong. The wrong portion is that its often paired with a view that every citizen should be trusted with the right to vote.

    Who is elected president in America can do far more harm and cause far more destruction (up to and including a literal armageddon) than the combined power of all of America's small arms.

    Anyone whom you can trust with the power of a vote should be entrusted with the power to own and carry a firearm. That does not mean everyone should have either right. Children, the insane and felons for instance should have neither.

    The real question is do you think you can be trusted with a gun. If the answer is no, why are you being trusted with a car (which can and do kill more people). If the answer is yes, who are you to decide that no one else but you should be given that right?

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  • 27. At 03:33am on 11 Mar 2010, Paul L Fisher wrote:

    We in the US are guaranteed the right to bear arms by the 2nd ammendment.

    I was at the restaurant and it was very comfortable sitting there with 30 other armed citizens.

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  • 28. At 03:33am on 11 Mar 2010, iMarc wrote:

    These gun toters are indeed "utterly bizarre". You will find very, very few people in Wisconsin who would consider it to be socially acceptable or feel comfortable around people who are wearing holstered handguns in a public place, be it legal or not. The individuals in the story are extreme fanatic-fringe firearm advocates who are promoting their agenda. If you visit Wisconsin you won't see anyone wearing a holstered pistol, any more than you would in the UK.

    By the way, Elm Grove is a suburb of Milwaukee, which is on Lake Michigan, but nowhere near the state of Michigan.

    Mark in Madison, Wisconsin

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  • 29. At 03:35am on 11 Mar 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Mark Mardell wrote:

    "Other customers stare as Nik Clark and Kim Garny do their weekly shop at a large upscale supermarket. It's hardy a surprise as a TV camera is trailing behind their trolley. But people would do a double-take even if the BBC weren't in tow. In some ways Nick wants them to look."

    Then he quotes someone that carries a gun saying:

    "I've been open carrying for about a year and most people don't notice"

    You said it yourself, people were staring because of your team and camera. Why you feel you need to then follow up by trying to convince others that people would be staring at them anyway says how YOU feel about people carrying guns!

    Most people from that state are well aware of their right to openly carry. Don't try and make it seem otherwise just because you are shocked and because you disapprove.

    This is just another example of a purely American domestic issue being attacked by anti-American left wingers out of Europe, and the BBC.

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  • 30. At 03:38am on 11 Mar 2010, Anonymous wrote:

    I think people tend to lose perspective. Affluent city dwellers don't understand gun ownership because, other than recreation, there is not much reason to own a gun. Similarly there is no real reason to own a bulldozer in San Francisco.

    However, travel a couple of hours east to Grass Valley California to a farm where packs of feral dogs threaten cattle, and suddenly a gun makes a lot more sense, as does owning your own bulldozer.

    An Indian colleague overheard me discussing this once, and to my surprise he volunteered that he carried a gun in India. Seems that occasionally a tiger would come around his farm, and he didn't believe the police could respond in time if the tiger turned out to be hostile.

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  • 31. At 03:44am on 11 Mar 2010, G_K___ wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 32. At 03:50am on 11 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    For the overwhelming majority of Americans this is a non issue. What laws foreigners have in their country is their business. What the laws are here is not, it's our business. Funny how sooner or later they almost alway stick their nose in it. Why not reprint the same postings from Justin Webbs blog when he brought it up? You'll get the same answers from the same people and save us all a lot of time.

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  • 33. At 04:01am on 11 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    28. At 03:33am on 11 Mar 2010, iMarc wrote:

    "These gun toters are indeed "utterly bizarre". You will find very, very few people in Wisconsin who would consider it to be socially acceptable or feel comfortable around people who are wearing holstered handguns in a public place, be it legal or not."

    Well, I looked at the group's forum, and members were encouraged not only to go along to meet the Beeb, but the organiser tried to get them to film that at the weekend "where there would be a hundred' instead of, I think, 35 including the kids. They were all encouraged to bring their guns: "not required. . .but"

    I don't know what the population of Wisconsin is, but perhaps this is not a very large proportion. However, it's not the numbers, it's the influence they might wield.

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  • 34. At 04:02am on 11 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Zzzzzzzarcchov;

    "Complaints about private citizens carrying guns always boils down to the same root cause: You don't trust the average citizen with the kind of power a firearm grants."

    In Britain they don't trust them with the kind of power the right to vote grants either. That's why they've had no referendum on the EU constitution or the Lisbon treaty. If the citizens were armed and denied the chance to save their sovereignty over themselves when the government gave it away to Brussels, they might have gone down to that flakey green chamber of horrors they call a house of commons in armed insurrection. Small wonder it scares them. One Revolution in 233 years is one revolution too many for them. They wouldn't have wanted that to happen again.

    I'd bet much of the American revolution was fought by people using their own guns aginst the British Redcoats and Hessians. I don't know if Washington's army had to supply all of the arms. I'm betting many Americans used their own. Where would our greatest mythical heroes be without their guns? Davey Crockett. Daniel Boone. Wyatt Earp. Quick Draw McGraw (El Kabong for those old enough to remember :-)

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  • 35. At 04:03am on 11 Mar 2010, august wrote:

    Every time i hear about a mall shooting or some idiot walking into a school or an office building and killing innocent people i think about how nice it would be to see a bullet put through their twisted head by an armed citizen before any more lives are wasted.

    i consider myself a moderate in most topics, but in this case, i rather enjoy the idea of a little detante'...both as protection from the violence of the criminal mind, but from the tyranny of government that has shown itself over and over again throughout human history.

    the right to bear arms is a constitutional right and speaks to the very core of american society. when guns are no longer manufactured for ANYBODY...great. until then. i say. defend.


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  • 36. At 04:05am on 11 Mar 2010, Carissa wrote:

    AllenT2 wrote:

    "How does our right to bear arms affect you if you are not American?

    We also have plenty of bears, and other wildlife, in America, unlike where you are likely from."


    If you are mexican, or from any other Central American country through which drugs flow en route to the USA you are directly affected. Guns from the US are those used in Central American drug wars as those countries severly restrict the sales of guns.

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  • 37. At 04:10am on 11 Mar 2010, bryan wrote:

    To Eric at #24....

    I'm quite liberal and do not agree with the "open-carry" population, but for different reasons... BUT, your reading of the 2nd amendment is utterly wrong... if you want to know the true meaning of the amendment and what the founding fathers of the United States meant, please read the Federalist Papers, specifially numbers 28, 29, and 46. #28 and #29 were written by Alexander Hamilton. #46 was written by James Madison. Let's not forget that Madison was the author of the Bill of Rights which includes the second amendment. Thanks!

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  • 38. At 04:10am on 11 Mar 2010, august wrote:

    G_K_ it is interesting to note that the tyrannical government that the initial founders of the constitution wrote this in response to the "deep seated psycho insecurity impotence" of your own society.

    we've never referred to ourselves as an empire either.

    just saying.

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  • 39. At 04:11am on 11 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    29.AllenT2:

    "you guys can expect to be declared as baby-killing, right-wing terrorist extremists by the Beeb. They are very anti-gun."

    (Comment on the Wisconsin OC Forum.)

    Look, we have to keep reiterating this. The Beeb, in this respect, follows the people who pay for it. (Us.) And we don't much care for guns. Even on the belts of policemen, let alone in a supermarket. And, while gun ownership is restricted differently in different European countries, and where all policemen as a rule are armed, you would find exactly the same puzzlement.

    I spend quite a lot of time in the south of France where they hunt wild boar; but even there, you never see even a hunting rifle carried in plain sight. And nobody has an assault rifle or a pistol.

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  • 40. At 04:18am on 11 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 41. At 04:18am on 11 Mar 2010, MantillaRoss wrote:

    Jumper, Scotland is part of the UK. The number of knife deaths in Scotland is not too desperately disheartening - in 2008 there were 55, out of a population of just over 5 million - that equates to 1.1 per 100,000 head of population. In 2008, in the USA there were 11.66 firearm related deaths per 100,000 head of population. I think I'll stick with the knives.

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  • 42. At 04:27am on 11 Mar 2010, Andy wrote:

    #23-DavidH

    I wasn't advocating that everyone carrying a weapon would make it safer, only that 1) there are parts of this country that are not as civilized as some would make you think and 2) trying to make guns illegal won't solve the violence.

    There is a thin line between a functioning state and anarchy. In some parts of this country, its not the state and police in control, but gangs. So would responsible private citizens in these areas make a difference. Possibly. That number of shooting deaths probably would go up, but then again, it could dwindle the power of those undesirables to the point where the police could effectively keep the peace. In either case, does the city of Chicago really have the authority to tell those private citizens that they cannot have handguns to protect themselves if the city cannot provide adequate protection for them?

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  • 43. At 04:33am on 11 Mar 2010, Cliff wrote:

    The gun lobby in the United States is well-organized and well-funded, but I do not believe it represents a majority of Americans, "overwhelming" or otherwise.

    Personally, I'd have taken my carriage to the front of the store, explained my objection to the manager, and left. If he/she prefers your dollars to mine, so be it. I'll grow my own vegetables before contributing to this kind of behavior.

    As for the Second Amendment, it remains an open question whether there is an individual right to bear arms. There are authoritative opinions on both sides of the question, and the wording of the amendment itself begs interpretation. Whatever the final answer to that question is, it would not be unconstitutional to regulate conduct like "open carry" in a grocery store. In society, the rights of individuals conflict all the time, and we balance those rights in order to live peaceably with one another. None of the Bill of Rights guarantees are as absolute as the gun lobby would like to portray.

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  • 44. At 04:34am on 11 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    24. At 03:19am on 11 Mar 2010, Eric wrote:

    Everybody has quite hapily forgotten about the first part "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State" followed by "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    Trouble is it's ambiguous. I always assumed it meant "A well regulated militia, being necessary. . .for that purpose the right of the people to keep and bear arms. . ."

    And of course, a bloke and his girlfriend doing their weekly shop doesn't bear much resemblance to "a well-regulated militia".

    In fact, in eighteenth century English, that is how it would have been understood, and I presume how it was intended to be, especially as it derived from quite a few similar provisions in English Common Law from the middle Ages up to the Bill of Rights of 1688. There was a time when every Englishman was supposed to have a longbow at home, but nobody assumed that meant you could take it into the butcher's or the baker's or the candlestick maker's. Or on a stroll through Sherwood Forest with the wife and kids. That might have been misunderstood. . .

    Unfortunately, you can read the first part as a kind of general statement of the obvious and the second as an unconnected right on its own, and the gun lobby does, so it is no different to "The regular culling of racoons being necessary to keep them out of garbage cans. . . the right of the people. . ."

    Very careless drafting, seems to me.

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  • 45. At 04:39am on 11 Mar 2010, theYogi wrote:

    To quote Brenda Ann Spencer:

    "I don't like Mondays"

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  • 46. At 04:41am on 11 Mar 2010, JeffMinnesota wrote:

    DavidH, please tell me of a civilized country. Their are civilized people in many countries, but there never has been a civilized country and never will be. Unless of course one can control everyone's mind. But then I don't consider mind control to be very civilized.

    squirrelist wrote: "Well, logic compels me to suggest that if I were a car thief with a gun, or just wanted to grab the shopping, and I saw someone carrying a gun to the car along with the cornflakes, I'd just shoot first."

    The logic is; most thieves are not murders.

    Look into what happened in Australia when they did their gun confiscation, here's a start: http://www.lexrex.com/articles/australia.htm

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  • 47. At 04:47am on 11 Mar 2010, Ernie wrote:

    If only there where good people in this world;everything would be perfect.
    We have a lot of crime in the US and would say it is because we have got to smart for our own good. Until this changes; I will keep my guns. Anybody that carries a gun should be required to take strict courses in the use of gun. Caring a gun is a big responsibility! A gun is the last resort;good common sense is the first.

    Ernie from Tennessee USA

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  • 48. At 04:58am on 11 Mar 2010, Doug wrote:

    After being assaulted in Hilo, HI in 1990 I started carrying a defensive weapon (mace)---didn't like what it did to me---started looking at people thinking "Okay, jerk, just give me an excuse to use this on you." I don't carry it any more. If you have to go to these measures to be safe from the miscreants, it's time to consider suicide.

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  • 49. At 05:08am on 11 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    IMO, the whole gun debate is out of control. You have people scared of guns vs. people scared not to carry one. I like to think most folks, at least on this side of the pond, are in the happy middle where we are not afraid of individuals owning guns nor desire to have one strapped to our hip while picking up a gallon of milk.

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  • 50. At 05:08am on 11 Mar 2010, British_in_Canada wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII (#21, #32, #34, #40):

    If you want to help us Europeans understand American gun culture, then insulting them is not a good place to start. Describing us as "basically submissive people who will do whatever their government dictates to them", or merely as "drunks" isn't going to convince us to see your point of view. (If I were to make such sweeping statements about the population of the USA, I doubt you would be very pleased.) And your suggestions about the Lisbon Treaty are, well, absurd to say the least.

    I freely admit to not understanding why gun culture is so entrenched in US society, when compared to pretty much every other Western country. However, you comments suggest you don't understand us very well, either.

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  • 51. At 05:11am on 11 Mar 2010, DJRUSA wrote:

    This is a great example of bad BBC analysis . They have a group of reporters who have stereotypes of America, they then come up with examples of people who fit those stereotypes and reinforce their prejudice, and present them as the norm. This is not reporting on how America is, it is finding examples, however rare they may be, of individuals who fit your pre concieved notions and presenting them as the typical. I am 47 lived in the US all my life and have never seen anyone outside a policeman or a security guard cary a gun in a store like that.

    This is the exact opposite of what Allistar Cook did. Reading Mr. Mardell you learn little about how American is but a lot about British misconceptions about America. Americans themselves were educated by Mr. Cooks writing

    P.S. the crime rate in the U.S. has been lower than that of the U.K. since 1991.

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  • 52. At 05:11am on 11 Mar 2010, JeffMinnesota wrote:

    Some of the people who wrote the second amendment to The Constitution of The United States owned guns and hunted. I'm sure they wanted the right to own firearms.

    Also, if you read The Constitution you'll find it to be rather concise with little redundancy. "A well regulated Militia..."; by definition a militia is armed.

    Amendment II

    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    Do you think they meant; and oh, it's OK for the militia to be armed?

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  • 53. At 05:18am on 11 Mar 2010, Scott Freeman wrote:

    Breaking news: Man and woman go shopping; nobody gets killed.

    All I'm seeing is two people living their life how they want, not hurting anybody, and nobody getting in their way. Not to mention keeping themselves and others safe while they're at it.

    The evidence that gun control at best does not reduce crime, and at worst increases it, and that gun rights, at worst have no effect either way, and at best actively reduce crime, is overwhelming. Yet our government here in the UK has its fingers firmly in its ears, blindly continuing to believe that keeping the law abiding defenceless makes us safer.

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  • 54. At 05:21am on 11 Mar 2010, Jeff Walden wrote:

    Mark #19, as for the "criminals wouldn't open carry" logic you deride, ask yourself: if everyone open carried, wouldn't it be the height of foolishness for any criminal to put his gun to violent use? The second he pulls and starts firing, he knows and can see that everyone around him can do the same against him. There might be collateral damage, true, but most criminals have some sense of self-preservation, so a scenario where one succeeds in his objective but is killed while doing so is ultimately untenable for him. If open carry were the norm among responsible adults, violent gun use would be limited to the irrational and would usually be quickly suppressed when it happened. (Less-well-populated areas might experience violent gun use, true -- but that's no different from now, and if the potential victim is recognizably armed he has a fighting chance against a criminal who will be that much more reticent to face potential serious injury or death.)


    Eric #24, suppose the First Amendment had instead said this:

    "A well-educated voting populace being necessary to the liberty of a free State, the right of the people to speak freely shall not be infringed."

    Do you posit that the First Amendment would then only protect speech used to communicate political ideas? I think not: the limitation is that "the right of the people to speak freely shall not be infringed", not that such shall not be infringed when the speech educates some portion of the voting populace.

    The proper construction is that the Second Amendment is laid out in two parts: a preamble explaining why a right is being recognized, and a rule declaring the right itself. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and the reason the Framers and the people prohibited infringement is that they deemed a well-regulated militia necessary for security of the country. That the reason has less importance today than in times past does not mean the right being recognized is at all lessened.

    For a proper, extended analysis of the meaning of the text of the Second Amendment, you should read Justice Scalia's majority opinion in DC v. Heller, which quite carefully goes over the meaning of each component of the Second Amendment's text to arrive at precisely this conclusion.

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  • 55. At 05:32am on 11 Mar 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    This looks to be written primarily for the British audience - they have shown a fascination and horror of this behavior. Probably why both Webb and Mardell have given it prominent space.

    When I first moved here to Kansas, the press controversy of the year was whether the state legislature should permit limited concealed carry - a citizen of suitable character, i.e. not a convicted felon, mentally competent adult, etc., could apply, receive training, pass a test covering the regulations and requirements for securing and handling the weapon, and receive a license to carry a firearm concealed on their person in public. About a year ago public places like workplaces were encouraged if they wished, to post signs at entrances notifying visitors and employees that concealed handguns were not allowed.

    Kansas' culture has from before statehood been divided between abolitionists and slaveholders: ordered society - social responsibility types and Johnny Reb types. Today you can't always tell them apart by looking. The Legislature is generally overwhelmingly Republican, but the Governor often a Democrat (Kathleen Sibelius, now Sec'y of Health and Human Services was ours until Obama took her to Washington). The concealed carry measure passed and is still the law.

    I have no doubt that the European readers are as aware as we are that the attitude of a person who owns and can carry a loaded weapon on their person is different than that of one who knows they cannot do so. It is about having the power to take responsibility for one's self - a form of personal independence - a freedom.

    I believe it is this attitude that is most precious, and that many here feel is at stake in this issue. Does being your own person, as reflected by this ability to be legitimately armed, hold any value for you?

    KScurmudgeon
    doing my own thing here

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  • 56. At 05:39am on 11 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    @MA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZs61VCJvTg

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  • 57. At 05:41am on 11 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 18., Phaedra:

    "I don't know how common bear and mountain lion attacks are in the rest of the world, but in Colorado and other states, it's a frequent danger, even if you're in town. People want to bear arms against bear arms as well as arms bearers."

    Uh, no, bear attacks are extremely rare in Colorado (you have to mess with a black bear to get it to attack), while Lion attacks are more frequent but still really rare.

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  • 58. At 05:42am on 11 Mar 2010, smilingSpongeMuffin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 59. At 05:49am on 11 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 52, JeffMinnesota:

    "Do you think they meant; and oh, it's OK for the militia to be armed?"

    Ah, so you're a big fan of the second amendment, are you? You don't mind me owning a thermonuclear device? Just a small one. It would only take out about million or so people. Nothing too big.

    Or would you, God forbid, say that we can't follow the Constitution to the letter?

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  • 60. At 05:58am on 11 Mar 2010, Liam wrote:

    These comments have been interesting reading.

    A number of correspondents appear to think that carrying a weapon acts as a personal force field, and that a criminal will see that weapon and be deterred.

    That theory doesn't seem to work very well in either Iraq or Afghanistan,does it?

    I have to admit that the idea of being in a crowded shopping centre when an armed criminal draws his/her weapon and 20 other people start shooting, with no centralised command and control is scary.

    No one is wearing uniforms, so how do you know who is on whose side? (Criminals gave up running around with stripey T shirts, masks and bags marked 'swag' some time ago) Then there is the human shield scenario, if a criminal takes a child hostage as a human shield and another arms carrying citizen kills the child accidentally, how will the aggrieved parent react? Will he calmly stop and exchange details with the person who shot his child so that they can settle everything in court, or will he shoot him dead on the spot?

    Regarding the comments people are making about 'submissive Europeans', I wouldn't be too quick to call the Greeks submissive right now. 'Europe' also includes the Balkans and much of the former Soviet Union as well. Perhaps we have our gun control laws here because we are not submissive enough.

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  • 61. At 06:02am on 11 Mar 2010, EB New Jersey US wrote:

    The founders included gun ownership rights in the constitution because they understood that an unarmed population would be defenseless against a tyrannical government. They had just fought a war for independence, and were fearful of oppression. For this reason guns are part of American culture. Freedom is a frail thing, and only a people who have the means to defend their freedom can rid themselves of a dictator. That's what the founders had in mind when writing the second amendment.

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  • 62. At 06:03am on 11 Mar 2010, Moby wrote:

    So, how is murder-free Britain coming along now that guns have become unavailable?

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  • 63. At 06:03am on 11 Mar 2010, bemusedbrummie wrote:

    As with most cross-cultural disputes, this comes down to education. As Eric says in #24, most Americans don't actually know the content of the amendments they fight so hard to defend. Similarly most Europeans don't understand the need to bear arms when we can walk around our cities, with similar levels of non-gun crime and be fairly sure we won't get shot *without* having to carry a gun.

    As has also been mentioned before, the right to bear arms for some reason does not extend to TNT, nerve gas or plutonium in the US for the same reason that it doesn't apply to guns in Europe. So it's not really such a stretch to imagine a "gun-free" US, if such a thing was actually feasible when they're so prevalent today.

    However, I think I understand why this resistance is happening, it's simply people's natural resistance to change. However, change is an important feature of the USA's history already. If the constitution was so perfect in the first place it wouldn't need amendments.

    I think it's time to amend one of those amendments, for the sake of your children.

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  • 64. At 06:05am on 11 Mar 2010, Moby wrote:

    Ordinary people having guns still getting to you Brits, eh?

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  • 65. At 06:09am on 11 Mar 2010, GreenReaper wrote:

    Some private events are less indulgent. A convention I attend banned someone who drew the eye of the police by openly carrying a firearm in and around the event's city.

    Some felt this ban was excessive - after all, they weren't carrying a gun at the event, just in the general area. Others saw it as justified, especially given the peaceful nature of the convention and the person's decision to openly carry in a busy airport.

    While it may be legal to carry in most areas of the U.S., law and custom vary greatly between states, and clearly the two are not always perfectly aligned.

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  • 66. At 06:11am on 11 Mar 2010, Moby wrote:

    How many shops in the U.S. ban Jews from entering? None. How many prohibit women? None. How many block blacks from shopping? Zero. Why? Because that would violate those individuals' constitutional rights. Businesses cannot selectively violate individual civil liberties because they don't like them. The right to own and bear arms cannot be discarded by a business just as the right for a Jew or Catholic or Muslim to shop at that store is protected.

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  • 67. At 06:14am on 11 Mar 2010, Jen wrote:

    The problem with America is that they have the right to bear arms in their constitution, so a lot people have guns. So trying to get rid of guns is hard because the criminals aren't going to hand them in voluntarily so the people who do get rid of their guns are more likely to be in danger than say in Japan, or the UK. I don't know any solution to this, I don't pretend to know one either. I have to say I don't agree with the availability of guns in America, it scares me a little actually.

    And in reply to all the knife crime comments, yes knife crime is now high in the UK and this is something we have to tackle. Just like we, quite successfully in my opinion, tackled gun crime before. However I would just like to point out that whilst their are fatalities and serious injuries from knife crimes, how many stories have we read about a disturbed person going into a public place like a school, shopping centre, university etc. and killing and injuring several to many people with a knife? And how many times have we heard that story about a gun?

    Also...why all this focus on guns when you guys don't have health care available to everyone? I may be young and naive but due to having health care I always thought that if anyone got really sick they'd get the treatment they required, no questions asked, no debt incurred. Isn't it a mere human right to get health care? Anyhoo, this is probably a comment for a different article, but it always amuses me how het up people get about owning a gun when they may not be able to afford treatment if they get shot by someone somewhere along the way...

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  • 68. At 06:15am on 11 Mar 2010, Expat wrote:

    Here's the problem as I see it: lack of training. If any Tom, Dick, or Harry can carry a weapon without any requirement for training in its use, it puts the rest of us at risk. The last thing I want in an otherwise volatile situation is some have-a-go hero emptying magazines in the general direction of someone they perceive to be the bad guy, innocent bystanders be damned. I don't want some yahoo escalating an otherwise tense situation and getting me or my kids shot by the bad guy. I don't want to find myself caught in the middle of two otherwise law abiding armed citizens who have run afoul of each other in the middle of an otherwise bad day.

    I live in Chicago and the handgun ban is the will of the majority. That is why we have municipal elections. The Bill of Rights is a counter-majoritarian document. Whatever the original intent of the Framers, today it in large part operates to protect minority individual liberties from the majority.

    The big difference with the Second Amendment right to bear arms is that it is the only right in the Bill of Rights the exercise of which poses a threat of serious harm to other citizens. No one is going to get killed by you exercising your right to free speech, or your right to freedom of religion. It is true that freedom of association might indirectly get me killed if a mob of sufficiently ill intent gathers outside my apartment, but none of the other rights protected by the Constitution poses quite the same direct threat to my well being and the well being of my family as the carrying of weapons by Joe Public.

    So, advocates of the right to carry, open or concealed, ask yourselves this: you might trust yourself to carry a firearm, but do you trust the guy you saw this morning who almost hit a pedestrian in his car because he was racing the light; or the guy with the big coffee stain on his tie; or the two guys who were shoving each other in the street over some perceived slight?

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  • 69. At 06:19am on 11 Mar 2010, david rogers wrote:

    There is a possibility that the American 2nd Amendment is the most mis-quoted statement in the World. If you read it you will see that (in effect) it says 'A citizen may bear arms in defence of his country'. Those last 5 words make arather crucial difference don't they? A further example of the level of ignorance of our Colonial Cousins. They don't even know what their own Constitution says.

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  • 70. At 06:20am on 11 Mar 2010, Moby wrote:

    No peer reviewed study has ever shown an increase in crime as a result of the right to carry firearms. Not one. In fact, the opposite is true. Sixteen peer-reviewed studies show that allowing citizens to lawfully carry reduces violent crime rates. Ten peer-reviewed studies are inconclusive. Chicago has had a complete gun ban since the early 1980's and still has one of the highest murder rates. Conclusion: gun ownership does not make a city unsafe. Criminals do.

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  • 71. At 06:24am on 11 Mar 2010, Andrew wrote:

    Well, if US citizens want to carry guns that's their business. Of course, they will become even more insular and culturally blinkered, which will further inhibit their growth as a young nation. However, there are plenty of better countries to talk about, with plenty of citizens who want to contribute to their world, rather than give in to selfish urges based upon developmental delay. So let's leave them to Palin and dare I say, let them eat lead!

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  • 72. At 06:45am on 11 Mar 2010, iMarc wrote:

    For those unfamiliar with Wisconsin, Elm Grove is an affluent and politically conservative suburb of Milwaukee that lies within Waukesha County, one of the most Republican counties in the state. The gun toters aren't living in a high crime area where they might have legitimate fears for their safety. It's more likely that they live in a McMansion and it's a safe bet that they drove to the grocery store in a very large SUV.

    This isn't an "American" issue. It's a small fanatic fringe group that is not in any way representative of mainstream American values. Unfortunately, all countries have their nut cases with control issues who crave public attention. It's usually best to ignore them.

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  • 73. At 07:04am on 11 Mar 2010, MarkAvi12 wrote:

    At 04:41am on 11 Mar 2010, JeffMinnesota wrote:

    "... Look into what happened in Australia when they did their gun confiscation, here's a start: http://www.lexrex.com/articles/australia.htm"

    Those statistics are very poor illustrations of what has actually happened in Australia.

    When you're looking at a country with a very low firearm homicide rate in the first place, using a single year to judge the effectiveness of the buy back is statistically flawed (not to mention they don't state the rate, they use the pure numbers so a growing population will cause the numbers to rise naturally). The homicide rate and gun related homicide rate have fallen steadily over the past ten years in Australia, and the armed robbery rate did rise after '97, but was part of a rising trend which began before 97, and has since been stopped and reversed.

    I believe gun control is but one tiny aspect of Australia's crime rate, but if you want to say that they are the main contributing factor of armed crime statistics, then the gun restrictions did make Australia a safer place.

    For a better explanation:
    http://www.snopes.com/crime/statistics/ausguns.asp

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  • 74. At 07:06am on 11 Mar 2010, David wrote:

    I would take all these Europeans' suggestions of gun restrictions to heart if it weren't for the fact that they make as many, if not more, fallacies. After all, I remember reading recently on here that most Europeans think internet access is a "basic human right". That makes it very hard for me to take you seriously, and I'm not joking.

    Talking about hypothetical futures where criminals don't have to conceal weapons because everyone carries them is stupid, and not even constructive input. Violent crime rates in U.S. cities are almost universally higher now than they were earlier in the century, when gun restriction laws were much more lax.

    When people carry guns, concealed or not, that they're trained with they are most often safer. Period. Most criminals act out of desperation for food, money, or the latter to purchase the former. It's not a "thrill ride" or a search for a gunfight for them. They won't take risks where they don't have to, because they have enough to worry about.

    The point is that if you don't want to be mugged, you should have a right to protect yourself. Outlawing guns is just going to make the non-desperate (law abiding) citizens not take the risk of having one. The desperate people will still get them, either because they're violent and they want it or they have nothing to lose.

    Haven't people learned from the "war on drugs"? It will just create a new breed of criminal, cost the state more, and leave people defenseless. I agree that some of these pro-gun movements where people carry them like decorations is silly... but that's just dangerous.

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  • 75. At 07:13am on 11 Mar 2010, Bournemouth '84 wrote:

    I'm pretty sure that the Second Amendment doesn't specifically endorse the carrying of firearms, only "arms", so there is no reason for them to be allowed.

    It would still be constitutional to prohibit the widespread ownership of guns if it were permitted to own and carry a less lethal object, such as a cudgel.

    This principle is already being used, hence the limitations restricting certain types of firearm, missile launcher etc.

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  • 76. At 07:16am on 11 Mar 2010, pksf wrote:

    Where does this stop and what does it assume about our society? Should everyone walk around with a gun? Should I feel afraid to walk out my door every day? What is the function of the police in our community if I am my own lawmaker? Will some people look 'suspicious" with an exposed weapon because of their color or ethnicity to Nik and Kim? Will those people be allowed with exposed guns in Nik and Kim's neighborhood in their grocery store or cafe? What sorts of problems will that produce? I live in the US and personally, I think this whole debate is completely hypocritical, and that people who live with this kind of everyday fear and feel the need to have a gun with them 24/7 would better spend their money, time and efforts on some psychological counseling.

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  • 77. At 07:16am on 11 Mar 2010, Bill wrote:

    One more reason why I will never visit the USA.
    As a note though, do not carry a weapon unless you know how to; and are prepared to; use it, for your attacker will use it against you.

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  • 78. At 07:17am on 11 Mar 2010, deegee wrote:

    Points of clarification.
    If two armed customers had an argument, in the supermarket, leading to gunfire, would the injured party be able to sue the place of business for negligence? What about a 3rd party injured in the crossfire? Workers compensation for a cashier injured in the melee? Security guard attempting to disarm an angry, out of control gun-toting customer?
    If I choose to wear a broad sword, a flick knife or a taser, arguably less lethal than the protected Glocks and S&W, would I be welcome at the meat counter?

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  • 79. At 07:18am on 11 Mar 2010, Eric Bailey wrote:

    We could argue for days about whether or not an individual, family, or community is safer with less or more restrictive gun control laws, and both sides can throw more statistics into the air than the mind can comfortably conceive, but that's not really the issue. Something that needs to be said more and more in the world is, "Live free or die." "Give me liberty or give me death!" Even if we accept, for the sake of argument, that fewer gun laws will absolutely cause more people to die, which is hardly an undisputed point, then that's still okay. There is a right and a wrong beyond just safety.

    Liberty is more important than our lives.

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  • 80. At 07:26am on 11 Mar 2010, Talleyrand wrote:

    It makes me happy I live in Europe, really. The problem is not so much the gun carrying, but the mentality of the people who carry guns and their unbridled sense of power. It is similar to driving an SUV. This and America's incredibly repressed emotions. I know it is a generalization. But Americans I communicate with (they're my people), have enormous problems with any emotion barring "Hi, I'm psyched". They can't take sadness, and they are obsessive about "anger" and are willing to poison themselves with medication to suppress it. They can't take sadness, and frustrations at this world (justified considering the daily news) is not permitted, because it would be "negative." That plus guns, in my opinion, is too volatile a mix. No one dares study this connection, no one dares contradict the all-powerful gun lobby, no one dares just write out the plain fact that tens of thousands of deaths in the USA are caused by guns in private hands. They give a false sense of power, thus they pervert the self-image.

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  • 81. At 07:26am on 11 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    #69 david rogers,

    "There is a possibility that the American 2nd Amendment is the most mis-quoted statement in the World. If you read it you will see that (in effect) it says 'A citizen may bear arms in defence of his country'. Those last 5 words make arather crucial difference don't they? A further example of the level of ignorance of our Colonial Cousins. They don't even know what their own Constitution says."

    2nd Amendment:
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Even if one was to agree with your premise, which I do not, your five words should say, "in defense of his State" not "country". It would be best not to call folks names when you yourself are uninformed.

    IMO, both sides are mostly right in their interpretation because the 2ND amendment bars the U.S. Congress from infringing on the rights of the people or the individual states to bear arms or form militias. It says nothing about those individual states restricting gun use. This is why gun laws vary from state to state.

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  • 82. At 07:30am on 11 Mar 2010, Michelle wrote:

    @ Andrew (#71):

    The good old US of A is actually one of the oldest nations as far as our modern concept of a nation is concerned (liberal democratic principles, representative government, a written constitution, bill of rights, etc), as we were founded as a direct product of the Enlightenment...our constitution was therefore one of the first. Countries like Germany, Italy, and pretty much the rest of the world minus Britain and France are technically much younger, as their modern constitutions were ratified at least 100 years after ours.

    I have some issues with America, but I'd still rather live here than anywhere else in the world. I suspect a lot of other people from other countries feel the same way.

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  • 83. At 07:30am on 11 Mar 2010, damagerb wrote:

    It is ridiculous to feel the need to carry a gun, especially to go shopping, in broad daylight in an upscale neighbourhood, or to eat at a restaurant. What are these people expecting to happen?
    Im certain that the large majority of Americans arent gun-toting rednecks but its issues like this that doesnt help this stereotype, along with some of the lacklustre comments left in defence of this subject. Some people have stated that they need guns for hunting or for protection from large and dangerous animals, which is fair enough, you can get a gun for those purposes here in the UK providing you have a licence. But carrying a gun to do your shopping is absurd

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  • 84. At 07:33am on 11 Mar 2010, LIbertarian wrote:

    @69, and a whole mess of others whom I'm not going to specifically mention.

    Ah yes, the single greatest misinterpretation of the second amendment by anti-gun proponents. The Second amendment states literally:

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Now, let's actually think about this instead of trying to apply it to a specific argument. A militia? As in a unit of armed citizens assembled to defend themselves? Well, if there is a national military capable of national defense, why would these armed citizens be necessary to the security of a free state? Well, I say we take James Madison's advice and educate ourselves on the historical context of the constitution, I'll add that little snippet of his writings in here for reference:

    Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.

    The founding fathers had just thrown off what they perceived to be the shackles of an over-reaching, invasive government. It can be noted that many still used quotes were passed down through generations in writing by these founding fathers, warning that the only solution to an overpowered government is for the people to forcibly remove that power. Look up some quotes by Thomas Jefferson and especially James Madison, you'll find a great deal of exhortation about disasters to come should we allow the unchecked accumulation of power by the government and banks, and all sorts of issues with which we are grappling right now (national debt was a big issue for Jefferson in particular). Pertaining to guns, this quote by Madison says it best:

    Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.

    Why would other governments be afraid of armed citizens? Why would militia composed of ordinary people be necessary when there is a fully functional military? Use your brains folks, and if you're not familiar with early American philosophy and history familiarize yourselves because you might not arrive at a proper interpretation without it. The only enemy such militia's would be absolutely necessary to fight is our own government. We are specifically enabled with a means by which to either coax our leaders into proper behavior or to remove them and restore the government to it's rightful position. Guns are physical power and without measurable power there is no impetus for elected officials to toe the line. I'd argue that the neglect of the people and a lack of tangible threat is how we have this awful monstrosity that has evolved up to this point.

    I'm not saying it is reasonable to always go shopping with a pistol, but someone shopping with a legal weapon on themselves is not inclined to open fire on the general public, and the people who intend to open fire on the general public will always find a way to either obtain a gun or visit violence in a different manner. I believe England is familiar with steep climbs in knife violence.

    For all you fellows attempting to interpret the constitution, I highly recommend you start reading the writings and history of the men who forged it, as that is the only way to understand the mindset and intention of those laws. Constitutional lawyers should be required to know the details of every founding father's life and the history of the country, but that, of course, would be yet another method of preventing the government from gaining more power, now, wouldn't it.

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  • 85. At 07:33am on 11 Mar 2010, U14379110 wrote:

    "Europeans don't understand anything about America... They are basically submissive people who will do whatever their government dictates to them"

    Bwahaha. When it comes to submission, we all submit to our governments. They dictate to us that we have to pay taxes and we do. In America, they even legislate what you are allowed to do in your bedrooms and with whom, and they ban activities (such as prostitution) that have long become normal and even protected by law in socially advanced countries (e.g. Germany). Can you fix that with your guns? The truth is that guns cannot help you do anything against your government and against what they dictate to you, they can only help you solve small-scale conflicts with your fellow submissives. At that level, packing heat may or may not be a good idea, depending on how scary an environment you live in, how good you are, and how many other submissives are as good or better than you. But let's not fool ourselves that guns might be good for more than personal defense (or attacks for that matter).

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  • 86. At 07:39am on 11 Mar 2010, Guy Hardrock wrote:

    I'm an American, living in the UK, where it is most certainly NOT an easy thing to legally own a firearm - and handguns? Forget it... I just finished reading an article about a woman and her daughter - living in Barwell, Leicestershire - who were driven to suicide by gangs of youngsters, who had harassed them unmercifully for months... And I have to wonder... if maybe this society wouldn't benefit from the thought that there may be a few well-armed 'ordinary citizens' out there...

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  • 87. At 07:45am on 11 Mar 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Eric wrote:

    "Sigh... I've lived in the US for 4 years now, and whenever this whole "right to bare arms" non-sence comes up I ask the person(s) in question one simple question:"What does the 2nd amendment state?"

    As a foreigner you actually have the nerve to question Americans on one of the fundamental aspects of their culture?

    "Everybody has quite hapily forgotten about the first part "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State" followed by "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    You need to first understand how English in America during that time was written. The right of the people to bear arms makes the well regulated militia possible. It is NOT saying that only under a well regulated militia are people allowed to bear arms.

    Try reading some more 18th century American English and you'll understand how sentences and their meanings were structured. Try also reading the writings of the many founding fathers and leaders of the time on gun ownership and you'll further understand.

    "I'm still baffled by the obsession so many Americans suffer from when it comes to owning their guns. I'm sure in time the US will grow out of it... "

    If it bothers you so much then why are you in America? Why do you feel it is your place to question their fundamental culture? As a non-American it has nothing to do with you.

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  • 88. At 07:47am on 11 Mar 2010, Megan wrote:

    I am a UK citizen and a former soldier, hence trained in firearm handling. If private firearm ownership was permitted in the UK along US lines, I'm not sure if I'd carry or not. In 50 years I cannot recall a situation when I've wished I was packing...

    I once had a conversation with a retired Chief of Police from Austin, Texas. Rather surprisingly, he stated that he was opposed to widespread public ownership of firearms... but then said that he owned ELEVEN handguns as well as his official piece. That still has me puzzled.

    Finally, consider Switzerland. Very low gun crime levels... yet due to their laws on military service, virtually every household has a high-powered rifle. If, like most Swiss citizens, you are a reservist, you are required to keep your weapon as well as the rest of your kit at home, ready to mobilise within 48 hours to your assigned duty station. But of course, every citizen-soldier knows how to handle said weapon safely.

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  • 89. At 07:48am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    It's lovely when Britons, who are literally stacked on top of each in the EU's crammed-to-the-gills North Sea Province, sit in judgment of us.

    I grew-up in Alaska's "Unorganized Borough." This is a political sub-division of Alaska where the government has made a stated decision to withdraw due to it being essentially ungovernable. If we needed to call the police in a life-and-death emergency it would take about 2 DAYS for one (1) state trooper to arrive. For more mundane criminal questions there was no police response. In December and January we were on our own no matter what. I would love to see some of the commenters here continue to express their rueful disdain for weaponry living in similar circumstances - my guess is they'd be singing a whole different tune.

    Alaska's Unorganized Borough is an extreme example but there are large parts of the western U.S. that are near similar. And spare me the reaction of "well it y'ur own durn fault, aye, fur livin' thar - I make me'h choice to live in a 10 squar' foot flat en work stockin' shelves at the John Lewis store in Glasgow, aye, and it suits me just fine! Me'h bleak, grey li'l life is good enuf fer others, I'm sure!" Britain is a 60% service economy. The whole world can't be waiters and shop clerks and still have a sustainable civilization. Some places on the Earth actually have to cultivate resources. And those places will often be desolate and inhospitable ... and armed.

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  • 90. At 07:50am on 11 Mar 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    squirrelist wrote:

    "I don't know what the population of Wisconsin is, but perhaps this is not a very large proportion. However, it's not the numbers, it's the influence they might wield."

    They have every right to "influence" as much as they want on this issue as they are American and you are not!

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  • 91. At 07:51am on 11 Mar 2010, Nick wrote:

    Everyone is of course right that US citizens have the right to make their own laws, even if most other countries consider them misguided and barbarous. Every country has the goverment it deserves, as someone once said.

    Conversely, other nations have the right to ignore them. This is why it is perverse that the UN is headquartered in a country that only selectively pays attention to it and has a policy of defaming it wherever possible. Most people would see a sculpture of a gun with a knot in it as a symbol of peace. It speaks volumes about a culture when it is taken as a symbol of repression.

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  • 92. At 08:00am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 93. At 08:03am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    and they ban activities (such as prostitution) that have long become normal and even protected by law in socially advanced countries (e.g. Germany)

    Let me fix that for you. You meant to write:

    "long become normal and even protected by law in socially advanced countries (e.g. Germany, Somalia, Thailand, Paraguay, Turkey)"

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  • 94. At 08:06am on 11 Mar 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Carissa wrote:

    AllenT2 wrote:

    "If you are mexican, or from any other Central American country through which drugs flow en route to the USA you are directly affected. Guns from the US are those used in Central American drug wars as those countries severly restrict the sales of guns."

    That is their problem if they do not want to control their side of the border with America! Why don't they? Because Mexico actively encourages illegal immigration into America!

    A porous border is not a problem to them when it means more of their citizens, criminals and non-criminals, can continue to enter the country illegally so they can send dollars back to Mexico and so they (the Mexican government) can try and gain influence in America!

    Then through some bizarre form of logic it is somehow a problem to them and you if it allows weapons to flow through it to their detriment?!

    Right.

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  • 95. At 08:06am on 11 Mar 2010, AZ-Utilitarian wrote:

    The old homily that "God created all men, but it took Sam Colt to make them equal" has a large dose of truth to it. An older person or average woman has NO chance against an attacker that is bigger, or well muscled, or maybe just more fit with a bad attitude. A firearm can be a deterrent sinply by it's presense. In a bind, it may be your ONLY real chance at staying alive. It raises the cost of doing business to the evilly inclined, maybe to the point of dissuading at least some of them.
    Criminals or crazies will always be with us. You can live on hope that nothing bad will ever happen, or you can learn a few simple skills and disciplines that will probably NEVER be used but are useful if it does.

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  • 96. At 08:09am on 11 Mar 2010, Phil wrote:

    what chance has Obama got to change America for the better, like with health reforms etc, when you have ignorant idiots like these two clowns wanting to display guns?
    it shows the mentality of Americans
    America is not a modern power at all, it pretends to be, modern enlightened countries do not execute people, and want guns on display or otherwise

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  • 97. At 08:12am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    "Those last 5 words make arather crucial difference don't they? A further example of the level of ignorance of our Colonial Cousins. They don't even know what their own Constitution says."

    You have just enough knowledge to be dangerous to yourself, and show it off like it's the Nobel Prize.

    (1) The constitutions of the individual states, in most cases, are the deciding factor in gun rights. Most western states grant firearms protections ABOVE what the federal constitution allows. The 2nd Amendment is really secondary ... it's thrown out like a piece of meat by the BBC to dumb down the issue for their audience and make it slightly more comprehensible for the pliant consumers of Britain's official state media.

    (2) The Revised Statutes of the Commonwealth of Tennessee (just in one example) defines the word "militia" as "the whole of the adult citizenry not otherwise mobilized into the military forces of the Commonwealth or of the United States." In other words, in Tennessee - and they use a fairly standard definition - the "militia" is legally defined as every adult who is NOT serving in the state or federal military.

    You really should like, uh, read a book or something, dude ...

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  • 98. At 08:16am on 11 Mar 2010, PaulR52 wrote:

    Sigh... Okay let me make a point that I see nothing about on previous posts:
    1)The attitude of most of the rest of the world toward the US in general and, issues related to violence in particular, is dictated by Hollywood. From the cowboy movis of the 1950-2000 era to the violent films spanning most of the history of "entertainment media" a poisonous lie has been perpetrated on us all. For the benefit of bemused non-Americans let me point out that there has never been an era in US history where a majority of citizens went about openly armed. This includes the period affectionatley known as "the Old West." Most people of that era had little use for a handgun. Gunslingers did not stalk the streets at high noon. Most people in rural and wilder areas did own firearms, but they were most likely shotguns for hunting and general defense. They would not have been carried in the normal course of life unless en route to hunt, etc.
    2)Armed felons do not openly stalk our streets carrying Uzis. It is illegal for a convicted felon to own a firearm in the US.
    3)Gang violence happens, but even in the worst neighborhoods is not an everyday occurrence. When it does happen it is illegal, always.
    4)Americans cherish the right our Constitution grants to own arms for the simple reason that many of our own ancestors were driven from their homes by superior forces against which they were defenseless. We have long memories. Our culture encourages individual respnsibility, not social dependence.
    5)There have always been areas and whole States where carrying a personal weapon, concealed or not, is entirely legal and unremarkable. This trend has expanded in recent years by legislation that now allows trained, licensed individuals to carry a concealed weapon in most States.
    6)Without exception, violent crime rates have declined in all States that have adopted such rules, especially crimes against women. This despite the fact that only about 6% of the populace bothers to get a permit to carry and of those less than a third do so at any given time.
    7)Despite the predictions of anti-gun forces, shootouts in public between legal gun permit holders just don't happen. It seems that only the very most law-abiding and responsible citizens are represented by this group.
    8) Understand that most of this debate centers around the concealed, or open carry of a handgun. Very few gun owners would choose to carry openly given a choice. Why give away your advantage and possibly allow an attackers the chance to nullify it?
    9)The irresponsible, reckless use of firearms depicted by Hollywood is a major and justified cause for concern in glorifying violence of all sorts. Example - policeman fires his weapon at fleeing car in city street - Never happen!!! In the real world those bullets keep going until they hit something. Example - gangbanger uses fully automatic weapon to slaughter rivals and bystanders - not likely. Fully automatic weapons are highly illegal here and virtually unobtainable by anyone. Most ordinary citizens have never seen any firearm carried, much less fired in public. (Also, cars don't normally explode when they crash either).

    It is clear that Brits have a long history of poking at the quirks of their cousins across the pond. But, here are a couple of hard facts for you to consider:
    1)Americans citizens have a legal presumed right of self-defense, unlike British Subjects.
    2)Britain not being a gun owning culture, it was American private citizens who armed the British Home Guard for defense of the beaches during the early days of WW2, by donating their weapons. Those would be the same weapons you aren't allowed to posess anymore. But then, it was all so very long ago and, history never repeats itself, right?
    3)The first and most ardent proponent of national gun control in the modern era was Adolph Hitler. It was his first move after being elected Chancellor of Germany to disarm the populace.

    I enjoy some shooting sports. I have never used a firearm to so much as threaten another human. I would not heitate to do so in defense of home and family if necessary. I would regret the necessity, but would do it anyway. That is the definition of someone who is not a sociopath. But, we live in a world where sociopaths and violent criminals do exist. Until those people can be fully controlled or eliminated (isn't that a can of worms?), I may need to defend myself and mine against them. To do that, I want the best, most effective tools available and I want to be sure I am skilled in their use.

    In Europe, only people of "quality" "breeding" "nobility" or the politically connected had the right to own arms throughout history. We came to the US because we didn't want to be serfs. We founded a nation on the premise that "All men are created equal." God help anyone who tries to take that from us. We could have ruled the world. Instead we gave it back and extended a hand to our enemies. Tread on our most sacred traditions at your peril.

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  • 99. At 08:16am on 11 Mar 2010, Mr J G Taylor wrote:

    Well the freedom to carry guns has been tried, in the Wild West. I notice that the first thing that a town marshal brought in to a town to bring law and order is insist no guns except for the officers of the law.

    I have no problems with guns apart from people who have no idea what they are doing with them, having them.

    Practical experience (USA) has shown that allowing general ownership of guns does not reduce gun crime and greatly increases the chance of being shot. So its a stupid thing to do.

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  • 100. At 08:19am on 11 Mar 2010, Jean-Marie Nusbaumer wrote:

    Carrying unconcealed firearms is common in Arizona. Threw me for a loop when I first moved there. I actually bought one in five minutes flat, and I still don't kno I perceive it as a cult thing, an expression of personal freedom which seems to have become politicized. Contrary to some news stories in many countries, we Swiss (I am a proud US citizen, too) must be vetted according to a thorough procedure before we even may buy a firearm, and be allowed to carry one --and then only to and from the firing range in the trunk of the car. The military (or militiamen if you wish) have different and also very strict rules, as do registered hunters -in any case no flaunting of fire arms. I am iin favor of responsbile freedom adapted to the times.



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  • 101. At 08:19am on 11 Mar 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    squirrelist wrote:

    "Look, we have to keep reiterating this. The Beeb, in this respect, follows the people who pay for it. (Us.) And we don't much care for guns. Even on the belts of policemen, let alone in a supermarket. And, while gun ownership is restricted differently in different European countries, and where all policemen as a rule are armed, you would find exactly the same puzzlement."

    The topic is about Americans and their right to bear arms. How you feel about such a right in regards to your country is none of my business as an American and how I feel about our right to bear arms is none of your business.

    You and other non-Americans are not simply stating that you do not wish to have that right, you are attacking the right of Americans to do so. There is a big difference.

    This is, once again, a case of anti-Americans out of Europe sticking their noses into something that has nothing to do with them and that is none of their business.

    Do I have to say it over and over again that you are NOT American?

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  • 102. At 08:19am on 11 Mar 2010, Treetrunkman wrote:

    It is interesting to note the fervour which some in America exhibit when it comes to defending their constitution and in particular the "right to bear arms". In my mind this tends to suggest a lack of self confidence from some who hide behind the fortress of the past. That right made sense at a time when a new child nation was discovering itself and breaking free from a controlling and aggressive parent. The US in kowtowing to those that refuse to move on risks everything America stands for in terms of its fresh radical nature, choosing instead the sorry path of a stick in the mud decline.

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  • 103. At 08:22am on 11 Mar 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    bemusedbrummie wrote:

    "I think it's time to amend one of those amendments, for the sake of your children."

    With all due respect, I think it is time for you to mind your own business.

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  • 104. At 08:25am on 11 Mar 2010, steffers wrote:

    The more I hear about the "Land of the Free" the less I like it.

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  • 105. At 08:27am on 11 Mar 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    david rogers wrote:

    "There is a possibility that the American 2nd Amendment is the most mis-quoted statement in the World. If you read it you will see that (in effect) it says 'A citizen may bear arms in defence of his country'. Those last 5 words make arather crucial difference don't they? A further example of the level of ignorance of our Colonial Cousins. They don't even know what their own Constitution says."

    No, you don't know what it says. Learn to read and understand 18th century American English!

    The right of the people to bear arms is what makes the militia possible!

    And your response is "a further example" of British arrogance, disrespect and anti-Americanism!

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  • 106. At 08:29am on 11 Mar 2010, darkvalleysboy1978 wrote:

    Remind me to never go to Wisconsin!

    Oh and to all the US posters and your precious 2nd Amendment it states "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"

    Notice the reference to a MILITIA. This amendment was not intended for the average citizen, but for organised militia (i.e. soldiers of the state) the right to bear arms in defence of the state.

    Added to which, haven't you lot heard of escalation? You carry a knife, they carry a gun, you carry a pistol, they carry a semi-automatic, you carry a semi and they'll bring a fully automatic rifle.

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  • 107. At 08:35am on 11 Mar 2010, thelostboss wrote:

    I am not going to get into any kind of discussion about the right to bear arms - that properly belongs elsewhere.

    I will simply go to the old adage "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".

    The problem with "open carry" is that the gun becomes a solution of first-resort rather than last resort.

    Or - as someone else said once - "You soon find that a gun will get you into more trouble than it can get you out of".

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  • 108. At 08:35am on 11 Mar 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Andrew wrote:

    "Well, if US citizens want to carry guns that's their business."

    We are called Americans, by the way.

    "Of course, they will become even more insular and culturally blinkered, which will further inhibit their growth as a young nation."

    How does the right of an American to bear arms make them "more insular and culturally blinkered?" By what logic did you come up with that?

    "However, there are plenty of better countries to talk about,"

    Can you help me then understand why you are responding?

    "with plenty of citizens who want to contribute to their world, rather than give in to selfish urges based upon developmental delay."

    Once again, by what logic, in regards to the right of Americans to bear arms, do you ask such a question?

    "So let's leave them to Palin and dare I say, let them eat lead!"

    Just another old and tired example of the typical anti-Americanism from your part of the world. Business as usual.

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  • 109. At 08:35am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    For the intelligent and inquiring Briton who would like to actually understand why gun ownership can't be outlawed based on their miniscule knowledge of the "standing forces" interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, here is a selection of the wording of the various firearms statutes in some of the assorted state constitutions which - in most cases involving non-incorporated questions - trumps the 2nd Amendment:

    Rhode Island: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." (this is the most plain and simple as Rhode Island's current constitution was enacted after an 1840 rebellion when the state's then-tyrannical government was overthrown by legally armed citizens)

    Vermont: "The people have a right to bear arms in defense of themselves."

    Alabama: "Every citizen has the right to bear arms in defense of himself and the State."

    Arizona: "The right of the citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or of the State, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize or maintain an armed body of men."

    Colorado: "The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the Possee Comitatus* when thereto legally summoned by a Sheriff of this state, shall be called in question."

    Delaware: "A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use."

    Ohio: "The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up by this state; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power."

    * - "posse comitatus" = "the force of the county" ... the common law right of a Sheriff to conscript able bodied men to repel invasions of the county or apprehend felons (in fact, also used during the English Civil War as the legal justification by which royalist auxiliaries were raised, though now only remnant and practiced in U.S. law)

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  • 110. At 08:36am on 11 Mar 2010, BritInAmerica wrote:

    As a British ex-pat living in a very rural part of the USA, yes, we have a shotgun in the cupboard. If a bear or cougar turns up, I want to be able to discourage it (the first one is going over its head unless it's too close for comfort, I expect that first one will be enough to persuade it to go elsewhere). When you've seen 600+ pounds of black bear ambling along within 100 yards of your front door, it's quite persuasive - and contrary to what someone else said, unprovoked bear attacks are NOT unknown. Rare, yes. Unknown, no.

    The sort of person I worry about owning guns is someone like one of our local doctors, who realised I was British and, totally unprovoked, subjected me to a 5+ minute harangue about how the UK was a terrible country because of the firearm ban, how he didn't feel safe unless he was *better* armed than the local police (yes, really!) and how his recreation was taking his assault rifles down the local range, but he "didn't really feel satisfied unless he loosed off a full clip at once".

    Now THAT is the sort of man whom I feel should be banned from owning a gun.

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  • 111. At 08:43am on 11 Mar 2010, David lLewellyn wrote:

    wow I`m in shock at this article, So now if I want to mug or commit a crime, I will make sure I have a bigger gun than you!! or prehaps if I`m shot I will die as I can`t afford health insurance.....this world has gone mad

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  • 112. At 08:43am on 11 Mar 2010, Joe wrote:

    The whole of the landmass of the UK is smaller than my state and at least seven others so I can see how you might not understand why some people feel they can't rely on police.

    For instance where I live(as do a surprising number of Americans) out side the jurisdiction of of the police force of the nearest city forcing us instead to rely on the sheriffs office of the county we are in. Sheriffs departments tend to be smaller than most city police forces yet are responsible for much larger areas.

    I can honestly expect a response time anywhere from 15-30 minutes possibly more(fire and ambulance services are for more expanded than law enforcement)That and according to the Supreme Court the police have no responsibility to protect you as an individual.

    As for less gun laws meaning more crime, there simply isn't really any evidence to support that. The fact is gun laws have been made less restrictive in a number of states for the past 20 years and violent crime(including gun crime) as well as homicides have been declining for about the same period of time(in fact as of 2006 homicide was at a 40 year low according to the FBI and Department of Justice) And despite the media attention given to certain rare(but tragic) events school violence is down dramatically as well(kids are also far less likely to have weapons at school either) While as some of you will no doubt point out this does not mean looser gun laws means less crime it would indicate that it fails to increase crime either.

    And really at the end of the day gun culture and fear of government in the US are both have their roots in our former status as a colony. See our former masters had this bad habit of using government sponsored force against the people they were supposed to be protecting, knowing this happened once on our soil leaves of wary of it happening again.

    It might also be interesting to note that during the Blitz gun donations were set up in the US so private citizens could provide small arms for the Home Guard as there simply weren't guns in the country in order to make a "Well Organized Militia".

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  • 113. At 08:45am on 11 Mar 2010, Ian wrote:

    You can have the right to bear arms without actually being armed - it's a right not an obligation isn't it ?

    I remember my first trip to the US - I was working and was very uncomfortable to discover that not only the police but even the security guards in the office I was working in carried guns.

    As for the counter argument about knife crime in the UK; surely people aren't suggesting having teenagers with guns would be better ?

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  • 114. At 08:47am on 11 Mar 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Randie Teats wrote:

    "Bwahaha. When it comes to submission, we all submit to our governments. They dictate to us that we have to pay taxes and we do. In America, they even legislate what you are allowed to do in your bedrooms and with whom, and they ban activities (such as prostitution) that have long become normal and even protected by law in socially advanced countries (e.g. Germany). Can you fix that with your guns?"

    Such laws on sex are either very old and no longer valid or are simply unenforced. As long as you are not a pedophile then most Americans do not care who has sex and the kind of sex that they have.

    At least here in America they don't arrest you and put you in jail for simply expressing an opinion like denial of the holocaust or expressing hate against someone else or a group of people.

    And at least here we don't have millions of video cameras watching us.

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  • 115. At 08:47am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 116. At 08:48am on 11 Mar 2010, David lLewellyn wrote:

    Wow I`m in shock at this article...so If I want to commit a crime I will just carry a bigger gun than you, or If I`m shot can I afford medical insurance...this world has gone made, I`m off to sell bullet and yank proof vests on Ebay

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  • 117. At 08:49am on 11 Mar 2010, LIbertarian wrote:

    @ 94

    Just a bit of back up for Mr. T2 Allen here about that whole guns in the drug wars business. A senior Mexican official, I believe he may have been their ambassador to the USA, claimed last year that of all the guns captured across 2007-2008, and it was susbstantial, as in, over 10,000, about 95% were made in the USA. The media was quick to jump on this and slam the gun lobby, as the majority of American media has a liberal streak a mile wide (that is a sweeping generalization, but oh well). No one happened to notice when Fox quietly pointed out in a little online column that of all the guns that were confiscated, a mere 13% were identifiable, as in having any sign registration codes. Of those 13%, 95% were American made. For the uninitiated, every single USA gun is registered and the serial number is built into the gun; erasing it would at the very least leave a mark of having done so. Conjecture by the steel quality and composition along with the gun types is the vast majority of Mexican drug war arms are Chinese and Russian. Of course, this was a little column no one noticed and I've observed a great tendency for people to ignore what Fox says, even when they cite sources, claiming that it is inherently inaccurate. So, believe that, if it pleases you.

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  • 118. At 08:50am on 11 Mar 2010, Douglas Lee wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 119. At 08:52am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 120. At 08:57am on 11 Mar 2010, Lissa wrote:

    Every year or so, it seems, someone in America goes bezerk with a handgun - - at a university, in a grade school, what have you. And then there is this completely absurd handwringing in the press and in public debate (such as it is): "Why does this happen?" It happens because there is a completely insane segment of the American population that is yearning for the second revolution, or something like that. I honestly cannot understand their mentality. No one needs to own an Uzi. No one's hunting rights are threatened by sensible handgun laws. And certainly no one needs to walk into a grocery store with a handgun strapped to her belt. (Especially not a pink one!)

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  • 121. At 09:00am on 11 Mar 2010, DH-City wrote:

    The constitution of the United States was drafted more than 200years ago. A little amendment to the amendments wouldn't hurt anyone.
    The bottom line is: Guns can kill, injure, change someone's life forever. All you need to look at are the gun violence statistics in the US compared to other "civilized" countries.

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  • 122. At 09:02am on 11 Mar 2010, Joe wrote:

    Oh and while on the topic of Militias being the key to whether or not the Second Amendment matters:

    US Code TITLE 10 > Subtitle A > PART I > CHAPTER 13 > § 311 Militia: composition and classes

    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/10/311.html

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  • 123. At 09:03am on 11 Mar 2010, jspiers wrote:

    "A further example of the level of ignorance of our Colonial Cousins."

    ... the same colonial cousins that kicked your collective hindquarters... with their guns?

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  • 124. At 09:03am on 11 Mar 2010, Holdenfold wrote:


    "America has lost all its mechanism to regulate people by distributing guns to ever one who wants one or two or three and so on & on...
    As we read through the news media, a perpetrator can walk into any school/college & just start to pump away at any innocent student who may have just innocently stumbled into their line of fire.
    American are so proud to think that it states in their constitution, "that ever individual has the so called right to bear arms!'" There are implications, major ones to that statement, & still it seems that they can't figure out their priorities!
    I think the US of America is beyond repairing itself.
    There are more people in jail per capita in that country than anywhere else in the world & more than fifty percent are black!

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  • 125. At 09:04am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 126. At 09:12am on 11 Mar 2010, theloopoutsideof wrote:

    The man with the" gun late at night" not only has a physical gun in the holster, but is projecting a mental gun into the darkness in the hope it will be "seen". The mental contortions required to double think this are as absurd as the man's arrogant strutting around wearing his rights on his hip. Would he have the same self confident belief if stranded in a favela over night, somehow the guess is, probably not.

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  • 127. At 09:13am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

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  • 128. At 09:13am on 11 Mar 2010, jspiers wrote:

    I grew up in areas where people carried firearms - both concealed and unconcealed - on a regular basis. Each of my 3 daughters is being trained, as I was, in the use of firearms (handguns, shotguns, and rifles), knives, alternative weapons, and hand to hand combat. I can never make them completely safe, but I can make them safer. The best thing that I can do to protect my children (and yours) is to teach them the SAFE use of weapons, how to be observant of their surroundings, and how to access and respond to a threat in a level headed manner. This has been the way of Americans since the beginning, and it isn't likely to end soon, despite the whining of those that live where gun use is unnecessary, impractical, or simply misunderstood. As I have explained countless times to the simple-minded who find it impossible to understand... If someone attacks my daughters or my wife at our home in the country, the police response time is 10-20 minutes... enough time to arrive and clean up the blood. However, the response time of my wife or daughters to our closet and to load the shotgun is about 30 seconds... enough time to allow the police to clean up the blood of their attacker(s)
    (Consequently, I would much rather know that the person in line next to me was carrying... most people that open carry in a holster are respectful of others' rights and well trained, in my experience... it's the yahoos with guns stuck down their pants that worry me!)

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  • 129. At 09:14am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

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  • 130. At 09:14am on 11 Mar 2010, Anna wrote:

    As someone living in a rural area not terribly far from Elm Grove, I can't say that I'd be surprised to see someone with a holstered handgun in a grocery store. I wouldn't even think about it, any more than I'd think about the teenage boys I grew up with who'd compare the hunting rifles in the back of their trucks in the high school parking lot. In my area I've wanted to carry a gun when I go on walks to protect myself from wild dogs. Farmers, ranchers, and sportsmen who wear handguns are not people I worry about, nor do I worry about the political group described here. They're not criminals and their guns don't get somehow hijacked and used in crimes. I'd say let them carry guns. I'd rather be around these people than unarmed folks if there is a crime being committed.

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  • 131. At 09:19am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

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  • 132. At 09:19am on 11 Mar 2010, Nick wrote:

    Here are a few choice statistics over which to mull-

    Number of murders per 1000 people: US=0.042 UK=0.014
    So you are around 3x more likely to be murdered in the US.

    But a firearm can reduce the chance of your house being burgled ? Correct.

    Number of Burglaries per 1000 people: US=7.1 UK=13.8
    Almost 2x more likely to be burgled in the UK. Shocking.

    However;
    Number of rapes per 1000 people: US:0.3 UK=0.14
    So 2x more likely to be raped in the US. I would prefer the burglary please.

    And last but not least.
    Number of murders by a firearm per 1000 people: US=0.028 UK=0.001
    A whopping 280x more likely to be murdered by a firearm in the US!

    Which leaves the remaining:
    Number of murder not involving a firearm per 1000 people: US=0.014 UK=0.013
    Which is almost identical!

    Please draw your own conclusions.

    All stats taken from:
    http://www.nationmaster.com/cat/cri-crime

    NationMaster compiles statistics from such sources as the CIA World Factbook, United Nations, World Health Organization, World Bank, World Resources Institute, UNESCO, UNICEF and OECD.

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  • 133. At 09:20am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    "Every year or so, it seems, someone in America goes bezerk with a handgun" --- Every fifty years or so, it seems, someone in Europe goes bezerk with an Army.

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  • 134. At 09:21am on 11 Mar 2010, jedburg wrote:

    "She has a Smith and Wesson .38 special with a cute pink grip that makes it look almost like a toy"

    It doesn't look like a toy, it is a toy. These people are like children, walking around playing tough. If they were really brave, they wouldn't need guns and would actively campaign against them.

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  • 135. At 09:25am on 11 Mar 2010, mprice wrote:

    Dear Mark,
    Thanks for the piece. As an American living abroad for 6 years I found it rather startling, and wonder if this is just a "slice" of American experience, or an increasingly common (and more worrying) trend throughout the country.

    As for the tireless (ab)use of the 2nd ammendment as a golden ticket for unregulated gun rights, I would urgently draw attention to the often overlook first half of the sentence, which states, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State..." I sincerely doubt that our forefathers intended this to cover soccer moms and Starbucks.

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  • 136. At 09:27am on 11 Mar 2010, Pugin wrote:

    Who really cares about this issue.
    Common sense needs to prevail, we are looking at a very small minority of people here.
    look at the bigger picture in America, in the vast majority of areas wearing a firearm would, constantly get you arrested, shot by the Police or security, get you shot at by a criminal.
    The fact that if you wish to walk around with a gun you may do so, does mean you have any need to.
    Anyone who has carried a gun, will testify that carrying a gun on your hip all day is uncomfortable, believe me.
    Americans are a very show off race generally, and this issue is all about look at me, I'm paranoid, you will find that these gun carriers live in respectable, low crime areas, these are people whose appearance and self esteem conscience is very visual, they are the epitome of self indulgence.
    Its nothing to do with the second amendment, its about stupidity.

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  • 137. At 09:35am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    "I think the US of America is beyond repairing itself.
    There are more people in jail per capita in that country than anywhere else in the world"

    ... from a country (the UK) whose violent crime rate is 400% of the US' this is rich indeed.

    From the UK - a nation where rapists and robbers are pushing the nation to the brink of anarchy and civil collapse - this does nothing but provoke, from me, a polite chuckle. I'll be certain to send you a postcard from our states of disrepair. Please just tell me to which fortified block of flats or emergency room ward you'll be at where I can address it.

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  • 138. At 09:36am on 11 Mar 2010, nosmit wrote:

    " Well, logic compels me to suggest that if I were a car thief with a gun, or just wanted to grab the shopping, and I saw someone carrying a gun to the car along with the cornflakes, I'd just shoot first."

    That's logical, is it? When faced with a choice of definitely having to shoot somebody, or moving on to somebody else, who you only need to threaten- does killing the first guy really seem like the logical choice?

    I'm not sold on the wisdom of walking around with guns in the first place- and I'm definitely not sold on your idea of logic!

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  • 139. At 09:39am on 11 Mar 2010, Russ wrote:

    Does the 2nd amendment only allow US citizens to carry arms?

    That's a nice gesture towards neighbouring countries and cross-border traffic and to foreign business visitors and tourists.

    They call themselves the land of the free but act more like the land of the scared and the paranoid.

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  • 140. At 09:41am on 11 Mar 2010, Jon wrote:

    to Jen @ #67:

    Jen wrote:

    "I would just like to point out that whilst their are fatalities and serious injuries from knife crimes, how many stories have we read about a disturbed person going into a public place like a school, shopping centre, university etc. and killing and injuring several to many people with a knife? And how many times have we heard that story about a gun?"


    Did you know that every place you listed are places where guns are already banned? They're called Gun Free Zones and they don't work. I wish that guns were not necessary in our society, but there are just too many of them out there. Banning guns would never work here. Our gun culture is too great, too ingrained. Besides, criminals don't pay attention to laws. That's why they're criminals.

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  • 141. At 09:41am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 142. At 09:42am on 11 Mar 2010, Zed1207 wrote:

    "The Right to Bear Arms" is a phrase used in the Second Ammendment, which was written over 200 years ago. At that time the phrase did not mean the right to literally carry a weapon. In all contexts, and it's been used in other documents, this "Right" means the right to join a local militia/enroll in the army. Words and phrases commonly shift in meaning over time.

    The history of organisations like the NRA, and the process by which the "Right..." phrase has come to mean individuals arming themselves as individuals has been described by a number of historians. Not that it will make a difference to people determined to link small-minded paranoia with a liberal non-white "socialist communist wants to create death panels" president.

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  • 143. At 09:43am on 11 Mar 2010, TangerineBoy wrote:

    Its America and it is upto American's to decide how they live their lives and run their country. I think its a pity that people feel the need to carry any weapon to feel safe and I am personally glad that I can go to the local supermarket wihout the need to carry a gun.

    I understand that the people in this article are carrying their guns to make a political statement. Whilst I dont agree with them I would support their right to do so.

    It should be remembered that it is not the gun that kills someone it is the person carrying it. Gun ownership is not really the issue it is people attitude to them. Switzerland for example has a similar level of gun ownership to the US but half the related gun deaths.

    Gun ownership and perhaps more importantly the attitude to the use of the is an issue each country has to sort out for themselves. I would hope that America would want to address the level of deaths caused by guns and Switzerland is proof that this does not have to be at the detriment to their right to bear arms. However what works in one country will not necessarily work in another and America has to come up with its own solution that address their own problems.

    A ban in the UK works because we are not culturally attached to guns, it wouldnt work in America because they are. This just means they need a different solution.

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  • 144. At 09:44am on 11 Mar 2010, cricketman99 wrote:

    I know Americans aren't supposed to get irony, but does anyone see the following?

    Surely the right to bear arms infringes on the right to free speach?

    I know if I was having a coffee with someone with a shotgun around his waste I'd be very careful about what I said to him :)

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  • 145. At 09:44am on 11 Mar 2010, James wrote:

    Columbine had the high school incident, another state had that crazy Christian who opened fire to most the patrons in a gay bar (don't forget the abortion clinic). SO maybe the super markets and coffee shops will realize guns are the problems, if only it is after some nut job goes insane or looses his tempter and open fire on the innocent there.

    May I add what would happen if a innocent gun carrier panicked as a male was walking g behind her at night, in a moment of fear she shot. If it turned out she had MURDERED a innocent person walking home, would that man still be alive if that person had no gun on her? answer no. Would she be dead, no. There have been cases like this before, when 'accidental deaths' have taken place, all because a gun carrier was human and panicked.

    But hey what would I know, I'm Just from England. Its up to the USA how they treat those cowardly ego boosting weapons, but I do with they would sensor them from civilised television shows. Personally I just do not agree with American media making guns acceptable out of a war zone, not that a England is perfect but hey Guns are for wimps and bullies.

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  • 146. At 09:45am on 11 Mar 2010, Peter Fox wrote:

    A responsible freedom to bear arms is the key. The issue with guns is the criminals and the deluded - criminals will always have guns - legal or not, the deluded can be controlled with more stringent tests.
    So the issue is about criminals - hmmm perhaps low educational standards, poverty and societal exclusion are the root cause. Parts of America are almost lawless anyway so creating more laws isn't going to solve a damn thing. Jobs and respect might solve a whole lot of these issues right now, education would help the future - white middle class suburbia isn't the place to start bleating about gun laws - wealth re-distribution would be a major step in raising standards - as financial exclusion will only breed more criminals with more guns.

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  • 147. At 09:45am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

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  • 148. At 09:47am on 11 Mar 2010, hairybudda2 wrote:

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  • 149. At 09:47am on 11 Mar 2010, David lLewellyn wrote:

    "wow I`m in shock at this article, So now if I want to mug or commit a crime, I will make sure I have a bigger gun than you!! or prehaps if I`m shot I will die as I can`t afford health insurance.....this world has gone mad"

    This eloquently phrased and structured verse comes to you courtesy of the British school system.

    Zano
    I`m sorry if i`m not as well educated as you and others on here, but I say it as I see it..carrying guns in public like John Wayle makes me laugh

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  • 150. At 09:50am on 11 Mar 2010, bopalula wrote:

    98. At 08:16am on 11 Mar 2010, PaulR52 wrote:

    'We founded a nation on the premise that "All men are created equal." '


    Just a shame that it took your enlightened society almost 200 years to make that even close to reality.

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  • 151. At 09:52am on 11 Mar 2010, drbobbeattie wrote:

    Is it really worth getting that excited about? As Billy Gibson pointed out It's like the class system in the UK. It dose not really make much sense to Americans but we seem happy to accept it.

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  • 152. At 09:53am on 11 Mar 2010, John wrote:

    "So, how is murder-free Britain coming along now that guns have become unavailable?"

    Quite well, thank you.

    The homicide rate by firearm in England and Wales is 0.12 per 100,000.

    And in the US it's 2.97. That's nearly 25 times as high.

    The non-firearm homicide rates are fairly comparable (E&W=1.13; US=1.58).

    You're all so proud of your ability to kick Britain out in the Revolution "using our guns". Are you also proud of that most wonderful and uplifting episode in US history - the Civil War. I guess that was pretty much fuelled by guns too, wasn't it?

    In the Revolution, 25,700 Americans died, and 10,000 British.
    In the Civil War 203,000 Americans died at the hands of their fellow Americans.

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  • 153. At 09:53am on 11 Mar 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    What I find amusing is Americans like Moby who think that us Brits don’t have guns. The ban was on pistols, even then it was only on modern pistols, in Britain you can still legal own and shoot antique pistols and revolvers and no we are not talking about black powder here.

    The fact is that now days few Brits own guns compared to last century, during the inter war period gun ownership was quite common. While I have never fired a live firing pistol, I have held one and I have fired a blank firing pistol. Personally I don’t see the attraction, especially considering in any society there is a percentage of idiots. I find letting these people being armed foolish, the fact that they will still find ways to carry weapons illegal only reinforces the matter for me.

    Considering that the UK in Europe has about the most restrictive gun licenses means that most Europeans can be armed if they so choose. We understand guns, the difference I believe is that for most Europeans, most Brits at least, owning a gun is not such a big thing as it appears to be in the US.

    Yes there is crime in the UK, including gun crime (whether the levels of this crime is rising or falling is a matter of debate and how you interpret the data), but still there is not a huge movement to arm the general populace, indeed the normal sentiment is in the opposite direction.

    What is sometimes telling is that in this debate all that is mentioned is the right to bare arms, not the responsibility that goes along with it. Irresponsible gun use can mean that an innocent person gets killed. The military and police drill this into people that carry guns, from the attitude of some of those who carry guns or advocate carrying them this responsibility does not seem to be much of a consideration.

    I think it is the gung-ho attitude of some American gun enthusiasts that concerns people on this side of the Atlantic, more than people carrying guns. As I said we DO have guns over here, despite the mistaken impression they have never been fully banned.

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  • 154. At 09:57am on 11 Mar 2010, thesmallerhalf wrote:

    I would not presume to preach to US citizens as to whether they should be able to habitually and openly carry firearms. Like all choices it has it pros and cons. If it makes people feel more secure it could be a positive thing. And I am sure that victims of crime in countries where even carrying a small knife makes you liable to arrest must have wished for such protection at times. And at times it is more than just a feeling. In pre 1980 Rhodesia many citizens did exactly that and with good reason.

    But there is a price to everything. In South Africa muggers tend to shoot you first and then rob you. Which is a wise strategy for the mugger if your intended victim is likely to be armed. So how does the armed victim deal with that. Shoot first perhaps? But in what circumstances and at what personal cost The same goes for one of these mass shootings which occur quite regularly in the US, and occasionally elsewhere.

    If someone started shooting in a public space amongst armed civilians how do you work out who is the bad guy? Confusion and chaos are inevitable in these situations so you could end up with a lot of dead people who thought they were doing the right thing. And for the original gunman the presence of armed victims is not a great deterrent as such people commonly have no expectation of survival. In fact it may spur them on to start something really spectacular.

    Another poster, Marcus Aurelius II I think, suggests that the European distaste for bearing arms is a sign of submission. Perhaps he should do a little reading before pontificating in ignorance. Europe has a very long and bloody history of its inhabitants killing each other in large numbers for all sorts of reasons, be it criminal, political or religious. Which may be just one reason for not wanting to go shopping tooled up.

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  • 155. At 09:58am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 156. At 10:00am on 11 Mar 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    ZanO – Nice to see another ‘informed’ American poster. Just one thing could you actually read Darwin’s (a Brit by the way) definition of survival of the fittest, because it does not mean what you are assuming it does.

    Basically you are using the wrong meaning of fittest. It’s a common mistake, but is one that should be addressed.

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  • 157. At 10:01am on 11 Mar 2010, D Dortman wrote:

    21. At 03:16am on 11 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Europeans don't understand anything about America, why should they understand this? Every time this subject comes up it's a waste of time trying to explain it to them, they just don't get it. They are basically submissive people who will do whatever their government dictates to them and there are no dangerous wild animals in their environments. Of course that doesn't keep criminals from getting them and it doesn't stop them from killing each other with knives. There are plenty of knifings often by gangs, some fatal in the UK in some areas.



    1. I'm fairly sure most of the USA doesn't actually have rabid bears wandering across it eating people so animal self-defence is a bit of a strange one.

    2. Saying that without guns there is knife crime is also bizarre, because knife crime in the UK results in many fewer deaths per % of population than guns do in the USA (and knives still kill many people in the USA) - so if people were allowed to carry automatic machine guns openly would hand gun deaths in the USA drop?

    3. I can go most anywhere in Western Europe and not have to worry about being shot, that's not the same thing as not having to worry about crime, but it is one thing off the list.

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  • 158. At 10:03am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    Sorry, typo in my last post.

    *UK VIOLENT CRIME RATE: 4,100 per 100,000 persons* [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    *US VIOLENT CRIME RATE: 475 per 100,000 persons*
    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/data/table_01.html

    If you don't like these sources, here's a list of links with a bunch more that support the same conclusions:
    http://wheelgun.blogspot.com/2007/01/crime-in-uk-versus-crime-in-us.html

    *UK = a Crime-Riddled Nation on the Brink of Anarchy and Chaos*

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  • 159. At 10:09am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

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  • 160. At 10:09am on 11 Mar 2010, spiggott wrote:

    Ha! When Ghandi was asked, "What do you think of Western civilisation?" he replied, "I think it would be a good idea."

    He couldn't be more right about it, even if he was talking mainly about the UK at that time.

    I'm still waiting for this 'triumph of western liberalism' that everyone has been hailing, as it doesn't seem to have crossed the pond while maintaining its characteristics.

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  • 161. At 10:10am on 11 Mar 2010, Drew wrote:

    The BBC is a British news service, and therefore articles will be written with a British perspective on things.

    If Americans want to carry guns around when they go shopping or walk to the car, then that's fine. Your country, your right to do so. However I am also equally entitled to form my opinion about it. My opinion happens to be that I can't pass judgment on it's merits, but I do find it extremely different to what I'm used to and slightly strange (that's strange as in bizarre, not strange as in bad).

    I was in Chicago a few years back, in a cafe with a friend. A group of policemen came and sat down on the table next to us. Each one of them had a handgun in their holsters...and to be quite honest, it made me feel quite nervous and unsettled.

    If you live in the country where there is somewhat dangerous wildlife, then no problem. I can see your need for a gun for protection from a bear who might drop in.

    Maybe we don't have an enlightened constitution in Britain in the UK, but rather then guaranteeing guns for everybody as in the US in order to check the power of the state, we can vote out the MPs for someone else after 5 years.

    As for the Gary McK thing many Americans have quoted - over here Parliament is completely sovereign. If Parliament wish to pass a law saying GMcK is going nowhere, then they could easily do so and the guy wouldn't be going anywhere near North America.

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  • 162. At 10:12am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    "In all contexts, and it's been used in other documents, this "Right" means the right to join a local militia/enroll in the army."

    You should really read the other comments before posting. This ill-informed argument has already been, fairly easily, dismissed. It's very embarrassing to you to repeat it. It makes you look rather dull and servile.

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  • 163. At 10:13am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

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  • 164. At 10:14am on 11 Mar 2010, Bruce wrote:

    I am English and have lived in England all my life. My pro Right to keep and bear arms stance therefore places me in a pretty small minority.

    I read this article with senses tingling waiting to rip another biased anti self defence journalist to shreds.

    I was pleasantly dissapointed. Well done Mr mardell, I hope you dont ruin your good work when I watch News at Ten tonight.

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  • 165. At 10:17am on 11 Mar 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    ZanO – You’re so funny!

    Though you don’t really compete with Marcus “Chuck Norris” Aurelius II*, so you will have to try harder. “And I shall call you Mini-Marcus!“**

    *From his if fire hadn’t been invented before, it would have been invented by America moment. For some reason that reminded me of the Family Guy joke: Chuck Norris is so tough that he doesn’t have a chin under his beard but another fist. Marcus is so patriot…..

    **Apologies to all Austin Powers fans, come on there must be some Austin Power fans!

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  • 166. At 10:18am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    "I`m sorry if i`m not as well educated as you and others on here, but I say it as I see it..carrying guns in public like John Wayle makes me laugh"

    Such eloquent verbiage and gloriously constructed English from the enlightened island state; truly I acknowledge America's inferior status as a nation of poorly educated neanderthals in the presence of this awe-inspiring intellect.

    ME FROM BRITAIN - ME LAUGH AT THIS STUFF - GIMME SEX AND BEER AND FOOTIE, THAT ALL ME WANT - BRITAIN RULE GOOD SOON CUZ WE SMRT - YAY

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  • 167. At 10:18am on 11 Mar 2010, Barbara wrote:

    Hey Mark, another 'sensational' article I see. These idiots are few and far between. You said he's intimidating because of his size and yet he feels the needs to prance around with a gun. He's an attention seeker, and you managed to find him and the non-issue issue of the second amendment.

    This isn't about the second amendment or their rights to bear arm even in a grocery store. Its about right wing cowards who have quickly run out of issues, save for the communist socialist in the White House. Put it another way, they are racist to the bone, and they can't wrap their mind around the fact that Obama was duly elected by a majority of Americans.

    We Americans are used to being put up for ridicule by Europeans and Brits. We always seem to be the brute, the villain, paranoid crazies with gun holsters.

    Does that make YOU feel better about yourselves? It seems that ever since your evil empire was usurped by those Americans who come to empire by accident that you Brits also can't 'wrap your brains' around that fact. Just as that right wing paranoid crazy that you focused on.

    Why not focus on the computer and internet companies. The new Apple I-PAD or 3-D movies such as 'Avatar' and 'Alice in Wonderland'. These things are the joys of our lives and, I suspect, yours as well.

    So may I suggest for your next article try focusing on another American trend -- our medical marijuana craze -- especially in California. That's something that you uppity Brits (and European) can wrap your minds around, literally.

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  • 168. At 10:19am on 11 Mar 2010, Malone wrote:

    Fantastic! Let all the brain-dead noddies carry whatever pretty, sparkly guns they like. Soon enough they will have made a positive impact on the world's over-population problem and also significantly reduced their own obesity epidemic. Bring it on!

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  • 169. At 10:20am on 11 Mar 2010, Martijn wrote:

    This obsession with fire arms to me reveals a very immature aspect of the American psyche. I lost the interest in guns I had as a young boy of maybe 6-10 years old, playing cowboys and indians, when I started to realize that the only reason guns were ever invented was as a means of killing people easier and from a longer distance. The gun really is a coward's weapon that can only appear 'cool' in the eyes of children and the mentally and morally retarded.
    One would like to urge these people to grow up...
    And @ ZanO ("Every fifty years or so, it seems, someone in Europe goes bezerk (sic) with an Army"): I'd like to point out that for the past 60 years or so the only nation going berserk with its army on a regular basis has been the USA, unfortunately.

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  • 170. At 10:20am on 11 Mar 2010, jspiers wrote:

    Really, John... the Civil War? Surely you can do better than that!?! After all, Britain's massive and disastrous colonization of huge parts of the world could be said to be "fueled by guns," but that wasn't the real cause, was it? I am simply glad to be a member of one of the first countries to refuse to continue as a member of THAT lopsided arrangement...

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  • 171. At 10:21am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 172. At 10:22am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    "I think it is the gung-ho attitude of some American gun enthusiasts that concerns people on this side of the Atlantic, more than people carrying guns."

    I think it's the gung-ho attitude of some European generalissimos every few years that concerns people on this side of the Altnatic, more than Europe having generalissimos.

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  • 173. At 10:24am on 11 Mar 2010, paul wrote:

    Whenever these debates come up about American law, there are always lots of posts complaining about people from Europe 'sticking their nose in' to comment on American law. America has set itself up as the global prefect, exporting its culture and its values all over the world - sometimes forcefully and violently I might add. Any country which wishes to play that kind of a role in global affairs shouldn't complain if the rest of the world look on and make comment about its domestic affairs.

    Sure i would support people's 'right to carry guns' were I an american, but I think any self-respecting human being would stop and consider first that carrying that gun may mean that you will actually kill another human being, with a mother and father, maybe kids just like yours. You are supposed to be a country founded on Christian values. What ever happened to 'those who live by the sword die by the sword'?

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  • 174. At 10:27am on 11 Mar 2010, Rob wrote:

    @29 AllanT
    "This is just another example of a purely American domestic issue being attacked by anti-American left wingers out of Europe, and the BBC."
    Whats the problem, its called the right of free speech. As Europeans living in a democracy we have the right to free speech. Build a bridge and get over it.
    For the record the BBC is far less biased (and IMO more trustworthy)than American media and will not buckle under and stop reporting because someone pressed the "I'm a patriot" button.

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  • 175. At 10:27am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    "ZanO – Nice to see another ‘informed’ American poster. Just one thing could you actually read Darwin’s (a Brit by the way) definition of survival of the fittest, because it does not mean what you are assuming it does."

    Just one thing: Herbert Spencer is the one who used the term "survival of the fittest", not Charles Darwin.

    Thank you for shining the torch of enlightenment on my dull, neolithic American sensibilities with your razor sharp command of history. You truly are a shining beacon; a testament to the creme de la creme of Europe's North Sea Province.

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  • 176. At 10:27am on 11 Mar 2010, Lividov wrote:

    I would shout and scream at others to get out of the building while that armed man was there. He is intimidating and a threat mainly because of the erratic functionality of that organ located between his ears.

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  • 177. At 10:30am on 11 Mar 2010, robertmorgan04 wrote:

    What about the 9th Amendment?

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    It seems from the statistics that the right to bear arms enumerated in the second amendment denies the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of those citizens that are killed by the exercise of others' rights under the second amendment

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  • 178. At 10:32am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    "Darwin’s (a Brit by the way)" - hold onto history, dear, it's all your little nation has left ... now please quiet down so you can slip peacefully into the dark ...

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  • 179. At 10:34am on 11 Mar 2010, Sam Ainsworth wrote:

    The Second Ammendment was adopted in 1791, in response to the war of Independance. It may have been relevent then, as many atrocities had been comitted in that war, yet i do not belive it is a modern American Right. The Yanks may believe that this is part of being American, however the regular massacres (and i use regular in a literal sense) prove that this law is dangerous and outdated. There are so many people dying all over the world from atrocities involving guns in undeveloped nations, that it seems inappropirate fore America to be doing this. I understand that America still sees itself as the 'World Police', however this is equally outdated and more proof that America is still living in a fantasy world in which they cannot except that the World is changing around them...

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  • 180. At 10:37am on 11 Mar 2010, littleshogun wrote:

    Having lived and worked in the United States nothing really surprises me regarding the gun culture( these are deeply insecure people)but my main concern is, who on earth buys a pink pistol grip and why, maybe the bullet wont hurt so much!

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  • 181. At 10:40am on 11 Mar 2010, Belgian_Biscuit wrote:

    MarcusAurelius writes:

    "For the overwhelming majority of Americans this is a non issue. What laws foreigners have in their country is their business."

    Is this a joke Marcus?

    The US has not only expressed its views over foreigners laws, it has INVADED numerous countries over the years to change them.

    Yet you are criticizing us for merely expressing our horror at the fact that the USA is so crime-ridden that its citizens feel the need to carry weapons as we once did in the Middle Ages?

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  • 182. At 10:42am on 11 Mar 2010, MacA wrote:

    This is all about the culture of fear in America. I can certainly understand the desire to protect oneself but it seems to me that the desire to 'feel safe by arming yourself' has overridden simple common sense and a respect for human life.

    An American friend explained to me how he has a gun mounted on his bedroom wall aimed at the top of the stairs. If he hears a noise on the stairs when everyone should be in bed he pulls the trigger! NUTS!!!!

    We have violent people here too but it's a lot easier to run from a knife or baseball bat than from a gun. I've yet to hear of any school massacres carried out with a knife or stick.

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  • 183. At 10:44am on 11 Mar 2010, John UK wrote:

    'When they outlaw guns, only the outlaws will have guns.'
    A corny US bumper sticker, but SO true here in the UK today.
    How did we come to this parlous state? Since WW2 The Home Office had never been happy with private handgun ownership in the UK, why? A secret Home Office report in the 60s (with the cold war at its height) deplored the idea that in a post-apocolypse UK the citizenry might forage for food and supplies using their guns when the Government needed to be sure only they had weapons to control access to scarce resources. Hence, the Dunblane incident was seized on by the Home Office mandarins and they got their way, assisted by the laudably-motivated but misinformed Snowdrop campaigners who Labour alowed to address their party conference as a vote catcher slot.
    Since handguns were banned in the UK in 1997 illegal importation and use of guns has soared. How can that be?? Simple. Because criminals don't obey laws nomatter how draconian you make them. The impact of the 1997 act was simply to deprive law-abiding citizens of their guns and enabled the Government to say "We've addressed the problem." The problem wasn't the legitimate ownership of handguns, it was the illegitamate ownership and very little has been done to address that. Hence, in the UK, only outlaws now carry guns. And successive governments don't trust their own citizens.
    So three cheers for those in the US who are increasingly casting a leery eye over to Europe, rightly concerned that someone (good intentions aside, Mr Obama) is plotting to attempt to turn their country into a lawless, failed socialist paradise.

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  • 184. At 10:44am on 11 Mar 2010, R wrote:

    You have to think about the violence logically, the amnount of harm done per victim and the number of victims achievable in the time it takes to stop the criminal. Yes a criminal can do significant damage without a gun, but he can be stopped easier and quicker. Just ask the parents at Dunblaine who’s children were masacred 14 years ago on Saturday.

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  • 185. At 10:45am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 186. At 10:46am on 11 Mar 2010, iMarc wrote:

    This story seems to have drawn out too great a proportion of the pro-gun agenda fanatic fringe who resort to name calling and less than rational arguments. While they certainly have every right to express their opinions, I find it quite embarrassing, as an American, to be so heavily represented here by people of that mentality.

    And, as for the Europeans who seem to be under the impression that Americans, or at least midwestern Americans, are so very different from themselves, you had best think again. You might be quite surprised to find that most of the friendly people here are in fact your distant relatives. After all, a majority of the population of the midwest is directly descended from German, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish immigrants who settled here 140 to 160 years ago and Polish and Irish immigrants who arrived a bit later. Of the state of Wisconsin's 5.6 million population, 42.6 percent are descendants of German immigrants (1990 US Census data). It's also the reason Wisconsin is known for the quality of it's cheese, it's beer (Pabst, Miller, Schlitz, Leinenkugel), and why it's America's only source for bratwurst. It's the reason that lefse and lutefisk church dinners remain popular throughout the midwest and Johnson, Anderson, Olson and Nelson are the most common surnames. It's why people here say "gezundheit" if you sneeze and "Ya" (Ja) when answering in the affirmative. You see? We aren't really as "foreign" as you might think.

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  • 187. At 10:46am on 11 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    101 AllenT2 wrote
    "and how I feel about our right to bear arms is none of your business."


    Allen, my dear chap, you appear to be losing it ..... if your opinions are none of our (=non US citizens) business, then kindly stop posting them on a British website blog!


    and also
    108 AllenT2 wrote: (in response to Andrew)
    "We are called Americans, by the way."


    It may shock you to know their is no country called America ... it is a continent (or maybe two for the geographically pedantic).
    Canadians, Mexicans, Hondurans, Brazilians, Colombians and many others are all Americans too.

    If you wish to be distinguished fom the others, then you are "US citizens" - if want a better word for yourselves then come up with one.

    Don't the Spanish speakers call you "Statunitensi" or something - seems to make more sense to me. After all, it's a bit "arrogant" (one of your favorite words) to claim the rights to a whole continent!!!!



    That's all from me - this topic has been done to death in the past and I haven't the time to go over it all again.

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  • 188. At 10:47am on 11 Mar 2010, MactheBoer wrote:

    As a Scot that has lived in South Africa for many years and has travelled tp America I applaud the "Right to own and bear arms" enshrined in their constitution. I especiallly applaud the actions of the gun loving fraternity that fight so hard to protect these rights. I am a multiple gun owner and erive great pleasure from both sport shooting and hunting. I also carry a .45 auto for self defence purposes. Under SA law this must be concealed. I would prefer much more freedom to own and use weapons both in the UK and in South Africa. Currently the restrictions on obtaining firearms in South Africa have become intolerable amidst an ever rising rate of violent crime. This is the misfortune of living in a land with a marxist orientated government with an ideology of removing firearms from the public.

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  • 189. At 10:47am on 11 Mar 2010, Tom wrote:

    Wow, what an amazing amount of strong feelings. I will add mine to the pire.

    I, being European, think that nearly all European politics and culture is superior to American politics and culture. I have observed the US through the lens of European media and for the most part found it wanting. Thats not to say that I am not open to being disuaded and there are a surprising number of reasonable Amercian voices here, on what is ostensibly a UK only website.

    To those who tell us to mind our own business and decry the BBC: You should probably stop being a hypocrit and do the same. The vast majority of Brits love the BBC for its comparatively impartial reporting and high quality, intelligent programing. Unlike the most powerful broadcasters in the US for which the term "lowest common denominator" doesn't come close. I'm looking at you Mr Murdoch.

    For me the arguments taking place here goes beyond gun laws ands boil down to one major difference between Europe and the US. A lot of American posters have used Europe's less than salubrious past as an indicator of US superiority, or at least as a weakening factor in any European argument.

    An important fact to remember about Europes dark past is that it happened for a long time and only stopped a short while ago. We as a group of nations have evolved from barbarian tribes, to the greatest most powerful countries in the world and had that power taken away by our own hubris. Despite the worst pride and vanity displayed by all of us we have very quickly come to a point where we get along pretty well and are greater than the sum of our parts. We are able to see our past actions for what they were. The worst kind of vanity and pride. With this new vision we are also able to see it elsewhere. In a word, Europe has access to that most rare of qualities. Humility. Thats not to say that Europe is perfect, but its history and evolution to this point, mean that it does not weild the biggest stick any more and so the attitudes that come with such a position are negated.

    Conversley the US has had none of the benefits of such a huge fall. It has gone from nothing to the bigest something in the world with nary a hitch. This means that despite protestations of "we never called ourselves an empire" it acts exactly as if it does.

    The land mass covered by the US would be called an empire by any historical standard. How many peoples were subjugated and disowned - and who are still largely second class citizens - to create it? The moral and economic certainty with which the US deals with the rest of the world mirrors that of the British Empire. In both cases outside and inside criticism is not aceptable by most because by many standards, mostly self regarding ones, each country is/was a pre-eminent autority.

    Europe understands the US, it just knows that its moral rectitude is indefencible. The US does not understand the EU because they have never experienced the loss and humiliation of utter self defeat.

    A somewhat un focused point but one which underpins a lot of the conflict across the Atlantic.

    Thanks for reading.

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  • 190. At 10:48am on 11 Mar 2010, Malone wrote:

    @ ZanO 10:13 - you utter loon!!

    Blood soaked streets of London?? Where?!?! Rain soaked? Definitely. Blood soaked? I think not. I've lived in the UK all my life and after six years of living in London I cannot recall seeing any blood spilt on the streets that I've walked down...

    And just get over yourself will you? I can almost hear your high pitched, whiny, defensive and irrational tone of voice as you type. As someone else pointed out - this is a BRITISH site, with BRITISH opinions. If you don't like them then don't read them - simple!!

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  • 191. At 10:51am on 11 Mar 2010, mitty_w wrote:

    The American Constitution was written in the 18th century. We are in the 21st century, for crying out loud. Society has changed. Humans have changed. There are no frontiers.

    What's the difference between these 'constitutionalists' and the jihadis in the middle east? Zero. OBL et al dream of Caliphates, an age where people carried swords, these people dream of Shane, where a real 'man' was a gunslinger.

    Hypocrisy just jumped off the cliff. I'm not a certified psychologist, but if this isn't the manifestation of some deep rooted insecurity, I'd be very surprised.

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  • 192. At 10:51am on 11 Mar 2010, Tom wrote:

    I am so glad I live in the UK with sensible gun laws

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  • 193. At 10:52am on 11 Mar 2010, Belgian_Biscuit wrote:

    ZanO wrote:

    "I have no apologies that we embrace Darwin, science and survival of the fittest. The UK should apologize for rejecting nature and subsidizing the lives of the weak and unproductive."

    Embrace Darwin? This from the home of the creationist nutters. They say he's a heretic for suggesting the Earth is older than 10,000 years. Over here they are virtually non-existent - in the USA they are the mainstream.

    Of course many of these then go on to argue global warming isn't man made because the Earth was much warmer "millions" of years ago.

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  • 194. At 10:52am on 11 Mar 2010, Tom wrote:

    Also, wow. Zano is really angry. Maybe he should chill out a bit and see the article for what it is. Its a small slice of a small slice of American culture.

    The BBC is far from a state mouthpiece. In fact, if you did a bit of research you find that it is the most critical voice of Government policy on TV. It is funded by a tax, but it is not controlled by the state. It is also the most respected broadcaster in the world bar none.

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  • 195. At 10:53am on 11 Mar 2010, barbel10 wrote:

    It saddens me that this subject has caused so many ill feelings between the Americans and British people commenting on this. For one it doesnt provide opinions on any of the issues raised and secondly we should remember how much we have supported each other in the past!

    From a British point of view (which my I add has been so jaded by the never ending flow of American TV shows showing over here such as CSI etc!) Americans have the stereotype of being a gun mad/obsessed nation with high levels of Gun crime.

    In Britain this is totally alien to us for obvious reasons. May I also add that having been to the states on a number of occasions this stereotype is completely WRONG! The vast majority of Americans are law abiding citizens and genuine, friendly people as are the vast majority of citizens in the other nations on this earth! I have never seen anyone in the states other than the Police carrying a weapon as I am sure most people have not.

    Unfortunately the stereotype will be hard to shake off (as always it is the few spoiling it for the many) and in Britain we find it hard to accept that it is legal to own a handgun because it has never been socially accepted.

    My personal opinion is that people should not be allowed to carry a handgun and I certainly would not feel safe going to the local shops and being surrounded by people carrying guns, however I also feel that if people have the right to do something then they should do it and fight for their right to do it! Is the problem not the fact that people carry guns but the fact that is socially acceptable to use them for the wrong reasons?

    Various people are right on this page, it isnt any of our business on "this side of the pond" but sometimes its good to see the views of someone looking in from outside of the window.

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  • 196. At 10:55am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 197. At 10:57am on 11 Mar 2010, That Singing Guy wrote:

    ZanO, I think you may be the most reprehensible person I've read on these forums. In the course of your posts, which, by and large, have done nothing to further the debate at hand (with the exception of 109), but only to offend, divide and provoke, you have insulted not just the British, but the Turks and other Europeans, not to mention Mardell himself. I think the cold must have gotten to your brain. Statements on the UK like "a mere gnat you must pray it never pleases us to swat" prove that yours is precisely the kind of arrogance that provides ammunition to the anti-American lobby around the world (of which I do not count myself, as I am moving there soon enough). Post 127 in particular shows a remarkably fascistic tendency, the sort which you appear to deride in your reference to wars in 133, not to mention, as pointed out in 156, as gross a miscomprehension of Darwin's meaning of fittest as you accuse many of having of the reading of the 2nd Amendment. Not everyone gets the same chances to be a 'productive' member of society, you know, even in America.

    Frankly, it's hard to work out whether you're just trolling, or whether you genuinely are as misanthropic, megalomaniacal and ridiculous as you appear to be.

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  • 198. At 10:57am on 11 Mar 2010, Guido42 wrote:

    @ ZanO

    I'm sure there are some very good anger management classes in the U.S. Can I suggest you attend one?

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  • 199. At 10:58am on 11 Mar 2010, Tom wrote:

    I cant believe I'm posting for a third time in a row but it needs to be said. Crikey Zano, you really are crankey. The problem with rapist etc in Britain, i'm sure like the US, is grossly overestimated and hyped up by the non "state funded mouth piece" media organisations. At the risk of jumping to conclusions, it apears like News International has done their job well on you, Zano.

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  • 200. At 11:00am on 11 Mar 2010, londonunderground wrote:

    The different dreams could mean different things for each of you. The gun can be a phallic symbol. The gun can also be a symbol of control or power and you and your friends maybe feeling powerless in your personal lives.

    Try to think what it could be referring to in your lives and think what you can do to get control of the situation. The fact that your brother dreamt of a hotdog, which is clearly another phallic image, could also be sexually related. Make sure there isn't anyone you know who has some control in your life and who is trying to take sexual advantage of you or your friends.

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  • 201. At 11:00am on 11 Mar 2010, SelwynSpur - Taxi for Maicon wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII:
    "[Europeans] are basically submissive people who will do whatever their government dictates to them"

    Tell that to Ceausescu.

    Yes, when have the European people ever revolted against their leaders? Apart from the fall of the Eastern Bloc, obviously. Come to think of it, there was the Prague Spring and the uprisings in Hungary and East Berlin. Oh, and the overthrow of the Tsar in Russia. I suppose you'd also have to include 1848, too. Maybe the French Revolution as well. Possibly the beheading of Charles I in England, and the Glorious Revolution come to think of it.

    I suppose all that pales into insignificance against the American Revolution and people not wanting to give up the right to bear arms.


    Moby and ZanO:
    http://www.infertrust.org/AdvHTML_Upload/firearms%20ownership%20scatter%20graph%20100.JPG

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  • 202. At 11:01am on 11 Mar 2010, mitty_w wrote:

    "I can guarantee if I am going to my car late at night and someone sees me carrying a gun they won't make me a victim."

    Madam, criminals carry guns as well, because they are guaranteed it by the 2nd Amendment too, and they are likely to shoot better. What's your quickdraw speed? Can you take out a guy who pulls a gun from behind you?

    You are more likely to be safe if you AND the criminal are unarmed. Maybe knowledge of some exotic martial art? It's healthier and more likely to surprise the criminal. If you have a gun a criminal would expect you to shoot, and will be prepared. If you aren't unarmed, he'd be attcaking a woman with a secret knowledge of, say, muay thai. Knowledge is power these days.

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  • 203. At 11:01am on 11 Mar 2010, Nick Cooper wrote:

    62/Moby wrote:

    "So, how is murder-free Britain coming along now that guns have become unavailable?"

    Thanks for asking. The England & Wales homicide rate hovers around 14 per million people, and only around 7% involve firearms. In the US the homicide rate is around 60 per million people, and 70% involve firearms.

    In 2005/06 (Apr-to-Mar) there were 768 homicides in England & Wales, including the 7/7 bombings. In 2005 there were 16,692 homicdes in the United States. If E&W had the US rate, it would have had around 3,300 dead a year; if the US had the E&W rate, they would have had "only" around 3,900 each year. Go figure.

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  • 204. At 11:01am on 11 Mar 2010, niall_g wrote:

    "We also have plenty of bears, and other wildlife, in America, unlike where you are likely from."

    Inane comments like that show why this argument will never be won by the reformists unfortunately.

    How many school massacres etc. have to take place before John Doe releases that the intention of the amendment was to allow citizens to bear arms as part of a militia.

    I love many things about America but their gun laws are not one of them.

    Part of the problem is that there are 51 legal systems in the US and each and every one has at the top of it a Court which judges solely whether legislation is constitutional or not. Within that court there are Judges like Thomas and Scalia who do not interpret that document as written but try to put themselves in the position of the people who drafted the Constitution and the amendments and say what they think the writers meant!

    No one is, as far as I can see, saying don't stop hunting or other gun based activities. Rather what people are questioning the need for people in towns to have powerful weapons. There is no need for any private citizen to own weapons like AK47s.

    As someone once said "anyone who wants to own a gun should not be allowed to".

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  • 205. At 11:01am on 11 Mar 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    A Glock is a nice weapon.... about a thousand dollars worth. The question is (purely hypothetically mods... I'm not ACTUALLY threatening anyone) whether the guy carrying it could draw it, cock it, take the safety catch off before I (walking up behind him in the street) stuck a $10 steak knife in his back and took his glock? I bet its worth far more and is of more use to a mugger than whats in his wallet.

    The problem with gun use is that its like car use. The majority of drivers drive pretty badly (and as I have no other hang ups I'll admit I'm pretty mediocre) yet when asked to rate their driving ability most men will claim to be well above average. Its the same with gun use. Most civilians do not have the training, instinct and ability to use a gun better than an attacker. I would be very surprised if Kim Garney could hit anything at more than 5 feet with her "Smith and Wesson .38 special with a cute pink grip", however the bullet will kill anything it hits within half a mile so if she ever DOES whip it out to 'defend herself' in the supermarket then God help anyone else in the store with her.

    Incidentally my driving might be mediocre but my gun use isn't (or wasn't). I carried an SA80 assault rifle then (as I was rated in the top 5% of shots in the British army) a light machine gun including 4 months in a war zone. I was trained for a year to safely use a weapon and had annual exams to make sure I still knew how to use it. How many of these 'open carry' people can say the same?

    The main reason the US have so many gun deaths is a lack of discipline. You all want to be Clint Eastwood in a spagetti western. In switzerland virtually everyone has an assault rifle and 400 rounds of ammo under the bed. Because the Swiss aren't a pack of cowboys and all recieve professional military training they leave the assault rifle under the bed when they go to the shops and reserve 'their right to bear arms' until the Red Army is heading towards the alps. They have one of the worlds lowest murder rates. Sadly Brits with guns resemble their US cousins too much.

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  • 206. At 11:01am on 11 Mar 2010, squeelymc wrote:

    Well, I have some sympathy with some of our American cousins on here.

    As a Brit who has American family members, I've spent a fair amount of time living in the US. I, like nearly all Britons, find the ease of access to firearms quite alien and worrying.

    However, as a couple of posters have already pointed out - if that is the way Americans choose to live in their own country, who am I to criticise that? If I don't like it (which I don't) then I can choose to live elsewhere (which I do!). It doesn't concern me, so why wind myself up into a state of moral indignation about it?

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  • 207. At 11:02am on 11 Mar 2010, James wrote:

    Apology accepted David Murrell, as a Austin powers fan you are forgiven. :-D

    I must ask the message board a general question also, since when did attacking a country with purile insults become defined as debate? Last time I checked debate was giving points to discus whilst looking at the topic at hand without name calling. Secondly as far as I am aware, the topic is not about a country it is about people taking murder weapons into the a super market (which is observed and in no way self defence)

    I'm sure this post will be responded to by a certain somone, probally telling us how rubish the UK is, how bad my spelling is or yet another deflection from two simple facts.

    1) That he is Trolling the sigh, which makes you wonder if he dislikes the UK so much why he/she is on a British site

    2) That he is classical deflecting onto the problems of Britain (the anarchy and war problems party due to the USA itself) and has gone off topic in more then one of his posts, he even went as low as to compare weapon holding rights with the rights of Muslims, women, Jews and people who are not white of skin.

    To the poster of those many posts, you know who you are sir.
    1) try looking at other peoples statistics posted up
    2) It is true Europe has had many wars (The UK is stuck in your legal invasion now). But how many lives were lost in the wars against the communist domino effect? further more how many of those wars were won.
    3) In one of your deflections you mentioned that Europe hates the UK, The UK believe it or not is closer to them then the USA geography and culturally.
    4) USA is not the only country with wild animals
    5) If you check your history books, (not the historicity flawed war films that USA produces..) you will see that the British and further more Europeans are competent poulterers, killers and inventors even today. As a general rule we just tend to minimize the killing, and don't in general resort to savage violence or death unless we have too.

    Good day Mr ZanO
    P.s.: If you really do dislike Britain so much, why even bother going on a British website? You'r logic does baffle me sir.

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  • 208. At 11:02am on 11 Mar 2010, Tom wrote:

    really fascinating stats from Nick at 132. They appear quite revealing about which side of the argument holds more water.

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  • 209. At 11:03am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 210. At 11:03am on 11 Mar 2010, iMarc wrote:

    I would like to suggest to Mark Mardell that he attend a lutefisk-lefse dinner at a rural Norwegian Lutheran church in Wisconsin or Minnesota to get a more accurate impression of midwesterners, as well as a source for a humorous story. Don't worry. They always serve ham or meatloaf for those who are squeamish about eating lutefisk (rehydrated and boiled dried herring imported from Norway). Not even my Norwegian grandmother wouldn't eat the stuff. She said it tasted the way it does because while the fish was drying on racks in the sun, dogs who were attracted to the "fragrant display" would lift their legs on the racked fish.

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  • 211. At 11:04am on 11 Mar 2010, HonestIago wrote:

    @Michelle #81

    "The good old US of A is actually one of the oldest nations as far as our modern concept of a nation is concerned (liberal democratic principles, representative government, a written constitution, bill of rights, etc), as we were founded as a direct product of the Enlightenment...our constitution was therefore one of the first. Countries like Germany, Italy, and pretty much the rest of the world minus Britain and France are technically much younger, as their modern constitutions were ratified at least 100 years after ours."

    You're confusing polity with nation-state here. The current German Bundesrepublik has existed for just over 60 years, but the Germans have been a nation for much longer than that, arguably since the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire. Similarly the current French polity, the 5th Republic is only 50-odd years old, but it would be completely wrong to claim that France is a young nation.

    However, talking about the age of a country as if it counts for anything isn a bit of a distraction and pretty condescending. People define a country, not the date on bits of paper.

    As for gun control: America has a body of law and tradition and it's wrong for anyone to try and impose anything different. However, I wouldn't feel safe somewhere where guns were omnipresent, they're just too dangerous. Sure a knife can kill someone, but guns open up the possibility of killing sprees in a way knives don't.

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  • 212. At 11:06am on 11 Mar 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mr Mardell, being a UK Citizen I am more than a little confused on this issue of the Second Amendment & the 'Right to bear Arms'.

    Is it the intention of couples such as Clark & Garny plus the Wisconsin Open Carry to enforce the interpretation of a right of US Citizens to carry Weapons anywhere?

    'Open Carry' = Take a Firearm anywhere in public: If so, doesn't that actually mean it is not a crime for Bank Robber to walk into a Bank with a Firearm!?
    It only becomes a 'crime' when they use the Firearm in an attempt to steal from the Bank!?

    Just how logically extreme will some of American society go before they grasp the fundamental fact that LESS Weapons in Public and not more is the way to ensure LESS Gun Crime!?

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  • 213. At 11:07am on 11 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Who do we need guns against?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8561148.stm

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  • 214. At 11:07am on 11 Mar 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    98. At 08:16am on 11 Mar 2010, PaulR52 wrote:

    'We founded a nation on the premise that "All men are created equal." '

    The amusing part of that being that most of the signatories kept slaves and in the case of several of them (esp Ben Franklin) fathered kids with their slaves. It was 1965 before you actually passed the laws than made all men equal.

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  • 215. At 11:10am on 11 Mar 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    ZanO – well actually it was coined by Spencer (in reference to Darwin’s ideas on natural selection) AND used by Darwin. For reference Darwin used the term in the 5th edition of Origin of the Species (1869). I am glad I can help you on your lacking education, in that bid it is Atlantic not Altnatic. Since you are obviously aware of Spencer’s work, you are also obviously aware of the actual meaning of the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ and thus know that you usage is incorrect (indeed it turns the term into a tautology).

    Since you are so well versed, Mini-Marcus, in European affairs which generalissimo has caused you concern in the last few years?

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  • 216. At 11:13am on 11 Mar 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    34. At 04:02am on 11 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "In Britain they don't trust them with the kind of power the right to vote grants either. That's why they've had no referendum on the EU constitution or the Lisbon treaty. If the citizens were armed and deniedthe chance to save their sovereignty over themselves when the government gave it away to Brussels, they might have gone down to that flakey green chamber of horrors they call a house of commons in armed insurrection. Small wonder it scares them. One Revolution in 233 years is one revolution too many for them. They wouldn't have wanted that to happen again."
    The use of firearms in helping the US democratic process along is famous throughout the world, having killed four Presidents and fired at numerous others.When Right-wing US gun owners had their big chance to defend the Constitution, for example in insisting that votes be counted, due legal process for terrorist suspects followed, silly things like that, they were remarkably silent. Although to be fair they did campaign against the Government wanting to check if someone was a terrorist before letting them have a firearm.In fact US gun owners have only risen up against their Government once when someone wanted to stop them having slaves
    An armed population don't stop tyranical Goverments. In fact in China, Cuba, Soviet Russia, Vietnam, Korea, Afghansitan, Revolutionary France, it was an armed population that created them.
    "I'd bet much of the American revolution was fought by people using their own guns aginst the British Redcoats and Hessians. I don't know if Washington's army had to supply all of the arms. I'm betting many Americans used their own. Where would our greatest mythical heroes be without their guns? Davey Crockett. Daniel Boone. Wyatt Earp. Quick Draw McGraw (El Kabong for those old enough to remember :-) "
    Much of the American revolution was fought by the French Army helped by French naval blockade. And the American Separatists (obviously Americans don't acknowlege the other half the population who were quite happy with Britsh rule and paying taxes so the British army could defend them from French Canada) fought using standard 18th Century miliary tactics. It wasn't a few farmers hiding in the woods taking pot shots. Obviously myths are important to Americans as they prefer to choose them over historical facts (or indeed any sort of facts).

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  • 217. At 11:14am on 11 Mar 2010, jobsagoodin wrote:

    Zano0 #166

    'ME LAUGH AT THIS STUFF'. Not half. Please keep the posts coming.

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  • 218. At 11:15am on 11 Mar 2010, Joe Hardy wrote:

    I've never joined in with a Have Your Say topic before, but felt compelled to today!

    I'm British, living in the UK (that North Atlantic Province thing)
    and I think that maybe something fundamental is being missed here. Several contributors have pointed out how Europeans / "Foreigners" people have no right to criticize American culture. (No.87 perhaps, other examples from elsewhere exist.) I'm proud that the discussion boards of the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation facilitate this sort of stance, and that some Americans feel the need for our silly little old island's international news contributions - however they choose to express it, they've still had to read this "State owned media" outlet's website. I can't remember the last time I chose the free American press over Aunty (Which I'm happy to pay for as part of the British Licence fee - See those adverts? I don't...)

    Nuclear Deterrent? Not ALL the Allies had one in 1946, funny that...

    No superpower goes on forever, Britain certainly knows!

    What ever it comes down to, Why should we attack each other's nationality? We're all human at the end of the day. American citizens carrying guns doesn't affect my day to day life, though it might discourage me from travelling there (not that that would make any difference in the slightest to America)
    Can't we all just get a long?

    What is a gun's function if not to kill? Yes that could act as a deterrent, but surely if everyone out there has a gun, and a "bad person" wishes to commit crimes on people, doesn't it force them to at least consider whether they themselves need to be armed too? Surely the Right to Bear Arms means that it is safer to assume that someone has a gun than to assume that they are unarmed?

    Yes there's gun crime in the UK, and knife crime (which is pretty nasty too, but still rare) I don't feel scared on the street that anyone has a gun, and that feeling of safety - call it ignorance if you will - is preferable to me than having to carry around a mechanical implement primarily designed to facilitate the extinction of a life.

    Plus I have the knowledge (as everyone else in this country does) that if somehow I AM shot, there's a wonderful, free, universal healthcare service to deal with treating me, without having to find out who I'm insured with and if I can pay. Some UK citizens believe in and fight for their National Health Service, and Some American citizens believe in and fight for the Second Amendment.

    Are these two things comparable in the passion they install in people? perhaps.
    Is one more important than another? Who can say...

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  • 219. At 11:16am on 11 Mar 2010, Matt wrote:

    @22 - HabitualHero wrote:

    "America would be a much nicer place if their constitution insisted on the right to arm bears instead."

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    How does our right to bear arms affect you if you are not American?

    We also have plenty of bears, and other wildlife, in America, unlike where you are likely from.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    I can see the humor of Habitualhero's quote was wasted on you then!:-) Ah well i thought it was funny anyway, and yes i agree with you HH!!

    Serious point now, ill tell you how your right to bear arms affects us shall i. Look at the knife crime, gun crime, gangster culture and general unrest we have in this country (UK) nowadays. Where would you say that influence has come from? hmmmmm let me think now. People like you are so ignorant and insular, you think that what you do in your country has no effect on the rest of the worlds population! Right to arm bears? im right behind that one!

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  • 220. At 11:19am on 11 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "I've been open carrying for about a year and most people don't notice"

    AllenT2 comments: "You said it yourself, people were staring because of your team and camera."


    Most Americans don't feel threatened when they see one of their own openly carrying a gun.


    But seeing a BBC crew openly carrying a swiched-on camera and following them through aisles...:)

    Now, that's another story. :)

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  • 221. At 11:20am on 11 Mar 2010, 19Ron66 wrote:

    My Goodness, don't you Americans get SO defensive when others form an opinion about you! Or 'poking our nose in' as some of you have so eloquantly put it. I will refrain from referring to the obvious: America's tendency to poke their nose into pretty much anything in the world (Iraq, Northern Ireland, etc).
    This article merely confirms my conviction to avoid your country like the plague. It is simple - 'law-abiding' citizens do NOT carry guns or any kind of weapons. A law-abiding society ensure that it has suitable and effective law-enforcement agencies to protect them. If citizens feel the need to carry weapons themselves, then their law-enforcement agencies have failed. Its as simple as that. And that pretty much applies to any country in the world.
    But go ahead, keep carrying them - the regular gun massacres occuring in your country make for great television viewing over here!

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  • 222. At 11:20am on 11 Mar 2010, IndaUK wrote:

    To answer the statements about killing wild bears, lions and feral dogs...

    I originally come from a UK farming area and I've seen sheep-worrying dogs killed with a shotgun. People's pets gunned down for taking needed stock away from a farmer. 12-bore, over and under shotguns. Boom. Boom.

    Pistols are for killing people at close range, not animals. They are designed to kill people, not defend against car-jackers. I don't understand why Americans don't accept this fact.

    I also don't understand why someone should lose their life for stealing a lump of metal.

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  • 223. At 11:23am on 11 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    In my opinion this has a lot more to do with paranoidal fears than with Second Amendment Rights.

    Most American cities and towns are not a battlefield, and most Americanm are not criminals ready to strike innocent victims. Unfortunately, the NRA and the arms industry concluded long ago that a climate of peace and civility is not good for their business and have been using fear to encourage people to buy and bear arms to defend themselves against imminent threats.

    Throw into the mix the growing distrust of government influenced by cynical claims and exaggerations made by political opportunists and special interests who do not hesitate to use fear to achieve their goals and the result is predictable: Columbine, the Holocaust museus, the Pentagon and many other irrational acts of violence facilitated and made worse by the availabity of lethal weapons to anyone with a drivers license and the money to buy them.

    As worrisome as seeing people bearing a gun in public and seeing large crowds in shooting ranges, what is truly scary are all the paramilitary groups training to "defend themselves" against the government.

    Fearmongering is used routinely to influence the outcome of a myriad of objectives ranging from foreign policy to social matters, and xenophobia and I doubt it will ever stop, even when we are faced with a dangerous trend that ought to worry every member of our society. This is not what a mature society ought to embrace, it is illogical, it is patently dangerous and it may easily facilitate the ability of unscrupulous individuals or groups to instigate an armed uprising with horrible consequences to the future of our country.

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  • 224. At 11:23am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    "If you wish to be distinguished fom the others, then you are "US citizens" - if want a better word for yourselves then come up with one."

    Attention - we are no longer to call Britons "Britons", for Free (non-occupied) Ireland also exists in the British Isles. Henceforth they must ONLY be referred to as "UKGBNI Citizens."

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  • 225. At 11:24am on 11 Mar 2010, WV6Z wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 226. At 11:25am on 11 Mar 2010, nosmit wrote:

    How tediously predictable. There's always somebody who wants to turn it into a "my country is better than yours because.." thread. If only we poor Imperialists had somebody like ZanO as some kind of goodwill ambassador- I'm sure we'd be as well liked and respected around the world as America is.

    I think I'd also look a little bit closer to home for Imperialism these days, if I was you, ZanO...

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  • 227. At 11:26am on 11 Mar 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    176. Lividov:

    "I would shout and scream at others to get out of the building while that armed man was there. He is intimidating and a threat mainly because of the erratic functionality of that organ located between his ears."

    *************
    I would consider this type of behavior "hysterical" and quickly move away from anyone shouting like this.

    Your irrational fear of someone is not justification for depriving someone of his rights. I would have thought we had established that fact decades ago.

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  • 228. At 11:27am on 11 Mar 2010, Patricia US wrote:

    I’m an American living abroad and with more liberal views. Unfortunately, these “gun-toting” Americans are going to rant and rave about their rights to carry a gun particularly as long as the NRA has a lot of money. The facts show us the US has more gun-related deaths than in other industrial country. I would expect that, although they defend their rights to exercise the 2nd Amendment most of them probably don’t know the other first 4 important Amendments.

    This isn’t an argument about protecting ourselves (statically guns don’t really help protect) or the 2nd Amendment. The Americans have a stubborn attitude and self righteous and generally don’t like when the law tells them what to do. I remember how they protested against the seat-belt law.

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  • 229. At 11:27am on 11 Mar 2010, justmyopinion wrote:

    To be honest, this sort of thing makes me feel terrible for people like the couple featured in this article. Imagine not being able to go food shopping without the fear of being shot/kidnapped/raped or whatever. When I leave my house, my main concerns are traffic, weather(I live in Ireland) or finding parking. These guys are so paranoid, they fear for their life everytime they leave the house. Imagine living life that paranoid and scared of your fellow citizen, in an apparently free and safe society. I pity gun toting, paranoid Americans, I really do.

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  • 230. At 11:28am on 11 Mar 2010, Bruce wrote:

    ZanO,

    Speaking as an Englishman, I would like to say that I am enjoying and agreeing with almost everything you have written on this thread.

    Depressing but true. Keep it up!

    If you write a blog I would love to have the address?

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  • 231. At 11:30am on 11 Mar 2010, jobsagoodin wrote:

    Admit it Zano0, you're just jealous of our superior intellect, culture and way of life. I mean, everyone knows it's been all down hill in the US since 1776.

    Never mind, we don't bear grudges. I'm sure we'd be more than happy to pop over and sort you out once you realise what a foolish mistake you made.

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  • 232. At 11:30am on 11 Mar 2010, AndreaNY wrote:

    186. iMarc:

    "This story seems to have drawn out too great a proportion of the pro-gun agenda fanatic fringe who resort to name calling and less than rational arguments. While they certainly have every right to express their opinions, I find it quite embarrassing, as an American, to be so heavily represented here by people of that mentality. "

    **************

    Talk about an embarrassing mentality.

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  • 233. At 11:32am on 11 Mar 2010, brendanstallard wrote:

    "inadequate politicians. They cut down guns but they've got bodyguards."

    Mark,

    There you have it, sir!

    I carry all the time here in Atlanta, as a carry concealed licensee, lawful and responsible.

    Just as when I was an (armed) UK police officer, lawful and responsible.

    If the UK allowed open carry of firearms, things would get a LOT more polite on the streets. Perhaps never as civilised as here in Atlanta, but a step forward:)




    brendan

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  • 234. At 11:32am on 11 Mar 2010, dwightschmuck wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 235. At 11:33am on 11 Mar 2010, Pete wrote:

    "66. At 06:11am on 11 Mar 2010, Moby wrote:

    How many shops in the U.S. ban Jews from entering? None. How many prohibit women? None. How many block blacks from shopping? Zero. Why? Because that would violate those individuals' constitutional rights. Businesses cannot selectively violate individual civil liberties because they don't like them. The right to own and bear arms cannot be discarded by a business just as the right for a Jew or Catholic or Muslim to shop at that store is protected."

    --------

    The difference is that a Jewish person, or a Woman, or a Black person has no greater capacity to harm someone...unlike someone who is carrying a gun.

    As for self defense, i would rather be shot dead than risk shooting someone else in crossfire

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  • 236. At 11:33am on 11 Mar 2010, Nick wrote:

    I love the fact that the 'TFS Magnum' links use 'The Sun' and 'The Daily Mail' as sources. :-D

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  • 237. At 11:35am on 11 Mar 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    I am I really alone on these shores that I don’t care if Americans carry guns? I mean I don’t understand the mentality behind some Americans apparent psychological need to have them. And whilst I get the self-defence angle, I am not convinced that I would ever want one to protect myself from a person at least, a bear yes (even then I think my first instinct would be to try and use the gun to scare the beast, rather than try and kill it).

    It seems that some American are taking a typical British anti-gun mentality (a mentality not generally shared by our continental cousins) as a condemnation of them, rather than a general belief that anyone having guns, irrespective of the nationality, is a bad thing.

    As I have said previously I have friends have, or have had, guns in the UK (quite legally) I have voiced my same disquiet about gun ownership to them. For me at least it not a Brit vs American thing, it is a personal issue with gun ownership. I’m sorry if this disappoints anyone, please feel free to continue telling me how rubbish Britain is, the British are, or indeed that I am not a real man, after all I am 35 not 15 school ground insults have rather lost their edge.

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  • 238. At 11:36am on 11 Mar 2010, Julian wrote:

    55. At 05:32am on 11 Mar 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    "Does being your own person, as reflected by this ability to be legitimately armed, hold any value for you?"

    If I lived in the Wild West I guess it would, but I live in a civilized country where fear of being a victim of violent crime is no more of a concern than being mown down by a drunken driver.

    What I find most alarming about this is not that ordinary people are walking around with guns on their belts but the fact that they feel it necessary to have the right to.

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  • 239. At 11:36am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 240. At 11:36am on 11 Mar 2010, CathyWeasley wrote:

    Quote from article: "The Second Amendment gives teeth to the rest of the constitution, it keeps tyranny at bay. I do feel it is under threat, not just from within the USA but from the UN - their small arms treaty would restrict hand gun ownership in the United States."

    Surely a constitution that requires the citizens of a country to arm themselves in order to keep tyranny at bay is fundamentally flawed. The point of democracy, which some Americans seem to have forgotten is, that the people vote for their leaders and that keeps tyranny at bay.

    If they need to carry a gun to feel safe then I would say that is a sad reflection on their society.

    If they feel confident that they could live with an innocent person being killed as a result of their choice to carry a gun then I would say that it is a sad reflection on their sense of justice.

    Those who live by the sword die by the sword - well that goes for guns too - and is borne out by the facts - more Americans (proportionately speaking) are killed by firearms that Britons, whose gun laws are very tight.

    What I find most disturbing is the determination of America to go "all guns blazing" into any country whose government they do not like, and attempt to put arms restrictions on other countries.

    Why should the only country that has ever used a nuclear weapon in war complain when other countries arm themselves with nuclear weapons - afterall is that not "the American way" - to arm oneself to keep tyranny at bay?

    Someone needs to tell America to get off the moral high ground. Their country was born in resistance to tyranny but they are now the tyrants.

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  • 241. At 11:36am on 11 Mar 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    196. At 10:55am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:
    "I'd like to point out that for the past 60 years or so the only nation going berserk with its army on a regular basis has been the USA, unfortunately." -

    And we have cast the shadow of our hand across the whole of the globe, unchallenged. We have ordered your pathetic armies into the field to clear a way for us as mere fodder to the slaughter. You claim your independence but never act it because, in the dark corridors and recesses of power, you have no more independence from us than a slave has from the queen bee. We have smashed our opponents with the iron fist of our will. If the fantasy day were ever to come when Britain were ever able to muster the courage to act from us in independence more than cosmetic you would be utterly obliterated with a whisper. When you reach up with your vaunted, enlightened hands you will see what true power is; in roar of shell and shrapnel and whine of machine guns will our answer be couched. We will crush you down under our heel and walk upon your faces."




    And thats why we don't like you carrying so many guns. Fortunately US educational standards are so poor that most of you could never find the UK on a map so we're pretty safe for the time being.

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  • 242. At 11:38am on 11 Mar 2010, Jim McDermott wrote:

    Look,

    Something like 30,000 Americans die from gunshot wounds each year. So will you all just please leave the Second Amendment and its valuable work alone?

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  • 243. At 11:38am on 11 Mar 2010, NoneMoreBlack wrote:

    If you need to carry a handgun to feel safe going to your local shop - or walking to your front door from your car - you need to move house and live somewhere else.

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  • 244. At 11:40am on 11 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re "No one is wearing uniforms, so how do you know who is on whose side?"



    The safe bet is that the one pointing a gun at a cashier and yelling: 'open the register, m..f..r!' is not you side, even if wears a Canali suit and Bruno Magli loafers, whereas the guy who points a piece at him and warns: 'hands up, or I'll shoot!' IS, even if he wears a worn out pair of jeans and an old T-shirt.


    P.S. Can anybody tell me what does British Consititution say about Britons right to carry KNIVES?

    And whether someone needs a permit and a special training to carry one?

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  • 245. At 11:40am on 11 Mar 2010, nosmit wrote:

    @John UK

    "The problem wasn't the legitimate ownership of handguns, it was the illegitamate ownership and very little has been done to address that. Hence, in the UK, only outlaws now carry guns. And successive governments don't trust their own citizens."

    I do partly agree with you, John. Despite the usual nincompoops crawling out from under their rocks, wanting to turn this into another "GO USA- EUROPE SUCKS!" type debate, I do see your point- and the point of Americans who want to keep their guns.

    The only issue that I'd raise is that the high profile gun killings in the UK, that brought about the banning of hand guns, were committed by people using licensed firearms. As far as I'm concerned, the real failing wasn't that people were allowed to own guns- but that unsuitable people were allowed to own them.

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  • 246. At 11:42am on 11 Mar 2010, james Allen wrote:

    While Im sure most Americans are responsible with their weapons, where it concerns guns, most, isn't really good enough.

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  • 247. At 11:42am on 11 Mar 2010, Darwin wrote:

    As a Canadian living close to the state of Montana I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the strongest supporters of the second ammendment. They live in a country that was created by an armed revolution against a corrupt and overbearing government. They felt that it was not just a right to bear arms, but also a responsibility to preserve the rights that others had fought and died for.

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  • 248. At 11:43am on 11 Mar 2010, jam89es wrote:

    Here's a fun point aimed at a nation that is full of so many claiming to be christian... when jesus said love your enemies, i'm pretty sure he was kind of assuming not shooting them dead. Here is the question, if you subscribe to these views, why carry a gun?

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  • 249. At 11:44am on 11 Mar 2010, barbel10 wrote:

    ZanO you are very opinionated. Have you been to the U.K.? And if you have are you sure you werent just watching casualty when you saw the afore mentionaed bloodbath and thought it was the news?!

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  • 250. At 11:46am on 11 Mar 2010, Tom wrote:

    so many posters viewing the government as some monolithic rights abuser. Each government is formed from the citizenry. They are real people who are responding, usually as best they can (not necessarily well), to the needs and wants of the masses. The majority of UK citizens dont like or want guns in their lives. The majority of Americans clearly have little or no problem with it. Each government represents that as bes they can.

    And Zano, you really need to stop abusing people for their opinions. You superiority complex is showing. Well done showing how you have more knowledge than most posters here. You are also showing how much more you hate and overexagerate than most posters here. Your knowledge is laudable, the way you express it is vile. You probably could have won most of your arguments easily but you insist on inciting further criticism.

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  • 251. At 11:47am on 11 Mar 2010, Matt wrote:

    As expected, this section has quickly devolved into cheap shots from both sides. All I've learnt from this thread is:

    1) Europeans are submissive, weak citizens who will do anything their government tells them but (paradoxically) are about the descend into anarchy

    2) Americans, and fat, dumb rednecks who still think it's the wild west and probably want an excuse to shoot someone because that's what tv tells them is cool.

    Fascinating stuff.

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  • 252. At 11:48am on 11 Mar 2010, Guzzi wrote:

    What a sad state of affairs in the US when some of it's citizens feel so insecure within themselves they need to carry a gun. Unless you are a drug dealer you do not need to carry a gun for self protection in places like Wisconsin. They simply carry them project an image and a status to everyone they meet - they are the tiaras of the working class.

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  • 253. At 11:48am on 11 Mar 2010, nosmit wrote:

    Ok, ZanO- times for your meds, I think...

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  • 254. At 11:48am on 11 Mar 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 255. At 11:52am on 11 Mar 2010, Nick Cooper wrote:

    155/ZanO wrote:

    "Also, it may happy your brilliant little mind to know how murder rates are calculated in the EU North Sea Province. In the UK, once a person has been arrested, tried and convicted of murder, 1 homicide is added to UK stats. In the US, once a death has been ruled "suspicious", 1 homicide is added to US stats. Were an equal statistical measure used across both countries it's highly likely the reality of the street bloodbaths ongoing in the UK would get the happy treatment they deserve."

    You're wrong. The figures for homicide almost always quoted in the UK are those defined as, "initially recorded as homicide." There is a second set of figures, "currently recorded as homicide," that show the difference in light of further investigation/trial outcomes, but of course it can work both ways - a death that initially seemed to be an accident/suicide can, on further investigation, be redefined as a homicide.

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  • 256. At 11:53am on 11 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "A well regulated Internet being necessary to the security of Chinese State the right of the people to have free access to all existent portals shall be infringed upon and a well regulated milita will see to it."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "They're coming to take me away, haha! They're coming to take me away"

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  • 257. At 11:54am on 11 Mar 2010, leagueofgentlemen wrote:

    The universal response of the U.S. gun lobby seems to be : get off my land, this gun law thing is none of your business.

    But if "Might Makes Right" at a personal level, why not at country-level? In other words, traditionally the U.S. has gone in & taken weapons out of the hands of "arms-bearing citizens" in other countries. Or "Taleban" as we call them. Rightly so.

    Now that the U.S. is losing its hyper-power status in the 21st Century, what is the MORAL argument, that we in the civilised world shouldn't come in and just take the weapons from those in failed states like Wisconsin? After all, more people die of gunshot in Wisconsin than Yemen. "From my cold dead hands" doesn't cut it. As empires rise & fall, there will always come a time when we can, and with minimal casualties. You need a moral argument why we shouldn't do this.

    That moral argument is very simple. In a civilised society, or community of societies, the rule of law must be sovereign over the rule of violence or threatened violence. If you don't accept that, we don't accept your non-acceptance. By any means necessary.

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  • 258. At 11:55am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 259. At 11:57am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 260. At 12:01pm on 11 Mar 2010, Tom wrote:

    Zano is actually becomng quite funny. From a semi competent argument with supporters to a total crazy loner in the space of half an hour. To suggest that The US would or could crush anyone flys in the face of logic, reality and evidence. If they couldn't even "swat" Korea or Vietnam or Cuba or any other prospective satelite states, then they wouldn't manage it with anyone else. Its pointless even saying it. It wont happen.

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  • 261. At 12:03pm on 11 Mar 2010, toggers123 wrote:

    When I first read this article I thought they were protecting their "right to arm bears" this is just as crazy as changing the law in Virginia so that they can buy more then one handgun a month, but saying that...you can never have enough handguns

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  • 262. At 12:04pm on 11 Mar 2010, Stokeybloke wrote:

    Tell you what, at the moment criminals have to hide guns to commit crimes with, so what we will do because they might have them hidden is wear ours in the open so they can see we have guns and it will make them scared.

    But doesn't that mean that the crminals will be able to carry their guns in the open and shoot people more easily?

    Well, probably, but at least ill be able to shoot back.

    Not if you are dead you won't.

    Genius.

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  • 263. At 12:05pm on 11 Mar 2010, the_wind-up_bird wrote:

    "The real threat of crime is what it does to ourselves and our communities. No nation hiding behind locked doors is free, for it is imprisoned by its own fear. No nation whose citizens fear to walk their own streets is healthy, for in isolation lies the poisoning of public participation. A nation which surrenders to crime... whether by indifference or by heavy-handed repression - is a society which has resigned itself to failure. Yet disturbingly, many Americans seem to regard crime as a pervasive enemy that cannot be defeated."- Robert F. Kennedy

    If your only response to a fear of crime is to escalate your own fearful response to it and to look out for yourself and become isolated in a precieved bubble of safety through carrying a gun then I'm afraid you don't have much of a society worth preserving.

    Carrying the gun as this woman states prevents her becoming a victim but it gives up on solving the problem and improving society rather she merely passes it on to the next unarmed woman.

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  • 264. At 12:06pm on 11 Mar 2010, Matt wrote:

    @zan0

    WOW, I think you have been playing Call of Duty for wayyyy too long fella, you need to socialise more!

    I know all US Citizens aren't like this, no really i do!

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  • 265. At 12:06pm on 11 Mar 2010, payingfornowt wrote:

    Its prett silly really. The US constitution was written in another time, there should be no need to carry guns anywhere.

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  • 266. At 12:09pm on 11 Mar 2010, BendyDovers12 wrote:

    a poster said, why carry in a supermarket. as a law enforcement officer and an armed citizen off duty I carry my weapon as terrorists are actively trying to kill us here in northern ireland, and as my firearms trainers told us, where will you be in your normal daily routine that may suffer an armed robbery. thats the shops we all use!! be it the off licence (liquor store or post office etc) we live in a horrible world where you can be killed during these crimes, i'd rather be able and capable of protecting myself and others. we carry concealed here as to open carry, would get you targeted for murder by the bad men. open carry in USA is a curious activity but can deter crime on the citizen, but on the other hand, they could be attacked with extreme force to get their weapon? there are pro's and con's to open carry. but then, why not....

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  • 267. At 12:09pm on 11 Mar 2010, HabitualHero wrote:

    Aw mods, bit OTT, removing my second post, don't you think? It was such a harmless, lightweight comment.

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  • 268. At 12:10pm on 11 Mar 2010, Rafi wrote:

    I live in Israel. Here you can get a gun license based on where you live (insurgency), your job or if you have been a police volunteer for a specific period of time. I fall into one of those categories but I wouldn't want to have a dangerous firearm in my home. You can only have gun accidents if you have a gun.

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  • 269. At 12:12pm on 11 Mar 2010, NickLangley wrote:

    Britons always get rather high and mighty about our unarmed society but always forget that Britain only began the process of restricting gun-ownership after WW1 when the authorities were less concerned about criminal use of firearms than their possible use in a Bolshevik uprising.

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  • 270. At 12:12pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 271. At 12:13pm on 11 Mar 2010, Keithy - Basingstoke wrote:

    I am amazed at the apparent comments of dislike, disrespect and even hated of us Brits (and seemingly vice-versa). The ferocity of some of the arguments I have read with sadness. We have long been 'friends' and I hope that long remains that way - I do not blame anyone for getting annoyed because someone (us) thousands of miles away is telling you you're wrong and we're right - we absolutely have no right to do so. America has guns, it is part of their history and constitution. End of debate. We simply do not have firearms in the UK and don't understand why there are so many in USA. That is where this debate should absolutely finish.
    It does however appear that the vast majority of Americans are very proud of their country and its achievements which is a good thing. (I can't say I'm too proud of mine at the moment. Ref: Our thieving MPs and their Expenses - but reference personal weapons, it does seem if you have them you are more likely to use them and any unneccessary death is a terrible waste of opportunity and potential and can cause tremendous heartache and pain which surely nobody wants?
    I think if nothing else I would say to the people of America is that we should realise that we may have many differences, but 'long live the difference', it makes life interesting, but we must be good and close friends and respect each others laws and ways in this seemingly radicalised world where trusted friends seem to be few and far between.

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  • 272. At 12:13pm on 11 Mar 2010, JamieHeaney wrote:

    I deeply support ALL gun rights and am a gun owner. It is people like Nik and Kim who are going to ruin it for all, though. I will make this short, there's too much to debate:

    When shopping as they are(minds wandering?), are the two of them directly aware and conscious of their firearm and of their surrounding points at ALL TIMES while bearing that arm? Of course not. Illegal, no. Unsafe, yes.

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  • 273. At 12:14pm on 11 Mar 2010, jtwirks wrote:

    What a sad and paranoid society. President Obama should make all guns illegal apart from police, government security services and military.

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  • 274. At 12:14pm on 11 Mar 2010, Jon wrote:

    Just a few observations:

    "As a foreigner you actually have the nerve to question Americans on one of the fundamental aspects of their culture?"
    Why not? It's a forum. Of course we will ask questions. Is it not American foreign policy to act in international matters, and make statements, both political and military where she deems necessary (I refer you, for example, to the Turkey-Armeania 'Genocide Vote' issue in the recent news, the small matter of leading the invasion of Iraq. The ongoing Afghanistan issue etc etc).

    I also note that mention is made of the number of violent crimes per 100,000. I wonder, what is the rate of fatality in both the US and the UK. Given the much wider spread of gun ownership in the US, I know where my money would lie. Also, how often do we have issues such as the multiple deaths (eg Columbine) in the UK?

    Now, I have no problem with people having the right to bear arms to defend their own homes and property from burglars, wild animals and so on. Or to form a militia in time of need. That is enshrined in your Constition in the US, as far as I understand. What I, personally, have a problem with is the need to carry a firearm in public. What sane person feels the need to carry a life-ending weapon in a generally peaceful country 'just in case'? I refer people to the poster who mentioned carrying Mace and the 'Make my day' attitude that doing so inspired.

    Just because you have the 'Right' to do something, it does not automatically mean you 'have' to do it.


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  • 275. At 12:18pm on 11 Mar 2010, HabitualHero wrote:

    #22 I was being humorous.

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  • 276. At 12:18pm on 11 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re# 98 PoulR52 observed:

    "The first and most ardent proponent of national gun control in the modern era was Adolph Hitler. It was his first move after being elected Chancellor of Germany to disarm the populace."



    No he was not. Lenin did it before him an Stalin only reinforced the ban.

    Later Mao Tse Tung, Kim-Il-sung, Fidel Castro, Pol Pot, etc. - did exactly the same. For an obvious reason.

    Basically in all authoritarian states the only people who have ever been allowed to have and carry guns are members of the repression aparatus.
    [military, police, state security service, etc.)

    BTW. In countries like Cuba, North Korea and Syria owning, let alone using a satellite phone is strictly verbotten as well.

    [A sat phone obviously becoming a lethal weapon in irresponsible hands]

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  • 277. At 12:19pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 278. At 12:19pm on 11 Mar 2010, James wrote:

    "If you wish to be distinguished fom the others, then you are "US citizens" - if want a better word for yourselves then come up with one."

    Attention - we are no longer to call Britons "Britons", for Free (non-occupied) Ireland also exists in the British Isles. Henceforth they must ONLY be referred to as "UKGBNI Citizens."

    Correction my special friend, we have a word its called "British", so your lovely suggestion of UKGBNI will have to wait :) (and you claim to be a pro at European affairs..."

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  • 279. At 12:20pm on 11 Mar 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    ZanO - Did Mommy not buy you an atlas? Copied from the CIA World FactBook convential long name: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; note - Great Britain includes England, Scotland, and Wales. Thus the British, Brits, Britons technically come from England, Scotland or Wales.

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  • 280. At 12:21pm on 11 Mar 2010, Joe Hardy wrote:

    Attention - we are no longer to call Britons "Britons", for Free (non-occupied) Ireland also exists in the British Isles. Henceforth they must ONLY be referred to as "UKGBNI Citizens."

    Bless you sir - I thought you'd have something to say about this an hour ago when I wrote my post deliberately using:

    UK Citizen

    Which whilst personally I prefer "British Citizen" or "Briton" I appreciate the fact that this could be inflammatory to another group of people who belong to MY country.

    This debate should be more about the policy of taking arms to a local shop and less about bashing our two countries.

    Heaven knows what time it is where you are Mr Zan0 but surely you have something better to do with your time?

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  • 281. At 12:21pm on 11 Mar 2010, lochraven wrote:

    #32 MarcusAureliusll
    For the overwhelming majority of Americans this is a non issue.

    Just what overwhelming majority are you talking about? You're delusional. You're making this up. If there were a referendum on this issue there wouldn't be a gun to be seen. What we really need are tough laws against owning handguns, period! Anyone caught committing a crime with a gun should be hung in the town square for all to see. No ands, ifs, or buts, that should do it.
    Sadly, people are concerned about their safety. And why not, they read about shootings almost everyday and, it causes them to over react. But most of these shooting are drug gangs and gang on gang crimes that are far removed from the mainstream. As far as I'm concerned, these gangs can shoot each other until they all drop.

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  • 282. At 12:23pm on 11 Mar 2010, jassiah wrote:

    It's simple - make some badges which say "BANG - you're dead!" and slap them on the backs of all those carrying guns. The self-defence argument is feeble - I very much doubt an assailant would a) attack from the front or b)graciously wait five seconds for these people to take their guns out of their holsters, let alone getting their specs on or aiming straight enough not to maim an innocent bystander.

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  • 283. At 12:26pm on 11 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    If I recall correctly the British had first started to resent Americans' right to bear arms when the Revolutionary War began.

    For reasons I have never fully understood. :-)))

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  • 284. At 12:28pm on 11 Mar 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    #218 Nuclear Deterrent? Not ALL the Allies had one in 1946, funny that...

    No superpower goes on forever, Britain certainly knows!"

    Just a quick point of history to enlighten our American friends. The only reason the US had a nuclear deterent in 1946 was Britain. WE worked out how to make the explosive lenses to detonate the plutonium bomb. The americans couldn't get it to work but we did.

    Mind you as virtually every atomic scientist at the time was European not American this shouldn't come as much of a suprise. The US had the money and the facilities... Europe provided the brains.

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  • 285. At 12:28pm on 11 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    British refugee who fled to Canada 350 et. al.;

    "If you want to help us Europeans understand American gun culture, then insulting them is not a good place to start."

    Oh really? It is you Europeans who insult us. You feel free to criticize anything and everything about our nation, our culture, our civilization you don't like, you don't understand, you don't seem to want to understand. America does not belong to Great Britain anymore. It is not British property, not British soil. We do not speak your language either literally or figuratively. We have a different civilization that began to emerge the second the people who came here stepped off the boat. At that moment whether they were the captain on the boat or an indentured slave from debtor's prison they had an equal chance to live or die by their wits alone. America is a very dangerous and violent place. It always has been, it always will be. Theorists and elitists who can rule and be held in high regard in Britain and the rest of Europe do not survive very long here. We sneer at them because what they value is worthless in the context of what it takes to live and thrive here. This is a practical place where it is sometimes necessary to be violent. As a result, we are by far the most violent society in the world and when provoked, deadly one on one or nation on nation, it doesn't matter. We make no apologies for it. That is part of what it takes to overcome the rigid class restricted oppressive society that Europe always had and has now. Our guns are a personal statement of our right to use violence aganst any and all perceive threats. The gun over the hearth in a home whether a cabin in the woods or a mansion on a plantation is an icon of that view of life. If you come to America, be prepared to accept it on its own terms which includes at least a couple of hundred million guns in private hands. BTW, killing an intruder in your home is not a crime in America like it is in Britain. It is called justifiable homocide and those who are put in a position where they use deadly force to protect themselves from intruders whether they be two legged or four legged are considered folk heroes. "Davey Crockett, kilt him a bar when he was only three." If you don't like it, don't come here. I don't like Europe. I went, I saw, I left. I won't be going back.

    ""Describing us as "basically submissive people who will do whatever their government dictates to them", ....isn't going to convince us to see your point of view."

    Your nation laid itself down prostrate in front of Adolf Hitler by refusing to arm itself and pre-emptively strike before the monster of Nazi Germay grew so large it took all of America's effort to save it at the last possible minute. It didn't arm itself because it didn't want to alarm, offend, threaten him. That's what your Prime Minister called getting peace in our time. The surrender of another country to be gobbled up, a country he didn't own either, Czechoslovakia. Suplication and betrayal are the strategies fools use when submissiveness isn't sufficient. If America didn't have the potential and the propensity to be so violent and ingenious and determined about it, Britain would have fallen to Nazi Germany or to the USSR. We are not going to change, certainly not for the likes of Europe. Outsider's arguments carry no weight here just as my argument would carry no weight in Britain were I to tell them what to do. The only thing losers can teach winners is what not to do by example. Given the relative positions of our respective societies, one that lost an empire against one that by some people's reckoning (not ours) has an empire, Brits are in no position to dictate to Americans. Given their well deserved reputation for stubborness, they are evidently in no position to learn from it either.

    "(If I were to make such sweeping statements about the population of the USA, I doubt you would be very pleased.) And your suggestions about the Lisbon Treaty are, well, absurd to say the least."

    Europe always does. And now whether you know it or not, like it or not, there has been a reaction, a backlash. It is one of anger and hostility towards an inferior and terminally irrational civilization.

    "I freely admit to not understanding why gun culture is so entrenched in US society, when compared to pretty much every other Western country."

    You likely never will. America does not fit any other paradigm of what a country is about. That's what makes it unique, that is why it has succeeded so brilliantly far above all others.

    "However, you comments suggest you don't understand us very well, either."

    On the contrary I understand you all too well. What you don't like is having understood it, I reject it completely and without reservation. I'll bet you find that incomprehensible too.

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  • 286. At 12:29pm on 11 Mar 2010, Tancred wrote:

    Surely this should just be considered one of those by-gone era laws, think women's rights and the abolition of slavery!
    The reason the constitution was formed in this way was because at the time of creation it would have made sense to those who formed it. Surely we live in a far more civilised society and should know better by now?

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  • 287. At 12:30pm on 11 Mar 2010, Dodo56 wrote:

    Are these gun-toting individuals actually aware of their own second amendment? The right to bear arms was never intended to allow Americans to shoot erach other if they so desired, it was about having an armed civilan militia whio could if necessary oppose the imposition of unjust laws by the government by military means.

    The power of the US military (and dare I say it the media) negates any historic need for an armed militia so the second amendment is rendered irrelevant and serves as nothing more than a charter for paranoid rednecks to feel big and play their part in a supposedly civilised society where more citizens are killed by firearms than most 3rd world nations.

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  • 288. At 12:31pm on 11 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    53. At 05:18am on 11 Mar 2010, Scott Freeman wrote:

    "The evidence that gun control at best does not reduce crime, and at worst increases it, and that gun rights, at worst have no effect either way, and at best actively reduce crime, is overwhelming. ...."

    __________

    What planet are you living on?

    Care to provide any of the "evidence" ?

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  • 289. At 12:31pm on 11 Mar 2010, Simon wrote:

    ZanO, I assume from all your well informed insight into the UK that you have been here? You seem very angry about comments written in a blog on a British website - if you don't like it get off the internet for a while and get some fresh air, you have been posting for about 4 hours now...
    I for one am off to buy some lunch without fear of being shot as I queue to pay. I know where i feel safer...

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  • 290. At 12:32pm on 11 Mar 2010, thebhoy wrote:

    Mark,
    An interesting insight into one particular group.
    Taking the right to bear arms at face value is one thing, but I would like to know if people who do carry firearms know their right of USING a firearm, not simply carrying one. I would say that that is a far more serious issue. Are the people you spoke to trained to USE a firearm in tense situations? I can only imagine that target practice at the range is not the same as a life or death split second moment. Also, how specific is the Second Amendment? Does the right to bear arms actually cover loaded firearms ready to use or does it merely imply it?

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  • 291. At 12:36pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    @Brucerobert - thanks and, as I said to J, I do hope you realize my little missives are just to get a rise out of the latent jingoism that lurks beneath the surface of the peasants. It is for my own amusement only and does not, in any way or reality, reflect my actual opinions about the UK. While I am one of those neolithic Americans who support, unquestionably, the 2nd Amendment I also don't own any guns myself, nor would I ever except under exceptional circumstances. I also think the UK is just a wonderful little country; I lived there for three years and my British domestic help were absolutely lovely, hard-working people. It rains a bit too much for my taste but, that aside, is one of the beacons of the Earth (crime rate aside). I have a cottage in Spain for holiday-making purposes but I've often though of getting rid of it and selecting a suitable UK location instead. There are no more decent, pleasant people the world over than Britons and the bonds of civilization on this planet are held in place only due to the historic, and ongoing, sacrifices of the British people.

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  • 292. At 12:37pm on 11 Mar 2010, chimneyrock wrote:

    @that Roman guy:

    "Europeans don't understand anything about America, why should they understand this? ... They are basically submissive people who will do whatever their government dictates to them"

    Haha, you're priceless! Love it, do you do comedy for a living?

    Trolling, trolling, trolling, rawhide!

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  • 293. At 12:40pm on 11 Mar 2010, james wrote:

    I'm also from Kansas, USA. It's not all hunting and morons here. Raised in the city of Topeka, my age group acclimatized to the danger of concealed weapons, because the place was (and is) riddled with pistol-toting thugs.
    Lessons learned: if you pull a weapon on an armed thug, you are challenging their ego. Pulling a firearm will exacerbate the hazard. You will be struck, stabbed or shot unless you shoot first.
    Concealed firearms are not the defensive tools of an intelligent person, because an intelligent person can foresee an aftermath. Unfortunately, this world is bloated by idiots.

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  • 294. At 12:41pm on 11 Mar 2010, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    Ah yes, "the right to bear arms", the most disastrous spelling mistake in recorded history.

    All they wanted was to be allowed to wear sleeveless shirts!

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  • 295. At 12:42pm on 11 Mar 2010, Il Pirata wrote:

    The BBC wants to make you feel better about your massive crime rates, crumbling health service and violent, broken society. They do this by showing you a few fundamentalist US gun wearers. Feel better now? Lower standard of living? Excessive taxation to feed your idiotic welfare state? Government monitoring you wherever you go? At least you won't be shot, well only by a criminal- One of your giant underclass of non workers perhaps?

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  • 296. At 12:42pm on 11 Mar 2010, nickedwards28 wrote:

    There are two things you should never discuss with an American - Guns and God.

    As someone who has spent a lot of time in the US, it's very hard to understand where you're coming from on a lot issues. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but the problem with a lot of people in the US is they don't have the capacity or experience to realise that there's a big wide world outside the US that thinks you're, quite frankly, a bit backwards. If people in the US think various Arab countries are full of small minded, intolerant, paranoid, religious fundamentalists they'd do well to take a long, hard look at themselves. People in the US love to talk about "freedom", but you're a lot less free to express your opinions there than you are in the UK. If freedom means living in a society with more guns than people, then I'm quite happy not being free.

    With regard to guns, it's funny how your civil right to bear arms has led to more gun related deaths than every other country in the world combined.

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  • 297. At 12:43pm on 11 Mar 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    #244."Can anybody tell me what does British Consititution say about Britons right to carry KNIVES?

    And whether someone needs a permit and a special training to carry one?"

    Carrying a knife without good reason (like a carpenter in among his other tools, chef on the way to work) etc is a crime and can get you 5 years in jail. Sadly the max sentence is rarely handed out which is why we have a knife crime problem. Fortunately most people who are stabbed live. Most people who are shot don't.

    #235 "As for self defense, i would rather be shot dead than risk shooting someone else in crossfire"

    You're pretty unique there... I much rather take out ten innocent people than die myself which is rather the problem........

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  • 298. At 12:43pm on 11 Mar 2010, Jon wrote:

    "And we have cast the shadow of our hand across the whole of the globe, unchallenged."
    To my knowledge, every major conflict that the US has been in, she has been challenged. That's why it is a War.

    "We have ordered your pathetic armies into the field to clear a way for us as mere fodder to the slaughter."
    I think the word you are looking for is 'asked'. And the British Army is 'pathetic'? Underequipped, possibly, but (and I know several US Armed Forces Personnel) they are better trained in fieldcraft, combat techniques and so on, and are trained not to rely so heavily on technology as are the US forces. Knowing HOW and WHERE to apply your firepower is always better than just blanket bombing and area. US Special Forces (and pretty much most of the others around the world) admire the SAS and SBS for this very reason.

    "We have smashed our opponents with the iron fist of our will."
    Yes, Vietnam proved that.

    I am assuming your sole function on this board is Trolling.

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  • 299. At 12:44pm on 11 Mar 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    @AndyPostOur gun laws are looser now than they were in the Old West.

    As they should be. I presume by the 'Old West' you mean California. California has never had a state-level constitutional right to bear arms, and unlike much of the Bill of Rights the Second Amendment has never been fully or properly incorporated. As such, the state of California had the right to restrict gun ownership. Whereas Wisconsin's constitution says this: "The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose." The only states which can legally restrict the ownership of weapons, or at least could with impunity before DC vs Heller, are California, Iowa, Minnesota, Maryland, New Jersey and New York.

    @DavidHI'm as libertarian as anybody when it comes to an individual's choice of life-style but carrying a killing machine does not fit in that category for me...

    Then you're not a libertarian. I am sick of 'I'm a libertarian, BUT..' comments. Frankly, guns are of paramount importance in any debate over the role of government. They fundamentally define the relationship between the citizen and the state. If the government which you employ don't 'trust' you with weapons, then they have inverted the system. The government is created by people, not the other way around. Further, I can't imagine looking at the history of the twentieth century and concluding that the citizens, not the state, needs to be disarmed/emasculated.

    @KY_RedI'm English and live in the US and guns are an integral part of the culture here I'm afraid. They aren't needed and they are dangerous but the right to bear arms apparently trumps everything else...

    Yes. God forbid that a constitutional republic should obey its constitution.

    @squirrelist[re: The Second Amendment] very careless drafting, seems to me.

    Nothing of the sort. The Second Amendment was drafted very carefully by James Madison to ensure that the federal government respected a pre-existing and accepted right, one which was already entrenched either explicity in the state constitutions of the signatories or by existing British laws (i.e. the 1689 Bill of Rights) maintained in the new world, as New Jersey's constitution stated: ‘the common law of England, as well as so much of the statute law, as have been heretofore practiced in this Colony, shall still remain in force’..

    @Zed1207"The Right to Bear Arms" is a phrase used in the Second Ammendment, which was written over 200 years ago. At that time the phrase did not mean the right to literally carry a weapon. In all contexts, and it's been used in other documents, this "Right" means the right to join a local militia/enroll in the army. Words and phrases commonly shift in meaning over time.

    No. You may fool the majority of people on here who desperately want to believe that, but not those who have studied this in detail.

    Try reading Tench Coxe's 'Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution' which was such an accurate explanation of James Madison's intent that he wrote him a letter thanking him and endorsing the work. It supported the Second Amendment as protecting from interference the people's "right to keep and bear their private arms against civil rulers and military forces which might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens", and built on his earlier article in the Federal Gazette, again endorsed and used by Madison when drafting the amendment: "swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American...The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of the Federal or state governments but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.' These words prompted Madison to write Coxe a letter, commenting that the amendment process would ‘be greatly favored by explanatory strictures of a healing tendency, and is therefore already indebted to the co-operation of your pen.' It seems unlikely that Madison would have, prior to its ratification, endorsed an opinion which misinterpreted an amendment he had written himself.

    Wiggle out of that one.

    mitty_wYou are more likely to be safe if you AND the criminal are unarmed.

    Not that this is relevant because the Second Amendment does not rely on utilitarian fact - it's a right - but at no point in the history of human civilisation has taking away weapons from law-abiding people effected a situation where both they, and the criminals, were unarmed.

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  • 300. At 12:45pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 301. At 12:47pm on 11 Mar 2010, AC wrote:

    It is so sad that the US need a right to bear arms...there are deep insecurities leading to this which many simply ignore or can't actually see. To suggest that weapons on the street protect freedom of speech doesn't hold up to close scrutiny, and it boils down to fear. Martin Luther King didn't carry an assault rifle, or a glock 'to protect himself'- our view of him had he done so would be somewhat different. He is respected not least because his words showed he was not afraid, we would all do well to remember that.

    The fear of 'big government', the fear of each other, the fear of losing the right to bear arms itself. Americans are being manipulated by fear. To suggest that there is a need for weapons/guns due to the inherent dangers of the enironment in which they live is just laughable. For an infinetisimally small percentage- perhaps almost justifiable. But really those people should wonder- if the danger from wildlife means they need a weapon- why are they encroaching in those environments in the first place?! Very similar to building a home on a flood plain and then moaning when the river floods. I can't honestly see wildlife as a major threat in urban areas and the argument fails.

    The real reason for and giving rise to support of the gun lobby is fear and the politics of fear. People are afraid of attack, afraid of not being able to defend themselves, their families. They're afraid jobs would be lost, the weapons industry would fall into terminal decline. How very sad to live so afraid of living, afraid of life itself. A modern country whose inhabitants are scared to walk home when they finish work late. Dear oh dear.

    Americans understandably don't like Eurocentric analysis of their politics, Europe is undoubtedly much more left wing but really, rather than looking to defend oneself against 'attack', time might be better spent wondering why, and trying to address the issues raised in their society which cause the attacker to attack in the first place.

    Don't panic! I'm not talking about a welfare state, NHS or interference with your medical insurance- but just a thought...maybe if the poorest members of society weren't so disenfranchised there wouldn't be any attackers, then there wouldn't be any fear of, or 'need' to arm against such attackers.

    Regarding the comparison of UK knife crime and US gun crime- a little perspective is always useful. In 2004 there were over 8000 homicides in the US involving guns. In 2007/2008 there were 277 deaths from stabbings in the UK (which is unacceptable and we must also ask why, where and how that is happening) but to suggest that there is a similarity is misleading, there isn't.

    The argument that weapons act as a deterent doesn't work- every year you'll need to buy a bigger gun...that is until you start asking why a person feels the need to attack you in the first place. Freedom of speech is one thing, but there's an inherent obligation to listen too and that applies equally to the US and the UK.

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  • 302. At 12:47pm on 11 Mar 2010, GrandPooBah wrote:

    Europeans don't understand anything about America, why should they understand this? ....... They are basically submissive people who will do whatever their government dictates to them
    -----------------------------------
    ??!!!

    Patriot Act ring any bells

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  • 303. At 12:47pm on 11 Mar 2010, Athos wrote:

    I am so glad I live in the UK where guns are illegal. I feel sorry for those US citizens who are too frightened not to carry a gun, like the man who is too scared to walk from his car to his gated community. I would hate to live with that level of daily fear.

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  • 304. At 12:48pm on 11 Mar 2010, john wrote:

    The problem with allowing people to carry guns to defend themselves. is that you are basically bypassing the judicial process. You are saying that any crime where someone feels threatened justifies a death sentance. The person applying that sentance has no training, and indeed can apply the sentance before any crime has been committed (and even if no crime is going to be committed)

    If noone was armed, then the thief gets away with what they have stolen. That is a criminal act, and should be investigated and dealt with by the authorities. The punishment should then fit the crime

    If the victim of an attempted theft is armed, then they apply a death sentance to the criminal. Is that proportionate? Just for making someone feel scared?

    I know the judicial process can be slow and labourious, and doesn't always satisfy people's ingrained desire for revenge, but at least it is impartial (or should be) and fair.

    there is no doubt that in an ideal world, punishment for committing crimes would be swift, proportionate and applied by the authorities. there is also no doubt that in an ideal world noone would carry guns.

    John

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  • 305. At 12:50pm on 11 Mar 2010, Emma wrote:

    My fiance and I are spending our honeymoon in America and we're really looking forward to it. We're travelling from east to west and are looking forward to seeing some of the country, meeting people and learning more about American culture. However, at the risk of sounding neurotic, stories like this do worry me. I think guns are ugly, dangerous things and if both the good guys and the bad guys have them, what are our chances of getting shot?!

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  • 306. At 12:54pm on 11 Mar 2010, Shoreline wrote:

    After reading several posts of 'ZanO's', i have joined the blog service. I enjoy reading comments from all around the world on good issues, but never have i found someone so annoying in trying to prove that they are right. You can put down the UK all you like, the country is full idiots; but a fair amount of us are not the latter. Simply quiet down old man. Isn't it bedtime already? x

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  • 307. At 12:54pm on 11 Mar 2010, boybetterknown wrote:

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahhahahahahaha is this a joke?

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  • 308. At 12:55pm on 11 Mar 2010, Jon wrote:

    In what way was the British Empire 'Evil' (as posted by Barbara in 167)? With the morals and ideas of the time, it was the norm. Only with post-20th century hindsight and ideas do we see the flaws within it.
    Just as evil, if not more so, was the forcing out of Native Americans from their ancestral homelands in the name of 'progress'. Or the second-class status and segragation of African-Americans is society pre-1960s.

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  • 309. At 1:00pm on 11 Mar 2010, Emma wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 310. At 1:04pm on 11 Mar 2010, Liberal wrote:

    Rather than ordinary members of the public carrying guns to "defend themselves against criminals", would American society not benefit more by addressing the root cause of criminality? i.e. what is it that turns people to commit crimes, be it armed or otherwise? Poverty? Lack of opportunities? Discrimination? Mental illness? Drug use?
    I'm British citizen living in London and knife crime is certainly associated with more deprived areas where young guys get involved in gangs because they frequently have no opportunities or zero outlook on life.
    Tightening gun laws was certainly a step in the right direction for us here in the UK. Next will be to address the problems with our society. It is my own belief that this change requires an appreciation of the wider picture, which is most likely to be lost on the gun-carrying population of the USA.
    How expensive are guns? I'm sure they aren't cheap... Seems feasible to suggest that if all the money spent on guns in the US were to be put towards alleviating poverty and drug addiction then Americans might not need to carry a gun in the first place...

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  • 311. At 1:04pm on 11 Mar 2010, aghaken wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 312. At 1:05pm on 11 Mar 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    155/ZanO wrote:

    "Also, it may happy your brilliant little mind to know how murder rates are calculated in the EU North Sea Province. In the UK, once a person has been arrested, tried and convicted of murder, 1 homicide is added to UK stats."

    If that were true we'd have a 100% murder clear up rate. The truth sadly isn't that good (but not far off... most murderers don't need CSI Miami to solve them)

    A homocide is recorded as a homocide when the coroner or procurator fiscal (depending on England or Scotland) rules that a death is homocide rather than natural, accident or suicide. The coroner has some overlap with the guy you call a 'medical examiner'

    We have approx 600-700 murders a year in the UK and the vast majority of those are commited by close friends or relatives of the murdered party. We have a remarkable amount of stabbings (100,000) but very few actual murders because its remarkably hard to kill someone with a knife. (as anyone who's ever tried to cut a rump steak with a cheap steak knife will find out... meat is tougher than most knives)

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  • 313. At 1:05pm on 11 Mar 2010, ThoughtCrime wrote:

    I've been in a jewellery store in the US where the owner had a gun in a holster. I'd been looking over his jewellery for some time and chatting with him about the locality, and didn't notice the gun until he mentioned it.

    We can go round and round the issue of guns forever without making any progress. The problem isn't the gun - if guns meant danger than Switzerland and Israel would be deadly places to live; if guns meant safety then the US and South Africa would have low homicide rates.

    Perhaps we'd be better off looking at why people seek to use weapons of any nature against each other. We're so proud of banning guns here in the UK but all it means is that gangs (who don't use illegal guns anyway) use knives, baseball bats, dangerous dogs, and so on.

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  • 314. At 1:05pm on 11 Mar 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    @Patricia USI’m an American living abroad and with more liberal views. Unfortunately, these “gun-toting” Americans are going to rant and rave about their rights to carry a gun particularly as long as the NRA has a lot of money.

    The NRA has a lot of money because Americans overwhelmingly support the Second Amendment and they feel the need to defend it from tyrants who think that the Bill of Rights is all important apart from the bits they don't like. And before you try the 'you-do-it-too-therefore-it-is-okay' line, here it is in black & white: Republicans who shout about the Second Amendment but ignore the First or the Fifth are every bit as bad as people-who-call-themselves-liberals-but-are-actually-pretty-authoritarian who simultaneously argue that the First Amendment was designed to protect hardcore pornography, but the Second Amendment has nothing to do with guns.

    The fact of the matter is that the last twenty years have been a success for the Second Amendment. More and more states have passed castle laws, open carry, and "shall issue" pre-emption policies for concealed carry permits. Congress has become considerably more pro-Second Amendment, and the state and federal courts have been increasingly likely to rule in favour of individual liberty and the constitution. This is only a bad thing if you think that the Bill of Rights is expendable.

    @leagueofgentlemenThat moral argument is very simple. In a civilised society, or community of societies, the rule of law must be sovereign over the rule of violence or threatened violence. If you don't accept that, we don't accept your non-acceptance. By any means necessary.

    Hobbes schmobbes. America has never been particularly Hobbesian. Hobbes rejected Locke's right of rebellion and Montesquieu's separation of powers, two pillars that formed the base of America's republic.

    P.S. The beauty of the Second Amendment is that if you tried your little excursion you'd have the same sort of guerilla war on your hands that America has yet to learn it can't win either.

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  • 315. At 1:05pm on 11 Mar 2010, cdubb wrote:

    Americas obsession with the constitution is, and I don't mean to offend, just silly. The second amendment was created in a different time, when the right to have arms was more appropriate. It's just as silly as the antiquated laws that were created hundreds of years ago that say you can shoot a Welshman with a bow-and-arrow after dark in Cambridge (or what-ever); they have no relevance in today's society. I find it hard to understand why a 21st century society would want to carry handguns, a 17th century one sure, but a 21st century one?! America, please, you can't keep saying 'the constitution gives us the right...' it's not very progressive and it is not an argument, it's effectively like saying 'because I say so'. This kind of behaviour will drag America down, as we're starting to see.

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  • 316. At 1:06pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 317. At 1:06pm on 11 Mar 2010, node01 wrote:

    ZanO waffled on with:

    "
    *UK VIOLENT CRIME RATE: 4,100 per 100,000 persons*
    *US VIOLENT CRIME RATE: 475 per 100,000 persons*
    *UK = a Crime-Riddled Nation on the Brink of Anarchy and Chaos*
    "

    Far be it for me to stand in the way of such a hate-filled narrative but you appear to have made an elementary error in the above comparison: the figures reported are based on national collection methods only, there is no internationally agreed set of metrics.

    - The UK figures include Common Assault (the lowest and by far most numerous grade of assault) often where little or no injury is sustained. The US figures do not include such measures.
    - The UK figures also include all manner of sexual assault figures whereas, IIRC, the US tally records such numbers under a separate metric (but does include the substantially less frequent measure of Violent Forcible Rape).
    - The UK tally includes Harassment figures whereas the US numbers, guess what, do not.

    There are many other lesser incompatibilities between the two methods of data collection too numerous to expound upon here. You get the point, hopefully.

    By all means continue your hate-filled tirade, it's a rather comical read in parts (pitifully ignorant and backward in others), but if you are going to cite incomparable statistics in a desperate effort to prop up your poisonous attitude you establish little more than the pretence of knowing of what you speak.

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  • 318. At 1:07pm on 11 Mar 2010, phrage fenta wrote:

    there is a ploughmans lunch effect which imagines a golden past 200 years ago and which was created 50 years ago by silly western movies.
    silly men mostly and a few daft women cling to gun notions as some sort of needed personality enforcer.
    if the money spent on silly wars,bank games, and these davy crockett fantasists were redirected there would be no financial crisis.

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  • 319. At 1:08pm on 11 Mar 2010, Wonderboy1664 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 320. At 1:08pm on 11 Mar 2010, MuchPreferWinter wrote:

    ZanO

    What a desperately small little world you must live in where you boast about a military might you have nothing to do with on internet message boards to give yourself a sense of identity and self esteem. Being American or English or any other nationality is nothing to be proud of. It's a fluke, meer chance you entered the world onto that patch of land and were then conditioned with some of the local values. If there was such a real and definable thing as a true American with real American values every person on the continent would share those views and persuasions. As it is you are as desperately divided and split at the seams as every other country on the planet. People who can barely sit in the same room as each other such is their difference of opinion over what silly concept they have of their national identity and the rights they should have as a result. I used to let myself get wound up and angered by people like you until I realised how utterly futile it was. Now I feel sorry for you. Clinging onto violence and an ability to hurt other human beings as a means of feeling fulfilled is a dark and lonley place to be. I hope you and the many others like you reach some sort of enlightenment and move past defining themselves by the trite, primitive and anachronistic human systems that have obviously served us very well if violence, oppression and injustice were the original aims.

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  • 321. At 1:09pm on 11 Mar 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    259. At 11:57am on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:
    Well my dear Britons - it's been fun chatting with you but I have to depart for other errands.

    Have a good day everyone and hurry up and ship Gary McKinnon over here! It will please us to have him brought before the majesty of our courts in shackles to entertain us with his sniveling and whimpering before we decadently select a punishment to inflict upon him. (I'm happy you are powerless to do the same to our citizenry!)


    You've actually extradited a higher proportion of requests here than we have to you. The stats are something like we've asked for 35 and you've sent 27 compared to about 60-odd requests from us of which we've sent 40.

    You can have McKinnon with my blessing though. It offends me that someone so clever that he can trash your defence computers is claiming unemployment benefit rather than work for a living. Mind you if an autistic UFO-obsessed guy who lives with his mother can do that much damage you'll need the guns. God help you when the Chinese REALLY try and take down your defence network!

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  • 322. At 1:10pm on 11 Mar 2010, Peter Hood wrote:

    After the '9/11' incident I commented to an academic contact of mine in the states that I could see the point in their right to bear arms. He, a highly erudite and peaceable man responded strongly in the affirmative.
    Though still unsure on the matter, I am beginning to wonder if it might not be such a bad idea in the UK, since our security and armed services are being run into the ground by a spendthrift government. Read between the lines of Gen. Guthrie's recent speeches for an idea of the point here.

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  • 323. At 1:10pm on 11 Mar 2010, chimneyrock wrote:

    In 2007, in England, Wales and Scotland (thus excluding Northern Ireland and the various crown territories), there were 51 deaths due to the use of firearms, which is rather less than 1 death per annum per million capita.

    In 2008, in the United States of America, there were 11.9 firearms deaths per 100,000 capita, according to an earlier poster. I assume this statistic is correct, it is certainly in line with statistics I have come across before.

    The USA has therefore a rate of death due to firearms 100 times greater than the UK. Taking away all the emotional discussion, the yaboo, hooha and the faked up philosphies used to support to the emotion, it is quite clear from this which countries policies contribute more effectively to public safety. Removing firearms from society protects the citizen rather better than arming the citizen in order, purportedly, to defend himself.

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  • 324. At 1:12pm on 11 Mar 2010, nosmit wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 325. At 1:13pm on 11 Mar 2010, Toby wrote:

    Excellent article. This highlights the total difference in culture between two similar speaking nations. A lot of Americans see no problem in holding arms and yet in Britain we associate guns with violence and death. Human beings in all cultures seem to always be able to explain the unexplainable. The issue with carrying guns is the wearer has two basic problems - they can become the judge, jury and executioner to all crimes they percieve against them and if they become over powered by an assailant they effectively offer them a weapon to harm them further. As the woman in this article says she doesn't want to become a victim late at night in her car; (I doubt you'd find anyone who does) but if she mistakes a passer by as a mugger she can deliver an immediate death sentence. Even if she was right and the person wanted to steal her handbag - do they deserve to die for that?

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  • 326. At 1:15pm on 11 Mar 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    Make a point about the Second Amendment?
    What about the right of other people to be safe. What’s to stop some crazed fool from grabing the gun with the little pink grip and pumbing little red holes through other shoppers? What might stop he crazed fool from grabbing the gun with the little pink handle is the fact that the glock would do a much better job – bugger holes, more red.
    The right to self defence and open carry is a great deterrent?
    Who’s going to attack you in a grocery store while you’re shopping? Can I have the stats on this one?
    Carrying a gun is a demonstration of the law-abiding citizen with nothing to hide? Excuse me, but how do I – another citizen – differentiate you from the criminal? Oh, I see criminals never open carry…except machine guns and sawed-off shotguns?
    About Kim, "I can guarantee if I am going to my car late at night and someone sees me carrying a gun they won't make me a victim." Honey, with all these gun-toting people out there – while you are going to your car - someone could shoot you dead.
    Last year a ban on carrying concealed weapons in national parks was lifted! Oh my God, “HabitualHero”, get out there and arm the bears!
    I agree with John Laimon: "It's not about guns, it's about civil rights. It's growing because of the plain fear about inadequate politicians. They cut down guns but they've got bodyguards. Our rights are under fire." This is the crux: American rights are under fire.
    There is more disagreement and less understanding about the second amandment than any other Constitutional issue
    First of all there are many versions:
    Congress: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. ”
    Copies distributed to the states: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. ”
    The Second Amendment: "Bear Arms" refers to military service, which is why the plural is used. A person does not bear arm, or bear an arm. Prior to 18th century, the expression "bear arms" was used primarily in military contexts, as opposed to the use of firearms by civilians.
    In any case I believe, the purpose is being overlooked by gun-bearers. The purpose was, and remains, “A well-regulated militia”.
    So, are we showing the guns but hiding the militia?
    Unfortunately, the Second Amendment protects an individual right but fails to clarify the scope of that right, which I believe is to bear arms in service of a well-regulated militia in order to protect the country.

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  • 327. At 1:16pm on 11 Mar 2010, _marko wrote:

    To ZanO:

    Do you identify with any of these? Why do you think they have resonance in the USA?

    "I Bought An Awesome Gun That Makes Me Feel Like God, But I Hope I Never Have To Use It" http://www.theonion.com/content/opinion/i_bought_an_awesome_gun_that

    Everyone Should Own A Gun For Protection And Possibly For Suicide
    http://www.theonion.com/content/opinion/everyone_should_own_a_gun_for

    Florida Legalizes Taking Guns To Work
    http://www.theonion.com/content/infograph/florida_legalizes_taking_guns

    What's your analysis of SaintDominick's comment at #223?

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  • 328. At 1:17pm on 11 Mar 2010, charlieatlantic wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 329. At 1:18pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    "we shouldn't come in and just take the weapons from those in failed states like Wisconsin"

    I tremble before all the message board heroes who have assembled to do battle here today! ;)

    *Concerning the Nature of Our North Sea Puppet State*

    The independent British nuclear deterrent is a myth - whatever else it may be, it is not independent. These are the final pieces in a jigsaw which exposes simple facts that British leaders have long
    known but a generation of Thatcherite consensus has obscured: we cannot and do not make our own nuclear weapons; we are not a true nuclear power; we are mere clients of the US. The Conservative government itself had to admit that there were never any "identifiably British" Trident missiles in the US navy store where British submarines loaded up. The words "Royal Navy" were only painted on the missiles for test-firing, to make good publicity pictures.
    - http://www.newstatesman.com/200603270008

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  • 330. At 1:19pm on 11 Mar 2010, Andrew wrote:

    As an American J.D. candidate I feel obligated by a sense of duty to the Constitution to attempt to explain the legal controversy here. I'm glossing over details, making generalizations, and throwing in my own political (Moderate, Midwest) prospective.

    First, the meaning of the Second Amendment isn't as clear as these groups would like it to be. That's why the upcoming Supreme Court case, McDonald v. Chicago, is so important--it seeks to answer this very question.

    There is an issue of incorporation. Although most of the Bill of Rights has been agreed to apply to the states through judicial decree (a concept and system of law inherited from the English), the Second Amendment has not, as of yet been incorporated into the 14th. To understand what I mean, consider the text of the Constitution itself. Consider the First Amendment as an example. It reads:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    The text says "Congress," not "Congress and the States". Originally, the Amendment only applied to the Federal Government. It wasn't until after the Civil War and the passage of the 13th and 14th Amendments that this changed. The 14th Amendment, however, does apply to states. It says this:

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    So, the question is whether, like the protections in the First Amendment, the protections in the Second can be "incorporated" into the 14th. Ironically, those on the right who seek a "yes" answer and further their pro-gun, right to carry agenda, they are essentially asking for "judicial activism" or judge-made law beyond the literal and original meaning if the text (in as much as the 14th was originally written in a post-Civil War context). This is something they consistently accuse the left using to implement a progressive agenda.

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  • 331. At 1:21pm on 11 Mar 2010, AC wrote:

    Re ZanO

    Having just read the posts above- that ZanO might be entitled (and probably is) to own a gun is frankly terrifying...! No wonder you man in the article has a glock! Blimey- get the poor dude an AK47 and a couple of grenades while we're at it!

    Another poster mentioned News International- mini marcus...do you work for Fox News? Ar you on the campain trail with Sarah P? You've honestly made me chuckle pretty hard with some of the comments- really very personal...and again evidencing such insecurity- such brash arrogance and protectionist views on foreign policy/matters and interpretation! What on eart will you be saying in 10 years when the US is living in the wake of China and India? Global perspective is everything.

    Do you have a passport Marcus? have you ever left your town? Break out- see the world and know that you've nothing to be afraid of dude, this isn't personal- we're an ally because we have much in common not because we need to be...a little bit of critical analysis of ones own country is not unpatriotic, its just honest!

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  • 332. At 1:21pm on 11 Mar 2010, jobsagoodin wrote:

    Zano #259

    'As we say here in Louisiana - where we are still, partly at least, free from the brutal stupidity of the English language - CONTENT REMOVED BY MODERATORS - POSTS IN LANGUAGES OTHER THAN ENGLISH NOT ALLOWED.'

    That's a weird saying. A guess they do things differently in Louisiana.

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  • 333. At 1:23pm on 11 Mar 2010, Shawn wrote:

    Not surprisingly, I see the typical, moronic stereotypes about Americans and the USA here. I am a mainstream American and the only guns I've ever seen are on the hips of police officers and I know nobody who owns a gun. It's just not necessary in my America and while such "open carry" nonsense seems as crazy to me as it does to you, I know a lot more about the realities of living in the USA and don't have to rely on desperate and obsessive sweeping generalizations about one of the world's most diverse countries.

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  • 334. At 1:23pm on 11 Mar 2010, Forlornehope wrote:

    I have been round the World three times, I've been through the Khyber Pass (a long time ago), I've worked and travelled in all four corners of the United States and many places in between. I've been out running at all hours of the day and night. I have never found myself in a situation where a smile and a polite word wouldn't ensure my safety. Not only that but I have never met anyone, outside the military, who has either. OK, Americans want to carry guns, that is their choice, but don't pretend that there is any logic behind it.

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  • 335. At 1:25pm on 11 Mar 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    It appears I have upset either the Mods or ZanO for suggesting he might not be what he appears to be!

    To the Mods: So stating in quite colourful terms that the British people should be stomped upon is fine, but asking after someones mental age or suggesting that the views the are displaying isn't? Cool, can I suggest that you re-write the rules and say some posters are allowed to threaten and insult countries?

    To ZanO - Did the poor weak Brit scare you?

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  • 336. At 1:26pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 337. At 1:30pm on 11 Mar 2010, Peterpad wrote:

    Quote

    'And we have cast the shadow of our hand across the whole of the globe, unchallenged. We have ordered your pathetic armies into the field to clear a way for us as mere fodder to the slaughter. You claim your independence but never act it because, in the dark corridors and recesses of power, you have no more independence from us than a slave has from the queen bee. We have smashed our opponents with the iron fist of our will. If the fantasy day were ever to come when Britain were ever able to muster the courage to act from us in independence more than cosmetic you would be utterly obliterated with a whisper. When you reach up with your vaunted, enlightened hands you will see what true power is; in roar of shell and shrapnel and whine of machine guns will our answer be couched. We will crush you down under our heel and walk upon your faces.'

    What is this crap all about..... this could have been a great debate had it not been for this misguided fool....

    Please America, do come and try and swat this little North Atlantic Province.... lets be honest you would kill more of your own men than we would need to (Your record for friendly fire kills is pretty fantastic, yet another thing that you do better than anyone else.... killing your own). The real shame is that our government has allowed itself to be hoodwinked into joining your latest interference in the rest of the worlds affairs.

    Zano, most Americans I have meet are great people, but occasionally someone like yourself comes along that reinforces all the negative stereotypes.

    Just remember, for all your pontificating the American Civil war, was in reality a British Civil war fought overseas :)

    You are and always will be our noisy cousins, who's Language, Culture and History, owes so much to us, which we give to you freely :) allowing you the free speech to say what you want here on a British Web Site (By we welcome your input, it shows us why we should encourage even closer ties, with those other little European countries rather than forge anything with the USA)

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  • 338. At 1:31pm on 11 Mar 2010, BudgieKat wrote:

    The biggest problem with America - carrying guns or otherwise - is that it is full of Americans. An inherantly insecure people. Probably due to a lack of cohesive history.

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  • 339. At 1:32pm on 11 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Mr. Mardell, you really picked quite a place to showcase America's determination to defend itself. You never know walking down the aisle of a supermarket when an angry honeydew melon or a vengeful pork roast might come flying off the shelves attacking customers who might buy them and eat them. At those times it is most important to be prepared to use deadly force to overcome the threats from the natural world. We'll teach this food a lesson that their lot in life is to be consumed. No sir we're not going to allow what happened in Britain where you can see weekly how the melon heads at PMQT run the country to happen here too. We are prepared.

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  • 340. At 1:33pm on 11 Mar 2010, jobsagoodin wrote:

    Zano #259

    'Well my dear Britons - it's been fun chatting with you but I have to depart for other errands.'

    Missing you already.

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  • 341. At 1:33pm on 11 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Those who claim that there's hardly any danger of bear attacks in Colorado should visit Montana and Wyoming, prominently including Yellowstone National Park.

    And no, beside brown bears there are still grizzlies around.

    And no, even the bravest Britons armed with only knives (however big) would not like to meet those beasts face to face.
    [talk is cheap, brown pants - quite expensive]

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  • 342. At 1:34pm on 11 Mar 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Ref# 244 Powermeerkat
    "P.S. Can anybody tell me what does British Consititution say about Britons right to carry KNIVES?"
    ______________
    There is no licensing system for knives in the UK, but if you're carrying one you must have a viable reason for doing so.
    A folding knife under 3 inches can be carried, but if it brandished or if you threaten someone with it, it is regarded as an offensive weapon. Also there are certain types of knife/blade that are banned regardless of the length of blade or of any potential reason for carrying them.
    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/CrimeJusticeAndTheLaw/Typesofcrime/DG_181675
    Knife crime was pretty high profile in the UK in early 2009. Active police measures to reduce the number of knives carried by youths is regarded as having reduced the number of knife related deaths. There's a lesson for US gun policy in there somewhere

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  • 343. At 1:36pm on 11 Mar 2010, _marko wrote:

    At some time on some date, MarcusAureliusII wrote: some nonsense.
    No one had the energy to respond :)

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  • 344. At 1:36pm on 11 Mar 2010, AC wrote:

    #244 - you're kidding right?

    Tell me you know we don't have a constitution?! We have 'checks and balances' between the Executive (cabinet), Parliament, and the Judiciary...the types vary- but Judicial Review is one- a bit complex.

    Here-if it isn't outlawed, its legal. Very simple. Our constituion is not defined in a single document but has evolved over time. It is said to be made up of various acts of parliament and case law..an area of debate in itself.

    General point is that whilst your constitution enshrines a right to carry arms, our laws prevent any such right save with limited exceptions, e.g. unless you apply for a license.

    Regarding knives- broadly possession of a knife in a public place will be a criminal offence- possession of an offensive weapon in particular. There are other offences relating to intention of use, wounding and also depending on the severity of the wound. Wounding with intent is a serious crime leading to long sentences, though perhaps not compared to the US.

    Difficult to have a proper analysis of this here however as you have a penal system whereas we have a mixed penal and rehabilitative system which makes direct comparisons, for example on sentencing, difficult.

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  • 345. At 1:37pm on 11 Mar 2010, David Newton wrote:

    Those who say that the second amendment does not grant an individual right are clearly ignorant of recent and very high-profile jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of the United States. The majority opinion of District of Columbia v Heller says that the second amendment is an individual right. That is settled case law now. Unless there is a constitutional amendment or a SCOTUS reversal it binds every single court in the United States when dealing with the federal constitution.

    The question as to whether the second amendment is "incorporated" by the fourteenth amendment's due process clause or its privileges and immunities clause, and thus binding on state governments as well as the US federal government is still an open one. However it will not remain an open one for much longer as oral arguments in the case McDonald v Chicago were heard at the start of this month and that case addresses precisely the issue of incorporation of the second amendment. Judging by the course of the oral argument it looks like the decision will be for incorporation of the second amendment via the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment.

    That is the current judicial precedent position. Due to the current judicial precedent position anyone who says that it is a fact that the second amendment does not enumerate an individual right is wrong.

    There are also many people commenting about this article who are insulting those in the US who value this particular freedom. Those who are doing the insulting would do well to reflect that they are exercising freedom of speech. What is the ultimate guarantee of freedom of speech? The ultimate guarantee of freedom of speech is the ability to stop those who would curtail it through force. Firearms are a very, very important component of the ability to stop those would curtail freedom of speech.

    Consider the UK:

    1. There is no right to silence. This was abolished by John Major's government;
    2. There is no absolute defence of truth in defamation cases;
    3. The police hold DNA records of innocent people for many, many years in contempt of a court ruling;
    4. Primary legislation cannot be struck down by the courts as incompatible with fundamental rights and unconstitutional due to Parliament being "sovereign";
    5. Freedom of association is severely curtailed, a good example being sections 132 to 138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005;
    6. Freedom of religion is severely curtailed with the treatment of people who dare to express Christian sentiments in public being a case in point;
    7. The expansion of powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 has meant that they have been used to spy on people to find out if they live in a school catchment area or not;

    Those are hardly the actions of the government of a free society. There are problems in the US, but they are not as severe as those in the UK with respect to individual freedom. There are also many people in the US willing to stand up for their freedoms and fight to keep them. There are such people in the UK, but they are few and far between.

    US society is different in values and outlook to UK society. The sad thing is that many of the differences in value are because rights and freedoms have been lost in the UK in the name of "security". Remember Benjamin Franklin's often-mangled quote about liberty and those who deserve to lose it.

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  • 346. At 1:37pm on 11 Mar 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Availability of guns.....high crime.....people want guns because of high crime....available guns....high crime......

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  • 347. At 1:40pm on 11 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    You know, judging from the way some people write about us Brits here these days, you wonder if they think they lost the War of Independence.

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  • 348. At 1:41pm on 11 Mar 2010, Dirk wrote:

    'Open Carry' is a great idea. With technological developments such as 'hands free automated driving' coming on stream. In the near future people in the US will have both hands free when they driving their automobiles! This will give them the option of shooting out of the left or the right window, whilst driving from A to B.
    The American dream in action!

    Roll on the wild west!

    He ha!

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  • 349. At 1:41pm on 11 Mar 2010, RoRoUK wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 350. At 1:41pm on 11 Mar 2010, nosmit wrote:

    "Your nation laid itself down prostrate in front of Adolf Hitler by refusing to arm itself and pre-emptively strike before the monster of Nazi Germay grew so large it took all of America's effort to save it at the last possible minute."

    And yet, I seem to recall that your nation sat back and watched for 2 years, joining in only when the war came to you. What were we doing again?

    Maybe if you'd joined in a little bit earlier, you wouldn't have had to single-handedly save the entire Universe "at the last possible minute."

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  • 351. At 1:42pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 352. At 1:43pm on 11 Mar 2010, metric tonne wrote:

    As a Brit living in the US I find the whole obsession with the second amendment here wholly disingenuous. The right to bear arms is a silly anachronism that hangs over from a desire to rebel against British rule which banned forming militias. It is kind of like the mantra of "No taxation without representation" - as a non US citizen working in the US on a visa I am taxed without any representation.

    Ask any gun nut in the US the following question: Should US citizen's have the right to own a thermonuclear warhead. If the answer is yes, then you have a very very dangerous individual in front of you; if the answer is no, then that individual agrees with arms control. The only question that now remains is where you should draw the line. What makes me laugh the most are some of the gun nut's arguments for why they should have the right to bear arms. The most common argument is that the only way to stop a criminal with a gun is to have a gun. This misses the fact that the easiest way to get all criminals to carry guns is to make sure that everyone owns guns. In Times Square recently there was an incident where a guy running a CD selling scam had a shoot out with cops over something wholly trivial. A shoot out in the UK is big news, a shoot out in the US is common-place and forgotten within a few days.

    The second biggest argument is about the "well-armed militia" protecting against an over-powerful government. But anyone who believes that a militia armed with handguns is going to be able to stand up to the US government with the best equipped army on the planet behind it is sadly deluded.

    I recommend avoiding this argument though in the same way that I recommend avoiding religious arguments. The gun nuts in the US have a tendency to hold on to their position with religious zeal. Just look at the arguments further up this thread. Especially those that simply claim that Europeans don't understand Americans, or that this is an argument invented by the left wing.

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  • 353. At 1:43pm on 11 Mar 2010, jobsagoodin wrote:

    Zano #259

    'ship Gary McKinnon over here! It will please us to have him brought before the majesty of our courts in shackles to entertain us with his sniveling and whimpering before we decadently select a punishment to inflict upon him.'

    You couldn't do us all a favour could you. See if we were to send you Gordon Brown....

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  • 354. At 1:43pm on 11 Mar 2010, Stewart wrote:

    So what's wrong with getting rid of the guns then? Killing people over disputes amongst other things is so stupid. Are American's not capable of having a fight without them? The worst we would get in a dispute is an injury, which 99 times out of 100 we would fully recover from. Walking around some of the worst schemes in Scotland, I have never once felt that I would be much better off if I were carrying a weapon. The problem with America is that you have that right. With that right, you dont know who the bearer of that weapon is or how secure they may or may not be. The bottom line is that your whole country is asking for trouble.... with your own people. Someone should report on statistics of other countrys where this right is not prevalent and what the differences in crime rate are.

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  • 355. At 1:43pm on 11 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "The question is (purely hypothetically mods... I'm not ACTUALLY threatening anyone) whether the guy carrying it could draw it, cock it, take the safety catch off before I (walking up behind him in the street) stuck a $10 steak knife in his back and took his glock?"


    Anybody who knows how to use a Glock, or Beretta or even a Walther, would know that you never put a safety on.

    If for no reason than because it's dangerous.

    To the person who carries such a piece.

    [no, you don't have to have your muffler screwed on.]

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  • 356. At 1:45pm on 11 Mar 2010, ightenclaret wrote:

    Why would the constitution of the US insist that everyone has the right to expose their arms? I'm sure there are parts of the country that are extremely cold in winter and this would be extremely uncomfortable if you were wearing a short sleeve shirt or a t-shirt? Perhaps people should bare whatever part of their anatomy they wish, but take into account the prevailing weather conditions?

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  • 357. At 1:45pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 358. At 1:46pm on 11 Mar 2010, Sachin wrote:

    For all those arguing that it needs to be this way, because its always been so, I'd like to quote Thomas Jefferson:

    "I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the same coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

    Do guns make you safer: Yes, if you are fighting tigers and rabid dogs. In protecting yourself against an armed criminal, it will help escalate a situation, making the use of the gun by either party in a conflict that much more likely.

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  • 359. At 1:47pm on 11 Mar 2010, allabouttowler wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 360. At 1:49pm on 11 Mar 2010, Chris wrote:

    if the 2nd amendment creates an unalienable right to carry a gun (and not, for example, a right for every citizen to have available to them a gun to assist in the forming of a militia) then can we expect to see cases challenging the airlines right to ban firearms?

    everyone that is posting nonsense about "open carry policies" eliminating or reducing gun crime is ignoring the fact that in the one environment where we can have almost total gun control (in the air) we have gone the other way and chosen to disarm everyone. are the pro gun lobby suggesting handing out sidearms with the earphones and nuts?

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  • 361. At 1:49pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 362. At 1:51pm on 11 Mar 2010, duncan coull wrote:

    As a visitor to Houston a year ago I had the pleasure to be taken round an Outdoor World (anything to do with being outside shop) by my host, being "outdoorsy" myself, I was quite in awe of what was on offer. I have to admit the prospect of picking up a rifle on display to have a look and "play" with it rather appealed to me, a 28yr old male (boys and their toys ). What i was less than enamoured with was the selection of handguns of various calibres on display (under lock and key naturally), a rifle of which my host owned a few and actually showed me, has a purpose (They "hunted " (sat in hides) and shot deer but were obviously responsible about it in that the deer were skinned etc and the meat used. A pistol has less of a use in that comntext (you going to hit a deer at 300yds-doubtful-even with a sighted rifle), i observed a couple looking to purchase a handgun , that quite frankly could've brought down a small aircraft or tank and only good manners prevented me from querying what its intended use was, but needless to say i imagine it was for "home defence", from what???? Robocop!!

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  • 363. At 1:52pm on 11 Mar 2010, Nathan Woods wrote:

    I think it's interesting that a number of American commenters have hit upon the point that what goes on in their country--specifically regarding laws, their rights and, essentially, their government--is their business and no one (foreign) elses.

    I think this is a fair point to an extent, but coming from a country who are well known for their image as 'world police' I think it's a bit rich. I understand that America tends to storm in as the hero in countries where the masses are poorly treated by and in danger from political regimes (that may or may not have WMDs).

    In my opinion allowing a nation to tool up with fire arms is--at least--a little bit dangerous. Why shouldn't I be allowed to have an interest in this?

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  • 364. At 1:53pm on 11 Mar 2010, ann arbor wrote:

    Re 13, Andy

    "Interestingly enough, Chicago, where handguns are banned, last summer there were over 125 shot dead, which was about double the number of Soldiers killed in Iraq (or Afghanistan) over the same period. Want to talk about a civilized country?"

    Andy, please check your facts. Obama's "policy" of "do not shoot until fired upon" lost that many US solders between May, 2009 and July, 2009 alone.

    Those shot in Chicago have no correlation with what laws are in effect.

    Re 9 - NUTS

    "No surprise, but I don't get the logic:"

    " Criminals never open carry."

    That is pretty dense. I trust you can comprehend that they do not carry "open" so they look like a normal citizen.

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  • 365. At 1:54pm on 11 Mar 2010, Zendodeb wrote:

    Some said "more guns cause more suicide." They said it was "proven," but of course they offered no evidence, no link to an article, or a study, only their biased assertion.

    Canada has fewer guns per capita than the USA. (Most countries - maybe all countries - have fewer guns per capita.) But Canada has a higher suicide rate than the US. How can that be? Don't guns cause suicide?

    Anytime someone takes their own life, that is not a good thing, but if we want to understand it, we shouldn't let our biases (in this case an incredible anti-gun bias) run away with us. And we shouldn't accept what people say, just because they say it with feeling.

    http://wheelgun.blogspot.com/2005/11/report-from-canada-on-suicide.html contains a summary and a link to a study.

    Yes, the US has higher rate of "gun-related" suicide than does Canada. In Canada most suicide victims hang themselves. Do you honestly think the rate of suicide in Canada would go down if people had less access to rope? No. The fact is that guns don't cause suicide in the US, anymore than rope causes suicide in Canada. People determined to kill themselves will turn to what is available and effective, nothing more.

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  • 366. At 1:55pm on 11 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    350 posts in 12 hours.

    Clearly hit a hot button there Mark.

    But we've had this topic over and over before. A few different wing-nuts, same wing-nut non-arguments.

    Next topic?

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  • 367. At 1:55pm on 11 Mar 2010, Tancred wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII. There seems to be a certain arrogance to your lack of criticism of the US that really devalues your whole post. Credit where credit is due, the US were crucial in defeating the Nazis. However I do not believe that your view of the events that lead to or ended WW2 could be described as accurate. Perhaps you might be humble enough to admit your argument might have some rather large holes in it.
    There seems to be an extraordinary lack of objectivity being shown with rather a large helping of fairytale, portion of hear’ say and a side of guesswork.
    Also "That's what makes it unique, that is why it has succeeded so brilliantly far above all others" is possibly one of the broadest statements I've ever seen. Succeeded how exactly, and surely that depends where you're standing? I'm not sure that's everyone's point of view, even in the US! Especially not in the Middle/ Far East.
    Anyway, sorry but I just thought the post was awfully bitter.




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  • 368. At 1:56pm on 11 Mar 2010, Chris wrote:

    I do find it slightly strange that the type of American most convinced by the various, stupendously poor, arguements used to explain the "right to bear arms" are often also the same people who declaim Iran's right to bear arms? So whilst you're happy for everyone, now matter how crazy they may be, to be allowed to equip themselves with a deadly weapon, suddenly a democratically elected government doesn't qualify to defend itself?
    You pick and choose your moral viewpoint daily however it best suits you don't you America!! (Not that you are alone there...I don't want to single you out entirely!)

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  • 369. At 1:57pm on 11 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    If Brits can't handle guns any better than they handle liquor, they are surely better off without them. But that is there, this is here where things are very different. I think that's where Brits get it wrong and all confused. Hey Brits, the whole world is not Britain. We don't play cricket here, we don't like cricket here, and we do like guns. Maybe Cricket would be a more exciting game if instead of hitting the ball with a bat, you shot at it. Hitting it would put it out of its misery and teach all other cricket balls a lesson.

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  • 370. At 1:58pm on 11 Mar 2010, Tim wrote:

    Never understood the whole "stopping overreaching government" idea. If their military came after you, a few handguns or even machine guns won't do a thing as they'll be bringing tanks, attack helicopters and missiles.

    Look at Iraq/Afghanistan, insurgents all armed with very capable AK-47s and soviet rocket launchers, still get nowhere in firefights with professional soldiers but have achieved success dropping the guns in favour of IEDs and explosives. In firefights the insurgents get picked off from the air, most don't even see it coming, let alone are able to return fire.

    I guess to the simple-minded though having the bigger stick always seems best option, even if the stick's too big to actually be effective in a fight.

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  • 371. At 1:58pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 372. At 1:58pm on 11 Mar 2010, woody2shoes wrote:

    The USA is a Republic - not a Democracy. In a democracy the majority can impose their views upon the minority, as here in the UK, but in the USA the republic reserves the sovereign rights of individuals - within the limitations of the bill of rights and in this case the second amendment.
    In the UK we have an imbalance of power, where criminals appear to have no issue with obtaining and carrying guns, knives, banned vicious dogs etc, whilst the typical law abiding home-owner is prosecuted for arresting them whilst waiting for the Police to arrive, but the criminal is let off – despite there being clear evidence of a crime being committed.
    I am not for one second suggesting that UK home owners should be able to shoot those causing problems outside their homes, but “something” needs to be done to re-establish the balance of power away from the criminals and gangs, and return this to the majority who are law abiding citizens.
    A gun is an effective “force multiplier”, giving the old and weak a chance when confronted by a much stronger individual or gang of thugs. Since the criminals have no worries about carrying and using weapons themselves, and the courts do little to dissuade this activity – despite the sound byte politics from the Government, why should law abiding citizens in the USA give up their right to personal protection that their laws permit?
    If you want to see what happens when the gangs have more power than the majority of citizens you only need visit certain parts of inner city areas in the UK, or Chicago!
    The argument about gun related child deaths is no different for any other dangerous tool. You would not allow a 5 year old to play with the lawn mower or food processor unsupervised, so why place a gun where they may have uncontrolled access to it?
    Ironically it can be argued that the safest place for a gun is when it's carried at all times by the owner about their person - this way it is never left unattended and is always there if needed. Also training is important: Responsible parents would not let their 17 year old drive a car unaccompanied or without instruction and supervision until they were proven to be safe. Effective traiing AND PRACTICE are an important part of any tools' use.
    Where children grow up on farms and in rural communities they are more competent with farm machinery at 15 than most "townies" are when they start to drive at 17. It is the same for anyone brought up to respect and understand things from a young age – guns included.
    I frequently visit the USA, and I am happy that in the unlikely event that someone goes "postal" in a shopping mall, there is a high likelihood that some lawfully armed citizen will disable them (yes, that does mean shoot them) well before the police arrive several minutes later and the death toll is much higher.
    Finally, why is the BBC spending my license money on trips to the USA to investigate issues that are none of our business here in the UK?

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  • 373. At 1:58pm on 11 Mar 2010, marv wrote:

    *shrugs* Does anyone really care how many americans get blown away by americans because of their inability to control their criminal tendancies? nope, thought not. Keep it up, Al Quaeda couldnt possibly kill as many americans as america does, they must laugh themselves stupid every time they read an american newspaper.

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  • 374. At 2:01pm on 11 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re " If there were a referendum on this issue there wouldn't be a gun to be seen."



    If free citizens of democratic UK were allowed to have a referendum on Great Britan's membership in EU, UK would be out long ago.

    If free citizens of the democratic UK were allowed to elect their premier

    If they were allowed to vote on retaining or abolishing their monarchy..

    "if ifs and ans were pots and pans, there'd be no work for tinkers".

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  • 375. At 2:01pm on 11 Mar 2010, Necrothesp wrote:

    Utterly pathetic. What do these idiots think they look like? Especially the woman with the pink gun. If people like that didn't shout and scream about guns and salivate every time they saw them (if you've ever seen a pro-gun American on TV you'll know that a lot of them treat them like must-have toys instead of deadly weapons) then there would be a lot less gun crime in the United States. You just have to look at the differences in the numbers of gun murders between Britain and the US - even allowing for the difference in population it's absolutely astronomical.

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  • 376. At 2:02pm on 11 Mar 2010, Les Behan wrote:

    I can understand a developing nation as America was when making its Bill Of Rights, and that there would be a threat from wild animals, hostile natives over land rights etc, but hasnt America become more civilised since, and therefore this be looked at objectively rather than sentimentally? Countries evolve and move on.
    In the UK Freemen of the City Of London can drive their sheep across London Bridge without paying tolls, but no one does this now, unless seeking publicity.
    Guns dont kill people, people do. Until the people can prove that they are sensible enough, and have a reason to own a gun, dont give them a licence, the same way as with car ownership. You dont drive a car (legally) till found competant, and with sufficient insurance to cover any error you may make. Why not treat guns the same ?

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  • 377. At 2:03pm on 11 Mar 2010, Joe Cavalier wrote:

    Just for some information, here are the four categories of people (not in law enforcement) with regards to carrying a gun in the US:

    1) People who don't carry: by far the most common. These guys have no fear of getting in trouble legally vis a vis gun carrying. They generally don't have to worry about violence on a day to day basis (honestly, the US isn't the wild west--read Justin Webb's last blog post from the US), but have no means of protecting themselves if violence comes to them.

    2) People who open carry: depends on where you are, but this seems pretty uncommon also. I've lived in the South for 30+ years and have never seen anyone, aside from the police, open carrying. Open carrying draws attention from other people and from law enforcement. Generally you can't open carry in government buildings (post offices, schools, courthouses, etc.) or in places that serve alcohol. Depending on how well informed the local police department is, open carriers can expect attention and questioning from law enforcement. Open carry is generally a poor choice for criminals because of the attention it draws and because it makes people wary.

    3) People who concealed carry: in my experience, more common than open carry. To legally carry a concealed weapon you have to a) live in a state that permits it, b) usually take a safety course, c) apply at a police department for a concealed carry permit, d) usually pass a background check, e) submit fingerprints, f) pay a fee. The same rules that apply to open carry regarding where you can concealed carry apply. Additionally, if you concealed carry you really have to conceal the weapon. Displaying the weapon, even unintentionally, can be considered 'brandishing a weapon' which is a crime. The many restrictions regarding concealed carry tend to ensure that those who are legally concealed carrying tend to be law-abiding. (something like 1/4 of 1% of illegal shootings are done by concealed carry permit holders)

    4) People who illegally concealed carry: These are the people you have to worry about. Unfortunately, carry laws don't really apply to them because they are already breaking the law in most states by concealed carrying without a permit, a felony that can get you anywhere from 30 days to 15 years depending on locality, criminal record, etc.


    Hopefully this helps people who aren't familiar with our gun culture understand why laws directed toward who can or can't carry tend to irritate lawful gun owners. They target people who are law abiding anyway and cannot target the problem group who already just ignore gun laws.

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  • 378. At 2:04pm on 11 Mar 2010, Weeha wrote:

    Why we in America have the right to bear arms.
    Please read the Federalist Papers.
    LINK
    http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa00.htm

    Specifically number 46:
    The Influence of the State and Federal Governments Compared
    LINK:
    http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa46.htm

    Here is a quote from it:
    (Be sure and read the sections marked with a >>>)


    "
    Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops.

    >>>

    Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it.

    >>> >>>
    Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.

    >>> >>> >>>
    Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."

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  • 379. At 2:05pm on 11 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    It seems bizarre to hear Brits rail against Americans owning guns considering that until recently, the national sport of Britain was fox hunting. Of course the hunters never actually shot the foxes. Instead the foxes were hunted down by packs of their dogs who would corner it and literally rip it to shreds while it was still alive. That sport would be considered illegal in America since it would violate laws prohibiting cruelty to animals in every state. But then America is not a civilized country the way Britain is.

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  • 380. At 2:05pm on 11 Mar 2010, Janet Dillingham wrote:

    Jeez. We Americans love to go to such dramatic extremes to make ourselves ridiculous over nothing. No amount of guns in one's home is going to stop the US military from trampling through your daffodils if they really really wanted to.

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  • 381. At 2:06pm on 11 Mar 2010, guns_breed_guns wrote:

    Guns breed guns - it is a simple equation.

    When I leave the house I say to myself 'keys, phone wallet' to make sure I have everything critical.

    Personally, I don't look forward to the day I say 'keys, phone, wallet, gun'

    Fortunately, I don't have to do this where I live (UK)

    We can agree to disagree and I totally respect where you guys are coming from (I would no doubt share your view if I lived there) however I know where I would rather live

    Take care guys

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  • 382. At 2:07pm on 11 Mar 2010, MyVoiceinYrHead wrote:

    "Guns aren't toys! They're for family protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face!" - Homer Simpson

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  • 383. At 2:11pm on 11 Mar 2010, Malone wrote:

    @ ZanO - I thought you had errands to run? Hurry along now little chap, be on your way. One should be so frightfully sorry that you be delayed by such trivial little postings on such a thoroughly British web-page.

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  • 384. At 2:12pm on 11 Mar 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    I think it's all been said before.....

    Just to add, in 40 years living in the USA, I have never seen a person randomly shot, I have never seen a person carrying a firearm on their person, and I will go out on a limb and say, most people I associate with do not own a gun except for some friends who do an annual skeet shoot using powder loaded weapons(?).



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  • 385. At 2:12pm on 11 Mar 2010, DiscoStu_d wrote:

    @330 "As an American J.D. candidate I feel obligated by a sense of duty to the Constitution to attempt to explain the legal controversy here"

    Thank goodness you showed up and straightened all that out for us non JD candidates. My guess is that you are faster than a speeding bullet, leap buidlings in a single bound and probably resuce women, children and cats on a regular basis. Thank God for JD candidates ladies and gentlemen!

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  • 386. At 2:12pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 387. At 2:13pm on 11 Mar 2010, Rob AS wrote:

    How many Americans know that the actual "right to bear arms", is, according to the constitution, ONLY as part of an "orderly militia".
    With that understood, the average American DOES NOT have the automatic right to bear arms in the context in which they are typically used.

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  • 388. At 2:14pm on 11 Mar 2010, Chris wrote:

    Interesting article, I am a Yank from Wisconsin and have been following the Open Carry news, and was surprised at the BBC's coverage of this American issue. For you Brits, you have to understand that our gun culture is rooted in history, Americans valued the gun in defence of life and property from Indigenous peoples, wildlife, criminals, and yes, foreign powers. All of these threats are still real excepting harm from Indigenous peoples, hence the need or desire by most Americans for a firearm in some capacity.
    America is not a lawless society as a whole until you hit the mean streets of most major American cities. We once had a Defense Secretary declare that the rising attacks on American soldiers in Iraq was less then the number of people murdered in any given major city that day. I guess that could be viewed as a comfortable comparison to how safe our soldiers were or, (if I lived in a big city), something that would make me want to be armed too.
    I like these articles comparing life in the States to life on the other side of the 'pond', I wish we could get more here on how you people live and cope on a daily issue there.

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  • 389. At 2:14pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 390. At 2:15pm on 11 Mar 2010, jtanz0 wrote:

    Founding father 1: "don't you think we should clear up the language in the second amendment"

    Founding father 2: "I don't see how it could possibly be misconstrued; every American has the right to hang a set of bear arms on their wall. What's unclear about that?"

    Founding father 1: "Yeah guess you're right"


    ...

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  • 391. At 2:19pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 392. At 2:19pm on 11 Mar 2010, Big M wrote:

    What? Carrying a gun into a grocery shop is totally absurd. why would one want to do that. Criminals never open carry yet but once it becomes the norm to carry guns how do you differentiate? & for the lady "feeling safe at night going to the car" 1stly who is going to spot your gun at night in street light? & suppose it is the case that someone can see it do you think they would not shoot first? Guns are dangerous & their logic is twisted.

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  • 393. At 2:19pm on 11 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    rubadubdub #315;

    "Americas obsession with the constitution is, and I don't mean to offend, just silly."

    Funny thing about that. The same ultra left liberals and foreigners who use that argument were just yesterday it seems waving it around screaming about how the constitutional rights of terrorists were being violated by waterboarding them to find out which American city they were planning to attack next and how many Americans they might kill. Yes, an obsession with a quaint document written in another time.

    Could it be that Brits are jealous because they don't have one? Ooops, I forgot, they actually have two. And embarrassment of riches for them. There's the one that is some nebulous amalgam of various documents, doctrines, and assorted other bits of string and lint they pull from their pockets that are interpreted by the Law Lords like Rabbis pondering the meaning of the Talmud and then there is the Lisbon Treaty which is the EU Constitution in disguise. What happens if the two Constitutions don't agree with each other? Which one takes precedence? I'm sure they've already got that one figured out, just like the bailout of Greece.

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  • 394. At 2:21pm on 11 Mar 2010, Lynn wrote:

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  • 395. At 2:21pm on 11 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    305. At 12:50pm on 11 Mar 2010, Emma wrote:

    "if both the good guys and the bad guys have them". . .

    Well, exactly. I'm puzzled by the odd comment that it's illegal for convicted criminals to carry guns. Can't see the point; the problem is criminals, by definiition, do illegal things.

    If I were to see a gun in the open in London I'd be pretty certain it was one of the bad guys and I'd get out of the way. But if all of a hundred people on the street have a gun at their hip, you'll only know which was which when you heard the bang (if you're lucky). Anyway, I've been told that most of the handguns people carry are not particularly accurate except at quite short range.

    (That was a friend in the RAF, who quite often had to go into less than peaceful places, told me he much preferred to rely on being accompanied by a soldier with a sub-machine gun rather than carry a sidearm; and he had to pass a tough test on the firing range every six months with both throughout his career, so it's not as though he didn't know how to use them.)

    I noticed from the Wisconsin people that it appears you can only carry a gun openly in the street. You can't have one accessible in your car, even in the glove compartment, which they don't seem to be bothered about. Logic would suggest that people so determined on the 'right to bear arms' openly on display in public would want that right to apply to their cars as well as their grocery.

    So the need to defend your supermarket trolley and the person pushing it with a gun from armed robbers is greater than the need to defend your car and the people in it with one?

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  • 396. At 2:21pm on 11 Mar 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    While ZanO is not going to be around very long, can I point out that he has publicly said he wants to financially support terrorism? Specifically to aid in the establishment of a free Ireland, which I take to mean sponsoring armed struggle in Northern Ireland. The Real IRA has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the US, now my knowledge of the Patriot Act is a bit hazy, but I believe stating that you want to fund terrorism is against the law.

    Of course since ZanO in all likelyhood doesn't exist this might be a problem!

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  • 397. At 2:23pm on 11 Mar 2010, tridiv wrote:

    ZanoO and other commenting on Europe

    Europe is showing the way for the rest of the world- how democratic nation states can overcome petty national boundaries to unite and cooperate to make our planet safer and humane. From South Asia to Africa to Latin America- this is the future of the world. Instead of national fanaticism, regional cooperation based on democracy, plurality and law. Belittling Europe which has some of most caring governments, where quality of life indexes are consistently high, and where women and children enjoy some of the best rights in the world, is counter-productive and factually plain wrong. ZanO's comparison of Germany with Somalia is bordering on the xenophobic. This begs the question- is anyone moderating this board? Or anyone can dream up their mad fantasies and post them here!

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  • 398. At 2:25pm on 11 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    ghost of a szechuan chicken dinner;

    I'd have thought you'd be a strong advocate of citizens carrying guns. You never know when you might run into a banker and an opportunity would present itself. I know how strong your feelings about bankers are. On second thought, maybe you'd be better off without one. You never know when I might need to go into a bank and make a withdrawl when there's no ATM machine around.

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  • 399. At 2:27pm on 11 Mar 2010, chimneyrock wrote:

    @charlieatlantic

    >>>Republicans who shout about the Second Amendment but ignore the First or the Fifth are every bit as bad as people-who-call-themselves-liberals-but-are-actually-pretty-authoritarian who simultaneously argue that the First Amendment was designed to protect hardcore pornography, but the Second Amendment has nothing to do with guns.>>>

    Interestingly, the text of the second and fifth amendments both carry the word, "Militia." This, to my mind, rather gives lie to the idea that the 2nd amendment dealt with the right of the citizen to bear arms. It is often pointed out by antigunners that it was a right of a militia to bear arms, not of the private citizen, whilst the progunners rebut this by saying that it is the private citizens who form the militia, should the need arise, so the 2nd amendment doesn't deal with any specific militia, as such. Yet the 5th amendment specifically mentions the "militia," again, which, to me, seems rather to cast doubt on the idea that no specific militia is meant by the 2nd.

    My happenworth.

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  • 400. At 2:28pm on 11 Mar 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    " The independent British nuclear deterrent is a myth - whatever else it may be, it is not independent. These are the final pieces in a jigsaw which exposes simple facts that British leaders have long
    known but a generation of Thatcherite consensus has obscured: we cannot and do not make our own nuclear weapons; we are not a true nuclear power; we are mere clients of the US. The Conservative government itself had to admit that there were never any "identifiably British" Trident missiles in the US navy store where British submarines loaded up. The words "Royal Navy" were only painted on the missiles for test-firing, to make good publicity pictures. -"

    You really are spectacularly ill-informed. Trident is the missile. You make that. The atomic bit that goes 'BOOM' is made by us at Aldermarston (where incidentally the mechanism to detonate Plutonium was invented... not in the US) using Plutonium made at Sellafield. If there really was a 'secret' radio signal to detonate 'rogue' Tridents wouldn't you worry that the Russians, Chinese.... or Gary McKinnon (with whom you seem weirdly obsessed) might have access to it and neutralise your entire nuclear deterent? Likewise Trident doesn't need US satelites to navigate. Those are far too vunerable to attack. It has an inertial navigation system based on celestial navigation... the Russians can't shoot down the stars yet.

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  • 401. At 2:32pm on 11 Mar 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    #345 "US society is different in values and outlook to UK society. The sad thing is that many of the differences in value are because rights and freedoms have been lost in the UK in the name of "security". Remember Benjamin Franklin's often-mangled quote about liberty and those who deserve to lose it."

    What did Franklins slaves do to deserve losing their liberty? Franklin was a hypocrite.

    Likewise the 'Patriot act' is as bad a bit of law as anything the UK has. I note 'Jihad Jane' http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8558864.stm arrest has been kept secret for 5 months.

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  • 402. At 2:35pm on 11 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Pew pew... Pew pew pew...
    Aw honey - guns are as American as Apple Pie!
    My dad has a dealer's/collector's licence. He truly truly has the right to bear, sell, and even transport arms across state lines. He's a card carrying member of the NRA and an Ex-Cop.

    I grew up with guns in the home & I know all the Pro & Con arguments.
    And ya know what?

    Rifles are for hunting meat. Yum.
    Handguns are for killing people. Ewww...

    This ain't the wild west folks! Please, drop the weapons.

    Fortunately, in the "civilian world" gun ownership is actually pretty unusual. I've lived in four states, three cities, and I have kin-folk all over - and the only folks I've met who carry weapons were cops or feds. Not even my war vet friends carry.
    -- This guy's a freak of human nature.


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  • 403. At 2:35pm on 11 Mar 2010, Steve Day wrote:

    Man there is some seriously paranoid and insecure people living in the US.

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  • 404. At 2:37pm on 11 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Brendan, a self-described former armed UK policeman opines:

    "If the UK allowed open carry of firearms, things would get a LOT more polite on the streets. Perhaps never as civilised as here in Atlanta, but a step forward:)"


    Brendan, Richmond is not much worse [after all it's a former capital of Confederacy ;)].

    And hooligans visiting from UK should better watch their manners in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Texas and Wyoming.

    To paraphrase a title of a great movie: it's not a country for wimps.


    P.S. When some members of Japanese Imperial General Staff suggested an invasion of continental U.S.A. from the west, Adm. Yamamoto famously pointed out that it would not work, because in the American West every house would become a veritable fortress, and that the weapons many Americans keep in their homes there are not exactly handguns.

    So much Mr. Yamamoto re Mr. Bazooka. :)

    [Not that our own federal government, if it ever became opressive would fare much better in that territory]




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  • 405. At 2:37pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 406. At 2:40pm on 11 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 196 ZanO wrote:

    "And we have cast the shadow of our hand across the whole of the globe, unchallenged. We have ordered your pathetic armies into the field to clear a way for us as mere fodder to the slaughter. You claim your independence but never act it because, in the dark corridors and recesses of power, you have no more independence from us than a slave has from the queen bee. We have smashed our opponents with the iron fist of our will."

    I know this is probably a proof of Godwin's Law or some such but - really - surely I am not the only one who has an inescapable image of that little pudgy fella with the Chaplin moustache, who mislaid something in the Albert Hall?

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  • 407. At 2:42pm on 11 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 256 powermeerkat wrote:

    "They're coming to take me away, haha! They're coming to take me away"

    Good

    :-p



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  • 408. At 2:42pm on 11 Mar 2010, Richard Johnson wrote:

    The second amendment comes down to the whole issue regarding the direction of the United States. If you look at the demographics and overlap open carry "enthusiasts" with Tea Party membership and then their declared race, you will see a frightening statistic that goes all the way back to one of the premises of "Bowling for Columbine". The truth is that this group of "Americans" feel more "American" than others who they believe are statistically responsible for more crime, welfare and unemployment. They believe that this culture of dependency has created the expansion of government and the destruction of the middle class through people being overtaxed to pay for what they see as entitlements.

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  • 409. At 2:43pm on 11 Mar 2010, andrewme wrote:

    Virtually all crimes involve illegal guns, they tend to leave most lawful gun owners alone. The urban and suburban commentators here in the UK have little concept of the US outside Disney or the holiday spots, nor understand the framers of the constituition. The entire document sets out life liberty etc but does not grant anything. It simply prevents specific rights from being taken away or limited. Dont worry its a common mistake. Unlike here the framers thought people could work it our for themselves and get by pretty much without government interference.

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  • 410. At 2:43pm on 11 Mar 2010, GBcerberus wrote:

    If one extrapolates the "open carry" movement, it represents an escalation. Whilst weapons are to hand, there will be occasions when the bearer will be prompted or tempted to unholster the weapon, if only to ward off what is regarded as a threat - real or imagined.
    I can see myself in the same car park as Kim Garny, lawfully making my way to my car with my groceries. Now, if I am parked near to her, and I appear to be "following" her to her car, is she more or less likely to regard me as a threat?
    Whilst I admire the Constitution, and wish we had one here in the UK, I cannot help but feel that the 2nd Amendment was inserted in a different era, and should now be re-thought.

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  • 411. At 2:44pm on 11 Mar 2010, The Toothbrush Man wrote:

    I can speak with a little authority on this - the gun control situation in the US is about as fascinating to me as watching a corpse decompose - you're both horrified at the scene yet interested in the process.

    The GSW stats for the US truly horrific by any standard. Something like 16,000+ gun suicides per yer, 11,000 gun homicides per year. For the last full recorded year the UK had just 40 gun deaths (suicides + homicides). There are even reliable stats on the US gun death rate for children age 5 years or less ! And of course the number injured or maimed will be multiples of this.

    That suicide rates are much higher than they need to be has been proven time and time again by many studies. The New England Journal of Medicine wrote a very good one. For example, the ratio of attempted suicides to completed suicides in the US is far lower than in Europe. This is a simple reflection of the fact that suicide via pills or poison is common in Europe, but often unsuccessful. But the simple lethality of a gun makes attempted suicides almost impossible.

    But what is truly amazing is the way in which pro-gun lobby in the US justify themselves. These justifications range from the bizarre to the
    mad to outright lies. The truth doesn't seem to matter at all ...

    For example, other countries with gun control laws (such as the UK) are necessarily marxist-socialist jackbooted dictatorships where nobody sleeps at night in fear of a "criminal" attacks. Nuff said.

    They are fond of quoting bumper sticker slogans as fact. There are lots of these. Examples ...

    "Hitler was in favour of gun control". Not true. Never happened.

    Interestingly some of the more accurate claims about gun control in the Nazi era come from the more extreme neo-Nazi groups in the US - their fascination with all things Hitler has inspired them read the history books and they are very knowledgable.

    "Had the Jews been armed with guns, WWII would never had happened". Facile.

    "The Japanese didn't invade mainland US in WWII because there would be an American with a gun 'behind every blade of grass'". This is pure fiction.

    "Britain in the Victorian era had very little crime because there were no gun control laws". Only in Mary Poppins films - Victorian Britain was a brutally dangerous place to live.

    "When gun control was introduced in 1997, violent crime rates soared 100%/200%/400%". Not true. The way in which crime was reported was overhauled in 2002 and reporting rates went up. Violent crime is currently at its lowest levels since 1981.

    "2,000,000 crimes in progress are prevented each year in the US by an armed individual." This is a statistic from a "conservative academic" (whatever that is) called Kleck. No other statistician is anything like as confident with the numbers to make such a claim, but Kleck (a darling of the pro-gun lobby) seems inconcerned. Problem is, it's an absolutely massive number - way to large to make any sense. This equates to 1 crime per 150 US citizens - which is huge.

    There is also a very poor understanding of the statistics - we've had already one posting - "lower crime rate in the US than in the UK". Rubbish. What "crime rate" ? Embezzlement ? Car insurance fraud ? It's a meaningless number that isn't even measured !

    There is an NRA video circulating on YouTube claiming that the UK is at the point of civil insurrection - and to prove its point it films the anti-fox hunting demonstration in 1996 organised by the Countryside Alliance. The fact that fox-hunting is hunting with dogs - and guns are not involved seems irrelevant to the commentator. The demonstration shows people walking around holding placards with slogans like "we have a right to hunt" and shouting stuff like "say no the hunting ban". Which makes for great material if you're going to say stuff like "taking away peoples guns infringes their freedoms". The rest of the video is then spliced with, for some strange reason, scenes from when their gun control laws were imposed (with popular support) in Australia. And this is a professionally made video made by a serious organisation - the NRA !

    Also beware of false analogies with car accidents and guns. The "if you're going to ban guns, then you'll have to ban cars too because they kill far more than guns" logic. This is a deliberate attempt to muddle the ACCIDENTAL car deaths (high) with DELIBERATE gun deaths (high). Unfair. You need to compare ACCIDENTAL car deaths (high) with ACCIDENTAL gun deaths (low) and DELIBERATE car deaths (low) with DELIBERATE gun deaths (high).


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  • 412. At 2:44pm on 11 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re:"they [Americans] ban activities (such as prostitution) that have long become normal and even protected by law in socially advanced countries (e.g. Germany)."




    :-)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

    A single visit to a chicken ranch" in say, Nevada, or a'massage parlor' in California would show you how "progressive" Americans really are.

    [no, prostitution is NOT illegal in the States; only pimping and soliciting is.]

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  • 413. At 2:44pm on 11 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 190 BiggseyMalone wrote:

    "ZanO 10:13 - you utter loon!!"

    I strongly object to this comment.

    It is grossly unfair to utter loons.....

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  • 414. At 2:44pm on 11 Mar 2010, Adam Sulkowski wrote:

    >20. At 03:15am on 11 Mar 2010, Jumper wrote:
    >Is it the UK or is it Scotland that has started a training program for young inmates about to be released to teach them of all the legal problems they can encounter by carrying knives? The amount of knife crime in the UK is a reminder that taking away the guns isn't going to stop the violence.

    It amazes me that the United States have managed to go so long without another civil war. The fact is, there is little that is United about the States. The American people have a collective lack of faith in their successive governments and view them with deep suspicion, which in their eyes justifies their perceived need for the Second Amendment. And this is why the United States are in a state of irreversible decay, because holding onto rights passed long ago as though they are some kind of immovable and unchangeable absolute does nothing but prevent progress. That kind of mentality should be limited to religions.

    Pro gun people argue that it's about civil rights. When the principle of civil rights comes at the expense of thousands of lives a year then it is time to think again. There really is no argument in defence of gun ownership when over 9000 people a year die from gunshot wounds in the USA every year. And yes, that includes suicides and so it should. How many of the suicides would still have happened if the individual only had a knife to hand to kill themselves with?

    Last year there were 55 knife related deaths in Scotland and 277 knife related deaths in Wales and England. Whilst that is unfortunate, it's nothing compared to the murder rate in the USA.

    The fact is, it's always going to be easier to pull a trigger in the heat of the moment than it is going to be to physically plunge a knife into someone. The UK does have a problem with knives, and no doubt the USA would see an increase in knife crime if all guns were banned, but no sane person could argue that if guns were banned then thousands of people who die each year in the USA as a result of gun crime would still die. Human life should not be valued so cheaply for the sake of misguided principles.

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  • 415. At 2:49pm on 11 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 345 David Newton wrote:

    "6. Freedom of religion is severely curtailed with the treatment of people who dare to express Christian sentiments in public being a case in point"

    Evidence?

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  • 416. At 2:51pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 417. At 2:52pm on 11 Mar 2010, doubledown9 wrote:

    To imply that the nature of wildlife in America is a reason to carry guns is ridiculous. How many bears or wolves are 'roaming' around New York City or Chicago city centre?

    As for the comments by some pro gun members on here about knife deaths in the UK; in 2007 there were 277 knife related deaths in the UK, in 2004 there were over 29000 gun related deaths in the US, roughly 176 per day. Chalk and Cheese people.

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  • 418. At 2:53pm on 11 Mar 2010, Brian Hill wrote:

    Just to be boring. There are guns in the UK and a sizeable number of the population have them. I suspect that most farmers have at least one shot gun. But they are controlled by law. Criminals still get hold of them and shoot people. But someone walking round the supermarket carrying a gun will cause a security alert and be arrested.

    Yes there is a huge problem with knife crime in the UK - primarily because stupid teenagers think that if they are armed with a knife they can defend themselves. Many of the knife deaths and injuries are on the knife owner. If they hadn't gone out with a knife ...

    As for the US right to bear arms, I am interested in context. As I understand it, the constitution was written soon after the US had gained independence from Britain. There was no regular army, so the ability to defend this fledgling country against an attack from the Brits or anyone else was essential.

    Now the USA has one of the biggest armies in the world, if not the biggest. So is there still a constitutional need for an armed militia?

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  • 419. At 2:54pm on 11 Mar 2010, Malone wrote:

    @ Chris - 1:56, well said that man, couldn't agree with you more.

    @ MarcusAureliusIII - 1:57, please do not bring cricket into this argument. The simple fact that the Americans choose baseball over cricket, only highlights their inferiority.

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  • 420. At 2:55pm on 11 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 421. At 2:57pm on 11 Mar 2010, napolioni wrote:

    Man and wife carry guns legally. Nothing happens. Shock horror. Hardly a news story.

    The police in the UK have armed themselves in the last few decades while the non-criminal civilian population has been disarmed. Has it stopped gun crime? Of course not.

    I have more to fear from overzealous armed police action than I do from Nic Clark and his fellow open carry members.

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  • 422. At 2:57pm on 11 Mar 2010, Rob wrote:

    'In Virginia politicians are likely to change the law and allow people to buy more than one hand gun a month.'

    Erm... more than one handgun a month, unless you want to outfit a private army who can't wait 31 days between replacing handguns....

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  • 423. At 2:57pm on 11 Mar 2010, Adam wrote:

    Guns don't kill people. people kill people.

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  • 424. At 2:58pm on 11 Mar 2010, Blackadder wrote:

    I can't wait for the next enlightening post from MarcusAureliusII. He is clever...


    As an aside, it's funny he mentions a sport that the Yanks (sorry ... but if you will insist on calling us Brits) don't play. I love the fact that the USA has a sport that next to no one else on Earth is interested in (many nations play Cricket by the way) and then have a "*World* Series" - Good work Yanks!

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  • 425. At 2:59pm on 11 Mar 2010, carolinalady wrote:

    Some items of note from North Carolina:
    #1. Mark undoubtedly thought he needed to stir up response, so he did a gun piece...that always gets us going. I'm going to be something like 415 in this queue.
    #2. The Founding Fathers, as someone pointed out, did explain some of their thinking regarding the Second Amendment in The Federalist Papers. Do recall that in 1789, most households owned guns for protection and for food procurement; hunting was a necessity in 18th century America.
    #3. Firearms have undergone an incredible technological evolution since the 18th century but they are no longer the weapon of choice for the US Military since we have drones, planes, tanks and missiles with which to clobber our enemies.
    #4. That leaves high-caliber, armor-piercing, automatic rifles and handguns in private citizens' hands. Ostensibly, as our friends in Wisconsin (98% white) have pointed out, for PROTECTION. So what are they afraid of? Or, for hunting. Since when has it been sporting to blast a deer with an AK-47?

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  • 426. At 2:59pm on 11 Mar 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    For some reason having the masculinity of myself and my homeland questioned by someone who needs to think of nukes to feel sexually powerful makes me smile!

    Love the bomb man!

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  • 427. At 3:00pm on 11 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 374 powermeerkat wrote:

    "If free citizens of the democratic UK were allowed to elect their premier"

    As I recall, you came out with this some time ago. And I asked if you could tell us of any democracy with a parliamentary system that has a directly elected premier or prime minister. Surprisingly, in view of your multitudinous postings, answer came there none.

    Still waiting...


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  • 428. At 3:00pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    For the record to whomever was talking about it, the US should never have entered WWII. We were goaded into it by the fat British-American hybrid dullard Churchill. In the words of the great Charles Lindbergh, speaking as head of the Committee for the Neutrality of the Republic in 1939:

    "The longer I lived in Europe, the more I felt that no outside influence could solve the problems of European nations, or bring them lasting peace. They must work out their destiny, as we must work out ours. I am convinced that the better acquainted we in America become with the background of European conflicts, the less we will desire to take part in them."

    As the rarely sang 2nd verse of the U.S. national anthem reads:

    "Their (British) blood has washed out,
    Their foul footsteps pollution.
    No refuge could save,
    Their hirelings and slaves,
    From the terror of flight,
    Nor the gloom of the grave."

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  • 429. At 3:00pm on 11 Mar 2010, OllyCromwell wrote:

    The concept that if all guns are banned, only criminals would have them is whilst true, not the real point.

    As I recall, the guns used in the horrific slaughter of 16 innocent children at Dunblane in Scotland in 1996 (and one adult) or Hungerford, England in 1987 (16 dead, 17 wounded) were carried out by individuals with legally held weapons. Hence I struggle with the proposition that suggests carrying guns openly by law-abiding citizens is a good thing in any way, as it's impossible to tell who's a "good" law-abiding citizen and who is just the next lunatic about to create havoc.

    Some years ago (when it was still legal to do so) a friend of mine - a licensed full-bore pistol owner - took me along to an "open day" at his clubs' range. What put me off wasn't the noise or the guns, but the individuals who were using them. Those I met and talked to struck me as being, well let's be polite and call them non-conformist. But many were simply socially maladjusted and deeply flawed individuals. I thought this was strange as getting hold of a firearm was supposed to be a difficult thing, involving several checks. The reality was somewhat different - at the time, licenses were granted to pretty much anyone who had "reasonable cause" - which included having served a probationary period at a gun club, and as long as they had no criminal record, they were eventually issued with a license. Unfortunately many of those I met were clearly there to got their rocks off by strutting around in full camouflage dressed like some sort of Special Forces soldier and armed to the teeth. They were dressed in an unnecessarily extremist way given all they had to do was stand and shoot at static targets; instead they looked like they were just about to patrol downtown Baghdad. I concluded that what they were actually doing had less to do with target shooting and much more to do with the image they wanted to project, which I found rather worrying.

    Since full-bore firearms were effectively banned here in the UK there has been no repetition of the tragic events at Dunblane or Hungerford. There have of course been numerous (and usually drug-related) shootings among certain parts of our society, which in the main has tended to improve the gene pool. Innocent people have also been killed too, but I doubt that the presence of any armed "law abiding citizens" would have helped. Overall I think British society has benefitted from the ban, and I for one am happy that I won't be bumping into armed shoppers the next time I need to pop out for a pint of milk. But I do feel sorry for those who clearly feel sufficiently threatened they need to strap on a holster to go down to the store in the US. It must be hell over there.

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  • 430. At 3:03pm on 11 Mar 2010, Brian Hill wrote:

    #349. RoRoUK.

    Well said.

    Thank you.

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  • 431. At 3:03pm on 11 Mar 2010, Mark Walter wrote:

    This thread is hysterical. Zan0, keep them coming!

    Addressing our US friends: For the record, I think most people in the UK are smart enough to understand that the US stereotype and the US reality are different things. Just like I would hope you are able to figure out that actually England is not populated by Hugh Grant characters.

    But many of the posts on this board don't help to create the impression of a rational and sophisticated USA.....

    Zan0 and rhetorical chums: If your aim in posting on this thread is to ammuse those who disaggree with you then by all means continue in the same vein. If you want persuade people that you are credible you would be better off taking a rational tone.

    On the content of the Article: I do find it very difficult to empathise with thim. It seems to me that they actually have trivialised guns. Surely these are deadly serious things - not accessories to be used to make a statement.

    These people would on the one hand argue that "guns don't kill people, gun owners do", therefore that the issue is one of responsibility and common sense rather than the guns themselves - but then they display remarkably little responsibility or common sense by taking their guns around everywhere, regardless of the environment.

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  • 432. At 3:04pm on 11 Mar 2010, Jon Nicholson wrote:

    I'm a left-leaning American who owns multiple guns, both hunting weapons and handguns. I can understand why many foreigners find the gun situation in the U.S. to be bizarre, but from inside American culture it is not so clear. While "...a well-regulated militia..." seems to limit the purpose of firearms, in the American context this is not true, since hunting and home defense have never been very controversial (in the mainstream opinion, anyway). And, you could raise the point that the ability to FORM a militia at any time of perceived need is not possible without prior gun availability.
    The government and culture of the U.S.A. has always been an experiment, so not everything that happens here is applicable (or comprehensible) to European societies. I've seen people carrying guns in public, and where I live (Minnesota) "concealed carry" is legal. I personally don't feel the need to carry a weapon, but neither do I react strongly to it when other people do. Mostly, the people with a strong negative reaction seem to be people with no experience with guns -- maybe it would be good to have mandatory gun education in schools. Voluntary gun education (by hunting groups or police departments) is already available almost everywhere in the U.S.

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  • 433. At 3:06pm on 11 Mar 2010, GBcerberus wrote:

    "Tell me you know we don't have a constitution?! We have 'checks and balances' between the Executive (cabinet), Parliament, and the Judiciary...the types vary- but Judicial Review is one- a bit complex.

    Here-if it isn't outlawed, its legal. Very simple. Our constituion is not defined in a single document but has evolved over time. It is said to be made up of various acts of parliament and case law..an area of debate in itself."

    This is exactly the kind of response that has almost guaranteed that the UK retains the Feudal system that we have now.

    Over time we have had a series of manipulative and self-serving individuals and like-minded groups who, through inherited or acquired power have foisted a collection of mismatched and oppressive laws to become what commentators irritatingly refer to as the "British Constitution".

    I would swap the cons and trickery which makes up most of the so-called "freedom laws" of the UK for the US Constitution any day - flawed though it may be!
    It is only when topics arise out of contentious parts of the US Constitution that smug UK citizens bleat about us not needing such a precious instrument. We do, and the sooner it is recognised by the Westminster Club and the Lords, the better.

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  • 434. At 3:08pm on 11 Mar 2010, Alisha wrote:

    I live in the south and I'm a gun owner, but I don't feel the need for protection from the potatoes, so I leave mine at home unless I'm going to the shooting range or hunting. Honestly, if you can't keep yourself out of trouble while you purchase groceries, I really don't want you in the gene pool anyway.

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  • 435. At 3:08pm on 11 Mar 2010, Barbara wrote:

    Ah, Brits and naughty Americans at each other's throat, yet again.
    Good work, MM. You've created net traffic to the budget nearly broke BBC, and most assuredly save your job if no other BBC employee.

    To Emma, who is honeymooning in the U.S. That sissy gun-toting red-neck is not indicative of everyday life in the U.S. You will no doubt find American friendly and welcoming. We still have millions of tourist that come to our shores and I'm quite sure that if any Brit were shot the BBC and all your newspapers would be on it. So if this article is the first you've heard of paranoid gun-toting sissies trying to make a statement, then that alone should tell you how infrequent shoot-outs, happen.

    What we Americans tire of and makes us a little upset is how often it seems that Europeans see us through the last 40 or so years. If we go back to the early 20th century, World War I as I recall we Americans bothered to go and lend a hand. World War II happens, same thing yadda-yadda-yadda. To after defending the western civilization (from itself) we decided to pitch a tent and separate the perpetual warring nations in order to not have World War III. Thirty percent of OUR GDP went into the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe yet you FREED Europeans and Brits still had autonomy over who represents you. You also were able to erect enormous socialist systems, owed entirely to the absence of a defense budget. So you are able to live a charmed, prissy life for three generations. And we Americans who made ALL OF THAT POSSIBLE are the 'barbarians.'

    Many of us just wish you would take that attitude and shove it...but, I have patience. I know that not all anti-Americans live in Europe. There are some of you who really, really like us. Ha, ha!



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  • 436. At 3:11pm on 11 Mar 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    84. At 07:33am on 11 Mar 2010, LIbertarian wrote:
    "Pertaining to guns, this quote by Madison says it best:
    Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. "
    Being too scared to go to shopping without having the ability to kill someone doesn't exactly display a lot of trust in your fellow citizens...

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  • 437. At 3:12pm on 11 Mar 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    306. At 12:54pm on 11 Mar 2010, Shoreline wrote:
    After reading several posts of 'ZanO's', i have joined the blog service. I enjoy reading comments from all around the world on good issues, but never have i found someone so annoying in trying to prove that they are right. You can put down the UK all you like, the country is full idiots; but a fair amount of us are not the latter. Simply quiet down old man. Isn't it bedtime already? x

    Sadly the US are 5-7 hours behind us. He'll be awake and oiling his gun collection long after I've gone to bed...... safe in the knowledge that if anyone breaks into my house at least he won't be carrying a gun which means the odds rather favour me.

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  • 438. At 3:12pm on 11 Mar 2010, vk9141 wrote:

    Il Pirata

    "The BBC wants to make you feel better about your massive crime rates, crumbling health service and violent, broken society. They do this by showing you a few fundamentalist US gun wearers. Feel better now? Lower standard of living? Excessive taxation to feed your idiotic welfare state? Government monitoring you wherever you go? At least you won't be shot, well only by a criminal- One of your giant underclass of non workers perhaps?"

    Not bad, pretty amusing even.

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  • 439. At 3:13pm on 11 Mar 2010, Southernmarine25 USA wrote:

    See, what many of you do not understand is that we Americans are proud to bear arms. Government must fear its people and not the other way around which is what I see in many other countries. Our guns laws are way more strict than they used to be in the Wild West. Gunslingers could walk into town with guns openly showing without repercussions. Now you can't go in government buildings or this specific restaurant or be within the limits of this city or be this age to buy one. Arming citizens is a great way to keep crime from happening. Shooting first and getting away can only happen when one person is armed but consider what is 5 of the people outside are armed. Do you think that the shooter would consider trying to mug someone? Gangs will still have weapons, but if they know they average citizen will shoot back, it makes them think a little. Try telling that to cops who have batons, would they prefer guns? So do we.
    AND as far as health care is concerned, see we WANT change, we just do not want to pay for every lazy person who is uneducated with 5 kids, proudly living off of the government, and accepting their station. We have MILLIONS of those here. We are one of the FEW countries in the world that SUBSIDIZE our poor so they can what, have MORE of them? I grew up poor so I have seen the other side of the fence, but I also know that there were contributing factors to that and those SAME factors apply wherever you go in the world. Lack of education, high birthrate, and lack of parental supervision because parents are working low-paying blue collar jobs.

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  • 440. At 3:13pm on 11 Mar 2010, nosmit wrote:

    "It seems bizarre to hear Brits rail against Americans owning guns considering that until recently, the national sport of Britain was fox hunting. Of course the hunters never actually shot the foxes. Instead the foxes were hunted down by packs of their dogs who would corner it and literally rip it to shreds while it was still alive. That sport would be considered illegal in America since it would violate laws prohibiting cruelty to animals in every state. But then America is not a civilized country the way Britain is."

    Oh dear, oh dear- do you do any research at all?

    "National sport?" HAHAHAHAHA!

    Comedy gold!

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  • 441. At 3:16pm on 11 Mar 2010, vk9141 wrote:

    351. At 1:42pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:
    The BBC wants to make you feel better about your massive crime rates, crumbling health service and violent, broken society. They do this by showing you a few fundamentalist US gun wearers. Feel better now? Lower standard of living? Excessive taxation to feed your idiotic welfare state? Government monitoring you wherever you go? At least you won't be shot, well only by a criminal- One of your giant underclass of non workers perhaps?

    That's the role of official state media in every nation that has an official state media whether Iran, North Korea or Britain. Thank goodness that, in the United States, the Voice of America is prohibited - by law - from broadcasting within the borders of any of the states, territories or the federal district.

    But the Beeb also spends time plying their rather idled, servile brains with the notion that they are a solidly independent paragon of journalistic excellence, a treasured cultural institution. They shill the line so heavily that - even here - you can see the British Sheeple parrot it with aplomb (albeit less linguistic savoir faire considering the rather shaky, working class grammar most of them have been using).


    And the US has Fox News.

    If you don't like the BBC why are you here?

    Sad, bitter, angry person.

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  • 442. At 3:18pm on 11 Mar 2010, Fowler_1 wrote:

    The love of guns in the US primarily comes from sport and hunting, not self defense. Once again gun ownership in the US has been misconstrued into some wild west scenario - that never existed even in the wild west where people used guns to kill there food or ward off predators. I got my shotgun as a high school graduation present and still have and use it 15 years later. I all but feed my family with it some years. It is also fun for skeet shooting. I have a Colt pistol that was may fathers which I plan to pass on to my children one day. It is an heirloom, and fully functional at that. Owning guns takes a high level of restraint and maturity that not everybody possesses. I am much more well defined individual because of my gun ownership - more mature and respectful of the power that comes with it, and I also know reality from a Hollywood movie. Guns are no joke, they are not toys. What I see when I read some of these blogs are simply people that hate what they do not understand. Shoot a gun sometime - you would probably be suprised how much might like it.

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  • 443. At 3:20pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZeframCochrane wrote:

    Senator Dick Durbin stated recently in regards to the U.S. Senate and Wall Street, "They own the place."

    These battles about guns, creationism, abortion, etc., etc., etc., are all petty skirmishes after the decisive battle has been fought and lost against big banks and corporations. We're the United States of Goldman Sachs now, and whether you can pack heat when go to the store or not is moot. It's not my government I fear, it's the corporations who answer to no one except their executives and biggest shareholders.

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  • 444. At 3:20pm on 11 Mar 2010, The Toothbrush Man wrote:

    #369, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Hey Brits, the whole world is not Britain. We don't play cricket here, we don't like cricket here, and we do like guns."

    On the contrary. In the late 19th century the US was a cricketing force to be reckoned with. You stopped laying ricket for a version of a British game called "rounders" (usually played by girls over here) that became known in the US as baseball.

    #372. woody2shoes wrote:

    "I frequently visit the USA, and I am happy that in the unlikely event that someone goes "postal" in a shopping mall, there is a high likelihood that some lawfully armed citizen will disable them (yes, that does mean shoot them) well before the police arrive several minutes later and the death toll is much higher."

    You have a comic-book idea of the problem. When such events happen, someone does indeed pull out a gun to shoot the perp. But it is also suprisingly common for others to mistake the someone for the perp - and shoot them. A chain reaction often occurs - with people mistaking each other for the original perp and the number of people being shot is often much higher than it need be.

    This friendly-fire is not uncommon - although it is under-reported. Most of the Ft Hood shootings were from friendly fire.

    #365. Zendodeb wrote:

    "Some said "more guns cause more suicide." They said it was "proven," but of course they offered no evidence, no link to an article, or a study, only their biased assertion."

    It is most certainly proven. Just go and look. It's a two minute search in Google.

    "The fact is that guns don't cause suicide in the US, anymore than rope causes suicide in Canada. People determined to kill themselves will turn to what is available and effective, nothing more."

    You have just made the most desperately stupid statement immaginable. Sure, if someone wants kill themselves, then they will try, either with a gun or a rope. But its the sheer LETHALITY of guns that ensures the suicide will be successful. And this is how the suicide rate is affected by guns.

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  • 445. At 3:22pm on 11 Mar 2010, Emma wrote:

    I thought ZanO was leaving ages ago but he keeps coming back for some reason. Obviously got nothing better to do. What a vicious, unpleasant little man. I sincerely hope he isn't one of the small minority who does carry a gun. That would be scary. I take comfort from the fact he isn't representative of America as a whole.

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  • 446. At 3:22pm on 11 Mar 2010, WhatnowAmerica wrote:

    Our 'friends' across the pond dont seem to like us Brits talking about their ludicrous gun laws and seem to have taken offense at us sticking our noses in.................Well tough i say. They have stuck their noses into everyone else business for 50 years, so get over yourselves and growup!

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  • 447. At 3:24pm on 11 Mar 2010, Mike wrote:

    I think some people are just a little paranoid. My history is, I grew up in Da Bronx. There were only 2 types of people who carried guns there...cops and crooks. I understand the world is bigger than the Bronx and I respect everyones right to own a gun...but food shopping? I googled Elm Grove, where they live (http://www.city-data.com/city/Elm-Grove-Wisconsin.html). It is the safest place you can imagine. Maybe he wants to move to the Bronx where he might actually use the gun.

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  • 448. At 3:27pm on 11 Mar 2010, alduckwo wrote:

    I'm from the UK and think that some of the US comments seem to show the UK to be a country free from any serious crime.

    Yes there is a strict control on gun crime here. These controls were brought about by events such as the Hungerford/Dunblane massacre's in which children were gunned down by un-hinged individuals.

    Lets not forget the dark days of the IRA campaign and recently Al Qaeda attacks on London. While 9/11 was a horrendous terrorist attack on a bigger scale than has been seen in the UK, the UK has been experiencing terrorism on its shores for many long years before that. So the threat of serious crime is alive and well on the shores of this "quiet" country.

    All UK police do not carry weapons, but in each county/regional area there are specialist firearms units that deal with gun related crime.

    So what I would hear some say? Well the fact is that through tight controls on guns, it takes the guns out of the hands of those that want to use them for crime. Except in the extreme cases highlighted above. Lets be real here - if for whatever reason you want to return to your ex place of work and blast your boss, your going to be able to access a gun somehow. But by monitoring closely those who want access to weapons for whatever reason, you lessen the risk of massacre's in schools/offices/shopping malls.

    Im not against the right to bear arms at all. In some areas/cases I think its a good thing. Ive had my house broken into although luckily I was not present at the time, I would have no problem in reaching for a weapon in the middle of the night to defend myself or my family.

    But thats where Id draw the line. What would be the outcome of a road rage incident or someone knocking someones drink out of their hand in a bar? It would be all to easy in the heat of the alcohol fuelled moment to reach to your holster.....

    So lets not deny out friends across the pond the right to bear arms. But moreover control who and where these weapons are available...

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  • 449. At 3:30pm on 11 Mar 2010, sadevito wrote:

    I think it's funny that she somehow thinks that carrying a visible weapon is going to keep her from becoming a vitim. Tell that to the families of the four police officers who were killed in Washington state this winter while they were having coffee. I don't believe they left their sidearms in their cruiser while they went into the restaurant.

    Guns don't make ANYONE safer. People who have guns in their house are far more likely to die of gunshots than people who don't. It's that simple. I will boycott businesses which allow people in with guns.

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  • 450. At 3:31pm on 11 Mar 2010, Medieval-Evil wrote:

    The way America's gun laws pan out is that the people with guns feel a little safer, those without them feel afraid of the people with them, and the criminals can move more freely meaning in fact everyone is more at risk.

    And that's without going into catastrophes like the Columbine and Virginia Tech massacres.

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  • 451. At 3:31pm on 11 Mar 2010, WhatnowAmerica wrote:

    Zano wrote
    'In Europe, only people of "quality" "breeding" "nobility" or the politically connected had the right to own arms throughout history. We came to the US because we didn't want to be serfs. We founded a nation on the premise that "All men are created equal." God help anyone who tries to take that from us. We could have ruled the world. Instead we gave it back and extended a hand to our enemies. Tread on our most sacred traditions at your peril.

    We are not treading on anything Zano! A BBC reporter, actually reporting on some gun nuts in the US. Many normal people in Britain own guns for sport and hunting, they just dont feel the need to look like the Terminator when they go out shopping. We also have a basic human right to freedom of speech and comment on this report, and no school boy threats from you are going to stop us. Or are you going to use your gun?

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  • 452. At 3:32pm on 11 Mar 2010, Rex wrote:

    So I've read the 2nd Amendment and have a solution.
    Anyone carrrying arms is indicating they are part of the State's Militia.
    Therefore they should, at some time, be required to represent their state in Afghanistan or at some other suitable venue where they can practice and enhance their skills to protect their state.

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  • 453. At 3:33pm on 11 Mar 2010, Halfofshires wrote:

    This column shows in spades why the BBC should forget all about the "have your say" add on to articles. For everyone sensible comment there are dozens of flash group nuts like ZanO with no brains but access to a computer.

    Perhaps when the promised cuts come in we can get back to proper journalism

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  • 454. At 3:34pm on 11 Mar 2010, rf wrote:

    It's the same as with cars and trucks. US men cannot buy a car, they must buy a truck, otherwise they would look and seem inadequate.

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  • 455. At 3:34pm on 11 Mar 2010, Guthrie wrote:

    Defending the undefendable.
    Thankfully some of you seem to have a sensible head on your shoulders.

    To those that say keep your nose out of America's internal politics... That's a bit rich coming from a country that has no qualms about sticking it's nose in just about everyone else's 'internal politics'!

    Remind me again which countries are US troops currently dispensing democracy in? Moving on...

    The stats for gun deaths in America paint a picture that's hard to defend.

    If you want to make a difference politically, unless you are a third world country you tend to go to the polls or get involved in making and changing policy. Carrying a gun round the mall isn't going reduce crime. Improving the conditions of people living in your country will. Better education, health care, housing and proper payment for ones work does!

    The difference here is that picking a gun takes a few minutes and changing policy takes real sustained effort. Critically long term sustained change like improving peoples living conditions will mean less crime.

    None of this is particularly difficult to understand and like others I'm somewhat baffled by the American obsession with gun law and the total disinterest and hostility toward universal health care and the political process.

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  • 456. At 3:35pm on 11 Mar 2010, Andrew Taggart wrote:

    This is an article about how strange things are that foreign country the USA. This article and website were funded collectively by the tv owning British, and it asks what we think about such open flaunting of guns.

    While the US and all other foreign countries can make any law they choose I can't help think that american postings seem a little too precious, that if it is normal in the US, it must be normal everywhere - well it isn't.

    I do wonder why so many Americans write on a site which is collectively funded - do Americans not have such a organisation? no? perhaps all those privately funded news sites in the US peddle so much fear, greed and anti-government propaganda the result is frightened people buying and bearing guns.

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  • 457. At 3:36pm on 11 Mar 2010, ZanO wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 458. At 3:37pm on 11 Mar 2010, chimneyrock wrote:

    @tridiv/397

    >>>This begs the question- is anyone moderating this board? Or anyone can dream up their mad fantasies and post them here!>>>

    Second that. There seems to be far too much hateful speech on this blog, far too many juvenile gun fantasies and far too much obvious trolling. I think the moderators have not done a good job here at all.

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  • 459. At 3:38pm on 11 Mar 2010, Southernmarine25 USA wrote:

    James wrote:
    "If you check your history books, (not the historicity flawed war films that USA produces..) you will see that the British and further more Europeans are competent poulterers, killers and inventors even today. As a general rule we just tend to minimize the killing, and don't in general resort to savage violence or death unless we have too."

    Oh, so that's why people the UK beat up others over soccer teams or even go so far as to nick someone in their glute because they have a different team's jersey on?? I get it now...

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  • 460. At 3:39pm on 11 Mar 2010, wisepranker wrote:

    As for the reversing the State prohibition on hand guns in Chicago, I thought that the Republican (and, by association, gun owners) were in favour of local government, not national government?

    Grow up, America, please? It's the 21st century. Do your crime statistics tell you nothing at all?

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  • 461. At 3:39pm on 11 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    372. At 1:58pm on 11 Mar 2010, woody2shoes wrote:

    "I frequently visit the USA, and I am happy that in the unlikely event that someone goes "postal" in a shopping mall, there is a high likelihood that some lawfully armed citizen will disable them (yes, that does mean shoot them) well before the police arrive several minutes later and the death toll is much higher."

    I note your suggestion that there is a 'high probability'. That being the case, has it ever actually happened? Because people 'going postal' in public areas is hardly unknown

    On the general issue of gun control - obviously, that is for the American people and their elected representatives [and indeed their judges] to sort out - although I have certainly seen polling data suggesting that greater gun control is more popular in the US than the NRA might have one believe.

    I would suggest however that the general difficulty foreigners have is this. If Americans were able to say 'an armed society is a safer society - see how low our crime and murder figures are, compared to that lawless bunch up in Canada - or Yerp', well maybe we'd be convinced. Maybe we would even be lobbying for laxer gun control in our own countries. But that doesn't exactly seem to be the case.

    Also, at the risk of causing a few more American heads to explode - I'm sure I am not the only non-American who finds it rather strange, to say the least, that Americans think it is important when determining how they should live to consider what the founders of their State, almost a quarter of a millennium ago, would have thought. People who owned slaves, and could scarcely have comprehended the modern world.

    Just a thought.

    "Finally, why is the BBC spending my license money on trips to the USA to investigate issues that are none of our business here in the UK?"

    [a] Sorry for the pedantry, but AFAIK that's licence - a noun

    [b] MM wasn't visiting - he lives there - for now.

    [c] The BBC strangely enough seems to think it should have a permanent correspondent in the most powerful country in the world. Go figure...


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  • 462. At 3:40pm on 11 Mar 2010, WanderingColes wrote:

    Zan0 - thankyou for the continued and excessive arrogance!

    Of course, you can patronise an entire nation as much as you like - theres nothing wrong with generalisations whatsoever. As you said, the US is an entirely enlightened and intellectual nation, which is probably why I was continually offered such academic tidbits of conversation such as 'Do you celebrate christmas in England?' when I had the chance to travel your country - a nation I much admire, by the way.

    Its actually amusing to read your continued accustions of blood-soaked London streets.. If I didn't actually LIVE in that city I'd be afraid to ever visit, but fortunately as I do, I'm well aware that is so far from the truth to actually be comical! Thankfully London is an incredibly safe city and one I feel immensely comfortable in.

    Its lucky, too, that I've actually travelled the globe and interacted with people from the 'former colonies' you mention. Whilst conversing and engaging with locals and fellow travellers I encountered nothing but mutual respect for eachothers cultures. I won't mention the constant disdain and contempt I discovered for Americans, or the surprising amount of US travellers I met that admitted to me they told most people they were Canadians in order to receive higher standards of service and respect. I found the fact they felt the need to do this ridiculous, frankly, as I don't assume to judge the whole of the US on the actions by the poor decisions of some of its leaders.

    Most of those conversations, funnily enough, took place in Asia - the continent you assume holds you in such high regard because you're 'too busy' in dialogue with it to show respect to a close and longstanding ally.

    Having spent long periods in New Zealand and Australia too, I spent immense amounts of time talking and engaging with my Aussie and Kiwi work colleagues, discussing shared histories, futures, politics and sport, and beyond cricketing banter there was barely any contempt or 'hatred' for Britain. Of course you're too 'enlightened' and intellectual to confuse sport-based abuse and bickering with outright dislike, aren't you?

    And of course, as you state, we only have history to cling too now - in which case I'll be sure to let all the British Oscar-winning Actors & Directors, best-selling authors, and talented musicians that make a splash on your side of the Atlantic to give up now, shall I?

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  • 463. At 3:40pm on 11 Mar 2010, Shaunie Babes wrote:

    98. At 08:16am on 11 Mar 2010, PaulR52 wrote:
    "It is clear that Brits have a long history of poking at the quirks of their cousins across the pond. But, here are a couple of hard facts for you to consider:"
    (which are not actually true)
    "1)Americans citizens have a legal presumed right of self-defense, unlike British Subjects."
    British citizens have the right to use reasonable force in self-defence
    "2)Britain not being a gun owning culture, it was American private citizens who armed the British Home Guard for defense of the beaches during the early days of WW2, by donating their weapons. Those would be the same weapons you aren't allowed to posess anymore. But then, it was all so very long ago and, history never repeats itself, right?"
    A grand total of five crates were sent from the US. These weapons were of so many different types they were never actually issued due to logistical issues. The Home Guard were issued with the same guns the regular army were.
    "3)The first and most ardent proponent of national gun control in the modern era was Adolph Hitler. It was his first move after being elected Chancellor of Germany to disarm the populace."
    Guns were only taken from non-German citizens. You'll find no foreigner has the right to own a gun in the US

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  • 464. At 3:41pm on 11 Mar 2010, LPMCR wrote:

    @ 84 LIbertarian

    As a graduate in Masters of English and American Studies, and a self-confessed Americanophile, I would hope to avoid accusations of European ignorance and stereotyping here, but nevertheless I would like to contribute to this discussion using your own argument of historical context.

    Whilst I agree that the Bill of Rights should, and must, be interpreted in the context of a newly formed nation having shaken off the shackles off religious and political persecution, namely by force, it should also be noted that the historical context has changed.

    In the past century or so, I think it's a fair comment to say that the USA has developed one of the most - if not THE most - powerful armed forces in the world...hence the term "superpower". Would you argue that in the face of a citizen "uprising" in the unlikely event such a necessity would ever occur that such a militia armed with a hand gun or a rifle, would be any kind of match for the US military, considering the billions of dollars ploughed into the armed forces on a yearly basis? Do you think it is likely, that members of the armed forces are as indoctrinated and submissive to their government as they might have been over 200 hundred years ago, so that American solidiers would turn on their own people having been ordered to do so by the authorities?

    In this sense, whilst your argument has a sound basis, it is flawed, as you have failed to apply the Bill of Rights in both its historical and contemporary context in conjunction. If the ever changing face of the USA requires the use of amendments to its Bill of Rights, then it arguably is sound to add an amendment to the second right listed as it remains outdated and historical, and not at all apt in its current context.

    But maybe I am just another ignorant European, all to willing to draw out American red-neck stereotypes, and unwilling to try to understand the differences between the UK and the USA...?

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  • 465. At 3:42pm on 11 Mar 2010, JFairweather wrote:

    I am an American and a NRA certified marksman, but I will NEVER understand the obsession with guns on the part of so many Americans.
    If a person is in public and is wearing a gun on his hip for "protection" what is to stop _someone_else_ from pulling that gun from that holster and using it on him? This is very irresponsible.
    My parents keep a loaded shotgun in a rack by their front door just in case a criminal plans on ringing their doorbell. This is America. No self-respecting criminal will ring a doorbell unless they are carrying a gun and they will certainly be able to use it faster than either of my parents. The result? A dead parent and a criminal gets a free shotgun.
    Ironically, firearms are among the most common articles taken during burglaries and the majority of guns seized from criminals are stolen.
    And how many deaths are caused each year from guns in the home? A few years ago an eight-year-old student of mine was accidentally killed by his nine-year-old brother. Stories like this are everywhere.
    For every instance where gun ownership protects the owner from crime, there are at least 50 instances of accidental death.
    I will never understand this obsession.

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  • 466. At 3:43pm on 11 Mar 2010, wizardozmand wrote:

    Zano- Its interesting that you refer disparagingly of Britain (and Europe)as being irrelevant, andyet you seem to be under the impression that it is still somewhere in the 1940's, and that America is the richest, most powerful country in the world. Your points about Britain's trade with America could be equally understood in relation to America and China- don't you guys owe them nearly three trillion dollars? You seem to combine an inferiority complex with a superiority complex, which may be interesting if it wasn't so common amongst petty, sexually frustrated misanthropes. My guess is that you have rarely, if ever, felt 'sexually powerful'. Nationalism is the last resort for the personally pathetic. I won't worry too much about America one day swatting us like a 'gnat'; the Vietnamese peasantry did a decent job of making your armed forces look a bit foolish. I don't have a problem with America, but you seem to have one with Britain, its all abit Mel Gibson to be honest. Enjoy your guns pal, you're welcome to them, but remember, its a bit like an idiot buying a sports car; having one is not actually going to render you better endowed, so maybe just move on. Au revoire my friend, I hope you get some soon.

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  • 467. At 3:44pm on 11 Mar 2010, waalee wrote:

    I always thought that the 2nd Amenment was there to allow the citizens to protect themselves against the British, in case the British decide to return. You never know what might happen in the future.LOL.

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  • 468. At 3:44pm on 11 Mar 2010, Lisa wrote:

    Interesting. Does the fact that the US has approximately 3 times the number of gun-related deaths than Canada and 4 times the gun related deaths of countries like Australia not bother anyone? It's all well and good to claim that these are committed by the 'bad eggs' but there is substantial evidence to show that a greater prevalence of weapons in the home leads to higher rates of homicide, suicide and accidental death. It's about time people think about their responsibilities before their rights.

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  • 469. At 3:44pm on 11 Mar 2010, Ben wrote:

    Would it be presumptuous then to presume that the path they are heading is the one where everyone eventually has a gun and 'shows' it?
    What would they do with tourists then? Give them a gun when they arrive?
    Wouldn't want to be left out you see and be targeted for not having a gun on show.

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  • 470. At 3:45pm on 11 Mar 2010, Chris Manvell wrote:

    Sadly yet one more reason I will not visit the USA again, whatever state. I have always had a problem with The USA's obsession with guns. There was good reason to include it back in the time of 2nd amendment but now I find the whole idea of carrying a gun to go shopping frightening.

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  • 471. At 3:45pm on 11 Mar 2010, Southernmarine25 USA wrote:

    "Europe is showing the way for the rest of the world- how democratic nation states can overcome petty national boundaries to unite and cooperate to make our planet safer and humane. From South Asia to Africa to Latin America- this is the future of the world. Instead of national fanaticism, regional cooperation based on democracy, plurality and law. Belittling Europe which has some of most caring governments, where quality of life indexes are consistently high, and where women and children enjoy some of the best rights in the world, is counter-productive and factually plain wrong. ZanO's comparison of Germany with Somalia is bordering on the xenophobic. This begs the question- is anyone moderating this board? Or anyone can dream up their mad fantasies and post them here!"

    I see way more American bashing than I do the bashing of Europe. Let's also say how many of the European governments are not democracies nor republics, but oligarchies or actual monarchies. If you really think FRANCE has a "caring-government" you need to just commit yourself to an insane asylum right now before it's too late.

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  • 472. At 3:46pm on 11 Mar 2010, chimneyrock wrote:

    @Marcus whatizface
    Given your incessant trolling on this and other BBC blogs, I can only assume that you are either a kid neglecting his homework, a pensioner or unemployed and unemployable. If you wanted a job, I'm sure us Brits would be happy to see you on stage doing a stand-up act as the American Americans love to disown!

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  • 473. At 3:46pm on 11 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 396 David Murrell wrote:

    "While ZanO is not going to be around very long, can I point out that he has publicly said he wants to financially support terrorism?

    Specifically to aid in the establishment of a free Ireland, which I take to mean sponsoring armed struggle in Northern Ireland. The Real IRA has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the US, now my knowledge of the Patriot Act is a bit hazy, but I believe stating that you want to fund terrorism is against the law.

    Of course since ZanO in all likelyhood doesn't exist this might be a problem!"

    ""While ZanO is not going to be around very long"

    The expression 'from your lips to God's ears' springs to mind.

    As for the rest of it - I couldn't agree more. The US has got distinctly less keen on Americans funding terrorism since 9/11.

    So we must all hope and pray that the FBI don't track down little ZanO, put him in an orange jumpsuit and ship him off to Gitmo, must we not?

    Where no doubt he can contemplate the irony of his whining on about the awesome power of the USA...

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  • 474. At 3:50pm on 11 Mar 2010, chimneyrock wrote:

    @Peter_sym/400

    >>>It has an inertial navigation system based on celestial navigation... the Russians can't shoot down the stars yet.>>>

    Surely you mean the French? The French can't shoot down the stars yet. ;-)

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  • 475. At 3:50pm on 11 Mar 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 400 Peter_Sym wrote:

    [to 'ZanO']

    "You really are spectacularly ill-informed. Trident is the missile. You make that. The atomic bit that goes 'BOOM' is made by us at Aldermarston...."

    LOL!

    Were you addressing anyone else, I might suggest you were dumbing down excessively....

    ;-)

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  • 476. At 3:50pm on 11 Mar 2010, Dougall wrote:

    ZanO

    While I doubt your postings are designed to convince us of the good sense of carrying side arms around in public I can at least confirm that they are not having this effect - quite the opposite.

    A couple of specific points:

    1. Chubby arms? You seem to like statistics so see if you can find the ones where obesity is a greater problem in the UK than in the US.

    2. If you are struggling to place the UK or its relevance, let me help you. It is the country whose public service broadcaster is the BBC. The BBC runs the website you are currently posting on so avidly.

    Mindful of your desire to "swat us like a gnat" I'll be careful to emigrate if you ever get made President ZanO.

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  • 477. At 3:53pm on 11 Mar 2010, zee4 wrote:

    I can't see what people are getting so worked up about. Everyone's entitled to an opinion, whether it's about their own country or another country. I don't see this debate as being the US vs UK like some people. It's just a debate! The US is renowned for extremes (in many positive ways as well no doubt), so when issues arise such as firearms, it gets debated more. I don't mind people taking the mick out of the UK or criticising us, I don't take it personally. People need to chill out!! I totally agree with Chris #388/ I enjoy comparing life between the US and UK, makes an interesting and lively comparison. And having been to the US, I love the place. But seriously, it's not competitive guys! Some people just need to chill out! There are many more larger and more important issues than much of what's being debated, like poverty, disease, access to clean water, malnutrition, orphans, widows, justice!! If we spent half the time working and giving in these areas as we do debating and buying stuff, the world would be a much better place :)

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  • 478. At 3:55pm on 11 Mar 2010, londonunderground wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 479. At 3:55pm on 11 Mar 2010, Kevin wrote:

    I live in Kentucky, which has a certain fame in regards to firearms. The NRA is strongly supported as is hunting and firearm ownership in general. I myself own firearms and am a believer in Second Amendment rights. However, I am somewhat conflicted. I believe in the right to self-defense; indeed I think it is written into our genes as a survival mechanism, and goes beyond a governments ability to remove. What I question is the general sense of responsibility in the American public. If one owns firearms, then he is saddled with responsibility to see that they are not misused, or allowed to fall into hands that would misuse them. This is an element that I see is missing in so many areas of American life today. The increasingly child-like attitudes that I see in American society and politics today makes me question the ample availability of firearms. The old saw "If you expect to be treated like an adult, then act like an adult" comes to mind. I am loathe to give up the arms I own, and yet I see reason to be concerned about the ease with which many of the people that I see every day may get their own.

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  • 480. At 4:01pm on 11 Mar 2010, ShotgunGold wrote:

    Peter_Sym wrote:

    #345 "US society is different in values and outlook to UK society. The sad thing is that many of the differences in value are because rights and freedoms have been lost in the UK in the name of "security". Remember Benjamin Franklin's often-mangled quote about liberty and those who deserve to lose it."

    What did Franklins slaves do to deserve losing their liberty? Franklin was a hypocrite.

    Get your facts straight before you write! Franklin owned two slaves-- which he freed. He became the president of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society and wrote a number of essays regarding the need to abolish slavery.

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  • 481. At 4:02pm on 11 Mar 2010, sd0001 wrote:

    When the constitution was written the world was a different place...why is this so hard for most US citizens to understand. It was certainly a valid right in those times... but move on. Imagine if some of the archaic laws were not able to be changed in countries around europe.
    I really will laugh (even though I shouldn't) when some law abiding citizen pulls out his 'open carry' gun and starts playing John Dillinger in Starbucks. It WILL happen sometime...only the most naive person would believe otherwise. Sadly there will be lots of excuses and analysis, and nothing will change.

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  • 482. At 4:04pm on 11 Mar 2010, Chris wrote:

    I believe Guns don't kill people. people do.

    Unfortunately I also believe in probability.
    Guns make it easier.

    While most people with a gun are safe, there's always likely going to be a nutter that wants to kill people in any large enough group of people. If that nutter is carrying a gun then chances are they are going to kill someone or some people. Increasing the number of guns out there is only going to increase the likeliness of this happening.

    While increasing the number of people with guns if you a chance at taking down the nutter, chances are they've already killed someone.
    If no ones got any guns to carry the nutter is going to be less dangerous.

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  • 483. At 4:04pm on 11 Mar 2010, woody2shoes wrote:

    tridiv states: Europe is showing the way for the rest of the world- how democratic nation states can overcome petty national boundaries to unite and cooperate to make our planet safer and humane.

    Correction: Europe is showing the way for the rest of the corrupt world - how democratic nation states can be forced, without due electoral process - despite a clear mandate from the individual elected Governments to do so and a recognised demand from the people for this, being forced to overcome the established national boundaries to ensure that the unelected within europe make things safer for themselves and those who would support them, whilst ensuring that there is no way for them to be removed from power.

    What evidence would you offer to support your claims that a united Europe makes the planet safer and more humane?

    If their aims were so good, why do they not allow the people (who they claim to represent) to select this option via the ballot box, and then give people the chance to choose who will continue or change the process at a later date?

    History suggests that people who are cornered into situations they do not want will either ignore the rule of law, or overthrow it eventually - neither of which makes anyone safer or more humane in the long term. The best you can hope for is blind obedience from those in fear?


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  • 484. At 4:05pm on 11 Mar 2010, Rambo wrote:

    The right to bear arms is built into the consitution.
    Unfortunatley the right to go to college and not get shot is not.

    Its a strange society that would arrest a topless bather but allow them to carry a gun!

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  • 485. At 4:14pm on 11 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 110, BritInAmerica:

    "...and contrary to what someone else said, unprovoked bear attacks are NOT unknown. Rare, yes. Unknown, no."

    There have been two fatal attacks by black bears in Colorado's history. I remember both, and both people deserved it in my opinion.

    Killing a bear or cougar out of hunting season (or without a license any time) is illegal, and although there would be an exception made for people who are legitimately concerned for there lives, Coloradans frown on it as a rule. Many of us won't even report a bear in our garbage for fear of the DOW putting it down (repeat offenders are euthanized).

    We can live with both lions and black bears* without arming ourselves. It's a spurious argument when made in the context of the 2nd Amendment.

    *The brown ones are too dangerous... which is why there aren't any in Colorado.

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  • 486. At 4:15pm on 11 Mar 2010, NewYorkerinLondon wrote:

    If everyone carries guns because they "want to protect themselves" then who needs the law? What will happen to the police, and how will you judge if you shot someone in self defence or with malicious intent?
    This is just an excuse for the rednecks to make a fuss and shoot beer cans in their backyard.
    How will they screen who's sane or mental? How will they be able to tell they won't just go around shooting people like the crazies who have shot people in schools and in shopping malls? They had licences to carry guns and guess what happened? They go mental and take out their 'legally licensed guns' to kill people.
    Also if you have to protect yourself from lion, tigers and bears (oh my) then move the hell out of there! You're obviously invading their natural habitat, so stop shooting them!!
    NO TO GUNS! Please just let the law do the gun carrying. It'll just get messy.

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  • 487. At 4:15pm on 11 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "So the need to defend your supermarket trolley and the person pushing it with a gun from armed robbers is greater than the need to defend your car and the people in it with one?"





    Yes, because, according to statistics, both in US and UK the car is a lethal weapon, and more poeple die in car accidents every day than in any military conflict.

    Therefore I suggest that cars be banned. Starting with TOYOTA. :-)

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  • 488. At 4:16pm on 11 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    We know that criminals everywhere in the world find ways to get guns if they want them. That is a fact of life. What Brits would do is deny those of us who worry about confronting them the right to own the means to fight back. A gun makes a 95 pound 80 year old woman an equal match for a 250 pound 20 year old man. That is the quintessential reasoning of just about all Europeans, the denial of the right to self defense against any criminal including the greatest criminals of all, their own governments.

    I'll bet if you made two piles of dead bodies, one pile of all Americans killed by guns in America in the last 100 years and another of all Europeans killed by each other including by their secret police and armies in the last 100 years, (not even counting 40 to 80 million Soviets killed by their own government) the American pile would be insignificant by comparison. The European pile would stretch halfway to the moon.

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  • 489. At 4:17pm on 11 Mar 2010, cineski wrote:

    America was founded on an incredible like for personal freedom, and an incredible dislike for a tyrannical government. This is the sole reason the American founders granted each person the right to keep and bear arms. They realized in the history of mankind, freedom was an anomaly. It was something that must be fought for and the only way to fight was with a gun. It wasn't, nor does it continue to be about hunting or hobby. It's about the right to protect our gift of life and liberty. Those who don't have this right can have all other rights snuffed out at the whim of the government (you hear me, England?). It's so easy for anti gunners to paint gun owners as redneck hicks. Of all the gun owners I know, only a small percentage of those succumb to that stereotype. So, point being, the American gun "obsession" isn't going anywhere. We'll continue being a society of personal choice, personal freedom and a fighting stance against those who wish to take our freedoms away. Because as history teaches time and time again, if you don't fight for your freedom, it WILL eventually be taken away.

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  • 490. At 4:18pm on 11 Mar 2010, DasRad wrote:

    Unfortunately the reporter moronically bought into the gun nuts' version of the 2nd Amendment. The nutters' version lops off the first half of the 2nd amendment. In reality, the 2nd amendment clearly states that membership in a well-regulated militia is necessary to receive the right to bear arms. No militia membership (in today's terms that would be, the National Guard, Reserves, active military), no gun.

    First principles.

    Mike Barrett
    Veteran, Honorably Discharged, Decorated, Former US Army Officer
    Madison, Wisconsin

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  • 491. At 4:19pm on 11 Mar 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    #305 Emma

    Oh, please! (refer to my #384).

    Seriously, We've traveled across/up/down the USA, and I mean road trips, off the beaten path, through reservations, through very suspect little towns, etc. etc. we never felt or found threatening conditions, quite the opposite, in fact. And you know what? We didn't have a gun with us or see a gun accept on law enforcement!

    The above is not to dismiss "obvious" gun crimes. But seriously, I do not dodge bullets and step over the dead and dying during my lunch hour or going to the garage or grocery store! It's not perfect here, absolutely right!
    However, upon returning 'home' to Eng/London, South East (some will know where I'm from by my screen name) - I want to tell you...I would not walk those streets alone for the life of me, literally!
    And, that came from the advisement of family & friends living there, or I would have gone blundering into the night remembering the area as it was when I lived there. The barring a bolting of doors and windows was the strangest thing for me to see, even with some of my family who live in little villages; even they said "I wouldn't walk down to the local on my own anymore, not even in this little place."

    I have no such hardware on my windows or doors, and have many a time gone to bed and forgotten to shut the front door, except the screened door.

    So, we're not 'exempt' entirely and it's not idyllic living as some on here would have us believe.
    The good the bad & the ugly, I'm sure the majority on here think the USA's good, bad & ugly are far worse than every where else, so I've just said for you, save your keyboarding fingers!
    Lets keep things in perspective on both sides of the Atlantic;

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  • 492. At 4:19pm on 11 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Active police measures [in UK] to reduce the number of knives carried by youths is regarded as having reduced the number of knife related deaths. There's a lesson for US gun policy in there somewhere"




    Are you suggesting that attaching a bayonet to a handgun should be prohibited? :)

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  • 493. At 4:20pm on 11 Mar 2010, No_surrender_to_the_BOA wrote:

    America increasingly appears to the rest of the world like some cartoon Utopia with a population not so much descended from apes as threatening to be overtaken by them.

    For, what I believe is still the majority of people around the world- and probably still in the United States, since I believe it is the country's most repellant aspects that typically draw our curiosity- that are appalled by such behaviouur, it is probably worth pointing out that international Coffee chain Starbucks have announced that, as a matter of policy, Americans are now able to carry unconcealed firearms at their restaurants. So for those of you that require another reason to resist this corporations high street homogenity, you now have one.

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  • 494. At 4:22pm on 11 Mar 2010, FebruaryHouse wrote:


    I would be willing to bet good money that...

    IF LARGE NUMBERS OF HISPANIC AND BLACK FAMILIES (particularly low income families, men, and groups of men) STARTED OPENLY CARRYING GUNS, THERE WOULD BE OUTRAGE. The pressure surrounding this issue would increase 10 fold.

    This issue isn't purely about race, but it does does carry a whiff of white elitism about it.

    I want to know how many of the open carriers ever got mugged, robbed at gun point, etc - before they became open carriers?

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  • 495. At 4:22pm on 11 Mar 2010, LaBoheme11 wrote:

    I have the right to ride down Oxford Street on a unicycle, dressed as Little Bo Peep and juggling lemons. I'm not about to do so, though.

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  • 496. At 4:22pm on 11 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    55. KScurmudgeon
    "I have no doubt that the European readers are as aware as we are that the attitude of a person who owns and can carry a loaded weapon on their person is different than that of one who knows they cannot do so. It is about having the power to take responsibility for one's self - a form of personal independence - a freedom."

    I'll start, as I often do on BBC Forums, by mentioning that I am an American.

    A few comments:

    The attitude of ANYONE who is convinced that only if you carry a firearm hidden about your person are you taking responsibility for yourself or showing independence is enough to make a reasoned person gag.

    The people the BBC followed are EXTREME exceptions. I have NEVER seen any American except a police officer (and I am a mature adult) go about with a weapon strapped to their hip. How about the BBC follows an UNARMED American to the grocery store. Much to their amazement that would find that what happens is that they pick up their milk.

    The concept that the way to achieve a civil society is for everyone to carry a weapon and have shootouts on the street is truly absurd.

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  • 497. At 4:23pm on 11 Mar 2010, JS wrote:

    I've always been of the idea that all that guns are good for is killing people, the more there are, the more people who get killed. If private citizens feel so unsafe in public, then that says to me that there must be something wrong with society. Is it the constant fear mongering on local and national news networks? Is it inadequate police presence on streets? People obviously feel that law enforcement can't assure their protection while they're shopping/walking the dog. I lived in Washington D.C. during the mid 90's, while it was one of the most dangerous cities in the world. All they talked about on the local news was who got murdered and shot that day, even now as the murder rate has dropped greatly, you still only hear about murders and shootings. The one thing that always makes me wonder is why you only hear people from states like Wisconsin, which we all know is a hotbed for murderous criminals, stating that they need to arm themselves for personal protection. If they want to arm themselves in safe states, fine, let them, but they shouldn't get in the way of allowing cities like Washington D.C. and Chicago ban weapons when it is in the best interest of that cities security to do so. These areas have legitimate crime problems, and not being allowed to ban guns makes solving those problems much more difficult.

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  • 498. At 4:24pm on 11 Mar 2010, Ewan19 wrote:

    Michelle, 82.

    "I have some issues with America, but I'd still rather live here than anywhere else in the world. I suspect a lot of other people from other countries feel the same way." (After going on how it is technically the oldest country, measured in terms of democracy...)

    I'll stick with my knife crime thank you very much, rather than gun-toting citizens who live in a state of fear from everyone else, so that they need to carry firearms to cross the street.

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  • 499. At 4:25pm on 11 Mar 2010, brownandout wrote:

    Fact - USA had 10.26 deaths per 100,000 of population in 2001. That is a staggering 31,000 people, 86 a day - This is about the same as the number of car occupants killed in the same period in the USA.
    The UK by contrast for the same period had .038 deaths per 100K. In other words you are around 30 times more likely to die of a gunshot in the US than the UK.
    I wonder why that might be then........

    I also think there is too much gun crime in the UK and our gun laws should be even stricter, but thankfully we will never be as bad as the USA

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  • 500. At 4:25pm on 11 Mar 2010, igmaciabaaw wrote:

    When I see people with a gun (in London e.g. at the Old Bailey) I feel slightly uneasy. I am glad that I feel this way. I don't want to be comfortable with such a weapon.

    However, I can understand why some Americans have guns. If you need one to protect yourself from a genuine risk and reasonably foreseeable danger then fine. But to carry one to the shop is a ridiculous. I just don't see why other than because you can.

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