# Why no resurge in gun control advocacy?

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Paranoia said :

How about this: How about we think a little harder about how we can deal with that 10% without trampling all over the rights of the 90%? Surely we're smart enough - it's just a matter of laziness and no regard for others.

Actually, it is the rights of the 90% not to have the other 10% shooting them. The right to life.

The biggest problem, with respect to this debate subject, in the USA is the 'gun totin' mentality. The feeling by so many people that they have a right to carry and use a gun, with emphasis on use. The easiest way to stop people shooting and killing innocents is to cut the availability of guns. It would take a long time, since there are so many guns out there in the community. Probably decades. However, in the end, it would be worth while.

If almost no-one had guns, then the need to carry them for self defense disappears.

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But what does "cutting the availibility of guns" mean? Outright banning all guns? That's unconstitutional, and even if it weren't it would still be excessively draconian and harmful to freedom, and even if it weren't people would never stand for it, so it's not an option anyway.

You are right about the American gun culture, though. Obviously it's very deeply rooted, and probably has many different causes. I certainly don't understand it, and anyone who claims to is selling something. Some things we can do might mitigate its effects, but I don't think it's something we're going to "solve." Changing culture from above just doesn't work.

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But what does "cutting the availibility of guns" mean? Outright banning all guns? That's unconstitutional, and even if it weren't it would still be excessively draconian and harmful to freedom, and even if it weren't people would never stand for it, so it's not an option anyway.

Is it the constitutional right to bear arms that holds back the gun control issue?

Could there not be an argument for only allowing people to bear arms that were available up to 1791? This means the right is not removed but the arms that would be available would be of far less interest to most people.

Or does the constitution allow for bearing arms of any type that may be invented in the future? Could US citizens one day have the right to own a hand gun capable of mass destruction if such a wepon was invented?

We have an ancient law in the UK, that has never been repealed, that requires people to practice their archery on Sunday after church. As you can imagine it is not adhered to in the most part. It is there to ensure a suitably capable force is available to repel an invasion; much the same reason for the US right to bear arms. When I took up archery though it wasn't to defend against the French, it was just for the fun of it.

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Oh yes, that minority of idiots should dictate what the majority is allowed to do now?

This is a perfect example of tunnel vision. Where our only concern is that 10% and no consideration for the 90%.

that's (neccesarily) the case in most instances, tho. eg, i'm sure most people could self-regulate their alcohol intake before driving, but enough people cant (and people would die as a result) that all are limited to 2 pints before driving. i'm sure it's the same with most laws; its usually a minority that neccesitates the law to protect the majority from the minority.

on the subject of cars, you have to get full training in how to use them properly and safely, and then follow a plethora of rules in their use (including not using them when drunk), or you aren't allowed to use them. i really don't see why guns shouldn't be like that.

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(Edit: I'm just going to throw this point out in general instead of in response to a specific post.)

As I understand it, gun violence has risen in the UK since the laws passed in the wake of Dunblane. That point would seem to stand in response to a number of posts above, and I'm surprised nobody has raised it in this thread. Have I heard incorrectly on this? I'm almost positive I've even heard it reported on these boards before, not just in the news.

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Incidentally, it looks like Congress will probably do something about the issue of availability of databases on mental illness during background checks for gun licensing. The issue is actually supported by the National Rifle Association and other gun-freedom advocacy groups, and therefore enjoys broad bipartisan support.

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that's (neccesarily) the case in most instances, tho. eg, i'm sure most people could self-regulate their alcohol intake before driving, but enough people cant (and people would die as a result) that all are limited to 2 pints before driving. i'm sure it's the same with most laws; its usually a minority that neccesitates the law to protect the majority from the minority.

I don't know about that particular example, but I've never agreed with the idea of impacting the masses to control a minority - on really anything.

Example: Movie theatre has problems with people sneaking in so...they require folks who purchased tickets to keep them on their direct person and if they're stopped they must show this proof or be kicked out.

I think that's wrong. They've impacted everyone for the sake of a small minority of trouble makers. So, my son runs off to the restroom during the movie and gets kicked out because we have the tickets - forgot to give him his stub to keep. That's wrong, in my opinion. People sneaking in is their problem - not mine. Why do I, the law adiding patron, have to go to extra trouble for something I have nothing to do with?

Yes, I see the practicality in the rule. I see the attraction it its simplicity. "Hey, we don't have to do anything. We'll just make our customers take an extra step and that will solve our problem."

It's done without even thinking. And most patrons are understanding about it too - makes me sick (probably because they have jobs where they make the same kind of all impacting "simple" fixes to problems..)

I just have never liked that kind of thinking. It's lazy and thoughtless and quite inconsiderate of others.

on the subject of cars, you have to get full training in how to use them properly and safely, and then follow a plethora of rules in their use (including not using them when drunk), or you aren't allowed to use them. i really don't see why guns shouldn't be like that.

I don't have any issues with that.

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As I understand it, gun violence has risen in the UK since the laws passed in the wake of Dunblane.

You may be right on that. I remember when the laws were proposed after Dunblane, it really seemed like a knee jerk reaction and very unfair to people. The problem is that guns are the easy scapegoat and so politicians just take the easy route. It amazes me how naive they are to think that a criminal will not illegally obtain a gun just because a new law has been passed.

I've never owned, or wanted to own, a gun. Maybe that's a cultural difference. In the UK we grow up without experience of guns whereas in the US you grow up seeing guns quite regularly; at least that's how it looks from here. I still find it quite uncomfortable to see armed police officers at the airports and when I'm in a country where the police are normally armed.

Do you take guns for granted in the US? If you do how does this effect your perception of them; even if you've never owned one?

To me, hand guns are designed for the purpose of killing; mostly people.

Rifles on the other hand can be for the purpose of hunting; mostly animals.

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Do you take guns for granted in the US? If you do how does this effect your perception of them; even if you've never owned one?

Yes, I think we do. And I do believe it effects the perception. If you've never owned one, you see no need. You are used to the understanding you have no power over a criminal that has one. There is more fear in owning one since the media does not report when guns end crimes. There are countless examples of citizens using their guns to protect themselves successfully. It is never reported. I don't know why. It is truly strange.

I believe someone pointed this out in the last school shooting before VT. They media did NOT report that a faculty member retrieved his gun from his car and went back into the school and ended the rampage.

This has always blown my mind. I always thought people made this up about the media. But it really is true. So weird. Why leave that detail out of the story? Of all things. I've never read a story about a citizen using a gun successfully in self defense by the main corporate media. I've had to read about it elsewhere - and there's a lot of it going on.

Of course, this feeds the idea that the media is biased. Hard to defend otherwise.

Anyway, I was raised with guns in the house. I was taught to respect them and how to use them properly. No overcompensation of fear. Just a respect and understanding, like any power tool you might have in your garage.

Ask my kids, if they find a gun, if it's loaded. Then ask them what they're supposed to do if they find a gun. Then ask them what they're supposed to do if one of their friends tries to play with one.

Fear just feeds ignorance. Respect feeds knowledge in this case.

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Is it the constitutional right to bear arms that holds back the gun control issue?

Yes, but it's hardly the only thing.

Or does the constitution allow for bearing arms of any type that may be invented in the future? Could US citizens one day have the right to own a hand gun capable of mass destruction if such a wepon was invented?

False dillema. The choice is not between outlawing all guns and protecting the rights to personal nukes.

ParanoiaA... I don't really understand what you're complaining about. Why does it "make you sick?" Obviously, if nobody wanted to commit a particular crime, there wouldn't be any precautions against it. If there was no threat of hijacking planes, we wouldn't all have to sit through airport security. If everyone could be trusted to learn how to drive before attempting it, we wouldn't all have to go to the DMV to get licenses. If there was no crime at all, we wouldn't all have to pay taxes for police salaries. And if nobody sneaked into movies, we wouldn't all have to hold our tickets. In the last case, people understand not out of some idealogical sacrifice (as if having a stub of paper in you pocket is a big sacrifice), but because it would be unfair to them, the paying customers, if anybody could just sneak in.

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ParanoiaA... I don't really understand what you're complaining about. Why does it "make you sick?" Obviously, if nobody wanted to commit a particular crime, there wouldn't be any precautions against it. If there was no threat of hijacking planes, we wouldn't all have to sit through airport security. If everyone could be trusted to learn how to drive before attempting it, we wouldn't all have to go to the DMV to get licenses. If there was no crime at all, we wouldn't all have to pay taxes for police salaries. And if nobody sneaked into movies, we wouldn't all have to hold our tickets. In the last case, people understand not out of some idealogical sacrifice (as if having a stub of paper in you pocket is a big sacrifice), but because it would be unfair to them, the paying customers, if anybody could just sneak in.

Well, you make some good points there. True, I guess we do impact everyone on a basic level in the first place.

Maybe this fits with your "Emotional Aversions" thread. I guess I have an emotional aversion to being "disregarded" in terms of personal freedoms.

I think there is at least a practical limit, even if I can't necessarily define it at the moment. There comes a point when you have to ask, "why does every solution involve creating an extra step for everyone?"

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I've never read a story about a citizen using a gun successfully in self defense by the main corporate media. I've had to read about it elsewhere - and there's a lot of it going on.

That puts a completely different perspective on it. In the UK we only hear of people defending themselves when they go too far. We are only allowed to use reasonable force to defend ourselves. Anything more than that can result in prosecution. If I find someone in my house I can't shoot or stab them unless they have a gun or knife and are threatening my life. Even if I hit someone too hard I could end up being prosecuted. Many people here want a similar option like you have in the US where we have a protected right to defend ourselves and our property by whatever means are necessary.

It seems in the UK we are not just expected to be victims but martyrs too

And I suppose if we hadn't been so greedy and bloody minded about it you would have been given independence instead of having to fight for it. What would the US constitution look like then I wonder.

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I don't know about that particular example, but I've never agreed with the idea of impacting the masses to control a minority - on really anything.

Example: Movie theatre has problems with people sneaking in so...they require folks who purchased tickets to keep them on their direct person and if they're stopped they must show this proof or be kicked out.

I think that's wrong. They've impacted everyone for the sake of a small minority of trouble makers. So, my son runs off to the restroom during the movie and gets kicked out because we have the tickets - forgot to give him his stub to keep. That's wrong, in my opinion. People sneaking in is their problem - not mine. Why do I, the law adiding patron, have to go to extra trouble for something I have nothing to do with?

because if you don't, then you take away their ability to catch people who have snuck in in the easyest way possible. which (in this case) makes getting away with sneaking in easyer, so more people do it, so less people buy tickets, so everyone (who actually buys a ticket) has to pay a little extra to make up the losses.

yes, it'd be more eloquent to stop 'em sneaking in in the first place, but catching them afterwards works too. same with trains (at least in the uk, you have to keep your ticket and show a ticket inspector).

take this option away from the people in control, and stopping people from sneaking in becomes effectively harder. harder = more expensive; so wether due to lost profits, or extra expense in stopping people sneaking in, prices would go up for everyone who's payed. would you rather the majority be impacted by extra effort (carrying a ticket around) or by extra expense? either way, the majority are impacted as a result of the minority.

with gun control, i guess it becomes: should the majority be subjected to regulation that a minority need, or should the majority be subjected to an unregulated minority? either way, the majority have to tolerate something because of a minority.

incidentally, i read a somewhat sarcastic rant about the above once (on wikipedia, iirc), that basically said 'we need a rule to stop x happening again' generally boils down to 'jef has screwed up again, and done x; we need a rule to stop jeff doing x again', whereas the more eloquent solution would be to fire jeff

this works too, but would require sorting people into the responsable majority and irresponsible minority, and only allowing the majority guns. this would, of course, require rather extensive training then testing, so i doubt that it'd be done. as i understand it, requiring that people be forsed to actually undergo extensive training in firearms before letting them have one is unconsitutional. i'm just glad that cars weren't around when the constitution was written

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with the UK gun thing: bear in mind that wen guns were legal, you weren't allowed to wander round with them, or (iirc) own one without a licence, which weren't granted to most people. so not much has actually changed.

and i'm pretty sure that UK gun crime tends to be for the uber-criminals(in the form of armed robbery, and criminal assasinations), rather than muggings and gang fights.

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Do you take guns for granted in the US? If you do how does this effect your perception of them; even if you've never owned one?

This answer may be of little worth, and solely my opinion, but I'll toss it out there anyway.

You remember the case recently of the NASA astronaut who was arrested recently for attempting to kidnap a woman (the result of some sort of nasty love triangle involving another astronaut)? Well one of the few comments she made at the time of her arrest was "I wasn't trying to kill her", and she pointed out to authorities that she did not have a firearm in her posession, though she did have a toy that LOOKED like a real pistol.

This probably doesn't bear a whole lot of analysis, because who knows what goes through the minds of the love-crazed at their worst, but I just thought it interesting that she felt that her lack of a firearm constituted a legitimate defense against an attempted murder charge. As if to say "I couldn't possibly have killed her -- I didn't have a gun, which is the only way you can kill anybody, as everyone knows." (As if!)

Which seems to me as a kind of oddball example of how obsessed we are with firearms in this country. It's not as if we sit around every day talking and thinking about them. But they've become an integral part of our daily lives and national conscience. She actually spent some amount of time thinking about the fact that if she didn't carry a real gun with her, then she couldn't be accused of attempted murder (silly and flawed though that reasoning may be).

Guns are a tool, and are understood as such, but they also symbolize an escalation in the severity of one's choices in life. When you think about how your life may go if you follow a certain path, the apperance of guns are a significant milestones in that kind of thinking. Just look at how many infamous killers bought them well in advance of their killing sprees, having little experience with them or knowledge of how to use or care for them, but full awareness of them.

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That puts a completely different perspective on it. In the UK we only hear of people defending themselves when they go too far. We are only allowed to use reasonable force to defend ourselves. Anything more than that can result in prosecution. If I find someone in my house I can't shoot or stab them unless they have a gun or knife and are threatening my life. Even if I hit someone too hard I could end up being prosecuted. Many people here want a similar option like you have in the US where we have a protected right to defend ourselves and our property by whatever means are necessary.

It seems in the UK we are not just expected to be victims but martyrs too

That sounds so wrong to me. If I find someone in my house, I might already be dead or fatally wounded before I know whether or not they have a gun or knife or what their intent is. I'm somewhat shocked at the idea that any government would support that kind of thinking.

I think part of the thought process involved with our attitude of home defense comes from the idea that when someone breaks into my home, they have created the situation - not me. They have forced me into a decision making moment - without any willful participation on my part - so I shouldn't be held accountable for making a disagreeable decison to the state or other individuals. In fact, in some cases I could actually hurt someone else by accident in the process of defense, and the intruder can be procecuted as if he did it - precisely because he is responsible for the incident.

It's unfair, in my view, to expect that of people who did not create the situation - but are victim to it. If you're a police officer, then one can argue that you put yourself into that position - that you are qualified for that position - so your decisions should have consequences. But to have your house broken into like that, is completely without your participation in the wildest of imaginations.

Anyway, I feel for you. Maybe they'll change their mind on this one someday?

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requiring us to only use reaonable forse is, by definition, reasonable.

what the hoo-haa is generally about is people thinking that we'll get into trouble for hitting burgalars, or for stabbing them if they have a knife, which is not the case.

'reasonable' is determined by a jury, and so if most people agree with you're reasoning, then you're fine. i.e., if i find an intruder in my house and sneak up behind him and stab him in the leg with a knife just in case he's armed (whilst intentionally stabbing him in an unlikely-to-be-fatal place), as long as the jury (a representative group of 'the people', remember) think that's justified, then it is. if they dont, then i've gone too far.

all the law requires is that we dont use exess force, which is fair enough. 'exess' and 'reasonable' being determined on a case-by-case basis by 'the people' through the jury.

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requiring us to only use reaonable forse is, by definition, reasonable.

But, I shouldn't be required to know what reasonable is, in that situation. I don't do police work, because I don't know what reasonable force is, so, if I apply and use excessive force, then I should be punished.

But I didn't ask someone to break in my house. Knowing exactly how to handle that situation should not be a requirement, legally. Just like I'm not required to know how to give CPR. I didn't cause the situation, and I'm not required to be an expert in any situation someone causes me to be a part of.

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I don't understand this reference.

"Many people here want a similar option like you have in the US where we have a protected right to defend ourselves and our property by whatever means are necessary."

As Dak has pointed out, here in the UK you are allowed to use any means necessary to defend yourself (and family) and property.

You don't need a law degree; you just have to act reasonably. If you cannot act reasonably you shouldn't be out on your own never mind carry a gun.

The alternative seems that we introduce the death penalty for trespass.

There was a recent case where a farmer was convicted becuse he shot a couple of burglars. He shot them in the back and they were unarmed; does that not rather change the interpretation?

As I see it the simple truth about guns is that they are for killing people. The fewer of them there are about the place the better.

At least nobody has brought up the old line about "If you outlaw guns then only outlaws will have them" so I guess the message has got through about that.

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I think the point is that "reasonable" is subjective. If you couldn't reasonably be expected to know what was necessary and what was excessive, you wouldn't be punished for excessive force. It's just a common sense thing, and depends on the ability to give an account of it. Shooting and incidentally killing an intruder who a reasonably cautious man would perceive as a violent threat to you would be reasonable force. Chaining somebody to your wall after you've knocked him unconscious and torturing him to death would be unreasonable force.

I agree it's strange to have such subjective ideas written into law or acting as precedents, but there you go, that's law. Reminds me (tangentially) of the "Pepsi points" case:

One humorous television commercial promoting Pepsi Stuff showed a teenager acquiring various items with Pepsi points. Near the end of the commercial, he arrived at school in a Harrier jet as the words "Harrier jet: 7,000,000 Pepsi Points" appeared on screen. In 1996, John D.R. Leonard attempted to buy the Harrier jet with 15 Pepsi Points and a check for $700,008.50. This amount of money was to cover the remaining Pepsi Points, which could be bought for$0.10 per point, and the \$10 shipping and handling fee. Pepsi however refused to process the transaction. Leonard subsequently filed a suit.[1'] In 1999, US District Judge Kimba Wood, presiding over Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc., ruled in favor of Pepsi, stating that "No objective person could reasonably have concluded that the commercial actually offered consumers a Harrier jet."
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"use reasonable forse (reasonable being what most people would consider reasonable)" basically translates as "if you're a psycopath, it's your responsability to realise that you're a psycopath, and be more restrained than you naturally would be"

or, in other words, "no you can't kick someone to death just because the situation justified 'self-defence', unless it specifically also justifies lethal self-defence".

or in other words, "we're gonna assume that you're a responsible person, who can use, but not abuse, the right to self-defence. if you prove otherwize by going too far, you'll be punished".

bear in mind that in the uk, only a percieved threat, that most people would agree was reasonable, is neccesary to claim the right to self-defence (allowing for pre-emptive self-defence, e.g. hitting them first if you think a fight is unavoidable). this is what allows my 'sneaking up behind them and stabbing them in the leg' example to qualify as self-defence (tho 'reasonable' is debatable).

wer it not for both 'reasonable's, i could hit someone in the face with an improvised weapon for looking at me in a way that I thought suggested he was thinking about hitting me. which is a tad harsh.

basically, it means "defend yourself as much, and whenever, as you think is neccesary, but if you can't justify you're actions, then you'll be punished". which is why i never understand the complaints about these laws: if you can't give a decent justification for your actions, that's probably because you don't have one, and you went too far.

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At least nobody has brought up the old line about "If you outlaw guns then only outlaws will have them" so I guess the message has got through about that.

No, we just realized that it's a waste of breath with folks who don't see the obvious common sense in that. If you don't get that, than all logic is apparently useless in convincing you...

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There was a recent case where a farmer was convicted becuse he shot a couple of burglars. He shot them in the back and they were unarmed; does that not rather change the interpretation?

No it doesn't. You haven't given any other information. Was it dark? Were they carrying his daughter out the front door? Did they already rape his wife? Were they going back to the truck to get their gasoline and torch?

Why is he supposed to be an expert on home defense? Did he have a sign out front that said "please break in my house"?

Why is it so hard to understand that people don't have to be sensible to have the right to live? Maybe I'm stupid. Ok, then I don't put myself in any situation where my stupidity would hurt someone. But what if someone makes me have to make a decision where my stupidity results in unreasonable action?

Seems obvious to me. If you're a criminal and you break in and scare people to death, you are responsible for their fear. You are responsible for making a "non expert" to have to make the decision of an "expert". And if they don't perform to your ideas of "reasonable", then I guess it wasn't "reasonable" to break in, now was it?

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There was a recent case where a farmer was convicted becuse he shot a couple of burglars. He shot them in the back and they were unarmed; does that not rather change the interpretation?

you forgot fleeing. he shot them in the back as they were unarmed and fleeing

@ParanoiA it was determined in court that he didn't do it for self-defence, rather just because he was pissed off with them for robbing him, making it murder.

also, noone is suggesting anyone need be an expert in anything; rather, than they don't go all yosemity sam and just shoot without thinking 'should I' first.

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by-the-by, farmers' shotguns are a perfect example of when guns are actually justified as self-defence tools (farmsteads are generally too far from police stations to rely on police for defence from violent burglars), and also the fact that automatic and consealable weapons aren't neccesary for self-defence (shotguns under 24" are illegal, as are ones that hold more than 3 shells at once.

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Err, what about the fact that, since the police carry guns, it's simply not true?

Oh, I just realised, it's a waste of breath with folks who don't see the obvious common sense in that. If you don't get that, then all logic is apparently useless in convincing you...

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Guns are merely a more efficient way of killing people. The reason we are allowed to bear arms is for the people to defend themselves against their government. Which means that the people should be able to own any weapon the government has. I think we can all see the problem with this. We have become too efficient at killing each other. I think we need to live with the idea that more and more people are going to die from guns and other improved technologies, or we need to come to some mutual agreement and destroy weapons. I don't see either happening.

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If you shoot a criminal in the act of committing a crime, that action may be justified. Whether or not, it must be seen as a drastic and very serious action. It should be fully investigated, and the person who does the shooting should expect to face up to that investigation. In that way, there is, at least, some incentive for restraint.

Here in NZ, we have strong gun laws, although many people say they are still not strong enough. If someone shoots someone else in self defense, or fending off a crime, the shooter will appear in court, and will face charges. If the court action shows that the action was justified, they will be released without conviction. However, some who think they were justified still end up with convictions.

Before anyone here can own a hunting rifle, they have to go through full police investigation, and then study up the gun laws and safety principles, and pass an exam before getting a limited gun license. The whole process takes months, and is enough to put most people off even trying. In addition, whole categories of guns are totally off limits, and cannot be bought even by those with licences. Hand guns are subject to very strong restrictions.

If you want to own a hand gun, you have to be a member of a pistol club for at least a year. You must be recommended by the committee of that club. You must have a strong lock up facility for that hand gun, where it is kept at all times it is not used, and can only be used at the club premises. And you can only carry it when travelling from home to the club, and back. No other time. The process of police investigation is so strict, it takes a full year after application is made. As you can imagine, death by hand gun in NZ is rare.

In my country, people die in hunting accidents, but most murders are from weapons other than fire arms. And the total murder rate per capita is one third that of the USA, despite our total violent crime rate being just as high.

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