Better gun laws?

According to Cato at Catallaxy, NSW has just relaxed its gun laws. It sounds promising although I could not find any media references to back it up.

The NSW firearms laws have been changed, with parts taking effect from August through to October. The main thrust of the reforms has been smoothing administrative matters for licensed shooters, which I applaud.

Head over and check out the Catallaxy article for more details.

45 thoughts on “Better gun laws?

  1. I have the right to be walking down the street or across a paddock with the knowledge that the average moron isn’t carrying a gun.

  2. I have the right to be walking down the street or across a paddock with the knowledge that the average moron isn’t carrying a gun.

    The average moron can’t get a gun Charles. That’s why you’ll never have one.

  3. But, in a disarmed society, that average moron might have homicidal tendencies, Charles. Unless you practice some of those unarmed combat skills, how will you defend yourself, or your friends and family? How would a pretty girl defend herself from a gang of rapists? In the real world, these things happen.

  4. Charles: The changes to the law are not going to have any affect on the “right” you have expressed above. Although this doesn’t really concern me.

    I’m more concerned with the right of my partner to walk down the street and know she has the ability to protect herself from a rapist. The right of my grandmother to enjoy a big TV in her own home and feel safe that she can protect herself if some thug invades her privacy to beat her and steal it.

    When thinking about any kind of law we need to make sure that it’s right; not just in sentiment but also in intent. Does the law do what we want it to do? Does it have adverse side effect? Or does it in fact do the opposite of what we wanted it to do? Gun control, although most people may see it your way, has always been about disarming the weakest of the population. It’s a cliche but if you criminalize something then only criminals will have that thing. When you take weapons from law abiding citizens you disarm those who obey the law and empower those who don’t.

    You express fine sentiment, that people should be free from harm at all times. I couldn’t agree more, but preventing the weakest of us from defending themselves against evil-doers does not prevent harm; It guarantees it.

  5. charles,

    Read this. This is why people I care about should have the right to use reasonable (including deadly) force, including a firearm, as they are statutorily allowed to do so in NSW to defend their lives and property.

    http://www.firearmsandliberty.com/kasler-protection.html

    In paticular you should read the ruling of Warren v D.C and realise we are a common law country with statutory indemnities for officials.

    Essentially, the court held that no executive Government, nor their police employees could be held liable for failing to protect an individual member of the public. That means you.

    Don’t you feel unsafe now that police don’t have any liability to protect you from your average moron, just everyone else?

    Just like Chief Wiggum sez: “Powerless to protect, not to punish”

  6. Charles – you have the right to walk around and not get shot by a moron (or run over or beaten or kicked). You don’t have a right to the knowledge that people are unarmed.

  7. TeejeP at 9

    That is your view, fortunately I live in a country with laws that support mine. My own view is those that want to transform society into a arms race can go and whistle in wind.

    David at 2 and 4

    Aren’t you fortunate we have laws that prevent a moron like me from carrying guns.

    So what do we have here, a bunch of paranoid gun nuts. If this is what a Libertarian is, what a sad and sorry organisation.

  8. Funnily enough, we did not have an arms race in the 1910s, 1920s or after WWII in the 1950s, 1960s etc.

    Your are spinning more shit again charles.

    Of note is that recently violent crimes and gun crimes have increased after strong gun control laws…and some of the researchers who supported the 1997 NFA say it is a dangerous waste of money:

    In a letter to the SMH, dated 1/11/05

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/letters/the-terrorism-debate-balance-v-the-bogyman/2005/10/31/1130720479201.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

    “”It may come as a surprise to Simon Chapman (Letters, October 31) but, like him, I too strongly supported the introduction of tougher gun laws after the Port Arthur massacre.

    The fact is, however, that the introduction of those laws did not result in any acceleration of the downward trend in gun homicide. They may have reduced the risk of mass shootings but we cannot be sure because no one has done the rigorous statistical work required to verify this possibility.

    It is always unpleasant to acknowledge facts that are inconsistent with your own point of view. But I thought that was what distinguished science from popular prejudice.”

    Dr Don Weatherburn NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Sydney”

  9. You could not be more wrong, Charles!
    I am not a ‘gun nut’, and I would like to live in a world where I didn’t need to buy guns- and I do not have a gun, because my suburb is a safe area. If it became unsafe, I might like to be able to defend myself, by buying a weapon. I also might choose to move, but where?
    Britain is becoming more violent. Is this because the Brits can’t export their criminals as colonists any more?
    The USA always seems to be in the news when they have a shooting, but is this because they have more shootings than any other country in the world, or is the media simply more sensationalist than other countries?
    I read recently that Switzerland has weapons in every house (compulsory national service) and a very low incidence of burglaries. Sounds like a good mix, weapons in the hands of competent handlers! People too cautious to engage in crimes!

  10. Actually charles you’ve been caught out – again.

    1. We are not paranoid, you are – “I’m too afraid of being shot by an *average moron* in a free society”. Like Weatherburn acknowledges, this is a long term cultural trend and hasn’t got anything to do with gun laws. Having concerns disproportionate to risk is a sign that you are paranoid.

    2. You also live in a country where at least one State (NSW) allows homeowners to shoot intruders in order to protect their property, persons or lives. Under common law, self defence of property can include lawful killing (an Associate Professor of Law, Ph D told me this). You seem to have a problem with this. This was/is a/the populist law. Yet you insist you hold the “populist” position. Either you are obtuse or a blockhead but either way you are mendacious.

  11. A downward trend is not good enough, he complains because it “Didn’t accelerate a downward trend”.

    No doubt you would like to provide every gun nut with a gun so Dr Weatherburn’s can gather “rigorous statistical” data so he can satisfy his curiosity.

    What has this to do with my right to walk down the street with the knowledge that idiots don’t have guns.

    Shakes head is disbelief and walks away.

  12. charles:

    How can anything as nebulous as that be a “right”?

    What about my right to flush a toilet? What about my right to sit on the TV and watch the couch? What about your right knowing that idiots aren’t watching the couch sitting on the TV.

    You really need to figure out just what a right is. This is before you run into the self-declared limitation that people shouldn’t have freedom of choice.

    Anyway – you have previously declared people shouldn’t have freedom of choice. The State of NSW has decided that people are free to have guns, but not to have the knowledge that idiots don’t have guns. David on the other hand simply contends that you’re just an idiot and people like you will never get guns. Either the State doesn’t respect your rights (ironically, as you wish) or you are one of the dangerous idiots we all must fear but must conclude from Dr Weatherburn’s research, simply don’t exist. Ergo, you are paranoid, not us.

    On the other hand, once again you are being mendacious and no one here thinks people should be forced into gun ownership as in Switzerland. But are you obtuse or a blockhead?

  13. Charles – have you actually done any background reading on the track record of gun control laws are you just flying blind on anecdotes.

    Out of interest is it your right to go to sleep in your house each evening knowing that society is free of morons with matches? We did have a match masacre after 1996.

  14. What has this to do with my right to walk down the street with the knowledge that idiots don’t have guns.

    You’ve obviously never tried to get a gun Charles. If you did, you’d find out exactly how difficult it is to get one legally. Idiots and morons are screened out quite early. (That’s why you’d have trouble.)

    Of course, if you don’t mind breaking the law and have money, that’s a different matter. But people who do that are not idiots or morons are they? Are they?

  15. The Greens sure like to carry on.

    But I must admit I don’t think it is “urgent” to allow non-shooters the ability to shoot under supervision at a club. It’s still good that it’s an item on the agenda, but it’s not “urgent”. Though, as the Greens say, it’s urgency is related to political expediency.

  16. I don’t think it is “urgent” to allow non-shooters the ability to shoot under supervision at a club.

    This is a libertarian site Enigmatic. Any loss of freedom is automatically urgent.

    The shooting sports are as entitled to attract new participants as any other. There’s no law preventing someone from having a try at archery or javelin throwing, but there is for shooting.

    And there’s no rational reason for that, just the moralising fascism of Greens supporters who oppose “normalising” gun ownership.

  17. It may not be ‘urgent’ but it’s a no-brainer.

    If you go into a shooting club you accept that you are going to be surrounded by people with guns. If people don’t want to enter shooting clubs where people without the usual background checks are allowed to handle guns, they can either stop going to shooting clubs or go to shooting clubs with a different policy.

  18. What has this to do with my right to walk down the street with the knowledge that idiots don’t have guns.

    If you believe the average person on the street is going to kill you then I’d suggest guns shouldn’t be your greatest worry. If they want to kill you they won’t have to look far to find a way. However, if you had a gun of your own you might just be able to continue to go about your life with some confidence that you could deal with them if they are, in fact, planning homicidal activities. (As Mark says: and you’re calling us paranoid?! WTF!)

    This presents a wider question which I think all social democrats should have to answer. You’re suggesting that if someone wants to participate in society then they need to forgo certain ‘rights’ and give up some of their freedom, even if they’re not hurting anyone else. In this case you’re suggesting that they need to forgo some ability to protect their person and property with force (by not having the means to use force at an effective level at short notice), and shouldn’t have the means to participate in certain recreational activities that involve firearms. My question is: how do you decide what things people need to give up in order to be a ‘full’ citizen of your society? Does a member of royalty/dictator/religious leader decide? Do we all vote on how each other should live their lives? After all, giving up personal freedom of action has been the basis for the banning of:

    1. Gay marriage – destruction of the family
    2. Art house films like ‘Boise Moi’ and photography like Bill Henson – protect the children (?)
    3. Marijuana / party drugs – protect youth / destruction of fabric of society
    4. Smoking in pubs – non-smokers shouldn’t be forced to choose non-smoking venues (? – I mean cigarettes aren’t illegal)

    So what is the basis of your ethical system? In other words, the basis of mine is that everyone has an inalienable right to the security of their person and property and to take whatever actions they want to ensure this so long as they don’t hurt anyone else who is behaving in the same way; what’s the basis of yours? How do you decide when you’ve passed enough laws over other people’s lives or removed enough of their personal choice and freedom to ‘create’ your society?

  19. Mick,

    charles has said on the Sarah Palin thread he doesn’t like the conclusions of having freedom of choice as the basis of public policy.

    Basically he is a crypto fascist trying to “advise” us libertarians how to be “more appealing”.

    Well quite frankly I think totalitarianism is repulsive.

    charles’ ethical system is such: “do as I say or go to gaol”

  20. charles has said on the Sarah Palin thread he doesn’t like the conclusions of having freedom of choice as the basis of public policy.

    I’m getting into it right now. Charles, you are a control freak turd without a rational ethical system.

  21. I think Enigmatic is refering to the fact that NSW parliament gave the bill urgent status in terms of debate. However I thought Fred Nile made clear why it was urgent when he refered to the upcoming license renewal workload and the relevant departments difficulties in handling that workload without some of the proposed reforms.

  22. It would seem the debate has deteriorated to name calling.

    Here you go, Charles:

    So what is the basis of your ethical system? In other words, the basis of mine is that everyone has an inalienable right to the security of their person and property and to take whatever actions they want to ensure this so long as they don’t hurt anyone else who is behaving in the same way; what’s the basis of yours? How do you decide when you’ve passed enough laws over other people’s lives or removed enough of their personal choice and freedom to ‘create’ your society?

  23. charles,

    you have lied straight up consistently and repeatedly, I have called you names, e.g mendacious etc, but to be fair, they were accurate.

    Quite frankly I am fed up with the vulgarities and lies of a totalitarian control freak trying to “advise” a libertarian movement on how to be more popular – your idea that freedom of choice is a bunk idea is about as popular as its ramifications – state arranged marriages, state control of reproduction, command and control economies…honestly pissing off the right to lifers, recalcitrant marxists and gun control extremists seems entirely preferable to the nightmare scenario your idea would lead to.

    But maybe you’re not so bad – you simply may need to clarify your ideas, such as what a right is.

    For example, there is no “right” to a ham sandwich or the knowledge that other people are unarmed. Nor is such a concession entirely feasible or enforcable.

    You simply cannot have a “right” to a paranoid state of mind which relies on a police state to ensure it *might* happen.

  24. Mark man has got to where he is by creating complex social systems, we depend on each other. Without the complex systems you would be a angry young man running about with a club.

  25. We live in a division of labour society. However this doesn’t imply we need restrictions in freedom.
    We expect experts to do what they claim they will do.
    So breach of contract is rightly illegal. eg/ If you buy a hi-tech gizmo and it doesn’t work as was claimed, you should be able to get your money back.

    Mick Sutcliffe and others have explained the libertarian position well.
    The fundamental libertarian political principle is the right of individuals to be protected from initiation of physical force.
    The beauty of this principle is that it is non-contradictory as with any correct theory.

    A contradiction arises when a government that is employed to protect you from acts of force, initiates their own acts of force via regulatory systems, resource distribution, censorship, prohibition, privacy invasion etc etc. Political intervention that initiates force is an arrogant act by a third party playing by different rules. This third pary (government employees/politicians) has very little to lose (and much to gain), and I say they are arrogant because they have no way of knowing the details of all voluntary transactions.

    IMO the key is volition. The sciences of economics, politics and psychology among others are unlike the physical sciences such as chemistry because they involve individual’s descision making. Therefore qualatative principles need to form the basis of these sciences (eg/ non-initiation of force in politics, or supply-demand theory in economics) as opposed to mathematical quantitations such as Einstein’s relativity equations. It’s easy to fall into the trap of wishing to apply the deterministic approach of the physical sciences to economics, politics etc but this ignores the reality that we all have consciousnesses making billions of choices through each of our lifetimes.

  26. Mark man has got to where he is by creating complex social systems, we depend on each other. Without the complex systems you would be a angry young man running about with a club.

    Living as pack animal or in a tribe might be more complex than a jellyfish bobbing around in the ocean, but it’s hardly enlightened. In fact, it’s pretty much an angry young man running about with a club, which is what your ideas lead to. It’s also why you can ‘t answer my ‘ethical system’ question above.

    We came out of the dirt and into civilisation by using the concepts of individual and property rights. It might involve a ‘complex social system’ but it doesn’t have to be a tribal one. In fact, the best thing a collectivist society ever did for itself (so far) was to evolve into a liberal democracy.

    By the way, as an engineer, and often a systems engineer at that, I would say the way you approach the problem of society is not really systems thinking. You are not examining the system. You are falling into the trap of saying ‘I can make it work if I can sit outside it like a puppeteer and full a few strings’. And you look to government to be that puppeteer. Unfortunately that’s not possible because government doesn’t sit outside the system, it comes from the system.

  27. Mike, stop intruding in on Charles’ monologue on someone called Mark Man, and his course through life!

  28. Noting that humanity is complex is not an excuse to rob us of our rights.

    “You’re complex, go to gaol.”

    That doesn’t sound at all like you recognise human complexity, but reject it.

  29. As someone who’s been accosted 6 times in the last 12 months and whacked three times I gotta say: handguns are lookin’ pretty good. Except they’d get them too wouldn’t they?
    .
    That’s the rub.

  30. You are falling into the trap of saying ‘I can make it work if I can sit outside it like a puppeteer and full a few strings’. And you look to government to be that puppeteer. Unfortunately that’s not possible because government doesn’t sit outside the system, it comes from the system.

    Just like people who emphasise “self control”.

  31. If people didn’t have self-control the human race wouldn’t be where it is and we’d still be swinging through trees or living in caves. There is no long term way to maintain society if it’s individual members don’t have self control. You might be able to see a lack of self control in various societies around the world. We can send in the military to suppress that society to a relative peace, or a brutal dictator might emerge and keep some semblance of order with an iron fist (i.e. the puppeteer sitting on the outside pulling strings), but the moment these things are gone that society will return to the way it was. That’s unless it’s members learn to behave in a civilised and rational manner i.e. have a level of self control.

    The question, John, is how much should you unempower the people with self control in the name of removing power from those without self-control? How much control should they have to give up over their own lives and destiny? How much risk should they take that other people can make better decisions for them than they can for themselves? How much safety, happiness and prosperity should they forgo with this loss of control over their own lives?

    Any society that prohibits someone who can demonstrate they have self control, from obtaining the benefits of that self control, is an immoral one. No decent human being can commit themselves to the values of such a society that shackles itself to the lowest common denominator.

  32. There’s the trick Mick, that is a very long road.

    To argue that the absence of belief in self control leads to anarchy is like arguing that abandoning a belief in free will will do the same. It does not, in fact the vast majority of people who abandon such concepts exhibit no perceptible changes in their behavior.

    Governments do influence behavior. As Milgram’s experiments so powerfully illustrated, authority figures can have overwhelming effects on our behavior. Damn, this is such a frustrating issue because some experiments even indicate that our perceptions of the most simple things can be influenced even by strangers around us asserting “this is that” even when our perceptions, if left influenced by the opinions of others, would strongly indicate “this is not that”. That governments often lead us down the road is not in dispute. The same can be said of education, parents, lovers, and friends. Yet we will listen to such entities and these entities can have profound effects on our behavior.

  33. Yes, we’re getting deep here. I won’t try to respond in a logical sequence of paragraphs because there will be lots of them. I’ll just speak off the cuff.

    Sure, people who don’t consider the determinism versus free will argument at an intellectual level still live their lives just like people who do think at this level. (This reminds me of a personal experience – I acquired economic knowledge quite late in life, but I had still been interacting with economic forces and had an idea of how they worked even though I had no intellectual understanding of free markets vs planned ones, regulated vs unregulated labour, collective vs individual agreements etc). But my point is when we look at how different people in different societies live their lives we see the reason for the differences in these societies. If you live as if you have no control over your fate (iIn šaʾ Allāh!) then I would imagine your quality of life and values of your society would not be a good as promoting human quality of life as if the emphasis of how you lived your life was on using reason to make personal choices. I also think a look around the world proves this to be the case. (Excuse the tedious nature of my sentences!) In other worlds, an advanced society may not be full of people who spend their day pondering whether their reality is rooted in free will or determinism, but they do live as if they have free will.

    Also, I’m not arguing our behavior is affected by those around us, nor that they can influence our perception of reality. We evolved as a social animal and this factor was an important tool in our survival for a few thousand years. It’s not about to go away. I’m not saying we shouldn’t use this factor to influence the interaction of the individual within society, just that we need to consider how we use it. Using tribal social values in the purest subconscious sense is the not the most enlightened state of being humans are capable of achieving, so we shouldn’t do it.

    I hope I haven’t missed the point again. I would need more information on your position to completely understand what you’re getting at.

  34. If you live as if you have no control over your fate (iIn šaʾ Allāh!) then I would imagine your quality of life and values of your society would not be a …

    Interesting issue there Mick is that Calvinists tend to adopt a very deterministic view yet are very hard working. Or take BF Skinner, the psychologist who hated free will and self concepts with a vengence, yet he lived a remarkably disciplined life.

    I would argue that concepts like self arise exactly from tribal life, that is why these concepts are so pervasive. For me at least a concept like self is so close to animism as to be indistinguishable. By logical extension from Gilbert Ryle’s Ghost in the Machine(1949) I am inclined to the view that if there is no ghost then why must I think about human behavior by reference to concepts like self, rationality, emotions? These are more linguistic devices than explanatory devices. Talk about imaginary friends!

    From an evolutionary perspective it could be argued that we arrive at these concepts for their utility in dealing with other people in the world. In anthropology it is argued that the massive encephalisation in the hominid line arose not through the need for greater “rationality”but for the need to better understand the motives and intentions of our fellow human beings(social chess theory). After all, it aint that hard to throw a stick and one does not engage Newtonian mechanics in an attempt to improve one’s golf swing; unless of course one is seeking the advice of a sports scientist.

    We typically cannot think clearly about any given thing by reference to all its particular qualities so we engage in a type of conceptual compression. It is much easier to think about Mick as a unified self than Mick as possessing this behavior or that behavior. At an epistemological level it can be argued that the value of a concept is that it compresses all or the necessary features of an entity in such a way as enable fruitful analytical manipulation. That is a great strength of mathematics.

    It is a strange paradox though, for we are rooted in these ways of thinking yet at an analytical level these concepts tend to fade away, this is particularly true for those who study neuroscience. I suspect one reason why neuroscientists tend to have a liking for Zen is because Zen tends to point in the same direction: no self, no free will. So when Zen types talk about “all is illusion” they are closer to the truth than their very perceptions tend to indicate.

    At the most basic level animism represents a useful way of dealing with the world, some might argue that the very nature of our cognition demands that in daily living at least we must engage reality with these conceptual shortcuts. So it appears that evolution and culture (from at least primates onwards, not just humans) has given us very useful concepts for dealing with the world but that is something quite different from understanding the world. So in our day to day lives we may still say “the sun rises” but we know this is just a convenient expression that arises from our experience. We know the truth is much more complicated than that.

    As to your reference to religion and fatalism there is something to that but here’s another strange thing about that. Take Buddhism in general(there are many types). People tend to argue that Zen will make people overly passive yet consider the Zen masters, these types were the exact opposite. In fact their work could not have been possible except for a great deal of hard work and discipline. I used to comment that Zen is the only religion that eats itself. That is, at the end of the day in Zen one realises that one can philosophise all one likes about life but the point is to live. Hence books like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maitenance are pretentious wanks that really have bugger all to do with Zen or motorcycle maintenance for that matter. Perhaps this explains why Pirsig ended being institutionalised!

    The problem for me Mick, and it is a problem I have largely abandoned addressing, is how to develop new ways of thinking about human behavior without reference to ghostly entities residing in my head. I don’t think I will ever really resolve this issue. After all, human beings are the most complex things in the known universe, we are only just beginning, say with Freud, to develop a new way to approach this intellectual challenge and in some respects it is the most important intellectual challenge for future generations. As Andreasen, former Prof of Psychiatry at Harvard so eloquently states at the end of her text: Brave New Brain:

    344

    “We simply lack the knowledge to cure society as well as individuals.

    Confronting this fact seems especially imperative at this time. Psychiatrists are frequently called on to prescribe quick treatments for a variety of social ills, such as the rising rates of crime and violence. Instead of appealing to the speciality of psychiatry to “fix” violence or reduce general unhappiness, all of us, as members of the human community, need to recognize that the sense of “self” in our post-turn-of-the-century worlds may be in need of repair. There has been a widespread move toward materialism, quick fixes, instant gratification, and a superficial sense of success, which is reinforced by the fast-paced cyberworld that we live in. The answer to our many current social problems must come from individual people, who must reappraise their sense of “self” and reach an appropriate perspective on what constitutes a sound moral compass and meaning in life. The need to search for a personal moral compass to guide our individual lives in the twenty-first century is a need that transcends medical intervention, but which has a very real impact on how we choose to employ medical science and what we expect from it. In the era of the genome, fraught as it is with a variety of crucial moral questions, we must all make an agonizing reappraisal of who we are, what life is, what life means, what we must do to help the other human beings who share our world with us, and what we can do to make it a brave new world.”

    I am sorry I cannot be more definitive but I suspect that will never change. The ghosts in my thinking still remain. It is easier to kill a man than the ghosts in a man.

    Hope this helps,

    John.

  35. John – thanks, and you’ve clarified exactly what schools of though you subscribe to. I don’t see any benefit in us continuing down this line as we’ll go forever. I’m sure we’ll butt heads in other threads!

    My parting shot is as follows: You and I disagree fundamentally in how a lot of the world works. Yet we can live peacefully with each other and I’m sure if we were to interact in society we can and would do so to mutual benefit and the wider good. A lot of what you suggest, eg BF Skinners theories, involve a kind of forced and controlled social interaction. Why do this if we are not absolutely certain it’s going to give better outcomes? Why don’t we just push toward that peaceful and enriching civil society that we can achieve without aggravating each through telling each other how to live their lives. We both seek the truth, want positive outcomes for ourselves, and at worse may be ambivalent toward each other but more than likely wish each other the best life can offer. Let’s just build on that with each other by respecting each others decisions in our path to destiny. This is all that’s required for the next stage of human development, and it’s completely achievable through some simple moral decisions we can all understand. Furthermore, if we make these broader decisions and create that civil society, then we might just have some time and resources to allocate toward those questions you’ve raised, finding answers that will further enrich our lives. Now that’s human progress and enrichment!

  36. eg BF Skinners theories, involve a kind of forced and controlled social interaction.

    This is a very common misunderstanding about Skinner. He was not advocating that at all but because people try and understand his thinking through their thinking such a misunderstanding arises.

    You are correct, this forum is inappropriate for such discussions.

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