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What an idiot...

http://www.reuters.com/article/reutersComService4/idUSL099229120080109


America's gun culture - fading slowly? Bernd Debusmann
Wed Jan 9, 2008 10:17am EST

By Bernd Debusmann

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Is America, land of shooting massacres in schools and public places, slowly falling out of love with guns?

The answer is yes, and it runs counter to popular perceptions of the United States as a country where most citizens are armed to the teeth and believe it is every American's inalienable right to buy an AK 47-style assault rifle with the minimum of bureaucratic paperwork.

But in fact, gun ownership in the United States has been declining steadily over more than three decades, relegating gun owners to minority status.

At the same time, support for stricter gun controls has been growing steadily and those in favor make up a majority.

This is a little-reported phenomenon but the trend is shown clearly by statistics compiled by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center (NORC), which has been tracking gun ownership and attitudes on firearms since 1972, the longest-running survey on the subject in the United States.

The number of households with guns dropped from a high of 54 percent in 1977 to 34.5 percent in 2006, according to NORC, and the percentage of Americans who reported personally owning a gun has shrunk to just under 22 percent.

So, by the rules of democratic play, one might assume that the majority would have major influence on legislation. But that's not how it works, thanks to the enormous influence of the gun lobby.

The long-term decline monitored by the Chicago survey has buoyed proponents of tighter gun controls. "America's gun culture is fading," says Josh Sugarmann, who heads the Washington-based Violence Policy Center.

According to Sugarmann, those keeping the culture alive and those most vocal in resisting tighter regulations are white, middle-aged men whose enthusiasm for firearms, hunting and shooting is not shared by younger Americans.

Yet, at the moment it's difficult to imagine the U.S. without its gun culture.

But then, who could have imagined France with a ban on smoking in public places, Germany with speed limits on almost half its autobahns, or a black man as a serious contender in this year's presidential elections in the United States?

To what extent gun ownership will continue to shrink depends, at least in part, on a decision by the U.S. Supreme court expected this summer. The court will rule on one of the most acrimonious disputes in the United States: do Americans have the constitutional right to own and bear arms?

GUN RAMPAGES PART OF LIFE

At the heart of the long-running debate, argued with more passion than almost any other, is the meaning of the U.S. constitution's second amendment.

Written 219 years ago, it says: "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."

A string of lower court rulings over several decades held that the amendment meant to guarantee the collective right of state militias, not individual citizens. Such rulings have had limited impact: gun regulations vary from state to state and in most, weapons are easy to buy and legal to keep.

There are a few exceptions: handguns are illegal in Chicago and in Washington, where a court ruled in December that its total ban violated the constitution. That is the case the Supreme Court will take up this year.

No matter how it rules, the court's decision is unlikely to make much immediate difference to the mass shootings by unhinged citizens that have become part of American life.

Gun rampages happen with such numbing regularity -- on average one every three weeks in 2007 -- that they barely make news unless the death toll climbs into double digits, as happened at the Virginia Tech university. There, a student with mental problems killed 32 of his peers and himself.

President George W. Bush this week signed into law a bill meant to prevent people with a record of mental disease from buying weapons.

Virginia Tech was the worst school shooting in U.S. history and rekindled the debate over the easy availability of guns in America. There are more private firearms in the United States than anywhere else in the world -- at least 200 million.

While that arsenal has been growing every year, the proportion of U.S. households where guns are held has been shrinking. In other words: Fewer people have more guns.

One estimate, by the National Police Foundation, says that 10 percent of the country's adults own roughly three quarters of all firearms.

PREVENTION, NOT CURE

That is the hard core, which counts on the gun lobby, chief of all the National Rifle Association (NRA), to throttle attempts to impose restrictions on the sale of firearms.

The NRA, a group that claims some 3 million members, calls itself "America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights" and backs candidates for political office on their stand on one issue -- gun ownership -- regardless of party affiliation.

Politicians tend to pander to the NRA, some more shamelessly than others. One of the Republican candidates for the 2008 presidential race, Mitt Romney, went so far as to falsely claim that he was a lifelong hunter and had received an official NRA endorsement in 2002.

Small wonder, then, that the debates following every shooting massacre tend to focus not on the easy availability of guns but on preventive security measures.

Metal detectors at the entrances of shopping malls, for example. Or bullet-proof backpacks. They were developed in the wake of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School, where two teenagers killed 12 students and teachers and then themselves.

The Columbine-inspired backpacks went on sale in August and have sold briskly. "Sales picked up considerably in the Christmas period," said Mike Pelonzi, one of the two men -- both fathers -- who designed and market them. "Our market is expanding."

(You can contact the author at [email protected] com) (Editing by Sean Maguire)
 

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"But then, who could have imagined France with a ban on smoking in public places, Germany with speed limits on almost half its autobahns..."

I agree with him that government is growing fast in places you would have never considered, and were it not for our Constitution and an ardent gun culture, there would already be many more firearms restrictions.

Typical, though, he gets a quotation from Josh Sugarmann, a gun control fanatic, then doesn't even seek out any opinion from the pro-freedom side. He also assumes that if a majority of households do not have guns, then a majority of voters must be in favor taking away our freedom. That is a huge leap, unsuported by evidence or logic.

"So, by the rules of democratic play, one might assume that the majority would have major influence on legislation. But that's not how it works, thanks to the enormous influence of the gun lobby." See what I mean? The whole implication is that democracy is somehow being thwarted because government won't take away our freedom.

The whole purpose of this article is to say, "Hey, you guys can probably go ahead and pass more gun control now. France banned smoking."

What's next? An article called "Culture of demanding warrants for search and seizure fading."

Time to send this clod an email. His address is at the bottom of the article.

[email protected] com
 

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My email to Mr. Debusmann:

Hello, Mr. Debusmann:

I read your opinion piece about the "gun culture" in the U.S. You were correct that government has taken away freedom in the most unlikely places (smoking in France). But on the U.S. issue, you sought out quotations from those who would take away our freedom (Sugarmann), yet didn't appear to ask anyone to defend our Constitutionally protected rights. The only purpose of your editorial seems to be that those fighting to keep their freedoms are out of step with the times and should give up.

You also made a huge assumption, completely unsupported by evidence or logic, that if a majority of U.S. homes do not have firearms, then a majority of voters must be in favor of taking away freedom. I know many people who do not own firearms, yet they do not trust government to be the only armed entity in our society. Though the U.S. federal and state governments have certainly expanded their control over us, we Americans do still enjoy a large amount of freedom. To keep this freedom, many believe that our citizenry needs to remain armed.

You talk about the criminal issue, including mass shootings, yet the gun violence in the U.S. is miniscule compared to the 20th century armed violence perpetrated by governments who were out of control. Germany, USSR, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Cambodia...

Funny, we also have the right in the U.S. to be free from unwarranted searches and seizures. Seems like if fighting crime were the only real issue, then activists like Sugarmann would be clamoring to get rid of the Fourth Amendment. After all, if the police could barge into any dorm room, house, or apartment anytime a person is acting funny, or any time police have the slightest suspicion of foul play, then a great deal of criminaly activity (including mass shootings) would be thwarted. We don't want to give government that much power over us. Once we give up our guns, however, the rest of our freedoms would be so much easier to destroy.

If you get your way on gun control, here are the editorial topics I expect to see from you in the next ten years:

"Culture of Dangerous Free Speech - fading slowly?"
"Culture of Un-regulated Religion - fading slowly?"
"Culture of Paranoid Privacy - fading slowly?"
"Culture of 'Popular' Voting - fading slowly?"
"Culture of Freedom - fading slowly?"

Wilson Phillips
Raleigh, NC
 

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I don't think the gun culture is fading, I think the culture of masculine self-reliance, independence, and resentment of interference is fading.

I think the old gun culture were enthusiastic proponents of TOOLS.
I think the new gun culture, mature and immature, are proponents of TOYS.

This has been and will be a long time coming - a death of a thousand cuts. Predominantly from entertainment, but also from our leaders we are being lulled into a stupor. This effects many things, including gun ownership.

The article is part truth, part leftist utopian pipe dream.
 

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Id like to put all the anti gun nuts in a line and slap the snot out of them one by one:biglaugh:
 

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It is unclear on Reuters web site whether the article is supposed to be an op-ed piece or a news story. Either way, it completely lacks any pretense to objectivity.

To be objective, a good reporter or commentator would at least make an effort to contact USSSF, or similar body, to get their data. If the premise is supported by such information, the impact would be enormous. However, if the premise isn't supported by USSSF data, a good reporter would at least mention the conflict.

But, if he was just out to write the perfect "leftist utopian pipe dream" (good one, Striker 5) he just wouldn't mention it at all. Mission accomplished!
 

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No guns sounds nice until your disemboweld by some crackhead with a steak knife actual death toll would probably rise being a stabwound is more lethal.This editorial is a giant piece of dung on so many levels.Someone calls me on the phone with a gun survey I'm gonna give them all my info hold on let me get the serial numbers for you too.Utopian propaganda.
Communism is very alive and well in the 21st century and in our country.
We very possibly might have one or two in office next.Progressive liberal
prettied up term for communism.Sadly I believe the founding fathers knew we'd blow what they fought for gradually.You hear politicians today preaching change we were warned about that 200 years ago. We can change things but doesn't mean it's for the better.
 

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No guns sounds nice until your disemboweld by some crackhead with a steak knife actual death toll would probably rise being a stabwound is more lethal.

Progressive liberal prettied up term for communism.Sadly I believe the founding fathers knew we'd blow what they fought for gradually.You hear politicians today preaching change we were warned about that 200 years ago. We can change things but doesn't mean it's for the better.
:barf::bawling::barf::bawling::barf::bawling:
 

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It is unclear on Reuters web site whether the article is supposed to be an op-ed piece or a news story. Either way, it completely lacks any pretense to objectivity.
Last I checked, Reuters is ran by the direct descendants of the generation that gave the world the Third Reich. Twisted doesn't begin to describe the mentality of European liberal elite.
 

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The gun culture is assuredly fading, at least in some parts of the country. And what are we doing to preserve it? When's the last time you introduced a non-shooter to shooting? What sort of positive image do you as a shooter present, as a thoughtful, conscientious, and considerate neighbor participating in the affairs of your community.

Many of us do those things, but more of us could. And it will help the fortune of shooting generally the more each of us realizes that he (or she) is an ambassador of the shooting community to the world as a whole.
 

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I don't think that gun ownership is dying or fading. I think that more people(gun owners and non-gunowners alike) are not telling for personal privacy reasons.
 

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I don't think that gun ownership is dying or fading. I think that more people(gun owners and non-gunowners alike) are not telling for personal privacy reasons.
I agree with you on this one. How many people in places like Washington DC or Chicago would report that they own handguns for self-defense? None, because they would be admitting to committing a crime in those locations. Yet no one can seriously believe that otherwise law abiding people still have them there. Hopefully Heller will free those people from the shackles of DC's liberal masters.

It would be like conducting a phone poll and asking how much crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana, etc is in the house and then concluding that we are "winning the war on drugs" since so few households have illegal drugs!

I'll bet that there are actually more guns in more homes now than in 1977, but that most people who own them, simply won't admit to it.
 

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Nothing like an outright lie from the media. Who would have thought it possible?
And, once again, I'm right with Mark on this one. Ugh, the Liberal media.... :barf:
 

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That article seems to be slightly contradictory. If ten percent of the population own all the guns why do 34% of households own one? The fact that gun culture is fading or more likely being twisted by media, criminals and other non responsible and usually illegal firearm owners is actually true. Striker made a great point about the emasculinity of man. That guy should have wrote our conspiracy is working.
 

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:barf:

Yawn

Right....
 

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To his credit, Mr. Debusmann replied:

Hi, Mr Phillips,

Thank you for taking the time to read my column and for your thoughtful
feedback. You raise an interesting point about the link (or its
absence)
between the number of households with guns and a preference for tighter
controls.I plan to look into that.

On your list of topics: Dangerous free speech may be the one most in
danger.


Best regards,

BD
 

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The gun culture is assuredly fading, at least in some parts of the country. And what are we doing to preserve it? When's the last time you introduced a non-shooter to shooting? What sort of positive image do you as a shooter present, as a thoughtful, conscientious, and considerate neighbor participating in the affairs of your community.

Many of us do those things, but more of us could. And it will help the fortune of shooting generally the more each of us realizes that he (or she) is an ambassador of the shooting community to the world as a whole.
As a young adult (trying to hold on to the young prefix), ccw permit holder, and lifetime gun owner/hunter i like to think that do my part to do these things that you mention. i'll tell you what is sad is talking to my peers to realize that i'm one of the few that grew up hunting, shooting etc. and to trying to introduce someone that is either on the fence or anti is really hard, but it is satisfying to see someone shoot for the first time and enjoy it.

as for what someone mentioned above about younger generations looking at guns as toys, i do agree, and it is scary taking some of my friends that have never shot and watch how they handle these "tools" even after proper intruction and demonstration of what they can do:( everyone just thinks everything is a game anymore
 
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