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back to article NRA: Video games kill people, not guns. And here's our video game

Just weeks after the vice-president of the US National Rifle Association blamed video games for gun crime, the outspoken organisation has released an iPhone video game. NRA: Practice Range is a first-person shooter available from the iTunes Store as a free app for iPads as well as Apple smartmobes. It incorporates a live feed of …

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An NRA spokespersons said...

"] There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people.. and we don't like having any competition for the role"

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WTF?

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

"Guns don’t kill people. Video games ... kill people."

I hate it when the "The most dumb statement of the day" prize goes so early. There's no way that's going to get topped.

Ok: Video games do de-sensitive people a bit to graphic violence and breed the kind of muppet that thinks we should equip our Army with Desert Eagles so they can 'pop heads like melons' [qv], but the NRA's defence against "guns kill people" has always been "Nah-nah-nah-nahnah: Not hey don't because it's an inanimate object and needs a person to pull the trigger, ergo it's not the GUN that does it."

Yet now apparently, my copy of 'Kill Stuff With Guns II' can pop itself out of my DVD drive and nip out to massacre a few kindergarten classes.

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

He is quite correct though - video games *can* kill people.

I remember from my time in college someone brought in a pirated copy of Doom on CD. My friend already had it and, in a fit of boredom, turned the CD into a ninja star and almost took our lecturer's eye out with it.

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

Or

"There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people... and our puppet masters make a lot of money by selling guns to them"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

They used to say the same about rap music... as one stand up at the time played out "I was going to kill a cop, but I've never had the appropriate musical accompaniment". Ice T's justification for 'Cop Killer'

was that the Talking Heads sung Psycho Killer, or Johnny Cash 'shot a man Reno just to see him die' (he didn't, but a lot of people believed he had and served time for it)

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Boffin

Re: Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

"They used to say the same about rap music..." This is simply playing the PC crowd at their own game, i.e., deflecting their attention to another topic they frequently rant about. If they can turn the argument into one between the PC crowd and video-gamers then the heat is off, they can go shoot whilst the Mary Whitehouses of the World try dragging their children away from the Xbox, PC, Wii, iPhone, etc., etc. I'm pretty certain no-one in the NRA really believes games cause violence, thought they may be unhappy with the depiction of gun-owners and gun-use in games, but then I doubt if many of the "ban guns" vote-chasing policians actually believe what they say.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

Video games do de-sensitive people a bit to graphic violence

I don't think so. If I look at the amount of kids that play video games and follow that sort of logic we should already be up to our eyeballs in massacres. I just can't make that link.

Unless you already have a couple of missing screws in your social makeup I don't think video games are going to turn you into a maniac.

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Unhappy

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

"Guns don’t kill people. Video games ... kill people."

I wish this were true. I tried wiping out my school witha cassette copy of Manic Miner. I got tired before killing even the weediest first year weakling and was easily overpowered by (unarmed) teachers.

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WTF?

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

"Guns don't kill people."

Okay, so I've always understood that this was their idiotic rhetoric that a gun isn't capable of killing someone by itself; hence the normal follow on: "People kill people". The (stupid) argument that the person wielding the (semi-automatic) "gun" is solely responsible for massacre A and they would still have done it if only armed with an egg whisk.

But!

"Video games ... kill people." Makes no sense! They've completely screwed their own argument as a video game isn't really even a physical thing... are they now saying that a virtual piece of entertainment can randomly commit homicide, but a device designed to cause physical damage is incapable of it?

Bizarre. Unsurprisingly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

This is simply playing the PC crowd at their own game

Maybe. I don't think that one worked since Eric Clapton made "I shot the sheriff" a hit in 1974..

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

My preferred method is to offer them live time healthcare for the cost of a Wii with Trauma Centre. If FPSes make you a killer, trauma centre must make you a surgeon.

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

Maybe someone should beat a few NRA members to death with CD cases of Daikatana. That way there would at least be some validation to their claims.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

@ac - 11:49

I agree. There is a difference between Battlefield 3 and Budd Dwyer. I've played violent games all my life, and I haven't even punched someone since I was fourteen, not that I've not been in situations where I could have. Budd Dwyer shocked me. Our brains know the difference between a game and reality better than we think they do.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

"There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt an corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people... with foreign guns. If you're going to shoot Americans, at least BUY American! If you use an unregistered foreign firearm we're out of a job!"

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Go

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

"I'm pretty certain no-one in the NRA really believes games cause violence"

- Yeah, they do. Have a look at some pro-gun sites, and a large chunk of these people seriously believe that:

The point of gun control is purely to take guns off every legal owner while doing nothing about criminals

Anyone with Liberal political policies wants to come over to their house and take away their guns

God gave them the right to bear arms

Drugs are to blame

Video games are to blame

Obama is to blame

The government is trying to take away their guns so it can then take away their rights to vote et al

Internment camps have already been constructed and foreign nationals trained to guard them, and they will be used to imprison 'patriotic' Americans en masse.

I enjoy shooting, but it seems increasingly that it seems to politically associate me with far-right, xenophobic nut-cases. And any word in favour of any form of gun control seems to incite comments that the speakers is 'Liberal', 'Commie', 'Socialist' or 'on Drugs', as though enjoyment of hunting is somehow tied to far-right political outlook.

"I don't think so. If I look at the amount of kids that play video games and follow that sort of logic we should already be up to our eyeballs in massacres. I just can't make that link."

I believe that the link has been proven in numerous studies. Note that 'desensitising to violence' doesn't mean 'goes out and kills people'. It simply means that violent scenes or conflict cease to illicit the same level of emotional abhorrence as it causes in people not exposed to such things. People might not do things themselves, but they are less revolted by violence and hence probably more accepting of it as a solution in wider matters.

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Re: Eric Clapton

Hey, he was only quoting Bob Marley!

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

".....I've always understood that this was their idiotic rhetoric that a gun isn't capable of killing someone by itself...." So, if you admit you understand it, then why is it idiotic, unless you are saying you are an idiot?

".....The (stupid) argument that the person wielding the (semi-automatic) "gun" is solely responsible for massacre A ....." Again, how is it a stupid argument? Adam Lanza went and killed those people in Newtown, and whilst you argue that removing all guns would 100% remove the chance of Adam Lanza committing any murders, that is demonstrably false as he could simply have used another weapon (a car, cooking knives, fireaxe, sharpened pencil, a two-by-four with a nail in it - you want to ban all those potential weapons too?). For example, Andrew Kehoe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Kehoe) killed 45 people (including 38 schoolchildren) and wounded 58 others without using a gun in one day in May 1927 (and long before video games were even thought of). In the Shiguan kindergarten attack in May 2006 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiguan_kindergarten_attack) the killer threatened his victims with a knife but burned the kids to death with gasoline, do you want to ban all knives and oil-based fuels too? (BTW, the Shiguan killer didn't own any video games or have a PC or console).

It is also demonstrably false for the NRA to say arming teachers would have 100% stopped Adam Lanza as he could have shot the teachers or still shot some people before they shot him. It is a simple fact that the only reasonably certain way to have stopped Adam Lanza from killing any of those people would be if Adam Lanza had not been there, for example if he'd been under supervision in a secure psychiatric unit. But that type of reasoning - deal with the problem person before they become the person pointing a gun - does not go down well with the huggy-feelgood crowd who would rather ban guns in the mistaken belief it ensures the safety of the children.

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

Video games do kill people!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1544131/Man-dies-after-7-day-computer-game-session.html

... or maybe it's not moving for several days...

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

"Video games do de-sensitive people a bit to graphic violence"

Might not actually be true, but even if it hypothetically was - that's not the same as turning people into murderers. Also don't think Hitler was much of a CoD fan, so maybe there's something else at work?

Also not for nothing but violent games and movies are globally distributed so if it was the case you'd see the same thing occurring globally which would have been Tarantino's response to the silly question had he not been asked it 300 times before I'm sure.

Actually in the US they're censored more for the cinema audience then tends to happen in the rest of the western world because for some reason Hollywood is terrified of the state doing it, so they try to keep it too clean - so there's an argument that censoring violence makes people shoot each other which is more soundly based in logic.

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...missing screws in your social makeup

Thats the truly scary thing.

The NRA have a point (grudging most) but the far bigger question is;

What the fuck is wrong with americans-that they cant refrain from murdering one another?

and given that there clearly is a massive deficit in intelect/morality/education/understanding of cause and effect - why the hell does the government stand by and let these belicose fools arm themselves to the teeth?

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

@ Matt Bryant, to which I can only repond with the number of massacres since your namesake inspired gun control in Australia vs before shows that gun control has a very real effect on massacre rate.

Yes, those inclined to do these sort of things have the option of using knives. However knives areuch more difficult to perform these acts with... It is harder to use a knife at rane. You cannot throw a burst of knives, and you have to retrieve them rather than using a high capacity magazine.

As for arming teachers... Great, you've already solved the next school mass murderers first problem - how to get the gun into the school.

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

I seem to remember some guy in China was found dead in a game centre after playing for 36 hours strait... games do kill people!

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Boffin

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

".....If I look at the amount of kids that play video games and follow that sort of logic we should already be up to our eyeballs in massacres....." By your own logic, looking at the number of people that own guns, we should be seeing a dozen massacres a day every day for the argument that gun ownership alone leads to massacres to be valid.

".....Unless you already have a couple of missing screws in your social makeup I don't think video games are going to turn you into a maniac." Take that logic one step further and then apply it equally to gun owners and you realise the problem is not the guns or the gun owners per se, it is the people with "missing screws" that we need to deal with.

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Mushroom

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

"he could simply have used another weapon"

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/12/22-kids-slashed-in-china-elementary-school-knife-attack/

Like that. The difference is that other weapons are less lethal than firearms. None of those children died.

"for example if he'd been under supervision in a secure psychiatric unit. But that type of reasoning - deal with the problem person before they become the person pointing a gun - does not go down well with the huggy-feelgood crowd."

He was a fecking teenager, for chissakes. You want to commit every sulky teenager in case they murder people? I hate to break this to you, but every teenager is a sulky moody bastard and prone to outbursts and mood swings.

Or is it just the introverted ones you want? Maybe the ones from broken homes? Maybe the ones that are bullied by other students. Yeah: It's totally their fault that they are bullied and resent their co-students, so let's commit all introverted bullied teenagers to psychiatric care. Ostracising them more in school society will help a shed-load.

And who pays for that? It often seems to be the case that those opposed to gun control are also opposed to free healthcare. So do these hordes of teenage introverts have to pay for their own psychiatrists, meds and institutionalisation?

Look at the US prison population. It's by far the highest in the world and has reached Stalinistic levels. Over 1% of your entire population is under judicial supervision. Now tell me that segregating anyone who might cause a problem in American society is working.

You say 'huggy feelgood' as though it's in any way a bad thing to be friendly and empathic. If you genuinely feel that, then you should take a good look at yourself. Giving a sh!t about your fellow humans is an admirable trait, not a weakness. It's people who want to solve crime by gunning down criminals and incarcerating anything that doesn't fit their pre-conception of 'normal' who are the the ones who should be mocked.

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Re: Chad H. Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

".... the number of massacres since your namesake inspired gun control in Australia vs before shows that gun control has a very real effect on massacre rate....." So you're agreeing that banning guns did not stop massacres.

".....how to get the gun into the school." <Sigh> Try reading what I posted. I actually said that I did NOT think that was the answer. In fact, you seem to have skirted right round the real answer of dealing with "problem people" before they become "problem people" wielding a weapon. Is that because you cannot answer that argument, or because you're just another member of the huggy-feelgood crew and your tender sensisbilites filter just stripped that bit of the post out?

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

"But that type of reasoning - deal with the problem person before they become the person pointing a gun - does not go down well with the huggy-feelgood crowd who would rather ban guns in the mistaken belief it ensures the safety of the children."

I don't think most of them even believe that really. This issue has more to do with power, control; making others tow your line. The worrying thing is that the reasoning used (if it saves a child's life it must be worth it) has no limits

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

"Might not actually be true, but even if it hypothetically was - that's not the same as turning people into murderers. "

It *is* proven to be true, but indeed does not turn people into murderers. As I state elsewhere.

Cinema violence isn't what gets the censoring in the States in my experience: It's s3x... particularly anything homosexual. Name five Hollywood films where we've seen gay couples kissing. Actually, there's an even bigger hot potato that the US avoids, and that's abortion. Look at how many films and TV plot-lines are about people getting themselves or someone else pregnant despite it being massively impractical for them to be having a family and supporting a child. Now cast your mind back to see if you remember one of the parties even mentioning the fact that abortion is an option. It never gets a mention, and if it does, it paints the speaker as a 'bad person'.

I digress.

Violence is an accepted and embraced part of American culture. Firearms are the easy enabler. Pick up this piece of metal and you can show the world that you won't be trodden on any more. Easy access to firearms makes the fantasy trivially easy to enact.

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

"he could simply have used another weapon (a car, cooking knives, fireaxe, sharpened pencil, a two-by-four with a nail in it "

If I was say a fireman arriving at a fire and you were sitting on a hill overlooking the fire, I'd much prefer you had a sharpened pencil then an AR15.

If Adam Lanza's mom didn't have an AR15 she would likely still be dead, but a lot of other people would still be alive.

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Re: "Guns don’t kill people"

I'm tired of the old trope of "Guns don’t kill people, people kill people".

It's factually true and yet completely ignores the giant elephant in this particular room. A gun is a tool for killing, pure and simple, end of story. Some are used for killing animals, but most are specifically designed to kill people quickly, efficiently and in large numbers.

If a killer is on the loose with nothing but his* hands and feet they are going to inflict very little casualties (Chuck Norris aside). If they have a knife, they will seriously wound, and perhaps kill, quite a few people before being subdued, but victims can run from a knife, or defend themselves minimally, or, especially in groups, overpower the attacker. If the killer has a gun (more usually, multiple guns), there is very little possibility of escape or counter-attack, and the results are Columbine, Sandy Hook etc etc.

The NRA likes to present itself as responsible, but routinely and out-of-hand refuses any responsible limit on gun ownership and use. If I want to own and drive a car, I need a license to prove that I have the technical ability to do so, AND a knowledge of the relevant laws. But in the US anyone can buy a gun without any training or knowledge. In the US ANY misuse of ANY product that leads to injury or death is jumped upon by tort lawyers, but apparently gun manufacturers and distributers are immune from prosecution.

Introduce a firearms license that can only be issued on formal completion of a course, and which is required for any firearm purchase. Any manufacturer or distributer who cannot provide tracing information of EVERY weapon they sell is legally liable for that. 2nd-hand purchases must be registered, same as cars. If you lose a weapon or it's stolen from you, you have to report it pronto or be liable for it's misuse. (people with a habit of repeatedly 'losing' large batches of firearms to be closely investigated)

These are all fairly simple to implement on the lines of motor vehicle licensing, and NONE of that is ANY threat to the 2nd amendment** because it still allows anyone to buy and own as many weapons as they choose***.

*sometimes "her", I guess, but most usually "his"

** and that's leaving aside any discussion of whether this amendment is still worth keeping, since it was introduced to prevent state tyranny enforced by arms. This will never happen, we already have state tyranny enforced by lobbyists and lawyers

***Yes, I'm not even going into weird things such as why anyone would need an assault rifle to defend their home. Why not allow private citizens to buy tanks and predator drones and be done with it??

Rant over

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Boffin

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

Whilst your heart is in the right place, your brain seems not to be.

"....The difference is that other weapons are less lethal than firearms...." Go Yahoogle Andrew Kehoe. I agree, guns make it easier for a spree, but removing guns will not make sprees disappear.

"....He was a fecking teenager, for chissakes...." Many people had pointed out his problems before the incident. True, there are those like the Columbine killers that might have been missed in some form of screening, but if banning guns only reduces massacres then screening for "nutters" would seem an equally valid if not moral option.

"....And who pays for that?...." We seem to be able to pay for an awful lot of medical care (vaccinations for example) already in schools, adding a few cheap psychiatric tests to identify the potentially problematic would not seem beyond the realm of capabilities or the stretch of the government's purse. Such programs have been used by people like the CIA to identify people with "the right mindset" for years, and by law enforcement agencies to screen recruits, so it suggest it would not need a lot of effort to implement either. True, it may not be 100% perfect, but then banning guns has proven anything but in countries where it has been tried, and it would not infringe on the rights of anyone.

".....Look at the US prison population....." That's post-event action, and it is wrong to suggest even the minority of US prisoners are psychotic. What we need is pre-event action, such as proper identification of those in need of help. Whilst just about everyone seems to be in favour of screening people for conditions like sickle-cell anaemia, too many people object to psychiatric screening of chidren or young adults as they fear they will be "labelled". To me (I know, in my "uncaring, douchebag-like" way), that's a bit like bolting the stable door after the horse has stomped the rider to death.

"....Giving a sh!t about your fellow humans is an admirable trait, not a weakness....." Surely wanting to protect people (especially schoolkids) from psychopaths, and identifying those with potential mental illnesses before they lead to disasterous events is giving a sh*t? Letting your overwhelming desire for the "good in everyone to shine through" is, however, a touchingly naive weakness, no matter how noble you may think it is. I get that you are a caring person, but often the best decision is not one that can be made with emotion as the primary means of judgement.

Let's try putting it another way. You are locked in a room with ten people, at least one of whom potentially has a particulalry nasty venereal disease, and you have a kit that is the only way of detecting that disease before it reaches the final stages of infection. The final stages of the diseases is irreversible brain damage, causing violent paranoia and aggression, and there is a chance the diseased will stab someone with the cutlery you have in the room. In essence, you are suggesting not using the kit so as not to cause offence, but instead throwing the cutlery away. And - no - I am not advocating stabbing (or shooting) everyone else in the room first, or that giving everyone their own cutlery to defend themselves would remove the chances of someone eventually being stabbed, I am advocating identifying the diseased and keeping them away from the cutlery so as to reduce the chances someone gets stabbed, without leaving everyone else to eat with their fingers.

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Re: Tom 35 Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

"....If Adam Lanza's mom didn't have an AR15 she would likely still be dead, but a lot of other people would still be alive." Another one desperately avoiding the fact that Adam Lanza not being there because he was under proper psychiatric supervision would have been even more effective, probably preventing even the death of his mother.

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

@Matt Bryant - NO ONE is making the argument that stricter gun controls would have 100% stopped Adam Lanza, but even if they had a 50% or even 10% chance of doing so, the laws would be worth it. Secondly, he could have used a car, knife, axe etc, BUT he would have killed or injured a few people at most, not a few dozen. I take your point that it's possible for psychos to kill by other means, but why make it easier for them?

Regarding psych evaluation, I agree completely that more care needs to be taken to this side of the equation. The problem isn't me being huggy-feely about anything, it's that many cases are borderline and it's not possible to do a coplete psych evaluation on every citizen, just in case. But it IS possible to have at least a minimal evaluation of everyone purchasing a gun. And yet I suspect that if this became a requirement for gun ownership, the NRA would scream blue murder.

So, simple question - do you agree that people buying firearms should be screened, or do you prefer teh current situation where anyone including known psychos can buy firearms?

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Boffin

Re: Re: "Guns don’t kill people"

"....I'm tired of the old trope of "Guns don’t kill people, people kill people"......" Whilst I agree with the idea of proper licensing, traing, etc., you are still not dealing with the core issue that people with problems, like Adam Lanza, would still be free to go and access a gun belonging to a perfectly capable person. Limiting access to guns for all owners or removing all guns still leaves the Adam Lanzas walking around, what we need to be doing is identifying and treating the Adam Lanzas, so they don't use any weapon to kill anyone.

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Boffin

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

".....NO ONE is making the argument that stricter gun controls would have 100% stopped Adam Lanza, but even if they had a 50% or even 10% chance of doing so, the laws would be worth it......" In which case screening would seem just as if not more effective, and have the benefit of identifying and helping those with mental issues that might not turn them into killers but still make them likely to be miserable and later kill themselves (dare I say it, like Aaron Swartz).

"....do you agree that people buying firearms should be screened...." Yes. I don't see the need to pass a psychiatric assessment as breaking the Second Amendment, it should be possible to ban someone in the States from owning a weapon on "grounds of insanity" as that would probably make them "unfit" for service in a "militia" anyway. In some States you already do need a license and I fully support the extension of that to all States. I also would like to see a mandatory training course with a registered instructor (many gun clubs would give this for free or a nominal fee if it ensured they could carry on operating) or local law enforcement officer, as this would also help spot the unsuitable owners. An appeals system with full psychiatric examination could be used if there was a worry of say racial prejudice on the instructor's part.

BUT, if that screening does not extend to the household, then all those controls would not stop people like Adam Lanza - the guns he used were legally owned by his sane mother. You need to screen the kids, simple as that. If the cost is massive then set a reasonable tax on gun and ammo purchases. And by reasonable I do not mean a punitive one designed to make gun ownership an activity only for the rich as the Columbine kids and many other of the school shooters had plenty of money.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...missing screws in your social makeup

The NRA is more like a trade body for the gun manufacturers. So they are obviously going to try to excuse their product as the cause of death.

They can say all they like that it is a mental health issue, but some people just flip and can pass a sanity test on one day and go nuts the following day. The human mind is a strange thing we don't full understand.

So what do you want, crazy people with guns or crazy people without guns? I know what is safer. A gunman with an assault rifle can shoot dead people with ease, a person with a knife can be dangerous but not in such a high kill-rate kind of way.

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

"I tried wiping out my school witha cassette copy of Manic Miner. I got tired before killing even the weediest first year weakling and was easily overpowered by (unarmed) teachers"

And this is why it's imperative that we arm teachers with video games. Or something like that.

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Coat

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

Get a Desert Eagle and pop heads like melons.

OK, I'm already out, don't shove.

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Re: "Guns don’t kill people"

I'm intrigued that Matt has to cast around to 1927 to find someone using a method other than a gun to conduct a mass killing of any notable scale in the US and even that was carried out with a series of explosive devices (and those were carried out with dynamite and pyrotol which are now controlled explosives).

Leaving that aside, his central thesis appears to be that if legislation to control and regulate firearms ownership would not absolutely prevent all massacres with 100% certainty, it isn't worth doing; anyone supporting increased regulation must satisfy this burden of 100% certainty. On the other hand, he apparently believes that mandatory screening of schoolchildren and forced psychiatric treatment *is* worth doing. Presumably, he can demonstrate that *that* would be 100% effective? If not, then applying his own burden of proof, *that* is not worth doing either.

I note that he assumes that there is a test that would demonstrate that someone is "potentially problematic", which appears to be sufficient of a diagnosis in his mind to mandate a number of consequences, from removal of that person's right to own firearms (a right enjoyed by people lucky enough to not be labelled potentially problematic), to psychiatric treatment (rather negating his assertion that noone's rights would be abrogated by such measures). Equating a quick personality test used for basic recruitment screening with that is frankly laughable. There is no "psychopath test" - hell, even the term "psychopath" is hotly contested and not used by most practitioners (it's used neither in DSM V nor in the WHO's ICD) - so I doubt you'll just be able to stick a pin in someone and see whether they produce a psycho-ish culture in a petrie dish.

No-one (outside of the straw man that Matt's conjured fully formed and armed from his Jovian brow) has argued that gun control is 100% effective in preventing mass killings. What we *can* say is that mass killings are thankfully rarer in jurisdictions where firearms ownership is regulated - here in the UK, we have had three incidents since 1987 (Hungerford, Dunblane and Cumbria); how many have there been in the US over the same period? That they are more difficult to carry out without access to weapons with a high rate of fire and large magazine capacities. That legislation is no more onerous than the regulation applied to cars and trucks (and that, therefore, those drawing a spurious analogy by attempting to classify those along with guns as "weapons" ought to accept such regulation anyway). That the 2nd amendment has *never* been carte blanche for every person to own any kind of weapon and that it is a gross distortion to pretend that it ever was. That, yes, easy access to mental health services is *also* part of a solution, albeit that that's never going to be 100% effective either.

You are not going to be able to eliminate the possibility of a mass shooting 100% while there are guns in the world, but you *can* reduce its likelihood and make it more difficult. Better legislation is part of that.

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"I'm pretty certain no-one in the NRA really believes games cause violence,"

@Matt Bryant,

"I'm pretty certain no-one in the NRA really believes games cause violence,"

Why so sure? You're forgetting the basics of being "invested" in an idea.

The gun owner says "I am a good person -- I don't kill people". He then conflates his self-identity as a "good person" with his group identity as a member of the firearms community. This group identity is tied to the physical items we call guns. Therefore the firearms enthusiast has to believe that a gun is a good thing, as it is part of his "good person" identity.

The evidence that he is presented with overwhelmingly indicates that guns are Very Bad Things indeed, and that now threatens his own self-image, as he actually considers the gun a part of his person. Therefore he must convince himself 100% that the problem is elsewhere.

That's the psychology behind it, and that's what we've got to fight against.

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Re: "Guns don’t kill people"

"Limiting access to guns for all owners or removing all guns " <won't solve theproblem>

I agree completely, there's no need to either limit or ban guns (except, I would argue, assault weapons, but lets at least first find a lowest common denominator starting point) as long as they can be registered

"what we need to be doing is identifying and treating the Adam Lanzas"

Definitely, better psychiatric screening care needs to be done. Also, psych problems need to be talked about more openly, currently there is a stigma associated with mental problems that is part of the reasons why these problems stay hidden.

A third major point I would argue is that there is a lot of hate, violence and mistrust in the US. A culture change whereby blood and guts spattered all over TV screens becomes a bit less acceptable and an on-screen nipple or two becomes more acceptable*. This is one that will take a couple of generations, though.

None of the above is a silver bullet, but all 3 together will certainly improve teh situation.

* I could argue that sexual repression is a partial contributer to both psych problems and the urge to own and fire large guns, but I guess that's another argument for another time :)

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

@Matt Bryant - as an aside, apart from the actual gun arguments - It's a pleasure once in a while to be able to confront someone on a topic where we don't agree on everything but can air arguments out without resorting to name-calling and aggro, and even manage to agree on a couple of points

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Guns don’t kill people"

"I'm intrigued that Matt has to cast around to 1927 to find someone using a method other than a gun to conduct a mass killing of any notable scale in the US"

Timothy McVeigh managed it in 1995 with 5,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate and nitromethane. However, as a callous mass-murder (including the deaths of 19 children under 6 years old) perpetrated by a fundamentalist right-wing gun-nut protesting the 'persecution' of other fundamentalist right-wing gun-nuts, you don't hear the Oklahoma City bombing being brought up much by current fundamentalist right-wing gun-nuts in their "Guns don’t kill people, people kill people" rhetoric.

Anonymous because those 'home defence' .50BMG sniper rifles have a really, really long range...

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

If my games really de-sensitise people from violence, my lads would not be so squimish when they see blood. Up to today nor them or my wife can stand to see a wound. and the eldest played all these supposingly violent games.

Also, games DEFINATELY dont mirror real life, nor can real life mirror games. For one, in a game when you aim, you use BOTH eyes, so you definately dont learn to aim better playing games - in real life you have one eye on the scope (Did i mention steady a scope with the weight of a gun is also not as easy as it seem?). Also, not sure about medical enhancements these days, but i know i definately dont heal after been gunned or stabbed a couple of times just by ducking into cover.

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

"In which case screening would seem just as if not more effective, and have the benefit of identifying and helping those with mental issues that might not turn them into killers"

Haven't read all of the replies, but I actually don't think many people would disagree that such people do need to be identified and treated before they become a danger to anyone.

But just taking in to account the cost and logistics of such an endeavour, which would be easier: limiting the number and type of guns people can own, or screening everyone in the country for potential mental health issues (which would require regular rescreening)?

Lets say (for argument) both reduce the chance of massacre equally, which would be cheapest to implement and maintain?

In an ideal world, I'd say that both would be great, but I just can't see a universal government mental health screening process being feasible.

Isn't doing something better than nothing? Are there any real legitimate arguments against preventing ownership of assault rifles, or limiting the number of guns to 1 per licensee?

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Re: Chad H. An NRA spokespersons said...

".... the number of massacres since your namesake inspired gun control in Australia vs before shows that gun control has a very real effect on massacre rate....." So you're agreeing that banning guns did not stop massacres.

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Well if you define 0 massacres in the 16 years since (and 13 in the 16 years prior) as not stopping them, sure... Not sure how you could use that definition with a straight face.

----".....how to get the gun into the school." <Sigh> Try reading what I posted. I actually said that I did NOT think that was the answer. In fact, you seem to have skirted right round the real answer of dealing with "problem people" before they become "problem people" wielding a weapon. Is that because you cannot answer that argument, or because you're just another member of the huggy-feelgood crew and your tender sensisbilites filter just stripped that bit of the post out?

-----

Should we deal with problem people, sure. Problem is, you can never know when an ordinary person is going to become one of the problem people. Even if they do become a problem person, their ability to cause harm is limited through lack of access to a deadly weapon...

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Boffin

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

"Whilst your heart is in the right place, your brain seems not to be."

Yes it is. It's fine.

I just happen to recognise that my right to have fun shooting a weapon is less important than people's rights not to be the victim of gun crime. My right to protect myself with lethal force is less important than my right to not have a firearm pointed at me.

"Many people had pointed out his problems before the incident."

So what? He was antsy? Wow: He was a one in a million teenager!

So... we round up every teen who is pointed out as being sullen and an outcast? Because we had what... a couple of crazy-ass shootings last year, compared to how many teenagers being problematic? Do we want to actually incarcerate or put on medication a hundred thousand teens on that basis?

If you'd rather incarcerate and forcibly medicate 20% of each generation rather than have some sensible laws about firearm ownership and storage then I don't think it's my brain that's the one in the wrong place, mate.

"adding a few cheap psychiatric tests to identify the potentially problematic would not seem beyond the realm of capabilities or the stretch of the government's purse."

Firstly, anyone involved in psychometric testing will tell you that it's not cheap. Or accurate in the case of teenagers who are already very volatile and awash with hormones. Your point is provably untrue. Nice idea, but doesn't work.

"and it would not infringe on the rights of anyone."

How is forcing every teen in the country to take psychiatric tests and insisting on treating those that 'fail' with mandatory evaluation, meds, or incarcerating not trampling anyone's rights?

"What we need is pre-event action, such as proper identification of those in need of help."

Like locking people up before they commit a crime, on the basis that they might do because the class jocks have been beating the sh!t out of them for years? Seriously?

In most cases it's a direct result of their environment. Let's isolate the guy who is isolated some more, shall we? That'll help!

The problem isn't the poor idiot who breaks down and pulls the trigger. It's that he's shoved to that point in the first place by society and that he can easily get hold of a device that makes it trivially easy to enact lethal revenge upon that society. Take away the firearm and he'll sulk in his room and imagine how great it would be to 'show them' perhaps. Give him a firearm and he can enact that.

"Surely wanting to protect people (especially schoolkids) from psychopaths, and identifying those with potential mental illnesses before they lead to disasterous events is giving a sh*t?"

Firstly psychopaths don't tend to go in for spree killings of this kind. Psychopath are more resilient and aren't easily reduced to the emotional state that lends itself to running amok. And lots of psychopaths exist just fine without killing people. Psychopathy does not mean that the person will kill. You are basically saying that a mental condition that a percentage point of the population have to some degree should see someone 'treated' before they do anything wrong.

You seem to want to protect everyone by screening for potential teenage troublemakers and 'treating them' because that's less morally abhorrent to you than gun control. That signifies to me that you think that the right to casually own a lethal weapon is more important as a right than a teenager's right to freedom. I call that ass-about-face preaching about rights.

"Letting your overwhelming desire for the "good in everyone to shine through" is, however, a touchingly naive weakness"

Shove it. Sincerely.

Don't try to lecture me about my brain and then be so dumb as to assume that anyone favouring gun control or opposing your view is a naive and weak hippy of some kind. Your lack of empathy you display in your attitude is not a strength: It's weak, and a trivially easy path to walk. That's nothing to be proud of.

"You are locked in a room with ten people"

Why do *I* have the kit? Why isn't the kit there on the table for anyone to use if they want to know for themselves? And your example shows that you have a backwards viewpoint as regards mental health issues. A teenager who is close to a breakdown is not automatically going to become a killer. A teenager with a mental health issue such as psychopathy, depression or whatever is not destined to commit crime.

"I am advocating identifying the diseased and keeping them away from the cutlery "

So.. a form of gun control. You want to identify people you don't think should have guns and stop them having them based on them on questionable criteria.

That's interesting. So moody teens don't get to go near guns, but paranoid survivalists who stockpile firearms because Obama is going to invite the Commies over can keep them? And those guys who have a room full of firearms and gleefully plan how to legitimately commit murder in retaliation for a mere attempted burglary are totally ok to own firearms, too?

And yeah: Throwing the cutlery away will help, because then if things go wrong, people think of other solutions. Because that's the problem with having a big stick/gun/army: Give someone one and it suddenly becomes the first thing they think of using. It's the old give someone a hammer and everything becomes a nail syndrome.

House broken into: Murder the perp.

Bullied at school: Kill classmates.

Mugged people sometimes fight back: Carry a pistol

Might get mugged: Carry a pistol

Firearms don't enable defence; they stop people thinking clearly and tend to immediately escalate situations into a lethal confrontation.

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Stop

Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

"You need to screen the kids, simple as that."

EVERY child is volatile. Every. Single. One.

So... ban every parent having firearms in the house?

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Re: "Guns don’t kill people"

Upvoted for 'Jovian brow'.

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@Matt B - Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

".....If I look at the amount of kids that play video games and follow that sort of logic we should already be up to our eyeballs in massacres....." By your own logic, looking at the number of people that own guns, we should be seeing a dozen massacres a day every day for the argument that gun ownership alone leads to massacres to be valid.

I'm confused. Where did I mention a direct correlation between gun ownership and massacres? I was talking about video games, and did not imply that logic carried to another situation, but if you want that argument, I'd say that there is clear link between UNCONTROLLED ownership and problems, because I've lived in enough countries with strict controls to see the effect. This is the disingenuous part of the NRA arguments: nobody wants to take guns away, they merely ask for more control which is IMHO not unreasonable.

".....Unless you already have a couple of missing screws in your social makeup I don't think video games are going to turn you into a maniac." Take that logic one step further and then apply it equally to gun owners and you realise the problem is not the guns or the gun owners per se, it is the people with "missing screws" that we need to deal with.

Never said anything different because I agree with it - to a point. Anyone who has dealt with panics, crowd control and crime knows that we all carry the seeds of doom in us. You cannot undo firing a gun, and especially when emotions run high, a mistake is easily made. You don't need to be a psycho for that, just a normal breathing human being with normal emotions.

On the topic of ownership, what I find "entertaining" is the argument that they need guns to defend against the state. You either have a democracy, in which case you don't need that, or you don't, in which case it's time to stop pretending..

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Re: An NRA spokespersons said...

@Psyx

Beautiful, simple, coherent, sane. May ye have many more upvotes - you got mine.

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