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back to article Baptist church in assault rifle giveaway

An Oklahoma baptist church has insisted it will proceed with its controversial plan to give away an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle* during a youth conference - a move described as "a way of trying to encourage young people to attend the event", according to local Koko 5 news. Windsor Hills Baptist apparently has a history of …

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@Philip Kroker

"find it increadibly amusing when those who preach tolerance are themselves the most intolerant people I have the misfortune of coming accross."

Great. And when you come across intolerant people such as myself, or the gun-bearing god-fearing religious nuts, which would you rather share a neighbourhood with?

To get rid of me, all you have to do is turn off the computer or go to a different website, (and I'll eventually get bored, and do some work, that ive been avoiding). Im unlikely to erect a congrogation point in your town, and amass people to convert to my views, and hand out guns to them.

X

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@Omar Little

Jesus christ man. you missed the point.

We dont have KKK in england.

It is *not* like that over here.

As Lukin Brewer said....

"The low probability of getting shot at on London’s streets makes me feel a lot safer than the ability to shoot back would."

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J
Pirate

Assault or not, who cares...

"I hope that they give some sort of competency test before doling out the rifles"

Yeah, I can see it now...

Pastor (closet homosexual pedophile): "Do you swear on this Bible not to injure anyone with this God-given gift, hallelujah?"

Inbred moron who happened to win the gun (and has been harassed by said pastor years back): "m-kaay" [drooling]

And to the idiots who think they can defend themselves against their government by having guns, and all that stupid 2nd amendment story... (what about the "well regulated" part, eh?) Just open your eyes, will you? Take a look around, maybe get a little perspective?

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I for one welcome

Our gun-toting, scripture-rewriting overlor.... oh, wait. We used to be the gun-toting overlords.

Ah well.

Look, everyone. The point is it's legal for them to do this. No laws broken. Now while the law isn't always "right", in the 'states this law is generally accepted to be okay. A little more vetting of potential gunners would be useful, maybe allowing them to be kept at home in secure boxes unless you've got a good reason to have it out would help a bit too. Though it gets rid of the deterrance factor.

And according to the article it IS just a single AR-15. Not a whole case of them, or just handing them out to anyone who turns up. That's probably less dangerous than giving them a car, so long as they make a point of doing a little vetting on the winner first.

@Omar Little

We want to be like the French?! For a start, that's bollocks. Except in the case of Gordon Brown and a few southerners.

And how can you say that being like the French is a bad thing when your own country's liberty was a result of Froggy intervention in your rebellion against the British, your Statue of Liberty is French, and so on?

Also, you've got a similar war-record to the French. Except shorter. And don't you forget it. You beat the Brits once on your home turf, got your asses kicked in 'nam, the Cold War doesn't count as it wasn't a war, and you arrived late in a couple of world wars. And you've got a legendarily inaccurate- yet expensive- Airforce.

We controlled 1/4 of the globe. With wooden ships, cannons, muskets, etc. Invented the Tank.

And so, Omar, Fuck You.

To the rest of you Americans, please accept my sincerest sympathies for having to live with Omar. Your gun laws, though alien to me, are clearly okay for you. And as this story doesn't contravene them, I'm going to end the post there.

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Go

Pass the Bullets

As an Atheist (non-practicing) I say praise the lord and Pass the Bullets. Buy the way the Youth being not of age to own a firearm would have to have a parent accept it in there name.

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Coat

Best. Comments. Ever.

(Disclaimer: author is a self described 'gun-nut' living in Arizona)

AR 15 rifles no not have to be scary black: This one's scary pink:

http://blog.riflegear.com/archive/2007/12/26/hello-kitty-ar-15---evil-black-rifle-meets-cute-and.aspx

If you'll excuse me, I need to clean the rest of the armory now. Mines the powered exoskeleton with the phased plasma cannon in the 40 watt range out front.

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Christians

There's a thing that Christians refer to as their "Holy Book". In it, there's a statement to which they often refer: "God is Love". And their Saviour has said one should never even speak harshly to another person or they were in danger of judgement.

I guess guns are implements of love rather than hate.

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Stop

Thus saith the Lord Jesus...

Luke 22

36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it,

and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment,

and buy one.

Bible (KJV)

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As a Christian

I'd like to point out an order of importance on rules

What Jesus Said>What the Old Testament Says>Everything Else

Which means loving thy neighbour, and letting God take revenge for you (and treating everyone nicely even if they screw you over) is the right thing to do, and this overruled the prior slightly sadistic side of Christianity/Judaism.

But in all cases, the second amendment and the right to bear guns may be ok, but if the guns are ever used, in any circumstances (including being robbed, or being attacked) then one would be breaking christian law.

Anyway, the point - anyone who cites their rights to bear arms is forgetting that to a Christian the bible is the only set of rules to follow, and in a case like this, there's no real leeway to argue for the ownership and inevitable use of weapons. The exception is where a weapon can be used as a deterrant, in which case that's ok, because it's not being used.

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Coat

Geez...

Absolutely hysterical - people wetting their panties at the mere mention of a firearm. I guess that's caused by both ignorance and envy, but what can you expect from a country when even a British home-owner who tackles a burglar is himself arrested?

I'm a Brit living in the US, and I've never felt as safe in my life as here (contrary to what you might see on TV). I was raised with guns in the house, own a good number of them (including "Evil Black Rifles") and compete in shooting competitions almost on a weekly basis - practical pistol (IPSC & IDPA), 3-gun, skeet and sporting clays. My ex-country has become a nation of weaklings, cowards and snivellers - how dreadful. Is there even going to be a British shooting team at the Olympics anymore?

"Gun! Booga-booga-booga!"

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I don't see anything wrong with it

Giving a gun (of any type) to a youth doesn't make them a killer. In fact, in this setting, they can be taught gun safety. If one of these youth really want to murder someone, I'm sure they can find a way to obtain a gun. Most murders, using a gun, in the United States utilized an illegally obtained gun. I own multiple guns, and have not shot, nor even attempted to shoot, a person. A church that I attended in the past had regular trap/skeet shooting events. Many a clay pigeon lost its life, but, no harm ever came to a person as a result.

By the way, the Bible doesn't say 'Thou shalt not kill', it says 'Thou shalt not commit murder', although some translations do state the former. If you look at the Hebrew text, it definitely is the latter. There is a difference between killing and murder. Also, the new testament mentions that there is a time to kill and a time to let live.

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Linux

Luke 22:36

He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.

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Black Helicopters

...shall not be infringed

"I have no problem with these religious "nutjobs" owning guns... because I know they'd be the first to stand up and fight against tyranny."

They are the same ones who elected Bush!

Is it just me who thinks this guy is suggesting that he is about to start an uprising with a group of kids:

"If Congress, back when our country was fighting for its independence could give engraved muskets to the fifteen or so eleven year old boys that their teacher, Mr. Akins, led into battle against the British, then we can give away a firearm still today, especially since our Supreme Court just re-emphasized our Second Amendment rights."

I have just one question about the second amendment. Do the bear arms have to be attached to the bear's torso, or can they be separate?

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Ouch!

Wow! Sounds like you Brits are still holding a grudge - Y'all seem to be a bit miffed that personal gun ownership in America sent you packing back to your small, overtaxed island 232 years ago - Might want to pour a nice cuppa tea, go back to the telly and wait for the Doctor to come save you from us gun totin' loonies

It seems that the UK has a higher crime rate than the US even though you can't own a gun - perhaps this gives the criminal types a wee bit more self confidence knowing you can't hurt them back

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_tot_cri_vic-crime-total-victims

Proud gun owner (8 at present count) 6 of which are antique but still quite lethal

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Joke

You may someday take away our right to bear arms......

But you will never take away our right to cheeseburger.

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@UK – you guys can't have weapons, so shooting doesn't exist as a sport

Umm, don't tell these UK guys then ...

http://www.basc.org.uk

http://www.gunsite.co.uk/

and many other gun clubs that Googling for "uk gun clubs" will tell you. Plus the UK has a good track record of winning Olympic medals for shooting.

However, due to a handful of incidents in the UK that have gone in to recent history with single word associations such as Dunblane (1996) and Hungerford (1987), we have much tighter gun controls but it is still fairly straightforward to get hold of a shotgun licence (fill in some forms pay £50 for a 5 year licence and get vetted by the Police - probably easier then getting to work with children!)

And as for the allusion to not being able to shot people attacking/breaking in to your home in the UK ... well the notorious Tony Martin (of Norfolk 'farming' fame) killed a 16 year old lad as he was running away from a break in ... "shot him in the back at a range of about 4ft." And he, quite rightly, was prosecuted and jailed (a bit) for it.

Yes, guns don't kill people (except when mounted on RoTM robots 8-), people do .. but not very often in the UK. From the 2005 published crime figures firearm offences in the UK were record at 10,979 which represents 0.0046% of the total number of violent incidents recorded in 2004/2005 (2.4 million).

With all its faults I'd still rather live here than anywhere else. We have a good track record of not being able to deliver government backed IT solutions so I have high hopes for the lack of ID card rollout 8-) Anyway, the Tory's will be in power in 2 years time and so they will cancel all the money wasting projects in order to give tax cuts!

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@Jesus Puncher

"And when you come across intolerant people such as myself, or the gun-bearing god-fearing religious nuts, which would you rather share a neighbourhood with?"

Hmmm...I think I`d have to go with the red-neck religious nuts as at least they would just shoot me as opposed to impressing upon me how backward I am until I feel the urge to do them grievious bodily harm, at which point they then stand back, condemn me all the more and feel self rightious because they feel that they have just proved their point.

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@ Adam Pearson

You're misinterpreting or purposefully misusing the words just like the disciples Jesus is talking to there. When the disciples use the swords to defend Jesus, he tells them to stop. Luke 22:49-51.

See http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/pdf/EN/VOL03A.pdf page 280 for starters.

It's dismaying to see what a bunch of fuckwits so many "Christians" are, too lazy or stupid to think. So easy to pick sentences out of context to defend any arbitrary position. Just what atheists do to show how the bible advocates evil actions.

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Dead Vulture

@Ash

"All you religious types (Christian or Muslim, fundamentalist nutters are all the same) with your wacky black and white, good and evil simpleton views of the world aren't going to make anything better by turning a human being into a pile of minced flesh and hair."

Too right ...it won't make it all better ...

but it sure is neat to watch ...

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Dead Vulture

@Jesus Puncher

"Great. And when you come across intolerant people such as myself, or the gun-bearing god-fearing religious nuts, which would you rather share a neighbourhood with?"

The religious nuts, because -

"The low probability of getting shot at on London’s streets" does not make up for the high probability of being accosted by roving thugs in Burberry.

See how ridiculous both arguments are yet?

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@Matthew Barker

"There's a thing that Christians refer to as their "Holy Book". In it, there's a statement to which they often refer: "God is Love". And their Saviour has said one should never even speak harshly to another person or they were in danger of judgement.

I guess guns are implements of love rather than hate."

Yep ...guns are indeed implements of love.

I love my country, and the freedoms that are mine by right.

I won't be speaking harshly. Really.

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Grandma and her 410

Reminds me of my Grandma back in the Great Depression. She and her family lived down in a hollow here in the Ozarks, about a mile off the road. Grandpa had left to work for the WPA to earn money for the family, leaving her home alone with 8 little ones.

She was little (under 5 foot, but she was tough). She kept a 410 (a small double barrelled shotgun) near the door, to deal with varmints, human and otherwise. When a drifter would come to the house and would threaten, as they would sometimes do to women without menfolk around, she'd grab the 410 and say, "The first barrel is loaded with salt, the second is loaded with buck-shot. I suggest you leave." She never had to use the buck-shot barrel on a human...

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@ Omar Little

"If your for gun control, your a racist. Plain and simple."

Wow. That's a new one on me.

I've suddenly become a racist and it must be true as a black man has said it.

You're an idiot.

Cheers

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Coat

another essay...

@ Boondock Saints - are we the only people to have seen this film? great movie!

yeah - give killing weapons to mentally deranged god botherers... cos america really needs more guns eh?

@ Mr Fury - "Anyway, it's always amusing to see pig-ignorant views on gun ownership by my fellow Brits, nothing like a bit of ex-colonial arrogance to wake me up - its that kind of thing that made Britain what it is today!" - yes, keep up your arrogance making the USA one of the most dangerous countries in the world... the fact is that the US citizens seem to like nothing more than spouting religion whilst killing kids in schools.

NOWHERE ELSE does this happen! this is why we think its so odd... the fact that people in the home of the free seem to think they need to be armed 24/7 just seems ridiculous to the rest of the world! its not like you live in bloody israel is it?

" its that kind of thing that made Britain what it is today!" - what ? you mean a place where the residents arent scared of their own shadow, dont feel the need to carry guns and dont have kids randomly killing kids in schools? wow! that sounds horrible. england really needs columbine <sigh>

on a side note i have the documentary jesus camp to watch tonight - scary looking film about the christian fundaMENTALISTS in the USA...

@ "232 years and the Redcoats are still complaining about how we realized that the right to own guns is granted by God and not the Magna Carta. This, my friends, is why (and how) we won that war." - hehe - yes a whole nation against an armed army miles from home. make the most of it - isnt that the first war you won by yourselves? oh no - the french helped you! :) i think between the USA and france they might have won 1 war between them...

im not anti USA - they make some great movies and games... its just this odd thing that you seem to be enfatuated with guns (like all small boys).

@ "You complain that a church is giving away guns. You complain that a car dealership is giving away guns. Yet you hide in fear because your own government, the once great British Empire will arrest the tax payer for defending his own property while gangs of youths pelt the home with rocks for over two hours. You have outlawed knives, and even wooden swords in your plays. Is your crime less?" - ERM... yes, yes it is! in fact its WAYYYYY less than america/5 (roughly 5x the population i think).

mine's the kevlar one!

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Dear Allan

The fact that some practice is legal in a country does not mean that it is right, even less that it is not subject to debate. A lot of things were just fine in Afghanistan during the Taliban regime, for example.

And there are several things that can be argued about here. Some of them, in no particular order are:

- giving guns to young people;

- a religious organization giving away valuable things as a means of attracting young people;

- guns being given away by a religious organization whose top values ought to be love and mercifulness.

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Joke

I own a couple of guns

And have never had to contemplate using them to support a concept of defence as skewed as it's spelling. That the amount of guns in circulation in a country has no definitive causal link to the amount of measurable violence (see Switzerland, Canada) is neither here nor there. The causal link to violence is exposed only when you sample a population of juvenile latent psychopaths with an idiotic dichotomic worldview, and an inherited, over-inflated self-image coupled with severe adequacy issues.

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@Ouch

Hmm ... what about, from the same site, the following statistics (all from over 6 years ago of course) ...

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_wit_fir-crime-murders-with-firearms

Big difference there eh?

Or even ...

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita

Still if you catch them you can lock em up ...

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_pri_per_cap-crime-prisoners-per-capita

Does not stop the notion that guns are dangerous in human hands though ... give them to the machines instead 8-)

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Alert

Reality Check

There aren't many details in the story, but it seems they are holding a rifle shooting competition, for which the first prize is a rifle.

This is Oklahoma, most of these kids (rightly or wrongly) have probably owned a rifle since a young age. Those who don't already own their own rifle probably won't even be in the running. So basically they are giving one more gun to a kid who probably already owns several. They aren't just handing out guns to anyone who shows up at the conference. As to what the relevance is to a Christian Youth Conference, I couldn't say. Then again it is no more irrelevant than the other sports competitions they are holding. It could be worse, they could be running a boxing competition.

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Dead Vulture

Assault vs hunting Rifle

So the massive difference between an 'assault' rifle (military grade M16 etc) and a hunting rifle (AR-15) is the number of times you have to pull the trigger. So - range, ammunition type, stopping power, bullet velocity, target effect - all the same.. but you can only fire 15 rounds per minute rather than 60+

And I understand you can't replace the one simple machined sear of the trigger mechanism that allows full auto fire. ever. right.

And we need these on the streets cos you can't get a deer with a bolt action or cos you need to put a full clip into a beast or cos you need to kill 30 of them in quick succession (or are you shooting a lot of little birds in a tight airborne formation)?

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Jesus wept

Guns are for people with tiny malfunctioning cocks and religions are for people with tiny malfunctioning brains. That country is a Jim Davidson joke, crude, sexist and unfunny. Give them all guns and let them clear the place out for the new owners.

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Anonymous Coward

Thank god...

People in the UK are only being killed in droves by people with knives, eh?

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@Richard

Individual stats on one item are not really relevant. I was pointing out that the UK has a higher crime rate overall than the US - even with the extreme governmental controls on gun ownership. Taking guns away from people who are already law abiding citizens does nothing to prevent a criminal from being a criminal

I've owned a firearm of one type or another since I got my first .22 at age 8. Outside of my military service, I have never killed anyone intentionally OR accidentally. I have dropped a buck here and there as well as successfully defending my home from an intruder once.

Can you explain what the world gains or how it becomes a better place by having my right to keep and bear arms revoked?

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Linux

@ Juillen

Quoth Juillen: "The why of [the American Revolution] was simply to stop getting taxed without being represented."

Sorry Mack, but it was _much_ more complex than that—like any historically significant event, and most that are historically insignificant. True, the slogan "no taxation without representation" was used to justify some aspects of the Revolution, but that was a smokescreen to disguise the real issues.

But rather than drive our Divine Moderatrix wild with a discursive rant,, let me suggest an action plan: find, and read, any six *serious* histories of the American Revolution. Each author will point to a different set of factors as "the causes of" or "the reasons for" the Revolution. Having read six, you will then understand that such historical events are really not susceptible to elementary analysis, but in fact are exceedingly complex complexes of causative factors, motivations overt and concealed, consequences, and consequences of consequences.

I recommend for starters "Origins of the American Revolution" by John C. Miller, publ. Little, Brown & Co, Boston, 1943. (There are over 300 copies at alibris.com.) Not that this is the end-all and be-all of such histories, nor that it is a shining beacon of historiography, but rather that even such a straightforward analysis reveals an extremely tangled web of motives and causative factors.

It is folly to single out any one factor as the sole (or even principal) cause of the American Revolution.

Precisely the same remarks can be made anent the Russian Revolution, the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the Cromwellian Commonwealth in 1649., the French Revolution, the collapse of the Soviet Union, or the attempted secession of Abkhazia from the Republic of Georgia.

As James Yourdon was fond of quoting, "everything is deeply intertwingled."

Tux because quoting Yourdon gives these remarks an inarguable air of IT-relevancy, the better to soothe the nerves of our frazzled Moderatrix.

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Dead Vulture

I have to say it...

PRAISE THE LORD .... AND PASS THE AMMUNITION!!!!!!

The Vulture was mistaken by an infidel.

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Coat

Oh dearie me...

It's all going haywire here. Oooo, some points...

"Right to bear arms"/"protection from the government": Could we have a quick count-up between the Americans how many F111's and Abraham Tanks you have in your garages? The government will always have bigger guns than you, why do you think there are restrictions FFS!?!?!? They're feeding you the crumbs so you wont want the cake.

"Little Britainers": I think the true bigotry and cultural misunderstanding is actually being predominantly displayed by (some of) the Americans on here. If you think we're all cowering in our sheds waiting for the burglar to break in and go away, you've been looking at the wrong stories. That was the blitz. And it stopped around the mid 40's, you know, just after you joined the war... Actually our laws cover us perfectly adequately, and cases of people being prosecuted for 'defending' life and property are very few. As it happens we don't just pat people on the back if they shoot someone, we investigate it, and no further action is taken if it is reasonable. Over here your mother-in-law can visit safely (I didn't recognise her, officer, but you have to admit she does look threatening), and you can knock on a door for directions without being scattered in every direction.

Remember, your misinformation is just the same as (some of) the British here, you believe what you read in the narrow avenues you choose to see. There is far more of a realisation here that we are being lied to. Unfortunately, America does not have the same problem, the 49.9% of questioners are outweighed by the 50.1% of sheep. It's all a distraction!! Read, learn, disentangle your Thinker from your Prover! Otherwise all the guns in the world wont help you.

Over here in Blighty this understanding is currently manifesting as apathy, but the anger is building. The revolution is near. Listen Gordon and Dave. As we march on the streets, the blood-obsessed section of American society will be picking up their guns just as the USAF wipes out the whole neighbourhood cos they couldn't tell where the shot was coming from.

"Do you hear the people sing. Singing the song of angry men"

Incidentally, I know that all Merkans are not dumb, there are thinkers aplenty (at least 49.9%), and I appear to have met quite a lot of them.

Incidentally, there's more chance of me being gay-bashed (and have been) than shot or stabbed on London streets. Now, THAT must be a difficult one to call for some on here. "Damn, who should get it... the crim or the faggot?"

PS. "I guess guns are implements of love rather than hate." - best make sure it's not loaded first, eh...? ;)

Yeah, the one with the barricade in the pocket, thanks...

Nk

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Coat

You don't say...

"the event featured 21 hours of preaching"

...after 21 hours of preaching, i'd be ready to go out and shoot someone.

Probably the preacher.

Now where did i put that gun i got from the Mormon's?

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RE: Civil War Rev.1

So I take it that that Titor guy is correct and China will try to conquer the world soon, yes?

Thumb, get me out of here into a passing spaceship, now!

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Whenever I read one of these stories

I can't help but get an image of Yosemite Sam

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NT

What's actually the point here?

I've been reading El Reg long enough to know not to ask about the IT angle for a story. But here the question is, what's the point of the story?

Having read through the article and the comments I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be getting irate about. As many have already pointed out, the church isn't doing anything illegal. Odd, in the eyes of many of us Brits, and probably those Americans who aren't obsessed with guns - but "some Americans love guns more than life itself" isn't exactly news, is it?

The incongruity of a church giving away weapons...? Yeah, I can sort of see that - religion of peace, and so on, yeah, sure. But again, it's hardly an earth-shattering development. Michael Moore pointed out a bank giving away guns to people opening accounts a few years back. It seems a bit bizarre, but companies - and presumably churches - need to offer things that people actually *want* if they're hoping it'll be an incentive. Many people in America like guns, which puts us right back to the point above. Can you own a gun and still follow a religion of peace? Or does owning a gun make you violent and supportive of violence? Seems that's not so much a debate about religion as the central question of the gun control debates.

The only thing I can really see this article's achieved is to give the "we hate religious people" Dawkins wannabes yet another excuse to chuck up all their usual worn-out bile and preen themselves on their intellectual greatness. And no, before they jump on me, I'm not a Christian.

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Paris Hilton

Good grief...

I'm baffled how anyone can believe that mere possession of an object can magically turn a sane, law-abiding person into a homicidal lunatic. Do your kitchen knives make you run out and slash at people in the street?

Paris - because even she has more common-sense than that.

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Pirate

the right to arm bears... whateverthefuckyouwanttodo

Garth - You get humour, you get sarcasm and you can take it too... welcome to the land of hono(u)rary Brit mate... nice to have you aboard.

KWAK - I sure the "thou shalt have a firearm" line is in there mate, although in my version it seems to be written in crayon.

Omar Little: "if you had have a clue to the number of arms I posses, you would wet your pants".... lm(f)ao... oh dear, there appears to be a criminally orientated individual attempting to gain entry to my home. I must defent myself. Now then, shall I use the barretta, or the colt, or maybe that nice crossbow I've been keeping for a rainy day. Ah yes but then of course there is the uzi, and that lovely old hunting rifle with IR scopes that I got from the kids last Easter, or the 4-10 shotgun, or the 12bore, or the double barrelled 12bore, or ma 20guage, or the elephant gun, or the sawn off, or the anti-aircraft cannon emplacement out back... Mind you, I haven't touched ma AK47 for a while either; then of course there's the unopened box of mix-and-match M16's, but if I use one of them should I go for the yellow one, or the green one, or the pink one? Certainly can't use the blue one, it would clash with my slippers... oh I really don't know... there's just soooo much to chose from.

Yeh, I wet my pants alright !!!

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Guns don't kill people, people do

With guns. Bill Hicks once described the UK as a socialist f***ing nightmare, but by my reckoning my chances of ending up prematurely on a slab are four times lower over here (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita). Interesting that Canada combines a 22% level of gun ownership with a UK-level murder rate, so it's not necessarily the guns that are dangerous, but the culture.

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Coat

Water Kills indiscriminately...

... so lets have some balance here and ban H2O. Returns [column 15] Daily Mail to [9inch] pocket.

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Trying not to Brit bash here

As a proud legally gun toting Texas (a higher form of American). I have read through the comments on this article with interest. First allow me to clarify a few items for our brothers and sisters on the other side of the pond.

First, our Constitution guarantees those of us in the U.S. the right to keep and bear arms and clearly states that the government cannot restrict said right. A recent decision by our Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment refers to the right of the individual and not the state thus echoing the intentions of our Founding Fathers (treasonous rebels to you Brits). This right was important enough to them to ensure that, if necessary, the people would have the means to revolt against the government as well as provide for their own security. History at that time showed a definite need for the ability to revolt against a tyrannical government.

Now to quote a few great Americans:

"Those who give up liberty for the sake of security deserve neither liberty nor security" Benjamin Franklin

Secondly, mentions of us turning to the French for support during the Revolution. Yes we did, and they were a great assistance to us at the time. A debt we repaid during two world wars that were fought largely in Europe. And lest we forget, the U.S. also aided the U.K during those wars by providing troops and supplies.

A person note to Anonymous Coward: for his post "...and you arrived late in a couple of world wars." Late? For what? We declared neutrality less than two months after the beginning of WWI. It was only sympathy for the Brits that brought us into a war that had nothing to do with us.

In WWII, we once again provided arms and supplies to the Brits in order to assist them in staving off the terrible Huns. Our entry into that European war was a direct result of Japan attacking us and aligning themselves with the Germans who declared war on the U.S.

Your statement is a simple illustration of the British mentality that the U.S. needs to come to your aid when the chips are down.

And to clarify another statement of yours "You beat the Brits once on your home turf". Actually it was twice The first was the American Revolution, the second was the War of 1812.

A few of my favorite quotes from history:

"The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."

--Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824.

"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."

--Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796. ME 9:341

"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the Body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind . . . Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks."

--Thomas Jefferson, Letter to his nephew Peter Carr, August 19, 1785.

"No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms (within his own lands or tenements)."

--Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution with (his note added), 1776. Papers, 1:353

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."

--Thomas Jefferson, quoting Cesare Beccaria in On Crimes and Punishment (1764).

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@ Jack Burrows: Not Trying Too Hard, Though...

<< As a proud legally gun toting Texas >>

'Texan', I presume you meant. Or maybe you meant you were a gun, and you were toting Texas? But then the 'legally' gives us a problem... I'll go with 'Texan'.

<< First allow me to clarify a few items for our brothers and sisters on the other side of the pond. >>

Please do. We're always happy to be corrected by 'higher forms of American'.

<< First, our Constitution guarantees those of us in the U.S. the right to keep and bear arms and clearly states that the government cannot restrict said right. >>

Yes, we know.

<< ...our Founding Fathers (treasonous rebels to you Brits) >>

No, not *us* Brits. Maybe the Brits in the 18th Century (back when the treasonous rebels considered themselves Brits, too - you do know Paul Revere never said "the British are coming", don't you?)...

But not us. Believe it or not, by 2008 most of us have pretty much come to terms with the fact that USA is now a country in its own right. The ones who haven't are imperialist throwbacks. I think it's fair to say that most Americans have a grip on the modern situation too. Not all, apparently, but most.

<< This right was important enough to them to ensure that, if necessary, the people would have the means to revolt against the government >>

Aye. Dread to think what sort of government you think would warrant that, though, since the current shower apparently don't.

<< Your statement is a simple illustration of the British mentality that the U.S. needs to come to your aid when the chips are down. >>

The US *needs* to do nothing, and I don't think the British expect anything of the sort. I could go down the line of asking you to name the countries that stood by you (at least, whose politicians stood by you) when you decided to go conquer Iraq. I know a lot of Americans - the higher form, usually - like to think of the US as being above global affairs. They're the sort of people who make big noise about how they don't care what other countries think. Maybe they don't - but some of them seem to put a great deal of energy into making sure everyone knows it...

The thing is - and since I'm a Brit you can take my word for this - empires rise and fall. When our empire fragmented, we ended up in a reasonably good position. We still had - and still have - fairly good relations with most of our former territories. Sure, there's a bit of rivalry and even a little resentment in some quarters even now - but by and large we get on pretty well. The existence of the Commonwealth is testament to that.

The USA might not need anyone right now. You might be above the rest of us. You're rich. You're powerful. The world looks up to you. No-one's the Boss Of You, we know. But things change. And it might be worth considering an insurance policy. If the Sun does ever set on the American Empire, you might be thankful that you kept a few people on side.

<< A few of my favorite quotes from history: >>

It pains me that I can't remember who to thank for one of my favourite quotes from history, any time I'm confronted with an insecure American on an anti-British rant. The quotee, whoever it was, was a woman lecturing a similarly puffed-up American on the War of Independence as a great British victory. When he sputtered his indignation, she explained that since the War was fought by British colonists against a German king employing German mercenaries, it was difficult to see what else it could be called.

Heh.

Anyway, methinks the 'higher form of American' here doth protest too much. I think most of the people here who've stopped to think about it have acknowledged at least that the actual ownership of guns is entirely legal in the area in question. The American right to own guns isn't at issue, so probably didn't need this fervent a defence. The American *attitude* to guns (or rather, the attitude of some Americans to guns) is an issue - but that's because, for a lot of other nations, that attitude is so utterly alien. For an alarmingly large number of you, they're not merely essential tools to ensure the people's control over the government: they're *idols*. I think that's what worries a lot of Americans and foreigners alike.

Now, since I've said before I can't really understand what makes this article 'news', I'm not going to start telling you what the point is here. There really isn't one other than, like I said, giving the anti-religionists yet another feeble excuse to bash. I certainly don't think the point is to denigrate Americans. Just, maybe, a certain type - perhaps a 'higher form' - of American.

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