Gun Control & Self Defence

(Andrew Downing) #48

I didn’t question its validity.
I asserted its non-validity.
Reading your post, it seemed like you didn’t think it was valid either.
You said:

So we agreed on something, but you don’t seem happy about that.

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(Andrew Downing) #49

FYI, the only reason we have written policy on guns at all, is because around elections we got asked about guns more than just about anything.

Our gun policy is also the only one of our policies that basically just says we agree with the status quo.

@Keith is a gun owner (it says so on his profile) and I think he has some issues with existing administration of gun laws, particularly in relation to antique guns and the police lack of knowledge.
I got no problem with any of that.


(Shannon Smith) #50

For me, I have a different perspective, based on a few assumptions I hold about people.

#1) Decent people do decent things.
#2) If there is trouble, a decent person will try to calm that trouble down.
#3) A police officers job is to keep the peace and to calm situations down.
#4) A police officer is supposed to be a visible example of what a good citizen is.

Now, either society is so dangerous, that doing that job requires them to be armed or it does not. If it does, anyone that would do the same thing needs to be armed as well. If it is not dangerous to do the right thing, then the police should not be armed either.

If society is so dangerous that police need to walk around with SMG’s - then things are so unsafe that we need serious restrictions on society.

Obviously, society is not that dangerous so the law should be standardised.

One law for all. So whatever the rule is for civilians, it needs to be the same rule for police. Whatever the rule is for police, it needs to be the same for civilians.

In my opinion, the UK had it right where the officer on the street was not armed but if they needed specifically armed police tho officer would call in the armed police branch.

I’ve read the research and the research is biased in that it makes an assumption that correlation is causation. Basically, it says "gun laws were passed and gun crimes went down, therefore, gun laws reduced gun crime.
It is the same as saying “Paul Keating was removed as PM and gun crimes went down, therefore, Paul Keating removal reduced gun crimes”
“The ministerial code of conduct was passed and gun crimes decreased, therefore, the ministerial code of conduct reduced gun crimes”

It’s a known logical fallacy.

That said, we are a democratic party and if the party has decided to keep the status quo as it is believed that the status quo is what the majority of members and Australians want (and is the best option for winning votes) , I will completely support the party on that decision


(Andrew Downing) #51

You seem to be saying that you also agree with existing gun laws, but you’d also like to see less guns on police.

Is that right?


(Shannon Smith) #52

Kind of. I’m saying that I will accept and fight for whatever the party as a whole wants, however my personal opinion is that police need to play by the same rules as anyone else.

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(Daniel) #53

“As with any logical fallacy, identifying that the reasoning behind an argument is flawed does not imply that the resulting conclusion is false.”

Do you have another explanation for the correlation found in this research you’ve read?


(Andrew Downing) #54

People just got less shootie.
Truthiness in shootiness.

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(Shannon Smith) #55

Sort of.

What I have found is that in a society that gives people hope, they are less likely to resort to violence and in a society that removes that hope, violent crimes increase.

Australia had a boom that started at approximately the same time. People have more money now than they did ever before. When you couple that with a social security system has worked to an extent over that period, you get a society that has no use for those weapons.

Any good science needs to be repeatable. Now it is hard to exactly repeat all of the laws of certain nations however we can close in the following.

  1. Canada and the USA. Canada and the USA have similar gun laws however there are 2 key differences. The USA has extremely limited social security in all forms (health care, unemployment benefits ect) whereas Canada has a much more robust social security system. In Canada, when people are at their lowest point, the government is still there helping them. Not so in the USA. Also, in the US, they have a culture of acceptance of violence and rejection of sex in their media, on TV and in their laws. Canada has an opposite viewpoint on both topics. Similar gun laws, different support structures give differing results in gun crime (and violent crime in general)

  2. The UK. The UK has had a significant issue with Gun crime and used gun control laws on thier own to address the issue. This worked in that the number of gun crimes did reduce, however the number of other violent crimes increased to a point that made the overall violent crime figures change from gun deaths to knife deaths, car death and other forms of killing. The implementation of gun laws without addressing the society itself did not reduce the violent crime however it did reduce the number of violent crimes that were committed with guns.

  3. Australia. Australia had just come out of a recession that was one of the worst in our history. Money was scarce, hope was at an all time low and people simply did not believe that things would continue. This was mostly due to the Keating/Hawke restructuring of Australia that lead to the boom we are seeing the tail end of right now. However, in the mid 1990’s - things had just started to change. People were getting incomes that were increasing significantly. We were a society that had turned the corner from a sincerely depressed one to a confident one. People had money in their pockets, a support system if they lost their jobs or got sick and had too much to lose to do stupid things. Violent crime in general and gun crime specifically decreased.

So, in looking at Australia and combining that with other nations, it would seem that ensuring people have an income, people have healthcare, people have a support structure reduces the likelihood of violent crime in general including gun crime.

But that is just one way to look at the situation. Again, the fallacy is to say that “I changed my socks and my football team won therefore changing my socks has an influence on my football team”. That is the logical fallacy of magical thinking.


(Shannon Smith) #56

Exactly. People got less shooty because shooting people gets you put in prison. When you are in prison, you lose all your toys. The more toys a person has to lose, the less likely they are to risk those toys on doing something stupid.


(Andrew Downing) #57

Yes, well if you want the really extreme example, in Switzerland when you’ve done your national service, you take home your military service weapon, so most homes have military grade weapons stashed away securely somewhere, but their levels of domestic gun violence are tiny. Culture is as culture does.

As i understand it, levels of violent crime in a community tend to relate to a combination of equality and opportunity. Simple uniform poverty alone doesn’t do it. It’s the combination of being comparatively poor and seeing no avenues to address that.

The paraphrase it, the attitude becomes that if the game is rigged then the only good move is to flip the board over.

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(Shannon Smith) #58

Spot on. There has even been research done on what the mechanism is to increasing or reducing the happiness in society. What was found was that as the level of income inequality increases, so does general unhappiness including violence. As the level of income inequality decreases, people become happier and less violent.

It’s not so much that people all want to be paid the same, but that people don’t want to see one group of people eating dog food and another group of people having more money than small nations.

The reason why acknowledging the science is so important is that it tells us what is likely to happen depending on what we do. If we follow America’s social policies, we will become like America with or without gun laws. If we follow Canada’s lead we will become like Canada ect.

Think of it like a pressure cooker. If we keep turning up the heat, at some stage it gets to the point where something will rupture. Now there are 2 options, we can reduce the heat avoiding the rupture or we can patch the part that does blow after the rupture. If we use option 2 and just keep adding heat, another part will rupture needing another patch.

Turning down the heat however means that having the patch in place or not does not matter. As the pressure is not gong to be enough to cause a rupture in the first place, having a patch over a weaker spot makes no real difference.

So if we reduce the heat, as what happened after the recession we had to have, violence decreases. However if we increase the heat by having stagnant social security and making society a user pays society, something will blow and we will need to patch. Currently, Australia seems quite happy to keep increasing the pressure and has a false sense of security because of gun control laws.


(Andrew Downing) #59

Yeah, just don’t forget the opportunity part of that consideration. People don’t need things to be equal as much as they need to know that the game isn’t rigged.

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(David) #60

It’s a shame they are not allowed. Airsoft guns are toys, legal in NZ and virtually everywhere else.


(Laura) #61

numbers are relative. tiny or big are subjective, depends on what you accept to be the upper limit, and if it can easily be lowered.
Fact is, guns are the weapon of choice for male suicides in Switzerland. If you’ve done military service it’s quick, easy, readily available, and they already know how to use the equipment. 29.7% of male suicides use firearms. Suicide rates for women are markedly lower and only 3% of those are by shooting.

I like to think that it is not really necessary for most houses to have firearms stashed away somewhere by default after military service, and that it would save lives if the number of guns per capita were reduced, just by making the barrier to an impulsive quick suicide higher. By all means, have your shooting ranges. Enjoy your sport. But don’t give out so many guns.
Switzerland is one of the most well-off countries in the world, with quite average suicide rates. I believe they could well be lower.


(Andrew Downing) #62

I think it’s a mistake to think you can reduce suicides by simply eliminating one of the methods men choose. There’s too many choices. The world is not a safe place.

Men in particular tend to be mission oriented and industrious. Suicide amongst men is an act of will. Once they’ve decided to do themselves in, then they plan, then they execute. Aggressively. In Australia, with very few guns, the main choice is to hang themselves.

For example, I knew a young man several years back, who came to believe that there was no merit to continued existence. He proceeded to set up meetings with all the people he thought might have a good counter argument, and had the discussion with each of them, without explaining his plan. Apparently none of them had good answers, so he left a note explaining all this in great detail, then sat down in the middle of his back yard, poured petrol over himself and lit a match.

If you wanted to reduce male suicide, you’d need to address the really hard questions about why they’re doing it. Practically nobody wants to go there though.

10 years of the government sponsored Beyond Blue project raising awareness without ever addressing reasons, has made virtually zero difference.


(Laura) #63

I’m sure this is true in many cases when the suicide has been planned out for a while. This is often not the case though, as they are often impulsive acts of despair. That proportion is what I was hoping to address here.
This is not to undermine the argument that there are ‘environmental’ underlying reasons or causes which can and should be addressed also.

I’d like to go there.


(Andrew Downing) #64

Well, I took a crack at answering that question a while back … Under Pressure

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I lean more towards the Liberal Democrats policy on this one, however perhaps not entirely.

Ideally, I’d like pistols and certain rifles to be legal to own after the age of 18 however only to those who have no prison record or violent history (possible exemptions for non-violent minor offences). The current system is quite strict since you need a legitimate use such as hunting or as a professional shooter, self-defence isn’t classified as legitimate which I disagree with.

I would also prefer if all purchasers and owners of firearms have their details stored in a national database with a more streamlined and less-strict application process, but with stricter control and compliance arrangements (like checking weapons every x amount of time for up-to-date for correct ownership) and obviously no bump stocks.