questionswould an ammunition ban be constitutional?

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Automatic firearms use the same ammunition as semi-autos, FYI.

Though I see the loophole, I honestly don't believe the Supreme Court would allow it. It clearly undermines the meaning/purpose of the amendment.

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It's not the ammo that's a problem. We have a society that has no moral absolutes and therefore the moral compass is skewed. Sick individuals do sick things and they use differing weapons to achieve the goal. Tim McVeigh used a bomb, terrorists used planes and have sought the use of bombs, there have been several attacks on chinese school children where knives were used.

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Given the multiple tragedies, I understand the question. We want broad, simple solutions to prevent terrible, unknown risk. Look at the TSA, its airport searches, the "Terror Level". An ineffective over-reaction that did little to help. It fails to really identify risks, is expensive, unwieldy and mostly theater. But at least you feel something is being done.

The hard thing is finding a solution that is effective and practical. Banning ammunition as @firebirdude & @dw1771 pointed out is not practical. People do load and make there own rounds. Commercially made rounds are safer for general, approved use because of quality standards. Beside, police and military need ammo, so some will always be available.

The crazies will find a way. Stop one method, another is found. I can think of 4 or 5 ways to cripple a town or kill, if I have no concern for my personal safety.

The issue really does become the much harder problem of identifying and handling sick people and changing social mores.

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I don't think an ammunition ban is Constitutional - but then again, I don't think a lot of our current gun control laws are constitutional. Remember, it's an elastic document that can and will change (somewhat and slowly) as society changes it's views on certain things. (alcohol anyone?)

I don't think that we as a country are ready to allow that change in our 2nd amendment rights. I hope I'm correct. I recently saw an episode of Alaska State Troopers, where the Troopers all said that if there wasn't any liquor in their remote towns, there wouldn't be any crime. They spend a good amount of time chasing black market booze, and are convinced that if they can just stop the alcohol, all societies problems go away. I think that when people want to do stupid, mean, crazy, hurtful things; they'll find a way to do them - with or without laws banning xyz of the week. /rant

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@thumperchick: You raise some points, and suddenly this is not about banning ammunition and the constitution, but about society and personal rights.

I agree with you, but take it a step further. I own 4 "weapons", a 20 ga. shotgun, a 30-30, a .22 Magnum, and a pistol. These are essentials, where I live. The .22 w/scope for smaller varmints. The 30-30 for deer and coyotes, shotgun for turkey. The 10mm pistol is the only small weapon, I carry it in a hip holster. Two years ago we killed a bobcat on our property and I see bear tracks. I sort of like the current laws.

There is a growing idea that you can legislate a perfect society, making the world perfectly safe. That will never happen. Living in a cocoon of legally proscribed actions, you have superficial safety, but that presumes everyone obeys the law; that law enforcement is ubiquitous. People break laws. Nothing is perfect.

Acceptable behavior has to be taught, socially enforced and outlets provided for "aggression".

(cont.)

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I sure hope the don't ban soft or hollow point. As an avid hunter (and simultaneously conscientious of the animals and what they physically feel) using hollow point slugs, or soft tip allows me, with a well placed shot, to take down the animal (deer in this case) very rapidly, without it suffering through pain, as it only lives for brief moment while its adrenaline flashes.

I threw this example into the mix to show how some things, relating to weapons, that may see unnecessary or savage, actually are used for very humane things. I agree with @thumperchick that controlling these kinds of things is probably unconstitutional, and what's more, will not stop sick people.

If more moral people exercised their right to carry a concealed weapon, then there would be less of a chance for sick people to slaughter the helpless. If you take away the moral people's right to own and carry such weapons, then only the immoral and sick people will. Do we want to disarm your first line of defense?

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(cont.)

In the instant case, the shooter was apparently innocuous. Unsuspected. No real prior signs of danger.

Yet this man shot his mother and planned his own suicide as a blood spectacle. We can only assume he was either truly berserk, or else he had complaints and feelings that worked and twisted him over time. Whatever those were, repressed, stifled they boiled over explosively. Undiagnosed, anger(?), angst(?) with no acceptable outlet or expression.

100-200 years ago, the driven, or violent, or social misfits had open (lawless) spaces to vent their asocial behaviors. Today, we pack people into cookie cutter lives and cities. When we do that we have to recognize society and treatment ideas have to change to accommodate that.

People are all different, it is in our genes that "ragers" will happen and not everyone fits within a narrow social construct and lifestyle. We have to invest in people and society, as much as we do in condos, bridges and sports arenas.

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@tpscan: Sorry for breaking into the middle of your response. Your second to last paragraph was, I felt, extremely insightful, and I appreciate you sharing it. I had never thought of that before...

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@thumperchick: I understand your argument, but it suggests that there's no reason why we can't all personally own bombs. After all, if we want to blow stuff up we'll find a way, you can make bombs or chemical weapons out of commonly available substances. So we may as well just embrace that and let people own bombs if they want to. I agree that there's no simple answer to the gun control issue. But it would be a whole lot harder for someone to kill dozens of people using a knife or other hand-to-hand method of attack. Explosives, chemical and biological weapons are all effective for mass murder, and although people with skills or connections can still get their hands on them, there is serious effort to control their sale. Guns are the only weapon legally sold in the US that allow the kind of easy spree killing that make the news from time to time. I don't know what the answer is, but it is pretty clear that what we are doing now isn't working.

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@dmaz: Ha! My fault for being a slow thinker/typist.
If I had realized I was going to run on so, I would have written it in a text editor and then pasted in the pieces. That 1000 character limit sneaks up on me.

Thanks for the praise. I would have referenced behavioral studies that link over-crowding to changes in behavior and dominance display/bullying and abnormal behavior. The fact that most people fit in, accommodate and cope masks some of the stresses we deal with. Think road rage ... it is not new, but when you briskly trot your carriage past a slow farm wagon, you were usually gritting your teeth over a neighbor, not an anonymous driver.

In days past, natural aggression and adrenalin had places like playgrounds and swimming holes as outlets. Now kids get pounded repeatedly with "stimulus" during the day, with fewer way to work off the reactions. Instead, they internalize.

When I grew up, we had mandatory recess and gym. People need ways to vent. Just my opinion.

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@moondrake:
I don't want to list the ready made weapons that are available for mayhem. But "guns" are not the only way of mass murder. I agree there is no need for 30 round clips, etc. but there is a deeper problem. We can discuss limits that would reduce the potential kill effectiveness, but even a bow and arrow can be used to kill dozens. Samurai swords? Deadly.

Maybe I am just creative, but within 20 minutes, I could gather materials to injure or kill dozens to hundreds. What prevents me from doing that is just basic empathy, moral sensibility and no driving motivation to do so.

Getting a gun and planning an attack is due to the actors motivations and lack of any compunctions. Sure, some weapons have that movie theater glamour, but still, it's bad people doing bad things. Would the results be much different if he had driven an SUV into a crowd of kids? Or locked the doors and released hazardous chemicals?

See where I am headed?
Don't make me spell out specifics.

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I don't see a way to completely eradicate guns. In no place where it has been tried has it been successful, and in general terms, gun bans tend to shift the ownership of guns to those that break the law, so the problem of gun crime increases with bans.

While it is unlikely that some legally carried guns would have completely stopped the loss of life in this instance, it is likely that the loss of life would have been lessened. Same in Colorado earlier this year.

Banning ammo or guns clearly isn't a solution to the problem and quite frankly, I believe it will make it worse. Certainly in my situation, taking my guns and ammo away will leave my home and family undefended, as there is no one else charged with their protection. (To head it off before those that are not aware jump in: No, the police are not responsible for protecting individuals in most of the US... Google "police required to protect individuals" and read a bit before you demonstrate your ignorance.)

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Last night I put all 11 guns I own on Craigslist and the last one just sold tonight. I'm choosing to no longer exercise my right to bear arms.

I've always be one to say "Oh guns don't kill people, isolated crazy people do" Well, we must be overrun with crazy people. I always carried a gun with me for protection. It made me realize, I am basically looking and waiting to bring the focus of a violent confrontation to me, what if I cause the death of someone in the crossfire?

Forget it, I'm done, my youngest son shared a B-day with a Newton victim just hits too close to home.

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@tpscan: I'll take my chances of getting away from a sword attacking criminal as much as I would someone ramming their car into me.

How many times has a guy took a car into a school to hurt kids? How many times have people now entered schools with guns to hurt kids? Too many to count

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@moondrake: Since we are taking it the absurd extreme of home-bomb-legal-ownership... Let's destroy airplanes. They've killed thousands as a weapon. Also, legal or no, a psycho who wants to harm people with a bomb, will find a way to make a bomb. Legal or not, has no bearing on the law breaker.

But really, @tpscan said it so much more eloquently than I did.

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There is nothing any law can do to stop massacres like Columbine or Connecticut.. period. I am pretty sure they have made murder, rape and theft illegal too long ago. (We see how effective that is)..

Making guns or ammo illegal (banned) would only keep law abiding citizens unprotected while the criminals found ways of getting them.

I can go to Wal-Mart right now and get all the materials necessary to build molotov cocktails, poisonous gas and explosive devices that can kill dozens of people... And all of the information needed to make these are on YouTube or with a quick Google search...

People that think banning guns will make them safer, just doesn't understand that evil people are born everyday and they may find a way to give them a wake-up call someday.

We have 325mil people living in the United States.. of which only about 9 million are CCW holders currently. That's only 2.76%. This number needs to increase so we can stop/hinder these tragedies.

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I'm waiting for that firearm that goes around firing itself. Until that exists, guns aren't the issue.

EDIT: And, neither is the ammo.

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The shooting in Connecticut, the Giffords shooting in AZ, etc should put more focus on mental health issues. All of the shooters were loners who didn't fit in and relate and were known to have mental health issues. More focus needs to be on identifying and helping those with mental health issues before they become a ticking time bomb.

I'm also starting to wonder if very violent video games (Black Opps, Assassin's Creed, etc) are having an affect, especially on those who are having mental problems. Those who are mentally stable can separate reality from a game. Those struggling with mental illness might not be able to separate reality from fiction. Those game can desensitize someone from what killing and death really mean.

All of the recent shooters were video game players. The number of multi-murder episodes seem to be increasing proportionally with the ever increasing extremely violent video games available.

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The same day as the Connecticut shooting there was an episode in China where a man went into a school and stabbed 22 people with a knife.

Those bent on evil will not be thwarted from their goals...ban guns, they'll use knives, ban knives, they use a lead pipe or a baseball bat.

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Connecticut:28 people shot, 26 dead
China: 22 people stabbed, 0 dead
Ohio: 30 people injured by car driven into crowd, 0 dead
Missouri: 5? people injured by car driven into a crowd of school children, 0 dead
New York: 6 people struck by SUV driven into crowd, 1 dead
Budapest: 7 stabbed in sword attack, 4 dead (I had to work to find a sword killing spree, and it should be noted that you can't get a license to carry a concealed katana)

If you set out to kill a bunch of people a gun is your weapon of choice.

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Oklahoma City 1994 = 168 dead, 680 injured
Weapon: Bombs

Twin Towers Attack 2001 = nearly 3000 dead
Weapon: Box cutters and airplanes

Banning guns or ammo will do nothing to stop the violence.
When someone or a group is set on killing innocents, they will find a way.

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@hessem: But we try and stop these things. We don't let box cutters on planes and if we notice someone buying a whole bunch of bomb materials, we look into it. But someone can amass a stockpile of weapons which can only be used for nefarious purposes (i.e. the assault weapons) and that's fine.

No gun legislation wouldn't be the magic bullet (forgive the pun) that ends violence, but it'd at least make it more difficult.

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You can't stop them with laws. People with mental illness will ignore laws.
You might make it a bit more difficult but you can't stop them. You also create an even larger black market of weapons by banning them.
Those who are bent on evil due will find other ways.

To stop this type of violence, you have to address the root cause and the root cause is not guns, the cause is mental illness.

Locally we had an elderly man who shot one of two men in their 20s who entered his basement and were coming upstairs to rob him. The one who wasn't shot ran away after the shot was fired. They were armed. If he doesn't have a gun and shoot them, they kill him. Want to take a gun away from him?

Banning guns will make everyone "feel" safer but really does nothing but keep weapons in the hands of criminals while disarming citizens.

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http://theacru.org/acru/harvard_study_gun_control_is_counterproductive/

Nations with stringent anti-gun laws generally have substantially higher murder rates than those that do not. The study found that the nine European nations with the lowest rates of gun ownership (5,000 or fewer guns per 100,000 population) have a combined murder rate three times higher than that of the nine nations with the highest rates of gun ownership (at least 15,000 guns per 100,000 population).

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@hessem:

Correlation doesn't equal causation.

This study notes that the Netherlands has one of the highest murder rates in Western Europe (it's 1.1 per 1,000) and the lowest gun-ownership rate (3.9 guns per 100 residents) and Norway (31.3 guns per 100 people) has a lower murder rate (0.6 per 100)

The United States has a 4.2 murder rate per hundred (almost 4x Netherlands) with a gun ownership of 88.8 per 100 residents (almost 3x Norway)

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While the results from Australia are compelling, citing the anecdotal example of the results of one country, Australia's, gun ban does not provide broad-based reliable research. It's one example from one country.

The ACRU research at least uses data from more than one country to draw it's conclusions.

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@hessem: That is true. The case study is put forth to counter the argument that aggressive legislation couldn't work. It demonstrates that it is possible.

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A ban in the U.S. might work like Australia.
It may also work like those countries in the ACRU study with strict gun laws but high murder rates.

What I know a ban on ammo or semi-automatics will do is create a black market for semi-automatic weapons and ammo.

I'm not a gun owner so I'm not defending my right to keep and bear…I don't want to infringe on other's rights in order to create a false sense of security with a knee jerk ban.

I just don't see the guns as the problem in these violent crimes. These are examples of a woeful lack of mental health care and oversight by families, friends and providers who knew something wasn't right but did not act to intervene.

The other correlation I find with these perpetrators is that they are all video gamers. I would love to know if they played the most violent games — Black Opp, Assassin's Creed, etc. Those games are fine for those who are mentally stable but I wonder how the violence in those games affects those who aren't stable.

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@hessem: I will certainly agree with you about the mental health component. It's interesting to cross-tabulate countries with access to universal healthcare and homicide rates.

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@tpscan: I can honestly say you are the ONLY person I've ever heard refer to a 10mm as "small" :)

The fact of the matter is all of your arguments are good ones, very well worded and completely logical.. but weapons bans (of any kind) aren't about logic or reason - it's a "feel good" law born of misdirected outrage. Beyond all of the other points that can be made about why it doesn't make since the biggest one is this: Only law-abiding citizens follow laws. Typically mass murderers aren't too concerned about the legality of the weapon they use to commit the crime .

Anybody with any kind of common sense knows that if someone wants to kill a large group of people badly enough: fertilizer is cheap, diesel fuel is plentiful and Google is only a click away.

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@ryanwb so you sold your guns through an unregulated site to someone that may or may not be a psycho?

@everybody Lets not forget that the same government who will be passing legislation preventing it's citizens from owning certain types of guns or buying certain types of ammunition has also sent thousands of assault and heavy military weapons to other countries (mexico for one) to be distributed to the drug cartels which will eventually find their way back into the U.S. black market. Which, in all honesty, is where most criminals will get their guns/ammo etc..

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@outka5t: And that at least one of those weapons has already killed a US LEO. But hey, let's ban those weapons here and use the CIA to funnel those same weapons to fuel the drug violence so we have a violent reason to keep up the failed war on drugs!

What did the President have to say about that, you ask? "Executive Privilege." (Translation, nothing to see here folks, move along.)

Back on topic a bit... Here's an interesting read from the Freakonomics Blog about gun control.