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Question for gun advocates

fiannaFailMan (702447) writes | more than 9 years ago

User Journal 31

Carrying guns is a fundamental right. Right? And guns make people safer. Right? Well if we want our airlines to be safe from terrorist hijackings and suchlike, would you be in favour of allowing passengers to carry guns onto planes? After all, if guns make people safer on the ground, why would it be any different in the air? Discuss.Carrying guns is a fundamental right. Right? And guns make people safer. Right? Well if we want our airlines to be safe from terrorist hijackings and suchlike, would you be in favour of allowing passengers to carry guns onto planes? After all, if guns make people safer on the ground, why would it be any different in the air? Discuss.

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No, but (2, Insightful)

pqdave (470411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11419834)

Short answer: No.

I consider myself a moderate gun advocate. I've had a concealed carry permit in another state and owned a gun. I moved to Ohio which didn't have permits, and sold the gun when I thought it was a greater risk than benefit in my situation. I believe that concealed carry should be available to responsible non-criminals, but should be regulated with a permit process and background checks. Businesses should have the right to ban guns from their property. Ohio has recently started concealed carry permits, and has done a fairly good job in balancing the issues, and I'm strongly considering getting a permit and a handgun again, although I don't foresee carrying often if at all.

The constitution intended for ordinary citizens to have the right to possess most forms of personal weapons. This generally translates to firearms, but could change if technology advances. Part of this is for personal protection, but part of this is to have the ability to overthrow the government if enough people (a wide majority, not a couple hundred nutballs in Wyoming) believe it has become tyrannical and elections corrupt. To be clear--revolution will not be necessary as long as elections remain fair, and I am NOT advocating violent overthrow of the government. I also believe that one of the necessary steps in establishing a tyrannical government is to remove gun rights.

Concealed carry of guns by responsible people with a permit should be allowed in most situations. The permit process should not be an unreasonable barrier for ordinary people. This potentially makes everyone safer--criminals don't know who's a safe target, or if there is an armed person who will intervene.

There are some situations where none of these reasons apply, and the possession of guns by ordinary people is a greater risk than benefit. Public airplanes are one, jails are another. On an airplane there is basically no way for a criminal to threaten you without being caught, and a much greater chance that random people with guns will cause you trouble.

Only on public property (1)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11422954)

No. Owning guns and being allowed to carry them on *public property* is something that you are allowed to do. You do not have a right to carry a gun in an airplane or bank or any other private property unless the owner allows you to. In the case of carrying a gun on an airplane, I think that is a bad idea since you should not be having gunfights in a crowd. If it were not for that, it might actually be safer to allow guns on planes. In any case, the right to carry weapons was intended as a safeguard in case the government becomes corrupt, and possibly also for protection from criminals (who wouldn't mind breaking anti-gun laws). As for myself, though, I really don't like guns and feel very uncomfortable around people who are carrying them (eg military and police).

Guns on planes. (1)

ShadowSystems (527521) | more than 9 years ago | (#11428794)

Short answer: no - most ammunition would put very large holes in the cabin, cause massive decompression, & ultimately put EVERYONE at risk of dying, NOT just the person you aimed at.

Long answer - Yes, IF they make you hand over all your normal ammo at check in, give you a receipt for it, store your "real" ammo in the cargo hold, & then issue you "soft" ammo (won't puncture the cabin walls) to fit your weapon. Once you land, hand back over the "soft" stuff with your receipt, they count the rounds, verify they're all there, and hand you back your "real" rounds.
That way, terrorist tries to hijack the plane, you can safely cap the F'er without worrying about getting people sucked out the roof when the cabin comes apart 'cause you (and several other passenger) decided it was OK Corral time...
8-)

Re:Guns on planes. (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11458104)

Just one problem with that. What's to stop any Tom Dick or Harry from using your 'soft' ammo to hijack the plane?

Re:Guns on planes. (1)

Linux_ho (205887) | more than 9 years ago | (#11510052)

What's to stop any Tom Dick or Harry from using your 'soft' ammo to hijack the plane? Devil's advocate time: How about the other dozen Toms, Dicks, and Harrys that are carrying soft ammo

Security through lack-of-information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11474211)

BTW: I support the rights of people to carry a weapon, AKA, a gun.

Guns don't help. In fact, 70% of the time, a burglar/criminal will use your guns against you (if the guns are loaded with ammo, easy to access, etc. I'm trailing off from my main point...). The reason I support having guns on your body in public places (not private, like an airplane) is because people are less likely to mug you or something if they think there is a possibility you have a gun.

And another thing: If guns where illegal, wouldn't CRIMINALS obtain them in some way anyway? Drugs are illegal, and they haven't exactly disappeared.

Re:Security through lack-of-information (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11474470)

...people are less likely to mug you or something if they think there is a possibility you have a gun.
They are also more likely to shoot first and ask questions later if they think you might have a gun. Surprise a burglar in your home in the US? Kiss your ass goodbye. Surprise a burglar in your house in the UK? Give chase and kick seven shades of shit out of him because there's next to no chance that the little shit has a gun.
f guns where illegal, wouldn't CRIMINALS obtain them in some way anyway? Drugs are illegal, and they haven't exactly disappeared.
Lots of things are illegal. Murder, rape, theft, robbery....

If guns are easier to get your hands on, there will be more guns in circulation, including among criminals. If guns are harder to come by, there will be fewer of them in circulation and fewer of them in the hands of criminals.

Re:Security through lack-of-information (1)

Wolfkin (17910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11510266)

Surprise a burglar in your home in the US? Kiss your ass goodbye.

This just isn't true. Burglars typically do not shoot first, partly because a burglar who is inexperienced with guns is unlikely to be carrying one into a burglary (most state of the US impose far higher penalties for crimes committed while carrying), and a burglar who is experienced with guns will understand that shooting first is fairly likely to get him killed. If the homeowner has a gun, he'll have the advantage: he knows the 'terrain', he *wants* to make lots of noise, etc. The burglar is just making things worse for himself by shooting a discoverer, in most cases.

The bigger thing is that burglary is far less common in areas of the US with few gun laws than in the UK. Rates of crimes against persons and property are typically lower in states of the US with lax or non-existant gun laws: for the extremes, compare Vermont (carry allowed with no permit for any gun owner) to Washington D.C. (guns allowed only to law enforcement and other priviledged individuals, such as bodyguards and politicians).

Re:Security through lack-of-information (1)

J. T. MacLeod (111094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11510420)

Surprise a burglar in your house in the UK? Give chase and kick seven shades of shit out of him because there's next to no chance that the little shit has a gun.

Is this really true, though? In parts of the US where gun ownership is illegal or so impractical that it might as well be, the criminals still have guns quite frequently.

If the UK has somehow by luck reduced the gun ownership among the criminal element, that's fortunate. Of course, it still does nothing for someone who isn't physically capable of defending themselves (be they young, old, disabled, or simply small or weak).

Re:Security through lack-of-information (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11521269)

It is true. You've quoted stats from US states with varying gun control laws claiming a correlation between strict gun control and higher crime. You've conveniently overlooked the international picture. In European countries where guns are strictly regulated and there is no culture of "I'm gonna carry a gun coz it's my god-given right," gun crime is almost negligible compared to in the US.

I have to say that I'm surprised by many of the responses to my question. The gist of what I was saying is that nobody in their right mind would allow anyone to carry guns on planes except for the pilots. That there are people who actually took me seriously and thought that armed passengers on commercial flights would be a good thing is just shocking.

Re:Security through lack-of-information (1)

J. T. MacLeod (111094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11523121)

You've conveniently overlooked the international picture. In European countries where guns are strictly regulated and there is no culture of "I'm gonna carry a gun coz it's my god-given right," gun crime is almost negligible compared to in the US.

Congratulations. That really proves little, though, except, perhaps that European countries are successful in preventing illegal gun ownership, something not done to well in the US. Now look even farther, at the many countries who have strict gun regulations and do have problems with "gun crime". (Here's another tidbit: "Gun crime" without guns still equals "crime"! They use other things, like baseball bats and, yes, box-cutters.)

Only a tiny, tiny fraction of the guns used in gun-related crime in the US are legally owned. There is little to no correlation between legal gun ownership in the US and gun crime in the US, excepting that crime tends to be lower in areas where there is more legal gun ownership.

Considering the lack of gun-related crimes performed with legally owned guns and the correlation between high rates of legal gun ownership and low crime rates (though laws vary the important thing is that people CAN own weapons), what's wrong with people being able to carry guns on planes--or anywhere else?

Re:Security through lack-of-information (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11545211)

That really proves little, though, except, perhaps that European countries are successful in preventing illegal gun ownership, something not done to well in the US
No, it proves that a culture in which people are less inclined to carry guns is a culture in which armed robberies and Columbine-style school shootings are far less likely to happen.
Now look even farther, at the many countries who have strict gun regulations and do have problems with "gun crime".
Which countries would they be?
There is little to no correlation between legal gun ownership in the US and gun crime in the US, excepting that crime tends to be lower in areas where there is more legal gun ownership.
What is the basis of this claim?
what's wrong with people being able to carry guns on planes--or anywhere else?
You're joking, right? If the restrictions on sharp objects and extra security measures brought in after 9/11 were to be taken away and people allowed to carry guns onto commercial flights, are you telling me that you'd feel safer?

Yes/No/Maybe (2, Interesting)

Bob Uhl (30977) | more than 9 years ago | (#11474354)

I believe that it is not the State's business whether or not corporations allow or disallow weapons (or anything else) on their private property. If an airline wishes to allow weapons, that is its own business; if it chooses to disallow them, that too is its own business.

I do believe, though, that anyone who bans weapons on his private property should thereby be made liable for the personal safety of anyone thereon. That is, feel free to forbid me to carry weapons, but if someone does assault/rob/kill me, I can recover damages from you because you were the one who disarmed me.

As for the specific question of weapons on aeroplanes, I see no reason why they should not be allowed. I for one would feel much safer if the stewardess handed out tire irons, baseball bats, bicycle chains, skivs &c. to the passengers. The really pathetic thing about 11 September is that 3,000 men died and billions of dollars were lost to box cutters. A nation which defeated the British; which put down the Barbary pirates; which contained Mexico; which trounced the Germans twice--this nation was grievously wounded by weapons less frightening than pocket knives. That's sad.

Re:Yes/No/Maybe (1)

dcam (615646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11489249)

which trounced the Germans twice

I think that might be better described as aided in defeating the Germans twice. If you have any understanding of the first world war, you would realise the contribution of the American armed forces was small. A much greater contribution was the supply of allied nations. As for that America was well paid. Note that America was one of the few countries that came out of WWI in better shape than it went in. There is a well known cartoon of a fat gentleman standing in front of a flagpole flying the American flag. The caption is "The War profiteer's flag". If I were an American, the less said about the WWI the better.

You have more claim about WWII. Even then the greatest contribution to the war in Europe was economic, although there was an undeniably significant military contribution.

You have a much better case arguing that the US defeated Japan. The nations involved there were limited to China, the Commonwealth nations (largely Britian, Australia) and America. America was the dominant nation in the region ourside China.

As for the substance of your comment, sometimes the weapons themselves are not significant. America was once a bastion of freedom, with a largely isolationist view, that was a strong defence.

Now America is seen as an opressor, and a meddling nation. What is more it is seen as an *incompentant* meddler.

I would be interested to see the result if the US cut its military budget by say 10%, and spent that money on diplomacy and/or foreign aid. Those weapons can also aid in securing your contry.

Please excuse my rant.

Re:Yes/No/Maybe (1)

pqdave (470411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11539465)

it's unlikely that in the future any more planes will be lost to box cutters, unless terrorists buy every seat. Perception is now that the safest thing to do is attack the hijackers, even bare-hands vs. box cutter.

Yes (1)

thedustbustr (848311) | more than 9 years ago | (#11476522)

Yes. Using a gun in a hijacking is a finite advantage over using a knife or a needle or any other improvised weapon. This advantage is much outweighed by the probability of a passanger having a gun and preventing the attack. When both the attacker and the defender have improvised weapons, the attacker has a huge advantage. When both the attacker and defender have projectile weapons, the defender has an advantage: projectile weapons are more easily operated stealthily, and the attackers can not possibly watch every passanger.

Re:Yes (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11545125)

So what is the liklihood that a typical 737 with a gang of hijackers aboard is going to also contain some law-abiding citizens who happen to be carrying guns? Not likely, is it?

Re:Yes (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569751)

So what is the liklihood that a typical 737 with a gang of hijackers aboard is going to also contain some law-abiding citizens who happen to be carrying guns?

Depends on how many passengers carry guns. One thing to keep in mind when discussing this topic is that it is not, in fact, theoretical. Many, many planes have firearms aboard, in the hands of Air Marshals, FBI agents, other policemen, and even members of the armed forces, in certain circumstances. My younger brother, who is a member of the Utah Army National Guard, has carried on commercial aircraft at least twice because he was escorting materials that Army regulations require be accompanied by an armed guard.

So the question is not "Should we allow guns on airplanes", but "Should we allow more guns on airplanes?".

I can assure you that if it were legal, every flight I'm on would have at least one armed passenger aboard. And I expect that many other frequent travelers with a sense of civic duty would do so as well.

I think allowing passengers to be armed would be a good idea if it were done correctly. I think that each person issued an aircraft carry permit should have to undergo the following at a minimum:

  • Receive and pass a formal anti-hijacking course. In addition to such things as tactics and procedures a key component of this course would be an discussion of what sorts of weapons and ammunition are appropriate, and, of course, a serious discussion of the consequences of displaying, mentioning or otherwise attempting to make use of a weapon in any situation other than a hijacking. Said consequences should consist of very severe criminal penalties, not to mention the fact that waving a gun around needlessly on an aircraft is likely to get you shot by another passenger who believes *you're* a hijacker.
  • Have a thorough background check performed prior to issuance of the permit, along with a periodic review looking for evidence of mental instability or criminal activity.
  • Be required to demonstrate to airport security personnel that the carried weapon is loaded with appropriate frangible ammunition each time the permit holder takes a flight. My one point of concern with this idea is how this can be accomplished without giving hijackers a way to identify the armed passengers.
  • Be required to demonstrate weapon knowledge, safety and competence at least annually. This demonstration should involve both classroom training on safety and anti-hijacking procedures, and a firing range qualification to demonstrate requisite speed, accuracy and decisionmaking ability. The pass/fail requirements should be sufficiently stringent that permit holders must practice regularly on their own to maintain a sufficient skill level. In addition, the instructors should have the latitude to summarily fail any student for any reason, particularly any student who displays an attitude the instructor considers dangerous.

Note, by the way, that of all of the people currently carrying on airplanes, only the Air Marshals meet a standard anywhere near what I described. Some police agencies require thorough background checks, most don't. Most require regular weapons qualification, but not all. Almost none have any anti-hijacking training, and no one other than Air Marshals bothers with frangible ammunition.

All of that said, I don't really think it's necessary for security. I think it's vanishingly unlikely that anyone will successfully hijack a plane again, because the passengers now know that their best chance is to resist aggressively. I think that if we were able to think very rationally about airline security we would stop spending billions on a futile attempt to keep weapons out, and start spending millions on making sure that passengers have the wherewithal to defend themselves. It would be more effective and a whole lot cheaper.

Unfortunately, most Americans have no real understanding of security, what it is, or how it's achieved, and the cheaper and more effective option is politically unacceptable.

So, instead, we'll keep putting on good security theatre by patting down grandmas and confiscating their knitting needles.

I'm confused (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 9 years ago | (#11482470)

Why shouldn't someone be allowed to carry a gun on their Cessna? And why wouldn't an airline company be allowed to prevent passengers from carrying certain objects on a plane?

Interesting question (1)

DonGar (204570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11490037)

If everyone on a plane were armed, I think there would be two effects.

1) Terrorists and Hijackers would be pretty much unable to take control of a plane. Passengers would be somewhat safer from them, and outside targets for plane crashes would be MUCH safer.

2) Passengers would be in considerably more danger from each other than they are now. Especially since alcohol is served, and since most people aren't aware of the danger of depressurizing an airliner in flight.

I consider the real world risk from 1 to be totally trivial, and the risk of 2 to be greater than trivial. So, in balance, I suspect the safty of passengers would go down.

But one big perk.... I would expect everyone to be more polite, both passengers and flight crew.

Re:Interesting question (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11497428)

I consider the real world risk from 1 to be totally trivial, and the risk of 2 to be greater than trivial. So, in balance, I suspect the safty of passengers would go down.
Thank you! I was wondering how long it would take for someone to figure this out. Now that brings me to the second part of the question. If the extra danger that comes with widespread gun ownership outweighs any benefit in terms of safety in an unlikely situation in the air, why would it be any different on the ground in society in general?

Re:Interesting question (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 9 years ago | (#11509335)

You can't depressurize the ground.

Re:Interesting question (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11545096)

You can still kill people on the ground.

Re:Interesting question (1)

pqdave (470411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11540146)

In the US, it's basically too late to disarm everyone regardless of your view on the desirability of that, so restrictions on the right to bear can only disarm honest citizens who obey the laws. If you could somehow find a way to disarm the criminals equally, the argument for the need to bear arms changes considerably. An airplane is a rare situation where this is possible.

I'm also leery about the government restricting my rights for whatever reason, even if it's a right I don't currently exercise, and even if I might be physically safer if this right were removed. The right to keep arms helps ensure that we won't need to bear them against a government gone wrong. The right to keep arms has some undesireable side effects, the right to bear arms helps mitigate those.

Yes, if enough people carried. (1)

J. T. MacLeod (111094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11510467)

If carrying guns onto planes were particularly rare, it would do little good. Someone could carry a gun onto a plane without the authorities batting an eye and then feel confident that he is the only person with a weapon. Granted, in a confined area, a group of people could easily overtake one person with a gun, but I think that it's been proven that most people are too cowardly to do so.

If there were a significant number of people carrying weapons onto flights, it would certainly be a boon for passenger safety. The odds of someone staging an attack/hijacking would be smaller, due to the likelyhood of (an) armed person(s) being present, and should someone try something stupid, it would be quite likely that they would be neutralized very quickly.

Re:Yes, if enough people carried. (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11567238)

So would you feel safer if the 9/11 security measures were lifted and people were allowed to carry knives on planes again? After all, knives don't kill people, people do.

Re:Yes, if enough people carried. (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569843)

So would you feel safer if the 9/11 security measures were lifted and people were allowed to carry knives on planes again? After all, knives don't kill people, people do.

I would feel neither safer nor more endangered, but I'd definitely feel much less annoyed. Anyone who wants to and thinks about it for a while can get a knife on a plane now. Particularly something like a boxcutter, which has a very small, very thin blade. An exacto knife is even smaller. So the security measures effectively annoy us all to no purpose. Well, no purpose other than security theatre to comfort those of us who don't bother to analyze the screening process critically.

Actually, though, knives of any significance haven't been allowed on airplanes in a long time. Not knives made of metal, anyway. Knives made of tough, dense plastics are still effectively allowed. They're illegal, but undetectable, particularly if you're willing to put them somewhere uncomfortable for the trip through security. You can go to the bathroom and move them to a more comfortable spot once you're in.

Excellent Question (1)

Hanzie (16075) | more than 9 years ago | (#11513219)

A couple of items.

It's stated above "Many people don't know the dangers of depressurization".

Thanks to movies, about everybody has this "knowlege". Fortunately, "hard" ammunition only puts little holes in the side of the plane that make an annoying whistle. Nobody gets sucked out the holes. I know this from past conversations with folks who have faced this situation, flying high altitude missions in combat.

Apparently machine guns bullets sound like somebody outside picked up a handfull of gravel and threw it against the side of the plane. They leave a little hole where they came in, and another little hole on the other side. Anybody or anything in between is very unhappy. The holes whistle. Nobody gets sucked out them, nor does the airframe/ skin/ whatever collapse.

Military planes are built exactly the same way that civilian planes are, except that the airliners have lots of sound insulation, soft seats, lights, etc. Military planes generally save the weight and issue foam earplugs.

There are problems with hard ammunition hitting critical systems, including pilots, but it's more likely that a bullet will be stopped by seats, screaming passengers, etc...

Anyhow, about guns on airlines... In my opinion, I think it would be stupid for the pilots NOT to have guns. As to the passengers, I think we've spent long enough in our "no individual responsibility, gov't will protect you" society that most folks would be too stupid to handle them properly. That, and they'd probably hit everybody else before they got what they were aiming at. (...forty shots rang out... forty people fell... Patty and the Killer had missed each other, but they shot that town to hell...)

Look at the bright side... The average us airline flight has at least a couple of more guns on every flight that you might think. Fortunately, the guns are toted by TSA agents assigned to the flight, plus any federal agents who actually need to take that particular flight.

While I have some issues with some decisions the head of the dept. of homeland security has made, I have plenty of faith in the TSA agents actually guarding flights.

Perfect 100% gun control has been enforced two times (that I know of):

Number one: Haiti in the Clinton era, after we moved in and calmed down the revolution in progress, and confiscated ALL the guns. Result: gangs roamed the streets with machetes chopping up anybody who got in their way, raping and looting as they went.

Number two: The middle ages, before guns were invented. A rather common occurance was gangs roaming with swords, chopping up anybody who got in their way, raping and looting as they go.

When you think of the wild west, and the gunfight at OK corrall, remember that only two people were killed. It also made headlines around the world. We're even making movies about it, still. Interestingly, Tombstone actually had gun control laws (no guns in city limits except gov't).

Concealed Weapons are a bad idea... but... (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 9 years ago | (#11541999)

Why do people feel that a concealed weapon is a deterrent in the first place? Do cops hide their weapons? No, they wear them right out there in the open, where the righteous may feel protected and the others may tremble.

You want deterrance, you need your weapon to be clearly visible. Otherwise, you are only defended against criminals who are willing to take a chance that you aren't armed. Since criminals are generally stupid, almost by definition, is that a good plan?

Oh, does the idea of walking through a downtown crowd brandishing revolvers on their hip and rifles over their shoulders make you nervous? In that case, you shouldn't hide behind a "concealed weapon" fallacy. Either show 'em, or ban 'em.

Disclaimer: the largest caliber weapon I own has the Daisy brand on it.

Re:Concealed Weapons are a bad idea... but... (1)

pqdave (470411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11552332)

Open carry deterrs the criminal from acting when the armed person is present, but allows the criminal to verify that it's currently safe to attack when there are no armed people around. Concealed carry is less of a deterrent when the armed person is around, but more of a deterrent when they are elsewhere.

Re:Concealed Weapons are a bad idea... but... (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11569854)

In addition, in a closed environment like a plane, with open carry the hijackers could identify the armed passengers before making their move and focus on taking them out as quickly and violently as possible. If the weapons are concealed, they don't know who to target. This is a big part of why Air Marshals carry concealed and are not uniformed.
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