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That NRA ‘solution’… December 22, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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The latest suggestion from the NRA as regards a solution to mass murders in schools, that being armed guards stationed in them, does raise the question as to whether they’ve ever been in a school and realise how big the places actually are.

What’s depressing is the way in which any control is seen as too much control. My own father, who grew up in rural Meath, had a functioning rifle in our family home and as it happens I’m far from antagonistic to the ownership of guns within reasonably controlled circumstances but the ownership of semi-automatics, assault weapons and their virtual commodification and ease of purchase, or as Supreme Justice Scalia said, and only half jokingly… “But I suppose there are handheld rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes that will have to be … decided. [as to their constitutionality]”. That seems to me to be a different matter and the necessity levels of security (at a minimum background checks but more, much more) around same are crucial.

But then the NRA seems to have entered a world where it sees its role as defending the use of weapons for a myriad of reasons far beyond hunting or target practice.

Still, when defending the indefensible, perhaps the NRA rep, executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre, was right in one thing.

He refused to take questions.

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1. Bartley - December 22, 2012

Well, as I`ve always said, one of the great unsung political achievements of Gerry Adams & Co. in this country was to ensure we`ll have a near-universal consensus in favour of strict gun control laws into the foreseeable future.

Not that they were seeking to achieve this, but we`ll take it in any case …

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2. Tagarong - December 22, 2012

I think its just a smokescreen-talk about anything else but why millions of Americans believe they need high-powered rifles to defend themselves (from what?)

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Bartley - December 22, 2012

From tyranny.

Well that`s the idea at least.

Marauding grizzly bears and Apache braves also figure in the popular imagination, but not so much on the ground.

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3. Yates SCOPE: NRA Supports Background Checks | New NY 23rd - December 22, 2012

[...] That NRA ‘solution’… (cedarlounge.wordpress.com) [...]

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4. NRA Supports Background Checks? | New NY 23rd - December 22, 2012

[...] That NRA ‘solution’… (cedarlounge.wordpress.com) [...]

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5. sonofstan - December 23, 2012
WorldbyStorm - December 23, 2012

“it makes a difference to people what weapons are at hand for them to use and even more what happens to people in a culture where fear is rampant and the default response to frightening or unsettling situations or personal tensions is violence and the threat of violence” is particularly good.

BTW, in reference to your point Bartley I see why you might think so but I’m not entirely convinced the conflict in the North made any huge difference to ownership here. There’s 230,000 guns in private ownership in this state according to the SBP today. Acquiring a license isn’t that tricky whether one is a farmer or a hobbyist. Interestingly, and I know this from direct experience, it was post-1998 or thereabouts that stricter controls came in on storage of weapons at home requiring special cabinets etc. But I think that that was driven as much by the wave of weapons coming in on the back of drugs shipments etc. And the experience of our European neighbours is broadly of tightening of controls, not easing of same so it’s very unlikely that even absent the conflict we’d have a much more liberal approach.

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6. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - December 23, 2012

That’s true. I was amazed to discover that people can and do, legally own Glock and Sig Sauer handguns for target shooting in Ireland. If you haven’t a criminal record and are not involved in anything that brings you to the cop’s attention, plus you have to get clearance from them, get a gun safe and register your ammo at the local Garda station, then you can purchase a handgun. Gun shops in rural Ireland actually sell these things.

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sonofstan - December 23, 2012

I guess the reassuring thing is not that ‘people can and do’ but that most people could, but don’t.

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Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - December 23, 2012

Well a lot of us couldn’t afford the cost of buying a gun and probably wouldn’t pass the clearance either!

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WorldbyStorm - December 23, 2012

On the Irish Gun Dealer website you can get a rifle for 600 euro. But the prices go up and up and you also have to have a special gun safe to put it in – you’ll pick one up for 180 upwards. So it’s expensive but not beyond the reach of someone willing to put time into it. That’s a fair point re the clearance.

But I’d add I think regulation here is broadly speaking sound enough.

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sonofstan - December 23, 2012

Well, to paraphrase Noonan, if people can afford Sky, they can afford a gun. :)

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7. Bartley - December 23, 2012

@WbS

BTW, in reference to your point Bartley I see why you might think so but I’m not entirely convinced the conflict in the North made any huge difference to ownership here. There’s 230,000 guns in private ownership in this state according to the SBP today.

230k is a lot all right, more than I thought.

But the key here is not so much the number of weapons in private hands, as the types of weaponry permitted.

Tom Conlon (ex-Irish Army) had a good segment on PK last week where he explained that the mechanics of perpetrating a large-scale massacre in limited time would be practically impossible to carry-off with a traditional break-action shotgun or bolt-action rifle. Reloading is just too slow to sustain the rate of fire required.

And given that the Bushmaster used in Sandy Hook is a derivative of the Armalite so beloved of out friends from the North, one doubts if such semi-automatic weaponry would ever be accepted as legit in this country.

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WorldbyStorm - December 23, 2012

Even taking that in the terms you now frame it, given that you didn’t make that distinction in your original comment, I still can’t see where the push would come from in this state for the use of automatics or how things would be radically different without the North.

Firstly and perhaps most importantly it’s not as if the IRA et al popped into existence in 1969, there was already a long and pre-existing tradition of tightly controlled regulation of weaponry in the state due to paramilitary groups (and arguably due to the history predating Independence too).

Then there’s the question as to who would seek any such liberalisation. What lobby with any power would want it? There’s simply not a culture of gun ownership that would look for that in any numbers given that the use of weapons has been in its general form for – broadly speaking – more utilitarian forms such as hunting where semi-automatics and automatics aren’t exactly optimal.

Even in the calmer context of the UK it’s telling that there were progressive tightening up of laws through the 60s and 70s and on into the 1980s when in the wake of Hungerford they prohibited all automic and semi-automatics (bar pistols). Interestingly in 1997 post Dunblane private possession of handguns is now almost entirely illegal.

I agree with you that there’s zero chance of semi-automatics being considered legit, but ironically – or perhaps not – I suspect that’s more a factor of UK and US events than the situation in the North. Where I would agree with you in a sense is that there’s no question that the conflict allowed for even tighter general constraints but again, patchily applied and oddly not so much during the conflict as one might expect.

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Ramzi Nohra - December 24, 2012

Interestingly there are 380,000 privately held firearms in the north. substantially more than the South. I’m not sure if that includes licensed weapons held at home through the security forces (eg the handguns given to potentially vulnerable individuals)

Re: regulation, as far as I can tell, semi-automatic weapons must have been legal in Northern Ireland until Hungerford (87). I can’t recall this legal route being used to supply paramilitaries though. At least not on Republican side.

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Ramzi Nohra - December 24, 2012
Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - December 24, 2012

A couple of years ago a gun shop was robbed in Fermanagh. Along with shotguns and hunting rifles they were also (legally) selling handguns. You can also legally buy very realistic replica weapons and high powered fireworks in the North, and you can’t legally buy them in the south. Hence the big market in Newry every Halloween.

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CMK - December 23, 2012

‘And given that the Bushmaster used in Sandy Hook is a derivative of the Armalite so beloved of out friends from the North,’

Your heroes in the SAS. I presume that’s who you’re referring to with ‘out [sic] friends from the North’? The only place I’ve ever seen an Armalite is on either a Para of a Royal Marine when going through a checkpoint in South Armagh. Tom Conlon? I presume you mean Tom Cloonan, the surrealist comedian who has made a career getting laughs from audiences by pretending to be a commentator on military matters and who RTE indulged with his zany, crazy, way out there ‘What if Lynch had Invaded?’.

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Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - December 23, 2012

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Bartley - December 24, 2012

… on a Para of a Royal Marine …

Dear CMK,

When basing one`s arguments on that most mature of debating styles, the old snigger-at-the-typos line, it is exceedingly important to proof one`s own post for typos.

Else one ends up coming across as a bit of a tit.

Or would that be a bit or a tit?

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CMK - December 24, 2012

Touché, Bartley. But the question: remains, are you referring to your heroes in the SAS when you refer to our friends in the North and their use of the Armalite?

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EWI - December 24, 2012

Tom Conlon (ex-Irish Army) had a good segment on PK last week where he explained that the mechanics of perpetrating a large-scale massacre in limited time would be practically impossible to carry-off with a traditional break-action shotgun or bolt-action rifle. Reloading is just too slow to sustain the rate of fire required.

Tom Clonan is an ex-officer, and therefore knows SLA about reloading rifles. A properly-trained person would be able to rapidly fire off aimed shots from a bolt-action without trouble.

/nit-pick

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EWI - December 24, 2012

Or “SFA”, even, when the spell-checker isn’t correcting me.

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Bartley - December 24, 2012

Tom Clonan is an ex-officer, and therefore knows SFA about reloading rifles.

An officer yes, but a relatively junior one if memory serves, holding a rank that I`d suspect involved some exposure to small unit tactics.

A properly-trained person would be able to rapidly fire off aimed shots from a bolt-action without trouble.

I`m no expert, but I`ve the vaguest memory from my FCA days that a well trained soldier could be expected to fire up to 20 aimed shots per minute in open terrain using the SMLE that was standard issue at the time. That`s significantly less than the rate that I`d imagine would be attainable with a weapon like the Bushmaster.

Given that these massacres generally occur in the close confines of a school or some other public building, Cloonan`s points about semi-automatic rates of fire seem plausible to me. Otherwise why wouldn\’t SWAT teams and the likes not also bolt-action rifles, if there was no difference in effectiveness at close quarters?

Also it`s worth remembering that these atrocities are generally not carried out by well-trained military types, rather alienated teens.

But as I said, I`m no expert in these matters …

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maddurdu - December 24, 2012

‘vaguest memory from my FCA days’

Michael McDowell is Bartley!!??

Everything is illuminated…

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RosencrantzisDead - December 25, 2012

Why is it that those who precede a post with “I am not a(n) army officer/lawyer/neurosurgeon/gynaecologist/ritual psionicist/(insert as necessary)” invariably proceed to pontificate as if they possessed the requisite qualification? What purpose does this serve?

I am inclined to think it is a rhetorical device used to defend oneself from (correct) accusations that one is a bluffer, particularly if one has some rather salient facts completely arseways.

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8. TheOtherRiverR(h)ine - December 23, 2012
9. Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - December 24, 2012

‘Tom Clonan is an ex-officer, and therefore knows SLA about reloading rifles. A properly-trained person would be able to rapidly fire off aimed shots from a bolt-action without trouble.’

Ah here…I’m no fan of Mr. Clonan but his standard weapon in the army would have been an FN or a Steyer rifle, he wouldn’t have been swanning around Lebanon on patrol with a Browning sidearm. (You do know officers carry rifles or smgs don’t you?) Plus the entire army (and navy) have to learn how to use the standard weaponry- officer cadets use all that stuff and actually get access to guns ordinary soldiers don’t. I suspect Clonan knows more about unloading guns than most of us here.
Happy Christmas!

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RosencrantzisDead - December 25, 2012

My understanding is the EWI has been, or is, a member of the PDF and would be in a good position to criticise on matters such as this.

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10. Bartley - December 25, 2012

@Rosencrantz

I am inclined to think it is a rhetorical device used to defend oneself from (correct) accusations that one is a bluffer, particularly if one has some rather salient facts completely arseways.

Care to list the salient facts I`ve got completely arseways?

My understanding is the EWI has been, or is, a member of the PDF and would be in a good position to criticise on matters such as this.

Fair enough … but unless he`s of the vintage that were rocking the Congo on UN duty, or else in some specialist role, it`s likely that a typical PDF member would know less than a FCA recruit from the 1980s or early 1990s about bolt -action rifles (given that such weapons were still standard issue in the reserves long after being phased out in the Army proper).

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Martin Savage - December 26, 2012

I was a member of Cromwells New Model Army and I can assure you it would have been no problem carrying out massacres with our flintlocks , though our officers hadn’t a clue how to light the fuses for the bloody things

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