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Gun Control, firearms

Discussion in 'Serious' started by BA_13, 30 Apr 2015.

  1. BA_13

    BA_13 Active Member

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    As suggested by Shirty I'm creating a thread on gun control and firearms in general, in the hope (and quite possibly vain hope at that) of getting the demote thread back on track.

    To state my position I am a UK FAC holder and when I'm at home in the UK I regularly shoot with a .22 LR target rifle and a .300 WM "Sniper" rifle. I also have a section 1 shotgun intended for practical shotgun competitions but I'm becoming less inclined to use this at my current clubs as there aren't many other participants to compete against.

    The .22 is normally used at 25 metres but I do occasionally take it out to 100m, the .300 I normally use at 200 metres but hopefully I will be taking it out to around the 1000m mark in the next few months.

    The reason I shoot is quite simply that I enjoy it and find it to be very relaxing, I realise that this may seem counter intuitive but to accurately place shot after shot you need to be calm, relaxed and very focused. At one of the clubs i belong to a lot of the other members predominantly hunt either for vermin control (I'm aware the term vermin is subjective) or for pleasure (Although even this has an element of vermin control as farmers class the majority of deer as vermin) with the bonus of getting meat.
    Myself and all the members of the clubs to which I belong are of course in favour of licensed shooting would argue that we are responsible firearms owners who shouldn't be punished for the actions of irresponsible individuals but even in the club house we have discussed how far our individual freedoms have the right to endanger other members of the public (I believe everyone in the club would admit that as long as there are firearms in general circulation there is a risk), and the general consensus is that the risk of responsible ownership is minimum.
    One point raised among was that while in a club you are sort of monitored by your fellow club members and if there are doubts about your suitability to hold a license it will be raised with the local firearms liaison officers and the police would then look into any issues.

    I fully agree with the need to have a licensing system for all firearms (referring to the UK here, the USA is a whole different can of worms) and the need for firearms to be stored securely when not n use, when I'm out the country I leave mine with a firearms dealer as opposed to leaving them in my own gun safes at home.

    I know that the term "sniper" above will worry some people so I'll explain why I have chosen that particular type of rifle and indeed that term to describe it over the less controversial term "Target" rifle below in a while.

    When shooting at any distance at targets the aim is to group your show as closely as possible to the bull, to do this you need (Setting aside skill here for now) a gun with a reliable heavy barrel, a strong action securely bonded to a stock that is stable regardless of the environment and of course a good trigger that always goes the same activation pressure. Mounted to the rifle you'll have a sight of some description, possibly an open "iron" sight but more likely a telescopic sight, this needs to be securely attached to the rifle and to remain in exactly the same position shot after shot.

    Although both a custom built target rifle and a sniper rifle will display these characteristics you generally expect a high end sniper rifle to have better durability and repeatability for its cost due to the amount of research and development that a large company will invest in a series of rifle over what a gunsmith can invest in a single bespoke rifle. Another advantage in the sniper rifle option is that they are designed to work with the vast majority of people and come with adjustable stocks and multiple attachment points so that you can set the rifle how you want and need it over time as opposed to having a custom rifle built exactly to your spec but lacking adjustment.

    Now i'm not knocking the custom built option if you know what you want and have a good gunsmith you can get some amazingly engineered firearms that will equal or surpass most military sourced firearms but there is a cost for this.

    Right I've rambled enough for now, sorry for the wall of text any queries please ask.

    Mike
     
  2. BA_13

    BA_13 Active Member

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    Couple of quick points in response to some of the items raised in the demote thread.
    1, Olympic shooting predominantly uses .22 LR only a couple of events use air guns.
    2, At the time of the hand gun ban I believe there was compensation offered, however it wasn't based on the valve of each individual firearm, as such some were sold abroad and some people actually moved their handguns to Europe (I know some went to clubs in Belgium and their owners visit them regularly).
    3, The majority of illegal firearms come to the UK out of the old eastern block, indeed the former Yugoslavia is still an easy place to pick up what ever you want (I work with a large number of Croatians who confirm the various reports I've seen about the availability of military hardware in that region).
     
    Last edited: 30 Apr 2015
  3. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    The only thing i know of how gun controls works in the UK is from talking to people who partake in the sport so I'm probably a little naive in my opinion, but i think the UK's gun control laws have things pretty much spot on.
     
  4. Maki role

    Maki role Dale you're on a roll... Staff

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    I very much enjoy going to a shoot, along with partaking when not shooting real game. That's not a moral stance, as I have no problems with shooting controlled populations where the products will be used, I just feel I should be more practiced and experienced before taking that step. I have a couple friends who are very into the sport and naturally they're all suitably licensed and adhere to the protocols.

    That said, I can only comment as a lay man who occasionally shoots. From speaking to those friends, the laws here seem to be fairly close to the mark. They have the freedom to shoot responsibly on dedicated land and can own all the firearms that would interest them in being able to do that. Those are functional weapons and they're treated as such, but also with the respect that any device with that much lethal power should command.

    The concepts that I have trouble dealing with is when people push for legal firearm ownership for military spec pieces (current or historic). I can see the appeal for historic pieces as they can be culturally significant, but within that they should be fully decommissioned and no suitable live ammunition need be on the premises. They're display items now, why should they be fired? I think that somebody intending to collect these sorts of items should understand the inherent danger and thus be okay with very strict guidelines on how they're stored, acquired and sold on. What I don't get are current or at least recent military firearms (or a kind that isn't for sporting use). At that point you're shooting not for the sport, but for the weapon satisfaction itself. There's no reason somebody in this country needs to possess an AK-47 for instance, it's not a hunting/sport rifle, it's a weapon designed purely for incapacitating enemy personnel. IMO that sort of firearm doesn't belong in public hands. It may be satisfying to shoot, but in my book that alone isn't enough to warrant its use in leisure.

    It does help a lot though that here in the UK we don't have much of a gun culture. There will always be people acquiring firearms illegally, but it's not a big enough concern here to warrant carrying a firearm of any kind. In places like the US though, the line simply isn't that clear. Gun ownership has been such a big thing for so long over there that if you were to suddenly remove it overnight, there'd simply be issues. I would assume it's much, much easier for a criminal to get hold of a working firearm in the US than here? If you made it much harder to purchase and own guns legally, then I can understand why people might think criminals would have a large upper hand. With so many guns in circulation, it would be a long time before criminals find it harder to get one than a normal citizen. I'm not sure what the real world impact would be, but that's a whole different conversation, one in which a lot of people are very engaged in. I don't live in the US, so I can't really comment on that side.
     
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  5. BA_13

    BA_13 Active Member

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    In the UK the only truly military spec pieces you can own are the bolt action rifles such as the Accuracy International AXMC which I opted for. I purchased it for its durability, accuracy and build quality (also they hold their value really well) not really for the military connections.

    I will openly admit that I don't see the point in buying a UK legal AK or AR-15 replica as it will most likely be a straight pull bolt action that isn't as accurate as a traditional purpose designed bolt action but isn't inherently more dangerous than any other style of rifle of a similar calibre.

    A quick point I should have made earlier is that a .22 LR is as potentially lethal as a .300 WM or larger round, indeed there are more accidents with .22 than any other calibre both due to its popularity and the fact that its a round that people under estimate due to its small size and apparent lack of power.
     
  6. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    Is it for the same reason people drive classic cars that maybe worth multi millions of pounds?

    Chris Evans and his Daytona Spyder springs to mind, i know a classic car isn't really in the same ball park as a classic gun, but isn't it about the feel of the item and not just having it stuck in a garage or on a wall, about being able to actual use and experience it.
     
  7. Maki role

    Maki role Dale you're on a roll... Staff

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    Aye I can understand the appeal, but I think it comes down to the intentions for the original object. A car was made to be a method of transportation, obviously you get more out of a car than just an A to B experience, but that was the reasoning. A gun, however, was created to kill/injure something or someone, it's still true even if the owner has no intentions of using it as such. Thus in my book, guns that are created for and still useful for sport shooting (be it clay pigeons, sporting shooting, game, pest management etc.) make sense. This will include older guns designed for the purpose of shooting game etc. as they were functional pieces that may also have been beautified in the process (similar to a classic car).

    Of course you can hurt or kill people with a classic car, but you can with almost anything really.

    I hold the same view for swords tbh. They were made for killing things, I count ceremonial swords in this lot too. Unless they still hold a genuine current use (such as licensed martial art training or use in ceremonies like weddings, court etc.) they needn't be used. Replicas don't fit here as they're blunted, they fit in the ceremonial section in my book, but if you sharpened it up then it should be noted. Sword crime isn't a huge deal I think (although it does still happen), I just used it as a sort of parallel, it doesn't quite fit though I'll give it that.
     
  8. BA_13

    BA_13 Active Member

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    Originally posted by jrs77
    This is in fact very close to the UK system for section 1 firearms (any firearm with a rifled barrel over 300mm and a overall length of not less than 600mm). The rules are slightly less strict for shotguns with non detachable magazines and a capacity of less than 3 shells, anything more than 3 rounds or for solid slug you require a section 1 licence.

    When applying for a section 1 you need either hunting permissions and proof you know what you are doing such as an approved course or membership of a home office approved club for a minimum of 6 months. On top of this you will be expected to provide references from people who have known you for a long time and if a club member, the club secretary will have to endorse you. There is also an interview by a firearms liaison officer in your own home where they will check out your security arrangements and asses your own suitability.

    For section 1 firearms each rifle needs its own "Slot" on your ticket i.e. you request for permission to buy a certain type and calibre of firearm and one purchased it is entered on your certificate, once you have this slot filled you can not buy another firearm of the same type and calibre without getting another slot approved by the police.

    In the UK only firearms in the .22 LR calibre can be bought as self loading (Shotguns can also be self loading, and a hi-capacity section 1 shotgun is regularly self loading), anything else will be single shot albeit quite likely magazine fed.
     
  9. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    Huh, everything went better than expected. If this was a US-focused discussion about gun control people would be setting fire to houses over it by now.

    I do think the UK has it about right, but we don't have much acknowledgement of shooting as a recreational thing. It's all very focused on specific uses, and the assumption is that you're shooting pests or you're doing competition shooting - it's rarer to find people trying to get into it just because it's kinda fun on a weekend, due to the amount of faff involved in getting started. But this starts a vicious cycle where systems aren't really in place (or well explained or well organised) to facilitate casual leisure shooting, so nobody looks into it or tries it, so it withers as a pastime, and so on.

    Shooting as leisure or a fun day out is common in other countries, but we've got a phobic attitude towards guns and anybody who'd like to be near them, I guess as a kneejerk reaction against the US' perceived intoxicated obsession with guns. I'd like it to be more widely known and widely accessible here that you can shoot a gun for fun and that you don't need to invest ££££s to do it. Our family went to a local clay pigeon range, hired some guns and bought some ammo and shot clays all afternoon for a birthday do. It was brilliant, and the club were happy to have us, because they get hardly any new faces - because nobody knows the option is there.

    Safety concerns are inevitable but acceptable. With the kind of guns that are legal to use in that way it's no more dangerous than archery, which I do regularly. It kinda scares me that, at our local archery club, we've got teenagers and kids walking around with devices that can easily kill a person, and that they bought them with no registration process or background check. (None of the officials have seen We Need To Talk About Kevin, clearly.) And yet, we don't have accidents and it's very easy to keep it safe. Publicly accessibly shooting ranges and clubs could definitely be done safely with a wider public exposure and cultural acceptance than they currently enjoy.
     
  10. ceryni

    ceryni Idiot

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    I think you'll find a lot of Americans will argue that if a criminal can't get a gun in the UK, he'll have a knife, therefore you should have a gun to defend yourself from said wacko with knife.
     
  11. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    That seems a little contradictory or something, if we can get a gun to defend against someone with a knife what's to stop said person using a gun instead of his knife.
     
  12. KayinBlack

    KayinBlack Currently Rebuilding

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    You guys also forget that many of us live far from police and we also have dangerous creatures, such as cougars, bobcats and bears. I own guns for that and hunting.
     
  13. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

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    Yes and no. While it's often quoted as one of the reasons for the Second Amendment, the idea that the populace should be armed so that it can stand up to its own tyrannical government is a bit of a misunderstanding. It had as much to do with protection against foreign invaders and quelling insurrection among slaves. In addition, by granting the right of the people to keep and bear arms, the Second Amendment also sets up the foundation for the right of personal property.

    There is also some debate as to the further intent of the Second Amendment. One opinion is that the language concerning "A well regulated Militia..." was meant to ensure the effectiveness of the standing army by separating it from the local militia. To this end, during the oral arguments in the Heller vs District of Columbia court case (the case dealing with the handgun ban in the district of Columbia), Supreme Court Justice Kennedy debated the premise of whether or not the Second Amendment (i.e. the right to bear arms) extended to 'arms' beyond guns. Does it in fact mean that a private citizen could have a nuclear missile - you know, for home protection? To address this, the Heller vs DC opinion cited the opinion handed down in United States v Miller, a case from 1939 concerning a man who owned a shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches, but did not register the gun or pay the appropriate taxes. In United States v Miller, the Supreme Court's opinion was that the Second Amendment granted the freedom for private citizens to own weapons that were in common use by the military of the time, but did not grant the right for citizens to own 'unusual' weapons. Nuclear missiles are not common weapons (i.e. it's not part of a soldier's standard kit), so under the current Supreme Court ruling, the Second Amendment protection does not apply.
     
  14. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Interesting timing for this thread to appear: I used to be a recreational shooter, but haven't done so in quite some time. I've discovered the existence of a rifle and pistol club about 25 minutes walk up the road from me - just near the cottage I used to live in when I first moved to Bradford, in fact - so I'm dusting off the air rifle (Air Arms S410 Classic .22 PCP, fact-fans) and applying for membership to get back into the hobby.

    If all goes well - i.e. I still enjoy shooting, I'm not entirely terrible at it, and I survive my six-month probationary period and am invited to join as a full member - I've considered applying for a firearms certificate so I can up-rate the S410 beyond 12ft/lbs and acquire a .22 rimfire rifle for longer-range target shooting. Having studied the rules in advance, I'm pretty happy with 'em: I need to have a good reason for owning a gun, have a clean criminal background, references from trusted individuals, a secure place to store both the guns and their ammunition, and to pay a nominal fee - around the same as the club membership dues, in fact.

    I've also had a quick look at the sort of rifle I could afford, should I decide to go rimfire. Can't deny, there's a part of me - the internal 10-year-old, voice muffled but discernible - that fancies the official H&K MP5SD5 .22, but I reckon that'd get me a few funny looks down the range so I'd probably go for a more traditional-looking bolt-action job.
     
  15. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    Aren't they more scared of us?

    I've not looked up how many people get killed/maimed from animal attacks so I maybe talking rubbish, but i was under the impression that most animals won't attack unless they feel threatened, that if you're aware of the situation you'll try not to put an animal in a position that it thinks attacking is the only choice it has.
     
  16. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    A quick peek at Wikipedia suggests that there are around 2.5 fatal bear attacks per annum in the US. Fatal cougar attacks are much rarer and fatal wolf attacks rarer still. How accurate these numbers are is anyone's guess, of course :) On the other hand, fatal dog attacks are much more common.

    Personally, if I lived out in the back of beyond and there were large, potentially dangerous animals out there, I'd want a means of defending myself and my property against such animals. Also worth bearing in mind that these animals aren't necessarily solely a danger to people - they're more likely to be a risk to livestock or pets, for example.
     
  17. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    Seems a bit extreme to me, that because 3 or more people are killed by animals each year that people should defend themselves with guns, granted there probably more danger to livestock, pets or property but it seems a bit like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
     
  18. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    You're focusing too much on fatal attacks on people. I provided those numbers from Wikipedia in order to show how rare they are, not as a justification for every hillwalker and rambler to be armed to the teeth :D

    Rather, the point is that if there are large, predatory animals out there that pose a danger to your livestock / pets, then you've got a perfectly legitimate reason to keep suitable firearms on your property in order to protect it. There's a world of difference, imo, between that and a housewife toting a .45 around the supermarket (as an extreme example). At the end of the day, guns are tools that do have a purpose, so just because people don't like the general principle of guns doesn't mean that there aren't situations where gun ownership and use aren't appropriate.
     
  19. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    That's the key word right there (imho) "Appropriate"
    Personally I'm much happier to go along with the general consensus of the "professionals" that have a better understanding of firearms than me, that like you said guns do have a use, that there a tool, i also think the appropriateness of using that tool should be judged or assessed by a higher authority than just personal choice.

    The UK's gun laws may seem backward to our cousins across the pond but personally I'm happy with our guns laws, that we strike a fair balance between appropriate and inappropriate use of firearms.
     
  20. David

    David Take my advice — I’m not using it.

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    More people die from being kicked in the head by horses or cows than being attacked by bears and cougars. And a couple of dozen per year by attacks from domestic dogs.

    But the big killer of humans in the USA - people armed with guns - 20-30 people per day, iirc.
     

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