Firearms thread, from Heather story arc

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Postby EdSaari on Mon Feb 28, 2005 5:32 am

I've invited "Llwellian" - from "Somewhere in Bavaria, Germany" to join us here.
I'm wondering about the attitude towards firearms in Germany and Europe. I was in Baden-Baden a few years ago, doing commecial photography, when I turned on German televison - and watched a sports program with EXTENSIVE coverage of Biathalon. There were cameras at every shooting station, crowds cheered loudly for their favorites and groaned at the misses - with extensive analysis and commentary. I think the program lasted at least a half-hour if not a full hour.

Here in the United States, our television coverage of our OLYMPIC Biathalon effort lasted some 90 seconds. A few quick glimpses of the skiing and ten seconds of shooting. I chalk that up to the ongoing "demonization" of firearms here by the media.

Again, I've seen the reaction of foreign visitors to the United States when they have been suprised by the fact that we are not all wearing holsters on our hip and walking around with every type of firearm imaginable. Apparently there is a lot of propaganda over there, directed against our private ownership of firearms.
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Postby pablo on Mon Feb 28, 2005 5:32 am

EdSaari wrote:The Conservaion Officers (Don't call them "Game Wardens") broke out the fist aid kit and dressed the wound. He recoverd with no problems. That incident was - HAD TO BE - reported as a "Hunting Accident" -- affecting the statistics. It had NOTHING to do with safe hunting or safe firearms handling - only safe door closing practices.


Exactly. When I was little and my parents and I would visit my grandparents around thanksgiving, and my parents and grandfather would participate in the Wisconsin deer season. And every year without fail, we would hear on the news, stories about hunters freezing to death or having heart attacks or slipping on the ice and hurting themselves falling out of their tree stands. All reported as "hunting accidents". They weren't shot, and the acidents had nothing to do with hunting other than circumstance.
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Postby Llewellian on Mon Feb 28, 2005 6:13 am

@EdSaari:

Well, Statistics are a neat thing - and you really have to know how to read it.

In Germany live 89 Million Ppl on a place of 890x640km. According to our statistics, there are 10 Million registrated and 1 Million unregistrated (old WW2 Guns) Weapons.

You could think that 1 out of 9 persons got a gun.

But that is wrong. As "Weapon" counts - according to our very strict Laws in this point anything described or forbidden by the Weapons Law. That means every knive that is no tool and has a blade length over 8 cm, swords, to tear gas pistols, sport weapons (including boltthrowers), marker weapons (gotcha), hunting weapons and at least self defense weapons like guns or rifles. Army weapons are not counted in that statistic.

Rifles (including shotguns) are only allowed to police and special state personal like hunters and other forrest personal. Very less exceptions for: Private hunters with their own forrest have to undergo veeeery special training and tests to get a license for hunting. Same to sport marksmen (Biathlon, clay pigeon shooting and things like that).

Shooting clubs exist, but they shoot only with very special air pressure rifles that shoot 2mm mellow lead bullets. Non lethal.

Guns are only allowed to hunters or security personal (and only in high risk security places). Exceptions for private usage at home for self defense only for special people like politicans, police, hunters, special state servants.

And only Police, Military and Security Bodyguards are allowed to carry their weapons in public.

If you are a sport marksmen or a hunter, you have to transport your weapons from home to shooting range in a special way in your trunk. Secured and closed away. Aparted from the bullets in a special closed case.

So - if looking right at the statistics - with 500.000 Policemen, Border Control, other State Personal and 300.000 Hunters (State and Private) and Forrest Service... that carry nearly all the guns and rifles (more weapons on one person)... you can expect that you see guns and things like that in public very very rare.

I really like it to live in a safe land ;o). Yeah, we have criminality here too... (show me one country that does not)...but i really feel safe at nights.

I really have never ever thought about buying me a weapon....
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Postby Stefka on Mon Feb 28, 2005 10:09 am

Another favorite anti-gun phony statistic: "Someone in the U.S. is killed by a gunshot wound every 60 seconds."

Let's do the math. That would be 60 people per hour, or 1,440 per day. Or 525,500 per year. Assuming every state had the same number of gun deaths per year (which I know they do not), that would be 10,512 per state, per year. Assuming all those people were in one state, Wyoming would be depopulated (approximate 2003 population: 501,242). Vermont (2003 population approximately 619,107) would be nearly so.

It's ridiculous. And the worst part is, the statistic's veracity could be checked so easily. Here are some honest estimates, from responsible sources:

The National Cancer Institute estimated 556,500 deaths from cancer for 2003.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates 35,000 to 40,000 gunshot fatalities each year.

When my husband and I married, he brought his firearms into the house. I had, myself, only a 60-caliber muzzleloading fowling piece for reenacting (not for lack of interest, just hadn't bought anything else). I required him to instruct me in the use of every single gun he brought with him. The 30-06 we bought together and own jointly. :) So far, the only thing keeping me from joining the Second Amendment Sisters (http://www.2asisters.org/) is that I don't yet have a pistol. But I was wondering, Pablo ... is Heather a member?
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Postby luchog on Mon Feb 28, 2005 10:16 am

EdSaari wrote:Thanks for the link, Luchog. It is good to see that they support their information with references to their sources. I only wish they were a little "calmer" and less theatrical in their presentation.


Yeah, they are a bit on the strident side. Unfortunately, all my good links are at home (i usually read this board at work).

One has to be extremely careful with statistics. In a previous life I was a Quality Control Engineer and one of the few (!?!) extensively involved with statistics.


Yeah, there is that. But the sources of these particular statistics are such that the margin for error/misreporting is not really that significant. Particularly when viewed in a larger social context.

But yeah, I've seen plenty of examples were statistics were artificially inflated. Some of the best examples come from War on Drugs propaganda, specifically the statistics for cannabis-related problems. My favorite is the "cannabis-related automobile accidents". Heavily inflated by the fact that the accident is categorized as "cannabis-related" anytime any amount of cannabis is present at the scene of an accident, even just a few "crumbs"; or if anyone involved has any detectable amount in their system, regardless of what other drugs are involved, and regardless of the actual level (physioactive levels or not). The majority of "cannabis-related" accidents involve no cannabis use at all, or involve minor cannabis use with significant alcohol use. I don't have sources handy, but ISTR that more than half of all "cannabis-related" traffic accidents are actually cases of drunk driving with incidental cannabis presence.

Context is all-important. And it is possible to derive context for statistics with a bit of determined effort.
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Postby Llewellian on Mon Feb 28, 2005 11:53 am

Well...i checked something from our statistics here:

In the year 2000, we had about 990.000 crime delicts (all crimes possible by law). 2000 of them involved lethal projectile firing weapons like guns, rifles or shotguns and nonlethal like gas cannons (Tear Gas), or "manstopping rubber bullets".

79 out of 2000 Cases involved unregistrated guns.

In the year 2000, we had 430 Cases of Murder. 45 out of 430 by a gun or a rifle.

35 Deaths by accident with a weapon, including hunting and army training.

And weapon laws will tighten further, since we had the Erfurth School Massacre (a complete mirror of the Columbine High Thing).

So to say - Germany is a very safe country. If you look at the statistics for weapons......

And now something offtopic:

there is something where we have really black statistics - Cars.

50.000 Deaths by Car-Accidents and 1.25 Million !!! Injuries inflicted by Car accidents.

Germany is really a car country. 89 Million inhabitants, 40 Million Cars. And it is allowed to drive as fast as you can on the most high speed highways (german autobahn)....
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Postby azalea2 on Mon Feb 28, 2005 12:37 pm

luchog wrote:... two-thirds of all firearm-caused deaths are from criminals killing other criminals...


Actually, that's not what i've heard. I always heard that most firearm deaths were suicides.

From this website:
* In 2001, firearm suicide accounted for nearly 17,000 deaths in this country
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Postby EdSaari on Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:13 pm

Interesting web sites, Azalea. I'd really have to dig deeper before I accept some of this....

FACT!!!!

97% of all muderers, including Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy, regulary ate mashed potoatoes. We have found that, comparing those who did eat mashed potatoes, and those who did not, the incidence of Traffic Violations was more that 500% greater among mashed potatoe users!!!
- The Committe to Ban Mashed Potatoes....

All if this could easily be true. One would have to examine the structure of the study, especially the "randomness" of any sampling. Comparing ... 150,000 people who did eat mashed potatos against the *one* we found that did not....

"Firearms Accidents are FAR More Likely to be Fatal ... Quite possibly, but we also have to look at the total frequency of the accidents in question. 10 people out of 50 (one in 5) injured in Firearms accidents died ... 25,000 out of 5,000,000 injured in motor vehicle accidents died ... a far lower incidence ... one in 200. True ... but what is the greater problem?

I know you share the same sensitivity toward suicide that I do, Azalea. It is terrible beyond words ... but....
There is no way to determine whether or not the suicide would have taken place if any specific means was available or not. I know of many where those who have a house full of firearms attempt to end their lives with toxic substances. The question really depends on the underying causes for suicide. Certainly, no one would believe that anyone would take their lives "Just because a firearm was handy."

I'm wondering about that "Suicides inolving the use af firearms are the second leading cause of death in California." First, I would suspect, would be Motor Vehicle accidents. Surely there must be many disease - related deaths ... from heat attacks, cancer, pneumonia... I wonder what parameters are involved here.

I know of one death .. this is especially hard for me to talk about, where a terminally ill Cancer patient could not bear the pain - and his life degraded to either being awake in agony or being knocked out completely by drugs... there was nothing else - NO hope. He took his life with a firearm. Was that really to be considered as a suicide?
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Postby azalea2 on Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:13 pm

Oooh, fascinating. A table showing international violent death rates, broken down into total death, total homicide, firearm homicide, total suicide, firearm suicide, and percentage of households with guns. In Brazil, you are in fact more likely to be a victim of firearm homicide than firearm suicide. Though, in the US, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Canada, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Israel, Spain, if you're dead from a firearm, it's much more likely to be self-inflicted.
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Postby azalea2 on Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:22 pm

EdSaari wrote:I'm wondering about that "Suicides involving the use of firearms are the second leading cause of death in California."


Where was that? That sounds completely wrong. It depends on the age group, but usually cancer, heard disease, and stroke top the list, with accidents (such are automobile accidents) also up high, with suicides around #10 and homicides around #14. I believe that for younger people (10-19?) automobile accidents and suicides top diseases, but still.

And yes, many more people die from motor vehicle accidents than from firearms. I was focusing on firearm deaths (homicides vs. suicides), and it is clear that firearms are the leading means of successful suicides (in the US). Also, i was rebutting the misstatement that most gun-related deaths were homicides between criminals.
Last edited by azalea2 on Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby azalea2 on Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:32 pm

luchog wrote:... two-thirds of all firearm-caused deaths are from criminals killing other criminals...

Ah, that came from the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics page, which does not include suicides. That explains the disparity.
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Postby azalea2 on Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:43 pm

Erk. I must object to a few of the facts from here:

Myth: Handguns are 43 time more likely to kill a family member than a criminal.
Fast: Of the 43 deaths reported in this flawed study, 37 (86%) were suicides.

Myth: 13 children are killed each day by guns.
Fact: These numbers include suicides.


Ah, so those who commit suicide are inhuman, and not worth counting?

Myth: More than 1,300 children commit suicide with guns.
Fact: This statistic includes "children" ages 18-19.


And once someone is past the age of 18, it does not matter what happens to them? Suicide is only tragic in people 17 and under?
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Postby DeaExMachina on Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:10 pm

In Washington State (The Other Washington to the Eastern Snooties :lol: ) If you don't have a serious crime on on your record, mentally ill, or mentally handycapped, the Police are required to give you a permit to carry a concealed weapon. (I have a brother that carrys 2 44 magnums because it's faster than reloading.) The big glitch is that if you fire more than two rounds into your attacker, it becomes difficult to argue self defence. I've heard about a woman who shot six .22 caliber rounds into her massively drunk exhusband (including one into his heart) while he was smashing down her door and he still mannaged to beat her uncoscious before wandering into the yard and dieing.

Adding this to the Example (Scam?) of a woman being dissarmed by an attacker, I would seem that if you were going to take the step of buying a gun for self defence, you should go through one of the Gun owners courses offered by the NRA (A trained gun owner is a smaller political liability) and become competent in one of the marshal arts for two reasons. One: From what I've heard it teaches you to be able to think in emergency situations; and two: It would make it more difficult for someone to disarm you.

Anyone care to rip holes in this theory? I'm inviting. It's not like I actually know something.

I've always thought that if you really want to outlaw something that kills a lot of people, outlaw greed. If you think about it, every act of criminal violence from mugging to full blown warfare is ultimately caused by someone being too greedy.
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Postby azalea2 on Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:41 pm

EdSaari wrote:I know of one death .. this is especially hard for me to talk about, where a terminally ill cancer patient could not bear the pain - and his life degraded to either being awake in agony or being knocked out completely by drugs... there was nothing else - NO hope. He took his life with a firearm. Was that really to be considered as a suicide?


Strictly speaking: yes, that is a suicide.

Please note that i am not passing judgement on whether that was an appropriate or inappropriate thing to do. Just as, with the numbers i have been spewing, i have not indicated my personal beliefs on gun ownership. I am merely trying to point out the fact of suicide via firearms, which i had not seen addressed in this thread.
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Postby EdSaari on Mon Feb 28, 2005 5:55 pm

No one is trying to trivialize a life, Azalea. Each and every life is precious. if I honestly thought that complete firearm confiscation would save one (1) life, I would support it to the hilt.

Experience and history have taught us otherwise. First there is no way to effectively confiscate all firearms. Even the so-caled "Gun buy - back" programs proved to be miserable failures. At tremedous cost, very few firearms were turned in... and most were inoperative pieces of junk from more-or-less law abiding citizens.
If all registered firearms are confiscated - that leaves .. who? - still armed, and belive me, even more dangerous.

Suicide is a terrible problem. And there is, nor should be, less concern for those five years old or 105. We should be doing FAR more in this coiuntry - and worldwide - to PREVENT suicide. But how? We cannot eliminate ropes and aspirin, or stairways in high buildings. A good friend, accused unjustly of some really horrendous sex crimes (later evidence vindicated him entirely) jumped into Ipswich Bay - he loved to sail there - swam out, and never returned alive.

I search every day for some way to improve the situation. Somehow, we HAVE to modify the "soup" we live in, to become more human, to recognize the agonies that lead to suicide and take effective measures to remove those agonies - in short, to remove the causes. That, to me. is the only way possible.

On other thought - Japan has a *very low* rate of "firearm suicides". They have very few firearms, period. What is their overall suicide rate?
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Postby EdSaari on Mon Feb 28, 2005 5:57 pm

No one is trying to trivialize a life, Azalea. Each and every life is precious. if I honestly thought that complete firearm coanfiscation would save one (1) life, I would support it to the hilt.

Experience and history have taught us otherwise. First there is no way to effectively confiscate all firearms. Even the so-caled "Gun buy - back" programs proved to be miserable failures. At tremedous cost, very few firearms were turned in... and most were inoperative pieces of junk from more-or-less law abiding citizens.
if all registerd firearms are confiscated - that leaves .. who? - still armed, and belive me, even more dangerous.

Suicide is a terrible problem. And there is, nor should be, less concern for those five years old or 105. We should be doing FAR more in this coiuntry - and worldwide - to PREVENT suicide. But how? We cannot eliminate ropes and aspirin, or stairways to high buildings. A good friend, accused unjustly of some really horrendous sex crimes (later evidence vindicated him entirely) jumped into Ipswich Bay - he loved to sail there - swam out, and never returned alive.

I search every day for some way to improve the situation. Somehow, we HAVE to modify the "soup" we live in, to become more human, to recognize the agonies that lead to suicide and take active mesures to remove those agonies - in short, to remove the causes. That, to me. is the only way possible.

On other thought - Japan has a *very low* rate of "firearm suicides". They have very few firearms, period. What is their overall suicide rate?
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Postby EdSaari on Mon Feb 28, 2005 6:14 pm

Sorry for the double post gang. My bad - and I can't figure out how to delete a message.
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Postby Llewellian on Tue Mar 01, 2005 3:05 am

EdSaari wrote:
On other thought - Japan has a *very low* rate of "firearm suicides". They have very few firearms, period. What is their overall suicide rate?


Well according to the statistics of the Tokio Times, it reaches more than 30.000 every year. 30.000 suicide kills a year... and only 200 of them inflicted by a gun or a rifle (private gun ownership in Japan is nonexistent).

Germany has an average suicide rate of 11.400 a year. Only 30 deaths by a gun or a rifle.

Well to compare:

Japan got 123. Million Inhabitants, 30.000 Suicides overall a year
Germany got 89. Million Inhabitants, 11.400 Suicides overall a year.

If you ask for the high suicide rate in Japan, you have to take a look behind the curtain. A deep look. And after that you wonder why the rates aren
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Postby EdSaari on Wed Mar 02, 2005 7:41 am

This is intersting. "DinkyInky" from Wapsi Square suggests that Military Personnel so trained, and those who partake in spicy foods can become "immune" or "desensitized" to Mace or CS, to the point where it it no longer affects them.

I have vivid memories of CBR training, and I can guarantee that the last place you want to be, if you value your life, is standing in close proximty to the door of the gas chamber when those inside are ordered to remove their masks in an atmosphere of tear gas.

I was in a Combat Engineer Battalion, with a MOS of "Combat Demoliton Specialist" (before Squad Leader). One day, at the Demoliton Range, we did those in the Demolition Dump a favor by getting rid of "odds and ends"; Artillery fuses, odd blocks of TNT .. whatever. Unknown to us, they had included a dozen or so Tear Gas Grenades. The blast split those puppies open, and when we returned to the scene we got a full dose. We were NOT - nowhere near - immune!

A note on the use of Mace or pepper spay - If it must be used, the proper way is to spray - that will blind/ slow the attacker for a few, five - ten seconds. Do not wait to see what comes next... most of us can gain a lot of ground away from the assailant in five seconds --- and chances are that the attacker will probably be so uncomforatble that they will lose interest.
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Postby luchog on Wed Mar 02, 2005 11:09 am

azalea2 wrote:
luchog wrote:... two-thirds of all firearm-caused deaths are from criminals killing other criminals...

Ah, that came from the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics page, which does not include suicides. That explains the disparity.


Since the context of the discussion was violent crime, I didn't bother with suicide figures, since that's an entirely different, and completely unrelated issue. As others have pointed out, there is no link between suicide rates and methods, and the regions with the highest suicide rates also have the strictest anti-gun laws. Suicide is mainly a cultural issue.
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Postby luchog on Wed Mar 02, 2005 11:24 am

EdSaari wrote:This is intersting. "DinkyInky" from Wapsi Square suggests that Military Personnel so trained, and those who partake in spicy foods can become "immune" or "desensitized" to Mace or CS, to the point where it it no longer affects them.

Actually, there are well-documented cases of people who are immune to CS, and somewhat resistant to pepper-spray. I myself have a high resistance to CS (it takes about 4 or 5 times the exposure to get the desired effect). My senior drill seargent in Basic Training was completely immune to CS, as was one of the trainees in another company in our battalion. Resistance to CS has nothing to do with diet, but seems to be inherent.

Certain drugs can also convey a certain amount of resistance or even immunity (PCP being the most obvious example). Resistance to pepper-spray is not quite as pronounced, but there is some evidence to indicate that those who habitually eat large amounts of spicy foods may develop some resistance to civilian-grade pepper-spray. There are no documented cases (to my knowledge) of anyone demonstrating a significant resistance to police/military grade versions.
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Postby EdSaari on Wed Mar 02, 2005 12:07 pm

I remeber Fly Fishing in Maine, during "black fly" season. One of us was equipped with "Ben's 100" - they only concoction even remotely effective against them. The "100" indicated 100% DEET - the active ingredient in "OFF" and other insect repellants.
He made a small mistake ... accidentaly had the nozzle of the spray can pointed in the wrong direction ...!!!! i've seen this guy "work through" being dosed with mace. He didn't shake off this stuff.

I think that would be an effctive subtitute for mace, and it would not require a permit or lisence.
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Postby kinako mochi on Wed Mar 02, 2005 3:44 pm

Waow! This thread was quiet for a while
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Postby Lugnut on Wed Mar 02, 2005 7:50 pm

First of all, DEET is a bitch 'cause if I remember properly it is a carcinogen...LLLLLLLLLLLAWSUIT!

I was raised in a house with firearms. I was taught at a VERY young age (I was 4) what they did, why we had them, and what NOT to do with them. When I was older, 8 or 9, I handled a firearm (safety on), and fired one with my dad's hands over mine. I went through my first firearms safety program at 12, with 6 more until I turned 18. In the state of IL, a FOID (Firearms owner ID) card is required for ANY firearms activity (I grew up in NC), so when I was old enough, I applied for mine. It took nine weeks to get it. I'm now able to purchase and transport firearms, and to fire them in controlled environments or in self defense. In order to legally transport a firearm in IL, the gun must be cased, unloaded, and out of driver's and passenger's reach.

Two years ago, I was home alone, in the kitchen doing homework. I had a fan going, and it was a bit loud, so I wasn't quite sure what I heard when I heard a crashing noise at the opposite end of the house. When I turned off the fan, I heard footsteps. Instinct kicked in, and I went to the top kitchen cabinet. We keep small firearms in several places in the house. I found my Colt Bodyguard, checked to ensure it was loaded, and made my way down the hall to get a phone. Before 911 could connect, a 27 year old male began walking down the hallway, carrying one of my mother's suitcases in one hand (he'd emptied her jewelry box into it), and a .357 magnum in the other. He wasn't paying attention, I was.

I've never been so glad for my training in my life. He dropped the suitcase and ran, but was apprehended driving recklessly leaving the neighborhood. Items found in his car implicated him in two other burglaries in the neighborhood. Thank God his only crime was burglary. I doubt he would have been such a coward had I not been armed and ready. I'm well trained in firearms, trained enough to have a very healthy respect for them and what they do. If/when I have children, I'll raise them the same way I was raised around firearms. And I'll just hope they never have to use them.

And speaking from too many experiences....if someone wants to commit suicide badly enough, they'll use whatever they can get their hands on. I haven't gone researching for stats, but I haven't seen a movement to outlaw strong sedatives because of their status as a favorite suicide method.

Lastly...EdSaari, your comment two pages back about gun shows...they're fairly common here. I live about midway between Milwaukee and Chicago...so between those two cities, there's a good bit of interest. Most of the IL events require a FOID just to get in. If an IL resident buys a firearm in WI, it has to be transferred to an IL dealer, who enforces the 24 hr waiting period, and who has to run your FOID. Makes it difficult for law-abiding citizens to acquire firearms, which I can handle. The ones that worry me the most are the ones who make their firearm purchase outside those regulations.
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Postby azalea2 on Wed Mar 02, 2005 9:09 pm

*waves*

Hey guys, i never said anything along the lines of "guns cause suicides". In fact, I quite happily pointed to pages claiming that guns did not increase either suicides or homicides.

My only objection was to heretofore total overlooking of suicide in this gun discussion.

*leaves thread*
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