P4a: Ban Large Capacity Magazines

This post is the third in a long series of planned blog posts about proposed gun control measures to reduce the risk of mass shootings.

Link to Serious Example of this Proposalhttps://www.huffingtonpost.com/sen-frank-lautenberg/post_1905_b_845590.html

1) What problem does it solve? “Police found multiple large-capacity magazines at the scenes of the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas. And our loved ones were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary by a shooter who used 30-round ammunition magazines. When he paused to reload, 11 children were able to escape.”
 
2) How well does it solve the problem?
 
Affirmative Answer: Well.
“These deadly devices are the weapon of choice for the deranged.
In the 1993 Long Island Railroad massacre, Colin Ferguson used a high-capacity magazine to kill six people and wound 19 others.
Major Nidal Hasan, the accused shooter in the Fort Hood tragedy, was armed with several high-capacity magazines and almost 400 rounds of ammunition when he went on his 2009 rampage, killing 13 people and wounding 34 others.
The onetime gun-shop employee who sold weaponry to Hasan testified that the alleged shooter told him he preferred extended ammunition clips because “he didn’t like spending time loading magazines.”
In addition to the Arizona, Long Island Railroad and Fort Hood shootings, high-capacity magazines were also used in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, as well as an incident in Manchester, Connecticut, last year, when a gunman killed eight people and wounded two others.”
 
Negative Answer: Poorly.
(a) The size of a magazine doesn’t matter; it only takes a second to change the clip.
(b) Adding new gun control laws won’t help. We don’t enforce well the laws we already have.
 
3) What new problems does it add?
 
Affirmative Answer: None
 
Negative Answer: None (?)
 
4) What are the economic and social costs?
 
Affirmative Answer: None
 
Negative Answer: None (?)
 
5) Given the above, is it worth the costs?
 
Affirmative Answer: Yes
 
Negative Answer: No
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P3a: Ban AR-15s

This post is the second in a long series of planned blog posts about proposed gun control measures to reduce the risk of mass shootings.
1) What problem does it solve? This proposal is offered as a solution to the problem of mass shootings.
2) How well does it solve the problem?
Affirmative Answer: Look at countries like Australia, Canada, England, and Japan. They don’t allow AR-15s and they don’t have mass shootings.
Negative Answer:
(a) This only works for law abiding citizens. The criminals are going to get AR-15s anyway. In fact, we’re not enforcing the laws we already have!
(b) When there’s a DUI, we blame the driver. When there’s a bombing, we blame the terrorist. But when there’s a shooting, we blame the gun?
3) What new problems does it add?
(I’m honestly not sure how either camp would answer the question.)
4) What are the economic and social costs?
Affirmative Answer: (?)
Negative Answer:
(a) This would trample our civil liberties (2nd amendment).
(b) Criminals would have more powerful guns than law-abiding citizens.
5) Given the above, is it worth the costs?
Affirmative Answer: Yes
Negative Answer: No

P2: Repeal the Second Amendment?

This post is the first in a long series of planned blog posts about proposed gun control measures to reduce the risk of mass shootings.

Link to Serious Example of this Proposalhttps://www.nytimes.com/…/guns-second-amendment-nra.html

1) What problem does it solve? Mass shootings
2) How well does it solve the problem?
Affirmative Answer: Australia!
“In 1996, Australia passed the National Firearms Agreement after a mass shooting in Tasmania in April of that year. In that incident, a 28-year-old man, armed with a semi-automatic rifle, shot and killed 35 people, and injured 18 others, in what was known as the Port Arthur Massacre.
“Under the 1996 law, Australia banned certain semi-automatic, self-loading rifles and shotguns, and imposed stricter licensing and registration requirements. It also instituted a mandatory buyback program for firearms banned by the 1996 law.
“Since 1996, the number and rate of homicides — defined as murder and manslaughter — has fallen. Below is the chart that appeared in our 2009 Ask FactCheck article, showing a 20 percent decline in homicides from 1996 to 2007.”
Negative Answer:
(b) “I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/i-used-to-think-gun-control-was-the-answer-my-research-told-me-otherwise/2017/10/03/d33edca6-a851-11e7-92d1-58c702d2d975_story.html?utm_term=.54b2ea8d5fbb
3) What new problems does it add?
Affirmative Answer: None
Negative Answer: (?)
4) What are the economic and social costs?
Affirmative Answer: (?)
Negative Answer: An unarmed citizenry would be unable to oppose a tyrannous government.
5) Given the above, is it worth the costs?
Affirmative Answer: Yes
Negative Answer: No

How to Think about the Risk of School Shootings and Proposed Countermeasures

I have a serious, non-snarky, and (hopefully) non-partisan proposal here for thinking about mass shootings and proposed gun control.

Before I give the proposal, let me say a bit about my background.

First, I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I am a moderate and an independent.

Second, I am not a gun owner, but I have had some exposure to guns. My father is a hunter and had various guns in the house when I was a child. I am also a veteran and have fired the Beretta M9.

Third, I do security risk analysis for a living. While my focus is information security, the general concepts for physical security are the same. As an expert on risk analysis, it’s my considered opinion that, as a society, what we are engaged in is essentially a debate about RISK. Specifically, the risk of mass shootings.

I’ve always been a fan of Bruce Schneier’s five-step process for thinking about security risks. I don’t have the answers, but I’m convinced his process forces us to ask the right questions. So here are the five steps / questions:

1) What problem does it solve?
2) How well does it solve the problem?
3) What new problems does it add?
4) What are the economic and social costs?
5) Given the above, is it worth the costs?

We can apply this simple process to a variety of proposed countermeasures to the risk of mass shootings.  Following the work of Winn Schwartau, I suggest that we organize proposed countermeasures according to a time-based model of security. Allow me to explain. We can categorize a countermeasure based upon its relationship in time to a security incident:

Before the incident starts: Preventative countermeasures help reduce the frequency of incidents

During the incident starts: Detective countermeasures help detect the incidents.

After the incident starts: Reactive countermeasures help reduce the severity of the incident.

While Schwarau’s book was written with information security in mind, it seems to me that his model is equally applicable to physical security and so I will adopt it here.

In future postings, I intend to analyze a variety of the proposed solutions to the problem of mass shootings in America, using Bruce Schneier’s five-step approach. Those solutions are listed below. As I publish posts about each of the proposed countermeasures, I will link to them from here. So you can think of this page as a “hub” for gun control content on the site.

PROPOSED PREVENTATIVE COUNTERMEASURES

P1: Thoughts and Prayers (not a serious proposal, so not considered in detail)

P2: Repeal the Second Amendment

P3: Various Types of Gun Bans:

P3a: Ban AR-15s

P4: Various Types of Accessory Bans:

P4a: Ban Large Capacity Magazine

P4b: Ban Bump Stocks

P4c: Ban Silencers

P5: Various Types of Bans for Classes of Individuals:

P5a: Ban Guns for Mentally Ill

P5b: Prohibit People on Terror Watch List from Buying Guns

P5c: Gun-Violence Restraining Orders (GVROs)

P5d: Raise the Legal Purchase Age to 21

P6: Allow CDC to Study

P7: Various Mental Health- and Quasi-Mental Health-Related Proposals

P7a: Improve Access to Mental Health Care

P7b: Notice Socially Isolated People and Engage Them

P7c: Address Fatherlessness

P8: Attach strict civil liability on on firearm ownership

PROPOSED DETECTIVE COUNTERMEASURES

None

PROPOSED REACTIVE COUNTERMEASURES

R1: More Guns

R2: Arm Teachers

R3: Armed School Guards

Bragging about sin

My daughter  saw Trump’s speech at the Republican convention and called him the Antichrist. Now, I don’t believe in the kind of end-times scenario that this idea of the Antichrist involves, and she doesn’t either (I think she saw some Left Behind movies when she was young and got the image that way), but Trump seems anti-Christ in another, more important sense, that he has spent his life bragging about things that Christianity identifies as sin.  He believes in pride, revenge, greed, and stealing other men’s wives, and brags about it. His locker room talk wasn’t just about “getting laid” (I heard plenty of that when I was younger) it was about using position, wealth, fame, and power for sexual advantage.  It’s one thing to, like Bill Clinton,  give in to sexual urges in a position of power, and believe me that was bad enough.  (It was costly to both Al Gore and Hillary in their campaigns). But I am inclined to think he was repentant (though with a politician it is always possible to suspect motives). But boasting about evil is, to my mind, a deeper depravity.

Why I Am Pessismistic About the Long-Term Unity of Our Country

I am pessimistic about the long-term prospects for the unity of the United States. I think there are several “structural” features of our system of government which will continue to make the polarization of our country get worse, not better.

Continue reading “Why I Am Pessismistic About the Long-Term Unity of Our Country”

SCOTUS Lawsuit to Invalidate Election is Dubious

I previously reported on a lawsuit on the docket of the SCOTUS to invalidate the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, on the basis of Russian hacking. I finally had time to get an opinion about this from a friend of mine who is an attorney (albeit one who does not specialize in election law). His response:
Continue reading “SCOTUS Lawsuit to Invalidate Election is Dubious”