Gun Control and The Dark Corners of the Internet
As The New Yorker puts it, gun control is being taken to the streets. The US government will capitalize on every opportunity it can to ensure that stricter gun regulations are put into place. Right down the pipe, in the wake of a disgusting tragedy in Connecticut, the government is looking to implement controls as early as January 1st, 2013. Already WalMart has discontinued ads for guns and Dick's Sporting Goods has stopped selling assault rifles altogether. The private equity firm that owns the manufacturer or the high-powered assault rifle used in the Connecticut shooting has announced it would sell off its subsidiary.
It's a broad base in the US now pushing for gun control laws. Not only Democrats, but also Republicans are proposing and supporting measures. California Democrats have already introduced legislation that would mandate background checks and one-year permits for anyone looking to buy ammunition. The one-year permit creates an amazing hassle for owners, but would not deter anyone looking to plan a quick hit from doing so. Clearly, the push for gun control has little to do with preventing tragedy. California is not the only state moving to control the sale of ammunition, as Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have done the same. The laws generally require a background check and an annual $50 permit to buy any ammunition whatsoever.
The National Rifle Association, a front group designed to hold captive the public opinion of gun owners, has announced it will reconsider its position of steadfastly fighting nearly all federal or state gun control legislation. Forty percent of households own a gun, and it is clear that there is broad resistance to curtailing 2nd Amendment gun rights. In Ohio, Governor John Kasich, a Republican, announced plans to sign legislation enabling people to keep guns in their cars at the Statehouse garage and make it simpler to renew licenses and carry concealed weapons. "I think as we move forward, whatever we do, we don't want to erode the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens," the governor said.
Of course, the media is pushing for gun control legislation. While it is illegal to show pictures of troops arriving home in coffins, they are showing images of the funerals of the elementary school children massacred Friday. This is not to say they don't have the right to show the images, but revealing considering the forbidden troop photos.
Moreover, the stock prices of gun makers has weakened in the wake of the shooting, though they were already doing considerably well with the renewed interest in guns in recent years in the US. The Smith & Wesson share price, for instance, fell over 20 percent, whilst Sturm, Ruger & Company took a 14 percent haircut.
The regulations most predominantly proposed in the wake of the shooting would do little to prevent any such massacre from happening. All it would ensure is that law-abiders go less armed whilst criminals generally remain as armed as ever.
Now is the time to buy instruments of self-defense, like guns. Things are now on swift-footing in the US to curb your right to bear arms. But, what outlawing guns and ammunition will do is create demand on the so-called "black market," referred to here at TDV as the "free market." Bitcoin retailer Silk Road admins will see the amount of guns and ammunition moved over the platform increase.
About a year-and-a-half ago Senator Joe Manchin demanded the website Silk Road be "shut down immediately." But, the free market website Silk Road has boomed ever since, with $22 million in annual sales.
Similar to Silk Road is The Armory, which was broken off from Silk Road by Silk Road admins so as to spread their risk. On the Armory, you could buy guns, ammo, bulletproof vests and explosives online. The weapons were purchased in Bitcoin, which means buying and selling with privacy. Though now defunct due to lack of a healthy market, one can reasonably expect similar options in the very near future. We will let you know when those options become available.
To access these sites, one must access Tor, which is very good and is improved over time, but does not totally ensure anonymity. Staying away from a Windows operating system and becoming familiar with Linux is crucial. Using Linux will make you more efficient on your computer.
With Tor Browser, you can now easily access the once mysterious Tor Network. Once the Tor browser is running you will need to direct it to the Silk Road URL so you can create an anonymous profile. Make sure your username and password are new.
Of course, violence is not the purpose of gun ownership. For most, the purpose of gun ownership is protection. CCW holders have played an important, yet little-known role in the history of US mass shootings. According to a study by criminologist Gary Kleck of Florida State University, there are approximately 2.5 million cases of people using firearms for self-defense in America each year. Also, according to the Department of Justice's 2007 Uniformed Crime Report, states with right-to-carry laws have a 30 percent lower homicide rate, as well as a 46 percent lower robbery rate. Shootings by permit holders continues to be a tiny minority in gun crimes statistics. Oftentimes, CCW holders brandish their weapons when armed gunman threaten entire stores or in shopping malls, as took place last week in Oregon.
Just days before the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, a gunman walked into a Clackamas, Oregon shopping mall and opened fire, killing two before turning the gun on himself. But, with thousands of shoppers at the mall, one might be left to wonder why the shooter only killed two before turning his AR-15 on himself.
Five days after the shooting, Portland news centers started in on the second phase of the propaganda surrounding the Clackamas mall shooting. As it turns out, there was a second shooter that day. And no, he was not an undercover agent or accomplice. He was a former security guard at the mall who confronted the gunman while the gunman struggled with his weapon.
Even the news report out of Portland obfuscates the situation by focusing on the fact that the young man - who dons a University of Oregon sweatshirt in his interview - did not pull the trigger because of innocent bystanders in the offing behind the perpetrator. When he took cover, the shooter's next shots were against himself. Merely being confronted by another human being brave enough to assert himself and demonstrate that the shooter was not in control was enough to end the situation before any more innocent blood was shed. That is the gist of the story, in my opinion.
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