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Comment Re:Not ill timed... (Score 2) 633

Questions like, "Why do you need it" are irreverent if the ban has no effect on crime when the ban is said to help with crime. The 50BMG ban in California came about because one state senator made a press conference announcing that the 50BMG round had "heat seeking bullets", as if a chunk of lead had some active guidance system.

The history of the cartridge was that some military equipment (ships, tanks) used it during WWII as a mounted gun designed to damage other pieces of large equipment. Mostly, it was an anti-truck gun. We attempted to use it for anti-air purposes as well, but it didn't work well for that unless the attacking planes were under 100 feet and the cartridges were fired from banks of machine guns mounted on large ships. The military today has all but phased out the use of this cartridge as it has been replaced more effective rounds. It is still used in some cases in an anti-material role to break truck engines, but even that is being replaced with the easier to carry 338 Lapua round.

A rifle in 50BMG cartridge easily costs $10,000, weights an excess of 20lbs, and is usually 4 feet long. You'll spend an additional $5000 on the riflescope in addition to the rifle when you want to shoot it. The ammunition costs $5-$8 per shot. The recoil is such that anyone except the most trained folks will injure their shoulder when firing it. This is why they are never used in crime, they are just not practical for any self-defense or hunting use.

They are extremely good at very long range target shooting though, and that sport is very challenging. You have to account for the curvature of the Earth and the direction the Earth is spinning in order to hit the target. A shooter will spend 20 minutes doing trig and calculus for each shot to calculate exactly how to hit the target.

In reality, California banned a rifle that upper middle class folks used instead of golf clubs on private resorts specifically set up for long range shooting. The ban was designed to annoy gun owners, with no effects at all on public safety.

Comment Re:Lather, rinse, repeat... (Score 3, Informative) 1134

California has every single law you asked for except an insurance requirement, and it still happened here. I seriously doubt adding an insurance requirement would have stopped this.

"We should be doing the same for guns at a minimum."

California already requires a license, with an associated test to purchase a firearm. The license is called a Firearms Safety Certificate. It has been required here for years.

The license needs to be renewed every five years, and you must pass the test again in order to renew.

It used to be called the HSC for handguns, but a few years back they changed it to the FSC for all firearms.

" If your gun is stolen and used in a crime you would share in the liability, - especially if your gun was not stored in a safe manor. "

Safe storage in a secure container is the law here. It is a misdemeanour with loss of firearms rights for 10 years if you are caught not storing it correctly. Additionally you are liable for any crime that was caused by your firearm if it was not stored properly and an unauthorized individual got a hold of it.

"A gun should have a title associated with it that gets transferred even in the event of a private sale"

All guns must have a serial number on the frame. The serial number is registered to the owner and the registration is transferred even with a "private sale", inheritance, or any other legal transfer.

As an aside, there are no "private sales" in Californa. All sales must go through a licensed gun store. Even gun shows.

The only exception to this is "Curio and Relic" firearms, meaning the gun 50+ years old, and they have to be on a list designating them as such. Usually to get on this list it means they no longer make ammo for the gun. Last time I looked, there was only a handful of times a C&R firearm was used in a crime since they time they started keeping records.

"gun dealerships should be expected to perform due diligence before selling anyone a gun"

California requires a background check on all persons, they must also wait 10 days and posses a valid FSC before taking possession of a firearm. The purchaser must show two forms of ID, one must be a California state ID (or driver license) the other must have your address on it. The address must match your ID. California also requires a safe handling demonstration where the buyer must show they know how to safely load, unload, and operate the safety of the firearm they wish to purchase. The firearm shop is expected to do these checks.

The owner of the gun shop faces criminal liability (meaning go to jail, not just fines) if the shop does not follow the law. Some gun shops were shut down in the southern part of the state recently due to the owner being "not good".

"More to your point, certain kinds of mental illness would lead to the loss of gun licensure and if your mentally ill son shoots up a mall with your guns, you will be held responsible. "

This is already law here. A 5150 (going nuts and being admitted to the hospital for observation) results in an automatic 10-year loss of guns rights.

The state department of justice has a group called APPS, (that had some growing pains when they first started) that goes out and confiscates the firearms of people who were 5150ed before they get out of the hospital.

Any persons who provides a firearm to an ineligable person is guilty of a felony. If you give a gun to your crazy kid and the cops find out then you go to jail, even if your crazy kid didn't shoot up the mall.

More firearms laws won't fix this. All they will do is annoy the folks that have firearms as their hobby.

We need a culture change where crazy people don't feel that killing a bunch of people is the solution to their problems.

Comment Re:I wish the seven of them a good time (Score 3, Interesting) 104

Minix is an amazing learning OS.

Back in university, we were required to write a simple scheduler, a virtual memory (paging to disk) subsystem, and a FAT16 filesystem on top of a stripped down Minix kernel.

While that would technically be possible with Linux as well, the reality is that the Linux kernel base is so amazingly huge that a third year university student with no kernel experience has little hope of doing such a set of projects in a single quarter long course.

Comment Re:Silly assumptions. (Score 2) 172

A fridge really does not have that much of a thermal "band" where the temps can safely change.

If it gets above 40 or so then some nasty bacteria can grow, below about 31 or so then your lettuce will freeze. The temp sensors in fridges are not that great, so they usually swing up and down by about 5 degrees or so even when you don't open the door.

No, the fridge is not a good idea of an appliance to change based on electric costs.

Comment Dumb author... (Score 1) 461

The author failed to account for the increased cost required to launch more satellites...

"It transmits data via Iridium satellitesâSâ"âSwhich also allow people to use a satellite phone from anywhere in the worldâSâ"âSand can be programmed to start streaming flight data when a plane deviates from its flight plan, or instruments suggest something is going wrong."

I've looked into an Iridium sat phone for use while camping in the middle of nowhere. The thing is that their network is near or at capacity much of the time. Many times their phones can get signal but can't get a channel clear to make a call.

A quick google search says a cheap satellite is $300 million. I'm not sure how many we would need, but it would not be a small number.

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